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Week #7: Creative Writing Challenge – Mystical Creatures Abound

February 22, 2021

You have the power to transform into whatever mystical creature you choose.

The Prince had been my childhood friend. We were just two little boys terrorizing the palace. My family lived in the servants wing where my mother was in charge of baking bread in the kitchens every day. She would bring me rolls fresh from the oven each afternoon after my serving chores, and I would run off to find the prince practicing his archery or learning ancient history or getting drilled in court etiquette. I would catch his eye from any number of hiding places and he would inevitably find a way to sneak out. We usually ended up in the gardens snacking on our rolls and he would tell me of his lessons and I would tell him who I had served that day and what silly things they had said when they thought no one was observing. It was an easy friendship, but as we grew and learned the expectations of our roles in the palace we spent less time together, although the depth of our friendship never waned or wavered.

One night when we were about 18 years old, I ran into the Prince. He looked melancholy walking down the hall running a hand through his short spiky brown hair. Although we hadn’t spoken or seen each other in a few months, I asked him quietly what was wrong. I was a couple inches taller than him, although he had broader shoulders because of his training. The Prince looked sadly up at me and quietly guided me to our old stomping grounds in the garden. “My father is very ill,” the Prince said when he knew we were alone. I had lost my father five years previously and knew what the Prince was going through. I wrapped him in a big hug and he started to cry. We both knew that there was no where else in the palace he could be this vulnerable. When his tears quieted, the Prince said, “I wish I could just fly away and let all my worries just stay here on the ground, if only for a bit.”

I hesitated. I could offer him what he desired. For as long as I could remember I had been able to turn into any creature I imagined; any creature that was not real. I could transform into a selkie, or a ghost, or a chimera, or a dragon if I desired. I changed in outward appearance only. I could still think and act like myself, but couldn’t verbally communicate unless my creature had a human-like form. I didn’t do it often, as my mother warned me it was a magic that could be used and abused by others. She knew how I felt about the Prince and made me promise never to reveal my magic to him, as he would one day become King and may feel as if he was within his right to command me.

But this was my Prince, and he was in pain. I would do anything to assuage the worry behind his umber eyes. And more than anything, I trusted the Prince with my life. “Do you trust me?” I asked the Prince. With a confirmatory nod from him I pulled out of our embrace and stepped back. “Swear to me that you’ll never tell another soul what you’re about to see.” I said with weight. “‘Til death.” was the Prince’s only response.

The Pegasus form came easily, my wings spreading wide in a stretch. The Prince was surprised for sure, but there was also awe and love as he looked into my pegasus eyes and saw me calmly looking back. The moonlight shone on my white flanks as I knelt down in the grass and offered him a ride. His body was strong and warm as he adjusted himself on my back without a saddle. A glance back to him to see that he was settled and I sprang into the night air.

We circled high above the palace, flew over the rolling countryside and skimmed the high mountains beyond. I could feel him relaxing as we flew and flew. He didn’t speak, but opened his arms to feel the wind against his body. An hour later I returned the Prince to the gardens. He slid off my back breathless and came to face me in my Pegasus form. He asked if I could understand him, to which I nodded. He looked at me a long time, then kissed my nose, and laid his forehead against mine. “I have missed you so, so much. It’s been like a part of me was in the dark.” He pulled back to look at me again. “Can you change back any time you want?” He asked.

Before he could say anything else, there I was in my human form. The Prince looked me over from head to toe, searching for injuries and things out of place. I was sure he noticed my slightly too short pants and the small tear in my cotton shift, but seemed to dismiss them as he determined I was all in one piece. Before I could say anything to explain my magic, the Prince tucked a wayward strand of my tousled blonde hair behind my ear and leaned in slowly to kiss me on the lips. Pulling away slightly the Prince whispered again, “I’ve missed you.”

After that we met in the gardens each night to reacquaint ourselves and discover each other anew. It was a magical time full of exchanged stories, stolen kisses, and promises. The King had recovered for the time-being and was not in danger of meeting his maker. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

That is, until the Prince didn’t show up in the gardens one night. I waited and waited, but couldn’t go searching for him or tell anyone I was worried lest they figure out our secrets. The next day I had my answer as I was serving a duke in the great hall. The Prince had been overpowered on one of his trips outside the palace walls and a message had been sent to the King demanding access to important trade routes in exchange for the return of the Prince. The Palace was in chaos. The King refused the demands, because losing the trade routes would bankrupt the entire country and he couldn’t do that for one man’s life, even if that life was his son’s. I hated the King in that moment.

A week passed and the King had sent his best to track the clan who stole the Prince, but they had either not returned or only their heads came back. The King was upset, but I was beside myself.

They had my Prince and I was going to get him back. I had gleaned enough from talk in the court to know where I was headed and what I was up against. The only person I told of my mission was my mother. “Why are you doing this?” my mother had asked me. I held her gaze and told her, “I love him. What better reason than that?” She nodded and said, “You’re right, there is no better reason. Come back to me son, for I love you too.”

As soon as I was out of the palace and in the forested foothills, I transformed into a Centaur and thundered through the trees until I came to a small stream and lost the tracks of the clan that had stolen the Prince. I transformed briefly into an Ent to see if the trees could help lead me. Word through the leaves was that the clan had traveled through the foothills and made for the mountain passes. They had so much distance on me, I needed to fly. Only something faster than a Pegasus would do.

My Dragon form exploded through the treetops as I blew a stream of fire out of my nostrils in joy. I was searching for my Prince, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy getting to know myself a bit better. I soared above the foothills, using my keen eyes to search for any trail they may have left. I approached the mountains and set myself down on a peak to rest. Just because I was a mythical creature doesn’t mean that I didn’t need to rest or eat. After swallowing some delicious mountain goats, I found a nice cozy cave to sleep in for the night.

The next day had me sailing above the mountains and through the snowy passes, but there was no sign of the clan or my Prince. I had lost them somehow. I changed myself into a Fairy and wished myself back to the palace in search of news. Apparently the clan had gone under the mountains through secret passageways and made to sail across the straights with my Prince. I changed into a Fairy again and considered wishing myself straight to the clan, but that type of Fairy magic only seemed to work if I was familiar with the place I wished to go. So I wished myself back to my napping cave and my dragon form, then soared into the air heading for the coast.

I reached the water and waded in immediately, transforming myself into a fast moving Kraken. I rode the currents through the straights to save my strength, only surfacing to spy any ships in the distance. The third time I surfaced I could see a ship close to the far coastline, but it was clear I wouldn’t get there in time to rescue my Prince. I kept my eye on the ship as it sailed into harbor and changed myself into a mermaid to better navigate the shallow water.

The ship docked in a small little port town with a few buildings near the harbor and the rest trailing up into the foothills. I watched the crew disembark as I hid in the shallows behind a rock. That’s when I finally laid eyes on my Prince. He stumbled down the gangway as one of the clan members pushed him in the back. I bristled, but let out a thankful breath that my Prince was still in one piece. The Prince had been trained so that he could lead the army. He was strong and knew how to use his weapons, but he had been visiting a hospital in the countryside the day he was taken. He didn’t have his usual complement of armor and weaponry with which to defend himself or get himself out of a sticky situation.

I waited until the whole party had disappeared from the harbor area before changing back into my normal tall, lanky human form. My shaggy blonde hair was wet along with my clothes. I needed to find someplace to get warm, eat and rest before figuring out how to stage a rescue. From a safe distance, I casually followed the clan toward town, noting the lodgings they selected and selecting different ones for myself.

In the morning I tracked the clan from my human skin. They weren’t being very careful to hide themselves. As the day waned and the clan had spread out, I changed into a Manticore and started to pick off the stragglers from afar using my tail spines as arrows. By the time the clan had settled for the night their numbers had been reduced by half and they were wary.

Another day of stalking and their numbers were reduced again by half. I trod softly outside the circle of their firelight that night. My Prince was there sitting on a log while his captors, numbering four at this point, spoke softly about how to defend themselves from their unknown foe. While there were distracted, I slowly crept towards the fire and my Prince. When I got close enough for him to hear me I whispered to his back, “I have come for you. When I come in another form don’t move and close your eyes tight. Whatever you do, do not open them until I tell you to. Do you understand?” An almost imperceptible nod was the only answer I needed before melting back into the darkness.

I returned many hours later in the dead of the night as a Basilisk. I took out the watchman with a single bite. The next sleeping clansman woke up and cried out briefly before my venom had time to work. The other two clansmen woke and I fixed my gaze on them until they slumped in death beside the dying fire. My prince was on the other side of the fire and a fifth clansman had a knife to his throat. I kicked myself for the miscalculation, but slowly changed back to my human self. “Close your eyes tightly, my love.” I told my Prince before I changed into a Medusa and walked in his direction. The clansman was staring at me in surprise as he slowly turned to stone.

In my human skin again I broke the knife out of the clansman’s stone hand as I told my Prince to open his eyes. I let out a shudder of relief as I looked him over and knew that he was safe. The Prince grabbed my face in both hands and kissed me. “Let’s go home,” I breathed into his mouth. The Prince raised his eyebrows as I stepped out of his embrace and into the dying fire.

I held my Prince carefully as we soared over the straights and towards the mountains along the opposite shore. As we finally approached the palace I heard cries below as we were spotted. I flew straight into the receiving hall of the King and gently deposited my Prince. He immediately turned to me, kissed my beak and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “I love you, you beautiful Phoenix”. With that I flew out the way I had come in, flames licking at my tail feathers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    February 23, 2021 3:44 pm

    So fun!! And I could totally see this becoming a romance novel if you wanted to write one of those ^_^

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