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Xena: Fairytale Princess
By Susan Adami, email@example.com
Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess, whose hair was black as night, her skin as white as snow, and her eyes as blue as the winter sky. She found herself in an enchanted forest, seeking magical adventures with a lovely maiden whose hair changed as the sun does when it sets . . .
"What kind of story is that?" asked Xena.
"It's called a folk-tale. They were telling them in the last village, and I thought I'd try my hand at it," said Gabrielle.
"Those things they were telling at the tavern? Oh, I didn't like those. Too many simpering, golden-haired maidens for me-- wait!" She stopped, listening to the wind.
"I don't hear anything." Gabrielle tried to adopt Xena's listening stance, but it didn't quite work.
"Over there!!" Xena, moving stealthily toward a nearby clearing. Gabrielle, moving not quite as stealthily, followed.
Seven young women, mostly of the simpering, golden-haired variety, were floating in the air, each bathed in the light from one of the bands of a rainbow that seemed to come from the hands of a tall red-haired woman in a shimmering gown.
"So, Gabrielle. What do you think?"
"I think this clearing looks familiar."
"And I think, them's some maidens that need rescued!" She let out a war whoop that surprised the red-haired woman that she stopped the spell she was performing, releasing the rainbow, but leaving the seven maidens dangling in mid-air. Xena flipped out of the bushes into the clearing and tackled the woman, trying to pin her down.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle saw a large black form sweep toward the clearing. "Uhh, Xena . . . "
"Not now Gabrielle!" as she flipped over the woman, and the woman flipped over her.
The black form revealed it to be a beautiful, albeit evil-looking, woman, who carried a long black ribbon, which she proceeded to wrap around the seven maidens. "Uhh, Xena . . . "
"Not now!" Xena caught the red-haired woman by surprise, making her trip over her long, shimmering gown. Xena pounced, and pinned the woman's arms behind her back.
The dark woman in the air pulled the ribbon tight, enclosing the maidens in a rainbow-hued bubble. She then proceeded to laugh evilly. "Xena!!"
"Huh?" Both Xena and the red-haired woman looked up. The evil sorceress pointed at them. "I have won Titania! I have defeated you, by interfering with the completion of not one, but seven spells! I claim the rightful title of Queen of the Fairies, and there's nothing you can do about it!"
"You'll never get away with this, Maleficient!" said Titania (the red-haired woman). Xena got an uh-oh look on her face and Titania swept to her feet, brushing Xena off. "I admit it was very resourceful of you to take advantage of this poor mortal's misguided attempt at heroism, but by tradition I have a fortnight to defend my title."
"Tut, tut. Merely a formality." Maleficient sneered. "Those girls won't be released until their stories are completed, and if you can manage that, Titania, I'll gladly concede. Ta!" Maleficient pulled her black cape over her eyes (a la Dracula) and disappeared in a puff of black smoke.
Gabrielle came running up. "Oh, your majesty, she didn't mean it, honest.=2E."
"Don't worry my dear. I know her heart was in the right place. It's merely a setback. Right now, I've got to figure out how to get them out." The seven maidens had all begun to wail, in seven distinctly annoying pitches=2E
"Forgive me for asking," continued Gabrielle, "but what's going on -- Xena! don't you want to hear?" She motioned to Xena to come over, but Xena was attempting to clean the fairydust from her leather.
Titania sighed. "Well, it's like this. Each of these seven girls- girls who are quickly getting on my nerves!" The wailing stopped. "Each of these girls wished for true love. I was happy to oblige, but to tell you the truth love spells are kind of dull, redundant, you know? I thought I'd save some time and set all of them at once -- seven at one blow, and all that. It was stupid of me really." Titania tapped her wand against her cheek as she thought. "In any case, I began to make stories for each of these girls, but Maleficient captured them before I could complete them. So you see the dilemma - they won't be released from the bubble 'til their stories reach their respective endings, but they can't finish their stories unless they are released from the bubble." Small whimpers began to peep out of the bubble, as seven not-so-bright maidens realized their fate.
"Your majesty," began Gabrielle, "what if someone else, a stand-in if you will, completed the stories for the maidens."
Titania scratched her head with her wand. "It could work. Finish the stories, help them fulfill their destiny . . . Yes, it could. But where am I going to find someone, preferably of royal blood, to help them?" Everyone stopped and looked at Xena.
"OK, Xena, do you have it straight?"
"Yes, Gabrielle. Go to the castle, take this princess test thingy, prove I'm a princess, happily ever after. I got it."
Xena and Gabrielle went to the hall of the great castle and stood in line=2E "What a meat market! This is humiliating!"
"It's a fairy tale Xena."
"I don't care. You mean I'm supposed to stand here and look alluring so some dumb-witted Prince can 'choose' me, only to submit myself to some sort of test to 'prove' myself worthy to his overbearing Mamma? This is silly."
Just then, said dumb-witted prince walked up to Xena. He peered at her through beady eyes. "Ooooh! I like this one." He called down to the other end of the hall. "This one Mummy! I want this one!!"
"Alright dearie!" yelled the Queen. "Guards, take the tart to the room. Come here Herman. I made you some cookies!"
"Yay cookie time!" Prince Herman clapped his hands. "See you later, honey!" he leered at Xena and tottered away."
"You don't have to marry him Xena - just win him for princess #1."
"She could do sooo much better than that."
"No talking," said Burly Dumb Guard. "Come now."
"C'mon Xena, don't make a scene. Let's just go."
"No," said Burly Dumb Guard. "No take little friend with."
"Huh? She can't come with me?"
"Do that stuff on own time. Now time for Princess test. Must go alone."
"It's OK Xena, I'll meet you here tomorrow morning. Good luck! And you, learn correct sentence structure!!!"
The next morning: "So dearie, how did you sleep?" Prince Herman grinned at her across the breakfast table.
"Oh, it was awful. I'm bruised from head to toe."
"Really, Xena? I didn't know you were that delicate," said Gabrielle.
"Did you hear her Mummy!!" Prince Herman sniveled with glee. "She's bruised from head to toe!! She's the one for me!!"
Xena glared at him. "You're a sick little bastard, you know that?" Herman grinned.
The Queen looked disgustedly at Xena. "So you didn't sleep well?"
Xena stretched. "Oh, it was awful. You must have at least 50 mattresses piling up on that bed. First, it was the motion sickness. Then, I kept rolling off. I'm black and blue. I finally just slept on the floor."
Prince Herman, the Queen and Gabrielle looked at Xena. "So you didn't feel the pea?" asked the Queen.
"Pea? Oh, this thing?" Xena held up the small green pea. "Yeah it rolled out sometime in the night. I almost slipped on it this morning."
Herman began to cry. "She cheated Mummy!!" The Queen comforted him. "It's all right dearie. We'll find you another one."
"If you ask me," offered Xena, "I think your son's got a real problem. Just isn't normal wanting a girl who bruises that easily."
"It was my idea," scoffed the Queen.
"Well, that's worse. Herman, time to cut the apron strings. You're a grown man. Show some backbone." She thumped him on the back, leaving him spluttering. "C'mon Gabrielle. One down, six to go."
In the middle of the wood lies a castle. It hasn't been touched for many years. Locals say a monster lives among the brambles that cover the castle doors, windows and have overrun the garden. They also say, that deep within the castle, in a closely guarded room, lies a princess, doomed to sleep until a heroic prince awakens her with a kiss.
"Awwwwwnnn." Xena stretched and yawned once again. She looked around at the sleeping court and shook her head. "I don't know how they do it. Oh, well." She got up and started looking for a way out. She pulled out her sword to begin cutting the thorny brambles that covered the closest window.
As she looked down, a horrible three-headed dragon reared its ugly head(s) and spewed fire.
"Ah, little prince, you've come to acc- Hey! You're not a prince."
"Glad you noticed." Xena began cutting thorns off a particularly long vine.
"Aren't you supposed to be asleep?"
"Am I? Hmm. Shouldn't have taken that nap on all those mattresses." She took one end of the vine and swung to the overgrown garden below.
The dragon's 3 heads looked befuddled. "But what will I tell the prince?"
Xena shrugged her shoulders. "Tell him to get lost. Or you could toy with him. Fight him all the way to the castle, and then when he gets there . . . "
"He'd be crushed." The dragon smiled. "I'd like that."
"Well, good luck to you."
"Same to you, tiny leather-bound woman."
Phoomph!!! "I have just cut off the blood to your brain. You'll be dead within minutes. So tell me your name, or it will die with you."
The little man tried, without success, to loosen his collar. "Rumple--Rumplestilt- sitiltskin . . . "
"There, that wasn't so hard was it?" Phoomph!! "Your name is Rumplestiltskin. Ah, that saved a lot of time."
"But you, but I, but, but, you cheated!!" And the little man flew into such a rage that he stamped his foot. And he stamped his foot so hard he created a bottomless hole, and he is still falling today.
"Hey!" Xena peered down the hole. "What about all this straw?"
"Ah, the slipper fits. At last, at last. I have found you. The beautiful princess who astounded us all at the ball with her incredible flips along the balustrades of the great hall. The queen of my heart who charmed us with her fantastic entrance when she rode on top of her coach."
"The unknown maiden who mystified us all with her ability to suck down lager," added the prince's trusty manservant.
"Yes, and her artful knowledge of bawdy tavern songs kept us entertained til midnight. Ahh, princess, come away with me. We will spend the days wandering the golden fields of my kingdom, and the nights counting the stars in the sky. I will cover you with diamonds and furs. I will fill your ears with the music of the most talented musicians in the kingdom, and the poetic words of seven bards. I will feed you nothing but delicacies, and you will sleep on a bed of the softest swan's down."
"Oh, I don't need any more sleep." Xena peered over the prince's shoulder at something moving in the distance.
"I will fill your rooms with the most beautiful flowers that can be found=2E And your bath . . . "
"My bath? Go on . . . " never taking her eyes off the small form moving its way closer to them . . .
"It will be filled with the perfumed oils of . . . "
"Gotcha!!!" Xena leaped over the prince and stomped on the rat that was making its way toward the prince's tights. "You're dead."
The prince looked at her in horror. His bottom lip began to tremble. "But, you broke the slipper." He knelt dramatically at the broken shards of glass that once made her very uncomfortable footwear. He was speechless.
So was Xena. "I just don't understand you people. Well, gotta go. You three -- clean up this mess."
"Yes Xena, anything you say Xena . . . " The stepsisters and stepmother fell over each other trying to bow to Xena and clean up the glass that the prince was attempting to piece back together.
"Gabrielle!" The friends hugged. "Where have you been?"
"I've been finding the way to the next story. You're going to like them..=2E they're the nicest dwarves."
"What are you wearing?"
"You like it? It's a little red riding hood I picked up. You know how I like adopting native dress."
Somewhere in the forest . . . A handsome prince sits on his majestic horse. Suddenly he is inexplicably knocked from his saddle.
The chakram returned to Xena's hand. "Well, that's enough target practice=2E Where the heck's that prince?"
"Hello, my pretty. Aren't you beautiful?" The old hag sidled up to Xena. "Want an apple honey?"
Xena shrugged. "OK." She took the beautiful red apple from the woman and took a big bite. "Hmm. Good." She proceeded to eat the whole thing and throw the core over her shoulder.
The old woman sputtered. "But, the apple, the poison ---"
"Poison?" Xena looked at the apple core. "Must not have been very strong. You're going to have to do better than that. I've built up quite an immunity." She put her hand on the old woman's shoulder. "I once had 3 poison darts in my neck, and a poison arrow in my arm."
She picked up her staff. "Well, no use sitting around here all day. C'mon boys, let's go help that little piggie with his bricks."
"Xena? Are you OK?" Gabrielle called up to the tower window.
Xena peered down. "Gabrielle, this one's the absolute worst!"
"I know, I heard him calling up to you. Don't worry. It's almost over."
"He pulled my hair the whole way up, and now I'm supposed to be grateful to him for bothering to come and save me." She looked over her shoulder. "Oops. He's almost finished preening in front of the mirror. Gotta go."
She turned back to the prince in the little room. He flexed his muscles one last time before turning. "Well, princey- don't you think it's time to get going?" She gestured toward the window.
The prince smiled slowly. "Oh, we've got some time." He slithered over to the bed. "Nice place. Real remote." He looked her up and down. "How 'bout showing a prince some gratitude?" He gave her a wink.
"Great. Another oaf. Listen pal, I don't have time for this." Xena whipped her head around and whapped the lusty prince unconscious with her temporarily luxuriant hair. Then she tied her hair around the bedpost and headed toward the window.
Stopping, she turned around, slipped the pea from out of her pocket and stuck it under the mattress. "Pleasant night's sleep. My regards to the witch." Then she bungee-jumped out of the tower.
"Now this is more like it." Xena reveled in the warm water of the bath. "This is how you treat a princess."
"Uh, Xena," started Gabrielle. "I don't know how to tell you this, but uhmm, you're a frog."
Xena peered at her reflection in the pool. "For Zeus sake! What kind of place is this!!"
"Don't panic." Gabrielle attempted to pat her slimy head. "I've been doing some research. This is an old tale where a king's son had to shoot an arrow in the air, and marry whoever caught the arrow. It landed near a frog."
Xena shook her head. "Well, he deserves it. No excuse for a bad shot."
"Well, it's really a princess in a frog form, and you just have to break the spell. First you have to bake a wonderful meal for the king to prove yourself a good cook, then you have to make a shirt for the prince to prove yourself a good seamstress, then . . . "
"You mean, I have to do all that just to win the hand of some prince who was dumb enough to bring a frog home to daddy? Why didn't he just reshoot the arrow?" she croaked.
"Listen to me Xena, just this last thing and you're done with this whole mess . . . "
Xena waved a webbed foot at Gabrielle. "I'm not doing all that. I know this story. I'll just cut to the chase and we can get out of here." She leaped out of the pool and croaked something that sounded like a war cry and hopped in the direction of the prince's rooms.
"Wait Xena -- it's not the story you're thinking of . . . it's not going to work! Xena!" Gabrielle bolted toward the door and promptly got lost. Finally, tired and out of breath, she came across one of the palace guards.
"Sir, I'm sorry, this is going to sound silly, but have you seen a frog?"
The guard turned pale. "There's a giant frog wearing black leather that's terrorizing the men of the castle. She hopped up on my chest, knocking me over and kissed me. When nothing happened she kicked me. She gave me a black eye." He showed it to Gabrielle.
"I told her it wasn't the right story. Did you see where she went?"
"She headed that way, yelling Kiss me! Kiss me!!"
Back in the glade the seven lovely maidens were released from their bubble.
"Thank you Xena," said Titania. "The stories are completed, not the way I planned, but completed."
"Thanks for not making me stay a frog."
"No problem." Titania turned. "You girls are free to go back to your respective princes and live, well you know the rest."
"We've got to get going. C'mon Gabrielle."
The seven maidens conferred in a huddle for a while. "Uhmm, Xena. Excuse us, but can we come with you?"
"With us?" Gabrielle was shocked. "But what about your princes? Rapunzel, I admit yours was a bit of a lout, and that Herman had issues. But love is the most wonderful thing in the world. It is the most powerful force in our lives."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Can you girls fight?" asked Xena.
"I can kick pretty well," said one. "And I can bite," added another.
"Good enough. Gabrielle, there'll be seven more for dinner."
As the group happily set off, Gabrielle shook her head. "I just don't understand it."
"Come on Gabrielle. Those guys were awful."
"I know, but in their eyes they should be . . . "
"I have one word, Gabrielle. Perdicus."
"Point taken. Let's go. By the way, I've been working on a new story."
The princesses jumped up and down and clapped their pretty hands. Xena glared at them. "We mean, tell the story, wench!" A few growled at her. Xena looked on proudly.
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl with long blonde hair. She was well known throughout the forest, and was called Callisto. One day Callisto came across a little cottage where she saw three bowls of porridge steaming on the table. She looked around, went inside . . . and the three bears that were hiding behind the door ate her."
"Good story, Gabrielle."