The tower was magnificent, polished stone gleaming like gold and crystal in the sun.
The king looked upon it proudly, and presented it to the warrior for whom it was to be a reward.
The warrior spat at the King's feet and turned away.
Angered, the King ordered the warrior imprisoned for their ingratitude.
The guards hesitated.
"With or without their wheeled chair, sir?"
The King gaped, looking over at the tower with all its stairs...
The princesses each received a kitten from their fairy-godmother. All were aghast, except for the oldest, who couldn't have been more delighted, and ended up adopting all six.
They rode in her sleeves, on her shoulders and in the pockets of her skirts, if they weren't running under her skirts; thankfully she was too graceful to be tripped.
They soon grew to be the size of horses and sprouted wings.
Her sisters really missed out!
Summer had arrived with a lazy vengeance in that it had been late, sudden and was blisteringly hot without effort. I was not at all prepared.
I did my best to cope, picking a shady spot in the garden where a breeze might come through with my tail submerged in a discreet wading pool.
The conference calls went great until the ducks came - then nobody could hear me over the quacking.
So then I had to make my bathtub look professional...
The zombies had taken over, but I hadn't noticed much of a change. The air smelled a little worse in some ways, but cleaner in others, and there seemed to be less pests about, both the animal and people kind.
There were generally more seats available on public transport, shorter lines at the stores; so that was an improvement.
Staying inside for the most part and being well covered when outside had worked out well on several levels...
The faeries had been generous.
My table was constantly piled high with the best food, my clothing always fit perfectly, my shoes never pinched or rubbed my feet.
Anyone who knows anything about fairies knows you never accept gifts from them or eat their food, lest you be trapped and beholden to them.
But I decided since I was trapped in my apartment anyway, what the heck.
So far all they'd asked for in return was my Netflix password.
"Are we still doing this?" she asked dryly.
"Yeah," the knight shrugged. "The writer seems to be flogging a dead dragon."
"Wait, is the dragon dead?" the princess asked, "or just asleep?"
"Depends on the continuity," mused the dragon, "I think I'm usually alive, but I'm pretty sure you both killed me at least once."
"So you're like Schrödinger's dragon?" the knight grinned.
"Don't make me eat you again, tin can."
"So, you know how this is supposed to go. The knight gets past the dragon, rescues the princess–"
“–yes," the knight cut in, "I know. We have this the wrong way around."
"I never defeated a dragon before," the princess flourished her sword proudly, "but how did you end up locked in a tower?"
"I never wanted to be a knight," he sighed, "I'm terrible at it. I wanted to be a baker."
"You can be whatever you wish." The princess held out her hand. "Come."
”Listen," she said dryly, "I know how this is supposed to go. The knight gets past the... wait a second!”
“What is it?”
The princess scowled. “You’d better not have hurt my dragon!“
“No, no,” the knight raised her hands disarmingly, “he’s asleep out in the entrance hall. I just snuck past.”
She looked relieved. “Thank goodness. I don’t know what I’d do without Raspberry.”
“His name is Raspberry??”
"Listen, I know how this is supposed to go. I get past the dragon, rescue the princess and we’re supposed to–"
"–get married and everything, yeah.”
"Ok." Confused, he scratched his moustache and adjusted his hat. "So who are you, exactly?”
“My name’s Toad.” The little mushroom-headed boy shrugged apologetically. “Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle.”
"Listen, I know how this is supposed to go. The knight gets past the dragon, rescues the princess and they–"
"–get married and everything yeah," the knight finished. "It feels clichéed to me too."
“I’m not actually a princess though,” he said. “But it’s not like I was able to transition properly, stuck in this tower.”
The knight nodded. “I started my transition two years ago,” he said, reassuringly. “I could maybe help you out with that, if you’d like?”
"Listen," she said dryly, "I know how this is supposed to go. The knight gets past the dragon, rescues the princess and they're supposed to–"
"–get married and everything, yeah," the knight finished. "It feels clichéed to me too."
"The truth is, I'm sure you're lovely, but," the princess considered her words, "I'm only into women. Sorry kid."
The knight was silent for a while. "I should be truthful too. I'm not a man. You're the first person I've told."
It all started when I gave a mouse a cookie...
Although, 'gave' is a strong word.
More, surrendered, really, at needle-point.
It was a very adorable attempt at 'Bless This Mess' except mice can't spell very well so it stated 'Blez The Mez'.
Anyway, my heart swelled and I let them keep the cookie they had already liberated from the pantry.
But the next thing you know I have hundreds of misspelled needle-crafts and no more cookies...
“I just think you’re kinda—" she hesitated.
“Kinda what?” They narrowed their eyes skeptically.
“I feel like you’re living in the past.”
“It takes your eyes 50 milliseconds to pass visual information to your brain, and another 15 for your brain to process it," they said flatly. "Technically we’re all living in the past.”
“You know what I mean.” There was exasperation in her voice.
“I used to.” There was tiredness in theirs.
Sorry to intrude upon your day like this but I would like to plug my Patreon, which is technically free, but if you have been enjoying my micro-fics I hope you might consider subscribing. Even if you just feel like following you get little extra info on each story.
And if Patreon is too big a commitment, I have a tip-jar:
Thank you for your time, thank you so much for reading, I hope your day continues without further interruptions!
“Actually, I’m a necromancer.”
He stared, incredulous. “What?? I asked for a healer!”
“Yeah...” A sheepish smile. “this is a little awkward.”
“So... my injuries?”
“Oh. Yeah. Wow. Those do look pretty fatal.”
“Can you heal me or not?”
“I can... do you one better?”
“Think about it. You’ll never die or get sick. Future injuries won’t even hurt. Your debts will all be gone.”
He considered for a moment. “You know, that does sound appealing.”
"Are you sure?" the genie asked.
"I wish for ice cream to never melt!"
"An' I wish puppies never die!"
"And MY wish is that summer never ends! Winter's dumb!"
The genie rubbed their temples; kids were always the best and worst wishers.
"As you wish; ice cream within this bowl will never melt, no matter how hot it gets out... and for you, a puppy that will live as long as you do."
"Your family will move to Malaysia."
On the occasions when the night did not bring her any nightmares, her mornings were still varying in quality: from headaches, tense collarbone regions or sore necks, through various dark or hopeful thoughts that she stood up and took her first daily steps with, to a certain need that was so rare that she sometimes forgot she was still capable of feeling it... and that she nonetheless treasured and carefully cultivated.
It was her tribe's future, after all.
The thief moped in the dungeon was rank and his cell-mate had fleas and whiskers.
The robbery had gone badly. Beyond badly. His partner never arrived, the lock-picks all broke, the getaway horse wandered off and the jewels had been decoys.
Worst of all, he'd disappointed his mother.
All the same, she still drugged the guards, removed his shackles and lead him out through hidden tunnels, only pausing to pick-pocket a noble on the way home.
You know what you're in for when a wolf howls before a song.
Normally it's not the lead singer though. I mean, I've seen plenty of acts where the lead singer howls; they're usually human.
But the canid head with burning eyes was very much attached to the tall band leader, 'battle-axe' in huge clawed hands.
She was delighted when I threw myself at her after the show.
As a dryad, I could assure her she was barking up the right tree...
A tribal Brazilian cottontail. Armed with a sharp spear and a sharper tongue. Sometimes writes stuff. She/her.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!