The Contest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: All Star Story Writers

Chapter 33 (v.1) - WEDDING PLANS

Submitted: October 11, 2018

Reads: 63

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 11, 2018

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As usual, the King was sitting at the table in the breakfast room, sipping tea from his enormous cup and reading the news on his cyPad. “Ah, morning Hugh,” he said, without looking up.

“Your Majesty I need to speak to you urgently. I know I have probably gone about this the wrong way, but last night I proposed to Eemay and she has accepted. I now realise I should have asked for your daughter’s hand in marriage before I proposed, but the evening was just so perfect and it seemed so right. I do hope you’re not offended.

The King dropped his enormous cup on to the table, spilling tea everywhere and bounded over to shake Hugh’s hand vigorously.

“My dear boy, I am delighted. I give you both my blessing and I can't wait to share the happy news with my wife,” he said, leaping from the room.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Before my meeting with Vilelet, there were the animals in the mini zoo to feed, the gatehouse to prepare for new guests and vases of fresh flowers to be organised for the bistro. My alarm went off at six thirty. After throwing on some clothes and quickly draining a cup of coffee, I was just about to leave, when there was a loud knock on my door. Pop came bursting in, his dark eyes shining with excitement.

“Hugh has just told me the good news,” he said, wrapping his arms round me. “Eemay, this is just so exciting, I couldn’t be more pleased for you both.”

“Thank you Pop.”

He just stood there, grinning from ear to ear. “Have you any idea when the wedding is likely to take place?”

“Oh, it won’t be a long engagement.”

Pop was clearly far more excited about it than I had anticipated. “I think we need an urgent family meeting, to start making immediate plans for such a grand occasion.”

“Pop, please don’t get carried away, I really don’t want a ‘grand wedding’ I was thinking more along the lines of a small affair, with just close family and friends. Besides, think of the cost.”

“My dear Eemay, I think your mother would be very disappointed, and so would I, after all, you are our only daughter, and it is only natural that we would want the best for you. I'm sure your mother will come up with another clever money making scheme to pay for it.”

“Look Pop, I’ll speak to you both later, I'm far too busy to talk about it right now.”

Pixel had again escaped into a nearby field and it took some clever cajoling before I eventually caught him. Consequently, I was running late for my appointment with Vilelet.

“Princess Eemay, do come in,” she invited.

“I'm so sorry I'm late, I was just about to leave, when there was a crisis at the palace

“Don't worry, you’re here now.”

In my mind’s eye, my vision of Vilelet, was nothing like woman who opened the door to me. I expected to be met by a thin, witchy woman complete with a hooked nose, scabby wart, gnarled bony fingers and long talons. So imagine my shock to find, that in reality, Vilelet was seriously obese, her face so fat, she appeared to have no neck. A curly crop of wiry ginger whiskers sprouted from her double chin, and the badly stained overall that clung to her mountainous form, reeked of body odour that smelled like simmering stew.

Her workshop was in complete chaos, but it wasn’t so much the mess that appalled me, but the sheer filth in which she worked. The rotten smell that filled the air, almost made me retch.

“Let’s get straight to business,” I said, trying hard not to choke. Taking off my locket, I opened it, and handed her the contents.

Her eyes widened as she took the tuft of fur from me, and I could almost see pound signs begin to flash in her pupils.

“Have you got the money?” she asked.

I handed over a brown sealed envelope. She immediately proceeded to count out the notes on a table in front of me. “Very good, everything seems to be in order.”

“How soon can I have the spell?” I asked.

She glanced at her watch then appeared to be doing some mental arithmetic, before replying, “I will have it ready for you tomorrow morning.

I could not wait to get out of her filthy workshop and in my haste almost tripped over as I made my way through the cluttered floor towards the door, promising to collect the spell the following morning at ten thirty.

“It’s been very nice doing business with you,” she said, offering up her small, fat, filthy hand complete with grubby fingernails, for me to shake.

With reluctance, I shook her hand and almost ran down the path towards my car. Once seated inside, I took a wet wipe from my bag and began wiping my hands manically.

Glancing back, I watched her slowly waddle back into her squalid workshop, clearly burdened by the great weight of her gigantic bottom, which heaved and shook like an enormous jelly.

When I returned, I found my parents having coffee with Hugh in the breakfast room, all three in deep conversation. Mum was also scribbling away furiously in a notebook.

“Just the girl,” she said. “We need to start preparing for the wedding, there's just so much to think about. Why don’t you pour yourself some coffee and join us.”

I could not believe how events were advancing, and could feel panic rising in me. “Before anyone started planning anything, I really should have been consulted.”

“Eemay, please calm down, your parents are understandably excited and only have your best interests at heart," Hugh stressed.

“Well, you know what, I don’t think anyone is remotely interested in what I want,” I said, stamping from the room.

In an attempt to calm myself down, I decided to go for a ride on Calista, and was making my way over to the stables when Hugh caught up with me.

“Eemay, please don’t get upset, of course it’s your wedding, no our wedding,” he corrected. “I understand that you want to do things your way, but you do have to consider other people. You might not agree, but it will be our parents' day just as much as it will be ours. You must respect the fact that what they want is equally as important as what we want, it’s all about compromise.”

“Okay have it your own way. I’m going for a ride on Calista and will catch up with you later.”

For a moment I had let my pretence slip, and quickly back tracked. “Thank you Hugh,” I said, smiling then kissing him affectionately. “You’re absolutely right.”

Outside in the bright sunlight I was suddenly shocked by his appearance. He was deathly pale, with huge dark circles under his eyes, as if he hadn’t slept for a week. Something is troubling him, I thought. Perhaps he does have a conscience after all, but somehow I doubted it.

I set off over the fields and turned into a bridle path, which stretched out into the distance before me. Nudging Calista gently with my heels, I gathered up the reins. She responded, eagerly, her body tensing, her mouth straining at the bit. I eased my hold on the reins just a little, and she took off like a rocket, her hooves hammering through the soft earth. With the rush of wind in my face I felt invigorated and energised and, when the path began to narrow, I gently pulled in the reins to slow her, until she eventually came to a halt.

I dismounted, and as she grazed hungrily at the grass beneath her, I perched on a tree stump, and reached for my cyPhone.

“Pen, I need to see you urgently,” I said.

“Where?”

“I have just ridden out to Dell Dingle, at the end of the bridle path, can you meet me?”

“Be with you shortly.”

The ride had certainly helped to calm me down, and while I waited for Pen to arrive, I began to think things through.

If they want a grand wedding, they can have one, I decided. It will be all the more shocking when I turn him down at the last minute. I’ll have the lot, hundreds of bridesmaids and page boys, a whopping dress with a mile long train, all the pomp and ceremony and the sooner the better, I thought.

At the sound of pounding hooves, I looked up to see Pen approaching on her black gelding Blackberry. As we sat down together in the soft grass, with the sun beating down, I brought her up to date with everything that had happened.

“I have arranged to collect the reversal spell from Vilelet tomorrow morning, which is a powder to be sprinkled over Scott’s food. Apparently, it takes about thirty minutes for full reversal to take effect, so we need to think of somewhere private and safe to take him. Got any ideas?” I asked. “Oh, and by the way, Hugh has asked me to marry him and I’ve accepted.”

“What” Pen spluttered, spitting out the mouthful of water she had just swigged from a plastic bottle.

“Don’t worry, it’s payback time, I intend to turn him down at the last minute and marry Scott instead. I wanted to keep it a small affair, so that my last minute change of heart would at least be limited to close family and friends. But the whole situation has now gone viral, my parents want a huge public wedding, and Hugh is doing his best to persuade me. They just won’t listen to what I want, and now they‘re all carried away with hosting the ‘wedding of the year’, which presumably, like my birthday ball, will have to be paid for by selling press coverage to the highest bidder.”

“Wow, things have definitely got out of hand. But first of all we need to sort Scott out. Tell you what, I can book a room at the Cyber Hotel, where I know they have a number of rooms where guests are allowed to take pets. I could collect him from the Kennels and take him straight there, send you a script with the room number, then you can join us with the reversal spell. Oh and don’t forget to bring some dog food, and clothes, for when he turns back into a prince. He could always stay in the room until it’s absolutely safe for him to leave. The last thing we want is for Hugh to become suspicious in any way.”

“Pen, that’s brilliant.”

We finally agreed she would collect him from the Kennels at twelve noon the following day, and I would join her at the hotel at two o’clock, with the reversal spell.

“It looks as if you're going to be swallowed up in wedding plans on a grand scale,” she said. “But the grander the occasion, the grander the fall, and Hugh certainly deserves to fall from a very great height.”

“I suppose I had better get back, but I’ll see you tomorrow Pen, at two o’clock.”

“Don’t let it get to you, just chill,” Pen advised. “Never forget the saying, you get back what you give out.”

I mounted Calista and set off towards the palace at a leisurely trot, but as we approached, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

The palace was swarming with paparazzi, all fighting for the best view of Hugh who was standing on the balcony, waving majestically and smiling broadly for the flashing cameras.

Then one of them spotted me, and after signalling my arrival to the others, the surging mass turned and started stampeding towards me, their cameras flashing manically. Calista immediately reared and bolted in fear and, in the frenzy, I lost my balance, falling to the ground with a great thud, winded and breathless.

In the grip of panic, and like a fish out of water, I desperately tried to breathe. The noise all around me slowly faded into the distance, and the flashing lights grew dimmer and dimmer, until blackness descended.


© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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