I go through a fortnight (Sorry--fourteen days. I’ve been here way too long.) of wandering the castle and pretending I know what I’m doing. It’s not too hard. There are probably hundreds of rooms in this place. As the party/birthday thing gets closer, it gets harder to find an empty room. Eventually, I find a quiet corner in the kitchen next to barrels of apples and sacks of grain. It smells like goose poop, but the sacks are nice to sleep on. And there’s food.
Why am I still here? I got the witch invited. Isn’t that what she was so upset about? I go over the fairy tale in my head again: Baby princess is born. Witch doesn’t get invited. Witch comes anyway and punishes everyone by cursing baby. After that, it gets a little hazy. I’ve seen the movie so many times, I’m not sure how much of it is accurate. I know the princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls asleep. She has to be kissed to wake up.
That’s all I have to work with? Doesn’t it take sixteen or eighteen years for that to happen? I bury my face into a sack of flour and choke on the dust. What did I do wrong? Why am I not home? The story should be changed. No, the story should be non-existent at this point. No angry witch means no spell.
The day of the celebration finally gets here. I borrow a dress from one of the rooms. I have to make sure to get all the details I can about this story.
I don’t think I need to describe this feast. Just know there’s a lot of food (Home grown. I mean, the turkey’s feathers are still in the kitchen.) and a lot of people dressed up. (So. Much. Lace.) I stand against the wall where I can see the royal thrones and the royal baby crib trimmed in velvet and lace. Everyone comes up to give their gifts. Some of the presents are kind of dumb. What baby would want a million rolls of cloth?
Some of the fairies (the ones with wings and pointy hats) give some interesting gifts. One youngish-looking girl puts her hand on the baby’s forehead and blesses her with strong bones. No one blesses her to be a light sleeper. Another fairy goes up to the baby and things… change. It’s like walking in on people talking about you and they suddenly shut up. Everyone stares at this fairy in her emerald-green dress and hundreds of twisty knots all over her blonde head. The woman smiles at the baby the whole time except for one glance at the queen. The fairy’s smile widens before she goes back to looking at the little princess.
“A gift,” she says. Her voice doesn’t fit her. It’s deep and almost masculine. Definitely not a soprano. “A gift for the princess.”
The king stands. He looks like he swallowed a hot pepper. “Don’t you touch her. You’re not welcome here.” He sounds like he swallowed a hot pepper.
The fairy waves a rolled up piece of parchment and my heart drops like a rock into my stomach. “I’ve been invited,” she purrs.