Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.
Here’s the story so far. The story continues:
A Mother and Her Son
(Containing the story of a strange reunion between two that have never met.)
Once, in the Land of All Legends, Shadowy Secret roamed the land. Born of Kate the Tigress’ secrets and anger and despair, he had come into being in the Deepest Crevice. Ever since, he had brought Prince Charming the Fourth out of his despair, helped the prince raise an army, stolen Death’s arm, and given it back at the strangest times without ever having used it.
Ever since the events of a story too great to be told, detailed elsewhere in this book of legends, Shadowy Secret was not seen by anyone who knew him. Indeed, Once King John the Cute had vanished from the land in the village of Panache, Shadowy Secret left the prince and his army, and walked in various and varying paths.
For months, he had walked slowly, but with intention, towards the farthest corner of the farthest shire in the Land of All Legends. Unbeknownst to him, a cloud was following his moves from afar.
Finally, Shadowy Secret’s journey came to an end, as he stood outside the house of the woman whose scream of frustration had borne him.
Afraid for the first time in his life, he did not walk in, but walked around and looked at the windows. Kate the Tigress was lying down on her bed, surrounded by beautiful flowers, fully awake. Suddenly, she sat up, hearing a noise outside.
“Who is there?” she shouted.
For two and a half seconds, Shadowy Secret hesitated. Then, masking his voice, he told her the truth, “It is I… Your son.” And it was true, even though Kate the Tigress did not know she had given birth to Shadowy Secret.
“John the Cute?” Kate the Tigress whispered in hope and fear.
Once more, Shadowy Secret hesitated for two and a half seconds. Then, his voice masked, he spoke like the king, “Yes. It is I, John the Cute.”
“Come into the house, then! Why are you sneaking outside?”
“I cannot come in and I cannot stay… mother. I only wanted to convey a message to you.”
“I am listening, dear son. What is your message?”
“I just wanted to say, Mother, that I know of the prophecy. I know of the last two lines, the two you did not tell me about.”
Kate the Tigress began to cry. “I tried to keep them from you, because they are horrible.”
“Mother, I know more about the land and its secrets now than I did a year and a half ago, when you left the palace for home via the Deepest Crevice. All prophecies have happy endings, mother. As does this one.”
“But how can it have a happy ending? It says you shall rule the underworld forever and never return to the land of the living!”
“No, mother, you misunderstood the last two lines. Though I will die, death will not be my end. The last two lines promise me a happy ending and they promise me a happy life. And we will see each other again many times, and you will see that I am living happily ever after.”
Kate the Tigress cried softly. “I hope you are right, John the Cute.”
“I am, Mother. I wanted to comfort you and say goodbye, because the next time you will see me will be many decades from now.”
“But I will see you?”
“You will see that I am living happily ever after. I promise. But now I must return to the palace, for there is a battle ahead, a battle I must win.”
“Thank you, son, thank you for coming!”
Shadowy Secret, a tear in his eye, turned around and entered the woods. When he exited the woods, he saw the cloud Chariot float directly above him.
“I heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress,” said Chariot.
“Aren’t you the king’s chariot?” asked Shadowy Secret. “Shouldn’t you be at the palace?”
“I am King John the Cute’s chariot and no one else’s, and King John the Cute is not at the palace.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I was confused after the battle at the village of Panache. I did not know what to do or what the prophecy required of me. Confused, I followed you. I heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress. I know who you are now. I should have seen it before.”
“My name is Shadowy Secret,” said Shadowy Secret. “And I am a shadowy secret.”
“My name is Chariot,” said Chariot. “I have heard of you before I have seen you. I have heard Death describe to the king how you stole Death’s arm. Death stood in front of the king and told him the story, even as King John the Cute’s name appeared on Death’s list. Had he still had his arm, Death would have claimed King John the Cute long ago. During our visit to the village of Panache, I saw you give Death’s arm back. From above it was very clear to see that you were delaying Death from touching King John the Cute once he had been stabbed by the prince. You knew the witch would save him and you knew she would only need a minute.”
“I know many things, Chariot.”
“Intrigued and confused, I have been following you ever since. Your walk seemed familiar to me during the last few months, but I could not place it, for you are all smoke and shadows. But now that I have heard your conversation with Kate the Tigress, it is plain to me who you truly are.”
“I am a shadowy secret,” said Shadowy Secret.
“Indeed you are. Come, climb aboard me and let me carry you to the palace.”
“I thought you were the chariot of only the king.”
“I am. And you are my king.”
Shadow Secret considered the cloud’s words for fifteen seconds, then climbed aboard. “You will carry me to the palace?”
“I will. I have heard it from other clouds that Sarah O’Connell is now queen, and that Death is training two armies to ensure that once King John the Cute dies, his soul enters the Afterdeath. They are preparing to fight a monster more powerful than Death. They will need you, for you are more powerful than Death, as well. If I had not been kidnapped by Farmer Moozik, I would not have followed you, and I would not have learned that the prophecy guarantees a happy ending to my friend, and that for his happy ending he must die.”
“Thank you, dear Chariot. You are wise beyond your young years.”
And so it was that Chariot carried Shadowy Secret to the palace.
This has been the story in which a mother bade farewell to her son. This has also been the story in which Chariot became convinced that he, too, must help King John the Cute die. This has also been the story you will want to read again when you finish this hefty book of legends.
Now read on, as we follow the further adventures of King John the Cute in the magical world of Earth.
(To be continued on Thursday…)
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