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:
The Battle for the King’s Soul
(Featuring five true tales of supreme sacrifice.)
The battle for King John the Cute’s soul was a battle that could not be won.
The Curse Creaure, born of an evil witch’s curse, was faster than the fastest runner in the land, quicker than the flight of fairies, and more powerful than Death.
Hundreds of times in the past one thousand years, the Curse Creature had stood against Death, and each and every time he has bested Death and stole the souls of Perfect Paul and Flawless Farrah. When Death, Prince Charming the Fifth, and Sarah O’Connell devised the plan to battle the Curse Creature, they knew they could not defeat the creature, nor could they best him. Their plan was to whisk away Death, the carrier of King John the Cute’s soul, on the fastest and most loyal cloud in the Land of All Legends: the king’s Chariot. From that point on, all their tactics would be tactics of delay: to delay the deadly Curse Creature from touching Death. They hoped to delay the Curse Creature long enough to allow Death to reach Death’s Door, and to allow Death to pass King John the Cute’s soul from this world to the next.
Death, Prince Charming the Fifth, and Sarah O’Connell knew that none of their soldiers could even hurt the Curse Creature. They devised a good plan and hoped for the best.
What they did not know was than the old man, on the magical planet Earth, had written in a fairy tale that a battle would take place. He had written that Shadowy Death would help win that battle. But not even Shadowy Secret had the power to hurt or stop the Curse Creature, because the old man never conceived facing an enemy more powerful than Death himself.
Now we see how the battle went.
Death gathered King John the Cute’s soul. Prince Charming the Fourth, standing only a few feet away, automatically became King Charming the Fifth, but the thought did not occur to him. King Charming the Fifth called forth for Chariot. And Chariot, the dead king’s chariot, descended from on high.
Far away, across the land, the Curse Creature woke from his slumber, for King John the Cute’s soul no longer resided in his body. With his sharp eyes he spotted Death from two continents away: Death was standing atop a cloud, rising from the palace in Capital City. In ten leaps and nine bounds, the Curse Creature crossed two continents and reached the woods outside the palace.
He looked up, expecting to see a cloud. Instead, he saw the bottom of ten thousand white clouds. Chariot, with a help of a decree from acting king, Prince Charming the Fifth, had gathered an army of ten thousand white clouds, all ready to help their friend’s good friend and king.
The Curse Creature looked at the sky and for five and a half seconds, he could not understand what he was seeing. For he was seeing the white bottom of clouds, and he could not tell which cloud bore Death upon it and which did not. All clouds were drifting quickly in the direction of Death’s Door.
The Curse Creature leapt up into the sky and landed atop the lowest cloud. The cloud bore only two soldiers, but not Death. The Curse Creature produced his toxic talons and killed the cloud, for the Curse Creature’s talons kill even clouds.
One by one, the Curse Creature leapt from cloud to cloud, until all clouds were dead and only one cloud was left in the air: Chariot. Ten thousand clouds minus one \and ten thousand soldiers minus one died during the two minutes it took Curse Creature to destroy the army of clouds. Death claimed all their souls as they fell from the sky.
Now Death stood upon Chariot, heading quickly in the direction of Death’s Door.
The Curse Creature leapt once more, and now stood atop Chariot, as well, facing Death.
“At least you tried this time,” said the Curse Creature. “Perhaps next time you will think of a better plan.”
“Perhaps,” said Death, his voice grave and his visage graver.
Suddenly, Colonel Stone stood between Death and the Curse Creature, emerging from the depths of the cloud. “Perhaps,” he cried, echoing the Curse Creature’s words, “you might want to turn back before something happens to you.”
“You shall stop me?” asked the Curse Creature.
“I may have my emotions back, and fear may be pumping blood into my heart, but bravery is also being felt in my heart. And anger. And shame that a creature such as you exists. I am still a good soldier, Curse Creature. And I will defeat you!”
The Curse Creature and Colonel Stone quickly did battle.
Colonel Stone lasted fifteen seconds before he died. Other soldiers would have lasted less than two seconds.
Death claimed Colonel Stone’s soul. The Curse Creature looked on.
But now Little Soldier Blue was standing between the Curse Creature and Death. “Do your worst, monster! I will defeat you!”
“No!” Little Soldier Blue was pushed aside by King Charming the Fifth, his sword drawn. “I will not have someone die while I cowardly stand and watch! Come on, monster,” the king was standing between Death and the Curse Creature, “will you kill royalty?”
With one slash of his toxic talons, the Curse Creature killed King Charming the Fifth. Death collected his soul.
Once more, Little Soldier Blue stood between the two mythic creatures. “Let’s see you try that on me!” he cried.
Another quick slash, and Little Soldier Blue also lay dead on the cloud. And Death collected his soul.
“We are still two minutes from Death’s Door,” smiled the Curse Creature. “Who will protect you now?”
Death did not know the answer, but Shadowy Secret did. Smoke engulfed Chariot from all directions, blinding Death and the Curse Creature. Shadowy Secret, hidden like the others within the depths of Chariot, had shed his clothes, and let the smoke that was his body spread in all directions, effectively blinding the Curse Creature.
The Curse Creature leapt backwards and forwards, hither and thither, but jump as he did, the smoke would not leave him and his eyes could not see. Once more, the Curse Creature spread open his toxic talons and began to slash in every direction.
“That will not work on me,” the smoke whispered to the Curse Creature, “for I cannot die in this world, and not by your hands. Only one man can kill me, and his name is King John the Cute. You should feel lucky, Curse Creature, for you have heard my shadowy secret.”
The Curse Creature flailed in every direction, his talons threatening to hit Death by accident. Suddenly, two powerful hands grabbed the Curse Creature from behind, and a woman’s voice growled in his ear, “Powerful you may be, Curse Creature, but you cannot see. Me, I am much weaker than you, but I have learned to see in the darkness.” The powerful arms scratched at the Curse Creature’s face and brought him momentarily down to his knees on the cloud. “My name is Sarah O’Connell,” continued the voice. “And I vow that you will not claim the king’s soul again.”
The Curse Creature and Queen Sarah O’Connell fought for thirty seconds on the cloud. In the end, the Curse Creature stabbed Queen Sarah O’Connell with his toxic talons.
“Thank you for this,” gasped the queen in her last breath. “I will join my king now.”
Sarah O’Connell died atop Chariot and Death claimed her soul through the darkness. And as he did so, he heard a whisper on the wind that only Death could hear: “I found a seashell on the seashore, Death, and within it was a strange message. I destroyed that seashell and its secret with it. For Death should never die.”
And with that, the voice of Sarah O’Connell was lost to Death.
The Curse Creature stopped fighting the black smoke and listened. His hearing was superior to that of any creature, as well, and now he finally put it to use. With his hearing, he now heard Death’s breaths thirty feet ahead and to the left. His muscles tightened, and he was about to leap when the smoke dissipated.
The Curse Creature now saw that the cloud had come to rest on the ground, and that Death was no longer on the cloud. He had just put the souls of King John the Cute and Queen Sarah O’Connell through Death’s Door.
That instant, the evil witch’s curse was broken. The Curse Creature felt incredible pain, screamed and shouted, and then turned into a purple puff of smoke and was gone. Death claimed his soul.
Now three creatures stood near Death’s Door: Chariot, Shadowy Secret, and Death.
Death was passing on the souls of ten thousand minus one clouds, ten thousand soldiers, a new king, and all the others that had died on that day. That was a task that would take even Death a day and a night to complete.
Chariot cried. “Shadowy Secret, I owed John the Cute a favor. Now I helped him die, which was the hardest thing I have ever done. I hope my favor was repaid, but even if it was, I do not know if it was worth the price.”
“It was. You will see,” promised Shadowy Secret.
“Now I must mourn the death of all my friends,” said Chariot glumly, and rose into the air.
Death looked at Shadowy Secret. “I still do not know who you are,” said Death. “But after this day I no longer care. There has been too much death today. Not enough souls are left in the Land of All Legends. Surely, in a hundred years, I would be the only one walking the land. So tell me, mysterious creature, when do I become Life instead of Death?”
Shadowy Secret smiled and said, “I suggest you wait a few minutes.”
And with those words, he slipped through Death’s Door and entered the Afterlife.
(To be continued on Thursday…)
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