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 Prince’s Choice
(Containing a choice tale of a decision too great to make.)
This story takes place in the Land of All Legends, during the time in which Sarah O’Connell was temporary queen and Prince Charming the Fifth was temporary king. The time was the time in which the entire land waited for the return of King John the Cute, when Death worked in concert with temporary king and queen in order to kill the king when he returns.
Darkness was slowly settling upon the Land of All Legends. The Sun’s rays seemed less bright and the darkness of night seemed more powerful. The land was dying, and in the king’s palace in Capital City, two armies were being trained by Death to fight a monster more powerful than Death.
Minister Azriel Jones, the king’s Minister of Celebrations, stood in his chamber and looked through the window at Death training the two armies in the palace yard. When last we heard of him, Minister Azriel Jones had been taken prisoner by Prince Charming the Fifth and his army. But when Sarah O’Connell became queen and took her place on the throne, she convinced the prince to release the minister and to allow him to return to his work.
Prince Charming the Fifth entered the minister’s room, and Minister Azriel Jones stood upright. “Your highness!” he exclaimed. “I did not know you wanted to see me! I would have come!”
Prince Charming the Fifth waved his hand in dismissal. “I do not seek you.”
Somberly, the prince came to stand by the window and looked down. “In fact,” the prince said, “I do not know your name. Who are you and what do you do here?”
“My name is Minister Azriel Jones, your highness. I have been in this palace since before you were born, and I have served your father and King John the Cute in my capacity as Minister of Celebrations.”
Prince Charming the Fifth looked at him and said, “Ah. But what is your story?”
“I used to me the man with minus four friends, but now I just have no friends.”
“I do not understand.”
“I have always had problems making friends, and so my psychologist had me go through a process. He said I would have to gain four friends and lose them before I could have a real friend. King John the Cute was my good friend, but now he is gone, and soon he will be dead. Benjamin Miller was a very good friend, but now he is in another land, never to return. Minister Vazir had also become a great friend, and he is also in another land, never to return. Now, Queen Sarah O’Connell, though blindfolded and abrasive, has become my friend. But she, also, will soon die. And so I have gained four friends, lost three, and soon lose the fourth. I should be happy that I have climbed up the ladder to zero friends. However, I am sad, because I have zero friends.”
Prince Charming the Fourth nodded gravely. “As for me, Shadowy Secret was my only friend, but he has vanished and has not been seen in months. Besides, I am not sure we were ever friends, only loose allies. And now… after today… I am not sure I would want to be my own friend anymore.”
“Why, my prince? What happened?”
Prince Charming, who had long ago resigned himself to being called ‘prince’ until King John the Cute officially died, sighed heavily. He pointed to Death training the armies below, “Death spoke to me today. He and Queen Sarah O’Connell have come up with a plan to help bring King John the Cute’s soul to the Afterdeath and to protect him from the curse monster that is stronger and faster than Death. They are not sure it would work, but it is our best chance.”
“That is good.”
“Yes, that is good. Except… You see… Part of the plan is that there would have to be a soldier whose job it is to stand between Death, who has the soul, and the monster. There has to be one soldier who will act as a physical shield between the two and must protect Death with his life. But since that soldier is only human and the monster is stronger than Death, that soldier will only delay the monster and buy us a few more seconds at best. In the process, he will die. And when he dies, his dead body will keep on protecting Death and the king.
“So you see… Out of the two armies… It is up to me to choose who gets this job. It is up to me to choose who will surely die in the mission.”
“What did you do, my prince?”
The prince sighed again. “It was better to be a spoiled child in the bath than a prince who chooses who lives and who dies… What did I do, Azriel Jones? I chose a soldier. I chose my best and bravest soldier to protect the land… and to die. I chose Little Soldier Blue, because I know that he would survive the longest, and I know that he would give his life for me. So I chose him. Even though I would rather he live. I chose him. And now I am sad beyond measure.”
Minister Azriel Jones hugged Prince Charming the Fifth and comforted him while the prince cried. “I understand how tough this was for you. It is a choice no person should make,” said the minister. “All I can say is that I understand… and that I have seen such choices being made before by kings and generals during my stay at the palace. Shall I tell you about them?”
“Yes, please,” Prince Charming the Fifth cried.
And so Minister Azriel Jones spent three days and three nights comforting the prince and telling him about tough choices he had seen made before by kings and ministers and generals.
And at the end of three days and three nights, the minister and the prince were friends for life, and they remained so until the end of their lives.
This has been the story of how Little Soldier Blue was given the task to protect Death with his life.
(To be continued on Sunday…)
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