The Princess and the Pearl (A Maraquan Faerie Tale)
Once upon a time, in the great kingdom of Maraqua, there
lived a picky prince named Orion the Koi. Having grown up an only child in the
palace, he was very lonely. The highlight of his year had always been his grand
family reunion ball at the palace. This year, his parents had even agreed to allow
him to bring a friend! However, this presented a new problem: where could he find
a suitable friend? He was determined to find the coolest friend of all, and every
Pteri Princess and Prince Peophin came from far and wide to meet him.
Each came in their beautiful satin collars,
sparkling tiaras, and tee-shirts. The females looked ravishing with their nail
polish, lipstick and eyeshadow, and every strand of their hair was in place
as they consulted their golden mirrors. They stood tall and proud as they greeted
the prince, and giggled charmingly at all his jokes. Each was certain that she
was precisely what he was looking for. The males brought along their Faerie
Slingshots, Hannah Action Figures, and Hubrid's Puzzle Boxes with the hope of
impressing the prince. However, Orion turned each away, his hopes of finding
his perfect friend diminishing before his eyes.
Later that evening, his parents, the famed King
Xavier and Queen Jezebel of Maraqua, heard a light tapping at their door. The
king answered it to reveal a small, frightened Maraquan Kau. Her long, red hair
was in a state of disarray, and she wore only a tattered green cloak. The bright
Earth Faerie Hair Clip that she wore was askew, and it did little to make her
appear more well-groomed. No superstar earrings hung from her ears and it was
clear that she had left her Eau De Daisy at home.
King Xavier began to close the door, thinking
her to be only a beggar, seeking a piece of their fortune. The girl stepped
forward, and stammering as she spoke, managed to speak, "Ex-excuse me your Highness,
my n-name is Princess Amber and I am here to meet your son."
Even Queen Jezebel, a queen usually known as
a just and friendly woman, had to bite her lip to hold back a giggle. A princess?
This girl could hardly pass for a chimney sweep. However, they were too kind
to turn her away after she'd come so far, so they reluctantly let her in. A
somber maid led Amber to a purple coral table behind an ornate glass divider
in a large dining room. Her breath was still as she heard official-sounding
commands to send for the prince echoing down an empty hall to her left.
Slowly, Orion's regal face appeared at the top
of the red carpetted stairs with a bored expression. Her heart sank slightly,
but she managed to flash him a weak smile. Orion's eyes brightened; how had
this amazing girl had found her way here, to his undeserving home? After a series
of brief introductions, Orion invited Amber to have a cup of borovan and his
mother's famous maraquan gumbo. The two clicked immediately, and they talked
long into the night.
Jezebel snorted and shook her noble head in
disbelief. They could not live with the shame of their son being friends with
a common pauper! However, Queen Jezebel had always been a quick thinker. During
the course of the night, she devised her plan. A real princess, even snug in
the most comfortable bed in all of Neopia, could feel a pearl. It would bruise
her delicate skin and make sleep uncomfortable, if not utterly impossible. She
excused herself (regretfully, of course; a good hostess never leaves her guests)
and set off to prepare the test.
As the last of the Magenta Coral Lamps was turned
off, Amber was led to her bedchamber. She stopped at the doorway and gasped
in awe; this was the most beautiful room she had ever seen! It had a warm sunset
coral bed, piled high with extra pillows. Next to the bed was a matching armchair,
with a tall lamp behind it. The Sunset Coral Wardrobe on the other side of the
bed was large enough to fit all of the clothing owned by all of her family,
and she was surprised to see that all of her belongings dried, fluffed, and
hung up. Looking at her surroundings, a blissful smile crossed her tired face.
Never had she felt so blessed in all her life, and she could not have been more
grateful. Unaware of Jezebel's plan, Amber slid into bed and was instantly washed
away into a sea of beautiful dreams.
When Amber awoke, she set about making the bed,
as any good houseguest would. She was lightly tucking in the corners and was
surprised as a pearl rolled to her feet. She picked it up and examined this
simple, perfect charm. Inspiration struck immediately -- she knew a perfect
way to thank the wonderful woman who had obviously set this magnificent room
aside for her. She braided a few strands of her chestnut hair together to form
a light rope, and set the pearl into the center. As she held her handiwork to
the light to examine it, she kissed it gently and it glimmered with perfection.
Slipping this necklace into her pocket, she headed down to the dining room below.
As she descended, she could see the puzzled look from the maid who had been
escorting her around. A princess that made her own bed was not something that
one would often see in this great kingdom.
Upon a quick scan around the dining room, the
girl somehow remained oblivious to the tension in the air. Prince Orion was
seated at the head of the table, staring glumly into his Enchanting Strawberry
Cereal. King Xavier's eyes darted about the room, as if he were looking for
the smallest crevice in which he could find a spot to hide. Queen Jezebel wore
a smug smile on her face as she nibbled on her Taelia Muffin and sipped her
Kabuggle Mocha. A fight had obviously just occurred, but Amber skipped in as
merrily as ever. She took a seat next to Orion and across from the queen, and
fluffy faerie pancakes with a cup of tea were set before her. The food both
looked and smelled delicious, but she was careful to eat it slowly and daintily.
She didn't want to do anything to ruin her chances here.
Jezebel pounced before her first bite was even
"How did you sleep, dear?" she asked, with icicles
in her tone that dripped with disdain.
"Wonderfully, thank you," Amber replied enthusiastically,
her eyes shining bright with happiness.
Jezebel's smile at that point could have blinded
anyone within a ten block radius, but she, in her benevolence, decided she would
wait until after Amber's first and only decent meal to break the news.
Amber finished every bite, and ran to the kitchen
to personally thank the cook. The snappy Jetsam couldn't even help but smile
as she carried out the plates to the fancy sink herself. She almost begged to
wash them, and the gesture was far too sincere to be overlooked. As soon as
she was finished, she decided it was time to give the queen her gift.
Upon returning to the dining room, Jezebel stood,
and Amber rushed to her.
"Before I forget," she said, "I made you a gift
to show my gratitude. I found this pearl cleaning up, and I thought it would
make a pretty necklace." She held it out, and the sunlight danced on the perfect
The bitter Queen's heart melted as the young
girl's gesture set in. It was only then that she realized that a true princess
could come in any form, because what really mattered was the kindness in her
Princess Amber and Prince Orion attended the
great royal family reunion the twentieth day of the month of Relaxing. It is
even rumoured by those who attended that the fashionable Queen Jezebel ditched
her usual Air Faerie Token for a much simpler and more exquisite necklace, one
that no one else in all of Neopia could ever duplicate.