A Princess Finds Her Quest: Part One
Princess Airyeadrop was a Faerie Ixi who wasn't like the other princesses her age. Princess Airyeadrop, or Airy as she liked to be called, wanted more than the life of a royal could give her. She wanted to go on adventures, battle mighty Scorchios, find treasure, rescue princes in distress, the whole nine yards, but she would never have the opportunity to do so. All because she'd been born both a girl and a princess. It was enough to make her pull out her fur in frustration. If that wasn't enough, she also hadn't gained her powers yet. Her mother, Queen Alialamandandy, was one of the most powerful Faerie Ixi ever born and she'd got her powers at the striking age of two years old. Airy was on the verge of being fourteen years old and she hadn't even shown so much as a glimmer.
It was so bad that her father had taken to pretending that she wasn't around. At meals, he never geared his conversation towards her; it was as if she wasn't there. She knew that if she did come into her powers, he'd praise her and love her, but until then, she was going to continue to get shunned. As such, her longing to leave the kingdom grew and grew until it was a gnawing hunger that even tormented her in her sleep.
Every day, as she strolled out in the gardens with her ladies in waiting, she'd urge whichever servant she'd chosen to take her out of the palace. "Come on, just outside the palace gates. We wouldn't have to go very far," she begged, putting her hoofs together and giving her best impression of a sweet smile.
Jasaleene, the lady in waiting with her, eyed her as if she were crazy and then smartly said, "Princess Airyeadrop..."
But instantly she was interrupted by the young Ixi. "Airy; remember, I like to go by Airy."
Jasaleene shook her head, and then firmly continued, "Princess Airyeadrop, I have the strictest orders to not take you outside the palace walls. To do so could result in my death. I will not disobey your mother and father, not even for such a short distance."
For a moment she pouted, then she brightened up and announced, "But I'd never allow them to kill you. It would be our secret and even if it came out, I'd take the blame for it."
Jasaleene sighed, shook her head, and continued their walk without heading towards the palace gates. She was obviously not swayed to Airy's way of thinking and it wasn't fair. It wasn't as if she were trying to drag her out into the surrounding village.
Her attempts at escaping through her ladies in waiting were just as equally blocked by her mother. "Oh Airyeadrop, why can't you just be content with the idea that someday you will venture to another kingdom with a prince?"
This was far less than satisfactory, "Great, so rather than going on my own quest, I can be the reward for another's. What a splendid idea."
Her sarcasm was not lost upon her mother who put up her hoofs and replied, "That is not how it works and you know it. Princesses do not go on quests and thank goodness they don't. You belong safe inside the palace walls. That is the way life is and I will not do anything to help change it."
"Mother, but that isn't fair. Just because I am a princess, I cannot live the life that I want. I wish I were born a boy; then I could go out," she hissed, and her mother arched an eyebrow, then went back to putting her jewelry on.
It was always the same; she was a princess and couldn't go on adventures. Princesses didn't do such things, why did she want to? She should be happy that she was living such a luxurious life, so pampered and protected, like a caged weewoo. Well, she wasn't happy and given the opportunity, she'd batter open her cage door and fly away as far as she could. But she was a princess and such opportunities didn't often pass her way.
One day, while walking through the royal gardens, Airy noticed a door in the wall towards the kitchens that she had never noticed before. "What door is that that it has never before drawn my eye?" she inquired.
Jasaleene, who was once more with her, replied, "That is the servants' exit out of the palace so that we do not use the front gate."
Airy eyed it curiously, noting how there weren't soldiers guarding it. An idea was forming in her head and she was going to have to iron out any bumps it had.
A few nights after her discovery of the servants’ door, she put her plan into motion. She waited until her ladies in waiting were all asleep, then she quietly packed a couple of changes of clothes, some food she'd set aside, and a couple pieces of jewelry in case she needed some neopoints. To help hide her identity while she was out, she slipped on a pretty green cloak that despite its ornate design was hopefully common enough for her to be able to pass off as one of the commoners. It was a very pretty cloak, and she was afraid it might give her away, but no more than her wings and unique markings would. While the moon was high in sky, she slipped out into the gardens and made her way to the servants’ door. Even at night, it was a busy area and Airy learned that the palace truly never slept. It seemed like forever before there was a break long enough for her to make her way to the door. Even as it was closing behind her, she was waiting for someone to call out to her, recognize her, and stop her from making her escape. No one did, and she wasn't sure if she was relieved or scared.
The village outside was full of cute little thatched huts that looked more like neopets crouching in the darkness than homes. Most were dark, and snores could be heard from open windows, but there were a few that were lit. She was very cautious as she edged around them. It wouldn't do to be caught because she was too noisy out in the village street. Soon, she reached the edge of the village and found herself facing a path that wound its way into a dark forest that looked less than inviting.
She stood at the edge, debating whether or not she really wanted to venture into the forest. Still debating, she glanced back at the palace and imagined her warm, fluffy bed waiting for her to come running back into it. But she knew that if she went back now, she'd never have an adventure, and just walking outside the palace walls was not an adventure in itself. So, she took a deep breath and set off for the woods.
Before she had reached the frightening looking forest, she heard the sound of wings flapping and she pressed herself instantly to the ground. Holding her breath, she hoped that whatever it was didn't see her crouching in the shadows. She wasn't so lucky, for a throaty voice whispered, "What is such a young Ixi doing at the forest's edge at this time of the night?"
Airy lifted her head to find a Blue Korbat squatting on the path in front of her, its head cocked at an angle as it stared at her. Shaking, she rose to her feet and explained, “I'm going on an adventure." It wasn't a very good explanation, but it was the truth and all that she had.
"An adventure, aye? You seem to be a bit young to be doing that." The Korbat stared at her for a moment then seemed to think of something. "If it's an adventure that you seek, I may just have the thing for you. At the end of the woods, there is another village that is being harassed by a young Scorchio. No one has been brave enough to confront it, but maybe you might have the guts to do so."
"A Scorchio?" She didn't mean to sound so afraid, but she couldn't deny that she was. A Scorchio could eat her for lunch if it so chose. Why was she going to go on an adventure if she was going to shy away from taking each step that was presented to her? She suddenly decided what she was going to do. "I'll go find this Scorchio and I will be brave enough to confront it."
The Korbat laughed and didn't reply but rose steadily into the air, flapping its great wings. Then it was gone into the dark night sky, leaving her to dwell on the mission at hand.
Once more, she cast a look back at the palace and its surrounding village and felt such a deep sense of longing she almost cried. Somehow she knew that once she set foot into the forest, her life would never be the same, and she wasn't sure if she was ready to take such a step. Then she shook off her feelings of misgiving and stepped into the shadows.
The forest was full of noise, birds crooning, animals talking, sticks snapping, leaves rustling, and her heartbeat pounding quickly in her ears. It seemed as if the gentle padding of her hoofs on the hard dirt path would certainly attract attention and she decided that she wanted to get off the path. Trying to make as little noise as possible, she crept through the bushes and weeds that lined the path. After a few moments of being terrified that something would hear her progress, she found an empty hollow tree. On the lookout for predators, she pulled some grass from the ground and padded the bottom of the tree with it. Then she curled up in a ball, crossing her dainty legs beneath her and she closed her eyes. She was just going to rest for a little bit, then she'd continue on her way.
To be continued...