Caroline sighed as she let go of the old man's withered fingers. She smiled prettily at him while he fervently thanked her. She was utterly exhausted. Caroline raised her hand, and Hans helped her up. She thanked him as she leaned heavily into his strong shoulder. Hans supported her without comment or complaint and they left the building. He'd seemed distant of late. Caroline tried not to let it worry her. After all, he was entitled to his own life. Hans wasn't just her prince. He had talents, interests, and friends, just like she did, and Caroline respected that. Still... It concerned her sometimes. It was only natural for her to worry. He was her prince as much as she was his princess. His need to protect her when she was in danger was as powerful as her need to heal him when he was hurt.
Caroline worried that Myriah had done something to him, that dreadful witch. It frightened her to think about. Caroline knew that Myriah was up to something, something important. Myriah had collected Caroline's blood the last time they'd crossed paths, and her tears the time before that. It suggested powerful magic, the type of magic that could harm even a prince. Caroline had no idea why Myriah targeted her specifically when there were a dozen other princesses in the world, but she knew that the witch was dangerous. Caroline was so concerned about Myriah she was completely blindsided by the real threat.
Caroline could only scream as the vampiress Natalia spirited Hans away into the night. What was Caroline to do? She had to find away to reach Hans and heal him before he was turned, but how? She was a princess, not a knight. Caroline was about to call on several knights who owed her a favor, and the princess Gwendolyn to enlist the aid of her prince Cedric, when she blacked out and woke in one of Myriah's shadowy lairs. Caroline began to fight as soon as she came to. Myriah was surprised by Caroline's veracity. The princess was usually quite docile while she awaited rescue, other than the occasional tongue lashing.
Caroline foolishly revealed to Myriah her prince's fate. Myriah's interest was peaked, and she proposed a temporary alliance. She needed something from the vampiress Natalia, though she refused to divulge specifics. Myriah knew a way into the castle, but she needed Caroline's help to use it. There wasn't enough time for Caroline to find the knights who could help her thanks to the hateful witch. After Myriah revealed a few colorful details about Natalia's "collection" of princes, Caroline grudgingly consented.
Caroline didn't even hesitate. She wrenched to the spear from the bear's side. As the elderly bear lay there dying, he granted her wish, transporting her and Myriah to Hans in the heart of Natalia's castle. Caroline fell to her knees beside her barely breathing prince and took his hands in hers. She scarcely noticed as Myriah slew the vampire standing outside the door and slipped away. Hans awoke, whole and human. He looked at her and smiled.
Abruptly they heard a scream overhead. "My teeth! You knocked out my teeth!" Natalia shrieked from the floor above. Shutters crashed as the witch made her hasty exit, cackling amid Natalia's enraged demands that someone kill her.
Hans covered Caroline's hands with his own. "Let's get out of here." He murmured. Hans led Caroline safely through the castle and down to the grounds. Before they left the castle, creeping among the shadows of the garden, Hans spoke. "Myriah helped you save me?"
"She said she wanted something from the castle." Caroline spat. Hans turned so that Caroline wouldn't see his smile. He didn't need to worry. Caroline was far more preoccupied with trying to figure out what Myriah could want with the fang of a vampire as powerful as Natalia. Whatever it was, Caroline was sure it was nothing good.
Back by popular request! The sequel to Why a Witch?
I honestly wasn't going to revisit this universe, but so many people enjoyed it that I decided to give it another go. I hope that you are all pleased!
This seemed like a particularly appropriate choice because I started this crazy week of writing and posting a story every day with Why a Witch? and now I'm going to slow it down just a bit.
I succeeded in my self imposed challenge to post a story every day for a week! Though two of them really do feel more like scenes to larger stories.
Artist Trading Card: Golden Aura
(For the record, I do intend to create more appropriate art for some of these at a later date.)