The Hidden Light

May 6, 2008
By Elizabeth Shouvlin, Ashtabula, OH

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a king who was very wealthy but also very greedy. All the commoners in the kingdom were penniless due to the king’s heavy taxes, and everyone was starving, but that meant nothing to the king, who was bathing in riches.

The king sat in his castle one day, deep in thought. He stroked his long blond beard with his thumb and forefinger, pondering ways to increase his riches. He thoughts for hours and hours, and when he was about to give up when a brilliant idea struck him. He had five beautiful daughters that were eligible and were of the age to be married. His daughters were becoming a financial burden and he wanted them gone. So, he would marry them off to the highest bidder.

The first to go was Arabella, the eldest. She was timid and bookish. She was very kind and almost like a mother to her younger sisters as well. She married a greasy man who smelled like a pig pen. He was also lacking in the teeth department.

The next was Kathleen. She had waist length blonde hair and piercing violet eyes. Kathleen was the most outgoing of the sisters; she was always willing to try something new. She was married to a stout balding man with a shiny head that was three times Kathleen’s age.

After Kathleen came the twins -- Sarah and Louisa. They were barely seventeen and extremely introverted. They spent almost all their time with each other. One day two octogenarians came and claimed the twins. The grooms lived roughly 1600 miles apart.

Four daughters were gone with only one left to go. Arabella, Kathleen, Sarah, and Louisa had all made their father a very handsome sum. The sum, in fact, was so handsome that the king was having trouble finding a husband for his fifth daughter, Bianca.

Bianca was a free spirit, who was rarely ever found inside the castle. She could often be found in the castle gardens or in the castle dairy, assisting the workers there.

One day, when Bianca was feeling especially lonely because all of her sisters were gone, she decided to go to the dairy to help. In was in the dairy barn that Bianca saw a new boy working there. He had brown hair that lay in curls around his forehead and deeply tan skin that made his green eyes stand out. Bianca could not take her eyes off him. When he would speak to her, it was a in a different accent that she could not place.

The boy, whose name was Peter, quickly became friends with Bianca. Soon, she found herself spending hours every day at the dairy talking to Peter. It was not long until the two fell in love with each other. Then, Bianca went to the barn for an entirely different reason.

Peter and Bianca met together every day for many months while the king worked furiously to find Bianca a husband. Everywhere the king looked could not produce a man he deemed rich enough for Bianca, since she was by far the prettiest of all his daughters, with jet black hair and icy blue eyes.

One day the king received a reply from a man named Clarke from a principality the king had never heard of. All the king knew was that this principality was very, very far away. He claimed to be the crown prince of this principality and offered the king an obscene amount of money for Bianca’s hand in marriage. The king hastily sent a reply back to Clarke, explaining to him that Bianca would be on her way to his kingdom as soon as Clarke came to get her.

The king, extremely pleased with himself at finding such a great husband for Bianca, decided to deliver the news himself. Once the king set foot in the dairy barn, he was infuriated. There was Bianca, lying in the arms of another man! To make matters worse, the man was clothed entirely in tatters, and he had the rough hand of a working man. The king seized his daughter and dragged her back to her room in the castle. He screamed at her and told her that she was to be married to a prince, and that she would be kept locked in her room, by spell, until someone with royal blood came to get her. That way the king could be sure that Bianca’s lover could never enter the room.

Once her father left and locked her boor, Bianca began to cry. All the things her father of -- her being a whore, and lying to him -- were entirely false. She and Peter had not so much as kissed in the months they had known each other.

The days passed with no sign of Peter. One day, many weeks later, Clarke’s carriage rolled in front of the castle. Bianca had been getting prepared for hours by several ladies-in-waiting to meet her husband-to-be.

When Bianca arrived downstairs to greet Clarke, she was disgusted to see a lanky, middle-aged man standing in front of her. He had greasy silver hair parted down the middle and slicked to his scalp. His coal black eyes terrified Bianca. He walked up and scooped Bianca’s hand in his and kissed it. It quickly became apparent that Clarke’s heart were as black as his eyes. Everything about Bianca’s betrothed screamed terror.

It was decided at dinner that evening that Bianca and Clarke would marry early the next day so they could be on the road by nightfall. It would be a quick and quiet ceremony; just Bianca, the king, and Clarke.

That night, Bianca lay sobbing in her bedroom. Her true love was never coming back, and she was destined to live worlds away with a man she hardly knew. She sat in the corner of her room, curled into ball, unable to breathe because of her crying. She laid like that until the early hours of the next morning.

When the time for the wedding had come, Bianca put her plain white dress on and waited in the royal chapel for her husband-to-be and father to come. She sat alone in a small pew, thinking about her life. Suddenly, the door to the chapel flew open, and Peter flew in. Bianca screamed when she realized that her true love had come back for her.

Bianca had noticed that Peter was wearing somewhat finer clothes that day, his hair was smoother. He assured her that everything was going to be alright, that he had killed Clarke, so Bianca would never have to marry that horrid man. It was there, in that moment, that Peter and Bianca’s lips finally met and their first kiss was shared.

In the midst of their kiss, the chapel doors flew open and the king flew in. He called Peter a murderer and sentenced him to death. Peter flew out of the chapel and away from the two of them.

The king, yet again, dragged Bianca back to her bedroom and locked her in. He told her that she would stay there forever, hidden away from the rest of the world.

Late that night, the door to Bianca’s room slowly began to open. Fearing it was her father, Bianca sat straight up in bed. Instead, Peter walked in. Excited, Bianca ran to him. He promised that he’d never leave her again and that they would be together forever. When Bianca thought about it, she noticed that Peter had opened her bedroom door; the door that only someone with royal blood could open. When she asked Peter about this, he told her a story this: Peter was a prince.

You see, several years back, he was living in his country as the crown prince. His mother had died when he was very young and his father was going crazy because of it. He started playing around with black magic and entrusting all the wrong people. Peter’s father had befriended a black magician, and Peter knew that this magician was evil. His eyes were totally black and he was obviously in pursuit of the king’s throne.

One day, Peter’s father turned up dead in his bedchamber. Peter knew immediately that it was the black magician. When Peter went to confront him, the magician put a spell on Peter that he would be his lifelong slave, and the magician assumed the throne. Peter tried to retaliate, but when he did, the black magician sent him to a far away kingdom to be someone else’s problem and put him under a spell so he could no longer be a prince unless a princess kissed him and broke the spell. Even then, he would have still been the black magician’s slave. So, the reason that Peter waited so long to kiss Bianca was because he would not want her to be the slave of the magician. The black magician was sure that Peter had died while he was gone.

When Clarke arrived at the castle, Peter discovered that this was the black magician. That night, while the magician was sleeping, Peter snuck in and killed him, so he would no longer be a slave. Then, when he kissed Bianca, the spell was completely broken and he was a full prince again. That was why he could open the door, and now they could be married.

Bianca was delighted at the news. She quietly collected what few things she had and went with Peter back to his kingdom. They were married and Peter assumed the throne that had been rightfully his from the start. Peter and Bianca lived happily ever after, whereas Bianca’s father died old and penniless.

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