Ending To Lady or Tiger (famous short story)

September 24, 2012
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Lady or Tiger Ending

As the door slowly creeped open, in what seemed like slow-motion, the man had whisper of doubt, for a split second. He hadn’t been sure, but he thought he had seen a glint in the princess's eyes as she pointed to the right. Now, in the face of danger, he was beginning to doubt her loyalty.

The princess watched from above as her lover slowly, dramatically, opened the door to his imminent fate. She thought about what she had done. Her father would have been proud of her. He would say she’d make a fitting semi-barbaric queen.  She couldn’t tell him though, it was obviously against the rules for the person being judged to know what lay behind each door. She remembered when she had first learned who the fair maiden was to be behind one portal. The princess became instantly fervid, as her semi-barbaric blood took over. She regretted stabbing her manservant with her hunting knife, but when she got mad, she couldn’t control herself. Something her father was ore impressed by then worried about.
Before the door was even half open, the first thing the man noticed was the stench. The horrible, unbearable stench of uncleaned, unkempt Tiger pens. He stuttered, and stopped opening the door for a half second. He heard the sound of dozens of crossbows being cocked and aimed at him, and knew he had to continue opening the door if he didn’t want to die, right then and there. He threw the last half of the door open, and faced his fate.
As the princess listened to the crowds reaction around her, what she had done slowly dawned on her for the first time. She felt a whispers of regret running around her head, but it was overwhelmingly outnumbered by satisfaction mixed with sorrow. She knew that she would be happy, and was fairly certain that he would be as well and for that, she was thankful.
In the end, he had decided to trust her, thats really what it had come down to. He had risked everything to be with her and make her happy, and he hoped that she knew that. He wasn’t sure anymore that she did, because  as he looked into the eyes of his fate, he realized that she had only done what she truly thought was the right thing to do. The right thing to do for them as a couple, not the right thing for either of them specifically, and that became very clear very quickly to the man. The noise of the crowd engulfed him as he backed away from the door as the last second of his old normal life slipped away into the sands of time.
The Princess stood up to leave, she had seen all she needed to. Her father gave her a quick puzzled glance before turning back to activities occurring in the arena.
The Prince meekly smiled at the fair maiden standing before him, not sure how to feel. Walking towards the gates, he had come so close to choosing the other gate despite that fact knowing what lay behind it. He loved the princess. Completely and utterly in every way. He took the maidens arm and turned to the monarch to bow. The princess was turning to leave, but hesitated slightly to look at him. She smiled...almost smirked thought the prince...and then the horrific reality hit him.
For the rest of his life, she is going to taunt him. Always stay just outside arms reach. His punishment for being with this other woman, would be worse than death because he will have survived the Tiger and yet never be able to have the only thing in life he wants. He was unable to talk to move. He couldn't cope with what happened...he broke contact with his new spouse, and with sorrowful determination walked to the other gate. He turned to look at the princess. She was gone. He turned back to unopened gate, and yanked it open, to face his real fate.
The princess was walking down the back stairs from the arena when the sounds of celebrations turned to screams of terror and confusion and horror. She was able to distinguish the sounds of tearing skin and flesh, and above all, the monumental roar of a tiger. She smiled, bit into a fresh apple. She will make a good queen.

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