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Of blessed and cursed: The White Bride And The Black One retold
Once upon a time, though once too many, there was a woman with a plain but hardworking daughter named Asra and a lovely but lazy Step daughter named Bianca . Almost everyday, the three would set out to the dress shop the mother owned. As they were the only in the town and all orders were custom made, it provided well for the family, but was a tedious job that never seemed to end. Still, Asra and her mother diligently went about their work, putting as much attention and detail into each dress as possible. Bianca, on the other hand, always seemed to have an excuse as to why she couldn’t work as hard, whether it be she was too tired or her foot hurt or she wasn’t skilled enough to complete the task at hand. Every chance she got, Bianca would leave the shop, at times sneaking off to the bake shop, telling herself “ Asra and mother will never notice. Besides, I’ve done quite enough work today and deserve a reward!”
One fine day in the early spring when many weddings are planned, the shop was particularly busy. Asra and her mother were busily going about their work to complete the gowns before the day was over. Bianca,however, sat in the back of the shop, rearranging the fabric for the tenth time that day, insisting this was a very important thing to do. She promised the others she’d help with the rest of the work when she was done, but honestly had no intentions of doing such a thing and everyone knew that. With the place being filled with the sound of sewing machines humming away, they didn’t notice the poor looking man step inside until he rang the bell. Asra glanced over at him from where she sat and then back at Bianca in hopes that she may be getting up to tend to the counter, as it was her job. The man rang the bell once more, grumbling under his breath. With a sigh, Asra got up to assist him. Before she even reached the counter, the man called out “ you there! Can you show me where Village Tavern is?” , obviously irrated. Asra’s mother, who’d been on her way to bring a dress to a bride-to-be waiting in the dressing room, replied “ No sir, we are very busy today and are not a tour guide company. Good day to you. ” and continued on her way. Asra, trying to make up for her mother’s brash response, said “Perhaps you could get a map of the town or ask someone on the street for help” . The man scoffed and began to leave. Bianca, who’d been lurking in the doorway of the work area, heard the man ask for directions and saw this as a perfect excuse to get out of work earlier. Rushing over to him, she said "Oh,you poor man. I will take you there, come with me." in a voice as sweet as a songbird and was out the door before anyone could protest.
Little did any of them know that the man was actually an angel in disguise, testing the mortals to see if they were worthy. He revealed his true identity to Bianca upon arriving at the tavern. As he was quite pleased with Bianca’s willingness to help him, he offered her any three things her pure heart could ever want . Hardly hesitating but a moment she asked to be the most beautiful girl in existence, a never emptying wallet, and to be allowed to enter heaven’s gates upon her death. Secretly, she had wanted the third wish to be for her to eat as much as she wanted without gaining weight, but didn’t want to offend the angel. With a nod and a smile,the angel made her wishes came true. Overjoyed, Bianca thanked the angel and ran all the way back to the shop, giggling like a child.
Upon arriving, she saw a woman running out, looking absolutely terrified. Bianca carefully went in,peeking inside before fully entering. She stifled a gasp, staring at the creatures that were once her stepmother and stepsister. The angel had cursed them to be as ugly as Bianca was beautiful, causing their skin to turn a corpse gray with lips as black as burnt wood and sunken in eyes the color of sickness just below twisting, towering horns. They looked miserably at her, and despite herself, Bianca couldn’t help but laugh a little once she realized who they were. It filled her with an unexplainable contentment to see them like this. Seeing this as yet another excuse not to work, Bianca suggested they close shop until they figured out what was going on, or at least for the day. After a bit of stubbornness and determination to work, Asra and her mother gave in as it was impossible to sew with their now cracked, clawlike nails. For the first time ever, Bianca moved faster than them when going home, thrilled to show herself off to anyone lucky enough to be in town. As for Asra and her mother, they kept their jacket hoods up and heads down the whole way and silently prayed no one would notice them.
The first thing Bianca did upon arriving home was call her brother, Harris, to tell him all about the day’s events as the two were very close. He didn’t believe her, even when she sent him a picture of her lovely new looks. He simply told her she was lovely as she was, so there was no need to pretend to be anyone else. He did agree, however to meet with her after he was done with his secretarial duties for the mayor as she wouldn’t stop insisting it to be true. Upon seeing her, he couldn’t believe his eyes at the gorgeous woman who wore his sister’s clothes and sounded like her, but was far more striking in every physical way. After a pleasant dinner together, he said “ Dearest sister of mine, If you’ll only humble me enough as to let me take a picture so I may look at you every day and thank the heavens that i am lucky enough to be the brother of such a gem.” She blushed in flattered embarrassment and giggled “Why, of course! "But, I pray that you let no one see the picture. We don’t want a riot of men at my door, after all." Harris promptly agreed and took a picture with his phone. Right after, he rushed off to get it printed so he could put it on his desk at the mayor’s office and, as he had said, stare at it every day.
A few weeks passed and Bianca’s popularity grew, boys from all over asked for her number every single day and she ate it up. As for the dress shop, it was losing customers and money as it was said to be inhabited by demons. Orders were being canceled left and right and the only times anyone came in was either to see the ever lovely Bianca at the counter or to take pictures of the horrendous monsters that were once her family. Bianca ate this up as well, as people would come to her to tell her how brave and kind she was to take care of Asra and her mother, never to know it was truly the other way around.
In these same weeks, Mayor Emmett Kingsler noticed his secretary wasn't working as hard as he should have been, but instead was looking at a photo on his desk for hours and sighing happily. Getting annoyed at how far behind Harris was getting on his work, he approached him and demanded to know what was going on. At first, Harris tried to lie, saying he wasn't feeling well as of late and that was why he was so far behind. Of course, Mayor Kingsler didn't even believe it for a moment and demanded to know the truth. Finally, Harris was forced to show him the picture of his lovely sister or lose his job. Mayor Kingsler was too taken aback by her that he couldn't help but to ask who she was. Harris very proudly told him that that was his dearest sister. “please, call her up and tell her I wish to meet her as soon as possible. Perhaps this Saturday will be best.” the mayor breathlessly said. Harris agreed, quite excited as not only would he see Bianca again, but he also expected a raise or promotion if the two got along well enough.
As soon as Bianca got the news, she was overjoyed that someone with looks, and more importantly money and power, fancied her. Of course, she wouldn't stop bragging about it to all her friends. Asra tried to be happy for her, but was heartbroken as she had had a crush on the mayor for years. Bianca knew this, purposefully talking loudly about it whenever Asra was around. This cruel cut at her stepsister only seemed to add to Bianca’s delight. Asra had a good temper on her, but she soon found her bitterness growing each time she heard about it. Before too long, she could take it no longer and complained to her mother of how unfair it was that Bianca had everything for being lazy and that they must suffer for doing their jobs. Her mother only smiled and told “ Be patient, darling. I have a lovely little plan”.
On the day that Harris came to pick up Bianca for her date with the mayor, her stepmother had convinced her to bring her and Asra along. She said they’d be humbled if Bianca would let them watch from afar and bask in the light, even if only for a little. Between Bianca’s ever growing ego and a little help from the magic she’d secretly been learning since she was a child, it wasn’t too hard a task. She then used the same magic and negotiation on Harris when he arrived. Soon they they were all loaded up in the limo, Bianca in a showy gold and white dress that she said made her look like an angel and Asra in a modest but striking crimson dress with a formal hooded jacket. As expected, Bianca bragged the whole way about how gorgeous she was and how grand the wedding would be. Her stepmother only smiled and nodded, listening until they were near the mayor’s manor. Then she offered Bianca some rose water, telling her she wouldn’t want to be dehydrated for her first date. Bianca greedily drank it down, but found as soon as she did, she felt a funny feeling inside. She tried to speak, but all that come out was a honk. Shocked, she covered her mouth and stared at her step mother. The woman laughed and said “Now let’s see how lovely he thinks you are when he sees who you are on the inside”. With that, Bianca became a fat ugly goose that flapped wildly until she clumsily flew out the open car window and into the sky. Harris hadn’t even noticed. He’d had his eyes on the road and radio blasting.
Upon arriving, harris excitedly opened the door to lead them inside the house. Distracted by his thoughts of how much of a raise he’d get, he failed to notice that they were missing someone. Nor did he notice that the girl following him in with her hood pulled up and head down, wore a different dress. When Mayor Kingsley first saw Asra, he was completely appalled. Believing that this was a stupid joke on Harris’s part, he fired him on the spot and told him to leave instantly with his costumed ghouls. Asra, not wanting to let her chance go, said “Please wait. I know I am not beautiful on the outside, but perhaps if you give me a chance, you will see the beauty I have within my heart”. Asra worried she’d sounded too cliche or been too bold, but something about the gentle sincerity in her voice and the pleading look in her eyes made the mayor agree to let her and her mother stay.
At first, Asra’s presence made Mayor Kingsler feel uneasy as she looked like something out of a horror movie, but it wasn’t too long before he began to fall for her charming personality. At the end of the night, he invited her back the next week for dinner. The same happened the next week and the week after until it became highly common to see the two together. The mayor found he looked forward to seeing her and when they were apart, he couldn’t stop thinking about her. People began to say all kinds of horrible things and belittled them, but they were happy together nonetheless. About a year or so later, they planned to be wed as Emmett Kingsler knew he couldn’t live without her.
On the night of the wedding, a plain looking girl in a white rose dress was led to the altar by her wily looking mother. Instantly, Emmett knew it in his heart that it was Asra. Her curse was finally broken and the real her was back for good. Though to Emmett,she was the most beautiful girl in the world either way. That night, they danced, drank, and feasted on a nice fat goose.