Once Upon A Time...
Author's note: Inspired by my beautiful imagination ;) and the brothers grimm collection or fairytales
Hope you people enjoy it!
Hope you people enjoy it!
Chapter 3Chapter 3
I stopped in my tracks, startled as I heard banging and stumbling inside of Fairy Candace’s hut. Curiosity won and I suddenly found myself standing in the doorway of her home, looking in astonishment at her mess. Ok, so maybe I take back my comment about Candace. She’s not perfect. I was surprised she could even find anything in here.
“Are you ok?” I asked, disconcerting her. She jumped and hit her head on a hanging pot, groaning
“Yes, yes. I’m fine. I seemed to have...misplaced the Forget-About-It! stew.”
“I’m surprised you haven’t misplaced everything in here,” I muttered but she heard it and let out an shaky laugh.
“I like to think of it as organized chaos. I’m afraid we’ll have to send the prince back later then expected.”
“How long until you can make more?”
“Hehe. Yes, well, it may take me a few months...”
“Months! Candace we can’t keep him here that long!”
“Spring’s just around the corner! I’m sure I have have something cooked up by the beginning of summer, maybe a few weeks before if I work nights.”
“Can’t we just hold him for ransom?”
“And risk exposer? I believe not. Until the stew is ready, I’m afraid he’s going to have to stay here. Maybe you could teach him a trick or two, show him the ropes. He could help provide for camp. We could always use and extra hand.”
“No! I refuse to babysit some spoiled prince!”
“Gwen. Please? It’s only for a little while and you know these woods better then anyone else! For me?” Even as an adult, she could get away with the puppy eyes.
“Fine,” I grumbled and stormed out the hut, ignoring her frantic call for me to return.
Why must I have to teach Finn how to hunt and fight? Doesn’t that make him more of an apprentice then a hostage?
I sighed, shaking my thoughts away as I ducked into my home, closing the door and silencing the chatters of 7 certain people. I didn’t say anything to them, just made my way to the kitchen area and began to mix in flour and yeast for bread. We have been running low.
I could feel their stares at the back of my neck, making me shift uncomfortably. I threw a glance over my shoulder, glaring at them with a raised eye brow as my signal for them to say what’s on their mind. When they just looked at me like I had grown a second head (which did happen once. Don’t ask) I grew frustrated and threw the dough down on the counter, turning to face them.
“What! What’s going on!”
That’s when they burst out laughing, pointing and falling over onto the ground though it wasn’t a long fall. It was my turn to stare at them, bewildered, but when my cold hard glare that usually silences everyone didn’t, I gave up and resorted to picking Slug up by the collar and tossing him onto the couch, starling him into a silent surprise until he realized where he was and shifted into a comfortable position for a nap. When the others saw me walking towards them with an evil grin and my hands outstretched, they quickly clamored out of my reach and the laughter subdued. I smirked victoriously and crossed my arms.
“Now will someone tell me what’s going on?”
“Uh, guys?” I looked and saw Finn standing by his door, looking like he just woke up for a nap. How did he get out? “Why does Gwen have a hand growing out of her head?”
My jaw dropped and Finn looked confused, rubbing his eyes over and over and pinching himself even. Snig was the first to break, bursting out in a fit of laugher and was shortly followed by everyone else. I groaned, touching my head and seeing that he was right. I had a third hand.
“Candace!” I screeched, and almost instantly, she appeared in front of me with a sorry expression.
“Ok, ok. I can explain. Maybe when you walked in my hut, you could have bumped into my Handy-Hand elixir.”
Now even Finn was laughing. At least he had the decency to try and muffle it. I sighed and felt my the hand rub my temple, surprising even me. I looked at Candace in desperation.
“Fix this. Now.”
“Ok, ok. I think I have a Countermand potion that might fix it. It might take me while. Hurry, come.”
Candace grabbed my head hand and I felt a tingle along my skin and saw white smoke all around and together we transported back to her home to fix this mess.
Gwen and Candace disappeared in a cloud of smoke and left me alone with the 7 dwarves. One of them (I get them mixed up) stood up from his tiny stool and brushed his hands on his pants, afterwards reaching out to shake my hand.
“Names Albert E. but people call me Big E,” he said with a grin, fixing a pair of glasses firmly on his nose after shaking my hand.
Another scoffed, rolling his eyes and shaking his head at Big E. Which brings me to another thought. Big E? Really?
“Al, no one calls you Big E,” he said, then turning to me. “Just call him Al. He’s sort of the nerd of our bunch. You know, brainy, smart, know-it-all, the list goes on. I’m Pig by the way.”
“Why do they call you Pig?”
On cue, he sniffled, squeezing his eyes shut and letting loose a giant sneeze, answering my question as I compared it to a pig snort.
“That and you should see his appetite. He’s always eating all of my corn! I’m Dour. That idiot over there who just passed out is Slug,” he growled pointing at the dwarf sleeping on the couch with his arm draped over his eyes and I heard a faint snore escaped from him.
“I’m Snig. If you don’t recognize me as the awesome one, then you’re probably more confused then Grog.”
“Huh?” The dwarf I suspected was Grog asked with a dazed kinda look. “You said my name?” Snig ignored him, used to him being lost in these kind of situations and continued.
“And that’s Bash. His name pretty much says it all.”
We all (with the exception of Slug) turned and looked at the biggest and burliest of the bunch. He definitely looked like her could Bash in my head, despite his small stature. He gave me a mischievous grin, like he was imagining his fist smashed into my face. I made a mental note to not anger him.
“Well, it was nice meeting you all. When will I be shipped out of here?”
“Don’t know. Could be a few days to plan it out. Come on, I’ll show you around. Not like you’ll remember anyways,” Al grinned, waving me over to the door.
I obliged and followed him out the short door, watching at the light slowly fade as dusk began to settle in. Fires were lit and surrounded by people laughing and eating their dinners with joy and happiness. You never see this out by the castle. I heard Al shout out to someone, waving them over and saw the man that came into the tent earlier with the parchment. What was his name? Robin, that’s it. I wonder if it’s Robin Hood?
“Rob! Did you hear about Gwen?” Al asked, launching a conversation.
Robin chuckled and said, “Yeah I saw her sneaking out the back of Candace’s house to her magic workshop. I swear, I almost mistook her for a giant spider, she had so many limbs!”
“It was quiet funny when she walked in the house. She had no idea there was a hand growing out of her head!”
“I wish I was there,” Robin sighed wistfully before looking at me with narrowed eyes. “Robin of the Wood or Robin Hood as I prefer. I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure,” he said, sticking out his hand and sounded polite, but I could sense the sarcasm behind it.
“Prince Phineas,” I said, clasping his hand and giving a firm shake. “But call me Finn. Phineas just seemed too...”
“Nerdy?” Robin filled in with a cocky grin.
“W-Well I was going to say ‘formal’ but sure, I guess...”
Robin scoffed and a look of distain crossed his face, confusing me. I shot Al a look and he just shook his head at me in disappointment. That confused me even more. Robin punched me in the arm, harder then I expect and I nearly toppled over.
“Just as I thought. A push over,” Robin said with a glare and walked away. I threw my hands in the air in disbelief, looking at Al.
“What was that about!”
“Eh don’t worry about it. He’ll come around. He just thinks you have it out for Gwen. He’s very protective of her you know and believes that all princes are womanizers.” I nodded in apprehension and frowned in the direction Robin left. “But he is right. You princes are all the same.”
I jerked my gaze over to Al, who was casually examining a rounded rock, rolling it between his fingers and had a look of thought on his face.
“What do you mean ‘You princes are all the same?’ You think I take advantage of any girl that comes my way?”
“Pretty much, yeah. Everyone does really.”
My jaw dropped. Seriously? That’s what they think I do in my pass time? What, am I supposed to be some stuck-up low-life who parties, get drunk, and have a different girl on my arm every other day? I closed my jaw, and shook my head in disgust.
“Forget it,” I forced out and turned away, weaving through the crowd of people who were making their ways to their homes and tents.
The sun was completely gone and the only source of light I had now was the dimming fires and torches placed all around the camp. That and the half-moon that broke through the tree tops, illuminating the path before me.
At first, I wandered around the emptying camp, watching as people escaped into their homes with yawns, but after a while, I began to follow a trail leading into the woods, decided to take a midnight stroll. The trees all looked the same and I was sure I would have gotten lost if not for the clearly marked path, twisting and turning in all sorts of directions. After minutes, maybe an hour past, I turned and made my way back to the camp. Problem: The trail was no longer there.
I stared at the trees in front of me in horror and looked back to where I was following the path. That too was replaced by a bundle for trees. What was going on? It was right there!
I cursed under my breath and trudged on through the brambles, determined to find my way back to the camp. Although I think I was heading in the wrong direction.
I jumped when I heard a rustle come from the woods and I recalled the many tales about this forest, the horrible things that happened in here told by a few people who claimed to just escape with their lives. Gwen already told me what a big sham it was, but I couldn’t help but picture myself being eaten alive my an ugly ogre or baked into a pie by some cranky witch.
A loud snap of a twig caught my attention once again and I reached for my sword, hissed profanities as I remembered I no longer had it. I grabbed a decent sized branch and held it high behind my head, waiting for whatever was coming my way and not bothering to be quiet about it. My back pressed against a tree and I waited as a ominous silence filled the air. A sudden footfall to my left startled me and I swung blindly at whatever was here.
The figure ducked and tripped me, sending the world into a blur as my head cracked against a tree root. Everything went blurry and I felt something grab my leg. Shaking my head to clear it (it didn’t work) I kicked out at the person, satisfied when I heard a whoosh of air knock out of my attackers lungs. The person quickly retaliated, knocking the branch out of my head and pining me to the ground.
I opened my eyes, wincing as my head exploded in a burst of pain and felt the figure get off me.
“Jeez, Finn! You’re bleeding you idiot!” Was that Gwen? What was she doing here?
“Gwen? Is that you?”
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
I saw her hold up a hand but everything was swaying from side to side. I couldn’t tell how many fingers there were and figured that that wasn’t a good thing.
“That’s not good. Come on you twit.”
“Twit? That’s new.”
I felt her sling my arm around her shoulder and help me up from the ground. My head burst into another swirl and I nearly lost my balance, almost bringing Gwen down with me but she luckily pulled me up before we both when home in injuries.
“Easy, moron! What are you doing out here anyways?”
“You tend to insult people a lot when your mad.” When she didn’t respond, I suspected she was glaring at me and smiled, just to make her angry. “And I was here to clear my mind.”
“Oh. N-Nothing. It’s nothing really.”
“Well if it was nothing you would have had a clear enough mind to not be an idiot and come waltzing into the woods without a weapon, a map, or telling anyone none the less! What is it?”
“Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t think Robin likes me very much.”
I noticed that my vision was clearing up. Now I was able to see about a foot in front off me and I could see Gwen’s face too. At least it won’t feel like I’m talking to myself now. And I also noticed that she was no free of the head-hand.
“Oh so you met Robin? Don’t worry about it. He hates everyone that knows me for the first few weeks.”
“Well, good thing I won’t be here that long.”
Gwen shifted uncomfortably under my arm, repositioning me so that we were both more comfortable and trudged on.
“Didn’t I tell you? Candace lost the Forget-About-It! stew and has to make a new batch. You’re not going anywhere for a while,” she said and I pulled her to a stop.
“What do you mean? I’m staying here? How long?”
“Six months tops. We’re already halfway through winter so probably around the beginning of summer, end of spring.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do until then?”
“You’ll be with me of course. Robin and I will teach to you hunt so you can provide for the camp just like everyone else. We won’t have you around as just another mouth to feed.”
Our conversation ended there as we made it back to the opening safe and sound. And alive. By now, my sight had cleared up quiet well but the pain did not subside as much as I hoped. Also, I could now feel the drying blood stick to the back of my head and winced when Gwen pulled me up a little to abrupt. She muttered a sorry and dragged my along.
I just watched as we walked around some tents until Gwen came to a stop in front of a big one, almost the size of the Council tent. It was big, white, and had the symbol meaning ‘heal’ painted in red on the side and above the entrance.
We entered and Gwen set me down in one of the beds next to another sickly patient and talked in hushed whispers to another women before glancing over at me and leaving the tent. The women walked over to me with a sweet and gentle smile.
“I’m afraid, my dear, that you have a minor concussion and will have to remain here for the rest of the night. You have only a small cut on the back of you head but head wounds tend to bleed a lot. You’ll be just fine.” I nodded and felt my eyes begin to droop. “Get some sleep, Finn. Gwen said she will be back tomorrow round 5 in the morning to retrieve you. Also she-”
I didn’t hear the rest. I had fallen asleep.
The idiot. Did he really think he could walk into the forest and find his way back, easy as pie?
After I disappeared with Candace, I snuck out of the back of her house and into the forest to find her Countermand potion in her magic workshop. It took a few minutes but the results were excellent and I walked out of her workshop thinking that this day will end well, not dragging a bleeding moron out of the forest. The moron is Finn by the way if you still have’t figured that out.
I walked through the empty camp after dropping Finn off at the infirmary with Ms. Sano. She’ll have him healthy in no time. He’ll have to be if he’s going to deal with mine and Robin’s training.
I crawled through the small window in my room as to not disturb the guys and collapsed in bed, letting sleep take me instantly.
Even falling asleep at such a late hour, my internal clock did it’s job and woke me up at 5 in the morning, just like it always did. I dragged myself from bed and stumbled into the kitchen/living room, knowing that now that I’m awake, I won’t be able to fall back asleep.
Moving into the guy’s room, I poked and prodded at them until all of them were awake only they weren’t as tired as I was.
“You look like you’ve been hit by unicorn,” Stig commented when he saw my droopy eyes.
“Feel like one too,” I muttered and grabbed a bucket of water outside.
Winter was definitely here judging my the think layer of ice that coated the water. Everyone’s lips were blue now that they were away from their warm beds and into the frost bitten living area. Al went to work lighting a small log with the other went out to get more as I started breakfast. It was our usual routine for a cold day like this but in the back of my mind, I felt like I was forgetting something. My mind was muddled and I wasn’t thinking straight.
I shrugged it off and punched through the ice and tossed some water in my face. That woke me up and I smiled, the air suddenly feeling warm on my face. And yet, I still felt like I had forgotten something.
The guys quickly returned, eager to get out of the cold and threw some of the freshly chopped onto the small, kindling fire. I had finished up breakfast, consisting of eggs, porridge, and a loaf of bread and gathered around our low table. I didn’t have a chair and instead, knelt whenever we had our meals.
“Hey,” Pig pipped up with him mouth full of bread. “Where’s Finn?”
Finn! I gasped and jumped up, banging my knee against the table and sending out cups shaking, threatening to topple over.
“Oh jeez. I was supposed to pick him up at 5!”
I groaned, looking at the clock. 6 o’clock. I was an hour late. Ms. Sano does not like having to care for a patient overtime. She has too many patients to tolerate that. Once, when Snig’s big mouth got him into some trouble (meaning he broke his nose) I was supposed to pick him up 7 since Ms. Sano doesn’t like patients leaving by themselves. I was 4 hours late and when I remembered and went to pick him up, she was so mad I was surprised that I didn’t end up in the infirmary myself.
I rushed out of the house, hoping that I wouldn’t find an angry Ms. Sano with a needle ready to jab at me.
“Ms. Sano! I’m so sorry! I completely fo-”
I stopped in the doorway, surprised to see Finn and Ms. Sano, doubled over with their mouths open in laughter though no sound came so they sat there looking like retarded clapping seals. They sucked in some breath and went into another fit of laughter, only add the sounds this time.
“Gwen! You’re here! I didn’t even know it was time!” She breathed another chuckle and fail to smother it. “Finn and I were just talking about-”
“Shh!” Finn hissed with a grin. “You can’t tell anyone!”
“Oh, right. Oops,” she said with one finger over her smiling lips, looking like a little girl caught painting on the walls and not regretting it one bit.
And then she giggled. Ms. Sano giggled!
“What in the name of all that’s good in this forsaken world is going on!”
“Quiet! The patients are sleeping!” Ms. Sano hissed, sounding more like herself before turning back to Finn with a smile. “Now Finn, make sure you take care of that bump on you head. Tell me if it gets infected or just drop by anytime you want. You’re always welcome here.”
Finn smiled and nodded, standing from the bed and gave me a smug look before brushing past me and out the tent, standing tall in all of his egotistic glory.
“Cocky, good-for-nothing, ogre kissing, troll herder...” I trailed off under my breath before nodding to Ms. Sano and following Finn out the door.
We walked in silence, which mostly consisted of me glaring at the back of Finn’s head. I was not very appreciative of this new smug air he had around him. It was annoying the heck out of me. We walked back in the house and I was grateful that the guys remembered to save some food for Finn and I. The left the house whistling with some axes, setting out too chop wood for the camp. That was their job around here while I usually hunted for food.
I took another bite of my egg thoughtfully, chewing slowly as I thought of how I was going to teach Finn to hunt. My gaze drifted over to him and I watched as he dove into the porridge like he hadn’t eaten in days. He has some muscles, not to bulgy but just the right size for him. He could possibly pull back a bow string though it might take some time to get use to the resistance of my long bow. Perhaps a sling shot would work better? I could borrow Al’s since he had insisted on using one instead of swords or axes like the other dwarves you. What can I say? He’s the nerd of us bunch. But he’s also the smartest.
Finn suddenly looked up and met my gaze and I realized I had been staring.
“Oh uh...” I felt a blush creep onto my face as my mind drew a blank. Since when did I blush? “Nothing. Hurry up and finish. We have to meet up with Robin at 9 to start your training.”
I stood and cleaned my plate, picking up the dwarves’ plates as well and cleaned them all while I was at it. I placed the slightly wet dished back into the cabinet and dried off my hands with a rag, turning around saw Finn stand and shove the dirty dish into my hands. He didn’t give me a second glance before walking back into his room to dress into something more suitable for the woods. I looked down at the plate in disgust.
What do I look like? A maid?
I looked at the pile of dishes I just washed for the dwarves and frowned. I guess I did. I sighed and washed the dish, still feeling slightly annoyed with Finn for making such an assumption.
“You know, I never pegged you for the housewife type,” I heard Finn say behind me.
I turned and growled at him and he held his hands up, giving me the universal sign for ‘I surrender.’ I frowned and turned away from him, drying off the dish and putting it away. I didn’t say a word to him as I walked into my room and pulled on some trousers and a tight, comfortable shirt with a vest over it. I grabbed my bow and quiver, walking out of the house with Finn close behind me.
“Are you mad at me?” Finn asked out of the blue, jogging up to keep pace with me.
“Oh,” was his only response and I became annoyed with him all over again.
It seemed like everything Finn does now irritates me. He wasn’t even going to apologize or as what was wrong.
I rolled my eyes and tried to push it out of my head as I saw a path through the forest open up to me. That was the thing about this place. Everything here usually had something to do with magic. This was an enchanted forest and either liked you or hated you. Thankfully, it recognized me as a tree hugger (well, thats what Candace said) and often opened pathways to places I needed to go. I suspected it wasn’t familiar with Finn last night and choose to confuse him. Only time will tell if the forest accepts him.
I took light, cautious steps as I spotted Robin through the trees and felt a grin tup my the corners of my lips. I motioned for Finn to stop and silently set an arrow on the string, tugging it back with precision and aiming for the tip of Robin’s hat. He knew something was here, judging from the way, he scanned the forest with narrowed eyes. Just before he could move, I released the arrow, smiling as the string hit the arm guard around my wrist and the arrow sailed true, cutting straight through Robin’s hat and pinning it to the tree behind him.
I laughed and walked out of the trees with a proud smile on my face.
“You’re getting old, Robin. Your senses are muddled.”
“You be quiet. We have other matters to focus on, right Finn?” he asked, turing to Finn expectantly but with a distant look of distaste.
Robin picked up beginners recurve bow and tossed it to Finn.
“Shoot it. Come on. You mean too tell me that with all the fancy service and high cost trainers you got that they never taught you how to shoot a bow?” I nodded in agreement. He had a point.
“W-Well I have it’s just that our bows were more-”
“M-More advanced?” he said it more like a question, hesitant to eve say it at all.
I frowned at Finn and grabbed him my the front of his shirt, watching the forest open into a new path as it already knew where I wanted to go. Finn struggled against me for a while but finally gave in though I still didn’t loosen my grip on him. The forest faded into an open field full of green meadows and a lake over the far corner. Robin and I found this place a while back and figured out that it was the heart of the forest. It was surrounded by trees on all sides and was full of life. Many animals wandered here fro the water in the lake and streams we use for fishing. It’s also a great place for target practice.
“Now Finn. Tell me, your archers. Their used for you military, right?”
“Yes. Are furthest shot ever was 400 yards,” he said with a proud smile.
Robin and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, wiping the grin off of Finn’s face. Robin smiled and held his bow up high, letting loose an arrow like he normally would. And it reached 600 yards. Finn saw the distance and his jaw dropped.
“You see Finn. Our bows are not below standards. They are in perfect condition and this is after all Robin Hood. Don’t think that we don’t know what we’re doing.” Finn swallowed and nodded, picking up the recurve bow.
“Now, try and hit that tree 40 yards away.”
He bit his lip and strapped on the armguard. Slowly and carefully, he pulled the arrow back, his thump touching the corner of his mouth. His stance was good, he wasn’t gripping the bow too tightly. Maybe those fancy archery trainers aren’t that bad after all. He released the arrow and it sailed true, thunking hard into the tree with ease.
“Alright. So you seem to know a little about what you’re doing. Lets try 100 yards.”
This time, he only scraped the trunk of the tree on it’s right side.
“Ok so your comfort zone is probably around the 80 yard line. That can easily win us a few bucks and doe. But look,” Robin advised, striding up next to him. “you’re allowing the bowstring to hit you, not only on your wrist, but on your shoulder too.”
Robin pulled on the sleeve of Finn’s shirt and revealed a circular cut forming in his shoulder. That will definitely bruise.
“Don’t think you can hid that from me. You’re locking you arm. Don’t do that. Bend it a little and release the string naturally. The arrow will sail smoother and faster without all the bruising.”
And thats how our day went. We stayed in the field most of the day, pushing Finn to his limits. He seemed to have skill with archery and after a while, when Robin deemed him fit to hunt, we moved on the swords play and I was proud to say I defeated Finn. Three times. He wasn’t very happy after that.
The sun began to set and we all went home, worn and tired. I was hot and sweaty and the cold just made my clothes stick to my body. Robin and I said goodbye and agreed to meet back up tomorrow for Finn’s first hunt before heading back home, welcomed by the guys. Pig, since he was the only one that could cook besides me, had already made a delicious stew over the fire. I eat my filling, smiling as it warmed me to the core.
I said goodnight and headed to my room, stripping my clothes and slipping on my night gown, pulling my hair up. I hit the bed hard and immediately, sleep found me once more.