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Week 480
You are on Week 481
Week 482

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Four Hundred Eighty One Ends Friday, October 22

The violins were not playing sweet music, he thought. No, the blasted instruments made a cacophony of horrid notes that comprised such a vile noise that he could not believe anyone could stand to listen to it. To the enthusiastic partygoers, though, it seemed that the music was absolutely angelic. Their minds were in a carefree state as they all enjoyed the lavish masquerade ball. He, however, was livid. A mere wall was separating the dark, narrow passageway from the ballroom. A mere wall separated him from his next... prize.

He reached the end, facing the door that would lead him to the masquerade. Reaching in the inside pocket of his black robe, he withdrew his classic white mask, slipping it over his head. Pushing the door open and feeling the bellowing rush of piercing sound, he quickly blended into the crowd waiting to enter the ballroom. Of course they don't notice me, he thought to himself. They're all too absorbed in making themselves known that they don't even notice a shady figure coming out of a random door. The endless laughter and chatter still could not drown out the violins. His ears throbbed, but he pushed passed the mingling partygoers as he set foot into the enormous ballroom.

Time to make a scene...

***

Frida nervously tugged on her white gloves and adjusted her tiara, silently wishing to find her cousin Jesper. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here in the first place, she thought bitterly. The beautiful Kyrii bit her lip, thinking that she saw the familiar Ruki. But with everyone donning masks, it was next to impossible to distinguish who was who.

I can't recall the last time a king wanted his birthday party to be masquerade themed, Frida sighed to herself. The former lady-in-waiting had attended her fair share of royal banquets and parties, ranging from King Coltzan III's lavish dances to King Skarl's rowdy food samplings in Meridell Castle.

A Ruki walked by, and Frida debated whether or not to discover if it was Jesper. She reluctantly picked up the hem of her long ballgown and gazed at the crowd of eager partygoers who wanted to do nothing so much as shake hands with the king.

Suddenly a hand gripped her left shoulder, and Frida turned, expecting it to be Jesper. However, it was not the Ruki, but instead...

Author: crazy_4_sushi
Date: Oct 18th
... a plainly dressed Eyrie with a mask concealing half of his face. Despite the mask, Frida could see that he had a pair of piercing eyes and a sharply curved beak that were startlingly similar to the features of the King's first cousin, Reginald. But he, she and the entire Royal Court knew, had been banished from the kingdom, forbidden to ever return. Returning, especially on the King's birthday, she thought, would end in execution. Furthermore, she suspected that the exiled Eyrie had long since perished. No one, she told herself, could've survived more than a decade in the savage wilderness.

"May I help you, sir?" Frida finally said, eyes flitting around the ballroom in search of a familiar face, an excuse to leave, an escape. She knew that it was irrational, but she couldn't help feeling anxious, even fearful, around the unnervingly familiar-looking Eyrie.

"No, but your sister needs you," the Eyrie replied.

"What? What happened to Lucy?" Frida demanded, eyes now fluttering closed. She still felt so regretful that she had left everyone she loved behind -- especially Lucy, who, Mother had written, had been bedridden and refused to eat for two weeks -- to become a lady-in-waiting, but she had had no choice: they needed the Neopoints. She would feel even more guilty if something happened to Lucy while she was away.

"I'll explain on the way to your family home," the Eyrie answered, turning around and beckoning Frida to follow him.

"All right," Frida agreed, following the Eyrie through throngs of well-dressed Neopets and toward the large, arched entrance of the ballroom. She suddenly realised that she had forgotten to ask what the Eyrie's name was, who he was, as they were passing beneath the archway. "How do you know my family?"

"Doesn't everyone know your family?" the Eyrie replied, without bothering to turn to face Frida.

"I mean, why would they send you?" Frida demanded, eyes narrowed. She had to admit that most villagers knew them -- Mother was the only healer in the village and everyone had been ill or injured some time -- but this Eyrie couldn't be a close family friend. She hadn't ever been introduced to him, and Mother and Lucy hadn't ever written about him.

"I was the closest neighbour who could help," the Eyrie finally said, pausing in front of a smaller, less grand door and opening it.

"I see," Frida replied, passing through the door and into one of the many castle gardens. "You still didn't tell me your n-- Ahh!" The rest of the Kyrii's scream was abruptly muffled by a rough burlap bag.

"Stay quiet and I won't have to hurt you," a voice that Frida assumed was the Eyrie's hissed. The string on the bottom of the bag was promptly tightened around the Kyrii's neck.

"What are you doing?" Frida whispered, struggling to breathe. She knew that she should've paid more attention to, instead of ignoring, her fear.

The Eyrie chuckled humourlessly. "You'll find out soon enough..."

Author: lil_miss_sunshine807
Date: Oct 18th
***

Jesper stood at King Hagan's side, adjusting the bow tie around his neck awkwardly as Neopets waited patiently in line to shake the King's hand.

"You look stiff," the King commented when there was a lull in the flood of guests. The green Skeith was dressed in his best finery, sporting a brilliant emerald green robe lined with gold silk and fingers heavily weighted with bejewelled rings. His eyes were small and dark, yet he looked at Jesper kindly. Jesper was always awed by his great intellect and equally great kindness.

The brown Ruki cleared his throat, tugging at the tie. "I'm just not used to... this sort of attire."

The King chuckled. "Jesper, Jesper, you are no longer a servant in my court. How many times do I have to remind you of that?"

At least as a servant I could dress comfortably, Jesper thought to himself. The fine suit he wore felt heavy on his spindly body, and the black mask on his face did nothing except hinder his vision. He was dying to take it off, but it was a masquerade and he didn't want to offend the King.

"I recognised the potential in you," Hagan continued, wagging a thick finger at him. "The intelligence you harbour in that skull of yours is astounding!"

"Thank you, sir," Jesper said with a nod, careful not to sound ungrateful. Because he wasn't. Having the King recognise his intellect and his promising future was a blessing. It had raised not only him but his cousin Frida higher up the social ladder, away from the dreary lives as servants to something better. He knew he'd never be able express enough thanks for that. But the stuffy formalities of the upper class were strange to Jesper and he didn't know what to do. Normally he'd be serving food or setting up for an event like this, not attending as a guest.

"You don't have to stand by me all night," the King said after he had shaken a few more hands.

"Old habits die hard," Jesper said sheepishly. "Besides, someone needs to keep an eye on you."

But Jesper wasn't keeping his eye on the King all that well. In reality, he was scanning the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Frida, whom he hadn't seen all night.

As if reading his thoughts, the King said, "I'm sure your cousin is having a wonderful time. You know how women get about these sorts of affairs." He waved his hand at the word "these," indicating the clusters of Neopets talking about politics, dancing together on the ballroom floor, and eating hors d'oeuvres off the plates of the many servants circling the room.

Jesper sighed, realising he was being paranoid, and decided to let the matter drop. "You're probably right..."

***

Frida, however, was not having a wonderful time...

Author: vanessa1357924680
Date: Oct 19th
She had been led, briskly and harshly, through a series of paths and, strangely, small stone steps she deduced were not part of the royal gardens she knew. The masked Eyrie had not taken the liberty of removing the sack that, under the lightless sky, allowed her to see absolutely and precisely nothing of her journey; more than once she had painfully jammed her foot or elbow into some protruding architecture.

Nor had her captor offered the explanation he had promised, but the smothered Kyrii had not the breath to ask a single thing.

Frida bit back tears as the night air bit cruelly into the graze on her arm. She had tried to take note of her blind bearings at first, but the Eyrie was propelling her far too quickly and she had long since lost track. All she knew was that it was not the way home.

And each step resonated a question. Why?... Where? Who... Did her sister have anything to do with this, or was that all a ruse? Most crucially, had Jesper yet noticed her absence and raised the alarm?

Then, the groan of a door opening.

"We're going up the stairs." The Eyrie's brusque command made Frida jump, and her slippered feet found the first of what were narrow and rugged stone stairs. In the castle all the stairs had been carpeted at the centre with cushioning yet firm overlay. The door snapped shut behind, and inside was no less frigid...

The Kyrii found herself counting the steps. Four... six... thirteen... twenty-one...

The landing was at twenty-six.

The scratch of a match and hiss of flames, and without warning, claws were loosening the string around her neck and the bag over Frida's head was swept clear.

***

This moment, the Kyrii's reaction after a blindfolded journey, was what Regan had been waiting for -- Regan, son of the exiled noble Reginald, once a prominent child very much in line for the throne.

He was a child no longer, and though his father had been deported that day long ago and had furiously left to pursue his interests elsewhere in a land not too far away, Regan had escaped -- and with the kingdom of Brightvale thinking they had seen the last of his father and therefore him, here was where he had hidden from their notice.

Now that he had the Kyrii, he was so, very close to the moment he had been working toward over the past, hard years.

Even in exile, Regan had not lived without purpose and character.

***

"Where am I?" Frida gasped the moment the sack came off. Her eyes were wide from strain, and she directed her question to the Eyrie beside her -- but almost at once her surroundings stole her attention.

If she had expected a dingy attic, leaking pipes, poor lighting -- a criminal's hideout -- she was very much wrong... For here, well, she had no words with which to illustrate.

The flame the Eyrie had lit had not been a mere candle -- it must have been a series of candles, a device which astoundingly routed the fire into paths of blaze that touched the ends of the room, and returned. By the crackling of this extraordinary illumination, Frida saw everything, and it was difficult to say which face held more wonder -- hers or the fire's.

It was a studio. It was a home. A silver piano sat soundlessly by one wall, weary under dust; there were tables and tables, and upon them were contraptions and many curious objects. Frida knew immediately that these were laid systematically and far from random, but specifically how she was not sure.

There were no windows, but on the wall directly opposite was a mirror -- and by the mirror there was a mask, a different one from what her captor had worn, dark and tapered and slender.

She turned to the Eyrie.

"This," he said, "is my home."

Fridai's initial awe had drizzled away as she remembered that this Eyrie had taken her by force and might still wish her harm. "Yours?" she asked coolly. "You said you would take me to my family. What has happened to my sister -- what have you done to them?" 


"Not I," he answered, "And I will be bringing you back."

"Why not now?" challenged the Kyrii.

He smiled, and the firelight danced across his white mask. He motioned her toward the mirror.

"Because something is about to happen in that ballroom..."

Author: _razcalz_
Date: Oct 19th
"What do you mean?" Frida asked as she followed him to stand in front of the elaborate silver mirror hanging on the wall. Her worried thoughts for her dear cousin Jesper were overshadowed for a moment by appreciation for the beautifully crafted mirror. At first glance, she could tell it held a great deal of magic. The intricately carved markings laid with many precious jewels around the frame left her speechless.

"Just watch, and you will see," Regan answered as he lifted a clawed finger to the mirror. He laid it gently on the glass, and suddenly, the mirror lit up. Frida hid her eyes for a moment, not expecting such a reaction. When she looked back again, the mirror showed several images from the very ballroom she'd been attending.

The scenes panned from an overhead shot of everyone enjoying themselves, to individual shots of the guests there. It flashed to an image of Jesper standing next to the King. Frida could tell he was looking for something... for her!

"Jesper! He's looking for me. Please, I must go back!" Frida cried, the reality of her situation hitting her full force. She took a step back, quickly looking around the room for an escape if she needed it.

"No, wait! It's too dangerous," her captor announced, catching her by the wrist.

"Please, let me go back!" the panic-stricken Kyrii pleaded, struggling to get out of his grip.

"If you leave now, you will be caught in the middle of all the chaos!" Regan reasoned.

Chaos? What did he mean? Frida looked past him to the mirror and saw what he was trying so desperately to tell her. The mirror froze on an overhead shot of the ballroom. Everyone had scattered and backed away from one lone figure in the centre. She recognised him immediately from his familiar, arrogant posture. Reginald!

"Your father?" Frida managed to squeak. "What is he doing there?" She looked back at Regan frantically, but her answer was only a sad look in his eyes.

Turning back to the mirror, she could see the King's guards rush the intruder as he held up a strange staff adorned with a green and yellow gem. A light flashed from it, and all the guards were knocked unconscious.

"No, this is terrible!" Frida could only look on helplessly as several of the high-ranking officers actually attending the masquerade drew their swords and challenged Reginald. They, too, fell just as easily. Then, realising her worst fears, Jesper stepped out of the crowd with his staff pointed at Reginald.

"Jesper, don't!" Frida called as if he could hear her. She sank to the floor and put her face in her hands. "I can't watch! Not my dear Jesper..." She began to sob.

Regan crouched down to lay a hand on her shoulder. "I know it's a difficult scene to watch. Don't worry, my father won't hurt your cousin. He's looking for something."

"Why did you bring me here just to show me this? You could have warned everyone in advance and stopped this from happening!" Frida sobbed.

Regan sighed.

"They would not have listened to me. Besides, my father will leave when he realises that what he's after is longer there..."

Author: dragonflares
Date: Oct 20th
Frida didn't make the connection fast enough. "What's that?"

Regan looked at her with admiration. "You, innocent young lady-in-waiting. He is after you."

Frida lurched forward, sick to her stomach. Reality struck her with its full force, and she fell to the floor in order to find stability. Could it be that the King's banished relative was after her? How could she help him achieve vengeance?

Regan read her face easily. In times of distress, there is no easy way to veil emotions. "Through a simple emotion known as guilt, my lady. By taking you from beneath the King's royal nose, he will disgrace him. King Hagan will feel guilty that he couldn't protect a Brightvale lady-in-waiting."

"But it wouldn't be his fault!" Frida moaned in anguish. Fear was driving her irrationally. She quickly realised this and found her composure. The world had stopped whirling around her, and the Kyrii managed to make it to her feet unassisted.

"That isn't how the King will see it. You are the cousin of his best servant. If he cannot protect you, who will be safe?

"But let us forget those troubles. You are not there for him to find anymore. All is well."

Frida wiped threatening moisture from the corner of her eye. "I suppose so," she conceded, looking at the mirror. But something was wrong. It took her a moment to identify the Neopet laying on the ground in the centre of the floor, but identify him she did.

"Jesper's on the ground!" she exclaimed, and Regan glanced at the mirror as well.

"What's worse," he began morbidly, "is that Reginald isn't there..."

Author: be2aware
Date: Oct 20th
Frida looked at him as though he had Weewoos flying around his head. "Worse? What can be worse then seeing your own cousin lying on the ground, isolated, without help?" Her voice trembled, but the Kyrii kept her composure.

"It's worse because if Reginald isn't there, that means he knows you aren't there either and has left to look for you."

It was at that moment that Frida realised she never knew exactly whose side Regan was on. "And what do you have to do with all this?" she asked.

"Why, I'm Reginald's son!"

The Kyrii rolled her eyes. "I know that. But you kidnapped me from the masquerade -- rather violently, I might add -- and I still don't know why. What do you intend to do with me?"

Regan grimaced. "I had hoped you wouldn't have been so inquisitive this soon."

"Why?" Frida asked, puzzled.

"Because it might distort what you think of me." The Eyrie sighed and signaled that they should both sit. Having nowhere else but the ground, Frida plopped herself down on the spot, momentarily forgetting how fancy her dress was.

"When my father was exiled and I with him, he became crazed. All he sought was revenge. As he raised me in the backwoods, I was taught to hate the the royal court of Brightvale, especially the King. However, when I finally managed to escape back into the kingdom, I found there was no way I could hate it. With its massive library and wealth of knowledge, Brightvale was my own paradise. My father, who had of course come with me, noticed my fascination and forbid me from going to the castle. My yearning for knowledge was too much, and so I deceived my father and told him that I would plant myself in the royal court. I would mingle with his very enemies, and when the time was right, I would find a captive to give to him as leeway in bargaining with King Hagan."

Frida was both appalled and sorry for Regan. He really didn't seem like such a bad guy, but at the same time, his father must have affected him.

"Reginald agreed, and forced himself to stay low while I earned the King's trust. When the invitation for the masquerade came, he told me this was the right time. I had to steal away the lady-in-waiting." Regan looked at Frida pleadingly.

"I love Brightvale. I love knowledge and learning. Look at the tables! See all these contraptions? I invented them myself, through studying here. I don't want to give this life up. I couldn't let my father go through with this, so I kidnapped you. And sorry about the rough ride over here, I knew you wouldn't comply once you realised we weren't headed toward your family, so I resorted to force."

Frida just slowly shook her head, trying to indicate that she didn't care anymore. It was hard for her to speak, but she finally managed to find her voice. "So what happens now?"

"Reginald is most likely on his way here."

Frida jumped up, alarmed. She shot a quick look at the door, as though the mad Eyrie was going to burst through it that second. Regan stood up too and tried to comfort her.

"Why aren't we leaving?" Frida shrieked, trying to tug out of Regan's grasp.

"I haven't finished all my story. Remember the staff you saw my father use in the mirror? Well, that's the reason why we can't leave yet...

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Oct 21st
"That staff obviously doesn't belong to him. He took it by force from its rightful owner," he explained.

"Who was?"

"Your sister."

Frida was in awe. "You mean Lucy?!" she said in disbelief.

Regan nodded, looking miserable. "My father is trying to use you to get to your sister, and once he gets to Lucy, he'll finish her off, thus making him the possessor of the staff, along with all the power. Add in the fact that the King has no way to prevent this act, tarnishing his image, and my father would have the ultimate plan."

"But what about Jesper?" asked Frida.

"Naturally, your cousin is in on the plan," continued Regan. "He has been by the King's side for a long time, and thus knows much about the goings-on. He is trying to protect you and your sister."

Frida registered the events in her mind. It was all a blur, a non-descript haze, but nonetheless, a question emerged from the murky depths.

"Where is my sister?"

Regan walked over to the top of the staircase and peered over the banister.

"She is supposed to be in her room," he said, turning back. "But Lucy was very unwilling to do so."

Frida ran over, ignoring her heavy skirts, and demanded, "Show me."

The Eyrie obliged. He led her down the stone stairs and through a rough wooden door, behind which was a typical bedchamber: a desk, a nightstand, a closet.

But Frida was overjoyed to see it, for sitting at the desk was a Zafara, writing on a sheet of parchment. She looked up when her door opened and her eyes grew wide.

"Frida?" she whispered.

Laughing gaily, Frida skipped over and hugged her sister's small, thin body. Regan smiled slightly as he watched the reunion of the sisters, but broke the happiness of the moment.

"My father's coming," he said quickly. "Hide, Lucy."

The Zafara was evidently frightened, but she nevertheless jumped up and opened a trapdoor in the wooden panels of the floor.

"Goodbye, Frida. I shall hope all goes well," Lucy said, her eyes full of fear.

With a swish of her long, dark, hair, Lucy was gone. Frida blinked several times, for she could have sworn she just saw her sister disappear through the floorboards...

But she didn't have long to ponder. A knock, loud, harsh, and demanding, snapped her back to reality.

"Reginald," whispered Regan. "He's here..."

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Oct 21st
Regan swiftly turned around and headed toward the door, closely followed by Frida. He glanced back at Frida and motioned at her to hide somewhere. Frida looked around quickly and spotted a table with a tablecloth that hung all the way to the ground. Her heart pounding, she dove under the table and scrunched up into a little ball.

Frida could hear the door opening and Regan saying, "Ah, Father! I have been expecting you. Please, come in and make yourself at home."

Although Frida could not see Reginald's face, she could hear his harsh, grating voice as he croaked, "Where is the girl?"

Frida could imagine Regan having an unknowing look on his face to stall as long he could.

"Father, what are you talking about? As you know, I am the only one who lives in this humble abode."

Frida could hear a chair breaking as Reginald roared, "The girl I took this staff from! I must destroy her to carry out my plan! WHERE IS SHE?!"

Frida started shivering with uncontrollable fear as she heard Reginald's footsteps pound toward where she was hiding. Would he find her here?!

Regan quickly said, "Ah, that girl, Father. She's this way, please come quickly."

Frida let out a sigh of relief as she heard Regan guide his father away from where she was hiding. As soon as their footsteps faded completely, she leapt out from her hiding place and ran to where her sister was.

"Lucy! LUCY! You must open this trapdoor!" Frida cried in a small voice.

The Zafara tentatively opened the entrance to her hiding place and asked, "Frida! Is Reginald gone?"

Frida quickly nodded and proceeded to say, "But Regan's in danger! He's trying to lead his father away from us, but he's going to run into a dead-end soon. Lucy! Do you know any way to get the staff back?!"

Lucy's eyes seemed to widen at this question, and then she closed her eyes as she began to think. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes and smiled up at Frida.

"Frida. There is one way, but it will be dangerous. I cannot do it myself since Reginald will attack me upon seeing me. Will you be willing to carry out this plan of mine?"

Frida gulped down all her fears and slowly nodded.

"All right then. I'm going to tell you quickly so that you can catch up to Regan and Reginald. Listen carefully now..."

Author: cloudborne
Date: Oct 22nd
"...carefully sneak up behind Reginald. Don't make a sound, do you hear me? And when you feel the time is right, grab it and shout out 'lux impetum' as loud as you can."

"What will that do?" Frida questioned. But Lucy nodded her head hastily and disappeared beneath the floorboards once again.

Frida rose, brushing her curly hair away from her bright blue eyes. With as much stealth as possible, the Kyrii crept toward the doorway that led to the separate room. Back pressed against the right side, Frida tilted her head so she was able to see into the room. Reginald's back was turned toward her and he held the golden staff in his talons. Regan saw Frida but quickly averted his gaze.

"I do not see her." Reginald's voice was low with frustration. "I do not see her or that lady-in-waiting. Regan, have you deceived me?"

"No, Father." Regan shook his head. "I would never."

"Then where is she?"

Regan opened his mouth, but then closed it. "Again, I am unsure. She must have escaped --"

"'Must have escaped...'" Reginald chuckled, glaring at the floor. Suddenly he raised his head, the staff glowing a bright red. Whipping it around, he struck Regan across the face with such force that the Eyrie stumbled back against the wall. Charging Regan, Reginald picked up the staff and rammed it into his throat, pinning his back to the wall. "I am very, very disappointed in you."

Regan began to choke. It was at that moment when something propelled Frida. Her fright, anxiety, and worry vanished as she made her way behind Reginald. As if on impulse, she reached for the end of the staff.

"Lux impetum!"

Reginald looked at Frida with shock. He knocked her to the ground out of pure reflex and raised the staff to strike her. But he was stopped by the blinding white light that was illuminating from the staff. The intensity of the light grew brighter and brighter until Reginald could not see.

What happened after was a blur. Frida was knocked to the ground but had no cuts or bruises. Regan was forced back against the wall but felt no pain. Reginald, however, fell from weakness.

***

The ballroom's atmosphere was drastically different than what it had been an hour ago. No one was dancing or chatting. The wealthy elite were circled around the outside of the ballroom, consoling the ones who had fallen to Reginald's attack. In the centre of the floor, Jesper lay cradling his leg, which had been terribly broken from the blast Reginald directed toward him. King Hagan knelt beside him, gloom consuming his soul.

"Frida. He said he was to take her..." Jesper murmured desperately. "We need to find her."

"Jesper, I am so sorry," King Hagan implored, his voice incredibly hushed. "I could have stopped this. I should have. I didn't know what to do."

"But Frida!" Jesper cried out. "She's not..."

Silence overcame him. The sound of footsteps echoed.

Her tiara was crooked atop hair tangled turquoise hair. Her white gloves were tattered and uneven as was her once pristine ball gown. Her emerald-coloured fur was a splotchy russet and full with dirt and petals... and yet she was still the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.

"Frida..." Jesper whispered in bewilderment.

Frida pushed by the elite Neopians and rushed to her cousin, kneeling down and throwing her arms around his neck. Jesper embraced her as well, at a loss for words. King Hagan stood up and was beaming. He too hugged Frida after she comforted her beloved cousin.

"Guards!" King Hagan roared. "Seize him!"

Frida glanced up and saw guards drawing their swords. Regan had entered the ballroom, having been recognised by the King of Brightvale.

"No, don't! Regan saved me!" Frida cried out.

The King stood in shock. "Frida, is this true?"

"Yes! He distracted Reginald from Lucy and me," Frida protested. "He's surely a hero."

King Hagan nodded and motioned for his guards to put away their weapons. In turn Regan walked to the centre of the ballroom, facing the King.

"Regan," King Hagan spoke in the most dignified voice. "Forgive me for exiling you. I had no right to."

"It's all right, Uncle." Regan grinned, but Frida could tell that inside he was beaming.

Jesper stood, hobbling on one leg. He faced Frida. "Where is Lucy?"

"She's still too weak to move out from her hiding space," Frida responded. "But she has her staff back."

"Whatever happened to Reginald?"

"I unleashed a spell that made him disappear."

Jesper gawked. "To where?"

She laughed. "Who knows? But let's just say he's once again exiled."

Suddenly the orchestra began to play. Frida did not notice as Regan approached her. She was expecting him to apologise for kidnapping her or to thank her for saving him. But instead he smiled and asked, "May I have this dance, my lady?"

Frida looked at Jesper, who smirked. "Certainly, Regan." She smiled warmly.

Regan led Frida onto ballroom floor, and the other dancing couples followed. A sense of relief had magically swept over the ballroom, which was evident through the sudden joy, knowing that finally there was now peace.

And everyone danced as the violins played sweet music.

The End

Author: crazy_4_sushi
Date: Oct 22nd



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