(tears) Well, this is the end! I'd like to thank everyone who came along with me for the ride, and reviewed my work! You are all my heros!
fell4adeadguy: My finals aren't till January, luckily. But, if you ever need someone to rant to, feel free to come to me. (Yay for rhymes!)
Tiger Lily21: Thank you. :cD It was just because this chapter is so long, I just wanted to get something out there, even something short.
UruvielTruviel: Yes. Her father unfortunately has typical OPFS (Over Protective Father Syndrom), but he may warm up to Robbie. Here is the update, my last one for this story. (cries)
naughty little munchkin: Yes, apologies all around for the shortness and really, lack of plot drivingness, but I have this weird obsession with my stories being an even number of chapters, so instead of breaking this chapter into two, I decided to add an extra chapter of fluff andLia's father. And as for Claire's powers: I didn't really go into detail because as a Fey, Lark doesn't really like to give out too much information about the Faerie court. Basically, there was a Fey up there in Faerie land who didn't like the way the Fey King was running things. So, she(the nameless Fey) gave some of her powers to Clarissa, hoping to cause a little stir down in the Human world so that when the Faeries all came to try and straighten it out, she(again, the nameless Fey) could take over the Faerie court. She failed and was captured, but not before she gave Claire the powers and Claire started turning people into chairs and vice versa. Hope that cleared it up a little more for you. :cD
This story might be at an end, but I already have an idea for my next one, so I hope to see you guys around! Oh, and this is a Fairy tale, so I'm entitled to use that ending. XcD
Love, hugs, kisses, and lollipops
Chapter Sixteen: Happy Endings
"This is ridiculous, Robbie," Lia whispered emphatically as they crouched behind a stone column, waiting for a troop of guards to jog past. They had made it past most of the guards and were now waiting outside the corridor that lead to the throne room. Unfortunately, the only thing between them and Clarissa was a hallway lined with portraits and filled with guards.
"Do you have a better idea?" he asked irritably, looking at her with a raised eyebrow. "I'd love to hear it."
Lia glared right back. "I still don't think that storming the throne room and engaging my sister, not to mention all of her soldiers, to remove from her a pool that could be heaven-knows-what is the smartest move."
Robbie blew out his breath in a noisy gust and ran his fingers through his hair. "Fine. What do you suggest we do, then?"
Lia worried her lower lip. That habit was becoming increasingly endearing to him, even now in his annoyed state.
"Maybe I can talk to her," Lia said, drawing his attention up from her lips to her eyes. "You know, try and reason with her."
"Like that will work," Robbie snorted. "As I recall, you've already tried that. Twice."
Lia's lips tightened into a thin line, but then she sighed in acceptance. "You're probably right."
They crouched in silence for a few more moments.
"How about we do half of your plan, and half of mine?" she suggested finally, drawing his focus back to her.
"If you get us into the throne room, I'll try and distract Claire. Then you can start looking for what her pool might be."
Robbie nodded once.
"Okay," he agreed. "I guess we'll do that."
Then he pulled her into him and kissed her quite soundly.
"What was that for?" Lia asked breathlessly when he finally pulled away.
Robbie shot her a cheeky grin. "I just wanted too."
Robbie stood and began walking towards the double doors that lead to the throne room.
"Hey!" a guard shouted, and they rushed towards him. Without even breaking stride, Robbie managed to disarm them all and run a couple through. He continued down the hall.
Lia followed behind him, occasionally stepping over broken chairs and empty armour and shook her head. She was going to have some major reconstruction to do with all these chairs gone.
When the hallway was clear, Robbie turned to Lia, panting slightly.
After you, he motioned. Lia nodded and pushed open the doors to the throne room.
"Claire!" she bellowed as she walked forward. Robbie walked behind her, sword flying, disarming anyone who came up behind her. The rest of the court hurried to get out of the throne room. Robbie let them pass.
"You!" Clarissa said, standing up from her seat. Her perfect face was marred by a vicious scowl. "I should have known that you wouldn't just stay in that tower. You must always come back to bother me. You were always a thorn in my side."
"Not as much as you were a thorn in mine, dearest sister," Lia responded acidly. Robbie punched the last guard in the face and faded back into the woodwork, waiting for his opportunity to disarm Claire.
"Ha!" Claire sneered. "Does it bother you that I'm finally better than you at something?" She laughed cruelly, and stepped down from the dais to shake a finger in Lia's face. "You were always the perfect little daughter, so sweet and unassuming, all the time taking everything from me."
"What did I ever take from you?" Lia shouted, her hands thrown up in the air. "All I wanted was to be left alone! It was you who was always interrupting me and bothering me with your petty problems."
"LIES!" Clarissa shouted, her face a mottled red. "When I was younger, Father doted on me, but after you were born, all he ever talked about was how perfect Annalia was." Her voice turned mocking. "'Oh, look how Lia can grow those plants. Oh, look how pretty Lia is. Oh, Lia Lia Lia.' The servants loved you more than they ever loved me! Then you stole away my fiancé! He was mine!"
"I never wanted him! He was after me!" Lia defended herself.
"It would have only been a little while before you would covet the crown as well," Clarissa continued as if she hadn't heard Lia. "I know you would! And Father would have gladly given it over to you, you selfish brat!"
"Me? Selfish? Listen, you silly twit-" Lia exclaimed.
"But now that I have the magic, I will banish you to the far corners of the Earth so that even the Faeries can't find you!" Clarissa screamed, holding her hands out in front of her.
"Ack!" Lia said, and ducked as a whiz of magic sailed over her head.
"Stop moving!" Clarissa said, sounding petulant. The emerald clasp in her hair glowed a sickly green. Suddenly, everything clicked together in her head.
"Robbie! Now! The barrette!" Lia yelled, dodging another bolt of magic. This one made the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
"Stay still so I can fry you, you stupid cow!" Clarissa screamed.
Robbie had been creeping up behind her during the exchange between the sisters and was now poised behind Claire, reaching to grab the barrette.
"Oh, no you don't!" Claire shrieked, whirling around to face him. A bolt of lightning shot out of Clarissa's hands, and Robbie instinctively threw up the sword to block it.
The force of the blast knocked him back a couple of feet, but he shook his head groggily and stood back up. When he raised his sword, however, he found that only the hilt remained. The blade lay in shattered pieces around him.
"Just stay there, lover boy," Clarissa sneered, and waved her hand. Instantly, a cage grew out of the floor and shut him in.
"Hey!" he said, banging on the bars.
Claire blew a kiss at him.
"What are you doing?" Lia asked incredulously.
"Well, since you stole my fiancé, I'm going to steal your boyfriend," Claire said, with a triumphant smile on her face.
"You are going to marry him?" Lia asked disbelievingly.
"Of course not! But there are other things…" Claire levelled an earthly look at Robbie, and he couldn't help but shudder.
"No!" Lia shouted at her.
"Shut up," Claire said with a wave of her hand. Instantly, a blow to her chest threw Lia back several feet.
"Ooo!" Claire squealed. "That was fun!" She threw another blast at Lia, who had made it to her knees, which knocked her back again.
"That was for being prettier than me." A blast. "That was for being smarter than me." Another blast. "That's for stealing my fiancé."
Lia lay on the floor, feeling bruised and winded and quite defeated. Her hand came to rest on a metal breastplate leftover from one of the chair soldiers.
"It's been nice seeing you again, dear," Clarissa mocked, aiming for a final blow.
"Go screw yourself," Lia mumbled threw swollen lips. She rolled onto her back and brandished the breastplate in front of her.
The magic shattered the breastplate in her hands, but most of it managed to get reflected back to Claire, knocking her back into the bars of Robbie's cage.
Robbie had watched the brutal battering of Lia, feeling utterly helpless. His sword lay in ruins around him, and without it, he was nothing. He picked up a piece about four inches long, the only piece big enough to be salvageable.
His hand tightened around the piece as he watched Lia lying, half dead, on the floor. He was barely aware of the blade cutting into the flesh of his hand.
Then he saw Lia roll over and Claire flying back towards him. Robbie immediately took advantage of the situation, grabbing her hair. A thought flashed briefly through his mind about slashing her throat for even laying a finger on Lia, but he put it out of his head. Instead, he cut off her hair, including the piece with the emerald clasp on it.
"Give that back!" Clarissa screeched.
"Or what?" he said, backing into the centre of his cage. He dropped the emerald on the floor and stomped as hard as he could on it.
"No!" Claire screamed. He heard a small crack and a flash of light shot out from beneath his foot. The light shone so brightly that Robbie had to look away.
When it finally died down, all that was left was a broken barrette, totally devoid of magic. The bars of his cage had disappeared, and if Robbie had been paying attention, he would have noticed that all the chairs that lined the hall had become men again.
Claire lay on the floor in strong hysterics. She was sobbing wildly and grasping her short blonde hair as if to pull it out.
But Robbie's attention was fully concentrated on Lia, lying limply on the floor.
"Lia?" he asked, brushing her hair back from her face. It was covered with little cuts from the shattered breastplate and a small trickle of blood leaked from one corner of her lip. There was a slice through the arm of her dress which was stained with blood. "Lia, answer me!"
"What?" she said irritably, her eyebrows drawing together in a frown.
Robbie smiled in relief, taking her annoyance as a sign that she was okay.
He helped her to sit up. She moaned, and shook her head, opening her eyes.
"I think I cut my lip," she said, pressing a finger to the inside of her mouth.
"Yes, you might have," he said, hugging her to him.
"But we won, right?" she said, smiling at him.
"Yeah, we won," he smiled back.
"Good God, Robbie, your hand!" Lia exclaimed.
Robbie held up his palm, examining the cut that gouged across his palm. Lia was already ripping her hem.
"Here," she said, tying the strip of cloth around his hand. "I need some Retrina; that will help the healing. I know. I used it on your shoulder. Does it hurt a lot? Can you move your fingers? If you have cut your tendons, I'll be very put out with you-"
"Lia," Robbie interrupted, "I'm fine."
They sat there, smiling at each other, quite content.
"Put her in the Western Tower, and lock the door," a voice commanded. Lia looked over to see her father striding confidently into room.
"Lia!" he said, rushing over to her side. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," she said.
"Well, I see you've ripped your dress yet again," he said, but his stern face was lit with a smile.
"Yes, well," she stammered.
"Go with Guthra and get cleaned up," her father urged. "We'll talk when you're feeling better."
"I told you, I'm fine," she said, but she allowed her father and Robbie to lift her to her feet. Guthra took her arm.
As she began to walk away, though, she turned to give her father a glare. "Be nice."
Cornelius turned to Robbie, and Robbie swallowed nervously.
"Your majesty," he said bowing.
Cornelius pulled him into a huge hug, surprising the heck out of Robbie.
"Thank you," he said, "thank you for saving my daughter." He pulled back and held Robbie's shoulders, giving him a look down.
"I think you will make an excellent son-in-law," he said. "Go get cleaned up and we will talk about your marriage and subsequent coronation."
"Yes, your majesty," he said, bowing, still in a slight state of shock. He let a page take him to a room.
But, later, dressed in a crisp new blue doublet with his hand freshly wrapped, doubts began to assail him. His sword was broken, lying in a million pieces on the throne room floor. Without that sword, he wasn't a hero; he was a commoner, little more than a kitchen boy.
He couldn't make Lia marry him. If that happened, he would be a prince, then a king! He knew nothing of being a king. He couldn't fight, or strategize, or do anything kinglike.
Robbie needed to talk to Lia.
He walked down the corridor and knocked on Lia's door.
"Come in!" Lia's voice floated through the door. He opened the door. Lia sat in a white chair by the window, dressed in a beautiful dress of deep green. Guthra sat in the chair opposite her, knitting a suspiciously small pink garment.
"Oh, Robbie!" she exclaimed, laying down the book that she had been reading and rushing over to him. "How is your hand? Did the healers put Retrina on it? If not-"
"My hand is fine," he said quietly. "How are you? Are you alright?"
"I'm quite fine, thank you very much. A bruise on my hip and a deepish cut on my shoulder from the breastplate, but not much else." She patted her hip softly. "It'll be fine in a couple of days."
"That's great," Robbie said sincerely.
"So, are you only here to talk about my welfare, or did something else provoke your visit?" Lia asked.
"I am concerned about your welfare," Robbie answered honestly, "but I did come to talk to you about something else."
The seriousness in his tone reflected on Lia. She nodded to Guthra.
"Please leave us for a few moments," she asked.
Guthra nodded. She gathered her knitting and opened the door to the hallway.
She turned back with a sparkle in her eye. "Now, I'ma gonna be right outside this door, okay?" and closed the door quietly behind her.
Lia turned back to Robbie with a slight chuckle, but then frowned when Robbie didn't join her.
"What did you come to tell me?" she asked, blinking her devastatingly beautiful grey eyes at him.
Robbie took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Every time he looked at her, he wanted her. If he was going to go through with this, he had to block her from his sight. "I want you to know that I don't hold you to your promise of marriage," he said in a big rush.
When he opened his eyes again, Lia stood there, her mouth open, speechless.
"Why?" she finally managed, sitting down on the bed.
"Because," he said, "I'm not the kind of man that you should be marrying." He looked down at his hands. "Without that sword, I'm nothing."
"That doesn't matter," Lia said softly. "I love you, not the sword."
"But I was better with the sword!" Robbie protested. "With it, I was a hero, a hero worthy of a princess."
Lia stood again, her mouth in a thin line. "When I met you, did you have the sword?"
Robbie looked at her, confused. "No."
"Did the sword change how you felt about me?"
"Of course not!"
"Do you think I'm shallow?"
"No!" Frustrated, Robbie ran his hand through his hair. "You are a princess. You should want to marry a prince."
"If I had wanted to marry a prince, I would have married that Prince Frederick," Lia said, exasperated. "I want to marry you."
"But I'm just a commoner," Robbie said stubbornly. "You have to marry someone of rank. It's what's best for the kingdom."
Lia smiled, a huge smile that tugged at his heart.
"You," she said, poking him in the chest, "are not a common man. In fact, you are more of a prince than I am a princess."
"What?" Robbie gaped at her.
"Not by blood, but by spirit," Lia continued, waving her hands about as she weaved her story. "You are strong, brave, loyal, courageous, intelligent-"
"You are those things too," he said softly, capturing her hands in his own.
"Exactly!" she said, beaming at him for making her point for her. "So, if we share the same attributes, it doesn't matter about our bloodlines." She tugged her hands out of his to put her arms around his neck.
"I don't even know how to be a king!" Robbie protested, but with Lia pressed up against him like she was, his protestations were getting weaker.
"I'll help you!" Lia said. "Do you think I've learned nothing about ruling a kingdom?"
"But you'll make an excellent king," she stated as if it were cold hard fact. "Even my father thinks so."
"Really?" Robbie asked, surprised.
"Really," Lia answered firmly. "Besides," she teased with a small pout. "If you break our engagement, you'll break my heart." She looked up at him with ridiculously sad eyes. "And you wouldn't want to break my heart and make me sad, would you?"
Robbie couldn't help himself. He laughed. And when Lia joined him, he laughed harder, and crushed her to him.
"No," he said, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, "I can never make you sad."
"Good," she said with a satisfied smile.
"Stubborn wench," he said, resting his forehead against hers.
"Only as stubborn as you," she retorted with a grin.
"When I'm king, we'll have to fix that," he joked.
"In your dreams," she said with a snort.
He laughed again and she joined him. Their laughter soon turned into loving kisses.
"It will be hard going," Robbie said between kisses.
"I would have never expected it to be easy," Lia responded. "But we love each other. And that's what will hold us together."
"What do you think your father is going to do to Clarissa?" Robbie asked.
"Well," Lia said with a wicked grin, "I told him about this cozy little cottage I knew of…"
Laughing, Robbie kissed her again and they both lived happily ever after.