As it turned out the Alligator Lady and her son left not long after Adela and August disappeared. The man did everything possible searching for all his children and wife, but had little luck until August and the prince came knocking on his door in the village where he had become a blacksmith.
With the help of Kass's position he eventually found his son at an orphanage. His wife had passed away not long after she had ran away. The man took his son and went back to living in his cottage, but visited the castle and his daughter often.
Upon one of those visits he met the head kitchen woman. Gretel was instantly taken to the man who had had so many troubles and he was quite taken with her pastries and sweet disposition. It was not a surprise to anyone when they announced their marriage.
August and Adela were happy to welcome her into their family and all too soon started calling her mother. Kass wasn't as thrilled, but after seeing how happy Gretel and the man were he consented to let her go and live in the cottage and help take care of the little boy whom she adored.
They eventually also had their own child, a bouncy little girl that proved to be a handful, but everyday brought a smile to their parents faces. They lived in comfort with the money Kass had given as a wedding gift and that which was given as a large payment for Gretel's services during his lifetime.
August also made a rather nice life for himself. First he traveled back to the little house in the wood and collected the rings that had been forgotten and sold them off. With the money he set up his own bakery in a small village not far from the cottage he had grown up in.
On his last day in the castle before leaving to open his bakery a particular serving girl with red, puffy, teary eyes clung to him as she hugged him good-bye. As it turns out the knight she always flirted with and chatted to was her brother-in-law and she had only done it to make the handsome, silly young man jealous.
August, being the gentleman, offered her his kerchief and swept her off her feet right there and took her with him. He proclaimed she would no longer ever work as a serving girl and she would no longer flirt with any man to make him jealous, for he would have the other man's head on a platter.
They were soon married and she helped him in the bakery as much as she could, but August always wound up making a fool of himself and making mistakes as he was too distracted by her. Fortunately his mistakes only made his food better and soon enough he had a very successful shop.
Eventually came the day when she could no longer help him in the bakery and delivered the first of five children into their growing family. Living so close to August's father, they visited him very often.
And then there was Kass and Adela. Kass and Adela were married months later after the proposal in the cottage's garden amongst blossoming flowers and delicate butterflies. And Adela's kind heart and sweetness protected her from the harsh criticisms of the noble world and Kass's protectiveness of her kept those that hated her from speaking out.
Adela gave the cottage back to her father and moved into the castle to live with Kass. It was trying at times for her as she learned of all the problems in the world, but the gardens were always a place of relief. Kass even surprised her one evening by placing a scarecrow in the middle of them.
She learned the ways and privileges of becoming the future queen and when the time came she was ready.
Two years after they had wed, Kass's father suddenly died. Stormy seas were ahead for the couple and it seemed as if their love hadn't been strong enough after all. Being a king was hard for Kass and Adela seemed to get the brunt of all his unhappiness. But they pulled through and their love was stronger then ever when a bubbly Adela interrupted a particular serious meeting with the king of a greedy bordering kingdom with gleeful giggles and a glowing face, she had practically burst into the room and skipped over to her husband and delivered the news that she was with child. Meeting forgotten all Kass could do was laugh and gather her in his arms. The king seeing the happiness of the young couple grinned and signed a treaty of peace and decided to try to get land from his other border.
The queen lived to see three of her grandchildren enter the world before she too passed on.
Kass relived all the images he had seen in his mind with the old witch and ever so much more. Adela was more than just a wife to him for all his life.
They had twelve children and they all had children of their own.
"Grandma?" A little girl with familiar golden curls stepped up to a weathered looking woman with white hair and blue eyes. She sat in a rocking hair and was ready for a nap after recounting a tale with an evil stepmother, a prince, a raven, and a young man and woman.
"Did they live happily ever after?" The little girl's expression clearly told the woman this was the most important question in the entire world.
"The prince and the woman."
A wrinkled man who was hunched but didn't need the support of a cane walked into the room. "Of course they did. They lived very happily ever after." He walked over to the old woman and the young girl. His honey eyes twinkled with a secret.
"Good." Giving a hug and kiss to both of her grandparents she then turned and skipped back out of the room.
"You lied." The old woman glanced up at her husband.
"How so?" With a raised brow he looked down at her.
"You said they lived very happily ever after…there's still time to make that ever after stop…I saw the way that Ms. Gretchen looked at you yesterday. She still has some color in her hair. You probably want to leave me for a younger woman." She pouted up at him, but was clearly teasing.
The man laughed. "You're an angel, Adela, age hasn't changed that. I still haven't seen a more beautiful woman." Bending he placed a kiss on her lips.
"Truly? You still think I'm beautiful?"
"Have I lied to you yet?"
"No, I suppose not." She stood, slowly, and with help from her husband. "Good. I was afraid you would ruin our fairy tale."
"I wanted to go sit in the garden for a little while…are you tired?"
"Not any more."
They slowly made their way into the gardens and sat on a stone bench and simply sat in silence looking out over the many blooming flowers, protected by a scarecrow with a raven on its shoulder nipping at its arm.
The man held onto the woman's hand with a ring on her finger. It had a ruby in it surrounded by onyx.
"I love you, Kass…" Adela laid her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes.
"And I love you, Adela…" He placed a kiss on her forehead.
And they truly did live happily ever after.
((Well I hope you all enjoyed reading it Thank you to everyone whose commented I really appreciate it:) And thanks especially to InChrist-Billios for pointing out the corrections. ))