The Prince and the Chosen
By Queenie Z

It was a beautiful sunny day, the kind of day when the flowers are in full bloom and the clouds are as white and fluffy as pillows. The sun shone brightly on the meadow, where a girl cheerfully strolled along a dirt path, taking in the sights and sounds of a lovely day.

Now if only she could find her friends.

"I wonder where Lloyd and the others are," said Colette to herself. She wanted all of her friends to see this beautiful place!

She stopped and crouched on her legs, admiring the beauty of a butterfly perched on a ruby red tulip. It looked so light and careless as it fed on the nectar within the blossom. This is, until a low rumbling noise scared it away.

"Wait!" Colette cried, "Come back!" After loosing sight of the butterfly, she turned towards the noise. Was that… a carriage coming this way?

As Colette quickly moved – and subsequently tripped – out of the way, the pearly white carriage, complete with two cream-colored horses, ground to a halt.

"Ow…" she murmured, picking herself up. She looked at the carriage in awe. Who in the world could be riding in it? Suddenly, she saw a familiar face in the diver's seat.

"Genis?"

Genis took off his driver's cap and waved it at her. "Hiya Colette!" he said.

"When did you get…"

"Oh, it's not mine," he grinned, "it's the Prince's!"

Colette tilted her head. Who was he talking about? "A prince?"

"You'll see!" Genis stood up and called into the carriage. "Hey guys, open it up!"

The door opened, and out stepped Regal and Zelos, dressed in matching suits. Regal produced a scroll from a leather bag he was carrying and opened it with no trouble, despite wearing handcuffs.

"His Royal Highness, the Prince," he began, "cordially requests the presence of – "

" – my cute little Colette – " interrupted Zelos.

Regal gave him a look before continuing. "…requests the presence of Lady Colette Brunel at the royal ball and banquet."

A ball? A banquet? A prince, inviting her? This was all too good to be true! "I… me?"

"Of course!" said Zelos, offering his hand, "Now hop into the carriage, hunny!"

Giggling nervously, Colette reached out to take the gloved hand. Why not? Her friends were taking her to a ball! With a prince! What warm-blooded female wouldn't accept?

"No! Stop!" cried a distant voice from behind them. "That won't do at all!"

Genis tipped his hat to the sky, "Well, look who's here!" he said.

Out of the sky came three small dots. The dots grew larger and larger, until they turned into the figures of Raine and Sheena with wings and Presea gliding on a shining star.

…Wait, when did Sheena and the Professor get wings?

They landed in front of the carriage. The Professor sported a blue gown and a tiny set of fairy wings. Sheena was wearing a red gown and a matching set of wings. Presea, however, was dressed as the klonoa mascot that was so popular in Altamira.

"Professor? Sheena?" asked Colette, utterly baffled.

Raine frowned. "Colette, do you really think you can go to the ball looking like that?"

The girl looked down at her outfit. The blue and white dress she wore had proved comfortable for traveling in, but it certainly wasn't fancy enough for a royal ball.

"Honestly, I thought you'd have better manners than that," Raine sighed.

"Yeah, how's the Prince gonna ask you to dance with him when you look like that?" added Sheena.

"Wahoo, wahoo," said Presea.

"I – I guess…" said Colette, turning pink with embarrassment. "I'm sorry – but, where am I going to get a dress?"

"Leave it to us!" chimed Sheena, putting a hand to her chest. "We're your fairy godfamily, after all."

"Fairy godfamily?"

"Yes," Raine stated, "I'm your fairy godmother."

"I'm your fairy godsister," Sheena said. She then pointed to Presea. "And she's your fairy godklonoa."

"Loople-doo," chanted Presea.

Colette's eyes widened. "Wow, I didn't know you all were fairies!"

"You learn something new every day," Raine said, magically producing a wand. "Now, hold still." She pointed it at Colette, saying, "English muffin, crocodile, ballerina, bathroom tile!"

Suddenly, a blue light shot out of the wand's tip. Colette cringed as the light hit her, however, she was surprised to find that it didn't hurt her. When she opened her eyes, she found herself clothed in a blue silk dress, matching gloves, blue slippers, and an arrangement of large, heavy peacock feathers on her back and crowning her head.

"Umm…" she said, fingering the feathers on her head. Truth be told, she wasn't quite sure about this…

"Whoa, hold on," said Sheena. "We don't want to turn her into a bird!" She materialized her own wand and pointed it at the feathered girl. "Let's try something else – Chicken salad, kitty cat, fortune teller, baseball bat!"

This time, a red light hit Colette. Now her clothing consisted of a red leather corset, a miniskirt of the same material and color, knee-high boots, and gold bracelets lining her arms and wrists. She blushed, covering her partially exposed chest with her arms. So much skin showing…!

Raine angrily turned to Sheena. "Well, we don't want to turn her into a hussy, either!"

"I think she looks great!" shouted Zelos from beside the carriage. This prompted a wave of the Professor's wand to quite literally zip his mouth shut.

"Wahoo, wahoo!" exclaimed Presea, who brandished – was that a pow hammer? Colette braced herself as the klonoa girl tossed it at her.

Squeak! Suddenly, she found herself in a large teddy bear costume, complete with a large red bow. She blinked a little bit at her new attire. Sure, it was really cute, but…

The other fairies dropped their heads into their hands. "This isn't getting us anywhere," said Raine. "Alright, let's just combine our powers and see what we get." She readied her wand and prompted the others to do the same. "On three – one… two… three!"

The fairies' magic (plus pow hammer) combined to form a bright, sparkly explosion of magic as it hit Colette. She could feel the enchantment throughout her as her clothes changed once again. A beautiful golden ball gown, complete with glitter and lace, golden slippers that sparkled like stars, and to top it all off, a gold tiara encrusted with the finest of gemstones – rubies, emeralds, and sapphires – atop her head magically formed onto her body.

She looked at herself and gasped. It was so pretty! And it fit her perfectly, too! She looked up at her godfamily, who all nodded in approval.

"You look stunning, Colette," said Raine.

"Wahoo, loople-doo," agreed Presea.

"Yeah, now the Prince is sure to notice you!" said Sheena. "Who knows – maybe he'll ask you to marry him!"

Colette turned bright red and squeaked. "M-marry me…?"

Sheena laughed. "Don't worry, Colette, I bet once you see him, you'll be begging he asks!"

She scrubbed at her face. She was way too young to get married! And even if this prince did ask her… what if she didn't love him?

"Hey, Colette, we'd better get going now," called Genis. "The horses are getting bored."

Colette turned around and saw that the horses were, indeed, bored. Or they looked bored, as far as horses go.

"Run along now, Colette," said Raine, gently pushing her in the direction of the carriage. "You're going to be late if you don't hurry."

"Y – yeah," she agreed, lifting her dress' skirt above the ground and trotting over to the carriage. Regal and Zelos took each of her hands and helped her into it. As the men shut the door and hopped onto the back, Colette looked out the tiny window and towards the three fairies. She waved to them with an embarrassed smile, and, after they waved in return, they flew off into the distance, leaving the white carriage to slowly move towards the mountainous horizon.

---

As the carriage crawled along the dirt highway, the sky turned shades of pink and purple. Evening was falling, but they still saw no sign of any sort of castle. These rolling hills and valleys seemed almost endless to Colette, who sat inside the horse-drawn vehicle.

The carriage's inside was, to her at least, even more beautiful than the outside. The seats were red velvet and lined with gold. The walls were gold as well, bearing designs and patterns unlike anything she had seen in her life. Even the window's curtain was elegant; red and gold silk covered the round piece of glass, dancing over it while the rest of the vehicle wobbled and bounced along the ground. The entire thing was fit for a princess.

A princess… Colette drew back the curtain and looked out into the twilight. Why was she here? She wasn't a princess – and even though she used to be the Chosen, now she was just plain old Colette. At least, that was what Lloyd had told her.

Come to think of it, throughout all of these crazy, yet wonderful events, she hadn't seen Lloyd anywhere. She had seen everyone else, but surely her best friend, the one who had held her when she couldn't feel, the one who had rescued her more times than she could count, would show up somewhere. Things just didn't seem – well, complete – without him around.

She thought about this for a moment, then blushed. Why was she blushing? Sure, he was kind, he was funny, and he had a big heart, but even if she did have feelings for him, he wouldn't…

Suddenly, she spotted something rising out of the horizon. It was a castle – even bigger than the one in Meltokio! Her eyes widened as the carriage crept closer and closer to the towering structure. This had to be the place, she thought to herself – this was where the prince she had heard so much about was living.

---

The carriage stopped between a luxurious fountain and the grand marble staircase of the castle. The purple twilight set the entire castle aglow, like a giant lavender jewel. Already, hundreds of people – kids and adults, girls and boys, humans, elves, and even half-elves – were making their way into the giant set of doors leading to the ball room.

The beauty of the castle hypnotized Colette. She had no idea such a grand place even existed!

Suddenly, the door opened, and Zelos and Regal extended their hands to her.

"We're here, hunny!" said Zelos. She took both of their hands, still entranced by the scene before her.

"Watch your step," warned Regal. After nearly tripping out of the carriage, she turned to her friends.

"Zelos, Regal," she said, "why… why am I here? I'm not a princess or anything…"

Zelos laughed. "Not a princess? Let me tell you something, my lady," he raised her hand to his lips and kissed it in a gentlemanly fashion, "as long as you seek your heart's desire, you can be anyone's princess!"

The girl blushed and smiled. She didn't quite understand what they meant, but in the end, she knew that they were only trying to make her feel special. "Thank you," she said before turning around to walk up the stairs and join the crowd inside.

When she made her way through the crowd and into the ballroom, she gasped. It was the biggest room she had ever seen! The floor was made of elegantly carved marble, the walls of gleaming alabaster, and long curtains of golden silk draped the high ceiling, meeting up at the glittering chandelier that hung from the center. There were tables lining the ballroom full of delicacies that she had never seen before, and the sweet sounds of an orchestra echoed off of the walls. There were couples dancing on the ballroom floor. Kings and queens, princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses and even the castle servants performed elegant waltzes in time to the music. It was so beautiful – if only she could find someone to dance with…

Suddenly, the sound of blaring trumpets startled Colette out of her enchantment. All eyes turned towards the back of the ballroom, where a man wearing a rather silly collar and a red suit stood. "It's the Prince! The Prince is coming!" murmured the crowd to each other.

This made Colette's heart race. Finally, she was going to see this prince that everyone had been talking about so much! Was he handsome? Would he be tall and dashing, like the ones Colette had read about as a little girl?

The room went quiet as the man cleared his throat.

"His Royal Highness," he boomed, "Prince Lloyd Dimitri Irving!"

Wait… did she hear that right?

And, right on cue, her best friend stumbled out of the doorway behind them, wearing a handsome white suit with colored badges of all different kinds. After catching his breath, he waved to the crowd.

"Sorry I'm late!" he said sheepishly. This was received by a thunderous applause.

"Lloyd?" squeaked Colette. Every head in the ballroom turn to her. Oh no, this wasn't good…

Lloyd noticed her and waved. "Hey, Colette!" he greeted, just as he would every day.

What on earth was going on? Lloyd, a prince? She ran over to meet him.

"Lloyd!" she said, "I didn't – I never knew you were a prince!"

He looked at her, arching one of his eyebrows. "You mean I never told you?"

"Well, I don't…" suddenly, the music and dancing started up again. Only Colette and the "prince" stood still amongst the crowd.

He scratched the back of his head and said, "Anyway… I'm glad you could make it. It just wouldn't be the same without you."

Colette was confused. "But Lloyd, I'm not supposed to be here! I'm not a princess, I'm not a queen; I'm just a normal girl!"

"But Colette," said Lloyd with a frown, "you're still special to me. That's why I had this party… so I could see you."

Her mouth hung open as she turned a deep red. This was… all this was for her? Lloyd had done all of this just for her? This was unreal…

"I… I… I…" She hung her head, looking down at her feet. Why was she stammering? Sure, she was embarrassed at all of this attention, but that wasn't quite it. There was something about Lloyd when he said that. Something she had noticed, but had never truly seen in him until now. He was handsome.

Colette yelped as she felt his hand grab hers. Slowly, she looked up at his warm smile and richly colored brown eyes.

"So, since everyone else has already started," he said, "why don't you dance with me?"

Her eyes widened. "B-but Lloyd, I can't dance! I'm too clumsy…"

"Don't worry!" reassured Lloyd as he placed his other hand around her waist. "It's easy to do, and if you fall, I'll catch you."

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as he led the dance. Colette followed his lead, her knees wobbly. She felt completely defenseless as Lloyd's hands and feet guided her movement. He had completely reached into her heart and put her under his spell.

Suddenly she noticed that her body was leaning against his, her head resting on his chest. Colette looked up, breaking out of her hypnosis, and pulled away from him.

"I-I'm sorry!" she squeaked. So embarrassing…! However, Lloyd just smiled and pulled her back to him.

"It's okay," he said, "I don't mind."

She couldn't resist any longer. Colette melted into his arms with a happy sigh. Her heart was about to burst with joy as she once again let herself be engulfed by a sea of affection for the one who held her. No matter how hard she tried to hide it from herself, no matter how long she denied it, in the end, she realized, she had fallen hard for Lloyd.

"…Colette?"

She looked up again, her cheeks rosy. "Yes?"

"There's something I need to talk to you about," he said, matter-of-factly. "Follow me."

Colette felt a tinge of disappointment as they separated. But Lloyd still held onto her hand, leading her through the crowd and into a beautiful exotic garden, lined with flowers of all colors, trees of different shapes and sizes, and elegant marble fountains. Night had fallen, and the light of the moon and the stars seemed to make the entire world glow.

"It's so pretty…" gasped Colette. "Where did you…?"

Lloyd shrugged. "Oh, I've always had it," he said nonchalantly before stopping near one of the fountains. "But that's not the point right now. Colette… I need your help."

She blinked. "M-me? How can I help you?"

"Well, uh, you see…" he looked upwards, just as he always did when he was thinking about something. "I need you to help me break a curse."

She gasped. "A curse?" Of course she wanted to help him – she would do anything if it meant he could be safe!

"Yeah," he said with a nod. "I can't leave this castle. And, more than anything, I want to travel the world… with you."

Again, the girl blushed. That would be so wonderful… "How can I help…?"

"Well… they said it can only be broken by true love's first kiss – "

Colette let out a high-pitched squeak. Did he just say "kiss"!

"A k-k-k…"

"I mean, it's okay if you don't… but…"

"N-no!" said Colette, "it's not that! I've… never kissed anyone…"

"Actually," said Lloyd, "I haven't either…"

"Really?"

"Yeah. I've been saving it for you."

Could it possibly be true? Lloyd Irving, the boy she had unwittingly admired for so long, wanted to kiss her? How she desperately wanted this to be real! Her eyes wet with tears of joy, she rested her hand on his cheek and closed her eyes. He then took her into his arms and pulled her against him. Finally, when she could no longer stand the emotions that had filled her heart, she leaned forward.

Lloyd…

---

Colette slowly opened her eyes. The garden, she realized, was gone, replaced by a tiny room. Lloyd was also gone.

She nearly began to cry. Where did it go? Where did he go? Suddenly she heard a voice.

"Colette? Are you up?"

It was Sheena. That meant this was the inn at Sybak where they were staying.

"So… it was all a dream…" said Colette sadly as she sat up in her bed. The memory of her dream world, of the horses and carriages, the dresses and the fairies, the ball, the dancing, and Lloyd, seemed so real to her.

Sheena poked her head in from around the corner. "What's wrong? Did you have a bad dream?"

"No!" she quickly said, blushing, "It was… the most wonderful dream I've ever had."

The ninja, half dressed and grinning from ear to ear, said, "Really? Care to spill the details?"

"Um… okay. But please don't tell anyone else!" After Sheena sat down beside her bed, Colette began her story.

"Well, it all started like this…"

The End