Surprised to see us? Ka ka ka. :)
Yes, Poison Apple is over. That is, the actual story Poison Apple is over. What you are now looking at… is a super-sparkly-special "retelling" of the fic… as a fairytale.
Narroch: Ahahaha! We are so tricky! Well, we just couldn't let it go without one final fanfare... So here we are, back at the source. Inspiration for this fic came from many places, Disney being the most obvious. But where did Disney first start? Why, fairytales of course.
RR: SO… Yeah. This is essentially the entire three acts of Poison Apple crammed and condensed into under 10,000 words, with a few fairies, princes and spinning wheels tossed in for good measure. The reason for this…?
Well, there are kind of three reasons. ONE: As a thankyou to everyone for supporting Poison Apple during its run! 1930 reviews?! TWO: As something fun for Christmas. I dunno, fairytales do seem kind of Christmassy, maybe because so many of them are set in snow-covered European countries… THREE: I had always been planning to write this anyway, whenever we finished PA. This "fairytale" is, more or less, the faux-fairytale that L alludes to, calling his favourite, in Poison Apple itself.
This "retelling" borrows, like Poison Apple itself, heavily from mostly Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but you'll also see little bits and pieces here and there from Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, a little Rapunzel and Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen. Oh, and I used this as an excuse to read lots and lots of Brothers Grimm. Some of them are weird – and aside from the expected princes, princesses and dwarves, there is also a surprising amount of tales featuring ravens, tailors and guys called Hans. O.o
Narroch: So this entire chapter is written in the Grimm style, which is interesting to say the least. We hope you all like it, even if it is very different. Have a very merry Christmas, and happy holidays!
RR: Yup, consider this a Christmas present. Aren't we just delightful? :D
Poison Apple: Grimmer Than Grimm
Once upon a time, when things were simpler (perhaps more than they should have been), and yet somehow still more fantastical, shaped by magic mirrors and wicked spells, there was born a prince; and, at his birth, the beauty and perfection of this child was remarked upon, revelled in, celebrated.
The king and queen named the baby Light and ordered that there be a great celebration held to proclaim the news of the birth of the new prince all throughout the kingdom. Everyone in the entire kingdom came to the festivity to see the baby – the most glorious of these guests being three good fairies, who blessed the little prince with the gifts of beauty, intelligence and kindness.
These were not, however, the only gifts to be bestowed upon the child that day.
As the last glimmers of the final fairy's gift vanished, the room grew cold and dark, and whispers of fear swept throughout the crowd; gentry and peasantry alike huddled together as the damp, chilling scent of earth pervaded the air—
It smelt like death.
Which was what now presented itself before them. More or less.
A tall gangling creature, the length of its limbs almost grotesque, its face pale and gaunt, the skin stretched over sharp bones in some places and sunken in others. People shrank at the sight of the wild plumage jutting from its collarbone, like oily ravens' feathers, and at the bulging yellow eyes and the needle-like teeth framed by the wide black lips arranged into an amused, leering grin.
The word "Shinigami" passed through the crowd several times, following the movement of the creature up towards the cradle in which the tiny prince lay sleeping.
"Halt!" cried a knight, suddenly stepping between the beast and cradle. "What business have you here, creature of death?"
The Shinigami gave a grating little laugh.
"No need to be so alarmed," he replied with a grin wider still. "I heard all you humans making such a fuss about this baby, so I came to see it for myself."
"This celebration was to be attended by all the members of my kingdom," said the king coldly. "And that you are clearly not… Death God."
The Shinigami gave a shrug.
"I was bored. Besides, whatever you may think… We Shinigami are not evil. We just do our job."
This revelation did not seem to make anyone warm up to the creature any more, but he didn't seem remotely fazed; instead he stepped through the knight as easily as a shadow, at which a great many people gasped in horror and thus recoiled further, and went right over to the cradle to see the baby.
"Get away from my child, unholy demon!" the king shouted, at once taking up his sword.
"I wish to also give the prince a gift," said the Shinigami.
"My son should have no need for any gift you could give," the king snapped in reply.
"You base that opinion only on my appearance." The Shinigami grinned. "That's a very dangerous thing to do – judging people by the way they look."
"You are not a person," the king said coldly.
"No," agreed the creature. "I am a Shinigami – and so I give a Shinigami's gift to the prince." He raised his claw-like fingers above the cradle, his eyes gleaming. "Hear my words – the gift I give is the gift of death. That is, the ability to strike down whoever the prince sees fit. It is the borrowed power of a God – a Death God, that is."
At this proclamation, a cold unnatural wind swept through the chamber, extinguishing most of the torches. In the shadows, everyone could see black wings spread themselves from the peak of the creature's spiny back, and he flew away up through the ceiling, cackling gleefully as the queen took up her child and clutched him tightly to her.
The king simply lowered his sword and gazed sadly at the tiny baby – his own son – already cursed with being condemned as a murderer.
Years passed and the little prince grew; he was clever, beautiful and very kind, as the charms the three good fairies had placed on him at his birth protected and enhanced these virtues. At the age of seven he was betrothed to a princess with hair of sunshine gold and lips red as a rose, and it was agreed that they would marry upon reaching adulthood. He was very happy and beloved by all who knew him.
He did not know, of course, of the power which had been given to him by the Shinigami before he could remember. Since all who had been present saw the gift as a curse, did not know how the creature had meant for the prince to use the power, it was decided best that he not know of it at all and the king decreed that it never be spoken of again.
As happy as life was for the prince, however, the same could not be said for everybody within his father's kingdom; there was often disease, famine and crime rife to ravage the peasantry, and upon one such occasion, which happened to be the day of the prince's sixteenth birthday, a gang of thieves and bandits attacked the marketplace, stealing goods and money and both injuring and killing a great many innocent men, women and children. This terrible incident came as a great shock to the kingdom and the king ordered that the villains be rounded up to be brought before him for punishment. However, the king's knights could find only three of the bandits, who were imprisoned in the palace dungeons – the rest had escaped to neighbouring towns and kingdoms.
The young prince was greatly upset by the deaths of all the innocents and went to his chamber, at the top of the very highest tower, to be alone. He sat at his window and looked out over the kingdom which would one day be his.
"I wish," said the prince, "that there was way for people who do evil deeds to be punished, no matter where they run and hide."
"Ah, but there is such a way, prince," came an amused reply.
On turning, the prince found in his company a tall, grotesque creature, which grinned at him in sheer delight. Gasping in horror, the prince recoiled, but the beast seemed uninsulted.
"And you have always had the power to dispose of whoever you see fit," he went on. "At the celebration of your birth I personally gave you the gift."
"I have no such gift," the prince replied stiffly; but the Shinigami only laughed.
"No, it is only that you have no knowledge of it – thus have never used it. Have you ever wished anyone dead?"
"Of course not!" the prince cried. "I have never entertained such wicked thoughts!"
"Then that is why you have never known of your gift."
"You cursed me at my birth, demon, and have the audacity to call it a gift?" the prince snapped in disgust. "Leave me at once, or I shall call my father's knights to dispatch you to beyond the castle gates by force."
The Shinigami grinned broadly, showing his sharp fangs.
"If that is your wish, Your Highness," was his reply, and he disappeared as silently as he came, seeping through the stone wall like a ghost.
However, for the rest of the day, the prince thought upon the creature's words, and his promise of a sleeping, terrible power that he himself had given to the prince as a baby. As darkness fell, he saw from his window a procession of bereaved peasants by firelight, mourning the loss of mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters and grandparents to the hands of the murderers. Aggrieved by this scene, by the overwhelming kindness he possessed, he wished then for some peace to be brought to the mourners, for their anger to melt so that they could grieve fully for their loved ones.
He wished, only for a moment, in his own grief, that the murderers should die – as punishment for their terrible crimes.
He was tired, and forgot the creature's words; after the flaming procession had passed he retired to bed and slept soundly.
By morning the news was all throughout the kingdom and palace; every single one of the murders, both those captured in the dungeons and those who had escaped, had been found dead of natural causes that morning. There was great excitement amongst those who discussed the strange incident, but the prince was horrified and immediately returned to his chamber, bolting himself in.
"Did you think the power of which I spoke was not real?" asked the Shinigami, grinning at him from the window-ledge.
"I did not mean to kill those men!" cried the prince in anguish.
"If they are dead, then surely you must have," was the creature's reply.
"I-I don't want this power!" the prince implored. "It frightens me. Please take it back!"
"I cannot do that."
"Then why did you give it to me?!"
The Shinigami shrugged.
"Because I was bored," he replied eventually; and he spread his wings and flew away before the prince could say anything else.
The prince ran to the window and looked out, seeing the creature glide off over the kingdom and vanish into the clouds. From there, although the item of his pursuit was long gone, he could see the kingdom again, and see the same peasants who last night had grieved by firelight. Now, although clearly still saddened by their losses, they clutched at each other, rejoicing over the deaths of the murderers. At first the prince was sickened by the spectacle of them taking so much pleasure in the deaths of others, but found himself compelled to watch, and the longer he did so, the more the blow of his deed softened, and he, in his kindness, felt glad that he had been able to bring respite to those in mourning.
…After all, wasn't the kingdom better off without people like those murderers in it?
The prince sank into the chair before his mirror and looked at his reflection for a long time, but he saw only his beauty and not the ability to kill.
He saw exactly what everybody else saw.
The prince considered that, when his father died, he would be king, and that the kingdom would therefore become his. He decided that the kingdom could be a better place than it was – in fact, looking at it critically, right now it was actually somewhat… rotting. Those murderers he had disposed of were not the only ones of their kind – and there were others, too. Thieves. Blackmailers. Rapists.
All people Prince Light felt that he could really do without in his kingdom, when that time came; out of kindness towards those who were good and deserved to live a life that was not tainted by fear and tragedy.
It was obvious to him that others who had been present the day of the celebrations for his birth, particularly his parents, the king and queen, knew of the gift which had been given to him by the Shinigami, and had simply not told him about it; thus he decided that he would in turn keep both his knowledge and use of his powers secret. Instead he began a calculated and careful regime of wishing death upon those who he felt deserved it, and although the death toll of the guilty rose steadily higher, no suspicion was cast upon the prince, who was too good, kind and beautiful to contain the capacity to kill so callously and numerously.
Though, from that point on, he did not once consider that his actions were anything but correct – his responsibility, as the next-in-line for the throne – he found the secret hard to bear alone, and at length confided to his betrothed, the beautiful princess, though he knew he risked her repulsion.
But the princess clasped his hands and smiled.
"Then it has been you all along, my prince!" she said joyfully. "I am so glad to hear it from you. How good you are, my love."
"I did not expect you to welcome this news so happily," he replied, for he was indeed surprised.
"How could I look upon it with anything but love and adoration?" cried the princess. "Did you not know? My parents, the king and queen of a neighbouring kingdom, were travelling not so long ago, and their carriage was attacked by robbers. They were both killed – but then those same robbers died mysteriously. It was you who judged them and deemed them worthy of death, my prince. I can love you no less for that – only more!"
She clutched more tightly at him.
"I wish to help you," she went on. "One day we will be the king and queen of this kingdom, and so I should have my share of cleansing it. Share your power with me so that I may share your burden."
But the prince shook his head.
"Alas, I cannot. My gift was given to me at my birth by a God of Death. I do not know how to share it with you."
"I understand," replied the princess; and for three days she spoke no more of it.
But on the third day she returned to him and again took his hands.
"My prince, I may now serve at your side," she said. "I wished for powers like yours so that I could help you, and a strange creature descended to grant my wish, and more. For the price of half of my life, I have been granted eyesight which allows me to see the auras of those who have evil intentions or guilt. Now our judgement shall be easier and more efficient than ever."
The prince was pleased with his princess, and together they continued to rid their kingdom-to-be of all unworthy to live beneath their rule. Soon, however, though his desire for perfection burned no less brightly, he began to grow tired of being inside the palace and royal gardens at all times. He had never been outside the great gates and found, the more he judged the subjects he would in time rule over, the curiouser he grew about them and the world they inhabited. As a child this had not bothered him, for he had been content to learn of these things in books and from stories told by knights, servants and the cook – but as he grew older and, through his cleansing process, felt closer than ever to the kingdom, he decided that he wanted to see for himself the world which he was working so hard to make perfect.
So at the next dawn, the prince crept from his tower and stole from the castle, walking out through the palace gates for the first time in his life. He kept walking, eager to be away from the castle as quickly as possible, and reached the marketplace as the sun rose completely, casting its golden glow over the entire kingdom. In the months since the terrible massacre which had prompted him to begin using his gift, life amongst the peasantry had returned, by all appearances, to normal, and the young prince delighted in exploring the loud and lively marketplace. Since he had never been beyond the castle, no-one recognised him as Prince Light, and assumed by his attire that he was simply a wealthy traveller. He saw, with fascination, a great many things which he had never seen before; people making cloth, items like horseshoes from red-hot metal and little painted toys from wood. People were also selling and swapping animals like sheep and pigs and little birds in cages, while others sold fish and meat and fruit, and young children ran about to and fro, playing, chasing each other or helping their parents.
When he had seen what he thought must surely be everything, the prince decided that he would carry on; as he was becoming hungry, he stopped at a stall, at which an old woman was selling all kinds of fruit, to buy something to eat.
"How about an apple, dear?" asked the old woman, holding up a glowing red orb. "They are almost as pretty as you."
"Do they taste good?" asked the prince in reply.
"They are as sweet and fresh as any," she said. "In fact, some call them 'love apples', because they are so perfect."
And she convinced him. As he paid for his apple, she took up another and handed it to him.
"Have another, free of charge," she went on, "since you are so beautiful."
Though surprised, the prince thanked her profusely and went on his way, eating the first of his apples as he left the marketplace; as he took the final bite he came to a fork in the road, leading off in entirely different directions. To his right, the wider, clear path led downhill into a neat little village. To his left, the narrow, winding, darker path led off into the vast woods which surrounded the kingdom, and which he could see from the window of his tower chamber.
Though he knew it would be more sensible to go down into the village, he found his curiosity drawn instead towards the woods, about which he had heard many fantastic tales from his father's knights and servants – most of which he, though had believed them as a child, knew could not possibly be true. Perhaps, had it been dark, he would have more afraid to venture between the tall, massive trees, but since it was barely midday, it did not appear nearly so foreboding, and so he chose to take the left path into the woods.
The prince was immediately enchanted by this darkly beautiful grotto, unlike anything he had ever seen before, and more fascinating and captivating still than even the marketplace. The shadows of the trees twisted themselves into peculiar shapes on the forest floor, interspersed with patches of both mottled and pure golden sunlight. Vibrant moss and strange grasses formed a carpet beneath his feet, while oddly-coloured mushrooms and clusters of vivid and exotic wild flowers haphazardly threw their colour here and there. There was no sound but for the sweet singing of birds and the whispers of the trees to each other, passed between their branches by the gentle wind – perhaps speaking of this newcomer to their world, this strange boy whose beauty outshone that of any of these flowers.
There was a calm in this place which the prince had never known, for it did not exist within either the palace or anywhere in the rest of the kingdom – certainly not in the marketplace. This was a place removed from humanity—
Almost, in a way, removed from life.
The prince continued to walk, further and further into the woods, until he came to a small clearing, within which was a tiny pool of crystal-clear water, with a few snow-white water lilies floating upon its surface. Near this pool was a large fallen tree, having presumably been that way for a good many years, for it was covered entirely by a velvety coat of moss, with veins of dark ivy laced around it in places. The prince went to the tree and sat down on it, for he was quite tired from walking for so long; and again he thanked the old lady for her kindness as he took out the apple she had given to him for free.
It was as red as blood with a shine to it like the most polished of mirrors, so that it gleamed beneath the golden beams of the sun. The prince sank his teeth into it, taking a bite out of its flesh, leaving behind a stark white wound.
It was then that he perceived himself to no longer be alone; and, on looking up, he saw before him a strange, oddly-beautiful creature, as pale as snow. Although it looked human, the prince could not help but feel that this assumption was wrong, for there was a strange entrancing aura around it, something which he could not place, but for some reason believed it to transcend humanity. But he could not speak to ask the creature of its origin, instead struck voiceless by its presence – instead he could only gaze in wonderment at its impossibly white-as-snow skin, wild black-as-ebony hair and huge dark eyes, which gleamed yet more mirror-like than even his apple as they returned his gaze.
Having no words to speak, but desperately wanting to interact somehow with this creature, the prince finally offered out his apple. The creature tilted its head curiously, regarding the apple warily for a long moment.
"It is alright to eat," the prince insisted. "I have already taken a bite, and you see that I have not been poisoned."
The creature seemed to indeed see this, for it came to him, took the fruit and sank to its knees, beginning to eat. The prince was very content at having seemingly tamed this strange being already, and watched it finish the apple.
"Can you speak?" he asked at length.
"Of course I can speak, Your Highness," replied the creature. "And I thank you for the apple. How kind of you to give me the fruit which you were so enjoying."
Although the prince was surprised at hearing this eloquent speech come suddenly from a being which had, up until this moment, been completely mute, he was surprised further still by its address of "Your Highness".
"Why do you address me by royal terms?" he demanded.
"Are you not a prince?" asked the creature in reply. "You should not deny it, for I will know if you are lying."
"And how would you know either of those things?"
"I cannot tell you that."
"Then," pressed the prince, "what are you?"
"I will not part with that information either." The creature rose again. "Come, I will lead you from the forest, for if I leave you, you will become lost."
So the prince had no choice but to follow the creature, who led him back out of the forest. When they reached the path that the prince had taken into the woods to start with, it had grown dark, with the orange sun setting on the horizon. The royal castle could be seen in the distance. The prince thanked the creature for its help.
"My name is Light," the prince said. "Will you tell me yours?"
The creature shook its head.
"I cannot tell you my name, for then I would become yours," it replied, and went back into the woods, where the prince lost sight of it altogether.
The prince returned to the castle and was able to return to his tower room without being noticed; when asked by his father of his absence, he replied that he had been reading in the palace garden all day. However, he felt that he must share his tales with somebody, so again he confided in his princess.
The princess was not so pleased with his words this time.
"You should not have ventured into the woods," she said. "It is full of dangerous monsters that would steal your heart from within your breast."
The prince thought that this was silly and told her so, telling her of the strange creature he had shared his apple with.
"Does that sound like a monster to you, princess?" he asked.
"No," answered the princess. "That sounds like a fairy to me. You would do well to heed these words, my prince: Do not return to the forest."
The prince promised her that he wouldn't; but he thought of the creature he'd met, the beautiful inhuman being that his princess had called a fairy, who wouldn't tell him its name for fear of becoming his. He was compelled to return and seek the creature again, to ask once more for its name. So when everyone in the castle was asleep, the prince again crept from his tower and left through the gates, walking quickly until he came to the woods.
The forest was quite a different place by night – dark and moaning, bathed in a ghostly glow from the moon. The branches of the trees clasped at his clothes and thorns tore at his skin, and the prince grew very afraid and began to run, even though he did not know where he was going, until eventually he collapsed from exhaustion and began to weep with fear.
Soon, however, he felt himself stirred, and lifted his head to find the same fairy creature he had come in search for crouched in front of him, head tilted curiously to the side.
"Why does the prince come again so soon?" asked the fairy, more of himself.
So the prince replied that it was that he had felt compelled to see him again; the fairy took his hand and brought him to his feet. Then he led him through the dark woods to the same clearing from that day, now aglow by silver moonlight, so that the pool was like a perfect circle of dark glass.
"You see," explained the prince as they sat beside the pool, "at my birth I was graced with gifts, one of which was beauty, so I am often told that I am beautiful. But yet I see in you a beauty different to my own, and though I know not even your name, I cannot help but love you."
"His Highness is far too kind," replied the fairy graciously.
"I was blessed with kindness also, it is true," confessed the prince, "but it is not my kindness which compels me to be truthful to you. I very much love your hair, which is as black as ebony."
"Far too kind indeed," said the fairy again.
At dawn he led the prince back to the edge of the forest, so that he might return home before being missed.
"Tell me your name," begged the prince.
"I cannot," replied the fairy, and he vanished back into the forest.
So the prince returned home and was not missed; but that night he felt that he must see the creature again, so he left the castle in the dark and went back to the forest. This time the fairy was waiting for him, and again he led him to the moonlit clearing. The prince tried once more to convince the beautiful fairy of his love:
"I very much love your skin," said he, "which is as white as snow."
But the fairy merely judged him once more as being too kind; and, on leading the prince from the forest at daybreak, again refused to tell him his name.
The prince returned to the woods on the third night, and by the moonlit pool he gazed longingly at the fairy companion who sought his company nightly, yet showed little affection for him.
"I very much love your eyes," said the prince, "which are as large and glassy as mirrors."
Then the fairy looked at him thus with those same mirror-mirror eyes.
"I am disappointed," he replied. "You judge me, even love me, based entirely upon what you call my beauty – when you, who was gifted with beauty, should know better than to do so. I say this because I know you have been blessed with another gift, a terrible one which your exceptional beauty belies."
The prince gazed at him in horror, knowing he could only be speaking of his ability to wish death upon anyone he chose.
"If you look closely enough into these eyes that you claim to love," continued the fairy, "you will see not a beautiful, kind prince, but a murderer."
"How do you possess this knowledge?!" cried the prince in despair.
"I have a magic mirror which answers truthfully any question which you care to ask it."
"Then your eyes must be one and the same," said the prince quietly.
At dawn, at the edge of the forest, the prince turned to the fairy.
"Will you allow me to come again tomorrow night?" he asked. "I feel that I should go mad if you refuse."
The fairy replied that he would be waiting, again refused to part with his name, and went back into the forest.
Now, it happened that although the rest of the palace had not noticed the prince's nightly absences, the princess, who had suspected that he would not keep his promise to never return to the woods, had seen him leave for these three nights, and on the third night, she had gone to tell the king of his son's activities. The king was very angered by his son's disobedience, and so he was waiting in the tower for the prince when he now returned.
"Be thankful that your princess wishes no harm to come to you, that she relayed your tales to me!" the king cried furiously. "She worries that you have had your heart stolen by a wicked fairy!"
The prince had no explanation, and so remained silent.
"Well, I will not have my son in that forest by day or by night," the king went on. "And if there are any fairies which own your heart, I shall slay them myself. As punishment for leaving the castle, you will stay in this tower for thirteen days and thirteen nights."
And so it was. The prince was locked in his tower for thirteen days and thirteen nights, with a maid bringing him food twice a day. Otherwise he saw no-one, not even his princess, nor indeed even the Shinigami—
And certainly not the fairy who possessed, he felt, his heart.
He fell into despair, thinking that he might never see the creature again; and grew still more ill with worry when he saw his father, every morning, ride out with seven of his knights towards the forest, all carrying their swords.
When, on the thirteenth night, he was allowed to leave his tower, his first thought was to rush straight to the forest; but as he crossed the castle grounds, he heard the princess call out to him.
"My prince!" she wept. "Please do not leave me again, for I love you with all of my heart! I have given up half of my life to be at your side as your queen. I deserve your love more than this hateful fairy, who has only stolen your heart from you! But I would not steal your heart, my love – I would give you mine! If only you will stay, I will cut out my still-beating heart from my breast and give it to you in a box!"
But the prince pretended not to hear her and left; the princess fell to the ground and sobbed, but he did not return. Instead he went to the forest, where the fairy was waiting.
"I have waited thirteen days and thirteen nights," he said, "and you did not come."
"But I am here now," replied the prince, and on the way to the clearing, he explained to the fairy about his punishment. "So I do not know what I should do now," he went on. "Perhaps I can never return to my home."
Seeing that the prince was very tired and upset, the fairy led him past the clearing and on through the woods, which grew darker and thicker, until eventually they reached a great silver castle, as tall as the trees, with a wall of thick thorns around it. The fairy brought the prince into the castle and took him to a chamber where there was a large bed with red silk sheets; he allowed the prince to sleep here and left the room, going back outside the castle.
"Since you have involved yourself with him since his birth, help to make him mine," he said; and the strange black Shinigami appeared before him, grinning.
"So lowly creatures like you now ask Gods of Death for help?" he sneered.
"I can make bargains just as well as humans," replied the fairy.
"I am sure," agreed the Shinigami, "although your lifespan is worth nothing to me, since you are not human. Still, I will help, since it cannot be priceless to you. Bring me some apples."
So the fairy fetched three crimson apples and gave them to the Shinigami; he ate one, put the other one away and held out the third, digging his claws into its flesh enough so a little juice ran from it.
"Bathe this apple in your own blood and give it to the prince," he said with a leering grin. "He will lose all his memories of his power and of being a prince. He will belong completely to you."
The fairy took the apple back, beginning to thank him—
"But," the Shinigami interrupted, "there is a condition. Should the prince ever prick his finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, he will get all of his memories back, and you…" He smirked blackly at the fairy. "…You will die."
The fairy looked at the apple for a long moment; then clutched it tighter.
"I will give it to him," he said.
The Shinigami only cackled and disappeared.
So the fairy rinsed the apple in his own blood to enchant it, whereupon it glowed a darker ruby than before, and the fairy fancied that he saw the mark of death within its shine. Nonetheless he took it to the prince and gave it to him when he awoke, and the prince, suspecting nothing, took a bite from it. At once he placed hand to his forehead and, becoming confused, dropped the apple and asked where he was. The fairy replied that he was where he belonged, and the prince, who longer knew that he was a prince, could find no fault with this claim.
So the prince lived happily with the fairy in the silver castle for a very long time, and they came to love one another very much. The gifted prince, now freed from both his power and his royal heritage, and knowing nothing of either, would not have traded this new existence for the power to kill, an entire kingdom to call his own, or indeed both.
As a gift, the fairy gave to the prince his magic mirror, and the prince delighted in asking it many questions, all of which it answered truthfully. In return, the prince gave to the fairy a red rose, which he had found outside the castle growing all by itself, and which did not die, but remained forever suspended in full bloom.
They lived together, and loved each other very much, and were undisturbed in their silver castle, protected from the world by thorns.
One day, however, the fairy was nowhere to be found, and the prince had grown tired of questioning his worldly mirror, and so he walked around the castle, exploring the various chambers. At length he came to the staircase of a tall tower, and was reminded of a place that he could not remember, and thus felt immovably compelled to climb the stairs. He did so, and entered a small, round room at the top, which was empty but for a single spinning wheel.
The prince, raised as royalty, had never seen a spinning wheel before, and was greatly intrigued by it, particularly by the gleaming needle at its spindle. He outstretched his hand and stepped towards the spinning wheel, letting his fingertip descend onto the needle. It pricked him and drew blood, and as the red liquid overflowed and spattered to the tower room floor, he felt that his memories had returned to him – and knew that the fairy had enchanted him and kept him as a willing prisoner for all this time.
He came down from the tower room and went to find the fairy; but upon entering the bedroom, he found his beloved creature spread on the crimson sheets of their bed, dead. The prince was heartbroken and held the fairy to him tightly, sobbing, for he knew that he was to blame for his death.
At last the prince knew that he could no longer stay in the silver castle, and that he must return home to his father's kingdom. But he could not bear to leave the fairy behind, so he had him placed into a glass coffin and took it back to the kingdom with him – he also took the mirror and the rose. When he left the castle, it vanished, as though it had never existed.
When he arrived home, he was greeted with great joy, for his lengthened disappearance had caused the kingdom to think him dead or stolen away by wicked fairies; there was great joy also, for now they would once again have a king. The king, Prince Light's father, had died while searching for him, and the queen, his mother, had died shortly afterwards from grief. His princess remained alive, and so it was decided that they would be married that very evening, so that they could begin their reign immediately.
The prince took the fairy's coffin up to the tower room which had been his own chamber and placed it upon the bed; then he went to the window and sat down, taking from his clothes the rose as he looked out over the kingdom which would now be his, and which he could continue cleansing, until it was the most perfect place in all of the world. It had begun to snow, and the prince opened the window so that he might see it better; and then he looked again at the rose. But as he held it, he once again pricked his finger, this time on a thorn, and another drop of blood fell upon the snow on the black windowsill.
So the prince thought of his fairy as he looked at the blood and wished that he might return to life, so that once more he might have his dark-eyed beauty, as red as blood, as black as ebony and as white as snow.
He lifted the lid of the coffin and placed the rose into the fairy's hands; then went to his dresser and sat down to look at his reflection, as he had before. Now he saw past his beauty, and instead saw a royal and regal young man with the crown of a king upon his brow (to be worn in grace and beauty, as was his right and royal duty), but who instead would trade it all for a strange, inhuman creature, with hair of ebony and skin of snow.
The prince sank down upon the dresser and began to sob.
The prince and the princess were married and became the king and queen of the kingdom; for the wedding, the young queen wore glass slippers and carried a bouquet of red roses, which her new husband could not bear to look at.
Beneath their rule, the kingdom flourished, and the people who they judged as good lived happy lives, while those who were deemed as bad had their lives taken from them. The young king still relied upon the mirror which the fairy had given to him, asking of it:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest one of all?"
To which the mirror always replied:
"You are the fairest, my young king;
Who rules so well, his subjects sing."
And so the king was assured not just of his unrivalled beauty, but also of his way as king, and his methods of perfection. However, the death toll rose higher, and the king's heart grew darker day by day, and eventually even his young queen, who had once loved him unconditionally, grew to despise him – though this hatred was in part inspired by her husband's continued love for the fairy which had stolen him away from her all those years ago.
The king visited the tower chamber, into which only he was allowed, once every twenty-three days, to gaze upon the fairy; he had not rotted, but instead stayed beautiful and still, as though merely sleeping. But to the king's surprise, the rose, which before had been enchanted so as to not die, became more withered within the dead creature's fingers, and the red petals darkened, shrivelled, and fell away one by one, until at last, at the end of the seventh year since Light had returned and become king, only one single petal remained.
The king, however, was more distracted that day by the words of his magic mirror, which he had today asked:
"Mirror, mirror, tell me true:
Have I strength in what I do?"
To which the mirror answered:
"At present, O King, you are strong,
But heed me now, this woeful song:
For you are destined soon to fade
Beneath the blow of another's blade;
From the sword, I say, of a worthy knight,
There cometh three – Red, Gold and White."
These words alarmed the young king, for he did not like to consider himself fallible, and so he decided to rid himself of these knights without ado as soon as they presented themselves, and thus was satisfied again.
That night the king ascended the tower to gaze upon the fairy; but found, to his astonishment, that the glass coffin lay empty, and that the fairy himself, now animated once more, was sitting on the windowsill, the dead rose in his hand.
The young king was overjoyed and ran to take the fairy into his arms, but found upon his doing so that the creature was cold to the touch, that he had no heartbeat and that his eyes, once so like the magic mirror he had given to him as a gift, were now dull and lifeless, bearing no reflection.
"I am the result of your wish," said the fairy. "You wished, by your own blood, for one as black as ebony and as white as snow, and so here I stand."
"But you are simply a corpse," replied the king in despair, "and nothing more."
"That is because you took my heart from me, and now I haven't one to call my own."
"If is a heart that you desire, then it is a heart that you shall have."
The king took the fairy to his chamber and summoned his queen before him – when she saw the fairy, she began to weep bitterly.
"My queen," said the king, "you once promised me your heart, as proof of your love for me. I now desire to hold you to your promise."
The queen dried her tears and gazed at her husband with hatred.
"My heart holds no love for you," she said, "just as yours, as black as night, holds none for me, and belongs instead to a wicked creature who took it without asking."
The king was angered by her words and so, using his power, he killed her without further thought, and she fell dead upon the floor before him. He took his sword and cut out her heart, which he gave to the fairy.
The fairy took the heart into his own breast and became alive again, warm to the touch, and the king could once more see his reflection within his large dark eyes. But alas, it lasted only moments, for the fairy's body soon rejected the queen's heart, which had not been given out of love and contained only bitter jealousy.
So the fairy died again, and was then revived by the king's blood-upon-snow wish; and although he showed no desire to leave, the king knew that the fairy no longer loved him as he once had, and that it was too much for him to hope that he ever would.
The Red Knight, the Gold Knight and the White Knight all came from a faraway kingdom, and were greatly admired for their ability and bravery.
They had heard of a small kingdom in which there was a very high mortality rate, particularly amongst adults who were otherwise healthy and had not been struck down by a disease. The three knights thought this very strange, and soon learned, by asking various people, that almost everyone who died within this kingdom had done so suddenly and unexplainably, and that, most importantly of all, they had all committed some form of crime.
Thus the knights concluded some form of magic or witchcraft, and supposed that the king was responsible, for it was he who would benefit most from having such a peaceful, crime-free kingdom to rule over.
So the Red Knight and the Gold Knight said that they would journey to this kingdom and confront the murderous king; the White Knight decided that he would stay behind. So the Red Knight and the Gold Knight set out for the kingdom with their swords drawn.
The young king had not yet given up on reviving the fairy completely, and on the day that his queen was buried, he summoned to him a faithful, naïve servant and wished him dead where he stood, so that he might cut out his heart and offer it to the dead fairy. This he did, and once more the fairy took the heart into his own body, but again his body rejected it, because this heart had also not been given in love. The young king was very frustrated, but at that moment, a messenger entered the room with news that a knight, who called himself only the Red Knight, was outside the castle and wished to seek counsel with him.
The king knew that first of the prophesied knights had come to vanquish him, but he kept a calm demeanour and told the messenger to bring the knight to his throne room. This was done, and the king greeted the knight from his golden throne, asking what had brought him to his kingdom.
The Red Knight drew his sword.
"I have come," said he, "to slay Your Majesty, for the crime of murdering your subjects."
Since the Red Knight was showing no pretence about his intentions, the king dropped his own charade, and killed the Red Knight where he stood with his power. Then he took the Red Knight's heart and gave it to the fairy, who once more took it, but since this heart too had not been given in love, this was rejected too – but before he died, the fairy asked why the king was so set upon reviving him.
"Because there is no other way that you will love me," replied the king; and to this the fairy gave no answer.
The king went to his mirror and asked:
"Mirror, mirror, by your art,
Tell me if there exists a heart
Which will beat within his breast
And suspend him from eternal rest."
The mirror responded thus:
"There is a heart that you may use,
But 'tis so black, that you may choose
Instead to give a heart that's white,
Belonging to a worthy knight."
On hearing this, the king decided that the only heart able to restore the fairy to life was that of the White Knight, and so he began to plot to capture him.
The next day the messenger came again to the king and said that another knight, calling himself the Gold Knight, now wished to speak with him. Again the king bid for the messenger to bring the Gold Knight to his throne room, but this time he was prepared for his deed, for he did not want to kill the Gold Knight on this occasion.
The Gold Knight came before him and, like the Red Knight, drew his sword.
"Your Majesty," said the Gold Knight, "I accuse you of slaying both your subjects and my companion, the Red Knight, since he did not return to me after coming here to dispatch you. Thus, I in turn will slaughter you."
But the king, who had expected this, called for his own knights, who disarmed the Gold Knight and captured him; locking him into the dungeons. Then the king called for his messenger and gave to him a letter to the White Knight, telling him to come to the kingdom within three days, or he would kill the Gold Knight.
When he had sent the messenger on his way, the king went to his mirror – but found, to his horror, that it had been smashed to pieces, and that the fairy was waiting for him in the dark.
"Why did you smash the mirror?" the king demanded.
"Because sometimes it is not good to see the truth," the fairy replied. "In fact, I think it might be kind of me to gouge out your eyes, to blind you completely."
"If that is what you want," said the king, "then I shall give to you, because I love you but have no way to prove it."
So he took up a large shard of mirror and plunged it into his left eye, which caused him great pain and blinded him; but the fairy stopped him from doing it to his second eye, and instead covered the wound, and then left him with his shattered truth.
On the night before the White Knight's arrival, the fairy returned to the king and bid him to accompany him, taking his hand and leading him to the forest, where they sat in the clearing that was their fairyland, by the mirror-pool in the moonlight. The fairy brought out an apple and offered it to the king, who ate it in silence.
After a while the king clasped the fairy to him.
"I love you," he said, his voice desperate.
The heartless fairy gave a nod.
"I believe you," he replied.
The White Knight came to the place where the king said that he would meet him; a large church at the outskirts of the kingdom. The White Knight was much smaller than both the Red and Gold Knights, and as pale as snow, like the fairy – and, like the fairy, he had very similar eyes, large and dark and mirror-like.
The White Knight also had no sword.
"I have no need of one, Your Majesty," he replied when the king inquired of his weapon. "And if I were you, I should not be so eager to slay me. You see, I too share your power to wish death upon whoever I like."
The king was both shocked and unnerved to hear this, and turned at once towards the fairy – who had shattered the magic mirror, should the king ask it anything that might reveal what he had done.
"You betrayed me!" the king cried.
"I said that the truth might be painful to you," replied the fairy.
"And what is the truth?" the young king begged of him.
"That your wife was right in calling me a wicked creature. It is true that I grew to love you, but it was a possessive love, in that I wanted to keep you all for myself. I have always been willing to destroy you, and yet will, for I am exactly the kind of wicked fairy that your princess feared."
"But I do not fear you, no matter what you are!" the king said. "That is why I give you these hearts, in the hopes of restoring you." He gestured now towards the White Knight. "The mirror told me to give to you a white heart—"
"No," interrupted the fairy, "the mirror told you that the one heart you should use might be too black for you to consider it, but nonetheless, it is that black heart which will give me life."
The king clutched at his own heart in realization – but the fairy had finished talking to him, and here transformed himself into a great dragon, which filled the church with smoke and flame. The young king drew his sword and struck at the dragon, but could not wound it, and eventually stood in the church, which was now blackened by fire, and seemed ready to accept his fate. The dragon reared back—
And the king threw his sword, striking the beast in the heart. Or where it should have had a heart.
The dragon turned back into the fairy, who smiled and pulled the sword out from his chest without so much as a grimace, throwing it aside.
The king fell to his knees and grasped at the fairy in despair.
"My heart!" he gasped. "I will give it to you! I do not care if I die! You can have it, if it will allow you to live!"
The fairy's smile faded, and he grasped the young king by his hand and raised him to his feet, where he wrapped his arms around him.
"We can no longer stay here," he said, "so we will go beyond this place together."
"No, I have no want of your heart. It is enough that you offered it."
But suddenly the king gave a cry of pain, and his own sword came through his back, piercing through the fairy too, so that they were lanced together. The White Knight stepped back from them, pulling the sword out as the young king fell faint into the fairy's arms, though the fairy himself was not affected. Then the floor cracked beneath them and they both fell into the black abyss below.
Knowing that the king was no more, the White Knight went to his castle to search for the Gold Knight, releasing him from the dungeon. Then they left the kingdom together and went out into the world, for their justice was no longer needed here.
One hundred years passed, and the creature who had started it all perched upon the turret of the tallest tower of the castle, which had once belonged to a prince blessed so wonderfully at his birth that he was named Light.
The creature, who was a God of Death, was called Ryuk, and he was so easily bored that he often started stories and allowed them to run away beyond all control simply for his amusement. He had bewitched many a princess, changed many a prince into a green frog, and cursed many a poor orphan.
But his favourite story was that of the prince, gifted with grace and beauty, and given another gift by this wicked, twisted fairy godmother of his, the power to kill; and who changed his kingdom, married his princess, then fell in love with a fairy who took his heart even though he had said he had no want of it, took his freedom, and then finally took the prince himself, perhaps to Hell.
Ryuk delighted in this story; and was content to sit on the tower, fallen beyond disrepair, with vines and thick ivy tearing the stones of the castle apart, and eat his apple, as red as blood.
And so the storyteller lived happily ever after.
Narroch: What a fun little run that was! Robinrocks really outdid herself with this project, the Grimm style intimidates me with its cut-and-dry approach, so she really pulled this chapter together.
RR: Hee hee, it was actually surprisingly fun to write! Hope you all got a kick out of reading about Light as a prince, L as a fairy (of all things!) and MNM as a bunch of colour-coded knights. It's like the original Power Rangers, heh heh…
Narroch: Well, that is it for Poison Apple. Really, we mean it this time. No sequels or side quests or re-enactments. It's done. But that doesn't mean we are done writing Death Note LxLight goodness. We are already working on our next co-written project, called The Monster You Made.
RR: Ha… yeah… Reason FOUR for posting this: To plug our new fic. Tee hee. Well, I'm only half-kidding. The first chapter of our new fic is still under construction, so we're hoping to start posting in perhaps mid-January. I can't say how much like Poison Apple it will be (hopefully not too much like it, otherwise there won't be any point in you reading it!), but it's definitely LxLight and will probably end up being just as dark and fucked-up as Poison Apple, so…
No Disney princesses, though. :(
Although on the subject of plugging/Disney princesses, Disney are apparently coming out with two brand new fairytale-inspired movies in 2009/2010 – and I'm pretty sure they're not more-freaking-CGI, too! The Princess and the Frog and Rapunzel, I believe. Yay! It's about time Disney went back to their roots. Thanks for the effort, Disney, but no-one gives a damn about farm cows who talk like Jay-Z. And cows are female, FYI.
(Although I did enjoy High School Musical 3: Senior Year. There. I said it.)
Narroch: Hopefully we will see you all again! Thank you once again for your support and encouragement, we really really REALLY appreciate every comment! Now, let's try and hit 2000! Woot! That would be a wonderful Christmas present. :)
RR: Reason FIVE: To whore for reviews. No, I'm kidding. I just hope you guys enjoyed this, since this really is the Final Farewell to something… we are kind of dragging out now, I guess. Wow, we've become like Disney even in that sense. O.o Not a good thing. Aladdin and the King of Thieves? The Lion King 1 and ½? Cinderella II? Yeah. Didn't need to see those, thanks.
Though obviously some liked our tenacious drag-it-out regime enough to make some AMV-style trailers for the fic. We have two new ones by aylinblack and indgobynoir, as well as some more art (links on my profile)! Thankyou so much, guys!
And thankyou to everyone. We really are leaving now, closing up shop, getting the hell out of your face, etc.
Catch you on the flipside, dudemeisters – and thanks for reading Poison Apple!
Oh, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
RobinRocks and Narroch xXx
P.S: What's this? What's this? There's white things in the air!