Chapter 10: Happily Ever After

Elliot and the dwarves rode back into the woods without saying a word. They rode back to the mines and circled around the glass coffin. As they hovered over SW in silence, Doug piped up,

"Well, we sure gave King Robert a taste of his own medicine!"

Annoyed glances were shot his way. Doug muttered,

"Or something."

"Points for trying, Milky." Laverne said with a sigh.

Turk looked at Elliot and said,

"Well, that much is true. At least the king won't hurt anyone again."

"But he still won," Elliot replied sadly, "he still got SW. It's all my fault. If I had just reached him sooner…"

"Oh, don't give us that," Perry snapped, "don't give us that whole martyr song and dance! He was staying with us, in case you've forgotten, and we still couldn't protect him! Even if you'd reached him, you think King Bobbo would have given up that easily? He still would have hunted SW like a Christmas turkey! Don't you get it? No one could have helped him! No you, not us, no one!"

Elliot continued to stare at the coffin and announced,

"Then I'll stay here with him. I'll never leave this spot as long as I live."

"And I'll stay with you," Todd said, "I can be your blanket… or your mattress, if that's your thing."

Elliot shot Todd a warning look. Carla shook her head.

"Your highness, staying here is not going to bring him back. Besides, don't you have a kingdom to get back to?"

"No, King Robert threw me in jail and my parents didn't want to be shamed by showing their faces back home with their jailbird daughter, so they left me behind."

"Lovely," Jordan muttered.

Turk said to Elliot,

"Think of SW. He wouldn't have wanted you to spend your life mourning for him. He'd want you to live your life to the fullest, like he did."

"What about you guys?"

Carla snorted.

"We're never gonna leave this stupid forest anyway! We're lowly dwarves who don't even have a frickin' union! You're a healthy, full-grown princess! You have nothing but possibilities ahead of you! SW would have wanted you to take them. And don't worry, we'll always be here to protect him."

"We sure will," Turk agreed.

Elliot paused, letting this sink in. Then she said,

"Open the coffin."

Perry hesitated, and Elliot continued,

"I just want to say goodbye to him."

Perry nodded and he, Turk, and Todd lifted up the lid and put it aside. Elliot knelt by SW, reached out and stroked his hair and face. She choked back a sob and, without thinking, leaned over and planted a soft, gentle kiss on SW's lips. Perry made a face.

"Ewww, did she just kiss a corpse?"

"Please," Jordan deadpanned, looking right at Perry, "I've kissed worse."

Elliot pulled back and stood to leave.

Innocence.

SW let out a loud cough. The dwarves screamed and jumped backwards.

"Frickety frickin' frick!" Elliot shrieked as she followed suit.

SW coughed again, and the apple piece, which had been lodged in his throat, shot out of his mouth. The poison's influence lifted, SW slowly opened his eyes and sat up groggily as he held a hand to his head. Everyone was positively aghast. Laverne frantically started making the sign of the cross over and over. SW shook his head and mumbled,

"Where am I?"

"I did not see that coming," Perry said slowly.

"She's a witch, burn her!" Doug cried, pointing at Elliot.

"Doug!" Carla snapped.

"Dead people should be dead!"

Turk then smiled and shouted,

"He's alive! My boy's alive, y'all!"

SW found himself covered in dwarves as hugs were practically thrown his way. Elliot was frozen with shock while Perry hid behind her to allow himself a tiny smile of relief. SW looked up, and he and Elliot's eyes locked, and music filled the air (in their minds, anyway). He quietly rose and walked towards her. Elliot had both her hands clamped over her mouth, her eyes like saucers. SW whispered,

"I was so scared I'd never see you again."

Elliot remained in her stunned position. SW cried,

"Elliot, say something!"

As if he'd said the magic word, Elliot removed her hands from her mouth and said in one breath,

"OhmygodSWyou'realiveImeanyouweredeadbutnowyou'realiveareyouokayofcourseyou'reokayyourealiveohmygodthisissoweirdbutsowonderfulisitreallyyouImeanyou'renotazombieyou?"

"I don't think so... I mean, about the zombie part."

Elliot took a deep breath, then a smile lit up her face as she said,

"Good... 'cause now I can do this."

Elliot threw her arms around SW's neck and kissed him passionately. SW was at first surprised, but immediately responded as they locked in a tight embrace.

Perry let out a loud tooth whistle and said,

"I hate to break up this nauseatingly romantic moment, but..."

But SW and Elliot didn't even hear him, so lost in bliss were they as the overjoyed dwarves led them out of the mines. Perry whistled again, but to no avail. Jordan then said,

"Per-per, you're obsolete at the moment, deal with it!"

The dwarves had told SW what had happened with King Robert, and SW realized that he now had to take his place as king of Sacredheartland. Elliot sensed his insecurity and said,

"You're going to be a truly great king."

SW looked at her.

"A king's only as good as his queen. Elliot, will you..."

Her exuberant hug provided the answer.

Everything happened really fast after that. In what felt like moments I found myself at my coronation/wedding.

SW and Elliot stood before the priest in what was easily the most beautiful, lavish royal wedding in Sacredheartland's history. The dwarves were seated in the front row as honored guests, for their courageous part in sheltering SW from King Robert. Not only that, but SW had them all rewarded with scholarships to Sacredheartland University so they could fulfill their dreams of studying medicine. The dwarves were also dressed in beautiful new clothes, provided by a seamstress friend of Elliot's.

To everyone else, SW and Elliot both looked as serene as an undisturbed glen, but to each other, they knew their joyful hearts threatened to break their dignified veneers. There was never a greater struggle by two people to just laugh out loud.

"Dearly beloved," the priest announced to the enraptured audience, "we are gathered today…"

As I stood there looking at Elliot and trying to appear as king-like as possible, I realized something so simple that I'd never thought of before. Despite our differences, everyone is the same in that their life is a story, where your character decides the outcome. Some are rewarded…

Ted showed his a cappella band the wedding using a magic orb. For the first time in ages, Ted smiled a real smile.

"They're finally together, just as I'd knew they'd be. Now, let's take it from the top. Five, six, seven, eight…"

The band began,

"Have to believe

We are magic (we are magic)

Nothing can stand in our way (oh yeah)…."

Others, unfortunately, are punished.

The giant sat back contentedly and burped out a crown while picking his teeth.

Of course, every good story needs a memorable supporting cast, which is provided by the people we love.

Doug was weeping happily on an annoyed Laverne's shoulder, and Carla whispered to Turk,

"They're such a beautiful couple."

"And they're going to rule this land for a long, long time," he replied.

'Course, I'm so gonna catch that bouquet when Elliot throws it."

Watching SW and Elliot, realization dawned on Perry as he muttered to Jordan,

"That man child and high strung head case are going to run this country… and I actually don't think they'll screw up too much. I can safely say life can't get any more bizarre."

"Perry, I'm pregnant," Jordan replied sweetly.

"Aw, hell!"

The priest then announced,

"You may now kiss your queen!"

SW took Elliot in his arms, both of them oblivious to the thunderous sounds of wedding bells and applause from everyone in the cathedral.

As for me, my story with Elliot is just beginning, but I have a feeling that we're going to live happily ever after.

THE END