First things first, thank you very much for clicking on my first real fic. The title kind of explains everything I guess, and its my favourite scene in the book, so yeah, I really hope you like it.
EDIT: My wonderful new friend CrazyPandalo3ver has beta-ed this story for me, thus wiping out the grammar mistakes and such. Big thanks to you, pal.=D
Disclaimer: I wish it was mine -sniffs- Gail Carson Levine is the genious.=)
I looked about the tent and sighed, resolving to finish detailing the unsuccessful skirmishes the past week in the letter to Father. It was tiresome to have to admit defeat when victory was so close. The ogres just had to be just around the corner. It was as though they had instinct for evasion. I wondered how one could truly defeat more than few ogres at once.
A flustered Sir Martin rushed into the tent, a sight truly startling.
"Sir Martin, what's wrong?" I asked, mustering up my commanding tone. It was a perfect tactic for a royal to calm a frenzied subject.
"Yours Highness, I...I, have just witnessed something extraordinary! I was keeping a lookout when, when some ogres, they, they were about to devour a lass, and... and your highness, she talked them to sleep!" Sir Martin concluded in a whisper, incredulity written all over his face.
I stared at him, amazed. If I knew not the seriousness of my knights today, I would have thought he him jesting. Then I shook myself back to reality. A lady might be in danger, and we had to act fast.
"Then we shall continue our raid to the maiden and the ogres. After all, she may need some help," I replied. He hastened to alert the others. Quickly, I strapped a shield and took hold of the nearest sword.
As I hurried out, I thought about this... an ogre tamer, that was it! I chuckled. Ella's humor was rubbing off me. As I thought of her, I found myself becoming dreamy. It was just the sort of thing Ella would do, tame an ogre. I grinned as I thought. Looking at the questioning faces of the knights I shook myself out of the reverie, I proceeded on.
Bertram, Percival, Martin, John, Stephan and Aubrey headed out as I commanded them. It had been days since we spotted ogres, so I worked myself back into seriousness. Father wanted us to be rescuing poor maidens.
We swept through the thick green trees footsteps as silent as the swaying of leaves. It felt good to put all of that training to use. Then there I heard, the earth-shattering, slimy, and yet endearing snores of sleeping ogres. Quickly, Sir Aubrey handed out the beeswax and I hurried forward. Pushing gently through a few twigs in a low tree, I saw the entire scene. At that moment, my noble plans were blown off and I was struck speechless.
Mounds of snoring ogres surrounded a grinning black haired lass, evidently pleased with herself. It was none other than Ella!
For a second, I was much too amazed for coherent thoughts. Then I saw her looking around, a grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye. In a blink of an eye, it was gone. The brightness was suddenly replaced with a guarded expression of puzzlement and confusion, bringing me back my senses.
I gave the sign for the knights to prepare attack, suddenly feeling relaxed and light, the opposite of what the situation required. It was as though Ella's former euphoria had been transferred to me. Utterly disgraceful, the voice in my head chided, to be diverted by the mere presense of a young woman.
I shook out of my momentary daze, and accidentally snapped a twig. So much for stealth.
Ella turn around, surprise flashing on her face. A moment later, it turned into a smile. Th twinkle returned up her eyes, and I could discern relief. I saluted her, fighting a maddening urge to laugh. It seemed that the ogres' presence was no longer frightful. I uncoiled the rope I had brought, hoping the ogres wouldn't wake. I was absurdly anxious to talk to Ella, to hear her voice to. I needed to concentrate!
I tiptoed my way to the mammoth ogre in the middle, beckoning my knights to do the same. Despite the quiet, they woke as soon as it the ropes touched them. The ogres tried to fool us, unaware of the beeswax. And then they gave up and began to struggle. Resigned, I took my sword out.
"Ella, can you tame these ogres again? If not, run and save yourself," I called to a now bewildered Ella, as I remembered how she had tamed the ogres.
Affected by the ogre's magic, she looked confused, but before I could worry, she regained her wits and nodded. She turned to them and started talking to them with wide smiles. Was she some sort of fairy? I thought wildly.
For right before my very eyes the ogres sat still, perfectly willing to be tied up. Ella turned and gestured to us to proceed. I stopped gaping like the fool I probably was, and went on to tie up the ogres, who obediently held up their arms and legs to be tied.
Curiosity burned in my throat, and I raced over to Ella, who smiled contentedly at me. I felt the familiar song of jubilee inside, so out of place in midst of such a scene. What had become of me?
"Ella..." Sweeping a deep bow, I found pleasure in just saying her name. "Ella, how did you tame the ogres?"
She began explaining, but I only saw her mouth moving. Then I remembered the beeswax and pulled it out. I could feel her eyes following me.
"So how did you tame them?" Being eager to know everything had always been an irksome flaw of my personality. It seemed my mind would never rest until I knew exactly what was happening.
"I told them about finishing school, and they began to snore," she said solemnly.
"Truly!" I blurted out, then laughed, unable to help myself. When it came to Ella, laughter found its way easier than I had ever known.
She grinned, but I persisted, repeating the question.
As she explained, I marveled. A trick so obvious! Imitating them. Here us knights having researched an antidote to the ogres magic for how many centuries, and the answer lying plain and simple before us. Mimicking them! Trust Ella to do that.
A more pressing question came up as that thought crossed my mind. "How did they come up upon you?"
Why was she traveling alone in the most dangerous parts of the land?
She looked a little embarrassed, but continued, "I ran away from finishing school."
I chuckled internally. So very Ella-ish. Composing myself, I asked, "Was finishing school so wearisome that you had to run away?"
At that her her grin came forth and her eyes lit up with a mischevious glimmer and in a flash was gone, replaced by a somber look.
"Very wearisome," she said with a grin. "And see what it's done to me. I can no longer break a set of dishes by accident. Now I can balance all of them on my head and stroll through Frell without dropping a single one. I have many accomplishments."
The grin faded. I was alarmed; it didn't sound like Ella. "Are you proud of them?" I blurted, impulsively as usual.
She nodded solemnly. If she was putting up an act, it definitely was convincing. "Would you like to know more?"
I shrugged, not wanting to hear any more of the tedious ways of court. She disregarded my hint, and sat, legs crossed properly, on a fallen moss-covered boulder.
"To begin with, I could teach these boorish ogres how to eat properly." She waved in the formal way. This had to a jest. She seemed to have turned into another of those court ladies.
"Very polite," I remarked, not knowing what else to say to this new Ella.
"I shake it twice." She took up an imaginary napkin.
"Why?" My curiosity perked up.
"Mice," she gravely replied. I had to smile at that.
Where was the Ella I knew?"There are no mice in our court napkins. You are thinking of spiders."
"The prince contradicts a lady!" Mock indignation burst forth from her, and I realized her game. In an instant, all the former coolness washed away as I looked at the situation with renewed interest. What a foolish dolt I had been. How wrong it of me, to assume so. Never again!
She looked around as if the wood had suddenly materialized into the court room.
Crossing my arms, I decided to play along. "Your meat is tough. You have a low regard for our cooks."
She turned to me holding her hand up in a curved position, pleased to find me joining in. "Not at all. It should be tough. Do you want to know why?"
I chuckled. "Tell me."
"It's mutton! Am I not using a mutton fork? Manners Mistress will think you're an impostor if you don't recognize a mutton fork- "
"...when I don't see one," I interrupted laughing like a lunatic. How improper she must think me. I wondered how we had come upon so trivial a topic as mutton forks!
"Here," she took hold of my right hand, the warmth of her touch reaching my heart. My laughter abruptly stopped.
"My finger is the fork. You grasp it so." She arranged my hand around hers. How could I let go? Every carefully concealed bit of admiration poured out uncontrollably through my eyes, and had she been looking, I would have had my entire heart revealed. But thankfully she wasn't.
"That's the only correct way to hold a mutton fork. A trout fork is managed differently." She turned my hand over, and saw welts across it, which I had not been aware of till now.
"The rope burned you!" Horror replaced her previously teasing voice.
"It's nothing. One of the knights is a healer. What else did your Manners Mistress teach you?" I replied hastily. Indeed it was a mystery to me why Sir John became a knight. All of what he droned about were of herbs and plants I knew nothing of. I pulled my hand away, not wanting to spoil her fun. Why was I feeling so light hearted though? That she should care for a friend was something every normal person would do. She leaned closer, then pulled back, deciding to let it go.
"Manners Mistress knew your Father's opinion about everything. She said he would exile in any subject who ate blancmange from a soup bowl. As a result of her instruction, I can never make a mistake." she concluded.
Her Mistress did seem the usual kind. "Does my Father have a special spoon for raspberries and one for blueberries?" I asked, returning to the old game. Father could never recognize his own robes, let alone a spoon.
"Certainly," Ella answered playing along.
"Why wasn't I informed?"
"You should hire Manners Mistress. She would die of delight to serve a prince."
Her Manners Mistress would probably die at seeing the way things really ran at the palace.
"Well, there was Sewing Mistress, the first I met, and I admit, her description of.........."
I heard no more as I gazed at her. Would she ever be mine? I never had thought I would feel this way about a woman. She was so special, unlike anyone else I knew, so full of laughter and spirit...
"...so that one can decide when or not to be proper," Ella concluded.
I was brought back to earth on the word proper, and recovered myself in good time.
"On the word proper, friends-" I turned to the observing knights. "John, Aubrey, Bertram, Percival, Martin, and Stephen, meet our ogre tamer, Ella of Frell. She is the lass I told you about, the one who speaks Gnomic," I wondered how Ella took the fact that she was known to the prince's knights. A faint smile lingered as she curtsied, as perfect as the court ladies did.
"We wondered when you would remember your manners, lad," Sir Stephan chuckled. I hoped he wouldn't address my previous oblivion as a young man in love. Unfortunately, his eyes hinted just that.
Just then the leader of the ogres turned to Ella, making a noise. I recalled their existence, turning back to them, regaining a princely composure as I addressed the ogres.
"So long as you are our friends, we are yours, and we won't be obliged to change that unless this changes."
The chief ogre let this sink in, and flashed a death glare at Ella. They began struggling fruitlessly against their bounds. Instinctively I drew closer to her, only to sadly remember it wasn't in my right to do more than be a gentleman.
Ella boldly held his gaze. She started speaking in Ogre and I understood bits such as, "...never going to eat...", "tricked" and many others. Wondering what she meant, I resolved to learn more Ogrese. Finally, she turned and smiled widely at me, evidently pleased with herself. I felt the color creeping up on my face. Silly! I scolded myself. You have to stop showing signs of how much you like her. And need her. And love her...
I really had to stop doing that.
After addressing the ogres, I joined the lunch the knights had laid out. Conversation began to flow. I decided to savor every moment I had left with Ella. Turning to her, I began explaining the mission I had from Father. For some reason, she didn't seem to be surprised.
Sir Stephan cleared his throat and began, "The king will be glad to see this lot. Eight ogres and no harm done to us."
Sir Bertram frowned, and I guessed what was coming up. Sir Bertram had a talent for seeing the worst of every situation. "Whenever he finds out. How will we convey them to King Jerrold?"
"No need for your melancholy, Sir Bert." Sir John carelessly dismissed the comment with a wave of his hand. His nature never allowed him to take anything too seriously. It explained how he could bring back a baby dragon after slaying the vicious mother with an almost bored expression. He continued. "Six knights never did that before."
To assure a dissatisfied Sir Bert, I calmly said, "We'll think of something." Hopefully a prince's word was enough this instance.
"They'll have to be fed." Sir Bert turned to the bread.
Smiling slightly, I decided say something and sincerely continued," And you're the best hunter we have, Sir Bert."
Sir Bert looked pleased. Sir Martin continued the subject, but I sneaked a look at Ella, to see how she bore all this. Expecting an interested expression, I was startled to find her despaired, shaking her head as she frowned in deep thought. What fears plagued her? I wished I could comfort her.
Then I felt six pairs of eyes turn to me, and I realized I had to conclude the matter. Breathing in, I confidently thought through the half formed plan in my mind and replied," You, Stephan, will escort Lady Ella to whatever her destination is. Martin and Percival will ride to my father for assistance. Sir Bert, Aubrey, John and I shall take turns hunting and guarding the ogres. We'll put the wax back in when we are within earshot lest their gags slip."
"I'd rather stay with you, lad," Sir Martin replied with concern.
"You and Percival are our best scouts. We'll depend on you to get through quickly." Sir Martin nodded agreement.
"The maiden will be safe with me," Sir Stephan vowed importantly. "I'll-"
"Unless he talks her to death," Sir Aubrey interrupted. "You don't know him, lady." He turned to Ella, who had emerged from her reverie. "His speech stops only when the stars shine green in a yellow sky."
I chuckled. Sir Stephan certainly had never-ending tales to tell.
"He'll be a better companion than ogres," I replied before Sir Stephan would retort. Sometimes knights were worse than ogres. Then a thought occurred to me and I turned to Ella.
"But, Ella, why didn't you go back to Frell when you left finishing school?" Genuine curiosity filled him as the question struck me.
"Well, my Father is trading at a giants' farm, where a wedding will take place. He told me giant weddings are interesting. I thought I would meet him there," she answered simply, her eyes wide, suddenly impenetrable.
I stared in awe and exasperation. What sort of adventurer was she? "You put yourself in such risk in order to see a wedding?" I marveled at her daring.
Her lovely blush rose, distracting me again. Desperation suddenly welled in her eyes, or so I thought, but she quickly turned away. I looked away too, in order to compose myself. How could this one maiden bring out all those emotions in me?
Sir Bertram cleared his throat gloomily. "It is fortunate that all maidens in Kyrria do not decide to travel by themselves. We have enough to do without having to rescue them."
I frowned, feeling protective, deciding to spare Ella any more reproach. "But if all maids in Kyrria could tame ogres, we would have much less to do."
Her lips curved into that endearing little smile at my statement.
Lunch continued and thankfully, everyone turned back to discuss ogres. For the next half hour Ella and I exchanged stories about tongues, as I described the various languages I encountered, especially the humourous accent of Bizidelans.
After lunch Sir Stephan mounted his horse, and I lifted Ella behind hm. She suddenly looked like she was going to jump down the horse out of sheer agony and I frowned, worried and baffled.
"I don't like to leave you in danger," she said and started dismounting. Was that her worry?
Hurriedly and confidently I replied, "Go with Sir Stephan, we won't come to harm."
I took the horse's bridle, absurdly wishing I could get my hand stuck to it and go wherever Ella went. I wondered how soon she would be back in Frell.
"Will you soon be in Frell again?" the words flew out before I could stop them.
"If Father doesn't want me to travel with him or go back to Finishing School," Hesitating, she asked, "Why?"
I chided myself internally for my impulsive question. I turned away, hoping she hadn't caught the longing I felt in my eyes. " I should be back shortly," carefully composing the words. "These maneuvers never last long." I hoped they didn't.
Ella smiled secretively.
"AnTHoOng SYnGn," she suddenly said. "It's farewell in Ogrese," she explained.
"That sounds evil," marveling once again at the way she imitated things so easily.
"It is," she replied, grinning evilly.
And they rode off. I stood watching, wishing I could see her sooner, my heart sinking.
I've noticed Ella doesn't say as much as she thinks in the book, therefore I can sympathise with Char's desperation to know how she feels about him. But basically right now I'm feeling....WOW I HAVE JUST COMPLETED AN ELLA ENCHANTED FANFIC! -gasps- -shocks- okay I guess its just a tiny one-shot. Not exacty tiny, err- zips mouth before more rubbish spills-
I could scream for hours. I spent editing for hours and lost the entire thing. I got really upset and ignored this for at least 6 months. Oh well. It did hurt.
Okay then, really hoped you enjoyed it and please review and you'll always have my gratitude plus check out all your stories! Nice bribe? Well, I do hope this is good enough without bribes!