A/N: Thank you so much to my friends Summer and Sam. They've been so encouraging and supportive while I've written this, so this is dedicated to both of them :)
Also, I would define this as a fantasy/adventure/romance fairytale. Seriously, this is a bit of everything. So I hope you all like it!
Prince Blaine and the Quest
Chapter One – The Road Taken
Once upon a time, in the land of Daltonia, there lived a young prince by the name of Blaine. He was a good young man – clever, strong, and brave – and under the rule of his family, Daltonia prospered. Farmers had enough to eat, every child went to school and families daily rejoiced at their good fortune. Prince Blaine spent his days training to take over the throne – an action that he could only undertake after he had married. He learned the borders of the realm, studied the laws of the kingdom and practised his swordsmanship for hours at a time. Yet still he was restless. He longed for the day when he would turn eighteen, and he would finally be allowed to complete the Quest; a search which would find him a bride.
Birds were singing as the prince awoke on the first day of his eighteenth year. He sprung from his bed, not even waiting for his manservant to dress him properly, before he hurtled down the palace steps and into the great hall. Stood solemnly around the edges of the room were the members of the court, dressed in pearls and velvets to mark the momentous occasion. Many of the young women – and indeed, some of the young men – had tears in their eyes, for the prince was a handsome man, and they desired him for their own. Prince Blaine had eyes for none of them, however. His gaze never left the face of his father, and he swept a low bow.
"Father, I am ready for my Quest! Who is the maiden I must seek?" Blaine asked, eyes sparkling with excitement. He had heard Princess Quinn of the Cheerio kingdom was still single, although it would not be much of a Quest to rescue her from the Puckagoblin that guarded her.
"Hmmm," his father stalled, looking down at the maps held in front of him by a servant.
"Not many princesses available at the moment… too many princes… aha! Yes, this will do nicely…" he muttered to himself, before pulling loose one of the maps and handing it to Blaine.
"Princess Kurt, of the Hummelton kingdom. It's a difficult Quest, but I know you are capable of it." his father said, and Blaine grinned before glancing down at the map. It was a treacherous route he would have to follow, with many obstacles in his way. He had never heard of Princess Kurt, but just the idea of rescuing her made his stomach flood with excitement.
"I accept the Quest," he replied, to the approving roar of the courtiers.
"Excellent!" his father yelled over the noise the court was making, and they instantly fell silent. "To help you in your Quest, you may have two knights of the octagon table to help you. I must warn you all that this will be an exceptionally dangerous Quest, and will require someone with outstanding courage and daring – and someone willing to risk their life for my son." The room stayed silent at his words; the knights shifted from one foot to another, looks of deep discomfort painted on their faces.
Blaine felt his stomach drop. It was customary that a prince would have two helpers, and if he was alone…
"We'll do it!" A voice yelled from the back of the room, and everyone turned to see who had volunteered. Prince Blaine's two oldest friends strolled out confidently.
"Didn't really think we were going to let you go alone, did you?" the one with darker skin asked grinning, slapping Blaine on the back in a way that made the king glare with disapproval.
"Very well," he conceded, "Sir Wes and Sir David will be your knights, Blaine."
"This is going to be totally awesome," Blaine said, slinging his arms around his two friends.
By the time dawn was breaking the following day, all three men were packed up and ready to leave. The court had gathered to see them off, and Sir Wes stood off to one side, reassuring his fiancée, Lady Laela, that he would come to no harm. When the time came that they should leave, the friends mounted their horses, and prepared to trot away until…
"Wait!" the king called, forcing the men to dismount.
"Yes, father?" Blaine asked, careful to hide his impatience. His one true love, Princess Kurt, was waiting for him to rescue her, and he longed to see her face.
"You cannot ride your hunter!" his father exclaimed, and Blaine turned to look at his favourite horse. Her skin was a deep nutty colour, her mane jet black. A stripe of white played down her face, ending only when it reached her nose. He'd had her for over two years, and she was the fastest, strongest horse he owned.
"What else do you propose I ride?" Blaine asked, and his father smiled.
"I have just the thing!" he cried, clicking his fingers.
From out of one of the stalls emerged a horse like nothing Blaine had ever seen before. Its fur was a light pink colour, and fluffy. Blaine imagined it would be soft to the touch. Its mane was curly and white, and nestled into its forehead was a horn, a hint of the unicorn blood coursing through its veins. Its two front legs were striped with rainbow colours, and on its back legs, it wore leg warmers. Unlike Blaine's normal hunter, it bore a pretty coat, with hearts cut out of the rear end to show off more of the pretty pink fur. Blaine gulped, and tried to ignore the sniggers coming from Wes and David.
"You can't be serious," he said, circling around the horse slowly. Beautiful though it undoubtedly was, he couldn't ride out for the princess on it.
"Of course I am. Her name is Summer May Glitter Sparkles Pansy Poppy Rainbow. But you can call her Summer." the king said, handing the reins over to his son. Blaine just stared at the pieces of leather in his hands.
"But father…" he began, but he was cut off.
"Girls like this sort of thing, Blaine. Trust me. You can't go and rescue the princess on your old hunter, it wouldn't be right. This however… this she will love," at his words, the horse threw her head back and whinnied softly. Blaine found himself placing a hand on her face, to find that her fur was as soft as he had imagined.
"I'm sure not all girls would like this, father," he started, but again he was interrupted.
"Nonsense! They're all the same, son! And besides, she's horn-y… somewhat like you," he said, glancing at his sons flushed face and laughing at his own joke. Blaine's blushed deepened, and he quickly mounted her. Surprisingly, she did not balk at his weight; she barely even faltered.
"Fine," he said, before kicking her sides softly and galloping out of the courtyard. He could hear Wes and David behind him, but he didn't turn around until they were out of earshot of the castle.
"Not one word," he threatened them, turning his back so that he missed their equal looks of glee.
"Of course not, sire." David replied, smirking at Wes. Together, they set off along the route mapped out for them.
So the prince and his trusty companions began their journey. They rode through the lush fields of Daltonia, where they were greeted by many of the peasants. Although the prince was kind and gracious to all, he was desperate to keep going. Thoughts of Princess Kurt filled his mind as he rode, blocking out every teasing comment from Sir Wes or Sir David about his new horse. Would she, he wondered, be blonde, like Princess Quinn? Or would she have darker hair, more like his own? She would be beautiful, he decided; princesses always were. And she would be so grateful for his rescue that she would fall into his arms.
So it was with joyous spirits and a smile on his face that he and his companions stopped for the night. Blaine dismounted Summer, trying to hide his wince when David pretended to curtsey to him. There were stalls around the back of the house, and Blaine led Summer over to them, letting her dip her head and drink from the solitary trough. Wes and David followed his example, leading their own, more masculine horses, over.
Blaine patted Summer on the head once, just between the ears. He could feel the edge of her horn against his fingertips, and he stroked it thoughtlessly. It was only when David cleared his throat loudly that he walked up and knocked on the front door.
The peasant woman that opened her door to them seemed kind enough – she had dark skin, and large, chocolate eyes that seemed to sparkle as if she knew secrets she would not share.
"I am Prince Blaine of Daltonia, and these are my companions, Sir Wes and Sir David. We need a place to stay the night, and some food. I can assure you that you will be handsomely paid if you take us in." Blaine greeted her, and he watched, slightly unnerved, as a slow smile spread across her face.
"Of course, my prince." she replied, opening up the door widely so that the men could enter. Wes and David ducked their heads, although it was not necessary for Blaine to do so; the door was easily high enough for him to get through without such a measure.
Once inside, the woman closed the door with an ominous bang, and turned to face her guests.
"My name is Santana, and this," she said, gesturing to a pretty blonde girl stepping out of the shadows like a ghost, "is my… my Brittany."
"You look like a hobbit," Brittany added, eyes glued to Blaine. He shifted uncomfortably, unsure of how to respond and unused to being spoken to in such a manner. Eventually, Wes broke the awkward silence that followed.
"Well, I don't know about his hobbitness or Sir David, but I could certainly do with some dinner," he announced, and Santana smiled wickedly.
"Of course, my lord. Brittany will show you to your room, and I will prepare something to eat."
"This way," Brittany said, gesturing up a poky flight of stairs. Up them was a small room, with a couple of roughly crafted beds and some thin blankets. A huge window stood to one side, letting in reams of pale, ethereal moonlight. Blaine shrunk back at the sight, but Wes and David bounded into the room, both jumping on the nearest bed.
Noticing that they had both claimed the same bed, they began to wrestle for it. Blaine turned to apologise to Brittany, but she had already melted back into the shadows of the stairs.
Dinner was a tense affair, with Santana's dark eyes trained on Blaine's lowered ones for the entire meal. Brittany chattered endlessly on about the unicorn she had seen before, and how pretty it had been. For Blaine, it was a relief when they had finished eating and he and his companions could retire for the night. He climbed the stairs wearily, uncaring of Santana's bright gaze on his back.
Moonlight was streaming into the room when Blaine woke up. He blinked drowsily, bringing his hands above his head to stretch. He turned slowly to look for Wes and David, asleep in their beds as he expected them to be. They weren't there. Dread rushed through Blaine like a flood, stripping away his reason for a moment. He threw back the covers roughly, and that's when he heard it… low, sweet voices coming from below. Careful not to make a sound, Blaine drew his sword from where he had rested it next to his bed, and began to descend the stairs. Candles were flickering below, and Blaine could dimly make out Wes and David's unresisting bodies seated in the chairs they had eaten dinner in.
Above them, Santana and Brittany hovered, empty smiles not quite reaching their vacant eyes.
"Come into the wilderness,
Come into the darkness,
Here it's cold,
Here it hurts,
Here you'll stay forever.
Take my hand,
Hold it close,
You'll never be free," Santana sung lowly, and then her eyes flashed bright green. Blaine had seen enough. He charged into the room, sword held high above his head.
"Stop!" he yelled, causing Brittany to jerk back in surprise. She stumbled, knocking Santana slightly and forcing her to break eye contact. She also fell back, and Blaine took the opportunity to advance on her, sword still held high above his head.
"What have you done to them?" he demanded, but Santana just cackled nastily.
"You know, I'd heard rumours of your stupidity, but I didn't for one moment imagine they were true." she hissed, standing again. By her side, Brittany also rose up, smiling.
"You're even stupider than me," she added, smiling in that creepy way.
"What are you?" Blaine demanded as they advanced on him, their eyes beginning to glow menacingly.
"Evil fairies," Brittany put in, a huge grin spreading even more across her face.
"Right," Santana agreed, "and you, my prince, are going to die." She raised her gaze to try to meet his, but Blaine deliberately looked away.
"Look at me, Prince Blaine. I want to see the light leave those pretty eyes before I move onto your friends," Santana murmured softly, almost like a lover would, and Blaine felt himself shudder with revulsion.
Quickly, he glanced around the room for anything that might save himself and his knights. His eyes landed on the huge cauldron of water, still bubbling in the corner, and a plan began to form in his mind.
"Of course," he thought to himself, "Fairies are finders!" Magical beings who used water to spy on others, finders kept their waters boiling at all times. If the water stopped, the fairies would be wracked with unbearable pain, and he might be able to rescue Wes and David.
Slowly, he backed towards it, keeping his eyes locked on Brittany's left leg. He heard Santana growl in frustration, but he ignored her. Reaching behind him blindly, he touched the searing edge of the cauldron. Heat scorched his hand, but he refused to let go.
"What are you…" she began to ask, before Blaine overturned the cauldron with an almighty heave, and it crashed to the floor with an ear-splitting pound. The effect was instantaneous; both Brittany and Santana dropped to the floor, hands over their ears as they screamed in agony. Blaine felt a moment of sympathy, before he grabbed Wes and David. Without technique or grace, he slapped them awake.
"Horses. Now." he ordered, and they scrambled to do his bidding. Prince Blaine ran up the narrow stairs, two at a time, until he had retrieved their bags. He bolted back down and ran out the front door. Wes and David were already waiting for him, and he jumped on Summer's back. The only sounds to pierce the night air as they rode away were the horse's hoof beats and the screams still coming from the house. Blaine didn't look back.
To be continued...