Goldkrone was invaded, and it was up to the writer and his friends to put a stop to it. But now that the spell has been stripped away and the leader of the intruders unmasked, how will they proceed? Written for the DeviantArt "Club Tutu" challenge for February 2011, "Femio." Author's Notes and disclaimer at end.
The cure, thought the Swan Prince, was surely worse than the illness.
The observation was followed by an attempt to open his eyes. It was not successful. He kept at it until they did open, one at a time. Long since, his nose had warned him that his surroundings would probably be– a little rustic.
Well, the others all seemed to be unharmed, at any rate. The spell that Fakir had broken hadn't been powerful, so much as annoying. An amateur enchantment by an amateur magician- wannabee. Why did it all have to happen while Rue and I were visiting? he wondered, his head buzzing.
The market square in Goldkrone was dotted with what Duck might term meadow- muffins and Rue, undoubtedly, something unprintable and completely accurate. Closer to hand, four others– Rue, Duck, Fakir, and the perpetrator– were picking themselves up off the pavement.
The cause of all the inconvenience was somewhat trampled, holding a theatrical hand to his forehead.
Mytho was not inclined to be nice or even polite at the moment. He hauled the young man to his feet.
"You must have had a reason," he rasped.
"A true Prince..." Mytho was taken aback, but then he realized that the boy was expounding, rather than addressing him. "A true Prince loves all, as I do, and is loved by all, as all do who see my beauty. But that is never enough... He must never flinch in battle, he must discipline body and mind as I have done to make my dance into a true art, he must master the very deepest secrets of nature and of magic..."
"Ah. And so whatever you tried turned you into a bull and made all the cattle for miles around follow you. Just nod– is that right?" Served him right for reading that sort of story. "But then you came into town, looking for your manservant, perhaps? Maybe you were intelligent enough to leave the counterspell with him, although I expect it would have been his idea. But we saw you first. Fa- that is, we had no trouble with it, except that reversing it knocked us all flat. But now the town is a mess. Again. I have a good idea who ought to clean it up, too."
"Hey." The others were mostly upright by now; Duck had seen just whom it was that Mytho was holding. "He–"
"I..." said the dazed Femio, still standing only because of Mytho's hand gripping his collar.
"Oh," said Fakir in disgust, recognizing him. "You."
Rue merely raised her eyes skyward. "Why?"
"Come, Master Femio," said a competently unobtrusive voice. The man attached to it deftly removed Mytho from his captive and draped the patient bull at his side with the once- again- limp Femio. Montand bowed deeply and was gone. Just like that.
The cattle had gone. Just like last time, the farmers and cowherds hadn't been far behind the herd. They'd be back, once the beasts were safe, wanting satisfaction. A surprising amount of the manure was being scooped up by townsfolk who had suddenly appeared with muck- baskets and wheelbarrows. Fakir recognized some of them; they stopped at Charon's stable, too, and toward the end of summer they showed up with every sort of vegetable as a gift...
"So it was the Prince of Bull again," grumbled Rue, brushing at herself, hoping the smell would come off.
"Prints of bulls?" caught Mytho.
"I know what I said."
Author's Notes: As to why a Frenchman and bulls, I postulate a connection to the Rhone delta, the Camargue, in the south of France. The black bulls there are related to Spanish bulls and are raised for similar activities, as well as for beef. They are also related to the ancient cattle breeds of the region, as the local gray horses and the salt industry also go back to Roman times or before.
There's an exchange in Akt 8 (I think) between Duck and Mytho, with Duck's stuttering translated "E-I-E-I-O" (it was originally the first several letters of the Japanese alphabet, according to the staff commentary in the DVD extras.) It greatly amused me, and I've had this effort waiting for quite a while now. Holler when you catch it. Or groan.
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