A/N: Another oneshot (or maybe a twoshot) before I decide to go on hiatus. School is reopening and as much as I'd love to continue writing, I doubt I can actually have the time to continue updating, like, every single day. I'll still update (I don't abandon my fics!) so don't worry, everyone.
I would like to dedicate this fic to Campanella, Kiyutsuna, Cluelessleaf, SeacatTopaz and Chikanpo. I love you guys, thank you for everything. :3 (Well, I don't know if you guys will read this though xD)
Disclaimer: I don't own it (Neither do you).
Threads of gold
"Weave me a rope that will pull me through these impossible times."
Once upon a time, in a far away land stationed in the middle of the great seven seas, there lived a king and his son. His son was a man of virtues and perfection—he had lovely, entrancing eyes that were as deep as the Pacific Oceans, a heart of gold, a glowing complexion that no other ladies could have matched, and golden cropped hair as soft as silk. He was the Prince of every girl's dream; he never ceased to be included in the conversations that the townsfolk usually had in the morning. The townsfolk would sing of praises of him, and compliment him, hoping that one day their daughters would be wed to none but that man.
His father, however, was not a man that deserved to be praised or admired at. He was filthy rich, but he coveted for what he did not have, and wished for things that no man should ever have. He asked the heavens for immortality, and begged gnomes and malicious animal spirits for more gold, land and the power to control the elements. He was greedy, and if that was not horrible enough, he was also a selfish man that did not spare a thought for others but his own welfare.
While he already had tons of gold bars hidden deep in his kingdom, and the luxury of enjoying fresh caviar and vegetables every single morning, he did not share them with the world. He kept them to himself, and ignored his people's sufferings, condemning them to their lives of poverty and agony. There were slaves who came up to him to beg for food and a few coins, but he did not yield and refused to lend them a hand with their lives.
One day, a brunette who was clad in nothing but torn and tattered clothes made of wool and colored in shades of gray came up to the king for assistance.
"Oh, oh great king, will you not spare me some water? I have been travelling far and wide!" She pleaded, going onto her knees in front of the king. The king's son—Len was his name—eyed her with a look of sympathy, but he made no effort to say anything in place of his father.
"I will not give you water." The king had not even stopped to consider for second. His voice was strict, and it told the poor brunette that his decision was final and that nothing could ever change that fact no matter how hard she pleaded with him.
"But I am hungry and thirsty, your majesty," The brunette wailed, "Please, do take pity on my plight and provide me with water!"
"I will do no such foolish thing, you wretched soul of the poor," He had declared with a look of disdain, "Now, leave and get out of my sight, you filthy woman!"
The brunette rose from her spot on the floor, and eyed the young prince with a melancholic expression. He did the same, slightly bowing towards her in an apologetic manner. He mouthed some words, and with that look on his face, it was obvious that he was trying to apologize in place of his father.
At once, the mask of the brunette cracked. Her expression twisted into one of a devil's; her grin was devious looking and it looked so frightening, the king started to stammer when he saw her. Her crimson nails extended until it became as long as a nail, and as sharp as fragments of a glass. Her eyes were bloodthirsty, and there was something about her that made every servant in the palace shiver with fear and frozen with terror.
"W-What are you?" The king stuttered, his voice filled with horror. He could not move.
"What am I?" The brunette mocked his tone, breaking into a shrill, evil laughter that caused the king to lean back on his seat, obviously intimidated by the woman. The woman's laughter was not like a human's; it reached an odd high pitch that no females in the world would be able to reach, and her voice was powerful enough to cause earthquake-like vibrations in the castle.
"Oh, you foolish man—just as I had expected," She explained, "and you shall remain as a fool for eternity because that is what you are, and you cannot change it. Your disgusting and vile deeds has caused me to make an appearance in front of you, and I wanted to see for my own eyes how evil you were before I decided to do anything rash to send you to the depths of hell, where you will suffer for eternity.
"I gave you a chance, you muddleheaded fool, but you did not take it." She paused, scorning hatefully at the king. "I am Meiko, a witch, while you are merely a human. Tell me, your majesty, how would it feel like to lose something important that you have always had?"
"What… What are you—"
"As expected," Meiko said with half-lidded eyes that indicated her lack of interest with the scene at hand, "You stupid, boring king. You just don't get it, do you? Well, I will show you… and you will see for yourself what suffering you have caused to others with your self-centered deeds!"
She pointed, aiming a bony finger at the young prince, and uttered words of magical malevolent curses under her breath. Her finger shone with a strange, emerald glow before there was a beam of light that protruded out of her skin, diving straight towards the innocent prince.
Len was too shocked to move. He did not expect her to do something like that, and as such, he let out a shriek, sharp cry when the light enveloped his body whole. The light first engulfed his limbs, then his torso, and finally his head, and it did not stop until he lost his conscious and stopped crying, slumping into the floor with his eyes shut tightly.
"Oh my goodness!" One of the maids screamed in mortification, "What… What have you done to the prince?"
The king sprung to his feet and hurried to Len's side immediately. He wrapped his arms around him, trying to shake him awake or to get him to respond to his touch, but the prince did not move an inch. He just laid there, in his father's arms with most of the signs of life void from his body; his rosy cheeks were now as white as snow, and his lips were so pale it almost looked like it was purplish-blue. If it had not been for his slow and uneven breathings and his beating heart, it could be safely assumed that he had left for the afterlife.
"What did you do, you monster?" The king growled threateningly from his position.
The witch—Meiko—merely laughed delightfully, ignoring the sobs and whimpers emitting from the servants and the maids around her.
"How rude! It's not that nice to be calling other people names, your majesty," Meiko spat, purposely emphasizing on the last two words as if to infuriate and mock at said person. "You shouldn't be calling me that… what if I decide to kill him? Oh, you pitiful prince… I didn't really want to do this, but your idiotic father has left me with no choice but this!"
"Change him back! Whatever you did, revert it! This is an order!"
"Stupid." Meiko shook her head, disappointed with the king's lack of actions. He was all talk but he had not done anything to prove his worth. "You stupid, lousy king. I wonder how you even managed to climb up to that position of yours—I guess your father must be as equally as blind as you, isn't it? But, oh, poor, poor Len didn't do anything wrong."
"You said it yourself—he didn't do anything wrong! My son is not responsible for my deeds! Now change him back!"
"Tsk… annoying pest. Won't you just shut up already? I'm getting sick of your repetitive lines… don't you have anything new?" She wagged her finger at him. "I didn't do anything to change him—he is just asleep. I've cursed him and put him in a spell that would force him to remain in his slumber for the rest of his life, never to be awake again.
"Only a maiden that can spin straws into gold would be able to help him," She offered, twirling around in a delightful manner. "Ahh… I wonder if you'll find that maiden? Can straws be spun into gold? Is it even possible? You will never know! And if you don't know, then he will be cursed for eternity, and you will lose your son for life!"
With another sharp cackle, the witch made another twirl around the floors of the richly furnished palace before darkness came to swallow her form whole, and drag her beneath the concrete ground. She was gone in a matter of seconds, and what was left behind was nothing but the king's sorrow as the maids continued to weep while the prince remained in slumber.
And that was how everyone in the town got hold of the news about the prince's ultimate demise.
Many of the townsfolk had made rumors about the prince and his father—they had claimed that the king was nothing but a vengeful spirit that absorbed thousands of innocent civilians' souls, and when there was nothing more for him to feed on, he had decided to feed on Len's essence of life, causing him to fall into eternal slumber because his soul was now gone from his body. When the soul and the body are separated, there is no life.
The king started to search for the maiden who could spin straws into gold—he issued search warrants everywhere he went, dragging innocent women out of their houses, and they were brought to the palace to be locked up in the underground cell to spin straws into gold. When they couldn't do it, the king spared them no mercy, and threatened to execute them along with their precious families.
Every single man and woman in the town began to fear of the king's presence. When they heard multiple knocks on the door late at night, they would not open it for fear that the king might grab their daughters and bring her away from them.
There was an exception, however; one of the ladies in the town with long blonde hair secured tightly in a side ponytail was waiting for the time when the king would come knocking on their doors.
When he did, the lady—Neru, they called her—was so ecstatic that she had almost died of blood loss. She humbly invited the king in for a drink, but he declined and insisted that she be sent to the cells to spin straws into gold.
"Oh, your majesty!" Neru had said, "My sister is none other than the girl who can spin straws into gold!"
The king had been so excited when he heard her mention that. He immediately sent his guards to fetch the girl, who had been doing chores on the second floor of the house. He was so engrossed and intent with bringing the girl back, he failed to notice the look of maliciousness on Neru's face; should he have wondered or stopped to think, he would have found Neru's claim to be nothing but a big fat lie to get rid of her annoying sister.
The guards took the girl, who was a little similar to Neru; instead of long hair, however, her hair was around the length of her shoulders, and there was a small little white ribbon wrapped around the crown of her head like a fairy. She was smaller and weaker compared to the older blonde, and it did not take much for her to be dragged successfully to the palace.
When they arrived there, the king threw the girl—Rin, she was called—into the solitary room at the highest peak of the tower to prevent her from escaping from their clutches.
"I want you to spin straws into gold," The king ordered firmly, looking at her from outside the confinements of the room, "and it is to be done within three days. If not, I will have you beheaded. Is that clear?"
"But I don't know how to spin straws into gold!" Rin wailed, "I really don't know how it is to be done!"
"Nonsense! Your sister—Neru—she had pointed out to me that you could spin straws! You are to do it. Your life is at stake. If you do it, you will be generously rewarded; I want proof that you are indeed the girl who can spin straws into gold!"
The king did not wait for her to finish what she had been intending to say. He had left in a hurry, leaving her to her own devices.
She turned to observe the room; it was actually a decent room. There was a spinning wheel sitting in all its glory in the middle of the large and empty wooden table, and a whole bunch of straws sitting flatly beside the device. There was also a small bed meant for a single person at the corner of the room, but other than that… there was nothing much. There wasn't even a window here for her!
And thus, she sat down on the chair, trying to get herself to do the impossible. It was worth a try because Rin would never want to die right now. She was too young... she still had a future ahead of her.
The blonde girl had tried to spin straws into gold, and on the first night, she failed miserably; her skills were not as good as she thought it would be, and her workmanship was choppy, but there was no gold. She even injured her fingers but she did not stop trying for fear that she might be beheaded by the merciless king. She tried to do the impossible, but the impossible was still an impossible and nothing could change that fact no matter how much heart she put in it.
On the second night, she felt her heart breaking and her senses dimming. She was starting to lose that glimmer of hope, for what could not be done could simply never be done. She merely sat on the sheets of the bed and stared icily at blank space, wondering if it would be the end of her and her pathetic lifespan when dawn arrived in the morning. When she thought about it, sadness dominated her senses and she broke down into terrified sobs, letting her body be wrecked by spasms of sorrow.
"Oh why, oh why!" She cried out in between sobs, "Why do I have to spin straws into gold when I know that it is impossible? Oh, goddesses, I don't want to die!"
Then, she cried herself to sleep with the sounds of her sobs as the night's haunting lullaby.
That night, Rin had a dream. In her dream, she was still the maiden who had been locked up in the cells to spin straws into gold, but there was another woman—a strange, pale woman—who was standing in front of her, leading her to the large green fields filled with various flowers and fresh apple trees.
"Rin," The woman had said to her, "Do you want to live?"
Her eyes flashed. "Yes I do! But I cannot live! I cannot spin straws into gold!"
"I can help you with that." The woman with the long pink hair said, but something about that tone of hers was making Rin's heart flutter with fear. "I will make a deal with you; if I help you, then you must give me something else in return. I will collect it from you when the right time comes."
And although poor little Rin did not understand what the stranger had said, she agreed to her terms, unaware of the gravity of the deal she had just unknowingly made with the devil.
When Rin woke up on the third day, she was surprised to find that the dream was in fact, not a dream at all. On the table was a few bars of gold that were spun by straws. The straws had disappeared, and what was left on the table were the shining bunch of gold.
The king had came to check on her a few hours later, and his expression was similar to that of Rin's when she had noticed the gold on the table.
"You do know how to spin straws into gold!" He exclaimed, and Rin wanted to tell him about the deal she had made, to tell him that no, she did not know how, but she decided against it because she did not want the king to be in rage at her audacity to lie to him.
"You are the maiden who knows how to spin straws into gold! You—come, girl, I'll bring you to see the prince."
She followed nervously behind the king as he led the way down the never-ending spiral stairway. She did not know where he was taking her, but he was the king, and hence his orders were absolute. It was so dark when they were on the way down, and Rin was getting scared because she could not bear to be left alone in the darkness without any company.
They stopped in front of a grand door with intricate designs. The door was made of steel and it was the biggest door Rin had ever seen in her life. She could not bring herself to believe that a door like this would actually belong in this wretched tower she had been condemned into.
Then, when the king pushed the door open, Rin was stunned at the sight in front of her.
The room was huge, and it was richly-furnished with many furniture made of pure gold. The chairs were royal crimson in color, and the bed was so soft and gigantic, Rin could not help but gasp at what she was looking at.
But that was not the main focus.
In the middle of the room was a large crystal case that looked so pleasing to the eye, Rin had to go in and see for herself what that was. Beneath the crystal casing was a man, and it was the most handsome man she had ever encountered in all her life as a commoner. He looked so peaceful with his eyes shut tightly and his arms folded neatly and gently across his chest, and his skin was void of any imperfections and as white as a sheet of paper. She could have thought that this was a dead man if it were not for the fact that he was still breathing, albeit a little too unevenly.
"My son is cursed," The king's voice from behind reminded Rin that he was still there, "The only person who is able to save him is the maiden who is able to spin straws into gold. Please, young lady, if you save him, I'll give you anything you want!"
"Cursed?" Rin probed, "Why? Isn't it because he had his soul... sucked away?"
"No. That was not the true story. I was a selfish, evil king and because of that, a witch decided to curse him to make me suffer for the people I have brought pain upon! It was my own deeds that caused Len to become like this... please, do whatever you can to help him!"
A pang of sadness hit Rin, and she nodded.
"I will leave you to yourself for now... if you require any form of assistance, I will be outside." With that, the king walked out of the room, shutting the door tightly behind him as he left.
Rin had always been a gentle, innocent little girl, and hence she would not refuse anybody—be it a pauper or an animal—that needed aid from her. This time was no exception. Although she was skeptical at first because she did not know how on earth she was going to help the prince—Len, they said—get rid of his curse, she decided to try her luck. It was better than not doing anything.
Hence, she uncovered the lid of the crystal case, and stared at the face of an angel from whence she stood.
"Umm, your highness?" She started, looking for any response that she might have elicited from him, but there was none.
She tried to tug at his clothes timidly, slightly shaking him softly.
"Your highness?" She whispered, and like the previous attempt, this one was nothing short of a failure.
"Why isn't he moving?" She mused, "He's breathing, but why can't he see me?"
Rin took a closer look at him. How was she going to call him back to reality from the depths of his slumbers?
You can... kiss him.
Rin jumped a few inches above the floor in shock. There was a weird voice that was telling her what to do... well, never mind that, but the voice had suggested something atrocious and treacherous!
Kiss him? Well, Rin had heard of people saying that kisses were the best cure for any diseases that man had, severe or not. But this was not an ordinary man lying down there, in front of her! It was the prince that so many ladies from town adored! It was Len, Prince Len! To kiss him would be a grave sin by itself... what would other people think of her?
Besides... she was a pure and innocent young little girl. She would do no such thing!
... But she had to try... if not, he would be there for eternity, never to be awake once more.
She leaned down nearer to him, observing the similarity between the shades of their hair, and stared at his pale little lips. It looked like it was trembling, but from what... she didn't know. Was Len having a horrible nightmare?
She leaned down closer to him, and felt her cheeks getting redder and redder as seconds passed. He was a few inches away from her... and all she had to do was to peck his lips and get away from him as quickly as she could. Well, it was easier said than done, because Rin could not imagine how it would be like when she... did... that to him.
It had to be done. It was now or never.
With a heart of determination and steel, she hovered over his lips, intending to seal her fears with the kiss, but at the last moment she pulled back, her face as rosy as the crimson chairs.
"I can't... Eek!" She screamed, looking around nervously. "I can't do it... I really can't, I can't!"
She wouldn't mind if he could take the first move, but he wasn't even conscious. That was as if she was taking advantage of him while he was asleep!
Are you going to kiss him or not? He'll wither and die...
That voice startled her, and she immediately rushed to Len's side. She had to do it. There could be no other option... it was worth a try.
Then, this time, she forced herself to squeeze her eyes shut first before doing anything else. She figured that it would be better for her to kiss a person without looking at the proximity or the kind of position they were in... If not, she would start to blush and hesitate again.
Her heart was beating quickly... she felt like it could be tugged out of her body any moment now. She leaned down, closer than before, and willed herself to push forward with grace and determination. When she felt her lips come into contact with cooler, stiffer ones, she noted that she must have succeeded with the act... but she didn't stop there.
She tiptoed to get closer to Len, and struggled to keep herself from falling onto the floor. It was like an innocent little kiss on his lips, but it felt like forever; she could not pull back and it was strangely addicting. However, she reminded herself that this was the prince she was kissing, and the prince was a noble being that was different from all the others.
With a small little whimper, she pulled back to observe Len's reaction to her kiss.
She frowned. It was useless. What she had done was not going to bring him back. He was destined to be in that state for as long as he lived.
But when little Rin was going to make her way out of the room, she heard a groan, and turned to see the prince sitting up on the crystal casing.
"Oh... my g—" She exclaimed, wrapping her hands around her mouth to prevent herself from screaming at the sight in front of her.
He was awake. He had finally been awake. He was awake after that kiss. He had finally been awake because the kiss had worked. Rin had succeeded!
His sapphire eyes were so hypnotizing that Rin could not bring herself to turn away from his glance. He ruffled his blond hair, staring at Rin with a confused and a tired expression. Under his gaze, Rin could practically feel herself dissolving onto the ground; if he were handsome before, then this... this... he was beautiful. Exhilarating. There was nothing else that could be used to describe a perfect being like him—he was like a god-sent angel who had just awoken from a few years of sleep.
"W...Where am I?" He asked Rin, and Rin almost fainted; his voice matched him perfectly.
"You were asleep for a long time," Rin explained stiffly, not willing to look up at him for fear that he might see her blushing, "... W-welcome b-back to Earth."
"I... see..." Len said, his voice heated, "... What's your name?"
"Er... Erm... R-Rin, your h-highness."
"Rin." His voice made her blush again, and somehow, it was louder this time. "Beautiful..."
When she turned, she got the shock of her life; Len was standing in front of her already, and she didn't even know how he had moved so quickly. She blushed even deeper, if that was even remotely possible, and felt herself melt when Len trailed a finger down from her cheeks to her jaws and tipped her chin upwards to face him.
He cupped her cheeks almost lovingly, and leaned down such that the tip of his nose was practically brushing against hers.
"Rin..." He whispered huskily, "... A beautiful name for a beautiful maiden."
A/N: I don't know if it can still be continued as a twoshot because there's still the deal I need to cover, but blahblahj, this is a oneshot. For now. Because this took me ages to write and I feel that it's not my usual writing style... or so. In short: I'm kind of scared when I submitted this oneshot because I thought it was fail. Haha. Blame my muses.
I want to start up a series of oneshots... should I? Well, if you must know, I based this tale on Sleeping Beauty and ... R... R... Rumpel... something /SHOT
I'm writing more remakes of fairy tales :) I love those, so I think I'll just write about them from now on. Heh heh.
Okay, bye guys -sniff-, see you next time when... I... return... from somewhere! *waves*
Review, please? :3