Horror and shock threatened to overwhelm Fakir as he realized what had just happened.
He'd just made a vow of everlasting love to Rue and not to Ahiru! He was such an idiot. He'd known something was off. Why hadn't he trusted his instincts?
"Better hurry, little Prince," cackled Drosselmeyer, as he disappeared. "Ahiru doesn't have much time left."
Fakir glanced up at one of the windows and felt his heart skip a beat when he saw a small yellow bird trying to fly away and doing a poor job of it.
"Ahiru!" cried Fakir
He shot a slightly angry and betrayed look at Rue, who had the decency to look ashamed. Why had she done this? How could she have done this? As if she was reading his mind, Rue explained herself to him.
"I'm sorry, Fakir. I didn't want this. Drosselmeyer's holding Mytho prisoner. He made me do this. He promised me Mytho would be released and Ahiru wouldn't get hurt if I pretended to be her and tricked you. I didn't know this would happen!" said Rue, as tears slid down her cheeks. "I swear, I didn't know!"
Fakir could not find it within himself to be angry with her. She hadn't known and she'd been trying to protect the man she loved. But compassion could wait as right now he had another problem on his hands. Ahiru was fading and fast thanks to his inability to recognize his own true love.
"Come on!" he barked. "We've got to hurry!"
Rue didn't hesitate to join Fakir on a hard and fast ride on the castle's fastest horses to the lake where they knew Ahiru was going.
Upon their arrival, they could see Ahiru's usually graceful flying becoming anything but. She was in poor shape and it was getting worse. Her wings briefly touched the lake's waters before Ahiru landed on her back on the ground, and once she landed, and once she landed, she turned from a duck into a human. But alas, it didn't change her fate, for she was still in poor condition.
"AHIRU!" yelled Fakir, as he came upon her.
He was breathing hard and looked scared to see Ahiru lying so still on the ground. Quickly, he ran over to her and cradled her in his arms. "Ahiru, please wake up," he murmured. She was so pale and growing colder and more still with every passing moment, despite his efforts to keep her warm.
Ahiru stirred and gazed at him. "Fakir, you found me."
"Did you ever doubt I would?" said Fakir, softly. He looked distraught as he brushed a lock of her hair out of her face. "I'm so sorry, Ahiru. I was so stupid. I should've known Rue wasn't you. Forgive me."
"It's okay. I understand. You were tricked." Ahiru then winced as her breathing grew shallower. "Fakir, I feel so weak. I think I'm going to…"
"No, don't you dare!" interrupted Fakir, as tears came to his eyes. "Don't you dare leave me again! You're going to live, you idiot. You're coming to come home with me and be my Queen when I take the throne. I'm going to take care of you forever. I made that vow of everlasting for you and only you."
"I know," said Ahiru, faintly. "I heard it all. It was wonderful." She gently caressed his face as she began to grow weaker. "I love you, Fakir. Tell Rue I forgive her."
Fakir brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed it. "I will. I love you too."
Ahiru smiled a little before her eyes closed and she moved no more. Tears streamed down everyone's cheeks, especially Fakir's as he gently laid her down onto the ground. Fakir's heart was broken. Ahiru was gone. The only one he would ever love, sweet and beautiful Ahiru, was gone forever.
Grief and anger overcame Fakir as he rose up. "I made that vow for her." He turned to the skies and yelled out, "DO YOU HEAR ME, DROSSELMEYER? THE VOW I MADE WAS FOR HER!"
"No need to shout!"
Fakir angrily turned to face Drosselmeyer. "You! This is all your fault! Undo what you've done, you lunatic! Don't let her die!" he growled. Blood relative or no, anyone who dared to lay one finger on the people Fakir cared about were immediately his enemies.
"Is that a threat?" asked Drosselmeyer, mockingly.
"Don't you dare let her die!" yelled Fakir.
"Oh, it is a threat," said Drosselmeyer, mockingly. "Isn't this an interesting plot twist?"
Fakir didn't take kindly to this. He grabbed the scruff of Drosslemeyer's clothes. "You're the only one with the power, now DO IT!"
Drosselmeyer just knocked him down. "My work will only become undone if you defeat me." Light burst out of Drosselmeyer's hands and then suddenly, he transformed into a fantastic winged beast with dark fur, red eyes and enormous fangs.
"The Great Animal," gasped Fakir. So, this is what Edel was trying to tell me! Quickly, he drew his sword and lunged for Drosselmeyer, only to have his sword knocked out of his hands and to be pinned down by the beast's great talons. Fakir tossed dirt into Drosselmeyer's face, granting him a distraction and time to get free before he lunged for him with his sword again, this time Drosselmeyer was wounded, but not fatally.
Drosselmeyer took the skies and disappeared, causing Fakir to desperately look around for any sign of his evil grandfather. "Where are you, monster?" he whispered, as he tightened his grip on his sword.
Suddenly, Fakir was knocked down when Drosselmeyer attacked him from behind. Fakir was pinned and helpless as Drosselmeyer snapped Fakir's sword in two with his razor-sharp teeth. Fakir was at Drosselmeyer's mercy until Rue flung a rock at Drosselmeyer's head, allowing Fakir to escape his clutches. But her assistance only did so much good, for Drosselmeyer flew up again, but he grabbed Fakir in his talons and then flung him into a tree. Fakir broke off a branch and tried to fight again, only for the tree limb he was standing on to break, and causing him to fall painfully onto the ground.
Ignoring the pain he felt, Fakir shakily rose to his feet. Drosselmeyer was coming straight at him and now he had no means to defend himself. Or did he?
"Mytho?" gasped Fakir. He turned to see Mytho standing a few feet away, dripping wet and looking a bit exhausted and bruised, but alive. In Mytho's hands was a bow and arrow, which he tossed to Fakir. Quickly, Fakir fired off the arrow, striking his opponent dead in the heart before he could be attacked again. Drosselmeyer let out a cry of pain before falling and vanishing forever in a bright swam of lights. Drosselmeyer was now gone forever and a bit of cheering went underway.
"Mytho!" cried Rue. Tears slid down her cheeks as she ran into his arms.
"Oh, Rue, thank goodness, you're safe," murmured Mytho. He stroked her hair as he held her close, but then he stopped. "Oh, heavens, Ahiru!"
Rue looked and fresh tears came to her eyes as she saw that Drosselmeyer had not kept his word. Autor was restored to his human form and Uzura was now a real little girl, but Ahiru's body was still unmoving and Fakir looked grief-stricken.
"I'm sorry, Ahiru," said Fakir. He was holding her again and tears were streaming down his cheeks. "This was all my fault. I only wanted to break the spell, to prove my love to you. I was a fool, a complete fool. If I had just spoken before, none of this would've happened. Forgive me. I love you, Ahiru. Without you in my life, I'm nothing. You made me into a better person, one I always hoped would one day be worthy of your love. You're the only one who can make me laugh, the only one who truly makes me feel happy and who makes me smile. You're brave, you're compassionate, and the most kind and selfless person I've ever known. You're my klutzy little duck and no one else's. I have and will always love you, Ahiru. No matter what happens, I will always be by your side, forever, I promise."
He placed a tender kiss on her head and began crying into her shoulder, but then suddenly, Ahiru whispered, "I promise to stay by your side forever, too."
"Ahiru?" gasped Fakir. His tears turned tears of joy and his face lit up with a broad smile. He had no idea how Ahiru was alive, but he didn't care. All that mattered was that she was. She was back with him, safe and sound. "Ahiru, you're alive."
"Fakir," said Ahiru, happily as she smiled.
Everyone cried with joy and cheered as Ahiru and Fakir shared a passionate kiss and then they all returned to Fakir's castle. The spell was broken and Drosselmeyer was gone forever. Now, they were all free to live their lives as they so chose forever.
One week later, a double wedding was underway to celebration the unions of Ahiru and Fakir along with Rue and Mytho. Countless people came to celebrate the fantastic occasion. There was great cheer, happy smiles and flower petals being tossed everywhere in honor of the occasion.
Uzura was the flower girl for the two brides. She looked quite happy in her little pink and purple gown as she spread flowers down the aisle. Karon looked overjoyed to see his son happily married at long last. Femio and Autor were actually crying as they watched the happy unions take place from their place among the happy watchers. And happy they were.
Both brides looked stunningly beautiful. Ahiru wore a gown of white silk in a swan-like design, her hair was in elegant curls and she carried a bouquet of small orange flowers with pink tips. Rue's hair was inn elegant bun, she wore a soft golden feathery gown and she carried a bouquet of red roses. Fakir looked quite handsome in his white and gold royal suit and Mytho looked just as handsome in his regal purple and white attire.
The day of the weddings was a happy one indeed, for they all vowed to love and stay by one another's side forever and ever. Later that night during the wedding reception, Femio was to finally get the long-awaited kiss from Ahiru he'd wanted so that he might finally become a Prince. He was sitting on a table outside in the garden next to a fountain with Fakir, Ahiru, Autor and Uzura.
"Well, Your Majesty, I'm ready to become a Prince," said Femio. He was wearing a tiny cape and crown. "Kiss me vhen you're ready."
"Okay, Autor. Hold still," said Ahiru, chuckling. She leaned down and kissed the top of his head. Femio then made a series of strange noises before jumping several feet into the air and landing smugly at Ahiru's feet, still a frog just as before. He was no Prince, but he didn't seem to have noticed. Rather, he seemed to be under the belief that he was a Prince and seemed quite smug about it.
"Voilà! Vell, Autor? How do I look?" asked Femio, smugly.
"Uh…" said Autor, at loss for words for once.
Autor couldn't speak, whereas the others took a more humorous approach to the situation, yet politely said nothing. Fakir seemed to have difficulty restraining his laughter.
"Very princely, zura," said Uzura, coming to Autor's rescue.
"I zhought so. Now, if you vill excuse me, zhere are some girls who require my immediate attention," said Femio. He straightened his cape in his reflection via the water of the fountain, before walking inside. A few moments later, they heard a girl shriek and faint, which made them all laugh.
"Should we tell he's still a frog, zura?" asked Uzura.
"In the morning," said Autor, shaking his head. He held out his hand. "Come on, Uzura. Let's go get some cake. I think the newlyweds could use a moment to themselves."
"Okay, zura!" said Uzura, happily. She took Autor's hand and went inside with him for some fun.
Fakir finally chuckled. "You have a talent for finding odd yet loyal friends, Ahiru," he said.
"I know, but they're perfect as they are," said Ahiru, smiling. She owed them so much. Letting them stay at the castle with her and Fakir was just one of many ways she intended to repay her debt to them. She smiled again when Fakir took her hand and they danced their way over to the footbridge, at which point, Fakir held Ahiru close as he gently caressed her face. There was nothing but pure joy and love in their eyes as they gazed at each other.
"Will you love me, Fakir? Until the day I die?" asked Ahiru.
"No. Much longer than that, Ahiru. Much longer," promised Fakir.
"And I shall love you just as long," promised Ahiru.
They shared a tender kiss and lived happily ever after.