Princesses On Parade

Princess Emmalyn wasn't like most girls. She was a princess, but her parents were at their wit's end trying to teach her proper behavior. She preferred reading to anything else, and didn't like things like dancing and parties. On top of that, she had been born with magic powers, and since she had to learn from books rather than teachers, the palace she lived in was often in chaos.

By the time she was sixteen, her parents had pretty much given up hope that she would find a husband. Despite the fact she was beautiful, with black hair and brilliant blue eyes, no one would wed a girl with magic powers. On top of that, Emmalyn didn't even want to get married.

One day when she was reading a book on magical transformations, her mother, Queen Rebecca, came running in. "Emmalyn, there's a ball being held at the palace of my old friend Queen Uberta!" she said. "Her son Prince Derek is going to choose a wife!"

"I suppose this means you're going to make me go, and hide the fact that I can use magic?" Emmalyn sighed.

"This may be your last chance," Queen Rebecca said. "At least TRY not to tell him, dear."

"Oh, fine," Emmalyn said. "What are you going to make me wear this time?"

"Let's pick out something together," Queen Rebecca said.

Emmalyn got up, and started looking through her closet with her mother. Eventually they picked out a spring green dress, with cream-colored sleeves. Emmalyn picked out a pair of green shoes, and said, "I'll just braid my hair. I don't want to seem like someone I'm not."

"I'll do it; the last attempt was dreadful," Queen Rebecca said. Emmalyn sighed as her mother braided her hair.

Finally they were ready, and Emmalyn and her mother got into a carriage, and drove off.

They arrived at dusk, and some footmen helped them out of the carriage. "Mother, how many princesses are coming?" Emmalyn asked.

The footman showing them to the door overheard and said, "Oh, all the neighboring kingdoms and then some are sending their daughters, my lady."

Emmalyn sighed as they went in. Great… a party for a bunch of spoiled brats, she thought. If I ever get married, I want it to be someone who will love me for me, not someone who's just rich and/or handsome.

They were met in the Grand Hall by Queen Uberta, who said, "Welcome. Rebecca, it's wonderful to see you! This is your daughter?"

"Yes, this is Emmalyn," Queen Rebecca said. Emmalyn curtsied and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"You as well," Queen Uberta said. "There are several princesses already here, and more are expected."

"Emmalyn is a little uncomfortable around strangers; can she stay with me?" Queen Rebecca asked.

"Of course," Queen Uberta said graciously. "Come with me, the courtiers are gathering over here."

Emmalyn followed her mother and Queen Uberta to a group of men and women dressed in their finest.

They all waited for a while, and then from a side door, a young man with brown hair and blue eyes came into the room. "That's Prince Derek," Queen Rebecca told Emmalyn.

"He's sad about something," Emmalyn said.

"Emmalyn…." Queen Rebecca said warningly.

Emmalyn sighed and studied Prince Derek. Aside from that haircut, he's kind of cute, she thought. She decided that since she was bored, she was going to look through his mind. She saw the image of a beautiful girl, who look oddly familiar. Her name is Odette…. Did she die or something? Emmalyn wondered. Digging a little deeper, she found that Odette and Derek had been promised to each other, and then Odette had been kidnapped by some kind of animal. Derek was the only one who thought she was still alive.

Why does she look familiar? Emmalyn wondered. It's like her outline is familiar; I don't think I've seen her face. Thinking hard, Emmalyn realized something. That time I snuck out to the gardens at Swan Lake, I saw the silhouette of a girl, she thought. If Odette is alive, someone must be keeping her there. The owner of that castle is rumored to be a magician; he must have done something to her. But I never saw her again; just a sad-looking swan. Then it hit her, and Emmalyn nearly smacked herself.

She's been changed into a swan! Emmalyn thought excitedly. I was reading that book on transformations today, I just have to remember the cure!

Half-watching her surroundings, she finally remembered. The way to break the spell is a vow of everlasting love, she thought. It will only work if Derek is truly in love with her. And, of course, he'll have to get this around that magician. Well, I'll just have to let him handle that; I'm going to be locked in my room for a month after what I'm about to do.

Sighing slightly, Emmalyn turned her full attention back to her surroundings, and saw a bunch of ladies wearing an insane amount of diamonds dancing around. What is this, a circus? she wondered.

Emmalyn watched as a number of princesses were presented, waiting for her turn. Finally Queen Uberta came up to her, and said, "Come along, dear."

Emmalyn followed Queen Uberta to the center of the room, where Prince Derek was waiting. "Derek, this is Princess Emmalyn, daughter of my childhood friend Rebecca," she said.

Derek bowed, but Emmalyn didn't curtsy, she said, "You're sad about something."

Derek apparently didn't know how to respond to this; he stared at her. When she figured he wasn't going to say anything, and before her mother could come drag her off, she said, "I know where Odette is."

Derek looked shocked, and grabbed her shoulders. "Where is she? How do you know?" he asked.

"She's at Swan Lake, a place not far from my home," Emmalyn said. "I snuck out to the gardens there at night, and saw her. I came back a few days later, and only found a swan that looked sad. The owner of Swan Lake is a magician, and it seems he's turned Odette into a swan."

"Is there a way to turn her back?" Derek asked.

"The cure for this spell is a vow of everlasting love," Emmalyn said. "It will only work if you truly love her."

"I do," Derek said, with no hesitation in his voice.

"You'll also have to do something about the magician there, but I'm afraid I can't help you there; I don't know anything about him," Emmalyn said.

"I can handle him," Derek said. "Thank you so much."

Emmalyn smiled. "Sure," she said. "My mother's probably going to lock me up and flay me for this, but I think it was worth it."

"Actually, I think she fainted," Queen Uberta said dryly.

"Great…." Emmalyn sighed. "Well, I'd better go see how she's doing. It was nice to meet you, Prince Derek."

"You as well, thank you for your help," Derek said, and ran off.

"Well, at least he'll stop moping now," Queen Uberta sighed. "Let's see if we can't get you out of trouble for this."

Emmalyn giggled as she and Queen Uberta went to find Queen Rebecca.

I know it's short, but I just found the 'Princesses on Parade' scene from 'The Swan Princess' on YouTube, and decided to make a one-shot. Review plz!