Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived a prince. The prince was handsome and charming, smart, and kind, everything about the prince was perfect. The Prince loved his people more than anything in the world, and in return, his people loved him. There was only one problem: the prince lacked a bride. He had traveled far and wide. He held balls, galas, even markets hoping to find the right person to help rule his kingdom. But alas, no woman was good enough for his people. After years of searching, the Prince began to despair.
And so, one stormy night, the prince fell into a deep bought of desperation. He snuck out of the castle, and into the dark forest to seek out the mysterious enchantress. Her magic was feared for miles around. He climbed over fallen trees and piles of leaves. The rain pelted his cape. He searched for hours, checking high and low, but he couldn’t find her. Then, as the light was starting to peak over the horizon, the prince stumbled into a clearing. Unsure of how he got there, he realized he had stumbled onto the enchantress’s cottage. It was wooden and moss covered, seemly empty and falling apart. The Prince began to fear, but his desperation drove him forward to the door of the cottage. He walked up and, with his knees shaking, knocked. Nothing happened. He waited a few moments and then knocked again. Still nothing happened. He put his hand on the handle and suddenly the door burst open, knocking the prince backwards. A bright light shone out from the doorway. It was so bright that the Prince could only make out the outline of the enchantress.
“Oh wise Enchantress, I have come to seek your help.”
“I know why you are here. The question is, are you willing to prove that you are worthy?”
“I will do anything to find someone perfect enough for my people.”
A blinding light covered the meadow. When the light faded, there was a circular green light that swirled around the prince. The lights danced a few feet away and got brighter. Then suddenly a scream was heard. Then a thud. There infront of him on the ground was a girl. A plain girl, to the prince’s standards. And barely clothed. In her arms was a large dog. The prince found that odd. Dogs were rarely the pet of a princess.
“What the fuck.” She scrambled to her feet, not letting go of the dog. “What the fuck. Where am I? Who are you?”
“Fair maiden, I am Prince Christopher.” He bowed.
“What the fuck. I was just watching Netflix!” She took a few steps back, her head spinning around every which way.
“You came through the magic portal. I am here to get you to safety.”
“What the fuck?”
“You and your beast… Netflix you called him?... can come with me.”
“Why the hell should I trust you. God, what did I eat? This has to be a dream.”
“This is no dream, you are in the enchanted forest. But I can’t keep you safe here. We must head back to the kingdom to be safe.”
“Listen Topher, I don’t know who you are or where I am, but I don’t have any reason to trust you. I just appeared here out of nowhere, and I’m supposed to trust you?”
“Not how that works.” The girl had put her dog down and started hurrying out of the clearing. “Come on, Wally.” The dog went bounding after her.
“Princess, wait! That’s not the right way!” Prince Christopher went running after her.
The girl moved fast; determined to figure out what was going on. The dog bounded around the forest, sometimes ahead of her, sometimes behind. He was clearly having a great time while the princess looked determined and miserable. The Prince followed. This line up didn’t last long as the girl was in her pajamas and it was getting cold out.
“Ok, Prince Topher. You say you’re here to help me. So can you light a fire or something?”
Prince Christopher immediately took off his cape and wrapped it around the girl. “I hope this is warm enough, Princess. I never did catch your name.”
“I’m Brittany. And I’m not a princess.”
“What about the beast?”
“Tuppence is no beast. He’s a big sweetheart. But he is disappointed that you’re not lighting a fire.”
“I can’t light a fire here, it’s far too dangerous. There are creatures in this forest like you can’t even imagine. Lighting a fire might attract them. If you’re weary and need to rest, I will keep watch for you.”
“I don’t know that I’d be able to sleep on the ground. Besides, don’t you need rest? You look like a mess.”
“I would rather keep you safe.”
And so Brittany sat down and leaned against a tree. Tuppence immediately cuddled up next to her. She wrapped them in the cloak. It turns out magically being transported to a new world will leave you utterly exhausted. The cape, though extremely light provided the perfect warmth that even Tuppence couldn’t resist. And both were peacefully asleep within minutes. And so it was with a sudden and surprising start that Brittany awoke with a hand over her mouth and Christopher looming over her.
Prince Christopher signaled silence by bringing one finger to his lips. He slowly let go of her mouth and crouched down to the side. And that’s when she heard it. Loud and terrible footsteps could be heard, and while they were in the distance, they were quickly growing closer. Step by step, Brittany hugged Tuppence closer to her. Tuppence in return would give her a small singular kiss every few steps to give her courage. Then the laugh came booming through the forest. “Orges” the Prince whispered. The darkness started to get lighter, and Brittany could make out the flickering of the torches that they were carrying. They were getting so close. And then she saw them.
They were big and ugly creatures. Not cartoonish ugly, like Shrek, but truly hideous. They stood what must have been eight feet tall, with patchy white and gray skin. Their skin sagged in certain places and looked much to tight in others. Their faces were distorted, nothing seemed to line up. They carried clubs and torches with them. Brittany knew she was in danger and turned to look at Prince Christopher for reassurance. There was one problem. He was gone. Brittany did her best to use the cape to cover herself and Tuppence. The group was two trees away now, and Brittany could count three of them. And it was in that moment that they stopped and started sniffing the air.
“Do you smell that? That’s the smell of a campfire. I bet you someone is close. Looks like we might just get a real meal tonight.”
“Oh! I hope they’re nice and crunchy.”
“Forget crunch, I like when they’re thick and juicy.” Two of the ogres started arguing, while the third one stood there and kept sniffing the air.
“Shut up you two and help me out. It seems like there are many different smells.” The ogres paused and started laughing. “Looks like we’ll be feasting tonight! You two head North, and I’ll take the South. You know the signal for if you find something.”
“Not fair! Why do you get South?”
“Because I’m the leader. That’s why. Now shut up and get going.”
The ogres started walking in separate directions. Brittany relaxed just a bit, realizing they didn’t see her. Then something covered her mouth, and she jumped. Prince Christopher had appeared again. “Shh. We don’t have much time.” He whispered. “I’m going to need your help to defeat them. Luckily he sent the dumb two off together. It will be easy to trick them. Can you be brave for me? I hate to put you in danger, but it’s the only way we’ll get out of this alive now that they’ve got your smell” Brittany nodded and Tuppence licked her face. Together, they moved as quietly towards the ogres heading north as possible. They followed them for about ten minutes, until Christopher stopper her in a clearing. There they set up a fire. It didn’t take long for the two ogres to appear.
“Ho!” Shouted Prince Christopher. “Look my lady, we have found them! The great Ogres of the forest!”
“Come you two, sit by our fire. We have been journeying for days looking for you. You must be hungry and exhausted. Come sit while we prepare you a feast fit for your greatness” Brittany bowed to them. The ogres scratched their heads and looked at each other. They were confused, but something inside of them felt something they had never felt before. They strutted over to the first and sat down.
“Oh great, Ogres, please tell us your names.”
“Uhhhh. I’m Robert and this is Ted.”
Brittany was taken aback by their names but quickly recovered. “Are you hungry, my great sirs?”
Ted and Robert looked at each other. Ted spoke first. “We’re starving. Our boss has been making us walk all over the forest for days without even a rabbit to snack on. He insists we gotta feast on humans for our next meal. I’d settle for anything.”
“Yeah. We saw plenty of delicious things. We saw deer and squirrels and snakes.”
“Oh, I like snakes. They feel so good when you swallow them down.”
“Heck, we ain’t even stopped for water. I’m mighty thirsty too. But no. We gotta drink the blood of humans. I don’t even really like eating humans.” Robert started to cry. Christopher and Brittany looked at each other in surprise, but were even more surprised when Tuppence ran up to Robert and started licking away his tears. Robert started giggling like a small child, half heartedly pushing away the dog. “And who are you?” Tuppence’s tail was wagging like crazy.
“This is Tuppence. He thinks you deserve a good snack right away.” Brittany said, looking at Christopher.
“I could never eat this little guy. He’s too cute.”
“Oh, no, no, no, no. you’re not eating Tuppence. Christopher here is going to get you a nice dear or rabbit. And I’m going to keep you company and hear all about your great adventures.”
Christopher pulled her to the side. “What are you doing? If you feed them, they’ll be stronger and will be able to destroy you. I’m trying to keep us safe and you’re offering to keep them alive.”
“Trust me. They’re not as bad as they seem. Go hunt. I’ve got Tuppence here to keep me safe.”
And so Christopher begrudgingly went off to hunt, returning quickly with several rabbits in hand. Brittany had been right. She had been sitting talking to the ogres the entire time, and was finding more and more that they weren’t as fierce or as mean as they seemed. They had talked about everything from their favorite foods- neither of them had heard of salad but were willing to try it- to the shape of the clouds- Ted had looked up and seen a flower- to their enjoyment of playing with Tuppence. Brittany had shown Robert how to play fetch, and the rest was history. Christopher was surprised to find them laughing together when he returned.
The two ogres wanted their rabbits raw, but Christopher skinned and cooked the other rabbit for Brittany. He had also gathered some berries and nuts along the way for snacks. The group was having a great time, and then Brittany realized Ted was very quiet.
“Ted, what’s wrong?”
“I’m just having so much fun, and I realized Boss is gonna find us soon and get mad. And I don’t want to go back to following him. I want to play with Tuppence and eat that salad you were talking about and look at clouds!”
“So why don’t you tell him no?”
“Because in ogre world, you have to prove your stronger. If you’re stronger, then everyone has to follow you. And he’s very strong. Magic binds us to follow him until we can defeat him. It’s just part of being an Orgre.”
“Well what if we team up. I bet we can beat him.” Declared the Prince. “I’ve fought many ogres before, and I’ve never failed. If we can draw him here, Brittany and I can hide in the trees, then get him as he walks through. And then once I’m the strongest, I’ll set you free!”
And so they went about setting up for the Boss to show up. Brittany and Christopher hid in the trees. The ogres let out a strange loud cry. Brittany had no words to describe the sound, but after a few minutes, she heard the call come back from another direction. Soon, the sounds of the Boss running towards them echoed through the forest. He stepped into the clearing.
“What is this? Why are you sitting by a fire? Idiots. There are not humans here.”
“Don’t interrupt me! I was on the trail of a human, and you pulled me away to find you lazy bums sitting next to a fire? And what’s that in your hand? Have you been eating without waiting for the feast? What is wrong with you? I swear I aughtta.”
“Now,” yelled Christopher, as he and Brittany jumped out of the tree, knocking over the Boss and hitting him in the head with a club. The boss was knocked unconscious. Brittany and the other ogres tied him up against a tree, and waited. When he woke up, Brittany was the first willing to face him. She walked right up to him.
“You no longer are the strongest, bravest, or smartest of the ogres. We have defeated you and you will give up your power over these two. They will not follow you. They will be their own ogres who can do whatever they want!” The Boss struggled against the ropes but it was no use. Brittany had been an expert knot tier in girl scouts. “Why are you so mean?” The Boss humphed in response. “You won’t be freed until you break the spell over them.”
The Boss started to shrink into himself, afraid of Brittany’s confidence and excellent knot tieing abilities. Finally he said quietly “I am no longer the boss of them.”
A breeze swept through the clearing, and suddenly Robert yelled “His name is Francis! I couldn’t say that before! Francis! The spell is broken!”
“You couldn’t say his name?”
“How would you like to be the strongest ogre with a name like Francis? No one would have feared me. And now no one will again.”
“You know there’s more to life than being feared.” Said Brittany.
Brittany gave a sly grin to Robert and Ted. “Have you ever heard of a game called fetch?”
And so Tuppence converted another ogre to learn to love through the game of fetch. By the time the sun rose, the three ogres, Robert, Ted, and Francis, had all decided humans were pretty fun. They thought they might even stop eating them, if this is what they were like. They took turns sleeping and enjoying each other’s company. Finally, all three ogres had fallen asleep. Brittany thought Robert and Francis would never stop arguing over who got to cuddle with Francis. But now it was just Brittany and Christopher.
“You know, you were awfully brave out there. I don’t know many girls who would face down an ogre, no matter how tightly they were tied up.”
“You know, I don’t usually think of myself as brave, but it’s been a weird day. I was watching Netflix in bed, and then suddenly I’m in this whole new world. I can be brave because I have to be. How else am I going to figure out how I got here?”
“Well that’s easy, Princess. I brought you here.”
“I’m not a. Wait. I’m sorry. What?”
“I brought you here. Well technically it was the enchantress, but I asked for you.”
“You’re the reason I came here? So much for keeping me safe.”
“Princess, I am keeping you safe.”
“No, your actions literally put me in danger. I was safe at home. I was safe in my world. Here I’ve almost frozen to death, had to face down three ogres, and I have been traveling with the person who put me in that danger? This is not ok.” Brittany stood up and stormed away from the prince. She ran as fast as she could from the clearing, bounding through the trees and brush. The Prince, knowing he had to keep Tuppence and the ogres safe, sat where he was, staring after her in despair.
Brittany ran and ran. She ran even though her feet were on fire and bleeding from the forest ground. She ran even though her heart was pounding and her breath was short. She ran to keep back the tears. It wasn’t until she tripped and fell that the sobs came out. She cried for the world she lost, for the friend who betrayed her, and because she finally realized she had left Tuppence behind and had no idea how to find him. And so she laid there, crying for what felt like hours. Finally, she wiped away the last of her tears, took a deep breath and looked up. She saw no signs pointing her in the right direction. She stood up, brushed off her legs. She picked a direction that seemed the right way and started walking. It didn’t take long for her to know she was hopelessly lost. This time, instead of crying, she took a deep breath and found her confidence. She scanned the horizon and saw fire light ahead. She decided it was worth the risk to see if it was her camp. As she got closer, she saw that instead, it was a little old lady. There was a small cottage next to the fire. Brittany approached with caution.
“No need to worry, young girl. This cottage is made out of wood, not ginger bread. You’ll be safe here.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’ve gotten lost.”
“There is no need to apologize. You look like you’ve been through a lot, and we witches get a bad rep. Come, sit next to the fire and warm up.” Brittany, who had been freezing without the cape gladly took up the offer. Embarrassingly, her stomach growled very loudly. The witch smiled. “I’m cooking some stew right now, but I have an apple if you’d like to snack on it.”
“Are we talking poisoned or regular?”
“I wouldn’t waste a good poison apple on some girl I didn’t know. There is no reason to waste perfectly good magic. I can take a bite first if you’d like.”
Brittany was instantly at home. The witch seemed to have knowledge beyond this world, and the two sat and talked. Brittany helped stir the stew, and the witch only asked for company as payment for the food and shelter. They talked through dinner, and Brittany pour out the story of how she had arrived there. “I just wish I knew how to get home or who to trust, or even how to find Tuppence.”
“Ah, my dear. You know wishes like that are how princesses get into trouble in the stories. Those type of spells have consequences, you know.”
“I’m in a magical world away from all my family and friends and I’ve lost my dog. At this point, I’d be willing to take the consequences to know what to do.”
“I can help. I can cast a spell over you where you’ll need true love’s kiss to wake up. If it is the Prince, you will know that here is where you belong. If he kisses you and nothing happens, then you’ll be transported back to your world as if none of this happened.”
“What about Tuppence?”
“He will go wherever you go.”
Brittany agreed and the witch started on the spell. She brewed together strange ingredients into a cauldron. It was something out of a fairytale, and Brittany couldn’t help but stare with her mouth open. She blushed when she realized that. The brewing process took longer that she expected, and when it was done, the witch took a cup and dipped it in. The witch led Brittany outside where a magical bed had appeared. The witch instructed her to sit down on it before taking a gulp. When Brittany did, it tasted like a warm mint tea. She handed the cup back to the witch, laid down, and fell asleep.
The witch used her magic to attract the Prince and the ogres to the place where Brittany lay. It wasn’t difficult since the Prince had been searching furiously since the moment the ogres woke. The magic led him into the clearing before the others. He immediately rushed to her side, and grabbed her hand.
“Oh fair Brittany, all I wanted was to keep you safe and instead I pushed you into the arms of evil.” The ogres finally caught up to the clearing and stopped silently on the edge. “I can only hope that there is one way to prove my love to you.” And slowly the prince leaned forward to kiss Brittany. The whole clearing was holding their breath until suddenly a loud bark filled the air and Tuppence bounced onto Brittany and started licking her face. Brittany began to awake.
“A true love’s kiss!” yelled Robert
“But, but, how can you be awake?” The prince stuttered. “I haven’t kissed you yet.”
“Tuppence’s love must be true.” Brittany smiled as the dog continued to pounce at her. “Isn’t it boy.”
“So what does this mean for your decision?” The witch had quietly appeared next to the trio. “Your Prince did not kiss you and the magic will only work once.” Brittany paused.
“Princess Brittany, before you make your decision, you deserve to know the whole story. I am a Prince of a strong and fair kingdom. I do my best to serve my people. All I wanted was a queen wise and strong enough to lead with me. I could not find any person no matter how far I searched. In an act of desperation, I sought out the enchantress who brought you to me. I have seen your bravery your strength, your kindness and I know you to be the true queen my people deserve. Stay with me.”
“How could I possibly leave my family, my friends, my life for someone I’ve known for two days? Christopher, you’re very charming and this is an adventure I could never forget, but I can’t give up everything I’ve known because you can’t find a girlfriend.” She turned to the witch. “I want to go home.” Brittany gave her farewells to the ogres and the prince, hugging each of them for longer than normal and thanking them for the adventure. Tuppence gave an especially sloppy kiss goodbye to the ogres, and bounded around the clearing one last time. When they were finally ready, Brittany turned towards the witch. With a burst of light, the witch opened a portal to take Brittany and Tuppence back to their world.
The Prince continued to rule his kingdom, proving himself a fair and just ruler through his outreach to the creatures in the forest. He remained friends with the ogre trio. Though it took some time, the Prince did find a Princess in his own world that was everything he imagined in a queen. The two were married, and lived happily ever after. As for Brittany and Tuppence, they returned home and finished binge watching their Netflix show, cuddled together after a long adventure.