Story Saturday: The Haunted Castle (Once Upon a Time)

"The Haunted Castle"

Once upon a time, there were two princes. The older prince, Dorian, was kind and wise but had a gentle demeanor that shined through to all who knew him. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Stewart, was hotheaded and envied the crown. When their parents passed away and the crown was to be passed on to Prince Dorian, he and Stewart went out riding together in the countryside. Prince Stewart returned from their trip alone. To the horror of the entire palace staff, he reported a terrible accident in which Dorian's horse was spooked by a wild animal and ran off a cliff, taking the elder prince with him in a fatal drop. The kingdom mourned the loss of their future king, and preparations were made for Stewart to become king in his stead.

While most accepted this sad tale as fact, a scullery maid named Lorraine found the young prince's story very suspicious, especially when Dorian's body had yet to be recovered. She decided to try to investigate the castle to find out if Dorian was really dead. As she did her daily chores, she searched every nook and cranny for signs of the kind-hearted prince. Though her search revealed very little, she noticed some odd occurrences taking place throughout the castle. Everywhere she went, the lights would flicker, and objects on the shelves would rattle. At one point, a vase shook so hard that it fell to the floor and shattered. Prince Stewart accused Lorraine of doing this intentionally as a slight against the crown. In his anger, he slapped her across the face as punishment and warned her never to shirk her duties again.

As she tried to ignore the pain, Lorraine heard an odd humming sound coming from a tiny jewel on one of the prince's rings. It may have been the way the sunlight hit it or the impact of the blow, but she could have sworn the jewel was winking at her in an odd manner.

All too soon, the day arrived for Prince Stewart's coronation. The servants were instructed to make the ballroom look as pristine as possible with the royal crown polished and placed on display as the main attraction. Lorraine scrubbed every inch of the ballroom. When she went to polish the crown, she noticed a tiny chip missing in one of the jewels. The chip was exactly the same shape and color as the one she had spotted on the prince's ring. She feared what might happen if she spoke up too soon, so she waited with bated breath for the ceremony to begin.

Sure enough, Stewart entered in his luxurious fur-lined royal cape with jeweled rings glittering on each of his fingers, including the one with the jewel that had made the odd sound. As he was about to sit on the throne, Lorraine pretended to straighten his cape and instead threw it over his head, temporarily blinding him. In the split second she had before he recovered, she pulled the tiny gem off his finger.

Prince Stewart was infuriated. He began ranting and raving about how he always knew Lorraine was incompetent as a maid, and now she had ruined his coronation ceremony. In his anger, he placed an order for her to be executed immediately. Just before the guards could bind her, she inserted the tiny gem into the gap she had found on the royal crown. It fit as perfectly as a puzzle piece.

In a blinding flash of light, the crown levitated in the air and took the form of a man. Soon, Prince Dorian stood before his subjects alive and whole. The crowd murmured and gasped.

"My loyal subjects," he announced to the procession, "my brother has deceived you. In an attempt to ensure that he did not receive the crown, they had a wizard bind it to me by magic. Prince Stewart found a loophole in this spell. By separating a piece of the crown, he caused my soul to be separated from my body. Among all of you, only one person was wise enough to see through his treachery. As a reward for her efforts, she will be your new queen and rule alongside me."

He reached out a hand to Lorraine, who the guards released in confusion. Lorraine stepped forward hesitantly in disbelief that she deserved such a great honor.

"Do not fear," whispered Prince Dorian, as he led her to the throne. "You have proven yourself more than worthy."

Lorraine looked into the eyes of the prince she had always admired and saw that he was sincere. She took his and regarded her people with pride, which is how a simple maid came to be queen of this land.


Sugar said…
Beautiful history! I remembered a character from a webtoon called Dorian (it's not about princesses although one is about harry potter-style witches) and this character was still a kind boy hehe.
Avatar Maker said…
Well explained story appreciates your wording and introduction style

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