A Simple Fairy Tale (part 5b)

“The Prophecy goes into a bit of detail,” said King Bernardino, “but in a nutshell, ‘When-William-awakens-the-curse-will-be-broken’ pretty much sums it up.”

“But the doctor…”

“None of Dr. Ell’s treatments have worked so I’m inclined to side with the priests on this one. We must obey the prophecy and search outside of Eulalia for William’s cure. “’Reset the hands of time’—although how that is to be done, I cannot say. At any rate, I’ve decided to offer a prize to any man who can awaken Prince William.”

“What prize?” asked Star (not realizing that this question plus his answer was about to change her life totally, completely, and forever).

“Your hand in marriage.”

“What?” said Star. “You must be out of your mind!”

Bernardino had been worrying about Star’s reaction (and rightly so). She was the only one of his children who had ever stood up to him. Still, his grief emerged in anger. He drew himself up and said imperiously, “I am still king of Eulalia. This is my decree.”

If you think I’m going to marry someone you decree, thought Star. But aloud she said, “Yes, father,” in a surprisingly meek voice. That alone should have told Bernardino something, but it didn’t. He’d been king for a long time and had grown accustomed to meekness and obedience in those around them. (His bad.)

“That’s better,” said King Bernardino.

“Yes,” said Star. “Absolutely.”