Monday 17 April 2017
#AtoZChallenge: The Princess and the Never-Night
The sleep mask helped—a little. The blackout curtains worked—to a point. But the knowledge that the sun wouldn’t set and the night wouldn’t come burnt circles in her brain—because it had all been her fault. She was the one who made that stupid dare with the crazy magician. And now the magician was gone and his spell was still in effect.
Princess Nurul threw the curtains open and stared out the window. If the sun never set, there would be no more beautiful sunset or sunrises. People would adapt—she was sure of it; after the initial grumbling and complaining, they’d find ways to get around the perpetual sun. She had, after all. She’d managed to hide in rooms dark enough to fall asleep. It was only guilt that kept her awake. She wondered briefly if she should confess. The King had been growling instructions all week, sending out hundreds of men to “find the perpetrator, find the crazy madman who did this!”
But no, what would she say? ‘Father, I’m sorry I challenged a magician and now we’re stuck with perpetual Never-Night and I don’t know how to fix it because my magic is not strong enough—’
She cut her own thoughts short. No, her magic wasn’t strong enough, but she knew the spell. She knew what would break it. She just had to find someone whose magic was strong enough. And who had stronger magic that the King? She sighed. It was time to ‘fess up.
“Father?” she said softly, tentatively, as she peeked her head into his study.
The old man looked up, his frown gradually softening when his tired eyes recognised her. He waved her in.
“I’m sorry, Father.”
“It was the Never-Night spell. And it was a dare. And… and now I don’t have enough magic to undo it.”
He frowned at her from beneath bushy brows. “Who did it?”
“Magician Hashim,” she replied.
“On a dare.”
“Yes.” She dropped her gaze. “I’m sorry.”
The King sighed. “You know how to undo it?”
“Yes.” She pushed the sheet of paper where she’d written down every step of the reversing spell across the desk.
He picked it up and squinted at it. “Hmph. That should do it.” He glanced at the clock and nodded his head.
Princess Nurul looked at it too; it was near midnight. Near midnight and still as bright as noon outside. And then suddenly, it was pitch-dark. With a wave of her hand, Princess Nurul called up a lamp. In the dim illumination, she saw the exhaustion and satisfaction warring on her father’s face.
“There. That’s done,” the King said, pushing the paper back to her.
“Thank you, Father.”
He nodded briefly. “Thank you for the spell.”
She smiled, letting relief wash over her. It was over. The Never-Night was done with. Then her smile dropped when she heard her father’s next words:
“You’re grounded. For the next month.”
Head over to Yuin-Y's for today's