Lucinda held her breath, as she raised the glass rod above the vial and tapped the rod to release the single drop of liquid that clung to its end.
The drop fell in the vial, joining the muddy liquid within. The liquid turned ruddy, then clear. And it stayed clear.
Lucinda dared to exhale just as the liquid began to swirl and turn ruddy, then muddy. She ducked under the table just before the vial shattered, spraying red flames and charred bits of glass in every direction.
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The Contest Chevelure was a time-honored competition held in a modest town in the middle of a modest country. It was a contest to see who could have the most extravagant and beautiful head of hair. Only, there was one notable detail. None of the people in the town had any hair on their heads.
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I haven’t had the cookie dream in a long while, but I’ve always remembered it. It’s not a unique scenario. I find myself locked in the front room of a bakery overnight. The lights have been shut off for the day. But the ambient lights are still on. I particularly remember the realization that I have been left alone with all that lies before me.
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Tortoise trundled to the front of the assembly, bowed before the king and queen, and spoke.
Gasps and whispers passed through the assembly of animals. Suddenly, Cheetah appeared before them all. She bowed before the king and queen.
“That cannot be,” Cheetah said. “For Lightning is my mother.”
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The king was cruel, both to his daughter and to her suitors. For he was not content for her to be wooed by gifts or by lineage. He devised a contest, a deadly contest, for all who wished to try and win the princess’s hand. She would one day be queen of a rich and prosperous realm by the sea. And the one who stood by her side would share in those riches and that prosperity.
Read More The Prince’s Proxy