I deal in curses. Well, curses and magic. I suppose they’re the same thing, just viewed slightly differently. “What often appears a curse, often will turn into a blessing, and likewise blessings into curse.” That’s what my Master taught me, and his Master before him. The trick is to always make a good deed seem bad, then the true “magic” is the lessons learned. Harsh love. Means to an end. Not following? Let me tell you a story of my Master: the Enchanter Randell Rouge.
So, there was this Princess, right? And she was the most spoilt little brat you’d ever meet. Talk about shallow! This girl wouldn’t even look at you until someone vouched that you wouldn’t make her puke. Regularly, she’d have her friends exiled if they broke out in a spot or blemish, that’s how harsh her beauty regime was! I know what you’re thinking, ‘what a cow’, yeah?
Well, this is when my late Master, really came into his own. He got a prince, bloody handsome devil, women falling at his feet as if he had dragon breath, and – here’s the clever part – turned him into a frog.
Not completely into a frog obviously, that’d just be mean. He could still think and talk and stuff, it’s just, you know, he wasn’t exactly an ideal date. But now that he was in his new slimy form, my Master got him to hang about in the spoilt princesses pond, keeping schtum.
I don’t know how he managed to time it so well, but right away the girl dropped a golden ball into the pond, the two got talking despite his grubby body, hit it off, and boom! Love, kisses, frog turned back into man, surprise surprise he’s not hideous at all, actually a bit of a hunk. Ta da! Lessons learned.
Feeling envious of my job? Travelling the lands teaching people the errors of their ways, bettering lives through clear moral journeys? All good yeah?
Well, hmm, not quite.
Once the old glowing crystals and flowing robes were passed on to yours-truly, I decided to do an easy one. It was my first enchantment without Master Rouge and I didn’t want to over-stretch myself.
So I found this girl, a poor little thing who was forced to work for her sisters in the most awful squalor. Each day she would labour at home, whilst the sisters gallivanted about all over town. When I found them, they were looking forward a swanky ball being held at the local Prince’s castle. Him being a bachelor and all, the sisters were hoping to snag a rich one.
Eye-eye, I thought, looks like I could work a little match-making magic here!
With a little bit of dazzle and wonder I made the girl a deal. For one night, and one night only, she could attend the ball, dressed in the most wonderful wealth and splendour you could imagine. We’re talking serious cash here. Diamond encrusted tiara, silk dress, coach drawn by great white horses, glass slippers – the lot! All illusions of course, I just made a few rubbishy odds and ends look that way, but that’s all part of the moral trick isn’t it? It’s about crossing the wealth divide, deceiving nobility for social mobility! The problem for her was that these glamorous items would turn back into rags and a mouldy old pumpkin the moment the clock struck twelve. Alarming in the short-term, but ultimately the Prince would love her for herself, and all would be hunky-dory.
Or it should have been. Unfortunately there were lots of people at that party who recognised this girl the moment she arrived and were more than slightly surprised to see her covered head to toe in jewels whilst sporting a hair cut worth a small kingdom. She didn’t have time to scoff a single vol-au-vent, the poor thing was set upon by representatives of the Prince’s treasury, keen to know where this secret wealth had come from.
She’s still in prison to this day. Tax-evasion.
So my first attempt went wrong. But who has ever been perfect their first day on the job? I told myself not to worry, just scale back and start again.
I decided not to overburden myself, but instead try to improve the lot of someone already cursed. Luckily I’d heard of a perfect case: there was a princess who’d been cursed to prick her finger and die by her eighteenth birthday. Perhaps I can do some good here, I thought, so I did a little tinkering and managed to change it. Now she would sleep, only to be awoken by true love’s kiss. How romantic.
Well, as expected on her birthday, the girl pricked her finger and dozed off, taking the whole kingdom with her. I was especially pleased with that bit (I figured she could be sleeping for quite some time and I didn’t want everyone to get old and scare the shit out of her when she woke up). I had saved her life, now to find her a fella.
I found a great lad, a prince from quiet, respectable stock. Someone a little bit withdrawn and socially inept whom I could trust to fall in love with a girl he’d never seen conscious before.
I got rumour to his ear that a great treasure could be found in the enchanted kingdom of blah blah blah, you get the picture. I lured him out there. I couldn’t very well say, hey, go here and check out this hot chick, could I? We enchanters are subtle.
So he sets out, and I sneak along behind. All is going swimmingly, he finds the sleeping kingdom, he finds the castle, he enters the tower in which he’ll find the sleeping ravishing maiden. And then…
Nothing. No one woke up. Hang on a moment, I thought, the curse is supposed to be lifted isn’t it? True loves kiss, bond overcoming magic etc etc…
But no, the fucker didn’t kiss her. He did other things, things I never thought that quiet lad capable of, but I don’t think you could ever claim they were expressions of ‘true love’.
So, bad judge of character there. Whoops.
I promised myself one last try. This time I would directly ape the whole, ‘encase beauty in ugliness’ thing my Master had done so well at the height of his career. Taking his lead, I could surely do no wrong.
There was this Prince who was vain. Not quite as vain as the frog-lover, but still, pretty ego-centred. I didn’t want to pick someone too far down the ass-hole road, otherwise they might not get the lesson I was trying to teach and we’d have another disaster on our hands. No, just a bit of a preening git would be fine.
So I go to him and ask him, how about you marry Beatrice? In his defence I had chosen a particularly ugly and unfortunate specimen from the local village, but his extreme reaction to my suggestion, I think, justifies my actions.
I turned him into a hideous beast. “You are monster,” I told him. “Everyone who looks upon you will be horrified, everyone near you will recoil. You will make people vomit their breakfast, and weaken their bowels. And you shall remain so for the rest of your life, unless-” And at this I made a great show of hinting at the ongoing moral theme. “Unless you can find someone to love you, someone willing to look inside and ignore your hideous shell, and love the man beneath… Except Beatrice, cos, well, now you’re on an level playing field and that doesn’t work very well in the narrative I’m trying to create. This other girl will have to be a bit better looking than that. At least a seven I’d say. Six or seven… But anyway, can true love really blossom between a beauty and a beast?”
He shot himself.