He collapsed on his bed, exhausted from his day. With a heavy sigh, he unhooked the scabbard from his belt and threw it across the room. He took his luxurious fur cloak from his shoulders and tossed it on the floor. He was done.
It was hard being Prince Charming.
In every fairytale, he saved the princesses from terrors untold. He battled dragons, wizards, nature itself for the power of true love. He was the ultimate ruler, kind and just, filled with love and mercy. His wisdom knew no bounds, and he was second to none in his strength. He cared for the common man whilst having the bearing of a deity. Everything was perfect in his life: completely understanding parents, beautiful and kind girls that love him unselfishly, and riches on glorious riches.
He hated it all.
He didn’t show it. He was a fairytale. He couldn’t show his pain, or the story would be ruined. His amazing life, his perfect persona, would be wrecked and unredeemable. And that could not happen, no matter how much he wanted it. The storybook must continue.
The truth was, it was hard being a fairytale.
It’s hard to know that you are being written about. That legends will be preserved for millenia, that your name will be the one taught to the children of nations untold. That each and every maiden looks to you for saving, that every father seeks to find you among the billions for their daughter to love. That every mother looks at her son and hopes that they will be like you.
It’s hard to think of all the broken hearts that read about you and wonder where you are hiding. To realize that they will never be as good as you, the perfect person with the perfect life. To picture some child in a decrepit home, with nothing but a tattered doll to their name, read about your riches and palaces made of marble. To see them think about your parents as they wonder where their mother is after seven years.
It’s hard being a fairytale and knowing your life is a lie and everything else is a reality.
He rolled over on his fluffy expansive bed. How could he live? His life only made other’s worse. What’s the point of a fairytale if the tales only reveal the darkness of reality?
He propped up on one elbow and looked out the ornate window by his bed. His kingly gaze swept across his prosperous kingdom. Beautiful houses and bountiful farmland filled his view. His people bustled in the forum, taking part in the glorious economy he and his father had built for the nation. It was truly an inspiring sight.
In the very corner of the land, almost unseen by the Prince, was land that was scorched. The Prince had known of that piece of land for a long time, ever since he had saved his first princess. Long before he was born, dragons had ravaged that land and the land beyond. Everyone except the most daring had left in search of something more favorable- and of course, they found it. Everyone who left found gorgeous housing, delightful food, and an overall healthy and happy life. The only reason the dragons stayed there was so knights could make a name by killing one.
Prince Charming sat up rigidly in his bed. Why are dragons in fairy tales?
The whole world was perfect. Except for the dragons. He once asked his father why they didn’t lead an army to eradicate the dragons from their kingdom.
The storybook must continue, was his only reply.
So the dragons remained, for the maidens to get taken by and the knights and kings to slay.
And suddenly, he found his quest.
Prince Charming hurried and grabbed his scabbard from his floor and ran out the room. He stormed the servant’s quarters and, after some pretty awkward conversation, borrowed some of his squire’s clothes and donned them, attaching his sheath to the belt around his waist. He then took to the stables and led his horse to the castle walls. As he hopped on top of his steed, his father came running out of the castle, his robes flowing behind him softly in the gentle breeze.
“Son!” he cried “What are you doing?” He hastily followed his son to the castle gate.
“I’m going on a journey, Father,” he said without looking back. His father couldn’t see his face.
“No, son, you can’t,” the King said. “You must stay. Who will rescue the princess? Who will save the kingdom?”
“Someone else can do those things,” the Prince clipped.
“Only you can do those things, Charming. The storybook must continue.”
Prince Charming turned on his father and showed his face. The King was taken aback to find thick tears rolling down his son’s hard, determined eyes. They locked gazes in a silent battle of ideals. When the Prince spoke again, his voice was louder, fuller, more melodious and momentous than when he was living a fake life.
“Yes, Father. The storybook must continue. But the storybook is meaningless without a story worth reading. And our stories, our fairytales… what point is there? Do we inspire? Do we elevate? Does our existence as timeless legends matter when it only drags people down? If that is the sole purpose of my life, then the storybook should burn.
He turned from the King to survey the land in front of him. And, in the far off, the land of dragons. The land of darkness, of evil, of poverty and destruction.
“But the storybook must live. It must continue. The storybook is a collection of every breath and every dream that reality has ever had, and it’s existence is vital. But us, our stories, called fairy tales by reality, cannot be this anymore.” He gestured with his hand at the glorious nation they had built. “Tales of senseless perfection benefit no one. Those tales are coming to an end.”
“What are you saying, Prince Charming?” the King inquired anxiously.
“I am saying,” the Prince said almost in a whisper, “that I am making a new fairytale.”
He continued, louder now, before his aged father could protest. “Instead of inflicting people with visions of a land of endless unwarranted light, I am going into the darkness. I am going into the land of dragons. That land, they are familiar with. My fairytale, if I succeed, will shed light through the darkness. I will show that it is possible. Through my fairytale, I will show that reality can be better. That the light can chase away the darkness and that the fearsome dragons of reality can be slain.”
He began to trot out of the walls, his father trudging silently behind.
Prince Charming looked down at his father one last time, and a tender smile came to his face. “Fear not, Father. The storybook will continue. As long as there is life, the storybook will remain. As long as there is life, there will be love, joy, laughter, and kindness. It is time that the storybook demonstrate how that can be reality.”
Prince Charming left his father and country and passed the threshold of the walls, stepping into the dark land of dragons.
Prince Charming’s journey across reality had begun.