“Prince! Where are you going? Don’t go too far . . .”
Prince ignored the plea and ventured further into the colourful forest. The colours attracted him. Blue, red, yellow, green and more. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Everything was wonderful in this forest. Pretty flowers, cute bushes, towering trees.
A black bird with feathers of sheen landed on the bush beside him and cocked its head. Prince stared at the bird. It looked like it had something to say but heavy footsteps came crashing in and the bird flew away. Darn it.
He turned to her, displeased.
“Oh my God, there you are. I thought I had lost you.”
Prince snorted. My sense of smell is way better than yours. I won’t get lost.
“Now, now. Don’t look at me like that.”
He looked up at his owner bent down to pick him up. Riding in her arms was good. He was getting tired after all this running around. But just as she was about put her hands on him, a draft of wind swept by and he smelt something.
“Prince! Don’t run away!”
But the scent called to him and he had to answer it. Swiftly, he bounded across the soft ground of the forest until he came to a clearing. How strange. Devoid of colours typical of the forest, this clearing had but one feature–a staggering tower of black bricks that rose into the air, way, way above him.
“Prince!” The heavy footsteps behind him came to a stop. “Oh my God! What is this?”
He wanted to know too. He wanted to know what this curious scent was.
“Oh my goodness.” She laughed. “You can’t climb a tower this tall. We’ll have to find a door or something.”
This time, Prince allowed her to pick him up and together, they went round the base of the tower.
“Would you believe it? This tower has no door. There’s probably nothing in it.”
As soon as she said that, a singing voice floated down from the only window above.
“I will survive, I will survive, oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive!”
Prince growled at the voice. That could hardly be called singing. It was more like shrieking. Something must be wrong up there.
“Oh, dear me. Someone is up there and she’s crying for help. We must find a way to get up there.”
Prince barked in agreement.
“Up, up, up!”
The soldiers below hoisted her chair up into the air, higher and higher and higher . . .
“Stop!” she ordered when she was finally high up enough to climb through the window. It looked tiny from below, but up close, the window was big and long, spacious enough for her to step through without bending herself.
After straightening her skirts, she took a good look around. Like the window, the tower she was in looked a lot smaller from below. Now that she was here, the space seemed so much larger. What was this sorcery?
Firstly, there was a long red carpet leading from the window to a gigantic screen hanging down from the ceiling. Was that . . . a home theatre system? She stepped on the red carpet and walked past the lush greenery flanking both her left and right. There, at the end of the red carpet, hidden from sight were a lavish kitchen and a pool (with a rubber raft!) to her left and a huge round Gryffindor carpet with Gryffindor-coloured bean bags and couch to her right.
Walking around the screen revealed a generous spread of art and make up supplies on the right, stretching across the room to the heap of jigsaw puzzles and nanoblock boxes. The red carpet resumed from there, stretching past what looked like a pet’s play area strewn with a pet’s toys. Looking past that, she noticed a wall of bathroom curtains, bright and cheery with its baby blue polka dots on purple. And on the other side, was a row of wardrobes, resembling a boutique.
By this time, she could barely believe her eyes as she walked down the red carpet to the bed at the end of it. It was a bed so vast that the person sleeping in the middle of it looked like a dwarf. But dwarfs only existed in Snow White’s world. They didn’t exist in her world.
Excitement brewed in her heart as she neared the bed. Could this be the beginning of her fairy tale? She had wished ever for fervently during her birthday last year for her fairy tale to finally begin. Was her wish about to come true?
Upon reaching the bed and getting a clear view of the person sleep on it, she gasped. For there, snuggled under soft, fluffy covers of baby blue, lay a beautiful girl so fair, fairer than Snow White who was the fairest of them all. And based on the singing voice she had heard the day before, she was certain that, with some training, this girl had the potential to outsing Ariel too. Oh Fairy Godmother, this must be it. Her fairy tale was finally about to begin!
“Greetings, O’ sleeping girl, I am here to save you from this tower of doom,” she announced in her loudest booming voice.
The sleeping girl frowned, wriggled her nose and sighed before opening her eyes. Those eyes met hers and stared. Then came the scream.
“Hush, hush. I am not a villain. I am here to save you from this tower of doom!”
“Y-You . . . are you real?”
“Yes, I am real. I am the acclaimed ‘Brighter than jew–”
“Jewels and mushrooms, Princess Tiffany of Sorry Not Sorry District,” the girl finished for her.
Covering her mouth with a dainty palm, Tiffany gasped. “How did you know that?”
“You’re famous. I’ve seen you on TV.”
“By TV, you mean that huge-ass home theatre system screen hanging in the middle of this place?”
“Mhm,” the girl said with a nod.
“Well, since you know my name, tell me yours.”
“My name is Taepunzel.”
“That’s it? That’s your name?”
The girl nodded. “That’s it. Taepunzel is my name.”
“Okay, Taepunzel. Come on. Follow me.”
“I’m saving you from this tower of doom.”
“But I don’t want to go out.”
“What?” Princess Tiffany couldn’t believe her ears. What was wrong with this Taepunzel girl? “Why not?”
“I like to stay at home.”
“But why would you want to stay in this tower of doom?”
Taepunzel frowned. “Why do you call this the tower of doom?”
“B-Because, this is the beginning of my fairy tale and-and every fairy tale has some kind of object of doom.”
“I don’t understand.”
“See, Belle had a castle of doom. Snow White had an apple of doom. Ariel had an octopus of doom. Cinderella had a curfew of doom. Now you, you have a tower of doom. This tower,” Princess Tiffany proclaimed, with a flamboyant sweep of her arms.
“But this tower isn’t doom. This tower is fun!” Taepunzel said with a wide smile. “It has everything I need and want. And I get my supplies replenished every fortnight.”
“Who replenishes your supplies?”
“A delivery girl.”
“Who sends the delivery girl and how does she come up here?”
“I don’t know who sends the delivery girl but she climbs up my hair to get up here.”
“Your hair?” Princess Tiffany was beginning to think something wasn’t quite right with Taepunzel.
“She sings ‘Ha-ha-hairy-day’ when she’s here and I let my hair down for her.”
“Taepunzel, I think you need help.”
“Don’t believe me? I’ll show you,” said Taepunzel, rolling out of bed and shaking out her reddish-pink checkered dress. “Follow me.”
Princess Tiffany followed Taepunzel to the window, wondering what the girl was going to do.
Princess Tiffany looked and her jaw hit the floor when Taepunzel pulled out the hair clip, releasing length after length of golden, blonde hair. How was this possible? How did an ordinary plait become this never-ending roll of hair?
“Holy Fairy Godmother. This is unbelievable.”
“See? I don’t need to leave this tower. I’m perfectly fine staying in here.”
“No, no, no. This is all wrong. See, you’re supposed to be bored and trapped and–”
“But I’m not. I’m happy here and I don’t want to leave.”
“Ah, I get it now. This is the challenge. You have been bewitched by an evil witch and now I have to break the spell somehow and save you from this tower of doom.”
“It sounds to me like you’re the one who’s been bewitched, not me.”
“It’s okay,” Princess Tiffany patted Taepunzel’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. I’m a capable princess who’s brighter than jewels and mushrooms. I’ll find a way to save you.”
“You’re hopelessly stubborn,” said Taepunzel, rolling her eyes. “Please leave my tower of doom. I’m going to make myself some breakfast.”
“Don’t give up hope,” Princess Tiffany said to herself as she climbed down Taepunzel’s hair. “I can do this. I can do this.”