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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2271633
Short story about a princess who goes on a quest. Written as a gift for my best friend.
The sun touched the horizon, her soft touch caressing the dark skies and painting them shades of orange. The sun-kissed sky blushed a delicate orange and red, matching the endless fields of clementine trees below. As the quiet, cold air of the moon slowly faded, the sun’s loving gaze filling the town with the ambrosial, sweet scent of clementines.

The sun’s warmth brushed against the dew-tipped fields, showering them in silken, golden light. Tiny, crown-shaped cornflowers reached their petals, their leaves, towards the birds flying above the pastel tulip fields.

And above all of this, this heavenly view, a princess sat on a windowsill, viewing this stunning, beloved scene. A princess whose head would soon hold a crown, a princess who would soon become a king. Her name was Sofia.

~cue the dramatic music~

Sofia stood in front of the majestic palace with no basement guys. Thankfully, they had finished their huge basement a few days prior, so her family could FINALLY use the lights, oven, and water. However, the basement guys clearly did not get the memo for a nice, finished basement because it looked a little like a dungeon. Also, unfortunately, their toilet would never be the same. Sofia swore she heard the toilet crying because of the horrors of toilet-man a few days ago, but, of course, toilets can’t cry.

But here she was! Ready to face the world and prove that she, the princess of Ciel Em Tenn, could rule her own country. The determined princess held three unread documents in her hands. These comprised:

Her quest

A map of Ciel Em Tenn and surrounding areas.

A (false) passport

Sofia dug her questing papers out of her backpack. Tradition stated that for a prince/princess to become a king, they had to complete a dangerous or necessary quest. The more dangerous, the more respect or honour the monarch would receive. Slowly, carefully, she unravelled the aged scroll. The smell of coffee drifted off of the paper. Clearly, the quest-assignors got far too into it and made it look cool and ancient too, despite just making this a couple of days ago.

She read the careful fairytale-y lettering and recited the ‘prophecy’ aloud:

A princess shall journey east,

From the land of Ciel Em Tenn,

Onwards to the land where Mother rises,

Where the water is dry and gone, waiting to be freed again,

You must whisper to our Mother,

And cover and squash her love.

Or else us, her dangerous love will smother.

And her joy will burn us from above.

Blinking twice, Sofia pulled out her glasses to reread the text, not expecting it to have changed but hoping that she read it wrong. Nope. Still a whole fifty-eight words of nonsense. A sigh escaped her lips as she rummaged through her backpack, checking to see if they had given her any other supplies. Buried at the bottom, under a ton (literally) of food, were a simple cloak, tunic, and pants. Other than that, she only had the other documents. Maybe I should check—

“SOFIA.” Sofia spun around, only to see…

An enormous ostrich wearing golden glasses and a bright green beanie. “Hi, Emillie.” The ostrich waved her head in a gesture that looked strangely like a human waving their hand in greeting. “What are you doing here?”

“Helping you on your quest, of course!” Emillie bounced around, and then lowered her voice. “The author told me you needed help. Any ideas on who the ‘Mother’ is?”

“Hmm.” As Sofia contemplated the words of the poem, music played from the enormous speakers above them.

‘O, Ciel Em Tenn!

Our city of fertile land!

Where clementines sprout from the green Earth

With glowing hearts

We see her rise.

Our beautiful Mother set free!

From East to West

O Mother, we stand and sing for thee.

Our Sun, our light.

She keeps our crops sweet!

O, Mother! We stand and sing for thee.

O Sun, almighty, we love and protect thee!’ (Sung to the tune of 'O Canada')

As Sofia recited the ending words, she realized something about the lyrics. “Emillie…”

“Hm?” She flipped her head upside down to view her.

“Mother. From the quest. It’s the Sun.” Sofia smiled excitedly, her eyes glinting, “Our anthem, it always addresses ‘Our Mother’. Our Mother is the sun! We have to go East, where the Sun rises!”

“Nice catch!” Emillie pointed a feathered wing down a beaten dirt path. [Seriously Sofia, in real life, you are insanely smart. How? You can’t be amazing in everything! Save some stuff for the rest of us!]. Emillie walked down it backwards, grinning at Sofia, “Let’s go!” Sofia shrugged and packed her questing documents and maps, taking a quick glance at her passport to ensure she knew her new ‘secret questing identity’. Apparently, her newest name was…

Fascia Ion.

Glaring at the name, the confused princess unscrambled the letters, hoping that the passport-makers hadn’t done something so silly. But nope. No luck.

They had scrambled the letters in “Sofia Cina” to turn them into “Fascia Ion”. Why? For the humour, obviously.

And so, the two friends set out for the east, hoping to find the land that needed their help, and the beginning of their quest.

It wasn’t long before they came across a city. Since starting on the long pathway, they had encountered a variety of species, ranging from bears to elves to dwarves. The dwarf and elf were with them for a good portion of the trip. They said they had come from Blewett Rynd Rass, a land far to the west. They were trying to find a small city lying in the middle of the Oiqawog Mountains.

After venturing with the duo for many miles, the group split up, Sofia and Emillie continuing their journey towards the East, the elf and dwarf splitting off to the North to find their hidden city.

Soon, a small village appeared on the horizon. Princess Sofia sighed in relief as she saw it and quickly helped set up camp. In one day, they could sleep in normal beds, and possibly get some information on the land without water. And soon, at the end of the night, the prodigious pair set off to the village and the next point on their critical quest.

After half a day of travelling, Sofia and Emillie finally found the village they saw on the horizon. The moment they stepped foot in the village, thousands of smells, sounds and sights bombarded their senses. Tiny pastel houses sat hidden underneath trees bursting with vibrant green leaves and bubble-gum pink flowers. People bustled along the crooked cobblestone streets, and street vendors called out their products, a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices from other countries and cities. The plaza held the distinct spicy smell of cumin, which Sofia noticed in one of the closest stalls. Products filled every stall… except one.

The princess walked over to this almost empty stall, its lack of produce glaring out among the rest of the busy marketplace.

“Uh, excuse me? Sir?” Sofia leaned over the stall a tad. “Sir?”

The man turned around, tilting his head and glaring at her. “What do you want? We’re almost out of everything, but we gotta have a few items, I suppose.”

“Why is your stall so empty?” The princess gestured to the rest of the plaza. “Are you extremely popular?”

The merchant laughed, “Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.” He shook his head to further convey his point—no. “All our produce comes from Noissap, a tiny town in Cactaceae. They usually have a river and a small pond that runs through there, but Mother Sun has been especially vicious to them. Their water source has gone dry, and they can’t grow any of their specialties. You’ve probably met some of their immigrants on your travels.”

“So it’s a land scorched by the Sun?”

“Mother Sun.” He corrected, narrowing his eyes at her. “Say, I haven’t seen you around before. Where is your ID?” His finger floated to the panic button beside him, ready to call the police.

“No! I have identification.” Sofia pulled out her passport and handed it to the shopkeeper. His eyes scanned the print.

“So you are Fascia Ion?” Alan inquired, not looking up from the forged document. Sofia nodded. “Seems to have all the requirements. Where are you headed?”

Sofia thought quickly, wondering briefly if Noissap was the land her poem specified. “Noissap, actually. Guess I’ll bring some extra water. Thanks.” She snatched the documents out of the merchant’s hands and walked back to where Emillie was surveying some miniature items.

“Hey, I think I know where we have to go,” Sofia said, looking around for an inn.

The mention of their quest tore the ostrich’s attention away from the objects. “Where?”

“Noissap in Cactaceae. It’s a land once rich in plants that now has an extreme drought that is forcing many people to leave.”

“Sounds like our spot.” Emillie grinned, a grotesque gesture on her beak, “Let’s go!”

And so, after finding an inn to stay in, the duo spent the rest of the day looking for maps and clothing for Cactaceae, because it was going to be a long journey.

“Sofia...” Emillie groaned, dragging her long, scaled feet through the sand, “This is the worst quest ever. Why couldn’t we have to go somewhere nice, like Fuji? I hear it’s really nice this time of year.”

Sofia snorted, continuing to follow the map they had bought. “Well, the harder the quest, the more respect, right?”

“Hmph.” And they continued to walk through the scorching deserts. But though it was scorching hot in the daytime, it froze at night. The two walked for several days, stopping only at night to sleep, and for designated water stops along the way.

As they wandered further into the desert, it became increasingly clear that they did not know where they were. There weren’t many landmarks in the desert, other than the occasional dune.

“I think I found it!” Emillie pointed a wing into the distance. “Water! Air conditioning!”

“It might be a mirage. We could suffer from heatstroke. Give me a minute to check the map.” As she did, she realized Emillie was right. It was an hour’s walk away.

“Let’s go! That’s it!” And so, instead of walking for an hour, the ostrich and the princess ran the entire thing in 15 minutes. As they crossed the threshold of the village, they collapsed, and people ran out of their houses to drag them to the doctor.

~Time Skip~

“Okay, you are suffering from sunstroke, malnutrition, dehydration and severe sunburns. You must’ve had quite the reason to come to the hellhole that Noissap now is because you almost died getting here.” Clad in a sand-coloured tunic, she was setting up a fan while her partner, dressed in the same outfit, misted them with water.

“We’re here to stop the drought.” Sofia gasped, her vocal cords grating from the lack of water.

The doctors tutted in unison, and the male spoke, “Well, you’d better. We had to use more water to stop you from dying. If you stop the drought, though, I won’t make you pay for our services. Get some rest. In a few days, you can continue doing whatever you want to do.”

After many days and nights of water, ice and plain-tasting food, Sofia and Emillie dressed in more appropriate garbs to find the Sun, which they still hadn’t figured out how to do.

Sofia noticed a castle perched in the distance, standing proudly on a clifftop, surveying the city below. The air surrounding the imposing fortress was extremely hot and felt almost thick. Every time she mentioned this to the townspeople, however, they viciously muttered, “Her.” with as much poison as they could muster at that given moment. Once days passed and she still did not know who ‘her’ was, Sofia and Emillie set out at her request to find out who lived in the glowing, ebbing castle. A servant who ushered them into some sort of waiting room immediately permitted them access to the castle.

“Wait here, madames, she will return at nightfall.” All the servants scurried away, glancing back to ensure the two girls hadn’t followed them.

Once nightfall had cloaked the castle in its comforting, dark embrace, the doors to the waiting room flung open, and a woman walked in.

She was goddess-like. The woman was tall, her statuesque figure demanding respect. Long, curly hair reached for the floor and brushed against her calves as she strode towards the pair of adventurers. A long, oatmeal-coloured dress swayed around her heels and a golden breastplate encased her torso. In Her hand was a tall, golden spear and pushing back her long, blonde hair was a golden crown with a ruby placed right in the middle. This was a woman who demanded attention, and she was an intimidating figure to behold after sitting in a small room for hours.

“Hm, Princess Sofia Cina. To what do I owe this…” She glanced at her, “Honour?”

“Hello. I am here on my royal quest. I am to meet with the Sun. Do you know how I can meet with it? I don’t think it’s possible.”

She leaned downwards, looking narrow-eyed at the young princess, “Oh, little one, it is entirely possible. You just met her.”

Sofia stumbled back as Sun sneered, sashaying out of the room. The prophecy echoed in the confused princess’s head.

A princess shall journey east,

From the land of Ciel Em Tenn,

Onwards to the land where Mother rises,

Where the water is dry and gone, waiting to be freed again,

You must whisper to our Mother,

And cover and squash her love.

Or else us, her dangerous love will smother.

And her joy will burn us from above.

Already, they finished half the prophecy. She had found the land where the Sun rises, and where a drought wreaks havoc on the land. But how was she to find out about the Sun’s unreciprocated love? And who could she love?

“Miss Sun?” Emillie ran forward and stopped in front of her. “We’ve come a long way. The least you could do is listen.”

Sun tsked, before flicking her hand towards Sofia. “Come to my office. You have thirty minutes.”

They entered the office, where Sun sat at a desk facing the window. She watched the night sky before gesturing to the chairs in front of her. The princess and ostrich sat and Sun flipped over an hourglass. “Thirty minutes. Now, start by telling me your quest, and then explain what you want.”

A princess shall journey east,

From the land of Ciel Em Tenn,

Onwards to the land where Mother rises,

Where the water is dry and gone, waiting to be freed again,

You must whisper to our Mother,

And cover and squash her love.

Or else us, her dangerous love will smother.

And her joy will burn us from above.
Sofia recited the familiar words while thinking about what they could mean. Who was this dangerous love?

Sun’s eyes darkened. “Leave.”

Sofia snapped back to the present, “What?”

“Leave. You aren’t welcome here.”

The princess furrowed her brows, wondering why she suddenly didn’t want to see them. “No. You said we had thirty minutes. It’s only been two. Let us speak.”

Sun pursed her lips and relaxed into her chair before giving the two girls a shark-like grin. “Fine. Persuade me.” And so it began.

After many minutes of speaking, Sofia noticed Sun’s gaze drifting to the window. Though the princess tried to bring Sun’s focus back to her, it was in vain. Sun was looking at the sky with a soft smile, not listening to a word either of them spoke.

Sofia turned around to see what she was looking at and saw a silver chariot trailing in the sky. A man stood in it, pulled by pure-white pegasi. Sun was watching him, and slowly her smile turned into one of grief. Quickly, Sofia connected the dots. That was the Moon. And Sun was in love with Him. But here she was, asking Sun to forget Him, the person she loved but couldn’t ever be with.

“Um, Sun?” Sofia watched her, wondering what she could say. “Sun, I know who you love.” Sun clicked her tongue and turned to Sofia, narrowing her eyes suspiciously.

“Who, pray to tell, is it?”

“You are in love with the one person you will never have, the one person who you seldom see. You are in love with the Moon.”

Sun’s smug smile twisted and tears tinted yellow filled her eyes.

“Sun, let it go. My only question is how your love is causing a drought.”

Sun bared her teeth, angry with the world, angry with the princess, angry with herself.

“Oh, you want to know, do you? Fine. I linger out over the sky in my chariot every morning, waking up early and setting late, causing extra heat to rain on the town. But I deserve to be happy. I’ve spent millennia working tirelessly, and I don’t want to anymore.”

The princess blinked at the Sun, a child meeting an ancient, “But you have to.”

And Sun exploded, “Why? I have kept you guys safe for millennia! Thousands and thousands of years! I have laboured day after day, ignoring myself. And what do I get? A little song? Is that supposed to fix anything? So you are going to convince me to stop loving the only thing I have, is that it? And then you are going to be a hero and go back to your little kingdom. You will live out your Happily Ever After. Well, where is my Happily Ever After? Where is my perfect ending?”

Sofia stared at her, “But… everybody loves you.” Sun looked up, “You are Mother Sun, everybody’s caretaker, protector, and mother. You take care of those who have nobody else.” Sun furrowed her brows, looking confused, and so the princess ploughed on, “We sing praises, and everybody loves you. We are all your children. Are we not enough to love? You can care for the Moon, but you can’t love Him because you don’t know if He loves you. You protect us all, so what if you loved us, too?”

“So you want me to continue, and think of you all as my children? How preposterous!” The trance broke once Sofia mentioned Moon. “Look, I don’t care anymore. You can’t stop me.”

“What if someone stayed with you?” Sofia asked.


“What if there was a human that could stay with you, one that you could love and see during the nighttime? What if you fell in love with someone else?”

“Impossible.” Sun whispered, “I wouldn’t age. The person would grow old, and I would stay the same. You are just postponing your problem.”

Sofia stared at Sun, smiling as she solved the problem. “How did you become immortal?”

Sun thought, standing up and pacing the room. “I was born at the beginning of time. Sky gave me a star.”

“What if you asked Sky to give your beloved a star? Why don’t you head out into the world every night and look for someone you care about? And then Sky can give them a star and you can be Sun together?”

Sun turned to Sofia, tears in her eyes. “I can do that?”

“I’m not sure. But you can try.” Sofia said earnestly, striding forward and taking Sun’s hand in her own. Emillie stood on the other side and took her other hand in her wing.

Sun nodded and turned to the window. “King Sofia, Emillie, please leave. I’ll do as you ask, and I will find someone I love. Please, I would like to be alone for now. I shall help you home later.”

Sofia and Emillie nodded, and it was only once they were outside that Sofia realized Sun had called her king. Sofia listened at the door, hearing Sun’s muffled voice.

“Sky. I met the one you told me about weeks ago. King Sofia will be a good ruler, as you said. I would like a second star, one that I may give to the one I love.”

Of course, Sun. I have waited millions of years for you to ask, and I will not deny you. Find someone you love that loves you just as much.

Sofia knew that the kingdom of Noissap wouldn’t go through any more strife, and Sun would be happy with Her true love. Finally, her quest was over, and the next chapter of her life was beginning.

Orchestra music resounded from the piano above princess Sofia as she stood on the stage. In front of her sat hundreds of people that would soon live under her rule. Though this was the most important moment in Sofia’s life, she wasn’t afraid.

“You are going to be the greatest King Ciel Em Tenn has ever seen, King Sofia. I thank you for saving me and Noissap from me.” Sun’s ultimate words were the only thing echoing in Sofia’s head, other than the thoughts of the crown that would soon perch on her head.

Out of the ornate wooden doors came Sofia’s parents and brother, followed by Emillie, holding a red cushion with an orange-gold crown. And Sofia knew she was ready because she journeyed across the entire East to find the sun, so how hard could it be to rule a kingdom?


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