Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Design

Here is my dress design for Isabel, my Beauty, from my reversion "Beauty or Beast." 

Here is my "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale revision.
I hope you enjoy!

Beauty or Beast
By Paige Jones
           There was once a beautiful princess who was trapped in a castle. It was an enchanted castle that prevented anyone from leaving.
One day a man came to a small village not far from the enchanted castle. He came in at night for he had been traveling all day. He approached an inn with hope of finding a bed to sleep in; but as he entered the inn, all the women who saw him ran in terror. The men of the village came and drove him away. He left willingly for this happened all too often. He had been cursed to forever wear a hideous mask which he could never take off; and because the mask frightened everyone who saw him, he had been forced to live as a vagabond out in the wilderness alone. This made him all the less desirable to look at for he stank and was covered in filth, and even his occasional dunks in nearby rivers just weren’t good enough. He had tried to explain to the village folk that he meant no harm and his enchantment would not affect them, but they would not listen. These people were far more ruthless then any others he had yet come across for they feared enchantments more than most. They had lived under the rule of the enchanted castle and the evil sorcerer who once ruled there. Many strange things had happened during his rule, but even though he had died some time ago, the village people were still very cautious about anything even resembling an enchantment.
            When the sorcerer died, he had left the girl trapped in the castle, and the only way she could be freed was if one with the sorcerer’s blood would come and break the spell. This was a problem however for his only son had gone missing before she had been trapped there; in fact, it was the reason she was trapped there.
            The villagers drove the man away into the woods in the direction of the castle. As the man ventured further into the wood, he noticed more and more dead trees until there wasn’t a live tree in sight. He recalled the villagers mentioning the wood being cursed, and he wondered why. Eventually, he found a great stone road which had long been unused. He followed it in hopes of finding some sort of shelter for the night as it looked like it might rain. He had spent many a night out in the wilderness in the pouring rain, but he really preferred to find shelter. Suddenly as he rounded a thick cluster of dead vine covered trees, he found himself standing before a great metal gate set into a tall thick stone wall. Beyond the gate, he could see a mighty castle old and dark. He decided to venture in and perhaps find shelter for the castle looked abandoned. The gates opened with great creaks and groans. He walked in; and as soon as he was through, the gates closed mysteriously of their own accord. Alarmed he turned to see if he could reopen them. He couldn’t. He was trapped. The walls were very high and even he would have some difficulty getting over them, but he would worry about that later. I was raining heavily now, and he wished to get inside and dry off. He strode to the castle and entered. It all looked abandoned but surprisingly clean. He ventured farther inside and came to a drawing room with a fire blazing in the hearth. This was strange and called to see if anyone was around. He got no reply, so he gratefully dried himself by the warm fire. He was very weary from his travels, and he was soon asleep by the crackling fire.
            He awoke the next morning to find a strange little woman standing over him staring at him with large soft golden brown eyes. He was obviously startled by this but even more so for this woman was very strange. She had feathers mingled with her short hair and bird claws instead of fingernails.  Her nose was beak like, and overall she reminded him of a little fat hen. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?” she said quickly. Her hair-feathers ruffled as she spoke. He sat up and continued to stare curiously at the strange woman and finally found himself able to speak when she stared questioning him again. “Well, well! What do you want? Are you dangerous? Why did you come here? Why do you wear that mask? It’s hideous!” The man was taken aback by her outburst. “Wait, wait! Hold on! I’ll answer your questions, but not all at once.” He took a breath. “I’m only here seeking shelter from the rain. I’m a simple wanderer with no home. I mean you no harm. I happened upon this castle seeking shelter. I thought it abandoned. I’ll leave immediately.” He got to his feet and walked to the door. “Oh! Oh!...No, no, no, no one leaves here!” The woman said urgently. “What do you mean?” He asked looking back confused. “This castle is enchanted! No one inside the castle grounds can leave.” He furrowed his brows. “What!? I can’t leave! Surely that can’t be.” He stormed to the front door with the little woman scurrying after him. Cooing like a bird. “Not good! Not good!”
            He successfully made it out the front door only to be meet by that same formidable gate and stone wall he had come through last night, but somehow it looked even bigger in the daylight. He pushed and pulled on the gate with all this might but to no avail. “Are there any other gates in this wall?” he asked looking down the wall on each side of the gate. “No. No. No other gates.” He thought for a moment, ‘Perhaps if I climbed the wall.’
            A little old man with donkey ears and a saggy face peeked his head out from a side door of the castle to see what all the commotion was about. He starred at Mrs. Henkins fussing and fuming as usual, but then he noticed the strange man climbing the stone wall. ‘Where did he come from?’ he thought slowly but didn’t really care enough to give it much thought. The little old man sighed and went back inside.
            “What’s he doing, Mrs. Henkins?”
            “OH! My!” exclaimed Mrs. Henkins as she jumped and her feathers got all ruffled. “Ralph, don’t sneak up on me!” scolded Mrs. Henkins to the little shaggy boy who now stood beside her. His little floppy puppy ears perked up and down as his tail swished back and forth. “He is…would you come down before you fall…trying to get out over the wall,” said and rebuked Mrs. Henkins both to Ralph and the stranger in the mask. “But he can’t get out, right?” queried little Ralph. “Of course, he can’t. No one can leave this place. At least not until the enchantment can be broken, and that’s never going to happen.” The stranger got to the top of the wall and was about to reach his hand across the wall to grab a low hanging branch to pull himself up when suddenly he could move his hand no further. It was as if there was an invisible wall continuing out of the top of the actual wall. He was really and truly trapped. He climbed down. Upon reaching the ground, he placed his back to the wall and slid down to the ground. He buried his head in his arms to think. It kind of figured. Misfortune had always followed him wherever he went. “Are you alright?” inquired Mrs. H worriedly, but he wasn’t listening. Ralph walked over and stood looking down at the stranger in curiosity as Mrs. H rushed about not knowing what to do.
            “What’s your name?” asked Ralph. “And how’d you get here?”
            “Ralph, Ralph, don’t bother the man!” said Mrs. H already knowing the latter of his questions.
            The masked stranger sighed. With all the commotion and noise created by Mrs. Henkins and Ralph’s questions, he couldn’t think clearly. Looking up he stared straight at little Ralph and was about to answer him when.
            “Wow! What’s wrong with your face? It’s weird,” exclaimed Ralph excitedly.
            Ralph’s exclamation caught him of guard for a moment.
            “Ralph!” scolded Mrs. H. “That’s rude.” But Ralph wasn’t listening to her. He just stared waiting for an answer?
            “You’re not afraid?” The man asked.
            “No,” said Ralph. “Are you afraid of me?”
            “No,” said the man now noticing Ralph’s resemblance to a puppy. “I would like to know why you look that way though… Oh and this isn’t my face. It’s a mask, and I came here looking for shelter for the night.”
“Well then, you answer my questions, and I’ll answer yours,” said Ralph quickly accepting the stranger which was peculiar since Ralph was often afraid of strangers.
The man smiled under the mask. “Sounds good to me.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Henkins. “Since you’re staying and talking! Ohh, oh what to do? …Ah! Eliezer! Eliezer!” She scurried about not making any sense. Mrs. Henkins was about to rush off toward the castle when Eliezer came shuffling out of the side door toward them. Gathering her skirts, she scurried over to him explaining the situation as he made his way over to the stranger siting by the wall.
“Hello, Mr. Grooch,” Ralph greeted Eliezer as he approached.
This was the same little old man who had peeked his head out from the side door earlier. The masked stranger noticed that the old man had tall donkey ears, spikey sparse hair surrounding a large bald spot atop his head, and a donkey’s tail which swooshed behind him as he walked. The wiry old man stood before him with his hands in his pockets none too pleased with the disturbance. He inspected the masked stranger who stood to great him.
“Egh, so what did you want, Beth?” he asked turning to Mrs. Henkins and ignoring the stranger.
Before Mrs. Henkins could explain the situation again to Eliezer, “What’s going on down there? It’s too early for all this noise.”
All turned and looked up to a balcony high on the third floor of the castle. A beautiful woman with long dark hair stood looking down at them with a tired and irritated expression. “Mistress, I apologize for the disturbance,” said Mrs. Henkins formally and rather out of character. “Who is that?” asked the woman disgusted. “We have a guest, my lady,” informed Mrs. Henkins. “Guest!? I think not! He is hideous, and I can smell him from here. He is not to enter this castle.” With that she turned and left.
“What?!” queried the man dumbfounded.
“Oh dear. Oh dear. What are we to do?” worried Mrs. H.
“He can stay in the barn,” said Eliezer returning to the castle.
“Nothing we can do. She’s made up her mind, and only she can change it.”
“Can I stay with him in the barn too?” asked Ralph hopefully.
“Absolutely not! …Eliezer!” Mrs. H rushed after Eliezer and both disappeared into the castle.
“Who was that?” asked the man.
“Who? …Oh, you mean Princess Isabel. Yah she’s in charge here since Master died.”
“Princess!? …She’s not very hospitable or nice for a princess.”
“Yah, well, Master did kidnap her after all, and now she’s stuck here with us probably forever.”
“Kidnaped! What do you mean kidnaped?”
Ralph scratched behind one of his ears while answering. “Master’s son was kidnapped by a sorcerer from the neighboring kingdom, and he blamed it on the king of that kingdom; so Master stole his daughter demanding that he wouldn’t return her until he had his son back…Want to go play?”
“Wait! What? Tell me more.”
 “What for?”
“You can’t start a story like that and then not finish it.”
“Ohh, ok. Umm…Oh, So Master wasn’t getting anywhere with the whole kidnaping thing; so he decided to try using sorcery to find his son. It drove him mad, and he started turning all of us into animal people when he got angry which was all the time. He found a spell to locate his son, but it was too strong for him, and it killed him along with trapping us within the castle grounds. The only one who could undo the spell would be his son, the one he was thinking of when he cast it; but we don’t even know if he’s alive, so we’ll probably be stuck here like this forever…Now do you want to go play?” The man stared at the little boy trying to figure out if he was serious, but how could he not be. “So there’s nothing I can do to get out of here?”
“What about your Master’s son and the sorcerer? Did they even look for them?”
“They found the sorcerer and had him executed, but they couldn’t find Master’s son.”
“What about Princess Isabel’s family? Haven’t they done anything to get their daughter back?”
“Well, they did try, but they were too afraid of Master to really do anything.”
 “Does the Princess’s family know that your Master is now dead?” Ralph looked thoughtful for a moment and then replied, “I don’t know.”
“Shouldn’t that be a concern? What if they try to come and get her, and they get trapped in here with us?”
“I don’t know.”
The man sighed in exasperation. This was too much for him. He already had enough trouble with his own enchantment. He didn’t need all this too. Well, he at least fit in here, and they all seemed nice enough except for the princess. He wasn’t sure what to do about her.
“Come on. I’ll show you the barn,” coaxed Ralph taking the man by the hand. The man followed Ralph into a very tidy barn full of clean straw and one large gray work horse. “This is Soot,” introduced Ralph. “Soot, this man’s going to be your new barn-mate. His name’s…ahh…What was your name?”
            “I don’t have one.”
“What? How can you not have a name?”
“No one ever gave me one. I don’t remember anything about what happened to me before I woke up in a ditch with this mask stuck to my face.”
“Well then, we have to give you a name. Come on. Follow me.” Ralph stormed out of the barn and straight into the side door of the castle. The man followed and found himself in the servant’s entrance way and then the kitchen. There sat Mr. Grooch and Mrs. Henkins. Mrs. H was making breakfast and prattling on about all the occurrences of the day, and Mr. Grooch was repairing something and paying her little attention. Little Ralph ran up to Mrs. Henkins and started telling her the problem excitedly.
“Now, now, Ralph, calm down. No need to get so excited.”
“Speak for yourself,” commented Eliezer, but Mrs. H didn’t hear him.
“But Mrs. Henkins, he doesn’t have a name!”
“What are you going on about?”
“Like I said,” Ralph pointing at the masked man, “he doesn’t have a name.”
“Gracious me! Is that true?”
Ralph explained before the man could even open his mouth. “We have to think of one!” said Ralph. They then proceeded to each suggest ridiculous name after ridiculous name. “You two aren’t very good at naming,” commented Mr. Grooch. “Then you think of something,” said Mrs. H frustrated. Mr. Grooch didn’t respond for a long time. He looked at the man and said, “Beast.” Before either Ralph or Mrs. Henkins could object, Princess Isabel entered. “Perfect. Beast. That is precisely what you are. Now get out of the castle!” All stood in bewilderment. The man had not been entirely truthful to Ralph when he said no one had ever given him a name. ‘Beast’ had been a favorite of many of the villagers he had come across. It had followed him even here. Rejected he turned and left. Ralph started after him, but the princess stopped him. “Ralph, stay away from him.” Ralph turned and glared at her. “No,” he said defiantly. “I like him. He’s nice and you’re mean!” Ralph ran out the door leaving a very irate princess. Isabel said nothing, and scowling she left the kitchen. “Mrs. Henkins, I will have breakfast in my room!” she yelled. “Yes, my lady,” replied Mrs. H timidly.
            Ralph found Beast in the barn petting Soot’s soft nose. Soot sneezed on Beast and pulled away from him. “I guess you don’t like me much either.”
“I’m sorry. This is all my fault,” apologized Ralph looking most distressed. “It’s not your fault. I’m the one who’s beastly. I’ve always been called that. The princess is just too honest that’s all,” said Beast making light of the situation. “But it’s not right! You should have a proper name!” argued Ralph. “No. They’re right. I am a beast. I will only take on a proper name when I rid myself of this mask,” he reasoned. “But how will you do that?” asked Ralph. “I don’t know,” replied Beast. “But I don’t want to call you Beast,” objected Ralph. A gentle smile stretched between the two cruel fangs that curved out of Beast’s mask. “Let’s play a game.” Ralph’s dejected features lit up in an instant. “Really! Let’s go.” Beast ran after the wiggly little boy wondering what sort of game he would want to play.
Isabel sat out on the balcony of her room as Mrs. Henkins brought her breakfast. Below she heard the sound of Ralph’s infectious laughter. Getting up she looked to see what could make him so jubilant. Ralph and Beast were playing ball, Ralph’s favorite game. The princess scowled. How could she have lost sweet Ralph’s affection to that beastly man? What did he have that she didn’t? He was ugly, smelly, dirty, and poor. She was beautiful, spotless, and rich. Ralph got hold of the ball and decided not to throw it back and cajoled Beast to chase after him to get it. Ralph gleefully ran as Beast chased laughing all the while. Beast cornered him and lifted him into the air. Their laughter floated up to the princess making her all the more resentful. Why did she have to undergo all this? She was a princess. She didn’t deserve to be locked away with these undesirables. That wretched sorcerer king and his useless son, it’s all their fault. The princess pouted and poked at her breakfast as Mrs. Henkins tidied her room.
The days passed with the princess watching Beast and the rest of the servants from her balcony. Beast played with Ralph, helped Eliezer in the garden, and carried water and chopped firewood for Mrs. Henkins. Why was he helping them? Mrs. H and Ralph seemed to adore the revolting fellow. How could they stand to be so near him? She despised him more every day. This beast had stolen their love from her, and she hated him. She wanted desperately to send him away but how, and if she could do that it wouldn’t be him she would send away, it would be herself. She thought about her wretched parents who had done nothing to get her back. She didn’t need them. She didn’t need anyone! Isabel stomped from the balcony and went to lose herself in the maze of a castle.
Beast looked up to see Isabel stomp away into the castle. She was so beautiful but so austere which reflected in her gown, the like of which he had never seen before. It was made with rose colored velvet, and the front was golden and covered with black lace and richly accented with pearls. The dress was as beautiful and rich as she was, but it also reflected that of one who is caged. Beast wondered for a moment. Why did she stay up there all by herself? Why didn’t she join them? For the first time in his life, he had friends. Ralph, who immediately took to him like a son or little brother, Mrs. Henkins, who had to take care of everyone regardless of who they were, and Mr. Grooch, who despite the way he appeared wasn’t bad or mean, he was just very honest and simple in his way of seeing the world; and they all didn’t mind having him around; in fact, they enjoyed his company. Perhaps this place wasn’t so bad after all. Then he thought of the princess, if only she would join them too.
Isabel once again sat out on her balcony watching Beast and Ralph playing in the courtyard. Suddenly, Isabel noticed that Beast was watching her, as well. She was going to harshly chide him for gawking at her, but she didn’t get the chance. “Why don’t you come down and join us,” Beast called to her. “And why on earth would I do that?” she retorted. “It doesn’t look like much fun sitting up there all by yourself. Come join us,” he replied sweetly. “How dare you tell me what to do, you ugly lout!” and she stormed away. “Well, that wasn’t very nice,” commented Ralph. “She isn’t entirely wrong though. I am ugly,” reasoned Beast. Ralph objected, but they continued with their games.
Day after day whenever Beast saw Isabel while they were working or playing outside, he would call to her and ask her to come and join them.
‘Who does he think he is? Inviting me down there with them.’ Isabel thought, but inside she was conflicted. She was beginning to realize that the only one taking her servants’ attention away from her was herself. All she had to do was go down and interact with them on their level, but how could she do that? She was still a princess no matter what situation she might be in. Isabel soon grew to expect and wait for Beast to call out to her just so she could talk to him. ‘No, degrade him. I don’t want to talk to him. That’s unthinkable. Just because he notices me and speaks to me doesn’t mean he can get me to like him,’ she rationalized with herself.
Days continued to pass and every day without fail, Beast would call up to Isabel and ask her to come down. On such a day, Isabel was watching Beast, Ralph, and Mrs. Henkins working in the garden. “Won’t you come down and join us?” asked Beast in his deep soft tone. “I’ll get dirty,” reasoned the princess. “What does that matter?” replied Beast. “You want me to come down there and work in the dirt with you who are even filthier that the dirt itself?” The two looked at each other in an impasse.
“Mrs. Henkins,” indicated Isabel. “Yes, my lady?” answered Mrs. Henkins wiping the dirt from her hands. “Take this mongrel,” she said pointing to Beast, “and clean him up, and I mean clean all of him.” With that she turned and went inside. Confused, Beast looked over to see Mrs. Henkins taking him by the sleeve and pulling him toward the side kitchen door. “Come along then.” Once inside, Mrs. H proceeded to draw him a bath and was about to start pulling Beast’s clothes off and shove him in, but Beast stopped her and did so himself  but not before shooing her away. The water was wonderfully warm, and he was enjoying himself until Mrs. H returned soap and harsh scrub brush in hand with which she proceeded to scrub him clean, every inch of him, despite his pleas. After removing several layers of dirt, muck, and who knows what else and after changing the water twice, Mrs. H also shaved and trimmed Beast’s unruly beard and hair, which was not easy to do around his mask even though most of his chin was uncovered, before leaving him to retrieve some new clean clothes, since before Beast could intercede she had thrown his into the fire with a “Good riddance.” Beast sat in the kitchen feeling rather exposed despite being wrapped in a large towel for he felt as though layers and layers of skin had been stripped away from him leaving him feeling small and vulnerable. Mrs. Henkins returned with bundle in hand, but instead of allowing him to dress she ushered him into the castle and to a large clean room on the second floor. Laying out the contents of the bundle on the bed, she told him that the princess said he could use this room; and with that, she left. Beast stood alone in the large furnished room a bit stunned. He finally went to look at what sort of clothing she had gotten for him. He was stunned by what he saw. Fine clothes like those a noble might wear. Why had she given him such clothes? They were much to fine for him. He peeked out the door, but Mrs. H was probably back in the garden. He had no other choice but to wear these clothes. He looked in the mirror. He wouldn’t have recognized himself if it wasn’t for the mask, which turned out to be not just black but brightly colored. Beast had lived so long as a grungy vagabond he had forgotten what it was like to feel ‘human.’ All his life he had been treated like an animal forced to live in the wilderness despised by society, but now, he looked at himself. His hair was clean and brushed and tied back, Mrs. Henkins had shaved away his matted beard, and he hadn’t seen his chin since before he could grow a beard. He was a man, and on top of it all, the clothes he was now dressed in seemed so odd but somehow familiar, but he didn’t know why.
Beast had grown accustomed to being treated as a monster, but here in the castle they didn’t really seem to mind. They were all quite different themselves except the princess. She was beautiful and perfect at least on the outside. He wasn’t so sure yet what sort of person she was on the inside. She too had been treating him as a monster, a beast. Was she starting to look past that now? Would she accept him now that he was ‘presentable?’ or would his hideous mask still dissuade her pre-notions of him?
Ralph was restless while waiting for Beast to return. He had contemplated running into the kitchen and jumping in the bath with Beast. It would have been so fun, but Mr. Grooch had kept a very close watch on him and kept him busy as if he knew what Ralph was thinking. Mrs. Henkins had come back a moment ago and said that he would be along shortly and to be patient, but Ralph did not want to be patient anymore. He sat down in a huff and throw some rocks much to Mrs. H’s displeasure.
“So what do you think, Ralph?”
Ralph jumped to his feet at the sound of the familiar voice to happily greet Beast, but the figure before him did not look or smell anything like the Beast he had come to know, and he almost retreated from him taking him as an imposter.
“Ralph, what’s the matter?”
Ralph looked askance at Beast. “Beast?” he inquired cautiously. “Of course, who else could it be? Don’t you recognize the mask?” asked Beast. “Well, it’s just that you look so different.” Beast laughed and picked up Ralph in one swoop and placed him on his shoulders. “I’m still me no matter what I look like.” The two of them cavorted about the lawn, and Ralph laughed and soon forgot all about Beast looking differently. Up on the balcony above, Isabel heard Beast’s familiar voice down below. She got up to see if her instructions had been followed and if so their results. She gazed down at the figure holding Ralph aloft. His back was turned to her, but Ralph could see her. “Hello, Princess,” he called happily. Beast set Ralph back on his shoulders and turned around. The princess was shocked at what she saw. He was younger than she had imagined him to be and strong and somewhat becoming despite the hideous mask which was no longer grimy and was now even more terrifying with its unusual colors. “Nothing to say?” asked Beast. The princess remained silent. “Won’t you come down now? I believe your objections of me have been solved.” She still said nothing, and in fact, she left the balcony. Beast felt disappointed, and he dropped to the ground and sent Ralph tumbling. Ralph joyously rolled around in the grass beside Beast until Mrs. Henkins scolded him. Before Beast knew it, he too was being scolded. “I give you those nice clothes and now you’re lying in the dirt. Have you no sense, or is this just all you know?” Beast looked up surprised to see the princess standing over him. “You came down!” he exclaimed smiling as he got to his feet. Isabel was surprised how tall he was and his smile. A truly genuine smile that made her heart skip, despite it being framed by two cruel fangs. “Yes,” was all she could manage as she regained her composure. “Your presence is far more tolerable; though I do wish you could get rid of that mask. It’s frightful,” she complained, but her voice had grown tenderer. “I would if I could,” he replied still smiling. She was even more beautiful up close, and even though she disliked the mask, and who could blame her, she had come down. She really came down in spite of everything she had said to him. “Well, I’m here. Now what?” Quite frankly, Beast’s mind had gone blank, and he couldn’t think of anything to suggest or say. “Hide and Seek! Hide and Seek!” exclaimed Ralph. Ralph, good little Ralph. Beast glanced at the princess to see if she approved or not. “I haven’t played that since I was a child,” she said ambiguously. “Come on. For Ralph,” suggested Beast. Isabel hesitated, “Oh, alright.” Ralph ran around the two of them shouting, “Beast’s it! Beast’s it!” and grabbing the princess’s hand and telling her good places to hide.
Soon after the capture of their daughter the king and queen of the neighboring kingdom had a son. They soon forgot about their lost daughter now that they had a proper heir to the throne. However, once they learned of the demise of the sorcerer king, they were determined to destroy the abominations and spells he had created. They sent their army led by the champion of their kingdom to destroy the castle and all who inhabited it even their own daughter for they feared she had been tainted by magic. Sir Gauthier led the way to the enchanted castle. He had mixed feelings about what he had been bidden to do. Princess Isabel and he had spent their childhoods playing together until she had been taken away. He had longed for the day that he would be summoned to go and rescue her, but now he was charged with killing her. He had a duty to fulfil, but his heart ached.
Isabel stood hiding behind a large oak tree near the gate in the stone wall as Beast searched for her and Ralph. She could see Ralph from where she hid. His wiggly form was hard to miss, and she knew that Beast could see him as well for he was making a big show of not being able to find them. She had to cover her mouth to keep her laughter to herself. She had to admit how much fun this silliness was. Why had she been so stubborn? Beast was getting closer to Ralph, and she could hear his excited giggling that he could not contain. She was almost in Beast’s view so she shifted slightly to the right only now she couldn’t see him either. It grew silent. She was expecting to hear Beast’s triumphant discovery of Ralph, but she heard nothing. She decided to peek out again to see what had happened. Gazing out to where she had last seen the two, she saw no one there. Confused she moved back into her hiding place only to find herself face to face with a two-headed monster.
“Surprise!” exclaimed Ralph. Isabel had nearly fallen over in shock. “Found you,” declared Beast as Ralph giggled happily seated upon Beast’s shoulders. They explained their trickery. Beast and Ralph had it planned all along. Ralph’s keen nose, of course, knew precisely where to find the princess; so together they had found and surprised her. They all laughed together. Beast was pleased to hear the princess was able to laugh. All he had yet seen of her were cross and disgusted looks. Ralph, however, suddenly stopped laughing and grew very serious. “What’s wrong, Ralph?” inquired Beast. Ralph had heard something unfamiliar. It came from outside the wall, and it was approaching steadily. Ralph urged Beast to carry him over to the gate so he might see what it was. Beast soon heard the sound as well, and he felt a foreboding at its approach. “No one can leave, but anyone can enter, right?” inquired Beast of Ralph. “Yes,” was Ralph’s simple reply as he strained to see what approached. “This could be bad,” declared Beast removing a protesting Ralph from his shoulders. “Why is that?” asked Isabel. “Do you know what that is?” Beast replied, “I do.” It was the sound of an approaching army, an army that could very well be coming there. He had worried about something like this happening when he had first come and had learned of their plight from Ralph. What could he do? If the army had come for the princess, she couldn’t leave; and if they entered, they too would not be able to return home. “We can’t allow them to enter here,” stated Beast. “Do you think my parents have finally sent an army to save me?” wondered the princess. “But I still can’t leave so – what can be done?” Beast replied, “I really don’t know. I guess we wait and see what happens.”
They all waited at the gate to see who would appear. Ralph feeling Beast’s concern for the situation hid behind him grasping at his pant leg. Beast patted him on the head to calm him. His little soft ears lay flat to his head, and his ever waggling tail lay still. They began to hear voices approaching the gate. From behind they heard the approach of Mrs. Henkins and Eliezer Grooch. They inquired of the situation, and the army appeared at the gate.
“Gauthier?” said Isabel surprised. “Isabel! I mean Princess Isabel,” exclaimed the fine broad man who let the army. “You came. After all these years.” Isabel ran to the gate. She looked sadly at Sir Gauthier. “Unfortunately, I’m still trapped here even with the sorcerer king gone.” Gauthier looked at the princess in distress. “I’m sorry, Princess, but I’m afraid I’m not here to save you.”
A page to Sir Gauthier read off the edict for the destruction of the castle, all magic articles, and anyone affected or affiliated with magic. In other words, everyone in the castle was to be disposed of. “You can’t! This has to be a mistake. How could my parents decree such a proclamation? How can you carry this out?” Gauthier placed his hand on his sword hilt. “To be honest I don’t want to, but what choice do I have?” Gauthier drew his sword.
“If you enter here, you too will be trapped inside these walls,” declared Beast.
“Who are you?” Sir Gauthier looked on him with distain. “What are you?”
“I am called Beast.”
“Beast, indeed!” Sir Gauthier couldn’t believe what he saw. “Princess do you associate yourself with these evil creatures?”
“These people are not evil! It was not their choice to become as they are.
“Surely, you too have been tainted just as your parents suspected? They are right, and you must die as well,” Sir Gauthier strode forward to swing wide the gates.
“No, you mustn’t!” commanded Princess Isabel.
Beast, neither willing to allow the army to kill them nor to enter and forever be captive as they were, jumped forward and braced himself against the gate. “I will not let you enter!”
“You cannot stop us,” declared Sir Gauthier as all his army came to aid him in opening the gate, but neither Beast nor the gate budged. “Push, men!” All of the army now stood shoulder to shoulder and pushing against Beast and the gate. “Surely, Beast won’t be able to take much more,” worried Isabel, but the army was still unable to budge the gate. Beast’s strength was indeed great, but at Sir Gauthier’s command, the army unsheathed their weapons and attacked Beast through the gate. Isabel and Ralph cried out and would have run to him if Eliezer and Mrs. Henkins hadn’t stopped them. Beast felt his strength ebb with each wound he received. He couldn’t let them enter, and in desperation he cried out, “No one will enter here!” As his words were spoken, the gate vibrated and a great light emanated from it thrusting the army several feet into the woods behind. Beast too was sent flying from the gate and landed at Isabel’s feet. Beast could feel his strength steadily leaving him as if it were being siphoned away. He felt dizzy, and he was bleeding profusely from his many dreadful wounds. Isabel ran to his side calling his name, but Beast couldn’t move or speak. “Take him to the castle,” she commanded. Gently they took him inside and laid him in a chamber to tend to him. They dressed his wounds, but he doesn’t respond. Hoping to find something to cure him, the servants search the castle. Isabel stood at Beast’s side talking to him and praying for a miracle, but his life was fading before her eyes. “You can’t die. Please don’t leave me. I know I was cruel to you, but – I was jealous of you. I’m sorry. You’re so kind and good, and I want you to stay with me.” Beast’s eyes grew dim and started to close. “No! no,” pleaded Isabel. “I love you! Don’t die.” Into Isabel’s hands fell the cursed mask. With shock and joy she looked upon his face for the first time. He was exceptionally handsome, but she knew she would have loved him with or without the mask. “Beast?” She whispered to him hopping that he would be alright. “Be free,” he said softly looking desperately into her eyes before falling unconscious. He would not waken, and his life continued to fade. Had she been too late? Did the removal of this mask instead kill him? He remained motionless, and in panic she rushed to the door calling for Mrs. Henkins. She called and called, but Mrs. Henkins did not appear. She called for Eliezer and then for Ralph, but none of them came. What has happened? Were they all gone? Were they too dying? She fell to her knees. Had her worst nightmare come true? Would she live the rest of her days alone in that terrible castle? She began to weep, and then she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Through the door burst Mrs. Henkins, Eliezer, and Ralph, but not as she knew them. They had all changed. No longer did they appear as animal people. She turned to look upon Beast, but his form lay still on the bed. He was very near death. They were all confused. How could it be that they had been freed of their curses, but Beast even though his injuries were grave should not have been so life threatening. “If your curses have been lifted, what about the boundary?” wondered Isabel. She sent Eliezer to go and see what had happened to the boundary and the soldiers. Eliezer returns to find Isabel weeping over Beast for he had died. He reported that both the boundary and the army had disappeared. Isabel dropped to the floor and wept for what good was her freedom now that Beast was dead. Isabel noticed Beast’s mask in her hands and with great rage she throw it into the fire cursing the existence of magic. The mask went up in wild colorful flames and a piercing cry emanated from it as it disappeared forever. Isabel backed away from the terrifying display and walked over to Beast, but he still lay unmoving. All cried for both their salvation and their loss. Isabel draped herself over Beast and cried begging him to return for she loved him and didn’t know what to do without him for she no longer had a home to return to. Isabel felt a tender hand descend onto her back, and a soothing familiar voice saying, “Don’t cry, Princess. I’ve only just seen your smile for the first time, and I want always to see you smiling. You are so beautiful when you smile.” In shock and realization, Isabel looked up to see Beast alive and smiling at her. “You’re alive! It’s you. It’s really you.” She smiled and touched his face for the first time.
“What’s happened?” inquired Mrs. Henkins. “Yes, Beast, do you know?” asked Isabel. Beast looked up at them all and saw them changed. “Yes, I know for my name is Prince Alastair.” All looked at him shocked. “It can’t be!” exclaimed Mrs. Henkins. “That explains it,” said Eliezer. “What? I don’t get it,” asked Ralph. “He’s the Master’s son,” declared Eliezer. “Yes,” confirmed Prince Alastair. “It was the mask. It concealed who I am. So much so, that not even my father’s enchantments could fully recognize me. My command at the gate was received, but then it tried to kill me for changing it. When my mask was removed, I remembered who I was, and I was able to destroy the magic. The mask, however, had a very strong hold on me and in such a weak state the spite of the sorcerer who placed the mask on me was determined to kill me.” He turned to Isabel. “You destroyed the mask and saved my life.” Isabel hugged him, and they kissed.
All were joyously happy and soon after Prince Alastair and Princess Isabel were married. They all continued to live in the castle now free of all enchantments or any sign of them, and slowly they convinced the surrounding villages and kingdoms that there was no longer anything to fear; and they all lived happily ever after. 

The End.