The sound of chimes and a puff of glitter interrupted the silent blackness. Unfortunately, no one was nearby to be awed by the dramatic entrance. A big part of being a fairy godmother is impressing the poor unfortunate souls you help. If you don’t make the right impression, the stories and rumors lack the proper mystique. Everything from the name of the godmother to the sound and light show that accompanied their visits to their outfits to the songs they sing is designed to wow the client.
Ambrosia descended slowly to the stone floor, a gentle glow warming the cold black of the stone hall. The fairy godmother landed gently, with her arms raised, a broad smile on her lips, and her eyes closed. The chimes faded and she opened her eyes after the appropriate pause for dramatic effect. Noticing the room was empty, she relaxed and exhaled sharply.
“I can’t believe I missed again,”she complained to the empty space. “Now I’ve gotta wander around this place looking for whatever silly girl I’m here to help.” Grumbling, the fairy godmother stomped to the nearest door, slowly opened it, and peaked out. Not seeing anyone with her first glance, she tried to creep through the doorway, only to get stuck when the oversized bell shaped hem of her dress wedged tight in the door frame.
“You have got to be kidding me,” she sighed, struggling to free herself without tearing the frilly outfit. After several moments of wrestling, the fairy godmother tumbled forward into the room, plopping on the floor and eliciting another puff of glitter with more chimes and more jangling.
“This ridiculous thing,” she muttered to herself as she stood back up. Reaching into the folds of her dress, the fairy dug around for several moments before finding her satchel. Opening the bag wide, she popped an unseen button at the top of her skirt and pulled it loose. Underneath she wore a pair of plain black breeches. Snapping open the satchel, she began to unceremoniously stuff the skirt into the bag, which appeared to be entirely too large for the small satchel. Still, the godmother pushed and stuffed the skirt, which slowly disappeared. Eventually the fairy climbed atop the pile of ruffles, lace, and sparkles. Jumping up and down, she forced the oversized costume into the satchel.
“If I’m going to wander around this… this… whatever this place is, I’m not wearing that thing. I don’t care if it is the official fairy godmother uniform. It’s just impractical,” she complained for the hundredth time that week. “It’s bad enough that they send me all over the 12 Kingdoms every day granting wishes, like some kind of genie…”
“How can that thing fit in such a small bag?” a shrill voice asked from the darkness.
Amrosia nearly jumped out of her skin, which was convenient because she was mid-jump already. Turning her head in midair, she spotted a lanky French Poodle in a frilly nightgown. She was sitting on an ornately carved bed piled high with pillows. The sight distracted her enough that she forgot to land properly and tumbled end over end from the pile of skirt and the satchel. Another puff of glitter and jangling-chimes noise accompanied her crash to the stone floor. Looking up, she realized that she’d missed the poodle when she scanned the room because she blended into the sheets and pillows of her bed.
“Sorry. If I’d known you were in here, I’d have kept my skirt on. It’s part of the ambiance of the fairy godmother business. We’re supposed to wear them, but I thought I’d have to wander all over this place looking for you. Now that you’ve seen me without it, I’m going to leave it off. It’s not comfortable anyway,” Ambrosia answered quickly without taking another breath. The response had become too familiar and she was reciting it from memory. In the past few months, she’d been caught out of uniform around a dozen times. Fortunately, no one she visited knew how to complain about outfits, and there wasn’t a customer feedback card, so she’d gotten away with it so far. That wouldn’t last forever, but for now it was ok. “And to answer your question, the satchel is magic. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. I can fit anything inside that I can stuff through the top.”
“Are you MY fairy godmother?” the poodle squealed after staring slack-jawed at the visitor for a moment.
“Yes! Of course I am! And I’m here to help you,” Ambrosia answered in an artificially cheerful tone. She barely remembered the last time she was genuinely cheerful to help anyone fix a problem. Affixing a broad, toothy smile on her face in hopes of convincing the poodle that she was happy to be there, the godmother pressed on. In a way, she was happy to help. Ambrosia applied to become a fairy godmother because she liked helping people and lived to make people happy. In another, more real way, she was less than thrilled with the job itself. Fairy godmothers are incredibly powerful, but they’re also busy beyond what ordinary people would be able to handle. The first day of fairy godmother training she’d heard the mantra: “With great power comes great responsibility.” It was the catchphrase of all fairy godmothers. Any student that missed it was in luck, because they said it again and again and again. Most of the fairy god-students loved it and were excited at every reminding. Ambrosia appreciated the importance of the idea, but after hearing it a few hundred times, she had become suspicious that maybe there was something else going on. Now she understood that the motto was repeated so often because “responsibility” meant “lots and lots to do.”
Still, she was usually happy to help. Although, more and more often, the cases she was assigned were less than satisfying for some reason. It seemed like the quality of the clients was diminishing. Fewer and fewer seemed to actually need help. Ambrosia wasn’t sure if the feeling was a result of being burned out or if it was something in the Acquisition Office. They picked the clients, and it made sense that they could possibly make mistakes.
“Are you here to get me to the ball so I can meet my handsome prince get married and escape my wicked step-mother and this dungeon she keeps me in,” the poodle yipped.
Ambrosia looked around the room as the poodle spoke and realized that the puppy had exaggerated about this being a dungeon. A glass door opened to a balcony that looked to be several stories up. Lush silk curtains framed the doorway, which nearly filled the wall of the room. Now that Ambrosia was looking, she realized the room was large enough to hold some of the houses she’d visited in her first year on the job. In fact, there’d be room to hang laundry outside. The bedroom wasn’t just cavernous; it was full of stuffed toys, fancy furniture, and an 8-foot mirror in front of a makeup counter with a palette of makeup colors that would make most famous painters jealous. Well, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. She must be here for a reason. The step-mother must be awful.
“Yes,” she responded through clenched teeth. “I am here to get you out of this… dungeon. I bet your wicked step mother trapped you here so you couldn’t go to the ball.”
“That’s right! You must have used your fairy magic to see that. I didn’t do anything wrong and she won’t let me go. I hate her so much!” the poodle growled out the last sentence, the hair on her back spiking up.
“It’s okay, uh, what’s your name again?” the fairy godmother asked the poodle.
“Drizella,” the young lady responded , the shrill whine leaking into her voice again. “The ball is tonight! Can you get me there? I need a new dress, too. None of my ugly rags will be fine enough to find my prince.”
“What a, uh, lovely name that is,” Ambrosia replied, still forcing herself to smile. “Don’t worry. This is what we call a standard ‘glass slipper scenario.’ I do it every day. Dress, shoes, carriage, and hair. Now, are you sure you don’t already have something nice you’d want to wear for this party?” Ambrosia asked her last question while gazing over at a wardrobe, whose open doors revealed several dozen fancy gowns in every color of the spectrum. She mused that any one of the dresses in the wardrobe would easily cost more than most of the houses she visited in her first year as a godmother.
“Absolutely not! I’d be ashamed to wear any of those cast-offs and hand-me-downs,” the poodle responded, horror etched on her face.
“Hand-me-downs? You got them from your older sister?” the fairy godmother asked hopefully. An older sister who gets treated like royalty was pretty typical of wicked stepmothers.
“Ugh. No. I am handing them down to my no good little sister,” the poodle responded with disgust.
Ambrosia paused, staring at the girl for several moments, before continuing. “Ok. Well, let’s get you dressed then,” she finally sighed, figuring that it made sense to just get this over with. Raising her wand, she swept it across Drizella’s nightgown. Chimes filled the air and glitter swirled around the young dog transforming her nightgown into an elegant blue dress with jewels sewn into the intricate flower designs that covered the skirt. She paused to admire her handiwork and waited for the thrilled response she’d grown accustomed to hearing in response to her dressmaking magic. She’d finished at the top of her class in dressmaking magic, a skill which had garnered shrieks of joy from her past clients.
“Could you do this in yellow instead? And could you make the sleeves puffy? And I’d like a bow in the back,” the shrill voice of the poodle complained.
Wide eyed, the fairy godmother stared in disbelief at the dog in the blue dress. “Would you like gumdrop buttons too?” she asked, her voice sweetened with sarcasm.
“Ugh. Not gumdrop buttons! That’s stupid,” the poodle responded, rolling her eyes.
“Hey, what about a carriage. Let’s get you on your way. It would be terrible for you to be late to the ball and miss your prince,” Ambrosia interjected before her urge to throttle Drizzella took over.
“But yellow…” the poodle began only to be interrupted by Ambrosia grabbing her arms and pulling her onto the balcony.
“Let’s see! You’re gonna need a carriage to get you to your party,” she exclaimed in a voice chock-full of forced cheer. Scanning the courtyard below, she spotted a pumpkin sitting in a cart below. With a twist of her wrist, chimes tinkled in their ears and glitter surrounded the vegetable. Slowly, it rose into the air and floated to the center of the yard. With another wave of the wand, the pumpkin grew and changed. It contorted and twisted and became a carriage. It wasn’t just a carriage. It was one of the finest carriages to be found anywhere in the 12 Kingdoms. The Mountain King himself probably rides around in a similar carriage. The pumpkin’s orange skin had grown shiny until the magical coach was pure gold, with delicate vines and leaves twisting and turning around the doors. Every here and there a silver apple hung from the plants. The step to get into the carriage was made from two fine silver leaves that looked impossibly real.
“I don’t really like pumpkins. Can you make the carriage out of something nicer?” the poodle whined.
“What?” Ambrosia responded, still forcing her smile, though her eyes had grown wide and screamed in pure rage.
“It’s just that I don’t like pumpkins. They grow out of the dirt and they’re so orange. Can’t you make another one out of something nicer?” the poodle prattled.
“Like what?” the godmother asked, growing more irritated by the moment.
“Cupcakes! Or maybe a parfait! Everyone loves parfaits!”
“No. You can’t make a carriage out of pastries. The magic doesn’t work that way. Besides, who would ruin a perfectly good dessert like that?” the godmother grumbled, still managing to sound cheerful. One of the worst rules in fairy godmothering was that the godmother should always be cheerful and happy. Ambrosia struggled with that one. Today, she barely held onto her cheer and it looked like it wouldn’t be getting better in the near future.
“But I like cakes. I don’t like vegetables. Can’t you do it just this once?” the poodle asked hopefully.
“I don’t think we have time for that right now. Let’s get you to your party,” Ambrosia practically shouted, before grumbling to herself: “And let’s get me out of here.” Drizella pouted, disappointment oozing from her pores.
“You’re going to need some horses. Let’s see here,” the fairy godmother waved her wand a few moments before a half-dozen specks floated from spots around the courtyard. It was difficult to tell what they were until they converged in the center of the yard below the balcony.
“Eww! Are those Mice?!” Drizella shrieked. “No! I am not going anywhere with mice!”
Ambrosia fought hard to keep the smile plastered on her face. Her eyebrows were hunched, her eyes squinted into slits, and her hand unceremoniously whipped back and forth changing the mice into horses. Without looking, Ambrosia guided the six horses to the carriage, where they were magically attached to their harnesses.
“No! I won’t do it! Mice are disgusting creatures!” Drizella protested.
“Look! They’re not mice! They’re horses!” the godmother nearly yelled at the girl, still barely holding her smile in place.
“They may be horses, but they’re made out of mice! I will not go in that carriage!”
“What did you expect me to make horses out of? What kind of animal would be ok for you to have pull you to the ball?” Ambrosia snapped.
“Something proper, like horses,” Drizella answered, her voice filled with an air of superiority.
“You want me to make horses out of horses?” The disbelieving godmother barely controlled her voice as she asked.
“Yes! Can you do that quickly? Also, six horses isn’t enough. Can you make it ten?” the poodle asked hopefully.
“I’m not making horses out of horses. Nope. You can go in THAT carriage with THOSE horses or you can stay home,” Ambrosia responded, grappling inwardly to keep the smile on her face. “Just make sure you’re home by midnight. At midnight, everything goes back to normal. Don’t stay a second longer. Got it?”
“Midnight? What are you talking about? You sound like Ella, my wicked stepmother. That’s the whole reason she wouldn’t let me go to the party in the first place! I stay out past midnight every night. What kind of baby goes home at midnight? She grounded me for coming home late, and I can’t go to the ball. Now, we’re going to show her who’s boss! You’re just going to have to fix your spell. I’m going to need to be out until at least three in the morning,” Drizella demanded, crossing her arms and fixing a hard stare at the godmother.
Ambrosia stared in shock, the smile melting from her lips.
“And get to it. I need to get moving so I can get my prince,” Drizella continued. “Also, can you fix my dress and the carriage and the horses now?”
“I just realized something,” the godmother responded as something insider her snapped. “I am not your fairy godmother. I went to the wrong house. I am the prince’s fairy godmother.”
“What are you talking about? Of course you’re mine!” the poodle snapped.
“Nope. I’m going to rescue the prince from a wicked step-poodle or whatever you are,” Ambrosia hissed. With a snap of her fingers, the carriage, the mice, and the nightgown instantly returned to normal.
“What are you doing? We need to get moving. My prince is waiting to meet me. I want to go to the ball,” the poodle yipped.
The godmother turned and walked back to her satchel, the skirt still hanging halfway out of its open mouth. Grabbing one handle, she awkwardly swung the bag over her shoulder. Turning to Drizella, Ambrosia responded flatly: “You’ll get to that ball when pig’s fly.” With a snap of her fingers, the fairy godmother popped away into thin air.
Across town, the prince met a lovely girl named Aurora, who loved to take naps and hated gardening. The two eventually lived happily ever after, but that’s another story. In the courtyard, six mice enjoyed a filling dinner of pumpkin that had smashed on the stone floor when it fell.
Drizella did not make it to the ball that night, but she did live happily ever after. Eventually. But that’s also another story. And Ambrosia decided that it may be time for her to find a new line of work.
Did you catch any of the movie/book references built into the story? Every story I write has a handful of references built into the story. Let me know how many you found and which ones and the readers who find the most will be recognized in a post on Fridays when I’ll reveal them all. Click here to tell me what you found!
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