Princess Montalia lived in the not too distant land of Shallow Brook. Shallow Brook was a small part of the realm of Bella. The two prettiest things about the Princess were her name and her clothes. These were the only pretty things about her. She had many flowing gowns in almost every color. Everyone in Shallow Brook said the gray one matched her best. It matched the smoke that came out of her eyes. Legend had it that anyone who glanced at them became completely evil. Her body was covered with warts. A thin gray liquid dripped out of them. She had banished her last two maids for looking at them for a second. Such cruelty earned her the name Montalia the Ugly.
Sometimes, as the shadows of night fell, Princess Montalia would think to herself, I understand why the people won't come near me with all these warts and that nasty stuff that comes out of them. Even then that was what she blamed. It was always the warts. Her heart was hard as marble, but she never thought about that. Most of her life she whined to anyone who would listen about the people.
"They're all afraid to see them, you know," Princess Montalia would say.
If one of the countesses happened to be in the room, she would nod her head and say, "Yes." For even these ladies of high position could be banished by the Princess.
After all, she had plotted against King Riczar, the ruler of the realm of Bella. Although King Riczar cursed Princess Montalia with the leaking warts, he allowed her to remain ruler over Shallow Brook. Another part of her punishment was to banish her from Deep River. Deep River was the King's home in Bella.
The land of Deep River had water all around it. This water had once flowed into the water around Shallow Brook. King Riczar had created a dam using his fists and his fingers to stop the water from flowing in after Montalia's rebellion. Soon, Shallow Brook's water became impure and no one could grow food.
King Riczar had created a cedar bridge between Deep River and Shallow Brook. He used his fists to do everything from cutting down the trees to hammering the nails into the woods. However, the King knew the poisoned water worked like a termite yet the people of Shallow Brook seemed almost immune to its affects. From time to time, they got little sores on their tongues, but that was it. The poisoned water even had a taste like chocolate and smiled like a rose, so the people of Shallow Brook water filled themselves until it poisoned everything they touched.
Only someone who had never touched the poisoned water could travel between Deep River and Shallow Brook. For several years, he had sent his son VonRiczar across the bridge to bring food and pure water to Princess Montalia and the people. He had a flying horse-drawn carriage, but he crossed the bridge on foot. It was shocking to the people to see the King's son walking like them. Many of the people loved VonRiczar, so the Princess feared she would be overthrown.
One day, Princess Montalia had two of her servants waiting underneath the bridge with saws. As VonRiczar was walking across the bridge, the servants cut the planks out from underneath him, and he fell into the waters around Shallow Brook. Four of the planks fell on top of him and crushed his bones and his heart.
A few days later, King Riczar pointed his finger at the wooden planks. They came off his son and formed another bridge on the grass. Then the King pointed to the sky, and the trees began to move back and forth like a swing. VonRiczar stood up lifted up his arms, and was carried back to Deep River.
Princess Montalia and the people began to receive pure water again. They did not know who brought it. At first, VonRiczar sent the countesses and servants banished by the Princess. VonRiczar put his hands on the people and shrank them so they could walk under the four- plank bridge at dawn. They brought the water from Deep River to the people of Shallow Brook. They even brought to the Princess at the request of King Riczar and VonRiczar.
One day, VonRiczar said, "Take to me to see Princess Montalia."
"What?" Asked one of his men.
"My father wants me to see the Princess," VonRiczar answered. "I understand if you are scared to come with me."
"I will do anything you ask because I know if the Princess catches me you will find me and take me back to Deep River," said the man.
Once they marched under the bridge VonRiczar touch them again. They returned to normal size, but no one could mistake them for an army because they had no weapons. They came to the castle in Shallow Brook. The guard on duty was usually very stiff and never smiled. A look at VonRiczar's his clear violet eyes made him smile.
"Hello, VonRiczar, the guard said. "I will take you and my old friends to see Princess Montalia myself.
"Thank you," VonRiczar said.
"Princess," said the guard when he reached the throne room. "You have visitors."
"Visitors," she said as though a fly with buzzing in her mouth. "No one comes to visit me."
When she saw VonRiczar, her stare made the mouths of almost everyone in the room taste smoke. The second she looked at his eyes the taste in everyone's mouth was like mint mousse.
"Okay, VonRiczar, said Princess Montalia. "You may stay, but you're little helpers must go."
"Yes, Princess," VonRiczar said. "My men will leave."
"What is your business here?" She asked.
"I would like to ask to bring water to Shallow Brook every day," he said.
No. I can't, she thought. He'll just take over. Then she looked in his eyes.
"Yes, I would like you to bring water," Princess Montalia answered.
"Thank you, Princess," VonRiczar said.
He left and went outside to talk to his men.
"Princess Montalia told me I could bring water to Shallow Brook," he said. "Thank you for bringing me here, but I will bring the water here from now on."
"VonRiczar, she's evil," they all said.
"I know," he said.
"Princess Montalia killed you once," his men said.
"It was the only way King Riczar could bring you to Deep River," VonRiczar said.
"What?" They asked.
If any of the people of Shallow Brook would've tried to cross the bridge," he answered, the poison of the water of your land would have eaten through the varnish of the bridge and he or she would've drowned in the poisoned water."
"You could have just taken us," they said.
"You all didn't want to go back then," he said. "You were still faithful to Princess Montalia,"
"How beautiful she seemed to us in those gowns, but you knew all along," they said.
"I wanted all the people to see that I loved and respected them so they would come to me willingly," VonRiczar said.
"Princess Montalia didn't see it that way then," his men said. "All she cared about was her power."
"King Riczar's been working on that," VonRiczar said.
Back at the Castle, the Princess walked around her bedroom. She kept thinking to herself, why did I do it? Why did I do it? Her only peace was the thought that the people may come near her because she allowed them to have the water from Deep River.
She didn't understand why she wanted the People's company. She was Princess. She didn't even know what she wanted, but King Riczar and VonRiczar knew it was love. They also knew the people could not truly fill this need.
The people might come near her even with the warts. Love would never happen with them. Her heart was not only hard as marble. If the people could see it, it would look like rusted bronze.
The people heard VonRiczar was visiting the Princess alone. Their eyes looked like small clouds with little rays of sun peeking through them. They thought, why would he want anything to do with Princess Montalia?
They had heard the people of Deep River had platinum skin and would do anything for King Riczar and VonRiczar. They also knew Princess Montalia had VonRiczar killed.
At first, Princess Montalia hoped the visits would stop. She wanted the people to visit her a little, so she wouldn't stop them herself.
"How are things in Shallow Brook?" VonRiczar would ask.
"You already know," Princess Montalia would say with the buzz of a queen bee.
"I want to know at you think," he would reply.
She would just ask in the same voice, "Oh, why would you care?"
At the end of each visit, she would look in his eyes. They seemed to have magic powers.
"Please come back again soon, VonRiczar," she would say.
Princess Montalia began to wonder why VonRiczar was still one to see her. It had been months. He should have stopped by now.
One day, she looked into his eyes right away.
"Why do you come here?" The Princess asked.
"I come to bring water," VonRiczar said.
"Why do you talk to me?" Princess Montalia asked.
"I care about you and so does my father," VonRiczar answered.
"Why do you care? She asked. Why does King Riczar?
"We care about everyone," VonRiczar said.
"I have all these warts and that nasty stuff that comes out of them," Princess Montalia said.
"That doesn't matter to us," he said.
"I've tried to take over Bella and kill you," she replied. " I've almost never talked to you. "
"We've never stopped caring, Princess Montalia,"
She rolled up the sleeves of her gray gown.
"Look at them! Look at them! Montalia demanded.
VonRiczar kept his eyes on her. He came near the throne and reached for her arms. He ran his the palms of his hands up her arms. The warts disappeared at his touch.
Princess Montalia wept and reached for VonRiczar's hand. She kissed it. Then she stood up and embraced him, still weeping.
They invited all the people of the land to the wedding. Montalia was in a white gown that shimmered like platinum. They had never seen one that beautiful. She shook hands with all of them as she walked toward VonRiczar, so they dared to look her in the eyes. The people did not know how but the smoke was gone from this her eyes. The Princess's eyes had turned brown. Then they looked at VonRiczar. His eyes shone like gems in sunlight. The people knew Princess Montalia the Ugly was beloved.
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