From Enemy to Heir: Day 9 of 31 Days
Click on the photo above for Day 1
The prince opened the gates to his kingdom and Obscurity walked in behind him without a moment’s hesitation. All her questions and doubts had been erased by the kind instruction of the prince.
But she was completely unprepared for the scene on the other side of the gates.
From afar, the prince’s kingdom looked pure white. His castle sat up on a hill where it shimmered like a diamond. No matter where you were in the Enchanter’s land, you could see it, if you wanted to.
When she was younger, Obscurity had often gazed upon that castle and thought about how very boring it would be to live in a world where everything was white.
Now that she was there, she could see that the kingdom was not white at all. It was radiant with a myriad of brilliant, pure colors. Some of the hues she had never seen before, but every inch of earth or sky shimmered with them. It was like stepping into a magnificent gem, and Obscurity could not make her eyes wide enough to grasp the wonder. She thought she could look on it forever and never see enough.
It was midday then, and the town was bustling with the affairs of the day. Everywhere, people were hard at work, although it hardly looked like work to Obscurity because every person seemed to be doing the exact thing he or she most enjoyed doing. Here a person painted pictures, there a person swept floors, one taught little children, and another layered mortar between bricks.
But all worked to the best of their ability, so if she had to choose, Obscurity would not have been able to tell whose job was the most important. More intriguing still was the fact that she could sense no struggle between the roles. There was no abuse of power or lazy workmanship, there were no angry threats or insolent remarks.
Instead, the air was filled with a sense of mutual respect and cooperation and a delight in being able to do what one was made to do in the kingdom of the prince they loved.
The prince, who stood beside her, watched it all with a look of pleased satisfaction. Obscurity noticed that he looked more radiant than ever as his people went about the humble duties of their daily lives.
Obscurity, who had never had a skill or talent of any kind, suddenly wished she had something to do that was as good and satisfying as their labor seemed to be to themselves and to each other. When she saw how much it pleased the prince to see his people creating, building, and ruling like princes themselves, she wanted nothing more than to be a part of it.
But she didn’t have much time to think about it because suddenly, someone looked up and noticed the prince had returned. Immediately, he was surrounded, and she with him. They greeted him with kisses. One took his horse and one took his cloak and everyone was asking about the cuts on his face and the mud on his clothes.
That’s when they noticed her.
And everything got quiet.
It was not entirely uncommon for the prince to bring an enemy into the gates. Old people and children followed him wherever he went. Those kinds of enemies had not been taught to hate him, or they were too old to fight, and the Enchanter’s power was lessened on those who believed enough to be hopeful, and on those who had seen enough to be hopeless.
But this was unusual. Very rarely did the prince open the gate for someone in the prime of her life. Very rarely did he rescue someone so obviously entrenched in the Enchanter’s lies.
Entrenched was just the word for Obscurity. She looked like she had come right out of the sewers. Her hair was matted and she reeked of waste and it was apparent from her clothes that she was one of those kinds of women.
Obscurity was now aware of her own wretched state, but the prince’s people were unprepared for the level of depravity they saw in her. It was shocking. She was by far the filthiest person they had ever seen. Whispers skittered around the back row.
Obscurity felt her face flush and her heart fall. She realized these people were not perfect like the prince. When she had first seen them, they seemed so different from her own people that she could not imagine a single flaw in any of them.
Yet, there remained in them some ability to make assumptions and draw conclusions. There remained in them some need of rescuing, and Obscurity wondered if they could see their own muddy feet when they were staring at hers.
One of the men stepped forward from the throng.
“Would you like me to take your prisoner, Sir?” he asked with a gleam in his eye. His job as master of the guard was remarkably dull in the prince’s kingdom, and he looked forward to having at least one of his jail cells full.
“Prisoner?” the prince responded in surprise. “This woman is not a prisoner.”
Waves of whispers washed over the crowd.
“Shall I prepare the…uh…guest room, then?” asked the head butler, who was already wondering how he was going to get the linens clean after that woman left.
“No, she’s not a guest!” the prince said.
The crowd was silent. No one could think of a third option.
“My dear people,” the prince said, extending his hand to draw Obscurity to his side. “This woman is my bride.”