Marinette dashed into the enormous garden of the manor, collapsing to her knees next to a bench as tears began to pour from her eyes and cascade down her porcelain skin. Her body trembled as she leant against the stone bench, obscuring her face in her arms.
All of her hopes and dreams of going to the royal ball had been shattered as soon as they saw her gorgeous dress. Marinette had spent hours upon hours carefully crafting it, even losing sleep on some nights.
But as soon as Audrey, Chloe and Lila had seen it, she was doomed. They tore the dress apart (leaving Marinette in rags) and proceeded to leave for the royal ball without her. Why did misfortune always have to cross her path? Marinette couldn’t bear to hold hatred in her heart, but her stepmother and stepsisters were beyond evil and that was a fact that could never be changed in her mind.
“I can’t believe; not anymore,” she mumbled, her voice quivering as sobs continued to sway her body. “There’s nothing to believe in.”
The blue-eyed girl continued to cry her heart out, unaware of the bright light beginning to swirl around her as a woman appeared before her. The light of the magic started to dim as the woman comfortingly stroked Marinette’s hair, a smile etched upon her face.
“Nothing? You don’t really mean that,” the mysterious woman stated, her voice soft as she tenderly lifted Marinette’s face from its place hidden in her arms. “If you do, there’s no way I could possibly be here.”
Marinette’s eyes widened in shock as she spotted the red-haired woman who had a comforting smile plastered on her face. She only seemed to be a few years older than Marinette and she wore a crimson dress, spots patterned over the fabric in various places.
“Who are you?” Marinette questioned, her voice breathy as she wiped away the abundant tears from her skin. Where on earth had this woman come from and why was she here?
The woman didn’t seem to have heard Marinette's question as she mumbled something about a magic wand, checking the pockets of her dress to see if it could possibly be there.
“Magic… but that means that you’re-”
“Your fairy godmother, yes,” she replied. Her fingers snapped together a moment later as she promptly pulled a wand out of thin air, surprising Marinette. She could hardly believe that any of this was happening to her right now. Was she dreaming?
“My name is Tikki and I’m here to help you go to the ball.” Tikki introduced, twirling her red-and-black wand in her right hand.
“The ball?” Marinette questioned, her eyebrows furrowing into a perplexed frown. “I couldn’t possibly go. Not in this outfit anyway.”
“That’s what I’m here to fix. Just stand back and watch me work my magic,” she winked, glancing around as if she was trying to find something. “Aha!”
With a few simple waves of her wand, Tikki transformed everything around them. A pumpkin became an elegant carriage; mice became horses, and she even made sure that the carriage had a footman.
Tikki’s gaze landed on Marinette’s tattered dress, her lips curling into a scowl at how utterly ruined it was. She tapped her wand on her chin as designs flowed through her brain until the perfect dress made an appearance.
Instead of merely waving her wand this time, Tikki looked towards Marinette and spoke a few magic words. “Spots on!”
And, with a wave of light, the dress morphed from pastel pink to brilliant red. Marinette felt her lips curl into a delighted grin as her gaze travelled along the luxurious fabric. This was like a miracle; a dream come true!
“Oh! I mustn't forget about the shoes,” Tikki remembered, swirling her wand before pointing it at Marinette’s feet, her simple shoes turning into ones made of red-tinted glass. “A fellow fairy forgot about the shoes one time. It was a total disaster due to it being mid-winter.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much!” Marinette thanked profusely, happy tears pricking the corners of her eyes.”
“No need,” Tikki waved her off, a proud smile gracing her lips. “Oh, before you go you need to know one last important thing: at midnight, the spell will wear off, and everything will return to normal.”
“Midnight,” she mumbled, nodding her head as she filed away the detail in her mind.
When Marinette first arrived at the castle, she found herself overwhelmed by how huge and elegant it looked. Stone towers stood high, the kingdom’s flag waving from them proudly.
She was perplexed when she reached the oversized ballroom, watching as people milled around, waiting for something to happen.
All of a sudden, the sound of footsteps echoed around her and something touched her shoulder. Marinette pivoted on her heel to find a blond man with charming green eyes stood behind her. He took hold of her hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it, giving her a sweet smile.
“Care to dance?”
Marinette could only nod in response as her lips curled into a smile and a faint flush rose to her cheeks.
The blond led her to the centre of the grand ballroom, a crowd forming around them as he moved their arms into a waltz position.
As the music began, he led her through the dance, each step feeling like she was floating as they moved around the ballroom. Marinette felt herself lost in the eyes of the charming stranger and felt her heart beat loudly in her chest.
Marinette spotted Audrey, Chloé and Lila — each of them dressed in ridiculously fancy ball gowns — in her peripheral as she and the green-eyed man waltzed away from the centre of the room and over towards the gardens.
Marinette could tell that they were trying to see if they knew her and she hoped that they wouldn’t recognise her. Who knows what would happen if they found out she was here, especially after the incident earlier that evening.
Eventually, they found themselves wandering out to the magnificent castle gardens, dancing through the evening and talking to one another.
When she realised he was the prince, she apologised profusely for not greeting him appropriately but he only laughed it off, his warm chuckle making her smile.
Slowly, he reached out his hand, their fingers brushing together before they intertwined, fitting together perfectly.
They continued to make idle chatter as they walked through the illustrious gardens, Marinette finding herself falling for Prince Adrien more and more as each second ticked by. He too found himself entranced by the mysterious girl even though he did not know her name.
As they approached the castle, Prince Adrien stopped Marinette and sat on one of the many steps leading to the enormous doors, prompting her to sit beside him.
“Silly gown,” she mumbled, pushing it down so that it wouldn’t puff up. While the crimson-red dress was gorgeous, it was also impractical as it made sitting down harder than it should be. (Marinette had learnt that the hard way when she tried to sit down in the carriage and almost slipped off her seat.)
“Having trouble there?” Adrien teased, a sly grin adorning his handsome face.
Marinette smiled back, the two sitting in an entirely comfortable silence as they began to find themselves lost in each other’s eyes.
Even though she’d only met the prince only around an hour ago, Marinette felt herself drawn to him, both emotionally and physically.
She felt her eyelids flutter shut as she leant forwards, the prince doing the exact same. Time felt like it had stopped as the two became wrapped up in their own world, as if it was them and only them. Just as their lips were finally about to touch, a bell chimed.
Her time was up.
A gasp escaped her lips as she pulled away, quickly maneuvering to stand on her feet as she sent a panicked glance towards the clock whose hands displayed midnight.
“I’m terribly sorry but I need to go!” Marinette exclaimed, grabbing onto her dress and lifting it slightly as she ran away so that she wouldn’t trip over it.
Marinette ignored his cries for her as she ran through the palace, trying to ignore the tears stinging her eyes as she continued her dash through the main entrance.
As she hurriedly sprinted down the steps leading to her carriage, she heard his voice call for her once again and found herself almost tripping. Marinette managed to catch herself before she could actually fall but with a swift glance over her shoulder, she noticed that one of her red-tinted glass slippers had fallen off her foot.
Moments later, she shouted for the carriage to go, leaving a crestfallen prince behind at the top of the stairs as he watched her disappear from his view.
Prince Adrien felt his heart shatter into thousands of scattered fragments as the girl left, not understanding why she’d suddenly left him. Had he done something wrong? Had he offended her in some way?
A bright sparkle caught his eye, and the prince glanced down to see the shoe she’d left behind, the glass reflecting the light of the moon.
Adrien paced down the steps until he reached it, picking it up and holding it to his heart.
“One day I will find you,” he murmured to himself, clutching the glass slipper close so that it wouldn’t slip out of his grasp just like she had. “I promise that.”