Once upon a time….
There was a child born to a king and queen, a beautiful little baby, full of life and laughter. With sky blue eyes that wondered and brought joy to their parents life in so many ways. They grew and blossomed into a beautiful little girl, her dreams bigger than the world and her persistence stronger than iron. But as she aged, a sadness grew in her, something she couldn’t express and no one was aware of.
It was only when she was eight that things were revealed to her family, in a devastating way. The beloved princess hid in the night, planning an escape, she knew this would cause her family pain but she felt helpless. She got past every blockade with a nimbleness that surprised even her, but once she was outside the castle grounds, she didn’t know where to go.
The princess wondered until she found an opening in the trees, it revealed a pond, the stars reflected on it and seemed to draw her in. She came to the clearing with the pond and slowly approached the water, she didn’t want to see her reflection, her shame, her fear would show on her face. She backed away from the pond when a fox came through the clearing, eying the princess.
She watched with awe, as the fox came to the water and drank slowly from it. She looked at the water and was surprised, in the water was not the fox, but a demon. A nine-tailed fox, larger than the one before her, she slowly moved away from the water and creature in fear.
The fox looked up to her, the water showing its reflection come back to its smaller self, it came to her, slowly. She tried to back away but the fox circled her, she backed away from it, not breaking eye contact, when she suddenly slipped. She had backed into the pond, and was now in the water only about a half foot deep, she still looked at the fox but now the fox stopped. It looked her reflection, she watched it still, but after a moment looked down as well. Her eyes widened and she began to cry, she turned to look at herself more, crying tears of joy and sadness.
She looked at herself and didn’t even see, the fox had come beside her. It rubbed its body softly along hers, she saw the demon again.
“Is this the real you?” she asked, not expecting a reply.
The fox nodded and suddenly started to grow into the demon form, she watched in horror as it grew, but then suddenly it reached down to her and softly said, “And that reflection is the real you.”
She looked up at it, then back down to the water, she then shook her head, “I can’t be… I’m th-... the princess. That will never be me anywhere but this pond.”
The fox nudged her softly, its fur suddenly warmer, almost burning her.
“It is you, be brave. Live as this reflection shows.” the fox said softly, the princess looked up at it, and suddenly a shout came from behind them.
“PRINCESS!” a guard yelled, coming to the clearing, the fox grew and stepped on the princess’ stomach, guarding her. Its touch burned through her skin to her stomach, causing her to yelp in surprise.
The fox looked down at her, “You must be strong, only when others can see the reflection in any water will you be happy.”
The fox then pressed on her stomach harder and the burning increased, warming her to the core. She cried out but was too scared to try to free herself from the beast, the pain and fear consuming any rational part of her mind.
“PRINCESS!” the guard yelled again, this time much closer, suddenly the fox looked away from her and jumped. The fox was gone, she fell into the water, feeling limp with pain and fear. The guard came to her side and shook her, but she felt herself drifting out of consciousness, when he lifted her though she saw her reflection. It had changed, to show what any mirror would show her.
She felt sadness envelop her again as her body went limp and her mind faded.
No longer was her reflection showing who she was, it no longer showed a boy.