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The Tales They Tell

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They told of a princess whose escape gave a subjugated people hope. They told of an apple whose sweet poison felled the princess where she stood. They told of two men who wept over her, whose kisses were sad farewells to what had never been. They told of a miraculous return to life, a stirring speech, a battle won.

Some said it was thanks to the prince's adoration, some insisted it was for love of the huntsman that she returned. The disagreement was the cause of many a brawl in the taverns and just as many whispers in the princess's new court, especially when there was no betrothal announced in the months after the coronation. Instead the young queen kept both men by her side, making no distinction between commoner and noble.

Slowly, the people grew accustomed to this new era, the era of a queen who did not rule by fear but by love, who did not drain the country of life but made it bloom and prosper, and the rumours ebbed away. There was no way for them to know the truth, after all.

They weren't there when the princess awoke, by herself but with two names at the tip of her tongue. They weren't there when she found the two men after her coronation, a question in her eyes. They weren't there when prince and huntsman took her hands, nor when she kissed them both.

The apple's poison had been sweet, but the queen's kiss was sweeter.