The rain was coming down hard. She needed a place to rest for the night. She approached the castle and rang the bell. After a few minutes spent shivering, the door opened, revealing a beautiful woman, who was busy preening herself in the mirror next to the door.
"What do you want?" Thamiris asked, with her voice full of annoyance.
"Shelter for the night, milady."
"Why should I grant you any favors? You're a commoner, and an ugly one at that."
"Out of the kindness of your heart? I'll even work off my stay, if you so desire."
"I said no. Now leave before I release the dogs."
Before Thamiris could shut the door, the woman began to chant in an ancient language. Thamiris gasped in horror as she saw herself begin to change-coarse brown hair now covered her hair, tusks like a wart hog appeared, and two horns sprouted in her head. The sight of her was so shocking the mirror she was gazing in cracked.
"If you want to be rid of the curse, you must prove you are worthy. You must find a man to love you as you are, by midnight, five years hence." The woman cackled evilly and disappeared.
* * *
Four years, 51 weeks later
Thamiris was sitting in the library contemplating her future. She was all alone now, everybody shunned her. She couldn't turn to the villagers, even if she wanted to. They felt that she had gotten what she deserved. Every time a traveller stopped for the night, they turned around when they saw her face. The only one who stayed was her gorgeous maid, Carrie. She supposed it was for the money, but still it was someone to talk to. Her mind drifted...she was running out of time....she needed to find someone soon....she didn't really want to spend the rest of her life as this...this thing. She jerked back into reality at the sounds of galloping horses in the distance. Something stirred in her. She knew, this would be the one. She rang the bell rope.
Carrie appeared, and asked "Yes, milady?"
"We may get a visitor tonight. Prepare a chamber for him, and be ready to greet him."
"Yes, madam." Carrie turned and left the room, mentally shaking her head at the obvious delusions of her mistress.
Thamiris could see the look in Carrie's eyes that said "desperate" but did not care. If she were in the same place, then she would be that way as well. She decided to think of more pleasant thoughts, like what she was going to do once she had gotten back her old body.
* * *
Prince Ares was beginning to worry. He wasn't one to lost his way. By his calculations, he should have been at Angelstone's manor by now. But he was lost, and needed shelter for the night. He spied a castle down the road and headed toward it.
He noticed the place looked as if it had better days-in fact it was so dishevelled he wondered if it was even still occupied. He finally decided that abandoned was better than nothing. He arrived in the courtyard and dismounted, and then tied the horse to a nearby tree. He rang the bell. A minute passed and the door opened.
"Prince Ares, you honor us with your presence!"
"Then it is safe to assume you have a room that I may use for the night?"
"Yes, of course, Your Highness. My mistress told me that you may have anything you want while you are here. May I take you to her, sir?"
"Thank you. Follow me, please."
They arrived at the library. She knock to indicate her presence and after a second a "Come in" was heard.
"Thank you for bringing His Majesty here."
Carrie curtseyed and left.
Thamiris continued "Please forgive me not rising to meet you. I just..wanted to prepare you for what I look like."
Ares laughed, and said "Whatever do you mean? Your voice is the sweetest I have ever heard."
"Thank you for being so kind.That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time. Now you shall know why."
She stood up and he gasped. Nothing could have prepared him for this.
"Please, don't go! You are my last chance for salvation. The woman cast this spell on me said that if I find one who truly loves me, then it will be broken. And there are only a few days left."
Ares thought about it. He was supposed to be visiting a Lord's manor, but it would be easy enough to send a messenger to say that he would be a few days late. He was certain that the chances of himself falling in love with this...thing... were pretty slim, but he decided to humor the woman.
"Don't worry. I'll stay."
"You will?" She smiled with such gratitude that there was no doubt in his mind that her joy was sincere. "Thank you, Your Majesty."
"Please, call me Ares."
The next few days passed in a blur. They walked or rode in the countryside, sat and talked in the garden, doing whatever the could to get to know each other. Thamiris felt it in her heart. He would do it. He would set her free. The love she found in his eyes was all the confirmation she needed.
Finally, the last day before the curse took affect forever came. The pair had decided on meeting at 11:30 to prove their love, and end the curse once and for all. Thamiris had put on her best dress, so that she might look her best when she transformed. The clock struck 11:30.
There was no sign of him. She consoled herself by saying that he'll be down any minute now. The clock struck 11:45. The clock struck 11:50. She headed up to the room where he was staying and knocked on the door. <11:53..there is still time>. She heard no reply from him, but a distinctly feminine moan coming from the other side of the door. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. She searched frantically for the key. It wasn't there. There was only a minute or so left, so she threw herself upon the door, and the door gave in, bursting open.
Upon the bed was Prince Ares and her maid Carrie. Carrie was flush from what Thamiris knew to be from the orgasm she had just had heard minutes prior. Before she could say anything, the clock struck midnight.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Now I'm stuck like this forever. How could you??!!"
Ares shrugged, then answered nonchalantly. "I knew that I could never love you the way you needed me to. I was trying to be nice. Besides, I fell in love with Carrie, and staying meant that I could see her without any tricky secret rendezvous."
Carrie then added angrily, "You dare to ask me why I would steal your only hope for salvation. Simple. You never liked me. I know that all these years, you've been jealous of me, of my beauty, though you tried to hide it. You always hated me, admit it. Admit that the only reason why you tolerated me at all was because I was the only one who would talk to you, let alone stay with you. And how did you treat me? Only as your maid. Never once, could you bring yourself to talk with me in a way that two friends might. God knows I tried. One would think that one in your position would be nice to whoever treated you with respect, one who didn't flee in terror. I'm glad that you got what you deserved, as you obviously never learned the lesson that the old woman taught all these years ago."
The two statements were too much for Thamiris. "You whore! How dare you say that. I would never be jealous of you or any of your commoner friends. How dare you think that I should have sunk that low, to talk to you." She grabbed a vase and prepared to throw it, when Ares jumped her and screamed, "No one calls Carrie a whore and gets away with it."
He and Thamiris struggled for a few minutes. The pair ended up directly in front of the open window. In the end, despite the anger driven desire to kill, Thamiris was no match for Prince Ares. He knocked her off balance, and that was all it took for Thamiris to fall onto the rocks below.
The two people were silent for a moment. Then with a sly grin, he said "Nothing more need be said. Ding Dong, the bitch is dead."
After the initial shock, Carrie began to grin, then laugh. The obstacle in her way was now gone. She was finally free.
* * *
Two months later
Carrie had known that she could have never married the newly crowned Ares, so she settled for Royal Mistress instead. She had wealth, she had power (for it was known throughout the Kingdom that she held his ear and not the Queen), and most importantly, she had him. It was enough for her, and she lived happily ever after.