Photo of a princess by a tree.

Winner of the Princess Fiction Writing Prompt Contest!

Rachel Richey Writing Prompt Contest Winners

Happy Friday! It’s time to kick off the weekend with yet another fantastic story! The winner of this week’s writing contest is Darby McNaughton, who’s dark tale of a villainous princess gave us the chills. Check out last week’s prompt and the winning entry below.

Prompt:
We’ve all grown up with tales of the damsels in distress, knights in shining armor, and fantastic battles between good and evil. These fairy tales are timeless classics. But they’re also sometimes boring. Forget happily ever after! We want you to write a twisted tale of a Princess who’s not at all what she seems. Can you transform a damsel in distress into a true villain?


The Princess
Darby McNaughton

It was a lovely Thursday evening in the woods for Prince Elias. Prince Elias liked riding his horse, Admiral, through the woods to relieve the stress of his princely duties. Every week, he would take the same trail, one that was easy and safe. But this day, he had noticed a peculiar thing: a new side path opened up on the trail. ‘Did somebody build something here?’ He wondered to himself. Curiously, he nudged Admiral on, ‘Surely this couldn’t take too long.’ The path was narrow, barely wide enough for poor old Admiral to fit through. The trees hung over solemnly, the evening sun shone beautifully, filtering through the autumn-changing leaves. The path seemed almost exactly like his usual one, so he was very pleasantly surprised.
Admiral became anxious the further down the path they went, hesitating and neighing to himself. A scream for help echoed through the trees, and Admiral bucked and darted, racing further into the woods. Elias fell onto his back and laid on the ground groaning in pain. Upon hearing footsteps running through the fallen leaves and brush, he instinctively reached for the hilt of his sword while positioning himself into a low crouch. Out popped a woman, gold as the sun itself, looking around frantically. Finally her eyes landed on him, and a big grateful smile replaced the fear on her face.
“You! You’ll help me, right? Please?” The woman was running from something, but it didn’t seem to matter to Elias. The woman was golden blonde, with big, wide eyes that drug you in. She seemed to glow with a beautiful golden light, making her look heavenly and almost angelic. He felt the need to be strong for her, to protect her from whatever ails her.
“Slow down, miss, you’re perfectly safe now,” Elias spoke in the manliest voice he could muster, puffing his chest out in attempt to seem bigger. She seemed to relax a bit when he spoke but still looked antsy. The woman took a deep breath and sighed, trying to calm herself.
“My name is Aura. I’m a princess from another kingdom, far, far away from here. I was kidnapped by an evil hag. She’s been holding me captive for such a long time; I can’t even remember how long it’s been. Please you must help me! She’s going to find me!” The more she explained, the more anxious she sounded.
“Aura,” Elias took her shaking hands into his, “I will personally assist you. My name is Prince Elias, and it would be my honor to help you.” Elias watched as her bright golden eyes lit up behind the tears, and she latched onto him in an excited hug.
“Oh, thank you my Prince, please! Follow me! I will take you to her, but you must promise to be careful,” Aura took his hand and led him away from the path, off into the direction she had came. They trudged through the leaves slowly as Aura led him farther into the woods than he’s ever been. Everything felt fine, exciting even, for Elias. Father would be so proud of him for defeating a witch, especially if it came with a lovely princess’s heart. So Elias followed bravely, ready to take on any terror that he might find.
“Hurry along my Prince, we must not delay!” Aura spoke urgently, moving quicker through the woods. Elias struggled to keep up with her, losing grip of her hand as she ran. Elias kept running after her and her echoing voice as she called him further in. “This way,” her voice called from several directions; Elias would see glimmers of her and her blonde hair and would chase them down. He couldn’t afford to lose her in here, he thought to himself.
Elias urged himself faster as he tried to relocate the beautiful princess, following her voice. He tried to push out the feeling of the world spinning, determined to catch up. His body felt so heavy now, like someone was pulling his chest down, but his determination spurred him to keep running. He felt so fast that he didn’t think he’d be able to stop anymore.
“Princess! Where have you gone?!” He called out frantically, following a golden light that shone through the trees. His shoulders collided into some of the trees as he kept running, tripping over sticks and bushes, until he ran onto stone. Unable to stop himself, Elias broke through the trees and slipped off the rock face, falling hundreds of feet off the cliff and onto the rough rocks below.
As Elias hit the bottom, he felt his body break. Blood ran along the side of his face, he tried to blink it away as he looked around beside him. Just a few feet away was another body, days or maybe even weeks old, decaying away. It had the same golden blonde hair. The prince heard that same eerie voice calling atop the cliff: “This way, this way,” it called to him. As the prince turned to look up at it, he saw the same golden wisp looking down from the top of the cliff, vanishing into the golden light of autumn. He closed his eyes one last time with the thought of her beautiful, angelic glow.

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