HEAD OVER HEELS
I always thought I knew what makes a hero. That’s what I study at Ever After High. It’s my destiny to be the next huntsman. Yes, the same huntsman who rescues Red Riding Hood and saves Snow White. It’s not just a name. It’s a lifestyle.
I have a legacy to fulfill. It’s all about being a hero.
Though honestly, I’d rather be a veterinarian. It’s just like we learn – a hero finds danger and rescues the girl. And if you’re a Prince, your destiny is also to fall in love.
But what if I fall in love, but it’s NOT my destiny? And what IF the
princess girl isn’t supposed to fall in love with me? Am I still a hero if I put us both in danger? Oh man, I was never prepared for this. See, this is how it all started…
Every year, we’re back at Ever After High one week before classes start for Orientation. This year was really important because of Legacy Day. I could already hear the trumpets playing my heroic victory song!
Of course Pesky, my faithful but royally annoying squirrel companion, thought it would be funny to hide my axe. This was the worst day to be late!
Just as I crossed the Enchanted Forest, I stumbled into Sparrow Hood and his band, The Merry Men. Sparrow is Robin Hood’s son, though he’d rather be a rebel rock star. Plus he always wants to show me up, “Where’s the dragonfire, Hunter?”
His goons blocked my path, “I don’t have time for games, Sparrow.”
“Make time,” he handed me his electric guitar-bow and pointed to a tree in the distance, “Tree’s the target. Game on.”
Quickly, I knocked an arrow, and hit the tree with ease, “You boys have a nice day now!”
Sparrow reddened with anger, “My turn.” Before I could say “No,” he fired. From out of nowhere, Pesky leapt on the tree… in front of the arrow…
Time slowed down. The arrow slammed into the tree, “Pesky! NO!” As I ran towards Pesky, Sparrow crept away.
But when Pesky chittered in loud annoyance, I knew he was okay. The arrow went through his squirrel belt and stuck to the tree, “Hang on. I’ll chop you down.”
I raised my axe. Pesky covered his eyes. I reared back to swing, when WHAM! something knocked into me. SPLAT! Right into a mud puddle. All I could see was stars.
When I finally came to, someone was standing over Pesky. The world spun as I jumped between them. Poor Pesky could have been hurt. With all my strength, I freed him from the tree. I plunged into my satchel, and bundled him with a healing bandage.
Then, someone gently tapped my shoulder, and wildflower perfume danced around me. A voice sang, "Sorry I pushed you."
When I turned, time stopped. Her strawberry blonde hair wisped around her gentle face, and her elegant emerald eyes sparkled in the sunlight. My heart pounded. Was she real? She was more than real. She was magic.
I wanted to introduce myself as Hunter, seeker of justice, protector of all creatures both big and small. But all that fumbled out was, “H-Hunter.” I clumsily threw my hand out, which she delicately shook. Her lips breathed her name into life, “Ashlynn.”
If I had to rename the sky and the sea, it would be… wait, “Ashlynn? Cinderella’s daughter?” There are certain manners you need when talking to princesses, but I didn’t know them. Words failed me, so I followed my dad’s advice – when you don’t know what to say, just walk away.
“Hey… where are you going?” My legs kept walking. “Wait… STOP!” I did. When a princess says stop, you stop, “Could you walk me back to the school?” My head bounced up and down. My stomach knotted up. Okay, I’ve seen Daring do this a million times. Head up. Chest out. Smile big. Not too big. Now offer her your arm.
“Sorry again,” she took my arm. I decided to never wash it again. “It’s okay. I’m used to mud,” Her laughter warmed the day. We talked about everything… school, the forest, animals, our favorite food…
Ashlynn mentioned she dropped her ring in the woods. This was my chance to be her hero! I could find her ring and we could hang out. But I never asked out a girl, much less a princess. My words came out jumbled. I can’t even remember what I said. Fortunately, Ashlynn knew exactly what I was trying to ask, “Hunter, I’d love to.”
“Really?” Oh man, I sounded too eager, “I mean, cool.” We looked at each other. Was there a special goodbye princesses expected? All I could say was, “Hext you later,” And walked away as fast as I could.
Still, I, Hunter Huntsman, had a date with Ashlynn Ella, the most spellbinding… Wait a spell, was she going to expect me to look fancy? Oh curse me!
This year I luckily roomed with Dexter Charming. He’s one of the Prince Charmings, which means he studied wooing. I threw the door open, “DEXTER!”
“Wha-hu-Hunter?” He nearly jumped out of his glasses. Must have scared the poor guy.
“Got a question for you,” I had to choose my words carefully, “Let’s say you really like a girl.”
Dexter’s eyes widened, “What? How did you know I liked R–”
“I mean, you’re a Charming, right? Can you give me a few dating pointers?”
Dex nervously grinned, “Well, my brother always dressed up. Do you have a nice jacket and tie?” I didn’t. Fortunately, Dexter let me borrow one of his. I was going to be the prince Ashlynn deserved!
When I woke up, there was a letter from Headmaster Grimm. For missing the first day of Orientation, I had to feed the magical beasts in the stables. Most people would think this a horrible punishment. Griffons bite, dragons burn and dire wolves can swallow a man whole. But they are so wicked cool!
As I finished, I heard a familiar voice at the other end of the stables – Sparrow Hood. I snuck closer, staying out of sight so they wouldn’t see me.
“Slipped it right off her finger,” Sparrow told his buddies. He was holding something sparkly, “And when she comes looking for it…”
Sparrow dramatically acted like he was searching for something, “Is this your ring, Ashlynn?”
Sparrow had Ashlynn’s ring? She didn’t drop it in the woods! He stole it right off her hand so he could steal her heart. No way was I going to let that happen! But I couldn’t do anything now… he had his Merry Men with him. I had to get her ring. But how?
Orientation day 2 came and went. Headmaster Grimm probably already wrote a second punishment. It didn’t matter. Ashlynn’s ring was the most important thing in the world. A hero never abandons his quest.
I tracked them from a careful distance. I had to be smart. Sparrow finally split from his Merry Men, and made his way to… the Charmitorium? Nobody was supposed to be in there. He snuck inside, and I slipped in behind him, silent as a shadow, keeping him in eyesight. He suddenly stopped and whistled his sparrow call. Somebody whistled back. A signal! I fumbled in my pocket for my MirrorPhone, held it up, and pushed record.
“It’s done,” That’s Duchess Swan! “You have her ring?”
“Just like you planned,” Sparrow admitted, “What do you have against Ashlynn Ella anyway?”
“Why nothing at all,” Duchess stifled a giggle, “She just had the bad luck of being paired with Daring Charming. He’s the key; the heir to the Charming throne. Ashlynn just got caught in the middle. I thought her family ring was important enough, but when I saw her with… oh nevermind.”
Sparrow raised an eyebrow, “Her with who?”
“That’s my little secret,” Duchess sing-songed, “But don’t worry. Return her ring, and claim your prize.”
I sprang into action, “I don’t think so!” Duchess and Sparrow squawked in surprise, “If they find out that you stole from Cinderella’s daughter, they’ll shelf you faster than you can say ‘Friar Tuck” I held out my hand, “I’ll have that ring back now.”
Even though Dexter’s dress jacket felt really tight and his tie kinda strangled me, I felt great. I dropped Ashlynn’s ring in my pocket, grabbed some flowers and headed to the Enchanted Forest.
Ashlynn looked even more spellbinding than the first time we met. She was truly a fairytale princess. I wanted to be her prince. I took a deep breath and took my first step towards her. Her smile lit up the world, as I took her hand and bent to kiss it when the back of the jacket ripped, “Oh no.”
She had tears in her eyes, but happily laughed too. Then her smile disappeared, and my world came crashing down, “We can’t see each other again. Duchess saw us. She knows. If word gets around, our stories could be closed forever.”
Then it hit me. Duchess admitted that she masterminded the whole plan! I showed Ashlynn the evidence on my MirrorPhone, "I don't think she's going to be telling anyone. Not unless she wants Daring seeing her for her true feathers."
Feeling brave, I took Ashlynn's hand. My heart started beating fast again, "Oh, and one more thing," I reached into my pocket, "I found your ring."
I slipped the ring back on her finger, where it belongs.
She wrapped her arms around me, "My hero."
My life... a fairytale come true.