The Myth of Madame Mariposa No. 2: Part 9- Solving the Riddle

The Myth of Madame Mariposa No. 2: Part 9- Solving the Riddle

Exercise Your Imagination!  Do you like stories with mystery and suspense? Well, if you do, keep reading and enjoy Eggcentricsagas.  If you are just joining Eggcentricsagas, start from the beginning: A La Mano: Part 1-The Treasure

Ravenna and the girls were sitting in the living room. They had been working on the girl’s Halloween costumes. Zerlinda was going to be a fairy, and Myrtle had decided to be a witch. Myrtle had informed Ravenna that her grandpa was helping Mason with his costume at home.

“What’s he going to be?” Zerlinda asked her friend.

Myrtle shook her head carefully so her pointed hat wouldn’t fall off. Resolute to wear her witch’s headwear during story-time, she answered, “Don’t know. They said it was a surprise.”

“You will have to tell Mason what happens to the prince,” Ravenna told her.

“I will,” Myrtle promised.

“I think Magic likes your hat,” Ravenna remarked. Holding her breath, Myrtle sat still in her chair. Magic had followed her and was rubbing against her legs. Ravenna could see that the girl was desperately controlling her urge to reach down and pet him.

Zerlinda spoke up and gave her friend the help she needed to resist touching Magic. “Remember, Myrtle, let him do the loving.” 

Myrtle looked away, pretending to ignore the big black cat. “So, what’s happening with Cora and the king, Mrs. Mariposa?”

“Well, let’s see. Where was I? Oh, yes, the Sun Princess was in the Crystal Cave.”   

“Cora approached the king upon his crystal throne on the crystal dais. His gaze upon her, the king’s eyes bore through her. Cora curtseyed before him and waited for him to speak.

‘So, what is your mission?’

‘To give you the gift of Neptune.’

‘The gift of Neptune?’

Cora relayed to the king everything that Mermaid had told her, including the riddle that he must solve. The king stroked his chin and then answered, ‘Sounds like a pearl to me.’ 

Cora reached into her backpack and pulled out the shell. Climbing the steps of the dais, she gave it to him. ‘Now you must give it to your queen.’

He didn’t even bother to open the shell and look at the treasure. Instead, he set it in his lap and stared at her.

Unnerved by his look, the princess swallowed and stated, ‘And you must help me achieve my Supreme Task.’

The king gripped the arms of his throne and sat up as if this statement was a sharp prod to his backside. ‘Help the daughter of the Sun King?’ Then he slumped back on his crystal throne as he laughed. ‘And what, pray tell, would motivate me to do so?’

‘Your queen.’

‘My queen?’

‘The Crone of the Tree has turned your queen into a statue. The Moon Queen is in a State of Forgetfulness and will only be released when the Moon Prince and I achieve our Supreme Tasks.’

The mention of Thaddeus seemed to pique the king’s interest. ‘Where is my boy? Why didn’t he come to me?’

‘I don’t know. I only know that you must return with me. Back to the Portico of Judgment to give your wife the gift of Neptune and help save our world.’

The Moon King thought about it while scratching his head and then tugging on his Royal Tunic. He fidgeted in his chair, crossing and uncrossing his legs. Then the king picked up the end of his long, white beard and scrutinized the end. Subsequently, he braided his whiskers as if this process would help him reach a decision. 

The Sun Princess watched him and shifted back and forth, waiting for his reply. True to her nature, she became impatient and placed her hands on her hips. Cora was about to ask him what the problem was when the Moon King muttered to himself, ‘I love her. She only wants me to fulfill my purpose.’ Looking at the top step of the dais, he told Cora to sit. 

After she sat, the king explained his hesitation. ‘The world has forgotten that the Moon Kingdom is critical. It has disregarded where dreams, imagination, intuition, and magic begin. The Sun Kingdom has neglected the most important thing of all. Love. The Moon does not want to fight with the Sun, but to coexist. 

Your father, Young Lady, has been blinded by the Sun. He does not realize that, without the Moon and all that it brings, his kingdom would be dull, brittle, and dead. I suppose, as the leader, it is my responsibility to make him see the moonlight.’ 

The monarch looked down at the shell in his lap, picked it up, and opened it. The vision of Neptune’s Great Pearl was enough to convince him. The king closed the shell, put it in his pocket, and stood up. ‘Yes, you are right. You have been sent here to help me help you. We must go.’

Ravenna paused. “Would you girls like some cookies and milk for an afternoon snack?”

Myrtle’s face became even brighter at the prospect, but she pointed to Magic. He had jumped up on her chair seat. Lying next to her, he was busy licking his front paws. Ravenna knew Myrtle didn’t want to move and disturb him.

She told the girls, “You can eat in here.” Looking at Zerlinda, she added, “Just this once, as your mom doesn’t like us eating in the living room.”

“No, Baba, she doesn’t. I won’t tell her if you don’t.”

“We’ll make sure that our cookie crumbs stay in our napkins, right?”

Both girls nodded. So Zerlinda and her grandmother fetched the cookies, milk, and a cup of tea for Ravenna. Magic had finished grooming and had begun to nap, so Myrtle carefully took a sip of milk and nibbled at her cookie. Ravenna dipped her cookie into her tea, savored it, and then resumed her story.

“Pegasus flew into a field on the top of Coal Mountain. Thaddeus and Goban dismounted, and Pegasus flew away. Ahead of them was an extensive set of stairs. These led up to the entrance of the castle, situated precariously on a jagged hill of stone.

‘More stairs?’ the prince moaned. 

‘I’m afraid so, m’lord. Do you need my help?’

‘No. But thanks.’ The prince smiled at his new friend. ‘I just hope I can convince the queen to come with us.’ Thaddeus started up the staircase. The Sacred Well water had not only cured his wound, but had given him extra energy and a little more cheer.

When they arrive at the castle’s gate, the prince informed the guard of his name and mission. While they waited, Thaddeus asked Goban, ‘Do you think our plan will work?’

‘Only time will tell.’

The guard returned, admitted them, and then led them through a maze of corridors. Finally, they arrived at the Queen’s chamber. Thaddeus and Goban entered the room where everything was gold-colored. The queen sat on a golden throne, dressed in an amber gown, her long, flaxen hair pulled into a bun. A gold crown sat upon her head, sparkling with diamonds.

The prince and gnome bowed and waited for her to speak.

She scrutinized them before speaking. ‘I know who you are. My loyal subjects keep me informed as to the ways of the world.’

‘Then you know that the Sun King is in a State of Forgetfulness.’

The Sun Queen harrumphed. ‘When is he ever not?’ Giving them a haughty look, she then turned to gaze out the window.

The prince persisted. ‘He needs your help. I need your help. Would you please help us?’

‘What’s in it for me?’

‘For you, your Highness, a gift to cherish.’

‘What could you give me I don’t already have? Besides, my king could give me the Griffin’s Ruby, the Peacock’s Sapphire, Mercury’s Silvery Dewdrop… Why, he could give me the Philosopher’s Emerald, and I still wouldn’t help him. He doesn’t want my help. He told me so.’ The queen shot a steely look at Thaddeus. 

‘What if I told you I could give you the Dagaz Diamond?’

‘From the innards of Mount Alchemy? Ha!’ Her shrill laugh echoed in the chamber. ‘Besides, don’t you know that it’s just a myth? No one except the Great Ones has seen it, much less touch it. Or so I have been told. This audience is through.’ Looking beyond them, she commanded, ‘Guard, please show the Prince and his friend out.’

‘Wait!’ Thaddeus opposed. Removing the diamond from his pack, he held it out to the queen. The gem caught the rays of light, and it radiated like the sun in the prince’s hand.

Her eyes widening, staring at the enormous jewel, the Sun Queen gasped and stammered, ‘The, the Dagaz Diamond…’

‘It is all yours, but you must accompany us to the Portico of Judgment first,’ Thaddeus told her and then replaced it in his sack. ‘But we must hurry, time is running out.’

Standing up, the queen addressed her footman. ‘Summon the Royal Flying Chariot. We must leave here at once!’”

Ravenna stopped and informed the girls, “We’ll finish the story tomorrow, before you go Trick or Treating.”

Next: The Myth of Madame Mariposa No. 2: Part 10- The Journey’s End

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About J Fremont

Author/veterinarian J. Fremont has created Magician of Light, a novel about famed glassmaker Rene Laliqué. Exercise your imagination. Enjoy!