Words: Chapter 20 came to 3,156 words.
Basic details: Delia has managed to take a dead person out of the afterlife, store her soul in her own body for a while, and pave the way for her actual body to get born. Then she has to figure out how to get the princess's future mother to stop drinking wine because otherwise she'll damage and kill the children she carries, and Delia doesn't want that to happen to the princess she worked so hard to find. The plan is pretty elaborate and involves her sneaking into the palace and creating a very weird illusion to trick the queen, but sadly it makes some of her old enemies suspicious.
The good: I get to show off some of my exceedingly weird mythology by highlighting how Delia carries the unborn princess's soul for her before she's born, and hey, how can you go wrong with what is essentially a spy mission? She actually sneaks into the queen's bathroom and messes with her while she's taking a bath because that's the only time she's alone. Delia really has no qualms about invasion of privacy, haha. But hey, it's for a good cause. Also, the weird frog story she comes up with is ACTUALLY IN SOME VERSIONS OF SLEEPING BEAUTY. People tend not to know that. Yes, a prophesying frog. I didn't come up with it. Also, upon rereading it, I noticed that I had unconsciously written Delia as saying "we" instead of "I" sometimes when she had the princess with her. Neat.
The bad: I leaned on the stuff I wrote on the first version of Bad Fairy (when it was all one volume), so I'm sure some of the phrasing isn't what I would have chosen now, and the perspective was slightly more distant in that version, so I wonder if it feels too much like a story being told and not enough like Delia living it. I might have gotten most of that feeling out but it's too early to tell. Also, the parallels to Delia carrying the princess's soul to pregnancy references are probably going to weird people out. I don't really care, though--I did a lot more squicky stuff earlier in this book, so if they're still with me, they probably won't run from this. But a sort of half-conscious soul sitting around singing and talking to you so only you can hear it is pretty dang weird.
|Appropriately creepy doodle of Delia|
drawn for me by Tumblr artist soapybacon
Some of the stuff about Delia bonding with the princess is pretty cool but I'm just not comfortable sharing it. Here's a blurb about Delia plotting to sneak into the castle:
The plot I came up with was fairly simple, all things considered, and the most complex part of it involved the actual travel to the castle. I made an appointment with a long-distance carriage company and spent the time until the journey working on the illusion I would need and researching the security at the palace. I found its magickal protection pathetic. Guards and other safety measures were more than sufficient for keeping out mundane threats, and there were security spells on the gates, but they had virtually no safeguards against aerial entry. I would be able to simply fly over the outer wall and sneak about, cloaked by a combination invisibility illusion and transparency spell. It was so easy that it disgusted me. The princess agreed with a puff of disdain. These were the people who would raise her?
Soon it was time for me to pack my bags and journey to the castle. But this time, I would not be talking to the king. His wife was my only target. And I knew exactly how to get her alone.
Delia messing with Queen Trinity's head while giving a little nod to what her favorite teacher taught her, haha:
There’s your mommy, I told the princess.My goofy attempts at foreshadowing. For the record, Delia is being VERY sarcastic when she refers to the fairies as her friends:
She didn’t respond, but I felt her paying attention.
I took out my prepared illusion and set it free from my bubble of invisibility.
The fat green frog hopped from behind a potted plant and made its way across the veined marble tiles. My illusions teacher back in circle, Master Medwin, had been a big fan of summoning fake animals like these, showing us how many aspects of illusion were necessary to make our thoughts feel like reality. This was my homage to him. The wet slaps of the frog’s false feet echoed expertly. I wasn’t an illusions master for nothing.
The queen heard the odd sounds and opened her eyes, reacting with little surprise as she spotted the culprit. Even a royal bath chamber was not impervious to the occasional invasion from outdoor creatures, and I got the feeling it wasn’t the first time she’d seen a frog in her bath. I felt no alarm or annoyance from her—just slight amusement, as if she liked visitors as long as they weren’t people—and her eyes tracked it as it hopped closer.
Suspicions rose. The fairies of the castle instantly recognized that a talking frog could be created with magick, though none of them had any reason to do it, nor did they know anyone who had a reason. They did not interfere with the queen carrying out the frog’s commands—it had not ordered her to do anything sinister, after all—but my fairy friends from circle got wind of it, and Beatrice herself was mightily vexed. Especially since the queen’s squawking included promises of a mysterious dream omen. Beatrice knew exactly who could send dreams of that sort.
I ignored her investigation for the most part, but I shouldn’t have. Beatrice was about to make my life much more difficult.
And I'll share with you a bit of the creepiness I'm talking about with regards to Delia's relationship with the princess before she's born (and when she refers to Cerridwen, that's the goddess of death and rebirth, and also Delia's patron goddess):
The sad day came when the queen conceived. It was joyous in a way that the princess’s body had been called into reality, ready to house her spirit, but it very nearly ruined me to part ways with her. The window of opportunity was small for placing a new soul, and if I didn’t seize it, a different soul would slide in by way of Cerridwen’s hands through the natural order of things. I instead used those hands to lift my princess out of my heart and place her in the womb of another. And then I spent days choking on the emptiness she’d left behind, frequently reaching with the hands of my essence to touch her absentmindedly and finding myself clawing at the nothingness instead. But I could still feel her far away. The distance was devastating, but irrelevant to the part of me that would always be one with her.Eesh.