Once Upon a Time – Chap. 21.2

Sylvia's_visitor_coloredMeanwhile…

Sylvia tip-toed her way to the sun room where the pendant puzzle still resided on the same table as earlier. Not that sneaking about was needed even at this hour. The vampires in the Kingdom of Fools appeared to be very anti-nocturnal and were all asleep as far as she could tell. Expecting to at least encounter some type of guard she’d have to explain herself to, Sylvia astonishingly found herself at her destination without a bit of effort. She shook her head at the pendant, it’s individual pieces separated about an inch from each other.

“Nothing?” She whispered out loud to herself. “The queen didn’t place any sort of protection on this thing? What’s to keep someone from just putting it back together and running off with it?”

But as Sylvia set out to do just this, she quickly found Her Majesty had indeed done something to ward off potential thieves. No matter how much she tugged and pulled on any of the pendant’s fragments, they remained stuck to the table as if they were a part of the fixture themselves. Stranger still, words that looked like molten gold wavered over the table every time she tried to pry one of them off.

Feed me and I live, yet give me a drink and I die.

Sylvia stared at the cryptic, nonsensical sentence before realizing it was a riddle she would need to solve if she were to claim her prize. “Give me a drink and I die,” she muttered to herself while muddling through potential answers. After a short entirety of coming up with nothing, her eyes happened to wander to one of the lit sconces on the wall. Sylvia’s eyes widened. “Fire!”

She jumped up and down as the fragment she’d been tugging came loose; her victory dance ended abruptly upon finding the next piece felt firmly glued and another riddle floated in the air. Sylvia rolled her eyes. She had to do this for all six pieces? She sighed and gave herself in to the challenge.

What gets broken without being held?

“A promise,” she whispered after three failed tries, smiling when the riddle finally faded to another. The third riddle was harder but the fourth, ‘What has one eye but cannot see?’ came easy given her experience as a seamstress. “A needle!”

After several wrong answers, Sylvia finally figured out the fifth. Holding all but the last remaining fragment in her hands, she muttered the sixth riddle to herself over and over, not having a clue what to answer with. Desperately, she began delivering whisper-shouts of everything that remotely came to mind as a possibility. “Butter! The moon! Cheese! Morning! Morning dew! A milkmaid’s son!”

Sylvia’s attempts ceased upon realizing her words somehow made a bright light shine, not from the table or the pendant fragments, but from behind her. She turned and raised a hand over her eyes to shield them from the blinding portal she caused to appear. Sylvia was certain she saw the form of a person in its center. The light faded to nothing, resorting the room back to it’s candlelit state but the stranger remained. Sylvia’s jaw dropped as she did a double-take between the table and this unexpected visitor. Butter the moon, cheese morning, morning dew, a milk maid’s son? It didn’t even make sense much less seem like it could possibly be any sort of spell. But somehow the power of the pendant made her words become just that.

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