The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:The Frog Prince~ This heroic frog became royalty after being kissed by a princess with low self-esteem.
ANDThe Spider Queen ~ This giant spider became intelligent after she was bitten by a radioactive duchess.
The special object in this story is:The Philosopher's Stone ~ Centuries of alchemical research led to this shiny rock that can transform stuff into other stuff.
Our story takes place in:The Frozen Keep ~ This frozen fortress protects a place that nobody wants to go anyway.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Dad, can you tell me a story?"
"Sure I can, son. What would you like me to tell you a story about?"
"Hmm. I don't know, a cool story."
"Ah, I see. Well, I think i can tell you a pretty cool fairy tale. Have I ever told you the one about The Frog Prince?"
"No. What happens in that story?"
"A wicked witch turns a handsome prince into a frog, and only true love's kiss will break the spell."
"Ew, he has to kiss a princess? That's no fun."
"Oh. Well, how would you make the story more fun? How is he supposed to turn back into a human prince again?"
"You should make him go on a big adventure, and fight a bad guy!"
"Hmm, I suppose I can do that... Okay son, I know how to tell make this story cooler."
The Frog formerly known as The Prince trudged through the harsh blizzard winds, snow pelting him and swirling around him non-stop. Just another step, he kept telling himself. Just one more, you can do it. Just keep putting one webbed foot in front of the other.
"But Dad, what's the Frog Prince doing in the snow? I learned in school that frogs are supposed to hibernate when they get cold."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't aware of that. I was just trying to make the story cooler, like I promised you."
"Haha, I get it, Dad."
Oh, but he was so very cold, even all bundled up in furs as he was. He was also very exhausted. All his animal instincts were telling him to just bury himself in the snow and sleep until spring. But he couldn't do that. The still human part of his brain told him that he had to keep going.
The Frog formerly known as the Prince...
"You shouldn't have to keep calling him that. The name is too long!"
"Fine. What would you call him, son?"
"Hehe, sounds good enough to me. As I was saying..."
Froggy had tried everything to become The Prince again after that old witch had turned him into an amphibian. He'd taken medicines from doctors, potions from the best wizards, and even tried getting all the princesses in the land to kiss him, but nothing seemed to work.
He started traveling the world, hunting for the cure to his frogginess. One day in a bar, he overheard rumors saying that up in the Icy Mountains there was a frozen fortress that guarded the Philosopher's Stone, which had the power to transform anything into anything else you wanted. It could turn lead into gold. It could return the aged to their youth.
Froggy believed that it could turn him back into a human.
People warned him that it was a dangerous and foolish mission. Every brave soul who tried going to the Frost Keep never returned. But that little frog didn't care. He would heroically retrieve the Philosopher's Stone, return to his princely human form, and take up his rightful place on his father's throne. Plus after he got the Stone, he'd easily have all the riches he desired.
"But Dad, I thought the Philosopher's stone was hidden in the Mirror of Erised."
"Do you want to hear this story, or are you going to keep interrupting me?"
"Sorry... But one more thing. Froggy shouldn't be a greedy prince. Then people won't like him. He should use the Stone to help other people."
"That's smart thinking, son. May I continue?"
It was much easier said than done to reach that fortress in the mountains though, as the Frog quickly found out. It took all the energy in his little green body just to keep moving and not stop until he reached his destination.
Finally he found an icy path as smooth as glass, which he knew would lead him to the Keep. Feeling some of his strength returning with this encouragement, he tried going on the path, but it was very difficult as it was slippery and smooth as glass. He made the most of it, but as the frog went farther along the path began to incline, and he couldn't walk or hop very far without sliding back down.
Well, it's a good thing he had his trusty sword and shield with him. He used his weapons like pickaxes, sticking them in the ice one at a time and pulling them out again to advance, so he didn't slip anymore.
"Where'd he get the sword and shield, Dad?"
"Behind his back, of course. The same place Bugs Bunny gets all his carrots."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense."
It was incredibly exhausting work. Froggy was constantly pulling the sword out of the ice and sticking it in farther ahead, tugging the sharp point of the shield out and shoving it back in again (the shield was always tougher to use than the sword.) Still, he climbed and climbed that mountain with his makeshift pickaxes, and the icy road got steeper and steeper, until finally the cold, weakening little green frog turned his little crowned head up, and there it was.
The Frost Keep.
He saw the great white fortress sitting at the top of a craggy mountain, built like a giant igloo and all surrounded by sharp and threatening icicle spears. That little frog wasn't afraid of anything though, and he didn't stop, even though he was so tired from all his climbing.
He was so excited that he didn't look up to notice that the icy path had a large gap in it up ahead. Instead of going all the way up to the Frost Keep, the path simply lead to the edge of a cliff.
With a strong tug, Froggy pulled out his sword and meant to stab it once again into the ice and pull himself forward, but all he stabbed at was the air in front of him. He slipped off the cliff and accidentally left his yellow shield behind, tumbling helplessly down.
"No! You can't let Froggy die! He's the hero! You're not supposed to kill of the main character in a fairy tale!"
"It's alright, son, relax. Froggy isn't going to croak in this story."
"But I thought 'croak' is what frogs say."
"No, no, I meant 'croak' as another word for die."
"Ohhh... So Froggy's really alright?"
"That's right, son."
"Alright. So what happened next?"
Well, Froggy fell down, down, down, screaming and croaking in his panic. But he didn't end up dying, because all of a sudden, something stopped his deadly plummet right before he hit the sharp rocks at the very bottom.
He landed right on his back in a giant, white lacy net, which was spread out below him like a large trampoline. He landed right on the net and it wobbled up and down for a while before finally settling.
Froggy croaked a big sigh of relief, thankful that he was still alive. Until he tried getting off of his back and realized that his sucker-fingered hands and his webbed feet were stuck in place. No matter how much he moved and tried to pull himself out, his arms and legs wouldn't budge. That's when it hit Froggy. He wasn't caught in a net. He was caught in the web of a giant spider.
He heard a gleeful clicking noise behind him, and he was able to turn his head enough to see something that made his big, round Froggy eyes widen with fear.
He hadn't landed in the web of just any giant spider. Oh no, this was the web of the Spider Queen herself.
She was the biggest, blackest, scariest spider you could possibly imagine, but she was also very elegant and regal. She had golden jewel-encrusted bracelets on each of her eight legs and wore a crown on her head just like the Frog formerly known as The Prince did.
She had just been taking a long royal nap, because all queens need and deserve lots of beauty rest, when Froggy came and shook the whole place up, waking her up from her slumber. When she saw that she had a guest in her web, the Spider Queen became delighted
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" she asked Froggy
"Does the Spider Queen have a real name?"
"The Frog Prince's name is Froggy. What's her name?"
"I don't know. What do you think I should call her?"
"How about... Ariana."
"Ah, that's a lovely name, fit for a Spider Queen. It sounds so close to Aranea, which is latin for spider, you know."
"Yeah, and it's like the name of the girl who was mean to me today in class."
"Oh really? What did this Ariana do that was so mean?"
"I'll tell you later. Finish the story!"
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" Ariana asked Froggy.
Froggy tried to play it cool, and he replied, "Oh, hello there! I sure hope I didn't bother you. Just thought I'd drop in. Clearly I've made a mistake. I'll be right on my way if you don't mind."
"Oh no, please, do stay for a while, won't you? It's been ages since I've had any visitors." Ariana walked all around the frog, watching him struggle helplessly in an attempt to escape her web. "Hardly anyone ever sticks around very long."
He noticed all the bones and skulls of men who had tried and failed to get to the Philosopher's Stone and got caught in the same trap he was in. Froggy gulped. "I can only imagine why."
The queen finally stood over him and clapped her satin gloved front pincers happily. "Oh yes, I think I would very much enjoy having you for dinner."
"Oh, come now, your Spider Highness, we've only just met. Well, then again, I suppose we do have a lot in common. You like to eat bugs, I like to eat bugs. You're royalty, I'm royalty."
"Don't be a fool, little Froggy. When I say I want you for dinner, I mean I want to eat you! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha!"
"No! Queen Ariana can't eat Prince Froggy!"
"Well son, how do you suggest he get out of this little mess?"
"He still has his sword, remember?"
Right you are. Just when he had the queen distracted, Froggy remembered his sword and twisted his hand in such a way that he was quickly able to cut his way through the web and get himself all untangled and unstuck.
The prince struck a heroic pose and pointed his sword at the giant black spider. "Sorry Ariana, I'd love to stay and chat, but like I said before, I must be on my way. Maybe we'll have dinner together some other time." With that, he used his powerful green legs to bounce from sharp rock to sharp rock, back upwards towards the Frost Keep at the top of the mountain to complete his quest.
"Noooo!" Ariana cried. The Spider Queen was furious. No one had ever escaped from her before, and she wasn't about to let a little frog get away with it now. She chased him up the side of the mountain as fast as her huge spider legs could carry her.
She caught up to Froggy just as he had entered the Frozen Fortress and found the shiny, scarlet Philosopher's Stone sitting on a pedestal in the middle of the room. He picked it up and Ariana ran at him, gnashing her pincers wildly in a rage.
Just in time, Froggy threw the Stone right at the Ariana and...
The next thing you know, the mighty and proud Spider Queen was nothing more than a little buzzing house fly wearing a teeny tiny crown on her head. The transformed Ariana tried to fly away, but something long, sticky and pink shot out and grabbed her.
Instead of eating our hero Froggy as she expected, Froggy ate her.
"Yay! Froggy beat the bad guy!"
"That's right, son. Then The Frog formerly known as The Prince used the Philosopher's Stone to become just The Prince again, and he lived happily ever after. The end."
"But wait. How did he get down from the mountain? And how did he get home?"
"Oh, I don't know. How about you say how Froggy's story ends?"
"Hmm... Well, he turns the big icy path that led to the fortress into a giant slide with edges on the side, like the one I like at the playground. Then Froggy just slides all the way down, and when he gets to the bottom, he turns a horse and carriage into a pilot and an airplane, and he flies first class all the way back to his kingdom. Now it's the end."
"Very nice. Good job, son."
"Thanks Dad. That was a really cool story."