short story, story promptRuby is trying to find the most powerful magician in the kingdom, who happens to also be the Crown Prince’s bodyguard. She’s running out of time, but will he be willing to help her?


Ruby glided around the ballroom, trying to make it look like she belonged there. Her dusky pink ball gown certainly helped her blend in, but it was no match for the glittering concoctions most of the other women were wearing. Her dark brown hair was swept up elegantly and studded with delicate, red rose-shaped pins. The simple necklace she wore matched the pins with a red rose pendant. It was outstandingly plain against the blinding jewels of the other guests.

“Champagne, ma’am?” a server asked.

“Thank you.” She took a flute from the tray. With a stomach full of nerves, there was no way she would be able to drink the bubbly liquid, but she was hoping it would help her blend in even more.

She scanned the room. Where was the Magician? All the information she’d gathered about him said he attended these events without fail. As the Crown Prince’s bodyguard against magical attacks, he was rarely away from the prince’s side. An event like this was a prime target for someone to get close enough to perform a magical attack on the heir to the throne.

She spotted the prince in the middle of the room. He was dancing with a raven-haired beauty. Several other couples danced around them, but none of the men seemed to match the description of the Magician. Where is he?

Biting her lip, she paused at the edge of the room. Perhaps she should try to get closer to the prince? She shuddered at the thought of being that close to the spotlight of attention, but it may very well be the only option she had. Surely the Magician would be checking up on everyone who came within a few metres of the prince.

“Care to dance, my lady?”

Ruby turned to see who had spoken. It was on the tip of her tongue to refuse the request, but it died in her mouth.

A tall young man stood beside her, a polite smile fixed in place. His eyes were a deep blue and looked down at her very seriously. She felt like he was scrutinising her, looking her over completely and deciding whether or not she was worthy. She had to push back the panic that rose. There was no way he could tell she wasn’t invited to this ball.

“How kind of you, sir. I would love to dance,” she told him sweetly. She put the champagne glass down. This could be her best shot at getting close to the prince as unobtrusively as possible. No matter what, she was not leaving tonight until she’d spoken to the Magician.

She placed her hand in his and let him lead her closer to the centre of the room. Other couples were taking their places for the next dance. The musicians began playing a waltz and Ruby breathed a sigh of relief. The waltz was definitely the style she was best at.

Ruby kept her eyes on his chest as they danced. Every now and then, she would try to look him in the eye, but his intense stare always put her off balance. Why does he keep looking at me like that?

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

The sudden question caused her to miss a step. “W-what do you mean?”

“You aren’t one of the usual guests. Why are you here?”

Meeting his gaze, she almost blurted the truth out to him, but stopped herself just in time. She fixed her eyes on his chest. For some reason, his eyes seemed to compel her to answer truthfully.

He let out an impatient sigh and lowered his voice. “I can practically smell the curse on you. Is it a curse designed for the prince?”

She gasped. “You can sense it?”

His lip curled. “Of course I can. I wouldn’t be a very good bodyguard if I couldn’t detect a curse as strong as yours.”

You’re the Magician?”

He stopped dancing. “Yes, I am. Now what are your intentions towards the Crown Prince?” People started staring at them.

“The curse isn’t for the prince,” she choked out. “I’m the one who’s cursed. I’ve come to ask for your help!”

It has some potential!

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