In which our intrepid hero discovers that frog smooches are not all they’re cracked up to be…
Obviously, if you have reached this point in my tale, you know what choice I had to make. If it had been merely Edward Hopper and his cashmere scarf whose fate had been in my hands, I am not so certain, but I could not allow Princess Emmaretta and her lovely dreadlocks to perish, let alone allow the frog scout to save her. And so, I swept one arm around her dainty waist whilst valiantly scooping all three frogs with my other hand.
I will admit, it was possible I shed a few tears over the loss of my trusty Craftsman™ broadsword, but the possibility I had blubbered and geysered was impossible. When one spends half of each day executing perfect combinations of lunge, parry, riposte, not to mention ample hours practicing all 36 styles presented in Arnold’s Guide to the Manly Art of Fisticuffs, one is bound to create pools of water when standing on an island deep in the Fens of Crthlus simply due to the weight of one’s ample muscles!
My leap to safety should have been the stuff of legend. Even as the last of the matted sedge grass disappeared beneath ripples, I launched into a full somersault with a half twist, landing on solid ground with only the slightest of wobbles. Easy, you say? Try that with a grown woman over one shoulder and three frogs in your hand! Alas, there was no bard present to record my heroics for posterity.
Of Princess Hag and Grimnek, there was no sign. I grimaced. For a trice, I pondered the value of revenge and self-satisfaction before my true chivalrous nature regained control of my knightly sentiments. In moments like these, one should never indulge the base emotions of the common thug!
“Oh, Sir Roger, you were magnificent!” cooed Emmaretta as I carefully set her back on the path.
“He was okay,” muttered Edward Hopper with a suave flick of his cashmere scarf. I did not set him down quite as carefully.
I smirked. Was that disdain in the voice of my rival for the princess’s affections? Not that any mere wood frog could compete with one such as myself, but it was quite pleasant to hear less surety in the scout’s voice.
“Ribbit!” croaked Prince Charming quite regally (for a frog). Now that I could get a good look at him, I could see Princess Hag’s interest. He was as handsome (for a frog) as Edward Hopper was urbane, a muscle-bound hunk of a bullfrog with virile green skin and bold, dignified stipes that bespoke dignity. He was a frog I could pledge fealty to!
“Purreeek!” purred the third frog sweetly, who I had almost forgotten. Petite and dainty, her yellow skin was as bright as a sunflower, with mottles of shiny black. Truly, no amphibian had ever been lovelier.
“Ribbity ribbit purreeek,” barked Edward Hopper.
“What did you all say?” I asked.
Edward Hopper turned to me.
“The prince and princess are most grateful for their rescue.”
“Ccccrroooooaaaak!” boomed Prince Charming in a baritone croak so low and long, the nearby lily pads shook. I wondered if, in his human form, he had a baritone singing voice. What a bard he would make!
“Purrreeeekkk!” echoed the princess frog angelically. However, I once more had to rely on Edward Hopper’s translation skills to interpret their ribbiting.
“The prince and princess would be eternally indebted if you possess the magic necessary to break their curse.”
“What?” Emmaretta asked. “They can’t do it themselves?”
Now we were left with a question I’m certain philosophers would ponder at least as much as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin: could two frogs—both formerly human but now magically cursed—kiss each other and break the spell?
“Ribbety smooch?” croaked Edward Hopper.
The prince sighed while the princess rolled her eyes. Even on their amphibious faces, their annoyance shone quite clearly.
“What?” I asked, equally annoyed. Should you ever be knighted, never ever use that tone before royalty, even if you did just rescue their royal arses. If they weren’t frogs and we were in court, I would have likely lost my head. As in chopping block, not metaphor.
“Rib rib ribbety!” croaked the princess firmly, her petite froggy hands planted firmly on her not-so-petite froggy hips. She stomped to the prince (a waddle really, but I wouldn’t say that to her face), grabbed his shoulders, and squashed her lips against Charming’s. (Frogs do have lips, by the way, but the utter lack of plumpness goes a long way in explaining why so few princes and princesses thus cursed by wicked hags are ever rescued and returned to their former state.)
If a bard had been telling this tale, his harp would be strumming a majestic climax at this moment. My mouth opened, ready to ooh and ahh at the site of magical fireworks lighting the darkness while the two frogs would twirl about in the air, the power of their love ending the curse.
Unfortunately, in the real world, magic doesn’t work like a bard’s tale. There were no fireworks or magical twirling, no oohs or ahhs from the audience. The sky remained dark as the princess stepped back and faced me, her arms spread.
“Ribbit?” she croaked.
“Ribbit,” I answered, my shoulders slumping. Some expressions need no interpretation. I’m not sure if my nuances in my attempt at Frogish were correct, but the princess nodded anyways and puckered her lips. I hesitated. Since when do handsome knights kiss frogs, no matter how cute and petite? However, if I was to ever afford a Legendary Spring Steel Broadsword with Differential Hardening©, I would have to earn my keep, and so kneeled on the muddy path, my eyes tightly shut as I leaned close with puckered lips.
It is a strange sensation to magically twirl, feet lifted from the ground, while enchanted fireworks explode about you, and find a stunningly beautiful princess, complete with glittery pink gown and golden tiara, hanging in your arms, her plump lips puckered against yours. Then I opened my eyes.
The princess was rather pretty, but her dark green dress looked suspiciously like a lady-in-waiting, and there was certainly no tiara in her jet tresses. No magical fireworks lit the sky, either, and she was wiping her lips with the back of her hand, her beauteous face wincing as if she’d eaten something sour.
Emmaretta howled and slapped my back.
“Oh! My!” she gasped between chuckles and guffaws. “Your face! Her face!”
“Never hast a magical curse been lifted with such disdain!” added Edward Hopper in his smooth croon.
“Thank you, I suppose,” said the princess curtly. My eyes narrowed, scanning her choice of evening wear and she blushed.
“Well, ahem,” she mumbled. “If you could do the same for my love?” She pointed at the crowned bullfrog. I glanced down. Prince Charming gazed upward with puppy eyes. I grimaced. That would be a sight I would not easily erase from my memory. There are some things I’m certain Mother Nature never meant to be, and a frog with puppy eyes is one of them.
Will Sir Roger learn what happened to Princess Hag? What was she doing with Gremnik anyways? Can Prince Charming’s curse be reversed? Will our hero ever obtain a Legendary Spring Steel Broadsword with Differential Hardening©? How many more silly questions will you have to endure before the final episode is posted?
 You may be asking yourself why Edward Hopper can speak Human while the prince and princess can only speak Frogish. Partly, it has to do with years of specialized scout training for Edward Hopper and partly it has to do with the cursed-person-now-a-frog thing. Mostly, it’s just fairy tale magic.
On to Episode 7 (Coming Soon)!