Where No Castle Ought to Be
The Prince of Thorns
In a faraway land, beyond mountains and desert, there was a tired scrap of land forgotten by most living things. It was a harsh place, carved by wind and sand. Plateaus and rocks lay about that were so large, they might have been there since the beginning of time, and the air itself was tinged with orange. There, squeezed into the corner of two rocks, crouched a decaying and crumbling castle, somewhat out of place as if it had fallen from the sky. It was a mere shadow of it's past radiance, warped by many storms and many centuries.
But besides the large rocks and beside even the castle itself, the most overwhelming feature of this land were the miles and miles of thorny vines that curled up walls, into dark corners and around unsuspecting throats. The thorns covered the ground in dark ringlets, trapping anyone in and out of the unforgiving desert. Among the thorns were the occasional rose-like flower that bloomed a poisonous purple color. It crawled its way up the dying castle, slowly growing through cracks and pulling stones apart. The tallest tower was all but choked, defiantly standing tall in the sandy winds.
Within the tallest tower, in the highest room, ignoring his schoolwork and reading by the window, was a young Prince. The Prince of Thorns. The land he gazed down on was not yet his, but he was not particularly anticipating the inheritance. The castle was situated on a plot where, in his opinion, no castle had ought to be built. Such a place was not ideal for playing, so he instead stayed up in his room, reading any of the hundreds of books available to him about adventures and foreign lands. The Prince himself had never traveled and had never had the opportunity to have an adventure. His sisters, the Princesses of Thorns, had all been married off to nobles of distant lands, while the King and Queen were on important travels far south, leaving the Prince and his servants all to their lonesome.
So he traveled in his imagination instead; bookshelves were full to bursting and stacked piles were now part of the decor. And so the Prince sat, in his nest of vines and books. Page after page he turned, until... riiip. Oh dear, once again the page had been poked through. In every book the Prince had ever read, every few pages there was a tear, a scratch, or a hole. The cause of these rips were the same thing that gave the Prince many small scars on his boyish face; the same thing that was wrapped around him just as they were wrapped around the castle he lived in: vines of sharp and prickly thorns. They grew through the walls, into his room, and around his clothes, face, a raven hair. Every movement the Prince made, the vines and purple roses moved with him, joyfully following him and embracing him like a loyal pet. The Prince didn't mind much, as the vines had been with him almost all of his life, and it seemed just a passing fact that the thorny curls were impeccably attracted to him. It was only troublesome when it came to the damage it dealt to his nice clothes or favorite books.
With a sigh, the Prince put the book down for a moment and looked out the window to the thorn covered land, up to the sandy gusts and flutter of black winged birds circling in the sky. When turning his head back to his book, a twinkling of white caught the Prince's eye for a moment, like the glint of sun from a mirror. He looked out again to find what it was, and there was the glint again. It was a small speck of white in the distance that seemed to be getting closer every minute, sweeping with the wind, but moving all the same with determination.
It was a white bird, struggling in the harsh currents to get towards the castle, perhaps for shelter. Side to side, it swooped in the wind, trying to stay aloft. The Prince was worried about this bird, who seemed to have lost it's way. He stood up on the window seat, stretching out his hand to the small fowl. It seemed to react to the sight of him, flapping with all it's might, until finally hovering over his hand, contemplating whether it should rest near so many thorns.
The Prince was amazed to see the brilliant feathers up close. Such an bright white body, like the glow of stars, and on the top of it's head was a small plumage of a shade of blue like he had never seen before. So light and so clear, perhaps the color of a sky without orange haze. An exotic species like this must be quite far from home. It looked at the Prince quizzically, then to the rest of the thorny room around him. "Don't be afraid," The Prince said softly. " The vines listen to my wishes. I wouldn't let them hurt you."
The bird seemed to understand, trusting his gentle face and perching in his hand. It held out it's leg to him. Upon the leg was a parchment the Prince hadn't noticed earlier, as the paper was also as brilliantly white as the feathers. He untied the parchment, very curious as to what it was about.
To the highest room of the highest tower in the nearest castle of neighboring lands, It began. Please pardon my abrupt rudeness in contacting whomever you may be. This is no letter of urgency so please read at your leisure if you feel so inclined. The Prince read on curiously, wondering if perhaps the bird had delivered a letter to the wrong highest room at the wrong highest tower in the wrong castle of the wrong neighboring land.
The letter continued with formalities, sometimes going into the extremes of trying not to upset whomever happened to be reading. The Prince had to use a dictionary for a few of the word, but from what he could tell, there seemed to be very little substance to the letter at all, just a request for a reply back. I would have no greater joy if you were to be so kind as to reply in a manner to your liking to let me know you received my letter. I'm sure you must be very busy and I'm sincerely appreciative and apologetic for taking up any of your time.
Thank you very much, The Morning Glory Monarch.
" The Morning Glory Monarch?" The Prince repeated out loud. How very strange it was to receive such a letter! The Prince stared at the message, reading it again, wondering what he might be able to deduct. It seemed that the Monarch was probably still young, by the look of the handwriting. His speech sounded unnecessarily polite, so he was probably writing the way a home tutor had taught him. A strange fellow. The Prince had heard of many other castles and kingdoms outside of his lonely tower of thorns, but never particular names. What did it mean to be a Monarch of "Morning Glory"? Perhaps his castle was situated near the sun's rising?
In any case, the Prince smiled to himself. He had never spoken with someone outside of his castle before, much less ever received a letter. He scrolled the parchment, (tearing it a bit by accident of a stray thorn) and reached for a paper of his own, dipping a quill and thinking over carefully how to put his words, trying to be a bit polite.
To His Excellence the Morning Glory Monarch,
Consider this my reply to your thoughtful letter, if I was whom you meant to contact. It is only me and my caretakers at residence, so I have plenty of time for any letter you feel like sending my way. Perhaps we can share more about ourselves in the future.
Your Friend, The Prince of Thorns.
It was short, but it seemed to take a lot of energy just to conjure up what to say in response. After the beautiful foreign bird had rested for a long while, the Prince let it leave to go back home, with a black raven of his own to help carry the message back to the Monarch's castle.
That afternoon, after pouring over his favorite illustrated book, the Prince wondered when he would receive a reply. Did the Monarch really live that far away? He wondered most of all, what type of person the Monarch was, and what it was like in the lands across the vines, across the baron desert, and over the mountains. The Prince dreamed of green fields and lush rivers like the ones in his picture books and hoped that he could see it one day. As soon as the next morning, the white bird returned, as well as the raven, with an extensively long letter.
The Prince of Thorns was happy to read that the Morning Glory Monarch was just as excited in finding a new friend. A lot of the formalities were dropped immediately, and his writing was a bit scrawled, as he explained to the Prince that he hadn't anyone to talk to lately. All of the Monarch's sisters were caught up in their own lives, and his parents had left to interact with important peoples from across the sea. The Prince could scarcely believe their similarities!
He wrote back immediately, reaching through the thorns and to his tattered quill. He asked what the Monarch's land was like; What it was that he did to pass the time and loneliness. About his family, friends, anything at all. When the birds had rested, they were off again. The young Prince watched on smiling as they birds took off, until they were just small specks, up up and away from the old stony thorn castle.
Days passed, and then weeks passed, and letters continue to arrive and depart from the two castles. The Prince had all sorts of different conversations with the Monarch. He found out that they were both around similar ages, although born in different seasons. And as he suspected, the Monarch came from a very green land, and that a Morning Glory was actually a type of delicate flower of which he had never seen before (a rather wilted looking one had come with a letter when requested). They also found out about each others' families. The Prince had always had sisters that were very outgoing and courageous, so when he was born, the King was surprised that the Prince of Thorns was unlike his sisters, instead shutting himself up in his tower, opting for books and writing. In surprising contrast, the Morning Glory Monarch's sisters were all terribly delicate, and his mother was surprised to have a boy who wanted spontaneous adventure and who was outrageously bored being cooped up.
The Prince and the Monarch found humor in each other's writing, sending each other stories and drawings, and the boys eventually agreed that they should meet sometime and go on an adventure together to spite their parents.
They decided that they would meet later that month, on the day that was between both of their birthdays. The Monarch suggested that they meet at a plot of land just over the mountains in a field beside a large spring. You'll know you're at the right place, he wrote, when you come across an enormous fountain.
The Prince was very excited as the day approached, and soon it was as close to a few days away. He was happily eating in the dining hall when one of the servants, sidestepping over thorns, decided to speak up. " Pardon your highness, but you mentioned you were going on a trip soon. How will you be getting there?" The Prince nodded, appreciating her concern.
"I thought I would take the spare carriage by the stables. "
A nervous look crossed her face and she bowed her head. " You highness, the King and Queen brought all of their available steeds for their journey. There is indeed a spare carriage, but no spare horses to pull it. "
The Prince was incredibly distressed at this new complication, his smile immediately dropping. There was no other way to get to the arranged meeting place in time. He went back to his tower room immediately, wondering if he should send a letter to cancel their arrangement. It might not be too late to reach the Monarch and schedule another time. Wearily, the Prince searched around for his raven, grieved that he would not be able to meet his new best friend after all. But his raven seemed to have taken off somewhere. Around the tower, the hall, the ballroom, and many other places the Prince looked, but the raven was not there. Only after wandering into the vine infested courtyard beside the stables did he find a flock of ravens. The messenger raven was there, seemingly communicating with a humongous black and gold peacock. The Prince was astonished at it's size, which he imagined could have a nest the size of his bed. The raven flew to the Prince, excited to show him the beautiful discovery. It flew to the carriage and back to the peacock, indicating a clever plan. The Prince understood immediately.
The peacock lifted it's head curiously as the Prince approached, studying his face and the vines surrounding him. The stunning gold accents were emphasized by the black of it's body, and the feathers were only slightly frayed from moving about in the thorny vines where it made it's home. Bowing graciously, the Prince smiled to the peacock leader and spoke a request. "Pardon me sir, perhaps my friend the raven has told you already, but I am in need of your help. I wish to travel to a land over the mountains, by a spring and a large fountain. Would you please take me there, where I may meet a great friend, and where you can delight in the foods of the garden?"
The horse-sized peacock leader considered his proposal, and seemed to accept. As the meeting day approached, the enormous fowl appeared before the Prince with a few of his large kin. With the help of his servants, the Prince fastened them to the small carriage, and they were ready to leave.
Before leaving the thorny castle for the first time in his life, the Prince went to his tower to grab a gift. On his window seat lay his favorite adventure book. He held it to his chest for the last time, deciding that he could pass it on to his new friend, now that he knew the story by heart. As he made his way back to the courtyard, the vines moved out of his way as he walked. When he approached the carriage door, the Prince spoke to the vines around his body. "I'm going to leave for a while," said he. " But I will be back before the sun is down. There is no need to cling to me any longer."
But the vines held steadfast, refusing to leave his side. They curled around him restlessly like ropes. " Well... alright then, I suppose a few of you can come. You had better behave." Many of the vines broke off from the Prince in agreement, while the smaller ones wove around his shoulders like a loyal snake. He had a seat, and no sooner as the door closed a great beating of winds signaled their lift off. A cloud of sand and dust whirled around them and a sudden twirling of his stomach told the Prince that they were off the ground. He stuck his head out of the window, hair whipping about his face, seeing his servants below getting smaller. He waved to them and they waved back as the courtyard now resembled what he could see from his tower window.
Higher and farther they went, over the long stretch of thorned vines and rocks that didn't seem quite so intimidating from the sky. They flew over the large broken earth and desert for a good while, until the castle looked like a small blot of ink in a rocky terrain. The farther they went, the clearer the air became, and the even flapping of wings was a soothing pendulum. The sky was blue, then bluer, and now the mountains were before them; a stunning cyan cluster surrounded in white mist. And farther still the peacocks flew, until the land became green. Just like in his dreams, the Prince could see a far forested land with spots of fields. There was so much to see, and he wanted to circle for hours; but he remembered his promise to the Monarch. The Prince held his favorite book close to his heart and kept a close eye out for a spring. Sure enough, the birds flew lower as they followed a shining river that spilled across the landscape. The river split a few ways, growing slow and quiet, until it collapsed into a lovely spring, at the foot of which stood a very large and ancient fountain covered in wisteria.
The peafowl swooped down, creating a wind around them as they started to land.
And did they ever land! The Prince had, for a moment, thought they had crashed as the carriage shook; the thorns around his shoulders twisting in fright. Recovering his wits, the Prince caught his breath and opened the door carefully.
It was a sudden moment of firsts; never before had he stepped his foot into green grass or smelt the dampness of it in the morning. Never before had he seen such vibrant and various flowers and plants blooming to their hearts content, or seen the sky such a vivid blue. He felt like he had wondered onto some strange and wonderful new planet. The large peacocks had shaken free from their constraints and happily fed on the wild fruit. Careful step after careful step, the Prince studied his surroundings, taking in everything he could. The thorny vines around him as well, curled in delight to the warmth of the sunlight. He looked up at the enormous old fountain that bubbled happily to itself. It seemed so stylized and out of place that the Prince wondered if perhaps it was meant to be at the entrance of it's own castle, but there was no castle around to be seen.
The next thought that struck the Prince was to see if the Monarch was waiting around nearby. He turned his head, but the only disturbance was himself, the carriage, and the peafowl. They all looked strangely foreign in this place.
The Prince didn't mind waiting for his friend, having just as much delight poking around and smelling new plants. He studied the daisies, the wildflowers, and the beautiful wisteria that grew along the fountain. He bent over to smell a particularly eye-catching red flower when a white bird flew over to perch atop it. The scruff of blue on it's head was one he couldn't mistake- It was the Monarch's messenger bird!
“Hello there!” the Prince greeted. “ Will the Monarch be here soon?”
“He's here already!” Said a voice from behind. The Prince turned around quickly to lay his eyes upon his friend, and was surprised by his appearance.
The Monarch was indeed a boy, the same age as himself, but with scruffy blond hair and healthy, sunned skin that was flecked with freckles. He had nice clothes that mirrored the Prince's own, but in brighter color, and, to the Prince's utter surprise, the Monarch was wrapped around the shoulder and hair with his own type of vine-Morning Glory! Among the lovely shades of color in the delicate petals, butterflies of different sizes fluttered around, and the Monarch tried to shoo some of them away gently, to no avail.
Looking at the prince now, he gave a large, playful smile and held out his hand. The Prince gaped at him a moment before giving his own small smile and shook hands.
The boys started talking immediately, picking up just where they had left off in their letters. The Monarch was thrilled to receive a gift and had brought one of his own: A small cake to share for lunch, made with native fruits. They were a strange pair, the shy Prince wrapped in thorns, and the energetic Monarch wrapped in delicate Morning Glories. They talked about what they should do; where they should go on an adventure, and the Prince admitted that just traveling here was his own adventure. The Monarch laughed in agreement, recounting the story of how he had hitchhiked a ride from a sky-pirate ship just to get there. The shadows grew longer and the boys continued to talk about anything and everything that came to mind.
"If both of our parents are at this important meeting across the country," The Prince thought out loud, as they sat beneath an elm tree. "Do you think that many other important royalty and nobles are there as well?"
"I'm sure of it!" The Monarch said. "Imagine how many children they left behind in their castles just like us."
They thought about it a minute. "Strange how no one lives here though. This is such an odd place to leave a fountain isn't it?”
The Monarch leaned back against the trunk, observing the fountain as they spoke of it. “ It doesn't seem so strange to me; Not if you've heard the legend behind it.”
“ A legend?”
And so the Monarch told the Prince what he knew about it. According to the hundred year old stories circling around, the fountain was once part of a large castle. A castle covered head to toe in lovely vines of wisteria. The King and Queen who lived there were very kind people who traveled a lot, leaving their castle behind to be covered in more and more vines. While traveling, the King and Queen found a place that they fell in love with, and wanted to move immediately. But the couple were so attached to their beautiful castle that they decided to bring it with them! With the help of dragons and other flying beasts, they were able to tie ropes around it and heave it into the air!
The Prince laughed at the thought, but quieted again for the Monarch to continue. But he didn't say anything else.
“What happened next then?” He asked
“ That's the end of the story.” The Monarch said.
“That can't be the end! What about what happened to the castle? Where did it land it's base?”
“Hmm, that's the mystery,” The blond said thoughtfully. “It's unknown what happened to the castle. Maybe it landed where the King and Queen intended it to. Or maybe the flying beasts couldn't carry it that far or had gotten lost. Eventually the castle itself was somewhat forgotten about, but the story of it lifting off is what has remained legend. For all we know it could be on another country, or somewhere it ought not to be.”
The Prince thought over his words, and it was the last sentence that made his heart backflip. It was a stretch, an awfully long one at that, but he had to say what he was thinking out loud.
“ What if, “ he started, “...Just what if the castle never did reach the place where it was intended. Perhaps the flying beasts did get lost. Perhaps they couldn't make their way through a sandstorm...”
The Monarch caught on immediately. As they continued to talk, the possibility became more and more real. Had the Princes home, the Castle of Thorns previously been the Castle of Wisteria? There was always something funny about the location of the castle, and being covered in vines was it's trademark characteristic.
“There is no definite proof,” The Monarch said, gazing down to his friends shoulder.“ But the evidence, I think, may be closer than we think.” The Prince looked down as well, to the absence of a thorny vine at his shoulder. Instead, it had turned into a twisting leafy vine of wisteria.
The sun was making a steady pace near the horizon, so the boys decided to meet again another day. The prince offered to give the Monarch a ride home, but he said he'd rather have another adventure trying to get back. They said farewell, and the peacocks reluctantly agreed to be fastened to the carriage to go home. The prince reentered the carriage, taking a last glance before closing the door, and they were soon up in the air with a great swoosh. The green land was now tinted with rosy shades of pink and orange, and the fountain became smaller, just as all things rooted on the earth had before. There was a great feeling of warmth in the Prince's chest after having had his small adventure, meeting his new friend in a beautiful place, and hatching up ideas. They followed the river back the way they had before, the carriage sweeping below low clouds of purple and gold. The mountains approached, a handsome indigo color in the coming twilight. And then, over the mountains, the baron stretch of desert and rock. A very bittersweet feeling welled up in the Prince now. The home he had always grown up in was never something to pity, but looking at the twisting thorns and crumbling stone as they now came closer, he couldn't help but feel it. The castle now resembled a crumpled old man, confused and trapped under a blanket of web-like vines.
The thick orange haze was turning to night, enveloping the carriage as it descended downward. In the small clearing of the courtyard, the thorned vines moved aside for the peafowl to land, and the servants rushed out to greet them. The landing was a bit more careful this time, and the prince walked out, looking up at the castle a bit gloomily. He smiled to the servants, and to the peacocks for helping him. The wisteria around his shoulders seemed embarrassed to be back home, after having changed so much in the fresh air of the spring meadow. The Prince told the maids and butlers all about everything that he had seen over dinner and asked if they knew about the Castle of Wisteria. They did not, and when he asked of they knew how long the Castle of Thorns had been there, the answer was the same, but they could assume at leasts hundreds if years.
The Prince returned to his tower, sitting beside his window and looking again back out to the sad landscape. It was too bad... Too bad that the castle had never reached it's destination. He was almost certain now, that this was the castle that had meant to go there, but it must have been too heavy to take across such great distances. “ And why should it move?” The prince thought to himself. “ It must have been lovely where it was. The King and Queen, my ancestors perhaps, may have been too ambitious. “ But that was very characteristic of his family anyways; To ambitiously leave and travel to where their heart desired.
A few days later, the Prince received a letter from the Monarch, who happily wrote about how he returned home with the help of traveling gypsies. He also wrote about how his parents were to return in a couple months time. The prince had heard that his were to come home around that time as well. It made him think about what they spoke of before.
Imagine how many children they left behind in their castles just like us.
"They must be terribly lonely..." The Prince thought about all the boys and girls like himself who were probably sitting up in their towers, passively staring out their windows as he did. That night, he decided to write many letters, all addressed and signed the same way. He was going to try and contact as many lonely children as he could, and hope that they would be interested in becoming friends. Maybe they could all meet at the ancient fountain and play together someday.
He gathered all the ravens willing to help, and sent out the letters as soon as possible. Twelve left that night, and two arrived the next day; and six after that! Four that could not find any other nearby castle returned with letters unopened, but nevertheless, eight other children felt that they were in the same predicament. All of them were so similar yet so different. Thee was a Maiden of Jasmine, and a Lord of Ivy. A Duchess of Honeysuckle, and an Earl of Clematis. Such grand names, and yet so funny and peculiar their personalities were. Their voices came right through their writing and soon they were all exchanging letters. The prince felt wonderful in meeting so many people so quickly that it made him wonder what why he had never bothered before.
He thought of his ancestors again, how ambitious they were, and instead of looking at them with disdain, The Prince had to give them credit. They made a mistake, but at least they were willing to try. " And maybe, " He said to himself " Maybe it's not to late to return the castle back to where it belongs." Now That was an ambitious project!
The Prince asked the Monarch what he thought about his plan to move the castle. I'm all for it! he wrote. But how would you do it? And wouldn't your parents be furious?
The King and Queen probably would be angry at first, but how could they stay mad when they saw the beautiful location? "As for how to do it..." The prince thought a moment and then grabbed some more parchment. He wrote and wrote until his hands ached, and wrote some more (very pleased that the smooth stem of wisteria at his shoulders didn't rip any paper at all). His finished work were nine extensive letters for his faraway friends, including the Monarch. It was a plea for assistance, asking for any help from flying beasts they knew that existed in the land. He told them everything, about the Castle of Wisteria, about where he planned to move it, and promising that if they helped, they would be forever welcome in the beautiful garden around where it would stand.
Letters returned to him very quickly. All of the children wanted to see such a spectacle. The idea of a flying castle was something absolutely wonderful that had to be witnessed, and they'd try to help all they could. The servants of the castle caught wind of the Prince's plan, and half-heartedly tried to dissuade him, although the child inside of them wanted to leave the thorny land as well. The thorns themselves knew that something was afoot, but they couldn't disobey their prince, and nervously tightened their hold upon the castle.
The prince spent days anxiously looking out of his window, waiting for help to arrive. The orange haze was thick as usual, and he wondered if foreign beasts would be able to even find such a forsaken and hidden castle. He started to feel slightly downtrodden as the time stretched on, but finally, the first sign of help arrived. While staring out as usual, a great flapping of wings could be heard through the air. The Prince half-thought he was imagining the sound, like he had been doing for the last few days, but from the break of sandy gusts, a winged horse could be seen gliding through the currents as if daring them to get stronger.
It was a handsome shade of almond, and as one horse came into view, an entire herd (Or perhaps a flock) came flying up behind it. They circled around the courtyard, looking for a place to land their hooves. The prince ran out to greet them, and willing the vines to make room for them to rest. The herd seemed relieved to be on the ground, perhaps after a long journey, and the prince went to pet one on the nose. Seated on a grey mare was a girl with tan skin and curly black hair.Dainty white flowers were wrapped around her, and she introduced herself as the Maiden of Jasmine.
It seemed as if the Maiden had lead the way, for very soon after, many children and flying steeds appeared from the sandy horizon. Dragons and griffins, eagles and winged lions, the Lord of Ivy showed up in a gigantic air balloon, and the Monarch even made an appearance with enormous flying ships that belonged to a sky captain. He took a ladder down to meet the prince and all of the children who had come along. "So this is your castle?" He asked cheerfully. " I never thought I'd see the legend myself! Shall we get started then? "
And all length and sizes of chains, ropes and wire were out, around the castle, being fastened anywhere they could be fastened. The flying beasts looked ready to take on the challenge, and waited for the signal. The prince and the castle's servants were taking refuge on the deck of the largest ship, mast swelled in the wind. They all started to cheer, and the many animals flew into position. With a great heave-ho! they started pulling upwards. The castle rumbled, but didn't budge. The servants started chanting a cheer to motivate their strength, louder and louder. It started to move, and with a last wish from the prince for the vines to ease up, the castle began lifting slowly like a humongous weed ripped from the earth. Everyone cheered as it rose higher, casting a large dusty shadow over the rocks and sand, going up towards the sun. With the raising of the castle, the beasts and ships moved quickly towards the mountains, fueled by their own enthusiasm. Again, the sky started to clear, and the blue sky and bright sunlight upon the castle showed the true beauty of it away from the dreariness.
The wind whipped the clothes and hair of everyone on deck, and everyone couldn't help but hold their breath, yet continually smile at their triumph. The towers traveled through the clouds of the mountains, and the thorny vines clung hopelessly to the castle's base, confused as to what was happening as the land became green. They flew on, carrying their heavy cargo and gazing at it in wonder as it glided through the air. They followed the river, and the beasts seemed to be getting tired, the ships strained. "Only a bit farther!" The Monarch told the captain, and they continued with all their might.
Finally, the spring was in view, along with the old fountain that was now the missing puzzle piece. They slowed their pace, and the tension rose as everyone used the last of their strength to try and hover it for a landing. The ships creaked, and the flying beasts groaned and the ship deck began to cheer again to encourage them. slowly, slowly, they lowered it down, and there was a huge collective sigh as the castle finally dropped into place, like a cog on a wheel. Everyone started to land, tired from the worry, and steadily, from a whisper and growing louder, an ovation started, and then it sounded like a wild party as all smiled and applauded each other. They had successfully moved the castle to it's rightful place. And, right before their eyes, the confused thorns gave a mighty shudder, as they started to grow leafy stems. The poisonous purple roses dropped into wisteria flowers, and the castle grew very green, as the vines lost their dark thorns.
And there it stood, the Castle of Wisteria, lovely as it ever could be, and the children gathered around the Prince, exclaiming their satisfaction. The servants got to work immediately, putting together a feast like they never had before, and the Prince, the Monarch, the children and their beasts, and the crew of the flying ships all had a wonderful party, staying until very late and even falling asleep in the cool spring air of the garden. And that night the Prince of Thorns was reborn as the Prince of Wisteria.