A story traveled through the region that told the tale of a neighboring kingdom in distress. But there was no dragon to be defeated or damsel to be rescued. There was, instead, a plague. Of sorts. A deadly masked creature had targeted the kingdom, and in order postpone their destruction, a spell was conjured that cursed all of the inhabitants, including the creature, to one hundred years of sleep. To protect those outside of the spell's reach, briars of roses lacking of buds with accentuated thorns spread around the kingdom. To the few who knew of the kingdom’s location, this made an attempted rescue impossible. To the rest of the region who did not know the kingdom’s whereabouts, this made the story nothing more than a fairy tale.

Once upon a time, there lived a prince in a mighty castle who was in search of an adventure. The tale of the Briar Kingdom’s Curse enchanted the prince, and he decided that upon the morrow, he would travel to find and rescue the kingdom. After readying his belongings for the quest, the prince laid on his canopy bed to slumber.
He awoke in bright daylight, surrounded by vibrant roses of every imaginable color. The prince slowly stood, his bare feet unaccustomed to the soft grass, and he began to make his way through the garden of roses. Rather than finding an exit, he found a lovely maiden. She was startled by his presence, and explained to him that no one had ventured to her domain before. The prince was intrigued, and they spoke throughout the night. When he felt himself on the verge of waking up, the maiden made him promise that he would visit her again the following night. The promise was made, and the prince soon woke up, surrounded by the satin sheets of his canopy bed.

The prince set out on his horse with his belongings that morning. His quest had begun, and he traveled until twilight, then rested against an old oak tree to keep his promise. As soon as he had drifted to sleep, he found himself in that very same garden of roses. Just as before, he met the maiden, and just as before, their night was filled with laughter. This became the prince and the maiden’s routine, and eventually, romance bloomed. Their nights were longer, their time together was sweeter, and their conversations became more personal. The prince would tell the maiden of his heritage, his six older brothers, his thirst for adventure, but the maiden would rarely reciprocate the details of her upbringing. When he finally shared his quest with her and his frustration of the Briar Kingdom’s location, the maiden’s gentle face grew dim.
“Continue your quest no longer…” She said in a desolate voice. The prince refused.
Filled with sadness, the maiden at last told the prince of her upbringing. She was the princess of a kingdom that had been plagued by the spell of slumber which would reign for one hundred years. She was the rose of the Briar Kingdom. The princess stated that she had been the cause of the curse, and through tears she insisted that she was to blame. The prince did his best to comfort her with gentle and soothing words, but it wasn’t until he swore to save her kingdom that her tears subsided. She made him promise that he would break the curse and save her kingdom. He promised.

With the location of the kingdom no longer a secret, the prince hurried onward to save his princess. The Briar Kingdom was engulfed by thorns. To any random visitor, the task of going into the castle would have been impossible, but with the princess’s instructions, the prince was able to scale one of the great briar vines up the castle wall, and into the open stone window.
Every item in the room was covered in dust, except for the canopy bed. It was surrounded by vibrant roses of every imaginable color, which seemed to radiate against the dark room, and the prince’s eyes nearly filled with tears. His sleeping briar rose laid resting, just as she had told, and even more beautiful than he had previously seen her. The prince made his way to the side of her bed, and fulfilled his promise. With a tender kiss, the princess’s eyes fluttered open. Her rose lips smiled for the first time in ninety years as cold tears dripped down her cheeks. The prince gently wiped her tears away and held her in a loving embrace. The princess, overcome with emotions, held on to him tightly. And for that singular moment, everything, was absolutely perfect.

And then, it wasn’t.

With a harsh shove much stronger than the prince could have anticipated, the princess pulled away and cried, “You promised you would break the curse! Please!”
Confused, the prince looked to the princess for an explanation, but none was required as he immediately understood the perils of the situation.
The princess who had just before looked so delicate, was now starting to be overtaken. The change was not gruesome, but the appalling power that was slowly consuming her was apparent. Her left eye, which had before held such tender sky-blue love for the prince, was now radiating black with a yellow iris filled with rage. Her skin, once pale but beautiful as ivory, was slowly beginning to resemble a serpent’s red scales. Distinct fangs were plainly visible as she begged with a broken voice, “Hurry!”

The prince unsheathed his sword, hot tears streaming down his face. He knew what he had to do to keep his promise, to break the curse, to save the kingdom. He needed only to kill the princess, the maiden he had grown to love, the Briar Kingdom’s curse.

The princess lunged towards the prince against her will, and he quickly threw his sword down so not to harm her. He held her tightly, staggering backwards dangerously close to the window as her left hand, now a claw, gripped through his shirt and left a bleeding trail down his back. Her right hand tightly held onto the front of his shirt, cold tears staining his cravat as she whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Before she had the chance to throw him out of the window, the prince kissed her forehead, and let his staggering lead to their fall.

~

He awoke in bright daylight, surrounded by vibrant roses of every imaginable color. The prince slowly stood, barely aware of the blood on his back or the gash in his head, and ran frantically through the garden of roses looking for her. Perhaps he hadn’t been fast enough, perhaps his will to save her had let her live, perhaps he hadn’t broken the curse…
Suddenly, a figure fell into his arms, then slowly comforted into his embrace. He spun her around, overcome with delight, then set her down to gently wipe her tears. All traces of a creature had vanished, all traces of a fall had been erased.
A single ‘Thank you’ escaped her quivering lips, and a sweet kiss sealed their eternal fate.

vocaloid and anime image
This story was written by Jinx Lirin and inspired by the song The Apocalypse 13th written by Hitoshizuku and performed by Kagamine Rin & Kagamine Len.