writer's note: This is an original story, not based on any existing fairy tale. Only a work meant to showcase a "romance" taking place in the city of Duloc. Neither Amber nor Wilson are based on anybody (even if the latter is my username); I only used my name as this character because it sounded pretty good for a character. With that out of the way, here's "Amber".
Working in Duloc
After the death of the city-state's founder, Walter Duloc, workspace became barron. So many of its cast members were layed off, with most of them being forced to create new stories to please the masses. As a result, many establishments and sponsors were deserted, leaving Duloc in a state of disrepair. Thankfully, this dark age only lasted for a couple of years, as a new leader was declared to help bring the city back to its former glory. Named Maximus Farquaad (real charming name), this man promised a fresh start for Duloc, and declared that it shall become a kingdom. To get this goal off the ground, he turned the town into a lordship, earning the name, Lord Farquaad. With this new beginning, Duloc saw many changes, ranging from turning the houses into apartment complexes; painting the half timbered buildings blue; replacing the puppet theatre with a fighting arena; and even replacing the stained glass windows in the cathedral with Farquaad's likeness. Needless to say, the city would see a huge refurbishment that would change the legacy for eternity.
Along with the rulership came the rise in work from the local citizens. Just about every person living in Duloc had some kind of job, mostly in managing gift shops and theme park rides. Many of these attractions were dark rides, which payed homage to various stories made popular by Miser Duloc himself. An intriguing blend for sure, it gave citizens an advantage of living in the "kingdom"-- they have great shopping options and top quality rides. However, not everyone was happy with these additions; some of them have even grown to hate their occupations. One such citizen, Amber West, had an immense hatred for her working conditions. While Duloc promised equal payments to all workers, it wasn't enough to keep her lifestyle in good shape. She'd only get 5 shillings per shift, while constantly rotating between various positions. One second, Amber is selling donuts at the local Duncan's Donuts (pun on King Duncan), and another operating the Jane Eyre dark ride.
Despite the harsh treament, Amber had kept her natural beauty in tact. Her long, hazel hair still sparkled in the sunlight-- her bright green eyes further complimenting her beautiful thin face. Unfortunately her intense work schedules caused her eyes to turn pink while her under bags turned to purple. Even worse, Amber lost an insane amount of weight, almost making her anorexic. Completely sleep deprvied, she became diagnosed with narcolepsy, where Amber was a victim of falling asleep at random. After multiple accounts of dozing off during her shifts, she was reported to Lord Farquaad's chamber, where he would tell her about the issues. It was an awkward sight indeed, as the place looked like a strange bachelor pad-- complete with a circular bed (a new design for the time), creepy art pieces of Farquaad himself, and strangest of all, a dart board with sketches of fairy tale creatures pierced onto it. Catching his attention, Amber sat down in the guest chair to speak with Farquaad. Much to her surprise, he was forgiving of her during the shifts (which was really just him giving her a pass because she was pretty) and gave her a significant raise.
Amber's rise in payment was wonderful, and she even got a more luxurious apartment located near the cathedral. Later that night, she went there to pray about her wonderful day.
"Thank you so much for what you've done for me. I didn't think you would even pay attention to my cries for help. And I think Lord Farquaad is actually kind of a nice guy when you actually sit down to talk to him. Although, he is definitely the strange type. If this kind of luck continues, I can asure you that I'll be good for the rest of my life. How else could I repay you anyway? Your friend, Amber West."
Just 100 miles away from Duloc, there resided a large beach, named the "Bleeding Coves". It got that name after an incident during the death of Cock Robin. While the bird's carcus layed in the streams through the rock formations, a fish had collected his essence in a dish. Thus, the flow of blood helped give the coves the title it has. Coincidentally, more deaths began to occur on those very coves-- although no one seemed to know who or what was causing them. As pools of blood continue to flow through, villagers around that area began to grow curious. What they failed to realize was that none of the murdered individuals were human. Most, if not all of the victims were supernatural creatures. Blood of werewolves, gargoyles, vampires, and even witches began to invade the Bleeding Coves more as the years progressed. Nobody could fathom as to how or why these monsters were being killed-- no one from a thousand miles had been known to have a profession in killing monsters. Sure there have been various angry mobs, but they were too scared to even confront them. There was only one other person who had been secretly slaying monsters for a living. That man, was named Wilson Vaughn Hyde III.
A man of 56, he had the appearance of a tall ghost. His hair was pale white, with his eye sockets giving him a ghastly skeleton face. This constrained any real expression, which also trapped his eyebrows into a permanent look of bitterness and spite. If his scary look wasn't enough, he had an attire inspired by colonial America. This intimidated his surroundings, as he made himself appear to be an immigrant out for blood of the British. He wore a George Washington-esque wig, with a black waistcoat and velvet coat-- complete with breeches and stockings. Despite his choice of clothing, he'd take advantage of the European weaponry and fuse them with guns used during the American Revolution (the same war where the Headless Horseman was killed). All of this combined made Vaughn Hyde a hunter who doesn't screw around with his position. No monster can be saved while he was present, having an eternal bloodlust to destroy all supernatural creatures-- only to be claimed as a "hero" while gaining all the money and women he so desired.
Residing in the Bleeding Coves, Wilson had been slaying threatening creatures throughout his entire lifetime. In his late 50's, he had garnered no reputation aside from those who lurk in the dark. Any monster one could think of have run into this killer. Even going way back to his youth, he attempted to finish off the terror of Dracula, to which he failed. Besides his night life, he spends most of his daytime hours acting as a traveling aristocrat. His speciality mostly involved stolen jewelry and crudely made chocolate bunnies. This proved a successful business, which helped cover up his true passions in the realm of fantasy. Sadly for Vaughn Hyde, technology was catching up through time. More advanced swords and crossbows were being invented. To make matter worse, carriages were beginning to travel by themselves without use of horses. Thankfully this was only just starting when Wilson was in his 50's, so it didn't scare him.
Balancing his time with both occupations, Wilson Vaughn Hyde grew to become a professional in multitasking-- a rarity for the land of Duloc Hills. While he hadn't completely achieved his goals, he was certain that he'd be able to fulfill them during the remaining decades of his life.
Two Minds Meet
Still ecstatic about her promotion, Amber was finally appreciating her workload. If anything she hoped to have more sleepless hours in order to stay happy. Working was her life, and if she were to stop at any moment, she could make like a shark and drop dead. This showcased the power Faruqaad had in Duloc up to this point-- if one were to even get the slightest bit of good attention from him, they would become "happy". Duloc was supposed to be a perfect place after all, and no one was going to mess up that reputation. On one morning in the month of February, Amber was especially prepared to get a ton of tasks done in the span of over 15 hours. Quick to get to her position, she ran like mad through the stone paths, checking in at the local "Gulliver's" fast food joint. She filled in for another worker who got the flu the past January. Excited to be working that morning (which was odd considering it was a lunchtime restaurant), Amber poured as much strength she had to make sure the shift was prefect.
Throughout the day, more customers began to notice her hard work, to which she recieved many compliments. One citizen in particular seemed to truly admire her efforts. He had a very unnatural appearance, sporting an American look while showing intense age. Although this didn't bother her too much, as she grew a liking to older men. Awestruck, this man walked up to Amber, telling her that she is perhaps the most diligent person he's known. Warming her heart, she replied by saying "You look like quite the hard worker yourself" with an open smile on her face. She was too happy to realize the rather cold expression the man was giving her. Asking about his name, he revealed himself to be Wilson Vaughn Hyde III. He claimed to be staying at Duloc for a short time in order to sell some goods. Vaughn Hyde even offered Amber to visit his shop in her spare time. Of course, Amber put work first before anything, but she told him that there's free time she could use for the visit. A date was set, and the two would meet at Wilson's small store.
Upon arrival, Amber found herself fixated on all of the material being sold. No store had this much chocolate or jewels in the same area. Eventually she found Wilson standing behind a table, being stiff in his posture, looking down on her. Amber being about 5'4, it was a bit creepy looking up at the 6 ft. man. Nonetheless, she was glad to lay eyes upon him. Throughout their meetup, they continuously talked about their love of continuously being on the move with work. Both of them had similar ideas with handling professions-- being okay with whatever they do so long as it keeps them going in life. During this discussion, Amber accidentally said she'd love to live life with Wilson (a tad bit early huh?). Initially annoyed, Wilson soon realized the potential that could be done with her on his side. It would be nice to have a companion by his side in his adventures. This thought barely lasted a second however, as he felt that way about many women in the past. Before he could tell her more about his plan for their travels, night fell, and it was time to rest.
Wilson locked up shop, and told Amber to have a good night's rest. She said the same thing to him, and walked back to her apartment in the cold weather. It didn't take too long for her to get there, arriving in about five minutes. Now at home, she began to dress up in her nightgown and get in her full sized bed.
Before going to sleep, Amber couldn't help but keep thinking about Wilson. His unique choice of clothing, similar ambitions, and love for jewels as seen in his shop. Wilson's poker face with angry eyebrows didn't even bother her at that point-- she believed in inner-beauty, which she felt was always most important. Little did she realize was that Vaughn Hyde wasn't the gentle salesman she thought he was. Of course his nightly monster hunts were unknown, yet she never knew his darkest flaw; a flaw that defined his most terrifying side. Wilson was a womanizer who could care less about how the opposite sex felt. He had an uncontrolable lust for them-- especially the really shy and insecure ones. That alone solidified his horrifying personality. Amber would soon see this man's true nature, the very next day.
Oblivious, Amber woke up and happily went to work her shifts for the day. As the hours rolled by, she grew slightly impatient to see Wilson yet again for another night. Soon enough, her 15 hour shift ended, and Amber returned to Wilson's shop. Before she could say hi, Vaughn Hyde gave her a gift-- a hand crafted emerald necklace, which matched her bright green eyes. Now blushing, she leaned up on Wilson to try to kiss him. It didn't work due to her height, but Vaughn Hyde promised that they can get closer at her apartment. Amber agreed with no hesitation, and the two traveled to her home, where they'll become more intimate. For the rest of the night, the two kissed and performed unspeakable actions that truly brought them together. While this seemed like a "happily ever after" for Amber, it felt more like "filler text" for Wilson. As time progressed, both fell to sleep, exhausted yet satisfied with their fun. After the event, Amber would witness what might be the worst thing to ever happen in her life.
Midnight struck; Amber had woken up to the sound of her clock. Slowly opening her eyes, she had realized that Vaughn Hyde had disappeared. She had been fooled by a true player-- someone who never wanted to know her and only desired self pleasure. What made her even angrier was the necklace given to her; nobody had ever given her something that beautiful before. No one had even been that nice to her, which she only discovered at that moment. Examining the emeralds for a good hour, she destroyed the necklace with what was around her bedroom. Her fury caused Amber to tear parts of her bed and shards of broken glass to make sure those dirty jewels were destroyed. Amber took a good couple of hours to destroy her gift, which only resulted in her sobbing for the rest of the night. From this point on, she would love nobody-- not even her own family. Because of this event, Amber gained a phobia of losing anyone she may grow to love. This prevented her from being as productive as she used to, which caught the attention of Lord Farquaad. He even set a banishment sentence to a swamp for Amber due to her "laziness". This fell through, as in the Duloc court, the judge favored Amber because of her distressed behavior. In order to please the public's wants, Farquaad gave her his own shillings to help her recover.
Death of Hope
Five years after her encounters with the ghastly aristocrat, Amber had gotten a word from one of her good friends. It was apparently said in a newspaper that someone got killed by a young woman named Beauty. Reading the article in depth, Amber discovered that the man was indeed Wilson Vaughn Hyde III-- he had continued his disgusting actions of manipulating women and running other shops out of business. However this time he lost the battle, falling to his death on a piece of Gothic architecture. Taking this with great dismay, Amber broke down crying in public, causing a scene by flipping tables and bashing her head against the stone walls. After enough damage was done to her head, she collapsed and sent to rehap. It didn't take her that long to calm down, but the effects would still haunt her for the remainder of her life.
While she still held a deep loathe towards Wilson, Amber kept hope that one day they'd make up for lost times. After all, she was getting better in her mental health prior to hearing of the death. Maybe this was a sign of hope, that she'll never have to worry of the artistocratic monster again. Unfortunately Amber always felt that all conflicts had to be resolved, with no exceptions. No amount of therapy sessions and long walks in Duloc could fix her mind. As a possible coping mechanicsm, Farquaad would finally turn the lordship into a full-fledged kingdom. Maybe, just maybe, if she sticks around to witness the glorious transition unfold, she'd finally return to her hopeful, joyous self. This was not the case at all. Right before Farquaad and his new queen Fiona could be crowned, a strange ogre crashed the ceremony. What soon followed was a shocking discovery that the princess can turn into an ogress. Sure enough, Farquaad called his guards to get them out. Confused and appauled, Amber constantly prayed for everything to be alright.
"It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay. It's gonna b-"
Amber didn't finish her repeated sentence, seeing a large dragon break through a window and eat Farquaad whole. At that moment, all of her optimism was gone. Everything was lost, nothing could save her mind now. The same feelings she felt upon hearing Wilson's death-- except now she saw it happen in person. Tempted to scream, break surrounding objects and bash her head, she only remained frozen. Sadly for her, everyone around her seemed to quickly accept the death of their trusted ruler. Initially feeling left out, Amber simply closed her eyes, took deep breathes, and did her best to bring her hope back. Despite taking a long while for her to truly get over this rather traumatic event, she overcame her urges of self harm and hatred. Though, conflicting feelings towards handling the death of rather horrible people still plagued her mind. More specifically, Wilson Vaughn Hyde III lived on in her head.
Bittersweet memories continued to torment Amber after hearing about the death of Wilson. He was certainly disinterested in her, yet no one had been so close to her before. Should she be glad he's dead, or feel depressed over the idea that she'll never see him again? Amber would never find a clear answer, moving forward in life with this question to be left a mystery. For a while, Amber appeared to have been handling her depression rather well. She was even extremely lively during Duloc's crowning of the new king, Prospero. However, in a tragic turn of events, Amber would become one of the many victims of the "Red Death". Like the rest of Duloc, she would get killed by the menace, never to breathe on the living world again. Throughout the post-history of the kingdom, her story would become something of an "underrated gem" across the fantasy realm. While it didn't have anything whismical, it was still a great cautionary tales about the dangers of meeting new people. You never know how long they'll stay, and when they're gone, it may or may not leave a painful impact.