The Spirit of the Forest
rating: +8+x

Once upon a time, there was a princess.

"Oh come on. Worst start ever."
"Shut up. Let me tell the story."

This princess was sad, for her sisters were beautiful, and she was not. Her sisters were the finest in the land, while others called her plain. She loved life, and took care of sick and injured, but everyone pitied her. The other nobles in the palace would be polite and respectful when she was around them, but would snicker and mock her when they thought she wasn't listening. She wept often, wishing for a beautiful face.

One day, the princess was chased into the forest by the other children of the palace. She ran and hid in a grove. She sat and cried, for she thought she would never be loved. But someone heard her cries. The spirit of the forest heard her, and he watched from the shadows. The spirit was strong, and brave, but also compassionate. His skin was like bark, and he took the form of a great beast, yet he was merciful and selfless. He didn't look at her face, or her skin, but looked at her beautiful heart. He stood in the trees, and watched.

Days went past. The princess would run to the forest to avoid the other children. She sat and cried often. The spirit continued to watch her, until one day, he revealed himself. The princess was terrified when she saw him, and she cried out in fear.

"Do not be afraid, child," Said the spirit of the forest. He sat near her, and comforted her. She wept with him the whole night through.

The next day, she awoke and found him gone. She gathered herself, and returned to the palace. The other children teased her and pulled her hair. She ran from them, to the well, trying to escape. But the other children pushed her into the well. She was not hurt, for there was still some water in the well, but she was trapped. Above her, she could see the sneering faces of the children. Suddenly, a roar sounded. The smirks on the children's faces turned to fear, and they turned away from the well, screaming. They ran away, and all was silent. Then a single vine was lowered into the well, and the princess climbed out. When she escaped, she discovered no creature, but a single white flower on the ground. The spirit of the forest had came.

"Ok, can we go to '34's story? This one is lame."
"It's my turn, so shut up."

The princess quickly became a young woman, and grew to love the forest. The other nobles still looked down on her for not being beautiful, but she ignored them. She laughed and ran with the spirit of the forest, and they promised to give their lives for each other. They gave each other gifts, to him a garland of flowers, to her a single blue key. The spirit said that the key would offer her a place of refuge, if she ever needed to hide.

One day, the princess went to the forest, to find the spirit, but she didn't see him. She called him, and he didn't come. She searched and searched, but he was nowhere to be found. She walked deeper and deeper into the forest. Three men were waiting for her.

They had swords and bows, and they threatened her. They laughed when she cried for help. But her cries were not in vain. The spirit heard them. He came running through the forest. He saw the three men, and he let out a terrible cry. The men turned to the spirit, and they screamed in their terror. The spirit killed them, butchering their bodies until they were no more than pieces on the ground. The princess was grateful to him, but she was horrified at what the spirit had done. She made the spirit promise to never kill again.

The people of the city found the three men's bodies, and they became scared. What kind of beast could do this, they asked. They held a great meeting, and decided to hunt down the spirit of the forest. The princess heard this, and rushed to the forest to warn him. He went with her, rushing away from the palace, but the soldiers found them. They grabbed the princess, and tied the spirit down with great nets and ropes. The spirit could not fight back, for he had promised not to kill. The princess screamed at the men, begging them to stop, but they did not listen. The spirit was defeated, but the princess saw one last chance. Grabbing a sword from a guard, she smote the ropes holding the spirit. The spirit rose to its feet, and she leapt onto its shoulders. It ran, far away into a little town.

The princess knew that the men would come and kill them both. And she knew the spirit would give his life to save hers. So she tricked the spirit. She told it they would both use the blue key to hide from the men. She used it to unlock a closet, and beyond was a great misty forest. The spirit leapt through the doorway, and looked back towards the princess. With tears in her eyes, she said one last thing:

"I release you from your promise." She shut the door, locking it and throwing away the key.

Now the spirit was safe forever. And in that moment, she was beautiful.

The men came, they captured the princess. They brought her back to the palace, and burned her for being a witch. They searched and searched for the spirit of the forest, but they never found him. He was hidden where they could not find him.

The spirit cried to be let out, that it might save the princess, but to no avail. The door was shut. The spirit left the door in his madness and his grief, and ventured deeper into the forest. There were many hiding places. He would live in this forest forever, unable to leave. He vowed revenge. Revenge for the princess, for what the men had done. He vowed he would return, and bring with him death. Only then could he rest in peace.

There was silence for a moment.
"That's gotta be the biggest pile of shite I've ever heard."
"It's true! All of it!"
The three Class-D were gathered in a waiting room, preparing for their test.
"'83's story was better. At least his one wasn't some fairy tale."
"Come on, give a guy a chance! That one's a legend! They say that it might even be true!"
"Legends are supposed to be good. The princess in that one was an imbecile."
A voice sounded over the intercom. "Please enter the containment room for testing."
"Finally. I thought I might die of boredom."
The Class-D's entered the room. There was a plinth in the center, and a wooden door on one of the walls. Resting on the plinth was a single blue key.

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