Today was the day. The royal family of the enchanted forest sang joyfully, as it was the turn of the youngest princess to choose her future husband of the noble spirits among the ceremony. Amir, her father, was the king of all trees, while her mother, Kiri, was the daughter of a noble shrub. The family was excited to see who their daughter would end up with. Princess Willow's elder sisters, however, would not be attending. Despite their absences, the family tradition would continue.
Willow was petrified. She was trying to figure out how exactly she was supposed to tell her family that she didn't plan on choosing a husband from the noble spirits. She thanked the fairies that had helped dress her in a beautiful corn silk and cotton dress. She wove the golden strands of her hair that were from the season's change, into a green and gold patterned french braid. She then placed a necklace of sap colored beads around her neck, complementing her brown skin/bark well. Though she was terrified of her family's reactions to what she would reveal to him, however, she managed to force a natural-looking smile.
Willow then deemed herself as well enough to look outside. She looked to where he was supposed to be. She sighed in relief when he peeked out from in between the shrubbery near the entrance to her room. Grabbing his arm she dragged him inside, praying that neither her father nor her mother saw. "Whoa... Willow. Is it just me, or do you keep getting more and more beautiful every time I see you?" He asked. "Ben! Stop! You're making my face all red." She whined quietly. He chuckled and said. "Okay. So, what's the plan?"
She looked at him and smiled a bit. "When it comes to choosing my husband, please come out of my room. Try not to make any noise. My parents aren't very tolerant of humans. Especially not after one of them cut my grandmother's tree down and almost did the same to me." She said, looking down at the sap-covered scar just under her knee. Ben nodded, taking her hand in his and pressing a kiss to it. "Understood my princess!" He bowed playfully, making her giggle slightly. They heard the sound of a fairy's jingling signaling that the ceremony was about to begin. Willow panicked, quickly pushing Ben into a dresser, giving him a quick peck on the cheek before rushing out and being led to the center of the square.
The other spirits looked at her, pride shining in their eyes. Whispers reached Willow's ears "She's so beautiful!" "Just what you'd expect from a weeping willow!" "Whoever she chooses is such a luck spirit!" Hearing that, it took every ounce of her nerve to not lose the smile. She strode toward the center, preparing her voice to sing the traditional forest's song. She stopped in front of her grandmother's stump, bowing to her before continuing to meet with her parents. They smiled and her father stamped his scepter against the marble stone on which they stood. "On this most joyous day, my daughter will choose her husband! But first, she will continue as tradition states and sing the song of the forest!"
Just like that, all eyes turned to watch her as she took a deep breath and she began to sing. Her voice resembled that of the ancient spirits of the wind. Every spirit smiled as they listened. Her voice was beautiful. As she finished, the spirits of the forest chanted the parts that belonged to their specific clan, as the noble spirits chosen stepped forward, circling her. It was tradition, a tradition that she would have to break.
As soon as the chants were completed, her father once again spoke. "Let my daughter chose the suitor as her heart desires!" The noble spirits looked up at her hopefully. She looked behind her to see that Ben was already in place, only barely visible. She took a deep breath. "The suitor I will choose-!" She began, "Does not belong to any clan represented here today!" She began to walk to Ben, who stepped out. "If I am to chose the suitor which my heart desires, I will choose-" She pulled Ben to her, interlocking their fingers. "Ben! The human sorcerer!"
A collective gasp was heard among the royal family of nature spirits as the youngest daughter of the family finally presented her husband. Willow looked down awkwardly, holding the hand of her beloved for comfort. "Willow... my blossom... are you sure?" Her mother asked a look of bewilderment written all over her face. Willow nodded, attempting to hide her face in her long green hair. She felt her future husband squeeze her hand, comforting her. Her father, the spirit of a Hyperion tree stepped forward. "My daughter! Marrying a HUMAN?! Where did I go wrong?" He questioned, making Willow flinch. Benjamin, her fiance, stepped forward and spoke. "With all due respect sir, I intend to wed your daughter. Though I am a human sorcerer, I love her." Willow's mother, Kiri, stepped toward her daughter with a questioning stare. "But... why chose a human? Why not a handsome tree, a strong boulder, or a calm river?" Willow managed a small act of courage before stating, "Because I love him, mother."
As soon as she said that, Willow heard whispers among the other spirits of her family. "Is she insane? Doesn't she know all humans are dangerous?" "She's got to be joking. There's no way a tree as beautiful as herself would fall in love with a human. What would her sisters think?" And the one that possibly hurt her the most. "And she was so pretty too. How disappointing." Willow felt her eyes widen. She felt a tug on her hand and looked to see Ben mouthing, 'Let's go.' She nodded, standing taller and keeping her head up. She turned her back on her family.
Ben walked her back to her tree near the edge of the large lake, looking at the notch on the tree. "We don't need their approval, Willow. If they can't accept your decision, so be it. Because all I need in life is you." He said. Willow felt touched as she smiled, tears in her eyes. "Alright then. All I need in life is you, Ben. I just hope one day they will see that not all humans are monsters." She said. Ben presented her with a ruby ring. "Willow... will you be my wife?" She nodded, kissing him under the branches of her weeping Willow tree. After Willow and Ben's wedding, she never returned home to the forest, residing in a home built under her tree. But she had heard one rumor riding on the wind that she found a bit funny. She had been given the title of "the rebellious princess: Weeping Willow."