Written in response to: Start or end your story in a bustling street food market.... view prompt


Adventure Fantasy

I walked through the crowded market, bumping arms with someone every few seconds. I held my basket close to me, not wanting to drop any of its contents. I kept my head down, only looking up when I conversed with the shopkeepers and merchants. I passed by a booth filled with fresh bread, and I decided to stop by.

"Hello, Maurice. How's business?" I ask the baker, as he strokes his gray beard. He has been a friend for as long as I can remember, helping me and my father when I was young.

"Hello, Jasmine. Business is perfectly fine. We've sold most of our stock today, haven't we, Stella?" He looks over at a little girl. She has blonde hair, and the same bright green eyes as Maurice. She nods, and goes back to reading her book. "The usual, I presume?"

I nod. "Yes, thank you. Father has been asking for your famous holiday bread again. I am beginning to think he is obsessed." I chuckle, placing three golden coins carefully on the birch counter. Maurice looks through the racks of bread, pulling out two golden loaves, as well as a large piece of a colored baguette.

"He has loved that bread since we were kids. Every Christmas Eve, he would come to my father's bakery and place the money on the counter," Maurice said, with a slight chuckle. He took the coins, and I meticulously put the bread in my basket. I thanked him and continued walking through the crowded stalls.

I heard people gasping, and walked towards the commotion. A young man was climbing the statue of King Leonard III. I looked at him, and shook my head, trying not to draw attention to myself. He stood atop the crown of the king, and started to chant.

"Down with the monarchy! Up with freedom! Down with the monarchy! Up with freedom!" he shouted, not stopping even as the guards surrounded the statue. I looked around, the breathed out a heavy sigh. I walked up to the foot of the statue.

"Gabriel! Come down from there!" I yelled, blushing as the crowd stared at me. Gabriel looked down at me, and climbed to the foot of the statue where I was. "Brother, you cannot keep doing this. It will get us punished!" I looked at him with a stern, yet kind look in my eyes.

"These kings have taken everything from us. You expect me to be silent?" He asked, looking deeply into my eyes. His cobalt blues met with my amber eyes, pleading for an answer. I sighed again, and shook my head.

"Gabriel. We must go home."

I take his arm in mine, and we march out of the marketplace. We walk in silence, only speaking when we arrived outside of our little cottage. I opened the gate, letting Gabriel through.

"Gabriel, you must not speak of this to Father," I told him. My voice was sharp, and I made it clear that this matter was not up for discussion. I look up to the thatched roof, and see a young woman climbing atop it, replacing the old hay with new, golden hay.

"Hello, Mathilda! How is your day so far?" I yell, giving my basket to Gabriel as he walked inside. Mathilda is a pleasant woman, harsh but with a heart of gold.

"Just perfect, Jasmine!" she replies, hammering the hay into place. Beads of sweat roll down her forehead, and she wipes them, daintily. Her black hair rolls down her back, reaching her waist. I climb up the ladder, ready to help her.

I hand her bough of hay, one after another. I smile as we work, happy to be able to help. We finish rather quickly, and we step down from the ladder.

"The market was extremely busy today. I almost couldn't stop bumping into people!" I told her as we walked through the cedar door. I let her in first, and I close it behind her, as a proper lady would.

"I can bet! I saw it from far away. Was that Gabe on top of the statue?" she asked, her reply serious and aloof at the same time. I nod slowly, and make the shushing sign.

"We must not speak of it in front of Father," I whispered to her. "he has enough worries already."

My father was a merchant from another city. He fell in love with my mother, and had Gabriel and I. Our mother died from a sickness years ago, and Father became distant and lonely. He has many bills, and must take care of Gabriel, Mathilda, and I. I help him with daily chores, such as feeding the animals on the ranch, or going out to the market.

"Jasmine?" a raspy voice called from down the hall. "Is that you?" Heavy footfalls came out of the den, and out came my father. His small beard clung to his face as he stroked it, his tender eyes looking into mine.

"Yes, Father. It's me and Mathilda," I answer, striding down towards him. He hugs me and kisses me on the head.

"I saw that you took your mother's basket out to the market today," he said. His voice sounded scratchy and stale. "When I awoke, it was not in it's usual place."

"Yes, I hope that was alright. I just wanted to have a piece of Mother with me when I went to the market," I remarked, walking into the kitchen with him. I took the many groceries out of the basket, and laid them on our table. Books, pens, fruit, and bread took up most of the space, but one thing caught Father's eye the quickest.

"Maurice's holiday bread!" he exclaimed, tearing off a piece and eating it. The joy on his face made me very happy, as he was not very joyous anymore. I walked over to the cabinet and grabbed some of our nicer china, pouring him some tea. He drank it, and our conversation started.

"I heard that a certain someone was climbing the king's statue today," Father said, his voice cold and sharp as ice. Gabriel looked down to the dirt floors, not daring to meet Father's gaze. He shook his head, and had a disappointed look in his eyes. "You really must stop doing that. Especially with the Royal Ball coming up."

My head shot up at the mention of the ball. "Are the peasants allowed to attend this year, Father?" I asked, my voice full of hope.

"Yes. I received a letter about it this morning. One female and one male from each family are allowed to attend," Father answered. I smiled with glee, imagining the ball.

Nobles from across the land, dressed in the finest clothes and eating the finest foods. The dancing and sheer beauty of the palace. I imagined the prince, in his royal garbs and golden crown. He smiles down upon a frail lady, asking her to dance with an extended hand. They waltz the night away, looking deeply into each other's eyes.

Father breaks me out of my daydream almost as soon as it starts.

"I am not sure whether I want you two to go or not," he says, his voice not showing any emotion.

"Father, please! It could be our chance to show the kingdom that we are just as good as any noble! Please, Father!" I beg, hoping to change his mind. He contemplates this for a few minutes, and I look deeply into his cobalt eyes.

"Only if you make sure to be back before midnight," he said. I jumped up in happiness, and took Gabriel's hands. We dance together, until I trip and we fall to the floor, laughing.

I rush upstairs to pull out the nicest fabrics I have. I bring out my needles and thread, and I make myself a dress. It is made of a lilac cloth, and it shimmers in the light. I make Gabriel a dark red suit, to accent his eyes. I rush downstairs with the clothing after a few hours, and see Mathilda talking with Gabriel, and pulling at his hair.

"Oh, just hold still!" she says, pulling and twisting his hair in every direction. I chuckle, and hold out the suit.

"What do you think?" I ask, bringing the suit above my head. Gabriel looks at it, an eyebrow raised.

"Is that for me?" he asks. I nod, and hand the suit to him. He looks at it for a few seconds, then smiles. "Thanks, Jasmine."

"Of course," I reply. I run into the other room, and put on my dress. It fits me perfectly, and it makes my light hair seem golden. I come out after admiring myself, and everyone gasps.

"You look beautiful, Jasmine." Father said, a small tear rolling down his face. "Just like your mother." I smile at him and wrap him in a hug.

"Just like a princess," Mathilda says, squeezing my shoulders. "You are going to make the boys go wild!" I laugh at her comment, and see Gabriel walk out of Father's room. His dark hair and cobalt eyes are prominently displayed against the red fabric. He looks like a real prince, and he extends his arm to me.

"Shall we?" he asks. I take his arm in mine, and we walk outside the cottage. We wave goodbye to Father and Mathilda, and start the trek to the castle.

We arrive shortly before the ball begins, and we take in the grandeur of the palace. The walls are made of marble, and lined with gold. Portraits of former royals deck the halls, vases of roses under each individual. We walk down to the floor, and introduce ourselves to the royal family, as the others did.

"Your Majesties," I said with a curtsy, and Gabriel with a bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Jasmine Smith, and this is my brother, Gabriel." The king nods at us and smiles.

"Thank you for your attendance Mr. and Miss Smith. I hope you find tonight enjoyable," the king said. My face lights up, and I thank him. I look up at him, and before walking away, I lock eyes with the prince.

He looks at me, and his face turns slightly red. His dark hair is accented by his bright green eyes, and he smiles at me. I look down, and walk away with Gabriel. The clock ticks, and we are dining with nobles when the Lord Steward announces the royal dance.

"The prince will dance with every eligible maiden here tonight. Please, enjoy the dance," he says. I smile at Gabriel, and we walk to the center floor. I place my hand on his shoulder, and his on my waist, and we dance. We waltz together, until I feel a tap on my shoulder. I look back, and see the prince.

"May I have this dance?" he asks, extending his hand out to me. I take it and smile, looking deeply into his eyes. We dance for what seems like hours, until he finally speaks.

"I believe I have seen you before, in the market. You are the one who always stops by the baker, correct?" he asks me.

"Yes, your Highness. I go to the market every week for my father, because he must stay home on the farm," I answer, my voice full of amazement. I couldn't believe that I was dancing with the prince, and he was speaking with me. His touch felt warm and comforting.

"You must care deeply for your family," he says, looking back at the king. I nod, and feel that something is troubling him.

"Are you alright?" I ask.

"Yes. This ball wasn't one just for me to dance, though. I was meant to find a bride tonight," he says, looking deeply into my eyes.

"Really?" I ask. I didn't think that the prince had to find a wife at a ball, but it was what happened in all the fairy tales.

"Yes. And I think," he paused for a moment. "I think, it might be you."

I stop dancing, shocked. "M-Me?"

"Yes. There is just something... different about you," he said. I couldn't believe it.

"But I am a peasant, sir. How could this be true?" I asked, my voice warm and confused at the same time.

"Because it is. I know we have just met, but I would love to get to know you better," he says, his tone genuine. He gets down on one knee and the music stops. The other noblewomen gasp, and a few start crying.

"Jasmine Smith. Will you do me the honor of becoming my queen when the time comes?" he asked, his voice hopeful. A warm tear rolls down my face, and I smile.

"Yes! Yes I will!" I shout with glee. He picks me up and spins me around in the air.

"I have found my bride. Thank you for coming, each and every one of you!" he exclaims. He slides the smooth, golden ring on my finger, and I can't help but stare at it. "I will make sure that your entire family is cared for. They can even stay in the palace!"

"Thank you, so much." I say. The king and queen come down from their thrones and come over to me, as well as Gabriel. I smile at them, showing them the ring. The gemstone is a diamond, surrounded by sapphires. "I can't believe it," I remark, happily.

A carriage appears not ten minutes later, with Father and Mathilda coming out. They take in the largeness of the castle, and walk over to me. Mathilda squeals with joy when she sees the ring, and Father smiles for the first time in years.

"I hope you are very happy, Princess Jasmine," the king says, emphasizing the "princess" part.

"Oh, I am. Very happy," I reply politely. I look into the prince's eyes and we draw closer to each other. The clock strikes 10, and our lips connect. A warm feeling rushes over me, and I am overtaken with joy. It felt so... Cinderella-esque.

December 09, 2023 01:12

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Kayla Taylor
05:00 Dec 12, 2023

Loved this story. It's so cute!


A.B. Writer
01:46 Dec 24, 2023

Thanks, Kayla. I'm a Disney nerd, so I wanted to put some Disney stuff into it. The marketplace (Beauty and the Best) and the ending (Cinderella).


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