Emperor's New Clothes -Panic! At the Disco

Submitted into Contest #102 in response to: Write about a character with an unassailable moral compass.... view prompt



* This is a story based on a song by Panic! At the disco- listen to it when you get the chance!*

Rei walked along the edge of the village, her eyes filled with tears of sorrow and hate. It wasn’t her fault; she couldn’t control it. Her tears of loneliness and rage turned to fire, her heart pumped with it. Her hands erupted with the flickering fire she found deep within. 

Ice has melted back to life. 

No. she curled her fists. Snuffing out the flames. Control. she willed herself to fight the urge to lose control but that wouldn’t help her current predicament. She may not be able to return home and they may have left her for dead, but they couldn't break her spirit, she would come back and make sure nobody ever forgot her name. Heroes always get remembered but you know legends never die. She turned her back to the village. A new start. And she was going to make sure she didn't waste any chance she got. The wind bellowed in her brown hair, whipping in her face. She swatted her hair away and tied her blood-red ribbon through her hair. No more looking back, she looked into the deep forest, I’m going to show them how wrong there all are. 

Done my time and served my sentence.


She collapsed in the damp dirt under a magnificent oak tree. She had walked for days not stopping to sleep, eat or drink, but she had to rest now, her stomach clawed at her with hunger her thought dry from lack of water. 

Dress me up and watch me die. 

Her body shut down her eyes shut a dreamless sleep hovered over her conscience. She was close to waking but she couldn’t open her eyes, she felt soft fur and something ruff and wet. Rei awoke in a panic, her limbs flailing in the air whacking whatever was in front of her. She stilled. The wolf was large and its fur was grey a single piece of fur on its head looked like a star. She screamed, she had come all this way to try and prove her town wrong, just to die, she couldn’t die, not now. 

You just might see a ghost tonight. 

The wolf was slightly larger than Rei, with a mouth wide enough to eat swallow a human with ease. She tried to get to her feet but her body was too sore and bruised to do so. She looked up in fear as the rest of the wolves slowly approached her. The wolf backed down, retreating to a boy she had missed before. He had blonde hair that was sticking up in all directions. 

“You should be more careful, or you might die,” his voice was soft. “My pack almost took you for food.”

"Your pack?" she squeaked. 

The tall trees crowded together whispering in the chill breeze, Rei pushed her hair out of her face and retied the blood-red ribbon through her hair. The strange boy took a step forward as if inspecting her.

So close I can taste it. 

A rustling sound came from a small animal scurrying under the thick ferns and over the thousands of brittle branches and twigs. One of the large grey wolves pounced into the thicket, followed by a shriek.

Flip the switch and watch them run.

The strong smell of the trees scattered across the somewhat dark forest mixed with the distinct aroma of fetid earth. The moonlight lightly shone through the leaves making polka-dots on the ground, slightly lighting up the dead tree trunks where shelf fungus had grown like dinner plates. "Yes," the boy responded. "My pack." 

“Let me help you.” he strode over.

She flinched. “I don’t even know you; how can I trust you?” The moonlight lightly shone through the leaves making polka-dots on the ground, slightly lighting up the dead tree trunks where shelf fungus had grown like dinner plates.

“Have you been banished?” he inquired.

“Yes.” It was a small word but once she said it aloud it made everything real.


“I burnt half of the village.” her voice was so quiet he had to ask her to repeat it.

“I am banished to, I was left for dead, and I don’t believe this is the way to punish people who have done wrong, so I am here to help you”.

Rei didn’t say anything as he reached for her again, he gently lifted her, and carried her for what felt like forever.

“We're here, home sweet home,” the boy said.

Rei looked up “It’s – nice.” The wolves followed the strange boy in.

Mortal kings are ruling castles.

The cove was covered in soft moss and smooth rocks, vines covered the entrance concealing the cove in front and a magnificent waterfall in the centre. There wasn’t much else though.

“You’ll get used to it,” the boy told her, he looked at some rocks that seemed to be higher up than others, flat too.

Welcome to my world of fun.

He let out a long sigh, threw off his cloak and muttered under his breath something she couldn’t hear.

“What was that- I couldn’t hear you”

“I said, I can’t make fire very well, I have the wood I just can’t make a fire.”

“I… I think I can help” she whispered.

 He went back to making a fire and Rei stepped up to the rocks to help and when his back was turned she flicked her hands and made a fire. She picked up the Flint and tossed it to the side.

I am so more than royal.

“You know you never told me your name”.

“Julian,” he said still staring at the logs that had not yet ignited. He turned “What’s yours, pretty one." He flashed a devilish smile at her. Rei’s face flushed with colour, “My name is Rei, it’s nice to meet you, Julian.” Rei sparked the fire with a small gesture and the fire flickered alive burning the logs and leaves. Rei sat back down and Julian went into the back and prepared a meal for her. He came back out with some meat and handpicked mushrooms. He cooked the meat and mushrooms in the fire and handed her the carved wooden bowl, she took the bowl gratefully, her delicate fingers tracing over the etchings on the side of the bowl.

If it feels good, tastes good. It must be mine.

She picked at pieces of meat and put a mushroom in her mouth.

And if you don't know, now you know.

She finished eating as the boy went outside. Rei walked around the cove and then grabbed the axe and started chopping at the stone wall, chipping away to reveal a golden crown with different gems placed upon it.

I’m taking back the crown. 

Rei strode outside to where he was looking into the distance with his large coat wrapped around him. He brandished a knife from his coat and turned around.

"You know, I liked you," he said as he stepped forward menacingly his knife gleaming in his hand. Her hand flickered and she produced her own knife. The boy’s wolves crept up on her and she suddenly smirked. “I didn’t set the town on fire with a torch.”

The boy cocked his head at her as his wolves advanced, “That makes so much more sense, they don’t usually banish normals”.

“Normal.” She scoffed, “Darling, You have no idea.” Rei grandly gestured and a wall of fire erupted around the boy.

Snatch your chain, and mace your eyes.

The fire engulfed him and his wolves. Screams and yelps echoed throughout the forest. Flames laughing, higher, higher. Trees turned torches, flaming, feeding. Leaves like paper burning, bleeding. With air too thick with ash to see the boy, Rei laughed and turned her back to the raging fire and walked back into the forest. She tightened the blood dyed ribbon in her hair. “You all make it too easy.” She laughed again, this time her laugh booming around her and through the fire.

Dynasty decapitated.

She journeyed back to the village.


The golden sun rose against the back of Rei as she grinned at the village cemetery. She had been waiting for this moment her entire life and now finally it had come. Rei remembered her mother’s feeble attempts to get rid of her when she found out she was cursed. The screams that her mother succumbed to echoed through Rei’s head and she smiled mockingly. “If only mother could see me now.”

Dress me up and watch me die.

Rei flung the crown in the air and shot it with fire. She began chanting old curses and a black mist entwined with purple swirled around her. Hands struck through the cold damp earth, clawing their way out of the graves. The bodies covered with the same mist ripped the cemetery gates off their hinges and strode out into the streets now filled with daylight. Rei ordered her army to gather the inhabitants of the village. Screams echoed through the jaunt village as its inhabitants got dragged out of their houses. She stood in the town square and she watched with sick glee as families were rounded up and brought to her on their knees. Rei threw back her head and threw out a cackling laugh, piercing the air around her, sending the blood rushing to the heads of those who heard it.

Heroes always get remembered but you know legends never die.

July 15, 2021 08:28

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