The Unfortunate Adventures of Prince Cuthbert Winkwilliam

Submitted into Contest #147 in response to: Start or end your story with someone realizing that life isn’t like the movies, for better or worse.... view prompt

41 comments

Fantasy Funny Science Fiction

Escape, escape, escape, Dylan screamed in his mind, his stomach twisting into a tight knot as the princess wailed before him. The holographic text box floating in front of his eyes informed him that getting out was not an option for him.


“You cannot quit the game between save points.” 


His hands were shaking as he gripped the hilt of his sword with both, trying to anchor himself to the one constant in the game, his trusted weapon, now dripping with dark scarlet.

Am I having a panic attack? I think I’m having a panic attack.

“What have you done?!”

Dylan staggered back a few steps, the girl’s scream echoing in his ears, her red face and crocodile tears burning into his retina as she dropped onto her knees. 

What have I done?!


Pressing his trembling lips together, Dylan took a few deep breaths, trying to hold himself together. He wished his mum would go into his room and just unplug the VR like she had done the other day when she wanted to force him to tidy his room. Only, he shouted at her and told her to never do it again. He’d won that fight. “Fine, if you want to live in a pig sty!” Please, change your mind, mum! I swear I’ll tidy my room, just get me out of here..!

How did this even happen to him? He did everything the game led him to do, and it was easy: he completed the first quest of finding the castle and vanquished the dragon within a couple hours of gameplay. He thought it was too easy, but he never would have thought it was all a trap and he was set up for failure. Just like in the movies, the princess was supposed to be falling in love with him.


‘I was trying to save you.’ His voice quavered and his breath caught in his lungs as the girl flung one of her slippers into his direction.

His health bar dropped ten percent as the slipper slapped the side of his face. That was not what Dylan expected from the story. The cover image pictured the beautiful princess beaming at the prince in shining armour, just like in the movies. He so wanted to be that prince: tall, strong, handsome and free of acne, somebody who wasn’t afraid of talking to pretty girls. Unlike Tilly in his class, the princess would adore him. He was pretty confident she would be swept off her feet by him, until he reached her room in the tower. The walls were postered with drawings of the princess and the dragon having a good time; the dragon blowing out birthday candles with fire, and the two of them playing cards and having a picnic in the garden. The dragon was family. 

But was there another way..? Did he have other options he missed? Dylan couldn’t recall. I didn’t mean it! I wish I could turn back time..! Please, let me turn back time!


‘I didn’t ask to be saved.’ The princess glared at him. ‘I don’t even know who you are.’

Dylan felt small in his suit of armour.

‘I’m Dyl– Erm, Prince Cuthbert Winkwilliam,’ Dylan said, with his face suddenly burning as he used the name of the hero. It sounded so much better when he came up with it. The princess rolled her eyes, muttering something that sounded much like “pretentious blueblood.”

‘I’m sorry,’ Dylan said in a voice so small it barely was a whisper.

‘A sorry won’t bring her back,’ the princess snapped.


The telegraphic text box appeared in front of him again, giving him the instruction to “comfort the princess” and three choices to choose from:


⚔ It was only a dragon. You are free to find love now.

⚔ I know you don’t want to see me and that I can’t make this right, but is there anything I can do for you?

⚔ I’m sorry for your loss. Every end is a new beginning. We could go on an adventure.


Dylan picked the third option and the other half of the slippers slammed into his chest. He lost some health again.


‘An adventure?’ The princess’ voice was dripping with mockery.

‘Yes,’ he squeaked. ‘To… fall in love.’ Which was what the game originally promised.

‘To fall in love..?’

‘It would be with me,’ Dylan said sheepishly.

The princess bursted out in laughter for a moment, before she was, unsettlingly, all serious again.

‘Winky.’ Dylan cringed at the shortening of his name as she looked into his eyes without any warmth in hers. ‘You just killed my dragon.’

‘I’m so–’

‘You murdered her in her sleep.’

‘I didn’t know–’

‘Well why not bother and ask? Seriously! And you think you can suggest I should now fall in love with you? Get a grip! You are the most revolting person I’ve ever met.’


Dylan wanted to cry. Escape? Please, he pleaded on the brink of tears, but the system had a heart made of stone. “You cannot quit the game between save points.”

‘This is just a game… I’m not like this.’

The princess’ jaw dropped.

‘Is this a game to you?’

‘N-no! Sorry! No… Please, what can I do?’ Dylan desperately tried to remember option two. Option two would have been the right choice. ‘I know I messed up, please, let me help you!’

The princess stood and wiped her tears with her sleeve.

‘Get digging. We’ve got to bury her.’


⚔⚔⚔


Dylan hated the game and hated himself in it. It was after all, all his fault that he was having to dig a grave large enough for a fully fledged dragon, and that the love of his online life despised him. Just digging the hole took him three days. Three days without a save point, in silence, whilst he worked the ground and the princess made flower crowns and bouquets for the dragon.

Then, the grave was finally done and she didn’t thank him for it.

‘I want you to know I didn’t want it to end like this… It was a misunderstanding, I believed you were held captive and I… I like you, so…’

‘What is my name?’ The princess interrupted.

‘Huh?’

‘My name, Winky. You don’t know the first thing about me.’

‘What is your name?’

‘It’s Tatiana,’ she said, as she tucked a rose behind the dragon’s ear.

‘Tatiana… And what was her name?’

‘Sparks.’

‘I’m sorry, Sparks…’ Dylan laid his sword down by the dragon. ‘I’m sorry, Tatiana. I wanted to be a hero but–’ I turned out to be the villain. ‘...I will leave as soon as I can.’

Tatiana stayed silent for a long time, and Dylan thought of walking away, or just seeing whether he could hit “escape” finally.


‘Winky? You don’t need to be a hero. Not like that. You could have just asked if I wanted to play cards or walk with you in the garden. I can’t forgive what you did, and I hope you can’t forgive yourself either. But I want you to know that there is another way. There is always another way.’


The save point finally appeared, and Dylan left the game straight away. There was another way. She said, there was another way! He must have missed it. He reinstalled the game and logged in to start again.


User ID: @pcwinkwilly

Password: ******


He found the castle and the dragon, and he held his breath as he waited to pick his new choice. To win without a fight. His heart skipped a beat when the holographic text box appeared.


But there was only one choice.


And he could not quit between save points.


May 27, 2022 23:30

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41 comments

Zack Powell
04:09 May 28, 2022

Before I forget, shoutout to you for hitting sixteen stories! You officially have two pages of content on your profile! 🎉🥂 Side note: It has been SO long since we've been prompt twins, but it finally happened again! (TEN contests ago was the last time it happened - yes, I did just have to go and check.) OK, onto the story: Hi-la-ri-ous! Great to see you do another third-person POV story (your second, right?). You flippin nailed it. Super fun narration, fun plot, fun everything. The last two sentences had me wheezing. Love how quickly and s...

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Riel Rosehill
09:14 May 28, 2022

Aww thanks! I've got to say I have mixed feelings leaving page one behind with no formal recognition for any of those stories, when there were a few I adored! But here's to the future (now that you kindly stopped jinxing me)! I'm happy to join you in the page two club, dearest🥂 Was it really ten whole stories ago that we picked the same prompt? Wow..! Point taken I probably have this under the wrong one, I started writing it for the "life's not like the movies" prompt and didn't think of swapping even after I wrote that hero-villain line! I...

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K. Antonio
01:17 May 28, 2022

LAWL, the tension in the beginning of the story was nice but I enjoyed how you broke it up and revealed bits and pieces of what was going on as the story progressed. I liked the subtle fairy tale touches (like the slippers) and how this story is actually a sci-fi formatted within a fantasy world. My favorite moment was the quarrel between the MC and the princess, it was humorous. And all the video game details were a nice touch (3rd person for this was the way to go). I liked how the ending is actually a simple solution but completely und...

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Riel Rosehill
09:42 May 28, 2022

Hi K! Thanks for commenting on this miniature story! The video game details were tough but luckily for me my boyfriend sat right next to me playing Halo Infinite when I was writing so I could ask him important questions such as "Is it a 'save' point or a 'saving point?'" when I started doubting my, erm, expert knowledge (I was cursed with a slow PC as child)🤣 I'm glad those details were enjoyable at the end!

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J.C. Lovero
00:31 May 28, 2022

Ri Ri~ You must be after my heart this week with another dragon story. But! I'm on #teamtatiana here. You killed the dragon! /gasp Jokes aside, this was a fun ride. You should know, my #notguiltypleasure is LitRPG, and the whole "choose your response" made me all giddy inside like I was playing a video game again. PS - option 2 was obviously the right answer. Come on Dylan! Also, the name Prince Cuthbert Winkwilliam was so adorable. I wonder how old Dylan is, because it definitely sounds like something a boy with a fun imagination would c...

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Riel Rosehill
09:29 May 28, 2022

Thank you! And I felt really bad for Sparks, I'm such an evil writer 😭💔 I didn't specify but I thought Dylan was probably 12, I think that fits. Poor kid, what a game I trapped him in..! 😅 But he wasn't the smartest, was he? Option two was so OBVIOUSLY the right one. I had a hard time coming up with the options, can you tell?🤣 I'm getting into this fun line breaks thing... It's most certainly your influence rubbing off on me! Thanks for the lifesaver line edit - I never would have caught that! Xx (Did you know it's possible to edit these ...

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Raluca .
12:55 Aug 01, 2022

Loved the beginning and the ending of this story - the first line got my attention and I NEEDED to come here and read it all. I really really liked the ending, it was quite poetic. As for the middle part, it was quite an interesting turn of events that the dragon wasn't holding the princess captive! A very novel angle of "sacrifice" 🤔

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Riel Rosehill
20:41 Aug 01, 2022

Hi Raluca! Thanks for stopping by to read my story, and taking the time to leave this lovely comment for me - it's much appreciated! I cannot even begin to tell you how bad I felt for killing that poor, innocent dragon..!

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:30 Jun 01, 2022

This was amazing, Riel. It was just the story I needed to read today. It put a smile on my face and I really loved the humor. You did a great job writing this story and I loved it!! :)

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Riel Rosehill
22:32 Jun 01, 2022

Thanks Daniel! So happy to see you enjoyed it :)

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:40 Jun 01, 2022

You're welcome! I'm looking forward to catching up on what I missed. I took a break to get my novel finished and I'm proud to say that it is. Now, I'm preparing for launch in July or August ;)

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Riel Rosehill
22:52 Jun 01, 2022

Oh that's amazing, congrats!! What an achievement, novel writing is tough!

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:54 Jun 01, 2022

It is... It's all consuming and a learning process because I thought writing the book was hard. Getting it published whether it be traditional or self-published is incredibly hard because if you want it done right, there is so much involved.

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Marty B
22:11 Jun 01, 2022

A video game in the 'The Brown Bag Princess' genre. Awesome

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Riel Rosehill
22:34 Jun 01, 2022

Thank you! 😃

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Rebecca Miles
16:03 Jun 01, 2022

I thought you got the narrator really well; it completely captured my son- a few year's back. I knows nothing whatsover about gaming and I enjoyed this, and really got into the fantasy world, so well done!

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Riel Rosehill
19:33 Jun 01, 2022

Hi Rebecca, thank you for reading my story and taking your time to comment. I always love to hear when my characters turn our realistic and relatable :D

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Aeris Walker
08:52 May 31, 2022

Oo yay another dragon story! This one was so creative, how you incorporated gaming/VR and flipped the whole damsel in distress trope on its head. I felt bad for your mc, but I also hoped the experience led him to take off the headset, go get some fresh air, and learn how to talk to real people :)

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Riel Rosehill
19:41 May 31, 2022

Hi! I found it hard to let go of my dragons, haha. Yes, I too hope he would learn his lesson - if I had the energy, that would've been the ending actually, but at the end I didn't mind ending it a bit early and leaving it more open. As always, thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts! Always much appreciated from talented writers - I loved your story this week, best of luck in the contest! X

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Aeris Walker
19:44 May 31, 2022

Absolutely, it was a pleasure. I also liked the mention of the mom in there, I could just imagine her lurking outside his room, not sure what to do with her gamer kid haha. Thanks so much!! And to you as well! (This one was recommended in the fantasy genre I believe? I’m still learning the ropes of Reedsy. If so, congrats to you!)

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Riel Rosehill
20:43 May 31, 2022

It was recommended, to my surprise! Thank you! X

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Suma Jayachandar
08:19 May 31, 2022

Hi Riel, This must be the funniest dragon story I have ever read! What's impressive about it is how you have managed to weave in options, passwords, and dialogue in it. Surely, a very unique and entertaining fantasy +sci fi.

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Kelsey H
08:51 May 30, 2022

This is such a fun and clever take on this prompt. I loved the beginning bit about the save points. I am not a gamer and my son had to explain to me he can't just 'pause the game' to come for dinner or whatever! Also loved him wishing his mum would come in and rescue him from the game at that point. Something I have noticed you do really well is set up a fantasy world/science fiction world which feels clear and logical but using minimal amounts of words to do so, so the story just moves at a good pace. Like the start of this, we are just str...

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Riel Rosehill
20:15 May 30, 2022

Hi Kelsey! I'll admit my gaming experience is pretty limited too, and I actually had to double check with my boyfriend whether it was called a "save point" or a "saving point" (I was very proud of myself when I discovered I got it right for the first time!) Thanks for the lovely comment, especially for that one on setting up the world - that's something I always forget to focus on when it comes to short stories and in hindsight I wonder if I should have done a bit more to set the scenes! It's super nice to hear it works naturally. PS I r...

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Jay Mc Kenzie
07:45 May 30, 2022

This is so fun Riel! And so clever. I love the use of the options (I was a huge fan of Choose your own Adventure stories as a kid - you should write a series of these for adults!!) and the terribly sad realisation that "There's only one option". I kept picking metaphors for life as an adult out. Tatiana was great, Dylan was sweet and Sparks! R.I.P dear Sparks. Great work!

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Riel Rosehill
17:52 May 30, 2022

Thanks Jay! Choose your own adventure is so much fun - there should be some for adults! I should add an option where Sparks lives, I feel so guilty for killing her..!

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Jay Mc Kenzie
21:06 May 30, 2022

Aw, poor Sparks! The joy of writing: you can resurrect dragons 🐉

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Michał Przywara
22:20 May 29, 2022

Haha! Love it! :D The name was eye catching, and I'm glad it had a funny tag. It definitely delivered, with the little details like the health bar and the save points. It's also a sad story. Sad because the protagonist has to flee reality and even the virtual world is against him. Sad because the princess lost her friend, and because she's perpetually doomed to be treated as a damsel in distress, instead of a person. It's also terrifying. That there is only one option is great, very unsettling. That you apparently can't log out whenever y...

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Riel Rosehill
17:49 May 30, 2022

I had to look up what DLC was LOL - excellent idea!! I felt really bad all of these characters for what I put them through (especially Sparks!) in this story, I suppose if I was one of them I didn't see the "funny" tag fitting at all! But I'm really happy it worked - and it looks like I'm sticking with that tag for the next one too! As always thanks so much for reading and leaving your thoughts, it always makes my day!

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Shea West
17:19 May 28, 2022

1.) The name had me at the word go. The name of this character in the title is delightfully obtuse- BIG FAN. 2.) “pretentious blueblood.” bahahahah 3.) I love a sass mouthed princess, because if I'm ever cast as one in another life that's the level of scorn I will come with! You wrote Tatiana so well! I am obsessed how quickly you were able to conjure up something so lively and unique. The humor was spot on and again, the title was grand! I agree with the others, I cannot wait for you to get some well deserved recognition for your stories! ...

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Riel Rosehill
18:15 May 28, 2022

Sty! 💡 Yes! It slipped my mind. I knew there was a better word and I just couldn't think of it... Should've googled it, LOL. Thanks! I didn't know pigs stalls were that awful though, poor piggies! Also, can you believe I was still able to change this? I wonder when the cut off is for edits.🤔 I'm happy you enjoyed this! I liked the idea very much but wasn't sure if it was going to land as I didn't have a great time writing on this occasion. Credits for the name "Cuthbert Winkwilliam" go to my boyfriend, I asked him to give me the most preten...

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Shea West
18:17 May 28, 2022

The cut off is once it's approved! If it's not been approved yet you can edit away! And 10,000 points to your BF for the rapid fire character name, brilliant. If ever you have children, do not let him have naming rights hahahahah JK. Don't be impressed by my lunacy!

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Riel Rosehill
18:20 May 28, 2022

"If ever you have children, do not let him have naming rights" 🤣🤣🤣 No if that ever happens I'll be on the general discord channel like "Looking for cute names for a new character, give me your best ideas"

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Shea West
18:26 May 28, 2022

bahahahahahaahh! That's the spirit.

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Alex Sultan
11:49 May 28, 2022

Hi friend - I enjoyed reading through this story. I really liked the video game aspect to it, with Dylan's healthbar going down, and the text box choices! The icon you used for it(⚔) was immersive. The ending was my favourite part. Him logging back on with his password hidden, and there being only one choice, was all very clever. Just one small error if you have time to fix it before approved: It was after all, all his fault that he was having to dig a grave large enough for a fully fledged dragon, and [thar] the love of his online life de...

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Riel Rosehill
12:11 May 28, 2022

Hey Alex! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, it's much appreciated! I'm happy you enjoyed reading :) I fixed that typo this morning (J.C. notice it too, what would I do without all of you guys?), it comes up alright on my screen so I'm surprised your version didn't change... does it fix it if you refresh it? I'm curious.

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Bradon L
00:16 May 28, 2022

Two dragon stories in a row. You must have dragons on the brain. This was such a fun read! “He so wanted to be that prince: tall, strong, handsome and free of acne, somebody who wasn’t afraid of talking to pretty girls. Unlike Tilly in his class, the princess would adore him. He was pretty confident she would be swept off her feet by him, until he reached her room in the tower.” - I feel attacked 😂😂

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Bradon L
00:32 May 28, 2022

Replying to myself, but I just realized why I liked this so much. This is such a versatile storyline. You could go super dark with this if you wanted to, or you could go meaningful, or romantic. But you left little bits of everything in this, it has humor, some touching bits, and even a little dark side to it to. Well done! Ok I’m done talking now

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Riel Rosehill
09:56 May 28, 2022

Thanks Bradon! I think the dragons built a nest in my head and refused to leave last week! It was indeed a little bit of a mix - it's not something I realised myself. so I love that insight. I'm glad you had fun - full disclosure, this story was super rushed, so I wouldn't have been surprised if it just didn't work at all. Another one of those late night writing sessions! I need a life coach...

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Bradon L
22:30 Jun 01, 2022

Cuthbert Winkwilliam is on the recommended list for three genres!😱 That’s just fantabulous. Congrats

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Riel Rosehill
22:33 Jun 01, 2022

Thank you! It was a real surprise for me!

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