Twice Upon A Time (Unfinished Fairy Tales #2)

Written By: Aya Ling

Twice Upon A Time (Unfinished Fairy Tales #2)

Aya Ling




Introduction


Seven years have passed since Kat left Athelia. Through the intervention of the goblin king’s baby daughter, the book is re-opened and Kat is transported back to Story World. Upon learning she is given a second chance, Edward is determined not to let her go this time. His chance of succeeding, however, seems like nil. Kat doesn’t remember anything of their past, she loathes life at court, and she’s anxious to return to modern world. Not to mention that there’s a price to pay for tampering with the book again…





Prologue





“And they lived happily ever after.”

A happy sigh rose from the baby goblin girl. She was sprawled on the floor, face upturned, her large, yellow, cat-like eyes shining with joy. Next to her sat a middle-aged goblin wearing spectacles with a book propped on his legs, the binding creased and the pages worn. Except for the sparkling golden crown sitting askew on his head, he looked rather ordinary.

“How many children did they have, Daddy?”

“The book doesn’t tell us, sweetie. It just ends with their wedding.”

“But what about Kat’s family in her human world? Did she ever see them again?”

“Of course she did. She returned to the human world once she completed her mission.”

The child gave a horrified gasp. “So, she just left Edward standing at the altar like that?”

“He wasn’t left alone, pumpkin. The original Katriona returned to her body, so he still has a bride. Edward arranged it so that no one would suspect Kat had switched places with the storybook Katriona. And Kat remembers nothing about her life in the fairy tale, so she is spared the pain of losing her true love. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”

Said pretty little head was now shaking in pure outrage. “That’s not a happy ending, Daddy! You lied to me! You lied!”

“Pippi!” The goblin king exclaimed. “Do stop bawling, angel.”

“You’re such a meanie! I’m never trusting you again!”

Barthelius tried to calm her down by ruffling her hair, but his fingers grew tangled in her mountain of extraordinarily curly hair—hair that reminded him of that corkscrew-shaped pasta humans called fusilli. “Really, there’s no need to be so distressed about the ending. Let’s read another story together, shall we? Or do you want to see the new doll Daddy got for you?”

He looked around at his court, silently pleading for one of them to offer a helping hand. Unfortunately for him, it was the goblins’ nature to take pleasure in another’s misfortune. Most of them only shrugged innocently or tried to mask their grins behind knobby hands.

Barthelius had no choice but to exert his absolute power as king.

“Krev!” he barked. A long-suffering goblin slunk slowly to his side. He had a face that looked as though he were squashed and ironed as a baby. “Take the princess down to the nursery. Give her another book or toy or candy—it doesn’t matter. When I come back, I want to see her pacified.”

Krev looked alarmed at the prospect of calming the little princess. “But Your Majesty . . .”

“It’s all your fault,” Barthelius muttered. “You should have united the real Cinderella together with the prince, instead of letting Katherine Wilson continue to interact with him.”

“Who, me?” Krev raised one thick, worm-like eyebrow. “Your Majesty was the one most amused when the plot went awry. We were taking bets every time I had a new report to make. Why, the queen even won a purse of gold!”

“That was before I could anticipate this—” Barthelius jerked his thumb at the spectacle on the floor beside him. His daughter was now rolling across the floor, her wails filling the air. “I had no idea she would be so fixated on that damn book. It’s been how many—six years?”

“Seven.”

“Hmph. It seems like only yesterday that we witnessed the completion of that book.”

“Can’t we rip up The Ugly Stepsister instead?”

Barthelius raised his eyebrows and jabbed a finger at Krev’s chest. “To borrow a human phrase: You. Are. Nuts. First, how are you going to track down Katherine Wilson after so many years? Second, how is she going to tear up the book when it’s only seven years old? You can’t compel a human to act unless through forbidden magic. You know the rules. Third, let’s assume she re-entered the book. The prince is already married to the real Katriona Bradshaw—are you asking him to divorce his wife and marry the human? Even if he risks the wrath of the entire kingdom by leaving a wife who did him no wrong, Katherine Wilson will still have to return to the human world once she has completed the happy ending! You’re going to break the prince’s heart twice.”

Krev heaved a sigh. His ears and shoulders drooped. “Come along, Your Highness,” he called to the little goblin princess. “Want to hear a secret story of Kat and Edward—one that didn’t appear in the book?”

Pippi asked so many questions that Krev suspected that were she living in the human world, she’d be one of those diehard fans who created book trailers and wrote fanfiction and dressed up as characters in the story. He pictured her wearing a ball gown and acting out a court presentation to the queen . . . no. The dumpy figure of a typical goblin was simply unsuited for huge frilly dresses. They usually wore plain, sack-like clothes. Goblins weren’t known for their fashion sense.