CHAPTER FOUR—The Price of Misfortune
“DO NOT GO FURTHER!” cried a bird
As it circled above, being a hassle
While down below the girl with pink blossom-hair
And the fiery sprite walked up to the castle.
“I know you two: Plum, the girl born a tree
Who uprooted herself in the deep wood.
And the fire-eater, the sprite who craves flame
And is usually up to no good.
You have come all this way to see Her Majesty,
But I warn you, turn away, go back!
You will find no mercy or compassion here,
You will only end up as Her Majesty’s snack!”
“Who are you, little bird?” asked Plum,
“How do you know us? Why are you here?
How do you know Her Majesty’s cruelty?
Why do you instill us with such fear?”
“I’m the Karmaburra, a keeper of universal balance.
I once belonged to Her Majesty, happily serving
When she was once known as the Fortune Queen
And granted good and bad luck to those deserving.
But then she grew selfish, hoarding all good fortune
For herself, and only giving her subjects bad.
She became rich and powerful, the people poor and weak
I tell you, I was tired of us being had!
So I decided to steal away her luck powers
But such magic is tied to a person’s soul,
So while she slept, I plucked out her soul-seed
And I escaped before she knew what I stole.
I dropped the seed in the deep ancient wood,
Hoping it might be lost from her forever.
But one day I flew over the spot, and saw
A plum tree was growing, and it was quite clever,
For it learned to grow feet and walked away,
And now it is standing here before me today.”
“So Her Majesty is burning down the forest,
Looking for her soul in the soil, which is me?”
Plum was quite frightened, but stood straight and tall,
And said, “Let me in to see Her Majesty.”
“So you ARE quite dumb,” said the fire-eater.
“Did you hear the bird? About the snack?
She wants her soul-seed, which is within you,
She’ll devour you if you don’t turn back.”
“Perhaps it is destined, or just my ill luck,
But I can’t let the old trees suffer and die in flame.
Maybe there is something I can do to make things right,
I’m not afraid of Her Majesty, if we are one in the same.”
So Plum thanked the Karmaburra for his warning,
Thanked the fire-eater for guiding her there,
And then entered the place of Her Majesty,
To face whatever fate awaited her in this lair.