This story is a follow-up to my story “A Royal Surprise”. You may want to read it first.
Princess Victoria had been grounded by her father, the King. Shortly after she had used the serum she got at the alchemy shop to remove all her hair at the roots, she had went out to the pub with her friend and handservant Vanessa, who was also bald and beautiful now too. They had a great time drinking and reveling, and all the town came out to see the Princess’s beautiful bald head which seemed to shine in the glow of the candlelight. When she got home, the King was so angry that he locked his daughter in her room, and even had the alchemist and his assistant exiled from the kingdom, and removed Vanessa as her handmaid and had her reassigned to the kitchens. But not before the King commissioned a potion that would restore the Princess’ hair to its original length.
The King had arranged a visit from Prince Paul of the Riverlands, and the King decided it would not do to have the Princess of his Kingdom appear before him completely bald. Princess Victoria was told by the King that her options were to drink the potion and restore her hair, or he would have her sent to the Frostlands where his brother was Lord, and worse than that, her creepy cousins lived. Every time they visited as a child she got the creeps from Mordred and Malakai, her twin cousins who always seemed to leer at her and undress her with her eyes.
So Princess Victoria reluctantly drank the hair-growth potion that was made for her. She longingly ran her hands over her perfectly smooth scalp and sighed before finally drinking the potion. It was bitter and she nearly vomited it back up, but she drank the whole vial. Within moments, her scalp began to itch and raven stubble sprouted from her smooth head, and began to grow rapidly. Within a minute, she had a fuzz covering her scalp, and within 5 minutes it had grown to her shoulders. Princess Victoria wondered how long it would grow, if it would ever stop, but she soon got her answer as her hair ceased growing once it had reached her waist. For all her effort, Victoria’s hair was now as long as it had ever been before, maybe even longer. Victoria again sighed, this time sadder, and threw her face into her pillow and began to sob. She missed being bald already, her long raven locks spilling all over her silk pillowcase. The King be damned, Victoria was determined to become bald again one way or the other.
The next morning, Victoria awoke and the first thing she noticed was her midnight hair spilled all around her face. With disgust, Victoria took it into a ponytail and tied it off with a ribbon. Victoria left her room later than usual. She put on a Violet-colored gown with lace around the fringes that drug the stone floor and stockings. She didn’t want the King to have the satisfaction of seeing her with her restored long hair, so she took the Western corridor to avoid the throne room, and made her way to the kitchens. Once there, she walked into the baking area, and lightly tapped on the shoulder of a young woman kneading dough wearing a faded brown dress and a head-scarf as well as boots. “Vanessa?” the Princess inquired.
The young woman spun around, “Victoria? Morning princess! Oh i’ve missed you so! Oh no, so the King made you grow your hair back after all?” Vanessa continued on talking until the Princess simply grabbed her friend and embraced her and began weeping. “Oh no, Victoria, don’t cry! It looks good, really it does, you know I always loved brushing it!” Vanessa ran her hands through her friends hair. “Here, let me get you somthing to drink! Hector, bring me an ale! Make it two!” she shouted.
A moment later, an olive skinned young man with a completely bald head appeared with three mugs of ale. “Don’t forget one for me!” he said with a smile. He set two mugs on the table and handed the third to the Princess. He embraced Vanessa with both arms and held her tight “Anything of course for my bald angel, and her beautiful friend, the Princess!” Hector then removed the scarf from Vanessa’s head and planted a kiss right on top of her bald scalp. Despite the fact that the Princess and Vanessa had taken the strange liquid that left them bald a week ago, Vanessa’s head was still completely smooth, as though she had never had hair at all. The liquid had done what it had advertised, Vanessa was now permanently bald, no hair would ever grow on her scalp again. The King had only commissioned one bottle of the hair regrowth liquid, for the Princess. Why should he care if some serving girl was bald as long as his Princess had her long hair restored?
Princess Victoria sat down and drank her mug of ale in two big gulps and ran her hands through her raven tresses. “Vanessa, I need your help.” she said seriously. “Of course Victoria, you know I’ll do whatever I can. Although I think the King is watching a little closer now.” Vanessa gently broke away from Hector’s embrace and sat down beside her friend and picked up her own mug. “I know you’re gonna find some way to get rid of your hair for good, but what could you possibly do without the alchemy shop? And even if you somehow trick one of the barbers into shaving you, the King will just force the new Alchemist to make you another potion.” She took a swill from her mug and looked up from her seat, “Hector, darling, two more please.”
Hector stood above her and placed both hands on Vanessa’s shoulders before placing a gentle kiss right on top of her bald head. “Of course my love, I be right back.” Victoria picked up Hector’s mug and drank it in two drinks as well. “Actually, I have an idea already, but I need your help. Have you ever heard the stories about Lenara, the witch that lives in the Old Forest beyond the Eastern gate?”
“Lenara?!?” Vanessa exclaimed, and her face seemed to go as pale as her smooth scalp already was. “My mum used to tell my stories about her, would tell me and my brothers that she would eat bad little children! We’ve all heard the stories, but you must be joking?” Vanessa then finished her own mug and looked at her friend with concern.
“Yes, I know she knows about magic, and if there’s anyone who can help me lose this hair and get around the alchemist’s potions, it’s her” Victoria said seriously. “I can’t stand having this hair, I need to be bald again, and I’ll do whatever I have to. Even asking Lenara for help. But I need your help too Vanessa.” Victoria gently stroked her friends bald head and then her cheek, before placing her hand on top of her friends. “I need your dress. And your shoes. And something to hide my hair.”
At this point, Hector returned carrying three more mugs of ale. “Gotta go grab another barrel from the brewer! Won’t be long, my love!” Victoria noticed he was wearing his cloak as well, which had a hood attached. “Hector! I love you!” Vanessa exclaimed as she undid the string that held Hector’s cloak on. She kissed him softly on the temple. “This is perfect! With my dress and this, you won’t have any trouble sneaking out through the East gate. No one will even look twice at you.” Vanessa said as she began to remove her dress. “Hector, keep a look out and make sure no one comes back here while we’re changing!” Victoria looked at her friend lovingly. “Thank you Vanessa, I won’t forget this. I’ll make father put you back as my handmaid when this is all over.” She wiped a tear from her cheek. “No worries Victoria love, if I hadn’t been sent here I’d have never met Hector. Plus I love being bald so much, I can’t believe I had hair for so many years. So whatever we can do to get you bald again, we’ll do it.”
Princess Victoria in disguise as a serving girl exited the castle through the gate with no hassle at all. She hastened her steps quickly towards the swamp. The roads outside of town could be dangerous for an unattended serving girl, but no travelers frequented the road to the East Swamp. Still, Hector had insisted that the Princess take an ornate jeweled dagger that he said he received from his uncle for his 18th birthday, and she was happy to receive it. She reached beneath her cloak and felt that the dagger was still in her belt, which gave her a sense of security.
After nearly an hour of walking, she reached the edge of the forest which marked the beginning of the Eastern swamp at just past mid-day. Having not seen another traveler since just outside the castle gate, she decided that it was safe to remove her cloak and let her hair down. She was beginning to sweat under the weight of it put up in her heavy cloak. She could not wait until she could relieve herself of the burden of her tresses once and for all. Lenara was known to all in the kingdom as a powerful sorceress, some say she was a witch of some renown who came to the kingdom from across the sea, others say that she was born in the castle, an illegitimate child of some nobleman who cast her out shortly after her birth, either way the truth known to a select few, while the legend took on a life of its own. Her name was used as a scary story to frighten young children into behaving. All Victoria knew is that if anyone would know a spell or potion to be able to make her permanently bald, then it would be Lenara.
After another hour of travelling through a narrow forest path, eventually Victoria found a cottage. The path to the front door was clear, but the yard was overgrown with wild plants and flowers. The cottage itself seemed to be half falling down, with a large hole in the back of the roof, and a wall that seemed to be held up by a large oak tree growing through it. Summoning her courage, she took a deep breath and strode up to the front door, not willing to abandon her quest for anything at this point. She drew up her fist and knocked once on the wooden door.
To Victoria’s surprise, the door swung open slowly as she knocked on it. “Hello?” she intoned to the seemingly empty hallway in front of her. She poked her head inside. The house seemed to be empty, although the hallway seeemed to stretch much longer than the cottage seemed to be from the outside. Slowly, she stepped inside, and as she cleared the threshold, the door slammed behind her, causing her to jump. “Who are you? What do you want?” asked a low, raspy voice from far away down the hall. “You shouldn’t have come here.”
“My name is Victoria, I am a…” she almost said she was a Princess, but she saw no reason to use her status unless necessary, “I am a traveler. I’ve traveled far and wide in search of a wise man or woman who can help me relieve me of something that has become a burden to me. I believe you may be her.” Victoria stood up tall and proud, and threw her hair over her shoulder as she spoke. “Are you as powerful as they say, Lenara?”
Suddenly the hallway lit up with torchlight, and Victoria realized that there was a Great Hall at the end that was glowing with light. She took several slow steps until she could see the interior of the chamber. What she saw inside shocked her. There was a throne upon a platform, and seated in the throne was the most beautiful woman that Victoria had ever seen. She had long, glorious red hair that shimmered in the candlelight like the sunrise itself. She wore no clothing except for a simple white silk robe. Victoria realized that she was staring and forced herself to blink. It seemed to take hours before the beautiful woman finally spoke. “I am all they say and more. And yet I am not at all what they say I am either. I simply am Lenara.”
“Oh great Lenara, I seek your help.” the princess proceeded to tell her story to this mysterious woman, who regarded her tale with laughter, and then tears, and finally silence. When the Princess finished speaking, she bowed her head and began to sob. “All I desire is to rid my head of this ungodly hair forever, that another hair shall never grow from my head ever again, that I shall be bald forever. Please, can you help me?”
Lenara sighed, and took a sip from a golden goblet that sat at her right hand. She stood up and glided effortlessly to Princess Victoria and gently took her chin in her long, slender fingers. “My child, of course I can do this thing. But you need to search your heart, to make sure that this is what you truly desire. For if it is, then it is within my power to grant it, but you may not like what the true cost can be. For what I do, I do for reasons that are all my own, and though it also be in your power to refuse, I can take back my gift any time as well. Be this truly what your heart wants?”
“More than anything.” the princess sobbed, “Please, make me bald forever.”
“Then it shall be so.” Lenara whispered a few words in a language that the Princess did not understand, and then placed both her hands on the princess forehead, right at her hairline. Victoria felt a tingle, and then Lenara began to run her hands through Victoria’s long raven locks. As she did, Victoria felt her hair begin to loosen and fall out around her. She felt the top of her head only to feel that it was perfectly smooth, as more raven locks fell out all around her. The top of her head was now completely bald, while her long dark hair still hung onto the sides and back. Again, the sorceress ran her hands through the remainder of her midnight tresses, it fell out around her and onto the ground. Princess Victoria was now completely bald once again.
“Oh my God, thank you so much!” Victoria exclaimed. Her hands immediatly began rubbing her newly bald pate. “Now hold still.” Lenara said as she looked over Victoria’s bald head. She took a vial from a shelf. Emptying the contents onto Victoria’s scalp, she began to slowly massage it in. “This is Dragon’s Tears. From the last Dragon this side of the sea. It will dissolve your hair below the skin so it will never grow again, guaranteed.” Victoria felt her scalp burn for just a moment as Lenara rubbed it in, as her hair follicles were permanently seared away. She looked at herself in a mirror on the wall. Her head looked perfectly pale and as though, yet again, she had never had any hair to begin with. “So what is this cost that I have to pay?”
Lenara took a step back from the princess, and she slowly dropped her silk robe, revealing her perfect body in all it’s glory. Her bronze skin shone in the light of the chamber, and her eyes glowed with a sinister gleam that Victoria had not seen before. “What I want…Princess…is you.” Lenara began to caress her perfect breasts “Don’t you want me? Am I not the perfect specimen?”
“You are…nearly perfect.” the princess sneered at the swamp witch. “But I think that I would like to see what you would look like without all that hair. Are you brave enough to let me make you as bald as I am…” Victoria summoned all of her courage and lowered her voice as she crept toward the imposing figure of the statuesque goddes before her. She leaned into her ear and whispered…”Brave enough to let me make you bald….forever?” she licked the inside of her ear as she said that last word “Forever”.
To be concluded in Final Chapter