1.  ‘I go by Stephanie now. Haven’t seen you in years, thought I’d drop by and say hi,’ said Stefan, flicking the wet hair from her face.
  2. The prince could not tear his eyes away from the sight he beheld…  such sinewy softness, melded in such a way as he had never seen before!
  3. He quickly recovered his manners and invited her in.
  4. Once Stephanie had dried herself off and changed into a spare potter’s smock, the prince pressed his childhood companion for answers.
  5. ‘Well, becoming a woman felt like finally coming home to my actual self,’ she explained.
  6. ‘After the transformative procedure, the person I saw in the mirror finally matched who I am on the inside. It was that important enough to me to fight for,’ added Stephanie.
  7. The prince noticed her hungry gaze at the kiln and wheel, and promptly handed her a large lump of clay to create from.
  8. She did not disappoint, as her nimble fingers worked the clay into a lovely vase.
  9. But right after she snapped a picture of her work, he gasped in shock as she pressed firmly down on the vase, deforming and destroying her hard work.
  10. ‘Why did you do that?’ he asked.
  11. ‘I’m giving it a new lease of life before it dries and sets – even if it’s good enough for others, I know it could be better. The way I knew who I truly am and wouldn’t settle for anything less. So I crushed it back to mere clay, to give it another go at being great,’ she explained, already working the wheel again.
  12. As the prince watched her carefully craft another piece, he felt the first stirrings of a long-delayed Spring.
  13. ‘Come say hi to Mum and Dad. They’ll be glad to see you,’ he said, tender in tone.
  14. ‘Not before I hear your story and finish their gift!’ said the princess, her impish smile unchanged after many moons.
  15. All the better, thought the prince as he sat down next to her, for all great things must first be good.
  16. There, that is a true story.

Image credits: Josh Pesavento, smithfineart.com, Daquella Manera, Rafolio, Wessex Archaelogy and Furryscaly | Feedback: serambi@poskod.my

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