Royal Debt

“So…,” Greg smiled at the two women in his office. “What can I do for you ladies?” he asked. The pair of women did not have an appointment, but he had none scheduled. There was not much demand for freelance accountants. He was thrilled when the two well-dressed women showed up at his door. Each woman’s neck, wrists, and fingers were adorned with elegant silver and emerald jewelry. Their outfits, flowing dresses in shades of green, were made from fine silk. They seemed to be made of money and Greg hoped to earn them as clients.

“We’ve come to settle a debt, Mr. Gutierrez,” the woman with a white rose in her hair said. Both women wore fresh flowers in their simlarly-styled pixie cuts. Their features looked so similar that Greg wondered if they were twins. The only way he could tell them apart was by the flower in their hair.

“I can definitely help you with that,” Greg chuckled. “I’ve got over 40 years of experience with financial contracts. Is the debt between you two, or are we still waiting on another party?”

“It’s…,” the woman with a red rose in her hair spoke timidly. “It’s your debt,” she said to Greg.

“Whoa,” Greg rolled his chair back slightly. “I don’t owe anybody anything,” he said. “I’ve never seen either of you before.”

“Uhmm,” the one with the red rose bit her bottom lip while she looked to the other woman. The woman with a white rose gave a slight nod. “50 years ago…,” the shy one said. It sounded like she had more to say; but, instead of finishing her thought she began to glow with a brilliant green light. In the blink of an eye, she shrunk down to a six-inch tall fairy that landed on Greg’s desk.

“OHMYGOD!” He shouted at the winged fairy, but he lowered his voice when she covered her ears. “You’re real!?” he asked. “I .. I thought I made it all up.” His excitement was shortlived; it lasted until he remembered their reason for being there. The childhood memory he dismissed as a dream came flooding back in vivid detail.

“The debt…,” he said. The fairy nodded. After a bright, green flash the woman with a red rose in her hair was sitting in her seat again. “I was a kid, I thought I imagined the whole thing.” Greg hoped he could find a way out of his childhood promise. He was finally in a comfortable place in his life. He would be 60 the next month; he felt that he did not need any more complications so late in the game. “We can just agree to call it even, right?”

“We could,” the white-rosed woman replied. “But, I won’t. The bargain between you two is too important to my kind.”

“How important can it be? You let an 8-year-old kid deal,” Greg replied with more than a little snark. The woman smiled.

“You humans have much to learn about how the universe works,” she said. “If you were not the person we need right now, you would not have met Flora…,” she gestured at the woman with the red rose. “… when you were eight. But you did. Flora will be taking my place as Queen next month.”

“Next month!?” Greg’s question was almost a shout. The Queen nodded, then looked around Greg’s office with a noticeably upturned nose.

“That should be enough time to organize your affairs. On the 20th of next month, you’ll take your place as her husband.”

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