It was a hazy evening and the students of the ballet class were returning to their dorms. The fountain was pouring its heart. It was singing a sweet goodnight to the angels who would soon have their dinner and go to bed. The ballet academy had a vast playground and several trees flowers and rides to play with. The spring-well fountain was the centre of attraction and the favourite place of the students. They used to practice their dance-lessons until they reached perfection. Their shoes would wear out at the end of the month but they did not care. They wanted to be ideal. Such was their dedication and their ballet teacher Mr Meow was equally good. He had strange whiskers like a cat and a funny temperament. If he found a student dull-as-ditchwater in his/her performance he would go wild and run around the hall and scream and ask them to fetch loads of Jalapenos for him to eat. It was quite amusing to watch but the students loved him and knew he was worried about them.
The class saw its best students this year. Rue cha, Keith, Ana, and Ahiru. They were beautiful dancers and possessed unique qualities. Rue cha was an exquisite girl with raven like hairs and legs like butter sticks. She was dainty and danced like a fairy queen in the wonderland. She and Keith made an alluring pair and whenever they danced together, it created a magic on stage. The ballet positions like pirouette and arabesque looked dainty while they performed. Ana was a solo performer and her moves were dark and acrobatic. The students stood in the academy hall-room, saw them perform, and joined them in creating a magical atmosphere along with beautiful symphonies. It was because of these perfectionists the call for the all-round Ballet Competition was in the air. Everyone knew that it was a piece of cake for the groupers. They believed in their talent and Mr Meow. Last but not the list was Ahiru. Her full name was Ahiru Mei Chan.
Ahiru was small, thin and a duck-lookalike. Her eyes were big and wide full of curiosity. Her friends called her a duck-face or a clumsy dancer. Thanks to her large orange hairs the others standing behind never stopped to sneeze. Ahiru was quaky, ducky, and bit like a girl who had a hard time dancing a ballet. Mr Meow considered her his ‘Morning Crises’ as he had to control his temper while counting her mistakes. Poor Ahiru! She had a hard time in the academy.
At her room near the attic, she used to gaze at the blue sky and feed the little sparrows that sat on her window. Some liked her hairy-nest so much that they had a good mind to build their nest on her head. She did not mind that. All she wished was a jocund company and waiting for her prince that was Keito Biros. She wanted to have a moonlight dance for once in her lifetime with him. Alas! It was still a dream for her, as keito was taken. He was Rue’s prince.
Ahiru was an ordinary clumsy girl for others. She was a mess for her friends and for herself. Her panic attack came umpteen times a day when she bumped into Keito. She fluttered, blushed, and tripped twice on the hall-floor saving her soul. However, there was a sweet white secret lurking in her heart.
Her innocent red locket with which she fiddled contained her majestic charm. She was a Princess. A Duck Princess designed and destined to save the prince she silently prayed for his safety
She had a musician friend named Adele. She played sweet hopeful tunes with her musical box. Ahiru listened intently and all her sadness would wash away. Her hopes of being with Keito would become stronger and she gained more strength as a princess determined to save her love. One day the destiny smiled at her and she got the opportunity to fulfil her wistful dream. It was practice session for the Ballet Competition.
All the ballet boys and ballerinas had gathered in the meeting hall. It was full of mirrors so it looked as if there were thousands of tiny dancers standing in a queue. Each one had to give a solo performance so that the dance movements could be monitored. The star performers Rue and the other girls performed gracefully. The hall filled with applauds and whooping. Ahiru was standing at the end of the line. She watched Rue and Keito performing with mesmerizing eyes. They moved like a coupling of the swans. It was a stunning performance but Ahiru had her heart elsewhere. “So seemingly beautiful”! Why oh why can I not take a hold of his hands just once in mine?” Why am I so incompetent? I wish I had the same grace and fiery spirit as Rue… L! She was musing and knotting her fingers while her gaze was fixed on keito.
“MISS AHIRU CHAN!” She panicked and whirled around. Mr Meow was staring at her with rage. “Oh no I am in trouble!” Ahiru was petrified. “Miss Chan I believe this is a practice and monitoring session?” So where is your concentration headed?” If you do not focus on your steps, I am afraid I will have to eliminate you right away! You understand?” yeaaasss… She blabbered. “I am sorry Mr Meow” she smiled wanly. Mr Meow went ahead huffing and puffing. It was her turn now. She had to show her best this time. Ahiru took a deep breath and glancing sideways to her love she went in the middle of the studio.
The tune went in the air- “Although my love is small it is big enough for the world to be conquered!” she closed her eyes and surrendered to the rhythm. She danced. Oh how she danced! Her body as if was under the musical spell. All she wanted was to be a perfect dancer for her beloved prince. There was an aura of love around her and she consumed the energy in her
She danced a beautiful pirouette and an arabesque pose finishing with a perfect pas-de-deux. When the music ended, the audience was silent and stunned. Even Rue was looked dismayed a bit and was staring at her with venomous eyes. Mr Meow was silent for a while and shaking his head came towards her. A sudden roaring deafening applause filled the hall with catcalls and whopping.
Nobody could believe she danced so well Even Ahiru did not believe what her body did She recovered her senses and looked shyly at Keito. For once, he looked surprised and wowed in disbelief. “Well done Miss Chan!” I did not know you had that in you.” You surprised us today dear Ahiru.” Mr Meow said with obvious appreciation. I believe I have to rethink over my decision of creating the star couple in the competition. Keep doing your best and soon it will be your time.” Ahiru was beaming. She bowed graciously to the students and went back to her place. One after one the performers showed their talents and grace and it was indeed a beautiful evening. Later some refreshments were served and the students got ready to retire for the night.
“My oh my! I saw his smile! He was smiling at my dance. He liked it. Oh Keito!” Our duck princess was secretly hugging herself with glee. She knew she had reaped a seed of friendship in his heart. She mused again, “Calm down you duckling! You have a bad bad habit of over thinking things in your little feathery head. It is just the first step. I am not sure whether he will ever talk with me or sit with me in the fields. “She thought of sharing this with Adele but decided it was after ten and surely the girls wouldn’t let her go out of the premises at this time of night”. Maybe later I can ask”.
As she hurried towards her room, she heard a strange noise near the pond-side. “Oh dear! Who can that be?” Ahiru widened her blue eyes and patted her hairs. It was a nervous gesture of our little miss duckling. “Surely, it is just a bat or a bird. Oh, crap! Let me check.” She walked slowly towards the flower bush. It stirred again and she froze. Something came out from behind and two dark twinkling eyes stared at her.
KEITO? Heart failure! Ahiru was dumbfounded and unable to speak. “What is he doing here? Is he in pain? Is he in trouble? What is wrong?” Minutes passed and keito came out and stood before her but still not speaking. Finally, she recovered herself and smiled wanly at him. “umm ahem hi keito. What are you doing here? It is so late.” Keito remained silent. More time passed. Ahiru was uncomfortable now. She tried to ask the matter but he did not say a word. “God! What is wrong with him?” Is he staring at me because I look like an idiot? he is in some deep thought? Oh what should I do? Ahiru knew these moments were priceless even though nothing happened. She laid her eyes on her prince and they were near the moonlight pond with tranquil surrounding.
Keito came a bit closer and her breathing increased. He came nearer and nearer and suddenly as if in a rapt took her hand and whispered-“Ahiru Chan. You danced so well. You are like a secret dancer in the dark please will you dance with me tonight?”
“Did he just?” Our duck princess’s invisible feathers stood up with amazement and shock. He is asking me for a dance. Is this a dream? Her already big eyes became wider but she did not answer. Keito smiled. His big brown eyes lit up with some unnamed emotion. Keito had the most beautiful smile. Slow and loving. Ahiru was mesmerized. Keito repeated his question. “Get a grip you duck!”
“Yes, My Prince I will dance with you.” Smiling, he bowed graciously before her and took her hand and together they went near the water bank.
It was a star-studded night and Ahiru was dancing slowly and happily in her prince’s arms. It was a magical dream for her. The tree branches swayed to the music of the wind, an imperceptible music box played heavenly tunes as Ahiru, and Keito swayed around the pond. Ahiru felt like a duck princess. She had trail of thoughts running in her mind but her heart was thumping with elation. Keito was looking at her big blue eyes and never for a moment had she felt that she was mocked as a feather-brained duck. She felt like a princess dancing with her knight.
“Oh keito! How had I longed for this moment to become alive? My entire life I had been waiting for you to hold me in your arms and dance a pas-de-deux. My destiny willed me to save you from all evil and I will give you your heart back. I give you a promise from my soul.” Ahiru meditated these thoughts deep in her spirit and the aura became stronger. Adele looked from far distance and smiled “A duck’s heart can act like a human. A girl will transform into a ballerina princess when she has to save her prince in distress”.
“I may look like a duck but inside I am your princess and my piece of heart belongs to you” Ahiru opened her eyes and found that she had transformed into a Duck princess with yellow and white gown
She looked alluring and heavenly. Keito was wearing a royal knight’s attire. Her love for him had transformed their souls and the starry night witnessed their beautiful union.