The Case of the Missing Frog Prince A Short Story by A. F. Stewart
The Case of the Missing Frog Prince
One of the stories from my short fiction collection, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...
The Case of the Missing Frog Prince
I’m Detective Piper of the Fairyland Metro Police, and I’ve been called in to investigate the incident of the missing frog prince…
I was standing in the Starlight Ballroom, surrounded by the remnants of the Spring Charity Ball, and dozens of shaken witnesses. The party’s host, Princess Cinderella, was standing in front of me, ready for her interview.
“I know you’re upset Highness, but can you tell me what happened here.”
“It was awful! The Snow Queen crashed the party! I mean, who does she think she is, just storming in here all cold and wind. She wasn’t even invited!”
“What did she do, after she entered the ballroom?”
“She was screaming and ranting, pushing her way through the crowd looking for Prince Ivan. It was so crass, Detective. She was carrying on about some grievance over the Prince’s engagement party. She confronted him and they had an argument, over an unpaid catering fee! She accused him of not paying her for the ice sculptures! I knew she was having money problems, but I had no idea she had been forced to sell her talents as menial labour. How very tacky.”
Considering her former status, I thought that remark a bit hypocritical.
“She was just so upset, livid. She disrupted the entire party shouting, threatening, and then…” The Princess stopped, a sob cutting off her words.
“It’s all right, Highness, take your time.”
She sniffled before continuing. “The whole situation just got out of hand, with nasty words said by both. Then, well, the Snow Queen ended it. She turned Prince Ivan into a frog! A frog, Detective, a frog!”
“Yes, that was rather spiteful. Now, how exactly did the frog, uh, Prince Ivan go missing?”
“Well… as you might imagine the atmosphere was a bit chaotic, guests screaming and running. Everyone was frightened, you see. I’m afraid Prince Ivan simply hopped away unnoticed in the mayhem.”
Her story squared with the other witness I’d interviewed; Princess Briar Rose, Lady Rapunzel, Princess Belle, and Hansel and Gretel all said much the same. That left me to track down the frog from the land of the missing. At least the Snow Queen had been apprehended, but she was swearing she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Now I had to get down to business...
Morning had dawned, but I was no closer to locating the missing Prince Ivan.
Last night had been a busy one. The Prince’s fiancée, Princess Vassilissa, had been questioned, but told me little, spending most of the time weeping into her lace. The Snow Queen had been booked and I’d put out an All Fairies Bulletin on the frog. At first light, I had sent out search teams to comb the swamp, but nothing had turned up so far.
“Detective Piper, I might have something!” Officer Simon waved from across the room; standing beside him was Jack Nimble. I motioned them both over.
“Detective, Jack says he might have seen our missing frog.” Officer Simon turned to Nimble. “Tell him, Jack.”
“Well, I was out on the Evergreen Forest Road, doing my night watchman rounds, just me and my candle. It was dawn, just before I finish up, when I see this shadow. Well, I got my duty, so I go to investigate and I see this frog, jumping along the Enchanted Glade path. I don’t think nothing about it at the time; it ain’t unusual to see a frog headed that way. But later, when I heard about what happened, I figured I’d better come in and report it.”
“You did the right thing, Jack. That could very well be our missing frog.” I nodded at Officer Simon, dismissing them both.
So, the prince might be headed into the Evergreen Forest. It could be he’s on his way to the widow Rose Red, to get the spell removed. Smart frog, Rose was the best sorceress in Fairyland...
I rode out to the forest edge, and then took the path to Enchanted Pine Glade; Rose Red’s cottage was smack in the middle of the clearing. I knew something was off the minute I got to the cottage; the front door was open and Rose never leaves it open. I found Rose inside trying to reassemble her home from a jumbled mess. I’d say there had been quite a fight.
“Hey, Rose. Looks like you had trouble.”
She looked up at me. “Should’ve known you’d show up.”
“What happened? Had to do with a Frog Prince, didn’t it?”
“Oh, yes. He shows on the doorstep, wanting a potion to undo the spell. I say, sure, and in he hops, tracking enchanted frog slime all over my clean floor. Next thing I know I have dwarves busting in my front door, and kidnapping my client!”
Rose stamped her foot. “They thought they could just waltz in here and do what they pleased! The nerve! Well, I sent them running for their mothers! I just wish I could have rescued the frog, though. Stupid goons snuck him out during the melee.”
Rose tilted her head, in that endearing manner she had, and gave me a look. “What did that frog do, he’s so popular?”
“Got the Snow Queen mad at him, for starters.”
“Well, that explains the Frost Elves.”
“Yeah, a couple of them were driving the getaway carriage.”
I frowned. “That means the Snow Queen is still pulling the strings in this mess.”
Rose gave me a sympathetic smile. “They’re probably headed to the Winter Palace.”
I nodded, knowing she was right. I’d better get my parka and some backup. This investigation had turned into a rescue mission.
“Thanks, Rose. Sorry you got caught in the middle of this mess.”
“Not your fault.”
I said good-bye, and headed back to the station to get things organized...
I was standing outside the Winter Palace, bullhorn in hand, backed-up by the Fairyland SWAT team. Inside were the Frost Elves and the frog.
“The Palace is surrounded, give up the frog peacefully!”
The front door creaked open and a Frost Elf popped his head out.
“Not going to happen! You’ll never take the Palace!”
So much for peaceful negotiation. I signaled the team and they let the enchanted swamp gas fly.
The canisters crashed through the stained glass windows and engulfed the interior. I signalled again and the team stormed the Palace. It was all over in minutes and the Frost Elves were in custody.
I marched to the head Elf. “Where’s the frog?”
He flashed me a triumphant look. “You’re too late! The frog was sent to the Kitchen!”
I got a bad feeling and beat a quick path to the Palace kitchen. The smell of cooking meat greeted my arrival. The cook looked up and smiled.
“Just in time, Detective.” He picked up a plate. “Care for some frog’s legs?”
Oh, there was going to be a lot of paperwork to explain this fiasco...