When he awoke, Blue was still in the balloon basket, lying on a red blanket, his head pillowed in soft comfort. It was dawn. All was calm. They were alive. His pain gone.
“Ophelia,” Blue said, trying to muster strength to shout.
“Here, love,” she said, peering out the basket window behind him.
She radiated happiness. Blue couldn’t help but smile.
“The whole castle below is transformed. Polished marble pillars shine. Everything is perfection. It’s incredible. Oh, and I put the golden bird in a little cage. It laid three golden eggs,” she said.
“The magic golden bird is your ticket to freedom,” he said. “The manager will not find you profitable without any pearls.”
“Not entirely true, my love. There is one pearl left.”
There at the end of a solitary thin chain dangled a lonely pearl.
“Maybe you should kiss it away,” she teased.
“Oh, no! Enough kissing. I haven’t got the strength.”
“Then, poor man, you are at my mercy.”
It was no use. She kissed Blue warmly and lovingly in spite of his weakness.
The pearl still remained.
“This pearl won’t dissolve. In fact, I believe it’s glowing brighter.”
“Well, one pearl won’t hurt. Will it?” asked Ophelia.
“I love you,” he said.
Blue felt stronger. But, the pearl was still there.
“Kiss me again,” Blue said.
Somehow, Blue’s strength was returning fast. The wicked curse was gone. Blue’s memory returned.
“I’m Prince Blue. I recognize MY castle. The witch cast a spell on me. I ran away. Now, I’m whole again! Incredible!”
Ophelia embraced Blue. They danced and cried for joy.
“Dear Blue, my tears. Look! They’re just wet. No more pearls,” she laughed.
They were two of the happiest people in all time. The echo of Ophelia’s sorrow in the circus cart was the same voice sounding inside Blue. Both longing for freedom and yearning for love. All was changed. Blue’s wealth and position restored. Ophelia’s burden gone. He had freed her! She had freed him! Soon, they happily married. The two-headed boy rang the chapel bells, while muttering back and forth, head-to-head over which head thought Ophelia the most beautiful.