By Lote <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: February 2002
Summary: A LnC/Fairy Tale story. As Princess Lois is growing up, the mystical ball she received for her 10th birthday has a bigger impact on her life than she ever would have imagined.
At ten years old, Princess Lois had her birthday and amongst her presents, was a beautiful red-gold ball which glowed when it was touched. Fascinated by it, she would play with it for hours, trying to learn its secrets. When she was alone, it would even show her pictures of a land far away. The story it told was of a prince being sent away in a disguise for his own safety. By the time she had learnt of the existence of this prince, she was truly curious of the ball's origins.
Being the inquisitive princess that she was, she had asked everyone who attended her birthday if they knew who had given it to her. Unfortunately, no one knew. At last, she gave up and instead focused on her geography lessons, determined to find out where this land might be. However, it was futile. None of the lands she studied bore any resemblance to the land described by the ball.
Seasons passed. While the ball was still her favourite toy and the story still pricked her curiosity, the weight of princessly duties pushed the story to the back of her mind. Princess Lois was blooming like a rose as she grew up and into her role as a princess of the kingdom. Many princes and lords came from far and wide to seek for her hand in marriage. But none appealed to her. Her parents, the doting parents that they were, didn't force her to make a choice. Instead, they told her to wait. "One day, the right prince will come for you, my child," her mother comforted her.
One day, Princess Lois went out to her favourite lake to have a picnic, and on impulse, she brought her beloved ball with her. One of the strange properties of the ball was that it could float on air. So on that day, she looked around to assure herself that there was no one to stumble into this secret. After assuring that she was alone, she threw the ball into the air. Unfortunately the ball failed to float, but instead, plummeted to the bottom of the lake.
Princess Lois was distraught; her favourite ball, the one which had spurred her education and imagination, was now lost. She decided to strip down to bare essentials before braving the cold waters of the lake to rescue her precious ball. Before she could even start to unbutton her frock, a voice rung out, "Hold your horses, Your Highness. I can rescue your ball for you."
She looked around but saw no one. "Who said that? Where are you hiding? Come out where I can see you!" she challenged, stepping closer to her shortsword for protection.
"Look you downward, dear princess. I'm right in front of you," the voice replied.
Princess Lois looked down to find a big, ugly frog looking at her in amusement. "You? You're the one who spoke?" she asked the frog in amazement. "How can a frog speak?"
"As well as any human, it seems. Even better than some humans," the frog answered rather sarcastically. "Well, princess. Let me introduce myself. I'm Clark, the frog, and I'm here at your service."
Lois was still surprised to find a talking frog, but she wasn't above taking advantage of the situation. "Well, then. If you're really here at my service, why aren't you gone? Why haven't you fetched my ball for me?" she demanded imperiously.
The frog chuckled, making a sound that was more like croaking. He didn't seem offended by her behaviour. "Now, princess. As you know, any good deed deserved to be rewarded. So I'm just going to ensure that I will get the reward I want before hand," he clarified good naturedly.
Princess Lois frowned at the frog. Who was he to demand such things? "Forget it, I'll go and retrieve it myself," she said, moving around Clark, the frog.
Clark wasn't about to let her escape though. "Ho, princess. Are you sure about that? The lake is very deep and it is dark down there. You will not be able to see a thing."
Princess Lois whirled round and glared at him. "If I can't, how can a little," emphasising the word 'little', "frog like you succeed?"
"Ah, but I have special powers. I can hold my breath much longer than anyone I know and my eyesight is used to the dark," he said smugly.
"Oh, all right! What is the reward that you want?" she asked, thinking that the frog would probably request for a year's supply of flies or something like that.
"For you to kiss me," stated Clark.
"What!" Lois shrieked. "Forget it, Frog! I will not kiss a stupid frog."
"My name is Clark," Clark said patiently. "Seriously, I want to be your companion for a year. Your best friend, where we would share meals, bed, and everything else. You will find me very useful to have around."
Lois considered his request. She was sure that it was a he since no female frog would ask such outrageous requests. She wondered if it was easier for her to kiss him and be done with it than to accede to his request to be a companion. "Clark," she said conciliatorily, "I believe I will accept your first request to kiss you, instead."
"No, princess. That wasn't what you wanted. You can take the second offer or leave it," Clark refused to bargain.
Princess Lois fumed for a while but soon came to the realisation that she had to have the ball and Clark was the only one who could retrieve it. Finally after a lot of muttering, she spoke to him. "I accept."
"Good, now wait here." Clark immediately jumped into the lake and disappeared from sight.
Lois waited patiently, well as patiently as she knew how, with lots of curses and muttering of how stupid she was and how frogs were not to be trusted. It seemed like ages before Clark emerged with the ball in his mouth.
"Here you are, Princess. Now, you need to fulfill your part of the bargain," he demanded.
Lois, who had snatched the ball the moment he dropped it, looked at the frog and shuddered. But a promise was a promise. She picked Clark up and put him into the basket together with the ball before leaving the area.
On her arrival at the palace, Princess Lois explained to her parents what had happened and of her promise to Clark to share everything of hers with him for a year. Her understanding parents agreed and accepted him as her companion.
As days and weeks passed, people got used to seeing their princess accompanied by a big frog wherever she went. To the council meetings, to the balls, and other occasions. At first, Lois found it difficult to adjust to having a constant companion and an ugly one at that. But she soon found Clark to be a great friend and a wise advisor. He was loyal to a fault.
Once a prince from a neighbouring kingdom came to court her and she almost fell for him. But Clark's advice made her eyes open and she saw what a cruel man the prince was. She refused him and sent him away.
Day by day, as she got to know Clark better, she found herself falling for him. He was very courteous to everyone and was, before long, a favourite of the servants. He taught her kindness to her servants through his examples when before she wasn't even aware of their existence. He was a good diplomat and the king soon saw the wisdom of having him sit in during negotiations of treaties. He was a lot of other things, but most of all, she loved him for the gentle, honest creature that he was. He put up with her tantrums, her babbles, her mood swings and everything else she dished out to him without ever getting discouraged by them. Yes, she was falling for a frog, who acted more like a prince than any other princes she knew. But how was she to tell him of her feelings. He seemed happy just being her friend, and no more.
Soon the day arrived when the year long companionship must end. Clark prepared himself to leave the palace while Lois watched him pack what little he had gathered during the year. Most of the things he had had could not be brought back to the lake where he was from.
"Clark, do you have to go? Can't you stay?" she asked him.
Clark hopped, turning to face her. She saw his eyes were filled with pain. "I wish I could. I really wish that, Lois. You've been a great companion and I'll cherish your friendship till the day I die," he said softly. "But leave, I must. You must get on with your life too. Treat this as an interlude, a dream from which you gathered some rest and strength."
"Oh, Clark," Lois sighed, her eyes filling up with tears. "At least, let me give you one last thing."
He looked at her in surprise. "All right," he acceded.
She leaned forward and kissed him on his big mouth. Suddenly, the world tilted and shook. When it righted itself, she found herself in the arms of a handsome stranger. Shocked, she quickly disengaged herself. "Who are you? How did you get in? Where is Clark?" she asked, frantically searching for her best friend.
The stranger looked amused at her antics. "Lois, calm down. Clark's here."
She glared at him. "Where is he?"
"Look you downward, dear princess. I'm right in front of you," the stranger quoted.
Princess Lois took a step back. "Clark?" she asked in a hush tone.
The stranger smiled a familiar smile. "Yes, Lois. I am Clark. Give me your ball," he requested.
Stunned by the turn of events, she handed him her precious ball. As he accepted it, it glowed and started to spin. It soon floated above their heads and pictures came out of it. Once more it told the story of the prince who was disguised and sent away in order to save him. But now, it revealed the name of the land and the royal family. The land was called Krypton and the royal family ruling over it was called the House of El. The prince was named Kal.
She saw how the prince was sent away in a ship, drifting across oceans until at last it reached the shores of her kingdom. She saw how the ship stranded upon a river mouth and the prince fell off it, turning into a tadpole as he reached the water. She saw too how the tadpole grew to be a frog and his adventures all those years until one day she saw an image of herself talking to the frog prince.
After the pictures ended, she found herself once again in Clark's comforting arms. She was amazed at what she had seen, and what she had recently found out; she loved being in his arms, feeling safe and secure. "Oh Clark, you're Kal, aren't you?" she asked him.
He nodded. "Yes. My parents didn't know that the disguise they gave me would ultimately imprison me. They thought only to protect me. But then the key to releasing the disguise was the love of my soulmate, something which I couldn't find amongst the frogs. It was almost impossible to find amongst human too, that is, until you came along."
"To think that I almost refused you that chance," Lois lamented.
"But you didn't. That is all that matters," Clark, or Kal, told her. He silenced any more remorse from her by kissing her soundly.
"You do know that you have thoroughly compromised me and have to marry me now," she teased him after he let her up for air.
He laughed, a joyful sound to hear. "Aye, my dear. There is nothing I would like to do better."
So the prince and princess were married and lived happily ever after.