The sun was beginning to make its journey towards the horizon and Snow Beard was on the porch enjoying some cold beer with Jeff. It was the kind of day where you felt accomplished just for being alive to enjoy it. A cool breeze was in the air and colors were beginning to seep into the sky. Off in the distance a small figure could be seen flitting around. It appeared to be a person trying very hard to be stealthy and failing. After awhile it was gone and they didn't think too much about it until a few minutes later when a rather ugly old woman came shuffling down the road. She was clad in a black shawl and carried a wicker basket.
“Oh, why hello there!” The woman said as if she hadn't noticed them until now. “My, what a fine looking dwarf you are, miss. A dwarf as pretty as yourself deserves a treat!”
The old woman smiled and pulled a green apple from her basket and presented it to Snowbeard. Jeff looked at Snowbeard and Snowbeard looked at Jeff. It isn't every day strange people try to offer you fruit and there is good reason for that.
“Uh, no thanks,” Snowbeard said, trying her best to not be rude.
“Oh come now,” the old woman cooed. “What could be better than a nice crisp apple at the end of the day?”
Jeff and Snowbeard both held up their bottles.
“Well, I suppose that would be quite nice as well,” the old woman said slowly as her eyes darted around with thought.
“Why do you have a basket of apples?” Jeff asked before the woman could think of a response.
“Because I'm an apple salesman...woman!”
“Isn't it hard to sell apples when they aren't even in season yet?” Jeff asked while taking a sip of beer.
“Well...that's the best time, because, you know, supply & demand...and market fluctuation,” the women babbled and then nervously laughed. “It's all rather complicated.”
“There's nothing more complicated than fruit. That's what my Gran always told me,” Snowbeard said chuckling a little.
“Come on, deary,” the woman said as she took a few steps closer. “Have an apple.”
“I'd rather not.”
“Just eat the apple! Eat the apple!” The crazed crone thrust the apple in Snowbeard's face.
Jeff gulped. He had learned a few things about short-tempered dwarves in the past few weeks. Thrusting things at them, even fruit, is not the best idea. They tend to see it as a threat. Snowbeard snatched the apple from the woman's hand while knocking her down. The next second the old woman was thrashing like a fish out of water as Snowbeard sat on top of her and force fed her the apple. It wasn't a pretty sight. But then, like a balloon deflating, the woman's frantic squirming slowed and then stopped all together.
“Uh oh,” said Jeff. “Is she dead?”
“She ain't dead,” Snowbeard said as she wiped her hands on her pants. “She's just asleep. Probably passed out or something. Here let's throw her out back. Maybe we'll get lucky and something will eat her.”
They were just about to haul the old crone out back when it began to contort and twist. Jeff and Snowbeard both dropped her immediately and jumped back. What had once been a bizarre apple saleswomen was now a male dwarf.
“You've got to be kidding me,” said Snowbeard.
“Do you know her...him...it?” Jeff asked.
“I think it's that dumbass King. I heard that he tried to have me killed just because I'm nicer to look at them him. Apparently he just doesn't do 'subtle',” Snowbeard said as she gave the King a little kick to see if he'd wake up.
“If he could transform himself why didn't he just transform himself to be better looking?”
“Why the heck would I know? Because he's an idiot?”
“Fair enough. So, what do you want to do with him?”
Snowbeard smiled, “Let's toss him way out back where something is sure to eat him.”
Jeff and Snowbeard hauled the King deep into the woods and threw him in a bush. They took a brief moment to soak in the feeling of success from a job well done. Jeff gave the sleeping dwarf a final prod and they headed back to the house to celebrate their victory with further drinking.
The next day a prince was walking through the woods. In most ways he was just like any other prince: handsome, charming, rich. However, unlike most princes this one had a bit of a thing for dwarves. Unfortunately for him, humans rarely have much contact with them.
The Gods must have been smiling on this prince, because this was the second one he'd seen in the past week! In fact, the last one was the reason why he had to take this dangerous path through the woods. Normally he would take the main road, but the last time he did that he came across the most gorgeous of dwarves. He had tried to put the moves on her and barely escaped with his kneecaps intact. What outrageous luck to find this beautiful little dwarf man sleeping in this bush. This one wouldn't get away from him. Not this time!
In the end everyone lived on happily ever after. Snowbeard and Jeff became quite wealthy after coming up with a way to grow and sell apples out of season. Minerson was promoted to King after Heinrich disappeared. The Prince got married to the second most beautiful dwarf if the land.
What about Heinrich you ask? Well, Heinrich did wake up eventually. He woke up shortly after a priest had declared that it was now okay for the Prince to kiss the dwarf. Admittedly, Heinrich wasn't happy to wake wake up being kissed by a man and was even less happy when he learned that mutual consent wasn't necessary for royal weddings. But after the horror had faded, he was happy. He now had someone who really appreciated his good looks and cared about him. And that's all he ever really wanted to begin with.