(An uncomfortable Quartz sits right in front of a red curtain in between a guest in either corner. In the one on the left sits a fair-haired woman upon a silver chair, wearing a fur-lined purple cloak. In the right sits a tall, lean woman in sleek, ebon gown covered with golden netting upon a gold throne. Both of these women have been guests before. Quartz doesn’t look happy to see either of them again.)
Quartz: As if having Oriana here once wasn’t bad enough. I’m not sure what the scribbler is thinking, having two evil enchantresses here at once!
Oriana: What is the meaning of this, Quartz? Why am I sharing the same space as this interloper, this sham of a sorceress?
Iama: Don’t steal my own words from me before I utter them. I existed long before you flickered in the mind of our creatrix, you sniveling, pathetic excuse for an enchantress!
Oriana: Oh, and stealing another enchantress’s tricks isn’t pathetic? The heart transforming into an apple was my spell, my magic long before you fumbled with it!
Iama: As if any woman worth calling an evil enchantress has any use for a heart. Mine, at least was pure gold, like everything I touch. Not a withered, ugly green thing which makes maidens shrink away.
Oriana: (drawing herself up) It may have been green at first, but it was red and delicious when I offered it to Blanche.
Quartz: (finally seizing a chance to get a word in edgewise) To think, you acted all remorseful about the curse when you last here. Now you speak as if you’re proud of it!
Oriana: What are you suggesting, Quartz? (She rises and advances upon the dwarf.) Are you implying that apple wasn’t red and delicious?
Quartz: (trying to hold onto his courage and not shrink away) That’s not the point-
Iama: Dwarf, my heart’s apple is made of gold. (She gets up and stalks towards Quartz.) How is that not superior?
Quartz: (huddling in on his seat) I wouldn’t know-
Oriana and Iama: Here!
(Both enchantresses move at the same moment. Iama brandishes a golden apple under Quartz’s nose while Oriana holds out red one in an aggressive offering.)
Oriana: This is the apple that took your precious Fairest away. Has there ever been an apple of such wicked enchantment as this one?
Quartz: (holding onto his courage and his scowl) No, which is why I hate the sight of it. Here I thought you were sorry for what you did to your beloved Blanche, but all it took was the company of another evil enchantress and you’re reverting back to your former self!
Iama: Don’t ignore me, dwarf. Don’t you dare disregard my apple. (to Oriana) You say yours took away this Fairest. What was she, one girl? Pah! Mine enchanted and enslaved room after room of admirers!
Quartz: (trying not to shrink back) I thought losing your heart, err, apple happened after you started turning people into gold.
Iama: It matters not. This apple holds greater sway than hers ever did.
Oriana: I see. You value quantity over quality. (She smirks.) My apple may have enchanted only one girl, but my Blanche was the fairest of them all. She was worth hundreds, no, millions.
Iama: Fairness matters not. Not in value or beauty. My Nathalie is unparalled in both, unrivaled by any other girl or princess.
Oriana: (glowers) Blanche, no, Briar may no longer be mine, but I have yet to see a girl who was her equal.
Quartz: This may be the first time you’ve said something I’ve no desire to argue with.
Oriana: Except for maybe Princess Rose.
Quartz: Whom I still have yet to met.
Iama: See? You yourself doubt your own claim. I do not. My Nathalie remains unrivalled. My apple claimed her as a victim, so my apple is superior.
Quartz: Only your apple didn’t claim her, well, I suppose it sort of did. In a symbolic fashion.
Oriana: Don’t take her side!
Quartz: Don’t expect me to take your side!
Oriana: Ah ha! That means you believe me to be a far more evil enchantress than she.
Iama: Bah. I was and am your superior in every sense.
Quartz: Look, I’m really not a good judge of who’s more of an evil enchantress than whom. You need someone who’s spent time in a seriously wicked woman’s company in ongoing stories, someone like…Christopher!
Iama: Who is this Christopher?
Quartz: Why, he’s from the Shadow Forest, a shifting dreamscape of magic and concepts taking form, yes, he’s the perfect person to judge your apples! Plus he’s Happily Ever After?
Iama: Exactly what does that mean?
Quartz: That he’s far more likely to come to a satisfactory conclusion to this argument than me.
Iama: If this Christopher is all you say he is, we shall go to him.
Oriana: We’ll let him decide whose apple is superior.
(Both women disappear. Quartz sags into his chair.)
Quartz: Forgive me, Christopher, my lad, for what I’ve unleashed upon you. At the same time, I didn’t lie. You are from the Shadow Forest. You’ve handled Duessa Ashelocke. You should be able to handle those two and their squabble. Right?
(No one answers. Quartz wipes his brow, looking a little guilty.)