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I sit in my new dorm, sobbing. It’s not like I need a new one, anyways. The school is trying a new thing by sending out students to do their fairy tales early. No, let me rephrase that. The PEN is sending out students. TBH, though, only four students have left. So maybe I do need this dorm.
But for some reason, I feel like I won’t.
Tagatha told me that I was evil, and that it was only Paris, and I shouldn’t have gotten mad.
But I am.
We only went to Earth for school, and we’re not going back. I let everyone else take their pick, I was being nice, but this is what I get? Pft.
Just then, I faint. I cannot feel myself. I just…
Am I dead?
I wake up to flowers surrounding me.
“Hope!” Reena and Ravan rush to me.
“Where am I?” I ask.
Reena snorts. “You’re at home, silly!”
Ravan tickles me. “It’s time for dinner!” He says.
Huh. Who knew evil students could be so… sweet.
But then again, I am their daughter.
Wait. “Mom? Dad? What are you doing here?”
Reena and Ravan laugh so hard until they cry. “Our little daughter is so funny.”
Something is so wrong.
“I WAS IN THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, I THINK I DIED, AND NOW I’M HERE. EXPLAIN.” I say.
Reena and Ravan laugh even harder! “You graduated- oh no. Run, Raelynn, run!” Reena says.
I turn to see guards, ready to whisk me away.
I run, trying to activate my finger glow. It doesn’t work.
The guards throw me into a carriage and I press my face to the glass, wondering what just happened. *Note: even I, the writer, does not know what just happened.*
I wake up to a room filled with girls. Correction- filled with girls in dresses that take up twelve feet each. I glance down and notice I, too, am wearing a pink ballroom gown.
What type of fairy tale is this? The Twelve Kidnapped Dancing Commoners?
Probably. I mean, we were kidnapped, and we’re all commoners.
At least I think so.
“Ladies, no gentlemen.” A man comes in who resembles… Jax? “Well, except me.”
I roll my eyes, but then I remember mom called me Raelynn. I must have gotten a new name, or they wanted to call me that when I was a baby, but then the whole “new evil parents” thing that I don’t know about.
Raelynn… I like it. Better than Hope, anyways. There is no Hope in my life! Other than the old me, I guess.
“My name is King Jaxson, and I need you to do one thing for me.”
We all lean in like he’s going to kill us if we don’t.
Murmurs rush throughout the crowd- no, the eleven other girls- like, ***, why were we kidnapped to dance?
I totally agree. I’ve always known Jax was… not like other guys. But seriously? Kidnapped to DANCE?
“***!” I say. “You could’ve just ASKED!”
Jax turns to look at me. “I’m a King. I don’t-”
He widens his eyes. “Raelynn?” He says softly. Then recognition fills his eyes and his heart turns cold.
“Anyways.” He says, no more fake smiling. Seriousness. “You must dance until the clock strikes twelve.”
It’s noon! I know because I checked outside and the clock.
My legs turn to jelly, but I know I have to do this. It’s the fairy tale.
And so, with little to no space, we twirl, step, step, twirl.
I look up to see a pen. No, the pen. Writing my pain. My eyes brim with tears, but I just dance. Until the clock strikes twelve. And we, The Twelve Kidnapped Dancing Commoners, and the king, fall down, down, down.
Finally. I have gotten here.
Okay, I know it wasn’t right to kidnap those girls.
And I wasn’t even sure it would work.
And there was Raelynn.
Honestly, I don’t know why she changed her name. Maybe to match with her parents?
And it was just Paris! Like, seriously? Why did she leave me because she couldn’t go to Paris? That’s like leaving someone because they never gave you a cookie.
Everytime I think of Raelynn, something doesn’t feel right about her name. It’s Hope, it’ll always be Hope.
The boat is weighed down by me, threatening to sink.
Yeah, I forgot that the legend says only twelve.
ONE WEEK EARLIER
I’m flipping through books. There must be a way, a place- to hold The Secret Council Of War And Spying Affairs, or TSCOWASA. Long, I know. I’ve always wanted this cool spying club where we spied, no one could find us, etc. Don’t tell me you haven’t. I know you have.
I just never really thought I’d actually be a spy! Okay, I’m a King. And okay, I only command, but I’m a spy!
And it’s really, really boring.
Tedros blabs ON and ON and ON about keeping peace between kingdoms, and I’m just like, *** dad? Can I speak?
Tag and Agatha are busy plotting and using longitude and latitude to weaken our enemies.
But me? I’m in charge of training the spies, providing food and clothing for them, and did I mention we train almost 24/7? That’s not even the worse part. We had to dress as peasants to do our meetings, but at one point, we couldn’t pretend we weren’t royal, so all of our plans were just out there. So we had to make plans the opposite of our original plans, but changing that too.
Just then, I see a history book. Well, a “magical” history book. I grab it, hoping that it’ll show something. Anything.
What I get is more than I expect.
A map. I get a map of a magical world, and instructions. Also a story.
The instructions are to get twelve girls to dance from noon to midnight, in the astrology ballroom.
Wait… that dusty room? No way! People have gone in and never come out.
No, Jax. It’s for the good of your kingdom.
The story though… haha!
“Twelve princesses used to sleep in that room. Each more beautiful than the one before it.” Tagatha is telling me the story I tested her on. “Their father, in stupid fear that they would do something bad, locked them in their room at night. Bad parenting, if you ask me. So basically, when he woke up the next morning, told them to go to dance class, their dancing shoes were worn. Cost fortunes to buy replacements. Finally, he was like, ‘tell me what happens to your shoes.’ But they were like, ‘If you stop locking our room at night for two years, we shall tell you.’ So our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was like, ‘Hell no!’ so they shut their mouths. At one point, the king starts going broke(not really, just adds humor), and asks random strangers to stay in their room for three days and three nights to find their secret. I thought he was keeping them safe, but apparently not. So they all fall asleep, no one finds out. Now, this super old guy says, ‘sure, if I get to marry one of your daughters.’ And the king agrees. Now, this old guy cheats and goes to a witch, to help him. He follows them for three nights, collecting evidence. He tells the king and he gets to marry the eldest. Now, this eldest doesn’t want to marry an old guy, and also he was the reason they stopped dancing. So one night, before the wedding, they sneak into their old room and they live there with the prince which they danced with. The twelfth princess leaves behind her son to be an heir, and both the old soldier and the king die one week later in war. The end.”
I’m almost asleep by the end of Tagatha’s story. She knows practically everything!
And so, as I climb into my bed that night, I start to plot.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother is somewhere, down here. Is she still alive?
We’re wandering around near the other side of the lake.
“Do you know how to get back?” Raelynn says.
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