Two Birds, One Throne Edit
Nothing's more fableous than being fairytale royalty. Don't get jelly - you know it's true. Not just anyone can be the next Swan Queen. It takes a special je ne sais quoi - that indescribable quality that makes a person stand out from the flock.
Just don't lump me in with those other Royals at school. Unlike those overprivileged princesses, my Happily Ever After wasn't delivered on a silver platter. Hex, I don't even have a Happily Ever After. I'm destined to have a tragic ending, where I'm cursed into the body of a swan. Well, isn't that just spelltacular? It really ruffles my feathers.
But it's not going to be that way forever after. I have bigger plans. I'm going to live my Royal destiny, but there's no way this Swan has a Happily Never After. All I need is a window of opportunity, and I'm going to dance right through it.
Before the bell rang, all the other girls flocked together to dish about all the high school drama. While they chit-chatted about boys and parties, I pored over my notes. Midterm hexams were only a few weeks away. It takes a lot to hocus focus to be the top princess in school, especially with distractions like Briar Beauty snoring in the back row all the time.
The classroom door CREEEEEKED open, and our Princessology professor, Mrs. Her Majesty the White Queen, glided into the room. She pristinely cleared her throat.
"For your midterm hexams, you will be graded on your ability to inspire people with your Happily Ever After. This is the first step in carrying the torch of your story. After all..."
She turned to Apple White, "...without the fairest one of all, we wouldn't know how to survive jealousy." Apple proudly nodded. "Or..."
She turned to Ashlynn Ella. "How could anyone go from rags to riches without a Cinderella story?" Ashlynn sunk in her chair. "Or..."
She turned to me. Was she going to mention my elegance? My passion? My ability to express through dance what words cannot say?
There's so much to choose from... so what's taking her so long? After some awkward chin-scratching and eyebrow-raising, the White Queen turned her back. "Yes, well, you get the point."
After the bell rang, I stayed behind. "Excuse me, Mrs. Her Majesty the White Queen. " (She insists on being addressed by her full title.)
She gradually turned her head, "How can I help you, Miss... uh, Miss...?"
Was she being serious? I'm a top student! "My name's Duchess Swan."
"Well done," she said with great sincerity. "Are you here to enroll in my class?"
SERIOUSLY? "I'm in your class. You said we were being graded on inspiring people with our Happily Ever After. What if I don't have a Happily Ever After?"
She casually blinked. "Every princess has a Happily Ever After. Are you sure you're a real princess?"
"Of course I'm a real princess!" Careful! A White Swan doesn't let her feathers fly. "My fairytale is actually a ballet called Swan Lake. I'm the princess cursed into a swan's body by an evil wizard. Then my Prince Charming falls in love with me and promises to break the spell."
"And you live Happily Ever After," she said. "Simply enchanting."
This was the hard part. "Actually, he gets tricked into falling in love with the wizard's daughter, the Black Swan. The prince realizes his mistake, but it's too late. The evil wizard forces him to keep his word. But my prince would rather be with me forever after even if it means... even if..." Tears started rolling down my cheek.
"Oh, I see." The White Queen's hand lay over her heart. "I don't see the problem. Your assignment is to inspire your audience. Inspiration is the key to a Happily Ever." She narrowed her eyes. "Are you sure you're in my class?"
Inspiring my audience was not going to be a problem. People love me! But it was going to take some work. I can't just bat my eyes like Apple White to make people flock to me. Then again, it's not like her Snow White story is more popular than mine. I'm the most graceful, most talented princess in Ever After High! It's only a matter of time before everyone flocks to me.
Only they didn't. I couldn't find fans anywhere in the village of Book End. "Hey, you! Come see the story of the Swan Queen! You and your son."
"You mean me and my daughter?" The ogre woman grabbed her
son daughter's arm and stomped away. "Like it matters," I grumbled. "What about you, sir? See your favorite fairytale, Swan Lake! It's not like you have anything better to do."
Hours later, I still couldn't find any fans. Things were looking pretty bleak. I started the long walk back to school. Just as I turned the corner, the Beanstalk Bakery's back door swung open. THUMP! A cloaked someone knocked me to the ground. "Ouch! Watch where you're going!" Then I realized, "Were you sneaking out of Beanstalk Bakery?" The person pulled back the hood of their cloak. "Please don't tell anyone," Ginger Breadhouse pleaded.
Ginger's mom is the Candy Witch from Hansel & Gretel. As you can imagine, you'd be hard pressed finding someone willing to eat her cooking. It's her destiny to lure people into a false sense of security. So you can imagine my reaction when she offered to cook for me in exchange for my silence. "Okay, Ginger, but don't try anything... witchy. I'm a very important fairytale, you know."
She unlocked the door to Throne Economics. Soon, mouth-watering smells filled the room. My stomach grumbled in anticipation, when DING! a levitating lemon tart floated towards me. "Hmmm," I hesitantly nibbled the treat. "This is ...actually really good. Why are you sneaking out of the bakery? Are you stealing their recipes?" I gasped. "I knew it! You're a fraud!"
"I am not!" Ginger shouted, the pie exploded all over my plate. "Food is my art, and I want to share my culinary vision with the world. But because of my destiny, I have no choice but to sneak in my treats."
"You think you have problems?" I fumed back. "I'm the only Royal with Sadly Ever After. Who would ever be inspired by that? Now I'm going to flunk midterm hexams! At least your problem makes sense. Who would eat food from a witch? Yuck!" I gobbled the last bite of pie. "Ugh, why did you have too make so much? It's too filling."
"I know why you can't inspire anyone," Ginger ground her teeth. "You're the rudest person I've ever met."
Who does Ginger think she is? I'd never been so honked off. Me? Rude? It's not my fault some people just can't take the truth. Like Ginger ...and the ogre lady ... and ... then for some reason I thought about the girls in Princessology. How come they never included me in pre-class socializing? Was I mean? I couldn't be. The White Swan can't be mean.
Luckily, there's one person I can always count on: Faybelle Thorn, the daughter of the Dark Fairy. Faybelle's destiny is to be a villain, and she royally embraces that role. So why would a princess be friends with a villain? Because Fay always keeps it real.
I knocked on her door. "Come in!" Faybelle stood in front of the mirror, practising her cheerhexing. "The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!" CRACK! Her ceiling burst into flames. She spun around. "Duchess! What's up?"
I sat on her bed. "Fay, am I an awful person?"
"Oh godmother, no. Why would you ever think that?" Fay asked.
"Nobody wants to see my midterm hexam performance. People think I say rude things." I inched towards the door as the flames grew.
"Oh. Well, yeah, you totally do that." Fay clapped her hands. The sprinklers doused the room in water. "But that doesn't mean you're awful."
"That doesn't make any sense," I coughed. "I'm the next White Swan."
"Are you?" Fay fanned smoky steam out the window with her fairy wings. "Maybe you're the next Black Swan."
"What the hex, Fay?" I asked, crossing my arms.
"Do you really need me to spell it out for you?" she asked. "The White Swan is humble, modest and vulnerable. The Black Swan isn't. And there's nothing wrong with that. Take it from a villain."
Was she right? Am I really a villain at heart? "I don't think so," I said. it was time to set the story straight. I had to rediscover my White Swan side.
The White Swan is humble. I had to swallow my pride and admit my mistakes. First to Ginger, who was in Throne Economics room. "I owe you an apology," I said. "I've been rude to you and to so many people. If I want to inspire change, I need to change myself."
The White Swan is modest. Every day for the next several weeks, I went to the village of Book End to find fans. "Excuse me, I'm a student at Ever After High, and performing my destiny for the midterm hexams. Though you might not know my story as well as others, I think you will find it very moving." People seemed a lot more interested than last time.
The White Swan is vulnerable. On the night of midterm hexams, I danced my true heart out. During the tragic ending, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The crowd erupted in standing ovation! The stage flooded with flower bouquets. I did it. I inspired my fans. They loved me. My tragic ending became a Happily Ever After.
Offstage, a teary-eyed Apple congratulated me. "Oh, Duchess, that was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"Thanks, Apple," I said. "But why are you wearing a tutu—"
"AND NOW, WELCOME APPLE WHITE IN HER BALLET INTERPRETATION OF 'SNOW WHITE' "
"You inspired me to dance my story!" Apple walked on stage in a perfect pas marché. Did they just clap louder for her? So, what, I inspire her, and she steals my spotlight? Oh, it is on now, Apple White. It is SO on!