Audrey stumbled as the guard shoved her roughly through her dorm door, before slamming it hard enough to rattle in its frame. The princess regained her balance and ran towards the door, only to hear the damning click of the key as they locked her in. She slapped her hands against the pale wood in frustration and sank to her knees, pressing her forehead to the door.
Over the course of the past four months, Ben had started drifting away from her. He’d stopped showing her affection or buying her gifts, and made up some truly ridiculous excuses to get out of dates with her. Audrey, desperate to regain his affections, had stolen Jane’s key ring and used it to get into Fairy Godmother’s rooms for her keys-specifically, the keys to the school’s storerooms. Students were banned from going anywhere near the lowest basement’s storage areas on pain of expulsion, and Audrey had heard rumours of spell books and potion kits. She’d thought that magic could give her the Happily Ever After she deserved.
She’d found what she needed, and smuggled it out, hiding it in a disused classroom. The faded writing in the old potion recipe book she’d used was tiny, spidery, and looped so much she could hardly read it, but she’d been so sure that it would work. It had not. She must have gotten several things wrong if she’d managed to brew a concoction capable of inducing violent emesis and a full-body rash in an interesting shade of purple.
Audrey had mixed the potion into a mint-chocolate cupcake, hoping to cover up the black colour and explain away the powerful smell of mint, and given it to Ben just before lunch. That had resulted in Ben suffering the effects right in the middle of the cafeteria, and the school going into lockdown during the resulting investigation.
Witnesses to the event had cited Audrey’s cupcake as a likely cause. An analysis of the treat had revealed the potion, and the investigation had uncovered her potion lab, with her fingerprints all over the place. A few strands of hair on a hair tie left on the potion book had been the last nail in her coffin. She hadn’t even been allowed to try and explain herself. The guards had grabbed her, King Adam himself had delivered her sentence, and she’d been dragged away to her dorm room.
“I didn’t try to kill him,” she whispered. “All I wanted was Ben’s love…my Happily Ever After.”
Well, she hadn’t got that, had she? Instead, she was being shipped off to the Isle of The Lost-AKA, Maleficent’s current residence. And as far as she knew, she’d be staying there. Forever.
“Three days, Miss Rose. One suitcase and a backpack. No more. And no valuables. You are no longer worthy of your jewels. They’ll go to people who deserve them.”
A tiny smirk tugged at the corner of Audrey’s mouth. Okay then. They wanted to treat her like a villain? Then she’ll act like one. If she remembers right, her mother was cursed out of spite. She can be spiteful herself.
She’s got three days to pull this off. And she’s already got a plan.
The first day, she spent actually packing. She didn’t want to end up with nothing if her plan didn’t work, so she rummaged through her wardrobe, looking for clothes that would work on the Isle. She’d only seen it from afar, but it always looked to be shrouded in perpetual cloud, and Audrey guessed it would be cold there. So she threw in every waterproof item she owned, a few sweaters, a pair of hiking boots and a pair of trainers, and only one party dress. (Even villains have to celebrate something, right? And she wouldn’t be Audrey if she didn’t pack a party dress.) Once she’d put all that into the suitcase the guards had thrown into her room, she had just enough space for a few normal outfits and her washbag.
The second day, she started on her plan. Most magic items were banned in Auradon, and those that hadn’t been destroyed were locked away in museums, but Audrey’s fairy godmothers had sent her a few treasures. One of them was a bag with a detachable strap, no bigger than Audrey’s hand, but it could hold far more than its tiny size suggested, and no matter what she put in there, it never weighed more than a normal bag that size would. Audrey grabbed the dress she was planning to wear to the Isle, pulled the sewing kit out of her wardrobe, and sat down behind her bed. If one of the guards opened the door, all they would see was the top of a bowed brunette head. If they wanted to investigate, all Audrey had to do was shove everything behind the bedskirt.
Audrey worked swiftly. She took a pink denim skirt she’d outgrown and cut short, wide strips of fabric from the sturdy material. She turned the dress inside out and began sewing the denim strips to the inside of the dress like belt loops. After threading the bag’s strap through the loops, Audrey tried the dress on and checked the mirror. She’d chosen this dress because of the thicker material of the skirt, and she was pleased to see that the bag was hidden under her dress. She changed back and started packing the bag.
They wanted to take Audrey’s jewellery? The princess threw open her jewel chest and started sifting through the glittering hoard. Her hand first closed on her favourite pink-diamond tiara. It was immediately packed. Audrey squirreled away every piece she liked, including eight enchanted pieces from her godmothers. Every earring, ring, necklace, and bracelet Audrey wanted was hidden away in her bag. After the only pieces left were jewels Audrey hated but couldn’t get rid of for whatever reason (usually because they’d been a present from someone important,) she checked how much room she had left.
What else could she get away with? Audrey’s eyes landed on her moneybox.
Audrey had no idea if the Isle used Auradon money, but hopefully she could still use the fact that coins were shiny pieces of expensive metal as incentive to trade. Auradon money used three denominations of currency. Copper Rings were the cheapest currency, worth about half a pound of root vegetables. Peasantry dealt mostly in those coins. 20 Rings was worth 1 silver Crown, which was a coin most common among the gentry and nobility. 8 Crowns was worth 1 gold Throne. Thrones was Audrey’s currency. Only royalty and the occasional highly-favoured noble dealt in Thrones.
After emptying her moneybox into her bag, Audrey added her solar charger (hopefully enough sunlight got through on the Isle that she could use it,) her phone and music player, and after brief deliberation, added her tablet to the bag as well. She’d heard that Wi-Fi didn’t work on the Isle, but she still wanted her gadgets. She had books and games and songs and movies downloaded onto them, and they didn’t need Wi-Fi for her to access them. After packing her electronics, she looped her bag back into its hiding place on the dress, and put the dress ready on her chair.
Day three was spent packing her backpack. She shoved in a few survival books that her mother had given her before a wilderness camping trip years ago, a few notebooks and her pencil case, her sewing kit, and a first aid kit bought for the aforementioned camping trip. A burst of lingering affection compelled her to add three photos to the bag-one of her parents, one of her grandmother, and one of herself and Ben. A tiny part of Audrey hoped they would reverse her sentence, that she’d be subjected to community service or house arrest.
But at 9’o’clock, Audrey, clad in her modified dress and carrying her bags, was escorted from her dorm and driven down to the Auradon docks. Her heart hammered in her chest as the guards loaded her and her luggage into the tiny rowboat that would carry Audrey as far as the barrier. The magic propelling the boat and allowing it through the barrier would stop working as soon as it crossed, and Audrey would be trapped, and have to row the rest of the way herself. As soon as Audrey sat on the centre thwart, the oars glowed gold, and the boat began to row itself towards the Isle. Audrey turned around, watching as the dock disappeared into darkness. She looked up to where she guessed Auradon Prep was, wondering what Ben was doing. Was he doing better? Was he thinking about her? Did he know what she’d done, and hate her for it? She hadn’t been allowed to see him at all after she’d managed to spectacularly bungle up her attempt at a love potion and sent the future king to hospital.
As she drew closer to the Isle, Audrey only grew more frightened. The slight haze of the barrier surrounding the Isle made finer details hard to pick out, but she could see dark buildings clustered together, and the small, blurred shapes of people moving around. Almost no-one walked around by themselves, she noticed with surprise. Everyone seemed to go about in groups. She’d always assumed everyone on the Isle would keep to themselves (with the possible exceptions of sidekicks like Mr Smee or Kronk, who were too bumbling and friendly to really be considered villains, but followed their bosses with blind devotion-even to the Isle,) but she couldn’t see anyone on their own, or even in pairs. Three or more seemed to be the rule.
Huh. Maybe villains were nicer than she’d thought?
As she passed through the barrier, the boat’s glow flickered like a dying candle before vanishing, and Audrey was left bobbing in the water just inside the barrier. Audrey pushed her hand lightly against the inside of the barrier, but it had all the give of stone.
This was it. She was trapped.
Audrey carefully stood up in the boat to get a better look at her new home. She didn’t want to row straight up to Maleficent, or any of her minions. She could see a rotted, half-broken dock a short way away. The looming pirate ship frightened Audrey, but the other buildings looked worse than the dock. She vaguely recalled her grandmother telling her that Auradon’s rubbish all went to the Isle, but she’d thought the Isle also got basic supplies as well. One building looked like it would fall over if someone sneezed at it.
She couldn’t see anywhere that looked even remotely safe, but nor could she see anyone that looked like the Fairy Devil-Mother. With a sigh, she sat down and reached for the oars. The dock seemed to be her best bet.
Anger began to burn in her heart. Curse King Adam for sending her here!
Gil was sitting just underneath the docks. His father had kicked him out of the house, and he had decided to get some fresh air-or what passed for such on the trash heap that was the Isle-before going to meet up with the other pirates. He was just pondering whether it would be better to go now and possibly get roped into cooking or waiting tables, or go later and possibly end up being late, when he heard splashing. Not the irregular splashes of someone swimming, like when Harry got shoved into the water by Jay. This was the steady sound of oars.
Gil ducked further under the docks. Looking out towards the barrier, he could see the shape of a rowboat. Where had that come from? Mal’s gang didn’t have any boats-the pirates had full control of the shallow waters of the Isle, so it couldn’t be one of them launching a sneak attack. If it was one of the pirates, he’d probably have heard them either singing or swearing by this point. The occupant of the rowboat was quiet.
Gil squinted. The low light made details fuzzy, but he swore he could make out a small shape, brown and…pink? Surely not.
But yes, as the boat drew closer to the dock, it became clear that the occupant was a girl, and a pretty one too, around Gil’s age, with brown hair and a pink dress. A princess-pink dress. Was this girl a princess? But what would a goody-goody, sugar-sweet, Auradonian princess be doing on the Isle?
The princess was muttering angrily as she drew level with the dock. Gil listened closely.
“-and get my head chopped off by one of her minions, most likely, but wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth for that awful stuck-up holier-than-thou beast, certainly he’s not my king anymore! I’ll bet Jane was behind it too, the horrid little thing, always prancing around and thinking she’s so great just because of her dreadful patronising hag of a mother-”
The rowboat bumped up against the dock. Gil heard the thumps as the princess moved some things out of the boat onto the dock, and the click of a pair of shoes as she climbed out herself, still grumbling. Gil leaned out to hear better.
“-couldn’t be bothered to listen, even though his story’s about second chances and not judging others, doesn’t practice what he preaches, eh? And his wife’s gotten so wimpy over the years, all of them have, where’s the heroes I grew up hearing stories about, couldn’t stand up to a toddl-AHH!”
She’d seen him.