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everything we want comes with a price

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Everyone was too busy for me.

Everyone was always too busy when I wanted to do something.

Mom and Dad always had royal things going on- there was always going to be another political crisis that they needed to handle. Out of the main ruling families that were Mewman-aligned they were the most capable- there were the Mewman Queens Janna and Star, but they decided everything could be solved with either fighting, corn or necromancy; there was Queen Ponyhead, but she was always at the New Bounce Lounge, and then there was Star's family on her patriarchal side, the Johhansons. They acted like everything was a battle to the death.

So it made sense that they would usually be off handling something. It didn't stop me from wanting to see them. And even though I couldn't see them I could always hide a prank or two around the throne room so that someone- never a visiting royal- would set it off.

Estella had a jam-packed schedule- martial arts with mom when she could manage it, some college level homework at mom's insistence, magical homework from Janna, and doing demonic magic when she learned a new spell.

Jace was in her senior year of high school, and she was Cheer Captain now. She was always practicing some routine or preparing for graduation. It didn't help that I was too loud for her- she didn't like doing pranks with me that were often chaotic and full of screaming. It hurt her ears.

When Milo wasn't busy he was pretty fun to hang out with. He didn't like playing pranks either, but at least he and I had a mutual interest- plays. Milo had gotten me into them when I was younger. I had been five, only there for a few months, and I didn't really trust anyone. I didn't know how long the seemingly nice situation I was in would last. I had a Dad now who would talk to me and look at me, and a Mom who was actually there, who read me bedtime stories. But I didn't know how long it would be before they didn't want me, so I pushed them away when they tried to hug me and I worked my hardest not to get involved.

I was five years old, but I had seen a lot of tough things.

Milo hadn't tried to hug me or anything like that. He was seven years old and right across the hall from me, and when I had a nightmare he would come in and wake me up. He had a black book that seemed enormous in my five year old mind, making me wonder how he could possibly carry it around.

He would read to me, pitching his voice high or low as best as he could, depending on what character he was speaking for.

And he read to me whenever I asked him to, whether I was ten and grounded in my room and bored, or thirteen and so nervous to try and ask Venus on a date, or fifteen and working on Julius Cesar homework.

So when I was bored and he wasn't busy I would sprawl on his floor and close my eyes and listen to him read Macbeth for the thousandth time. Or sometimes he needed a fill in for a part in a play, and I would gladly jump in and act the part. Sometimes I helped as a stage hand.

But more often than not he didn't need my help. Milo was really popular with the kids in school and had a whole group in theater with him. It was pretty rare that there were enough people unavailable he would need his sibling.

Annie was a lot of fun. When she wasn't in school or hanging out with her friend- I could never remember his name- we raced around the castle together and played tricks on people, setting off firecrackers in abandoned rooms and sliding down banisters.

Venus was also a lot of fun to hang out with. Outside of my family he was my best friend, and someone I had a really bad crush on- even though I could never find the right words to tell him. He was steady and dependable. When I was in trouble, I would text him and complain and he would sympathize with me- and remind me that I deserved to be grounded for setting off firecrackers on the school's football field.

When there were thunderstorms and I was trying so damn hard not to be scared and failing I would send him a text and he'd borrow a pair of scissors from his mom and appear within a few minutes, setting up a blanket fort.

Sometimes I would call him for just a few minutes and we would stay up till a ridiculous hour on the phone, just talking about our day.

He couldn't come over as often as I wanted him too. He had Prince things he had to do- plus, science experiments. Those were always a lot of fun to hear him talk about.

I ended up getting sick and tired of plotting pranks on my own. There were only so many firecrackers you could light off, so many gag things to use before it got boring.

So, after I had exhausted every single option and there was a day no one else was available, I decided to use my lock picks and go exploring the castle.

And that is where our story starts.