Here I am.
Ever After High, the most prestigious school for the children of fairytale characters to thrive and secure their futures. For everyone to follow the destiny laid out in front of them.
All nice as mice. However, recently I, along with fifteen other students, were selected to participate in this ‘special educational course’, as Headmaster Grimm had put it. I remember him sending a royal e-mail to my parents, explaining that I’d been ‘chosen to take part to test the course,’ since from my understanding, there was a possibility of a few changes to the school curriculum. So naturally, we as a family agreed to it.
However, it seemed to me a strange thing that I’d been selected, despite my older, and clearly stronger and more popular than I will ever be, brother, Daring, who was supposed to be next in line to the ‘Charming’ legacy. As far as traditions go, the oldest child of a fairytale character was the one to take on their legacy and keep their stories, that we all know and love, alive. That was supposed to be Daring’s job in my family. But the fact that I’d been selected instead of him left a rather... uncertain feeling within me. My younger sister, Darling, felt the same when I mentioned it to her, but my guess is that they either just chose randomly, or wanted to protect their beloved ‘heirs’ from any false information. Which was basically how a lot of us second-in-lines, third-in-lines etc, were treated at the school during our first year. The teachers still prepared us for the unlikely event that we’d have to take on our parents’ legacies, however we were always the ‘second choices’, the ‘outcasts’ in the class, while the next-in-lines were very much favourited by the teachers.
Oh, I guess I should introduce myself, huh? My name is Dexter Charming. I’m 17 years old, and second in line to the Charming throne. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m the one of the two sons of Prince Charming and his Queen.
And I’m standing in front of everyone’s dream school. I still can’t believe I somehow winded up here, that I was chosen out of hundreds to participate in this trial course.
The task was simple, arrive 10 weeks before the start of normal classes at Ever After High, and participate in your allocated lessons.
Just like a normal school day, right?
As I took a step past the huge entrance gate, I felt a sudden wave of nausea run through me. At first I thought it was just me being my usual, nervous self. But no. The feeling only grew. And I began to get dizzy. Very dizzy; I was seeing stars for what seemed to be no reason. The confusion I felt did not help at all.
As my eyes got heavy, and my vision faded into a black abyss, I realised that we would certainly not be taught anything about how to prepare us for our lives.
The core curriculum here was despair.
Chapter 2: Prolouge 2 - Incentives
Dexter finds 15 other students selected for the course. But he also discovers what they’re really here to do, and it isn’t pleasant.
Here’s the second part of the prologue! Sorry it took so long to come out, school’s been pretty busy :/
My eyes slowly opened when I heard a voice. A soft, feminine voice. The words that were being spoken were barely coherent at first, but as I came to my senses I could start to hear them.
“Dexter? Can you hear me?”, something along those lines.
To my surprise, when my eyes were fully open I didn’t recoil at any light, like I thought I would since I had seemingly passed out outside of the school on a bright summer day. Actually, wherever I was, it was rather dark. Not pitch black, but the lights were dim.
“H-hm...?” I raised my head, and saw a girl standing in front of me. I was sitting on a chair, with my head resting on my crossed arms, which were propped up on a desk.
“Oh, thank God you’re okay! I thought you’d never wake up!” The girl sighed in relief, smiling at me.
I thought for a moment, knowing I recognised her from somewhere...
Her hair was long and curly, sort of looking like pink cotton candy. In fact, most of her features were pink, including her skin which had a rosy tint to it. I also noticed that her eyes were blue, with what looked like hearts where the small amount of light was hitting them.
“C-Cupid...?” I managed to say. If I wasn’t mistaken, that looked like C.A Cupid. The daughter of, you guessed it, Eros, the God of love. She’d transferred to Ever After High about halfway through the school year.
“Hehe, yep!” Cupid’s smile widened as she nodded her head. “I’m so glad you’re here, I have no idea what’s going on...” She looked down at the last few words.
“Did you happen to wake up in here too?” I asked after rubbing my eyes.
Cupid looked back up at me. “Well, kind of. I woke up in an empty classroom, but not this one. I passed out as soon as I stepped foot into the school grounds, for some reason...”
“That’s exactly what happened to me!” I replied, my curiosity growing by the second as my dizziness wore off. “But why...?”
“I... don’t know...” Cupid mumbled. “Maybe we should go and look to see if anyone else is here? I mean, there were supposed to be 16 students taking part in whatever this is...”
I nodded my head. “That sounds like a good idea.”
“Do you feel okay to stand up? I don’t want you to pass out again.” Cupid asked, the worry being clear on her pale features.
“Yeah, I feel a lot better than I did, thanks.” I gave her a reassuring smile before slowly rising from my seat and walked away from the desk.
Suddenly, my eyes caught sight of something on the desk in front of me. “Hm? What’s that?” I pointed towards it.
Cupid turned around in the direction my arm was pointed in, before walking towards it. “It’s a sheet of paper...” She picked it up. “Let me read what it says...”
Welcome back, students. Gather in the gym at 8 for a talk.
I looked around for a clock to try and find the time. When I finally saw one, I silently cursed myself. “It’s 8 now. We need to run.”
Cupid sighed. “Let’s go.” She headed for the door, and I followed close behind.
• • • • •
Cupid and I panted as we finally reached the gym after what seemed like hours of running.
“Well... we’re here...” She said. “Let’s go inside...”
I nodded, taking a deep breath before opening the door.
We were met with glances of suspicion by some other students of Ever After High. Most of them I seemed to recognise.
As my mind tried to think of something I could say, I noticed how large the gymnasium hall was. There was a raised stage at the right side, with red curtains covering the platform.
Well, I don’t think that’s changed much since last school year...
“Finally, the last two of us are here!” I heard someone speak out. I turned my head in the direction of the voice, and saw a boy with blonde hair and a blue jacket step forward towards Cupid and I. “We were getting worried that someone was dead or something!” He said with a sight of relief.
“U-um...” I stuttered a bit.
I don’t recognise this guy... perhaps he’s a new student? Or maybe I just never noticed him around?
“Oh, I’m sorry. I should probably introduce myself since you most likely don’t know me.” He rubbed the back of his head, slight embarrassment showing in his face. “I’m Alistair Wonderland, the son of Alice!” He proclaimed, seeming proud of his title.
I smiled and extended my hand for him to shake. “Dexter Charming, second in line to the Charming legacy.” My title wasn’t as ‘glorious’ as Alistair’s, but I figured I should share it anyways.
Alistair shook my hand and smiled at me.
“Cupid! You’re here too?” I heard another voice, thing time belonging to a female, shout towards us. A girl with long, curly bright blonde hair came running towards us.
”Blondie!” I saw Cupid grinning as she walked over to the girl.
Oh, I know her! That’s Blondie Locks, daughter of Goldie Locks!”
Blondie grinned at Cupid, before looking at me. “Hey Dexter! Good to see you!”
I smiled absent-mindedly as I looked around the room. It seemed like I’d been the last person to wake up, as including Cupid, I could count fifteen other students of Ever After High either socialising, or secluding themselves on the edges of the room.
As I glanced around, my eyes fell onto someone I’d recognise anywhere. I’d spoken to her a few times in the past, and I admired her very much. Raven Queen, the daughter of the Evil Queen. Her heritage was frightening, but the girl herself was far from that. The few times we’d seen each other, she’d proved to be an understanding, thoughtful and courageous person. If I was honest, I’d begun to develop an attraction to her. Of course, I’d have to talk to her more to know that I had a crush, so today was probably a good time.
Should I go and talk to her?
I noticed that she was talking to Madeline Hatter, the daughter of the Mad Hatter, who was, from my guessing, her best friend at the school. They seemed to spend a lot of time together.
I don’t want to interrupt her conversation with Maddie... but this may be the only chance I get to see her...
With a deep inhale and exhale to calm my nerves, I started making my way over to them.
I was about to open my mouth to greet the two, but before I could, a strange laugh resonated around the gym, which caused everyone to look around in surprise. I jumped slightly at the noise.
There it was again. The laugh was definitely unsettling, sounding like it was imitating a child. I heard whispers throughout the gym as people tried to figure out where the odd giggling was coming from.
Suddenly, the microphone on the podium of the stage made a loud, high-pitched noise that caused the room to vibrate. We all covered our ears though it made hardly any difference.
As the noise died down, I heard a pop from the stage. I turned around to see confetti streaming down, and suddenly a cartoon-like, small, stuffed bear leapt up and landed next to the microphone. It’s appearance was unsettling and creepy - one half of it was very pale pink, with a beady black eye and a normal-looking bear nose, while the other half was completely black with a sharp-edged red eye and a cunning grin.
“Well, I see our last couple of sleepy-heads have finally decided to show up! Upupupu~” The bear said sarcastically, cackling again.
“W-who are you?!” I heard someone shout, not really paying attention to who it was as I was too stunned to.
Once again, the bear laughed, as if it never got tired of doing so. “I’m Monocub, your new headmaster!”
“H-headmaster?” I looked to my left and saw Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, staring with her hands covering her mouth. “Where’s headmaster Grimm?!”
Of course, I assumed all of us were worried about Headmaster Grimm, as he was the one who’d welcomed us to the school (despite being very strict and protective of our legacies), but Apple was different. She was the sweetheart of the school, the most popular girl who always followed the rules and was a teacher’s pet. Headmaster Grimm seemed to put her on top of the world; he adored her dedication to her destiny.
“That’s... not important right at this moment.” Monocub snickered. “Aaaaaanyways, let me explain a few rules to you! Rule Number 1: There will be NO leaving the school premises, AT ALL, for the rest of your lives! No contact with the outside world, nothing!”
A few people laughed, thinking this was a joke.
“Hey! This ain’t any funny business!”
Monocub huffed, it’s pink half going red for a moment. “As you should’ve caught on by now, I’ve confiscated all source of connection to the outside world: your phones, laptops, everything!”
“Y-you can’t do that!” Blondie let out a cry. “I host a Mirrorcast, and I intend to keep it running!” She insisted.
“HAH! Well not anymore, dumb blonde!” Monocub pointed it’s black paw at her, the sharp, metallic nails spitting out of it. “Anyways... as I was saying, no leaving this school! Not that you’d be able to, anyways, as you can probably tell from your surroundings, upupupu~”
It was then that I noticed that all the windows were bolted shut, there being no way of seeing the outside. I heard more gasps and mumbles from the students around me.
“This makes no sense...” Raven muttered, before looking up at Monocub. “Sixteen children of fairytale characters all going missing on the same day? Surely the police will come for us.”
I saw Maddie nod in agreement.
“Nuh-uh-uh! Not so fast! That’s a secret, for now, upupupupupu!” The bear’s sharp teeth seemed to grin wider.
Secret...? What does Monocub mean...?
“I demand you tell us this ‘secret’ of yours! Or else, OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!” Only one person could’ve said that: Lizzie Hearts, daughter of the Queen of Hearts. Not that she would ever ACTUALLY chop someone’s head off, but it was in her heritage to make remarks like this.
“Use your own head! Why would I do something that goes against the whole point
of this?! Fools...” Monocub growled at Lizzie.
“I hope I get no interruptions now, as I’m giving you all a way to leave!” The bear smirked. “And the way is... drum roll please... murder!”
My eyes widened, and I heard everyone else in the room gasp.
However, we all obeyed Monocub in that we wouldn’t interrupt it, as I can imagine everyone was frightened, to say the least.
“That’s right! All you gotta do is kill one of your fellow classmates! But you gotta get away with it before you can be free! Upupupu~ It doesn’t matter how you do it! Drown them, stab them, poison them, you could throw them into a wall for all I care! As long as the murderer covers up their tracks and the surviving members can’t figure out ‘whodunnit’, the killer gets to walk free! However, if the class do manage to find out who the killer is, the killer will be PUNISHED! Upupupu, such despair!”
I felt my stomach drop, as I silently prayed for this to all be some sort of joke. But in the way this was going, I highly doubted it would be.
“This... this is sick!” I heard someone say behind me.
“Yeah! Not only is murder an unacceptable and twisted act, but we have legacies to protect! We can’t just kill each other!” Alistair protested.
“Upupupu~ well that’s too bad! One of you will succumb to this despair! I just know it!” Monocub giggled once again.
“This makes no sense!” Cupid spoke up. “Headmaster Grimm takes pride in our destinies. He wouldn’t make us kill each other!”
Monocub smirked. “Oh, about that letter telling you all to come to the school early. It wasn’t Headmaster Grimm who wrote it. It was me! Upupupupu!”
“Does he know about all of this?!” Maddie asked. “I may be all for mad things, but this is even more twisted than my own story!”
“You’ll find out his fate soon enough, my deary!” Monocub answered back, the mennacing grin still plastered on it’s face. “Now, a few more rules. Like I said earlier, the one who commits a murder is the blackened! During a class trial, where you can discuss the evidence you found during the investigation period, if all of the other students can collectively figure out who the murderer is, the blackened will be executed! However, make the wrong decision, and the blackened gets to go free while everyone else is executed in their place!”
“This makes me sick to my stomach.” Raven muttered. “We refuse to play your sick game!” She yelled, while everyone else, including me, nodded in agreement.
“Aw, come on! You’re the daughter of the Evil Queen herself! You should be all for this!” Monocub huffed, seeming disappointed.
Raven growled, and I noticed that she started to conjure up some sort of spell in her hands.
“Oh, and another thing: NO violence against your headmaster!” Monocub announced. “Try, and you’ll be punished with death!” It glared at Raven, who lowered her hands after hearing that.
“Aaaaaaanyways, I’ve replaced your Mirrorphones with ElectroIDs, which gives you access to your dorms, certain rooms, and has a list of the rest of the rules and a map of the school premises.”
I reached into my right pocket, and pulled out exactly what Monocub said we’d have. I saw a few others do the same.
“Assembly dismissed! Happy murdering!” And with that, the robotic bear had vanished in a puff of red and pink smoke, which soon evaporated.
I stood still, in complete silence, as thousands of thoughts and fears rushed through my head. There were whispers and cries coming from everyone around me, which caused me to start shaking. My hands trembled, and tears welled up in my eyes.
Are we really all going to die?! Is anyone going to actually kill anyone?! Just WHAT is going on?!