Hey, guys!

As promised, here's the chapter that I'm posting cause I finished the first part of my other story. Don't worry, Ouat isn't going anywhere, it just isn't my NaNo project this year. I'll get working on the next few chapters soon, lol.

I hope you enjoy!

Chapter Three.

Bea had always wanted to live in the palace, but now she wasn't so sure.

When she was little, she and her sisters would build tents during sleepovers and call it a palace. They would put on long nightgowns and plastic tiaras and pretend they were princesses. No one would bring up the fact that Bea was the only one there who wasn't actually a princess. They would just play.

Now though, she sat on a queen sized bed with the softest silk sheets in a room that was now hers. And something felt wrong about the whole thing. It didn't feel right. Not like she would wake up and it would just be a dream, but more like there was something else going on.

She would talk to her dad about it in the morning.

Bea hadn't been allowed to go back home. All of her things were still there. The only thing she had on her was her notebook and her purse. Neither of which would be the most helpful things in the long run. She wondered if she would be allowed to send someone to get her things.

She also wondered if this was permanent. Would she ever be going back home? Why would King Abernathy keep her here forever? At the same time though, why had he given her a selection in the first place? None of this made sense…

She looked up as somebody knocked on the door. She hoped it wasn't a maid. She really didn't think that she could ever get used to having servants. She really didn't want any either. It was just too awkward.

"Come in!" She called.

Bea smiled as Corrine opened the door and walked in. She had changed out of the golden gown she had been wearing and into a pair of plaid pajamas. Her hair had been braided down the side, and her makeup had been taken off too. She looked tired. Stressed even.

"You okay?" Bea asked as she moved over on her bed to make room for Corrine to sit.

Corrine sat down on the bed, her back bent and shoulders shrugged. "Are you?" She asked.

Bea shrugged, then leaned back on the bed. "I definitely wasn't expecting a selection of all things," she said. "It's kinda weird for him to do that for me, ya know?"

Corrine laid down too, and placed her hands on her stomach. "Yeah, it is a bit out of character for him," she said. "But it is tradition."

"Not for a bastard child," she said. "For you, sure. But not for me."

Corrine pursed her lips. She looked like she had swallowed a mouth full of straight lemon juice, which Bea had actually seen her do multiple times on dares over the years.

"Bea," she began, then sighed. "I dunno… It is weird. Really weird."

Bea nodded, then let out a soft chuckle.

"What?" Corrine prompted.

Bea sat up. Seriously, the bed was like clouds. How was that even possible? "I always wanted a selection when I was a kid," she told her younger sister. "And now I'm convinced there's some big conspiracy going on."

"So just enjoy it then!" Corrine told her. "Have your selection. Find your One."

Bea smiled. "You know? I just might."

Corrine stayed with her for a bit longer, the two of them chatting the night away quietly about whatever they could think of. Not soon after ten, she bade her sister goodnight and left the room, leaving her older sister alone to her thoughts.

Bea sighed, then stood up and walked over to the desk in her room. It was a beautiful desk, made of mahogany and polished to perfection. She knew that this would be her workspace for the foreseeable future. The thought scared her. She had no idea when she would be home again.

She reached into her purse and pulled out the notebook inside of it. A leather journal that her Grandfather had given her for her birthday. Since the day Bea showed any sort of interest in writing, Oliver had been getting her notebooks and journals in support of her passion.

She picked up her pencil, then looked back down at the page. Her parents had warned her that this article would be dangerous, that it could get her killed or even imprisoned. But it was important. The most important thing she could ever write.

The things her grandfather had told her about the king, the crimes that had been committed during her father's selection and even before then… Illea deserved to know. The royal family wasn't who they said they were.

She had been planning this article for awhile now, long before she had found out about the selection. At least now she would be able to snoop around for any other scandals or things that the king had kept hidden from all of them.

People of Illea, everything you know about the royal family is a lie.

Everything you know about His Majesty King Abernathy Edmund Schreave is a lie.

And I'm here to spread the truth. To expose his lies and tell you what really happened during my father's selection.

The cup of coffee Bea nursed in her hands did little to help her wake up. It wasn't that she didn't like mornings, rather she was more productive during the afternoon and evening.

It had been surprisingly easy to fall asleep after the night she had, but her eyes still felt tired and her brain was full of fog. But she had to be at this meeting. Who knows what The Royal Selection Committee would plan if she wasn't there to stop them.

Bea looked down at her watch, then sighed anxiously. The meeting would be starting soon and there was only one person still missing. The one person she actually wanted on this committee other than her parents.

"We should get started," Queen Penelope said as she clasped her hands together. "We have much to cover."

Jensing shook her head. "With all due respect, Your Majesty," she began. "My intern and photographer is still on his way. He should be here soon. Traffic in Angeles City is terrible this time of day."

Bea looked over at her mom and mouthed her thanks. Cody Clarke was an intern at The Report and one of Bea's only friends. It had involved pulling a few strings, but Jensing had been able to get him onto the committee.

"Well, perhaps we can talk about things that do not require a photographer," Queen Penelope said. "There is no reason he has to be here while we talk about the transportation of the selected."

"That is a fair point," Jensing sighed. "But I thought they were always transported the same way."

This time, Adrian was the one to speak up. "With everything that happened last time, we thought it would be wise not to transport them all at once," he said. "We thought that we could bring three or four of them to the palace over a number of days. That way the attacks are less likely."

"Can I meet them sooner?" Bea asked. "They're gonna be all alone in a place they don't know with people they don't know… It would be nice to meet them when they arrive. Maybe I can do some sort of activity with them when they arrive. Something safe like a card game or a garden picnic, ya know?"

Queen Penelope frowned. "Selection tradition and protocol requires you to meet them all at the same time so that it is a fair competition for all of the selected."

"Times have changed," Bea said, even though something in the back of her head screamed at her not to anger Queen Penelope. As far as she knew, the queen didn't actually hate her. "I'm sure that having one group activity with one boy a week before I have it with the next isn't going to change how much I love them or how quickly I fall."

Bea watched as Queen Penelope pursed her lips in thought, but before she could speak, the door burst open.

"I'm sorry I'm late," Cody said as he ran in and tossed his coat and bag onto his chair before sitting down. "Traffic was a mile long and I was late getting out of the house cause I couldn't find my portfolio."

Bea watched as he took off his hat and wrung it in his hands, his messy hair now on full display for the world to see.

Cody's eyes widened, then he stood up and bowed. "Your Majesties," he said. "I apologize for my rambling."

Bea looked over to her father and Queen Penelope. Adrian's lips had curled up into a smile, but Queen Penelope showed no indication of her emotions or feelings towards Cody.

"It's okay, Mr. Clarke," Adrian said. "We were just talking about how the selected would be arriving."

It always surprised Bea how quickly her father was able to drop his titles and act like a normal person. Bea knew a lot of royals and nobles who would talk down to normal people as they looked down their noses at them, but Adrian never had.

Cody stopped wringing his hat, then nodded. This time he stayed quiet though, his pink cheeks showing his embarrassment.

"So," Bea began, hoping to get the stares off of her best friend. "Will I be allowed to meet them before The Welcoming Ball?"

"I don't see why not," Adrian said, then looked at Queen Penelope. "After all, I met Lady Davina before I met the others. It really doesn't make that much of a difference."

Queen Penelope sighed. "Fine," she relented. "You may meet them when they arrive, but only one meeting."

"Thank you," Bea said.

"What is our plan for The Welcoming Ball?" Jensing asked.

Bea shook her head. "What about just a normal ball?" She suggested. She wasn't sure she wanted anything fancy. Plus the selected probably didn't want to be thrown headfirst into a big fancy ball as soon as they arrived.

"We could have everyone wear their province flower if you wanna make things a bit more interesting, but I really think this first ball should just be plain," she continued. "I think it could help them learn the basics of the manners and behaviors required for a royal gathering, but not throw them in over their heads with some crazy ball theme."

Queen Penelope hesitated for a second, then nodded. "Alright," she said. "Sounds good to me, if your father and mother agree."

Adrian shrugged. "I don't see why not," he said. "Plus it'll help everyone focus on the other things that have to be prepared before the selected arrive. Maybe Corrine and Diana can plan it. It would be a good experience for them."

"I agree," Jensing said. "And Princess Jehan and I can help the girls when needed."

Queen Penelope nodded. "Well, in that case, I think that was everything we needed to cover for now," she told them. "I believe anything else can be taken care of during the selection. Meeting adjourned."