So, I've always heard about the great princesses- Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty- but I always thought they were a bit silly. I mean, they couldn't get themselves out of their predicaments, they needed big strong men to help them out. I've never understood this, although my mother tells me that I need to. It isn't my place to save myself, she says, because if all princesses saved themselves, what would the princes do? I once told her that I didn't care what the princes did, because I wasn't interested in princes. That was the year my parents sent me to Prince Charles' castle. I suppose I should have expected it. When princesses start talking about not needing princes her parents will naturally be concerned. Too bad I didn't figure this out before I was sent off that year.

I've always been a bit . . . unorthodox for a princess. My governesses tried to fill my head with all sorts of silly thoughts- boys, gowns, sewing, boys, dancing, beauty tips, boys. I thought it was all dreadfully dull. Of course I learned it. I had to learn it! I even ended up excelling at most of it. My theory is that it might come in handy one day, to be able to act the perfect young lady.Plus, I can make great embroidered pillows.But my real joy came when I convinced others to teach me things that I didn't need to know. I made the cook teach me how to cook, the knights taught me how to fight, the magician taught me how to read Latin and cast basic spells, and so forth. My parents weren't happy with any of this, but there wasn't much they could do to stop me. So they sent me to Prince Charles' castle in hopes of curing my "hoydenish" ways. I think it really just made me worse.

My parents told me I would be leaving a week before I actually left. I suppose they figured if they had told me sooner they would have heard more complaints. Since I had figured out long ago that when they had that look on their faces there was no dissuading them, I simply accepted my fate, though I hoped there would be a chance to escape from going. Alas it was not so, and so there I was, about to arrive at the castle of the Charmings. Yes, you heard me right, the Charmings. Prince Charles' great-grandmother was none other than Cinderella herself. My maid had awoken me early to fix my auburn hair in a perfect coil on my head, and to dress me in a green gown that she swore brought out the color of my eyes. I personally didn't notice anything of the sort when I looked in the mirror, but then, I was still half wishing I was in bed again. The ride had been a smooth one, very dull and boring. I had perked up a bit as we got closer to our destination, until I realized that I would have to meet with Prince Charles soon.

If there was ever a prince that could drive a woman with any kind of sense up the wall, it was Prince Charles. I had met him a couple times at various international functions, but happily had only actually danced with him once. Several of my friends assured me that he was quite handsome, and charming too, but I didn't believe a word of it. He had that whole hero-complex. All princesses need to be saved. From what? Who knows, but he would be sure to save them. I just couldn't stand him. So you can imagine how disconcerted I was to arrive at his castle and have him waiting outside for me with his parents. I exited the carriage with the help of one of my coachmen, and curtsied before the King and Queen.

"Ah, Elizabeth, its so splendid that you could come visit us this summer," Queen Vicky gushed.

"Yes, Princess Elizabeth, we are excited to see you again. Its been, what, three years since we last saw you? You have grown into a beautiful young woman." King Jerom added.

"Well, I'm pleased to be here, your majesties," I replied, the smile on my face only slightly forced. "I am so glad that you invited me."

I could hear the carriage moving off, presumably towards the back of the palace where it would be easier to unload. I glanced over at Prince Charles. He was indeed handsome. His dark hair was fashionably short, and his grey eyes were focused on something in the distance. I wondered if he even cared that I had come to spend the summer. Not that I cared if he cared. I cleared my throat, trying to get his attention. It was successful, and he blushed a deep red that I swear just made him more attractive. I had to remind myself that he was a snobbish, arrogant, princess-saving brat.

"I'm so sorry Princess Elizabeth. I'm afraid I'm a bit distracted today. I'm happy you're here as well. I dare say it will make things more interesting," he said with a smile.

"Its quite alright, your Highness," I answered in my loftiest tones. "Thank you for your kind welcome." With that I followed his parents into the castle, and up the stairs towards my room with out a backward glance.