Have you ever honestly thought about it? Have you ever wondered why everyone seems so happy, even though they have nothing to live for? Have you ever thought about how little magic there is in the world? I've given it years of and years of hopeless thought, only to create a theory. Everyone is hiding their own chunk of magic from everyone else. The dirty children who play around the streets so excitedly all have a little magic to go home to. Whether home is a shipping crate by a creek or a mansion on the hill. We all have a little magic to live for. I suppose that is if the term 'we' makes an exception for me. As it seems, that little shred of magic has completely escaped the twelve year old daughter of the Lutwidge family.

True, I may live in a gorgeous home that some would consider magical, but there isn't a single ounce of magic anywhere. And, trust me, I've looked. I've checked behind staircases, in closets, beneath bed, in the hearts of rosebushes, any place a manor like ours has to hide things in has been searched with vigor. For a few minutes, I thought I saw some at the place where both walls meet, but it was dark and as soon as I came to take a closer look I realized nothing was there. And so continues my desperate search for the light in life. Today, I'll probably end up pounding on a typewriter with my father to help him create the book he's been wanting to for years.

"Come on, Leona! Just paint a picture with the words, what is it you want to find most?" the soft scent of slightly minted breath works its way into my nostrils. Sir Charles Lutwidge, more casually known as my father, is pressing me for story ideas once again. He likes the thought of a young child's mind put to work to create nonsensical stories. I suppose he prefers an innocent mind for story writing. However, I would prefer to be searching my home for magic again. There's a spot inside the cupboard that I swear has something special about it. Oh god, listen to me droning on about the magic hidden deep within the Wondrous Land of Cupboard. I must be doomed to a life of insanity. But maybe insanity holds a sort of magic to it! Maybe magic is in the human-

"Come on Leona! We have a party to attend to in a few hours." Charles grabs my chin and lifts me into a sitting position. And, just like that, the fleeting moment of possible genius is gone. It's not a loss I'll think too much about, though. I'll end up getting distracted by the magic in a potted plant sometime soon.

"Well... I suppose that I'd like my own magic world more than anything." I drummed on my bottom lip with a pencil.

"And who would live there?"

"Mm... A cat? Maybe a lion."

"That's not very creative."

"Oh, shush! I'm trying my best here... Maybe some battling dukedoms?"

"Two queens, perfect!"

"A rabbit-"

"Honestly, Leona?"

"With some sort of mental disease?"

"That's better! In fact, that's perfect. Now shoo, go eat lunch and get ready for the dinner party." Charles ended our almost witty banter by abruptly pushing me out the door. He was a peculiar man, and that was why I loved him. He wasn't like the fathers of the other dukedom children I'd met; they were all stuffy and loud. They had huge stomachs that made me think someone had stuffed a pillow in their shirt and they always reeked of tobacco or some grotesque musk that could only be obtained by sitting in the same spot for hours on end. Charles was very different in that manner. He was lanky, tall and thin with a youthful face. Most people chose to take splendor in his eyes, however. They were a light pink, almost close enough to red that people called him an albino from time to time, with the outer ring of the iris turned a tinted by vibrant purple and two tiny, hardly visible pupils in the center. People said that his eyes were so beautiful his pupils couldn't hold their own against them so they got up and left.

I had never looked like him though, I doubted I ever would. I wasn't very attractive, I wasn't quite ugly, but I don't know that anyone has ever complimented my beauty. If I still had a mother I think I might understand the act of being beautiful and putting on makeup and corsets and such, but I don't do those things. Oh, did I forget to mention my father has been passing me off as a male for twelve years now? Perhaps that's why I've never been called beautiful before. Only about three people actually know I'm not Leo Lutwidge.

Charles claims he'd like to keep my innocence for as long as he can. Apparently, on my fourteenth birthday Sir Leo Lutwidge will die in a fire and Lady Leona Lutwidge will take his place. He's been telling people he has both a son and a daughter so he can pull off this elaborate scheme. Fourteen, to him at least, is the perfect marriage age. It gives room for a few years so I can decide whom I want to settle for while also being old enough that if I can be married immediately if I fall in love. But, after meeting all the eligible boys as friends, I doubt that will ever happen. If I'm lucky, I'll find someone I can bear and lock myself in a room for weeks at a time.

"Master Leo! Come down for lunch!" my valet, an older woman with a name I've never had the time to learn, shouts. Her voice tends to cause an ill ringing of the ears whenever it's heard, which is why I don't put in the effort to ask someone what she's called. She's one of the people who knows me as Leona, however, so perhaps I should invest a second or two. Or, and this is the option I'll end up with, I could simply skimp through life not knowing. I seem to forget names anyways; the only one I know for sure is my father's. Well, there is one other name I enjoy. One that makes me smile when I speak it, one that's soft and sweet, one that knows me for me. However, it's also one that I dare not let my father hear. And, if I think about it too hard, I'll have to voice it, so I'll stop dreaming for now.

"Bah... I'm Grand Prince Leo! I don't have to listen to an old hag like you." I laugh, half-hearted and solemn but still managing a weak grin. Where was my magic? Was I doomed to a life of cross-dressing? Whenever my father spoke of me coming back as a woman, he sounded so unsure. His beautiful eyes began to quiver with the taint of a lie and he always seemed to frown, just a tiny bit. I strode over to the table, glancing at its magnificent array of fruits and sandwiches and, my personal favorite, sweets. Tea cakes, chocolates, truffles, lollipops, candies, and even ice cream. The spread of food was enchanting. I let my valet fill a silver platter with all the sweets it could hold, having her place it in front of me.

I wasn't honestly hungry, but I thought that maybe some delicious treats would make me feel better. With any luck, they'd fill the pit in my stomach. When I thought too much about the whole magic ordeal I tended to get this ailed, bottomless feeling deep in my entrails. Sometimes it happened when I contemplated my life as a man, but that sort of went along with the lack of magic. It was all I could think about as I picked away at the lunch of little nutritional value. I glared at my reflection in the platter, feeling more sullen and downtrodden than I had in years. Looking at the mop of sodden disgust upon my head only made things worse. I had a mane much like a lion's, a set of bangs swooping across my forehead and layers of spiky fur jutting out until my hair reached its end at the bottom of my shoulder blades. But as I stared, I realized something begin to happen. My reflection slowly dispersed and made way for a shadowy face. Slowly, it opened a fang filled mouth and spoke in a raspy voice only I could hear,

'A gorgeous boy but an ugly girl. Funny. How would you like to see the magic you thought was lost?' and, without the use of words, our contract was set. A deal I'd soon find out was the exact opposite of what I wanted.


I've been doing a few pet projects lately, and this was one of them~ Being so sick makes me want to write like crazy. Anyways, I'd appreciate some reviews and favs and shiz! Don't be shy, mooncalves!

~EXB