• September 15, 1736

    I got this journal for my sixteenth birthday two days ago, but I have spent the last few days working on my map that I didn’t have a chance. I hope that someone finds this journal someday when I have gone to the Isles.
    My name is Analeece Rontifer. I am very small and have long blonde hair. Most people tell me that my hair is my best feature and I just love it. I always wear it down, except when I am helping Ma around the castle. No, I’m not a princess. I am a maid for the royal family. Ma is the Queen’s head maid and I grew up in the castle, helping Ma wash floors. We have some of the younger kids do that now, but it used to be my job while Ma worked.
    Ma is very short and has dark brown hair. She always wears it up in a bun with a handkerchief tied around her head to keep the stray hairs out. When she sometimes lets it down it is slightly wavy and comes to just about her shoulder. Ma is the best maid in the entire castle and always knows what I am talking about (especially when I don’t). She was the one who gave me the journal for my birthday. She said that when she turned sixteen, her life became very complicated and it will help me to sort my thoughts out if I write it down.
    Today is Thursday and I have to go to school before I am able to come home and help Ma with laundry (wahoo). I hate Thursdays.
    I pulled on my red dress (not my favorite, but it is the only clean one) and walked in to the kitchen, a little later than usual. I’m always late on Thursdays.
    Knock! Knock!
    I had just shoved a few bites of porridge into my mouth when my best friend, Jacki knocked on the door.
    Jacki is the best best friend ever. She always knows what to say if I’m sad or angry. Ma pulled open the door and I saw that Jacki was wearing her plum-colored dress (it must be laundry day at their house too) smiling, as usual.
    “Good morning, Ms. Rontifer.” Ma grinned. She loved Jacki because she was always so polite.
    “Good morning Jacki, would you like some porridge?” Ma always asks her that and she always answered the same.
    “No thank you, Ms. Rontifer, I have already eaten. Ready, Analeece?”
    I swallowed quickly and nodded. I rushed into my room to grab my book bag and my puppy Tickles. My sweetheart, Randy, gave me Tickles for my sixteenth birthday, and I take him everywhere with me. So far Ms. Kantry, my teacher, hasn’t noticed, and I think that that is a good sign.
    It takes me and Jacki five minutes to walk to school and we take our seats. We have a few minutes left before school starts so I sit on the top of my desk and turn to talk with Jacki.
    “Morning, babe,” I heard Randy say a little while later as I felt his strong arm slip around my waist. He pulled me close and kissed me deeply. He always did something extra on Thursdays because he knows I don’t like them.
    He stepped back a bit to stand beside me and I let my head rest on his shoulder his arm still around my waist.
    “Hey, Randy!” I groaned and he moved slightly closer to me. That was Clarice. She was the prettiest and most popular girl until I showed up last year. Ma had finally gotten her job as the Queen’s head maid and she no longer had any time to home school me. People started to see through Clarice’s fake personality to learn that she was really quite mean. Needless to say, Randy, the most popular boy in school, was her sweetheart before I came. She has never forgiven me.
    “Hi, Clarice,” Randy said with a slight hint of nervousness in his voice. I couldn’t blame him. Clarice is really pretty and it must be hard for him to stay true to me when she is being so forward with him. Clarice has long strawberry-blond hair (about as long as Jacki’s, but not as long as mine) and it is slightly wavy (kind of like mine). But the main thing that guys notice is that she has large breasts. Mine aren’t small, but compared to her’s they’re microscopic. I doesn’t help that she is rich enough to buy more low-cut dresses than the rest of us who have to buy the generic type.
    I had just lifted my head of Randy’s shoulder to give her a piece of my mind, when Ms. Kantry came in and glared at me and Randy. She always does this. She doesn’t approve of “public displays of affection.” Ya, like we care.
    Clarice smiled at the teacher, smirked at us, and went to take her seat. Jacki, being my best friend, stuck out her leg and tripped her. Everyone laughed as she popped back up, bright red and glaring at me.
    “Oh my,” Jacki began. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t even realize my foot was out there.”
    I grinned at Clarice triumphantly and shrugged my shoulders, as she walked toward her seat. I love Jacki!
    Randy detangled himself from me and we took our seats with the rest of the class. We have a class of about twenty people from ages 15-18. It is a small class, but it is also a small schoolhouse. They have another schoolhouse just down the road for younger kids. Our schoolhouse is red and has a big gold bell at the top. All of our desks are in rows and they face the big blackboard in the front of the classroom.
    School was boring (as usual), but I still wasn’t glad when it was finished. I kissed Randy goodbye and let Tickles get some exercise by running home, since he would be in my room till I finished laundry.
    There is not really all that much to write about for the rest of the day. I did laundry. I ate dinner, and now I’m writing in my journal. Good night!

    September 16, 1736

    This morning I awoke to Tickles licking my face. Pleasant.
    I totally forgot to write something very important about myself yesterday (oops!). I forgot to write that I always wear this strange necklace. The chain is silver and at the end there is a silver sword with a ruby-embedded gold hilt. Ma says that I got this necklace as a gift when I was born. I have never taken it off and I don’t really know why, but I guess I just don’t want to. Luckily, all of my dresses cover the sword; otherwise it would just be another thing that Clarice could tease me about.
    Like I said earlier, Tickles woke me up this morning with his little wet tongue. Despite the fact that my nose was covered in drool, I was very excited. Today is Friday and Ms. Kantry always plans a surprise for class on Fridays. Little did I know how surprising this Friday would be.
    I walked over to my closet and put on my favorite dress. It was long and pink, had short sleeves, and a nice neckline. It didn’t show too little of too much. Everyone wears this simple floor-length design unless you are rich, or going to a fancy party. I have never been to a fancy party so I don’t own anything else but two other dresses that look like this, and my tattered blue (yuck!) dress that I wear when I help Ma.
    Anyway, when I walked into they kitchen I found a steaming plate of pancakes on the table with a note with my name on it beside it. This is what the note said:

    I’m sorry I can’t see you off to school like I usually do, but today the Queen needs my help setting up for the big party tomorrow, but I will see you this afternoon. Please change into your working dress and meet me in the ballroom immediately after school.
    All my love- Ma

    I sighed. Everyone knows about Prince Phillip’s birthday tomorrow night but I’m the only one who has to help make the unfortunately gorgeous son-of-a-tyrant’s birthday special. Prince Phillip has dirty-blond hair and blue eyes. He is strong and has a nice smile. He really is the best-looking guy in the kingdom. If only he was kind.
    Knock! Knock! I was just finishing my pancakes when my best friend, Jacquelyn, knocked on the door. Jacki is very pretty. She has dark wavy brown hair that is almost as long as mine. She wears the same style of dress that I do (of course), but always wears green and blue dresses, unlike my pink and orange ones.
    “Coming!” I yelled, as I grabbed my book bag.
    “Hey, Analeece,” she said when I opened the door. “Where’s your mother?”
    “She has to help get ready for Prince Phillip’s birthday tomorrow,” I answered with a sigh.
    My friend gave me a sympathetic look. She, as all good best friends do, knows everything about me, including my hatred for the King and his entire family.
    “Well, lets get going before we’re late,” I said, trying to change the subject. “Come on, Tickles!” Tickles leaped into my book bag as we headed out the door.
    As Jacki and I were nearing the school, chatting about nonsense and gossiping as we always did, Tickles suddenly jumped out of my bag and ran toward a figure that stood by the door into the schoolhouse.
    “Tickles!” I yelled as Jacki and I ran after him trying to keep up. He was really fast for a puppy. Obviously, he reached the schoolhouse before we did. The stranger by the door picked up Tickles and cradled him in his arms. I gasped when I realized who the strange figure was: Prince Phillip!
    “Your Majesty!” I exclaimed, breathlessly, when we finally reached the schoolhouse. I curtsied and snatched my dog from his arms. “I am terribly sorry I don’t know why he did that. He is usually very well behaved.”
    “That’s alright, miss. He is a very sweet creature,” he said and smiled at me. I thought I was going to hurl.
    “Not that you would know,” I said under my breath.
    “Pardon me,” he said, ever so politely.
    “Careful, Analeece,” my best friend warned. She was right of course. I could be killed for treason for saying something like that. I know, dumb, right?
    “Good-bye, Your Highness.” I slipped Tickles into my book bag, curtsied again, and hurried through the door.
    “Thanks for the save,” I whispered to Jacki as soon as we were out of hearing range.
    “No big,” she answered when we had taken our seats. “What are friends for?” I plopped myself on top of my desk to talk to Jacki as usual.
    We heard giggling by the front door and turned to see Clarice (ugg) flirting with the Prince. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Clarice was always trying to pretend the she and the prince were together, but anyone who knows her knows that they aren’t.
    “Morning” I heard Randy, say after a bit. As he came closer he slid his arm down my back and pulled me into him, kissing my neck. I giggled knowing how much Clarice would hate this, but also wonder about the change of greeting. Usually on any day, but Thursday, he would simply kiss me on the cheek.
    “Morning,” I said when he finally let me go. “Did you see His Royal Stupidness standing by the door?”
    “Ya. Are you sure you still hate him?“
    “Very funny.” He knew very well of my hatred for the Royal family. I turned to slide into my seat as the teacher walked in and glared at us, again.
    “Good morning, class,” Ms. Kantry announced as Randy reluctantly detached himself from my side and took his seat. “Today, as you know, is our surprise day. And for today’s surprise I have arranged for Prince Phillip himself to give us a grand tour of his castle!” All of the girls, but me and Jacki, shouted gleefully. I glanced over at Jacki who rolled her eyes. At least one other girl was on my side. “Now,” Ms. Kantry began again, “lets get started. I hear it is only a short walk from here to the castle.”
    It took us about five minutes to walk to the castle with the prince and Ms. Kantry talking like they have been best friends forever the whole way. We started the tour on the second floor, skipping the servants’ quarters as usual. The ballroom, and the place where I am supposed to meet my mother later, is on the third floor. When we entered the ballroom, I saw her and waved. She motioned me over. I let go of Randy’s hand and ran to talk to her.
    “Do you think you can ask your teacher is you can skip the ret of class today to help set up for the party?” she asked me. “It is taking longer than we expected and I could really use an extra hand.”
    “Sure, Ma.” I ran back over to speak with my teacher.
    “Well, I don’t know if I can let you-,” she began, but Prince Phillip rudely cut in.
    “Please let her go, Kathleen. She needs to help her mother set up for my party this tomorrow.” He spoke like he was rescuing me from a fire-breathing dragon. Then he smiled at me again! Ick! I don’t even think I need to mention Kathleen. Eww.
    “Well, in that case I would love to let you go, Analeece!” She said it like nothing would bring her more pleasure, but everyone watching could tell she was just saying it to please the prince. And everyone was watching.
    I thanked her, curtsied to the prince, kissed Randy’s cheek, and waved good-bye to Jacki as I rushed downstairs to change.
    I changed into my patched-up dress. It is blue (yuck) and a bit too small, but at least I don’t have to worry about it getting dirty. I left Tickles in my room because Ma hates it when he is underfoot during an important job like this. I tied my hair up with a ribbon as I ran out of the kitchen. Even though I was back upstairs in five minutes my class and the prince had moved on. I had thought that this would be the last time I would see the Prince for a while. Boy was I wrong.
    It wasn’t even an hour later when my mom asked if I would run some clean laundry up to the prince’s room. I was sure that by now, school was most certainly finished and the prince was now in his room.
    “Don’t worry,” Ma said when she saw me grimace. “He and the king are out hunting in the woods, and will be till dinner.”
    I breathed a sigh of relief, smiled at her, and ran to get the prince’s clothes.
    Ten minutes later I walked into his rooms. They were all huge and he had four of them from my count! I laid the clothes upon a bench I found nearby and looked around. His first room was a sitting room with plush couches on one side and a mini kitchen on the side that I was standing in. I walked over to sit on the couch, because it just looked so comfortable. I placed my arm down next to me to feel the soft expensive fabric. I felt like I was being watched, and looked up. To my horror, I saw the prince standing in the doorway that lead to his sleeping chamber, from the looks of it, and he was smiling at me. Again!
    “Your Majesty!” I exclaimed, curtsying quickly but keeping my eyes on the floor. “I thought you were out hunting with His Royal Highness, King David, but of course that is no excuse for my behavior. Please don’t have me hung!” I added quickly.
    He laughed, “I won’t have you hung just for sitting on my couch!” At this I looked up at him; maybe he wasn’t as bad as I had thought. “My father canceled our hunt,” he continued, “complaining that he was too tired. You may sit back down if you like. I wanted to ask you something.”
    As I sat down on the couch I could feel my body trembling; what could the prince possibly have to ask me? I was about to find out. He sat right next to me. A little too close if you ask me, but who was I to argue with a prince? My hand was still resting on the couch in-between us, and he casually slipped his hand over mine, thinking I wouldn’t notice. Unfortunately for him, I did. I snatched my hand away from his in a heartbeat. As if nothing had happened, he pulled his had back, smiled at me and asked me the question.
    “Analeece,” he began (how did he know my name?), “will you go with me to my birthday party tomorrow?” I almost fell off the couch.
    “Excuse me?” I managed to squeak out after I had calmed down enough to realize what he was saying. Of course I had heard him perfectly well the first time, but I just wanted to make sure.
    “I said, will you go to my party tomorrow with me?” he said again.
    What was I supposed to say? If I said no (which I really wanted to) he could have me killed. But, I had Randy to worry about. Would he understand that I had no other choice? Probably not. “Sure,” I eventually lied through gritted teeth.
    “Really?” he asked, as if I could say anything else. When I nodded he continued. “That’s great! Meet me here at five tomorrow evening.” He stood and offered me his hand, but I pretended not to notice and walked out of the room.
    I turned into the hallway and took a deep breath, going over the whole conversation in my mind. Yep, Randy is going to hate me. I began to walk toward to ballroom and stop dead in my tracks. Randy is standing in right in front of me and is looking at me with the most hurt expression ever. I know that just seeing me walk out of the prince’s room it killing him, but not knowing what happened is ripping his heart out.
    “You’re going to the party aren’t you?” I could feel the pain in his voice as if someone had just stabbed me.
    “Yes,” I whispered, barely able to hold back my tears. “But it’s not like I had a choice,” I added quickly when he looked at me like I had told him that I loved Josh (the stupidest, most annoying and most un attractive boy in our class).
    “How could you not have a choice?!”
    “Well, if I had said no to the prince he would have killed me!”
    “I knew the prince was irresistible! Why didn’t you tell me you loved him today when we were talking about him before class?!”
    “I didn’t know he was going to ask me then! And if you really care about me as much as you say you do then you will understand!”
    “Understand what?! That the love of my life loves someone else?!”
    “No, I-“
    “That’s it, we’re through!” He stomped down the hall and I burst into tears.
    I slowly walked over toward the wall and sank down to the floor. A few moments later I felt a large shadow come over me. I glanced up and groaned, putting my head back down in-between my knees. It was the Prince. He had probably heard our entire conversation and was going to tell me how horrible Randy is and how I shouldn’t even want him anyway. I was so not in the mood for that.
    He very gently placed his hand on my back and (surprisingly) didn’t say a word. We sat like that for what seemed like hours, but was probably more like five minutes. Eventually, I sniffed and lifted my head up to look up into his face. He didn’t even smile. It was like he could feel my pain. He wanted me to fell better, but wanted me to do it on my own, and not be rushed. He held out his hand to help me up and I gratefully took it. I smiled at him softly before I left. His mouth didn’t smile, but his eyes did.

    I walked into the ballroom a little while later and immediately went over to my mother and gave her a giant hug. She didn’t know why I hugged her, but seeing my puffy eyes, she hugged m back. Did I mention how much I love her?
    After a while she pulled away and held me out in front of her. “Now,” she began, “whatever is the matter? Laundry isn’t that bad.”
    I smiled half-heartedly and told her the entire story. At the end she wrapped me in another hug.
    “I hope this will help,” she whispered, pressing some money in my hand. When I stared at her dumbly she told me that it was for my new party dress!
    I thanked her and ran to go put the money on my dresser for tomorrow. As I was heading back up stairs, I heard yelling coming from a room on the second floor.
    “I will not have my eldest son, and the future King of Svindel, going to his eighteenth birthday party with a maid!” That voice was very angry. It kind of sounded like the king yelling at the prince, about me!
    “Father, I can do what I wish with my life. Besides, I’m not only going to take her to my party; I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
    “But you hardly even know her!”
    “I know her enough to know I love her.”
    After that last comment I heard angry footsteps coming toward the door. I ran down the hallway, not wanting to get caught listening in on such a conversation.
    I was breathless by the time I reached the ballroom, but I made up some lie about wanting to hurry back because I was in no mood to discuss the real reason. The rest of the day passed with me, Ma and a few of the other servants decorating the entire ballroom.