An Imperfect Fairytale
Chapter 1.1

By Charlotte Parr

Day 742

So bored! Everything around here is so boring! There is nothing I can do but sit and look pretty for when my prince comes to rescue me, and after two years, one week, five days, ten hours and twenty-seven minutes, it gets a bit dull. I could kill my father. He said in his last letter that a nephew of the Queen was coming to get me. That was nearly a month ago. What’s taking him so long?

At least I’m not Damia. Poor, sweet Damia. She could be at home with her family right now if she wanted, the only think keeping her here is me. I’d have gone insane by now if it hadn’t been for her. She’s the best friend I could have asked for.

Rowena put down her quill and leant back in her chair, gazing longingly out the window. It had been so long since she’d been allowed outside. She missed the feeling of the sun on her face and the wind ruffling her hair. It had been over two years since she’d been kidnapped and imprisoned in the tower, but had her father done anything? No.

Not that Rowena had expected anything better. Her father was an indecisive sort of man, which made him a very ineffective monarch, allowing his advisors to make decisions and take control. This also made him quite unpopular, but the people tolerated him because one day his eldest daughter, Lady Rowena Octavia Sarema Oriata, Crown Princess of Fersere, would take his place as their ruler.

Fersere was quite forward thinking in this respect. It was one of only four countries in the Known World that allowed women on the throne, and the only country that allowed women to inherit the throne before a man if they were the eldest.

Unfortunately, not everyone liked this idea, especially a significant group of rebels who would do anything to keep a woman from inheriting the throne, which was why Rowena found herself in her present situation.
At the sound of a knock at the door, Rowena jumped to her feet and ran across the room. When she opened it, she was greeted by a familiar rat-like face.

‘Good afternoon, Vincent,’ she said sweetly, taking the tray from the young man’s hands.

‘Good afternoon, your highness. How are you today?’

‘Same old, same old. How’s your mother? On the warpath yet?’

‘My lady!’ Damia scolded, sweeping into the room and almost snatching the tray from Rowena’s hands. ‘You’re still a princess! Let him carry it.’ She shot a deadly look of disdain at Vincent, before placing the tray on the table next to the main door.

‘I managed to get you some grapes,’ Vincent said, nervously flicking his eyes in Damia’s direction. ‘I know how much you like them.’

‘That’s so sweet of you,’ Rowena gushed, embracing a shocked Vincent. ‘Narcissa won’t be very angry, will she?’

‘It’ll be fine.’ Vincent shrugged. ‘I’m pretty sure Mum won’t even notice they’re gone.’

‘Oh, you’re an angel!’ The princess hugged him again, squealing with delight.

Damia turned away and rolled her eyes. She knew Rowena had always acted in this very friendly manner, taking an interest in everyone no matter how lowly, and it was beginning to annoy her.

‘Sit down and eat something your highness.’ Damia’s gaze turned icy as it fell on Vincent. ‘You may go now.’ She partly blamed Vincent for Rowena’s behavior. He assumed he was a friend of the princess simply because he brought her a few treats occasionally. But had he tried to defy his mother and help the princess and her maid escape? No.

Vincent bowed to Rowena and hastily left. He shuddered as he closed the first of the heavy doors. Though Damia was beautiful, her strong, commanding presence terrified him; he wasn’t ashamed to admit it. On the other hand, Rowena’s elfin-like beauty made him feel at ease and comfortable.

Vincent wasn’t a handsome man. His sharp and pointy nose matched the shape of his face. His eyes which were almost black mirrored his mother’s and were almost too small for his face like his sharp, pursed lips. His overly thin body and pale skin made him look like an invalid. But despite appearances, Vincent had a very kind heart and was stronger than one would expect.

Unfortunately he wasn’t strong enough to stand up to his mother, the powerful and evil fairy Narcissa Malheur, who notoriously plotted against the rich, powerful and famous. Rowena did not believe Vincent acted of his own free will but without complaining went along with his mother’s way of doing things, unsure of what he wanted for himself.

Vincent hated to leave Rowena locked away in her tower prison, particularly when he could see how much she wanted to be free, but he knew he had no other options. He sighed as he crossed the small antechamber. He unlocked the big oak door, and with a resounding slam, the door shut behind him, the grinding of keys in the lock confirming Crown Princess Rowena’s imprisonment for a while longer.