|Priscilla the Evil
Author: sugaplumprincess PM
Priscilla thinks heroines are boring and useless and world domination is the obvious solution to her popularity problem. She declares herself an evil queen and sets out to make her mark on the world. She just needs to get her hands on a dragon and a castlRated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,401 - Reviews: 44 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 04-07-10 - Published: 01-28-10 - id: 2769576
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
1 The Queen Escapes
Madame Bhut's Finishing School in the town of Whut was known across Amalthea as a respectable place to send your daughter if you were hoping to marry her to a gentleman. It was not known for producing evil queens with ideas of world domination. That is, until Priscilla Martin escaped.
Before she escaped she was less than a model student. Miss Birch who taught embroidery had been horrified to discover that during her second week at the school Priscilla had started embroidering skulls and crossbones instead of flowers on all her projects. Miss Ash discovered that not only had the girl never had any drawing instruction before, which she considered a horrible oversight on the part of her parents, but she was also partial to drawing dreary forests and populating them with monsters.
Miss Oaks had it worst of all. As the etiquette teacher she was responsible for instilling in the girls a sense of all that was right in proper in behavior and an abhorrence of everything that wasn't. Priscilla had occasionally pushed Miss Oaks to the verge of tears with her favorite question: "why?"
"But why can't we discuss politics with men?" Priscilla said loudly and the other girls in the class twittered in amusement.
Miss Oaks looked back from the board, where she had neatly written appropriate and inappropriate topics for polite discussion. At least, she told herself, Priscilla was the only one with strange ideas.
"Miss Martin, politics are not proper civil discourse. That is all you need to know."
"But what if that's what they're talking about? Don't our opinions count too?"
"A young man is not interested in a wife with too many opinions. If you have them you are better off keeping them to yourself, Miss Martin."
"Yeah, Prissy, keep it to yourself," one of the girls jeered.
She received a certain look from Miss Oaks but no actual reprimand.
"All right girls, that is enough for today. I am glad most of you understand. Off to lunch you go."
Chattering broke out immediately as the girl rose and gathered their things. They held their notebooks carefully in the prescribed manner, with their pencils placed just so. They kept their backs straight and their heads tilted at polite angles as they walked and talked down the hallway. Priscilla wanted to throw her notebook at someone's head and run past them all while shouting at the top of her lungs. Instead she followed quietly, grinding her teeth. Occasionally some of the other girls would giggle and then one or two would glance back at her. Then they would all giggle again.
Priscilla Martin knew three things with the same absolute certainty with which a troll tells you the toll for its bridge. It was the unmovable kind of certainty that you just knew had to be based on some deep inner knowledge or secret truth. The first thing she knew was that she wasn't popular. She wasn't even liked by the other girls. Tolerated sometimes but definitely not liked. The second thing she knew was that she desperately wanted to be popular; she wanted to be looked up to more than anything else in the world, more than other girls wanted a rich husband or the latest dress. But she was not willing to act like a ninny to get it and frankly she didn't know how. The third thing she knew was that evil people were popular because secretly everyone wished they could be at least a little bad.
Everyone knew the witches and evil queens in stories and plays were far more stylish and interesting than the heroines, who just sat around waiting to be rescued. The good girls were boring. The bad ones were fun, they did things, they had adventures. No good girl ever had an adventure, well nothing Priscilla would count as an adventure. Wandering into the woods and getting stuck cleaning somebody's house for years and years wasn't an adventure. Getting locked in a tower until somebody rescued you wasn't an adventure. You might want to be a princess rescued by a handsome prince but you just couldn't help wanting to be the friend of the evil queen who tamed the dragon and tricked the dumb princess.
Priscilla had come to a conclusion: if she wanted to be popular, she would have to become evil. Not only would she become evil, she would become the evilest queen the world had ever seen and therefore have more followers than anyone else. She still might not have friends when she was evil but at least people would secretly want to be like her and admire her instead of laughing at her. She already had her title picked out: Priscilla Carey Circe Helen Lamya Lilitu Lorelei Nyx Martin, Regina, Her Most Evil Majesty, the Queen of Air and Darkness. She was still considering whether or not she would drop the Martin in favor of something a bit more regal and evil sounding, like Maldeveria or Maledicta.
Thinking about her future empire, and evilness, gave Priscilla something to do during her lessons. She had tried paying attention to for the first month or so before mostly giving up. She didn't need classes on embroidery and penmanship and she had decided she wouldn't need the etiquette either. When she was an Evil Queen, she would make up her own etiquette and it would actually make sense, so naturally everybody else would follow her example. There wasn't much history at the finishing school, the only magic they taught was household charms, and there certainly weren't any classes on running an Evil Kingdom. Overall it was a pretty useless place in Priscilla's opinion.
About six months before her parents had shipped her off to the second best finishing school in their small country, Amalthea, a move she swore she would never forgive them for. But that was all right, Evil Queens should be estranged from their parents for all the suffering they had been put through as a child. At the age of fourteen she considered herself just about done being a child and just about done with this school. She got through lunch with an open novel propped up beside her to hide the pages from yesterday's newspaper. Newspapers were looked down on by Madame Bhut; she said they gave the girls 'ideas about the world.'
Accounting was Priscilla's next class and she took her seat near the back, glad that the teacher couldn't see how little she cared about today's topic: how to separate necessities (party dresses and makeup) from unnecessary impulse purchases (anything your husband bought that wasn't for you) when doing the household accounts. The implication was that if you did this correctly you would always get what you wanted and your husband would never know what was going on. As a queen Priscilla planned on having people to do her accounting for her. So instead of paying attention to severe Miss Mabel, Priscilla was practicing signing her new name while pretending that she was copying the figures from the board.
"Carey Circe Helen? What are you writing, Prissy?"
Class had just ended and everyone was moving around in their seats. The girl in front of Priscilla had turned around in her chair and was reading what Priscilla was writing upside down. Priscilla clamped her hands over the wet ink on her notebook and looked up at Lucy Luxcasta. With long blonde hair, the most fashionable clothes and the most ladylike everything else Lucy was in fact, the coolest girl in the school. It was whispered that she was the granddaughter of a baron and was already engaged to the second or third son of count's daughter.
She also sat in front of Priscilla in accounting and never got bored of commenting on whatever weird thing Priscilla was doing now. When Priscilla had been listing necessities for an Evil Kingdom Lucy had demanded to know what Terrible Legions were. When she had been diagramming the finishing school's grounds in order to plot her escape Lucy had told everyone that Priscilla was sneaking out at night to see a boy. Then when Priscilla denied it, she ended up with the nickname Prissy.
Priscilla now hated the other girl, even though half the time Lucy wasn't even trying to be mean. Everyone else just always picked up what she said and twisted it over and over again, like some kind of school sport to see who could come up with the most outrageous stories about what Priscilla had done. After six months at the school Priscilla hadn't managed to make any friends. Even the other 'weird' girls looked down on her and talked about her behind her back.
"There's one in every group," Priscilla had caught Miss Oaks whispering to Miss Birch one day in the hall and then she realized that that one was her and even the teachers were watching her from the corners of their eyes. That was the day she decided she needed to get serious about all this evil stuff.
"It's my name," Priscilla said after a moment of staring back at Lucy.
The other girl let out a high, tinkling laugh and shook her head in disbelief. Priscilla wondered briefly if cutting off another girl's hair while she was asleep counted as being evil or just catty. She didn't want to be a common kind of evil after all; there was nothing classy about just being mean. Everyone could do it. Everyone did do it.
"I know your name isn't Priscilla Carey Finagelty-goop Glockenspiel von Looserpants, Prissy, nobody has that many names. You're so weird."
Priscilla filed the 'von' away in her head for later while she sat up in her seat and glared at Lucy. "I am not weird. I'm tired of you all calling me weird!"
The classroom went silent, which rarely happened after the teachers left and the girls all turned to look at Priscilla.
"Oooh," said Lucy with a roll of her eyes. "One day we'll regret it or something? Are you trying to scare us, Prissy? You may be a witch but you're even failing household charms."
All around the room girls burst into giggles and some began whispering to each other.
"No," Priscilla said as she got to her feet and slammed her notebook closed. "I'm tired of it, so I'm leaving. You'll have to find somebody else to pick on. And I hope this school gets you the worst husband in Amalthea, Lucy. I hope he's gross and ugly and in love with one of the maids!"
And with that she jammed her notebook under her arm and climbed out the window.
She could climb out the window because it was on the ground floor but it was still more dramatic than walking out the door. It also meant she didn't run into their next teacher, who was headed down the hall at that minute to start their next lesson.
Priscilla ran across the yard, her notebook under her arm and her skirt held up above her ankles. If any of the teachers had seen her, running across the grass with her skirt hitched up when she should have been in class, she would have been denied town privileges for a week. That meant being trapped in the tidy set of buildings that made up the finishing school with their pink lace curtains and their perfectly symmetrical flowerbeds and the 'stay off the lawn' signs. That was another thing she hated about the school, she couldn't go where she wanted when she wanted. If she wanted to go to the chocolate shop she had to get it approved by Headmistress Bhut, who hated approving anything and thought the girls should spend their free time sitting still and speaking softly about the weather. At home Priscilla had come and gone as she pleased; her parents didn't care where she was as long as it wasn't in the room with them and her nanny thought climbing trees was good for everyone.
Priscilla snuck into the girl's dormitory through the open windows in the sitting room and then crept along the hallway to first years' hall. Inside, the large room was bright and cheerful with pink curtains on the windows and paintings of dolls and kittens on the walls. Priscilla swore that when she had a castle there would be no pink curtains and certainly no pictures of fuzzy animals. Goblins would fit the mood better but even she did not like looking at them much, so she decided there would be lots of paintings of her doing coolly evil things to impress the peasants and some less disgusting monsters.
Now it was time to put her battle plan into action. She had begun preparations the month before, mapping the layout of the dormitories, the teachers' quarters, the school buildings and the streets immediately around the school, along with the fastest way out of town. She went to her bed and began pulling the maps from beneath a lose board. Priscilla would have liked to have said that she had found a loose floorboard but really she had gone in with a hammer one afternoon and pried up the nails herself. It was no use waiting around until a real loose floorboard presented itself when you needed a hiding space now.
The space under the boards formed her cubbyhole for things she did not want the teachers or her fellow students to find: her maps, her black dress, her allowance, which she had been saving up for two months, and little odds and ends she thought were the sort of things an Evil Queen should have, like Julia Grisdon's worry dolls. Priscilla had accidentally taken them one evening after Julia had accidentally spilled an entire pot of tea on her in front of their whole year.
The last thing Priscilla pulled out of the floor was The List. The List contained everything she needed to acquire to finally be an Evil Queen. One of the things on The List was a kingdom, which, now that she thought about it wasn't quite right. Priscilla paused, took out a pencil and scratched out 'kingdom.' Then, over top of it in tiny letters she wrote 'queendom' instead. Other things on The List included a Terrible Monster and Terrifying Legions, though she had also thought to include a Dark Castle and Terrified Peasants. Nobody was an evil ruler without terrified peasants.
Her bed was neatly made, the baby blue counterpane free of any wrinkles and her pillow plumped and at attention. Onto this she threw her books and maps, followed by her purse. Then, as she pulled her trunk from under her bed, shoes and dirty socks followed. Priscilla's parents had given her one of the best trunks money could buy as a way to break the news that they were getting rid of her nanny and sending her to finishing school. It had been charmed to float about six inches off the ground when packed, which made it hard to keep stationary under her bed without rope but it also meant that she would only have to tie a rope to its handle and loop the other end around her pony's saddle and there would be no pushing or heaving to worry about.
When the other girls returned at the end of the day's lessons Priscilla was in bed, the blankets pulled over her head in spite of the warm spring afternoon. Her trunk was secretly packed and waiting to go, all she needed was the right moment. As she lay there she could hear them whispering about her but for once she didn't care. There were only a few more hours until she would escape to follow her destiny and these girls would be left behind forever.
The room emptied completely at exactly five thirty as the girls marched off to dinner. Priscilla waited until she heard the last footsteps fade into the distance before throwing back her covers and springing to the ground. She slipped into her boots, grabbed the rope tied to her trunk and dashed for the door. With the entire school at dinner it was easy to sneak out of the dormitory and across the yard to the stables.
"Heya, Bill," she called to the stable boy on duty.
There were three stable boys and a head groom who took turns with the horses and all the girls were in love with at least one of them; many were in love with all three boys. However Priscilla had decided that a stable boy was not the proper love interest of a queen, so she had managed not to be lovesick around them. She was used to playing with boys when she was younger and talked to these in the same way, which meant that in the hours she usually spent hiding from the other girls in the stables she had managed to make friends with all of them. Bill teased her the least so she liked him the best.
"Hey, Cilla, what're you doing skipping dinner?" Bill said as he got up from the bale of hay he had been sitting on and tipped his cap in her direction. "Want to play Trolls vs. Yaksha? I've got half an hour till Jimmy gets here."
"I'm running away from this place."
"Lucy getting to you again?"
Priscilla sniffed and tried to look regal. "Even if she was, I decided I was going to run away months ago, I just hadn't picked a day yet."
"Well, you know you shouldn't let her scare you off," he said slowly while picking at his grimy fingernails.
"Are you going to help me or not?" Priscilla demanded. She was starting to get anxious now and wanted to be long gone by the time the other girls got back from dinner.
"Sure, sure," Bill said with a wave. "I'll get your pony, just wait here a minute."
He slouched off towards the stalls, whistling an old ballad as he looked over the horses. It didn't take him long to get the pony tacked and bring her out to Priscilla but the girl was glancing over her shoulder and jumping at shadows by the time he handed her the reins.
"Now since you're running away I figured you'd better have something to feed old Precious here, so I put a feedbag on your saddle here—" He pointed to the hanging leather bag, "and I put an extra saddle blanket on. Remember to take off her saddle at night and let her graze when you can. The food'll last longer that way."
"Thanks, Bill! I owe you. When I'm wealthy and powerful you can be my head groom if you want," she said as she pulled herself into the saddle and tied the trunk to pommel.
"Sure, Cilla, just as soon as you have a castle, I'll be there," he chuckled. "Now take care."
She turned the pony to the gate and gave her a little kick to get her moving. "I will!" she called back over her shoulder. "And you take care too!"
And then, while the gateman took his usual afternoon nap in a chair by the open gates, Priscilla rode out of Madame Bhut's Finishing School and into the town.
I've got the whole story written, but I'm going through the first round of edits and would love feedback, the good, the bad, the funny, the weird, the stupid. What makes sense, what doesn't. I tried for a simpler style in this than I normally use but I'm worried it's too simple.