a/n: Having just read 'Cinderella' to a little girl I babysat, I'm sick of Cinderella's whingeing and sobbing. This is my new idea that I've had for a while.

Chapter 1.

Princess Eirena was bored.

She was very bored.

She was very, very, VERY bored.

You get the picture.

Oh, it was all very well for her mother, Queen Eleanor, to be happy. After all, Mother had spent most of her childhood in the ashes and cinders of the fireplace; slaving after her stepmother and stepsisters.

But Ren was not happy.

Every single day, the day's schedule was the same. Wake up. Take a bath (although Ren didn't mind that part too much). Get ready for breakfast in Gown #1. Either go down for breakfast with visiting diplomats or have it brought up to her room. Embroider (ugh). Get ready for afternoon tea in Gown #2. Go down to have tea with her parents and visiting diplomats. Embroider some more. Get ready for the night's banquet in Gown #3; the fussiest, most uncomfortable gown of the day. Go down to have the banquet and attend the ball with visiting diplomats. Go to sleep in an itchy, satin, lacey nightgown.

No. Ren was not happy.

She glared at herself in the mirror, large purple eyes narrowed in a ferocious scowl. (a/n: yes, I'm obsessed with purple eyes. *grins* hehehe) At midnight, with her long silver hair messed up from tossing and turning, she wasn't at her best.

She didn't even slightly resemble her mother OR her father. She was, like, some sort of genetic mishap.

Her mother was tall, golden-blonde, and blue eyed. Her father was also tall, golden-blonde, and blue eyed. After all, it was an unwritten rule: Every Royal Must Have Golden Hair And Blue Eyes. Unfortunately, Ren was breaking about half of the Unwritten Royal Rules.

Ren had silver hair, not golden. Ren had purple eyes, not blue. And, the most disgraceful, Ren was short.

Okay, so she didn't exactly look BAD or anything. One thing she had gotten from her mother/father's genes were that she was beautiful. Ren scowled at herself in the mirror again. And because of that little fact, she was going to be married off to some old fogey with peas for brains and who was as fat as a pig.

No, she reconsidered. Not as fat as a pig. Pigs aren't really all that fat. Fat as a bull. No, fat as TWO bulls.

She amused herself for a moment, picturing Prince John VI with two horns, a big ring through his nose, and a little piggy-wiggy tail.

She shuddered. There was no freakin' way she was going to marry him without a fight. There was no freakin' way in the WORLD she would bear his children. Ugh. She felt sick at the thought.

Ren had been thinking about this for a long time; even before she had found out that she was to be married to Prince John VI.

'You'd think that my parents would have a LITTLE sympathy.' She thought, disgruntled. Well, it was kind of dubious that they would understand what she was going through. Mother had barely known Father when she leapt at the chance to marry him, because of some dratted glass slipper she had found in a dress-up chest---you know, the kind of chests you keep all your dress-up clothes in when you're five. And Ren had never really been close to Father. Or even Mother, for that matter.

Making sure that there weren't any handmaids who had decided to stay in her room, Ren swung herself out of her bed. Grinning to herself, she tugged out a brown sack filled with all sorts of useful things from under her bed. Apparently, the dust under Princess' beds weren't necessarily important to sweep away. . . and as a result, you could probably find dust decades old under Ren's bed.

Being eighteen years old sucked, Ren thought to herself. It's the age when your parents decide that it would be an enormously agreeable idea to marry you off to some complete stranger. Well, not COMPLETELY unknown. I mean, I've seen him before and talked---sort of---to him. And he's not all that bad, for someone twice my age and who I was going to marry. It's just that. . .

Ren stopped that train off thought, having figured out how to get the male shirt and pants on without ripping it. She studied herself in the mirror. Still too girly, she finally decided. It was the hair.

She surveyed the straight, knee-length locks with a little regret. She didn't really want to chop it off. . .but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Remembering how the males wore their hair on the occasions she was allowed outside the palace, she closed her eyes and brought the small dagger up to her hair.

Five minutes later, Ren assessed her shoulder-length silver hair somewhat dubiously. Her face was too obviously feminine; the bones and shape too delicate for a man, and plus, she had no stubble or beard or anything that would even suggest something of the sort.

Maybe I could pass for a ten-year old, Ren thought sourly. I'm certainly the right height.

Then she noticed.

She was never going to get away with being male if her breasts showed.

Aw, damn, she whimpered to herself. This is going to be hard.

She took off the male shirt and searched around for bandages, strips of cloth, anything. She latched onto one of her old shifts, and systematically ripped it into one long strip of linen. It would have to do.

It was hard, binding her chest. Her chest was unused to that much restraint, and it was a little sore for a while.

This is so not funny, Ren growled to herself. Not funny at all.

The gods must hate her or something, she decided at last.

And with that, she climbed out the window, thanking the gods who hated her that she was only on the second floor, and was gone.