A.N. Just so you know, I didn't come up with the idea for the first line, the people having the contest did, but I altered it to make it fit my version better.


All flowers were my sister's nightmare, but she hated roses exceptionally. They made her sneeze horribly. But no matter how many times she cursed him for sending them to her by the dozens, I never told that to Prince Frederick. Because, you see, I wanted my sister to dislike him as much as possible, for I was in love with Frederick myself, only he didn't know it.

It all started when my parents began looking for a match for my twin sister, Princess Marie. Though I was an hour her elder and the protocol of the kingdom indicates that the eldest must marry first, I suppose my parents decided no one would notice since I am so plain.

All the prospective princes from kingdoms near and far were considered as possibilities, and my parents began accepting every ball invitation so they could mingle and drop well-placed hints that they had a charming daughter who was of marriageable age.

The first ball we attended (I had begged them to allow me to come along as, I love seeing new places) was in the neighboring kingdom of Kleedria, about an hours plane ride from our palace.

Marie had a sulky expression on her face during the entire journey to because the royal dressmaker didn't have time to finish her new gown before we left. I felt so sorry for her, as I rarely had a new gown made.

As we flew across the border into Kleedria, I stuck my head up against the glass. It could have been the same country. I had expected something...different, something that didn't look like the same old boring landscape of Arnail. I hated dancing, mostly because I was never asked, and began to feel annoyed that I had come on this trip at all.

The palace, however, was something to see. It was huge! Our castle could have fit in the stables alone. Built of gray stone, it could have been foreboding, but it was made in such a way that it simply looked elegant and unusual. The entire land surrounding the palace was covered in plants of every variety, all of them in excellent condition. I had never seen anything like it.

"Oh," I breathed. No one paid me any attention, though, as they were all getting out of the plane.

It was still an hour before the ball was planned to begin, so we were taken to a chamber to rest and freshen up after our journey.

"Adelaide!" My mother's voice was sharp enough to make me wince.

"Yes, Mama?" I wondered what I'd done now.

"Change into your good dress, girl. Look at how wrinkled that one is. And can't you keep clean?! My god, just look at that stain down your front!"

I sighed and smoothed my skirt. No use mentioning that I had gotten that stain years ago when I was twelve and still a bit sloppy. If only I had grown since I was twelve! But I was still short for a nineteen-year-old—short and red-haired.

If I changed now I'd probably wrinkle it by sitting, or (horrors!) slop something on the sleeves, but I went to the bathroom and changed anyway.