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I am a disgrace to my family…

My father is king of the troll forest people. As his daughter, I should be in his wooden palace, looking over all my people. But I am not. I am not a troll. I am ugly.

When I was first born, my father brought me to the most gifted healer in the kingdom, to figure out what was wrong with me. The healer told him I was a monster. Few others in the kingdom were like me. Whenever a monster was born, they were immediately killed, and disposed of.

Monsters are any kind of magic creature fairy, troll, or human. They are all tall, pale boys and girls, with strange colored eyes, and fast growing white-blond hair. Although they may look like humans, they are not. All monsters have a special talent that is always out of the ordinary. Whether it is turning invisible, or flying.

Because I am a princess, I was kept. But I am not living in the wooden palace of my father. I am living in a clearing in the woods, with a troll guard named Togg.

I need a guard because most trolls from the kingdom have no idea of my existence. If they stumbled on me while hunting, or just walking, they would have no second thoughts about killing me. I like to think my father actually cares if I die or not. Besides, it gets very lonely out here.

The troll people are not ugly. Maybe to the rest of the world, but to me I am the ugly one. They are all beautiful. All the trolls have red or black eyes. Girls have long hair, boys have short. All the people are short, and the skin on them is almost grey. Despite their being vertically challenged, they are very wide. The first impression of most trolls is that they are gross. But they are actually very clean. They all take baths everyday.

I wake up this morning as I do every other. I dress in a green shirt made out of stitched together fabric-like leaves, and a pair of wide cotton pants that looked to short for me.

I look in the broken mirror on my crooked table by the tent flap. I brush my white hair, until it fell down my back in gentle waves. Then I braid it and twist it into a bun.

I hear voices outside the tent.

"Voices!" I think. Only Togg is here with me. Who else would be talking?

I lift a corner of the tent flap and see at least twelve trolls. I immediately think, "Do I have enough time to change?"

But someone calls my name. "Katina? Are you awake?" It was Togg.

I lift the flap fully and step into the clearing, my red eyes wide. My father was there.

"Father," I say, nodding to him.

"Katina." he says politely. I know he hates me.

Togg must have sensed the tension because he mouths, "be polite!"

I look back at my father and say, "Lord King, you are welcome in my home."

He looks into my eyes, which are, strangely, the same color as his, and says, "It is time for you to leave this kingdom. You are thirteen. The age a normal princess would begin her rein."

He says the word normal, as if he is disgusted by the thought of anything else.

I look hard into his eyes and say, "I will leave if you think it is best for the troll kingdom. But please tell me how Mother is."

"Of course." he smiles, "She has just given birth to the heir of the throne. A young man."

I feel a stab of jealousy. I should be the one taking the throne. Not the one living in the forest exiled by her people.

"Give her my best wishes." I bow, and walk back to my tent, realizing I do not have any shoes on.

The voices continue outside for a while, and I sit on my bed, with tears silently streaming down my cheeks.

"They replaced me!" I whisper repeatedly to myself.

Finally, I begin to take action. By the time Togg comes in to tell me they were leaving, I have most of my stuff packed into a leather backpack.

Togg opens his mouth as if to say something, and then closes it without a word. Instead he hands me a small package from my father.

Once he leaves I tear it open, and find it was full of one hundred cent pieces. My heart sinks as I realize he really wants me to leave.

I finish packing, and place the coins in a secret pocket close to my back.

Before I step into the clearing I glance around my empty tent, checking if I forgot anything.

I race back to my bed and reach under it. Shuffling around until I touch something furry. It was a hat, soft and expensive looking.

My mother had given it to me, as I was being sent to the clearing.

"I should visit her," I think as I pull the hat over my ears, "Father will probably kill me if I do."

I gather up my backpack, and step out into the clearing. Togg looks at me, and smiles.

"The king told me to leave so I must," I say quietly.

"I'm going back to the city tomorrow!" Togg says in amazement, "I didn't think I would go back for many years!"

I walk over to the two horses on the side, tied to a tree. I saddle my horse, and mount it. I sigh. For some reason I didn't think I would ever leave this place.

Before I can stop myself, I push the horse into a fast gallop. The familiar woods fell away, and was replaced by unknown, unseen places.