Being a princess certainly has its perks. There are the gorgeous gowns and dazzling jewels. There are always grand rooms and elegant balls. There are even loyal servants and admiring citizens. But I absolutely cannot stand the rest of the nobility.

They are all so arrogant and pig-headed. They think themselves oh-so-wonderful-and-good-looking. Okay, maybe some of them are good looking, but they think they deserve the world because of it. And they think they are so honourable, but it's all just a façade; they can all be monsters. I know the games they play; how they use people as pawns and will happily forfeit the general public to better their status. It's disgusting to be around them all the time.

I'm really looking forward to renouncing my royal status when I turn 18. I was born a princess so I will always be one, but I can at least be officially relieved of any and all duties. But I'm going one step further; leaving Topia. I've seldom had the chance to go to Earth before so it's going to be a whole new experience for me. Especially having to hide my magic, which has never been an issue before.

Magically laws state that humans are not to learn the secret of magic. It's the only law everyone agrees on, although any law is broken on some occasions. Every governing body deals with it differently. In this kingdom any offence means a lifetime imprisonment, but the British government allows the first offence to be a warning. Just another week and I'll be governed by the latter.

Until then, I have to play the role of the good daughter.

"No. No. No. It's all wrong." My mother says to the dressmaker. "There should be no sleeves on the dress. And the skirt sticks out all wrong. It should look as light as a cloud floating around my daughter. The waist needs to be brought in more to show it off."

Any tighter and I'll struggle to breathe, I think. But I don't dare risk saying it out loud. The dress in question has been (or is being) designed for my birthday ball. I don't see any issue with how it is now. The ombre pattern begins with white at my neck, fading to a plum pink around my toes. Silvery gossamer covers my arms, while my back is left bare. Layers of petticoats shape the skirt like a dome. The fabric sparkles with rainbow glitter.

"Of course, your Majesty." The dressmaker replies. "The corrections will be ready in time for the ball."

"Good." My mum turns on her heels and leaves the room.

I take off the dress. "Thank you for your trouble." I say as I hand the dress back over for its alterations. "It's a lovely dress."

"Thank you, your Highness. Is there anything else you require?"

"Not currently. I'll call you if there is."

"As you wish." The dressmaker curtseys before leaving the room. As she leaves, the door is left open for my brother. 3 years my elder, it's Marco's responsibility to take over the kingdom after our parents.

"You should at least ask before waltzing in here." I say dryly, collapsing onto an armchair.

"May I please sit down for a word in your chambers, little sis?" His words drip with sarcasm.

"I guess so." Before I even finish my sentence, he's sat opposite me.

"I know what you're planning to do next year but I don't think you should do it."

"Don't think you can tell me what to do. Mum and dad have agreed to let me go and they have the higher authority."

"I don't care about that. What I can't understand is why you want to throw away all this," He gestures around the room. "In favour for tacky clothes, one tiny room, and lots of unnecessary work just to get some pointless qualification. We're both done with education. We know what we need to know already, and we already have secure futures ahead of us. You don't need to go to some human university to achieve anything."

"It's not about getting a degree. I want to experience a normal life. And it's not a human university just because it's on Earth; there will be plenty of seelies there too."

"Your idea of a normal life doesn't compare to what we have here. We have everything they want."

"Why don't you want me too go? Would you not be able to manage your duties without me?" I let out a mock gasp. "Are you really that helpless?"

"I could manage just fine without you." He snaps. "It's how our family looks that I'm worried about. I mean, could you imagine the scandal if you were caught drunk or smoking or wearing some sleazy dress?" He glances pointedly at my current outfit; a white slip dress I put on for modesty while changing in and out of the ballgown. "People may not take our power seriously if they see you lowering yourself like that."

"Two things: One, that's not what university life is about. And two, acting a certain way wouldn't make me any less of a person. Losing self-belief because of other people's perceptions would make me less of a person."

"You're acting like some little know-it-all, but I have more experience with this than you. People change their perceptions of others a lot more than of actions. If people don't respect your actions, they won't respect you."

"I've been a princess for nearly 18 years. I think I know how to deal with people."

"As your elder brother, I forbid you…"

I stand suddenly, fists clenched. "You forbid me?" It takes all my self-control not to shout. "Let me remind you we are of equal rank. You have no right to forbid me anything until you are king. I think you should leave."

"Or what?" He stands to face me.

"I have a sword in the next room. What do you have for a duel?"

He smirks. "That's not a bad idea. Fancy a duel tomorrow to decide whether you go or not?"

"I've already decided my own future, but thanks anyway."

"Scared you'll lose?" I know he's trying to bait me; it's his favourite strategy for the games of the nobility.

"No. I just don't think what you want for my future should even be considered." I point to the door. "Get out."

"Think about it, little sis. I know what I'm talking about." He walks out without another word. I hate when he calls me 'little sis'. It makes me feel like an inferior child. Marco has always annoyed me, even when we were really young. He used to always remind me how much better he was at swordplay. At least I've managed to make up the difference between our years of experience now; we're quite an even match.

I go into the bedroom in my suite to get ready for dinner. On my way I pass a mirror that, with a wave of my hand, shows me where I'll be soon. I pause for a moment to admire the flowers trailing up the brick walls of the cottage, and the edge of the woods visible behind. The paperwork is already in place, with my falsified personal records arranged by the British government. Magical departments of Earthen governments usually cover for us seelies who move from Topia to Earth. I just hope I can keep up my end of the charade.