Tales of loathsome tyrants and prophesied saviors aren't nearly so appealing when you are a royal bastard with a prophecy hanging over your head.


Flour dusts me as I fight the biscuit dough, which sticks to my hands, my pinafore, my hair.

Prince Aidan passes by with a load of newly-baked bread and winks. "Don't know how to do that, either, girl?"

I ignore him, struggling to get the spongy dough to conform into the little biscuits Cook demands I make. The somewhat slimy feel of the dough on my skin bothers me. The sensitive skin comes from my human grandfather, Mother told me. She had it, too, but not as bad.

I've been worse, though. Much worse.

I finally finish shaping the biscuits and treat myself to a few more sips of the bitter tea someone's keeping hot for me. I then take the raw biscuits to Cook for baking.

Cook eyes my work critically. With a scowl, she accepts the tray and waves me on to make more.

Turning to head back to my task, I trip over a table leg, falling face-first into some cake batter. Hastily I shove myself out—I stumble back into a fresh baking iron, newly greased. My bottom makes an imprint.

My attempt to leap up catches my ankle underneath the low stand, toppling both of us into the middle of the walkway, spilling a dessert tray from the motion and ripping my blouse's sleeve in my landing. Spasms spike through my back, and I can't stop gasping and coughing. Tears blur my vision.

As my body calms down, booted feet that I recognize as belonging to Silva turn around towards me, a cornflower blue skirt billowing about them. She helps me up and brushes me off, tossing her ginger-colored pleats back behind her shoulders. She tsks at my sleeve, holding my arm. "I'll help Evonalé clean up."

I follow the young woman's gaze to the large-framed matron in charge. Cook's face is unnaturally red, and slightly-peppered ginger-colored curls peep out from her cap. The familiar freezing starts spreading throughout my body. When the ice reaches my shoulder, Silva shivers and gives me a scolding look.

What?! Silva's fifteen, if that—she can't know what that means!

I immediately freeze entirely. Silva quickly removes her hand from my shoulder and rubs it in her skirts. "Perhaps there's something else she could do, where she won't cause such a mess?"

Cook glowers, glances at our audience of kitchen staff, and nods sharply. "I won't take a fool, Silva."

"She's just clumsy." Silva takes my still-frozen shoulder and guides me away. Her gentle prods encourage my locked knees to loosen.

Cook is reluctant to unleash her temper on me. Not that I'm not grateful, but… Why?

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This web novel is listed in Web Fiction Guide and Muse's Success. (Both are directories of online novels, stories, etc.)