I have a secret. I know what you're thinking... everyone has a secret. But, does everyone have to hide their secret every moment of every day?
I go to Ever After High because it's my destiny to be the next Red Riding Hood. But that's not all of who I am. That's because of my father, the Big Bad Wolf. Even though he can change from wolf to human whenever he wants, he and mom weren't supposed to fall in love.
So I guess you could say I am my secret. Every day I have to hide my half-wolf ears. Nobody can ever know about my true nature, which is a total fairy-fail! Truth is, I'm the most athletic fairyteen in school... even more than Hunter Huntsman and Daring Charming. When I run like the wind, I feel free. I wish I could join the school track team, but I have to hide my strengths. Or do I? I've heard whispers that we might be able to rewrite our own destinies. It makes me wonder... can I trust anyone with the real story of me?
Legacy Day... that's all everyone talked about. Legacy Day dress rehearsal, Legacy Day dance, Legacy Day EVERYTHING! UGH! So I wasn't exactly huffing and puffing when dad Mr. Badwolf called me to his office. Even though I'm not in any of his General Villainy classes, I still need to respect him as his daughter a student.
His door opened, and there he stood - intimidating to most, but kind to me. "Ms. Hood," we always act formally at school, "I need you to run an errand." He handed me a letter, "This is signed by Headmaster Grimm. It excuses a student from Orientation to get supplies for me."
Reading between the lines, he didn't tell Headmaster Grimm that I specifically needed to run the errand. That meant one thing — family matters, "Where am I going?"
"The Mad Hatter's Tea Shoppe in the village of Book End," he put his hand on my shoulder, "Don't take too long." This sounded important... does that mean I can trust the Mad Hatter? His daughter Maddie has always been wicked nice to me...
OOF! Just my luck, I literally bumped into Cedar Wood, the daughter of Pinocchio. She's such a sweet girl, but everyone knows she really can't keep a secret. Her dad had a truth spell cast on her, and now she can't lie. It's not her fault, but I get nervous when she asks things like, "Hey Cerise, where are you going?"
"Village of Book End," I waved the letter, "Headmaster Grimm knows. Bye." I hoped nobody would ask Cedar if she's seen me.
The scent of fresh sugarplum biscuits trailed back to the Mad Hatter's Tea Shoppe, and I suddenly got very hungry. My, how bizarre the Tea Shoppe is - teapots on every table whistle in unison, upside down clocks tick-tock above countless doors. I was immediately lost inside once the door behind me slammed shut. A door on the ceiling swung open, and The Mad Hatter dropped to the floor, "No room! You need to have a reservation."
I looked around, "But there's nobody here."
"Exactly! They didn't have a reservation!" the Mad Hatter pulled out a dusty old book, "Here we are... Cerise Hood." He looked up as if seeing me for the very first time, "Oh, you do have a reservation." From his vest, he pulled on a long chain, and at the end of it was a key to a wicker door. He unlocked the door and out stepped my mother, "How are you, Cerise?" She hugged me, "Sorry for taking you out of Orientation. Dad left this at home," she reached into her basket. It was a simple book with a massive front lock, "I don't get it..."
She sipped her tea, "Since Dad and I can't risk talking on MirrorPhones, we leave messages for each other in these two-way books. What he writes in his book appears in mine."
"Mom, you could get in trouble!" I whispered as the Mad Hatter buttered a stock of toast.
"We can trust Mr. Hatter," she smiled tenderly, "I better go. Send dad my love."
I hid the book inside my basket, and made a beeline for school. Right away, I couldn't shake the feeling someone was following me. Quickly I turned into an alleyway, held my breath and dove into the shadows... literally. My magic riding hood lets me walk inside shadows. It's kind of like swimming underwater.
Someone hurried past and I stepped out behind her. Odd... it was Briar Beauty, who shockingly jumped when I asked, "Why are you following me?"
That's when she caught me off guard... she asked me to help plan the Legacy Day dance. For a brief moment I was happy. Everyone sees me as a lone wolf. I dreamed of just hanging out and planning a party. But the happy moment ended... Briar smelled guilty. I just knew she didn't want my help. Rather than call her out, I let her off, "We both know the school would never let a non-royal plan the dance."
The door to my father Mr. Badwolf's office was open, but inside looked empty. However there was the faint smell of porridge all over the room, "You can come out, Blondie."
With a CRASH, Blondie Lockes fell from behind the desk. True to her Goldilocks' roots, Blondie always walks into places she doesn't belong. "Just who I was looking for," she held her MirrorPad up, "Hex it out, my MirrorCast audience, Cerise Hood just walked into an empty teacher's office! But not just any teacher... Mr. Badwolf! Say, Cerise, isn't he Little Red Riding Hood's villain?"
"MirrorCast? Villain? No! I mean, yes, but—"
"And you're the next Red Riding Hood! So why are you here?"
"THAT'S WHAT I'D LIKE TO KNOW!" With a huff and a puff, the Big Bad Wolf blew Blondie's interview down, "This is my private office! Leave... NOW."
"That sounds about just right," Blondie ran like she was being chased by three bears.
Before I could take one step, he growled, "Not so fast." He snatched my basket off my arm, "I'm confiscating this. You'll get it back once I've made sure you don't have something that belongs to me."
"Yes, sir." I walked out, relieved he got his two-way book without arousing suspicion.
That night, there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, there was my basket, with a note reading, "Sorry about earlier. You're the best daughter ever after."
In the Castletaria, royals almost always sit with each other. So imagine my surprise when a princess I never met before sat down, "Can I join you?" She had a kind smile, and my, what long hair she had. Three people tripped when she tossed it.
I shrugged my shoulders. Usually I'll only eat with Raven Queen or Maddie. It was nice to have some new company.
"I'm Holly, the next Rapunzel. I'm new here," her eyes darted to my cloak, "And you're... the next Red Riding Hood!" Oh no. She was going to start prying. "So do you hate Mr. Badwolf?"
"Not really." My hair stood on end. Why was everyone getting all up in my hood lately?
"I think I would," she didn't drop it, "I always wondered, why would he eat your grandmother when—"
"JUST DROP IT!" I walked away, leaving my breakfast unfinished.
As I passed the royals' table, Blondie shouted, "Holly, come sit with us!" So much for making new friends.
Afterwards, everyone kept their distance from me, though my name kept coming up in hushed tones. It didn't bother me until I heard, "Psst psst Cerise psst psst Legacy Day psst psst MirrorCast."
My throat closed. Immediately, I unlocked my MirrorPhone and tuned in to Blondie's MirrorCast, Just Right. It was about Legacy Day. Specifically, the Legacy Day dance and how someone was trying to ruin it. And apparently that someone was me... because, she said, I hate the Big Bad Wolf... She talked about Cedar saying I went to Book End, me breaking into his office, and finally what happened when Holly asked if I hated Mr. Badwolf.
Taking deepest possible breath, I ran to the nearest shadow. It felt good to run.
Racing in the shadows, I finally found the darkest room in school—the empty Grimmnasium. Hours must have passed before I heard their footsteps. The center of the floor flipped open. Smells of chamomille tea filled the room, as the Mad Hatter's daughter, Maddie, emerged, "Found her! It's Cerise!"
Cedar climbed out, followed by Raven, "Are you okay, Cerise?"
Raven sighed, "We all saw Blondie's MirrorCast. We know it's a poisoned apple."
Tears stung my eyes, "Why would she cry wolf?"
"Because I got carried away," Blondie appeared behind them, "Cerise, I was just wrong. I thought I was saving Legacy Day."
My teeth grinded. "What did I ever do to you, Blondie? Are you happy I don't have any friends? You know what would be just right? If you go away!"
Her head dropped, "I deserve that. Headmaster Grimm wasn't happy either. I got in so much trouble..." sincere tears dropped from her eyes, "I never got your side of the story. I-I'm so sorry."
Raven sat next to me, "By the way, why do you think we were looking for you? We're your friends, Cerise."
"I'm going to post a new MirrorCast," Blondie grabbed her MirrorPad, "Let's tell everyone the truth."
Smiling, I stepped through the door, "Thanks Blondie, but I think I've had enough attention for one day." For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like a lone wolf.