THE BEAUTY OF CHANGE
Some people are too quick to judge a book by its cover. Like the other day I overheard someone say, "Rosabella's at Ever After High to become the next Beauty. She has it easy." Just because Beauty & The Beast was my Mom's story doesn't mean that it's going to be mine. Ever After High is all about choice, now. Even though some people might think I've flipped my crown, I'm going Rebel. It's just that reliving my legacy doesn't seem that important when compared to helping others.
It's like the stories Dad told me from when he was the Beast. True beauty comes from what's inside someone, from heroes and princesses to trolls and big bad wolves. Just because they don't look "ordinary" doesn't mean they're not kind. That's why I made my decision. I'm taking my destiny into my own hands. Saving only one beast may be what's hexpected of me, but I'm rewriting my story because there are so many others out there who need help. It's time to turn the page.
School was out and the weekend had just begun. I sat outside the Beanstalk Bakery with one of my best friends forever after, Cerise Hood. We were in the middle of a spelltacular conversation when a couple of locals approached the table next to us. "Lookit, you ain't welcome 'ere," the burliest local snarled.
I turned around. He stared down a small goblin I'd seen around school. I focused my eyes to magically see their true natures. The goblin shined with the light-yellow glow of gentleness. The burly local glowed with a dark cloud of insecurity. I cleared my throat. "He's with us."
"Den you ain't welcome 'ere neither," squeaked an impish local who radiated the chicken-yellow of cowardice.
"Students are always welcome in Book End," I explained, and nodded towards the goblin, whose eyes darted back and forth.
The burly one whipped his bulking head around. "Not no more, princess. Time to go."
"GO!" growled a voice from behind him. An ogre with the aqua-glow of protectiveness looked down menacingly. Almost instantly, the local bullies bolted away. The ogre turned to us and sweetly grinned.
A loud whistle blew as a thin-chinned security guard ran around the corner. "Did you just attack a local, ogre?"
Cerise stood up. "He didn't attack anyone. He's from Ever After High, just like us," I said.
The security guard twitched. "Ever After High, huh? Attacking locals, huh? Come with me, ogre." The guard escorted Rugsy the ogre back to Ever After High. Word spread later in the day: the headmaster kicked him out.
It wasn't fair! Rugsy hadn't done anything wrong. I made it my mission to bring him back. And so the Rugsy movement began.
I posted fliers all over school, uploaded a protest video on the Mirrornet, and even went to Book End after class to collect signatures for a petition. A few signed, like Cerise, Cedar Wood and even Darling Charming, but too many didn't. Some were mad that he caused trouble for other students. Some appreciated that he was a protective friend, but didn't want to get involved.
But Daring Charming summed up what most were probably thinking. "Recue an ogre? Everyone knows they terrorize villages. This is a good thing in my book."
"Then your book needs some editing!" I yelled, and then I took a deep breathe and counted to 10. "Daring, my dad used to think like you. Next thing you know, he was cursed and became the Beast. Do you see what I'm trying to say?"
"That it's a good thing I'm not destined to be the Beast." He admired himself in his hand mirror. "Though if I was, I'd be the best-looking Beast ever after."
"Ugh!" Frustrated, I stormed back to school. Daring always glowed with a deep-red passion. Unfortunately, it was often focused on himself. I wasn't about to let him discourage me, but I needed a new approach. People just didn't understand where I was coming from. I wished I could help people see things from a different point of view.
And when I did, I knew just who to ask for help: Farrah Goodfairy.
Of all the fairies in Ever After, Farrah's legacy is perhaps the best known. She's destinied to be the Fairy Godmother who helps people see Cinderella (or rather, her daughter Ashlynn) for the beautiful person she truly is. With a wave of her wand, she can make people's wishes come true.
Running as fast as my legs would carry me to the fairies' side of the dorm, I finally found Farrah's door and vigorously knocked.
"Hey, Rosabella. Are you okay?" she asked and invited me in.
I explained the entire Rugsy movement. "The problem is everybody assumes that since he's an ogre, he must be in the wrong. But that's simply not true. Nobody will help, though. I wish people could see the injustice of the situation. Do you think you could make that wish come true?"
Farras gently shook her head. "That's not quite how my magic works. Fairy Grandmothers can't grant wishes. We cast glamour spells. I make things look more glamorous, like the rags that turn into a fableous dress or make the mice that look like noble horses. But it only lasts until the clock strikes 12."
I pulled off my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose. This wasn't going the way I wanted. Changing the way someone looks isn't the same thing as changing their mind. Unless... "How's your work with pumpkins?"
Early the next day, I raced to the pumpkin patch at Book End. I'd sent out a mass hext message before bed asking everyone to meet me there in the morning. Cerise and Cedar arrived just after me. The presence of supportive friends put me at ease.
"You know I've always got your back," Cerise said.
Cedar nodded in agreement. "No lie, I'm wondering what this is all about."
"We were just saying the same thing," Daring said as he walked over with Apple White and Briar Beauty. After them, even more people came. It was a glimmer of hope.
I stepped on top of a pumpkin so everyone could see me. "Thanks for coming. As you know, our classmate Rugsy was kicked out of school for no reason. He scared away some local bullies. That's it! Yet nobody can get past the fact that he is an ogre. So, I have a solution."
"What's that?" Apple, always golden-orange in encouragement, asked.
Just then, Farrah flew towards us. "Oh good, I'm right on time," she said. Farrah reached into her purse.
"We're getting glass slippers?" Daring asked.
"No, Daring," I said. "The problem is we're all so used to seeing the world our way. We need to step out of our comfort zone." I stepped off the pumpkin. "So I've asked Farrah to change this pumpkin into a ride that will take us to the ogre village in the Dark Forest."
"No way," said Daring, waving his hands back and forth. "No charming way."
I hexpected this reaction. "Look, give me one day to change your mind. Please. An innocent ogre... no, one of our classmate's future is on the line. If any of us were in the same situation, we would all help."
"I'm with Rosabella," Apple finally said. "Let's do this."
Everyone agreed. With a wave of her wand and a sparkle of fairy dust, Farrah changed the pumpkin into a PUV, or pumpkin utility vehicle, large enough to fit everyone. She got into the driver's seat. "Next stop, Ogretown!"
The PUV must have a lot of Pegasus-power, because it got us to Ogretown in the flap of a wing.
We all piled out, and I led us to the information booth at the center of the town. An ogre tour guide greeted us. I told him we were students from Ever After High on a field trip to learn more about what things are like for ogres. The guide smiled. "Let me show you around."
At first, many of my classmates were on edge. But as we walked around, they eased up. Several ogres tipped their hats and said "Good morning," as they passed.
"Everyone's so friendly," Apple told the tour guide. "Why don't we see many ogres around Book End?"
The tour guide thoughtfully plucked the hair on his chin. "Well, we're been told that too many ogres around that town makes people nervous. You know, all those stories don't paint us in a good light. Believe it or not, most ogres just want to have a nice day, warm food and good friends."
We visited restaurants serving spellicious comfort food like deep-fried dire turkey, shops with hexquisite gem sculptures, and in the center of town, a giant sculpture of an ogre. The tour guide looked up with pride. "The Hero of Ogretown. A long time ago, ogres didn't have a home to call our own. The Hero gathered everyone, and with his leadership, they built the village you are visiting today."
"So why do ogres attack villages?" Daring asked.
The tour guide shook his head. "That's just in the stories. It goes against the ogre's true nature. If it wasn't for the destiny laws, we would be simple folk living quiet lives."
After Princessology the next day, Apple stopped me in the hallway. "I see what you've been trying to say this entire time. Ogres are treated horribly for no reason. That's why last night I called an emergency meeting of the Royal Student Council to talk to Headmaster Grimm."
"You did?" I hexclaimed. "What did he say?"
"Well, after Cerise explained the truth about what happened, and with the unanimous support of the Royal Student Council, the Headmaster agreed." Apple smiled. "Rosabella, you did it. Rugsy's coming back!" We high-fived each other.
The next day, the tiny goblin shrieked with delight when his lumbering ogre friend Rugsy stepped back through the doors of Ever After High. Daring marched over to the two reunited friends. "Hey!" He pointed at them. "The guys are getting together to watch the big bookball game tonight at my dorm. You should swing by."
I smiled as Daring radiated with warm-green acceptance.