Second story to be posted. Please take time to read and review! I will LOVE a friend and all that.

CHAPTER ONE which there is a Pratt...

I knew this good-natured little girl, once upon a bloody time. A young, blossoming wench with fiery red hair. She was horrible sinner, pest, occasional thief and beggar. For a few years, her livelihood was earned as a traveling swindler, until-at last!-mercy was shown unto this crafty little fur and now she is happily settled as a scullery maid.

Happily my-take your pick of insults and stuff it up your-

For alas! That girl was me. A bumbling scullery maid was not my true form. I was cursed at birth-

"Get a move on you dolt!" The almighty housekeeper, Mrs. Pratt, spat in my ear and whacked my already bruised arm for good measure.

Oh was I livid.

I wanted to gouge her eyes out, yank her tongue and roast her fat, stumpy self over an open fire, but instead, I had to reel in my inappropriate bloodlust, settling for a vaguely murderous smile. In my best peasant-raised-in-the-gutter accent, I pleaded. "Am terribly sorry, mum. Me lost me poor grammy only last fortnight and it's been awful hard on me and my brotheh."

I shed a tear or two to further express my oh-so-broken heart.

The boulder of ice Mrs. Pratt had for a heart seemed to melt a bit, but then she smiled her sympathetic ogre smile and all my hopes-less chores out of pity- came to a violent end.

As Mrs. Pratt stuck out her bottom lip, I was subjected to our beloved housekeeper's futile, but life-changing attempt to bestow upon me her Face of Pity. As a matter of fact, it was so life-altering, one of the passing serving girl lost consciousness. Poor darling Barbara took one look and fainted on sight. Mrs. Pratt, invincible as she was, either failed to notice or chose to ignore her gruesome effect because she segued into informing me that the best way to recover from my heartbreaking loss of a loved one was to occupy my thoughts with busy work.

"-and lucky for you," she sneered at the already horrified human shell known as me, "I have the most perfect opportunity for you. Leah, perhaps you've heard, is talking a leave for-ahem-family reasons."

"I-is that so?" I stammered. This was not part of the plan.

"The mistresses need someone right away and, congratulations, you're qualified!" Behind her, I heard Martha snort. When The Pratt turned her great head to glare in her general vicinity, I made a face to my friend in reply. "Oh, blast it all! Just put this on! Quickly! I need you upstairs helping the mistresses."

"Ain't this Leah's? I daren't think it'll fit me, mum."

"Oh it will! It's Leah it won't fit." Mrs. Pratt harrumphed. "Her waist'll be too big for a few months."

There was a collective gasp in the room as the revelation concerning the reason of Leah's sudden leave came to our innocent minds. The room broke into hysterical whispering.

Mrs. Pratt, bless her heart-if she'd had one, growled. "Shut your traps! I'll shut them for you if you don't all stop your chitting this instant. If I hear one word of this outside these walls, it'll be on all of your heads." Briefly I wondered who Mr. Pratt had been and how he had died. "You." She pointed a crooked finger at me. "Why are you still here?"

"My apologies mum. I'm leavin' right now."

The Pratt tutted, "If the higher-ups didn't watch out for that little wench...

...Why, I would've whipped her sorry arse by now...

...Black and blue!" she muttered. "Black and blue. Twenty and one lashes of the whip...Oh! My poor nerves!"

And the door closed behind me. I had no love for our Mrs. Pratt or her poor nerves.

Hurriedly, I changed into my the new uniform. There wasn't that much difference with the cloth, but Leah's garment were noticeably less itchy than the scullery maid's. Wait, no. It's understandable now that I think about it. My previous uniform was infected with fabric fleas.

I stopped in the middle of the empty hall to retrieve the scullery maid apron and-what to my wondering eyes appear, but-a miniature hole and eight tiny lice. Oh dear.

Clearly, I need a bath after wearing those filthy things.

I rolled my eyes in disgust and turned around, only to collide with Lady Daniele Ronaldre, Lady Serafina's best friend.

She guffawed like a donkey, seeing the rag in my hands. "My poor cou-"

I covered her mouth with my hands, looked around, and shushed her. "Do you want to see me on a guillotine?" I hissed.

Daniele shrugged. "Sometimes."

I cried out in indignation.

"What? Simply being honest Eleyna dear." She eyed the new uniform I was brandishing. "Well, what do we have here? A promotion? How lucky!"

"Well if you must know, the previous maid's going to be busy for around nine months and I've been assigned to take over."

My cousin raised an eyebrow in response. "At least you're not scullery maid anymore. We'll be seeing a lot more of each other then." She waved an envelop in my face.

My eyes widened. "Give me that!" I snatched the proclamation letter out of her hand and immediately noticed the obnoxious royal seal of the Krayleaf House stamped on the front.

She snatched it back and took a good long, ladylike sniff at the paper. "Now it stinks. What has that monster of a housekeeper been forcing you to do this time? Scrubbing the floors with your delicate hands, Lady Eleyna?"

I glared at her, but did not deny it.

Daniele laughed and sauntered toward my mistresses' rooms, stopped, and gave me The Look.

I groaned, dreading her next words. "Please. Don't say it."

But, of course, Lady Daniele Mariette Renaldre thoroughly enjoyed gloating over my agony. "Three balls." She mouthed before walking away.

This was the worst possible time to be the girls' personal maid. Robin and Marissa, I could handle. It was Charlotte and Serafina that were absolute cretin when it came to preparations.

"Eleyna?" My blood suddenly ran cold.

Oh dear. Farewell thee, cruel and wondrous world. How much had the dear girl heard? Is there any way to get out of this dilemma without depositing a suspicious body-shaped black bag in the river?

I smiled, "Yes Lady Robin?"

It was such a pity that she was my favorite out of all of Lord Vasari's daughters.

First chapter is up. How was it? Please review!