Authors: Jen Calonita
Copyright Â© 2015 by Jen Calonita
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Cover design by Regina Flath
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Flunked / Jen Calonita.
pages cm. â (Fairy Tale Reform School)
Summary: When petty thief Gilly, who lives with five younger brothers and sisters in a run-down boot, gets caught stealing, she is sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School, where all of the teachers are former villains, including the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother.
(13 : alk. paper) [1. Fairy talesâFiction. 2. Characters in literatureâFiction. 3. Good and evilâFiction. 4. ReformatoriesâFiction. 5. SchoolsâFiction.] I. Title.
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For Tyler and Dylan, who have been waiting for me to write something they could read “forever!”
Would you send a villain to do a hero's job?
Brought to you by FairyWebâmagically appearing on scrolls throughout Enchantasia for the past ten years!
Fairy Tale Reform School Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary!
by Beatrice Beez
Poison apples, the sleeping curse, becoming a wolf's supperâfive years ago, the citizens of Enchantasia quaked in fear at such evildoing. Well, no more! Thanks to one formerly despised villain, wickedness and criminal behavior are being wiped off the map.
“In the days following Cinderella's wedding, no one would even sell me a loaf of bread,” says Flora, the princess's stepmother. Yes, that Flora. The one and only stepmonster who used Cinderella as unpaid help and tried to trick the prince into marrying one of her other daughters.
After Cinderella's misfortune became public, Flora was mortified. “I did some wicked things after Cinderella'sâpardon me,
âfather died,” says Flora. “I was a terrible example for my two daughters. If we wanted to show our faces in Enchantasia again, I knew we had to changeâespecially me. From that revelation, FTRS was born.”
Fairy Tale Reform School is the education program for the wicked and criminally mischievous that Flora created. It has won praise from Princess Ella herself for its success in turning villains into productive members of society. “Flora's transformation is astonishing,” Princess Ella told
exclusively. “I look forward to seeing their good works continue.”
The school's roster of former students turned teachers is huge! There's the Wolf (the esteemed Professor Xavier Wolfington teaches history), the Sea Witch (Madame Cleo is FTRS's etiquette expert) and the Evil Queen (Professor Harlow teaches psychology and runs group therapy sessions).
“Thanks to our teachings, crime in Enchantasia has dropped to an all-time low,” Flora says proudly. Since it opened, FTRS has welcomed more than five hundred gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, elves, mer-folk, and other fairy-tale students into its dormitories for grades six through twelve at its campus on the outskirts of Enchantasia near the Hollow Woods.
To celebrate FTRS's fifth anniversary, profiles of FTRS's teachers will be magically popping up on
Happily Ever After Scrolls
in the coming weeks. Check your scrolls often for more coverage!
Sometimes spying on low-level royals can be so boring.
They're easy to spot the minute they leave their precious royal world behind. With their pricy clothes, made-up faces, and clouds of perfume wafting behind them, girls like that stick out like sore thumbs when they get dropped off in town in their flashy carriages.
So far this afternoon, I've tailed this bunch from the Gnome-olia Bakery (where they made fun of the gnome serving them their rhubarb cupcakes) to the One Enchanted Evening dress shop (where they scoffed at having dresses spun out of cotton even though there is a silk shortage). Neither shop was a good place for me to steal some loot from them.
But at Combing the Sea, which is overflowing with the most exotic trinkets money can buy, a person could easily be distracted by glittery thingsâ¦and accidentally “lose” something. There are racks upon racks of fancy hats and veils, and tables piled high with velvet and silk purses and scarvesâeverything a princess-in-training might need if she doesn't have a fairy godmother to whip it up for her.
But the jewelry and tiaras are what these royals are desperate to get their hands on.
And they haven't even noticed me following them at all.
On the other hand, Neil, the shop owner, has. Trolls are good at sniffing out trouble, and he knows my reputation.
“Need help with something, Gilly?” he asks, eyeing me warily as he polishes the jewelry counter for the fourth time.
“Just looking.” I make eye contact so he knows I'm not scared of him. What can he do? So far, I'm just a twelve-year-old potential customer. I can't get kicked out for browsing, can I?
To blend in, I grab a ruby tiara and plop it on my head. I giggle when I see myself in the mirror. Me, the shoemaker's oldest daughter, the tomboy with the frizzy brown hair and freckles, in a tiara! One of the royals turns around and frowns. Uh-oh. One look at my overalls and she'll know I can't even afford to buy hair ribbons in this place. I've learned that when I'm stealing goods, it's best if my mark barely notices I'm here. I put the mark at ease so she isn't suspicious, then disappear like fairy dust so she can't even remember the color of my hair. Later, when she's filling out a Dwarf Police Squad report, she won't recall anything out of the ordinary about her day.
I smile, which catches the blond off guard. “Where did you find that amazing boa?” I pretend to look through silk throws on the table in front of me. “I've been looking for one just like it. Not that it would look that good on me. It looks gorgeous on you.”
“Doesn't it?” Blondie grins and turns back to the full-length mirror. “It was the last one though, and I'm definitely taking it. Sorry.” She smiles thinly. Blondie doesn't look sorry. I won't be either when her hair clip is mine.
“Oh well.” I sigh. “I'll have to find something else to get. Thanks!”
“Good luck.” The mini royal wraps the boa around her neck twice. It looks like a giant snake ready to squeeze her. “Pink must be my color,” she says as the other girls crowd around her.
“It is!” The others fluff her hair and play with the boa like they are professional royal stylists getting her ready for a ball that evening.
“Try it with your hair up,” I suggest, and the other girls nod.
Blondie removes the clip from her hair.
I watch what Blondie does next like it's happening in slow motion. This is the moment I've been waiting for. The mini royal drops the glittery golden clip on a table with half a dozen pairs of earrings and forgets all about it.
At least I'm
she forgets all about it.
That clip is the reason I'm here. I've been following Blondie and her gaggle of friends around all afternoon, waiting for a time to lift it. It has to be worth ten gold coins, at least. Maybe more. Dragon's tooth products are rare in the kingdom of Enchantasia, and smuggling in goods from other kingdoms has gotten harder now that Princess Ella has cracked down on crooks. Yeah, that Princess Ella, otherwise known as Cinderella. She and the other princessesâSnow White, Rose (a.k.a. the expert sleeper), and Rapunzelâall reign over our kingdom together like one big, happy family.
I hear the princesses have their own issues co-ruling, but their issues can't compare to those of us in the villageâthe trolls, ogres, gnomes, fairies, and other creatures that are lumped into the commoner category. Money is tough to come by. I could buy a lot with that one clip Blondie has carelessly tossed aside.
I stare at the clip wistfully, then notice Neil out of the corner of my eye. He's looking at me again. I know better than to make my move yet. I walk to another table and pretend to be interested in magic wand holders. Like I would ever carry a sparkly, pink wand holder.
I notice Blondie pulling up her hair with a ribbon and the girls clapping.
“Much better!” one says and gives her own curls a flip with her hand.
I've always wondered how girls like that get anything done with hair so high-maintenance. Do they spend all day combing their locks? Have to sleep with rollers in their hair? The advertisements for Rapunzel's new hair-care line say her shampoo helps you do away with all that primping. That's why my ten-year-old sister, Anna, wants Rapunzel's shampoo. But I say, what for? At Enchantasia Trade, where I go to school, doing your hair would be a total waste. When you go to shoemaker classes like we do, there is not much need for luminous hair.
Blondie spins around and squeals. “I'm going to get the boa to wear to Petra's thirteenth birthday party.”
A snort escapes my lips.
. I won't be having one of those. I'll be lucky if Mother has time to make me a cake with all the hours she puts in with Father at the shoe shop.
All the girls turn and look at me. So does Neil. I start to cough. “Sorry. I think one of the feathers from your boa flew into my mouth.”
Blondie turns to Neil and frowns. “Your boas shed?” She quickly unwraps the one around her neck. “Umm, I think I'll pass then.”
“I can assure you,” Neil says, his stare at me darkening. “My boas do
That was foolish of me. If Blondie walks out of this shop with her clip, I'll have a tougher time snagging it. People drop things in a place like Combing the Sea all the time. Buying daisies at Everything's Rosy? Not so much. I need to fix this. Time for a distraction.
“Actually, I don't think it was a feather I swallowed,” I say, squeezing into the conversation. “These boas definitely do not shed. My cousin has had a feather skirt from here for years, and it still looks like she just bought it.”
“Feather skirt?” Blondie's eyes light up. “Oh, I have to have one of those. Neil, do something with
.” She drops the boa on the floor and runs to the other end of the store. That's so like a royal.
“I call it first to wear to Laurence's!” says a tall girl with a big nose.
“No fair!” The group heads to the tiny apparel department in the back corner of the shop, and Neil's eyes glow like the gold coins he'll soon be getting. Skirts are way more expensive than boas. See? Neil's lucky to have me. I'm making him money!
I inch my way back toward the table and pick up a crystal hairpin lying next to my clip. I turn it over a couple of times and gaze at it like I'm considering buying it. The girls are still talking about that silly birthday party. I wonder what it would be like to have nothing to worry about other than what filling to pick for my birthday cake.
My hand dangles over the clip.
“Are these made with ostrich feathers?” the tall girl asks Neil.
“Ostrich feathers are totally in right now!” Blondie chimes in.
I cover the clip with my hand. It's warm beneath my fingers.
I slide it into the sleeve of my brown jacket with one quick motion.
I head to the door, making sure to reach up and hold the bell on top so it doesn't jingle when I exit. Then I'm out and heading down the alley next to the shop before anyone even notices I'm gone.
Told you it was easy. Like taking lunch from a sleeping ogre.