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"I don't want it."

Pointed gaze met pointed gaze.

"Excuse me?"

"I said," he repeated "I. Don't. Want. It."

Several people stood up from around the room. They didn't interfere, but were on standby in case something happened.

"Sorry, that's not how it works." The official laced their fingers together, judging Aisley Hazelwood and his family very hard. "You will go to Ever After High. It is your destiny. Literally."

"What if I don't want to?" Fists clenched, foot digging into the carpet, Aisley stood his ground.  Sparks flew from the wand tucked into his left boot.

"That's just too bad. This isn't about you, kid," the official's wings twitched in their impatience as they wondered how on earth all these people were letting the boy argue with them, "It's not your place to decide. Nor is it mine. Your father was the previous stepdaughter, and you will be the next."

"No, I won't." He crossed his arms.

"You have to,"

"No, I don't."

"You're convincing nobody but yourself, Hazelwood."

"If that was true you wouldn't be defending your point so adamantly."

"You're getting on my nerves, kid."

"Good. Get out of my house and save your poor nerves."

The official stood up, a ball of fire lighting up in their palm. Aisley's gaze flitted towards their hand, and then he raised an eyebrow.

"Get. Out." He demanded. "I don't take cheap intimidation tactics."   The fireball extinguished, the sparks instead igniting in the official's eyes. Fear, anger, and frustration mingled on their face.

"Don't throw away your shot, Hazelwood." The official pressed the letter into Aisley's unwilling hand "You are a fairytale. You don't mean to tell me that this meeting was unexpected."

"Of course not," Aisley scoffed "I'm not an idiot."

"Then just go on with your destiny. You don't even have to die. You could pull the same move as your father and escape getting torn apart by wild animals. You live in the palace for three days. You sleep with the king for three days. You're a king for three days, Hazelwood. Be more grateful, other people have it worse."

"And therefore, that makes my predicament irrelevant." Aisley rolled his eyes.

"Yes, it does! This isn't about you, how many times do I have to explain?"

"For all I care, you can explain until you've turned colour three times. Point is, I'm not--"

"Aisley."

The newest voice that had spoken up was low. It was soft, and intimidating. It was Min's.

Seven heads whipped around to face Min. She was sitting, in all her pastel glory, quite calmly.

"Yes, Min?" Aisley began to look like a guilty child.

"Just listen to this idiot. We haven't the time or space for them as it is."

"I'm still here, you understand."

"Unfortunately, yes. The fact that you have to childishly reestablish your presence proves even further that you are a waste of time."

The downtrodden official sat down, also looking like a guilty child.

The rest of Aisley's family, comprised of his mother and sister, plus the Lexwingtons, made the silent and unanimous decision to leave the room.

"You've already lost your eye, Aisley." Min sat him down "You can't lose your life because of this destiny."

"But it's literally written that I have to." He replied meekly.

"Linden didn't have to, and he didn't. And seeing as he didn't, and you are to repeat his actions, all logic states that you don't have to die, either."

And so it was decided.

Aisley Hazelwood was to attend Ever After High.

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