The Crims were cool, but they weren't criminal. Not really, anyway.

Amanda sat on the very edge of Garbo Mansion's many balconies, preening as the bubbleheads stared at her in her two piece business casual outfit. She stood out amongst the other Pretties, who were all wearing tuxes and ballgowns. Exactly what she wanted. When Zane and Tally arrived, she didn't want them to have to look for very long.

"Hello."

Amanda turned towards the unfamiliar voice. A gorgeous young man stood before her, his long brown ponytail resting over his shoulder drew her attention, not many male pretties had long hair like him. His eyes were brown, his face chiseled and strong, his impish smile interested her. Was he planning something?

"Hello to you too. Do I know you?"

His grin widened. "My name is Aki. I'm supposed to keep you company until Zane and Tally arrive. They're running late."

Amanda shrugged. "I'm fiiine. I'm a big girl."

"Indeed you are. You'll be twenty next year, like me. We can finally leave this boring place."

Amanda perked up. Finally, someone her age! "You think this place is a drag too?! Finally, someone who can relate to me!"

Aki chuckled, joining her on the balcony. "Yeah, it was fun times for about two seconds. The idea of making whatever clothes you want and being surrounded by vapid people at vapid parties started slowly chipping away at my sanity about two years ago. I was so glad when I found the Crims at first, because they were the only group here who wanted to do non-bogus things."

"But, then you found out they weren't as criminal as they claimed?" Amanda gave him a sympathetic smile.

"You would know, being an actual Rusty criminal. You do something bad here, you'll get a slap on the wrist at worse. From what I heard, the things you did back then would have gotten you thrown in jail."

"Prison," Amanda corrected, "Jail is for people who steal $400, prison is for people like me who have robbed so many stores that I could have eventually bought this whole building had my stepmother not caught me."

"The whole building? Really?" Aki was stunned.

"Okay, I am exaggerating, but I stole a lot of money and jewelry. I had at least 100k by the time I got caught." $127,566 to be exact.

The two of them sat there in silence for a while, looking over the balcony for Tally and Zane. After another fifteen minutes, Amanda looked towards Aki, a mischievous smile adorning her face. "Hey, you wanna go back to my room? Get the know each other a little better?" Amanda winked at him, earning a low chuckle.

"You know what, that sounds much more fun than spending all afternoon waiting for King and Queen Crim." The two of them left Garbo, Amanda calling a car to take them back to Komachi.

As the car came closer to the mansion, Amanda couldn't deny her growing attraction to Aki. It wasn't like she was falling in love with him, she'd barely even known him for an hour, but she could tell that he, like herself, wanted something more than what New Pretty Town had to offer.

"Welcome home, Amanda-la." The room welcomed them. Amanda gestured with her ring to play music, a gentle classical tune. With an eye click, the curtains slid open, allowing the afternoon sun to illuminate the room.

"So, how did you find yourself mixed up with criminals?" Aki asked, sitting at the edge of the giant pink bed.

"Ugh, haven't you heard that story a million times already? I'm sure I've told it that many times."

"A million different times from a million different people. All except the person who originally told the story." Aki said, smirking.

Amanda sighed, and laid on the bed, snuggling into a pillow. "I'm not telling you everything."

"Why not?"

Amanda rolled her eyes. "I hate sounding like a broken record."

Aki took her hand and squeezed it gently. "So how about this. Tell me your story in a way you haven't told it before. Tell me like- like a Rusty telling their littlies a bedtime story."

"I hate bedtime stories, but alright. I'll give it a shot. Once upon a time..."


Once upon a time, there was a young girl- nah, a young princess named Amanda. She had two parents who loved her and an adorable little brother, Prince Shotaro. King Christian and Queen Ame were a happy couple, and did all they could for their little prince and princess, but their happiness didn't last. One day, the queen took the little prince to the market with her, when a coach driver, an idiot teenager, crashed into their carriage and killed them.

I've never heard this part before. I'm so sorry.

Shush you, I haven't finished. Anyway, the little princess mourned her mother and brother, and was displeased when her father married another woman, a rich queen named Tamara. What the king didn't know, was that the new queen's younger sister was the driver who killed his wife and son.

WHAT?!

Aki...

I'm sorry. Continue.

As I was saying, this fact caused the young princess to hate her new stepmother. The princess met a few peasant girls who wished for a better life, no matter what they had to do to attain it. The princess fell into a life of crime, and she enjoyed it. She loved the thrill of theft, and the more she got away with, the closer she saw her freedom from her broken family. Unfortunately, she was caught by her stepmother, but because the princess was so close to freedom, she decided to have her friends scare her stepmother away. The youngest of the peasant girls, Christina, was the only one who stayed by Princess Amanda's side. Her sisters went into hiding after doing away with the new queen, and the two girls ran away to start a new life.

Wait, I thought you just scared her away. You're starting to make it sound like Mrs. Lazarus was killed.

Aki!

Shutting up.

Where was I? Oh yeah, after the death of the king, Princess Amanda tried to reclaim her kingdom, when the stepmother reappeared, injuring Christina and trying to do the same to the princess. However, the stepmother was a dumb bitch and the princess is awesome and knocked her out.

Pfffft!

AHEM! It was then that the princess made a difficult decision. She knew her mother had a magic coffin and a book of spells. However, she'd never attempted anything in the book before, and had barely any understanding of how the magic coffin worked. If she did something wrong, she could end up dead instead of in an eternal sleep. She also discovered the stepmother's attempt to copy the queen's book and claim it as her own. So-

That's awful!

Goddamn you, Aki!

Sorry, sorry! So, how did the princess figure out how the coffin worked?

She trusted in herself and her mother. She and Christina toiled over the book, and when they found the correct spell to work with the coffin, they left a parchment letting the world know what the stepmother had done. Finally, the princess was to be laid to sleep, but not without instructions on how to be woken up. The last thing she remembered before the start of her slumber was her hope to be found by someone. She didn't expect to be found three-hundred years later.

Is the princess happy?


Amanda frowned. Was she happy? Her entire family was dead, and all she had left of Christina was Dr. Valen, and because he was in his forties, and super weird like all of the other adults who weren't Dr. Cable, she didn't like him. Of course, she reminded herself all the time that Christina had nothing to do with his upbringing, having been long dead by then, and she tried not to be abrasive towards her best friend's descendant.

"I-don't know. I've only been in New Pretty Town for two weeks. I mean, I feel like the most interesting thing I've done was apply for medical school so once I leave New Pretty Town, I can start learning about the surgery and maybe be one of the doctors who gets to perform it."

"Really? I applied to be a warden. At first, I wanted to be a firefighter, but they basically do nothing. I've never actually heard of them having to put out a fire."

"Yeah, because this city is so exquisitely idiot-proof. You have to try to get hurt. What kind of fun is that?"

Aki scooted closer to her, wrapping his hand around hers once more. "I agree, so I have a proposition for you."

Amanda raised an eyebrow. "What are we talking?"

"I can't say here. Meet me in the pleasure garden nearest to Komachi Mansion at 11:30 tonight. Oh, and leave your ring behind. It has ears."

Amanda nodded in approval. "I am intrigued. I'll meet you then."

Aki stood up, and walked to the door. Before exiting, he looked back at her. "You know, I really hope the princess finds happiness soon."

Amanda smiled sadly. "Me too."