Chapter Thirty Eight
A/N: I do not own anything other than my OCs that come out to play. Everything else belongs to either Disney or the Greek Myths.
As always, thank you guys so much for your continued support with this story! It means the world to me and getting your reviews/favorites/alerts makes my day or night!
Just a head's up—for this chapter I'm limiting the number of individualized reviews I respond to. I'm just saying this now—if I didn't respond to your review, you did not offend me or anything and I will always appreciate it! However, responding to every review each chapter has gotten time consuming and I don't want to risk burning out and potentially delaying updates.
If I don't respond to your review and you have a question, please send me a PM! :D
AmethystDragon14: Yay! Thank you so much! I can't believe it either, three stories with over 1k reviews! :D Ah Benji, already overprotective before the kid's even born!
Quil: Thank you! Yeah, the period is a pain to format around but that's more on the site. I found your instagram (wow that sounded creepier than I meant it). If you get a follow from someone called nerdom_is_my_right_hand_man, it's me! :D Oh I like that idea for Hadie's nickname! :D
JaclynnM: Oh I'm so glad—yeah Mal kinda annoys me too with how she treats Evie but that'll change!
Katir2911: Oh I have to say, I loved this reasoning! I hope you don't mind but I borrowed a bit of it for a comment Mal makes in this chapter—it just seemed to fit! :D
Marcus Emrys: Oh yay! I have to say I borrowed a bit for this chapter (mainly Milah being Silver's sister) because I really do like that idea! If you do write it, I'll definitely read the fic! :D
DS Rider: I mean, anything's possible!
InuKagLove22: Oh I'm so glad! That's not a bad idea—though I think I've got a bit too many commenters right now. Maybe if I take some people out of the reading I'll be able to bring them in. :D
danifan3000: Oh yeah I know—when I first learned that about the Grimm fairy tales, I was like 'okay so we're sticking with the Disney versions!'
jessaminego5134: Hey I'll gladly take Audrey down several pegs—if you haven't guessed, I don't much like her in canon. I try not to have that influence my writing but some it probably seeps through. Hey, Ben's a workaholic—but I think having his future self there might help! As for the nest of furs, they'll know in a couple of chapters probably. Glad you liked the chapter!
Anonymous Reader: Honestly I don't think it's possible for Audrey or Leah to make a comment that's not stupid.
Monkeymama1516: Hey, I'm more than happy to make them pass out!
LOST MUSES: I'm so glad you liked the chapter! Yes, Audie will mention the different tag and Mal's childhood in her timeline! Plus I'm sure that Audie's got a picture of Ben in his Isle garb in her phone! :D
twilightgirl587: Oh I'm happy to hear that reading my stories is keeping you sane! Please stay sane!
Hufflepuff24: So they're reading all of the Choosing series before going back, just because unlike the viewings where I could have breaks between each viewing where they could fix things, there's not really a chance for that here.
Roxas Itsuka: Oh wow, you know that's an interesting point. Because you're right, it does seem strange that they weren't given everything and that they were just thrown into a new school in a new land without giving them proper time to adapt. It's almost like how Hogwarts always seemed to have classes the day after sorting. I wouldn't be surprised if they did do something about Remedial Goodness 101. It's such a ridiculous class imo!
Hope you guys like the chapter! Let me know what you think! :D
Malinda shook her head as she unfurled the scroll in her hand, holding it with one hand as she rubbed her stomach. "Your papa is a tad overprotective, isn't he pup?"
"I can hear what you're telling our kid you know," Benji sighed.
"That's the whole point."
Mal scowled as she made her way through her first day of classes.
"Oh Gods, that's never a good sign," Jay shook his head.
Fairy Godmother, in her infinite wisdom, had decided to make it so none of the VKs were in a class together other than Remedial Goodness 101.
Kit raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't that just make them stand out even more if there's only the one VK in a class together?"
Ben quickly jotted that down in his notebook.
"Okay, we're just going to take that," Benji sighed and gently yanked it out of his younger self's hands. "Focus on the now, okay?"
"But what if I forget something?" Ben asked. "How can I fix something if I don't remember what it is?"
Benji sighed, he had a point.
"Ben…your phone," Malinda said. "Doesn't it have a recording function?"
"Oh…oh!" Benji smiled and pulled out his younger self's phone from his front breast pocket of his suit blazer; switching on the recording app. "There we go. Now you won't forget anything."
"And you'll have the dulcet sounds of Audrey's voice whenever she's upset about something," Emir added with a chuckle.
Even if she didn't want to be in a class with Blueberry, Mal wasn't thrilled to be alone either.
You know, some of us aren't evil. We're just wicked. There's a difference, Mal thought as she looked at her locker as she closed the door, having put her books inside. It was just the same as the other lockers, though that could pretty much describe all of Auradon. Being different was bad, judging by all the looks she and the others got for their clothing.
"She's right you know," Kitty said. "There is a difference between evil and wicked. Otherwise we'd have to class me as evil for some of the pranks I pull."
What was worse was there was a rumor that someone tried to break into the museum where Fairy Godmother's wand was held the night they had arrived.
"What?!" Jane gasped. "But…who'd want to steal mom's wand?"
Okay, definitely not a good idea to comment on the fact that in my timeline, it was Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay who attempted the theft. Not if I want this Leah to go off on a five hour rant, Audie thought.
No one noticed Malinda giving Evie a sad yet knowing look.
Probably someone who wants to frame us VKs for something, Mal thought with an inward snort, making sure her mental link was temporarily blocked as to not worry her mom or dad—or Uma.
"What's the point of worrying you when you're on the Isle trapped by the barrier, would be my guess," Mal said, looking over at Uma before glancing at her older self.
"Got it in one," Malinda nodded.
I certainly don't need that wand—I've got dad's powers coursing through my veins. Plus mom's as well. Not to mention I've still got a bit of my Fae magic—not as much as I did before mom adopted me but it's still there.
"You…you do?" Jane asked, looking at Mal and Malinda.
Malinda nodded. "As has probably already been stated, genetically I'm still part Fae. I just have the added magic and immortality of the Gods so my Fae powers were reduced. Though one could say mom's powers over vegetation could have boosted my Fae magic."
"That's right!" Jane gasped. "The Fae of the Moors did have control of the vegetation there according to the books on them."
Sighing, she set her bag down and pulled out a couple of cans of spray paint—one never knew when one needed to mark their territory. Holding her breath, she began to get to work. Ignoring the stares and mutters of the passing students, Mal smirked as she got into the zone; making sure each pass of the spray paint was even and perfect.
No one was going to think of her as a second rate tagger. Not in Auradon.
"Yes because that's what you should be worried about," Rose shook her head.
"She's defacing school property, are you just going to—?!"
"If someone catches her doing it, I'm sure there'll be a report on my desk," Fairy Godmother said to Leah as Estelle whimpered once more at the high volume.
"Nice one," Jay said as he walked up. "Might be your best tag to date."
"Thanks Jay," Mal smirked as she finished up. In front of them was a pomegranate fruit with a golden skin, blue flames in the background, and the words 'Family is Forever' underneath.
"Huh, that sounds so much better than the tag you did in my timeline," Audie said.
"What was it?" Lucas asked. "Chip said that Ben mentioned something but he didn't go into specifics."
"It was a green and black silhouette of Maleficent with the words 'Long Live Evil' over it," Audie said.
"What?!" Mal and Uma exclaimed.
"Did I not mention you were raised by Maleficent in my timeline?" Audie asked, tilting her head.
"Why was she allowed near my daughter and where was I?!" Hades asked, a growl audible in his voice.
Audie shrugged. "I don't know. Mal never told me," she lied.
Let's see Sleeping Brat try to claim I'm lying now, Mal thought. Oh she'd heard the scuttlebutt about Audrey claiming Mal was lying to make herself seem more important and that she truly was Maleficent's daughter. Mal didn't care. She could crush Audrey like a bug but she knew doing that would make it next to impossible for Uma and Harry to come over.
"Shame," Ashaki sighed. "I'd love to see Audrey crushed like a bug."
"Plus knowing Ben, he'd still bring over Uma and Harry," Neal added.
Hadie faked a pout. "What about me?"
"You go without saying," Malinda chuckled.
Emma shook her head. "Audrey, what proof do you have that Mal's lying anyway?"
"You having a good first day?" Jay asked as he shot a grin to some of the female students who were passing by. Mal rolled her eyes.
"Considering the scroll said she was scowling, I'm going to say no," Melody said, shaking her head.
"Gods Jay, get some dignity."
"What use do I have for dignity? It just gets in the way of the really fun stuff," Jay smirked, not noticing Chad, Audrey and Ben in the background.
Harry rolled his eyes fondly. "And you say I'm the flirt Jay?"
"I dunno Ben, they seem like trouble," Chad said.
"Really? Cause Jay seems like you," Lucy told her brother.
"Yeah I'm sorry but you can string girls along and you're not trouble but the VKs who've only been here a day and as far as we know are just going to classes like they're told are?" Kitty asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry, you're what Chad?" Kit asked, looking at his son.
"Nothing! Kitty's lying!"
"Come on man, give 'em a chance," Ben told him. "Emir and Akiho said they had a great time with them."
"Yes Chad, you should listen to us more," Emir nodded.
Chad shook his head. "The day I listen to you without wondering if you've gone insane is the day I go insane."
"You know my motto!"
"Yes, yes Emir. Being normal is vastly overrated. You've said it at least once a week since I've known you," Chad sighed.
"No offense Bennybear but you're just too trusting," Audrey said, grabbing Ben's hands, not noticing Ben stiffen once more or Chad's frown. "I know your mom fell in love with the big scary beast that turned out to be a handsome prince but in my story, the evil fairy was just the evil fairy. That girl's mother."
"Audrey Stephanie Rose!" Aurora exclaimed. "I believe an apology is in order!"
"For something I haven't even said?!" Audrey said in shock.
Audie shook her head. "Because I know it won't come, allow me to apologize," she said to Belle and Beast. "Unfortunately I did say the same thing in my timeline."
"Honestly she's so desperate to make me look bad, she can't even apply logic," Mal said. "She's got no proof I'm lying anyway which I'm not!"
Abby glared at Audrey. "You do realize you're saying that not only about your boyfriend's parents but the reigning monarchs right?"
"Yeah if Ben wasn't such a people pleaser, he could have easily said 'I'll tell my parents you said that. I'm sure they'd be glad to know what you think of them'," Chip added.
"She told us yesterday, the records are wrong. In fact, I'm going to see if I can update them myself today," Ben said, slipping his hands out of Audrey's grasp. "And you're wrong about them."
"You are so lucky that it's Ben you're in the betrothal contract with," Phillip Jr. said. "Any other guy would have immediately gotten out of that contract and dumped your ass after you said that about his dad."
"Yeah that was a foot in mouth moment in my timeline too," Audie sighed.
Aurora shook her head. "While I agree with your point Phil, please watch the language."
"As for you Audrey Stephanie, I've yet to hear an apology—."
"Mother! What, do you want me to apologize for my future self?"
"That does seem rather unreasonable Aurora," Leah nodded.
Phillip Sr. shook his head. "That doesn't matter Leah. Aurora and I won't have our daughter saying things like that."
Ben turned away and started making his way toward Mal and Jay, wanting to see how their first day was and if they needed anything.
"Really? You just wanted to see if they needed anything?" Abby said with a small smile, teasing Benji.
"Gods Jay, you're so clingy," he heard Mal tease.
"Hey, you came into my bed last night," Jay teased back and Ben froze, his stomach clenching as he heard Mal chuckle.
"I'm just going to point out that anyone overhearing that would probably take it the same way," Hera said, shaking her head in amusement.
"Then they're idiots," Mal shrugged. "Jay's practically my brother."
They're friends. Close friends but friends—Mal probably was just feeling homesick or something. I mean the only other possibility would be that…no, Mal and Jay aren't dating. I mean they do seem awfully close and Jay was the one to put his hand over Mal's mouth the other day…he certainly feels comfortable with her…
Malinda couldn't help the small giggle that slipped out. "I'm sorry Ben but…I know you told me you'd had these thoughts but to read them…"
"My own wife's against me," Benji sighed as Ben's cheeks turned red at Emir and Akiho's laughter.
Ben shook his head to clear his thoughts. He was looking too deep into it—a boy and a girl could be friends. After all, he was friends with Lonnie and no one thought they were dating. Though granted, due to that betrothal contract and the fact that he was dating Audrey, no one really could think that.
"Well more like because we all know Ben is probably the most noble person there is and wouldn't date two girls at the same time," Lil Shang said.
"Hey Mal," he said as he leaned against one of the other lockers.
"Hey," Mal said with a smirk, Jay standing a bit off to the side and shaking his head. I'm still here, you know, he thought in amusement. Gods Mali, when you do something you don't go half assed do you? Getting the Crown Prince to like you?
"Language Jay," Persephone warned, glancing at Hadie, Dizzy, Celia, and CJ.
"Yes Steph," Jay nodded before pausing. "Hang on…"
"How was your first day?"
Ben couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped from his lips at her dry tone. There was just something about her sarcastic nature that drew him in. Plus it didn't hurt that she looked exactly like the girl from his dreams.
"Probably because it sounds like she is the girl from your dreams," Ashaki said with a small chuckle.
"You know you should really think about taking this talent off the locker and into art class. I could, uh, sign you up," he said, gesturing to the tag. "What do you think?"
Emir and Akiho stared at the scroll in Malinda's hand in shock.
"Oh dear Gods…is he trying to flirt?" Emir asked.
"I think so," Akiho nodded. "Just very, very, badly."
"Still! When's the last time we heard Ben flirt?"
"Friendly reminder he is recording this," Lonnie said with a small chuckle.
Jay snorted from his spot behind Mal and Mal rolled her eyes as she elbowed him in the side.
"Way to take all the fun out of it," Mal said with a smirk as she and Jay walked off.
"Huh," Ben uttered as he leaned back against the other lockers.
"She has a point," Rowyn nodded. "Why make it so everything you paint has to get a grade? That's just too stressful."
"Is that why you never signed up for art?" Rapunzel asked her daughter.
"Yep," Rowyn said. "Well that and I don't like being told what to paint."
I've known Mal for like a day. Why am I feeling like this? Ben thought. I don't know what it is but every time I talk to her, I feel happier than I have in months. Being with Audrey's great but it's…it's almost like a chore at times now.
"Well you know, you could be free from that chore with just one simple phone call…" Akiho said.
"Anyone else amazed Audrey's not screaming at the top of her lungs?" Lonnie asked.
Audie shrugged, her hand placed over Audrey's mouth. "Maybe she got tired of being shrill."
Ben shook his head again. What was he doing? He had made a promise to the Roses, and to his parents when the contract had been finalized. He would stick it out. For the kingdom. For his parents. For Audrey.
"So close," Chip sighed and shook his head.
"Stupid sense of wanting to keep his word even when the promise was made for him," Abby muttered.
Even if all Ben wanted was to see that smirk again.
"Now you can see it every day you want," Malinda said, giving Benji a small smile.
As Ben began to make his way back to his office to start once more on paperwork, his classes being done for the day, Jay was in the process of teasing Mal as they made their way to their next classes: Jay heading to Basic Chivalry while Mal made her way to Chemistry.
"How could Prince Ben's classes be done for the day if Mal and Jay still have classes to go to?" Dizzy asked.
"All the heirs have a 'lightened' schedule," Akiho said with a shrug. "We've got our duties to our kingdom after all. Those won't go away just because we've got school."
"And I told you Akiho, we won't put anything on your plate that you can't handle," Anna stated.
"I swear, we're not here one week and the boys are already chasing you."
"Shut up Jay," Mal said, rolling her eyes. "Ben's just being friendly."
"Oh so he's Ben now? Not Beastie Jr.?"
"You know, as amusing as it is to hear Jay tease Mal over a boy, I think I know why she's doing it," Uma said. "We can't have him as our ally if we don't even use his name."
Mal rolled her eyes again and shook her head at Jay's smirk. "If we want him as our ally then yes Jay, he's going to have to be Ben."
"Just like to point out that Ben was pretty much your ally the second you stepped out of the limo," Chip said with a small chuckle. "You could probably pour hot soup in his lap and he'd apologize to you."
Jay shook his head in amusement. "If you says so Mali. I'll see you after class."
"See you," Mal said softly and quickly made her way to her Chemistry class. Fortunately, she shared the class with Akiho. She liked spending time with the Arendelle prince, he was funny and snarky—even if they'd only interacted the one time.
"Yay, Mal likes me too!" Akiho grinned.
Elle couldn't help but smile at the blond's antics as Kristoff shook his head with fond exasperation at his son's odd behavior.
Unfortunately however, she also shared the class with Audrey.
"Yes that is rather unfortunate," Emir sighed.
Fairy Godmother must have inhaled a bit too much pixie dust when creating the class schedules, Mal thought as she took her seat. Sleeping Brat and me, in the same class? Even if Fairy Godmother thought I was the Dragon's spawn, she would have had to have known this wouldn't end well? Especially when it was the class that ran the risk of things exploding!
"Oh dear," Fairy Godmother said. "I'll certainly be reevaluating the class schedules then."
"That might be a good idea," Phillip Sr. nodded.
"There aren't enough curse words in the world to satisfy me right now," Mal muttered as Mr. Delay started the lesson. She rolled her eyes as she listened to Audrey twitter with her cohorts like mindless zombies, going on about her wedding of all things.
The girl was sixteen, why did she even care about a wedding?
"Excuse me, but I'll have you know caring about your wedding now saves you tons of stress later on! I read about it in—!"
"No one cares Audrey," Rose sighed, shaking her head.
Malinda raised an eyebrow before leaning over to Benji. "Is it sad that's Audrey's kinda right?"
"Or people can just do what we did," Benji chuckled.
"Not everyone would say what we did would remove stress Benny."
"Gods Audrey, the entire school knows you're betrothed to Ben. Maybe you could actually focus on the lesson instead what color you'd want your bridesmaids' dresses to be?" Akiho muttered from his seat next to Mal.
Chip shook his head. "Furthermore shouldn't that be something you discuss with Ben if you have to talk about that wedding?"
"My bridesmaids' dresses were navy blue with a light purple ribbon around the middle," Malinda said with a small smile at the memory. "And Ben picked them out. I think Evie rubbed off on him ever since he was introduced to things that aren't suits, he actually has a good eye for color pallets at least."
"Oh look who's come a long way from the horrendous green and gold blazer," Chip chuckled, wrapping an arm over Ben's shoulders.
"What, she's what?" Mal hissed, turning to look at him. She didn't know why she cared about what was essentially idle gossip but there was something about the idea of Ben marrying the brainless twit that got Mal's hackles up. Even if she only knew him for a day.
"Jealous?" Audrey asked with a smirk as she looked at Mal.
"Of you? You wish," Mal shot back.
Malinda rolled her eyes. "Gods I forgot how annoying Audrey was before everything went pear shaped for her," she muttered under her breath as she rested her hand on her pregnant stomach.
"Yeah, Ben told Emir and me about it when we were twelve and then Audrey spread it around when they officially started dating last year," Akiho nodded. "Betrothal contract. Supposedly iron clad. Finalized when Audrey and Ben were three, I believe."
Hades shook his head. "No contract is truly iron clad. Besides I already proved that to be false."
"Yes dear but you're not in Auradon," Persephone reminded him.
"But dad's right," Mal said. "Besides it couldn't be finalized when Ben and the horrid version of Audie were three anyway."
Mal made to open her mouth but Akiho shook his head, gesturing to the teacher who looked like he was about to call on someone. When Mr. Delay brought some poor unsuspecting kid to the board, Akiho started back up.
"Sorry, but that's Mr. Delay's thing. He picks one kid he thinks isn't paying attention and brings them up to the board. Emir and I think he likes humiliating people."
"Oh my!" Fairy Godmother exclaimed. "I'll have to talk to him about that!"
"It happened to Evie in my timeline," Audie said. "Actually Mr. Delay almost recommended she be expelled."
Mal's eyes narrowed at that. Sure she might not be the blue haired girl's biggest fan but she was the only one who got to mess with her. Well her and Uma of course—and Jay and Harry by proxy but they were the only four who got to mess with Evie.
"Was she?" Dizzy asked, her eyes wide in worry.
Audie shook her head. "She was able to stay in school. Actually I don't remember if Mr. Delay stayed at Auradon Prep after that."
"Huh, well thanks for having my back I guess," Mal shrugged but she couldn't deny, she was oddly touched that someone from Auradon would look out for her like that.
"I know this is the future and all but I'd have done it even if Ben didn't ask Emir and me to look out for you guys," Akiho said.
Akiho shrugged. "Ben asked us to look out for you guys, at least for the first few days. Oh I think you'll get a kick out this by the way, there's a rumor going around the school that you're Lady Persephone's daughter."
"Well I don't know why that's a rumor," Mal shrugged, pretending to take notes. "I am. Maleficent's nothing more than my birth giver."
"Is this karma?" Hades muttered. "To be constantly bombarded with that image in my head when I would like nothing more than for it to go away?"
Akiho seemed a little shocked but continued on like the news hadn't phased him. "Well in that case you might want to be prepared for your Auradon cousins to come out of the woodwork. There's Ariel's daughters, Elle and Melody, and then there's Hercules' kids: Hyllus, Macaria and Herkie. Oh and Jamie Hawkins, she's Elle's cousin-her mom's Andrina and her dad's obviously Jim Hawkins."
"Why is that so shocking?" Rose asked. "We go to school with six Godlings as you mentioned, what's one more?"
"Seven," Elle said. "There's our cousin Arabella."
Oh right, I always forget that I've got a cousin Arabella too, Malinda thought. Though with all the excitement for the cause of Ari's birth, I can be forgiven for not reminding Aurora and Phillip that a royal with that name already exists when they were naming their granddaughter.
Milah shook her head fondly. "Ah Silver always had good things to say about Jim. Glad to hear he's doing well."
"Silver?" Harry asked.
"Long John Silver," Milah said with a slightly sad smile. "I guess I never did get the chance to tell you three about my brother."
"I only have one cousin," Mal said firmly, " and she's currently trapped on the Isle with no way off."
"Two you mean," Uma said. "Virgil's on the Isle."
"Yes but the idea of Panic having a kid with Vanessa seems to stress people out when they hear it," Mal told her. "I likely just didn't want to deal with that."
"She's not wrong," Malinda nodded.
"Hey I'm just telling you what might happen."
"The other Gods don't care about the VKs," Mal snorted. "If they did, a lot would be different."
Poseidon frowned, shaking his head slightly. "I do care, my granddaughter's still on the Isle after all. As are my grandson and nephew. Not to mention my brother and sister-in-law."
Hades looked over and gave Poseidon a small smile, having heard the whisper.
Akiho opened his mouth but Mal kicked his shin just as Mr. Delay seemed to want to pick another unsuspecting victim. Quickly looking down and pretending like he was taking notes, Akiho narrowly avoided getting selected himself.
"I shook my head at her, she kicks my shin," Akiho sighed.
"I'm a VK. It's what we do," Mal said with a slight shrug.
"Thanks for that," he told Mal as they walked out of class.
Mal shrugged. "You did the same for me. We pay our debts on the Isle."
Anna smiled slightly but shook her head. "While I'm happy you're making friends with the new students Akiho, you shouldn't have been talking during class."
"Your mother's right son," Kristoff nodded. "If Mal hadn't let you know that Mr. Delay was looking to call on someone, he'd be well within his rights to call on you."
"Well thanks all the same. Even if the idea of the daughter of Lady Persephone being indebted to me sounds amazing," he said, teasing her on the last part.
"Careful you don't say that around Ben," Kitty chuckled. "Don't want him jealous of two guys now."
"Kitty!" Cinderella and Kit exclaimed.
Ben chuckled, ignoring the slight heat to his cheeks. "Really Katherine? I thought you were on my side here!"
"I'm going to tease my brothers whenever I see fit Benjamin. Blood related or not," Kitty told him though her eyes narrowed at the use of her full first name.
Abby couldn't help but smile at that, happy that her brother was able to find a little sister after all.
"Gods Akiho, you don't honestly believe that lie do you?" Audrey's dulcet tones came from behind them. "She's obviously ashamed of having Maleficent for a mother so she's trying to make herself seem more important.
Robin rolled her eyes. "Oh I didn't know you were suddenly an expert on how DNA worked Audrey. Again, you have absolutely no proof that Mal's mom isn't Lady Persephone!"
"You know Audrey's lucky that Aunt Steph hasn't smote her yet for how she keeps insisting Mal's not her daughter," Uma said.
Though, with your father being an ice man and who your mother almost ended up marrying, I guess seeing past the lies would be hard for a half royal like yourself?"
"Audrey!" Aurora exclaimed, noticeably shocked. "Anna, Kristoff, I am so sorry—."
"At least he'll be able to rule better due to his family's experiences rather than lounging in an ivory tower!" Elle snapped at Audrey, glaring at her slightly and preventing Anna or Kristoff from responding to Aurora.
Without thinking, Mal grabbed onto Akiho's arm as if pulling him back. Years of holding back Jay and Harry from getting fights at the wrong time had made it second nature by this point. "Somewhere out there is a tree, tirelessly producing oxygen so that you can breathe," she told Audrey. "I think you owe it an apology. Come on Akiho."
"Can I steal that line?" Kitty asked, looking over at Mal.
"Why do I have a feeling you're going to use it against your brother, Kitty?" Cinderella sighed as Mal nodded.
With that, she turned on her heel and walked away from Audrey and her cronies; Akiho chuckling as he followed.
"Thanks for that but I'm used to Audrey's barbs by now," he told Mal. "It's one of her favorite hits honestly, trying to get Ben not to hang out with us because Emir and I are only 'half royals'. Never mind the fact that Ben is too."
Rose shook her head. "Oh that explains why I'm always on the bottom of the pyramid! You just don't like half-royals," she said, glaring slightly at Audrey.
"This doesn't make sense. She's a hero's daughter but she acts like she belongs on the Isle…" Dizzy whispered, shaking her head softly.
"Why does he keep in the contract then?" Mal asked. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Blueberry make her way toward the bleachers with a boy with blond, slightly curly hair that was pressed down with way too much gel.
Malinda sighed and gave Evie a sad but knowing look. You could have gone to Ben for the help. It would have been so much easier for you and you wouldn't have gotten heartbroken the way you did, she thought.
"Figured Chad wouldn't waste time getting to know one of the two new girls," Akiho snorted, following Mal's gaze. "He wasn't really a fan of Ben's proclamation but he kept silent when he was around Ben. However, Chad will never stop being a flirt especially since Audrey's with Ben.
"Akiho!" Chad exclaimed.
"Is anything I said incorrect?" Akiho asked, raising an eyebrow. "You pine over Audrey yet the only time Audrey gives you the time of day is when Ben's busy and she only uses you for a sounding board to talk about her wedding to Ben! Dear Gods man, get some dignity and stop following her like a love sick puppy!"
"He does in my timeline," Audie said with a smile. "And don't forget Malinda said he'd wind up with Ginny in this timeline."
"I'll believe it when I see it," Akiho muttered.
Anyway, to answer your question, Ben considers the contract to be a promise. Ben's big on keeping his promises. He always says a king should be as good as his word."
"Shouldn't a King also prioritize his health?" Abby asked, giving her brother a look.
"You wouldn't happen to have a copy of the contract, would you?" Mal asked, an idea slowly starting to form in her brain. "Contracts and deals are kinda my dad's thing. I want to see if it's as iron clad as you claim it is."
"That's my girl!" Hades said with a grin. "I mean it's not. As we already stated, it's invalid due to the fact that neither of the affected parties signed it themselves—."
"Dear, you're about to rant again," Persephone said with a small sigh.
"Emir's got a copy or at least a photo of it," Akiho told her. "We can get it to you on the weekend—it's on his phone. Actually, come to Tourney practice. We'll get it to you then."
"I still don't know why you had a copy," Aziz said, looking at Emir.
"Akiho and I spent a year trying to find a way to get Ben out of that contract. Helps if we had a copy to reference," Emir shrugged.
Mal nodded. "Good. Like I said, we pay our debts on the Isle."
"Ben wouldn't consider you indebted to him for getting you off the Isle," Akiho said as Jay walked up.
"Because you're not," Ben stated. "Getting you guys off the Isle is an act of human decency. You don't owe me anything."
"And, as per usual, I haven't a clue what's going on," Jay snorted.
"What else is new?" Uma smirked, teasing the older boy.
"Hey Jay," Akiho nodded with a smile. "I'll see you this weekend Mal?"
"Sounds like a plan," Mal nodded and Akiho walked off. Mal rolled her eyes at Jay's questioning stare.
"Seriously? You're going to judge me for finding allies?" Mal asked, raising an eyebrow.
"What's happening this weekend?" Jay asked as they made their way back to Jay's dorm.
"Tourney practice. Akiho's getting me a copy of Ben's betrothal contract with Sleeping Brat," Mal told him.
"It's sad how fast that nickname's latched on…and it's even sadder that I agree with it," Phillip Jr. whispered to himself before letting out a small sigh.
"I want to see if there's a way he can get out of it."
"Why?" Jay asked.
Mal rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry but weren't you the one who came up with the idea of making Ben our ally? At least according to the scrolls?"
"Well you seemed so against it at first, I'm sure it's surprising to see you taking on the role with such gusto," Jay told her.
"Because…as much as I hate to say it, especially about any member of the royal family of Auradon, he seems like an okay guy," Mal sighed. "Besides, he got us off the Isle and asked his friends to watch our backs when he couldn't. I know we don't need it but if he's looking out for us, shouldn't we do the same for him?"
"Come join the Shadows club! We can always use more people looking over Ben!" Akiho said with a grin.
Benji shook his head. "And I wondered why you'd made yourself an honorary Shadow," he murmured to Malinda.
Jay was quiet for a few minutes before he spoke up again. "I got into a fight in Basic Chivalry. The teacher wants me to take my energy where it'll be more productive. Meaning he wants me to try out for the Tourney team. DeVil too—oddly enough he tried to break up the fight."
"Wait, I thought that stupid Remedial Goodness class was the only time the VKs were in the same class?" CJ asked.
"That's what the scroll said," Celia nodded.
"Then why is DeVil in the same class as Jay?"
Fairy Godmother sighed. "There's only one time when Basic Chivalry is offered. There'd be no other option but to have Carlos and Jay in the same class."
"Why not Mal and Jay?" Dizzy asked.
"Basic Chivalry is only offered to the male students," Evan spoke up.
"That's stupid!" CJ stated firmly.
"Really?" Mal asked, sounding slightly impressed. "Guess DeVil has a little more bite to him now that we got him away from his mother. What was the fight about?"
"I'm sorry but you sound way too nonchalant over the fact that DeVil tried to break up a fight," Uma stated, looking just as shocked as she sounded.
"Oh one of the brainless wonders in the class was spouting some nonsense that you were a liar by saying Steph was your mom."
"Who was he?!" Harry and Jay demanded.
Malinda snorted. "Like Jay said, a brainless wonder. It doesn't matter guys. Mom's my mom."
Persephone smiled as she heard that as did Demeter, though her eyes narrowed at the thought of someone implying her granddaughter was a liar.
Mal snorted. "Sleeping Brat did the same thing. It doesn't matter what they think—mom is my mom. Don't they know calling me a liar is a compliment anyway? If they wanted to offend me, they'd just believe me."
"I see you don't change much," Elle said with a small smile.
Persephone sighed. "Normally I wouldn't be approve of you being happy to be called a liar Mal but in this case I can see where you're coming from."
"Yeah well, brains don't seem to be all that common around here," Jay shook his head.
"Normally I'd be offended but considering you could be referring to Chad, I have to say you're right," Lucy nodded.
"Lucy," Kit warned.
"Some of the kids here have 'em," Mal shrugged. "Akiho and Emir for one. Lonnie's another one but I haven't seen her since dinner our first night."
Lonnie, Emir, and Akiho grinned as they heard the compliment.
"And Ben?" Jay teased.
"Gods, you're like a big brother no one asked for," Mal grumbled but there was no bite to it. She wouldn't know where she'd be if she was in Auradon without Jay.
Ben couldn't help but smile a little as he heard that. Yes he knew he'd had it confirmed by…well himself that they weren't dating but it was another thing to hear it from Mal.
If only I didn't have the contract, he thought as he bit his lip in thought.
Actually, she did know—she'd be back on the Isle already, having earned her spot there because she'd have killed Blueberry.
"Okay before anyone says anything about that, do you really think sixteen years of loathing is going to go away just because I share a room with her?" Mal asked as everyone looked at the purple haired Godling. "Harry tries to kill Gil nine times a week and no one bats an eye but I loathe Blueberry—loathe only, no attempted murder at all—and everyone acts like I'm the next Chernabog!"
"Why do you try to kill Gil?" Milah asked Harry, looking over at her son.
"He's a moron! He literally has fish for brains, he could barely tie his shoes by the time he was nine! And yet the Captain keeps forcing me to interact with him! If it wasn't for the fact he's got enough brains to hate Freddy and Zevon, I'd have turned him to fish bait years ago!"
"So how was Basic Chivalry?" Mal asked as she plopped on Jay's bed. "Other than the fight I mean?"
"They put a plate with a knife, two spoons and two forks in front of us," Jay said as Carlos walked in. "Believe it or not, DeVil and I sat there like imbeciles."
Cinderella gave Jay a sad smile. "Trust me, I felt the same way when I learned. I'm sure Chad will be happy to give you any help you need."
Chad nodded slightly; the look his mother was giving him didn't really give him room to argue.
"I'm more impressed they trusted two VKs with a knife," Mal snorted.
"Were the knives blunted?" Mal asked Malinda. "Cause if Jay got into a fight with knives around, the other guy's lucky he didn't get stabbed."
Malinda nodded. "I know the VK instinct to grab for a weapon. They were butter knives according to Carlos."
"Hey DeVil. Heard you broke up a fight between Jay and a gormless idiot. Nice work."
Carlos shrugged but Mal noticed he couldn't help but smile a bit at the praise. "We don't need the extra attention," he said softly. "Besides, Jay looked ready to rip the guy's head off."
"Smart," Harry said. "Keep your heads down, it'll help in the long run and get Uma and me off the Isle."
"Probably would have too if Emir wasn't holding me back," Jay grumbled.
"Seriously?" Celia asked, looking over at Jay.
Jay shrugged. "He was insulting my sister."
"Still. Nice work DeVil," Mal reiterated.
"You guys provided me protection on the Isle," Carlos said, his voice sounding a little stronger now that it was clear Mal wasn't going to snap at him.
"Why would I snap at you?" Mal asked. "You tried to break up a fight Jay was in."
"Yeah," Uma nodded. "Knowing Mal like I do, DeVil, she'd be more likely to snap at you if you didn't try to help Jay out."
"I know you don't need protection, being Lady Persephone's daughter, but if I can…repay the favor, I will. We pay our debts on the Isle."
Audrey rolled her eyes. "Yes we heard you the first hundred times."
"Oh so they're the opposite of you," Rose muttered. "Someone does something for you, they don't even get a thank you."
Mal nodded, oddly touched for the second time that day. DeVil believes me? He lived on the Isle all his life, he'd only know me as the Dragon's spawn…then again, with how Cruella treats him, maybe it's not so odd that he believes me. After all, if anyone can recognize the actions of someone who's a parent in name only, it'd be DeVil.
Carlos gave Mal a small smile. It's pretty safe to assume Mal of all people's not giving me pity, he thought.
"DeVil, you want to go get food?" Mal offered after a few minutes. "I think dinner's starting soon. We get there now, I bet we can beat the crowds."
"Smart," Harriet nodded. "Avoiding the crowds would be the best way to avoid being trampled."
Carlos smiled. "Sure. Jay, you in?"
"I'm never one to turn down food," Jay smirked. "Come on DeVil, we need to put some meat on those bones of yours if you're going to survive Tourney tryouts. From what Emir said, the sport can get brutal."
"What about Evie?" Dizzy asked. "Aren't you going to get her too?"
"I'm sorry, I'm still alarmed that someone thinks Jay and I would both be a good fit for this sport," Carlos said, shaking his head.
"Um yeah, is there anyway I can pass on going to those tryouts?"
"The teacher said it was either tryouts or detention."
"We're VKs! Since when do we avoid detention?"
"Pup's got a point!" Harry nodded, ignoring Carlos' slight flinch.
Mal couldn't help but smirk at DeVil's snark as the three of them made their way to dinner. Seems the little puppy has some bite to him, she thought. Good.
"Seriously? Why do you guys always call me 'pup'?" Carlos sighed.
Mal shrugged. "No reason really. Hey at least we got Harry to stop barking at you."
"Pup is fine."
Malinda shook her head. "Carlos, I'll get them to stop if you really dislike 'pup'. And who wants to read next?"
"Um…I guess I will," Carlos said. Hey, he'd talked this much. Reading a scroll wouldn't be too bad.
Malinda smiled at him before turning to Benji. "And nothing horrible happened because I read. You worried for nothing."
"You're going to be the reason my blood pressure is higher than normal aren't you?" Benji sighed.