Title: A Golden Ticket

Prompt: Dorothea, pre-skip, Three of Wands

A/N: For the fe3htarotzine, which was a lot of fun to work in! I wanted to do a sneak peek at Dorothea's mentality when she first joined the academy. Eyes on the prize, 'thea!

Summary: The academy was filled with snobby princes and spoiled princesses, with the wealthy and their fine teas and silken linens. These future heirs had their life planned ahead of them. And, if Dorothea played her cards right, she could hitch a ride to that golden ticket.

Seated on a wooden terrace, Dorothea lifted her teacup to her nose and inhaled the sweet scent of apples. What an indulgence, especially when coupled with the warm spring air and bright morning glories creeping up the posts. This was what you got when the rich sent their children to school; only the finest foods and the softest linens awaited the snobby princes and princesses that set foot in here.

Luckily, through their supposed kindness, commoners like herself shared in the bounties. Dorothea lightly sipped the piping hot tea, her gaze roving around the academy's courtyard. It cost her an arm, leg, and more than half of her contacts to enter the school, but it was well worth it. Why, after sitting here for a mere ten minutes, she'd already spotted the future king, emperor, and duke. Another ten and perhaps she'd meet the man of her dreams.

Dorothea set down her cup, chuckling at the thought. That would be too miraculous to hope for, even here. Someone of wealth and status agreeing to marry her was hard enough; adding love into the mix would be nigh impossible. If she got too greedy, she might not catch anyone at all.

Resting her cheek on her hand, she traced the rim of her cup with her finger and watched her fellow classmates walk by. She was lucky. Her cohort consisted of the finest of all the lands: the Princess of Brigid, the future Margrave of Gautier, the heir to the Gloucester family. Dorothea hadn't considered leaving the empire but now the possibility lay at her fingertips, close enough to grab. Security was security, whether it was in the Empire, the Kingdom, or the Alliance.

As House Aegir's successor strolled by, Dorothea straightened her posture. As fun as it was watching the eye candy, that wasn't why she was here. She had a job to do, and only a year to land a big fish. It was time for Dorothea the performer to rise. Though she prized her singing, it was her charm that would secure her future.

Fortunately, appeal was something she never worried about.

Savouring the last sip of her tea, she closed her eyes for a moment. Donning a flirtatious smile, she stood up and waved. "Oh, Ferdinand! Do you have a minute?"

If everything went according to plan, she would enjoy that tea until she was old and grey.