The Isle of the Lost

Page 56


“I found it.”

“In his pocket,” said Mal, but even she was grinning.

With a whoop, the four descendants of the world’s greatest villains ran through the crowded streets of the Isle of the Lost, causing havoc, stealing and plundering together while the citizens of the island ran the other way. They were truly rotten to the core.

Even Mal started to feel better.

And in fact, as they laughed and sang, Mal wondered if this was what happiness was like.

Because even though the four of them weren’t quite friends yet, they were the closest things they had to it.

“You will join

me for dinner.…

That’s not a

request!”

—Beast, Beauty

and the Beast

While the band of four villain kids was causing havoc in the streets of the Isle of the Lost, Prince Ben was looking out the window from his high vantage point in Beast Castle, lost in a few thoughts of his own.

It was true that Grumpy the Dwarf had told him he’d make a good king, but privately, Ben wondered if he was right.

More to the point, he wondered if becoming a good king was even something he cared about at all.

Did it matter? What he cared about? What he wanted?

Trapped, Ben thought, staring out over the vast expanse of the kingdom. That’s what I am.

He looked up at the sky, as if it held the answers. The blue wash was bright and clear as usual, and he could see all the way to the distant horizon, where Auradon itself dissolved into nothing but misty shoreline and azure water.

No.

Not nothing.

Ben thought of his dream of the island.

The Isle of the Lost. That’s what everyone called it, even his father.

He considered again what it would be like to live as they did, trapped underneath the magical dome, just as he was in his royal life.

They were prisoners, weren’t they? His father tried to pretend that they were not, but even Ben knew otherwise. They were exiled to the island by order of the king.

Just as Ben was able to live in the castle because he was the king’s son. And because my father loves me, Ben thought. And because I was born to this.

It was impossible to stop thinking about it.

He flinched.

“Ouch,” Ben said, as a needle poked him again in the armpit.

“Sorry, sire; forgive me sire.” Lumiere, who was measuring him for his coronation suit, quailed.

“Quite all right,” said Ben, who looked kingly, at least according to Lumiere, in the royal blue velvet suit with yellow piping. It had belonged to King Beast, who had worn it at his own coronation. “It was my fault—I moved.”

“Your mind is elsewhere, sire,” said Lumiere sagely. “As befitting a future king of Auradon.”

“Perhaps,” said Ben.

For a future king, he was surprised by how little he knew about the Isle of the Lost. How did the villains fare, beneath the dome? How did they live, eat, take care of themselves? How were their families? What were their hopes and dreams? What did they see when they stared out the windows of their own castle or cottage or cave?

Ben remembered he had heard that a few of them had children. Some would have to be his own age by now, wouldn’t they? He wondered how they dealt with living in the shadow of their infamous parents.

I imagine that for them, it’s a lot like this, he thought, staring down at his royal beast-head ring, the one just like his father’s. Wearing his father’s suit, fitted by his father’s tailor. Standing at the window of his father’s castle.

We’re all trapped. I’m as trapped as they are.

The more Ben thought about it, the more he knew it was true. He hadn’t chosen to be born a prince and become a king, just as they hadn’t chosen who their parents were. They were prisoners for a crime they themselves had not committed.

That was the greater crime, wasn’t it?

It’s not fair. It’s not our fault. We have no say in our own lives. We’re living in a fairy tale someone else wrote.

In that moment, Ben suddenly understood why it was that the sidekicks wanted more for their lives: because he found he wanted even more than that.

He wanted things to change, throughout Auradon.

Everything, he thought. For everyone.

Was that even possible? On the other hand, how could it not be? How could he possibly keep going with the way things were now?

Ben thought about it.

If he was going to be king, he would have to be himself, his mother had said. And he was different from his father. That was clear to everyone, even Lumiere. Ben would rule, but he would rule differently.

He would make different rules and proclamations.

His mind wandered again to the image of the purple-haired girl with the bright green eyes. The girl from his dream.

Who was she?

Would he ever meet her?

Was she one of them? One of the lost souls on that cursed island? He had a feeling that she was.

And just then, he had a flash of inspiration.

One that would change the fates of both Auradon and the Isle of the Lost forever.

Why not?

It’s about time.

His mind was made up.

“Sire! Where are you going?” cried Lumiere as Ben suddenly leapt away from the needle and thread, a flurry of straight pins and bespoke chalk and measuring tape flying into the air around him.

“To find my parents! I have something to tell them, and it can’t wait!” said Ben. “I’ve got the most brilliant idea!”


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