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Fanfic / Learning How to Be a Princess

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Learning How to Be a Princess is a The Owl House AU fanfic written by TheReal_LetsGetIt.

14-year-old Luz Noceda has always been a bit of an odd child with a talent for getting herself into trouble. It isn't her fault, though: she has no idea why weird things keep happening around her, like snakes spontaneously appearing out of nowhere or people she doesn't like suddenly going aflame. Thankfully, her mother Camila does, and she's finally willing to tell her daughter the truth. It turns out that Luz is really half-witch, and her father is Emperor Belos, the powerful tyrant king of a magical land called the Boiling Isles. And with Luz's recent magical outburst getting her expelled from school, the two of them might as well take the opportunity to leave their lives on Earth behind and move into her father's castle.

Now living in another dimension, Luz aims to make new friends, get her magical powers under control, and learn what it takes to truly live up to her newfound title of Princess of Boiling Isles.

The fanfic can be read on Archive of Our Own here and Fanfiction Dot Net here.

Learning How to Be a Princess provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Luz is now half-human, half-witch.
    • As an extent of that, Belos is now an actual witch, rather than a human witch hunter.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change:
    • In the show, King was raised by Eda and never knew his origins until Season 2, growing up with the delusion that he was the King of Demons and later learning that he's actually a baby Titan and The Last of His Kind. His broken horn was also the result of an Accidental Kidnapping. Here, King was born and raised as demon royalty, having a family who he was very close to, with his horn instead being lost as a result of trying to protect his sister. By the time he met and befriended Eda, he was already old enough to be independent (if still a child by demon standards).
    • In the show, Belos turns out to be a 17th century human Witch Hunter named Philip Wittebane who stumbled onto the Demon Realm, managed to prolong his life using magic, and whose goal is the complete genocide of every magical being and creature on the Boiling Isles, convinced that they are all inherently evil to the point he killed his own brother for falling in love with one. Here, while Belos deliberately keeps some details of his past a mystery from his family for a number of reasons, it is clear that he grew in the Boiling Isles, actually helped lead a rebellion against the cruel and violent dictator that had previously controlled it, and to that end, genuinely cares for all its inhabitants. He didn't even want to be emperor, only taking the role when the person he believed was better suited for it refused to.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Luz's Hybrid Power means that she's got a lot more mystical might than in canon... but not nearly as much control over her abilities as Luz does with her glyphs, unfortunately.
    • Camila is able to apply her medical knowledge where healing magic would work or be strengthened and has fighting skills from when she worked as a secret agent years prior.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Luz's first interaction in the Boiling Isles is with her father, Emperor Belos, followed by Kikimora and Lilith, long before she met any of them in canon. Once she gets to leave the castle and explore Bonesborough, she encounters Amity before meeting Eda.
  • Adaptational Karma: Edric and Emira are given serious payback for roping Luz into stealing Amity's diary and leaving her to take the blame, being captured by the monstrous Otabin they created and getting sealed in a book due to the legend about the person behind the Wailing Star being a Bully Hunter.
  • Alternate Self: The three members of the Elite Guard are versions of Willow, Luz, and Gus from an alternate timeline's Bad Future, hoping to prevent similar events from happening in this one. While he trusts them, Belos is unaware of their true identities.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The nature of the Titan and its demands regarding the "Day of Unity." Belos vaguely admits to Camila that whatever the Titan's goals are is something he feels would make his family despise him if they learn the details, and that they both know he has little option but to do it regardless of any qualms or skepticism because Belos is under a powerful life-draining curse that only the Titan can possibly cure.
  • Asshole Victim: Given what Adegast did and was planning to do, it's hard to feel bad about him being Taken for Granite by Luz.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Luz and Zul have one when the latter traps her in a Lotus-Eater Machine and tries to take control of her body.
  • Double Agent: Subverted. King assumes Kikimora is this, working for Emperor Belos while secretly feeding information back to New Demon Land. She immediately shuts that idea down in disgust, explaining that thanks to everything that Belos has done for her over the years, she pledges loyalty to both the Boiling Isles and her demonic homeland.
  • The Dreaded: Emperor Belos rules the Boiling Isles with an iron fist, and while his end goal is ultimately to establish a greater sense of peace and order, his methods are violent and spread fear amongst the populace. Camila and Luz, being his wife and daughter, are some of the few people that are privy to his softer side. Though, to his credit, his methods arguably do work and he got into power by overthrowing a far worse person.
    Eda: I wouldn't say your old man is a good ruler. I'd compare him more like a very decent dictator.
  • Emotional Powers: Inexperienced witches tend to have their powers affected heavily by their emotions, hence why so many magical mishaps occurred around Luz while growing up.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Chapter 8 opens with Belos accusing Luz of having committed some unspeakable betrayal against him, while she begs for the chance to explain. It quickly becomes clear that said betrayal was eating what they thought was the last of her mother's chocolate coconut cookies.
    Camila: You both are so dramatic for your own good, we have more cookies right here.
  • The Final Temptation: Zul pulls this in Chapter 12, promising that Luz can permanently live in a perfect world where she's the powerful Empress she aspires to be if she gives up control of her body. She soundly rejects it and even manages to alter the terms of their contract, something that no one has ever been able to do with a demon of their power since Azura.
  • First-Name Basis: Whether it's a sign of intimacy that he rejects from everyone other than his wife, or because no one else has the courage to do so, Camila is the only one that ever refers to Emperor Belos by his given name of Alexander.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Luz being half-witch changes the entire beginning of the show. Instead of a book report gone wrong having the principal suggest she be sent to a correctional summer camp, a magic-induced accident causes more far severe damage that gets her outright expelled, and Camila decides that both she and Luz should permanently move to the Boiling Isles so Luz can finally meet her father and learn to control her powers.
    • While Luz still meets Eda, and the woman goes on to become her mentor, Lilith has that honor first. Luz only encounters Eda at her stall to kick off the fic's version of "A Lying Witch and a Warden" after ditching a lesson with Lilith out of boredom. Eda herself even demands to teach Luz magic, and Belos promises to cure her curse once he's satisfied with the results of her teaching. This leads to the Clawthorne sisters starting to repair their relationship far earlier than they do in canon, though Eda is still unaware that Lilith was the one who cursed her to begin with.
    • Luz and Amity still have a rocky start to their friendship, but unlike in the show, where Amity's dislike of Luz was fueled by seeing her as actively trying to complicate her life, here Amity's initial annoyance is fueled by a belief that Luz is coasting by on nepotism. They also manage to get on good terms much sooner; by the end of the fic's version of "Hooty's Moving Hassle", Amity is friends with not only Luz, but also Willow and Gus.
      • Since both Amity and Willow were invited to the moonlight conjuring, the two start repairing their relationship earlier than they did in canon.
    • The fic's version of "Witches Before Wizards" ends with Luz defeating Adegast herself and turning him into stone via Deadly Gaze while Eda and King avert their eyes.
    • Due to being a natural magic user capable of using spells, Luz isn't as adamant about learning glyphs, meaning while she does learn the light glyph, it's Boscha that discovers later ones.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Luz in this story is half-human half-witch, via Belos being her father.
    • Boscha is half-witch, half-demon, with her demonic father having died years prior to the fic's events.
  • Hand Wave:
    • Since the author began writing the fic shortly after the end of the first season, fans didn't yet know about the existence of Belos's nephew Hunter, meaning a character that should be constantly around the castle is conspicuously absent. Chapter 18 would have Amity explain away his absence by reminding her siblings that the Golden Guard left the Isles on a mission months before Luz arrived, with the character getting their own subplot introduced at the end of the chapter. Belos failing to mention Hunter to Luz at all before that point is also lampshaded in Chapter 25.
      Belos looked down at [Luz] and realized several things at once. He never told her about her cousin, not once in the few months Luz and Camila have been here and it never once even came up in conversation.
    • Luz's hometown wasn't yet known when Chapter 12 was written, so the author stated that Luz grew up in Texas. Later chapters would have Luz tell Amity that she was born in Connecticut and that they had moved back shortly before the story began, but her and Camila otherwise spent the previous decade moving all over the United States (and briefly, Spain).
  • Happily Married: Alexander Belos and Camila Noceda rekindle their relationship immediately after years of separation, with most of their scenes highlighting how their whirlwind romance really did develop into a lasting love.
  • Healing Factor: Luz has one, being able to naturally heal cuts within seconds and broken bones within minutes.
  • Hidden Depths: From everyone else's perspective, Emperor Belos having a wife and daughter is this. Several characters both privately and openly muse that not only did they think he was incapable of love, but also assumed that he didn't have the equipment needed to have such a relationship. Learning the carefree and friendly Luz is his daughter throws people off even more. Of course, all this just means they're now aware of another side of his already terrifying personality that they need watch out for.
  • How Dad Met Mom: The first chapter has Camila give Luz a short version of the story, with Chapter 17 having Belos and Camila privately reminisce about the events in more detail.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The other part of Luz's problem with magic, as she can occasionally stumble into using a spell or accessing a brand-new ability (often by way of a stress-induced Super Mode) without her understanding what she's even doing or how.
    Amity: (after Luz saves her) W-Wow…I didn't know you could do that…
    Luz: Neither…did I…
  • Hybrid Power: Being half-witch gives Luz a level of magical power that not only matches, but far surpasses her father, reaching levels that constantly surprise everyone around her. The downside is that she can barely control it, which makes her a danger to both friends and foes alike.
    Luz: I can totally perform more than two spells! Watch this!
    Eda: (stopping her) Kid, you could kill us.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Kikimora towards Emperor Belos. It's revealed at the end of "Fera's Training and a Princess' Fight" that Belos knew all along, but didn't know how to broach the topic. He admits that this especially became the case after he fell in love with Camila, hiding the nature of his relationship with the human from his closest friend because he thought telling her he didn't feel the same way at that point would break her heart even more.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Luz meets Willow and Gus in the same manner as in canon, by pretending to be an abomination for Willow's class project.
    • Though Belos does promise to cure Eda, the agreement is that he'll do so based on Luz's magical progress. As such, the fic's own versions of curse-related plotlines such as "The Intruder" and the B-story of "Hooty's Moving Hassle" still occur.
  • Insult of Endearment: Amity calling Luz "princess" zig-zags between an insult and a show of respect depending on the situation.
  • King Incognito:
    • Luz's status as the Princess of the Boiling Isles, and her mother's status as the Empress, is this to most characters, as neither have been publicly coronated yet. At least, Camila's is. Luz has a lot of trouble keeping her identity under wraps.
    • Meanwhile, no one is aware that King really is the true King of Demons. Or rather, "Ri Kralj, Prince of Demons," who is staying on the Isles to avoid having to take the position. They assume he just likes pretending, and he actively encourages that narrative. At one point, Kikimora jokes that Luz could learn a lot from him about deception.
  • Like Parent, Unlike Child: While Emperor Belos brought peace to the Boiling Isles, he did so by cementing himself as a terrifying, all-powerful tyrant who's willing to punish even the smallest infractions. Keeping up this appearance is a source of joy for him as well. Meanwhile, Luz is a kindhearted individual who looks up to one of the very "wild witches" her father wants to stamp out, is occasionally embarrassed by some of his more violent actions, and feels guilt whenever she does have to act cruel to accomplish a task. Doesn't stop her from adoring her dad and wanting to live up to his legacy, though.
    • Subverted for Hawk. She very much grew up to become just as merciless and driven as her Emperor Belos, casually threatening to kill her friends whenever their personal biases and impulsive behavior risks the mission.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Chapter 12 has Bonesborough itself transformed into one when one of Luz's spells goes haywire. Zul uses their magic to take control of it in hopes of Luz becoming an easy possession target once she succumbs fully to the false reality.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Discussed in "Boscha's Investigation", after Camila tells Luz she never told her the truth about her magic in order to protect her. This causes Luz to snap and counter that all that did was make her feel even more of an an outcast that she already was, as at least knowing why she seemed to be a weirdness magnet would have lessened the blow that came with being regarded with distrust by peers and teachers alike.
    Luz: "You saw everything happening to me and you never thought to tell me about the truth until two months ago, when I finally got expelled…"
  • Mirror Self: Technically. One of Luz's magical surges bonds a mirror demon to her and it takes her appearance from that point on, calling themselves Zul.
  • Modern AU Fic: The Lotus-Eater Machine of Chapter 12 traps everyone in one. Luz is the cheerleader daughter of the city's mayor, Amity is her football player girlfriend, Eda is a coffee shop owner, etc.
  • Monster in the Moat: Discussed. After finding his castle in ruins at the end of Chapter 14, Emperor Belos humours the idea of replacing the spiked-moat with a water-moat. When Camila mentions that most witches being able to fly would make such a thing pointless, he remarks that it wouldn't if he had a Sea Serpent swimming in it.
  • Noodle Incident: Belos once passed a law criminalizing cannibalism, but doing so somehow created worse problems, so he had to repeal it.
  • O.C. Stand-in: Boscha. In the show, she's an unimportant side character, serving as a bully in some of the school-related episodes with little characterization outside of that. Here, she's a half-demon whose parents founded Havenstar Inc., a consumer goods company, suffers from Power Incontinence that she aims to remedy through the use of glyphs, and is stated to have become Willow's wife in the alternate Bad Future timeline.
  • Oh, Crap!: Odalia freaks out when she realizes that the girl who she just insulted and stole from is Emperor Belos's daughter.
  • Odd Friendship: One of Belos's most famous accomplishments is defeating the original King of Demons, Ri Imperator, who just so happened to be King's father. Of course, to maintain their friendship, King has no plans of telling Luz that her father killed his.
  • Out of Focus: Most notably the handful of chapters after the events of "Luz's Moving Hassel". Since Luz is grounded and forced to help repair the castle for a month, meaning she can't leave the castle to interact with most of the cast, the princess is pushed to the background for a few chapters while other characters such as Boscha and Camila get A Day in the Limelight.
  • Power Incontinence: Due to being half-demon/half-witch, Boscha's magic tends to fizzle out at the worst times. Upon discovering the fire glyph, she decides to find them all to make up for it (and to show up Luz.)
  • Power-Strain Blackout:
    • Luz undergoes this a few times, as stressful situations can cause her to temporarily gain complete access and control over her full magical abilities, marked by Glowing Eyes and Power Echoes, leaving her unconscious for anywhere from a few hours to several days. This is later revealed to be a state called Sage's Instinct, which she can learn to control.
    • King also undergoes this whenever he makes use of the Deset Ocasu for too long, a demonic ability inherited from his father that allows him to shift in a more powerful form.
  • Real After All: The Good Witch Azura, being a legendary figure on the Boiling Isles who had already faded into mythical status by the time Belos himself was a child. Zul confirms that Azura did exist in Chapter 11, and Luz briefly theorizes the various implications of this, including whether or not she might have left to Earth after completing all her famous exploits. Later chapters heavily imply that she was the mysterious stranger who aided Belos in becoming emperor, and that Luz (and by extension, Camila) are part of her bloodline.
  • Related in the Adaptation: While Luz's father hasn't even been mentioned in canon, the fic has him be Emperor Belos.
  • Rule of Three: All five members of the Blight family discover Luz's Secret Identity on three separate occasions: Luz accidentally lets it slip to Amity during their first meeting, Odalia and Alador learn for themselves after stealing Luz's medallion and are threatened to keep it secret, and Edric and Emira realize this after trying to stealing Amity's diary, as she wrote about Luz's secret within.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Eda arrives late to save King and discovers that he had not only somehow freed himself, but that his captor is now completely terrified of him, she naturally asks for context. King jokingly replies that Tibbles just couldn't handle the King of Demons. While this is exactly what happened (King activated a Super Mode related to his royal line to scare Tibbles into submission), Eda takes one look at her cute canine-like companion and dismisses the admission as a joke.
  • Secret-Keeper: Luz being the daughter of Emperor Belos is meant to be a closely-held secret initially only known amongst the Emperor's Coven and a small number of the coven heads until her coronation. Thanks to her inability to keep a secret and just bad circumstance, several characters end up learning ahead of time, but most of them thankfully become this trope:
    • Luz absent-mindedly introduces herself as Luz Noceda-Belos to Amity in the third chapter, with the latter promising to keep it a secret after seeing Luz start to panic over it. Luz ends up similarly revealing to Amity in Chapter 26 that she's also related to the Golden Guard, not realizing that this was also supposed to be a state secret.
    • Eda (and King) learn this at the end of Chapter 4, when Lilith takes advantage of Luz hanging out with them to spring a trap to arrest her sister.
    • Willow and Gus confront Luz about this in Chapter 13, as they still remember some of the events from the previous chapter, and promise to keep it a secret as well.
    • Amity's parents find out in Chapter 15, after forcibly taking Luz's medallion near the end of the chapter. Luz has to threaten them with her father's wrath to make sure they keep quiet about it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A Sev'ral Times poster is among the many decorating Luz's bedroom.
    • Luz compares the Royal Guard to the ANBU after realizing they've been hiding out of sight the entire time.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The chapters following the events of "Luz's Moving Hassle", in addition to being character focus episodes for the supporting cast, all take place on the same Friday.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Emperor Belos is fond of this, usually as a punishment for criminals, but also as a knee-jerk reaction when he believes his loved ones are sad or distressed. Case in point, he originally planned to do such to Eda when they first met to punish her for endangering Luz, before Luz talked him out of it and explained what actually happened.
    • Luz does this in a fit of rage to the wizard Adegast in Chapter 7. Notably, she manages to pull it off with her magic alone rather than with the aid of a machine, something even Belos is incapable of.
  • Tempting Fate: Luz spent much of "Luz's Moving Hassle: Part 1" promising everyone that "no weird or dangerous hijinks will ensue" from that night's moonlight conjuring. Naturally, everything goes wrong in Part 2, culminating in the castle being all but destroyed by the time Belos and Camila get back.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Adegast upon seeing Luz almost immediately break out of the spell and realizing she's the Emperor's kid. The Emperor's now very, very angry kid.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: What Luz lacks in control of her magic, she makes up for it in raw, unfiltered power. Her attempts at doing spells are spontaneous and have a bigger kick to them than thought possible, which can cause Luz to faint from the exertion.
    • Eda's attempt to teach her a simple light spell resulted in an ever-expanding miniature sun that nearly destroyed the Owl House and the surrounding forest.
    • When Belos has her learn to use a Mind over Matter spell on a brick, she accidentally sends it into the stratosphere.
    • Luz's first attempt at Illusion Magic ended up trapping everyone in Bonesborough in a Lotus-Eater Machine where everyone is a human (or human-realm animal) living out their lives in a small American town.
    • When she, Willow, Gus and Amity try performing the Moonlight Conjuring, they accidentally animate the entire castle, with the added "bonus" of it also being able to fend off outsiders with its new, fleshy limbs.
  • Warning Mistaken for Threat: When Willow and Gus reveal that they know Luz is a princess, she suddenly becomes uncharacteristically serious and cold, demanding that they be quiet and forcibly dragging them to a secluded area. Due to how she's acting (and considering who her dad is), they assume she's planning to murder them. When a terrified Gus begs for mercy, Luz explains that she just wanted them to be quiet, as yelling government secrets in the middle of a marketplace is a bad idea.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 9. The audience learns that King is secretly the Prince of Demons and heir to the kingdom of New Demons Land, while King himself learns that he must return home soon to be coronated as king, with it being implied (and later confirmed) that this is due their mother recently dying.
    • Chapter 12. Zul attempts to take over Luz's body, first by trapping her in a town-wide illusion where she's the popular girl she's always wanted to be, followed by a Battle in the Center of the Mind where the spirit of Azura comes to assist Luz. Once reality is restored, the chapter ends with a Stinger regarding the Illusion Coven head and a secret scroll.
    • Chapter 16. While the previous chapter was the one to reveal that three of the Elite Guard are alternate versions of Luz, Willow, and Gus, this chapter ends with the audience learning that they come from a Bad Future and are working to ensure this timeline turns out better than theirs. As for the rest of the chapter, Kikimora is revealed to be working for both the witch and demon royal families, and King develops a new power set.