Once upon a time, there was a beautiful peasant named Anastasia, who lived in Messina, Sicily in October of 1347. After the death of her father, she was never the same. Cast aside by her stepfather and stepbrothers, she lived in an old attic in solitude. There, she befriended the rats that she considered her only friends. Although the attic was as filthy as the pig pens she had to clean daily, and as dark as the ravens she often saw flying by, it was all Anastasia had. "This will just have to do," she thought to herself, wishing she was somewhere and someone else.
One morning, she hears word of the town's frustration of the vermin that wander the streets. "It's about time we get rid of these bothersome creatures once and for all! They are a burden on our lives, a waste of space in our homes," she heard one cry out. "We ought to hire that rat catcher! He'll know what to do, and will surely be able to round 'em up and send 'em on their way," shouted another. As their conversations progressed, Anastasia grew worried for the fate of her loyal companions.
Scared that her only friends will suffer a terrible fate, she goes to her father's grave and cries. It is at her father's grave where she encounters her very own fairy godmother, who offers her help in saving the rats. " I have been sent by your father in order to help you save your friends, and I go by the name of Bubonic. Listen closely, and you will receive what you truly desire: a better life for yourself and those you love. I have been listening to your cries for far too long, and it is my calling to answer your prayers. Your heart is pure, and intentions are true, so I grant thee thy wish," she decreed.
Bubonic gives her a magical flute, used to summon all entities, whether they are good or bad. Anastasia's face lit up with joy. "How can I ever repay you? You have done something so tremendously generous, and have asked for nothing in return," she said. "As long as you use this power for good, I have no intention of asking for something in return," Bubonic replied, glad to see the girl so happy in what seemed like ages. " I will forever be in your debt, Bubonic," Anastasia said, as the two said their goodbyes.
Anastasia uses this precious gift to her advantage, summoning all of her rat friends, making it easier to lure them into her attic to safety. "By the power vested in me by the fairy godmother Bubonic, I summon thee," she said, and then began playing the flute to a melodious tune. After they were all safe and sound, hidden inside a small crevice of the attic walls, she continued her day like any other.
After a few days passed, which consisted of her doing daily chores for her family and making sure her friends were out of harm's way, Anastasia receives an invitation for a royal ball at the King's palace. It requested her attendance in order for the Prince to pick his bride. "A royal ball? What a strange way to commemorate such an intimate event. Surely the king and his son wouldn't want any peasants joining them in the castle. This is surely a mistake," she thought to herself. And alas, as she had predicted, it was. The invitation was addressed to Isabella Cecily, the daughter of a rich lord in the town. Anastasia contemplated returning the invitation to its rightful owner, but her desire to be someone else, even if it was just for a day, got the best of her.