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❚❙❙ {Project 01} The Devil and The Princess (ENDED)
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Posted 3/20/14 , edited 4/18/14



Snow nodded at him. Accompanied by the head butler and the two maids, Snow walked the children to the gate. The children smiled at the warm household - they felt especially happy to be able to hold the princess' hand.

"There you go", Snow said as she handed them each a basket of fruits. "Do not ever come into Rosewood again. This is not a safe place for you"

The children nodded and followed a royal guard who guards the noble naighbourhood. Once in a while, the royal guard would turn his head back at the princess as he walked on with the children - he recognised her as the princess, but pondered about her presence in the Helusens manor.

Snow turned to walk into the manor. News of her engagement to the Helusen had yet to be known throughout the country. She must kept it a secret from the Queen for now.
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Posted 3/20/14 , edited 4/12/14


Dinner is a quiet affair in the Helusen household. Or at least at Shu's discretion. As panna cotta was served for dessert, Shu finally looked up from the dinner table and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He considered the Princess for a moment and then spoke in a clear, commanding voice.

"Your parents are worried about you. I agree with them that an unmarried woman should not so flippantly stay at a man's place. Tomorrow, Harry will call a carriage. You will leave first thing in the morning."

Seeing the Princess rejected look and then an expression change to denial, he interrupted her thoughts.

"Marion," he nodded to a petite maid (previously involved in Snow's first bath in Helusen's manor). "will be accompanying you. I will see that your parents allows him to stay until you are settled back home. I have their word you will not suffer from repercussions of your actions earlier."

His tone was final. His disagreeable opinion of her unconventional attitude to leaving her house was unmistakable. There was no room for changing his mind for he is determined in getting his point across - she must go home to keep up honorable appearances.

Cold dessert was served soon.
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Snow ate in silent. She was used to eating in silence, even back in the Earl's mansion. Snow looked up from the meal as Shu broke the silence.

Hearing the sudden order, Snow made a face. She would rather return to the palace than the mansion. His tone was final, she could tell. But she wasn't thinking to go against it. She was thinking to throw out the question at him sooner or later. For him to mention about it first gave her a sigh of relief.

Correctly deducing that she wasn't going to get anywhere with him, she rose from her chair without touching the dessert.

"Thank you", was all she said as she excused herself into her room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

Meanwhile, the Queen was enjoying herself to the finest wine harvested from the best vineyard in the country. As such, a young man emerged from the shadow and knelt down before her.

"My Queen, what's your order?" he asked - the voice low and firm.

The queen simply smiled at him. Of all sudden, she threw the glass of wine at him. It hit the floor right beside the young man - he shown no sign of frightened at that. She wasn't delighted at the incident that took place earlier ago. She recalled a bad memory from 18 years ago.

Eighteen years ago - right after Snowaphina was born, the queen overheard the conversation between her late husband and the wizard. The wizard was well-known for his accurate predictions of the future. Nothing ever escape from his predictions. She remembered the wizard telling the late King that Snowaphina is the treasure to the country.

Both Snowaphina Francesca Scarborough's father and husband will be King............

Back then, the queen thought that the one who would be the King was the Earl since he was Snowaphina's father. However, it turned out to be her late husband when one year later he dethroned the Helusens and became the King. She knew it then that Snowaphina was a lie - that she's the late King's daughter with her twin sister.

The first part of the predictions had came true. The queen clenched her fist. She knew the next part of the predictions will one day come true - but the queen also has the key to prevent it. Snowaphina must die before she marries off.

Even if she couldn't execute Snowaphina, she mustn't allow her engagement to Raizier Shusuke Helusen - as arranged by the late King and written in his will to be affirmed.The Helusens still have their own loyal supporters among the people. If the two are to get married, their influence over the heart of the country will win against hers.

"Victor", the queen finally spoke. "I have a special task for you now"

Victor stood up and looked straight into the queen's eyes before putting one hand in front and bowed. "As you wish, My Queen".

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Posted 3/21/14 , edited 4/12/14


The old wall clock in the study room struck at the hour. Shu was deep in thoughts as he looked at the moonless night suggesting a haunting beginning tomorrow. Meanwhile, Snow had settled herself comfortably in an armchair painted in gold and adorned with red cushions. The head butler had painstakingly browsed through the library to pick a good book for night reading. Shu's presence started to fade from her world of reading.

"Snow," his deep voice disturbed the long silence.

The princess barely looked up but indicated her presence with a soft "hmm" sound.

"Are you sure this is what you want? An engagement to a dethroned Prince. Your parents had been hinting strongly in their last letter that our engagement might be cancelled," he revealed.

The princess looked up from her book with a start. Not only did Shu no longer addressed her formally, this was the longest speech he had with her.

"I think it is for the better too," Shu returned from the window and a flash of lightning ominously lit up the room. His serious expression crushed any hope of a joke from Snow.
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Snow ignored him for a full moment - as her eyes looked around and continued to travel over the volumes of books.

"It has nothing to do with my will - it was His Majesty's arrangement anyway", Snow spoke after a slight pause. "I'm not surprised with that. They have been planning my life the way they want, and for you to suddenly barge in would cause them some disadvantages. Even if I'm the princess, I couldn't go against their orders much - pathetic much."

Snow bit her lips. She wasn't being honest to herself. After the afternoon's encounter with the children, she noticed there was more to why she lives. She wanted love and freedom, but she wanted to save the country from the Queen - even more than finding her own happiness. Her eyes crawled up to Shu's. She observed him so slowly as if she was counting the threads on his clothes, adding up them and every other details on him, as if trying her best to remember him.

This will be her last night here. She knew what she truly wished for, she knew who she wanted to see.

"If you've made up your mind, you don't have to look after me anymore. If that is so, from now onward please disregard me", Snow added - with a cold icy expression on her face. "I will inform them that we decided to cancel it off - that after some time spent we don't like each other at all. We hate each other."

Her voice cold - as she sealed every feelings away in the forever winter in her heart. Only God knows how her heart broke into pieces the moment she said them out.

Her country needed her more than she needed true love - she knew it all along, even more now.

"Besides, after a few days spent with you...... I find it a disgraced to be called as your fiancee-" she broke off. She didn't want to say that word but she had force it out. She needed to pull the gap further - she wants Shu to never look at her, or to look at her as if she doesn't exist. Marrying him wouldn't bring any difference to her, she finally realised. She'll be a living doll forever. Once a puppet, forever a puppet. She'd rather sacrifice her soul, blood and body for the land that will remember and love her than for a man who wouldn't love her.
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At the butler's cue, the newly designated personal maid of Snow, Marion, was ushered in to take the emotional princess away.

"That was harsh, young master," a smooth, wise voice spoke.

Shu shook his head, his messy heair curling in any directions.

"It was necessary, Uncle. You know this period is a crucial time. She is not to be involved."

"You worry about her," the head butler smiled knowingly.

Shu flushed and glared at his personal butler. True, he shared many personal thoughts with the old servant than even his biological parents but he still disliked the thought of anyone trying to read him.

"She will be in the way, that is all. Now, to business. Have you heard any court rumors?"

"Yes it is going as planned," the butler's eyes dimmed.

'Good. Tomorrow, make sure the girl gets home safely and stay there. It is going to be a raucous festival."

And the door closed on the pondering Shu as the butler took his leave

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An impoverished village laid a hundred miles away from the capital. However, the people live a happy (though hard) life. With the old mayor out of commission by the orders of their overlord, the livelihood improved with lowered taxes. That night, the village was as quiet as a tomb. It was empty.

"Hurry, Luu! We are going to miss it soon!" a childish, high pitched voice echoed in the forest behind the village.

A little girl stumbled over an unseen branch. She began sobbing.

"Oh Luu..." the older boy picked her up and held her hand, guiding her expertly through the thick undergrowth. He had played in the forest countless times with his friends in a game of tag. Shimmering light was streaming from the distance and the children quickened their paces in excitement.

"COME ONE! COME ALL! YOU ARE OUR SPECIAL GUESTS AT TONIGHT'S SHOW!" a booming voice greeted the children.

They screamed in delight at the sight of a green and white pinned striped tents lit by many light bulbs with clowns and pretty dancers beckoning their new audience. People were streaming in from all sides of the woods which surrounded a clearing. Far from any inhabited areas, loud explosions and pleasant circus music engulfed the people's sense. The owner of the booming voice had a beautiful face with a red tear drop face paint beneath her eyes. She was clad in a jester's suit and carried a red drum, making more noise than the crowd cheering. Her cheeky grins and monkey-like actions wowed the audience.

"NOW WE PRESENT OUR RINGMASTER!"

There was a soft "bang" in the distance and a man in twin-tailed suit whizzed across the forest with a white umbrella before crashing into the circus tent.

"NOW, LET THE FUN BEGIN!" a shrill voice hollered above the cheering and the enchanted people clamored for good seats in the tent.

It was going to be an unforgettable long night of fun and excitement. Everyone had lost track of time.

The next morning, little Luu woke up to the first ray of sunlight. Looking around the clearing, she realized any trace of the circus was gone. She was still reeling from the excitement of last night and giggled. The circus had disappeared before the arrival of the royal guards. But little Luu knows a secret - they are singing to the next town and there will the fun continue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It's unbelievable, your Highness!" a Catholic High Priest gushed. "My brothers have reported a surge in happiness among the villagers and even singing of some wild songs. But productivity of crops is higher than ever! It's a blessing of your reign."

The Queen forced a smile. She dismissed the priest after rewarding him handsomely but she gripped the arms of her throne chair a little too tightly. Cracks began appearing in the arms, much to her servant's horror. She knew it was no blessing. It was a sign of a recurring storm. Helusen must be dealt with immediately.

"Where is Victor?" she demanded of her royal guard.

"He has just arrived at Scarborough manor. He is waiting for the Princess' return," a muffled reply came.

Good...time to put pawns in their places.
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Posted 3/22/14 , edited 3/22/14


The princess left the Helusens'- it was the first thing she did in the morning, even before the sun rises. She didn't stay for the breakfast nor wanting to see Shu. She held him close and deep in her heart, her memory. It was sufficient. A sly smile lit the corners of her mouth, as she recalled the moments she shared with Shu - albeit short and bitter but it was sweet and worth the while.

Reaching the Scarborough, she was greeted by the Earl who replied her with a stern face. At first she thought it was because of what happened days ago but when she saw a blond haired guy trailing behind him - she knew something was wrong.

The young man knelt before her. "You royal highness Princess Snowaphina, I am your knight assigned by her majesty the Queen to protect you"

Snow looked at him. To protect me? What is in her mind? Could it be she wanted to prevent the engagement?

"There's no need for you, knight. Tell her majesty that I will not be engaged to anyone. The Helusen does not stir any interest in my eyes", Snow replied - trying to send the knight off. Whatever she was planning to do now mustn't involve Shu. She didn't want the Queen to hurt him, she wanted to protect him while she can.

"That's not why I am assigned to your royal highness. I am to protect you from harm", the knight looked up at Snow and smiled. "My name is Victor Chandler"

Victor?

Snow's eyes widened in surprised. The name ringed a bell in her heart. Victor was the name of the young boy who once played with her in the woods behind the Earl's mansion - until her identity as the princess was revealed and he stopped appearing before her. The knight seemed to read into her mind. He mouthed a word - repeatedly twice.

Snow read after the movement of his lips. Fran. Ces. Ca.

Francesca.

The Victor she knew as a child had always called her as Francesca instead. It was the name he had written on her heart.
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Posted 3/22/14 , edited 3/22/14



Marion entered the scene. "My Lady, I have prepared the bath and your new suit."

Marion had taken care to follow Snow discreetly on her master's orders until now.

Victor flashed his eyes at her intrusion. "Princess, who is this suspicious being?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Young master....WAKE UP!" the butler bellowed as he removed the bed cover off Shu.

Shu had fallen asleep with his dinner suit. He opened an eye irritably and went back to sleep soundly, curled like a baby.

The head butler was breathed heavily and shouted into Shu's ears.

"THE PRINCESS HAS LEFT!"

This time, Shu got up slowly, his eyes still closed. The head butler busied himself with breakfast and tea arrangement as the maid pulled the velvet curtains away, allowing blinding sunlight to shine in. Shu winced.

The countdown begins. Five more days...

"Your schedule today, Sir. There is a court adjoining in three hours' time," Harry announced as he entered importantly.

Shu nodded and headed to his private bathroom to change, his mind still in the haze with last night's strange dream.

"My darling Shusuke...How long have you kept me away?"

"It was not long, Ember. It was only one night."

"That is too long," the pout visibly heard. "Ever since that princess of yours moved in, you never let me in readily."

Shu sighed. She is a difficult being to please but she is his savior. He owed her.

"No worries. "From today onwards, you will be fighting by my side."

"And the girl?" the voice asked slyly.

He couldn't lie to his heart. She can read it.

"She will be safe behind her parents' wall. This not her fight. And she is no longer needed. I have the Queen's attention."

"You are fighting a losing battle, Shusuke. But now that I have your full attention, let me into you. You need more vigorous body regulations."

Shu could hear her licking her lips.

"As your treat, let me show you a few possibilities of your plan. try not to cringe."

Images began flashing in his dream.

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Posted 3/22/14 , edited 3/22/14

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Snow turned her eyes from Marion to Victor.

"Just....just my maid" Snow quickly answered and walked past him into the mansion. Victor followed after her even after the bath and she was comfortably settled inside her mansion. Something told her that his assignation here was more than merely to protect her, not that she believed what he said anyway.

The Queen wants my head off. Are you here to keep an eye on me....Victor... , she thought in silence as she glanced at him.

Victor caught her peeking at him and looked up at the princess. The both stared daggers at one another. His gaze dropped down to the princess' mouth. Snow glanced to the side. When she looked back with her famous killer stare, he was still gazing at her, his blue eyes dark and mysterious as the midnight lake. His lips parted slightly. He looked so long and so steadily at her mouth. Snow felt her cheeks burned and heart pounded slowly. His eyes were making her lips soft.

Victor pulled off and looked around. It was only him and the princess in her grand library. He locked the library's door and turned back to the princess.

"Francesca", he called after making sure that no one could eavesdrop on them. The mask slipped off his face now. "You must be curious as to why I'm here - as the Queen's loyal dog now"

Snow remained silent for a moment. "You killed Prince Hans, another half brother of mine.You're here to kill me?"

Victor laughed. His laughter so menacing that Snow stood up and took a few steps aback.

"The Queen orders for you to return to the palace. I am here to bring you back"
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Posted 3/22/14


Marion was listening outside the door, her slim arms cradling a tray of pastries. Her master had warned her about this possible turn of events. Biting her lips, she did a small prayer and then, she resolutely barged in.

"My apologies, Sir Knight," she spoke harshly. Thier social positions in the hierarchy were almost too close. "But until The Helusens turn in their rejection for the marriage, the princess cannot leave for the palace without her fiance."

She held her head high. She wanted her Master to be proud of her flawless actions.
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Posted 3/22/14 , edited 3/22/14


Victor stared at her. A vague uneasiness seeped into Marion. If stare could kill, the maid would be dead by now. She had disturbed his temporary moment of enjoyment. His guesses was right about her being a part of the Helusens' household. Victor held out the letter signed by the Queen - sealed with the Queen's seal as well. It clearly stated that:

"Victor Chandler - the Royal Knight has all power to bring Princess Snowaphina back to the palace safely. The sudden death of Prince Hans - one of the last three heirs of the late King had upset the kingdom very much. The princess must return to the palace immediately for her safely. "

"Who are the Helusens as compared to the royal family of Montgomery?" Victor sneered as he closed in the gap between Marion and him. His voice threatening. He was a cold-blooded knight. "They're nothing but just a family of disgraced dethroned hopeless royalties-"

"Knight Victor", the princess cut him off, her tone sharp and alert. She didn't like the way Victor looked down on the Helusens, nor the way he treated Marion. "I will leave for the palace right this moment. Keep your distance. Show some respect"

Victor smirked and nodded as he walked to her side. "Yes, my Princess"

Snow ignored him and looked at Marion. "I will send you back to the Helusens after I leave. Tell your master to stop being so high and mighty, my rejection alone is more than enough. That man, Raizier Shusuke Helusen is no longer my fiance. Ask him to stay out from my way. He doesn't have the right to give me any instructions."

Marion saw the spark in Victor's eyes. He was enjoying the fact that the princess and her master's gap had turned from bad to worst. Even Snow caught the look of amusement in his eyes. The knight then lead the princess to the carriage waiting outside the mansion.

The Earl and her mother just looked at her - they said nothing to the sudden changes. Snow assured them that she would be fine, seeing their mouth forming a grim line. She knew she was lying - she wasn't even assured that she'll be really safe in the palace now.

Five more days.....and I'll come of age for the throne...., Snow knew something was wrong with the time the ball was going to be held.
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"Please forgive me, Princess," Marion bowed low quickly and stood up, her resolve was clear.

There was loud, painful sound. Marion slapped the Princess hard on the cheek.

"You are the one who should stop acting high and mighty, Princess," Marion spoke with slight disgust.

For her master to spend so much time tinkering his plans around the Princess, Marion could take no more insult. She would die for him and she knew she will not get the attention the Princess got from the Master. Still, she was satisfied having served him loyally for the past few years.

"A princess should sit and wait instead of reckless actions," Marion sneered in her ears before leaving the Scarborough.

Finally, she is free from the duty of the Princess care. She was ready face punishment from both sides.
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Everyone was shocked at the sudden incident. As Marion left the Scarboroughs, the Earl ordered for the guards to catch her immediately but Snow put up her hand - a signal that there was no need.

One hand over her cheek, Snow was looking down. Victor could see droplets of tears fell onto the ground. Snow was crying in secret, she knew Marion was right. She knew but she couldn't admit it. She was too scared to admit it.

Snow deserved the slap. It was just a physical pain - it was nothing compared to the bleeding heart she had, for not admitting how much she loves Shu...for how much she lied to herself...for how much she didn't want the engagement to be cancelled. The pain was too much now, even more than before she met Shu. There was more sadness in her than happiness, more pain in her than love. Only God knows how much she suffered.

Victor looked at her, his fingers curled up into a fist. One glance at the princess, he could tell she loves the man named Helusen. He had been fighting all these years, in hope that one day he could be a noble himself - so that he could have the princess for himself.

A princess should sit and wait instead of reckless actions? I am not the princess from some fairy tale, and my real home is the palace...why are they stopping me from going back?, Snow thought. Holding out her Princess seal - it was a pendant, matching with the one she gave Shu.

"I'm not well. Tell the Queen I refuse to see her"

Victor grabbed hold of Snow's wrist. He was determined to bring her back to the palace no matter what.

"There is no room for negotiations, your royal highness", he added. "When it comes to returning to your real family, you can't but return. Princess is to do the necessary preparation for the royal ball in the palace. You're after all, our country's princess".

Snow glanced over to the Earl who nodded slightly - so slightly that Victor wasn't able to see it.

"Okay", Snow replied.

They got into the royal carriage and departed for the palace.
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Posted 3/23/14 , edited 4/6/14

A red headed young Duchess paced the waiting room nervously. She bit her fingernails by force of habit but a sudden thought of Shusuke's disapproving face made her stop. Her frantic thoughts started disappearing. Fearing the unknown did not define who she was. She took deep breaths and was interrupted by a sharp knock and a royal guard ushered her to the royal gardens. A small pavilion was built in the center of the enormous garden and faint sounds of waterfalls could be heard. In the care of an entertainer and a maid, the Queen of the kingdom was leisurely sipping tea. The Duchess picked up her long skirt and entered the scene gracefully.

"Your majesty," she curtsied before the highest order in the kingdom.

The Queen smiled and motioned her to a roughly manufactured Brewster chair. The Duchess' chair was a stark contrast to that of the Queen - a luxurious leather-bound pressback chair. The Duchess noticed the vast difference and knew the Queen was starting a fight with her.

In spite of the treatment, the Queen smiled pleasantly as the Duchess took a seat, waiting for any response. But the Duchess was too strong to fall for that immature act of rebuking. The chair rocked slightly under her weight.

"My, my, Lady Matsuo. I dare say you are starting to look a bit fuller since the last time. Have your family been doing well?" the Queen continued with her fake smile.

The Duchess inclined her head. "Thank you for your concern. My family has been the same as always. Daily roundups on taxpayers have been taxing recently. I may have been eating too much to quell the pressure."

"Do take care, Lady Matsuo. The ball is just around the corner," the Queen laughed with a hint of sarcasm.

Rin Matsuo knew very well she was thinner than before due to her nighttime job in the circus. However, the Queen is not one to argue with especially at such stormy times. Why now, Helusen?

The Queen's underlying meaning in her continuous probing of Rin's life was obvious - do not trifle with the Queen. She is starting to get suspicious.

Despite the delicious-looking bread, Rin found it hard to swallow anymore sugary treats. As breakfast came to a close, Rin Matsuo made up an excuse to leave early. As she was about to get up from the weak-legged chair, the Queen dismissed all servants.

"Lady Matsuo, you have been in the Royal service for a long time. Your family has helped us fought against corruption and traitorous acts countless times. I do hope you keep up the good work."

It was a mild but well-received threat. Rin knew she was watched more closely than she thought. The Duchess' poker face was not lost, though. She prided herself with being able to conceal her feelings completely, even better than her ex-fiance. She thanked the Queen for the encouragement and was careful not to walk away too quickly. She has a new item on her to-do list if she wanted to escape the brewing storm unscathed.

The Queen summoned for an early lunch. With the 8th heir out of the way, she must now deal with an imminent threat of her supremacy - Princess Snowaphina.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Marion wandered the streets aimlessly. She had failed her mission. With her Master away from the manor, she did not want to face the other servants' contempt, especially Shu's groupie. A carriage blocked her path. She looked up, dazed. An elderly woman with a strong aura stepped down gracefully. It was her Master's mother. Marion immediately fell to her knees.

"Lady Helusen!" she cried out in respect.

Surprised, Lady Helusen quickly picked her up and supported her tot he carriage.

"Now, now. Don't be so frightened. I was wondering why a servant of Raizier would look so dishevelled and lost in this part of town. Oh goodness. Do stop crying. I will bring you to my house and have a cup of tea so we can get your heart matters straightened out. Think about my son's reputation!"

Marion nodded slightly and wiped her tears on her dirty sleeves.

Upon reaching a small Helusen castle of ancient fortifications, Marion was given a royal treatment and ordered to rest in one of the few inns. Her master hated his mother and as his loyal supporter, she shared his resentment. However, she could not do anything in her situation.

"Are you sure you should be lying here, lost one?" a soft voice spoke from the darkness.

Marion sat up quickly and examined her surroundings frantically.

"Now, my dear. Do not be too hasty," Rin Matsuo stepped out from the shadows of the room's dress wardrobe and smiled kindly. "I mean no harm. It seems they have forgotten that this room belongs to me."

Marion did an impressive grovel for forgiveness of her inappropriate attire and manners. Rin simply looked away.

"Is it a mere coincidence we share the same ideals and room?" she asked jokingly. "I dislike the Helusens. Don't you, servant of Raizier Helusen's household?"

Marion dared not answer for fear or retribution but Rin goaded her out of silence. Slowly, they came to understand each other. Rin left abruptly after the conversation reached about how her Master's parents were enjoying their retirement more than they deserve. Marion, on the other hand, had found a new purpose in life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Old man Judge!" a jovial voice called out unnaturally. The high judge turned slowly to greet the noble, rather reluctantly in the presence of guards.

"Sir Raizier! You do know it is against the rules to meet with me during a hearing!" the judge spoke rapidly in an anguished, hush tone. The late nights did not do well with his mood.

"My apologies, your honor. However, under such circumstances, I think my actions are unpunishable. The person to stand on the witness stand is not me. I am simply an audience at today's hearing."

"Right, right," the old judge nodded irritably. "Move along, young lad. I have much work to do. Let us hope for a fair return."

"Of course, your honor."

The High Court was a place to be awed with. Chandeliers of sparking crystals hung from the high ceiling to reflect sunlight from the two-storey high glass windows onto walls of gold framed pictures of Lady Justice and tiled oak wood. The courtroom was large enough to fit a small in and still have a little space for aisles running around the place. Shu and his Head butler chose seats behind the witness stand. As it was a high profile case, more than one junior judge was attending and the room quickly filled up. The old judge cleared his throat prominently above the senseless chatterings.

"Order! Order! The accused and plaintiff. Please present your witness."

"I would prefer to be called the defendant and not accused," an overly silk-like voice flowed out eloquently in the silence. "I will be representing the Queen in this matter."

"That is unacceptable! I demand the Queen's presence!" a dusty-brown haired representative of the plaintiff shouted hoarsely. There was a roar of agreement from the civilians on his side.

"ORDER! ORDER!" the high judge hit his hammer hard on the wood. "As long as the defendant is confident in knowing the necessary details of this case, it will be justified."

The high judge peeked from above his half-moon glasses. The Royal Advisor smiled smugly and nodded in the direction of the plaintiff. there was another roar of disapproval but was quickly quelled when the short-tempered judge threatened to remove any noisemakers forcefully.

"We shall begin," the high judge continued importantly. "The complaint rendered against the Royal family is for injustice of punishments and tax levies. An appropriate compensation is demanded. Is the case clear to both of you?"

The Royal Advisor and the dusty-brown haired man nodded.

"And the floor will belong to the plaintiff. You have ten minutes."

Shu barely shifted as he watched the Royal Advisor carefully.
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Posted 3/23/14 , edited 3/23/14

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

By the time Snow reached the palace, her swollen cheek had vanished. Seeing the queen is always a silent war. It had been six days since she left the palace.

The Queen was firmly seated on the throne as Snow and Victor came into her view. She greeted them with her fake smile before she dismissed Victor - and he retreated to the side. Snow curtsied and moved on to take a seat. They usually spent a full long moment looking at each other - and betting on who would break the silence. As usual, none of them did - until a royal guard came in.

"Your majesty! The hearings in the court is going as planned. The Duke of Helusen is also present", he reported. Snow showed a slight surprise at the announcement and quickly put back the poker face - but the Queen, who hadn't left her eyes off Snow caught the changes of expression.

"You may go now", the Queen smiled as she dismissed the guard. "My princess dear, I'd miss you much. How can you leave the palace for such a long period of time? Are there something you're doing behind my back?"

"Why would I, your majesty?" Snow smiled back at her. "I was just occupied with some family problems - but it's all solved now".

True, the main reason the princess left the palace in the first place was to investigate on the sudden disappearance of Prince Hans, one of her half-brother. In order to make it less suspicious, she even made a trip to the circus and helped out the poor commoners - and with a twist of fate, falling in love with Shu. Her eyes flickered to Victor - who stood with a menacing smile at the smile. She knew that her brother's disappearance was a fake. He was murdered. Murdered by the loyal knight of the Queen. Her spies did not investigate that matter wrongly.

"Does that family problem.....", the Queen said as she examined her manicured fingernails. "....involves a certain young man from the Helusen?"

"No", Snow answered in a brief. She knew the queen was going to ask her that.

The Queen smiled. Her grin was getting wider by the seconds.

"Well then", she replied. "I disagreed with His Majesty in engaging you to that man. You should have heard rumours about him. He is not a good man. I don't want my daughter to marry such a man. I want you to lead a happy marry life - and you will not find that in him"

Snow simply nodded and thanked the Queen for being so concerned. Snow then retreated herself back to her bedroom - which was located far away from the main hall.





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