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                                                               Part 49: Betrayal

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                                                                                        "...And the evil one filled her mind with this till she was quite wroth... " (The Juniper Tree, The Grimm Brothers)

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                                                                                        -Zenobia-

          Heavy panting and running footsteps fill the gold-lined hallways of Castle Esperance.

          She deserves to die. Kill her.

        Another burst of sporadic breathing. The footsteps falter as I reach out a hand and place it against the wall. I shake my head furiously, still fighting to breathe.

         "No.... No, she's my friend," I argue.

            She's a bad person. It's alright to kill her.

         "She's not a bad person," I whimper at the voice in my head. "She's not. She just...lied to me."

          The darkness surges inside of me. My vision cuts to black-and-white before jumping immediately back to color. Ragged, shuddering breaths fall from my mouth. I grab the sides of my heads and resist the urge to scream.

          I'm so scared. I don't want to hurt Morgana. I almost did, back in the room filled with mirrors. I let the shadows overtake me, for only a moment, but the moment was enough to cause damage.

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          I hadn't meant to be late to the contest that morning. The night had been too comfortable and I slept longer than I should have. By the time I woke up and looked out of the window, I could already see the other girls marching towards the castle.

          Dain and Dante got me dressed as quickly as they could and then sent me off to the castle with promises to be watching from the crowd. I left them in high spirits, eager to get to the prince and get the contest underway.

          When I entered the castle, I was amazed at how many girls wished to marry the prince. It would be painful to end all of their dreams, but I needed to marry Prince Charming. My very life here in this world depended on it.

        That's why it hurt so much when I saw Morgana standing before the Prince.

           I watched as Morgana announced her desire to marry Prince Charming for all to hear. It felt like someone had reached into my chest and ripped out my heart. I was left with an empty, despondent feeling, standing there at the very back of the line. I wasn't angry, not back then. I was simply confused. Why would she do this to me? I'm sure I told her of my desire to marry the prince. Why would she go against me and try to hinder my dreams?

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