Chapter Four

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'I think I am going to marry her,' Lord Peto said aloud over his morning newspaper featuring the Baroness' face, yet again. Startled by his words, Snow dropped her breakfast on the floor, giving her father a fright. He looked up to find her holding one end of a breakfast tray. Red apples, tea and crumpets scattered across the floor, and tears brimming over her eyes. He quickly stood realising what she'd heard his declaration but was too slow to respond as she darted from the room.

Snow was heart broken. They used to be so close, used to share everything and now she felt more alone than ever. They had been living in The Tower on Skylands for just over six months. The Tower was the tallest building in the floating city and was made of mostly glass. Being the centre of attention was awkward for Snow, and the novelty was beginning to wear off, rather quickly.

At the city's first social ball, Snow was the first débutante to be presented to society, and as Skylands was for those of society only, she was presented to everyone in the whole city. It was awkward for her, but she suffered through it all, because she loved her father and believed that was what he wanted. She would give it all up in a heartbeat just to work together with him again, engineering, gadgeteering - goodness, just to talk with him like they used to before Skylands began. And now he was going to get married and she'd be stuck in her gilded prison forever.

Her only relief through it all was that she was given permission to keep Edison, and it was her shaggy dog that she often cried over. He would keep very still like he could feel her heart ache, only licking her tears once she tried to calm herself down.

After crying over Edison yet again, Snow heard her bedroom door open and close. She was too upset at that point to care who it was, but when she heard the Baroness' cooing voice she stiffened, wishing she was anywhere but there in that room, sharing space with that woman.

'Snow, settle down, and take a few deep breaths, go on, Girl.' The Baroness took Snow's hand in hers and waited until the command was met. Snow took a deep breath or two but she didn't say a word. She didn't want the Baroness using anything she said against her or her father. This woman was incredibly manipulative.

'Good girl. Now, I know you are upset, and I am just as surprised about all of this as you are. I had no idea that your father was going to propose to me over breakfast, of all things. For my tastes, it is a little... demure.' She frowned and fussed with the delicate golden cuff on her arm as if it had offended her in some way.

Snow took another deep breath, anger bubbling close to the surface. Then sharp nails pierced her palm and even sharper eyes pierced her soul. Edison barked loudly as Snow tried removing her hand but the Baroness held her tight.

'Now, you listen to me very carefully, Girl. I am going to marry your father or I am going to ruin him.' She let go of Snow's hand and stood up straight. Snow clutched her hand to her chest, rubbing it carefully to ease the pain away.

'Do I make myself clear?' Snow nodded.

'I have invested too much time and resources into this,' she waved her hand around the beautiful room, '...to not get exactly what I want and no upstart-child is going to ruin it for me.' The Baroness huffed a breath through her nose and ran her hands over her carefully coiffured hair then turned to leave. She got all the way over the bedroom door, then turned with a swirl of skirts. 'And if I was you, I'd keep that mutt out of the garden's or he might just accidentally disappear over the edge of the city. Mind you, I hear the yards ground side are looking for a new rodent dog, either way, he'd be out of my hair,' she said with a beautifully fake smile. Then she left.

Snow knew she had no choice. Either she would become the source of her father's ruin for she believed the Baroness would do just as she threatened. Or she would pretend that she liked Raena for her father's sake. Left with those two choices, she felt the confines of her prison all over again and found herself in tears, once more.

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