Chapter Fifteen

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Lord Peto and Hunter reached the railing at the same time. They saw Snow hanging by the cuff on her right arm, swinging on a thin wire. Stunned, it took them a moment before the raced into action, running down the stairs to rescue Snow below. They yelled out directions for her to hold on and yelled at the men to get below her.

Snow had modified the collar to hold her weight but she didn't count on it bearing the weight of two people. Raena, still screaming, held onto Snow's foot, slipping. Snow yelled for her father to hurry, only to find Hunter standing in front of her, reaching for her.

'Snow, reach for my hand. Let me help you!' he yelled, only inches from taking hold of her. She shook her head at him in panic.

'You poisoned me and left me for dead then hung me up in a cage for days,' she screamed, still angry at his betrayal.

'I've been working for the King, a mission of great import. I was tasked with finding Raena's ledger. If it wasn't for you overhearing Liam and Raena, I would never had found it.'

'Its true,' came her father's voice. She saw her father's face appear beside Hunter's.

As the tension released briefly in the wire of her cuff, it caused the two hanging women to slip down a bit. Snow screamed and her father lunged over, taking a hold of her arm, pulling her close to the balustrade where he stood. Then Raena's hold released along with Snow's boot and she fell two stories, screaming until she landed in the pond of the atrium below. The change in tension on the wire again caused Snow to bounce. Snow cried out again and closed her eyes until arms encircled her, guiding her over the railing and into the arms of her father. She hugged him, sobbing in relief in his arms for what felt to her like hours.

It was finally over.

Raena broke a leg and killed a golden koi fish on landing in the pond. She was taken into custody by the Kings royal guard, and her slave trade empire was disbanded and many women and children were set free and returned to their families all over the kingdom. Stripped of her title, land and wealth, Raena spent the remainder of her life working in the royal kennels, cleaning up after the King's many dogs.

All seven of Snow's heroic little friends were introduced to society as new Lords of the realm. Her father thanked each and everyone of them and gave them medals of honour and new jobs as mechanical engineers cloud-side. They were quite chuffed with themselves and most took up residence on Skylands as Snow's right-hand engineers.

Hunter was given the Medal of Noble Valour for his years of service to the King in exposing his great Aunt's slave trafficking ring. He had a lot of explaining to do though. He apologised to Snow for nearly killing her with the apple, explaining that his duty to King and country had fought a losing battle with the duty he had to his best friend. He explained how it was Snow who told him about the ledger the Baroness had and he was able to smuggle it out of the city to the King before the Baroness asked him to find Snow. He was sorry for hurting her and apologised to her about the poisoned apple. She vowed to him she would never eat apples ever again.

Snow matured a lot during her incredible adventure on Skylands. It had taken the betrayal of her step-mother, and the kindness of her amazing new friends for her to finally realise what kind of person she wanted to be when she grew up. With Hunter's help, she stayed on Skylands as Chief Engineer of the city. She was never seen without Edison, her faithful dog and was often found laughing or arguing with Hunter over anything and everything. Some thought they should get married when they grew up so they could continue laughing or arguing for the rest of their lives.

As for Lord Peto, when he came back from the King's castle, he made an announcement that he would no longer be Keeper of Skylands, that the King had agreed to his replacement, considering the circumstance. Lord Peto had truly loved Baroness Raena Montague and he never got over the heart break. He left the city and never set foot on his greatest engineering accomplishment ever again. He moved back into his old castle and spent the remainder of his years happy, designing many more floating cities and estates, building robots and giant air balloons and generally keeping the old village on their toes as they ushered in the age of a new cultural steam-revolution.

And he lived happily ever after.

The End

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