29: Forced Alliance

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                                (Sorry for the late update! As promised, here's a double chapter!)

                                                                Part 29: Forced Alliance




               "Where shall I go? I have no friends, and no home to which I can go." (The Goose-Girl at the Well, Grimm Brothers)







        The rescue team was quickly formed. I am the only woman in the group, a fact that all of the men seem blatantly aware of. I'm not immune to the distrustful glares they send my way as Prince Charming leads us down the hallways of the castle.

                "Why's a woman coming with us?" they whisper.

                "Say she's knowledgable of magic," another says.

                "Sounds like she practices the black arts."

                I keep my mouth clamped shut and my eyes lowered as we proceed forward. Tannin hasn't said another word to me since his declaration earlier. Now, he only watches. The anger is still apparent in his expression the few times that I'm able to glance in his direction. Brigham, Bassett, and Baxter barely look my way. I drop my head and continue behind the Prince.

                I'm not sure how to feel about seeing them again. When I first saw Tannin approaching me, for just the briefest of moments... I'd felt happiness. Just seeing him brought up the few, warm, scattered memories of our time in Darpine Village.

                Then, I saw his eyes, filled with vengeance. His pink, ashen lips twisted in a dark scowl, his brow furrowed, his hands clenched so tightly that blue veins sprung up beneath his flesh. It was made clear to me then that he no longer wanted anything to do with me, save smashing my head in. The worst part is that he and the other boys have every right to hate me.

                Prince Charming is speaking, giving us a foundation of a plan to follow. "Everyone will stay together. Whatever is capable of causing such illusions is not to be underestimated."

                It's a hidden joy to see my skilled Prince in action, being the commanding leader that he is. Yet, I'm only able to be half as joyful as I might be. My hands wring together with fear as I watch the Prince, awaiting the moment that Tannin steps from the group and exploits my secrets to everyone here.

                How would the Prince react, knowing that I am an actual magic user, that I used to work for one of the Witches that he hates so much? He seems to like me. Could he possibly overlook such things? I'm not sure if I want to take the chance.

                "Does anyone have any questions?" Prince Charming suddenly asks. None of the men speak. Prince Charming nods. I'm surprised when he gently takes my hand and pulls me forward, to the front of the group.

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