Chapter 3

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"Your Majesty," She curtsied low, "Thank you for seeing me today." She spoke towards the floor before standing upright. "Since you have given me the honor of seeking out a potential Queen, I've had numerous women approach me when I go into town. They know somehow that you have entrusted me with helping to find an honorable woman. I wanted to see you first, to let you know that I didn't tell anyone! Somehow, they know."

"Hmm, this is interesting." He considered with a furrowed brow, hand to his chin. "This can mean a few things, but I'm afraid the worst would be that there is a spy in the castle. Let's pray that that is not the situation."

Lyn's eyes showed concern, and nodded quickly. "The most mild case would be gossip among the servants, and the information has somehow leaked out." His eyes suddenly shot up. "This means that your safety could be an issue, and that would also put Snow's life at risk. Fredrich!"

The guard came forward immediately. "Yes, your Highness?"

"Double the guards around Lyn and Snow, and the other nursemaids...interrogate them too. No one Is to speak to Lyn unless I say so, and NO ONE is to enter the Princess's room!" He nearly bellowed.

"Yes, Sire." He turned on his heel swiftly, setting out to gather more guards.

"My Dear, I don't know what this means for you in the future." His eyes landed on her, and they looked grave. Lyn was speechless.

"If we cannot contain this situation, I cannot put Snow's life in danger. I would send you back to the kitchen, but wherever you go now, you may always have people coming to you from outside the palace. This could be a nuisance, if not potentially dangerous. Enemies could infiltrate our walls. If we can't contain it...I will have to send you away." Despite how harsh that sounded, it pained him to say it. He admired Lyn. "I'm sorry I placed this on you. Let's hope this passes over. You are free to go."

Lyn bowed low. She exited through the great doors, tears welling up in her eyes. She had worked at the palace for ten years. Brought in with nothing, and provided meals, shelter...what would her family do if they sent them away. What about her son...? She tried not to think about it, praying that her boy could grow up safely in the castle, just as his father had. A servant since birth, but comfortable housing and food was provided here...

She looked up to the ceiling to somehow contain the tears, and went back to take care of Princess Snow. Despite this unexpected turn, she wasn't sorry she was placed as a charge over the Princess. Hopefully, she could watch over her for many years more.

Marian and the rest of the family made it home before dark. They had been out trying to sell baskets of crops in exchange for a pence of money. They came in looking tired and defeated; it had been a long day. Selina was busy in the kitchen, chopping potatoes and boiling water over the fireplace, as was routine.

"Hello," she called. She was met with mumbles.

"Hello," Marian answered. "You get the water before dark?"

"Yes, I have it boiling over the fire."

"Good, good." She spoke mindlessly. She wrapped her apron around her waist and pulled out a head of cabbage to chop. "We didn't sell much today," she began. "No one really cares for cabbage, no matter how great you make it sound. They know better," she breathed.

Selina smiled towards her Aunt, who didn't see it. Selina grabbed a handful of diced potatoes and tossed them into the pot.

"Mmm, yes, well..." She began. "At least we're not fat from turkey," she smirked.

"You could use some fattening. You're practically skin and bones!" She countered. They glanced at each other, sharing mischevious smiles.

Uncle Aldo and their cousins Lois and Myra had sat down int he parlor, exhausted. When Marian saw it, she nearly choked. "Ah! What's this? You get in here and make yourself useful. We aren't your servants, if you didn't know."

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