I had been thinking about this story ever since I watched the movie a long time ago, but I only decided recently to finally write it. This picks up where the movie leaves off. I hope you enjoy it and there will be more chapters if enough of you are interested in joining me, so let me know what you think, please!
The New Queen's Journey
Snow White stood in her bedchamber and stared in front of her. In the mirror, she saw a woman she hardly recognized. She had been locked away for many years in the tower and had only seen her reflection a few times since she was a child. Now, she was grown and had a crown on her head. She was Queen of Tabor. Finally, she had taken her rightful place as her father's successor, and while she was happy at the fact, she still felt a little overwhelmed…
A loud knock resounded through her room and she made her way to the door. As soon as she opened it, William bowed and said, "Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I just wanted to check and make sure you were well since you retired so early." He lifted his eyes and smiled at her.
She grinned at her childhood friend and replied, "I'm fine, William. I just wanted to be alone for a little while. Today was rather hectic with the coronation and I wanted some time to relax and get used to this." She motioned to the crown before taking it off, walking to her dresser, and setting it down.
William remained at the door and asked almost timidly, "May I come in, Your Highness?"
She turned around and exclaimed, "Yes, of course! You never asked permission when we were kids." She looked a little startled and he shrugged.
"Yes, well, you're the queen now and we're not exactly family. I could be a suitor, after all."
Snow White looked down at her hands and said, "You've always been my best friend. Even when I was alone in the tower, I thought of you that way, so I don't want you treating me any differently now."
He smiled brightly and replied, "It'll be as you wish."
She smiled and turned to face him. "Good. So, I suppose since you're here, people have been asking after me. Let's go back out there, so I can show my face some more to the people and watch the celebration."
She stepped towards the door, but William quickly shouted, "Wait!"
When she stopped, he ran across the room, grabbed her crown, and placed it back on her head. "You can't forget this," he mumbled.
She pursed her lips together and nodded once before walking out. William extended his arm and she took it as they headed back towards the throne room.
The festivities were in full swing when she walked through the doors. There were dozens of large groups spread throughout the room and everyone had goblets, which were undoubtedly filled with some of the kingdom's best liquor available, in their hands. As a result, laughter was everywhere and a genuine feeling of merriment pervaded the entire atmosphere.
Letting go of William's arm, she made her way back to the throne. She was walking up the small steps when she heard a deep voice say behind her questioningly, "So, you do not wish to socialize with your people, Princess?"
She immediately grinned and turned around to face Eric. She bit her lip for a moment as she looked around and replied, "Queen. And, it's not that. It's just that I don't really know everyone and I don't know how I should act just yet." She shrugged.
He held out his hand to her and she quickly took it as she walked towards him. When her feet were on the main floor once more, he whispered, "You had several groups of men and women watching you when you came in. If I hadn't walked over, they would have been over here begging for your company. I had the feeling you don't necessarily want to be put in that situation just yet."
She glanced around the room more carefully this time and noticed the many eyes that were resting on her. She looked up and said, "I don't know why I feel so awkward. I know they want me here, and I do know this is where I belong, but…it's just so new and unexpected after everything."
"Give yourself some time. Everything will fall into place soon enough."
She looked up at his face as his eyes ran across the room. She knew he was taking it all in like he had in the Dark Forest. He was looking for dangers that were hidden in the masses. "What do you see, Huntsman? Any threats tonight?" she asked amusedly.
He smiled softly, but it faded as his eyes met William's. The duke's son was scowling. Eric immediately turned to her and whispered, "Threats are a part of life, Princess, and they're everywhere. The larger question is what they are threatening and if you should fight it."
Snow White had seen where Eric's eyes had rested before he looked at her. She had especially taken note of the looks that William and he had shared with one another. William had looked angry whereas Eric had looked sad. She was fairly sure nothing had happened between them since she had killed Ravenna, so she didn't understand the tension. "Is everything okay?" she questioned, gripping his arm softly.
"Yes, everything is fine," he answered without hesitation. "Tomorrow, I will be leaving." When her jaw dropped, he explained, "You have now regained your proper place in the world, so I need to do the same."
Snow White tightened her hold on his arm and exclaimed, "You're leaving? But I thought you would stay! I…I thought…"
He frowned and mumbled, "What would I stay for? The castle is no place for a huntsman..."
He pulled away from her gently and began to walk away. She followed and called out softly to not draw attention to them, "Huntsman? Huntsman?"
He kept walking and eventually William made his way to her. He rested a hand on her shoulder and questioned, "What's going on?"
"He's leaving in the morning," she reported sadly. "He said he is going back to his village."
William smiled and said, "That's probably for the best. We have disrupted his life enough, wouldn't you agree?"
Her eyes met his for a moment and then looked back at Eric's retreating form.
In the morning before dawn had even hinted over the horizon, Eric made his way outside the castle. He knew in his heart that it would be almost unbearable to say goodbye to Snow White, so he decided to simply leave. He knew it would be the best for everyone involved. He would only be in the way, after all. As he had said last night, the castle was no place for him. He was a huntsman, a commoner. He had no place at the queen's side regardless of what they had been through together…She was safe now. That much was obvious.
Besides, he knew what the future held. Everyone throughout the kingdom was already talking about it: they wanted Snow White and William, Duke Hammond's son, to marry. He didn't want to be around to watch it happen. Already, the mere notion clinched his heart.