The carriage is an entirely too grand affair in Cora's opinion; not that anyone asked for it, mind, but she's got an opinion nonetheless. Every year it's the same thing. The white carriage with its elaborate swirls and designs, the lace draperies, and the one window where some royals sit with their necks arched in that way that shows they feel utterly superior to whomever they pass. Their noses are always turned up at the peasants and farmers and her, the miller's daughter.

Of course they say that the reason they take the carriage trip through the whole kingdom is to show their respect to their subjects, but Cora knows better. It's rather obvious in their stature and postures and extremely fake smiles that they feel anyone who isn't royal is below them, miles below them. She thinks that they just take the trip to flaunt their wealth and to escape the court for a few days because God knows it really gets hectic and so stressful in October, when it's just beginning to get cold and they're all draped in luxury.

It is the epitome of first-world problems. And Cora hates it.

So when the carriage comes bounding along with its white swirls and draperies and elegance—even the horses have their heads held in that superior dignified manner—she puts on her best joyous mask. The carriage stops and the king steps out, and Cora kneels, like everyone else. But she will not keep her head down. No, Cora's head is held high and in her eyes is an expression of cold defiance.

Oh, yes, she definitely hates it. She is no more than a peasant, but someday she will be so much more. Someday, she wants to see that king on his knees, she wants the stones to be ingrained in his kneecaps, she wants to see this uppity king kneel so much that he will not even be able to stand up, she wants the bowing position to be his permanent position.

And as she thinks this with a false smile plastered on her face the unknowing king makes his speech full of utter rubbish that nobody really cares about, but everyone pretends to listen anyways because they value their lives.

When he gets back in the carriage and the 'dignified' royals with their superior expressions are carting off to the next town over, Cora stands up.

And as she watches the carriage bound away, Cora vows, that someday, she will make them kneel.

⁂⁂⁂

She presents the small girl with the jovial brown eyes to the crowd. Cora rocks her new infant in her arms, and in that moment she knows that someday this little girl will be so much more than she will ever be. Cora knows that this girl, her daughter, has a purpose.

Oddly enough, she's okay with that.

Oddly enough, she's proud of that.

"Her name is Regina, for one day, she will be Queen," Cora says, and her head is held in that haughty, dignified, superior expression as her lips curl into a smile.

Ironic, she thinks, since I used to curse this very expression.

And as she cradles the newly dubbed Regina in her arms, the crowd drops to their knees.

Cora is not one to break her promises.

As Cora cradles the newly dubbed Regina in her arms, as she had promised, they kneel.