Disclaimer: All of the characters and ideas from Ella Enchanted are Gail Carson Levine's – not mine! However, most of the plot and characters are mine. So please don't sue - no money is being made from this whatsoever.
Author's Note: Thanks so much for all your reviews – it's always encouraging when you post a new chapter and see that so many people have taken the time to reply – so thanks!
Then because it seemed like the most reasonable idea at the time, and because Christian had just stepped back inside the room and because she had to have the last word, Sarah grabbed the custard pie that was sitting innocently on her plate.
And hurled it at the other girl's face.
Well, she grinned happily. I don't think she saw that one coming.
As Time Passes By
Sarah stared for a moment stunned at what she had done. Who would have thought that she had had it in her? And it certainly had been worth it. The shocked look on both Vivien's and Christian's faces would stay with Sarah for a long time.
"You witch!" Vivien shrieked, forgetting about acting nice around Christian. Her eyes were scrunched up and beady.
Sarah hid a grin. "I'm so sorry. I guess the pie must have just…slipped."
"Why you-" Vivien began and threw herself at Sarah, but not before Christian had recovered enough from his amazement to cut in between the two girls before either of them could do any damage.
"Would you two calm down!" he yelled. "Vivien, you know better than that." He scolded and Sarah's eyes widened. Perhaps he had finally discovered the truth about the other girl and was going to take Sarah's side after all. "And you Sarah, you've just proved yourself to be as stupid and selfish as I originally thought!" Christian stepped back away from her, shielding Vivien with his body.
Sarah rolled her eyes – like she was really going to attack her when he was in the room – she already knew from their training session that she wouldn't last a second against him.
"Sure, Christian, whatever you say." She said dryly. If he wasn't decent enough to understand why she had acted the way she had, and wasn't able to see Vivien for the scheming witch that she was, then she wasn't going to do anything about it. To Sarah's mind, he obviously wasn't worth her time. Well, that's what her mind was trying to tell herself anyway. What her heart was saying on the other hand, was an entirely different matter.
As cliché as it was, Sarah honestly felt as if somebody had ripped her heart out, jumped up and down on it a few times, and then tried to put it back but with all the veins and arteries left disconnected. Sarah felt torn and confused and she didn't know why. Or she didn't want to know why.
Meanwhile Christian continued ranting at Sarah, oblivious to the fact that she wasn't listening at all.
"Look," Sarah finally interrupted him. "I'm really tired. I think I might go to bed." She kept her eyes trained on the floor, not daring to look up at him.
Christian sighed and Sarah could not help but sneak a peak up at him. She thought that for a second a look of disappointment entered his eyes. But Sarah blinked and then it was gone, his eyes had gone back to cold and harsh, like they usually were lately whenever they rested on Sarah. "You know, I can't honestly say that I care what you do anymore."
Sarah sucked her breath in quickly as Vivien leered connivingly at her. She just felt so tired. She didn't even have the energy to snap back with some clever retort or even to try and make a joke out of the situation. "Whatever you say, Christian." She spokedesolately and turned away.
She walked out of the room briskly as the tears that she had tried to stop from streaming down her face now did so. She could hear Christian murmur something quietly to Vivien. Sarah then heard footsteps behind her and knew that it was him. Sarah tried to keep her sobs quiet. Though she doubted that even if he could hear her he would care. Even now after what had just happened, he still had to look after her as her bodyguard. Somehow, the fact that he only thought of her as nothing more than just a job and an annoying one at that, hurt her even more.
Sarah eventually made in back into her room and keeping her face turned away from Christian, silently crept into her bed.The prince decided to stand far away in the opposite corner of the room. And as she entered a deep sleep, the last thing on her mind was, I wish everything could just go back to normal.
The girl stopped when she faced three paths. Which one to go through? One was filled with birds and other animals and glorious trees and flowers of all sorts. Another was barren. Deserted. The final one was filled with thorns and trees that seemed to stretch like witches arms, ready to pull you to pieces. The girl chose the most obvious answer – the one filled with life.
The girl took a deep breath and ran through, but as soon as she walked through the entrance the trees' branches started to whirl and twist around her as if in a mad whirlpool. The animals started to chase after her. The flowers wrapped their stems around her legs, trapping her. And before she knew it she sank down, down into the black hole that suddenly appeared from underneath her.
Sarah jolted upright in her bed, gasping for breath. She had had another vision. Yet she had no idea who was the girl in the dream. She glanced over at Christian who was lying asleep on his bed. Should she tell him? No, she decided. Not after the way he had treated her.
It was still dark outside and Sarah breathed in deeply to calm herself as she lay back down in her bed. Then before she knew it, she had once again drifted off into a somewhat more peaceful sleep.
The next day Christian barely talked Sarah at all, much to her irritation. She felt like stepping out in front of him suddenly and waving her hands in front of her face to make sure that he knew she even existed. Yet the constant look of disgust on his face was no doubt proof that he was well aware of Sarah's existence, he just wished that he was nowhere near it.
In fact, the only thing he said to her was, "I'll take you to Lastrange and you can spend the rest of the day there." And that was halfway through the morning after they had finished breakfast.
Sarah was glad when they entered the royal library at the prospect of seeing a friendly face for once. When she saw Tom, the few anxieties that she had about seeing him again after their last meeting disappeared and she knew that within time things would be the same between them again. If only what was occurring between her and Christian could be solved.
Tom himself could sense that something was bothering Sarah, and as soon as Christian had coldly left them, asked her what on earth was bothering her.
"Christian, that's what. I just simply don't understand him. He's so rude, arrogant and stubborn. And now he's cavorting off with that awful Vivien even though he's supposed to be engaged to me. Just who does he think he is?" she ranted furiously, her cheeks a burning red.
Tom gazed at her knowingly, wondering whether he should tell her what was completely obvious to him – that Sarah liked Christian far greater than she appeared to hate him. He could also see that Christian was simply jealous about seeing their foolish kiss and both Sarah and Christian were now too stubborn to apologise to each other and reconcile their differences. Their conflict would just continue to grow if neither would try to overcome it.
Sarah eventually finished her speech in a huff. "And I haven't even begun to tell you about the sprite that attacked me a few days ago!" she exclaimed.
Now this, she could see, had caught Tom's attention. "A sprite? But they're not supposed to-"
"I know, I know. They're not supposed to exist." Sarah then went on to explain what had happened and noticed the look of shock of Tom's face when she told him that the sprite had burst into flames.
"Are you completely sure that what you saw was, well, real?" Tom asked carefully.
"I'm certain it was. I just don't understand what happened though."
Tom pondered over what Sarah had told him. "I think that most likely explanation is that Rapat probably sent it. He would be the only person who would be able to conjure up a sprite. And yet, it was defeated…" he rested his chin in his hands.
"So?" Sarah prompted.
"So Sarah, what exactly were you feeling around the time when it burst into flames?"
"Afraid, incredibly afraid, and at the same time incredibly angry." She replied truthfully.
"Hmm, so I thought. Sarah, can you do something for me?"
"I want you to look hard at this book I am holding, and make it move with your mind." He told her, producing a small book half the size of Sarah's hand.
Sarah shrugged. "We've done this a thousand times. You know that I won't be able to do it."
"Just try for me again, okay?" Tom pleaded.
Sarah turned her attention to the tiny book that was now resting on Tom's desk. Move. She willed it silently with her mind. Please move.
And then, without much effort, the book not only moved but itlevitated about three feet into the air.
Both Sarah's and Tom's mouths dropped open. The book then dropped back onto the table.
"I-I did it!" Sarah cried out. "I can't believe I finally did it."
"I knew it!" Tom shouted just as ecstatically. "Sarah, the reason that sprite burst into flames, was because of you! The experience you had was so traumatic that after all you had been through, it was the one thing that finally caused your magic to be released. Finally!"
Sarah couldn't believe it, the memory of the sprite replaying in her head. She had done that? It didn't seem possible that she could have that kind of power.
Not realising that she had expressed her thoughts out loud, Tom readily disagreed with her. "You did do that Sarah, believe me, I know you did." He then proceeded to do a dance around his study, causing the other people in the library to turn towards the room to see what the commotion was all about.
Sarah could not resist doing a little dance of her own. For once something was going right in her life.
When they were finally exhausted from all the activity and had settled down, Sarah then asked, "So does this mean I'm closer to beginning this quest then?"
Tom wiped his forehead. "Yes, I believe you are."
Much later when Christian returned to finally collect Sarah, he choked in surprise at the sight of the princesshovering a good foot above the floor.
Sarah turned towards Christian and smirked. "I've finally managed to find my powers."
Christian nodded slowly, forgetting to be rude to Sarah in his astonishment. "Yes, I can see that." He then shook his head, trying to clear his head. "Well it's just as well. The sooner you become fully prepared for this quest, the sooner I can get rid of you and then I'll have nothing to do with you again." He snapped more harshly than he had intended.
The joy on Sarah's face disappeared. "Same here." She spoke frostily.
Tom cleared his throat.
"Sorry Tom." Sarah apologised. "Christian and I had better get going."
"That's fine." He said nervously, eyeing Christian carefully in case for some reason he decided to punch him again.
When they had left, Christian in a bored voice told Sarah, "I want to have as little to do with you as you want to do with me, but you've still got to do combat training with me, understand?"
"Yes, I understand perfectly." She muttered.
He peered at Sarah out of the corner of his eyes, trying to garner her expression. She looked infuriated.
Good. He thought.
They stopped off at their bedroom along the way so that Sarah could change into something more suitable. They then proceeded outside in the training area. Today, there were a few other people also training, all of them men looked interested at the sight of Christian training another girl. Few guessed that the girl was in fact his fiancée.
Christian pulled out a few weapons and some armour from a small storage box in the courtyard that he had prepared for their lesson.
"Today we'll focus on sword fighting." He informed her gruffly. "I don't want any silly ideas to get into your head. You've probably heard many glamorous tales involving sword fights, well I can tell you there's nothing romantic or charming about it. One wrong move in a real fight, and you could die."
"Great." Sarah spoke sardonically.
Christian handed Sarah her armour and helped her put it on. "Of course in a real fight, you most likely won't haveany time to put on any armour. But it will suit us for training purposes." He then gave her a sword and showed her the correct way to hold it.
"No, not like that!" he scolded numerous times, making Sarah's blood boil.
When they had eventually sorted all of that out, Christian showed her some standard moves in combat, and then they were off.
Sarah, though Christian would never admit it, was surprisingly very quick today. Sarah reasoned that this might have had something to do with that fact that she had finally come into her powers. Christian seemed to be moving so much slower to her mind, it was as if while they were fighting, Sarah had time to see what move Christian was preparing to do next, almost like she was able to see was he was going to do, before he did it. Her reflexes were so much quicker, though there was still much more training for her to do.
"You're still nowhere near ready." Christian told her smugly.
By the end of the session Sarah was exhausted and even had trouble walking. Christian had to stop himself from groaning in frustration.
"Fine, I'll help you." He spat out and without warning, swung Sarah from off her swollen feet so that his arms were now cradling her body. That's what it looked like to other people anyway, in truth Christian wanted to be as far away from her as possible.
Yet a tiny part of Sarah's mind could not help notice how snug she fit in his arms and unwillingly relished the feel of his warm hard body against her own. Others walking by looked on in curiosity as Christian carried her back to the palace.
For a while, Sarah pretended that everything was peaceful between them, as she lay comforted against him. However she was soon brought back to reality when she heard him grumble, "The things a prince has to do."
They even saw Damon on their way back, and Sarah unconsciously burrowed closer into Christian at the sight of him.
"I have to say that whenever I see you two, you're always in the most interesting of positions." His eyes glinted sneakily.
"Sure Damon. Sarah's just tired." Christian explained.
"Uh huh. Sure she is."
Sarah relaxed when they finally passed him and she could feel Christian relax also. That's interesting. She thought to herself.
Christian eventually arrived back at their chamber and dropped Sarah onto her bed. There was silence as the two looked around the room, both trying to think of something to say to the other.
"Thank you." She spoke softly.
Christian grunted. "You're welcome."
The tension between them had never been so strong. And over the next few days, it continued to grow even more. Christian became even closer to Vivien, and even more distant to Sarah. So distant that they had almost become strangers. Almost. There was still the faint memory of what had been, what might have been, and what should have been that lingered in the air between them. They grudgingly had to attend a few public celebrations as an engaged couple, although the date for their "wedding" had yet to be announced.
The one thing that kept Sarah going was her friendship with Tom and Scarlet. Speaking of the latter two, they seemed to be growing closer and closer to each other. At least somebody is happy. Sarah commented wistfully.
People like Damon however, only served to make Sarah more uncomfortable. Whenever they saw each other, he would make some scathing remark that would always greatly anger her. There was just something about him that Sarah did not trust.
Sarah continued diligently in her learning of magic and combat training. Tom after every lesson only had words of praise for her, but she was lucky if she didn't get an insult from Christian. Yet Sarah continued to improve.
And so soon the days turned into weeks, and the weeks then turned into months. All the while, Sarah was unaware that the quest that she was going to have toundertake was looming dangerously closer.
It was a hot summers day when Sarah and Christian were once again facing each other in combat training in their armour. A small group of people had gathered round to watch the two as they fought.
Their swords clashed harshly against each other. Christian delivered a blow right near her shoulder but she spun out of the way and blocked it, she then acted quickly and made a swipe for his stomach. He dodged the blow and returned another. They continued fighting. Sarah parried another hit and instead quickly twisted around, moving her sword so that it hit the bottom of Christian's sword and knocked it out of his hand. It was the first time that she had ever disarmed him. Of course, Christian had been fighting with his weaker hand, his left hand, (probably too afraid to test whether I'd beat him on equal terms. Sarah mused)as he always did when fighting against Sarah, but still, she felt like gloating. Christian breathed heavily as Sarah stepped closer towards him, her sword pointed at his throat.
"I believe I win." She stated coolly.
Christian narrowed his eyes. "For once." His reply however was drowned out as the crowd started cheering, only Sarah did not miss it. After all this time he still doesn't accept me. She thought miserably.
She didn't concentrate on it for too long as the crowd gathered around and congratulated her. Nobody noticed King Malcolm of Linnarch in the background, who had surveyed the exchange with great interest and with a great idea in mind.
That evening the aging yet perceptive monarch called Sarah and Christian to his study that evening after dinner.
"I saw the display you two put on this afternoon and I am very pleased with your progress Sarah. Mr Lastrange also tells me that your magic is progressing well." He announced regally.
"Thank you, your highness."
"Soon I believe that you will be able to leave for your quest to find the necklace so that peace and harmony could be restored to Linnarch." (A/N: Remember Chapter 6 when she is told that the evil Rapat stole this powerful necklace whose disappearance led to the downfall of the once mighty and glorious kingdom of Linnarch).
Sarah's heart skipped a beat. She knew that sooner or later she would have to leave, she just assumed that it would be later. She perceived that Christian remained impassive at the news.
"As a way to test you in your skills, I believe you should compete in a duelling tournament." The King stated.
"A tournament? I don't think that she is ready for such a thing." Christian protested.
"Well I do. There is a duelling tournament usually held each year, though it is probably nothing compared to what you have in Kyrria. You could disguise yourself so that nobody would know who you are, not even Christian." The monarch smiled widely as he said this, the idea appealing to him more and more.
"Father, I really don't think-" Christian again argued.
"Christian, it's not for you to decide. Sarah, what do you think? Do you want to participate in this tournament or not?" the king looked down his nose at her.
Sarah turned over the issue in her mind. She knew that Christian did not want her to enter it. Should she? Could she? She finally opened her mouth readily with an answer.
A/N: I'm sure you're glad I didn't take so long to update this time! Last chapter was a little shorter for those who asked, but not by much. Thanks for all your reviews, they were a great source of inspiration! Now I've just got a few things to ask you guys:
IMPORTANT: First of all though, how do you feel about me posting up photos/pictures on my profile page of the characters and how they might look like – if most of you don't want me to, then I wont. You can picture the characters how you originally wanted them to look like but I just thought that photos might give you a clearer idea about how I imagined them to look. Anyway, please let me know.
Also, if you ever want to see what's happening with my stories and how much I've written up of the next chapter, I've got it displayed on my profile page.
I'm having trouble with viewing my reviews (not to mention logging in to my account in the first place), so I'll write replies next chapter. But I was really glad to see both old and new reviewers - so thanks heaps!