Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me, and if we get technical they really belong to the Brother's Grimm, but oh well.

Chapter One

[The turning point]

Maurice grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him hard, "For once in your life, man, be bold!"

No. He couldn't. His heart screamed at him to run to the castle, grab Leonardo, and force him to see Danielle no matter what. She needed him. More than she's ever needed anyone before. Danielle. She had been independent and alone for so long, and had always been there to get him out of any scrape, or, he thought fondly, get him into one. He loved her. She was his sister, his friend, and only confidante. How could he disappoint her? Almost as if in decision, he stepped forward and gazed defiantly over toward the castle, its national flags waving proudly from the battlements. His heart rose in his chest and knew that this was right. Even at the risk of his own life, he had to accomplish this or die trying. For her. He swallowed hard and sprinted toward the castle.

Yes! A plan of action formed in his head: He would find some way to get into that castle. And he would tell Leonardo Da Vinci. He would understand. How could a such a man of prodigience and genius possibly refuse? Surely, he would be sympathetic and help them. He had to. He felt a rush of adrenaline and quickened his pace toward the castle. He could this. He would succeed!

His skip broke out into a run and he flew past every other commoner still lingering idly on the streets; the wind blew in his face, refreshing him and giving him a feeling of elation. Yes! Yes! This would all be solved tonight! This horrible mess will be resolved and Danielle- A broad smile spread across Gustave's face- Danielle will escape her wretched life and live happily ever after with the prince in his castle. It would be just like a fairy tale!

Too blinded by his musings and the pitch black night, Gustave didn't see the horse-pulled cart charging forth as he rounded the corner. His breath was knocked out of him, and everything went black.

~Prince Henry POV~

How could they rejoice when so much misery lay inside him? After all, wasn't this masque for him? A contest to see which fair maiden could beguile him into thinking that she loved him and would make a good wife? All they cared about was his royalty and riches. Every single wench that lived in the land didn't care a wit about him, except for Nicole. He shut his eyes tight, refusing to let the few traitorous tears fall. Nicole! He pounded his fist against the stone wall of the Hautefort tunnel. The greatest deceiver and seductress of them all. She had conned him into thinking that she loved him, and he had so blindly fell for the trick. He had, foolishly, believed that she had cared about him. The real him. And he had fallen for it.

Henry balled his hands up into fists, digging his nails into his flesh, trying desperately to make this feeling of remorse go away. 'I loved her.' Those words echoed through him; his heart, mind, soul, and body. He felt it everywhere. She was the only one for him. The only one he could ever bring himself to love. She was his perfect match. For a moment, he let the image of her face float before his eyes. Beautiful Nicole. She was so perfect and beautiful. And for a few heavenly days, she had been his; all his. Or so he had thought.

The realization struck him again, worse than any blow any adversary could strike on him. She was married to a Belgian. Married. She had chosen someone else. Somehow, she had seen him as unfit to be her husband. Didn't she know how much he cared for her? Didn't she know that he could've make her happier than any other man? The thought that maybe she had indeed knew haunted Henry's mind. She must have seen the look in his eyes. The love he bore for her. And she chose to marry someone else. He felt his heart break again for the thousandth time that evening. He could feel the two pieces, lying pitifully on either side of his ribcage, broken and battered, unable to live without its other half.

Nicole! his heart screamed out. Nicole!

Thunderous, rude footsteps interrupted his lamentations, reminding him of the decision he had to make that night.

His father, gruff and formal, looked at him condescendingly, "I understand you wanted to see me," he barked.

"Yes, father," Henry opened his eyes and slowly turned away from the wall, facing his fate, "I did."

His father's eyes softened and he features relaxed, realizing his son was not out to rebel or cause mischief. In fact, he could sense that his son was hurting, however oblivious he was to the reason. "Listen, perhaps it was unfair of me to put so much pressure on you like this," he began, "But-"

Henry cut him off, "I've made my decision." His forced himself to look into his father's eyes. Masking over his face, his features felt hard and taut; expressionless; emotionless. This was the night he would throw his life away for the sake of duty. 'Goodbye, Nicole.' his mind whispered finally.

"Well," his father cleared his throat and glanced imploringly at Henry, "Who is the lucky girl?"


~POV Danielle~

Danielle stretched out uncomfortably on the dungeon floor. After hours of crying and sobbing, exhaustion had taken over. She had given up hope that anyone had come to rescue her, and the sound of thick rain pelting the dry earth outside seemed ominous. She would never see Henry again. He would go off and marry a more noble and worthy maiden than she was. Please, she cried in her mind, Please don't let him marry Marguerite. Give him a wife that will make him happy and love him faithfully. She wished that for him with all of her heart. Henry deserved to be loved. He deserved to have the best that he could ever have.

A part of her hated the thought of Henry marrying someone else, while she was destined to live out her days in this dungeon, starved until her death. But if she died miserably, she wished that Henry at least would live contentedly.

How long would it take him to forget about her? A week, a month, a year? Maybe she was flattering herself. Maybe Henry didn't really love her the way she thought he had. After all, she had heard of the effect his charm and enchantment had on other ladies.

She knew in her heart that she was making false accusations. Oh yes, Henry had loved her very much. And she had loved him. She was trying to ebb away at the pain. She wanted to stop hurting. Through long tedious hours she had rocked back and forth in her chair, tears spilling and her mind racing. Every now and then, a cry of desperation and extreme heartache would erupt.

Finally, against her will, she had fallen into an uneasy and awkward sleep with Henry's face lingering in her mind to both comfort and to torment; a full night of torture and anxiety, only half sleeping off her exhaustion.

The dungeon door creaked and light footsteps padded across the earthen floor. Danielle was so weak and drained, she only managed to half open her eyes. Rodmilla stood pillar-like above her. Her nose turned down on her sneeringly.

"I only came here to let you know that your probation is lifted- for now. I'm warning you, if you step out of line even once more, it's off to the Americas with you! I'm surprised at myself for giving you another chance. But, I suppose I still may be able to force some useful labor from you."

Danielle opened her mouth to speak, but her lips were dry and her mouth parched. She closed her mouth again and licked her lips.

"As soon as you wash yourself, you will come down and help Marguerite prepare for her coming nuptial." Rodmilla smiled fiendishly and grabbed Danielle firmly by the chin, forcing her to look straight at her, "Prince Henry announced his engagement to Marguerite at the end of the masque."

She waited for her words to sink in. "Don't things have a funny way of turning out? Here you are, stuck here in this damp, rank dungeon while the prince is at the masque, happily sharing the news of his much anticipated wedding to your step-sister." She wiped a bit of dirt off of Danielle's face.

"Don't worry. I know how much you cared-" Rodmilla snickered, "- for the prince, and I wouldn't dream of putting you through the pain of seeing him holding Marguerite's hand. So, as of this evening, you are the property of Monsieur Le Pieu." Rodmilla grinned, pleased, as Danielle's eyes widened with shock.

Having achieved her desired reaction, Rodmilla rose wiping her hand on her kerchief, exited the dungeon and left the door open behind her. Danielle bit down hard on her lip, her eyes having no more capacity of weeping, and accepted her fate.


My note: I really hoped you enjoyed it, please PLEASE leave a review. I will be writing a second chapter to it, but I'm not quite sure when I'll be able to finish it.