Seeing her mother and father always brought Sally joy; and Sally's joy was Steven's joy.
So when Lady Ember enveloped Sally in an embrace it was no surprise that both Sally and Steven had smiles on their faces.
When Lady Ember pulled back she cupped Sally's face between her hands and stared at her. "Oh, honey, you're growing up so fast!"
Sally couldn't stop the blush from flowing from her face to her neck. "T-thank you…" she said quietly.
Ember smirked and put her face closer to her daughters. "Find any eligible men you like, hmm?"
Steven scoffed from his position next to their father. "All the eligible men are dopes, mother," he said while starting to walk into the manor. "She doesn't need them."
Lord Harper smiled proudly and patted his son's shoulder. "That's right son; keep her away from the evil men!" He turned toward his daughter. "My little girl is too good for all those gross boys."
Ember let out a "tsk" and smiled at Sally. "Don't listen to them, darling. If you find someone you like, then you go get him!"
Sally looked down at the ground and nodded gently.
"Sally!" Steven called, holding his hand out to her.
Sally stepped away from her mother and walked over to Steven, letting him take hold of her hand and lead her into the manor.
Ember walked up to her husband and stared after her two children. Harper wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and smiled down at her.
"When do you want to tell them?" he asked, placing a gentle hand on her stomach.
"Soon," Ember said as they followed their twins into their home.
After a few minutes in the parlor a maid interrupted the happily reunited family. "I am sorry," she said while bowing lowly. "But Mr. Chapman is here to see you, Lord Ackerly."
Harper nodded. "Show him in."
The maid nodded and disappeared, only to reappear a few second later with an older, rounder man behind her.
Mr. Chapman was a jolly looking man, with a round body and rosy cheeks. His smile was usually hidden behind his bushy, graying brown mustache. His large grey eyes were hidden behind circular spectacles.
"Hello Ackerly family," he said while walking into the room.
"Travis," Harper said while standing up and shaking the older man's hand. "It's wonderful to see you again."
"You as well, Harper," he smiled and he turned toward the other occupants in the room. "Ember, you're as breathtaking as usual."
Ember stood up and held out her hand and Travis kissed in lightly. "Thank you Travis," Ember said, giving him a smile.
Travis looked at the twins. "Ah, so you two are here for a visit as well?"
"Yes," Steven replied, grasping Sally's hand firmly.
Travis smiled. "When did you two get here? Were you able to see my nephew at the castle?"
Sally opened her mouth to say something but Steven beat her to it. "No we weren't," he said. "We left early this morning and were unable to see him yesterday."
Travis frowned slightly. "Oh, that's too bad." Suddenly a smile spread across his face. "I would love for you two to come to my manor sometime. I'm sure Carlisle would love to see you both again. You always seem to miss one another."
Steven smiled tightly. "That would be wonderful, Mr. Chapman."
Sally tried hard not to wince when Steven's grasp on her hand grew tighter, almost cutting of the circulation to her arm.
Travis let out a sigh. "Ah, you kids are growing up so fast. It seems like just yesterday when Carlisle, you two, and the other children would disobey the adults' orders and go into the woods to play, always retuning past dark all muddy but smiling…"
Harper and Ember joined in his wistful expression. "Those were the days…" they said dreamingly.
Then Ember frowned. "Wait…wasn't Steven a little devil back then?"
The two men lost their smiles as well and nodded grimly. "Yes."
Harper shook his head and stared at Travis. "Not that it's not a pleasure, but why are you here?"
Travis' jolly face suddenly turned very serious. "I would like to speak to you…alone, if you don't mind?"
"Of course not."
"Why in the world are you so angry?" I asked Bianca as I watched her pretty face get marred by a deep scowl.
"I don't want to talk about it," Bianca snapped, stomping past me. I felt a grain of resentment bubble in me. Even her stomping was elegant.
I hurried my steps to try and keep up with her. "Honestly Bi, what in the world has you in such a tight knot?"
"Oh Gilbert dear!" called a feminine voice from behind us. I turned around to see Lady Natasha waving her gloved hand at Bianca's Servant Boy. "Gilbert, be a doll and help me to me room; I'm feeling rather faint."
Servant Boy, whose name is apparently Gilbert, just let Lady Natasha wrap her arm around his and he led her down the hall to her room.
I stared after them for a moment in confusion before my eyes widened and I stared at Bianca in shock. Bianca, on the other hand, had a look so deadly in her eyes that only an idiot would say something…
It is a good thing I am an idiot.
"You like him!" I exclaimed, covering my mouth in shock.
"What?" Bianca snapped, glaring at me; her sapphire eyes on fire.
"Servant B- I mean, Gilbert; you like him. That's why you're so awful to him… You do know that's not a very good way to go about your feelings, right?"
Bianca rolled her eyes. "And forcing my feelings onto him would be better? Besides, I don't like him. I'm just angry; who is she to think her needs are above mine? I am the princess for goodness sakes! It is me he should be catering to; not that vile Lady Natasha." I shook my head, a smile forming on my lips. "Besides," Bianca continued. "That Lady slut is only using Gilbert; trying to make Steven jealous. She is such an idiot." I stared at Bianca is shock. She rolled her eyes. "Oh please, Mimi, be observant once in a while. Steven has had his fair share of court girls in his bed; Natasha is just stupid and thinks she is better than the rest; that she actually meant something to Steven."
"Are you sure you're thirteen?"
"Of course I'm not Mimi; I'll be thirteen next month."
This was all news to me. I mean, how could Steven "be" with other women? Isn't Sally the only girl he cares for? I mean, I know they don't love each other in that way, but Steven has always made it clear that Sally was always his number one priority.
I shrugged. "Anyway, have you seen Matt? I haven't seen him today; which is rare…"
Bianca raised a fair brow. "He's your bodyguard; isn't he supposed to always be with you."
I scoffed. "Oh yeah? Then where's Sir Daniel."
"Right there." Bianca pointed and I looked, surprised to see that Sir Daniel was a few feet away, blending in to the scenery.
"…Oh…Well, I'm off to find Matt. If you see him, tell him I'm looking for him."
"As if he doesn't already know."
"This time it was the four princesses of Acelin, King Sheldon," said Sir. Drapper. "The kidnap was conducted in the same way as the first. It happened at night and the princesses vanished in a cloud of smoke."
King Sheldon rubbed him temple in distress. "So it wasn't just an act of resistance in Tearlach," he mumbled. "They're going after all the princesses."
"That is our guess, your majesty."
"I want security tightened even more," Sheldon instructed while standing from his throne. "Instruct the royal bodyguards that they are not to leave the children's side even once. I want guards put at all the princesses' doors at night, and I want fifty more guards at the castle gate at all times."
"Yes, your majesty."
"If anything happens to them…"
"Shouldn't you be with the princess?" Candace inquired as she tilted her head to the side. She lay on her blue, silk sheet bed with a now empty lunch tray in her lap.
"She'll understand," I said as I pushed back a stray hair behind her ear. "How are you feeling?"
"Better…I do wish you wouldn't make me take that awful medicine."
"That medicine is what made you feel better. No, it's best you stay on it. I had Dominic go to Lady Sadie to ask her to make more."
"I hate troubling her."
"It's her job," I replied. I stood up from the stool next tot her bed and took the tray from her lap. "Dominic will be back soon. I should be going."
"Alright," Candace replied while closing her eyes.
"Be sure to take more of the medicine," I instructed.
"I took some just two hours ago…"
"Do whatever Dominic tells you too, alright?"
"I will," Candace replied, covering her mouth as she yawned.
I placed a kiss in her head and left the room quietly. As I made my way down the deserted hall a gruff voice called out to me and I watched as Sir. Timothy made his way over to me; his eyes fierce.
"Where is Princess Mimi?" He demanded.
I shrugged. "I assume in her room."
His glared hardened. "Why she isn't with you? Have you not heard the news?"
"The Acelin Princesses were just kidnapped."
"So, it's become clear that whoever's behind this is after princesses; all of them. Princess Mimi should be with you at all times."
I sighed in annoyance and continued walking. "Fine, I'll go get her."
"Don't you care about her…at all?" Sir Edmund asked.
I didn't reply until I turned the corner and out of his ear shot. "Not really, no."
It wasn't hard trying to find Mimi. In fact, she was the one who came running down the hall and right into me. I watched with a lifted brow as she bumped into my chest and then fall backward, falling to the ground. She rubbed her sour behind and glared up at me.
"You could have helped me,"
"Why? You're a princess, you should know not to go stampeding around," I replied while starting to walk past her. "Hurry up."
"Now we will come to see what is truly evil in this world. The venom of revenge; the power of duty; the loose of loyalty; the fear of love; and a hate burning down within each of us, all a different shade and form."
Sheldon looked at Sadie strangely. "What?"
Sadie smiled and took a sip of her tea. "Nothing, cousin."
Author's Note: OMG so busy! I'm going to try and get the next chapter of Firefly out and then the next chapter for this story as soon as I can. It all depends on how many reviews I get! SO HA! lol