Chapter Four

"Mother, father, I need to talk to you right now," Henry announced as they entered the throne room later that day, Danielle hiding slightly behind him.

"Yes, Henry? Who is that you've got with you?" Marie asked. Francis looked up and acknowledged his son with a nod.

"I would like you to meet Danielle De Barbarac, my betrothed,"

Marie's eyes lit up and she walked over to Danielle.

"Let me have a look at you my child,"

She pulled her out from behind Henry and studied her at arms length.

"You are gorgeous, but I don't believe we've met,"

Henry took Danielle's arm and stood beside her.

"You wouldn't have. Danielle has been made a slave in her own home. Tell them everything you told me," He prodded.

Danielle took a deep breath.

"Your Majesties..." She addressed the King and Queen. She told them everything. Since her father's death, her sufferings over the years and all of the meetings with their son. Henry had never been more proud.

"This is an outrage! How could this happen right under my nose?" Francis yelled.

"Francis, settle down. We need to sort this out calmly and quickly. My dear, you sit down here,"

She led Danielle to a chair at the small desk. Henry stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders.

"I would like the royal physician to have a look at her soon, mother, to see what damage they have caused,"

"Of course" She answered

"They will be brought in to court. Today. If we can, we will have them on a boat to the Americas by tomorrow afternoon!" Francis said, in a definite tone.

"No!" protested Danielle, "Please, your Majesties, I don't wish for them to be sent to the Americas. No, that is too severe,"

Henry stroked her hair and whispered, "My sweet Danielle,"

"You understand we must do something. This sort of thing can't go unpunished," Francis explained.

Danielle nodded quickly, "Of course, just not that, please," Her eyes were filled with tears as she looked up at him.

"Alright, while we have you looked after, I will think on it. I will get back to you in an hours time and then we shall call for your family,"

"Jacqueline did nothing. In fact, she made it bearable. Don't punish her for having a wicked family.

The king just nodded. Henry led Danielle out of the room and to some private quarters.

"Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent, did you or did not lie you Her Majesty, the Queen of France?"

Rodmilla eyes rose to meet the King's.

"Choose your words carefully, for they may be your last,"

"You are also charged with false servitude issuement and wrongful punishing of the future princess of France. How do you plead?"

"No guilty, Sire. I don't know where this came-"

"You would dare lie to the King of France now, Madam? We have strong, nay, faultless evidence against you and Marguerite!" Henry spoke from his place besides his father.

"Your initial punishment was to be shipped of to the Americas, but my finial decision is you and your horrible daughter are to be stripped of all titles and properties. You will spend the next good portion of your lives here, working as servants, starting today. When you see your stepdaughter next I would get on your knees and thank her for the mercy she has shown you, God knows I didn't want to be so lenient. Guards, remove them, from my sight!"

Danielle was announced as Henry's betrothed the next night. They danced the night away, grateful that such a hectic few days were now behind them. Now they have the rest of their lives to look forward to.

Everyone who ever knew Henry personally knew, just by a simple look at him now, that he was happier than he had ever been. Marie knew that Danielle was the perfect choice for both her son and her country.

Although he wouldn't ever admit it, Francis already adored her. For straightening out his son. For everything she had gone through and yet she was still standing, brave and tall. He couldn't wait until his got into a good debate with her.

Danielle was finally surrounded by the family she had always wanted. She'd soon have a loving husband, with two parents who already loved her. Paulette, Louise and Maurice would stay at the manor, but Danielle was informed she must visit regularly. Even though she loved her father home, she found that the best place to be was Henry's arms.

The End