CHAPTER ONE

THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW

Once upon a time a young maiden sat upon a spinning wheel, wishing she could bear a child for her husband. Her husband was the chief guard at the palace and, at the moment, was combing the dark forest that borders Alsin land for the missing five-year-old Crowned Prince. He had expressed great interest in having children when he met the young prince at his birth. It was such a delight to watch him swing the boy into the air. He would make a wonderful father, if only she can give him the chance to be one.

When the young maiden finished sewing, she started to gather up the materials. "Ahh…" She jumped in surprised. Her finger had picked the needle and a small drop of blood was seen. The maiden ran to the window, threw back the cloth, and stuck out her hand. The cold air of winter blew into the house, but she didn't really care. She had to make sure none of the blood hit the new tunic she made for her husband.

The maiden turned her head, trying to look for something to stop the bleeding. She can feel it running down her finger and into the snow below. She turned her head back to the window. She looked down at her blood on the white snow and was suddenly compelled to make a wish. "Oh, how I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony," she whispered into the still chilly air. Nine months later, a daughter was born and she was named Neiva Blanca or, in English, Snow White. Sadly, a few days after Neiva's birth, the young maiden had died. The birth of her child was too much for her body to take.

And, as for the prince…well, he was never found…presumed dead by many. Up at the castle, the stepmother of the prince stood in front of a mirror that hung on her wall in her private chambers. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all?"

The mirror spoke back to her in a monotone voice, "You, my queen, are fairest of all." The new queen smiled sweetly with an evil glare in her eye.

Seventeen Years Later:

QUEEN POV:

For the first time in two days, I stood before my beloved mirror. My beautiful face stared back at me. My face was pale and smooth, my alluring blue eyes, my graceful petite body and my favorite feature, my exquisite blond hair pulled into an elegant hairstyle at the back of my head. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all?" I asked relishing already in the answer that I knew would be coming.

"Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you," the mirror replied.

"WHAT?" I screeched. 'That can't be right!' I thought. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me who is this Snow White," I demanded. 'How can one be fairer then I, the Queen?'

"She is the daughter of a captain with skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony, my queen," responded the mirror.

"Chief Captain Blanca's child?" I asked. I had thought his daughter too skin and pale to become fairer then me. She was never a threat...until now. 'How can that little lass become fairer than I?'

"Yes, my queen," the mirror answered bluntly.

I had to get rid of her! She couldn't be more beautiful than a queen! She was no one important, no one at all. The men would focus on her and not their queen! She needed to go! It was my beauty people should be talking about! It was my beauty people should envy!

As calmly as I could, I walked out of the room to call my son, the new crowned prince to the throne. "Darren, will you bring my son to me. I wish to speak to him," I said sweetly to the guard standing outside my bed chambers. Darren was easily persuade, just a few sweet words to him and he was eating out of my hand. It was easier then I had thought to get an inside man. He was so gullible. He would tell me everything that was happening in the palace.

"Of course, your highness," he responded with a bow before leaving to find the King's stepson.

I waited calmly in my room for my son. A plan had formed in my mind to get rid of the young child and my mind was now at easy with confidence. I was a queen, after all. I know how to handle a stressful situation. I should not have succumbed to my temper. It was not ladylike nor, at all, queen-like. Furthermore, my plan was flawless, completely foolproof.

A knock on my door alerted me to the presence of my son. "Come in, son."

My son, Gavin, came into the room. "You wanted to see me, mother."

I nodded. "Close the door behind you, Gavin." I sat on the chair in front of my mirror, looking into my beautiful reflection. I heard more then saw the door close behind my handsome son. I glanced at his reflection in the mirror as he stood by the closed door. His dirty blond hair was pulled back into a low ponytail at the back of his head. His dark blue tunic was personally done by the best tailor in the kingdom. It fitted his athletic form perfectly. His piercing blue eyes caught mine in the reflection. I glanced back to my own reflection and added a bit more powder to my face. "Who would you say is the best huntsman in the kingdom?"

My son took a few steps into the room. "That would be Donovan, mother. Why do you ask?"

I ignored his question. "Tell me about him." I knew Gavin was giving me a suspicious look, but I kept my head held high and gave him a firm 'you better answer without question' look.

"He may be the best huntsman in the kingdom, but the guy himself isn't that great of a person. He would almost do anything and hunt anything for the right price."

'Perfect;' I thought. 'Just the type of man I need.' "Where would I find him?"

Gavin moved farther into my bed chambers until he was standing close behind me. "Mother," my son said with a weary sigh. "What is your devious mind planning now? I don't want a part in it this time. You promised when I got rid of the former crowned prince, you wouldn't use me." He picked up my brush and started running it through my hair.

"My dear son that is why I am asking for a huntsman this time around. You know I would never break a promise to you," I cooed at him like he was still a four-year-old.

"I know, mother, but sometimes you worry me. What is the problem this time?" he asked staring at my reflection in the mirror as he brushed my hair.

"A young wench is the problem now. I wish for a huntsman to get rid of her. I want her heart to bleed in my hand," I declared angrily. I glared at my own reflection.

"What did this young wench do, mother?"

I smiled. "Why, my son, with so many questions one would thing you wanted apart in this scheme? That can be arranged."

"Mother, I only want to know for if I have to come to your defense, that is, if you are ever caught. I would like to prepare a canard. I can spin the heart of the king to believe my tale. If you tell me what this is about."

"A young wench is fairer then I. A queen beaten by a nobody! She is threatening my position as the fairest queen throughout the entire kingdom," I sneered. "I need for someone to get rid of her."

"That would be done, mother. I'll find Donovan for you and request his help in ridding of her. Who is it I should say hired him? And how is he going to rid of her?"

I turned around in my chair to stare at my son with a fierce look. "Don't say who hired him." I turned back to the mirror. "Inform Donovan to take Captain Blanca's daughter out into the woods to a remote spot, and stab her to death and bring back her heart before the morning dawn of the second day. Send Darren to get the heart from the huntsman."


NEIVA POV:

I was working in the field behind our house. Father was at the palace, leaving me to provide food for the table. The sun was setting behind the trees of the forest and I knew it was time to go in, but I wanted to pull this one stubborn weed out of the ground before I did.

"Good evenin', young lass."

I jumped and turned to face a tall scruffy brown-haired man that stood behind me. I didn't even hear him sneak up on me. "Oh, excuse me, sir. I didn't hear you come up. May I help you?"

It happened so fast I had no clue what happened until he was dragging me farther and farther into the forest. His strong arm was wrapped around my midsection and I was in the air, kicking my feet. His hand was on my mouth, stopping the scream that wanted to burst from inside. My arms were trapped behind me between his chest and my back. Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I knew. I knew the chances of seeing my father again was slim to none.

I lost track just how far into the forest he took me. I had stopped kicking around in defeat by the time he dropped to the muddy cold ground of the forest. I knew this would be the place where I would die. Still on the ground I looked up at my soon-to-be murderer. Tears formed at my eyes again.

The man pulled out a knife. The setting sunrays bounced off the silver blade and into my eyes for a moment. He took a step towards me with a gleam in his eyes. In fear, I backed into a boulder. "Please. Please, don't kill me. Why? I haven't done anything. Please spare my life. I promise to run and never return. Please," I pleaded.

The man stopped and stared at me, long and hard. I forced myself to stay still; afraid any sudden movement would make him pounce. He lowered the knife and I felt hope bloom within me.

"Go, wench. Before me changed me mind. If ye err smart, don't ya come back ta Alsin. Someone hired me ta kill ya and they won't be pleased with I err ya if they realize ya still live. NOW GO!" he yelled.

Without a moment to waste, I got up and ran farther into the woods. The branches of the trees scrapped my arms and face, but I refused to slow down until I knew for certain I was safe. The sun lowered until there was no sun at all.

The sounds of the nocturnal creatures made my heart beat fearfully, but I continued to run. I don't know how long I ran before collapsing I was breathing heavily and couldn't stop the sobs. I was alone in the middle of a forest, away from my father! I was scared, afraid what might be out there right now. Afraid of the one who had hired that man to kill me…to kill me! I've done no harm before, ever.

My legs hurt from running for so long and I didn't think I could make it. I thought I'd die right there, if it wasn't for the sound of a stream close by. I was dreadfully thirsty. I tried to stand up to walk, but my legs crammed up. So, instead of walking to the creek, I crawled across the forest floor. A branch sticking out of the ground scrapped against my leg. It stung, but I refused to cry out. My throat was dry, anyhow. I was glad when I reached the stream. I sighed in relief as I crawled my way to the bank of the stream.

The water was cool from the night air, but it felt dreadfully good after the long run. I sat there for a moment just relishing in the feel of the cool water running through my fingers. Thirst, though, took over and I gladly cupped water in my hand and brought it to my mouth. The water was sweet with only a small taste of dirt, but it would have brought me to my knees if I wasn't on my knees already.

I looked up after I was refreshed. That was in I saw it. A structure stood across the stream with a small candle burning in an open window. It was a small two story cabin. I didn't think why a cabin would be in the middle of nowhere. To me, it was shelter, it was hope. Hope that I can survive. With this newfound hope blooming in me, I found the strength to stand up on my injured legs. I looked for a way to cross the stream and found a newly built bridge not too far from me. I can still smell the dust from cutting the trees to make the bridge. It must have just been done today.

With shaky legs I walked towards the bridge and crossed it. I walked up the stone path that led from the bridge to the front wooden door of the cabin. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. I was tired and didn't want to spend the night outside. So, I tried the door. It was, to my relief, unlocked. Thinking I wasn't hurting anything, I stepped into the cabin. "Hello! Anybody here? Please, I'm lost and hungry. I need a place to stay for the night. Hello?" I called out, but the home was still. I looked around the messy cabin and realized people lived there, but they were just not home.

I debated. I was tired, lost, hungry, and cold. I was now homeless and couldn't go to my father for help. I am now standing in a warm cabin that needed a womanly touch to it. Living with only my father made me realize just how messy men can be and, looking around the messy cabin, I can conclude only men lived there. The kitchen was visible from where I stood and I can still see their breakfast or lunch sitting unclean on the table and sink. I walked to the kitchen. There was bread on the table and it reminded me just how hungry I was. My stomach ached for food.

Maybe, if I cleaned up a little around the cabin, they would let me stay…at least for the night. It was worth a try.


VINCE POV:

We dragged our feet home after a long, long day. I couldn't wait to get home to clean off all the dirt, grime and sweat and I am confident the others felt the same, but we were too tired to run or go any faster than our snail pace walk. I focused putting one foot in front of the other.

"Me can't wait to be home." I heard Johnny murmur. We all murmured in agreement. "What happen, Erik?"

'Poor Johnny,' I thought. He couldn't comprehend much around him. He couldn't understand what he did wrong.

"The cave fell apart, Johnny. The boards holding the wall broke and it caved in." I heard Erik tell his twin brother for the fourth time.

What Erik failed to mention was Johnny's role in all of it. He was accidently hitting the board with his hammer not the dirt wall, which caused it to crack and fall. The whole time we were stuck down there, Warren was yelling at Johnny with Gabriel trying to resolve it. In my opinion, if Warren spent less time yelling and more time helping we would have gotten out hours ago, but since he decided to yell at Johnny, who couldn't help with Warren in his face, we got out way after dinner. Gabriel couldn't help either because he was trying to calm Warren down. It was all a big mess.

I can faintly here the murmuring of Gab and War at the end of the line. Gab was most likely talking to War about his anger…again.

"Who's cooking tonight, mates?" my closest friend, Remus, asked enthusiastically. Despite anybody else's mood, my friend can be as happy and jolly as they come. He thought with his stomach, too. That could be a curse or a blessing.

The rest of the crew groaned at his enthusiasm. "Let's get home first and clean up before jumping on the food, Rem," I interrupted before War can say something that would set anybody off.

The quiet dark cabin finally came into view and our pace quickened in our rush for food and rest. "I don't even think I'll clean up, just go straight to bed," the seventh of my brothers said quietly. Alastair was the quietest one of the group, but that made him better as a character. He would refuse to take sides and would see the good and bad for both sides.

I was the first to walk into the dark cabin and immediately realized something was off in the air. The air smelled fresh, clean even. The other six walked in after me, but they didn't seem to come to the same realization that I did. I slowly walked into the kitchen and the light from the moon helped me see the clean table where we left breakfast today.

"Somethin' off, Erik," I heard Johnny proclaim from the living room. "Someone sitted in chair."

I walked out of the kitchen. "Someone cleaned up the kitchen too."

"We must have had an intruder," War said glaring around the clean living room.

"An intruder that cleaned for us?" his brother said with a raised eyebrow. "Sounds to me, he'll be a keeper."

"The intruder might still be here," Erik pointed out.

We split up. Erik and his twin went upstairs, War and Gab went into the basement, Rem and Al went outside, and I stayed on the ground floor. The dirty laundry that was on the floor was picked up, cleaned and neatly folded on the end of the couch. The hardwood floor had been mopped and was clean of all the garbage they had left out a few nights ago. The rest of the ground floor of the cabin was, for the most part, the same as the living room and kitchen, cleaned, but there were no signs of the intruder who did it.

I heard thumping on the steps. "Vince! Vince! Someone sleep in bed. Vince bed! They sleep Vince bed!" I heard Johnny say excitedly. I rushed and met Johnny half way up the stairs. He was jumping and clapping his hands with a big smile on his face. "Girl sleep in Vince bed!"

"What?" I questioned. "Show me, Johnny." Johnny led the way up the stairs and to Rem, Al, and my room. Erik was standing in the doorway looking bewildered as he stared at something in the room. Johnny came up behind him with a huge smile and I stood next Erik.

My bed was right across the door. It was the first thing one would see when they enter the room. On my bed was a young woman, only a few years younger than me. She was snuggled in my bed. Her ebony hair was spread across my pillow with my sheets tucked about her in a cocoon. Her skin was as pale as the snow in the winter. Her lips were bright red. They were opened slightly as she slumbered. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. She was one of the most beautiful and fairest lady I've ever seen. My heart thumped in my chest just at the sight of her. My blood ran hot through my veins. It must have been love at first sight…that is if what I'm feeling was love. I had no experience with such a thing.

I heard someone climb up the stairs. "Well, we couldn't find anybody in the basement. Perhaps we should help Rem and Al outside," Gab's low voice was heard when he caught sight of us.

"What are you guys looking at?" War asked as he reached the top step.

"A girl in bed! In Vince bed! Girl sleep in Vince bed!" Johnny said excitedly. "A pretty girl!"

Curiously, War and Gab looked into the room as well. "Certainly wasn't expecting this," Gab said with a curious raise of his brow.

"Al and I couldn't find much outside. There were small footprints on the other side of the stream, but couldn't find anything else," Rem said, coming up the stairs. "What is going on up here…a party and I wasn't invited. How rude!" he said chuckling.

"Pretty girl sleep in Vince bed!"

Al and Rem glanced into the room. Rem grinned and turned to me. "Vince, where have you been hiding her?"

"What should we do? Should we wake her?" Al asked, stopping me from saying a rude remark to Rem.

I looked back at the beautiful creature in my bed and shook my head. "No. Let her sleep. She looks awfully tired. We can talk to her in the morning."

"But where would we sleep?" Al asked.

"Grab your blankets and pillows. You three would sleep on the floor in our room," Gab said.

"Someone could sleep on the couch downstairs," I said. "Fitting seven fully grown men in a small room doesn't sound too appealing. We'll sleep in the living room." I turned to Rem. "Can I borrow a pillow and blanket?"


QUEEN POV:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?" I questioned after receiving the small box containing Neiva Blanca's heart from Darren.

"You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Little Snow White beyond the seven mountains is a thousand times fairer than you."

I couldn't even say anything for a moment. That was how infuriated I was. "That can't be, mirror. I hold in my hand Neiva Blanca's heart as proof she is gone," I managed to say through clenched teeth.

"A heart you hold; 'tis true. But it's the heart of a swine the huntsman had swiped from a neighboring farm."

"AHH!" I yelled as I threw the box with the pig's heart at the wall. That huntsman, that foul rogue! He didn't get rid of her! "You know what they say. If you want something done right, better do it yourself." First, I have to get rid of that huntsman. He knew too much. "Darren!" I screeched.


NEIVA POV:

I woke up bright and early. The sun was coming through the one window in the room, letting me know just how early it was. I stretched like a feline on the bed, wondering what woke me up.

A smell came to me. The smell of fresh baked porridge came from downstairs, reminding me that I was in someone else's cabin. I sat up in bed. Do they know I'm here? I slowly got out of the bed and snuck down the steps. I was nervous about meeting the owners of the cabin. Maybe I could sneak out without them ever knowing.

Noises were coming from the kitchen, voices. There were many voices, male voices. I looked over the railing of the stairs to peak into the kitchen. I can only see three and a half of them, but I could tell there were more sitting on the other side of the table. I moved farther down the stairs quietly so I would be able to see everyone in the kitchen. There were seven of them, all males, but the one that caught my attention the most was the black haired green eyed man sitting at the end of the table, next to a brown haired man. He was handsome. His hair went down to just above his shoulders and it was pulled back into a low ponytail. He had full lips and I can see the whiteness of his teeth as he talked to the man sitting across from him. A smile crossed his lips and I can see little dimples. He was tan and tall. His shoulders were broad.

Suddenly, his eyes caught mine and I stopped my descent down the stairs. My body froze. He didn't say anything, just stared at me. The smile had left his lips. His eyes intensely gazed my own. He then gazed down my body and back to my eyes. I felt my cheeks burn.

The man he was talking to earlier turned to see what his friend was looking at and saw me standing there like a fool. He smiled. His eyes danced with mischief. "Mates, the gal's up." He pushed his dark brown bangs out of his eyes and I faintly saw a white scar going from the top of his eyebrow to his scalp.

Everyone else at the table turned and looked at me. I felt my face flush with embarrassment. Here I was, trying to leave before they saw me and I blew it because I was staring at a handsome black haired man.

The very tall man that sat the end of the table stood. He must have been two feet taller than my five feet structure. He was broader then the black haired man and looked twice as strong. He had dark blond hair that reached just below his shoulders. It was then pulled back into a low ponytail. "Why don't you sit down and get something to eat?" He waved a hand at the chair that was empty at the other end of the table.

A light brown haired man gave me the biggest smile. He hopped in his seat and clapped his hand. His light green eyes sparkled with childish innocence. It would be easy to warm up to him, I'm sure. I looked to the man that would be sitting on my other side. He seemed quiet. His bright blond hair sparkled from the sun coming through the window. His brown eyes didn't look up from the plate.

I moved slowly to the seat, still unsure and nervous under the curious eyes of my hosts. I hesitantly sat down in the hard seat. I refused to meet anyone's eye. My face was red hot and with my white pale skin, I had no doubt it was noticeable.

A plate suddenly appeared before me. I glanced up and stared wide-eye at the man that looked identical to the one sitting next to me, the light brown haired, childish one. He smiled. His smile was less enthusiastic and more comforting then the identical man. It was more polite. "Names Erik." He nodded his head at the man sitting in between us. "This is my twin brother, Johnny. Don't mind him, Miss. He's just a little slow in the head. He was born like that."

I smiled shyly at both of them. They both seemed friendly enough.

"And my name is Remus, but friends call me Rem." The man with the scar above his eyes spoke up. His dark blue eyes sparkled and he smiled big and wide. His smile was contagious and I soon found myself smiling at him too. He pointed to a grumpy looking man sitting next to him. He was almost just has tall and broad as the first man who spoke to me. He, too, had dark blond hair, but his only reached just below his ears. He was maybe a year or two younger than the other man. They must be brothers. "This grumpy man is Warren. You may call him War. His name fits his attitude."

War glared at him with a growl in his throat.

"War." The other dark blond hair man said with an underlying threat. War glanced at him before slouching in his seat. "Sorry about my brother, Miss. My name is Gabriel, but you may call me Gab." He turned his sight to the other man sitting next to me. "That is Alastair. He is a bit quiet, especially around strangers. You may call him Al."

I glanced at the man sitting next to me, but he still didn't look up from his plate. I then looked over to the last man at the table. The one I was most curious about. He had yet to announce his name. My eye caught his again and time seemed to slow down. He had been staring at me the whole time and it made me really uncomfortable.

"Just call me Vince." He looked down at his food on his plate, pushing them around with his fork.

"And your name Miss?" I glanced at…was it Gab? Or War? I couldn't remember. It was the man at the other end of the table, the huge man.

"Nei…" I stopped. The huntsman said someone hired him to kill me. Telling my name could be harmful right now. Besides, I was going to have to try and forget the past. "Snow White," I answered meekly. "My name is Snow White."

I stood at the doorway as the men pass me to leave for their daily work. Vince was the last one to leave. He stopped in front of me. "Be careful, Snow. We don't know who is trying to kill you. They most likely not going to find you here, but just be careful anyhow." I had told them near the end of breakfast about the huntsman. They all took in the news and promised me that I would be safe with them. I had never been so glad. Although, I wondered why they would agree to help a complete stranger.

I nodded. "Thank you, Vince. I'll be fine on my own for a few hours. Dinner will be ready when you return."

He nodded and looked at the retreating backs of his friends. He looked back at me and opened his mouth like he wanted to say something, but he didn't. I sighed in disappointment. He walked away. I closed the door slowly. I had wished I had the courage to say something, anything. I looked around the room. "I guess I can make a pie or something." I've cleaned most of the cabin yesterday. There wasn't much else to do.

As I was in the kitchen, waiting for the pie to cook, I heard a knock on the door. "Open up. Open up. I'm the old peddler woman with good wares for sale."

I peered out the window. The peddler woman had gray hair that fell to her shoulders. Her blue eyes were dull with age."What do you have?" I asked.

"Bodice laces, dear child," said the old woman, and held one up. It was braided from yellow, red, and blue silk. "Would you like this one?"

Oh, I would love one. I had seen many fine ladies with them and I wished I had the money for one. "Oh, yes," I said, thinking, 'I can let the old woman come in. She means well.' I unbolted the door and bargained for the bodice laces.

"You are not laced up properly," said the old woman. "Come here, I'll do it better." I stood before her, and she took hold of the laces and pulled them so tight that I could not breathe. I tried telling woman, but no words came out. I felt dizzy and the floor was getting closer and closer. I closed my eyes and, then, all I could see was darkness.


VINCE POV:

Night had fallen and we were on our way home from the mine. I was, once again, at the front of the line. I wanted to get home to see Snow White. Rem was right beside me, yearning for Snow's dinner. We had yet to taste Snow's cooked meal and he was already talking about it like it was a meal from heaven. It made me laugh. Johnny was walking behind him with his brother, clapping his hand in excitement.

"Me want Snow food, too!" he said, getting caught up with Rem's enthusiasm.

We reached the cabin and I was surprise to see it dark. "Snow must be sleeping; exhausted herself by baking your food all day Rem," Erik said laughing. He lightly punched Rem in his shoulder.

"Erik!" Rem said, shoving him back. "The food isn't just for me, you know."

"Could have fooled me." Erik replied with a chuckle.

I wasn't all that comfortable with the situation as the rest was. For some reason, I did not believe Snow wouldn't light a candle for our return, even if she was going to take a nap. I opened the door slowly and walked in. I almost slipped over something on the ground, but couldn't see what it was. "Someone light a candle."

Light interrupted the darkness as War, Gab, and Al walked around the room to light each candle. Erik and Rem went around me to light the fireplace. Johnny stayed by my side and I bent down to touch the thing I almost slipped over. It was warm and smooth. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I gasped with horror. "Snow!" The others gathered around. "Is she dead?" Someone had asked, but I wasn't really paying attention who asked the question.

I pulled Snow's dead weight into my arms and saw the bodice was tied on to tight. Without thinking, I pulled out my knife from my boot and cut away the lace. I quickly pulled the bodice off and threw it aside.

"Snow alright, Erik?" I heard Johnny ask his brother.

"Snow would be fine, Johnny." I heard Al answer for Erik.

Snow suddenly took a deep breath of air and her eyes fluttered open. Her eyes locked on mine. "Vince?" Everyone sighed in relief.

"You scared us, Snow. The one who wants to kill you must know you're here. Better not let anyone into the cabin when we leave for work," I said, trying to hide just how scared I was. She nodded and buried her head deep into my shoulder.


QUEEN POV:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?" I asked again, knowing with Neiva Blanca dead, it should be I who was the fairest in the land.

"You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Little Snow White with the seven men is a thousand times fairer than you," the mirror said bluntly.

The breath got caught in my throat and I felt my blood run cold. I couldn't believe it! Those filthy men must have gotten to her before she died!

"You face could get stuck like that, mother."

I ignored my son's comment in favor of a new plan forming in my head. I just had to get rid of her, one way or another!


VINCE POV:

Al picked up his flute and started to play an up-beat song. Remus laughed with excitement before joining his song with his banjo. He was quickly followed by our other musically talented friend, Erik with his lute.

Johnny stomped his feet and clapped his hands as Snow danced around him. Her laughter filled my ears. It had been a few days after her near-death experience and you couldn't tell that she had almost died. I was grateful. I didn't want to be reminded of it, not this night. Even War had cracked a smile. I couldn't help but to laugh when Snow kissed Johnny on the cheek. The look on his face would have kept me laughing until the end of the night, if Snow hadn't hopped over to me. She grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me.

"Let's dance, Vince!"

My face burned up. I shook my head quickly, turning to pull away from her. "No, no, Snow. I…I don't dance. Snow!" The other's laughed at my expense. The past few days, I had tried my best to stay away from her. Those feelings I had around her were different and it scared me. I didn't know what to do with them.

"Go on, Vince!" Gab said with a teasing smile.

"Don't deny the pretty lady, my friend." Rem called out with a laugh.

I reluctantly allowed her to pull me to the middle of the floor. My face flashed red, but I was quickly consumed with the music and the fairest young lady I had ever met. I swung her under my arms and spun her around the dance floor. Then, tapped my boots on the hard floor as I lifted the beauty into the air and spun in circles. She titled her head back and laughed. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I was smiling. I knew I was staring. I couldn't help it. She looked down at me. My eyes caught her eyes as I slid her back to the ground. Her body slid down mine and I found it difficult to breath. She reached the ground safely. I was still captured in her beautiful eyes. She was still smiling, shyly.

The music changed. It was softer, gentler, and romantic. It was a familiar tone that brought me back down to earth. I turned to the three person band. "The waltz? Seriously, Rem?" I said, knowing it would have been his idea. He gave me a knowing grin as a response.

"I don't know the waltz." Snow said. The way she said it, I knew she wanted to learn and I all my protest about the style of dance left my mind.

"I'll show you." I said without thinking. I knew I would do anything for this woman. "Place your hand into mine." I said holding out a hand. She placed hers into mine and her warmth of her hand warmed mine quickly. "Now place your other hand on my shoulder and I'll place my other hand around your waist. Good, good, Snow." The feeling of her in my arms almost took my breath away. I didn't want this night to end. "I'll be in control of you, alright? I'll be leading. Just follow me. When I push against your back with my palm, like this, that means…" I didn't realize teaching someone to down a simple waltz would be so difficult, but Snow managed to get it around the tenth try. I didn't care it took so long. She was in my arms. I was happy.

Erik, Rem, and Al started playing a slow waltz and we glided across the floor, unaware of the other's watching us. Her eyes sparkled with delight and I was glad I was the one that put that light in her eyes. Her smile was so bright and tempting. I wanted to kiss her. I resisted. For the sake of our friendship, I held back. It was a perfect moment, just wonderful. I didn't want it to end, but of course it did and we all were too tired to continue and went to bed.


NEVIA POV:

My boys were working at the mine again. My boys…that were what they were now. It had been a few days after the dance with Vince. We grew closer together since then. I also get along splendidly with Al, Johnny, Erik, and Rem. War and Gab mostly associated with each other. Well, really it was Gab keeping War calm and out of trouble. They were the oldest two of the seven with Gab being the eldest.

I looked at the clean dish I was washing and nodded with pleasure. It looked sparkling clean. I set it down by the clean dishes. The cool air of the late evening hit my face from the window and I sighed. It was a beautiful day indeed.

There was a knock at the door. Remembering what happened last time, I called the person over to the open window in the kitchen. "I'm not allowed to let anyone in, but you may speak to me at the open window," I called out.

An old woman, a stranger, walked over to the open window. She was smaller than the other woman from a few days ago, with gray hair. She pulled out a sparkling, beautiful comb from her pocket. I hadn't had a comb to brush my hair with since I left my father's house. I looked at it with longing. "You want it, my dear? I'm trying to sell it for money so I can buy food," her creaking voice said holding the comb out to me.

I never had anything so exquisite, so pleasing. I paid for the comb with three of my already made pies. "Come, let me comb your hair," the woman said beckoning me closer to the window.

I saw no harm in letting an old frail woman comb my hair. So, I let her run it into my hair. That was the last thing I remembered before my eyes saw darkness.


QUEEN POV:

The girl fell to the ground and I grinned, my heart lightening with pleasure. "That would keep you lying there," I said. She was finally gone! I walked back to the palace in a peaceful heart. Now, I must go to my precious mirror and hear the words I had been longing to hear for days.