Disclaimer: All characters belong to Naoko Takeuchi. I am merely using the characters for my literature work, which will not be sold in any way to gain profit.

Warning (Please note that most of what I mention might never occur in the story): Language, a brief mention of rape, sexual content (brief). Dark Darien. Violence.

I give credit to my (ex) Beta-Reader, Starling Sinclair. She helped me before with my writing in the past. Even though, I've changed in my writing style, I still credit her for helping me when so many others did not respond to me. I thank her for the time-even if she helped with only two chapters.

Chapter One

Welcome to Hell

Serena had always imagined the world like a fairytale. It was mostly her brother's fault for encouraging her to believe in common tales of princes and princesses living a happily ever after. Samuel—or Sammy as she often called him in affection—had created a world that no seven-year-old wished to escape from.

It was like paradise, except most of the paradise was played out in the back of her cottage home. How her mother hated when she ran in between the linens and disrupting the workers from doing their daily chores. It was not her fault that she got caught up in her imagination and ignored her mother's warning.

Behind her, Sammy had hopped over the baskets of clean linen, with his forefingers placed at the side of his head. She remembered her mother shouting at him to play elsewhere, but like his little sister, he was too caught up in the fairytale that he was telling to listen to her.

Serena had slipped past the fences and ran up a hill, to where a maple tree laid, its branches filled with leaves. Her older brother had followed behind her, kicking the ground like a wild animal. She had little time to climb up the tree. Lifting her weight up, she stood on a branch, with her wooden sword out, pointing at the beast.

Sammy had stopped from playing his role and watched her. Coming closer to where she stood, he had lowered his arms and played the role he knew best. "Come down from there, Serena. You'll get hurt."

"As if you can fool me, foul beast!" She had moved her feet a little to swipe her blade to a side. "I will not fall for your tricks!" Alas, she had lost her balance and slipped forward. She had expected to feel the solid ground in a second; instead she was caught in between her brother's arms and chest.

Serena had looked up in awe, no longer seeing her brother as a beast but more as her prince. Well, she could not deny, that Sammy had always been her prince.

Sammy had placed her down on the tuft grass, inspecting any injuries. When he had found none, he took in her dirty appearance. There was mud smudge on her cheeks; her dress had patches of brown and green; and her black shoes held grime around the edges of her feet. Her blonde hair was held back in a tight bun, but a few tendrils had managed to escape and dangle around her face.

Their mother would be furious. In fact, she was, as Serena recalled after.

As soon as her brother had calm down, she had sat on the ground, plucking the grass from the soil of the earth, and had begun to contemplate. It had bothered her back then of the creatures that took the princesses away. The fairytale, as Serena remembered in her dark chamber, was a common tale told among the lands.

Sammy had heard it from his visit to Cornelia. It began with a princess falling in love with a prince. But the princess was trapped in a treacherous labyrinth of where wild beasts lurked in the dark. It was a tale of overcoming fears, a tale of bravery, but it was mostly a tale of love. For in the end, the prince saved the princess and lived in peace.

But it was simply a tale.

None of what Cornelia had said about the labyrinth had been true.

Still she was seven-years-old, unable to comprehend the evil that shook her world. She had asked, "Why do the beasts protect the labyrinth?"

And Sammy had responded, "To keep others out."


As a seven-year-old, she was persistent.

"Because the beasts protect a prosperous land, a land known to many as Elysium. But I doubt it's prosperous."

"Why do you say that?"

He had looked at her, trying to explain what he meant. Instead, he had taken the easy way out, when he choose to lie to her, and say, "It's just a tale, Serena. There is no such place as Elysium."

If only her brother had told her instead of sheltering her from the world how real Elysium was.

At that moment her memories came to a rest. She distinctively heard footsteps approaching. By her bedroom door, voices, which she had come to recognize, were heard behind the door.

The King had arrived with his advisor no less.

She scanned the closet that she was in, hoping that the expensive dresses, hanging on a wire, would shield her from being seen. In front of her, a chest filled with garments, became a barrier between the door and the wall.

It was pathetic. She knew she would get caught in the end. It's not that her hiding spot was hard to detect. Still she wanted her privacy, a chance to face reality. But Serena came to realize that reality would never sink in.

The tension suffocated her with suspense. Instead of smelling the strong scent of red roses in the air, she could smell the perfume lingering in her dresses. She swallowed her fear and prepared herself from the king.

Or better yet the dark king that ruled Elysium; or as many referred him as her husband.

And although she was in Elysium she was not at exactly at their home. He had brought her to the lost kingdom—a second castle placed in the center of the labyrinth—for a reason; a reason that she hardly knew of. But it did not matter to her. Whether she was here or over there, the location held no meaning to her.

Serena trembled when the door opened. Against the cool tiles, her husband ambled toward the curtains and swept them opened. Light showered the room and colored away the dark atmosphere.

All this she could see through the crack of the closet doors. Reduced to her knees, she moved her head and forced her eyes to follow his movement. She caught a glimpse of his dark clothing. He then turned his chest toward her direction, noticing the ruby necklace chained around his neck.

"Must we start our mornings this way?"

He carried himself with a soft-spoken voice. But she was no fool. Even with a solicitous tone, he held a sharp tongue.

Even his appearance seemed innocent.

With black, short hair, it framed his cheeks, giving her husband a boyish appearance. His bangs parted to a side, sweeping across his forehead. His blue eyes, turning dark under the sunlight, were quite beautiful against his pale complexion and stark lips.

She stopped from thinking of his handsome appearance and moved her back to the wall.

He headed toward the tub and slammed the doors behind him when he did not find her there. He then approached the massive bed, fitting for royalty, and lowered himself on his knee. Serena swore when he turned his attention to the closet.

"Hiding in a closet?" He began his stride toward her. "I thought better of you."

She held in her breath and watched as he opened the closet doors. The dresses were pushed apart. She was found, but it did not matter. She had enough time to bask in her privacy and face reality.

Looking up, she met his eye, and took in his handsome face. He moved the chest to a side, the barrier she had now gone. He then gave her a wicked smile and cupped her chin when she rose on her feet.

"Good morning. How was your night, love?"

Love—how she hated the endearment. He carelessly used it to tease her.

After all, people do not do this when they are in love. Then again, she was lucky enough to have two parents in love with each other than having two parents who simply married because their social status mandated it.

He wiped his thumb across her bottom lip.

No matter how much she stared at him, she still could not believe her luck. Middle class, and married in two days, Serena never thought her prince would be replaced with a cold king.