HELLO WONDERFUL WORLD AND ALL WHO INHABIT IT—AHH!

(gets shot, then beaten to death with own spine)

Okay…maybe I deserve tha—(gets tomato thrown at her). …Hey!

I'm REALLY sorry about the lack of updates; this story kinda floated out of my peripheral for a little bit—and the fact that my Grandma is no longer with us kinda set me off track. But I promise I'll try and get this (and my other stories) up and running again as soon as possible.

"You're a girl."

"Shut up."

"You're a girl."

"I know."

"And a princess to boot. Who would have thought?"

"Whatever." At the moment, the odd pair was situated upon a slightly browned hill, which had been slightly bitten with the first sharp teeth of winter. An equally chilling sign to both of them that winter would not spare them from its grasp any longer. Even the animals, Gillian grimly noted, had hushed their incessant chattering, in reverence of the coming of the cold.

"You realize we need shelter."

"I'm quite aware."

A snort. "'Quite?' Now you choose to act like a woman?"

"Bastard," Gillian huffed under her breath. "Shut up. I'm trying to figure something out." Irritably she once again pushed a silver strand out of her face. It seemed to be more annoying than it used to be.

Had she really grown so used to being a man?

Okay. Okay. Not the best time to be thinking about her apparent gender confusion. Unconsciously she made a small trail in the stiff, prickly yellow grass with her finger as she tried to remember where exactly the next town was. It was quite sad, really. She was the princess of this country and she didn't even know the where the towns were. Really, she needed to get out more often!

She was jerked from this vein of thought when the sound of Eli's rough, tired voice cut through the silence.

"Perhaps we should set up camp," he said, and Gillian turned quickly to him to see if she could find any signs of mocking amusement in his expression. Surprisingly, there was only resigned weariness—it seemed as if the rush of adrenaline from earlier had quickly run out, leaving Eli completely drained. Gillian couldn't find it in her heart to blame him either.

Shifting her eyes downward, Gillian quietly conceded, "I supposed we should."

Tension was practically oozing out of the silence in the air. Eli dutifully brought in firewood while Gillian set up the fire. As the blazes rose and tinged her face pink, she dully thought back to a short, rather cryptic conversation they'd had when Gillian was a "man".

She remembered speaking about the fire and its purpose.

She remembered that purple-eyed stranger.

Gillian didn't know why he seemed to be of so much importance to her. He should have been just another travelling man, maybe looking for a home, shelter, and possibly offering advice to other travellers. They weren't uncommon around these parts—Gillian knew this. So why-?

"I brought the wood," Eli called from afar.

Gillian didn't answer.

"You have information on the princess, da?"

Diluted violet eyes shifted downwards and the answering, "Yes," was carried on the breath of his next exhale. "Currently she is travelling with a lower-class huntsman. Their whereabouts at the moment are unknown."

The tinkling of a glass bottle of vodka. An evil glint in dark purple eyes. "Then you will find them, da?"

A shudder. "Y-Yes, King Ivan."

A small laugh. The smashing of the vodka bottle. "Think, dear Mathew. You are now that much closer to curing your brother—Alfred, yes?—now, da?"

"D-d-da."

The violet-eyed man hurriedly scurried out as the purple-eyed king began to violently laugh.

Whaaat? I made Canada EVIL?

It's always the quiet ones.

And sorry for the short chapter! Just trying to get into the characters' heads. I PROMISE there will be more action next chapter. :D