A/N: Here's chapter two! I hope you all like it. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, you all make me so happy.

Quick note to the burnt Huxley: Bramblepool is actually my best friend in real life, so that was a very interesting review for me to receive… I'll let her know you said that, though, I'm sure she'll be very proud.

Anyway, here's the next chapter. Please enjoy and please review!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Chapter Two

So, you see where I'm going with this, right? You get where I'm coming from? I was trying to do a good deed, trying to make my best friend happy. I mean, her dad just died, what was I supposed to do, right? She needed this, trust me.

Or, so I thought.

His name was Alek. He was the son of the Austrian ambassador to the United Kingdom, and his parents were having a continent-wide contest to find him a future wife.

It was Newkirk's job to make sure Deryn was that wife.

He started by gathering information. He searched the newspaper article for Alek's home address. Calling the boy like the paper suggested seemed just a wee bit too far forward. I mean, if some random girl called you and said "Marry me!" would you say yes? Exactly.

When he finally had everything he needed, Newkirk sat down and prepared to execute his plan.

Dear Alek, he wrote.

My name is Jaspert Sharp.

Aleksandar von Hohenberg was slowly getting very sick of girls.

"I don't think you understand, son," his father said to him at dinner one night. "This contest is not just for your publicity's sake."

Alek averted his gaze and tried not to laugh. They all knew it was for publicity's sake. Father had even hired Alek a personal photographer from New York to capture the experience.

Alek's mother sitting next to him put a hand on his arm. "I know it's hard to believe, dear. But by offering young women all over Europe your hand in marriage-"

"Young, royal women, of course," his father interrupted.

"Yes, dear, of course," Mother agreed. "By finding you a bride, Aleksandar, we find you a future. An empire. Do you understand?"

Alek nodded and smiled at his parents. "Yes, I understand. Thank you. May I be excused?"

Alek stood without waiting for permission and retreated to his bedroom, wanting to end the conversation.

The moment Alek entered his room, a blinding flash went off. Alek groaned, stumbling towards his bed. "Not now, Mr. Malone, please. I'm not in the mood."

After a short hesitation, the old-fashioned camera lowered to reveal the face of Eddie Malone, his personal photographer. "What's wrong, prince? You usually break something when I take a picture of you without a warning."

Alek shrugged. "I suppose I'm just not myself tonight."
Eddie placed his camera on Alek's desk and sat facing backwards on the chair. "What's on your mind?"

"It's this contest," Alek explained. "I know how important it is to Mother and Father, but… it's just not important to me."

Malone frowned. "You don't love this? Girls all over the continent fighting for the chance to marry you? Most young men would envy you for that!"

Alek sighed. "I know, I know. I just… I don't want to marry a stranger."

"And who would you marry instead?" the photographer pointed out.

Alek sighed and shook his head. Eddie was right, of course. Alek had no friends, knew no girls. Who could he marry, if not a stranger?
"Maybe… maybe I'll meet someone," Alek said softly, just barely believing it himself. "Really fall in love."

Malone laughed and started gathering up his things. "Good luck with that, prince. I'll check back on you later, okay? See how the love thing is going."
Malone left the room, laughing. Alek angrily slammed the door behind him and plopped into his desk chair, sighing in exasperation.

A yellow envelope caught his eye. "Great," he sighed. "More fan mail."

Alek slowly ripped open the envelope, not wanting to read the letter inside, but also wanting to get it over with.

"Dear Alek," he read for the 284th time that month. "My name is Jas…pert… Sharp…" Realization hit him, along with joy and excitement. "It's from a boy!" The excitement quickly turned to disgust. "It's from a boy?!" A quick scan of the letter made him sigh in relief. "Oh, he has a sister." Then he groaned. "Ugh, he has a sister?"

It really was another piece of fan mail, another contest entry. It was the first time a girl hadn't entered herself, but it was all the same, really.

Alek sighed and leaned back in his chair to read the letter more thoroughly.

Dear Alek, it said.

My name is Jaspert Sharp. I read about your contest in the paper and I thought my sister Deryn would be perfect for a contestant. Unfortunately, my sis did not agree with me. So, I decided to write you a letter myself. If you will, I'd like you to visit us here in Scotland and just get to know Deryn. I know that's not the standard procedure for this contest of yours, but I think it's the most effective way for this to work out. My mobile number is enclosed, so please call so we can work things out. Thanks.

At the bottom of the page, the letters N-E-W-K were written and then crossed out. It was signed Jaspert Sharp.

Alek stared at the letter for a moment, unable to believe his eyes. This boy wasn't just entering his sister in the contest. He wanted Alek to meet her. To know her… to fall in love.

There was only one problem. As far as Alek knew, there were no princesses named Deryn Sharp.

A/N: There's that. Hope you all liked it. Please review and chapter three will come soon!