Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or Snow White.
Chapter 5 – Bloody Snow
"They insisted on coming to talk to you, Sir," Cloud grunted. No soldier of Terra's called him 'Prince', if they knew what was good for them. Cloud usually just called Terra by his name, but around the soldiers, he called him 'Sir'.
Not being in the mood to deal with his mother's idiot soldiers, Terra growled, "What is it?"
Footsteps came from behind Terra and he turned, seeing Aqua and her grandmother, probably ready to welcome Cloud and the others in, if it weren't for the shock written clearly on the grandmother's face at the sight of Cloud.
"Good heavens, young man! Your hair looks like a chi—Mah-kwa!" Aqua managed to clap her hand over her grandmother's mouth just in time. Terra knew what she was going to say. Terra himself had said it the first time he met Cloud, that his haircut looked like a chicken's behind. Cloud only scowled when people told him that.
"Grandmother, please!" Aqua hissed.
However, her grandmother replied by removing Aqua's hands from her and huffing indignantly. "A young lady does not manhandle her grandmother!"
"I apologize, Grandmother," Aqua said. "But a lady also doesn't comment on a friend of her friend's choices in their hairstyle."
Aqua managed to pull her grandmother back inside.
Aqua was able to get her grandmother back into her rocking chair, but the old woman kept her gaze towards their front door where Terra was still standing talking with Cloud and the other men who had come.
What could they possibly want in the middle of the night? she thought.
Saying she would boil some hot water for tea, Aqua headed for the kitchen and turned on the stove. Luckily, her grandmother had gotten water from the well that morning when Aqua went into town. After putting several cups worth of water, and shivering the one time she put her hand into the water because it was still cold, into their kettle, Aqua set it on the stove to boil.
With that done, she snuck back around to the wall, where she was just out of sight, but within earshot, of Terra and his men.
"Your Highness, it's time," the captain said. "The Queen wants that girl dead, or she's going to have our heads."
Aqua gasped. Dead? The Queen? What?!
"Don't rhyme like my mother's mirror!" Terra snapped at him. "And go home."
"What…? Your Highness?"
What? Highness? Terra wasn't royalty… was he?
"I will not harm that innocent girl because it's what my mother wishes," Terra snarled. "She is guilty of nothing. My mother made that up to get you to come. There are no rebels here."
"My Prince, orders are orders. When you serve in the army, you follow them."
The Prince? Terra is the Prince?! That does it!
"You're the Prince?" Aqua exclaimed, jumping out from her hiding spot.
Terra and his soldiers were all stunned, not having realized someone was eavesdropping.
"Aqua Blue…" one of the unknown soldiers asked.
"Who else, you twit!" the other mystery man said, smacking his companion in the gut. ("Oof!")
"Aqua…" Terra looked hesitant.
"Let us explain, miss," said Cloud, she remembered him from earlier. He attempted to move past Terra and into her house, but Aqua stepped back.
"Get out!" she yelled.
"Aqua, what's going on?" her grandmother called.
She was about to speak, but Terra silenced her with by grabbing her mouth.
"Ma'am, my companions just wanted to check on me," he said. Then, he bent his lips to Aqua's ear and whispered, "I'll get rid of them. Stay in the house."
Terra released her. "Excuse us, please." And he, Cloud, and the mystery men walked outside.
"Bring her, Your Highness," one of the men whispered.
"No!" Terra snarled at him. "Leave her out of this." And he slammed the door behind them.
"Ugh… men…" Aqua heard her grandmother mutter.
Aqua was not letting this go. She just had to know what was up. She made her way over to the window, to open it and keep listening to the men's conversation, but two loud screams directed her to run to the door.
Aqua ran to the front door and was about to open it when Terra and Cloud walked in.
"What happened?" she asked.
"I owe you the truth," Terra said.
"What happened?" she demanded.
"Maybe we should—" Cloud attempted to speak, but Aqua shoved past him and outside.
Where she saw the other two men lying dead in the snow with knives in their chests. Blood stained the snow around them like red shadows.
Aqua stepped back, appalled by what she was seeing.
"Aqua, listen to me," Terra said gently.
"What do you want?" she snapped.
"Listen, the Queen sent me on a mission to kill a rebel faction leader," he said. "But she lied. She wanted me to kill you because you can bring an end to her."
"I haven't done anything against the Queen!" Aqua shouted, she started backing away from him, closer to the two dead men. "I've never—"
"I know!" Terra shouted. "Both of us know you're innocent." He started to approach her, but Aqua kept backing away. Behind him, her grandmother had come to the entrance of the house and Cloud was trying to keep her back.
"Aqua, all I want is to protect you," Terra said.
She pointed at the dead soldiers. "You killed two people! And I've heard you've killed more! Why should I trust you?!"
"Because I am telling you to trust him, child," her grandmother said.
Aqua was shocked. Yes, her grandmother was perceptive, but this man had come to kill her. Why should she trust him?
Cloud had offered Aqua's grandmother his arm and assisted her into walking
"Trust him, child, he is true in that he wants to protect you," her grandma urged. "Unlike those two," she pointed at the dead, bloody men, "this man and his friend want to do the right thing. Now, if you're smart, you will let him take you away from this place at first light."
Terra stared wide-eyed at the old woman. Cloud looked half confused, half amused. Aqua could only let her jaw hang open wide enough that a fly could go in her mouth and she'd never notice.
Thankfully, no flies went in.
After disposing of the two dead soldiers, by burning them, which left the smell of blood thick in the air, Terra sent Cloud back to town to grab the remaining soldiers and tell them their new mission. To not say a word of Terra abandoning the Queen for Aqua's safety.
Terra knew he could count on Cloud and his loyal soldiers, but it was only a matter of time. His mother would send someone after them, to hunt down Terra for his betrayal to the Queen, and Aqua Blue to kill her. The thought of the Queen succeeding at this kept him from actually relaxing enough to sleep, only managing to get to the halfway point of wakefulness and dreams.
Terra was glad Aqua's grandmother had sense to say they had to leave. And she was up before Terra was, just to tell him that. Aqua still wasn't awake yet.
"Please protect my granddaughter," the elderly woman asked.
Terra knelt before the grandmother, drawing his sword, and stabbing it into the floor, the way knights would always make pledges to those who asked in the golden days of Radiant Garden.
"I swear, I will protect her," Terra promised. "I made a promise long before I met her that I would protect the one who would succeed my mother."
"Hmm? Care to elaborate?"
Terra sighed. He'd never told anyone about his pledge, not even Cloud or Tifa. No one knew Terra had sworn to be the knight to the true fairest one of all. But he knew this old woman could be trusted. She knew something about her daughter's radiant light.
"My mother possesses a Magic Mirror inhabited by a spirit," Terra said. "It possesses her reflection to answer any question she has for it. Every day she asks it who is the fairest of them all. And for years, it's always told her she is the fairest. But I think yesterday, she found her successor. The Queen knows that only someone who is fairer than her can end her reign. The Mirror has said this before. It's the only reason she sent me to kill Aqua. She thinks I will kill anyone because I don't care, which I haven't in a long time. The darkness in my other's heart is deep and has been feeding mine for years, I had almost given up any hope of seeing her go down. But I swore I would protect anyone who would succeed her, the only hope I had left. And I can tell it's your granddaughter. I think you know, but… her heart shines with—"
"A light that will never extinguish even in the deepest darkness," the old woman finished.
"Huh?" That was surprising, but at the same time, it wasn't. Aqua's grandmother was very perceptive, if anything.
She answered first with a smile and a sigh before speaking. "My daughter made a wish just before Aqua was born. She was out gathering wood in the deepest, snowiest part of winter. And she cut herself on a thorn. Three drops of blood fell to the snow and she said the red looked so vibrant and alive against the white and she made a wish." She took a deep breath before sighing. "Her husband came from a village by the sea where everyone had blue hair. She wanted their child to be a symbol of that and the bloody snow. She wished for a daughter as white as snow, with lips as red as blood, and hair and eyes as blue as the sea itself. And she would have a strong heart as big as the sea itself, shining with light. When Aqua Blue was born, I knew she was a wish come true. Her mother's dying wish, that is. While she made her wish a month before Aqua was born, her very last words would be her daughter's name. She died giving birth to the child."
Terra attempted to say, "I'm sorry for—" But the grandmother cut him off again.
"Do not apologize," she said. "Though I do miss my daughter, I have Aqua. I, alone, have raised her and made sure her heart's light never diminishes. I had a feeling she was special from the instant she was born. The perfect image of her mother's wish, a daughter shining and full of life."
Terra understood. He would never get the chance to meet Aqua's mother, but her wish had been granted, a beautiful daughter with a pure heart. He thought wishes never came true. He'd been wishing for years and years that he could wake up from the horrible nightmare he lived in.
And now he had the chance to wake up from it thanks to a simple woman, long since dead, wishing for the key to his mother's downfall.
The grandmother stood from her rocking chair and grasped Terra's shoulders. "Young man," she said, "I am counting on you. My granddaughter is all I have left. I entrust her life and safety to you now. Please don't fail me. And protect the last precious light left in this world."
"Are you ready?" a voice called from the direction of the bedrooms.
Terra turned and saw Aqua dressed in her boots, black pants, and a thick blue coat. She also had a navy knapsack clutched in her hands. And if Terra wasn't mistaken, a moogle doll's head was poking out of the top.
"I'm counting on you, Prince Terra," Aqua's grandmother said. "Keep my granddaughter safe."
Terra nodded to Aqua first, who returned the nod, then to the grandmother.
"I promise you. I will protect her."
As mentioned in chapter 3, the Queen would be betrayed, by Terra clearly, and though Terra doesn't consider himself close to the Queen in anyway, as they clearly aren't that close, it is only in relation to their ties of blood. Just so that's clear.
Anyway, how was the chapter for you? Don't worry, Terra and Aqua will actually get some more dialogue in the next chapter. And they'll be getting to actually know each other.
One more thing before I get outta here. I'm going to try to have each chapter after this put up on Wednesdays and Saturday or Sunday. I think it gives me enough time for each chapter, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it this Wednesday, I'm going with my dad to visit my grandpa.
Catch ya next time!