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A Heart in Disguise

Chapter 2

I never had a problem waking up early. It was something I had to do just about every morning in order to get a head start in keeping track of my kingdom. Perhaps it was the fact that I slept on such an uncomfortable, unfamiliar surface that I craved to pull the blanket over my head in a whimper for more sleep. Then again I wasn't used to being sick either since I was able to ward away such toxins in my isolation of magic.

"Your fever is pretty much gone," Snow said as she placed a hand to my forehead. I wished to flinch away but the only movement that came was when I pushed myself up on my elbows, stretching from what felt like such a short amount of sleep.

I grumbled something unintelligent and slowly arose from my position, noticing, as I put pressure upon it, that my leg was in a small amount of pain but nothing I couldn't endure. The princess watched my movements carefully, making sure I was able to move easily on my own accord before handing me the same sword I had glanced upon only a day before.

I gave her a quizzical look. Is she that foolish enough to hand me such a weapon that could easily end her life in a matter of a second? Taking the weapon within my grasp I looked at her and questioned with an authority that I knew I should let diminish while in character.

"Why on Earth would you give me such a weapon?"

She shook her head with a small smile and replied calmly, "Wilma, I understand that this type of living may be new to you, but this might actually save your life. I can trust that you know at least a little bit in how to defend yourself?"

I stared at her for a long moment for responding, wanting to reply with a snarky comment, but realized that if I wanted to keep up my disguise I best not.

"Yes, I suppose I know enough."

She nodded in response before telling me that we needed to head in South, away from the Evil Queen's kingdom. After this she began to take down the tent in which we both slept in the night before. She did it in such skill that it astonished me that such a princess had learned to survive so well in the wild. Still, that didn't change my mind on how I felt towards this woman. She had destroyed the only ounce of happiness I could have had and I was not about to let that slip from mind.

We began our journey shortly after and I wondered just where we were going. Snow told me that she didn't have anything place in mind exactly except for the goal of reaching the other kingdom that Regina did not control. This way it would be harder for the queen to send her men out in search of her.

I had to hand it to the girl that she was smarted than I gave her credit. The thing I didn't know was whether she had anything to look forward to or if she was just running in order to save her own skin. After all that had been placed on her, the bounty for her head in particular, she still remained cheerful and upbeat. If only I had the ability to make the best out of my disastrous life.

I am not comparing my life to hers! That's absolutely ridiculous!

Everything had been packed in a small little sack that Snow carried on her back. She motioned for me to follow and I did, unsure of where we were going, but very aware that my appetite was arising. Only a mile into our hike my stomach grumbled louder than I would have liked it. I had hoped that the embarrassing sound had bypassed my traveling companion, but sadly I was wrong.

"I believe there is a river up ahead a few miles from here," she told me, "We'll grab a few fish on the way and follow it downstream."

I nodded without a word and continued to walk, my thoughts running through several scenarios. Perhaps I could catch the princess off guard during our travel and stab her from behind. No that won't work. I need her to see me as I pull that last thread of light from her soul. I could always slit her throat, but that seemed a bit messy for my preference. I wasn't about to get her foul blood all over my hands. Or maybe I could take advantage of the river and drown her?

No, I argued to myself, I need to find out what she has planned. If she's already made alliances with anyone that would jeopardize my kingdom I need to know.

As much as I hated this I had to tolerate it in order to gain as much information as possible. The more I found out then the more I could use to my advantage. Snow didn't have any family left, but she was bound to have made some alliances with at least one fairly powerful figure. Whomever it might be, I wasn't sure though. She may have had the towns in my kingdom on her side, but that would not stop me.

"How do you know where you're going?" I asked her in mere curiosity.

"When you're on the run you learn how to navigate the wild. A man in a small town taught me what I needed to know about following trails."

Eventually my feet began to ache and as I looked down I scolded at the leather moccasins the adorned my feet. All in the same instance I itched at my top. I missed my velvet direly. My silk. My soft cotton. This attire was much to hot for my liking. Looking over to the raven-haired woman I watched as she sped up a few paces ahead of me; I had slowed down to accommodate my feet.

No one would have ever taken this woman for a princess. All in all she was a completely different person, having adapted to the fugitive life that was thrown upon her. Her walk wasn't graceful as it should have been, but moved with a stealth that only a hunter could carry.

Giving into the heat, I tore off a strand of my sleeve and used it to tie my long hair up. At the sound of it, she turned her head and noticed that I had fallen several steps behind her. I gave her a smug smile as if everything was alright and we were in my territory – even though this was my kingdom, I knew nothing of the forests.

"You alright?"

"Yes, perfectly fine, dear," I replied rolling my eyes.

The frown upon her face made it clear that my words didn't fool anyone. I just waved my hand and began to walk forward, not paying attention to the sudden noise around me. The inconspicuous sound was static to my untrained ear, but did not go unnoticed by Snow.

"Get down!" she whispered in a low shriek and pushed me behind a tree as she drew out her bow and arrow. I scoffed inwardly at the direct contact she made, but was actually frightened for a second even though I didn't actually admit to that. Scanning the area for danger her eyes fell upon a few horses which, to my eye looked like a giant blob for how far away they were, were saddled with the Queen's men. My men.

"Don't be so foolish," I spat as she turned to me with wide eyes. These were my men and would listen to me. I pushed away from her and as I heard a crack of a tree branch.

The next events happened so fast that I couldn't even think. Snow muttered something under her breath before shoving me the other way and screaming at me to run. What I couldn't comprehend was that my foolish nonsense had alerted the knights of a presence and were now on our heels.

With such smooth skillfulness, Snow turned around as she ran and shot several arrows at the oncoming men. One unfortunate man fell was struck in the chest and consequentially slipped off his horse only to be trampled by the rest of the squad.

Holding tight to her bow, she grabbed my arm and led us away from them. Coming upon a dirt road, we found refuge behind a large fallen tree nearby. I dropped to the ground in attempt to catch my breath, but such a thing was hard since a pale hand was clamped over my mouth. The sounds of hooves grew louder, but shortly faded as they galloped further away.

"I think we lost them," Snow whispered and removed her hand. Her face held irritation and I watched as she closed her eyes, her brow furrowing. Placing two fingers on the bridge of her nose she let out a deep sigh to calm her nerves. Once she opened her eyes she kneeled down, too close in my opinion, and spoke quietly. "Look, I understand this may be difficult, but this world that you're in now with me is different. They can't be trusted. Under the oath of the Queen they will do anything to appease her."

I bit my tongue and nodded with a harsh edge. Yes they really would do anything for me. I should have held Snow back so that she could have been captured, but then I would have been captured as well and most likely either locked up or executed. I wouldn't even dare try them I was there queen and risk getting my head chopped off again.

Once we were up and moving again we began to walk in the most surprising way. After ripping off a WANTED poster for Snow White and tearing it to shreds, rather than taking the road she led us completely away from it. I was happy though that we didn't take one direction as it was pretty sure it was to a village in which I had my men slaughter everyone. I didn't regret doing so; I just knew that if Snow saw such a thing then I would be held accountable for it all and would have to listen to how terrible of a person I was.

But it's not me who is the terrible one. It's you, dear. All of this is because of you.

"Why don't we just follow the road?" I asked her in irritation. My feet did not like this all one bit and I was pretty sure that the sun was burning my face.

"It's too busy; they'll find us that way."

"That makes sense," I muttered, feeling a bit less clever than I wanted to admit.

She looked over to me and placed a soft hand on my shoulder as we walked. Her face was so serene as if this was her life that she had always wanted to live. Was it just a mask she had created? Was there something underneath?

"Not too much longer, I promise," as she spoke she reached into her bag and pulled out a small pouch of berries, "Here. Since our first route was a bit changed we won't be coming across that river. These should do you over until we can find a place to settle."

"Thanks," I murmured and took them from her not even bothering to ask if she had something to sate her own appetite.

If these poison me I swear to God that I will kill him personally for his cruel sense of humor.

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