Back in the village, Sharpay looked up through her hooded jacket and past the light snow towards a large tower. Now there was some fairly large buildings in the town. Most places were small like the houses or the simple places like the bakery or the bookstore. But this place was very much so different. Every other place in town had somewhat of a welcoming aura. Even the home in which Sharpay and Ryan lived seemed so calm and inviting. But this place always seemed to have a dark cloud hovering over it. That's just what the place was like. Even the gate in front of it looked creepy, to say the least. The building was covered in black and the only light surrounding it was the light from the white flakes on the ground. The gates were tall and creaked, very much bent and rusted. Now Sharpay had never been to a place like this. As a matter of fact, she never even had a reason to.
But she did now. This was something she needed to do. There was one person that could help her with her plan. It was absolutely brilliant; even Ryan agreed that it was. Then again he was her brother so he had to agree with her. But Sharpay was sure that this was full proof. For there was no way the person she was waiting to see inside could turn her offer down. It was so ironic, really. People would think that Sharpay was the worst person in town. But the person whom was waiting behind these gates, at times, could not only be worse than Sharpay but more powerful.
Sharpay opened the gates and stepped into the yard. Passing through a few statues in front she made her way to the door and walked inside. She didn't even bother to stop at the large desk in the middle of the big room. She had other plans. She didn't care who was stopping her, some secretary or whoever. This was completely different. So what if Sharpay didn't have an appointment or wasn't welcome there? Not like it was going to stop her. Sharpay may be a lot of things, but a coward was never any of them. And perhaps her best quality was her confidence. She was strong and when she knew what she wanted, she went right for it. But it could also be her greatest downfall as well. We will soon have to find that out.
Stepping on some old rusty stairs, the blond babe didn't even take time to notice all the horrid faces looking at her, how old and decrepit a lot of them looked. She had much more important things on her mind. She was going all-out tonight. Maybe she wouldn't be here for long, but the main reason for her visit was to get her point across. If she could do that much and leave said person thinking then her mission could be considered accomplished. But why Ryan wasn't accompanying her, well let's just say it was a small portion of Sharpay's scheme. While the woman was smart she didn't always tend to use it in the most positive manners. Some would call it street smart. But one would have to give Sharpay credit for one thing - she was most certainly no idiot.
Her heels clicked and snapped against the wooden floor and while she couldn't see much in the dimly lit hallways, she had her eye on the prize. No, this wasn't the big prize she had her eyes on. It was a mere prize on the road to the top prize. It was kind of like a game show. Where she was going to try and win one of the more minor prizes before deciding on later if she would trade it in for a better one or not. And this would definitely be something that she would trade in. Upon reaching her destination, Sharpay knocked delicately on the door. Another part of her master plan: put on the sweet act, don't barge in. Her chances were not going to be wrecked now.
From behind the door a quiet female's voice came in. "Who is it?"
"Call me Sharpay," she replied as though no one knew who she was. Yeah, right. There wasn't a soul in town who didn't know Sharpay. Eh, maybe some who didn't know Ryan. But never anyone who didn't know Sharpay. She was just more 'popular' that way, so to speak.
"What do you want? I'm kind of busy..." the voice said, seeming to fade.
But Sharpay wouldn't give in. "Look I'll make this easy for you. Either let me in now or I buy the place and become your boss eventually putting you out of business and forcing you to live in the woods and feed off the bodies of decapitated wolves. Now are you going to open up or not?" Yeah, she could definitely be cold when she wanted to be. But one thing Sharpay always learned was that if you don't take the first major step and put your voice out there, you'll never get what you want. It must have worked, because there was a moment of silence before the nearly silent voice was heard again.
Sharpay shrugged and smiled to herself. Boy, she was good. Lifting down her hood she stepped into what looked like an office. Much like the rest of the building it was very dimly lit. On the opposite side of the door was a thick desk with a single lamp on it, most likely the only source of light as the curtains to the window were closed. Sharpay could see the petite lady very easily behind there. She looked so harmless with her small thin glasses and shoulder length brunette locks. Were those bits of grey she saw? Maybe it was highlights or stress or something. She wasn't here to chat, she was here to get someone on her side and execute her genius idea. The same one she had whispered to Ryan about in the midst of all their singing at their party. Sharpay stepped closer until she sat down in the wooden chair facing the desk. It was then that she got a closer look at the woman. Her skin seemed a bit on the pale side, and her arms were thin and bony. She couldn't see much to the outfit, but knowing Sharpay she was thinking about what a fashion disaster it must be.
"I'm glad you could see me, Mademoiselle," she said ever so sweetly.
"I didn't want to see you. You pretty much let yourself in," the female replied bluntly.
"Duely noted. However I don't think I gave you much of a choice," Sharpay said innocently.
The woman sighed and leaned forward so her fingers were laced and her chin rested on the back of her hands. "What do you want Sharpay?"
"Alright, I'll be honest. I didn't come here to chat and quite frankly, you're one of the last people I would ever want to chat with. But listen here right now, Mademoiselle Kelsi. I need some help from you and you're going to give it to me." Sharpay answered, not once hesitating to take charge.
Kelsi raised an eyebrow. "You're asking me to become a benefactor of yours and yet I don't see much praise in your offer. Why should I except?"
Sharpay was growing impatient. She stood up and slammed her hands onto the desk. "Listen here you little squirt. I don't care if you run this asylum or if you were the mayor of Cuckoo Town. But when I tell someone to lend me a hand and there's something in it for them, they are smart to accept my offer."
This almost seemed to frighten Kelsi. She slowly scooted back in her chair. "What do you want?"
Sharpay smirked. So her message was getting through to her. Kelsi may be a powerful woman but she never had what it took to stand up to someone. She was so nice that way. "Let me ask you a hypothetical question, Kelsi," she returned to her sweet voice and sat back in her chair, crossing her legs. "Why did you choose to inherit this place from your grandfather, aside from the fact that it was stated in his will that you take this place?"
The answer seemed so simple to Kelsi, as she answered it almost right away. "Well, to help the people that are in here of course. People are sent here being told that they're crazy and I want to help them regain faith in themselves."
"And how's that working out for ya?" Sharpay replied.
"Well..." Kelsi started.
"Exactly my point," Sharpay interrupted. "You don't have much money to show for it, no real accomplishments, and you're always in some dark room all by yourself. How do you wake up in the morning?""
"The same way as everyone else. I turn off my alarm..." Kelsi started once more.
"That was a hypothetical question," Sharpay huffed as-a-matter-of-factly.
Kelsi was silent. It didn't look like there was much talking to Sharpay. She looked down at her hands and twiddled her thumbs, deciding not to do or say anything.
Sharpay on the other hand, she took this as an advantage point. She was winning and now it was time to take the cake. "I may be stating the obvious here but you're not the fairy godmother helping fairy everyone thinks you are."
"You said fairy twice," Kelsi said quietly.
"Um, did I say you can talk?" she informed her.
"Sorry, keep going," she replied quickly.
"Much better," Sharpay smiled sweetly. "My point is, you have a dark side. And if this room doesn't prove it then something else will. Your love of money. And if you can help me out I can only not donate a most generous amount of money to this old asylum but I can also pay you very beautifully. And admit it, you love getting paid."
"I do love money..." Kelsi confessed.
"Love it? You have a bank vault buried somewhere on this property and probably even sleep with a sack of it under your pillow at night!" Sharpay exclaimed. "So look me in the eye and tell me you don't want some of my fortune."
Looking Sharpay in the eye would probably be scary enough. But Kelsi knew there was no way she could do that. "Alright," she sighed, "what do I have to do to get a small piece of your family fortune?"
Sharpay smirked. Things were really going her way. "Come by my house in exactly an hour and fifteen minutes," she instructed as she stood up. "And believe me, that won't be all waiting for you."
"What do you mean?" Kelsi asked.
"Let's just say there's going to be a little more that you'll want than money when you're through with me," Sharpay said with a wink. "I've got a proposal for you and I'm fairly certain you won't want to turn it down. Remember Mademoiselle Kelsi, that's exactly seventy-five minutes mountain standard time. If you really are as interested as I think you are, then don't be late."
Sharpay pulled up her hood and turned on her heel, exiting the room. She knew she had gotten Kelsi's attention. For the time being that was all she needed. Everything else would be explained. She knew that Mademoiselle Kelsi was many things. Her pure side and her dark side seemed in an equal balance. She was sweet yet greedy. She was friendly yet desired the darkness. She enjoyed helping yet remained alone. Sharpay on the other hand, she was driven completely by passion. Passion in herself. She acted on what she knew. Sharpay probably had the potential to be such a giving and loving person. Yet she chose against it. Maybe it was because she was naturally jealous. Maybe it was because Ryan was the nice twin so she had to be more devious. Maybe it was because she was just an attention hog. It could be a possibility of any one of those reasons. But let's face it, Sharpay loved the spotlight. And she knew exactly how to get it all back on her. Kelsi was the first step in making that happen.
"Looks like things are already being set in motion," Sharpay said to herself with a smile as she stepped through the snow, tugging her jacket close to her for warmth. "Whatever Troy said about some beast he has to be crazy. The only beasts living anywhere around here are those infected creatures in the woods. And a lot of good they do anyone." She made her way up one of the few grassy hills in town. She folded her arms and even from the snow-covered hilltop she could see the farm clearly. She squinted and Troy's voice rang in her head. Beast, huh? Who would be crazy enough to believe that? Troy certainly seemed plenty crazy, however. For the past who knows how many days (Sharpay hasn't kept track) he's been running around town begging for help. Saying his precious little sister was trapped in a castle run by a huge, hairy beast.
"Troy's a fool. The only castle around here for miles is the prince's castle. The last time I even thought to set foot in that place he kicked me right out. Threw me to the curb. Like I wasn't good enough for him," she scowled to herself. She grabbed the branch of a nearby tree and ripped it right off, being in such a nasty mood just thinking about it. "The prince needed a little princess to help him run the castle? Help him be in charge? In charge of what? That dirtbag turned away every woman that came his way. I just knew I had a shot. But no, he had to think differently. The little scum..." Sharpay cursed. She squinted once more, a natural anger in her eyes as she pictured that day nearly perfectly. Or at least a portion of it. The flashback appeared right before her very eyes, as though as if it were seen on a screen Sharpay's face would be faded and combined with nearly crystal clear images of what happened.
Sharpay had entered the castle that day. It seemed to be in so much beauty, that area. Like the perfect place to rule. The white castle was a perfect image of purity, and from how tall and spacious it was Sharpay knew she was admire a place like that to live more than any other house her family must have owned. Ryan had entered right behind her, appearing exhausted. Perhaps he was carrying a lot of bags or something. Sharpay didn't recall. But what she could recall, first and foremost, was hers and her brother's conversation.
"This place looks pretty slick Shar," he said.
"Of course it does Ryan," she rolled her eyes. "It's the prince's castle. It has to be fancy."
"Fancier than any other place dad has, that's for sure," Ryan stated. "Why did we come here anyway?"
"Ryan you're so simple minded. Maybe if you were in line for royalty you'd understand," Sharpay rolled her eye. She stepped inside, admiring the tiled and carpeted floors along with the priceless works of art and whatnot.
Ryan raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
Sharpay sighed and turned to him. "I have a chance at something here. By this time tomorrow I could be a well known princess. The prince is practically being given away at marriage."
"What, like arranged?" he asked.
"More like a blind marriage. Supposedly he has to like the girl he's marrying," Sharpay rolled her eyes once more.
"I heard he's a real picky guy. kinda spoiled, too," Ryan said.
"Please, when he sees me he'll know he has no other choice in suitable women," Sharpay told him like it was obvious.
Ryan shook his head, still seeming confused. "Don't you think you're being a little cocky?"
"Not at all," she shook her head.
"Out, out, OUT!"
Sharpay's and Ryan's heads had shifted to see a young woman rushing as fast as she could out of the castle. The voice that was shooing her out was so masculine yet so cold. So angry. Urg...so hideous. Sharpay hoped that didn't mean the prince was ugly. And especially judging from the way that girl had been running, it had to be something wrong with him. Heck as if Sharpay knew there was anything wrong with her. There was no way he could turn her down. But that...that rifraf that ran out, she couldn't blame him for turning her down. Has anyone seen her rags? So eighteen hundreds. Or whatever century the previous one had been.
Ryan raised an eyebrow again and slowly turned to his sister. "You sure you want to go through with this?"
"Don't you have any faith in me, Ryan?" she questioned.
"Of course I do," he said right away, ever the loyal brother. "But is this really in your best interest?"
"Of course it is. Don't be silly," Sharpay replied. "Now I'd keep quiet if I were you. I have a prince to please."
"Or a prince that dad can win over for you?" Ryan wondered.
Sharpay had grown tired of his antics. "Ryan who of us is in charge?"
"Well, you of course," he replied.
"And who of us has all the more style?" she continued.
"Well considering everyone pays more attention to what a girl wears than a guy, I'm gonna have to say you," he shrugged.
"And who has every guy in town fawning over her beauty?" she finished.
"You," he answered right away.
"There we go. Now stop being so doubtful," Sharpay shushed him. "Now go. go do something and just wait for me. You know what actually, I feel so last year in these outfits. Find me the best room to change into and pull out my best pink clothes to win over this prince. And a tiara that should match his exactly. I'm thinking silver."
"But what if his crown is gold?" Ryan asked cautiously.
"Ryan!" she snapped.
"Got it, got it. I'm going," Ryan replied quickly before grabbing what must have been one of Sharpay's many attire cases and running off.
Well needless to say it didn't exactly go over the best. But that was merely the beginning. And Sharpay knew for one reason or another that when she had to think about the rest of the story, she would. Maybe it had to deal with all of Troy's yakking or something. She didn't know. But there was no way in heck that she would ever speak of this to anyone. Ryan maybe, but only because he was there and he was her brother. Besides if he ever told a soul about that day he knew Sharpay would be coming after him.
Speaking of Ryan...that reminded her of one very important detail. Sharpay smirked and pulled down her hood, letting the chilly breeze carry her hair and the rough flakes fall into her blond locks. She dropped the tree branch and placed a hand on her hip, as though anything she had just been thinking about meant nothing.
"I'd better go spruce my brother up. After all, we have company coming very soon."