My heart leapt to my throat as we were met by Marian and father, two armed guards waiting impatiently with the local judge. Neither the guards nor the judge seemed best pleased with having to work. It was a universal holiday throughout the town and only serious matters forced people to work.
“A’ight there Lionel” Darrow smiled absently, the judge sighing exasperated as he gave the dwarf a wan smile.
“Be better once this is resolved. Now Miss Mae, would you care to explain why they believe you have kidnapped your sister, their youngest daughter Kimberly-Ann?” He prompted, getting straight to the point.
“I don’t want excuses, just arrest her already!” Father snarled furiously.
“Technically I cannot be charged with kidnapping sir.” I stated simply making the guards scoff as they turned to stare at him confused and furious.
“NONSENSE! YOU STOLE MY BABY!” Marian screeched, lunging for me.
Darrow was the quickest as he pulled me out of the way, leaving her to go sprawling into a bookcase.
“Calm yourself Lady Marian” the judge warned unimpressed as Father hurried to help her up.
She swept out blubbering like a petulant child, the guards sharing a confused glance.
“If you would permit me, I have some documentation from the courts for you to read” I stated softly, waiting for him to nod before striding to the carefully hidden safe behind the counter.
Father glared hatefully, a guard grabbing him warningly as he made a move to strike me as I took out two identical pieces of parchment. Darrow smiled proudly as I handed the pieces of parchment over, moving back to stand beside him grasping his hand for comfort.
“Might I enquire your relationship?” The judge asked absently as Father got even more agitated.
“Master Darrow here has been more a father to me than my biological father ever has. He is my family.” I stated proudly, smiling over to Darrow as he blushed embarrassed.
Loud arguing and shouts made us all freeze. I charged out panicked as I heard Kiimi shouting frightened, Darrow and the judge the closest behind me. They all froze aghast as Marian suddenly slapped Kiimi hard across the face. The slap echoed loudly as everyone stared and whispered, surprised by the sudden disturbance. Father sighed disappointed as he just lost any chance of overturning the court decision as I strode over to Marian and shoved her away from Kiimi.
“Come near her again Lady Marian and I will show you exactly how dangerous I can be” I hissed coldly, standing between her and the stunned Kiimi.
“I’LL KILL YOU!” She shrieked hysterically.
Everyone gasped stunned as I didn’t flinch an inch as I simply raised my hand up and grasped her around the neck tightly.
“Do not tempt me” I whispered softly, her eyes growing wide as she saw the conviction in my eyes.
The guards hurried over and took her, surprised I simply let her go coughing and spluttering. The judge slowly brought father over looking very sullen and somber.
“It is clear neither of you are capable of caring for young Kimberly-Ann. I am placing a restraining order on you and your wife to keep your distance until a time the courts deem you fit enough for supervised visits” The judge stated evenly, ignoring fathers glares as he turned to me “You are legally her guardian and you clearly have her best interests at heart. I hope if you have any troubles you will come to me” He smiled warmly before turning and striding off into the crowd.
“You are dead to me Prudence. I will never forgive you for ruining this family” Father hissed hatefully.
“You ruined this family perfectly well all by yourself. You won’t ruin her life like you ruined mine” I stated proudly, turning and striding off to where Atani and Axel watched anxiously as I whisked the sedate Kiimi into my arms protectively.
Darrow followed close behind me as Father glared after us stunned, the crowd slowly dispersing. We wandered straight to the little cafe area set up, chairs and tables set out alluringly for the wearing festival goers. I set the silent, stunned Kiimi down in front of me and knelt down to appraise her face. A clear outline of Marian’s fingers and hand marred her porcelain face. I hugged her close as tears began rolling down her face. It was a whole new chapter for us both.