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Cinderella Monogatari - The Sequel (Season 2)

Chapter Text

Two men jumped from the trees. One approached the cave where Charles' parents and some servants were sheltered. The servants tried to protect the emeritus king and queen, who struggled to leave the cave to join their son lying outside. The other attacker walked through the injured men. He stopped nearby Charles and was about to unveil the young king's yellow cape, which curiously had no signs of blood. When the man touched the cape, Charles abruptly kicked him off, unsheathed his sword and showed his pistol.

‘Do you really think I wouldn't wear a bullet proof vest?’, he smiled while touching the throat of the attacker with the tip of the sword, ‘Who planned this?’

‘I wouldn't be so confident, your highness. Drop your weapons, or I will kill everyone in this cave,’ threatened the man near the cave.

Paulette arrived, and Charles took advantage from the distraction caused by the horse neigh to shoot the two attackers. The king and queen ran to Charles, when he was sheathing the sword and closing his eyes in a moment of regret. The queen hugged him tight and asked him to return to the Emerald castle. Charles nodded and left his parents to approach the guards lying on the floor.

‘It is over, my friends. You can stand up now.’

Nobody answered. They remained still, lying face down, and an icy cold ran down Charles' spine. He desperately started turning them belly upward. Some were already dead, and others deeply injured. Charles immediately called the servants and the doctor, who was always present in these royal trips. Then he approached Andrew, who was hardly breathing. Charles slightly raised Andrew with his arms and noticed he was shot in the belly.

‘Andrew, what happened to your vest…?’, asked Charles incredulously.

‘They were not ready in time… and I would not cancel this trip, because of that… You had one. That was all that mattered…’, whispered Andrew while panting.

‘You should have informed me,’ lamented Charles.

‘Your majesty, please, go away with the queen and the prince. This kingdom doesn't deserve you…’, asked Andrew.

‘But Andrew…’

‘Promise me you will go away", shuddered Andrew, ‘Please, leave me here… let me take your place to spare your life…’

‘Andrew…’

‘Promise me, sire, please…’, insisted Andrew, ‘If you die, I will die in vain’.

Charles nodded, and Andrew smiled right before agonizing. The doctor concluded that there was nothing he could do. Andrew eventually died in Charles' arms. The king closed Andrew’s eyes laid him down and kneeled before him.

‘Farewell, my brave captain’, Charles turned his face to the side were there were no people watching.

The group cried the young guards' lives and Charles stood up after some minutes of silence.

‘We must take them back at once, notify their families and prepare the funerals. The trip is cancelled,’ he decided.

‘But, Charles…’, objected king Lewis.

‘The king of Lohemia will certainly understand, father.’

Servants, the doctor and Charles himself were collecting the bodies when, suddenly, a dart hit Charles' neck. The king fell instantly, but, despite the pain, Charles was able to remove the dart from his neck. He stood up and looked up, finding a third attacker hidden in the trees.

‘Damn you…’, cursed Charles right before shooting the man.

The young king staggered and fell unconscious. The queen cried, holding her son in her arms, while the doctor examined Charles and the dart, which was poisoned. Without the proper antidote, the young king would die in a few hours.

All of a sudden, they heard sounds of horses approaching and decided to leave.

‘There's no time to lose. We cannot save the king, if we stay here. His guards would understand,’ ordered the doctor, ‘Coachman, please, take us to the nearest village.’

Paulette followed them and cast a spell on the horses to increase speed. Ten minutes later, they found a humble house in the outskirts of a small village and asked for shelter. Shocked by the news, the owners of the house immediately welcomed the royal entourage and offered their bedroom to lay down the young king. Once the group was settled in that house, Paulette asked them to remain there until she brought Cinderella. She also asked Papy to stay, because she could travel much quickly than the little bird. Every second was precious.

Cinderella was obliviously staring at the window while the little prince was throwing down all his play cubes and laughing at Alex, when Paulette appeared in the room. Cinderella and Alex stood up immediately.

‘How did she appeared like that…?’, Alex turned to Cinderella.

‘My dear Cinderella… there was an attack, the guards were killed, and Charles was poisoned. You must come,’ warned Paulette.

Cinderella paled and fainted in shock, but Alex quickly revived her with a glass of water and sugar.

‘Mama, mama…’, the little prince grabbed Cinderella's dress.

She smiled and got the baby on her lap.

‘How is he? Where is he?’, worriedly asked Cinderella.

‘In a critical condition. I will take you there. He is not very far from here, still within our borders,’ replied Paulette.

‘We must leave at once’, decided Cinderella.

‘I will call the doctors and a few guards to escort us,’ said Alex.

‘I think you should be discrete. Don't give details to chaperones, dress casual and take a carriage without the royal seal,’ advised Paulette.

‘I just want to bring the doctors, my son, my father and the animals with us…’, replied Cinderella.

Alex agreed and managed everything. Hans understood what was going on and joined the group. Fifteen minutes later, they were on their way to Cinderella's house. Alex gave the news to the family and brought Cinderella's father to the carriage. The duke hugged Cinderella and she cried on his shoulder.

‘Charles is strong...’, comforted the duke.

‘Oh, Papa...’

‘I will stay with you no matter what’, assured the father.

Thanks to Paulette's spell, they quickly arrived at the house where Charles was. Alex dismissed the carriages with royal seal and made sure the guards were well hidden in the woods, to avoid suspicions.

After greeting and thanking the owners of the house, Cinderella ran to her parents-in-law, nearby Charles, and left the little prince on her mother-in-law's lap. Tearfully, she bent down, caressed and kissed Charles' face.

‘Oh, he is burning…’

‘Your majesty… we…’, started one of the doctors.

‘You must save him!’, cried Cinderella.

‘Please, doctor, there must be something you can do,’ insisted queen Caroline.

‘I will give him a general antidote I brought’, answered one of the doctors who arrived with Cinderella, ‘but I'm afraid it is not powerful enough...’

‘It is a very strong poison...’

Cinderella stood up and looked at Paulette.

‘Do you remember when we caught the medicinal herbs in the magic forest?’, she recalled.

‘Yes, of course I do,’ replied Paulette.

Then Cinderella turned to the doctors.

‘Have you heard about those woods? Do you think we could find there an herb to make a better antidote?’

‘Actually, there are some herbs more appropriate to fight this poison’, answered one doctor approaching a table.

He listed the ingredients necessary for the antidote and explained that if someone could gather those herbs by sunset, Charles had chances to survive. Cinderella decided to go find the herbs with her father and Paulette. Before leaving, she asked Alex and the animals to protect her son.

‘Mama will be back in no time. Be good to grandma and grandpa’, said Cinderella putting the baby on her mother-in-law's lap.

‘Gamma...’, replied the prince, making Charles's mother in tears.

‘Be careful, my dear’, asked king Lewis when Cinderella hugged him.

Cinderella nodded yes, hugged her mother-in-law and kissed Charles’ lips.

‘Please, wait for me, my love...’

As Cinderella left the room with Paulette and her father, the little prince ran after her crying. King Lewis caught him, comforted him and carried him back to the room. From the window, the grandparents and the child watched Cinderella and the duke waving goodbye. It was starting to rain, and Charles was getting worse.

Paulette casted one more spell on the horses and the wheels. Cinderella leaned on her father's chest and looked at the window while remembering the happiest moments she spent with Charles.

The day she moved to the castle was the first joyful chapter of her live. Charles made sure the servants helped Cinderella getting along and setting things up. She immediately connected with Hans and Alex and was charming to all the staff in charge of her. All the servants were delighted to meet her; throughout the castle echoed songs and cheerful moods. At dinner, the king and queen tenderly watched Charles and Cinderella gazing at each other and holding hands.

In the evening, they strolled near the fountain, like they did on the night of the ball. By midnight, Charles took Cinderella to her room. He was wearing his bordeaux costume while she dressed a light emerald gown. The shortest layers of hair were tied with an emerald locket, leaving her longest hair loose.

‘I promise tomorrow I will know all the way to my room.’

Charles laughed.

‘Do you really think you can walk around here without asking for directions?’, he teased.

She frowned.

‘Actually, I enjoy being your cicerone...’, he smiled.

Cinderella smiled and kissed his cheek. Guards were scattered all over the corridor, making displays of intimacy uncomfortable.

‘Good night, my princess’, Charles kissed her hand while looking into her eyes and winked.

‘Good night, my prince’, she smiled wondering the meaning of the wink.

Cinderella entered the room and leaned against the door with her eyes closed recalling her sweet day. Then, she giggled, and whirled all the way to the window. When she opened the curtains to enter the balcony, Charles was right behind the window.

‘Hello, princess!’

Cinderella drew back in surprise.

‘How did you...?’, asked Cinderella while opening the window.

‘Shhhh...’, he silenced while entering, ‘I had to find ways to amuse myself in the castle.’

‘Were you spying on me?’

Charles laughed and denied.

‘You're lying!’, she crossed her arms and turned her back on him.

Charles caught Cinderella, hugged her from behind and wrapped his yellow cape around her, making her giggle. Then he became serious and looked her in the eyes.

‘I want you to know that I would never marry the girl in the ball if she wasn't you. Deep in my heart, I knew she was you.’

‘Charles…’

‘I love you since the first day we collide in the village’, confessed Charles.

Cinderella leaned on Charles' chest.

‘I love since that day, too, Charles… from the moment you returned my key…’, Charles caressed her face, ‘But I felt so conflicted when I thought you were lying’.

‘Confess you love when I lie.’

‘You naughty!’

They laughed and, when they calmed down, he continued.

‘Although I was always kept cheerful, I spent a hard time disguising myself, escaping to meet you. I wondered how we could be together and how could I tell my parents. When I was pressured to marry Isabelle, I thought I was doomed to an arranged marriage, to lose you forever. Every time I was forced to be with her, I only thought of you...’

‘If I married Melville, I would also think of you…’, admitted Cinderella.

‘Luckily for us they ran together’, smiled Charles, making Cinderella laugh.

‘I hope they are fine…,’ whished Cinderella, then she thought for a while, ‘Do you think Zaral will attack again?’

‘Yes, certainly. That's one of the reasons why I want to spend these evenings with you...’

‘What are the other reasons?’, inquired Cinderella.

Charles cleared his throat.

‘There are many things I wish to do during the day, but… we are never alone…’, he whispered into her ear.

Cinderella blushed; her heart beat faster than ever. Charles held Cinderella’s hand and closed a red curtain in the middle of her chamber.

A few minutes later, they were so absorbed in their caresses that they barely heard the turmoil coming from the corridor. They were sat in a white divan, almost laid down.

‘Princess Cinderella’, knocked Hans, ‘I am sorry to disturb, but a guard thinks he saw someone in your balcony. Is everything alright?’

Charles and Cinderella giggled.

‘I am alright, Hans. Thank you’, she replied.

‘Nevertheless, we will check your room, for safety precautions. May we come in, princess?’, asked Hans.

‘I handle this’, smiled Charles, ‘let them enter.’

‘Yes, you may’, consented Cinderella.

Hans, Alex and five guards saw Cinderella and Charles with surprise.

‘Prince Charles, what are you doing in the princess' room at midnight?’

‘When I was strolling in the courtyard, I saw someone climbing the balcony. I immediately climbed the walls, and fought the man, who was almost entering the room – he must be down there…’, pointed Charles, ‘then I came in to check if Cinderella was alright.’

‘Oh, yes,’ confirmed Cinderella trying not to laugh.

‘Hm... very well, then...’, frowned the old tutor, ‘Hour highness, it is time to bid farewell to the princess.’

Charles kissed Cinderella in the cheek and left the room with Hans, Alex and the guards. When the prince was passing through the door, Alex discreetly remarked:

‘You have lipstick all over your face…’

Charles put his hand behind his neck and smiled with his eyes closed.

‘That's my reward’.

Despite Hans's attempts to prevent Charles and Cinderella from seeing each other in late evening, the prince always found a way to sneak into his fiancée's room before the wedding. Thanks to Alex, they also manage to escape from the castle. One day, Charles took Cinderella to a ride in his horse. The young lovers spent the day catching blue berries nearby a stream. They cooled off in the stream transparent waters, read poetry and shared endless kisses rolling in the grass.

On the morning of the wedding day, the castle was attacked by duke Zaral once more. Cinderella was taken as hostage, while Zaral and his men were convinced they had poisoned Charles. The prince foresaw the menace, and quickly coordinated the defense with Alex and the guards. By noon, Charles had saved Cinderella and fought Zaral, who fell from the clock tower of the castle. The couple was crowned king and queen of Emerald kingdom in their wedding ceremony, and left the castle for a small tour in the village after greeting the crowd in the castle. In the evening, there was held a magnificent ball in the castle. Around eleven, the royal couple finally went to their bedroom.

It was a cozy room decorated in red, light emerald and cream marbles. The windows and the balcony faced the courtyard garden. On the right, a door lead to Cinderella's chambers and the nursery; on the left, a door gave access to Charles' chambers and private library. A table was delicately set with flowers, fruits, sweets, two glasses and drinks. Charles opened a bottle of Champagne, poured the glasses and offered one to Cinderella. She was wearing a sheath white silk gown and had just let her hair down.

‘Alex and I simulated a toast, in order to confuse Zaral's men. Now I would like to do it for real with you.’

Cinderella smiled at him in bliss.

‘Cinderella, I wish to make you the happiest woman...’

‘You already do it… all the time,’ confessed Cinderella.

‘Cheers to us!’, started Charles.

‘… to our family!’, added Cinderella.

‘… to our friends!’, added Charles.

‘… and to the Emerald kingdom!’, added Cinderella.

‘… and to the Emerald kingdom!’, added Charles.

Charles and Cinderella drank, laid the empty glasses on the table and hugged each other. They stood embraced, breathing nervously, for a few moments. Charles lifted Cinderella in his arms, and they kissed nonstop, as he carried her to the bed.

The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in a castle in the coast destined for the vacations of the royal family. They used to stroll as incognitos in the nearby village. One day, Charles saved a little boy from drowning in the pier. Thus, the family of the boy invited the couple to an amusing village party signaling the end of the summer. During those two weeks, they sailed, swam in an affluent river and adventured themselves in a wild forest. In the evening, they had dinner and danced in rooms facing the limitless sea.

In October, Charles officially started his reign, and that winter, when the castle welcomed a foreign king with a ball, a royal doctor confirmed Cinderella was expecting their first child.

The little prince was born on the 30th July, three days after Charles's 18th birthday. During labor, Charles always stood by Cinderella's side, encouraging her. The moment when he placed their son in her lap and tenderly looked at her repeatedly emerged in Cinderella's mind.

‘I can't go on without him, father’, cried Cinderella.

‘There is hope, my dear. Don’t say such things’, comforted Paulette, ‘Look, we are arriving’.

Cinderella moved to the right seat, in order to watch the magic woods, which seemed less scary this time, despite its foggy, uneasy atmosphere. As Cinderella, Paulette and the duke walked a few steps in the woods, echoed the ghostly voices.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘Please, spirits of the woods, let us pass. We come in peace’, introduced Paulette.

‘None shall pass.’

‘We know everything.’

‘You want to steal our precious herbs.’

‘Please, good spirits of the woods, let me catch your herbs to save my husband’, explained Cinderella.

‘We recognize you.’

‘You have already come here to save your step-mother.’

The duke looked at Cinderella in surprise.

‘The same person cannot take the herbs twice.’

Cinderella fell in despair and Paulette went to her.

‘In that case, I will catch the herbs’, decided the duke.

‘Oh, Papa…!’, cried Cinderella.

‘He must be a good son-in-law…’, mocked a voice.

‘He is a great man and means a lot to many people’, replied the duke.

‘He might be great man, but he killed three people and let his guards die today’.

Cinderella widened her eyes, surprised.

‘He killed in self-defense and thought the guards were protected’, replied Paulette.

‘How can you say that?’, added Cinderella, ‘Although I wasn't there, I imagine how much that made him suffer today… Charles is the noblest and bravest king that ever ruled’, defended Cinderella.

‘He drags you and your family into his problems,’ objected a voice.

‘I have also dragged him into my problems’, replied Cinderella.

‘If he wasn't such a dreamer, you and your child would have a more quiet, happier life’, provoked another voice.

‘I love Charles as he is, and I will always support him’, affirmed Cinderella.

Cinderella cried in absolute despair and the duke hugged her.

‘That's enough! My first wife died when our daughter was a little child. Now I want a different story for Cinderella and my grandson’, said the duke.

‘Oh, father…’

‘If you have let my daughter save my current wife, you must let us save Charles’, insisted the duke.

Suddenly, a light beam illuminated the woods and silenced the evil voices.

‘Thomas…’, echoed a female voice that Paulette easily recognized. The duke paled, astonished.

‘Frances?’

‘Oh, Mama!’, cried Cinderella.

Cinderella's mother emerged from the light beam and approached them.

‘Oh, my love…’, the duke hopelessly tried to hold Frances' ghost.

‘Oh, my darling… I came to spare Charles and Cinderella from tragedy. The herbs in the ground below me heal the strongest poisons. Take them to save Charles.’

‘Oh, Mama… How I wish you were with us…’, cried Cinderella.

‘I am, more than you think, my dear. I know you and Charles will have more children and will raise them together.’

‘Oh, Mama…’

‘From now on, you will face many difficulties, but your love will be powerful enough to overcome everything.’

Frances' ghost smiled and looked tenderly at Cinderella and the duke before vanishing. The grass she had stepped on was illuminated and had various species of medicinal herbs. Paulette helped picking up the ingredients for the antidote, according to the list, and they quickly run to the carriage.

Cinderella, Paulette and the duke arrived at a moment of absolute pessimism. Charles was agonizing. His mother, near by the bed, was praying in tears, while Alex and the animals tried to keep the little prince quiet. Charles' father and Hans were sat, head down, near the bed. When Cinderella entered, the little prince ran to her and everyone stood up in hope. Paulette not only gave the herbs to the doctors, but also assisted them preparing the antidote. Cinderella sat nearby Charles and held his hand.

One hour later there were still no signs of recovery. The little prince started to cry and crawled to Charles' chest. He touched Charles' face, abruptly pulled his hair and pronounced 'Papa' for the first time. Before Cinderella reprimanded the child for pulling his father's hair, Charles woke up, hugged and kissed his son. Then Charles tickled the toddler’s belly, making the prince burst into laughter and ran to Cinderella's lap.

‘This will teach you not to pull someone's hair’, smiled Charles with his typical good humor.

Then he addressed Cinderella.

‘I dreamt about you all the time.’

Cinderella burst into tears and hugged Charles. King Lewis and queen Caroline joined the hug. Hans cried on Alex's shoulder. Paulette celebrated with Patch, Bingo, Chou-Chou and Papy. The doctors congratulated each other. The duke carried his grandson on the lap.

‘Thank you, Frances…’, murmured Thomas in tears.