CHAPTER 7

(Mary's POV)

When I was finally let out of my bleak confinement, I was already broken in tears and dismay. My father was already far outside the palace, getting ready to leave back to London. Suddenly, I had an idea. Running, despite Cook's yells, I scampered up three flights of stairs to the palace's highest tower. The balcony was shaped into a hexagon, the red bricks circling the whole room. There was also a small slate roof covering it, almost like a very tall gazebo. The wind was extremely cold and biting up here, and it wasn't very safe for one could fly over the edge without knowing it.

I scanned the grounds, and I spotted him. Henry was being helped onto his horse. Heavens, he was so heavy that he couldn't get onto a horse on his own anymore. I stared at his decorated cap, wishing he would notice me. The heralds played their trumpets again, announcing their departure and their green and white flags blowing the wind. Suddenly, my father lifted his head. My breath caught in my throat. Maybe he would notice me after all. Perhaps he would come and take me away from this miserable place. But all he did was give me the slightest of salutes and rode away. What could I have felt but sheer disappointment? I had thought fathers had some consideration for his children, even though he thought them illegitimate.

Jesus Christ, he treated Bessie Blount's son better than he did me! Henry Fitzroy was a duke! And look at me, I'm a dirty scullery maid that is slapped at least twenty times a day, forced not to even see her own father, and is humiliated and treated lower than pond scum. Dear Lord, what did I do to deserve this? Nothing! Nothing at all! That black witch, Anne Boleyn is the culprit. How did she rise so fast and so easily? How did she manage to have all the glory and power slip so silently into her clutches? It was bewitchment. Pure, simple, poisonous bewitchment. She hypnotized my father to marry her, hypnotized the Church to remove my mother, she hypnotized everyone in order to gain what she had now.

I turned away from the balcony and slowly trudged back down the creaking steps to the kitchen. Cook was fuming, but I didn't care.

Her arms at her stout, matronly waist, Cook stared at me, brows furrowed. "What took you so long, girl?" she pointed a long wooden spoon at my nose, "What business do you have up there?" Cook motioned toward the stairs.

"I have every business to be up there," I said defiantly, staring into Cook's eyes, "I am a princess. You, on the other hand is cook. Do you see the difference? I am allowed anywhere. You, on the other hand, stays in the kitchen and cook until your face turns purple." I took pleasure in watching Cook turn beet red in fury. What I said was true. She had no right to reprimand me. I was the master.

"You little-," she began, and hit me extremely hard with the spoon.

She was expecting me to cry. To cringe in misery. But to my great surprise, and most to hers, I began to laugh hysterically. It was almost sarcastically amusing! The master allows the servant to beat her! What world is this?

"We work in the queen's household," Cook hissed, though somehow unnerved at my behavior, "We don't dawdle. But you, I think, have a lot to learn. Get to work! And no breakfast for you today!"

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The months passed so slowly that I almost thought time had suddenly decided to stall in midair which meant that my life had not gotten a notch better than when I came to Hatfield in December, a year before. I rarely saw Queen Anne anymore and I assumed that she was brooding and concocting a potion to conceive a son. On second time she miscarried I was overjoyed. I couldn't believe my luck, and I couldn't believe in Anne's bad luck! Everything seemed to be going on well and so easily when Anne became queen, but now, I think she was under layers and layers of pressure. When was she going to have son? No one knew. All she had was a measly daughter.

Elizabeth had grown and was very adorable. Sometimes I actually found myself growing warm towards her, for I loved children. But every time that emotion decided to come to the surface, I would push it away. She was Anne's daughter, for God's sake! But who could tell that this charming, clever, and beautiful child was a blood relative to this cold, dark, and unfeeling cobra. In fact, Elizabeth seemed to look almost nothing of Anne, except for her dark eyes and long neck. Elizabeth and I both inherited our father's curly golden red hair. Her skin was very delicate, and sometimes I thought it almost transparent. She was so different from her mother.

I still had to admit it. Sometimes, I hated Elizabeth. I was a princess also! How come I had to serve her, a mere baby? They gave me the nastiest tasks like changing her soiled linens, washing and drying them, and had me sit for hours at a time, watching her as she played. Elizabeth had a new dress made everyday while I haven't had a new dress in over a year!

Watching her now, I couldn't help but think that it was a pity that this little girl might soon become exactly like her mother. Ruthless, unforgiving, and harsh. Elizabeth giggled as she played with her doll.

"Mawrie, lookie!" she cooed. Elizabeth gave her doll to me. "Lookie, she cuan dance!"

"Yes, Elizabeth," I couldn't help but smile at her baby talk. My smile soon faded when my stomach gave a great lurch. Something was wrong with me. I felt terribly sick and I raised a hand to my forehead. Good Lord, it was hot. Elizabeth stared at me.

"Mawrie . . . Mawrie? Whot's wrong?" she whispered, "Mawrie?"

"Elizabeth, could you go find Lady Bryan? She'll take care of you for the rest of the afternoon. Mary's not feeling well, alright?" I said, feeling another lurch in my stomach.

"Alwight Mawrie," she said and scampered off. I was drenched in cold sweat. What was wrong with me? Standing up, I watched as the world spun before my eyes. I stumbled out the door, knocking things over as I went. Anne will kill me, I thought. I made my way clumsily through the corridors, my face getting paler every minute. When I finally found the door that opened to my room, I kicked it open and didn't bother to lock it.

Falling with a crash on my hard bed, I clutched the thin blanket to my shaking body. God, it was getting cold. I placed a hand on my forehead again, and this time, I was shocked. I felt as if my blood was boiling and I was about to be burned. I was shaking all over in agony. And then, I felt as if I were floating and drifting away, the room blending into mist. If this was dying, I thought, it wasn't so bad.

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(A/N: I don't really like the ending to this chapter, but hey, I wrote it pretty quick. Anyways, keep on reviewing, and I LUV U!!! :*

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