A/N: Well, here it is: the second instalment! Here goes nothing, I suppose. The second book chronicling Cheyenne's power struggle in a very different world. Updates will be slow; tutoring and school are sucking up all my free-time like a great cosmic Dirt Devil, and I also haven't figured out where I want this story to go. Oh, and could someone please tell me what fictionpress has against paragraph indentations? I can't get them to show up.Read on!

The Way of My World

King William of Harries is not the sort of man you want around you when recovering from an illness. Even if he didn't want me dead, the man is just not conducive to the healing process. There I was, taking the first few tottering steps since nearly a month before, and he decides to ruin that one small victory.

"The royal family of Bronfé is coming." I stumbled and ate it right there in front of him, face-first onto the rug. Alicia tried to stand me up again, but I settled for the less-tiring sitting position.

"When?" I asked, breathing heavily. Those few steps had taken it out of me.

"Within the week." The week? And this is all the warning he gives me? As Crown Princess, I'd no doubt have some big part in the welcoming ceremony, and in the state I was in now…this was just fabulous.

"How long have you known about this?" I demanded. Will shrugged, as if foreign relations with nations that would love to go to war with us was of little consequence.

"About a month." A month. He knew about this before the kidnapping, and he was only just now informing me of this? Didn't it occur to him that this might be slightly important?

"About a month? Why didn't you tell me?" He looked annoyed, which seemed to be his permanent expression nowadays.

"There was never an opportunity. I could hardly turn them down by saying that the Crown Princess was in captivity, and I thought it wise to wait until your condition had improved."

"That's very considerate of you, Will, but I'm not doing better. I'm out of breath after three paces. What are you going to tell them, now? That instead of being kidnapped, the Crown Princess is temporarily crippled? Which one sounds better?"

"As to that, I was going to recommend Edwina switch to magical remedies, now that you are no longer laid up. If the switch can be made safely, you will be in good order by the time they arrive." If? Hardly comforting.

"Clarify who 'they' are." It was time to figure out exactly how much trouble I was in.

"The royal family, of course, this is their daughter's wedding to Jonathan. Allise, the eldest daughter. She will be remaining behind, so kindly make her feel welcome. And the rest of the family, except for the youngest. I can never remember how old the brat is…seven, or so, and always ill. They did not wish to tax the child's health on a long journey. Who does that leave?" Pop quiz. I racked my brain. This was bad, I didn't even know the Safires had a seven-year-old.

"The oldest is a son…then Allise…then another boy?" He frowned at me. Wrong answer. "Girl. Another girl. They only have one son, the oldest. Then Allise, the other girl, and the youngest, the sick one."

"You cannot refer to them as such. What are their names?" I blew a sigh. I couldn't be arsed to remember their names under normal conditions, and thus made no effort to learn them.

"Oldest son…starts with a 'J'. Sounds like a girl's name. Jain."

"No, that's Démond's youngest son. Focus." I focused.

"Um…" I got nothing.

"Malen. The eldest son's name is Malen." Hearing that brought it all back.

"Right! Malen, Allise, and Raisa. That's them, right?"

"Correct, but the youngest, for future reference, is Kai. I will also show you the seals of the other houses they are bringing, and you will identify them correctly." Another quiz, this time in heraldry. Will obviously didn't want me embarrassing the country in front of the in-laws. He stood brusquely, startling me, and making me have to crane my neck up even higher from my sitting position. "Can you stand on your own?" I braced my hands against the floor and clumsily tucked my legs underneath me, trying to hold a crouch. Already my arms were starting to shake slightly. I rose slowly…

Bam. The door flew open, slamming against the wall. Taken by surprise yet once more, I fell against the bed and bounced back into my sitting position. On the opposite side, I couldn't see who my disruptive visitor was.

"Bronfé is coming." Jonathan's voice, clearly recognizable. So Will hadn't told him either? What was he planning to do when the delegation showed up on our doorstep? 'Oh, didn't I tell you they were coming, honey? Well, don't be rude, make them comfortable!' Not the man for forward planning.

"Yes, they are."

"My bride-to-be, as well?"

"Of course. She is needed, if the wedding is to take place."

"My wedding?" Jonathan usually wasn't prone to asking stupid questions. Either he was high as a kite or very, very angry. My money was on angry, and I don't make losing bets.

"Who else's wedding would it be?"

"It did not occur to you to inform me earlier than this?"

"No, as a matter of fact. The wedding will take place, we will play the host, and they will leave. You will have the rest of her life to get to know her, so what does it matter that you knew the precise time of her coming?" The more he talks, the more I detest the man.

"I never thought simple decency was beyond you, Father! I—where is Cheyenne?" It had suddenly occurred to him that I was nowhere to be seen, apparently. I shot my hand in the air and waved it. "Oh." He walked around and looked down at me. "What, pray, are you doing down there?"

"Walking," I said.

"Appearances can be deceiving, I see," he said. Then, "Father, might I converse with you privately?"

"You may not; I was talking to the Crown Princess before you interrupted us."

"While she was walking."

"Yes. If you will excuse us—"

"I will not. Please, continue your conversation. Forgive my rudeness in interrupting." He gave a sugary-sweet smile that I thought only women were capable of. Will's face gave an involuntary anger-spasm, but cleared it immediately. I sat up a little straighter, hoping to break the father-son tension with something, anything…

"How are we to afford this?" I asked, the first question that burst into my mind and out of my mouth. They both turned to look at me, as though they couldn't quite believe that I had asked a relevant question.

"Afford…?" prompted Will.

"The wedding. Mia's was so expensive, and it wasn't that long ago…" I trailed off, uncomfortable under their constant staring.

"You need hardly concern yourself with such matters, Cheyenne—"

"Pretend for a crazy minute that I am. Shouldn't I be concerned with the country's finances? Seems fairly important to me, don't you think?"

"It won't trouble you until your ascension to the throne."

"Yes, but wouldn't it be lovely if I got to said throne with no idea how to run the country? Because at the rate you're going, that's exactly what's going to happen." Will's head snapped to look at me.

"What notion has gotten into you?" Smack-down for the King man, courtesy of yours truly.

"Oh, just the fact that I've probably learned more about ruling a kingdom from my cat than I have from you!"

"You told me you couldn't talk to the animal." I waved my arms around. Or, tried to. I got them about head-height and considered that a triumph.

"It's a manner of speaking, Will! My point is, while you've been drilling all these lovely little pictures and the saps that go with them into my head, I have no idea what my roles is in your ten squillion little ceremonies, or foreign relations, or even how to get my own people to listen to me! How do you expect me to run a country like this?"

"He—" Jonathan didn't finish the sentence, but the word 'doesn't' was plainly what the next word out of his mouth would be.

"Enough of this!" yelled Will, cutting him off. "Jonathan, you are dismissed. Now." Jonathan turned on his heel and walked smartly from the room, though he seemed to me to be far from cowed. Will then calmed and turned to me. "If you had a complaint with the knowledge you were receiving," he said in a sickly-nice voice, "You needed only to tell me."

"Consider yourself told," I snapped peevishly. Things were not going very well today.