The wheels of the carriage spun swiftly, led by two horses of equal size and appearance with their glittering black eyes, smooth hazel furs accented by dark brown manes and black tails. A piece of dark blue silk was cut into a perfectly rectangular shape, framed by golden bars, and covered the window. The smooth fabric ruffled slightly as the baroness raised the rich cloth. Her face was marked by wrinkles that were especially prominent under her dull gray eyes. Her once-vibrant red hair had faded into a mousy brown, streaked by strands of wiry white hair. Her dark lips moved as she delivered demands to her coachman. Immediately, the carriage came to a halt. The beautiful horses stood motionless, resembling stone statues crafted by the most skilled artists. The coachman, a dark man of small frame, quickly lifted the thick velvet which cloaked the door and gave the baroness his arms. Escorted by her servant, she stepped off the wooden steps which glowed from a natural sheen. The sun came out of its hiding spot and its rays reached the baroness. The scarlet colour of her garnet necklace glowed mysteriously. Carrying an air of grace, she elegantly walked toward the theatre.

Karine watched the baroness until the large theater doors closed with a crisp bang. "Wow," Her friend whispered.

Karine's eyes finally drifted from the theater and landed on her friend. With a grin, she expressed with confidence, "I am going to have all that." She stood up and dusted some dried mud particles off her gown. Thrusting out her chin, she added, "And more."

"She was pretty lucky to marry so well." Charlotte commented. "I've heard that her dad was wealthy and had connections. I'm pretty sure that she was an earl's third cousin."

"I will be richer and more powerful." She stubbornly restated, snapping a tree twig from a dead tree. "And, I don't need any help."

Charlotte was silent and kept pace with Karine. Karine's back was as straight as the trunk of an oak tree. Although Karine's baggy brown gown was not as elegant of baroness' beautiful dresses with delicate details, she was just as proud and carried as much grace.

The school house was in sight when Karine continued, finger combing her blonde hair which tangled from the violent wind, "What should I do when I have so much money? Of course I will get you anything you want, and Jane too. Not that she would need anything. She has everything. Then I want to build some homes for orphans and kids who are hated by their parents. I feel so sorry for them. It's quite unfair really."

As Karine said her last word, loud sounds of laughter shot at her. A tall girl around sixteen year of age stood with her younger brother. Her features were squished together as she scowled, "You? Rich? Who have ever heard of a bastard child being rich?"

She shared a look with her brother before bursting into laughter again. Charlotte cried, "Leave her alone!" She comforted Karine, "Don't listen to them. Ignore them. Let's hurry. We're going to be late for class."

Charlotte dragged Karine by the arms, but Karine did not budge. She shook off Charlotte's tight grasp. She glared at the girl, who was more than a head taller than her. "What did you call me?" She said emotionlessly, pronouncing every syllable.

"I'm sure Mara doesn't mean it. We're going to be late! Hurry!" Charlotte tried to ease the tension.

"I called you a bastard." She repeated, putting emphasis on the last word.

Her brother smirked. He sneered, "Are you deaf? She said that you are a bastard. Don't look at us like that. Don't blame us. Blame your mother. It was her who shameless. She made you a bastard."

"Now, now, you're being unfair. Part of the fault does lie with the man. He must have been awful to…"

"Don't you dare talk about my father like that." Karine said coldly, walking toward the pair of sibling.

"You're a bastard. Your mother's a bastard. And, your father was one too. He must have been a dreadful person to…" The shape of Mara's mouth transformed extravagantly as she spoke these insulting words, with her blue eyes staring at Karine's face, searching for any trace of emotion.

Karine lifted her hand. Mara didn't realize what she was going to do until it was too late. The loud slap was following by the ringing of the school bells. Charlotte was the first to unfreeze and recover from the shock. She nudged Karine, "Come on, we're late"

Karine gave Mara a harsh look before sprinting as quickly as her legs would carry her behind Charlotte. Behind them, before they crossed the road for the senior school building, Mara shouted, "This is not over yet. Trust me."


Charlotte and Karine ran into the room breathing loudly. It was almost a half minute later when they realized that everyone's eyes were glued on them.

"Ms. Charlotte and Ms. Karine, care to explain this lateness?" The old professor asked.

"We are very sorry Sir. We had some troubles on the way to school. This will not happen again." Charlotte explained earnestly.

This explanation, however, did not satisfy him. He inquired, "What kind of trouble?"

"Dogs. We ran into wild dogs. Two of them to be exact." Karine answered. Her face remained unfazed as the teacher stared at her. Her hazel eyes remained natural and clear and her lips curved slightly.

"Hmm.." That was all he said before asking them to return to their spot.

When Karine took her spot in the back, Jane gave her a sympathetic look. She whispered, "Are you okay? I hope that you're not hurt."

Karine smiled, "We're fine."

She dug into her desk, searching for a slate. She began to yell, "Ouch," but stopped in time and disguised it into a cough. She looked at her bloody thumb. Gently, she pulled the large splinter out. Her eyes were tight shut and face in agony.

It wasn't her lucky day.