Valerie woke up with a headache. Groaning, she gingerly touched the back of her head, wincing when her fingers touched the bump there, a souvenir from whoever had attacked her from behind. Moving slowly, she sat up and looked around the room. She was sitting on a bed, if one could call a wood box filled with straw and covered with a blanket a bed. The room she was in was made entirely of stone; the only relief from the blank greyness of it was the thick wooden door and a small window that looked out onto the green tops of trees and blue sky.

At a glance, Val could tell she'd never fit through the window. And from the little she could see through it, she knew she must be fairly high up. The door looked promising but the heavy iron bands on it and the large, obvious keyhole made her fairly certain that that wasn't going to work either.

She tried the handle anyway and was unsurprised to find the door was locked. What was worse, was discovering her sword was gone. Grumbling, she stalked over to the window and stuck her head out, a wave of dizziness making her clutch the windowsill. She would need to move as slowly as possible until her head settled. She was pleased to see that her earlier idea had been correct. She guessed she was around forty feet up in the air, trapped in what looked like a tower.

Goddamnit! She thought as she raked the empty grass around the base of the tower with her eyes. First I'm Cinderella. Now I'm Rapunzel. Fairy tales suck! And Darren…he is going to enjoy rescuing me far too much. I'm never going to hear the end of this.

Annoyed at the very thought of Darren's smug smile she pulled her head back in and stared around the room, willing a weapon to appear. Eyeing the bed, she leaned down to look more closely at the planks of wood it was made of. Her brief hope went up in a puff of ash when she noticed how well it had been hammered together. It would take her several hours to kick a piece off and the amount of noise she'd make would ensure her swift discovery.

Sticking her head back out the window, she looked at what lay around the opening. Finally, her luck changed and she noticed a small metal hook that lay just to the left of the window. Moving her head out of the way, she checked and found she could reach it, with some groping, with her arm. Grinning, she pulled the blanket off the bed and stabbed the hook through it. While not a particularly effective distress beacon, it was the best she could do with what she had. Her shirt might have attracted more attention but under the circumstances, Valerie did not intend to remove a single article of clothing willingly.

With no other options left, she sat down beside the door, ready to jump to her feet as soon as she heard footsteps. Attacking whoever came to get her was the safest option in her mind. To keep from falling asleep, her head still felt a bit fuzzy and she was worried about the possibility of having a concussion, she began going over what had happened since meeting Darren.

They very first time I saw him was when we almost met at the club. Man, he was such an arrogant prick. Had that harem of his and just assumed I'd come running over to join it, she thought, smiling slightly as she pictured Darren holding his microphone and talking to the crowd. Then he proposed that ridiculous bet. Which I must have been sick or something to accept.

And he never did find me. Not on his own at least. The ball was kind of fun. Well, the dressing up part. The rest of it… well Amorrt showed up pretty quickly and things went downhill from there. Valerie shivered slightly, remembering the sight of a bloody Darren having his head held up by his hair while Erramun and Lyel had swords pressed against their necks.

And I had to come out or he'd have died. Then that Amorrt creep started blathering on about something stupid. Though the look of surprise and pain on his face when I kicked him in the balls was priceless. Come to think of it, that was the first time I ever held a sword.

But then Darren started with his chauvinistic bullshit and Amorrt threw the sleeper powder at us. Darren still owes me for saving him from eternal sleep. He was still being an ass so I threw my shoe at him and left. Valerie grinned at the memory.

Let's see…then I went back to school. But not before he kissed me. Which would have been fine if he hadn't been so damn smug about it. He deserved that kick to the family jewels. Oh wait, we ran into Blake before that. I seriously have to wonder what I ever saw in that asshole. Cheating bastard.

Then I was home for Thanksgiving. After insulting me, Darren managed to behave which was a nice change. I think that's the first time Darren actually treated me with any kind of respect. Of course it took people yelling at him to get him to change but at least he did.

Then it was Christmas. And the Jaloam. Valerie shook her head slightly and rubbed her arms. The Jaloam still scared her, even half a year later. That was the first time I legitimately fought anything. I didn't do too badly, all things considered. Still. I would have been dead, or kidnapped at least, if it hadn't been for Darren and the others. Which I suppose makes us even.

Heh. That's also around the time I met Mia. When she's not being crazy over a guy I kind of like her. She's got spirit. Oh! And Christmas is when Darren got me my sword. Which I want back. I wonder if they'd have left it nearby or hidden it? I hope it's not locked up somewhere. I love that thing. Not that I'll tell Darren. He'd only smirk.

Then was Reading Week. And Isaac and Darren! That made me laugh. I'll have to ask Isaac what exactly he told Darren to get him so worked up. I bet it was hilarious. Another memory involving Isaac telling her things about Darren made her blush. She quickly squashed it and continued through the events of the last year. I think right after that was when Err got stabbed. Ah! Now I know how they disappeared. They must have had those magic rings! No wonder Lyel said home was always nearby. Bah. Now I feel kind of stupid.

Easter was next. Nothing really happened then I don't think. Then I was home for the summer. Snorting quietly, Val remembered a short, dark girl. Kiara. That psycho. I can't believe she had that fake cheerleader personality when I trained her. Then there was that stupid party she insisted on having. Oh but before that was the beach and Darren saving that little girl. He was sweet. I think that's the first time I actually… She didn't finish the thought though her face flared red again.

Of course next was the party. And Darren's crazy rant. Kiara played him like a fiddle. Moron. Then I got her on tape and had her arrested. Then Darren pulled that stupid stunt with the banners. She smiled as she remembered seeing his apology twenty feet off the ground.

My graduation. Dear god I still can't believe he showed up on a white horse. I mean it was hilarious, but it was embarrassing too. At least the monkeys enjoyed it. After that was the battle royale grad party. Heh. I wish I could have seen the look on that asshole's face when Darren punched him.

Let's see…next was Darren asking me to go back with him and me agreeing. Then I was packing and then I was saying goodbye. Of course right after that was the smoke bomb and someone hitting me on the head from behind. And now I'm here. Oh joy.

I hope the others are alright. I wonder if they got caught too? I'll have to find out! I can't escape and leave them behind. Besides, I have no idea where I am. I'm assuming fairy tale land due to the fact I'm locked in a bloody tower but who knows?

The sound of footsteps approaching cut off her reverie and Valerie jumped lightly and quietly to her feet. She carefully positioned herself beside the door, ready to attack.