I opened my eyes and picked up the wet brush before scrubbing the cobblestone outside the palace doors. I looked up to the high castle tower to see my stepmother through the open window, the curtains fluttering in the early spring breeze. She was brushing her hair and talking to her reflection in the mirror again. Sometimes I would hear her have entire conversations with herself, but I never told her of this. One time when I mentioned I overheard her talking to herself she got very mad and gave me even more chores than usual. Suddenly a shadow appeared in front of me and I lifted my eyes to see Prince Edmund Seymour in front of me with a smile on his face.
"Hello, Snow White," he greeted me.
"Hello, Edmund," I said with a forced smile before returning to my work.
"What are you doing scrubbing the cobblestone? You are a princess, order a slave to do it."
"I am the slave here," I replied without looking up.
"Not for long."
I looked up at Edmund with a questioning look on my face. "What do you mean?"
"You know the law, the queen is only able to rule until her son reaches the age of sixteen-"
"But my father had no son, and the queen has no husband to give her one," I interjected.
"Or, until her daughter reaches the age of sixteen and is able to marry a prince, where then he takes over the throne," Edmund continued.
"I am not married, nor am I intended to anyone," I said with a frown. Just exactly what was he trying to say?
"You will be," he said before taking my hands and pulling me up from the ground. He then got down on one knee and pulled a small ring out of his pocket.
"Snow White, now that you are of age, will you marry me?" he asked. My hand flew to my chest in shock.
"Oh, my…this is so…sudden," I breathed. I'd only known Prince Edmund for half a year, and trying to get rid of him the whole time. He'd stumbled upon me while hunting in the woods and had almost shot me with his crossbow while I was out picking berries for my stepmother. Then he'd found out where I lived and visited me regularly, even though I tried to curb his affections for me. He always tried to get me to spend time alone with him, but I always used the excuse that I had chores to do, and it was true. When Prince Edmund came to visit, my stepmother would give me even more chores than usual, and sometimes I would do the same chore twice in one day. My stepmother always had me doing chores though. They had to be done by somebody, and I loved being outdoors. Not to mention her huntsman would help me sometimes.
"I am flattered, really-" I started to say, when suddenly the huntsman ran up to me.
"Snow White, your stepmother wishes to see you in her room," he said.
"Prince Edmund I must go," I said, trying to look sad. Given the choice of rejecting him now or later, I chose the latter. It would give me more time to think what I should say.
"Until next time, Snow White," he said, grabbing my hand and kissing the top. I pulled my hand back and nodded stiffly before running off behind the huntsman.
"You have perfect timing, Henry," I said with a smile when we were inside. Henry was one of my dearest friends, and he was only two years older than me, making him the ripe age of eighteen.
"What did the prince want now?" he asked with an amused tone.
"He proposed to me."
Henry suddenly stopped and turned to look at me with a shocked expression on his face.
"Yes, but you came just in the nick of time and saved me from having to tell Edmund that I must refuse his offer."
"You're not going to accept?"
"You know how I feel about Prince Edmund. Did you want me to accept?" I asked with a eyebrow raised.
"No!" he exclaimed. "I mean, no. I just expected you would want to be treated like a princess should instead of being forced to do all these chores for your stepmother."
"I keep telling you, Henry, I don't mind," I reminded him before we set off for my stepmother's chamber. When we got there we found my stepmother reclining on her couch and waiting for us.
"You are dismissed huntsman. Go fetch a quail for my dinner," she said with a wave of her arm. When he was gone she turned her emerald green eyes to me.
"Snow White, I want you to go and clean the chimney in the throne room," she said. I nodded.
"Yes, my queen," I said before making a slight bow and rushing off the clean the chimney. I went to the cleaning supply room and looking for the chimney brush when I remembered I left it in my stepmother's room when I cleaned her chimney a couple days ago. I quickly went back to her room and quietly opened the door to find the room empty. I was told never to enter her room without her there, but I knew that it could be a while before she returned and if I didn't get the chore done quickly she would be mad.
I looked down the hall before rushing into her room and running over to the chimney to find the chimney brush still in there. I pulled it out of the fireplace and was about to turn around when I heard a voice drift down the hall.
I froze in place and gasped when I recognized it as her voice. If she caught me here she would likely have me put in the stockade or give me numerous chores she knew I couldn't complete. I glanced around quickly before dashing behind a nearby curtain.
I heard my stepmother's shoes click against the stone floor and enter the room. I tentatively peeked out from behind the curtain to see her in front of her mirror, her arms crossed and her lips drawn in a tight line.
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in the land is the fairest of them all?" she asked, and to my horror a ghastly white face appeared on the mirror with a frown on one side of the face and a smile on the other. I had to slap my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming out.
"You my queen, are fair, it is true, but the young Snow White is a thousand times fairer than you," he said. My eyes widened in surprise and my stepmother gasped. I was always told I was a fair maiden, but I never believed I could be as beautiful, much less even more so beautiful, than the queen herself. She had hair the rare color of honey. Her eyes were the stunning green color of grass shimmering in the hot summer sun. How could I be more beautiful than her? I had lips as red as blood. Hair as black as ebony. Skin as white as snow, that was how I got my name Snow White.
"You are lying!" she hissed at the mirror.
"I would not lie to you, my queen," the mirror responded.
"That wretched little witch!" she screeched, grabbing her glass of red wine and throwing it against the wall. It shattered and the red liquid dripped down the side, staining the wall a dark red color.
"How dare she!" she cried, turning on her heel and stormed out of her room. I looked back to see the face in the mirror fade away and I stepped out from behind the curtain with trembling legs. I knew what stepmother was like when she was mad, and I could only pray that she would calm down before she found me.