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|Freezing Point (standard:drama, 0 words)|
|Author: Siobhan||Added: May 30 2001||Views/Reads: 2164/1786||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Leslie is kidnapped and taken to a frozen realm where Queen Courtney forces her to be her servant. Leslie attempts to escape and falls in love with the queen's righthand man. Tempers flare as the temperature cools, who will snap first?|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story saw a tall boy holding her notebook. He was dressed in a strange suit unlike she had ever seen and something about his entire stance was intimidating. "What are you doing with that?" she spat. How dare he touch her property and then bait her with it? She felt anger growing in her throat and she fought to keep from getting nasty. "I found it. Is it what you want?" he smiled. He held it out of her reach and she felt as if she were going to boil over. "Of course it is. Please give it to me," she reached her hand out for it. Then she heard the crunching of gravel on both sides of the building. She swirled to her right side and saw two boys walking around the corner. She saw the knifes in their hands and the guns on their hips in holsters. She looked to the left and saw two other boys with the same weapons coming around the corner. They were all dressed identical and all had the same menacing aura. "Just give up now," the boy with her notebook chuckled. He could see the fear in her eyes and she was visibly shaking in order to control her growing rage. "What do you want?" Leslie growled. She realized she could not outfight the five males but perhaps she could compromise and get out of the sticky situation. "We don't want you. Queen Courtney does. She's got plans for you," the boy laughed. His eyes were dark blue but they were cold and flashed no care. "I won't just give up. I never do," she put her fists up and felt anger surge through her body, stronger than ever. Heck with compromising, these fools were crazy and she was not going down without a fight. "Boys put on your masks," he announced and dropped her notebook. Leslie looked around wildly for one moment as they slipped on funny looking masks. She lunged towards an opening and stopped when one of the boys pulled out his gun. How did she ever get herself into these positions? "Let me go," Leslie whispered and pulled her T-shirt over her mouth and nose. She saw all the boys pull tiny tanks out of the pockets of their baggy jeans and spray white foam into the air. It seemed to vanish but moments later, she felt it hit her. Her eyes began to sting and water so she closed them tightly but then her skin itched. She had hoped that the shirt would filter the air but when a burning sensation hit her nose, mouth, and throat she knew that it was not so. Then the light seemed to blind her even through her closed eyes and she felt complete darkness coming but she could not stop it. She wanted to fight but she knew it was over. When she awoke, she was laying in a seat on a plane. She was right by the window so she looked out. All she saw was dark blue ocean water and chunks of ice floating around. It looked like a scene out of "National Geographic" and that just could not compute with her. "Where are we going?" she groggily asked the blonde boy sitting beside her. Her head was pounding and she felt as if she were going to pass out at any second. "To Elvirian in Antarctica," he replied without looking at her. He seemed as if he were militarily disciplined but he looked no older than she. "Where is that at?" she wanted to know. She had never heard of such a word much less a place and she was curious as to where that would be. Even more so, she wanted to know why they had wanted her. "It is in a special place that only outcasts and criminals know about," he actually smiled. It was more of a twitch at the corner of his lips and a slight revealing of his teeth but it counted for something. "But I'm not an outcast," she groaned. She felt so sick to her stomach and head, what in the world had they hit her with. "No but the queen liked your spunk. She thought you would make a great servant girl," he explained. His voice announced that he thought that was a perfectly reasonable thing, as if nothing at all was wrong with the idea of her being a servant not by her own choice. "Well she can bite me on the rear end," Leslie responded. She was remembering everything and she felt the familiar anger rushing up to blind her vision. No one controlled her and no one could but anyone was welcome to try, at their own risk of course. "No, she would have someone else do it for her," the boy replied and he was utterly serious. Leslie frowned and turned to watch the scenery fly past them far below the noisy plane. What kind of queen was this and what kind of world was she being flown to? Somehow, she knew that her life had changed forever and that she would never recover from whatever was to happen. Finally, they landed and climbed down a steep staircase to get out of the plane. Icy wind blew sharp sheets of snow and ice at them. The dramatic temperature change went straight to her pounding head and she cried out with pain. She felt the sting of a needle in her forearm and she went to sleep without a fight. When she awoke, she was in a white room. The walls glistened and shimmered from a white chandelier hanging from the ceiling. She was lying on a white chunk that seemed to be part of the wall and it had a pillow, mattress, and several heavy blankets. There was a white-framed mirror and even the mirror itself seemed made of glass. There was a white toilet and bath in one corner and that was it. Leslie moved and heard the shuffling of a ski suit. She then noticed how heavily padded she felt and she looked at her clothing. She was dressed in a giant uniform that looked much like an astronaut's. It was a bright pink color and concealed any lumps and bumps. She felt awkward and wondered how long she had been asleep. Suddenly, a part of the wall seemed to melt out of focus and in its place stood a TV. A beautiful young woman in a gold bikini top with a long gold skirt that reached her ankles but was split to the hip on both sides stood in the TV. Her long strawberry blonde hair had a thin band of gold holding her hair in a ponytail that reached her waistline. She wore many gold hoops and necklaces and even had matching gold sandals. "Hello Leslie, I am Queen Courtney. I trust that you are comfortable?" she waited for a reply from Leslie. Her lips were parted in a wide smile and Leslie just wanted to smack it off. "I don't want to be here," she responded. She wasn't going to lie and heck, she really didn't want to be here. So far, she was very unimpressed. "Not at first but this place is wonderful," the queen started. Her smile broadened and she sounded as if she were doing an advertisement. Leslie would have none of it for she was already there and not enjoying herself. " This place sucks. My room is drab, pink is not my color, the clothes is a bit poofy, and the weather bites," Lesie huffed. She wanted to say more but she really couldn't so she held her tongue and hoped that she would be returned home. "Your room will have items in time, that color is stunning on you, the clothes are warm, and the weather keeps you alert," the queen chuckled. She was serious but picking on her at the same time. Leslie decided she didn't like this woman at all because they had too much in common, already. "Oh if my clothes keep me warm then how come you look like you ought to be in a bar dancing?" Leslie demanded. She acted angry, but in truth she wanted to be wearing clothes such as what the young queen wore, even if it were a bit sleazy. "Because I made my room into a tropical paradise in the middle of this cold place and I choose what you wear but you do not choose what I wear," Queen Courtney laughed. There was a hardness and insanity around her that made Leslie wonder how far could she push before the girl snapped. "What do you want of me?" Leslie blurted. It was time to hear the game plan and choose if she wanted to continue or put up a fight. "All I want is a vast kingdom with you as one of my loyal and obedient servants," she replied. Her blue eyes sparkled with glee and determination. The girl was going to be hard to conquer, both Leslie and Queen Courtney realized that of each other. "You can get a clue. I am no one's servant," she hissed. She was enraged that anyone even supposed that she would wilt to the will power of another human being. She was too strong and too proud to ever bend for someone else, much less this obnoxious woman. "Only time can tell, only time can tell," the TV faded and all that was left was the glittery white wall. Leslie removed a glove and gingerly touched the wall. She yanked her hand back in shock. The walls were made of ice. She glanced around and found that there were no doors. She sighed and leaned on one of the walls. It moved and showed a radio system, books, magazines, and a couple board games. "Wow! Now that is pretty cool," she sorted through the CD's and was amazed to find every single one that she wanted including all her favorite groups. "They must have been stalking me for a while," she laughed. She popped in her five favorite CDs' and hit random. She then sorted through the books and found Icebound by Dean Koontz. She popped down on the bed and began to read while her favorite tunes sang their noisy chorus. "I take it you are comfortable," the queen asked. Leslie dropped her book with shock. She had been so into the story line that she had not noticed the queen enter. Once again, she was infuriated, not only for the insults heaped upon her but now for the interruption. "Actually no. I cannot figure out how to activate the TV, closet, or a refreshment wall," she angrily complained. She saw no reason to be civil nor appreciative of what was given to her for it was through kidnapping which she wanted no part in. "Just press the wall. You can live in here without ever needing to leave," the queen smiled. Something sounded threatening in her voice and gave her the chills. She decided that she needed to point that out. "Is that a warning?" Leslie inquired. She had voiced her worry for somehow she knew there was a double meaning to the seemingly harmless comment. "Take it as what you want. Will you join me and my servants?" the queen asked. Once again, her voice was menacing even though she wore a huge smile and her eyes twinkled with mirth. "Screw off," Leslie hissed. She would not be played with and she was already tired of her strange friend of the frozen realm. She wanted to go back home or be left in peace but not deal with the antagonizing force. "Okay. Do you remember the tale of Beauty and the Beast?" the queen wanted to know. Her smile broadened once more and Leslie knew that she was plotting something in her mind and hatching a wicked plan. "Of course. It is an incredible fairy tale," she replied. It was actually her favorite fairy tale but she felt that it was no business of the queen's. "Good because you have now entered a twisted fairy tale. Think of Beauty and the Beast," the queen adviced then walked through a wall. Leslie rushed after her and just smacked into the wall. It had been a desperate attempt but at least she had tried and knew that it wasn't so wise to do. "This place ain't so great. In fact, it bites," she shouted then sat on the bed with a sigh. She rubbed the bump on her head gingerly. That was all she needed, another headache, on top of everything else that had happened. Some days she was better off staying in bed. After reading her book for a couple hours she got up and touched a wall. It vanished to reveal a closet but there was nothing inside. She wondered what was the point of an empty closet? "How lame," she commented. She walked to the wall that she knew was not anything but the refreshment system. She touched the wall and leapt back in amazement. Instead of just a refrigerator, there was a stove, a counter, and a sink. There were also cabinets and everything was stocked with utensils and food. "Fabulous," she breathed out then looked around to make sure no one was listening in to her open awe. She pulled out a pan and some instant hot chocolate. She followed the instructions, set the pan with chocolate in it on the stove, and began to stir it. She felt a pain of homesickness and closed her eyes against the tears that threatened to fall. She would never see her stepmother, dad, brother, or stepsister again. Why had she fought with them before she left, now, she would never have the chance to apologize. She thought of chasing, Anne, her stepsister, around with a brush, threatening to beat her with it because Anne had slipped hair dye into Fern's gel. She thought of playing soccer with her brother on the same team at school. She thought of the time when her step-mom and dad had tried cooking and the kitchen ended up needed hired help to actually clean it cause they had made it look as if something had blown up. Those times had been so funny even if it had been a little messy. Leslie was brought back by the sting of a hot chocolate bubble popping and splashing her hand. She removed the pan from the stove and searched the cabinets for a mug. Finally, she found one and some marshmallows. She poured the hot chocolate into her cup then popped about seven marshmallows into her cup. She found the TV and turned it on. She had every single channel plus more. She took a sip of the chocolate and began to flip through the channels. Suddenly she stopped flipping. The screen showed her step-mom talking to someone on the telephone and sobbing. Her father had her in his arms and was rubbing her shoulders. "She went to school today but never came home. Where is she?" her step-mom sobbed into the telephone. "No, she did not run away. She had no reason to," she cried out. The scene changed and it was now in the living room. There was no one in there but the TV was on in there. It was on the news and there was a picture of Leslie on the screen. "A local girl, Leslie Roberts, disappeared early this morning. She went to school and her friend, Alisha Bandacotta, said that she was there before first hour," the announcer pronounced very dramatically. Alisha came onto the screen and her beautiful face was streaked with tears. "Leslie said that she forgot her notebook on the outside of the school where we sit before school starts. We would have both been late if we had both went to retrieve it but I left her to get herself. I thought it would be safe. I mean, it was not the first time that she had forgot it out there. She told me that she would see me at second hour because we have second hour together but she never showed. I told my teacher about what happened and she called Leslie's parents. They said that she had not come home. I let her go. If I had only been with her perhaps she would still be with us today," Alisha broke down sobbing. The scene on the big TV changed and it was now in the family room. Her brother, Joshua, sat on the big chair with his face in his hands. Her stepsister, Anne, was curled up with her head leaning on Nana, everyone's grandma's, shoulder. "I can't believe that she is gone," wailed Anne. "Hush child, there is hope. Perhaps she just had a friend to visit and lost track of the time," Nana whispered. "During school?" Joshua piped up. "Who knows. But perhaps she will come home and be peachy fine," Nana patted Anne's side. "I just know she isn't coming home. I can sense that she is still alive but she's not coming home," Anne cried. "You don't know that honey," Nana smiled weakly. "Yes I do! Leslie is gone forever and I didn't even get to say good-bye," Anne buried her head in Nana's shoulder. Leslie flipped the TV off real fast and set her hot chocolate on the floor. She began to cry extremely hard and she buried her face in the pillow. So much hurt and sadness coursed through her veins that she wondered if she could live. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep from sobbing so hard and because of sheer exhaustion. She woke up in the middle of night and knew something felt different. She stood up and was amazed to see that she no longer wore a big puffy uniform. Instead, she wore a thin but cover all nightgown. It was also a dark pink and Leslie cringed. She wondered how she had been changed without her waking up. She got a glass of very cold water and felt an overwhelming sleepiness overcome her and she barely made it to her bed before falling solidly asleep. The next morning she awoke and was changed again. This time, she wore a pale pink puffy uniform. She rose softly and yawned deeply. She did not understand why she had been so tired or why her sleep had been dreamless. Never had she slept so dead to the world, never! Suddenly the TV appeared and the queen stood in it. This time she wore a light blue bikini like top but it had long sleeves. Her skirt was like the gold one but it was light blue. She even wore matching hair ornaments, jewelry, and slippers. "Hello Leslie, I trust you slept all right," the queen smiled. Her entire demeanor said that she knew something that Leslie did not. This really bugged her but she decided not to say a word and give the queen her hold over her. "I was changed without my awakening and I was so tired," she exclaimed, "The flight must have really dragged my sleeping time down or something." "Well, it must be the change in temperature but yes you were changed. I have servant girls that do the job. I am still hoping that you join us," she insisted. "Never! I am a servant to no one," Leslie shouted. How come the stupid girl would not realize that it would never happen, she would never give in to such a wish as hers. It was wrong and she refused to submit to the persistent queen. "No need to shout, I am right here. I am your queen and you may as well get used to the idea. You are never leaving so make use of the time that you have," the queen huffed then vanished. "I am servant to no one," Leslie screamed at the blank screen that quickly was replaced by ice. "Servant to no one," she repeated her voice barely above a whisper. Leslie was kept in the same room for three months with no outer communications except for with the queen. Every night, she went to sleep and slept like a rock only to find herself in a different outfit the next day. Exactly three months and four days after her capture, she made a decision. "Will you join us, Leslie?" Queen Courtney inquired. "I do not wish to be a servant but I will be one of the wee folks," Leslie decided. "You mean, a commoner right?" she wanted to know. "Yes, I cannot stand being cut off from people. Is this a good enough submission to be allowed some minute freedoms?" she asked. "I will have Tonia show you how the place works. She is on her way," the screen went blank then ice formed over it. The ice parted and a girl came strapping through. She was dressed exactly like Leslie except she was in a dark green suit. She had medium length, straight, chocolate brown hair and sparkling brown eyes. She had a crooked smile that seemed to be composed of mischief. "Hello, I am Tonia. Her majesty sent me," Tonia extended her hand. Leslie gripped back and found her arm nearly shaken off. "Where are we going?" she questioned. "We are first going to the ice mines. The queen insisted that you go there first," Tonia explained. "Oh, can't she just pump ice from anywhere?" she wondered. "Well she could but the ice mines are the purest in the world. Plus it is very sweet ice and almost seems to taste like sugar," Tonia smiled. "Maybe it's laced with sugar," Leslie suggested. "Oh no, it has been tested and proven that it is not so. Sometimes it is laced with the finest alcohol there is but that is so the other merchants respect the queen. Clever isn't it?" Tonia walked through the ice and for the first time so did Leslie. "I guess if you are into way uncool bribing. Where does the ice get sent to?" she was actually interested. "I am not sure but the queen gets paid well," Tonia said and they turned the corner into a huge ice realm. There was a dark blue ceiling though but it was far overhead. "How long have you been here?" Leslie wanted to know. "Four years. I was kidnapped at the age of thirteen and my brother was taken at the age of twelve," Tonia replied. "Do you see your brother much?" Fern inquired. "No, two years ago he attempted an escape and was caught. Last, I saw he was shackled in chains and his spirit was broken. I haven't seen him since," Tonia responded. "Have many people attempted escape?" Leslie wondered. "No, only my brother and his wife. They were both caught but on the other hand this place was here before me and who knows if others made it to freedom," Tonia smiled. "Do you know where the exit is?" she glanced around but only saw snow. "Why do you want to know all this information about running away and exits? Are you thinking of trying to escape? I have thought of it a great deal of times but I have not the guts to attempt it on my own. I am afraid of going alone into the world," Tonia grinned wickedly. "I want to escape," Leslie whispered. "Don't talk of it now but perhaps I can speak to you later. Do you see that servant girl over there? Her name is NaTasha and she has a phobia of homosexuals. Want to see me have some fun with her? Of course you do, stay here," Tonia ran to the tall servant girl in a lavender uniform. Leslie stayed put and wondered what was going to take place. "Hello NaTasha, you are looking very beautiful today," Tonia purred and rubbed NaTasha's arm. "Tonia, what in the world is your problem?" NaTasha pulled away with a grimace. "Oh NaTasha. What are you doing tonight?" Tonia inquired. "Stuff," the servant girl seemed all ready very nervous. "Alone?" Tonia stood closer to the poor girl. "Tonia, leave me alone. I do not know what is wrong with you but I am telling Queen Courtney. So, just leave me alone," NaTasha began to briskly walk in the opposite direction. "Oh anything but that. See I told you so," Tonia laughed as she ran back to Leslie's side. "That was not very nice," she giggled. "I know but I have to do something to have fun around this place," Tonia chuckled. "What will the "queen" do?" she wanted to know. "She doesn't care. She likes my sense of humor, which is why I am not married yet. She is trying to find me a husband with just as big of a humor as I have so that we may have humorous children," Tonia replied. "Oh that sounds great. Will she be trying to find me a husband?" Leslie questioned. "Yes, she likes your spunk and looks so thus she will try to find a spunky, handsome guy for you," Tonia responded. "Do you think she will find the right guy?" she felt her stomach do twists and jumps at the thought of forced marriage. "I don't know. I have been here for four years and she is still looking. NaTasha has been here for six months and she is married and two months pregnant," Tonia sounded downcast. "Who are the youngest and oldest people here?" Leslie wondered. "There is a thirteen year old girl and her name is Carmen. She has all ready had one child and is pregnant with her second. Then there is a Mark who is the youngest boy at age fourteen. He has had three children. Lilia is the oldest female and she is twenty-one. She has had two children and I believe is due to have her third any day. Max is twenty-five and he has been busy. He has had six children and out of those only four turned out the way the queen wanted them," Tonia explained. "What did she want?" Leslie was very curious. "She married Max to a girl named Attina for their beauty. Attina was seventeen when Max was nineteen. They had three children together and they were all very pretty. Then in the ice mine, a huge block of ice fell on Attina and killed her. Therefore, the queen married Max again to another beautiful girl named Becca. Becca was seventeen too but Max was now twenty-two. They had three children together and only one looks like she might be beautiful. The other two are incredibly ugly," Tonia commented. "Do the parents have to raise their kids?" Leslie inquired. "No, the queen has a huge nursery that has many servant girls to take care of the kids. I flat out refused to be placed in there. If you are wise you will refuse to," Tonia offered. "Thanks but I like kids and maybe there is a way to escape out of there," she decided. "No there is only one entrance and exit and I know where it is but it is heavily guarded except during marriages and birthings. Oh yeah, also during funerals," Tonia replied. "Isn't that the queen walking our way?" Leslie pointed to a scantily dressed woman walking towards them. "Oh why yes. NaTasha must have really found her or she is seeing that I am doing what I am told," Tonia guessed. "Tonia, are you showing Leslie the ice mine?" Queen Courtney asked. "Yes your majesty," Tonia nodded her head low to show her respect. "Good, and show her all the other things including the salt mine. By the way, did you bother NaTasha?" Queen Courtney inquired. "Yes I did," Tonia responded. "I'd appreciate if you kept your pranks to a minimum when you are giving a tour," Queen Courtney smiled. "I shall try my hardest," Tonia agreed. "So Leslie, how do you like my ice kingdom?" Queen Courtney turned to face her. "It is very cold and bites heavily," Leslie huffed in spite. "Oh Leslie, Leslie, Leslie. . . When will you learn? The weather may "bite" but you are stuck here so you may as well get used to it," Queen Courtney laughed. "Yeah sure. That's what you think," she hissed. "What does that mean?" Queen Courtney questioned. "Nothing," Leslie lied and glared at the cocky young woman. "Good, talk to you later," Queen Courtney grinned. Tonia dropped to her knees and dragged Leslie down with her. She struggled to stand up but Tonia held her down. Queen Courtney nodded her head then turned around and began to walk away. "That horrible rotten woman! Who does she think she think she is anyway?" Leslie growled as she leapt up. "Queen Courtney. That is who. She is not a woman. She is only sixteen. I am a year older than her yet I fear her worse than I do older people. Not good huh," Tonia commented. "It is super freezing in here yet she walks in an outfit meant for the equator or Africa or something. How does she do it?" she wanted to know. "You want to know how? I will tell you because she tells us. She has a special formula that she injects into her system every night through a needle. This "formula" super heats her blood and makes her able to walk through this weather. If you look at her footsteps you will see melted snow and a bit of steam. You do not want to touch her or you could really burn yourself. If she goes one night without the formula she will not be hot but she only has to re-inject it to be heated again. She let's us know so that she could make us incredibly jealous. It works," Tonia griped. "So why does she wear those skanky outfits?" Leslie wanted to know. "So that she has all of the attention from the males. If there is nothing but her for the boys to look at, who do you think they are going to look at? Her, that is who. Oh it makes me so mad," Tonia fumed. "Do the couples that are married live with each other?" she inquired. "No. She would not allow that. She has a special schedule with days marked off every month for when a couple will "shag". Anyone who is married and does it off the schedule is executed. Anyone who is not married and does it, is married," Tonia replied. "Gosh, she rules the clothing, who you marry, when you "do it". . . What else does she rule?" Leslie sounded furious because she was truly irate that she had been stuck in this woman's rule. "When you go to sleep and for how long," Tonia responded. "What do you mean by that?" Leslie thought of how exhausted she always was at night. "She slips sleeping pills into everything whenever she wants you to take a nap. She does it to everyone including her best friend," Tonia explained. "How did she do that when I was in my room all the time and who is her best friend?" she asked. "She has an invisible formula and her best friend is a very cute guy named Kellin. He is sixteen and I believe the queen loves him. He is not married yet and the only way that she could marry him was if he made it to commander of her army but that looks unlikely and she will not force it for one reason or another. He is a guard of hers but he hardly ever works. He is sincerely cute even though he pretty much belongs to her," Tonia smiled thinking of him. "So, if I wanted to hurt her I would have to seduce him," Leslie commented. "Yeah but I wouldn't suggest that," Tonia warned. "Why not? She would have to marry us and would loose all access to him through her own rules. Do you not see? He could be our ticket to getting to her and perhaps winning our freedom," Leslie was excited even though she had no idea how she could carry out her plan. "Our freedom? Only one of us would be sleeping with him and if she did happen to grant his "companion" their freedom, do you really think that she would be so kind as to grant both of us our freedom? She would be so angry that she would be making our lives as miserable as possible not as wonderful as we decide," Tonia pointed out. "It doesn't matter. If we irritate her enough she'll decide to release us just to get us out of her hair," Leslie exclaimed. "Or kill us," Tonia objected. "Kellin is the ticket. He really is," Leslie pretended not to hear Tonia's protest. "Exactly how do you plan on meeting Kellin? Do you plan on walking into her palace, up into his room, dropping your clothes, and saying "Hello Kellin, sir. Do you mind sleeping with me so I can enrage the queen and marry you not to mention possibly win my freedom"?" Tonia shook her head. "Something like that," Leslie smiled, "That's better than no plan at all." "You are crazy. There is no way you could do that. If the queen overheard our conversation, we would both be dead. If she knew of your plans, it would be bye-bye Leslie. I would never see you again cause you would be dead. Just get this crazy idea out of your head and kiss it good-bye," Tonia was suddenly very worried. "You might have only known me for a little while but I know that you know that I will not let go of the idea. I can get to her through her best friend. Right now, it is the only choice I have. I am a servant to no one," Leslie insisted, her eyes glowing with her plan. "You might not but you may be. By trying to seduce a boy, you are being her servant," Tonia whispered. "How so?" Leslie wanted to know. "Trust me. Please think about it. We can plan an escape but the seduction of the queen's best friend cannot be permitted. I am not loyal but I am not a fool either. Look if you really want to scandalize the queen then as a last minute resort strip down to your bra and underwear. If she tries to have her guards capture you, threaten to strip to nothing. Here we are at the ice mine. Come on down," Tonia lead the way down a well-lit tunnel into the belly of the ice. Leslie saw a huge ramp with ice coming up it. She also saw a little switch that read up and down. As Tonia and she walked by, Leslie tipped it down discreetly. The ice began to slide downwards and Leslie heard the supprized shouts of the workers below. "Leslie, what just happened?" Tonia asked for she was not a fool. "If I am going to be forced to stay here then I am going to be forced to cause as much trouble as I can," she replied. "You are going to cause an accident, that's what you are going to cause," Tonia shook her head but she could not resist smiling. "Yep and then I am going to cheer," Leslie chuckled. "You are so bad," Tonia exclaimed and they laughed heartily as they descended into the rumbling pit of chaos. Leslie was unimpressed with the ice mine. Tonia lead her back up to the surface and they began to walk to the salt mine. Suddenly, Tonia bumped Fern and pointed to a medium height, blonde boy carrying a large grey bag on his shoulder. "He is Alan. He is married to Elyssa and they have been married for two years and have yet to have kids. Elyssa hates Alan and likewise with her. Elyssa attempts to get him in trouble anyway she can," Tonia explained. "She sounds awful but how do you know Alan?" Leslie questioned. "Alan came about a year and two months after I did and we worked in the same job together. He is a very nice guy. Trust me," Tonia grinned. "Hi Tonia. Who's your friend?" Alan wanted to know. "This is Leslie. She is new to the group and seeks an exit from this ice world. In plain English, she wants to escape and hurt the queen in any possible way," Tonia laughed. "Sounds good to me," Alan announced. "Well good, I take it you want to get away too?" Leslie spoke up. "You bet! The "queen" is forcing me to carry these bags of salt to the loading dock and she has been making me do it since I came here," he griped. "Poor Alan, you could be in charge of a human being like me," Tonia teased. "What?" Leslie asked, wrinkling her brow with confusion. "You are in my charge as long as you are here and whatever you do will come down on my head as well as yours," Tonia said. "That is why you do not want me to go through with my plan of conquering Kellin," Leslie realized, putting a slight damper on her scheme but not enough to make her give up the idea. "Exactly. You are pretty smart for you catch on really quick," Tonia exclaimed. "Thanks for your caring," Leslie sarcastically thanked Tonia. "No problem," she grinned. "I think I will leave you lovely ladies behind. The queen gets very angry when I'm late," Alan moaned and shifted the bag to his other shoulder. "Well talk to you later," Tonia waved goodbye. "Nice meeting you," Leslie decided, "Bye!" "Same to you," Alan waved and continued on his way. "He is such a sweetie," Tonia gushed. "You like him, don't you?" Leslie asked. "Yes, but he is so sweet. It is hard not to. If the queen knew she would have me put to death and if we had an affair we would both be out to death and Elyssa would be free again. I do not understand why she hates his guts so bad. He has never done anything to hurt her," Tonia sighed. "How do you know that? For all you know, he is a woman beater or he puts ice into her sheets. He may scream and yell at her whenever he communicates with her. He may be horrible in bed and she wants better. You have no clue what is going on so don't just rag on her," Leslie defended the unknown girl. "You don't even know either one of them and yet here you are slamming Alan and defending a horrible girl," Tonia cried out. "All I am seeing is one side of the story and that is not even Alan's or Elyssa's side. You obviously want me to support Alan but you are not telling me everything. Do you think that is very fair to do to me? To ask me to pick a side when I do not know the whole story?" Leslie threw back. "Look, I am not telling you to support either side. I am just telling you what is going on," Tonia insisted. "Are you really telling me everything that is going on?" she questioned. "I am telling you what Alan tells me. Sorry if you think I am holding back on you but I have no reason to," Tonia retorted. "Why?" Leslie inquired. "Why what?" Tonia questioned back. "Why would you not have a reason to hold back on me?" she wanted to know. "Because I consider you my friend," Tonia replied. "Really? Is that another reason why you did not want me messing around with Kellin?" Leslie felt happiness spread through her for she needed true companionship desperately after her near complete isolation. "Yeah, heck, do you really think that I discuss taking off from this frozen place with just anyone?" Tonia wondered. "Well, no, but I really didn't think about it either. I consider you my friend too," Leslie smiled. "Good, cause it really sucks when it is a one way friendship. Here we are at the lovely salt mine," Tonia gestured to another tunnel leading into the frozen earth. "Oh boy," Leslie sarcastically cheered. That night, Leslie did not touch any food or water and laid on her bed with The Servants of Twilight, which was another book by Dean Koontz. She was reading for a while when a noise startled her. She dropped the book and looked up to see about three girls walking through her wall. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Oh my, we are sorry. We thought you were asleep and we came to change your clothes," a girl in a dark uniform stuttered. "What's your name?" Leslie wanted to know. "The queen doesn't," the girl started. "Screw the queen! What is your name?" she repeated. "My name is Elyssa and the queen requires that our identity remains a secret unless she orders it otherwise. She also requires that you are asleep by this time," the girl whimpered. "I'm not tired and she does not have solid control over me," Leslie announced. "Oh but she does," Elyssa insisted. "No she does not! Give me the nightgown and I can change myself. I am a big girl, you know," she reached for the bag that Elyssa was carrying. "No, the queen insists that we take care of it," Elyssa pulled the bag out of the reach of Leslie. She leapt up and stood right in front of Elyssa. "Give me the bag now and I will let you go. Do not give me the bag and I will tear you are apart from limb to limb and make you unusable by Alan and the "queen"," Leslie threatened. "How do you know about Alan?" Elyssa wanted to know. "I am psychic, duh! I mean it, give me the nightgown, now!" Leslie demanded. "You have no right to make me do this," Elyssa snarled. "You have no right to honor a girl who kidnaps unsuspecting prey, or forces people to bow down to her rules. Now give me the nightgown," Leslie shrieked and clawed madly for the bag. Elyssa dropped the bag and her and the other two girls ran out the wall. Leslie calmly unzipped her uniform and slid out of it as if she were a snake sliding out of an old skin. With supprize, she found that she was dressed in a pair of leggings and sweater underneath. She peeked into the bag and found another pair of leggings, a sweater, and another nightgown uniform. She stripped out of the clothes she was wearing now and put on the change of clothes. She then placed the used things back into the bag and set outside of her room. "Good thing there is room service," she joked to herself. She snuggled under the covers and was drifting off to sleep when the TV cackled on. "Leslie, wake up this instant," Queen Courtney ordered. "What? Can't you see I am trying to get my beauty sleep?" she shouted back. "Why did you not eat or drink anything tonight? Why did you verbally attack Elyssa? And how did you know about Alan and Elyssa?" Queen Courtney forcefully interviewed. "I felt like it and I am psychic," Leslie responded. "Do not play games with me. I have no sense of humor with rejects like you," Queen Courtney retorted. "Well if I am such a reject why did you bring me to this prison?" Leslie shouted. "Shut-up now! You want to be so tough well how do you think I made it here? Do you think I sat on my royal butt and let everyone else do the work for me? Well if you do, you are wrong, missy. I fought for everything I own and I almost lost my life so that I could have everything done for me so bite your tongue," Queen Courtney exploded. "Do you think any of that matters to me? I do not want to be here! I never did and I never will. You stole me from a home I loved and adored to bring me to a hellhole. If you think that how you got it matters a single bit to me, then you are wrong also. You choose to drug me and force your decisions on me well, I choose to fight back. I always will," Leslie hissed. The screen went blank and she was left alone again. She was so angry that her blood seemed to be boiling through her veins. She turned her face into her pillow and began to cry. Nothing seemed to be going right for her and then a deep voice broke into her blur of tears. "Miss, Queen Courtney set me here to watch you," a deep voice explained. "Leave me alone," Leslie moaned and squeezed her eyes shut to stop the flow of tears. "Her majesty is afraid that you will try to pull something or kill herself," the deep voice continued. "She obviously does not know me. I am determined to make her life miserable and if I do so just by existing that so shall I exist till she gives me my freedom," Leslie huffed. "You should give more credit to her majesty. She really is a wonderful woman with a wonderful dream. She has aspired to create this world since she was ten and she has completed it. Why do you feel that you must be the stone in her shoe?" the deep voice wondered. "Why do you feel such loyalties to her royal pain in the rear? How do you know so much about her?" Leslie rolled over and saw a handsome, brunette guard. That was when she saw his nametag, Kellin. "She is a best friend of mine. I have known her since I was five and I will know her when either her or I die. I don't think you have any right to slam what she is doing," Kellin announced. "Did she kidnap you from a home where you belonged? Did she hold you hostage against your will and force isolation on you unless you joined her?" Leslie wanted to know. "I came with her willingly. I saw that she had a wonderful future and I was correct. I am sorry that you were kidnapped but would you have come any other way?" he asked. "Never, I would not leave a warm place to be brought to a world of solid ice. Never," she spat. "Than she was left with no other choice but to kidnap you," he insisted. "She could have just left me alone," she huffed. "But she wanted you to join the kingdom. Consider it an honor. If she had just left you alone, she would not have had a Leslie to add to her collection," he grinned. "Let me be. I have no use for walking talking Malibu dolls," she turned so that she could no longer see him. "Fine but I am to stay in here and be near you at all times as to prevent any misfortunes," Kellin stubbornly explained. "Oh boy, suicide watch," Leslie exclaimed then there was silence and she smiled for Kellin was within her reach. Only he was definitely a bit more loyal then she had anticipated but he was also highly irresistible. Leslie and Tonia began to walk to the nursery when suddenly a large horn blared its wail of message. "Another one?" Leslie griped. "I believe it is a new servant, Anne-Marie, who is to be married to Anthony," Tonia predicted. "Why do you say that?" she wanted to know. "Anne-Marie was caught in bed with Anthony and so now they must be married," Tonia explained. "Makes sense," Leslie tilted her head in thought, the image of a brunette guard burned into her mind. "So, exactly what was your plan again?" Tonia inquired. "During the third birth of the third month we will all meet in front of the entrance. Then from there on we shall try to escape through the exit and become "Free Willys"," Leslie laughed. "I don't know what a "Free Willy" is but I am guessing it has something to do with freedom," Tonia guessed. "Yeah, I wish the queen was still looking for a guy who is spunky and handsome, because, my time to escape is running out. She found me someone to marry," she suddenly announced. "Why?" Tonia asked. "His name is Brady and he works in the ale department. He is very handsome but he is slower than a snail and I think looks are his only good trait," Leslie groaned. "The queen has yet to find me a mate. I am still somewhat free," Tonia cheered, "No offense Leslie." "None taken, bragger," she teased and elbowed her friend. "When are you to be married?" Tonia questioned. "After the forth birth of the third month. I can hardly wait," Leslie sarcastically cheered and inwardly prayed that nothing went wrong with the escape. "It could be worse," Tonia exclaimed. "How so?" Leslie had to know. "She could have found you a dumb, boring, and ugly guy and forced you to marry him," Tonia offered, "Oh that makes me feel so much better! Two out of three ain't bad since I got a guy who is dumb, boring, and good-looking. You know looks are everything for me," Leslie sighed, remembering past crushes when she had been a carefree girl. "I know that is why I had to mention it," Tonia teased, unaware that Leslie was hurting inside. "You are just so cruel because you are difficult to shop for," Leslie retorted. "What does that mean?" Tonia asked. "Figure it yourself," she laughed. "How rude," Tonia whined. "I hate this building. She gathers everyone in it to show off her body and to marry another couple who will be miserable with each other," Leslie huffed. "You just hate it because in a matter of two weeks you are going to have to be married in it," Tonia replied. "Why did you have to remind me? I all ready am upset enough but now you have to bring up the worse event that is going to happen to me," she moaned. "Sorry, gosh, hardly anyone is here yet," Tonia announced. "Big deal! Would you want to come here? No, we don't so everyone else probably does not either," Leslie decided. "What makes you think everyone is as rebellious as we are? Many the people that are here are very loyal and came on their own free will. Hard to believe that anyone would willingly come to this frozen dump without being forced," Tonia said. "Kellin did," Leslie whispered his name as if it were a charm to be revered. "Oh yeah, what is going on with you and Kellin?" Tonia wanted to know. "You know how I just wanted to use him? Well, plans rather backfired and I really love him. I think we would do things but he is still afraid of hurting the queen," Leslie replied. "Oh, he is so loyal," Tonia exclaimed. "I know, it's disgusting," she grinned, his smile replaying in her mind. "I wonder where the queen is?" Tonia wondered. "You mean she isn't here yet?" Leslie questioned. "No, I was just trying to see if you were paying attention. Duh, she isn't here yet," Tonia exclaimed. "Sorry, I don't know where she is," she looked around. " I request that you grant me a marriage with Leslie," Kellin announced as he stepped into the queen's room. "Kellin, you know that is a refusal flat out. I am not willing to let you go," Queen Courtney replied and brushed her soft hair out. "Why? I do not love you but I love her," Calvin said. "Why do you love her and not me? I have known you since I was six and yet you refuse my hand in marriage. I have more to offer than her. I have a palace, a mighty kingdom, hundreds of servants, and no rules to bind us," Queen Courtney explained. "It doesn't matter to me. I want true love. Leslie is a determined young woman with a most intense fire in her. I look into her eyes and I can see the sun blazing through her view. I can hardly remember what the sun looks like because I have been here for so long," Kellin moaned. "Look into my eyes and you can see the sun. I am hotter than she is literally and thus the sun would be blazing brighter," Queen Courtney insisted. "It has nothing to do with blood temperature. When I look into your eyes, I see this world. I see the billowing ice and snow swirling in your eyes. You are frozen to mercy and love. I want be in the sun's light and feel the heat of her heart. Do you understand?" Kellin asked. "How is she warmer than I am? I want to know," Queen Courtney demanded. "She still tries for her freedom, she bows to no one, she care about everything in life, and she does not feel that anyone should bow to her. She helps other people and she listens. You do not," Kellin replied, his handsome face twisted into earnest hope. "Kellin, you hurt me. How can you treat me like this after all we have been through together?" Queen Courtney questioned. "Your majesty, I love Leslie with all of my heart and I wish to marry her. I love you too but as my sister not as I do Leslie. Does that make any sense? It does to me but as for you I am unsure," Kellin pushed a stray strand of dark brown hair out of his face. "I will not grant you a marriage and I insist you get out of my room. You are not to ever come back in here under any circumstance and you will have a new order. Perhaps you will be a guard of the exit. That way, you will never deal with Leslie again," Queen Courtney growled. "I denounce my love for you and admit that you are nothing but a commoner trying to play in the queen's clothes. Maybe you ought to step down before you are dethroned," Kellin retorted, all traces of the soft spoken young boy gone. "Get out!" Queen Courtney screamed. Kellin nodded his head and stepped out of the room. The queen promptly sat down and began to cry and cry. She hated Leslie with all her heart and was going to make her as miserable as possible. Leslie would marry Brady and not Kellin. Of that, the queen was absolutely sure. "Where in the world is the queen?" Tonia asked. "I don't know. This is so weird, I wonder where she is," Leslie gazed around the almost full room. The bride and groom were standing at the front of the room waiting for the missing queen. She saw Kellin walk in and lean against a wall but there was no Queen Courtney. "There's Kellin but where is the queen?" Leslie pointed out. "Kellin came without the queen? Something's up," Tonia decided, peering around the cluster of people. "Yeah really, he only leaves her side to guard me," Leslie agreed. "Guard you? Psst, more like talk with you and fall in love with you. Hey, I bet that is what is wrong. I bet he asked her for a marriage and they had a falling out over it," Tonia guessed. "I doubt that. I mean he is still to loyal to her to hurt her and by asking that question, she would be very hurt," Leslie replied. "Well maybe, he loves you more than her and was forced to try. So she ended their bondage as old time friends or perhaps he did," Tonia announced. "Oh yes, friends do that all the time," Leslie sarcastically agreed, though in her heart, she hoped it to be so. "They do here, maybe not in your old world but they sure do here," Tonia exclaimed. "Oh boy," she sighed. "Announcing her majesty, Queen Courtney," an announcer shouted. "She's here," Tonia whispered. "You think?" Leslie rolled her eyes. The queen walked in and her gown outdid the bride by a lot. She wore a beautiful, silk, white dress that fit her figure snuggly. The skirt of the dress flowed out behind her and two servants carried the very end. The queen had a white orchid in her blonde hair which hung loose like a cascading waterfall of golden waves. She wore white gloves that reached to her elbows and she had beautiful white slippers on her feet. Leslie saw that the bride was on the verge of crying and no wonder. She wore a white uniform while the groom wore a black one. The queen walked to the front of the room and stepped up to the microphone. "Hello my people. I am sorry for the tardiness but an issue I had to deal with confronted me. We are gathered here to wed Anne-Marie and Anthony together. Under normal circumstances they would be allowed together after the ceremony for two hours but because they have all ready been together they will have to wait until their time comes. Anne-Marie, you are to be married to Anthony. Anthony, you are to be wed to Anne- Marie. Do you have anything to be said before you are married?" Queen Courtney asked. "Even your rules could not block true love," Anthony blurted. "Nor could they block a determined person," Anne-Marie announced. "Are you done?" Queen Courtney inquired, she glared at the couple with bloodshot eyes. "Yes, we are," Anthony and Anne-Marie spoke as one. "Then I pronounce you wife and husband now for the announcements," Queen Courtney exclaimed. Anthony and Anne-Marie walked into the crowd and stood as if nothing had happened. "Mindy and John will be having a child in two days. Alice and Frederick will be having a child in a week and four days. After Alice and Frederick's child is born, Leslie and Brady will be wed. There will be no changes to this plan," Queen Courtney glared at Leslie then Kellin while she was speaking. "I wonder what I did," Leslie spoke aloud, but she had the feeling that she knew what was wrong. "I don't know but she is mad," Tonia whispered back. "Duh, like I can't see that on my own," Leslie elbowed her friend in the side. "Can you young ladies be quiet please," a voice whispered from behind them. Leslie turned to see who was speaking and saw Alan grinning at her. "Oh Alan, hush up. You are being too noisy for me to focus," Leslie teased. "Well, excuse me," Alan laughed. Suddenly, Elyssa was at his side and she glared at Leslie and Tonia. "Some people actually listen to the queen," Elyssa growled. "Yeah, and some people actually have lives and aren't brain dead zombies," Leslie retorted. "Not when you are in Queen Courtney's kingdom," Elyssa replied, her voice filled with sincere loyalty. "No Elyssa, that is only you who has no life when anywhere, including in Queen Courtney's kingdom," Leslie whispered. Elyssa cast a dirty look at her then backed up into the crowd. "How can you stand her?" Tonia wanted to know. "I can't but I really don't have a choice about it," Alan whined. "I really dislike her," Leslie decided. "Welcome to the club," he smiled. "Who's the president?" she questioned. "I thought it was obvious," Tonia started. "It's me because I have to do things with her that you don't," Alan interrupted, a grimace plastered on his face. "Oh please don't go there," Leslie and Tonia groaned. "You are dismissed," Queen Courtney announced and the crowd began filing outside. "Meet me by the green-house," Leslie whispered into Alan and Tonia's ear. They both nodded their head. No one noticed that Elyssa was following them. Leslie got out and walked to the green house. Alan and Tonia walked to her shortly afterwards. "What's wrong?" Alan wanted to know. "Nothing is changed. We have to get out of here in two days during that birthing. I didn't realize that it came so quickly," Leslie explained, desperation setting in as she realized how bad her plight really was. "Well, can't we go during the forth birthing?" Tonia asked. "No, I am afraid that if we go any later it will be too late. I don't want to marry Brady," she wailed. "It cannot be that bad," Tonia replied. "Oh yes it can. Ask Alan about an arranged marriage," Leslie retorted and Alan nodded his head in agreement. "How bad is an arranged marriage?" Tonia questioned. "Terrible. I am married to Elyssa, does that not say anything?" Alan pointed out. Suddenly, Leslie saw a flash of pale blue moving through the snow. "Oh crud," Leslie cursed and ran after the movement. She saw Elyssa jump up and run back to the building. She knew by Elyssa's rapid escape that she had heard everything spoken between the trio of friends. Leslie also knew that Elyssa would tell the queen all. "Elyssa," she shouted but Elyssa ignored her. "How much do you think she heard?" Tonia asked as she came running up. "I don't know but this doesn't change anything," Leslie announced, deciding she had to keep the worse quiet from her friends. "What does that mean?" Alan inquired. "It means, our plans will go on as planned," Leslie insisted, gasping for air. "But she's going to tell," Alan exclaimed. "They may not believe her or perhaps she will just dismiss it. We have to take that change. I cannot be married to Brady," Leslie almost shouted, fighting hard to keep back the tears. "Hold your horses. We get your point. We'd better scatter," Tonia suggested. "Good idea," Alan agreed and they divided. That night, as Leslie was beginning to drift to sleep an unfamiliar voice spoke, "Hello Leslie, I am the replacement guard for the last guard that was here." She rolled over to see a dull looking guard standing at the foot of her ice bed. "Where is Kellin?" she asked, worry coursing through her veins. "He was put on a different assignment," the guard replied. "Why?" she inquired, relentlessly questioning the guard about her missing love. "I really don't know. I was instructed to take his place and that was all," he responded, his face read too clearly that he was ignorant of everything and it infuriated Leslie. "If you are not Kellin then you are not allowed in my room," she hissed. "I'm sorry but the queen has instructed me to stay in your room with you at all times," he explained. "Screw her, I said get out," she was getting angry. "I can't do that. The queen said," the young guard started. "I don't care what the queen said," Leslie grabbed the book that was on the side of her bed and threw it at the guard. "Please be reasonable," the guard begged. She jumped out of her bed and ran to her kitchen wall. She pulled out heavy clay mugs and began to throw them at the guard. "Get out," she screamed and threw mugs as hard as she could. The guard gave up quickly for Leslie had deadly aim. "You win," the guard huffed as he stepped out of her room. She threw herself onto the bed and cried out, "Oh Kellin, what did we do? What have I brought you into?" Leslie walked to the nursery without Tonia. They were avoiding each other so as not to draw attention to each other. They were attempting an escape today and once out Alan was going to marry Tonia. She thought of their last conversation. "Leslie, I have to make a confession," Tonia whispered. "What?" she wanted to know, she loved juicy secrets. "You know how I told you that Alan and I were just friends?" Tonia asked. "Yeah, get to your point," Leslie ushered. "We really aren't. We are more. I think I'm pregnant," Tonia looked down at her feet as she spoke. "Wait, I don't understand," she was at a loss. "Alan and I have been having an affair. I meant to tell you but I could not bring myself to do it. Now, I think I am pregnant with his kid," Tonia whimpered. "I can't believe it. Well, I can but I find that great. I always thought there was something between you two but I wouldn't have sworn on it," Leslie smiled and hugged her best friend. "That's is why we have to succeed in getting out of this place. If we do not, the queen will want to know who the father is. If I say Alan, she will kill us. If I say I do not know she will think I am a slut and will kill me. If I claim it must have happened while I was doped up at night she will search everyone down until she knows I am lying. What do I do?" Tonia began to cry. "We will escape and your baby and Alan will live to know each other," Leslie promised, more determined than ever to get out. "I'm so scared," Tonia sobbed. "Don't be. There is nothing to fear but fear itself," she reassured Tonia. "I hope so," Tonia whispered. Leslie smiled, remembering how fearful Tonia was. There was nothing to fear. She did not know about the others but she would rather die than live here so she had a backup plan, i.e. suicide plan in case of capture. The loud baby siren screamed off and she practically shouted with triumph. She pretended to be walking over but was taking her time. Finally, most everyone was at the birthing and she began to hurry in the direction of the exit. She felt the bottle hit her wrist from inside the uniform. She had written a message for in case they were captured and the bottle was all that escaped. She stumbled in the snow and cracked up. She was not one known for grace so it made too much sense for her to fall. She stood back up and dusted the powdery snow off uniform. She approached the tunnel of the exit and wondered what was at the end. "Leslie, in here," Alan poked his head out. She dropped to her knees and crawled in. The tunnel was just tall enough for people to crawl in but no use trying to walk. "Is Tonia here yet?" Leslie questioned, her heart beating rapidly in her chest. "No, and frankly I am worried that maybe she was caught," Alan voiced his fears. "We are talking about Tonia right? She never gets caught and always talks her way out of things," she whispered. "No, she talks us out of things but never herself," Alan moaned. "She will make it, I know that she will," she insisted and peeked outside but saw no one. "Did you see anyone?" Alan wanted to know. "No, I didn't see anyone," Leslie suddenly felt small and cold. Tonia was her best friend and had been the one who had made life bearable. "You guys were not thinking of leaving without me?" Tonia suddenly popped in. "Tonia, you are not caught," Leslie exclaimed. "Duh, do I ever get caught my dear? No, so, let's get this show on the road boys and girls," Tonia smiled. Leslie began to crawl first, then Tonia, and Alan was bringing up the rear. They seemed to be crawling for hours on end but in reality it was probably only for about ten minutes. Leslie saw a circle of ice blocking the exit. She also saw another small hole in the ice about big enough for her bottle to slip through. They crawled towards it and Leslie quickly dragged the bottle out of her uniform. She shoved it through, she hoped that it at least made it to help. "What's that?" Tonia asked. "A note to the outside world in case we never make it out," she explained. She rolled onto her back and began to kick at the ice. Her feet smashed against it but there was not a sign that she was even touching it. "Are you doing it right?" Alan questioned. "No Alan, I'm tapping it as light as I can. Yes, I am doing it right and it is solid. There has to be another way out of this place," Leslie groaned, the sweat beading on her forehead from her exertion. "Should we head back?" Tonia inquired. "We have no choice but to. Perhaps if we walk across the tunnel," Leslie thought aloud. "But they'll see us," Tonia exclaimed. "Not if we move fast and the birthing is still going on," Alan replied. They turned around and began to crawl back. "Do you think we are going to make it out?" Tonia wanted to know. "Of course, we have determination," Leslie responded, but she wasn't as sure anymore. "Yeah, listen to Leslie," Alan agreed. They crawled for a while again and finally broke out of the tunnel. "Are you sure they are doing it today?" a voice called out. "I think so," another voice called back. "We don't have much time so move fast and be as inauspicious as you can. Good luck and in case you are captured," Leslie pulled two switchblades out of her uniform and tossed them to her partners. "What are these for?" Tonia inquired. "I don't know about you but I would rather be dead than go through whatever punishment they are going to serve us. I also do not want to live like this for the rest of my life," Leslie explained, her voice splintering on the last few words. "So what are they for?" Tonia repeated her question. "They are for suicide," she replied, "Now run!" They all took off on top of the tunnel. "There they are," a voice screeched. "Split up and do your best to get away," Leslie shouted and ran to her left. She was running for a while and thought that perhaps she had got away. She stopped and stripped off her uniform for it was easier to run without it and it was not so drastically cold that she could not breathe. She started to run again. "Halt," an all too familiar male voice yelled. Leslie looked back and saw Kellin running after her. "Kellin," she cried out. "I said halt prisoner," Kellin ordered. She felt her heart break. "Screw you! I want my freedom," she turned and began to run faster. Being away from her had changed his loyalties yet again and she wasn't going to mess with him anymore. "Halt now!" Kellin commanded. "Never!" Leslie yelled then thought his loyalties are to the queen and forever will be no matter what she does to her or him. She began to get into the rocky part of the ice land and she leapt over sharp black rocks that jutted out of the snow. "Leslie, stop!" Kellin screamed. She leaped without looking and dropped about seven feet. She sunk into the snow and waded through almost three feet of snow until she reached the side of a tall rock. She looked back and saw Kellin wading though the snow after her. She began to climb up the side of the rock and was thankful that the queen made all of her people wear hiking boots. "Leslie, please stop," Kellin shouted but she ignored him and continued onward. She reached the top with Kellin about two feet away from the top. There was just more snow and rocks so she raced across these and jumped over another edge with hardly looking down. This time she sunk above her head and to pull herself out. She finally had pulled herself out of the snow and was starting to stand when Kellin dropped on her. "Get off me you pig," she cursed and punched Kellin in the arm. He pinned one of her arms behind her back but she wiggled away. She stood up and kicked snow into Kellin's face. She ran to another edge but stopped. The drop was long and deadly for at the bottom jagged rocks jutted out of the snow like hungry teeth. Leslie looked back and saw Kellin chasing after her. "I do not want to live like this for the rest of my life," she remembered telling Tonia and Alan. She thought of the switchblade and decided it would be easier to jump. She spread her wings like a bird and leapt. Suddenly she yanked back up and she struggled to see behind her. She was pulled back onto the ledge and Kellin sat on her to keep her from getting away. "Let me die," she wailed and struggled to escape. How could he do this to her? "Leslie, I love you and I will not let you die," Kellin held her hands down without any trouble. "All I want is death or my freedom. Let me have the choice," she begged, her tears freezing upon her cheeks. "I want to marry you but the queen will not let me," Kellin kissed her forehead. "That may be but there is no way no convince her to let you do so. She now has a reason to kill me," she sobbed. Then Kellin kissed her and it was not just a sweet little peck but a passionate kiss. "There is a way," Kellin whispered in her ear. "I only know one way and that is to," she started but he placed a finger on her lips. He stood up and offered her his hand. She gripped his hand and pulled herself up. She hugged him with all her might and felt another tear slip down her cheek to turn into a frozen gem. "I love you," she whispered. They snuck back into the ice town and past all the guards. "Where are we going?" she inquired, wanting to know but trusting in him completely. "To the queen's bedroom," Kellin replied, a hint of slyness in his voice. "Why?" she wanted to know. "Sleeping together is bad enough but a silent rebellion in her room, in her bed, is even worse," Kellin explained, casting her an impish grin. "You mean," Leslie started and Kellin nodded his head. He snuck her into the queen's bedroom and she figured that the queen was at the birthing for the ice room was empty. Kellin pulled her to him and kissed her deeply and passionately and she forgot to think except of Kellin. Leslie pulled her sweater back on and kissed Kellin good-bye. She walked out of the palace and towards the birthing building. That was when she saw the queen and a crowd of people standing in front of the building. "Escapees are not allowed. My rules shall be obeyed," Queen Courtney shouted to the crowd. Leslie remembered Tonia telling her as a last resort strip to underwear and she decided to do that. She removed her sweater and leggings but left on her hiking boots. She walked into the crowd and like a curtain they parted. Leslie was so filled with determination for her freedom that she did not even notice the cold on her bare skin. "What's going on?" Queen Courtney asked then saw her. "Hello Courtney," she smiled and warningly raised her eyebrows. "You shall address me as your majesty and get some clothes on," Queen Courtney commanded. "You are not my queen therefore I shall neither call you a majesty nor shall I follow your orders," Leslie continued her advance towards the horrified queen. "Guards capture her," Queen Courtney ordered. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw guards moving towards her. "I think not. If anyone steps a foot closer I will bare all," she warned. She put a hand to the back of her bra and unsnapped one of the snaps. "Stop, no one move closer. What do you want?" Queen Courtney questioned. "I thought you would never ask. I want my freedom, my Kellin, and freedom for Tonia, and Alan," Leslie demanded, all fun and games done with. "You cannot have your freedom, my Kellin, Tonia or Alan," Queen Courtney replied, a smug look of conceit planted on her tan face. "Give me one good reason why not," she unsnapped the last snap on her bra. "Your freedom is non-existent, Kellin is claimed, Tonia is to be wed to a guard named Cameron as his reward for capturing her, and Alan, well, has been executed," Queen Courtney explained, a smirk now in full exhibit. "What? What did you say about Alan?" Fern felt her head spin. She struggled to keep from falling to the ground. "Elyssa was the only one who could have spoke up for him but she did not so he had his plug pulled for attempting to run away," Queen Courtney laughed. "But it was my fault. I convinced him to run away with me," Leslie shouted, grief ripping through her body like an electric shock, then the guilt flooded her senses. "Oh yes, and you too will be killed for attempting to run away since there is no one that you are wed to," Queen Courtney chuckled. Leslie felt as if her world were going to collapse and just about passed out when someone caught her. "Kellin, what are you doing? And in your underwear?" Queen Courtney shrieked, fear was bright in her eyes. "I have to tell you something. We slept together before coming here so we must be wed," Kellin smiled triumphantly. "No, is it true?" Queen Courtney asked Leslie. She weakly nodded her head before regaining some strength to reply. "Yes, Courtney we did. I love him and he loves me so we did it so you would be forced to marry us cause of your own rules," she leaned against Kellin. "Kellin, how could you?" Queen Courtney looked defeated, her entire figure sagged with sadness. "Easy, I asked you for permission to marry her but you did not grant it for you were selfish so thus I took matters into my own hands," he replied, his strong hands caressing Leslie's goose-fleshed arms. "On the day that Brady and Leslie were to marry, Kellin and Leslie will now be married," Queen Courtney announced. With those words uttered, the young woman looked completely broken. Leslie felt triumph surge through her veins but then the thought of Alan sobered her up. The queen angrily stalked off in the direction of her palace. For the first time, Leslie became aware of how frigid the air was but she turned and gave a kiss to Kellin anyway. "I am cold so I am going to grab my clothes and dress into them," she exclaimed, her entire soul melting for her love. "I could warm you up," Kellin hugged her close to him. "No, I need to get dressed," Leslie pulled away from him, "Anyway, we already had an experience that heated my blood up, a lot. Suddenly Elyssa came running up with two bags. "The queen says get dressed," Elyssa practically threw the bags at them. "You horrible beast," Leslie screamed, all sanity lost at seeing the rotten young woman. She threw herself at Elyssa and the female in her came out. Her nails were spread out and she was so angry that she saw red. "Leave me alone," Elyssa shrieked. "Leslie," Kellin cried out but nothing reached into the haze that surrounded her. Elyssa had not stood by her man and she should be dead too. She sunk her nails deep into Elyssa's arm and at the same time kicked her in the shin. Elyssa screamed and weakly flailed out. "You should have saved Alan," Leslie shouted, the need to kill driving her more intensely than the freedom charge. She slashed her nails across Elyssa's face. She bit Elyssa's hand and kicked as hard as she could into Elyssa's side. She heard something crack and heard Elyssa screaming for help. Someone yanked her off and she felt like a savage beast. She fought to be released but was held down by many people. She saw other servants help Elyssa up. She was limping, holding her side with an uninjured hand, and bleeding from various places. "You killed Alan," Leslie screamed after her. Elyssa looked back and Leslie saw in her eyes spite, rage, and regret, most of the same things that she felt herself. "Leslie, what got into you?" Kellin stood in front of her. "Alan did not deserve to die. She should have given him more than that. I convinced him to go. I should have died in his place but that stupid witch could not have enough decency to grant him his life. She should die," she sobbed, and everything came gushing out in a flow of tears. Kellin comfortingly wrapped his arms around her slender frame. "Maybe so but you are not in the position to make it so," Kellin rubbed her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned her head into his hand. Tears streamed down her cheeks but she had no will to cause the flowing river of grief to stop. Too much had happened and her emotions were out of control. "I should have died instead of him," she stuttered, hiccuping from crying so hard. "Were you in love with him?" he wanted to know. "Yes, he was my brother in spirit and in heart but as for in love with him as I am with you, no," she answered. "Great," he sighed in relief and wiped at the tears upon Leslie's cheeks. "Trust me, you have no reason to be jealous," she teased him and looked into the clothes bags. "What's in there?" Kellin inquired. "What do you think? Clothes, duh. I think this bag is for you," she threw one of the bags at him. "Oof, thanks for your help," he grinned and pulled on the sweatshirt and pants, then the uniform. Leslie followed suit but with a sweater and leggings instead "You look simply dashing," Kellin commented and reached for her. She took a couple steps towards him. "You don't look too bad yourself big boy. I am sorry but I keep thinking that I should avenge Alan's murder. The only way that I can think of is by killing Elyssa," she sighed. "Don't touch her," he came and wrapped his broad arms around her waist. "I'm so glad that I fell in love with you," she announced, her heart and mind agreeing on that one comment. "Who else did you think you could fall in love with?" Kellin inquired. "I have to tell you something," she exclaimed, a pressing issue coming to mind. "What is it?" he wanted to know. "Before I knew you, I planned on using you to hurt the queen," she admitted, knowing the news would hurt him but sure that he needed to know. "What do you mean?" he pulled her away from him so that he could look into her eyes. "I wanted to sleep with you and force the queen to marry us. Then I met you and I ended up falling in love with you and I knew that I could not use you and then things just sort of happened," she explained. "You mean, you have been using me the entire time?" he looked so hurt. "No, I planned on using you before I met you but you changed everything. I was actually drawn to you," Leslie felt tears begin to trickle down her cheeks and she wondered if the waterworks ever dried out. "I bet you planned this all along. I bet you planned an innocent boy's death, and a "best friend" being forced to be married. I bet you planned our sleeping together and me coming to your rescue. You are a heartless wretch and I betrayed my best friend for you, scum," Kellin hissed and backed up. "No Kellin, none of that is true. I feel terrible about Alan and Tonia. And for you. I didn't plan anything," she wailed, realizing she had made a big mistake about revealing the truth. "Save it for the queen," hr turned around and began to run in the opposite direction. His body was visibly shaking from hurt or anger. "Kellin," she shouted then dropped to her knees in the snow. She cursed the queen for bringing her here and she sobbed until she was almost asleep from exhaustion. She dragged herself back to her room and suddenly waves of memories hit her full force. She saw Alan laughing as her and Tonia shoved an ice cart down back into the mine. He felt bad so he would not touch it but he got a kick out of watching them cause trouble. She felt Kellin's breathe on her face and his body next to hers and she saw him smiling down upon her. She felt him catch her as she dove off the cliff. She saw him playing tag with her, Tonia, and Alan in the snow and being caught by the queen. She thought of the snowball fight she, Tonia, and Alan had got into. The snow had been flying until one hit Elyssa right in the face. Leslie remembered who threw it and it was not accidental that it hit her there. Alan had thrown it as hard as he could and she remembered thinking that there was an awful lot of ice in the snowball for playing around. She looked into her mirror and saw Alan's good-natured face smiling back out at her. She filled the sink with water to dip her head in and she saw Kellin's tear streaked face. "Stop it! I can't take it anymore," she screamed and smashed her mirror with her fists. She lay a bloody hand on her wall and leaned her head onto the hand. She ignore the blood smearing on her face and on the wall. Tears racked her body again and she sank into a heap on the floor. She did not know how long she was asleep when a crackling noise awoke her. "Are you happy?" Queen Courtney asked from the TV. "About what?" she woozily inquired. "Elyssa is dead. She killed herself last night and left a note that read, "I am sorry. I was lead by the wrong master and I ignored a sweet angel who tried to guide me. May God forgive me for murdering him". You did this to her. Are you also happy about taking away the most loved thing in my life?" Queen Courtney shouted. "Finally you know how it feels. You took away the most beloved things of my life and allowed me no communications with my family. You want to talk to me about loosing loved things well I will tell you about loosing loved ones. I had a step-mom, stepsister, brother, and father who all loved me dear. I had a best friend, friends, and teachers who cared about me a lot. I had grandmas, grandpas, nanas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and adopted family members who all would have cared to not loose me but you ignored all that and stole me anyways. Big deal, I took one being away from you. Do you even want me to try counting how many you took away from me?" Leslie screamed for she was now fully awake, and the anger of what she had lost overcame her. "I was only seven when a car accident took my parents away. Then when I turned ten, my only remaining family was killed in a plane crash. How do you think I feel?" Queen Courtney screamed back. "But I didn't take them away from you. You took my family and life away from me. In payment, I took Kellin whom I love so now there is someone. I love Tonia and Alan like sister and brother and you went and took away Alan," she hissed, curling her hands into such tight fists that her fingernails bit into her flesh. "No, you took away Alan by convincing him to run away," Queen Courtney retorted. "No you did. I did not choose to be dragged here and neither did he. We did not choose to force ourselves to do things we did not. You did. You were responsible for all the actions up to that point so now you must take responsibility for actions afterwards too," Leslie huffed. "I wish you would just go away," the queen sighed. "I can just go away but you have to grant me Kellin and Tonia and our freedom," she offered. "Never, if I was going to give freedom, it would just be to you and not everyone else under the sun," Queen Courtney replied. "Then guess I am staying till I rid the world of your carcass," Leslie growled. The TV went blank and she practically cheered. Suddenly, Kellin came bursting in through the wall and yelled, "Leslie, I'm sorry. You told me the truth and I shunned you. I love you with all my heart but at the first sign of pressure, I cracked. I love you so much, will you please forgive me?" "Of course I will. I love you too and I just had a blow out with Courtney," she announced. "Why what happened?" he wanted to know. "Oh we just fought and I ended up having the last word. Elyssa killed herself and I think that too was cause of me, which in that case, makes me have two deaths riding upon my shoulders," she whimpered. "Alan's death rode on Elyssa's shoulders which is why she killed herself thus wiping out any death riding on shoulders," Kellin hugged her. "No, she did not convince Alan to runaway," she insisted. "Actually she was one of the main reasons why he did run away. Without her constant torture and antagonism, you would have never been able to convince him," he pointed out. "How do you know that? You didn't even know him," she retorted. "Yes I did. I knew him because I had to help him get out of a salt cart that was flipped three years ago," he remembered. "I didn't know that," she replied. "There is a lot about each other that we don't know," he smiled. "That is so true," Leslie whispered. She sat in her white wedding uniform while Lilia and Camara, two servant girls, fussed over her hair. They brushed it to a fine fluffy texture and drew it back with a white rubber band. "Courtney sure does go all out for my wedding," Leslie sarcastically commented. "Her majesty does not want to be outshone by you," Lilia replied. "She is so insecure," Leslie laughed. "You shouldn't talk about her majesty like that," Camara responded. "Oh aren't you so loyal to the queen? Perhaps you will be rewarded with being forced to marry some jerk that you feel no love for," Leslie smiled. "Whomever the queen chooses for me will be the one for me," Camara insisted. "How so? It is not true love but forced marriage," Leslie gasped as they yanked hard on her hair. "It is whatever she chooses," Camara yanked her hair as hard as she could. "That wasn't what happened with me and Kellin, but you know that right? You know that I was supposed to marry Brady. You do know that I fell in love with Kellin and slept with him thus forcing the queen to marry us. You know that though, right?" she inquired. Camara was silent. "We know of your story and everyone admires you even if it is silent admiration," Lilia explained. "Why does everyone admire me?" she wondered even though the answer was obvious. "Because it is something no one would dare do but you did. Why did you do it?" Lilia wanted to know. "I was desperate for escape and a way to hurt the queen. I tried to escape but Elyssa warned the queen and they froze up all escape routes so Kellin was sent after me and we ended up sleeping with each other," Leslie explained. "That is so sweet," Lilia sighed. "Can you guys keep a secret?" she asked. "I can," Lilia replied. "So can I," Camara added. "I think I am pregnant. I feel as if I carry something but it is too soon to tell but maybe," Leslie rubbed her belly. "Oh wow! Do you really think so?" Lilia sounded so excited. "I am pretty sure but it is super hard to tell at this point," she thought of her Kellin. "Are you ready for the marriage today?" Camara inquired. "Definitely, if only it could be the marriage of my dreams and not Courtney's," she shook her head in disappointment. "At least you are marrying the guy of your decision. It could be worse, you could still be marrying Brady," Lilia offered. "Thanks, I am so glad that you girls were the ones chosen to be put with me. You really are both very special even if you are somewhat dedicated to Courtney," Leslie grinned at Camara who blushed. "Are you ready yet?" Queen Courtney spoke as she appeared on the TV. "Yes, your majesty. Doesn't she look dashing?" Lilia exclaimed. "No, she doesn't. In fact, I have a white paper bag that you could borrow to cover that incredibly demoralizing face," Queen Courtney offered. "You know Courtney," Leslie began. "Queen Courtney if you must speak to me," Queen Courtney interrupted. "Courtney, I really can't take you up on that offer because you need it more than I do. I can't have you scaring off my groom, my Kellin," she retorted. "It's Queen Courtney, hurry to the marriage chapel," Queen Courtney insisted then the TV went blank. "You shouldn't speak to her like that. It could make her really mad," Lilia was concerned for Leslie. "I have no fear of that twit. She is nothing but a dry rusty leave waiting for the wind to blow her away," she shrugged her shoulders. "Yes, but she still can have you executed," Camara whispered. "I'd like to see her try. I would fight and I can fight, to the very end. Did you see Elyssa after I was held off her? She looked terrible and that was by my doing. I will do it again and have no regrets about it," Leslie walked out of the ice room with Lilia and Camara walking behind her. . "What did Elyssa do?" Camara wanted to know. "I should have killed Elyssa but she killed herself because she was the cause of a very kind boy's death. He was the nicest person and he would do anything for anyone. She could have saved him but instead she let him die that is why I hurt her and attempted to murder her," she huffed. "Oh, well, what was the name of the boy that she had killed?" Camara asked. "His name was Alan and he was a year older than me and was a very respectable fellow. He had a love affair with a friend of mine and ended up impregnating her," she thought of Alan's smirk when he actually did something rebellious. "Alan, I have never even heard that name mentioned. Did the queen forbid the speaking of his name?" Lilia inquired. "No, but it seems as if he has been forgotten by all but those who loved him," Leslie sighed. "You were in love with him?" Camara questioned. "No, she loved him. She didn't say she was in love with him," Lilia scolded. "That's right. I loved him as I did my own brother. I was taken away from my family like you guys and I will never forget them. He sort of reminded me of my own brother except for he lacked as big of a mischievous streak as my brother had," she laughed but swiped a tear off her cheek. "I had two brothers. One of them was twenty-one so he no longer lived with us and my younger brother was fourteen," Camara commented. "I had six brothers and five sisters," Lilia explained, "Albert was twenty-three, Brett was twenty-one, Derik was nineteen, Gregory was seventeen, Henry was sixteen, and one of my triplet siblings, Jonathon, was fourteen. My oldest sister, Caroline was twenty, Emmaline was eighteen, Francine was seventeen, Isabelle was fifthteen, and my other triplet sibling, Kelly, was fourteen. I have a big family. "I had a step-sister and she would now be thirteen," Leslie smiled weakly. "I have two sisters and they are seventeen and fourteen," Camara added. "Lilia, what religion is your family?" she wanted to know. "My mother is Mormon and my father is Christian. We are rather split down the middle but I am Christian," Lilia replied. "Wow, you definitely have a huge family. Hold a second, Albert, Brett, Caroline, Derik, Emmaline, Francine, Gregory, Henry, Isabelle, Jonathon, Kelly, and Lilia. You were all alphabetically named as you were born and you are the youngest right?" Leslie observed. "How in the world did you remember all their names? Yeah, you are right and I really miss them all especially Kelly and Jonathon," Lilia sighed. "Well, I am here for you," Leslie offered. "So am I," Camara agreed. "Thanks but you guys have families that you must miss too," Lilia responded. "We do but there is a highly unlikely chance that we will ever see them again," Leslie groaned, "We have reached "the place" and now we must part ways till tomorrow." "Will the queen let you and Kellin be together?" Camara inquired. "I have my ways of getting my way," she grinned and walked in. She saw many of the kingdom's people all ready gathered. She saw the queen and Kellin waiting in front of the room and she saw him smile when he saw her. He was dressed in a black uniform and she almost swooned at the sight of him. "Thank you for finally showing up, Leslie," Queen Courtney snottily commented. "It's always a pleasure to inconvenience you," she replied. "Glad that it tickles you," Queen Courtney growled. "You forgot to wear your white bag. I am supprized that my Kellin has not yet fainted dead away in terror," she retorted. "And you forgot to borrow it," Queen Courtney snarled. She was very angry that she was being forced to wed them and Leslie wanted to cheer. She saw the last of the people straggle in and she knew in a few minutes she would be married to the love of her life. "We are gathered here to see Leslie and Kellin wed. Under normal circumstances," Queen Courtney began. "Courtney, I have to insist that you allow us the night together. If you do not, I will loose all clothing now and I will still be with him for the night," she interrupted. "We are gathered here to wed Leslie and Kellin. Leslie, you are to be married to Kellin. Kellin, you are to be married to Leslie. Do you have anything to say before you are wed?" Queen Courtney glared at Leslie and Kellin. She was daring them to say anything and they accepted. "Freedom forever, the freedom to choose your mate. We win you loose, end of the game," Leslie laughed. "What she said and more. You thought you could keep the sun in the cold but the sun has melted the ice and destroyed the snow. Watch out, your time will come," he added. "Are you done? Because I have a ceremony to go on with," Queen Courtney hissed. Leslie and Kellin looked at each other then nodded their heads. "Then I pronounce you wife and husband and now for announcements," Queen Courtney spat out. Instead of walking back into the crowd, Kellin and Leslie shared a passionate kiss and barely noticed the crowd and queen gasp in shock. "Stop it right now," Queen Courtney ordered. Leslie and Kellin broke apart and Leslie smiled with triumph. "The winter is melting and spring peeps in. Not long now before the frost is gone and the summer is in solid shape," Leslie warned then the new couple backed into the crowd. "Ignore what they say! Tonia and Cameron are to be wed tomorrow and Kristen and Nicolas are planning on having their baby in three days," Queen Courtney stammered. She felt as if her world was crumbling, all because she had insisted on having Leslie brought into her kingdom because of her spunk. That night, Leslie lay with Kellin and decided to tell him of her suspicions. "Kellin, I have something I need to tell you," she admitted. "Last time you said that, you ended up having planned to sleep with me thus effectively forcing the queen into making her one love be married to her future sworn to be enemy. Now when you say that, it worries me," he chuckled. "Well this is different," she insisted. "How? You really are a black widow and are going to execute me or you have two other guys you are sleeping with?" he joked. "Not even," she playfully slugged her husband, "No, I think I am pregnant. I feel different inside and I don't know how to explain it." "Are you serious? That is great, absolutely wonderful! I always wanted to be a father," he exclaimed. "It would be wonderful if we could only raise our own children but Courtney will take any children we have to the nursery," she griped. "I forgot about that. We will have to escape, and soon so that we will not stress you out. I want to raise my baby and I'll be damned if that witch tries to stop me," Kellin growled. "Good for you now what were we doing?" she giggled as she pulled him to her and kissed him. The next day, Leslie stood with Kellin, Lilia, and Camara at Tonia's wedding. Tonia looked beautiful although she was in the lumpy white uniform and Cameron was not a bad looking guard himself. "We are gathered here today to wed Tonia and Cameron. Tonia, you are to be married to Cameron. Cameron, you are to be married to Tonia. Do you two have anything to say before you are wed?" Queen Courtney wanted to know. "Do I have to marry him? You could give him anything else as his reward but why me?" Tonia wailed. "Thankyou your majesty for giving her to me as my reward for capturing her," Cameron nodded his head. "Is that all?" Queen Courtney inquired. "No, I don't want to marry him," Tonia sobbed. "I pronounce you wife and husband," Queen Courtney ignored Tonia's desperate pleas, "Do not forget in two days Kristen and Nicolas will be having their baby." "Don't let him take me," Tonia screamed as she was dragged through the crowd, "I don't love him and I never will. Please do not let him take me. Alan rescue me! Leslie, stop him. No!" Leslie winced in pain as if she had been cut for she could not help Tonia and in her desperation, Tonia had called for a murdered lover and she had received no reply. "I wish I could help her," she sighed. "There's nothing you can do but hope that he cares for her enough not to force anything," he whispered in her ear. "Yeah, but that is not enough. She deserves better than that good for nothing guard," she huffed. "Guards are not bad and I should know. Trust me, it is all you can do," he hugged her briefly. "I know but I feel that I should be able to do more but my hands are tied and I can't stand it," she groaned. "You can't help everyone you silly Samaritan. You keep trying and tiring yourself out. You must rest and help those who are in the most need," Kellin adviced. "Easy for you to say," Leslie had to smile although inside she was worried for her best friend. She was not worried about her health but she was worried about her sanity. Tonia seemed to be loosing her mind. Tonia sat on the ice bed and terror seemed to numb all her senses. She could not sleep with this horrible monster for she belonged to Alan. "Please, I did not marry you to watch you sit on the bed," Cameron begged. He stood by the door and had his arms folded across his chest. His large puppy dog eyes gazed into her eyes and her heart seemed to harden against his pleas. "Come near me and I swear I will scratch a vital instrument of yours right off," Tonia threatened. "Look, I really do like you and I don't understand why you don't like me," Cameron sounded as if he was about to cry. "It couldn't be because I was forced to marry you," Tonia snarled. "You would have been killed if I hadn't spoke up for you," Cameron replied. "Then you should have let me die. I would have rather died than be forced to marry you. I would have rather been with my true love then in this room trying to remain a virgin of your filth," Tonia spat. "I am not filth and neither is anything of me. Death is not cool nor the answer. I wish you would accept that and me. I am not a bad guy really and if you get to know me you will find that I am the sweetest guy," Cameron offered. "You are not even! You will never compare to Alan and that is final now leave me alone," Tonia growled. Cameron's shoulders sank and he touched a wall. A bookshelf appeared and he chose a book then sat in the bathtub to read. Tonia glared at him then got up herself, and chose a book to read. She then sat back on the bed and began to try to read but it was impossible. All she could think of was Alan and his child growing inside of her. Elyssa had never gave birth to his baby but within a couple of months of Alan's and her meetings, she was pregnant and would give birth to his child. Would not Elyssa have been jealous? She had to smile thinking of Elyssa committing suicide. It had been a just reward for the murder of Alan. Tonia began to giggle quietly thinking of how Elyssa had looked after Leslie attacked her. She wished that she had been there to help Leslie beat Elyssa and together they would have killed her. Finally after two hours a servant girl walked in after hitting the buzzer so that she would not walk in on anything that she did not wish to view. "Her majesty says your time is up," the servant girl stared at Cameron in the bathtub and Tonia sitting on the bed. "Finally," Tonia leapt up and could not wait to get to her room. "I love you," Cameron threw at her. Tonia turned and glared at him. If looks could kill, Cameron would have been dead. She stalked out of the room with the servant girl at her heels. "The queen would like to know if you think there will be results from your little get together," the servant girl exclaimed. "Nothing happened so there can be no results," Tonia hissed. "What do you mean? You two were in there for two hours," the servant girl said. "What do you think I mean? Nothing happened as in we did not sleep together or anything," Tonia growled. "The queen is going to be very unhappy," the servant girl whispered. "Screw the queen! I will allow nothing to happen," Tonia walked away from the servant girl as fast as she could. She hurried to her room and slipped in before anyone else tried to talk to her. She stood in front of her mirror and smoothed out her uniform. It was hard to notice but her stomach was beginning to stretch with the tiny life that she bore inside her. "Thank you Alan for giving me a reason to live. They think they destroyed any of your blood that moved around here but my special friend is a supprize for them. Just wait until he is born and he will be named after you. I promise you that," Tonia laughed insanely and massaged her swelling belly. She would supprize them all. It was two months after Kellin and Leslie's marriage and Leslie was starting to show that she was pregnant. Tonia was really starting to balloon out and Leslie was wondering exactly how many little ones were growing inside of Tonia. One day, Leslie was sent to the salt mine to help a rather unlucky servant girl who caught her leg underneath a fallen ice boulder. She walked in and found the place strangely quiet and it seemed as if no one was there at all. "Hello? Anyone there?" she called into the receding tunnel. "Help me! I think I broke my leg," a female voice cried. She walked in deeper and stopped. She could sense that something was wrong and she froze. She heard a soft rustle from above her and she looked up just in time to see a huge salt block sailing down at her. She screamed and dove out of the way. "Who are you?" Leslie shouted. There was only silence and she lay where she had dove for cover waiting for a sign, any sign. Suddenly a wagon came tumbling down and she rolled out of the way. She jumped up and began to run. "She's getting away," someone yelled and there were several curses afterwards. Leslie saw the mouth of the tunnel approaching and she put a burst of speed on. She did not even notice the bag of cement falling a little ahead of her. She did notice it when it fell on her back leg. She fell to the ground with a whoosh of air. She could feel that her ankle was bent at a weird angle and she bit her lip to keep from crying out. "We got her," someone cheered. Leslie kept silent in the hope that they would just walk off and let her be but something in her said that would not be so. "There is a possibility that she might still be alive. We have to go down and check," someone replied. "Why should we?" the feminine voice inquired. "Cause if we don't and she is still alive, Queen Courtney will have our heads on a stake," another voice answered. "Or on a golden platter," someone added. "How about on a sub?" the female asked. "Ok, enough humor. Let's carry on," a voice instructed. Leslie pushed the bag off as gentle as she could yet even then she cried silently for the pain was intense. She rose unsteadily and began to hobble towards the entrance. She almost made it when she sensed someone was approaching her fast. "Leslie, what happened to you?" Kellin screamed from the entrance. She looked over her shoulder and saw four figures fading into the depths of the salt mine and she sighed in relief. "I had an accident," she called back. "Oh my baby Leslie, it looks as if someone tried to murder you," he exclaimed and stared at the fallen debris. "I think someone did. There were voices and I saw four figures run deeper into the mine when you showed up," she explained. "Thank goodness you are okay. I don't know if I could have handled loosing my love and kid to a group of murderers," Kellin kissed her cheek and rubbed her belly. "I am sure that the queen hired them. I overheard them say that if I was still alive the queen would kill them," Leslie thought of the "humorous" conversation. "In those exact words?" he wanted to know. "More or less," she replied. "I think that they tried to take my babies away from me by order of the queen too," Calvin crooned. Leslie only smiled for what else could she do. Tonia's face was pale with sweat as Cameron and Leslie helped her to the birthing station. Moment's later the birthing bell rang. Fern gasped in pain as Tonia squeezed with all he strength. A scream tore from her lips and seemed to shake the walls of ice. Queen Courtney waltzed in and stayed as far away from them as she could. "That's it girl, you can do it. Just push," Cameron coaxed as Tonia squeezed his hand as hard as she could too. Two nurses were at the other end with a little tub of hot water, towel, and a blanket. "We see a head," one of the nurses announced and a cheer went up from the crowd. Tonia screamed again and the cheer went silent. A few moments later, the nurses began to wash a baby triumphantly. "It's a girl," they announced. "Wait, I know there is another," Tonia sobbed out as she continued to push. Another nurse came running up and wrapped the baby girl in the blanket while the other two attended Tonia. "Just think, they are Allen's babies," Leslie whispered in Tonia's ear. With one last wail, Tonia pushed the last infant into the world. "It's a boy," the nurse shouted. Tonia's face was pale and dotted with perspiration. Her beautiful brown hair hung in limp mats on her face and in her dark brown eyes there were tears but a triumphant smile lay on her lips. "What are their names?" Queen Courtney inquired. "Alan and Leslie," Tonia sighed and smiled even more deeply. "What lovely names," Queen Courtney sarcastically commented. Tonia turned and smiled at Leslie. Then two babies wrapped in fuzzy blankets were placed in Tonia's arms. "They will stay with you for three months then will be taken to the nursery," Queen Courtney announced. "No, I won't let you take my babies," Tonia weakly moaned. "We'll see," Queen Courtney smirked then walked away. "We can't let her take my babies," Tonia sobbed. "Don't worry! She'll never have our babies," Cameron promised and Leslie saw that in his expression, he meant to protect Tonia and her babies no matter what the price. Leslie walked slowly back to her room when Calvin gave her a supprize hug. "Kellin, I didn't even see you coming," she laughed then sobered up, "Courtney is going to try to take Tonia's babies away. We can't let her." "I know, but what can we do?" he inquired. "I don't know but I have a feeling that Cameron does," she decided. "Perhaps, and how is our little one coming along?" he rubbed her belly and she smiled. "Fine and her name will be Anne," she exclaimed. "I don't think so. His name will be Kellin Jr.," he chuckled. "She is a she and thus will be named Anne," Leslie insisted. "I don't think so," he kissed her lips. "Anne," she replied to his attempted bribery. "You are hard to convince of a name and whether it is a girl or boy," Kellin laughed and hugged Leslie, "I have to go and I love you." "I love you too," she kissed him and then waved good-bye as he took off. She thought real hard on how to make Tonia keep her babies but no plan struck her fancy. That night she went on a walk and she noticed hardly anyone was out. Two guys walked up to her. "Are you Leslie?" one of them asked. "Yes," she replied. "Are you married to Kellin?" the other boy inquired. "Why are you asking me these questions?" she wanted to know. "We'll ask all the questions and you will provide the answers," the first boy announced. "I don't answer to anyone," Leslie pushed though them and continued walking. "Stop right there," one of the boys commanded. "Get a clue," she retorted. They tackled her and she fell hard on the ground. "No more games," one of them snarled. "You should just have a miscarriage," the other boy laughed. They began to slug her in her stomach and she screamed out with fear for her baby. Anger surged through her every vein and she rose screaming, "Never mess with a mother!" She attacked with no thought but to protect her baby and destroy the villains. "Run!" the boys both screamed and they limped off into the darkness. She looked at her hands with disgust for they had blood on them. "Never mess with a mother," she warned into the darkness. A month and a half later, Leslie awoke to a strange alarm screaming. "Leslie, wake up," Queen Courtney shrieked. "What? What's going on?" she inquired. "I know that you know. Tonia and Cameron have escaped with my babies," Queen Courtney was furious. "I didn't know that. When were they discovered gone?" she wanted to know. "About ten minutes ago," Queen Courtney replied. "Sorry Courtney but may they have good luck at avoiding recapture," Leslie smiled and Queen Courtney snarled with rage and then she was gone. Just then, Kellin came running in. "What is it my love? I all ready know about Tonia," she hugged him. "No, it is from Tonia. She gave it to me before she left. She said to say you were the best friend that she ever had," Kellin gave her a thick envelope. She opened it and began to read: "Dear Leslie, I am sorry that I gave you no warning or a chance to leave with us. It was a rather spur of the moment thing and it was Cameron's idea. I realize that Alan may have been my first love but Cameron is definitely my second. We took Alan and Leslie with us because we are determined that Courtney shall never have my babies. Cameron also had to take them because he loves them like his own and we even talk about them as ours. I shall always know in my heart whose babies they truly are but in my mind, they are Cameron's. Thank you for being the best friend I ever had and the best mischief pal. I will miss you and I will write because the queen does allow mail. Too bad, she did not allow us to reply. I pray that one-day, you, Cameron, and any children of yours will manage to escape. You two are owed that much. I will miss you very much, Tonia P*S* Someday we will come back for you." "Thank you Tonia," she smiled and wiped a tear off her cheek. "What does it say?" Kellin wanted to know. "It says that she wanted us to come but it was spur of the moment and that someday we will hopefully get away," Leslie replied, "Her and I were like sisters and I am so glad she escaped. Maybe someday." "Perhaps, if not for us, than for my baby," he patted her stomach. "I agree," she kissed him even as the alarm wailed with all its' might. Camara and Lilia helped Leslie walk to the birthing station. Another contraption racked her body and she moaned. "Wait until we are there you little rascal," Lilia instructed. "He doesn't want to wait. He wants to come now," Leslie whispered and stumbled through the snow. They walked into the birthing station and Camara hit the alarm as they walked by it. They laid her on the bed and she groaned. "Where is Kellin?" she closed her eyes and weakly wiped sweat off her face. "He is coming," Lilia replied. "He'd better be coming," Camara added. "He is coming," she wailed. "Of course he is. He heard the alarm," Lilia put a wet compress onto Leslie's forehead. "No my baby is coming," she groaned and winced as she sat up and pushed. "Wait, are you absolutely sure?" Camara inquired. "Of course I am sure," she shouted. "Leslie, my darling, is my little boy coming?" Kellin suddenly jumped to her side. "He is coming now," she smiled weakly. "Then breathe right and push," Lilia commanded. Intense pain hit her body and she screamed out in agony. She began to breathe as instructed, she sat up, and pushed. "That's my girl," Kellin smoothed her hair off her face. She continued repeating the pushes. "I see a head," Camara shouted. "Oh joy," Queen Courtney mumbled. Leslie pushed again and she heard Lilia sigh. "It's a boy," Camara announced. "What is his name?" Queen Courtney wanted to know. "He is Kellin Jr.," Leslie grinned as a little baby wrapped in a blue blanket was placed in her arms. "What a beautiful name," Queen Courtney replied with all earnest. "He is so cute," Kellin tickled under the infant's head. "He looks like his daddy," Leslie whispered. "No, he is too cute to have got all his looks from his father," Queen Courtney added. Leslie looked at her with a look of curiosity. Why in the world was the queen being nice? Why had she not mentioned the three months yet? "I'll agree with that," Kellin kissed her forehead. That night, Leslie slept with Kellin in her arms and Kellin Jr. in a bassinet by their bed. Camara and Lilia were on duty as the night nurses. Suddenly the TV screen came on. "Leslie, Kellin get up," Queen Courtney shrieked. She woke up and with a start, saw that Camara, Lilia, and Kellin Jr. were gone. "Kellin, wake up. Our baby is gone," Leslie screamed. "What?" he was awake immediately. "You two, get out of here now. The baby is up in the mountains, safe from here. You two need to get out of here too," Queen Courtney instructed. "Why? What have you done?" Kellin wanted to know. "I have set a bomb in my castle that will blow my kingdom into snow. I am warning everybody," Queen Courtney explained. "Where are you?" he asked. "In my palace, so that I can get everyone out of my kingdom," Queen Courtney smiled. "You crazy devil woman," Kellin growled. He leaped up and hit the alarm by the door. "What are you doing?" Queen Courtney shouted. "Leslie get up into the mountains. I am going to tell everyone to get out of here and I am getting Courtney," he exclaimed. "I'm not leaving you," she grabbed his arm. "Yes you are. Get out of here now," he shook her off. "Get a clue. You get Courtney and I will tell the people," she ran out the door before Kellin could stop her. "Leslie, you idiot," he shrieked then ran out, towards the palace. She ran into the announcement building and saw all the people were there. "Get out of here now. Head to the mountains. The queen has planted a bomb in the palace. Tell everyone you meet to run too. Also get all the children out of the nursery," Leslie instructed. "That is all ready done. I just ran to there and here and all the children are gone," a servant girl explained. "Good, then get out of here," Leslie shouted and the crowd flooded out. She too left and began to run to the palace. "Courtney, where are you?" Kellin shouted as he looked into rooms. He tried to remember where the TV room was but he could not remember. "You stupid fool," she suddenly came out of a room. "Me? You are the cause of this chaos," Kellin grabbed her by the arms. "I told you to run," she sobbed. "You have been friends with me forever and a day. You should know that I would never run and leave you behind," he insisted. "I'll never leave. I am going down with the mess I have made," she tried to yank away from him. "No you're not. You are coming with us," Leslie suddenly announced. "Leslie," Kellin exclaimed. "I know I ruined your dream but you need to come," she said. "I ruined my dream. You said I needed to take responsibility. Well, I am. Now leave," Queen Courtney. "Do you want to be responsible for our deaths? If not, come now," Leslie commanded. "Yes, now," he agreed. "Fine," Queen Courtney nodded her head. They ran out of the palace and began to run into the mountains. Leslie and Queen Courtney were running in front of Kellin and they saw the edge of a cliff racing towards them. They tried to stop but could not and tripped over the edge. Leslie opened her mouth to scream but was suddenly caught. She looked up and saw Kellin holding onto her hand. She gripped with all her strength. She looked over and saw Queen Courtney doing the same. "Just hang on, sooner or later help will come," Kellin exclaimed. "I'm sorry but it came too late for me," Queen Courtney exclaimed. "What do you mean?" he wanted to know. Leslie looked over at her and knew what she planned to do. "Courtney no," she commanded but she knew Courtney would not listen. Queen Courtney just smiled and she let go. "No," Kellin wailed but it was too late and Courtney fell silently. Kellin grabbed Leslie's other hand and dragged her over the edge. "I should have been able to save her," he sobbed. "No, it wasn't your fault. She wanted to kill herself and that was her decision. We tried to help her but you could not hang onto both of us if she did not hang on. At least you saved one of us," she gave him a big hug. "But I couldn't save both," he hugged her back. "She's happy now," she replied. They waited all night for the castle to blow up but it never did. The next day, an extensive bomb search happened and nothing turned up. What did happen, was the formula that kept the queen warm was found and in a journal, the way to make the formula was written. Kellin and Leslie found Tonia and Cameron and brought them back. Leslie thought of going home but instead decided to stay with Kellin. She wrote her experiences down and sent them home. She had four children and their names were Kellin Jr., Courtney, Anne, and Joshua. Tonia had children with Cameron and they were named Leslie, Alan, and Alexander. Camara ended up marrying Tommy and having to girls, Annicke and Dominique- Georgette. Lilia married a man named Max and had a child named Nadine. Elvirian is yet be found and may remain hidden forever except to outcasts who need a permanent and cold escape. Tweet
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