News of Charming and Sno’s wedding spreads quickly. Pigeons are sent rapidly to the surrounding kingdoms. They bear invitations to all the royal couples, requesting their presence to witness this happy occasion. Marian and Esther soon become overwhelmed with organizing the large number of servants who arrive with the nobles.
“Surely his Majesty could have given us more time to organize such a momentous event!” Marian laughs. Esther pulls yet another cake from the oven.
Esther smiles. “His Majesty is very worried about Sno. He wants her out of the Kingdom as soon as possible. The sooner they marry, the sooner she can leave, and the sooner we can all breathe again…” Esther finishes.
The King sends for Sno to meet him in the library tower. She arrives quickly, as she always does when her father bade her to him.
“Precious Sno, the ceremony preparations are almost complete. Soon it will be time for you to begin your life as a married woman.” The King says, smiling. “I know that you and Charming will be happy together. I see the love you both carry for each other.”
“Of course, Father. When I think of spending my remaining days with Charming, I’m filled with a joy I cannot describe. I can hardly wait to join in marriage to him.” Sno replies.
She’s been smiling continuously since Charming’s proposal.
Meanwhile, up in the reading tower, The King has called a meeting with Sno.
"Dearest Sno, Congratulations on your engagement to Prince Charming my love. I wish you many happy years together." The King says smiling.
"Oh Father, thank you so much. I cannot wait to join in marriage with Charming." Sno replies smiling back.
“Dearest, I called this meeting with you today because I know not what the future holds. I have received word that your dowry has been completed. When you were born, I ordered a castle be built for you. It’s in the Kingdom of Ethireth. Merely one days’ ride from here. I want you and Charming to leave as soon as your reception is concluded.” The King commands.
Sno looks at him wide eyed, “You don’t even want us to wait for morning?” she asks stunned.
“My Dearest Sno, no. Darling, I do not want you stay any longer than absolutely necessary. I want you to leave this Kingdom. I want you safe.” He pauses. “I need to know that you are safe.” he says, tears filling in his eyes.
Sno bites her lip and nods. “Yes Father, I will do as you command.” she nods.
“Dearest, there is one other request I have of you…Your sister, Selena. Please, I want you to take her with you when you go. Raise her as your own. I do not want the evil that your stepmother engages in to corrupt her. Could you give your word that you will do me this service?” The King pleads.
This request takes Sno by surprise. “Oh Father, surely you know not what you ask? You couldn't mean for me to take Selena from you? Assuredly, Regina would wage war on anyone who dares to remove Selena from her. I beg you to reconsider.”
The King hangs his head, “My daughter, this is the only way I will know that both of my precious children are safe from harm. Please? It’s essential you leave immediately after your wedding…and you must take Selena with you.” The King repeats his request; this time though, it is more of a command.
With a heavy heart, Sno nods, cementing her acceptance of her Father’s directive.
The day of the wedding arrives. The guests flock to the castle, eager to see the kingdom of Eleabeth and the kingdom of Aciemma come together as one. The many tables are loaded with a great number of sweet treats. They are also crowded with fruits and vegetables, a roasted lamb, a roasted pig, even a turkey has been prepared.
Sno and Charming were unaware there were so many other rulers. Though the service is to be a simple one, no one wanted to miss the opportunity to witness such a special ceremony. The castle grounds are soon full.
In Sno’s bedchamber, Esther helps Sno into her bridal dress. It’s the dress that Sno’s mother wore at her own wedding. Gazing upon it brings tears to Esther’s eyes. The thought of Sno’s mother in the gown brings that special day to the front of her mind.
“Sweet Highness, I was but a teenager when I helped your mother into this gown.” Esther begins, “She wore it when she was given into marriage to your Father. I know she would be honored that you chose to wear it for your own wedding.” Esther squeaks, wiping away a tear.
Sno is overcome with emotion, and pulls Esther into a hug.
“Esther, you have always been so kind to me. You’ve remained in my life, almost as a…mother…to me. You’re so caring, understanding, helpful, and patient. Thank you for this.” she says, smiling softly.
Esther smiles back.
“It has been my sincere pleasure to watch you grow, Child.”
“Esther, I do have one favor to ask of you. Please, do not tell Regina about the dress. I fear if she knew, her anger would overtake this glorious day” Sno says quietly.
Esther bows her head. “To the grave will I take this secret.” she promises.
Esther then takes her leave. Sno stands before the mirror
As she stands there, she tries to envision what her Mother may have felt on her own wedding day. Was her mother as nervous as Sno was? Was she expected to immediately leave her home for an unknown castle? Sno takes a minute to look around her room. Memories fill her before the thought of Charming casts aside all doubts. She imagines her mother felt the same about Sno’s father.
“I’ll have to ask Father what it was like.. ” she says aloud smiling to herself.
“Princess?” a knock on the door jolts her back to reality. The door opens. Esther peeks her head in.
“Princess, it is time. Are you ready?”
Sno nods and allows herself to be led from her room.