Today's is Guess the Snippet, and, yes, it will be open until September 31st. To play, all you have to do is email me with your guesses. Each correct answer is worth a point.
And, yes, you have to email me. Any guesses posted in the comments will be deleted and not counted. You are welcome to discuss and speculate in the comments, though.
And, just to make things difficult, all names are changed to be one of the following:
Love and Memory
Red as Snow
It's Sci-Fi, People!
The Nine Gems of Virtue
Do You Take This Quest?
The Quest for the Quince
The Worth of a King
The Seven Drawers
“There you are!”
Petra didn't even have time to brace herself for her mother's hug as she stepped into the common room. Sure, they'd seen each other just a few months before, for their birthday, but that was her enthusiastic mother.
“Hi, mom, Good to see you too,” she muttered, returning the hug. “And hi, dad.”
“Where's your enthusiasm, sweetheart?” asked Dad, as her mother pulled away. “Do I need to have a word with the instructor about your misplacing it?”
“You might,” said Petra. “But my enthusiasm is easily misplaced, and I don't think it was their fault.”
“Mom, Dad!” cried Richard, bursting into the room. “You're here!”“And your brother more than makes up for your lack of enthusiasm,” said Dad.
“It is often speculated that she poisoned him,” Maryanne mentioned, as she opened the book.
“Indeed, you’ve mentioned that fact before,” said William, cracking open his own book, a massive tome of law. He glanced up with a raised eyebrow. “Should I be worried for my own life?”
She shook her head playfully. “If I killed you, who would handle the politics? I’m in charge of history, you have law. Remember?”
William gave a laugh. “Ah, good, then I shall sleep easy at night knowing that I am so essential to you.”
Maryanne shrugged. “I hate politics.”
From behind her, there was a sharp gasp and then a giggle.
She swallowed, willing herself to be calm. “Eric,” she said, “do with me as you will. Just … just don’t…” She let a shudder run through her, thankful for the knife-fueled fear that made it believable. “Don’t kiss me,” she finished, in an inaudible whisper.
He drew back, though the knife was still pointed towards her. “Kiss you? What put a thought like that into your head?”
“You have me here, at your mercy,” Lucy whispered. “Kill me if you must, but just don’t … I’m a pure, virtuous maiden. Don’t defile me.”
She closed her eyes, hoping, praying. Such reverse psychology worked for Bre’r Rabbit. But, even if it did work for her, would the kiss be enough to save her? To save him?
He gave a slow chuckle as he lowered the knife. “You are a pretty thing. I’ll admit that such thoughts have passed through my , would the kiss be ecology worked for Bre'mind from time to time. Yes, that would be a fittingly terrible fate for you.”
“Just about,” Maryanne answered. “One moment.” Lucy felt one last poke as the final pin slid into place. “There we go. Run along with you – and, Eric, make sure you take care of her – and behave yourselves. You may be marrying tomorrow, but that’s tomorrow and not today.”
“Noted,” said Eric, standing and offering his arm to Lucy. She took it wordlessly. “Now let us get out of here before someone notices us and insists on giving us a chaperone.”
At the door, however, he paused, and Lucy realized that his finger was on her pulse. “Why, Lucy, your heart is racing.”
She ducked her head as her cheeks grew warm. With her darker complexion, blushing wasn’t as obvious as it was on the constantly-red Maryanne, but he was staring at her very intently.
He gave a low chuckle. “Interesting.”
She got the sensation that someone was watching her. Looking up, she saw, just down the hall, a young man, a servant by his garb, but one that was clearly high-ranking. Her breath caught as she recognized him.
“Richard,” she breathed, hastily gaining her feet.
His eyes went wide, and for a moment, her heart faltered as she thought that she’d been mistaken. But he shook his head. “Milady, I … I’m sorry … I…”
It was him.
For a moment, they both just stood there, staring at each other, neither daring to say anything that might ruin the moment. It was so tempting to just rush into his arms, let him hold her, and then rush away never to be seen by any of her family again. To get away from her duties and rules.
It was only her duty and those rules that kept her rooted in place.
“I’m sorry,” he finally repeated. “I … I didn’t realize that anyone was in this hall, and when I saw you there … are you all right?”
Petra lifted her chin. “Of course I am.”
Lucy had just picked up the hotel telephone to call home (because far be it from Eric to be at his own house when he could be at hers, especially when they had guests) when Maryanne slunk into the room.
“Who are you calling?” the girl asked, in that annoying tone of hers.
Lucy set the phone down and closed her eyes. “I was hoping for a few minutes where I could be left to myself.”
“With a phone,” said Maryanne, plopping down on the bed next to Lucy. “You’re not alone when you have a phone. Were you calling home to complain about how terrible we are? Oh, come on, Petra, that’s no way to talk about your hosts. After all the trouble we’re going through to make sure you’re having a fun time…”
“I promised I’d call home and tell them everything that’s happening,” Lucy answered. “Honestly, I’m having fun, and I appreciate you letting me come with you. I’m not calling to complain by any means.”
“Sixteen and your parents still expect you to check in with them?” asked Maryanne. “Don’t they trust us to take care of you? We told them we would.”
“I’m not calling my parents,” said Lucy. “They trust me to take care of myself.”
“Then who are you calling?” asked Maryanne. “You said you were calling home.”
“You're a long way from home now, aren't you Lucy?” Petra asked, as she entered the main quarters.
Lucy glanced up, something akin to a smile pulling at one side of her mouth. “Yeah, I guess you can say that. I'm never going to see home again. Never going to see my family again. It's the least of my problems.”
“I'd hate to never see my family again,” said Petra, shaking her head. “In fact, it's possibly my worst fear. That I'll never see them again. It's possible, you know, when you're always traveling. The universe is a big place.”
“Just this part of it is big enough,” said Lucy.
“It is, isn't it?” Petra agreed. “But are you sure you won't miss your family?”
Lucy shook her head. “We were your typical royal family. No one ever paid attention to anyone else.”
“And you ignored everyone else, too? Right with the rest of them?”
She shrugged. “No, I tried to be nice to my younger brother – the only one younger than me that I could be nice to. I guess I do miss him. Pity I couldn't bring him with me. He didn't have anyone else to pay attention to him. And he didn't have a future painted out for him like the rest of us did.”
Petra shook her head. “Oh, I guess I do pity him. I hate it when my future isn't painted out for me. Too uncertain.”