"I live!"

Haha, fun Mulan quotes aside, I just wanted to say that I'm deeply sorry this update has taken so long. This quarter at school is keeping me much busier than I expected. I will do my best but I am writing this story as I go so I don't have chapters already written like I did with all of my other stories.

That being said, if you follow the story, it will let you know when I finally do to get to update this story.

I appreciate all of the ideas I have been given in the reviews and one or two of them will come into play in the later chapters.

Disclaimer: I own a computer and that's all, nothing Cinderella belongs to me.

Please read and leave a review below.

"The white ivory pawn in his hand gleamed as he twisted it around in the light. Such an innocent piece, easy to control and even easier to sacrifice to achieve one's goals", the Duke thought to himself.

He had until this very afternoon viewed Prince Christopher as a pawn. A talented pawn with a brain and good fighting skills but a pawn nonetheless.

Now, after that hunt or rather that failed hunt rather when Prince Christopher came out of the woods and ordered that they let the stag go free.

When the Duke had reminded him of tradition, a move that never failed in the past as the boy didn't want to disappoint his father who was a traditionalist, Prince Christopher had said the most outlandish thing.

He said, "Just because it's what been done, doesn't mean it's what should be done."

Then, the boy had smiled, smiled! The audacity!

He rode in the frustrated silence the ride back to the castle as he pondered over this change. What could have caused it? When had the boy been willing to break tradition? Where had he gotten that revolutionary idea from?

His thoughts buzzed around his head like angry wasps as he retired to his rooms to freshen up before meeting with the king.

He sat the pawn down on the chessboard and picked up another piece, a castle this time.

Christopher now had some backbone and a greater awareness of his position, in that he could order the hunt to be stopped.

The Duke didn't like this change at all, and he immediately began thinking of ways to control Christopher.

As he pondered this problem, his eyes caught sight of a flower vase.

That was it!

His daughter Isabel!
The black queen overtaking the castle so he could take the white king!
She would be his means to the throne.

Isabel had just won the Flower Festival, with his "helping" hand as he had to remind a few of the judges about his influence with the king and the short years left for some of them to retire. Every queen who was not a foreigner had won the festival prior to her marriage, thus he had tradition to support his idea.

Isabel was a very attractive girl and the Prince was sure to fall prey to her charms.

A quick wedding, a tragic accident for all of the royal family except his daughter after the first heir was born and then he took over a regent for a grieving mother and molded the child from a young age.

Or perhaps, just the wedding and accident, no heir to further compound his plans to gain the throne.

The Duke grinned wickedly as he grabbed a miniature portrait of his daughter from his desk and strode to the throne room.

As he came to the ornate double doors, he eyed the soldiers and they opened it for him at once.

The Duke smirked to himself, another sign of his power here.

He saw the king sitting on the throne. The king's hair was solidly grey now, and his faced lined with tiredness. The Duke suspected his illness was worsening but unfortunately, the castle doctor wasn't one of his biggest supporters.

In fact, the Duke was certain the doctor didn't like him but he knew the doctor could say nothing further without proof, something the Duke was careful to never leave behind.

The Duke knelt briefly in front of the king till he heard the king clear his throat and he saw the nod that meant he could get up.

He smirked again, the king had never left him kneeling long.

The king resisted the urge to shift on his throne. He was weary and posture took effort but he maintained it, as was his duty.

"You mentioned that something occurred on the hunt that you wanted to bring to my attention?" He asked the Duke.

The Duke nodded seriously. "Yes, a most alarming event, sire."

The king straightened up and started thinking. "What do you mean by alarming?"

The Duke fretted (quite obviously while trying not too appear worried, just the trick to induce panic in a monarch), "Well, sire, I mean an event that you need to made aware of and one that could have quite serious ramifications for the kingdom."

The king queried, "How so?" For it was rare that a simple hunt could hurt the kingdom.

"It involves your son, the heir to the throne." The Duke divulged.

"Well, what is it?" The king impatiently demanded to know, he was starting to get worried now but could do nothing till he knew more of the situation.

"Your son ordered us to let the stag go free, sire."

The king was confused though he didn't let it show.
Better, he thought, to gather more information before making any sort of judgement.

"Was someone hurt?" The king asked. He could see Kit valuing someone's comfort over a prize.

"No, your majesty, no one was hurt." The Duke assured in an oily tone.

"Was his horse alright?" The king continued to try to narrow down the list of reasons why Kit would've let the stag go free.

"Yes, sire, his horse appeared to be in good health and won the race back to the castle." The duke frowned slightly at that memory, yet another example of the prince not behaving like himself, not being dignified at all times in public.

The king nodded. The mystery was still present then. He thought for another minute.

"Why do you think Kit let the stag go?" The king asked the Duke in a bland tone, not conveying that he didn't know himself.

"Well, I can't be 100% positive sire, but it seems to me as a bit of...rebellion and immaturity on the prince's part."

The king's eyes widened and the duke inwardly gloated at the desired reaction.

"Kit was always such good boy." The king stated somewhat defensively.

"Of course, sire, of course." The Duke placated.
"It's just that...boys Christopher's age, tend to be prone to...getting into to trouble and challenging traditions unless they are given proper direction and guidance."

The king mulled that over while the Duke was just waiting for him to take the bait.

When the king sighed heavily and asked, "What kind of influence?" The duke knew his trap had worked and he had the king on his hook now.

Reeling him in, the duke asserted, "Marriage, to a proper young lady, is the surest solution to our problem with the prince."

"Marriage," the king repeated wonderingly. Where had that six year old with mud on his knees and hay in his hair gone?

"Why, naturally, your majesty." The duke cajoled. "A proper lady can reign in a boy and help him become a responsible man with just a look and clearing of the throat." He chuckled a little.

"I suppose that's true," The king conceded, remembering his dear wife's own influence over him.

"Might I be so bold as to suggest my daughter as a potential choice, sire?" The duke held his breath here, this was the linchpin of his plans.

As the king's eyebrows drew together and he stared at the Duke, the Duke tried not to fidget nor appear overly eager.

"It's just that, well, Isabel is in love with the boy," The Duke confessed. "I do love to see her happy and she is a very proper and accomplished young lady."

The king nodded in agreement, he had heard the Duke mention her accomplishments a few times prior.

"She's quite beautiful too, your majesty." The Duke bragged, grateful that she was for it made his life much easier and passed the king the miniature portrait he brought.

As the king felt his lungs constrict slightly with the need to cough and his own weariness settle, and his joints start to ache, he knew his time left was limited. He didn't want Kit to be alone, when he left. He at least had Kit when he lost his queen those many years ago.

He cleared his throat. "Very well, I accept Isabel as a potential candidate for Kit's hand in marriage." He returned the likeness to the Duke, having noted nothing aside from the fact that she seemed to be pretty and the right age.

Perhaps Isabel could help with the this strange outburst of immaturity from Kit.

The Duke beamed. "Excellent, your majesty, excellent. I shall begin thinking of ways for them to see each other at once."

The Duke bowed and left the throne room.

The king sighed, missing his dear queen more than ever now, and went to retire to his chambers and get some rest.

Meanwhile, Kit remained blissfully unaware of the change in his courtship status. He too retired to his chambers early but his thoughts were much more pleasant than the king's.

He was thinking of how he could see his new friend again and how good it felt to make a choice that agreed with his conscience.

Kit knew his thinking of her a friend was entirely truthful but he couldn't risk thinking about anything more. Not till it came time for him to consider marriage anyways and that day was a long way away.

So, events are being placed in motion now.