Chapter 1

POV Hero of Bower Lake

Victor was bouncing around the room like a kid on Christmas, with an incessant babble about how the procedure will work and his love for Lady Grey. I was glad for him, however, I really wanted him to get this moving. I was only sticking around out of an innate morbid fascination of what is going to happen; plus, I was worried that something would go wrong and harm the love-stricken man. It had been a weird request, if somewhat slightly disgusting. I ended up trawling through some unsavoury crypts to grab body parts of some witch that had been killed 500 years ago. This was all due to the fact that Victor was planning on bringing her back to life. When I asked why it had to be that corpse, as in the 500-year-old one and not a fresh one, he explained that the woman herself had magic. From all his research he had found out that she was indeed magic, but he refused to believe she was as evil as everyone said she was. He then continued on to explain about the magic in her veins, but I couldn't keep up with Victor's enthusiasm and intelligence. I didn't particularly mind sticking about as someone for him to speak to; I like helping people, and Victor had become my only true friend. The request did lead me to learn more about what happened to Oakvale, and my predecessor Theresa had warned me not to become, as those crypts had more information than one could believe.

Victor had spent a lot of time preparing the corpse, sewing each body part together lovingly whilst he kept glancing at her portrait on the wall. As he did so, he kept asking for me to grab him things, which I did, as it seemed to make the process faster. After sewing, he would spread a potion over the area, which seemed to act a bit like glue. The body was now lain in the machine, skin weathered and leathery with some bone sticking out in places. I must admit, that I was rather conflicted about the whole thing now: that just looked like disease central, and Victor seemed to be travelling on the fastest coach to get there. He was now fiddling with various settings on the machine, constantly looking for perfection. I was unsure as to whether this process would make this mummified body return to its former glory, or just reanimate the poor woman in agony, however, it had reanimated the once forlorn graveyard keeper; so that is one thing, I guess.

Victor finally switched on the machine, and I watched as magic and science came together in a beautiful harmony. Bolts of lightning soared between the tall brass pylons sticking out of the coffin like contraption, and the room was filled with bright light. He was cheering, and his constant movements had ceased. It was almost as if his whole body was waiting with anticipation for the moment his love you awaken. I just covered my eyes, hoping to hell I wouldn't be blinded, and was looking forward to seeing what the outcome was. The light faded slowly, and then the machine stopped its whirring sound. Victor leapt over to undo all the bolts he had tightened so it, so he could see if it had worked. I was now starting to catch onto Victor's eager anticipation of meeting Lady Grey, he was the happiest I had ever since him since I had met him.

Victor finished opening the last few securing slides on the top of the machine, which was now smoking. I was getting worried about the smoke, until I realised that it was magic residue smoke, which is perfectly harmless and gives an impressive ending to a spell. He stepped back and to the side of the machine, expectantly. As the doors opened outwards, I could see the body. The once leathery and weathered skin was now young; it had gained its muscle textures and was now a very pale shade, almost like porcelain. The dress Victor had put on the mummified corpse, to replace the tattered remains of what was her clothing, was now full with every black satin curve of the dress being filled. I smiled and congratulated Victor – it seemed like he had managed to make himself a very beautiful bride.

I was about to leave the messy basement, but then the reanimated body moved. My burning curiosity got the better of me and I stayed put at the foot of the machine. The body kept twitching, so much so that I was worried that the procedure had not worked. The twitches turned into thrashing, and Victor seemed to have to hold himself back from helping her. The thrashing then calmed down and smoothed out, so the movements now seemed more human, more alive. This was a corpse no more; this was a graceful creature of beauty. The woman sat up in the machine, rather much like a wooden marionette, and opened her eyes. Victor started to profess his love and go to hug her, but she looked directly at me, as I was at the foot of the machine.

I was transfixed.

Lady Grey's eyes were locked directly into mine. Every fibre of my body was screaming at me "leave now!" as if I could tell what would happen. I tried to avert my gaze, move any muscle or even twitch towards the door. I was desperate to get out of there. Then she smiled. My heart melted, my knees went weak and a whole horde of butterflies flew in my stomach. I released a breath I did not even realise I was holding as I looked at her joyful eyes and vibrant smile.

I can hear Victor begging me to leave, as he had just realised that she saw me before him. His begging got more desperate once Lady Grey gracefully slid off of the machine's bed and smoothed out her dress, emphasising her curves.

"You…You brought me back. You are magnificent." The sound of her voice made my heart melt more, and made Victor start to cry. I started to cry too, as I knew I was his only friend and I wanted him to be happy. But this porcelain beauty in front of me had me under her spell, and one that I could never break.

"I have been asleep so long. But now I'm ready to live again. And to love for the first time. You are so perfect."

As she recognised me, I took a step forwards towards her, and Victor flew across the room to hold me back. I could feel his tears soaking my shoulder as he was pulling at my arm and begging me to leave. He was telling me that I could have any girl I wanted, and this would be the only one that would love him. I was trying to leave but any will power I may have once had was in pieces on the ground, as Lady Grey took a step towards me.

"I thought my heart had died long before I did. But it beats now for you."

At this I shrugged off Victor as Lady Grey and I closed the space between us and embraced. Her kiss was like heaven to me, her lips soft and warm. Her body pressed against mine seemed to fit perfectly and her arms around me made me feel safe for the first time in my life. I have been running and fighting ever since I was born; surviving on the streets with Rose, fighting to survive the bullet wound and then fighting to find the three heroes. No matter how much Theresa tried to make the Gypsy camp my home, I never felt safe and loved.

That was until now.

We kissed for what felt like eternity before breaking apart and staring into each other's eyes longingly. I knew she would be the only one for me. She smiled and giggled slightly. I felt the smile tug further at the corners of my mouth as I grinned at her, as I felt the electricity going between our bodies that were still pressed tightly together.

"There's something about your eyes. They're so beautiful. So captivating."

I felt myself blush as she said this, and I replied that hers were amazing too. This was no lie. Her eyes were deep blue with flashes of purple hidden within, and the longer I stared into them the more purple I could see.

"Let's buy a house together. Let's get married."

At this, I felt hope. I knew I already owned a home, and I could feel the weight of the ring I had carried around with me since I started to fight to bring down Lucien. At that moment in time, the war I had been fighting since I was eight, the scars of battles past and the plans for how to bring down Lucien all faded away. I could think of nothing but Lady Grey. I could see nothing but Lady Grey. I was not even aware of Victor any more. My heart was throbbing so hard, I felt like my ribcage would burst. I wanted to marry her on the spot and run away together, so no one could separate us again.

"You are the only one I could ever love. We shall be so happy."

I could now hear what could only be described as the wail of a heart shattering into a million pieces. The trance that had held me was now broken, and I now tore my gaze away from the beauty in my arms to the heart broken graveyard keeper. He was kneeling on the floor, his face sodden with fresh tears as more continued to fall. My own tears started to fall again, as I untangled myself from Lady Grey. I could feel her trying to keep me in her arms, but she reluctantly let me go. I could feel a force trying to get me to look at her again, a soft pull at my cheek like a lover's caress. I walked over and kneeled by Victor.

"Victor- "I started.

He growled like an animal and leapt towards me, trying to push me backwards, but I wrapped my arms around him. All the tension in his body drained out of him as he clung to me wailing. I kept saying how sorry I was over and over, and that I was trying to move but I couldn't. I don't think he understood that no matter how much I wanted to move I couldn't. We kneeled there on the floor for an age after the tears had stopped, and he was then finally able to speak in a broken voice.

"Get out. Now. I can't bear to see you so happy with the one I love."

I let him go and didn't say another word. I turned to Lady Grey, who was watching with fascination. I gave her a small smile and held out my hand. Her eyes light up and she grabbed my hand, bouncing towards me with a giant grin. I couldn't help myself but grin at her exuberance; she was the only one who treated me like this, and I was addicted already.

We walked out of the basement, through the mansion and into the welcoming light. When we were on the porch, she stopped. I look at her perplexed, until I saw her with her eyes closed and a blissful smile on her face. I smiled at her and stepped closer so I could lightly run my hand down her face. She opened her eyes at my touch and looked at me with happy eyes.

"It has been so long since I have seen the sun, and longer since I appreciated it. With you, it feels like I am seeing the world again afresh."

She turned to look at me and took both of my hands. I grinned and looked directly into her eyes, trying to find every spec of purple possible. She giggled nervously and my heart continued to melt in my chest. My brain suddenly stopped working, as my impulses took control of me. I started to slowly kneel down on the ground on one knee, still staring into her beautiful eyes. I took one hand from her clutch to retrieve the eternal love ring from my pocket.

She gasped, and her eyes widened.

"Elvira Grey, would you do me the greatest honour, and allow me the great privilege of being your husband?"

I held the ring out to her, hoping that it was good enough. I felt like the world had stopped. I could no longer hear the omnipresent birdsong from the graveyard, nor the crows' caws penetrated this moment. My heart stopped beating as I laid my cards down on the table. My brain started a continuous stream of fear, emanating from the fact that I had only met this woman a mere ten minutes ago, and five of those minutes were me crying with my friend. I started to realise how foolish I was being. All I could see was this perfect woman, and the ring I had filled with my hope for the future. I knew in this moment that if she said no, I would look for no other and I would carry this cursed ring with me into the ground.

"Yes!" she gasped and then life came crashing back to me, almost overwhelming as the warmth of the sun, the sweet birdsong, the fresh air and her bubbly laugh all came rushing in at the same time. I started to grin as she yelled out yes again.

I stood up and grabbed her, twirling her around in the noon sun. She was sweeter than the birdsong, warmer than the sun and more than anything I had ever cherished in my life. When I carefully laid her back onto the floor, I offered the ring to her. She held out her hand, and I complied; slipping the ring onto her delicate finger. We both then nervously looked up at each other and grinned. The ring fit her perfectly, and it too gleamed in the noon sun. But even the polished face of a golden ring with inlaid diamonds was nothing compared to the radiance of her smile. Again, I found myself drawn to her as we slowly moved in and kissed. When we parted, we rested our foreheads against the others and looked loving at the other.

"So, to whom do I owe the pleasure of calling mine?" Elvira asked me, teasingly.

"I am William, my fair Lady."