Here’s the conclusion to the Brass Automaton saga at 350 words:

* * *

The castle was busy with preparations of some sorts. It was loud and there were fanfares somewhere in the distance.

“My Queen, have you been training again? Look at your beautiful face, all bruised and bloodied.”

Snow turned around to meet Daisy. She was dressed in an elegant dress and her fiery hair longer than she remembered it.


“Well who else my Queen?” Daisy smiled and took Snow’s hand in hers, leading her away.

“I shall send for someone to clean the destruction from your target practice.”

“Isn’t that Jarvis’s chambers?”

Daisy stopped and looked at Snow concerned.

“Who is Jarvis, my Queen?”

“He’s-” Snow began to say, but the realization came to her. There was no Jarvis.

“And Ceridwen?”

“Are you quite all right, Snow White?”

Snow smiled, flinching at the pain.

“I think I am.”

“Come then, Good King John is waiting for you. I have been telling off children again for calling him Good John the Cripple, but they find it fitting and King John doesn’t seem to mind it. He thinks the name would sit well on the books.”

“Cripple?” Snow asked carefully as they walked down the spiral staircase.

“Mmh. From the hunting accident few years back. Did you bang your head that hard?”

Snow shook her head.

“No, just checking all… as it should be, I suppose.”

Nothing good comes without a price, Snow thought. Then her heart hammered with worry in her chest.

“And Reese, is Reese here?”

Daisy stopped in her tracks. “It is today, isn’t it, the anniversary of her death?”

She turned around.

“My apologies Queen White. I question you too much without realizing how you must be feeling on this day.”

Snow allowed the tears to run down her cheeks this time.

“It’s all right Daisy. Lead me to my husband now.”

Indeed, no victory came without a bitter price. The kingdom was safe, but Snow’s soul was yet to heal. Seeing John smirk and shake his crowned head at the sight of her, she knew it would take time, but Time was all they had now.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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