Snow had piled on the rolling landscape of Julian’s castle, a blanket of luminous white under the moonlight. Snow White sat by the window, thinking hard on what she should do next. The mirror-bashing episode was too rash, too out of control. It condemned her as mad in everyone’s eyes, and that was why the lock on their bedroom door was shut from the outside. She stared down at her bandaged hands, trying hard to conjure up a way to escape.
Snow White shivered in the unforgiving cold of their bedroom, wishing fervently that this was all a nightmare. Maybe, just maybe, at any moment Julian’s warm arms would come around her and she’s wake up to find it was just another day of happily ever after. But happily ever after would never come to her, not until Julian was found. No one had believed her when she said that her beloved husband was trapped inside a mirror. She didn’t blame them; sometimes she thought she was mad herself. But she needed Julian, and he needed her. And Ellie needed her father too. Since everyone else believed that Julian had just left on an unexpected journey, it really was up to Snow White to look for him.
She wasn’t used to being the one rescuing another; usually she was the one waiting helplessly for her prince to come to her. Well, she wouldn’t describe herself at helpless, but the notion of actually setting out to help Julian made Snow White quite dizzy. She was brought up as a traditionalist, believing women were born to be a wife and a mother. But ever since she became good friends with Cinderella, some of Cinderella’s feministic ideas had rubbed off on her. Yes, Snow White thought, steadying herself, I can take over the gallant role of a rescuer, and be the princess in shining armours. But how to get out of here?
A little click from the door interrupted Snow White’s thoughts, and she looked up just in time to see the door slowly opened. Fear washed over her, as thoughts of Faeritayl’s minions entered her mind. She backed further into her seat by the window, her hands groping blindly around, trying to take hold of something to defend herself. A clip-clop sound of hooves echoed in the silence of the chamber, and a small face of a deer popped out from behind the door. Snow White slumped into her seat with relief as the deer and her other forest friends came silently to her side.
Her fluttering bird friends flew noiselessly over her, dropping a thick woollen coat on her lap. The deer clumsily dragged snow boots next to her feet, and tugged at her hem to urge her to pull them on. The squirrels hauled her mittens, bonnet and shawl to her, and attempted to drape everything on Snow White. A little mouse with a yellow top climbed onto Snow White’s hand, and dropped a golden keychain into her palm. The keychain that would let her out of the castle and on her mission to rescue Julian.
“Thank you Gus. Did Cinderella send you?”
Gus nodded his little head, and pulled on Snow White’s fingers. He pointed to the door. She quickly pulled on the coat, tugged on boots and mittens, settled the shawl over her slender shoulders and plunked a bonnet on her messy black locks. She pulled out a slip of paper, scribbled a messy note to the chancellor, giving him the power to run the country in her absence, and hastily imprinted the royal stamp on the corner. She slid noiselessly out of their bedroom, and floated down the moonlit corridor, her forest friends at her heels. The note to the chancellor was slid under the third closed door on the left, and a kiss was sent in the direction of Ellie’s room. Down the staircase. Through the hallway. And out the grand entrance. She was free.
Snow White paused for a moment in the castle’s courtyard, wondering whether she should go by the stable and get her horse. But light still flickered in the direction of the stable, and she could not risk being seen. The deer tugged at her hem again, and tossed its head to indicate she should get on its back. The deer knelt on the ground, and Snow White swung her leg over its back very carefully, her petite frame perched in an astride position. Wrapping her arms around the deer’s neck, Snow White and her forest friends set off into the woods on a mission to find Julian.
A strange feeling of déjà vu welled up within Snow White as they galloped past the dangling vines and twisted trunks of the forest trees. She had been here before, on that dreadful day when the Queen ordered for her to be killed. Gnarled trees with yellowed eyes had surrounded her, their twisted branches swinging. Back then her forest friends had helped her from that disaster. Snow White could feel the shivers from her friends, all anticipating an attack from the evil trees. Out of the corner of her eyes, she glimpsed at swinging branches, at slitted eyes. She prayed fervently for the journey through the forest to be over, for her to meet Cinderella and Charming on the other side and beg them to help her find Julian.
But what she found on the other side of the forest was not help, but a miserable pregnant woman who goes by the name of Cinderella. A sobbing Cinderella who was hoping that Snow White and Julian would be able to help her find Charming.