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     The sound of music and laughter soon fills the air of the small tavern. The smell of smoke mixing with the smells of the freshly cooked dinner fills the room in a matter of moments. The music slowly fades off into the background as the villagers inside split off into their groups to talk.

"I hear tonight is the night the King is coming to visit!" One woman with golden hair and aqua eyes exclaims loudly. "I wonder what for?" Another woman questions from the crowd. "Oh! To pick a wife for his son of course. Why do you think all the youngins dressed up?" The old voice of Mary Greenwood says.

The blonde haired woman from before smirks and whispers to the person beside her. "She's just mad; because her granddaughter Kira won't be picked…she's got a temper which is no way for a queen to act. I personally think it'll be me." A small grumble comes from the person beside the woman, causing her to turn. "Oh I have temper do I?" Kira says while glaring at the woman.  "Oh Kira!! You know me, just teasing. Silly Sarah you used to call me." Sarah says with a fake laugh as she backs away into the crowd.

Kira sighs softly to herself as she makes her way to a window. She smiles as she watches snowflakes gracefully dance to the ground. 'No King will come tonight.' She thinks as she glances at the corner of young women chatting happily. 'And no one will be chosen.' She finishes her thought before turning back to the window to day dream.

She knew she didn't have a chance at being picked, but still she could dream. Truthfully, she had met the prince many times before when she went to visit her father, who is a royal guard at the castle. She had befriended Alex, but you don't marry your friends. You marry popular, middle class to rich people like Sarah.

She gazes sadly at her reflection in the window, she was no Sarah Sliverflame either. Sarah has beautiful tan skin, golden hair, aqua eyes, and a voice that could charm any man; on the other hand, she has long brown hair, dark green eyes, fair skin, a clam voice…until her temper kicked in then she could argue and win against the best.

"You seem lost in thought." Mary comments as she walks over to her granddaughter. "It's nothing grandmother." Kira mutters quietly. "Good, because I made a bet with Sarah that you could win the prince." She says with a small chuckle. Kira turns to her and glares. "You did what?!" Kira shouts in shock.

Mary just smiles and hobbles over to another corner where a group of older women were gossiping. Kira sighs once more as she turns back to the window. 'The snow will stop soon, and the prince and the challenge will be in town' She thinks as she watches the last snowflake of the night fall.

"Kira!" A voice shouts, jerking her from her thoughts. She turns her gaze to the bartender, who looks at the food in front of him then at a table of people. Kira nods, before getting the food and taking it to the table.

Hours quickly fade, taking villagers with it. The few remaining villagers chat quietly in groups, still hoping for the arrival of their King. A loud bang on the door causes the villagers to stop what they are doing and look up.

"Announcing King Alexander the IV and his son Prince Alex." A messenger shouts while bowing as the King and his son enter. Of course Alex's name was show for Alexander the X but most, even his father, called him by Alex. Sarah giggles with joy from the corner of the room before glaring at Kira.

The King holds back a look of disgust as he glances around the place. "This is the finest place we have to stay at?" The barkeep looks down at the counter, ashamed. Alex sees this and quickly says. "I like it. It has a nice cozy feeling." Kira smiles as she turns away from him. 'He has a kind heart, just like his mother' She thinks as she goes back to work.

"You! Servant girl, show me to my chamber." The king commands while looking at Kira. "Oh Kira, it's you. I hope you are well." He says in a kinder tone. Kira smiles and nods, while motioning for them to follow her down a hall. "This way your majesty and I'm doing well."  As they reach the rooms Alex gives her a small smile to make up for this fathers reactions to the town and village. Kira nods and smiles back before exiting the hallway. 'Maybe, just maybe…there is hope' She thinks as she goes back to work yet again.

The village is filled with much talk the following day. Kira smiles as she notices Alex through the crowd, and then frowns as she notices Sarah by his side. A rush of anger overtakes her for a moment, but she quickly hides it. She pushes her way through the crowd, hoping to get a better look.

"So did you hear Kira?" Sarah says with a smirk as she steps away from Alex. "Hear what?" Kira questions with a confused look. "The King as fallen deathly ill from traveling through the snow. They say he'll listen to each young woman wishing to marry the prince talk about why she wants to be his wife and decide that way." Kira stares at her in shock for a moment, trying to take it all in.

She knows Sarah could easily charm herself to queen. Sarah smiles at her reaction before turning. "You're going to lose this bet." Sarah hisses as she walks off. Kira grumbles under her breath. 'There just has to be a way to win…or at least keep Sarah out of the throne.' She thinks as she walks to the tavern. 'I'll talk to the King later…she'll just ruin the kingdom.'

Kira takes a deep breath as she stands outside the door. 'Here goes nothing.' She thinks as she places a hand on the door and opens it. "You majesty?" She questions while stepping inside.

"Kira, it's been a while." The weak voice of the King calls from his bed. "Aye, it has sir. I wish you well." Kira says with a smile as she takes a seat in a chair near his bed. "I hear you are to decide who Alex is to marry."

The King looks over at her. "Is that what you come to talk about?" Kira turns her gaze to the floor. "I consider Alex a friend. I just want what's best for him." The King lies back down and grunts. "And you, a mere barmaid, believe you are best for him?"

"No, sir. I do not. I just do not wish for it to be Sarah Sliverflame. She will ruin the empire." Alexander thinks for a moment and then mutters. "She has the looks for queen, but yes you are right. She's dreadfully annoying. All she does it talk about how rich she'll be when I pick her." Kira lets out a small laugh causing the King to smile.

"I have already made my choice. You need not worry of Sarah. Now leave me, I need my rest for announcing it later tonight." He says with a rough cough. "Yes, sir." Kira says, before bowing and leaving the room. She smiles upon exiting the room. 'Even if it's not me…at least it won't be her.'

Kira gasps for breath as she runs to the tavern. The King would have probably already announced the future queen by now. If only her grandmother hadn't called her home at the last minute. She stops and takes a deep breath as she leans against the tavern door. 'Now, we'll see who the winner is'

She opens the door to find a large crowd around one of the tables. The King sitting in a chair with Alex and a young woman with chocolate brown hair by his side. 'Misty? He picked her?' Kira questions to herself as she tries to hide the sadness in her eyes. To her surprise Misty walks over to her and smiles while grabbing her hand and leading her to Alex.

"And here's our future queen now." Misty says in a cheerful voice while pushing Kira over to Alex. Kira blinks in confusion as she hears the cheers and claps. "You're majesty?" She mutters while turning to the King for an answer.

The King smiles at her. "You and my son have always been close. I could tell you both had feelings for each other…plus he would have run away if I chosen someone he didn't like." He says, ending in a small chuckle. Alex smiles as he warps an arm around Kira's waist. "Tomorrow we head back to the castle, then the wedding." Kira smiles as she turns and looks at Sarah who was glaring daggers at her. 'Now who has the temper.' She thinks before turning back to Alex.