Soul Searching

Chapter Two

Author's Notes: So, what did you think of the first chapter? I hope it came out okay. I'm quite pleased with how it came out, personally. Hopefully, some action is about to stir in this chapter. Now, on with the story!

She stood blankly, dressed in black at her mother's funeral. She was too numb to cry and so she merely gazed forward as if in a trance. She didn't comprehend any words and allowed her brother or father to guide her if they moved. She somehow found herself in front of her mother's body in the casket and she stared down at her mother. The queen looked almost like she was sleeping. They had dressed her beautifully, Valerie had to give them credit for that.

Mother…. How could I have not seen how pale and sickly she had gotten before she had died? Was I so caught up in sneaking away and spending time with Le'neh that I could not see my own mother's illness? Oh mother, forgive me…. I didn't know. She thought to herself, almost hoping that her mother could somehow hear her thoughts and forgive her for not being a good enough daughter. She was deaf to all the talking and she didn't protest as she was gently dragged away from her mother's casket. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, but in truth, everything was going on rapidly.

Already, the funeral was over and they were lowering the closed casket into the ground and Valerie absently wondered when they had gotten outside and in the Royal Cemetery. She found herself next to her father and she slowly turned her head to look at him. While everyone else was sad, he was withdrawn and emotionless. Like he didn't care. Even her normally serious and calm brother was quietly crying along with the rest of the people.

"Father… do you care?" She heard herself ask, almost like she was an audience in her own mind and someone else was directing her body. He blinked and glanced slowly at her. Confusion marred his features.


"I said, do you care? I haven't seen you shed a single tear, not even when mother passed away." She had caught her brother's attention and a few of the people standing near them.

"Of course I care. I just have troubles expressing my emotions. You know that. Are you suggesting that I did not love my wife?" He narrowed his eyes, anger flickering in his dark green eyes. Valerie snapped out her seemingly daze and she realized what she was implying.

Heat seared her cheeks and she bowed her head in shame, focusing her lighter green gaze on the ground. "Forgive me, father. I… wasn't thinking." At her apology, his look softened and he placed a hand on her shoulder.

"It's all right, I'm sorry for being a little harsh and assuming. I'm sure we're both just so overcome with grief. We'll miss her…" Valerie nodded and threw her arms around him, hugging him. She breathed in his familiar, comforting scent and allowed herself to finally cry again. The king seemed a little surprised, but he eventually wrapped his arms around his daughter, petting her black hair softly in an effort to comfort her.

"Shh, it'll be okay, Valerie." Valerie sniffed and looked up at him, tears still welled up in her eyes. "Father?"

"Yes, my daughter?"

"Can you promise me? Can you promise me that you'll never marry another woman and try and replace Mother?" She asked, staring up at him seriously. She wanted him to honestly mean it.

He seemed a little hesitant but then he nodded, forcing a confident smile. "Of course. I promise. I will love no other woman but your mother."

Author's Note: Well, that wraps up chapter two. I hope I'm not rushing things, but then I think I might make this story somewhat short. I'm still not sure. I apologize for the shortness of this chapter. I promise I'll try and make the third chapter longer. Next chapter you're in for another surprise! Well, maybe. Leave me a review and let me know what you think of this chapter!