The King stands at his window. Staring blankly down at Sno’s casket , tears fill his eyes yet again. He closes his eyes and lets them streak down his face. The sun is just coming up; another day is starting. The King feels like all his hopes and dreams are vanquished. . He is unsure of the future. Unsure of himself and the future of his Kingdom.
Regina is in her basement study. Through the small window, she sees the sun rising for the third time since Sno fell into her enchanted sleep. She laughs manically to herself.
“Another day is gone.” she says happily to herself. “Soon Sno will never wake up, it will be too late, and then Selena can take the throne. There’s no way that silly young boy, Charming, could possibly love her. When he arrives, he’ll see her body and assume her dead. Sure, he’ll mourn her, as her father does. But he won’t know that a simple kiss will wake her. No one, save myself, knows that. By the time anyone can figure it out, it will be too late.’ Regina cackles once more.
Unbeknown to Regina, Esther is hiding in the hallway. Esther had been following Regina for days trying to prove Regina’s involvement and discover a way to awaken Sno. Upon hearing about the kiss, Esther immediately flees the cellar to inform the King.
Knowing the King’s habits sends Esther to the tower where the he usually plays chess. The King has played chess there every morning since the death of his first wife, Sno’s mother, Abagail. Paranoid that Regina will discover her, Esther continuously gazes over her shoulder, and checks out each window as she passes it. Her heart is racing when she finally arrives at the door.
“Your Majesty?” she asks cautiously, pushing open the door to the tower. The King is not there. Esther enters the room, and closes, the door leaning against it.
“Where could he be..” she asks herself aloud.
Suddenly, a yell echoes from wall to wall, “ESTHER!”
Esther freezes. Her blood grows cold. She recognizes the voice immediately. It belongs to Regina. She bites her lip and runs to the window, where she sees the King weeping at Sno’s casket. The window is too small to climb out, sealed tight, and no way to pry it open, to even call out to the King. She looks around the room, hoping for a place to hide, but sees nothing. There is only a single chess table with two chairs sitting on a rug Esther collapses to her knees, as Regina and 2 guards throw open the door to the tower.
“Esther! We’ve been looking all over for you! The poison used on the Princess was found in your quarters. Now everyone will know it was you that tried to kill her!” she states, malice evident on her face.
Esther’s eyes fill with tears.
“I would never harm my Princess. You did this, Regina. I know you did. I heard you in the cellar. You said… ” Esther stops herself, comprehending what she had just revealed.
“Ah. It was you in the cellar! I thought I felt a presence of someone …unwanted.” Regina laughs. She pauses. then demands loudly,”Guards! Remove this traitor from my presence!”
The Guards take hold of Esther. Though they witnessed the exchange between the two, they dare not disobey the Queen.
The King, kneeling in front of Sno’s casket, is still begging her to awaken. Regina arrives silently, startling him him. She speaks forcefully,”Dearest Husband, I have uncovered the identity of the traitor who did this to Sno.” Shock evident on the King’s face.
It was Esther. The poison was discovered in her chambers, while you have been grieving, casting the blame on me, I’ve been seeing out the true culprit.” Regina blurts out.
The King stands and turns to face Regina. He knows in his heart that Esther could never perpetrate such a crime. He had taken Esther in when she was just a teenager. She had nothing, no one to look after her; No place to live. Esther had helped raise Sno since infancy. She wouldn’t hurt the Princess.
“Aren’t you pleased?” Regina asks, shocked at the lack of response from the King.
“Oh yes my Queen. You have done a fine job of getting to the bottom of what has happened. The kingdom is in your debt. Have you questioned Esther about the curse? Did she explain why Sno is still breathing? Has she told you how to break this enchantment?” he asks anxiously.
Regina fixes her face into a convincing frown and looks toward the ground.
“No my King, I’m sorry.”
The King wipes away another tear and then heads towards the castle. He stops suddenly and turns around.
“Regina, where is Esther? I haven’t seen her since ..we found Sno.. like this.” he gestures toward the casket.
Regina presses her lips together and quickly thinks of a lie.
“Why didn’t you hear? She’s fled the Kingdom. She must have known we’d discover her misdeed. I’d wager she sought to escape our wrath.” Regina says quickly.
The King turns slowly, and begins toward the castle again.
“Have you sent anyone out after her?’ he asks hopeful.
“But of course Darling. I want to find her just as badly as you do. We never know when Sno may quit breathing.” she answers
The King bites his lip and walks quickly to the castle, once inside, he hurries to the guard towers.
“My loyal knights.” he begins. “Who has been sent on the search for Esther?” he implores.
The Knights look toward one another. Under their helmets, the King cannot see the questioning looks on their faces. they are making faces. The King asks the same question, and again receives no response. The Knights just stare at him solemnly. Finally, one brave Knight steps forward.
“Your Highness, Please forgive me for not speaking sooner. We were told to put the handmaiden, Esther, in the dungeon. Her Highness the Queen, said you had instructed her to be kept there, after the poison was discovered in her chambers. We were instructed not to speak of her whereabouts to anyone. To do so, would ensure our death.” the Knight says, bowing his head.
The King stands, astonished.
“I did nothing of the sort. Your Queen is a Traitor. By my hand, none of you will meet death in my kingdom. Now bring me to Esther immediately.” he demands, irate.