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36.76% The Tiger Within / Chapter 257: Snow

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Chapter 257: Snow

The Servants argued with one another outside the door, trying to decide who would wake the sleeping prince. He seemed more exhausted than normal after the the night before. No one wanted to disturb him, especially with such a long night ahead. A older maid walked into the room and found that they didn't need to make him rise.

Clovis was sitting at his desk, fully dressed and going over a ledger in front of him. The rows of numbers occasionally broken up by his tidy script. From the look of it there were a lot of questions born of this book. Yet, despite the headache it should be causing, the prince seemed rather happy to pour over them.

"Your highness, you are awake." she exclaimed softly in surprise. He smiled and turned to look at her, seeming surprisingly well rested for having gone on a midnight stroll.

"Yes, so it seems. Is My Princess terrorizing Moon in the gardens?" he asked having heard the playful laughter of his daughter shortly before. The maid sighed shaking her head as she remembered the scene she had come in from.

"Yes, yes she is. You should go rescue your familiar. Breakfast will be on soon and you have a big night tonight." she reminded him as she moved to make his bed. She was surprised to find silver fur sparkling against the dark blanket.

"I doubt she needs rescuing, but I will see. Thank you." he set the brush and paper aside before walking out into the halls. His pale blue tunic was embroidered with elegant lines and curling swoops that accented his figure. Black pants tucked into his boots were intended guard from winter's chill.

As he walked out into the garden he saw a rather peculiar site. His princess was at the base of a tree laughing and talking to someone in it. As he moved closer he saw a white tiger in the tree. There was a thwacking sound and then a flurry of white dropped from a above branch. He watched in amusement as a pile of fresh, powdery snow fell onto his  daughter below covering her shoulders and hair in snowflakes. After the shock wore off, The Princess laughed and balled up the snow tossing a ball back at Moon.

Moon turned and jumped up onto another branch which subsequently let loose another flurry of built up snow. Ready for it this time, Raina dodged and laughed.  

"Missed me!" she called triumphantly but then, as she celebrated a even larger snow drift fell encasing her from foot to chest. She had danced right into Moon's trap.

"There are often better places to stand than beneath a tree. There is a reason we call it SnowFALL little Princess." Moon taunted back from the safety of the branches.

Clovis couldn't help but laugh aloud and in doing so he broke the trance of the moment. Moon saw him and leaped down sitting beside Raina as if she had been there the entire time. The look on her face was clearly 'I am innocent.'

He couldn't  help but laugh harder at the site before him. His daughter having climbed out of the snow drift casting a dirty look at a adorable white tiger. Not only was the tigress herself adorable but she was also wearing a cute little scarf he was fairly sure he had seen Raina working on days before. His heart warmed as he walked over and greeted them both.

Raina's eyes lit up. "Get Daddy!" she ordered like a little war general. She leaned down and picked up the remains of a snow ball and hurled it at the prince who barely lifted his sleeve in time to deflect it. Clovis laughed picking up his own ball and throwing it back at his daughter. Sook the game began again with yet another player.

The trio laughed and played in the cold morning for about and hour before Moon stopped, noticing the pink cheeks on Raina she sighed.  "Little one we must get you inside and some warm soup might not be such a bad idea either." Moon spoke softly, running her warm cheek across the child's. Clovis nodded still panting from the running around. He was not accustomed to such play so early in the day.

"And you, Moon? Shall you head out on your patrols?" Clovis asked well aware it was near that time.  The Tigress looked at him sadly.

"Yes. I am afraid I must. My duties call. Oh cheer up little one. Your Teacher will be home today." Moon reminded the now sad Raina.

"Oh yes, Lady Kyera is going to the ball with me!" Raina's eyes lit up in excitement. Clovis grinned and nodded.

"That she is. After you get warmed up you should go begin getting ready. I am expecting you to be the Prettiest Girl in the room." Clovis replied with pride. Raina blushed at her father's praise and nodded.

"I will not disappoint you, Father."  Raina assured him before turning to rush inside. Moon chuckled.

"I will be back in a couple days." she told him without prompting. Clovis nodded petting her  head.

"Be safe, I'll keep your spot on the bed ready." he agreed before following his daughter inside. Moon watched them disappear, her heart feeling stifled as she turned to walk away, heading into the forest beyond.

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