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***

"I hate horse riding" Ashley said as she shifted uncomfortably on the large animals back. They were riding at the edge of a green forrest, just outside the towns edge.

"Your forms all wrong" Mary-Kate explained.

Ashley put up a hand cutting her off "I know and I don't care!" She snapped.

"Fine. It's just a horse don't get so cranky!"

After overhearing the conversation the two had raced back to Lady Kelly's house. She had helped them find horses to borrow and told them the name of the lodging Victoria and William would probably stay at.

They'd started off immediately, knowing they had very little time if they wanted to beat the Count.

Now they were riding as fast as they could, already a day behind Victoria and William.

***

It was dusk when a very tired and bruised Victoria and William reached their destination, the small town of Penridge. William took them to an inn where he was friends with the owner. He provided them with two large rooms free of charge.

"I'm going to sleep for a year" Victoria said as William helped her off the horse. She noticed him wince as he did so "Oh, you're hurt!"

"Just a scratch" William said with a grimace as he walked into the inn motioning for her to follow.

She put her hands on her hips "Why do guys always say that??"

***

"Are we there yet?" Ashley moaned, her voice changing pitch, up and down, with each step of the horse.

Mary-Kate looked around "I guess we could stop for the night" She said reluctantly. "I do hate losing time though"

"Great! Lets do!" Ashley knew enough to gently pull on the reins till the horse slowed to a holt. She then swung herself over the side and led him to a tree where she tied him.

"Alright already, slow down" Mary-Kate said with a chuckle as she too dismounted. "Daybreak tomorrow and we're moving again though!"

"Fine, fine!" Ashley muttered as she set to getting wood for a fire.

***

"Stop being a baby!" Victoria scolded when William pulled away from the warm water soaked cloth she was gently cleaning a large wound on his shoulder with.

"It hurts!" He said indignantly.

"I thought it was just a scratch?" She said sweetly as she started to apply a bandage.

He sighed then when she finished applying the bandage took her hand in his and pulled her close to him. "Thank-you" He said with a smile before leaning in to kiss her.

***

It was lunch the following day and Mary-Kate and Ashley were less then a mile from the cities gates. Their poor horses were near collapsing from galloping the whole way but at least they were there. And hopefully in time to warn their friends.

***

Victoria brushed her hair one last time, squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. There was a knock at the door and William walked in. He paused in the doorway and stared at her.

"You look... amazing" He said "I believe the twins would describe it as.. wow"

Victoria blushed a little "Thank-you"

He walked over to her and extended his hand "Are you ready?"

She nodded, smiled shyly and took his hand "Completely"

Together they left the rooms and made their way to the chapel.

***

"They've already gone to the chapel!" Mary-Kate called running from the rooms William and Victoria had been staying at and back out to Ashley.

Ashley quickly climbed back onto the horse and the two started in the direction of the chapel.

***

William and Victoria were standing together in front of the Minister. They were holding hands and in less then half an hour they would be married and beggining the rest of their lives together.

"If anyone has a reason why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony let them speak now or forever hold their peace" The priest said.

The big wooden doors suddenly flew open with a crash and Mary-Kate and Ashley literally fell in.

William ran over to them while Victoria just stood in place willing her heart to slow down. The moment she heard the doors open she thought her mother had found her and such a strong wave of fear had rolled over her that she was still shaking.

"What are you doing here?" William asked as he offered each girl a hand.

"Victoria's mother...." Mary-Kate had to pause for breath "She's... coming!"

Victoria went as pale as snow "We have to get out of here!" She said, running over to William.

He turned back to Mary-Kate "How far away is she?"

Mary-Kate shrugged "I don't know"

William shook his head, looking determined "We'll finish the ceremony first" He looked at Victoria, his eyes asking her if she wanted to or not.

She looked scared but nodded a small nod, trusting William "Ok" She whispered.

Mary-Kate and Ashley sat down near the front of the chapel and William and Victoria went up to finish the ceremony.

***

Chapter 12

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