Coral was left to remain in her room for the next several weeks, feeling more alone than ever and having her meals slipped through the hatch at the bottom of her bedroom door, created the feeling that she was nothing less than a prisoner. Her Father never spoke to her or showed any kindness during her punishment, all the while insisting it was for her own good and she in turn for this would one day become the respectable young lady her Mother had once been. However her Mother had come from the upper class of society and had been taught by the best tutors in existence, teaching her how to speak and behave, she would have been punished; true, yet some how this, in itself was a slow kind of torture. Separating her from the very world she had been brought into. So in her room she stayed, staring blankly at the walls, day in and day out. She always readied herself for the day at hand, washing and dressing herself, yet nothing ever came of it, she was doomed to sit there, slowly growing weary of her surroundings and longing to be let out of her room.
When Coral awoke on the last morning of her punishment, her eyes fluttered open to find her door ajar, she gasped, jumping from her bed and into the corridor, as if the door would slam shut if she were to hesitate. She walked slowly down the narrow staircase, running her slender fingers against the wall, cherishing this moment; as if she were a butterfly exiting its cocoon for the first time, seeing the world in a new light. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she became aware of a sweet scent filling her nostrils, saliva forming at her mouth, she entered the kitchen to find her Father cooking up some meat he had left over from the night prior and after hardly eating for weeks she was famished. She set herself down in her usual seat and remained quiet, scared that if she were to make a noise, it would shatter her new found freedom and she would be locked in her room once again. Her Father came across and placed a plate of food in front of her; bread and chicken, her favourite. She bowed her head in respect to him, he nodded his acceptance of her apology and she began to eat. The pain her stomach would finally subside and she would once again be able to concentrate on something other than that.
It was around midday when she was called to the lab, and so, dragging herself from the roof she headed down to him, her Father was standing at his chalk board, pressing a small piece of white chalk against his cheek. "He has a plan set" Coral thought to herself.
"Hello Father" She said, entering across the room to stand by him, nodding his head he gestured to the board, as instructed Coral read through, it was a good plan; he wanted to steal from the Hevrey's, the richest family living in Crimston and they were about to throw a ball for their eldest son, meaning that all of the aristocracy within a 100 mile radius would be there, and that meant a lot of money. Her Father had planned for them to enter the ball on the pretence that they were there to bid in the auction that was to be held in the sons honour. Before robbing them blind. However, this plan relied on their ability to fool an entire room of people as well as getting past the guards, unnoticed and without an invitation.
"What do you think, my dear?" Her Father asked
"I believe it could work, if we can pull it off" Coral replied, unsure of whether her Father believed they could, or whether his age was finally beginning to catch up with him. This would be the biggest robbery they had done, and probably the largest they would ever do, if they were able to get away with it; if they were captured by the Royal Guards during this heist, there would be three options of what to do with them. Locked up and the key thrown away, banished to Alzhguart (The neighbouring planet), or they would be sentenced to death, and frankly, Coral did not know which punishment would be worse.
The next week or so, was dedicated to fixing the plans of this goldmine; studying the buildings layout - Coral had gone to the archives and stolen the blueprints - they studied the behaviour and language of those above them in the hierarchy that this world had succumbed to. It was now only a week until they had to enter the Hevrey's home and steal their jewels, and as always Coral was beginning to have doubts on the matter as to whether they could do this completely unscathed.
However these doubts were soon to be melted away when she was shown her costume for the ball, it was a dark blue masquerade dress, with a black corset to bring in her waist as to of date she had refused to wear one, complaining that they were only for the pompous woman who were far to vain for their own good. The mask her Father handed to her was strung on a black silk ribbon, allowing her hands to be free to hold her guns; this was all a matter of precision, one slip up and they would be caught.
Trying on the dress she was enchanted by the feel of silk and velvet against her bare skin, and once she had placed the mask delicately against her face, she couldn't help but smile. She felt as if she were someone entirely new; she was no longer Coral VanHughs, she was Lady Estella Forrest, who had gained her fortune after her Fathers untimely death and who now travelled the world with her Uncle Sir Charles Forrest who enjoyed attending balls.
It was the night of the ball and Coral had began to feel both excited and terrified, this was to be her first ball and a masquerade at that, she could feel her very nerve endings quivering in excitement for the events that were to unfold over the evening; however she was terrified as they were to steal from their hosts, and if things did not go according to plan then issues would soon arise, and for that Coral was fearful; she had plans to travel the world once she was old enough to leave her Father's side, if they were caught and imprisoned this would compromise her plans, causing her to lose what little freedom and future she had. She dressed herself, needing only assistance when tightening her corset as her Father wished her to come across as a legitimate aristocratic woman, which for some reason involved suffocating yourself with an item of clothing; Coral's ribs had already began to ache and the evening had yet to begin. Once dressed Coral was required to do something she had never done before; make-up. "Come now Coral, it can't be too difficult" She told herself, praying with every ounce of her that she was right.
It was harder than she had first anticipated it to be, she had been told to powder her face a paler shade as she was far too tanned for the aristocracy and that she was to attempt to apply a small amount of eyeliner and lipstick, the eyeliner was near impossible as she was too scared that she was get it in her eye, and the lines were not even;although it would have to do, the lipstick however was easier to apply, yet she still managed to make a mess and so required the assistance of her Father who had once upon a time assisted her Mother with the same thing when he had taken her out on an evening without the help of Servants to dress her.
"You look just like your Mother" Her Father told Coral once she had seated herself in the plush seats of the carriage, which had been hired to escort them to the Hevrey's mansion, she sat facing away from the driver, which resulted in her travelling backwards, she was not used to this sensation and found herself feeling ever so slightly ill.
"Thankyou Father, I wish she could have been here today." Coral said, before gazing out of the window, this route would take them directly through the centre of Crimston, allowing Coral to see the life she had always dreamt of having.
The city centre itself was grand, where a large white statue of King Evermore (The King of New Earth) stood on a white marble pillar, gazing out towards the Sea, keeping his steady eyes on everyone who called this world home. As they past the statue, Coral felt the need to bow her head in respect to the King.
"Coral, what are you doing?" Her Father snapped "That man, has brought nothing but pain and suffering to anyone less than royalty" Coral sat back in her seat and kept her eyes staring out of the window, daring not look at her Father. The rest of their journey was spent in silence.