I sat up straight as we drew closer to the Prince Derek's castle, bobbing along with my horse's even strides, it was just a few more minutes till we reached my gilded cage. My long purple dress billowed out behind me with the small gust of wind. My legs had grown very stiff from ridding side saddle for so long and it was a relief to know that we were almost to the palace. I would have but rather rode like Father but it would have been frowned upon. All the joys of being a princess, I knew it was petty to complain but it still crept into my mind. Father turned his head to look at me. The sun reflected off his crown and into my eyes and made me squint to see him. His hair was the same gray that it had been all my life, a side effect of his position, his eyes the same light icy blue as mine. I loved him with all my heart but he's idea about bringing me here every summer seemed deranged to me.
"Now Odette," Father began "you must…"
"I know Father. Be a prefect princess and not misbehave." I said, seventeen and still treated like a little girl. Half of the other princess, duchesses, and baronesses my age were already married. He let out a sigh and looked back toward the road. Being out spoken was not a trait becoming of a princess and he had tried for years to curb by habits. He didn't say anything else as we rode the last few miles to the palace. Pillars of white marble rose from the horizon the sunlight reflecting of their gleaming surfaces. This glittering jewel of power and royalty stood surrounded by a formidable stone wall that had very few entrances and exits. The main gates was solid iron heavy and thick to me it seemed like the gate way to the executioners block than the entrance to a palace. It was as much a prison to me as any cell. Every June till September I would have to deal with Derek and his smug attitude, Fathers constant nagging and pushing, and Uberta's constant fawning. The Capitan of our guard rode up ahead of us and bellowed to the gatekeeper to open the gates.
There was a groan of iron as the gates began to lift. It would be only a few moments more before I would be ushered into some ballroom and put through the normally pomp and circumstance. The whole affair made me feel like some well-trained pony that was only brought out for show.
"Father?" I asked timidly, if there was any chance I could get away for a few moments I was willing to take the chance.
"Yes." He said without looking towards me. His eyes fixed ahead at the grand entrance to the palace. Obviously he was looking for an over fluffed Uberta and begrudging prince.
"May I please go on a ride before I see Derek to gather my…myself?" I made sure to make myself seem as sincere as possible adding notes of nervousness to make it seem as if I was anxious to see Derek again. He looked over at me and smiled it was a smile that seemed to say yes and I know what you really want. He nodded and that was all I needed. With a switch nudge I urged Snow forward into a trot. The trees flew past as Snow picked up speed I kept nudging her to go a little faster than before, riding always relaxed my mind and gave me a chance to think. Speed was something that made me happy. The feeling that at any moment I would be flying was amazing. Once I was sure I was out of my father's sight I dismounted Snow and stretched my legs riding side saddle was so uncomfortable. Whoever invented it I would like to give a solid piece of my mind. I returned to Snow and undid the saddle carrying it over to a tree. I would have one of the servants come fetch it later for now Snow needed a rest as much as I did. With no plan of what to do now I wandered over to a rose bush and looked at its beautiful full blooms. The red blossoms stood out proudly against the dark green leaves. A smile played on my lips as I looked at them more closely.
"Oh come on Derek I'm sure she can't be that bad." My examination of the rose was interrupted by the sound Bromley's voice. Derek and his side kick must have been nearby. Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn't help but eves drop some more.
"You have no idea." Derek said, I snuck over to where the voices where coming from I poked my head up above the bushes so I could see what was going on. The hedge I stood behind wasn't very thick and if either of them turned around I would be spotted for sure. Derek had his bow and was shooting at a distant target. I hadn't seen him in two years, he was much taller and much more handsome. He drew back the string on his bow and let the arrow fly it struck the bull's eye on the target. I had to admit it was an impressive shot. Not many people could do it from that distance.
"What's so bad about her?" Bromley asked. He was standing next to Derek lazily leaning on his bow which bent under his weight.
"It's I don't know she just so so…" Derek trailed off, he spun around to face Brom fully which also meant he could fully see where I was hiding. I ducked down quickly, this spot was not a good one there had to be some place better. The tree next to me offered a perfect spot though there were rose bushes growing around under it the branches were low enough that I could reach them. I slunk behind the tree pulled my dress up with one hand and grabbed the branch with the other. I also kicked off my shoes so my toes could grip the tree. It only took me a moment to climb up high enough where they couldn't see me but I could see and hear them perfectly.
"So beautiful?" Brom teased Derek scowled at him I couldn't help but giggle. It was so like Brom to tease him and I had to say I loved it when it happened.
"Shh did you hear that?" Derek asked. I tensed up, Brom shrugged, just then Rodgers came running towards us.
"Derek! Derek!" This distracted Derek from looking about to address the rather frazzled Lord Rodgers.
"What is it Rodgers?" Derek said in a slightly annoyed voice. He had his bow resting by his side as Rodgers closed the distance between them panting slightly from his run out form the palace.
"King William and Princess Odette are here you must come back to the castle at once." Derek laughed and shook his head.
"Calm down Rodgers. It won't kill Odette to wait." Rodgers looked a little more panicked.
"That's just it she went for a ride. Who knows when she'll be back so you must be ready to greet her." Derek let out a deep sigh
"Fine just give me a few minutes to be alone." Brom and Rodgers left and Derek shot a few more arrows. I had begun to relax and now that the excitement of eves dropping had passed there was no point to stay up here. Maybe he hadn't heard me I thought to myself as I began to adjust my weight on the branch. Then something bit my ankle, I screamed, lost my balance and came crashing out of the tree. I landed with a hard thud in the rose bush blow, the branches cracked and snapped as my royal rear landed right in the middle of the bush. I groaned as the thorns on the bush cut my arms as I tried to free myself. It was harder than I thought to free myself one because of my bare feet and two because of my stupid dress getting caught by thorns. I looked up to see a squirrel in the tree chattering at me. It wasn't my fault that I had come across his home but then again I would have reacted the same if a giant had parked itself in front door. Then, my worst fear Derek's face leaned over me with a smug smile on his face.
"Not very graceful of you Princess." He said with a smirk. I glared at him, he reached out his hand I took it and he pulled me out of the rose bush. My dress snagged and tore on my far from graceful escape but Derek was strong and was able to help jerk me free. Once freed, I stood up and steadied myself before taking a closer look at him. He was even very handsome a strong jaw, even lips, deep brown eyes, and shaggy black hair. I didn't realized how close we were, our hands still held tight and Derek's other hand gripped my elbow firmly. This made me feel very embarrassed.
"Thank you," I said, I stepped away from Derek. I shock my long dark brown hair out and several rose petals and leaves fell out of it. My attention then went to my dress which was now ruined with rips and tares beyond repair. Derek stayed quiet throughout this and I wanted to make sure Derek wasn't going to tell anyone about this little miss hap. I looked back at Derek with a sharp look, he jumped back.
"If those blue eyes where any colder I would say they were made of ice." I just rolled my eyes and cleared my throat.
"Ha Ha very funny," I put my fingers to my mouth and gave a loud whistle, Snow came around the tree. "I take it you will have the common decency not to mention this to anyone."
"I wouldn't dream of it." He said in a manner that made me feel uneasy. I walked away from him and up to Snow. In one swift motion I jumped up onto her back swinging my leg over her taking the riding position of a man. Out of curiosity I looked back at Derek to see a wide eyed stunned prince.
"I'm not a normal princess if you haven't noticed." I clicked my tongue and road off to the stables.
Please R&R appreciate it.