My name is Nerida Windsor and I am the only princess of Lanea. I'm seventeen and I live with only maids, cooks, and workers of the castle. My parents aren't around much, but when they are, it's not for long. I have never left the castle all my life, not even to go outside and I feel like I should have the chance to see the world for myself without my parents telling me what it is.
All I was ever taught was that the world was a mad place and was overrun by creatures that could harm me. They kept telling me that I was special, but I never knew why. I was the princess and if I went out into the world and got hurt, the only heir to the throne was gone and the kingdom would have to go to my cousin Rakiel. Maybe that's why they wouldn't let me out.
Rakiel is twenty-five but knows nothing about being king. He spent some time at the castle when I was twelve to at least fifteen. It was on and off though. He came in for a week and annoyed my father. He sometimes paced around and ate all our food. I grew to be slowly scared of him as time passed on because he would follow me around and try to scare me. He seemed different in a bad way. I didn't want to be around him and did everything I could to avoid him.
The last time he visited the castle, I was fifteen. He came in and I stayed as far away from him as possible, making it seem like I wasn't even in the castle when he knew I was. Everyone knows that the princess can never leave.
He would ask the maids where I was and would try to see where I was that way. I was smart though and I would even hide from the maids so they wouldn't have to tell him.
He had some kind of power to smell out where I was though and no matter where I hid, he found me and was rude. Sometimes he pulled my hair, sometimes he carried me upside down to my room just to do something to me. And other times, he would threaten me with a blade or even use it on my skin.
I never wanted to leave the castle so that he wouldn't have to be king. I was willing to do anything to keep him away from the throne. But now, I want to have freedom more. And I'll do anything to have it.
It's ten p.m. and I'm wondering around the castle getting my things together. I grab two dresses that are causal and two that are fancy, just in case. The rest of my clothes are jeans and sweatshirts so that nobody will recognize me too easily.
I grab some food from the kitchen along with some candy bars and shove them into my favorite backpack. My parents got me it when I was reading about hiking and I loved everything about it. I've always wanted to hike with it and now I might have the chance. I grab some water and my toothbrush from the bathroom along with a hairbrush.
My parents always said that I was different because I was born with dark blue hair and they worried why it didn't fall out and grow back blonde or something because both my parent's hair were blonde. I never really worried about it until now. People would know that I'm the princess but my parents said I'm the only one who has it in the world.
I quickly take a shower and shove my wet hair into a hoodie. I brush my teeth in the bathroom for the last time and put on some perfume and lotion.
Then I wait inside my room for midnight to come so I can escape without my parents or anyone in the castle knowing. As soon as midnight comes, I jump down the stairs to the kitchen where the cook bakes the best cookies and I walk right out the side door where we get deliveries.
I run and look around outside. It's the first time I've ever been out here and I watch the stars shine above and say a silent prayer that I'll escape past the guards.
But then, I remembered that there's a tunnel that I'm able to see from my bedroom window. I carefully make my way over there, sticking to the shadows and just then, I realized how soft my feet were hitting the ground. I was making no sound at all. I had a predatory stance and I didn't even realize it. I stopped being so different and tried walking normally again, although my face couldn't hide the surprise.
I finally got to where my bedroom overlooks the Greene Forrest on the East side of the castle, but it took a while because the castle is so big. I didn't think that walking around it would take that long, but it did. I learned new things as more and more time went past and I was outside.
I find the tunnel where I watch servants walk in and out of all the time and glide inside. I noticed that it turned green as soon as I stepped a foot inside but then slowly became a glowing black so that it was dark but I could still see.
I started thinking of my parents and how I was going to miss them. I thought of my mom and how her hair is blonder than my dad's and wavy. They were away and across the border in Levendale meeting with the King there and wouldn't be back for a few weeks.
All of a sudden, the tunnel turns the color blue and I realize that's it changes to my emotions and moods.
"Wow," I say out loud. I become startled when it echoes a few times. I've never heard about an echo in real life but I saw them in movies. I didn't think it was real until now.
I giggle and remember that I should be quiet so I think about being quiet and the tunnel becomes black again. Then I continue my journey down the tunnel and into a new world where everything would change.
I step outside the tunnel after a bit of walking and immediately lights shine in my dark adjusted eyes. When they clear up a bit, I notice that the lights are actually from buildings and streetlamps.
Wasn't there supposed to be the Greene Forrest right here?
I looked around for the beautiful woods that I dreamed of walking in, but they were nowhere to be found. So I turned back around to see if I could change my mind and go back into the castle.
As soon as I turned around, all I saw was the castle wall and a scanner on it asking for the password to get inside. I didn't know the password and now I was scared. Because I was locked out of the only place I knew and considered as safe.