He hummed ,“They were blinded by the colorful environs. Here where I can see nothing but white, my eyes feast on that beautiful gleaming red of yours.”
“Princess, we have arrived.” A swift knock invaded the unswerving muse of mine and scattered the attention of my compos mentis.
Entangling my fingers on the soft silk curtain smoother than my skin, I lifted it and shifted my hungry hollow eyes from the four corner of the carriage to the window.
Tiny fluffy white things were falling all over the place, layering above the earth and painting the whole land into white.
The bright white was glimmering more than my sight could sustain. It pained my eyes propelling me to rub them.
Again, my glance met the icy white surface and this time they pierced my suffering soul, insensately and pleasantly. My ages longer turmoiled mind and soul smiled at the pleasantly plain white view.
Even as a princess of water kingdom, my pale lifeless face manifested no regrets on leaving the palace or the nation. In fact, I was craving to escape from that place and the opportunity knocked on my door, itself.
With the aim to wake up the maid Merry who was dozing off next to me, I cleared my throat. The maid got startled from the sudden noise and maintained her position.Then, I lifted my hand, hinting her to open the door.
After unloading my weight from the warm carriage, I eagerly took my first step on the white surface. The tiny white thing was still falling on us and it felt cold when they kissed my skin.
A cool breeze blew making my body shiver and my body grew chicken-like skin. It was the first time, I had ever experienced cold weather. Back in the Water Kingdom, there was nothing such as these white fluffy thing and nobody had ever experienced the cold weather.
“Princess, this way.”
I positioned my eyes on the maids that my father, the king of the water nation, had provided. They all seemed tired because of our long journey.
Actually, there were a lot of things I couldn’t even fathom. But the thing that kept on pestering my mind was the unknown reason for my father to send five maids with me when I didn’t even privilege one in the palace. Maybe, he didn’t want to hurt his pride.
I walked through the snowy path following my maids and making crispy sounds with every footstep. My eyes could sense the disrespectful looks on my maids’ face because of my inelegant walk. But, it was none of my concern. It never was.
Back in the days, nobody cared to teach me a thing of manners or etiquette in the palace. Forget about the manners and etiquette, even at the reminisce of my life at that place makes my skin crawl out of fear. There was only relief in my heart after leaving the palace.
After walking through the white surface for minutes, our feet reached the shiny slippery path. Everything was weird and interesting in that new place.
I slowly removed a strand of hair that had covered my eyes and glanced at the huge giant gate that was still about ten minutes apart from us.
The giant tall gate, itself was barking how big the palace was and my mind that had been awe from the start at least could fathom the enormity of that palace.
My maid Sara hinted me to position myself in the most elegant manner. Just like she wanted, I copied her. I let my head and chest up and positioned my two hands at the mid of my stomach. Then, I watch her walk taking very small steps and did the same, as her pet; as her parrot.
Our small elegant walks made us travel for twenty minutes, the distance that could have been passed easily and promptly.
The gate that sparkled like crystal from afar was actually made up of ice. That amazed me because we couldn’t do such thing with water in our land. The thing that amazed me more was the guards wearing fewer clothes.
Without flinching or shivering, they were guarding the gate faithfully.
As we got closer to the gate, my eyes opened wide with the beauty of the shining gate and couldn’t help myself from touching it.
“Ahem!” My maid cleared her throat and jerked my hand away from the gate. Her eyes met mine and they were telling me to act more like royalty which i never was.
She got flustered when her eyes suddenly fell on my sleeves that had folded a little bit up. She haphazardly pushed me aside and pulled my hand without any respect. It wasn’t new to me though I didn’t expect her to act recklessly with me in the presence of the ice citizens.
She tugged my sleeves and covered my hands. Though showing skin wasn’t taken a good thing for the water nation’s royalty, my maid was upset for another reason; my bruises. The bruises that could be seen in every part of my body.
Therefore, I was strictly not allowed to wear sleeveless clothes and the dress that were shorter than my ankle.
I lowered my eyes instantly when I saw the demon like an angry face of maid Sara.
People might find it insane for a princess to fear a lowly maid. But believe me, my position in the palace was lower than the lowly maid. I was, after all, a red-headed princess.
Though born as the princess of water nation, I was a daughter of a commoner woman. She, however, left me to crawl and struggle in that netherworld all alone right after my birth.
My father who had been enticed by the beauty of the commoner up to the point to marry her, couldn’t bring himself to embrace his own blood, own daughter.
After counting my mother, the king had overall six wives and I had nineteen siblings, eleven half-sisters, and eight half-brothers. But among them, only I wasn’t counted as a real princess. To be exact, I was considered as a witch and it was because I was born with my red hair.
My life in the palace was very hard to mention. If I were to name hell in another name, it would be that palace. Even the wall of that palace must have despised me because every time my body banged them, they always responded with pain. They showed no pity, not at all.
I was the eyesore to my step mothers. Every day, my half-sisters would play around me and joke around me. The worst that they did to me was when they cut my hair with the dagger and lit it with fire.
But that wasn’t the worst part of my life. For my brothers, I was their stress reliever. There wasn’t a day when they wouldn’t abuse my body.
The tears that I sobbed all melted and disappeared. But, their cruelty had a proof and the bruises were singing a loud song of it.
My dirty filthy face was covered by my unsightly red bangs just because my brothers preferred my hair over my face.
Nobody was there for me. Even the palace’s maid, servants, and guards denied my existence. After all, I was a red-haired princess.
There was also a time when I envied a beggar’s life. At least, he didn’t have to be a burden to anybody neither did he have to face such cruelty from own family.
When we tried to get through the gate, the guards stood in front of us. Their pillar-like body engulfed our tiny body easily which scared the heart out of me. They made me feel like they were the giant trying to prey on the tiny us. Their scary eyes were hinting us to introduce ourselves.
“We are here to escort the princess of the water nation to the prince of the nation.”
My maid opened her mouth and moved her body elegantly hinting the superiority over them which, of course even I couldn’t do.
“Bow to the princess.” The guards fisted their hands, hit their chest with them and lowered their heads.
That actually startled me. If I recalled my memory, I could only remember the disgusting look on people’s eyes. And when these pillar-like giant guards lowered their heads and paid their respect, my heart melted like the ice under the warm sun, making my eyes water.
I elegantly lifted my hand to show my appreciation as my maid Sara had taught me. Then, the gate opened and we entered the huge palace.
I had pictured the inner palace as an icy surface filled with the same white fluffy things. But, it was strange.
I rolled my eyes without moving my head and eyed the surrounding. To my surprise, the place was filled with blooming flower and green trees despite the cold weather. I also saw many servants working around and they had absolutely no hint of sadness.
I envied them. I envied their happy face. Looking at their smiling eyes, I thought, “I too, want to be happy.”
Actually, a small flame of hope had already lit somewhere in my heart. After leaving the palace, I had learned to dream and the first dream of mine was to pursue my own happiness. My eyes were twinkling with those dreams.
The palace was still a lot farther than the main gate. The path to the palace was paved with ice blocks. After walking through the icy path with beautiful gardens side by side, we stumbled at a long shiny stairway to the main door of the palace.
The palace was shining so brightly under the sun and wasn’t even melting. It was a breath-taking view. Actually, it was insane how the whole surrounding was covered with snow and was very cold despite the warm sun, up in the sky.
We walked up the stairs and got through the shiny hallway with high crystal like ice ceilings. It was beautiful. Everything was beautiful in there. My eyes rolled around like a five years old child and savored the beautiful luxurious view of the palace.
Without my knowledge, we were in front of the big hall of the castle. The spears that suddenly pointed at us, made me flinch.
“Princess, please spare the pride of our king.” Maid Sara glared at me.
She was scarier than my sisters and had those eagle eyes that could monitor every step of mine. I nodded to her words and once again, positioned myself elegantly.
I followed my maids back and got inside the chamber which was filled with many men. The only woman was the queen who was ruling her throne with the king.
The king seemed as if he was in his seventies with his white bread and numerous wrinkle. The queen, however, seemed quite young and seemed quite stunning with her tiara placed perfectly at her head.
I slowly rolled my eyes and eyed the men sitting at beautiful crystal chairs. Their gazes were focused on me. I quickly straighten my gaze and fixed my bangs that covered half of my face.
“So, you are the rumored princess.” The king spoke with unsatisfied eyes.
We hadn’t even bowed the king and queen of the nation and sharp words had already showered at me. I denied his word just like I did in past and showed him my respect. I could sense no feeling of appreciation on his eyes neither on any others that were present there.
A huge disappointed filled my soul and my hope of being happy died a little.
“Bring the first prince here.”
I heard the king sigh. It crumbled my heart. I wonder how many time my heart had crumbled, listening to people sigh at my existence.
I, however, maintained my facial expression so that I wouldn’t look hurt. It was a piece of cake for me because I had mastered on it.
I lifted my eyes from my toes to the door, from where the sound of stiff footsteps popped. A tall and heavy looking person with silver white hair entered the room. At a glance, he looked like a giant because of his body size. But, his facial features were worth eye catching.
Just after entering the room, he eyed me from up to down as if he already was aware of the reason for my presence. He twitched his eyebrows and his face had numerous creases out of disappointment.
“A red hair princess.” He let out the words out of disgust.
The little bit of hope of pursuing a genuine happiness died without a trace in my heart. The problem with the hope is, it dies with another person’s denial and procrastination.
I eyed down on the floor letting my long red hair cover my whole face. I cried a little and gulped all the pain I felt.
“Princess, lift your head up.” I could hear my maid gritting her teeth. But, the bitter heart didn’t care much of the scary maid. She pushed her elbow on me and gave a secretive glare.
Without making a fuss, I did just as I was told. I always did as I was told after we started out journey to the ice nation.
Lifting my head, I again eyed at the giant prince whose eyes were growling out of unsatisfaction. My clumsy eyes met his growling self until words broke out of his stiff lips.
“I don’t want to marry her.”
His words pinched my heart-pricking the unhealed wound.
Nobody wanted me. My mothers, my fathers, my siblings and even my citizens detested me. Why would he want a bride like me?
The king heaved another long sigh and opened his mouth,
“Shall I take this matter to the platform of five-nation? He has so many daughters. How dare he send such bad omen to us.”
The giant prince nodded his head without giving a thought. The situation was getting out of hand and I had no idea how to handle them. It was all because of my red hair.
For the first time, my father had an audience with me and had asked for a favor. For the first time, I was going to be useful. Moreover, I was going to escape that hell. But, this piece of red hair again spoiled it all. I had to do something.
“I-I will dye it black if you want.” I shuddered.
My voice startled everyone for a minute and then, the whole palace was filled with laughter. Their laughter was saying even if you dye them, they will still grow red. You still are considered a witch. Their laughter was filled with humiliation.
I clenched my long purple sleeves and bit my lower lip out of embarrassment. I wished I could crawl into a hole and never come out of it.
“Why don’t I marry her?”
A deep stiff voice rang through the place, making every one of them quiet.