This is the continuation of the (still) untitled short-story I started with a prompt from my NaNo-Cheerleaders.
You might want to read part one and part two, first.
So, this is the second prompt I chose, given by Lindsay (again):
The moment he saw her he couldn't take his eyes off her. The moment she slapped him he knew he would love her forever.
Alexander's breath formed little, white clouds while he carefully placed his feet on the snow. Luckily, he had woken up later than he had planned and so the sun was already rising. In the night, his treacherous lungs would certainly have betrayed his presence to the guards on the wall. He could no more stop breathing than keeping the half-frozen snow from crunching beneath his high boots.
It never had occurred to him to pull up the bright red scarf he was wearing, or at least the gold-lined broad collar of his mantle. Unlike his older brother, he had never been trained to be a soldier, and just like his sisters he tended to act without thinking. A child of the royal blood had to mind consequences as little as he cared to leave behind his favourite garments. After all, the fine boots had been a present from his uncle, along with the brave, grey pony which waited for him impatiently in the stables.
At least, it did in Alexander's mind. To him, it was his closest friend, valiant like his father's best war-horse and more intelligent than the smartest hound of the whole court. Why else was Silverstar always eager to greet him and would let none else ride him? Together they had mastered to jump over the little stream behind the castle and bushes that were almost as high as his waist. And surly the pony hated to have to leave this place tomorrow, just as much as he.
His plan was simple: run away before the nurse came to fetch him for breakfast, hide in the woods until his sisters and their convoy had departed and then return to the castle. It would take at least a few days until another convoy could be organised, but he hoped that he had convinced his father to let him stay for much longer by then.
Of course, Alexander had never once in his life spent a night outdoors. He had come prepared, however. His favourite clothes were quite warm and comfortable, after all, and he carried some cookies and apples in a small bag. The snow was worrying him a bit, however. How were he and Silverstar supposed to sneak towards the side-entry when it made so much noise? Never mind that he should have been more concerned about the handful of servants that were already out and about. Luck was again on the boy's side, however, since their footsteps drowned his own to his way to the stables, and none of them knew he wasn't supposed to go there alone.
Darkness still lingered in the hay-padded corners. The voiced and steps her keen ears picked up from outside told her that she had slept too long. It would be nearly impossible to escape now, no matter if one dared to sneak away or simply stole a horse.
The dark-brown mare who kindly had allowed her to share her quarters last night whinnied uneasily. Someone was coming. Pressing even deeper into the shadows, the girl watched with narrowed eyes how the back-door opened a little. Even if the shape that slipped in was only small, she clutched the hilt of her knife with a fierce grip. Nobody would call her anything but brave, but she tended tense up and get ready for a fight at the slightest sign of opposition. Usually she got what she wanted, because she had been taught to do anything to earn it - even if that meant to fight, steal or lie. And right now, she wanted out of here, and that boy, he just passed through a patch of early morning light that fell through a slit in the wall, was coming ever closer to her hiding place and so to keep her from getting out of here.
"My dear, brave Silverstar, have you slept well? Are you ready? Here, have an apple."
A young boy. A rich boy, considering the fine embroidery which was all over his clothes. Some of it even shimmered in the dim light. He had stopped at the opposite box, the one with the white pony. It was an unfriendly, little beast, and she was disappointed when it didn't kick and snap at him like it had at her last night. She would never again believe those plumb and cuddly looking creatures were all friendly and tame.
"All right, what next? I'll need to saddle you, I guess. That can't be too hard, if Rodric can do it."
She rolled her eyes. 'Don't these royals here learn anything? He looks around like he doesn't even know where the saddles are stored.'
"Or do you want some water first?" The boy's face light up with relief and satisfaction about his great new idea when he spotted a bucket half full with water.
'No, go away, you fool!' The bucket stood far too close to her hiding place. He would have to be blind or dumb to not discover her.
He came over, grabbed the wooden handle and heaved it up with an obvious lack of strength. The girl almost pitied him. He appeared to be taller than her by a hand-width, but he was weak and incompetent like a little child. When he turned away, groaning softly due to probably the first manual labour in his life, she relaxed a bit. He had not seen her.
-> part four