(I’ll try to post a second one later this weekend)
Bella raced back to her room and quickly changed into riding clothes. Out of habit she slid a knife into each boot, her father’s teachings kicking in. She needed to escape even if for only an hour or two before dinner. The castle walls were beginning to close around her and she needed some air.
The stable master gave her a curious look but didn’t object when she asked for a mount. She smiled at the sweet speckled mare the man gave her even as she hoped it had more power than its slight frame implied.
A few minutes later she discovered the horse did indeed have a swift feet.
Tension slid off Bella’s shoulders as she raced across the plains. Bella headed for the forest, a good enough of a destination as anything else. The mare made short work of the distance. Bella steered her towards a pond she saw sparkling through the trees.
Sliding off her horse, Bella led the mount to the water so it could cool down a bit. She wouldn’t let the mare stand too long because Bella had worked her hard and didn’t want the animal to catch a chill.
The air around the pond had a hushed quality to it as if the area were holding its breath. Expecting dark murky water of a stagnant pond, Bella, stared in wonder at the clear, sparkling pond.
“How beautiful,” Bella whispered. She didn’t want to interrupt the silence by speaking too loudly.
Crouching down to the water, Bella scooped up a palm full and lifted it to her lips. The cool liquid soothed her dry throat. She hadn’t expected it to be so hot when she started out and the small drink made all the difference.
Sitting by the side of the water, Bella stared at the surface wondering what she should do now. If she went back to the castle she’d be shuttled from fancy dinner, to fancy ball which probably involved polite conversation and kind of bland food they insisted on serving at balls so no one would be offended by a hint of flavor. None of that sounded appealing. Why couldn’t she be left alone in her kitchen?
Of course if they left her all alone she wouldn’t have met the princes and she did adore the little fellows. Whomever the king chose had better take good care of his sons or she’d poison their food.