I aimed the arrow at the target. It didn't move, didn't make a sound. I pulled back the string on my bow. Still, the target didn't flinch. Perspiration formed on my brow as I set my mark. A perfect shot. All I must do is not move.

"Princess Cassandra!"

I flinched and sent the arrow off. It gracefully passed the tree and into the dark woods. "Oh no! That was my lucky arrow!" I glared at the tree that still stood silent.

"Princess Cassandra!"

I looked up at the hill behind me to see who threw me off balance. My eyes widened when I saw my head servant, Morgana, glaring down at me with eyes of hot coal. Her black as night hair was knotted up into a small bun at the top of her head, and she was wearing one of her usual cotton gray dresses.

As she started down the hill, I quickly glanced over myself. I should be hung right now. Morgana will have my head for this. My royal blue gown was in tatters at the hem and it was stained with green from the grass. I tried to straighten out my hair but it was a tangled mess of waves and knots. My face was covered with dirt and I had a bug bite that was a massive bump on my forehead. When Morgana finally reached me she snorted in disgust.

"Milady, how dare you get yourself a mess before the royal feast this eve?" Before I could say a word, she grabbed me roughly by the arm and started towards the castle beyond the hill. I glanced back at the woods where my lucky arrow lay alone in the green lush. I tried to wring free of Morgana's rough grip, but she was a strong woman of forty and I only a girl of eleven. I heard her muttering to herself about how I had the gall to prance around outside of the castle walls like a commoner.

"Morgana I do not wish to go to the feast. It always bores me so." She snapped her eyes at me and tightened her grip on my arm. I winced.

"Milady, your father, the king, has requested your presence this eve at the feast. It is quite it important that you attend. You will do as commanded and go to the feast. Properly dressed." She stressed the word properly. Protesting all the way, Morgana dragged me back to the castle.

* * *

So, there I sat, by my father's side in the ballroom, gazing at people from out thrones. I was miserable as an old goat. Morgana and I had argued about what I was to wear. As fate may have it, I ended up wearing a rose colored gown of velvet. My strawberry blonde hair was now flowering into a bunch of curls a few that had managed to go astray. The pins that were holding them up were poking into my head were surly make me bleed. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, trying to ignore the pain. I looked up my father, hoping not to disappoint him with my misery.

My father was a great king, and everyone in his kingdom loved him. He was a kind man with a good-natured face, and soft green eyes like my own. His black hair was only showing signs of gray and he was it fit condition. He was looking out at his guest, his face filled with joy. This feast was to celebrate the gaining of the land for our kingdom from the wood elves. After years of trying to persuade and bribe the Elvenking, my father took it by force. I thought this business was quite rude kicking the elves out of their home, but it didn't matter because I am a child and furthermore a female. Sometimes I wish I were a man for I would be able to speak my thoughts. Women and children are only to speak when spoken to and I abide by that rule. Most of the time.

I glanced at my father again, and found him looking at me. He stood up from his throne and bowed to me. He drew his hand and said, "My fair maiden, would you grant me a dance?" His eyes sparkled with amusement and I giggled softly. I nodded my head, yes, and he took me onto the dance floor. Everyone was looking at us with soft smiles at the two of us dancing. I tried to keep up with his long legs, but stumbled quite a few times.

When the dance ended, he bowed low to me, and I managed a curtsy. I thought I had done my duty, but I was wrong. My father took my hands and said. "Dear daughter, why don't you mingle with some other children. I see his majesty of Noran, has brought along his son, Erick." Then he left me there and went back to his throne and sat there watching me.

I sighed and bit my lip. As much as I like to pretend I was a boy, I did not like associating with certain ones. Prince Erick was one of them. He was handsome enough, with his almond eyes and wavy brown hair. He was of noble heritage and was one of the wealthiest princes ever. But his arrogance spoiled this all. He was always surrounded by a crowd of girls that were drooling at him like a bunch of ravenous dogs.

I summed up all the courage I had and strode over to where him and his admirers stood. When I stepped into the group, everyone eyes turned towards me I suddenly felt unsure of my actions and looked at Erick. Erick looked at me mild surprise in his chocolate brown eyes and then a sly smile crept onto his handsome face. He held his hand out to me.

"Princess Cassandra, would you do me the honor of a dance?" he said in a polite tone. I was taken aback as this offer, as were the other girls, who had their jaws dropped to the floor. His hand still waiting, I unsurely gave him mine, and he swept me onto the dance floor. I darted my eyes nervously around the room, knowing every pair of eyes were on us, Erick spun my around and I landed in his arms which he caught me. I flushed a bit and straightened myself up. I glanced at my father who was beaming at me with such pleasure. I sighed, hoping I wouldn't disappoint him.

As we kept dancing, I noticed the grace in which Erick danced. He was so agile and swift it made me dizzy. That's is why I didn't see his foot swiftly come out and tripped me. I looked at him as I feel, seeing him smirk with satisfaction. I heard my dress rip underneath me in the process of my falling. The laughing was so horrible I covered my ears. I got up unsteadily and ran out of the chamber. Before I left into the hall, I glanced back at my father. He's face as grave and his eyes were full of sadness. I turned away as my eyes blurred with tears. Little did I know that that would be the last time I ever saw my father again.

* * *

"A disgrace to this kingdom and your family name! You are a clumsy, improper fool and are not to be told otherwise! You mother,"

"That's enough! You do not talk to her Majesty that way Morgana. Go! My faithful servant and bodyguard, William walked into my room as Morgana gave me a lecture about my behavior that eve. He's six-foot figure loomed over her's and he glared at her with his steel gray eyes. She reddened with anger and stormed out of my room. I gave William a grateful smile. He was the only person I could consider a friend. He was always hollering at Morgana for talking to me in such a harsh manner.

I was sitting on my bed, my ripped gown still on and my hair tousled. He came forth and asked, "May I milady?" I nodded slightly and he sat on my bed next to me. If anyone were to come in here and see a servant sitting near royalty, they'd think one of us has gone insane. But old William was here since my mother was a child and I always took a liking to him.

He started out the window and watched the fading sun. "You know," he said after a few minutes of silence. "The late Queen was always a bit improper herself." I looked at him with surprise. My mother had died in childbirth and so did my new sister when I was about of age 4. No one in the castle talked much about her, for it would upset my father a great deal.

"She was a charming woman, and a rare beauty. But if there was a flaw in her it was only that she was out of place in her appearance. Always a curl out of place, a ribbon lose here or there. But she was the only one who could pull it off and that's what drove the King to her in my opinion. Keep that it mind milady, and don't give up hope." He sat up, bowed and left my room and locked the door.

* * *

Well since my mother had a little flaw in her, why can't I? I thought as I raced down the hill towards the dark woods. I flew down it, holding my cap upon my head. My hair was tucked inside, although a few strands came loose. I held up the patched britches I wore and the tunic that was too large for my small size. I had managed to steal some worn servant clothing earlier and thought they might be useful one day. I have to get my lucky arrow back. William gave it to me as a gift. I reached the bottom of the hill and stood in front of the woods, but now looking at it through the eyes of the night. It didn't look inviting or pleasant, but frightful and gruesome with its trees of many branches.

I looked around. If anyone saw me, they would just think it was a young lad looking for trouble. It was better then them seeing me as a princess. I cautiously made my way in to the woods as quietly as I could. A little ways in, I saw a clearing. There was no sign of my lucky arrow anywhere. I sighed and decided it would have to wait. I turned back and realized that it was so dark I didn't remember which way I had come. I looked around franticly and tried to remember but I was to frightened at the thought of something lurking in the woods. I wondered also why it was so dark. I glanced up and saw thick gray clouds were covering the moon. That's funny, I thought. It was perfectly clear early this day. Suddenly I heard movement coming from a brush nearby. I froze and almost fainted from fright. I looked around wildly, my hear pounded loudly in my chest. Then. Some large figure leapt out and tackled me. I struggled to get free but I found ym arms were pinned down at my sides. I screamed out and the thing that held me looked startled. I glanced up to see whose dinner I would become, when I looked up to come close up with a pair of very curious blue eyes.