The young princess Saya and her guard Kurt had been playing in the forest all day. When they arrived back at the palace once the sun had set, they were called into the throne room by the king. King Que-sar, Saya's father, was not a very kind man. His subjects loathed asking him for help and telling him of problems in the kingdom. The two children were nervous, but they obeyed the king's request anyway.

They walked into the throne room, each afraid in their own way. Saya was clutching the sleeves of the too-long shirt she had borrowed from Kurt so her dress wouldn't get dirty; Kurt was biting his lip and looking anywhere but at King Que-sar. They stood before the king, who was looking very displeased. He did not approve of his daughter wearing dirty, mud- and grass-stained clothing. Kurt's appearance was not much better; his clothes were torn as well, and his hair held a coating of dirt and had escaped from the leather throng that all guards were required to wear and was now hanging in his milky brown eyes. His tunic was torn and covered in dirt and grass.

"Look at the two of you," Que-sar chided. "You're filthy! You may be children, but you represent the royal house and I cannot have you running around like ruffians. Saya, my darling daughter, go put on one of your pretty dresses. Boy's clothes do not suit you."

This upset the princess; she despised wearing frilly dresses. "Father, I don't want to wear fancy clothing; I want to play with Kurt," she said. She stuck out her bottom lip and pouted, though her father paid little attention to the fact.

King Que-sar laughed, smiling at his daughter for a moment before continuing. "My dear," he said as he rose from his throne and placed a hand on his daughter's shoulder, "what do you think our subjects will think if I allow you to run around looking like a beggar?" His voice was kind up to this point. "Go change out of those clothes this instant, before I must forbid you from leaving the palace."

Saya bowed her head, hiding the tears that were threatening to flow from her eyes. "Yes, Father," she said meekly. She turned and headed out of the throne room and waited for her guard in the hallway.

"Kurt," the king said once Saya had left, "I put you in charge of guarding my daughter. That means you only allow her to do things that will not harm her, am I understood? You may be a child yourself, but you should have more sense than that. If you mess up again, I'll send you back to the pitiful family you came from."

Kurt nodded, biting his tongue to keep from snapping at the king; he didn't want to anger him. "Yes sir," he said as he bowed. He turned and went into the hall, looking for his charge. He found her leaning against the wall, crying.

"What is the matter, Saya?" Kurt put his arm around Saya's shoulders.

"My father thinks I'm ugly," she sobbed. "That's why he has me dress in frills and lace. It's so I won't be as ugly."

"You aren't ugly, Saya," Kurt said, hugging her. "He just wants you to look as pretty as possible."

"He does not!" she argued, crossing her arms.

"Well, I don't care what your father thinks. I think you're pretty."

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."