"Well, Markel, was it worth it?" She lay back and let out a sigh of contentment, her eyes wandering up to the brilliant stars above.
The dark-haired prince turned to his friend: "We should run away from court more often, this was fun."
"Like you would know what fun is," the seven-year old girl snorted. "You barely ever get out."
"You will one day be king. I know, I know." The girl child rolled her eyes, sat up, and flipped her long, raven-colored, plait over her shoulder. She then continued to bring her knees to her chest and study her surroundings. Markel the king-to-be and she were on a hill in the middle of a meadow. Nearby the children's ponies grazed and a full, silvery moon hovered overhead.
"Hey, El, I bet you can't beat me to the old oak and back!" Markel, tired of the quiet, jumped up and raced over to his pony. He jumped on his small steed and started cantering off into the distance, his shock of ink-black hair bobbing as he went. El, Eleanora of Roan Skies, wasn't very far behind.
The wind raced passed the young prince and lady on ponies. They were a measly few feet from the old oak when their race was abruptly halted.
Markel felt the joy he'd felt inside a second before collapse. They found him; they always found him. The prince slowed his pony to a walk and turned to face his father's guards.
"Do you not understand that you are the prince?You are the heir to the kingdom." The King's Chief of Guards glared down at Markel. "Your life is very important, yet you see no problem is running off willy-nilly."
"Sir, I convinced Prince Markel to join me in a midnight ride," Eleanora whispered as she rode up, not meeting anyone's eyes.
The Chief studied the young girl, "Lady Eleanora," he shook his head, "I should've known." He let out a heavy sigh and signaled for his men to close in around the children. Only when he was sure neither Markel nor Eleanora could run off did he start back toward the palace.
"You didn't have to come to my defense back there," Prince Markel whispered to Eleanora as they were riding. "I can take care of myself."
"I was just trying to help," Eleanora replied. Her heart felt downtrodden, she just wanted Markel to be her friend. We were just trying to have fun. He never gets to have any fun and for me it's a rarity.