She looked out among the throng of people, eyeing the ones jostling the most, planting their faces in her mind so as to avoid them. With that she removed herself from the bus, joining the crowd, taking the carefully paved way to the door. Left two straights, straight three, right detour to miss him.
"Hey Shifty!" She heard the call, her ears picking up the slightest sound of the given name. But her feet didn't stop.
"Shifty, I was talking to you." A shoulder was felt on her arm and she turned, glaring into the expression of the person who she most tried to avoid.
"What you thinking bout now Shifty?" He looked to his friends for support and they nodded their heads, incapable to stop their bodies joining.
"Nothing." She turned her head slightly, hoping to catch away his expression.
"Nothing, Shifty said nothing." Another jostle amongst his friends. He leaned forward. "Waiting for that knight in shining armour still Shifty?"
"Course not, cause you've already found him. We'll have to go dig him up from the graveyard since he must've died just from looking at you." Bigger thumps among his friends as he turned and shovelled his way through the crowd.
She turned herself swiftly, not leaving a moment to be swept away. Her mind pondered her name. Shifty. Given to her as she was gazing from the window, whilst the world turned around her. It had once been decided that she must be up to something since she did all that staring. Staring, such a harsh world to use for the beautiful sight that her eyes portrayed when she went into the inside world, the sight that she could never see. She was not looking at the trees, or the clouds forming in the sky. She was looking into herself, and finding the world that held her dreams.
There was a teacher talking, and some girls giggling near her. One of the boys was trying to see how close they could get to casually sliding over to group of laughter. And there was Shifty, smiling as she paid no heed to it all. She was away, off riding through a forest, with a knight by her side.
They were speeding to the castle, trampling across ground, further indenting along the path.
"We should get there soon, do you want to stop and freshen up?" The knight asked her.
She was dust-covered with dirt, her hair a grime, but she did not pause in her ride. "Why does it matter, it's only you that will talk to the King."
In a matter of seconds the castle reared up, turrets smashing through the clouds. There was almost a dragon on the horizon, but she felt no desire to battle one that day. Through the gate, up the stairs, into the gilded castle. She paused to admire it, the tapestries on the wall, and the staircase made of gold.
"Go on," she said to her friend. "The King will be waiting."
"What will you do?"
"I'll wait here," she lied. She had no plans on staying. There was another adventure for her somewhere else, and she had spent too long in this one.
She left the castle doors to wait in the courtyard for her horse. A trampling was heard by her ears, and she turned to see a parade of knights riding through the gates. At the head, a man dressed to be the prince. Quietly she slipped to the side, and manoeuvred her body into a curtsey.
A bell had rung. Easily Shifty had taken herself away and back into the world. She did not listen to what was around her, but she was always alert to the necessities.
She sat alone at lunch, beneath the tree that had rumours of lice. She knew she would never find anyone else sitting there. At first she just watched, eyeing the people around her. But slowly her mind began to drift, and once again, she was waiting for her horse.
Quietly she slipped to the side, and manoeuvred her body into a curtsey. She raised her head so slightly, to watch the hooves as they slipped by. And then one stopped.
She did not know if there was another one around her. She raised her head, and saw a knight atop his steed.
"Are you leaving or coming?" His helmet still covered his face, but she knew he stared at her.
"I'm leaving sir, if I am permitted now." She did not know how long her friend would talk with the King and feared he would soon come out.
"What was your business here?" His troupe had disappeared, but he seemed to have no desire to catch up.
"I came with a friend who is talking to the King. I'm sorry I am in rather a haste, I must leave." She took away her courtesy and did a little bob before beginning to walk off.
"Madam, your horse."
She felt her cheeks turn red, and returned to gather her horse. "I forgot in rush, thank you sir."
The knight had dismounted, and taken off the helmet to show his brown hair. He is young she thought, but no longer than herself.
"What business does your friend have with the King?"
"Sir you are full of questions."
"Answer and it will be the last."
She thought for a moment, and did not think there would be much danger in telling her reason to a knight.
"The Yadmin King plans for an attack." She mounted her horse, hoping to finally leave.
"How does he know this?" The knight took the reins in his hand. "I have just been to Yadmin, and there the King spoke fondly of our treaty. We are the Biloam's, and the Yadmin's are our friends."
"It is only to lull you. Please, I must go. I am sure you can find out more from my friend, he is just inside now."
There was a silence, as the knight considered. He let the reins fall.
"I am sorry I have kept you madam, thank you for your patience."
She rode off without a word.
Lunch had come and gone, and there she sat working in her class. There was a chattering around, as each consulted other's for answers.
"What's the answer Shifty?" Behind her the boy from before leaned, reaching to look over her shoulder.
"Go away Ian."
"Naww Shifty, can't you help a good mate out. I mean, who else talks to you but me."
She pushed her paper further away.
"C'mon. You can just do your little staring thing and you won't even notice me looking." His friends were watching, as they always did.
"Do it yourself."
"I guess you're just too ashamed Shifty, knowing that your answers are just doodles of what you wish you could have."
She remained silent, and left them to their sniggers.
It was not until the bus that she gained her chance to slip away again. She knew that there was no one who would disturb her yet, and allowed herself that urge of desire.
She rode off without a word.
There had been two months past since she had left her friend. She did not know what had happened, but believed that the King had not trusted his words. There was the Yadmin army approaching the northern border, and no knights prepared on this side. There was not enough time to gather the full might of their forces, and she knew that there was little hope. That was why she rose, rushing to the border, having one thought on her mind; to try and stop the war.
She had reached the camp of the Biloam army, but continued on. She side-tracked around the plain separating the two forces, and stopped away from the midst of the Yadmin army. From where she waited, she could see when the Biloam King and a small company rode to offer a negotiation. When they reached the camp she started her own path on foot, aiming to get as far as she could without being seen. She arrived at the foot of the camp and knew not how to get further. With a breath she did the only thing she could, and walked in.
She was not surprised when a shout announced she had been seen, and she did nothing to offer resistance.
"We have caught a spy," they murmured.
"I am not a spy," she spoke defiantly. "I am a Yadmina." Her voice was in their thick accent, and for a moment they faltered, but they knew it could all be a trick.
"What are you doing here?"
"I have news that the Biloam King plans on asking for a truce, then attacking when you are not weary."
The soldiers consulted amongst themselves, and one ran for a knight to council them.
"Take her to the King," he said. "The Biloam's are there now, and if she is one of them, it will be found."
So they took her to the tent where the two King's spoke. There was a surrounding of knight's for both king's, and she looked for the knight she had spoken to in the courtyard. She could not see him, nor her friend.
The Yadmin king angered at the interruption, but then smiled inside when he heard who she was.
"You have sent a girl as a spy."
"I am not a spy," she said, "I am a Yadmina."
The Biloam King scoffed. "You have caught one of your own, and you accuse me. I do not know who she is."
"I am also a Biloela," she spoke again, but she had no longer her thick accent.
"You lie girl, you cannot be both. Now which are you?"
Both King's hoped she would not say their nation.
"I am a Biloama, and I am a Yadmina. My father is Hiro Kockney, and my mother is Jalime Pryce."
"That is my brother," the Yadmin King said.
"That is my sister," the Biloama king said.
The girl only smiled in the middle.
"Shall we end this here," the Biloama king said, "and agree both to have her killed.
There was no need for her to take herself away from her dreams and yet she did. She no longer felt like being there, another adventure already forming in her mind for her instead. She had long ago planned how this one would end. The knight she had spoken to would step in, and it would be found he was just the Biloam prince in disguise. There would be more words, and eventually, a new truce would be settled because of her. She was the reason there had been a truce in the first place, and again she played her part. Finally, as every could dream had to end, the prince would declare his love for her and as always, they would live happily ever after. But she had other plans now, another dream before her.
She gazed from the window, and let the world turn around her. She didn't stare, that was too harsh a word for the beautiful sight of her eyes. She looked into herself, and found the world that held her dreams.
She turned to find Ian the last person on the bus as always.
"Wanna share your answers?"
She looked at him, the one person that ever spoke to her. He wasn't so bad without his friends. She moved herself to sit beside him.
"Only this once Ian."
"Definitely Shifty, definitely."
She pulled out her sheets, and placed them on her lap. Being a pirate could wait awhile, as for now, reality was just as good.