Meyra stood tall, looking up at the arrogant prince who was to visit her father. Her dress was caked with mud, as was any skin left uncovered. Gale stood to her right, a respectful distance away. The 'Prince' offered her a ride back to the palace but she caught his worried glance at the expensive cushions littering the interior of his carriage. "No thank you, my lord prince." she declined, turning her back to him and walking back towards the palace gate. As she passed him, she took Gale's mud covered hand in her own, pulling her all-time friend along with her.
"Not one of our best ideas, was it?" she asked Gale with a small laugh as they made their way back into the actual castle after having passed through the courtyard. Meyra was leaning heavily on Gale while she walked, her ankle throbbing painfully with each step she took. "I'm sorry, Mey, I shouldn't have asked you to join me today, and now you're hurt!" Gale was saying, sounding extremely guilty, before Meyra's ankle gave out completely and she began to fall.
Gale, however, caught her before she touched the cold, stone floor. He lifted her easily into his arms, not caring that his clothes were becoming even dirtier as she rested her muddy head against his chest. "You saved my life today." She repeated, not for the first time that day, looking up into his dark grey eyes. He shook his head, discounting that fact once again. "It was my fault you were nearly hit, you should have accepted the ride home." Gale was lecturing. "Thank you." she interrupted, kissing him on the cheek.
As they passed into the servants quarters, Gale began shouting. "The princess is hurt! Fetch Minerva! Run a bath...NO! Take new clothes and some towels to the hot springs!" and people rushed to obey, leaving whatever task they had been busy with before the demands. His status as the princess' closest friend had earned him a lot of respect, despite being only seventeen.
Minerva met them by the springs, as Gale climbed straight into the water, Meyra held tightly to his chest. The water bubbled around them, removing some of the mud and dirt. Gale released Meyra so that she could float over to the edge, where she was fawned over by the plump, grey-haired woman who was the castle's top medic and who had also raised Meyra from her early childhood, especially after the unexpected departure of her mother.
Meyra waited patiently while Minerva set and bound her ankle with her special herb-soaked bandages. She could catch glances of Gale using the soaps by the other side of the spring to clean his hair. "There now, dear. Just be careful, now, i've left clothes for you both, just here." the doctor announced in a motherly voice, indicating a pile of clothes a way back from the water, beside a small bundle of towels.
Minerva disappeared after Meyra's reassuring smile and a nod. With her ankle healing, Meyra suddenly lost all of her energy, feeling all of the adrenaline leaving her body at once. She reached for the nearest hair soap, opening the bottle of jasmine scented liquid and using it to relieve her hair of all the horrible dirt (among other things) watching, detached, as the mud floated away from her in clumps.