The town was quiet; not a sound could be heard except for the icy wind that blew around corners and down alleyways. The moonlight was the only source of light that reflected shadows across the ground, guiding one girl through these deserted streets.
This girl continued on, trying to keep to the shadows as much as possible. Not wanting to be spotted by the lower town folks. Especially, tonight of all nights. She was glad of the cold weather as it kept everyone inside, huddling around fires. Although, at this moment wishing she could join them as the buildings only provided little relief from the chill in the air; Rushing around in a long, purple dress which sat just below her shoulders with nothing covering her arms or neck, certainly wasn't the best plan. Almost tempting her to turn around and forget the whole idea.
After reaching the upper town, where the buildings were much bigger and even further apart made her realise just how cold the air really was. The open spaces allowed the wind to blow even faster which kept hitting her like a chunk of ice, over and over again - Had to reach her destination soon before she froze to death.
It had been a long time since she had been in this part of town, those many years ago when she was only a teenager herself. Since then her life had changed dramatically and even more so with recent events – Should have known her past would catch up with the present. One thing was for certain, her life wasn't going to get any easier, just yet. If ever! There was no way of knowing where her roller-coaster ride would take her next.
The girl knew she was taking a big risk doing this and if caught, her life would be no more. The way things were going she might end up at that point herself. So she had two choices; Take this moment and risk someone ending life for her or slowly doing it herself? So here she was rushing onwards, towards her destination... Her dream! One of the main wishes she had since childhood; To live like a princess.
If things hadn't gone the way they had, she would be living that life now; dancing in the prince's arms, right this very moment and not frozen to death as she hurled herself up against a brick wall that served as an entranceway to one of the few houses along this dirt road. In the distance, on top of the hill, stood the main palace which was surrounded by its own 10-foot wall. At this moment, all she could see was the fireworks, that were lighting up the area in a massive grow and hear the music that was travelling in the wind, down towards where she stood.
Her past was now just a distant dream but if there was just the slightest chance she could have one memory, one small memory to take with her. She would take it...
Once she made it to the top of the hill, she avoided the main entrance which only consisted of two guards - That would certainly be a quick death if they recognised her. No way would she take that chance. Anyway, she had her own secret way in; A way that was shown to her as a child, by the prince himself. Those memories were almost a blur to her now. Except, the way they used to sneak in and out the palace, without his parent's permission.
To her relief, the secret entrance was still there, hidden behind a huge stone that was easily removed by its own mechanism. On the other side of the wall, she found herself in the gardens where people in the distance were mingling around with glasses of champagne in their hands. Lucky for her, no-one could see her in this part; The area was quite dark, hidden behind a few trees. It gave her a moment to gather herself and make sure she looked respectable. Just before stepping out into the main area where a few people were gathering around, she placed her eye mask down over her face.
Slowly, guiding herself between the men and women as respectively as she could, trying to remember everything her parents had ever taught her. Most of the people were not in the least interested in her as they continued their conversations which were mainly about business and some of the people discussed how their lives would be if their daughter won the hand of the prince - Them alone, sure did give her an evil glare; She knew the competition was high among all the young maidens of the upper town. They certainly didn't have to worry about her, not anymore. Maybe once upon a time, they could have envied her as the future princess... Certainly not after the events that caused her to go on the run and lead another life altogether, one that was the complete opposite of what she had been brought up in.
Eventually, she made it into the main hall, where tonight's ball was taking place. Standing in the doorway that leads to the balcony, that surrounds most of the palace and down to the gardens where she had come from. The main hall was packed, mainly of beautiful, young maidens. There was a few older men and women around that looked like they were fussing over their daughters, so they could catch the prince's eye. Who was making his way around the room guiding one maiden after another along the dance floor - If she wanted to be one of them, standing over here certainly wouldn't make that happen! Slowly, she made her way to the centre of the room where all the young maidens were gathered around – She was certainly no maiden, not anymore. All she wanted was one dance with the prince and then she would be gone, never to see him, ever again.
The prince looked as handsome as ever in his royal suit and robe, that flowed around him as he swung every young maiden around the room. In the distance, on the other side of the room, she could see his parents sitting on their royal thrones, watching. She noted they didn't look very happy at what was folding in front of their very eyes. Even though, they were the ones that were pursuing their oldest son to marry. One thing she remembered from her childhood was that the King and Queen never did look happy. Maybe that was part of being royalty! At least, the oldest prince hadn't been like that as they grew up together; He had been one happy child – A daredevil in his own way. She knew he had grown up to be the bravest and most handsome prince and he certainly still had the most charming smile ever. If only that smile was directed at her now as he continued to pick other maidens that were in the room.
If the prince didn't choose her, she would have risked her life for nothing and no special memory to take to her grave. Before she realised what was happening the next, the prince was standing in front of her with his arm stretched out and that most charming, smile was now directed towards her – With the excitement that was now flowing through her veins, she almost forgets where she is and could have easily have jumped right into his arms.
The moment had finally come; A part of her dream was coming alive as she smiled back and placed her own hand into his and the Prince lead her into the middle of the dance floor, where he slid his arm around her waist and pulled her closer.
"You're very beautiful." The Prince suddenly whispered.
She wondered if the Prince even knew who she was and if he did would he continue with her cascades like they used to do as kids. Or would he just turn her in? She sure hoped their friendship meant more to him than obeying his parent's wishes.
"You keep blossoming the older you get," he continued to say. "The question is, will your looks continue to keep you alive?"
The room was filled with the right sort of soft ballad as the Prince's blue eyes continued to glare into her own blue eyes and before long he was guiding her across the room while every other pair of eyes glared at them with envy.
The girl truly couldn't believe her luck that she was final dancing in the arms of the Prince with all the maidens surrounding them, waiting for their turn but the Prince didn't once lose eye contact with hers.
Despite the girl being in disguise, wearing an elegant mask to hid her profile and the years that had passed. The Prince had recognised her the moment he had stared right into those icy, blue eyes. How could he forget the girl, that was beside him almost every hour of the day since as far back as he could remember - Until a warrant had put out for her arrest, almost 12 years ago?
It had been her beauty that had attracted the Prince's attention to start with (the same as every other maiden) but as soon as those eyes came closer to his, he had no doubts about her identity; Those blue eyes mixed with sparkles of diamonds – They always reminded him of snowflakes falling from the sky.
After a while, everyone disappeared from their minds; only the prince and her in their own world, where only they existed. She just wished this moment could last forever but nothing ever went that smoothly for her – It started with a distant clapping floating into her mind that seemed to get louder and louder as if it was getting closer and closer until there was a mighty bang.
The Prince heard no other sound besides the music but, he did feel a chill go straight down his back as if someone had just walked over his grave or a gust of wind had instantly blown around them. In that next moment, he felt his dance partner pulling away from him; It had felt so sudden as if she had been forced from his arms. He quickly opened his eyes, not realising he had closed them which must have been brought on by the fear, alone and instantly froze, not quite believing what was truly in front of him or was not; His childhood friend had vanished...
The girl felt herself flying backwards, out of the prince's arms altogether. It was if a powerful gust of wind had sent her soaring through the air. That was until she felt the sudden impact against the back of her head, then feeling herself sliding down till her bum landed, quite hard on a solid surface.
"Your time is finally up," a distant voice echoed into her barely, conscious mind. Which was the last thing she heard before losing consciousness altogether?
Everything around the Prince was still the same, except the girl he had just been dancing with. He couldn't understand how she disappeared so quickly. He had even scanned the crowds for her, expecting to see her dark, brunette hair dashing between the heads of the maidens or at least escaping out the balcony door, at the other end of the ballroom. No one else in the room was acting any differently; just eagerly awaiting their turn.
It was then when the Prince noticed something shinning up at him, from the floor in front of him... The only thing the girl had left in her wake was an old fashion worn out shoe, that had seen better days. And from that object, alone it brought back memories, memories that he had long forgotten. The Prince was now, more determined than ever, to find her again.