Written especially for LG Tales.
When Aron entered the castle with his mother neither of them could have known what lay ahead. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time leads him to a royal encounter that will take him on a journey of discovery and adventure.
Can he keep his secret safe and do his royal duty?
How will his relationship with the Princess develop?
Will his life ever return to normal?
Thanks to Kirstyn Fox, Maggie Finson, and Arcee (not to be confused with Arecee) for their help and all my friends who encouraged me.
Table of Contents:
- Chapter 1 - [Comments - 2757] - (2704 words)
- Chapter 2 - [Comments - 14] - (4817 words)
- Chapter 3 - [Comments - 16] - (4500 words)
- Chapter 4 - [Comments - 17] - (4982 words)
- Chapter 5 - [Comments - 11] - (4631 words)
- Chapter 6 - [Comments - 41] - (7526 words)
- Chapter 7 - [Comments - 33] - (5496 words)
- Chapter 8 - [Comments - 29] - (5531 words)
- Chapter 9 - [Comments - 27] - (3437 words)
- Chapter 10 - [Comments - 26] - (5152 words)
- Chapter 11 - [Comments - 22] - (3166 words)
- Chapter 12 - [Comments - 25] - (4861 words)
- Chapter 13 - [Comments - 41] - (4025 words)
- Chapter 14 - [Comments - 13] - (7418 words)
- Chapter 15 - [Comments - 28] - (8016 words)
Lady Ysabel saw no problem taking her son into the castle, it was summer and most of its occupants were away. While he plays innocently someone hears him in a place he is not supposed to be.
"Mother, someone comes, I heard his boots upon the stairs," he said. The fear etched on his cherubic face.
"Did he catch sight of you?" Ysabel replied.
"I do not believe so."
A voice boomed from the bottom of the stairs."Come out child, I know you are there."
Throughout the meal Ysabel watched her son, he didn't notice at first but it didn't take him too long to realise.
"Mother is something wrong, am I in trouble."
"It is nothing, I am being foolish, pay no attention."
Having returned to Helene's side what now lies in store for Arabella? If she is to continue her deception she will need a little help.
"Good morning mother, may I enquire after the smell?"
"Tis time for your bath, my child and all these unctions will ensure you smell as sweet as a girl of your standing has right to."
"But why is there a need for me to smell so?"
"I wish there were no need. Upon the return of the court I shall not be able to keep you hidden here, if you wish to remain then this is the only way."
Can Arabella win the princess round after her actions when they were last together?
"Good morning Princess."
"You should address me as your highness."
Arabella's mouth fell open.
"The queen wishes that we all go out riding this afternoon."
Helene was all smiles.
"It was so long ago that I last rode with mother."
Arabella approached Lady Ysabel and began to whisper.
"Mother, I cannot ride the only time I have been atop a horse was when I played with the baker's children. We used to play with the pony that delivered the sacks of flour."
Arabella had overcome many of the challenges she had faced and life was settling into a routine. Then Helene's grandmother came to visit and shook things up.
The countess and Helene walked hand in hand, at the princess's behest Arabella followed behind her, as did the entourage carrying the countess's trunk which they deposited in her chamber before departing.
She stared at Arabella who was unsure of what she should do.
"I have dismissed everyone, please leave us and go about your business."
Helene giggled. "Arabella is not a servant, she is my best friend."
"Then she is fortunate to have you, dismiss her so that we might talk alone."
Spring is taking forever to arrive and both Arabella and Helene are finding their confinement within the castle hard to bear, but what can they do, there is no way for them to venture outside until the warmer weather arrives.
"What if we concealed our identity? What if we... dressed as servants on an errand who would pay us attention?" said Arabella.
"After what happened when you last left on your own I would rather we not risk it," said Helene.
"You would rather stay confined?"
"I would rather not incite a riot, either out in the city or when we are found out."
"What if we get consent?"
"You really have spent too long in the castle," Helene said, shaking her head in disbelief.
As Arabella sat in the kitchen eating her first real meal since she arrived she had the feeling that she was being spied on.
"Is someone observing us?" she said in a voice that only Ysabel would hear above the noise of people eating.
"I do not sense it but I shall check discreetly."
Being able to observe things without being noticed was a skill that Lady Ysabel had developed in her years of service and she put it to good use.
"It is the prince's aide, for some reason he keeps looking this way."
Life at the castle fell into its normal spring routine. Apart for a couple of overnight thunderstorms nothing out of the ordinary happened. One night changed all that.
"Wake up sweetheart," Ysabel called as she gently shook her child awake.
"Is it morning already?"
"No child, it is still the middle of the night."
It took several moments for the words to sink in. Arabella forced herself to open her eyes.
"Lady Catherine has started to have her baby but something is not right. I need to go to her and I need you to accompany me."
While out for a ride Arabella gets a chance to test her skills but someone in their party seems to have a problem with her.
In the few steps back to Helene's side she heard, "It is just as I thought." Something in the back of her mind knew that it was aimed at her.
"Someone needs to learn some respect," Helene said in a voice only Arabella could hear. "That man has been making disparaging remarks the whole time."
"Well it is not like I gave a good display."
"Trust me there was more to it than that."
What will be in store for Helene and Arabella on their first full day at the hunt?
Arabella is an inexperienced rider, how will she cope when she joins the hunt for the first time?
Ahead of her she could see someone jumping the stream, but they were not looking forward, far from it, their gaze was fixed downward.
In the couple of seconds it took to reach the stream curiosity took hold.
'I hope it is worth it,' she thought as her horse leaped and she looked down.
"Watch out," someone shouted.
First Arabella and Helene are part of a most peculiar meeting with the women from the other kingdom, and then less than a day later -
"... you will need all your wits about you today."
"Why is that?"
"Today we rejoin the hunt."
The look on Arabella's face was definitely one of slight anxiety now.
"Your second hunt will be much easier than your first," Ysabel said.
Will Arabella convince the Queen that she should leave the side of the princess, and if she is sent to stay with her aunt what will become of her?
Will Helene and Arabella be able to resolve their differences when Arabella returns, how will the rest of the hunt be for both of them. Will King Oswald and Queen Aster think Helene is a suitable match for their son and what will it mean for Arabella's future?