I slipped through the dark castle, avoiding the areas where guards were positioned and keeping away from the light of the torches that lined the walls. Out of my dresses at last, I felt once again in control in my leather travel gear. Men should not be the only ones allowed to wear trousers.
I caught my breath as two guards dressed in armour moved past me, but they were conversing about a local girl and weren't paying much attention. I slipped down the corridor and out on to the balcony. If I climbed from here and round through the window of the room next door, I could get right down to the enterance without being found.
"Ella, what are you doing out here?" I spun round to see Percy standing against the wall, peering at my outfit with some amusement. "And wearing the clothes you wore when we first met."
"I may look like I've adapted to court life my Lord, but I still need my freedom sometimes."
"So what, you were going to climb down the wall? Or can you fly?" He grinned and approached me.
"You'll never know."
"Could you take me? It would be nice... to get away..."
"You're the King. They'd probably think I'd kidnapped you." I knew he had to leave, so that I could leave, but I wanted to spend these moments with him, talking, before I completely destroyed everything that had happened since I met him. "I mean, I am magical. You heard the King at dinner."
"And I hope you heard me defending you."
"I did." He smiled and stood next to me, looking out over the sea.
"I know it may sound strange, but I feel as though I can talk to you, as me, not as the King."
"You mean you feel like I don't follow you around and submit to your every order."
"Something like that."
"Then you should know that no matter what, that will never change."
"Thank you." He smiled, "You'll be the only one."
"Well I am an individual."
"You most certainly are." He took my hand tentatively, and kissed it. I held my breath. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Stop it!" He pulled back in shock at my outburst. "I mean, you shouldn't... you shouldn't get attached to me. I'm sure your fiance wouldn't like that."
"My fiance." His eyes clouded slightly, and I could tell that he was not happy with the arrangement. "I always thought I'd have control over my life."
"No one has full control over their life Percy. Just like you cannot control everyone and what they do, no matter who you are."
"What do you mean?" I smiled and leaned forward to kiss his forehead.
"Goodbye." With that I swung myself over the edge and on to the nearest ledge.
"Ella! Wait, where are you going?"
I refused to answer, because to tell him what I was doing would break his heart, and I knew that I couldn't watch that happen. Because as much as I tried to deny it, I was in love with Percy, and I was sure he loved me. This thought was pushed from my mind by years of training, and I made my way through the castle to the stables where I mounted my horse and set off from the palace.
The journey back to the castle of Dur'Abarshan took a mere two hours on my own. As I rode I saw a messenger heading with great speed in the direction I had come from, and realised that it was from the court of Percy. I spurred my horse on faster.
When I arrived the gates opened, and I galloped inside a seemingly empty courtyard. I could feel eyes upon me. I made my way inside until I found the great hall, where I was met by the sight of feasting and celebrating men and women, all drunken and jovial. Where the King had once sat was the leader of this group, an imposing man with a scar on his cheek, and ruthlessness in his heart. He looked up as I entered and spread his arms in welcome. As I made my way towards him, he spoke only three words.
"Welcome, my daughter."