My foosteps echoed around the cold marble walls, as I flitted from room to room, searching, as always, for someone to talk to. But, as always, the palace was almost empty. Finally, in the fourth drawing room I had looked in, I found Papa sitting in his grand armchair, reading a book. I knocked on the open door. It was a light knock, but it echoed loudly. He looked up from his book, and a smile spread acrosss his face.
"Ah Avariella," he said, "What can I do for you?"
"I just wanted to chat," I said, "Sorry, I mean talk."
"Thats right," he said, putting his book down on the table, and blowing out the candle, "But I'm afraid I can't talk right now, I have to go and talk with some officials, about tax and whatnot."
I felt my face fall.
"I'm sorry Avariella, maybe when I get back," he said.
"Okay," I said, "Well maybe while your busy I could go out?"
"Out where?" he asked dubiously.
"I don't know, into the town or something," I said.
"Why would you want to go into the town? You've got a whole palace here at your feet. You could go and see to Silver, or go and read a book or - " but I cut him off mid-sentence.
"But Papa, I want to see things outside the palace," I burst out, "When was the last time I went out? The last time I got to see real life?" I could feel tears building up around my eyes. I brushed them away. Papa sighed.
"Fine," he said, "But, Jasper and Alex are going with you."
"Pa! Really?" I said, exasperated, "I can look after myself."
"No Avariella, they're going with you," he said. I realised from his tone that arguing was a bad idea.
"Okay Pa," I said, and left the room quietly. It took five minutes to make my way through the endless corridors and rooms. I loved the palace. Even if it was a bit empty and lonely, it was still home. I loved all the white marble walls, the golden statues, the grand chandliers lit up with hundreds of little candles, even the ridiculous amounts of unused rooms.
When I eventully got outside to the stables, I found Silver ready and waiting for me. I sighed at her beauty. I pulled myself up into the saddle and trotted out of the stable. My escorts were waiting at the gates for me. They were twins, with the same extreme strength power, which was why Papa chose them. Personally, i thought this was a bad choice. Although they had an endless supply of brute force, they weren't the brightest men I had come across.
"Princess Avariella," they said when I reached them.
"Alex, Jasper," I said in return.
A servant pushed the gates open for us.
"Thank you Leo," I said.
He blushed and coughed.
So I left the palace for the first time in a month, with Alex and Jasper on either side, on their almost identical chestnut brown horses. I had no idea yet, but my life was about to change. Outside that great stone wall was a whole new world I was about to crash headlong into.