His horse crested over the hillside, revealing the wide valley and grand palace before him. It had been long since he had returned - he had been so much longer than he had expected and he hoped his love was still awaiting him.
She must be. She could not forget him and his promise to her.
No longer was he tired from his extended travels, his hard, extensive journey, his heart light at the prospect of meeting Amelie once again, never to be separated furthermore. Even his valiant steed seemed lighter on his hooves as Haben steered him through the town and to the Palace gates.
The pair of guards waiting there looked to him quizically. "Prince Haben, you have returned," murmured one after a moment of observation. Realizing they had forgotten their formalities, the two hastily bowed, almost in a manner comical to the Prince.
"Yes, I have. I have been far longer than I had ever expected, but I am home now, so allow me in, if you may," he shifted in his saddle anxiously, adjusting the reins in his hands. He was more than ready to meet his lovely Amelie again, enjoy a celebratory feast, and then a warm, soft bed.
One hesistated, glancing to the other from the corner of his eye. "B-but, everyone believed you were never to return."
Haben blinked, puzzled, "And why is that?"
The guard continued nervously, as if afraid to upset the Prince,"Because everyone thought you had heard the news, and there would be no point in your returning."
"And what news is that?" Haben pressed him, irritated with the tentative guardsmen and increasingly afraid of what the news, unknown to him, may be.
"You haven't heard?" the other jumped into the conversation, stunned.
"No!" cried Haben, exasperated, very ready to shake these dim-wits until....he didn't know what!
"The Princess was expelled from the castle by His Majesty the King. No one knows why and no one knows where she is now."
Shock coursed through him, though soon he was hardened with fury, "Allow me in. I must speak with His Majesty at this moment."