Chapter 6

 

Cassandra frowned, continually twisting the strands of thick, wiry hair about her finger to only let it fall loose and limp once more. She paused, shifting away as the horse itself shifted, the clop of his heavy hooves striking the ground with such a sound that would only be produced by one of his bulk. He chewed at his hay patiently as Sam took the little iron pick and wrestled the leg and hoof into one hand, scraping out the excess dirt with the other.

The stable was surprisingly calm; all the other horses with their bedding fresh and stomachs comfortably full. Many of the stable boys had escaped to their napping places, many of them snoring away in the attic or seated in the kitchen, eating their dinners themselves.

Nighttime had spread her darkened fingers over the sky, closing in on much of the barn excluding the few lamps burning, encompassing them in a large golden orb of light and making the straw all around them appear like strands of gold.

The Princess went on to braid the strands, biting her lip. “I visited Ambassador Jermayn …and received another letter from Alezander today.”

“Hum?” Sam stood, putting aside the pick and shaking out his mop of hair. His bare arms flexed as he reached for a nearby brush, exhibiting his well worked limbs colored warmly by all the time spent outdoors. He continued to sweep the brush over the horse‘s body, in brisk, quick motions. “And?”

“He can’t come to the ball. He … is very busy.” Cassandra moved to the horse’s face, tickling his soft muzzle.

“Oh?” Sam raised his eyebrow. “You were very curious to meet him.”

“Umm,” she answered through her closed lips.

He strolled over, his tall form looking over her. Meeting her eyes, he only turned them away and reached up, combing aside the horse’s long forelock aside as if to match his hair‘s own carefree style, as if trying to appear disinterested. “Lately you have appeared to like him.”

“No,” Cassandra said sharply. Frowning, she crossed her arms. “Well I must learn about him, yes? I am to live my life with him. And what is so incredibly wrong about liking him?”

“You just can’t….trust him yet. You have heard what others say about him, which is all good. He writes you letters, which is good and well, but it is too one of the least ways to learn about someone, because he is only telling you what he wants to tell you, and only what you would want to hear.” His clear, sky blue eyes bore down at her, incredibly intense. “You just can’t like him yet. It’s as if…you’ve accepted your fate.”

“What else I am to do, Sam?” she moved her hands to her hips. “I don’t want it, remember? But I can’t do anything to change it. It’s been decided when I was just a baby.”

Sam turned his back to her and picked up a different comb of his liking, moving to the horse’s tail. Cassandra pouted, watching after him.

The End

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