Alezander changed into fresh clothing the innkeeper offered him (after the man was offered a few more coins himself), yet it did not matter in the end. It was not long before he was drenched to the skin once more. Saddling a single horse, he climbed aboard and heeled the reluctant colt into the wall of black, nighttime rain. "I'm sorry, Boy," muttered Alezander. "I'm not too thrilled about it either."
The guards watched from the windows with anxious faces. "The King will 'ave our head after this," one, Jyder, murmured to the others standing about hin.
"Well, the Prince will take them himself if we disobey his orders," another shook his head.
"Better for us!" the eldest of them, Yande, slapped him heavily on the back. "We stay here with the money he left us, have a few beers, and stay warm. Alezander's a grown man, he should be able to take care of himself--the Palace isn't too far away. It's all good, so calm down."
There was a mix of cheers, laughter, and grumbles. Jyder eyes lingered on the window, where the figure of his Prince had already disappeared in the grey mess. He wasn't so sure Yande was right.
In the miserable, isolated scene around him, Alezander felt an invisible figure, a lonely specter moving through a realm of cold darkness. As his horse wandered forwards and the first morning light began to turn the obscure black into bland grey, his mind was too left to wander. His thoughts, with such a melancholy surrounding, turned to the melancholy topic of his Lady Raena. His lovely, beautiful Raena.
Nara was probably right, he thought bitterly. I should have never allowed myself such liberty.
And, in the end, it will not be just me that will be left with a heart shattered. I will have hurt my poor Raena.
All along, he had known that it would not be, that he would never be able to follow his feeling. How ridiculous, how stupid, was he? Was he, in the beginning, simply looking for some freedom, that freedom that Daniel had that he had always so envied, and in the end he actually found himself fallen for her?
But onwards he rode, towards the home of the Princess, the girl who was to be his Queen, forwards on the path made for him by others. And, soon, Raena would be behind him, as it was made to be, as much anguish as it would cause both him and her. The agony was even deeper to think that he had caused it, even when he knew the outcome.