I found myself standing in my nightgown, barefoot, and running through a thick forest. The sound of my rapid breathing grew in my ears. I could feel the synchronized pounding of my heart with my footsteps on the soft ground. The vague sensation of happiness crept up beneath the adrenaline. My face curled up into a genuine smile that erupted into joyous laughter. A glow in the corner of my eye flashed. Looking over, a shimmering figure bounded beside me. Its graceful leaps, wisping tail, and sharp silver eyes captivated me. Somehow, those eyes seemed strangely nostalgic. The time between entering the dream and leaving felt seamless--it was far to real to be a dream--and yet, I opened my eyes. The drapes above my bed assured me that my dream had been exactly that.
"That's right. Last night I was woken up by screams and I followed them. Uncle...and the Silver Fox. I wonder..."
Curious, I slid out of bed and pulled my robe on. Following the maze of corridors, I finally came upon the doors to the dungeon. Uncle's warning played in my mind. Biting my lip, curiosity swelled even more within me.
"I've always been told to be wary of the Silver Fox, but if he's captured, he should be no harm to me, right? Of course, I'll be quick and no one will have to know," I whispered to myself.
With my mind made up, I opened the large doors. Grabbing a lit torch, I descended into the depths of the dungeon. Without the torch, the darkness of the dungeon was terrifying. I was once trapped in here as a kid and the only description I can give of this place is 'darker than the darkest hell.' On top of the darkness, the air down here was unbearably thick. My chest ached already since entering the dungeon. I finally reached the last step and stood looking out into the darkness. My flickering torch offered less light than I expected, casting a light barely two feet in front of me. Fear slipped into my conscious--fear of what would happen if the Silver Fox got loose, fear of what Uncle or Mother would say if they knew I disobeyed them, and, strangely, a fear that I wouldn't find the Silver Fox down here.
"...Hello? Is anyone here?" I called timidly. My voice cracked slightly as I spoke and I mentally kicked myself for losing my composure.
No reply. No movement. Nothing. I felt utterly alone. Suddenly, the sound of chains being jerked thundered through the dungeon. Startled, I dropped the torch. It clattered on the stone floor and the flame was extinguished by a puddle of water.
"Well, that was smooth. Very graceful for a princess," a voice commented from the darkness. It belonged to a boy, possibly around my age, and his tone was sharply sarcastic.
Irritation surged within me. "It wasn't my fault. When you make such a loud noise out of nowhere like that, you tend to startle people."
"Sorry, but I'm a little limited on my movements at the moment."
I looked around, squinting. My eyes weren't accustomed to the darkness yet. "...Um, where are you? I can't see a thing."
"Good. You should stay there. I don't really feel comfortable with people coming near me. It hasn't exactly proved beneficial so far."
"Who are you? Why are you imprisoned here?" I questioned, feeling my way around.
"I'm no one and a no one shouldn't be talking to a someone like you. Why aren't you with your royal guards anyway? Or maybe, you're not supposed to be down here."
Suddenly, the dungeon doors swung open and bright lights flooded in as people descended the stairs.
"Busted," the boy murmured before they reached us.
I shielded my eyes as the light of Uncle's and his guards' torches lit the dungeon and the two of us with it. The men stopped once they noticed me. Uncle pushed past them and strode over to me. I instinctively took a step back as he approached me. I could feel his anger towards me coming in waves. Looking away, I studied the floor. We stood there for several moments, him staring down at me in anger as I refused to meet his gaze. Before Uncle could speak, Father's voice rang out.
"Audry, Brother, what is going on? Am I interrupting something?" Father said as he noticed the tension between us.
"Brother, I need to speak with you. Audry should come too. It concerns her," Uncle retorted stiffly.
I knew then that I was in trouble. Father didn't usually allow me in the dungeon under normal circumstances but once he finds out that I disobeyed Uncle and Mother, I will be in for a stern lecture. As Uncle, Father, and I left the dungeon, I glanced back in the general direction of the boy. The only thing I could see amongst the soldiers and darkness was a pair of sharp, silver eyes staring at me in curiosity and amusement. I wondered even more if the boy was indeed the famed Silver Fox.