Almost an hour later, I was saddled on a black stallion with silver hooves and a silver-white star on his forehead. Tianna was on a grey stallion next to me, and Boss was on his white mustang, Hondras. Mother kissed my cheek and told me to be brave for her, and that she’d watch my throne until I could come back. I nodded, and tried to be brave, but I didn’t want to leave my home and my friends, and I especially didn’t want to leave Derek. But it was only temporary, and I’d come back one day when I was as beautiful as my mother and I had my gift, whatever it would happen to be. Our small party of three stayed away from the cobbled streets and stayed on the garden paths until we reached the woods. Once in the woods, Hondras started galloping, and so did mine and Tianna’s horse. We raced past trees and bushes and running water until the sky started turning the color of Derek’s eyes. I had to hold back tears because princesses did not cry, especially not when they were going to be queen one day and their mother had told them to be brave. And brave I would be, if only for my mother. It was dawn when we reached my new home, a medium sized hut made of branches tightly woven together and overgrown with plants. Something told me mother had some part in building this.
“Welcome to your new home, Princess Alyessia,” said Boss as he helped me off my horse.
“Did my mother help build this?”
Boss nodded. “When she was younger, she had dreams of the future, and she had a dream that one day you might need a new home to stay in. You won’t find a safer home except the palace. But no one will find you here, and that’s what matters. And Tianna will be here to take care of you.”
Tianna had dismounted and was tying the horses to a tree by the house.
“Don’t do that, Tianna. I’ll have to take the horses back so no one knows she’s gone.”
“But when the queen says that I have taken her to another kingdom to further educate her, they will want evidence.”
“I want to keep my horse,” I said.
Boss looked between Tianna and me. “Alright. Just take good care of them, they were supposed to be war horses, but this is a much better cause.”
He climbed back onto Hondras.
“Wait, Boss, what are you going to tell Derek? He knows I wouldn’t have left without saying goodbye to him!”
Boss dismounted again and got on his knees so he’s eye level with me. “I’ll tell Derek that you had to leave to be safe, and that when you come back, you want him to be the best champion there is.”
I nodded as tears started gathering in the corners of my green eyes. “And can you also tell him that he’s my best friend?”
Boss nodded and wiped away one of my tears with a leather-gloved hand. “I’ll tell him. Now I must go back, but you two will be safe until you can return.” With those words, Boss climbed back onto Hondras’ back and galloped away.