There is a Chinese proverb which goes a little like…
…this is where the story begins…
The sounds of the crowds drew her attention first. The excitement, the cheering, it could only mean one thing. The royal party was passing through. Cece pushed out the shop doorway to stand in the street where crowds now aligned each side. She was small framed and fit through the swarms of people to make her way to the front.
As the Royal train approached, she caught her breath, the beauty was beyond words. The musicians announced the approach. The Royal guard arrived first, their heads held high, their uniforms crisp and the horses held strictly in line. As each passed by the crowds pushed further and further forward.
The Royal carriage arrived next with the queen proudly waving from the window. The crowd leant further again. Cici found herself getting crushed, her breath drawing short, she gulped for air. As the carriage passed by the crowd finally gave way but on release Cici fell forward and collapsed to the ground, the rough surface shredding the skin of her arms. A sigh escaped from the crowd, and as Cici sat up cradling her aching arm, strong hands began helping her to her feet. To her astonishment, it was the prince.
“Are you okay?” concern filled his anguished gaze but Cici found her throat completely dry staring into his deep dark green eyes. After a few minutes, silence embarrassment filled her.
“Sorry, yes. Fine thank you.” Cici stammered. As she spoke a guard came towards them and Cici glanced up noticing the royal carriage ahead had also stopped. The queen was staring straight at Cici, her face a mask of fury.
“Sorry miss, we’ll need to move you. Lady Propensus is about to arrive.” Cici rushed to her feet, as the guard spoke. She nodded and made her way from the road back to the crowd. As she did, the prince grabbed her arm and whispered something in her ear. She wasn’t quite sure what it was and the prince walked away then effortlessly swung his body back onto the horse before she could ask him to repeat it, but it sounded like, “I hope to see more of you.” As he turned the horse to ride on, he gave one last wink to Cici, causing her to blush immensely.
As Cici turned to find her way back in amongst the crowd she felt eyes heavy upon her, uneasy she glanced around. Although most eyes, had now moved back to the prince a few gazed upon her, but it was the steely unmoving gaze of the queens stare that had caused the fearful feeling in Cici, turning her blood cold as she pushed her way through the crowd and back to the shop. It was only once inside she heard the queen bark the order for the carriage to move on.
Several weeks passed and the town was full of excited whispers. No-one saw Cici pickpocket the prince, but the queen swore she had. All of that was forgotten in the frenzied excitement as the prince and his new bride rode down the street. The prince felt the guilt heavy in his stomach. The lady was no looker, not like the fallen beauty who had captured his heart a few weeks before, but the queen had assured him that was not to be his fate and taken care that it never could be. The secret of the innocent beauty was his burden to bear, the only way the queen would grant him his kingdom.
Originally written in response to Sue Vincents #Writephoto challenge – Caged!
Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by noon (GMT) Wednesday 17th August and link back to Sue’s post with a pingback. KL