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Hundreds of glittering stars filled the night sky where I had retreated. I gazed out over the patio where dozens of villagers danced with their men or women. All their eloquent dresses were perfectly sparkling under the light of the moon. The men were smiling in the sight of their gorgeous maidens dancing opposite to them. One man swung his accompanying lady high into the air with the grasp of his strong hands around her waist. She giggled, the sound audible above the dozens of instruments playing the ballroom music. I smiled at the sight and turned my head slightly to the left, feeling my earrings clink against my neck in a small sound.




The night was slightly warmer than the last few and the night sky was even clearer than one could imagine. All the constellations were in line like the charts my mother and father used to keep before the fire at the palace. I used to count them up like my father did, placing a finger on each constellation and saying its name, confidently and happily as he would kiss my forehead and hug me close to him. The memory made me fuzzy inside and I grinned.




My gaze then turned to the garden below to the right, where no one was. In my flowing red dress that went to my ankles and sparkled under the light like all the others I had seen, I slipped swiftly down the cobble stoned steps to the garden. The aroma of roses and lilies filled my lungs and I grinned. I bounced down the last step with a quick hop, feeling my curled hair bounce about my head. My hair was done up in a bun and the rest was curled and hanging down by my ears.

I pursed my lips when I saw a figure—or a shadow—slipping through the darkness and avoiding the light. I focused in on the area, not seeing any limb or body parts that would be easily recognizable. In fact there was nothing recognizable about the figure that I had just seen. I glimpsed back to the ball I would be escaping and then turned with no regret to find the mysterious figure. My feet paced quickly through the steps and maneuvered the maze without a problem. Although, the help of a gaze once above before I had stepped into this would have been beneficial.

I came to the center of the maze, stopping quickly to find nothing but the sound of my quick breathing. I clasped my hands together, assuming I was just going crazy in this scenario. I was just a little tired from all the dancing I had done with Henry, I told myself. I was tired from talking to all the adults my parents wanted me to socialize with. I was tired from acting polite and proper in front of the guests. I was just tired from everything, I told myself.

I sighed after I had caught my breath substantially and then turned to the sound of a twig breaking. I twisted my head around, hearing the brush of my dress across the steps. The walkway was rougher here, because the center was the oldest part of the maze. This now reminded me of the story about the boy who killed the Minotaur in Greek mythology. What was his name? Was it—

“Princess.” I whipped my head around to see no one. But then something caught my eye. Something I hadn’t seen before. It was a shadow figure of a man in the traditional party attire. I looked around me, making sure I wasn’t crazy. A lot of times tonight I thought I was crazy. But now all that was being thought over again.

“Who’s there? I demand to know!” I heard a creepy laugh right behind me. I turned around and saw him. He was not my idea of the perfect man. His green eyes were bright but dark. They were the color of the old oak tree leaves in the back near my bedroom window. His hair was tousled and rough, a little curled. It was pitch black. You could see the natural highlights in his hair under the moonlight. He glanced back from the rose he was trying to pick from the bush. His outfit was the same outfit of a man I had seen earlier, trying to fancy a woman into dancing with him. She had refused, on the account that he was too persistent and it scared her a little more than other men had when they were persistent.

“A rose, ma’am?” I glanced at him and then to the rose. The rose was beautiful. It seemed to almost glow—not like the fireflies I had seen when I was younger—but in a way that drew me to it. I reached my hand out to it slowly, forgetting the sound of the dancing guests nearby and the awaiting parents that were near other adults, also awaiting me to return for more small talk. Before I grabbed it, I felt a surge of energy that tickled the tips of my fingers. Within centimeters from its grasp, the man grinned and his white teeth gleamed under the moonlight.

I glanced up to the moon, and then grasped the rose with a single finger. I felt a shock of energy again and I fell back to the floor, still holding the rose in my fingers. I saw him raise a hand to the night sky and the center of the maze began to spin. I saw the glow from the rose surround me, surround me, surround me—until, there was nothing I recognized. Except the haunting laughter of the man that had tricked a princess into something she was stupid enough to fall for.





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