The Assassin's Daughter - chapter 1

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Chapter one

I ran down the corridor toward the main entrance. I could hear my mother's footsteps echoing off the walls. Slamming into the door, I ran around the corner to the stables.

"Tomas!" I bellowed.

The stable hand poked his head out of a stall, wrinkling his forehead at the sight of me.

"Princess Evelyn? What are you doing out here? Your riding lesson isn't until tomorrow."

"Oh bollocks. I need Guinevere."

"She's in the corral." He motioned toward the back of the barn.

"Saddle her. Quickly please!"

He stared at me in confusion, unsure if he should move.

"Now, man!"

"Is everything alright?"

"It won't be if you don't saddle the dam horse."

"Are you running from the queen again?"

I did something my mother hated most of all. I snorted.

"I'll take that as a yes." He shook his head and grabbed my black saddle from the rack.

"We can discuss how I shouldn't run from my mother tomorrow. Today, I run."

"Well, Guinevere is ready." He pulled on a strap around her belly and handed the reigns over to me.

"When mother gets here, you didn't see me."

"Understood."

I climbed into the saddle and kicked her into a gallop while in the barn. We tore across the yard and into a clearing.

"Not the grass, Evelyn!" Mother screamed from the main stairs.

I turned to see her running toward the barn.

Not today, mother. No training today!"

Guinevere leapt a stream and slowed to a trot as she weaved about the trees of the forest.

"Evelyn!" my mother screamed for me.

"What? How..." I rolled my eyes, Tomas told her.

I urged the horse into a gallop once again, the trees and branches zooming past us. The end of a longer branch stuck out into the path, smacking me in the face as we ran by. Grabbing my cheek, I pulled it away to see blood on my hand. I could feel the warm, sticky liquid trail down my face.

I pulled her to a stop as we came face to face with a young man on his steed. He sat in the center of the road, staring at us.

"You there. Girl."

"Me?" I asked, wiping my cheek with the sleeve of my gown.

"What are you doing riding through the king's forest?" he asked, his hand on his hip.

"Excuse me?"

"A peasant girl shouldn't be riding through the king's forest."

"A peasant girl? Who?"

"Evelyn!"

"Shit. You ponder how a peasant girl got into the king's forest while I continue along. If a woman asks if I've been by here, you never saw me."

I kicked Guinevere into a gallop, leaving the man sitting still, pondering his ridiculous question.

The horse came to a sudden stop, nearly toppling me over her head, at a ravine. I tried to turn her in the opposite direction, but mother grabbed the reigns from my hands.

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