A baby blue bird was perched on the window seal and began to sing his mourning melody. The sun began to rise beyond the distant mountains and the world of nature began to arise. A young maiden opened her eyes slightly to see a baby chipmunk scurry across her bed and chatter in her ear. She stretched her arms up and smile brightly at the two animals that had taken a liking to her room and had set a routine to wake her up every mourning. She loved animals, small or baby animals were her favorite. She gentily petted the chipmunk as he rolled is head around under her fingertips. She giggled at his gesture and she through the blankets aside and got out of bed to dress. She lived alone in the small cottage in the forest. She was a very gentil soul and she loved her animals friends very much. Everybody knew who she was, but nobody knew anythiong about her. She was Amber Heart, the loney girl in the forest. Not the name that Ambner inteded to get for her reputation, but she lived with it. She dressed quickly and she laid down a bowl of sunflower seeds that the blue bird and chipmunk could munch on. She wore a green dress that was starting to have it's colors fade and she brushed her blond hair to make the fuzzyness go down.

" Eat up guy, I have to go now to the village. But I'll be back as soon as I'm done there." She spoke to the two creatures that were chowing down on the seeds.

She smiled sweatly and got her purse and ran out the door and into the village.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The village was a nice place and what made it even more beautiful was that the king's castle laid at the very edge of town. It looked like a giant cathedral with fountains and flowers everywhere. Gaurds doing there jobs at the front door that was taller then Amber's whole cottage. Amber loved coming to town and her favorite place was the market place. Even though it was a horrible place for a young maiden such as herself to be, she loved to go there to meet and greet everybody in the new day. The market place was a place for men. Men ran the booths, men bought the goods. Very seldom, woman would vernture into the market place and buy the goods they need. Because in this little town, girls and woman were concidered weak and defenseless. Men injoyed taking advanage of this fact and getting any woman he wanted. Which was why woman avoided the marketplace the best they could. Amber on the other hand had lived there her entire life and all the men at the booths admired her bravery for coming there every single day and injoyed having her come everyday to buy things.

"Good mourning, Travis! Beautiful day today isn't it?" She asked sweetly as she walked up to a booth that sold seeds, fruit and vegtables.

The young man was the youngest seller there. He was Amber's age, 17, and he was just a little bit taller then her.

" Same to you Amber. And your right it is a beautiful day! Hoe are you this fine day?" He asked as she picked up an apple and examined it carfully before placing it in her purse and retrving a gold coin to pay for it.

" Joyful. I can't wait for the summer games to start." She giggled.

The summer games were played in the kings court yard and were held every year in hounor of one of the village folks. Unlike most kingdoms, King Johnny and Prince Max were very generous to the village folk. In hounor of each years games one person is selected from the town to light and extinguage the torch that was light to start and finish the summer games. It was a great honor and who every they picked they wouldn't say a word until the start of the games, making it a complete surprise. Last year the town's baker, Jason, was selected. he was very pleased to get the honor. Amber was happy for him, since he was a close friend of hers, along with Travis.

"Well I heard that they have something speacial planned this year. Something different from all the others." Travis spoke as he graceusly toke the coin from Amber. "Prince Max thought it was time for a change, so he told the town council that there was a surprise that was taking place."

Amber blinked then smirked. " And who did you hear this from?"

Travis swallowed and tryed to think of something to say. "I have my ressources." Was all he could come up with.

Amber giggled and said her goodbyes and she was on her way.

/{/ Well I wonder what surprise that will be.\}\ Amber thought to herself.

There was the sound of a trumpet playing a gathering tune to motion the people of the village to gather at the front of the town center. Amber watched as the men of the market place walked there and she ran to try and get a good place to stand. It was very unusual that a member of the royal family would call a gathering in the mourning.

/{/ This must be something serious.\}\ Amber thought curiously.

Everyody went from loud to silent as King Johnny stepped onto the platform and signaled for silence.

" Thank you. I have called this gathering to inform you that somebody has broken into the castle and stolen a priceless item." He spoke with dibelive in his tone.

Everybody gasped and began to chatter among themselves.

Prince Max tryed to silence them. " My father is trying to speak, be silent."

But his gesture didn't work. Amber looked up at him, meeting his eyes. She blushed and looked at the ground as everbody continued to chatter.

"Silence, King Johnny is trying to speak. Show some respect and listen." Amber shouted and everybody grew silent.

Prince Max looked at her and smiled. Amber returned his handsome smile with one of her bright ones. Everybody looked at her, some glared before turning there attention back on King Johnny.

" As I was saying, somethings were stolen and-" He was cut off by somebody who was yelling 'Let me go' and 3 gaurds holding a young woman and a sac came into view.

One gaurd came up to King Johnny and handed him the bag. "A thousand apolagize your magasty but these are the stolen items." He wispered.

The king looked from the bag to the young woman the gaurds were holding down to the crowd of villagers. " The missing items have been recovered, you may go back to your activities."

Everybody left calmly and soon the town center was empty. Amber stayed were she was and walked up to the king.

" What was stolen my lord?" She asked calmly, but sweetly.

The king shoot a glance to see who was speaking to him as he pulled out a item from the bag. "Our family hier lomb." He spoke as he turned the item aroung to reviel a small shield that had a picture od a lizard carved into it.

Amber glanced at the woman who was still pinned to the ground and was struggling to try and get free.

" What of her punishment my lord?" She asked.

Prince Max came up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder, causing shivers to shoot down her spine.

" Some work in the palace perhaps?" He questioned his father.

Amber shifted so that the prince's hand slipped of her shoulder and he walked over to the thief the gaurds held down.

" I belive that is a very good idea my son. We'll make a king of you yet." King Johnny spoke to Prince Max and joined Amber at the thief's side.

King Johnny motioned for her to be raised of the ground so her could ask the thief a question and send her to work.

" What is your name, thief?" He asked bitterly. He might have been a kind soul but he didn't take lightly to criminals.

The woman glared at the king as the one of the gaurds struck her from behind causiong her to fall at Amber's feet. Amber's eyes filled with tears of horror and concern. She bent down to help up the girl but was held back by one of the gaurds. Amber didn't bother to struggle as she knew if she did, she too would be in trouble. Tears streamed down her face and the glittering tears fell in the dusty ground. Prince Max looked away and stood beside his father. He was to be strong and not soft hearted if he wanted to please his father. He knew that the king would be angrey with him if he did other wise.

/{/ That poor girl. I wish there was something I could do to help her. She looks so frightened, so scared.\}\ Prince Max thought sorrowful to himself.

" My name is Alexander Moren, but I perfered to be called Alex. If you don't mind." The woman said as she raised herself to her feet and brushed herself off.

She was badly bruised in the right side of her face and she shook as she stood. For somebody who had been handled roughly by the gaurds, she sure was still very beautiful. She looked like she was a princess out of a storybook fairytail. Her shoulder lengh brown hair was straight and she wore a ripped green short sleeved blouse with a pair of black pants. She had a chain around her neck that was silver and had the symbol of a snake.

/{/ A cobra. \}\ Amber thought to herself as her tears began to dry up on her face and her fear slowly vanish.

" Alexander Moren? A Moren? Are you aware of the reptutaion your family has here?" King Johnny asked dryly.

" I'm aware of every nasty thing you've said about my family and they are nothing like that. My family is not a group of thieves and we are quiet enough to stay out of yor way. The only thief in my family is me. And I only stole because I have 7 little brothers who are hungrey back at home. By stealing that hier lomb, I would be able to pawn it for enough money to feed them for at least a week." She spat at him.

Prince Max stepped into the conversation. " Your intetions were well but you solved the problem the wrong way." He spoke quickly earning Alex annoyance and a death glare from King Johnny.

Amber could bare no more to be held by the gaurd so tightly. She could barely breath and she was struggling for more air with every second. She would have asked the gaurd nicely to lossen his grip on her chest if Alex haden't gotten to him first. Alex gave to gaurd a high kick and he let go of Amber. Amber feel to the ground, heart racing and striving for air. The other gaurds backed off and went to help out the injured one. Alex smiled, satified. She bent down and offered her hand to Amber who was now staring at Alex with fear.

" I didn't mean to frighten you. But it looked like he was choking you." Alex spoke lightly.

Amber smiled and toke Alex hand and she was raised to her feet. She curtied at the King as soon as she let go of Alex grasp. She smiled as she bowed her head and turned to leave. But King Johnny had a plan to take care of these two 'trouble makers'

"You will stay were you are young maiden and you will serve your punishment in the castle as well as Alexander here."

Amber stopped and spun around as she heard him speak up. Alex eyes opened wide in confusion.

" What did she do wrong?" She asked smartly, earning a smile from Amber as she came to her defence.

The King snickered. " She tryed to help you up when Lord Kai punished you for not answering me when asked."

Alex balled her hands into fists at her side and spoke. " Your punishing her for having a generous heart and for being kind? And another thing, You didn't give me anytime to tell yopu my name before that fiend struck me!"

The king snikered yet again. " Lord Kai, Lord Tala and Lord Bryan?"

The three gaurds came up to the king and bowed to show that they had heard him.

" Lord Kai and Lord Tala, would you please escort Alexander to the palace. Put her in the servants room went you arrive. Lord Bryan would you please do the same to..." He trailed off.

"Amber your majesty, Amber Heart is my name." Amber introduced herself.

" Very well could you escort Amber to the servant chambers as well?" He more of less demanded.

The three gaurds bowed. "Yes Your Majesty." They spoke in union.

Lord Kai and Lord Tala Grabbed Alex roughly and literally had to drag her to the castle. Lord Bryan grabbed Amber's arms and getily motioned for her to move forward. Since Amber had never been in trouble with the king before, she was frightened and walked willingly behind Alex all the way to the castle.