"Come on Sampson boy, drink already!" Philip said, his voice dripping with false enthusiasm. Sampson just looked at Philip, with one eyebrow raised as always, then went back to staring off into the woods.
"Stupid horse." grumbled Philip as he exaggeratedly trod away from Sampson and the brook into the forest. He soon lost his impatience once he had left his horse behind and he took in his surroundings. Blue, yellow and green birds flitted this way and that, squirrels were busy collecting nuts for the upcoming winter and owl's hoots could be heard in the distance. He was lost in thought and wandering aimlessly now, enjoying some time to himself when a noise broke the silence.
"Hello stranger." a feminine voice called out sweetly. Her smile was audible in her greeting and Philip instantly smiled as well. His heart leapt at the familiar voice and instantly his love for her overwhelmed him once more. He turned eagerly to greet her and smiled even wider when he saw her in front of him. Her lustrous golden hair fell gracefully over her shoulders and her violet eyes were glimmering with delight.
"Good day-" Philip stopped short, he still didn't know her name. He felt his face flush in embarrassment. Here he was completely in love with this girl and had had never heard her name. He was about to ask when she began to talk a moment before he had the chance.
"Shall we walk?"
"The pleasure would be all mine." he grinned and he could not remove his smile as he took her soft hand in his an began walking through the trees.
They walked together and talked together for what seemed like ages. All too soon they found themselves with no more room to walk, as they had reached the promontory that overlooked both the forest and the kingdom. She glanced up at him and smiled, her violet eyes gleaming with happiness. A gust of wind swirled around them, pushing her hair away from her face then over her shoulders and Philip had an overwhelming desire to kiss her. He took her in his arms and her smile softened. His brown eyes explored her violet ones until her smile had faded completely and her lids slowly began to close. He leaned towards her and just as they were about to share their first kiss…Philip woke up.
Philip laid in bed for sometime after he had awoken. His head was racing with thoughts and memories of the girl. His heart grew light in his chest each time he remembered her and his heart broke every time he remembered it was only and dream. She was not real. He decided to get up because he knew there was no going back to sleep now. He sighed and pushed the blankets of himself as he got out of bed. A servant approached at the sound of his awakening.
"Good morning Prince Philip, what may I get for you today?"
"Nothing today Arthur, and how many times have I asked you to call me Philip. Now I just think you are doing it on purpose."
"My apologies Prince Philip." Arthur said with a smirk, "But I'm afraid it would be treason to call you anything but your royal name."
"It's also treason to disobey me." Philip said smugly. Arthur grinned in return and asked,
"If I may be so bold, why is our Prince Philip so grumpy today?"
"Oh quiet, I'm not grumpy." Philip snapped as he began to move around his room, refusing to look at Arthur.
"Ahhh," began Arthur, "you were dreaming about her again weren't you?"
Philip case a sidelong glance at Arthur; his servant, friend, and only confidant.
"I should have never told you about her." he grinned with a shake of his head.
"Was it the same dream?"
"It's always the same dream, just with something different." He remembered the promontory, and the almost kiss. He smiled.
"You must remember that it is only a dream my Prince. You must remember that you will marry Princess Aurora but only tomorrow, for today is her sixteenth birthday."
Philip sighed and looked out his window into the woods.
"I know, but how am I supposed to marry a stranger…" He still looked into the woods, "if I am already in love?"
"Philip…" began Arthur, "the girl- she isn't real. You need to understa-"
"I understand." Philip whispered, "But real or not that does not change my feelings for her." He paused for a moment and then looked away from the window, "Tell my father I'm going for a ride in the woods. I'll be back before nightfall."
"Yes Prince Philip" Arthur said in a hushed voice and quietly left the room.
Philip felt miserable, the euphoria from his dream was completely gone and his heart was filled with anxiety and longing. He pulled on his riding clothes, riding cape and riding boots and was off to the stables with a heavy heart. He found Sampson already with a saddle and Philip mounted him quickly.
"Just run boy," Philip said, "I need to forget." and with a tap of Philip's heels they galloped into the woods. The colors of the trees and flowers and birds all blurred together and all Philip could do was try and hold on. This was one thing Philip loved about Sampson, he could run long, fast and sure. By the time Sampson had finally tired of galloping and slowed to a trot Philip was deeper into the forest than he had ever been. The constant wind from the gallop caused Philip's had face to go numb from the chilled morning air and his ears kept a residual ring from the volume of the wind. They were passing a pond when Philip heard it. He thought it was just the ringing in his ears but then he heard it again. A voice. A beautiful voice that seemed too wonderful to be real. He turned his head to try and locate the sweet melody as he reigned Sampson to a halt.
"You hear that Sampson? Beautiful." His heart was beating harder now, he knew that voice, he had heard it many times in his dreams. He stood up on the stirrups and looked back from where he and Sampson had just come. The voice seemed to have been coming from that way.
"What is it?" he wondered out loud although his heart already knew the answer. "Come on," he said to Sampson who was trying to go the other way, "let's go find out." Sampson held firm and continued to walk in the wrong direction.
"Oh come on" Philip pleaded, "For an extra bucket of oats? And a few…carrots?"
Sampson whinnied in approval and in a moment they were galloping back through the forest towards the beautiful voice. They sprinted closer and closer, Sampson hurtling fallen trees and Philip ducking low hanging branches. Philip knew they were close, her voice was growing louder and louder in his ears and his head was spinning faster and faster in excitement when Sampson unexpectedly lunged over a hidden stream.
"WHOOOA!" Philip yelled as he lost his grip on the reigns and tumbled from his noble steed into the shallow water. He remained in the same position in which he had fallen, his hat covering his face. Sampson sheepishly came to his side and pulled Philip's hat off his head. Philip could no longer hear the voice and he knew that he had lost his only chance at finding her. He splashed Sampson and with as much firmness as he could muster declared,
"And no carrots."