I remember when I was a young lad, I always heard about a girl running away from the palace. It was hard to believe but I saw it with my own eyes.

Her dark hair whipped out from behind her, a dusty mask covering the lower half of her face. She looked no older than I, but had the looks of a master horsewoman. I could see a small herd of men on horses galloping up clouds of dust in their wake - most likely chasing her. They always came from inside the palace walls as far as I knew. The girl rode on a black horse with rippling muscles, the coat gleaming in the sun. I would be resting on a hillside or whatnot and watch as they thundered past.

I was curious, of course. A young lady being chased by a herd of men from the palace. Was she on the run? Was she an escapee? Did she rob them? I never knew as only rumors were spread, no one knowing what ever happened to her. This was before I became more than just a pickpocket. She, in a way, led me into the street life that was easy. She wasn't the entire reason, however, but she a little part of it. I still wonder what happened to her.

"Where are those boneheads?" Sephora muttered as she tapped her fingers impatiently on her arm.

"Probably distracted," I replied then turned to the girl. "So, Rebecca."

"Yes?"

"I hope you don't mind hanging around with us for a while," I took a last glance at the castle. "We'll be going away for quite a while. Do you have any requests?"

"Well, I do prefer wearing less...uncomfortable things and maybe my belongings are important but other than that, none at all." Rebecca sighed, seemingly already used to this. "So, you're the legendary, steely-eyed streetlord Cuffs Alistair?"

"That I am."

"Hmm..." she seemed to chuckle to herself but I didn't comment. "Fascinating."

"What?" I had to ask.

"Oh, nothing," she said in a way that 'nothing' really meant 'something.'

She was baiting me. I just knew it. And I really wanted to know...I tried to press my mouth shut so that I wouldn't utter another word.

"What?"

She only smiled. "Nothing."

Now I really wanted to know. "Tell me."

"It's nothing!" Rebecca insisted.

"Shut up!" Sephora whispered in a hushed voice. "People will hear you."

I ignored her. "What do you mean by 'nothing' hmm? Pray tell."

"It's nothing!" She repeated. "Nothing at all."

"It's obviously something," I concluded. "Is it because I'm even more dashing in person than my tales say?"

Rebecca shook her head.

"I'm taller than my tales say?"

She shook her head again.

"Shorter?"

Shake.

"Nimble?"

Shake.

"Hush you!" Sephora flicked his head. "I think I see them."

I turned reluctantly, rubbing my head. Two figures slid from the shadows from a small window near the bottom of the building. A tall lanky figure and a shorter one slightly bent over. They crept forward and dashed across the yard. Jackal appeared first followed by Bones. Jackal grinned and hopped onto the wall we were sitting on. Bones stopped next to her, expressionless as always.

"Who's this then?" Jackal peered at Rebecca curiously, her hazel eyes flickering over her. "New recruit?"

"You could say that," I shrugged. "Picked her up on my way out. They had nothing of rare value so I booked it."

"You too then?" Jackal flashed a hand with bladed rings on each finger. "Look at these! Quite the riot, eh? Found'em in the weapons room. Only place well worth getting in to."

"Well, if that's alll," Bones swung his legs over the wall and looked at the rest of us. "I think it's time to scatter. They're waking up."

Indeed, lights were going on in the castle and you could hear men rousing their colleagues. All five of us ran. I didn't know where Cat took the others but they would meet us up at the rendezvous point. The moon led the way with it's stolen light and we disappeared into the night.


Mellony blearily rose from her bed, covering her mouth with a dainty hand as she yawned. She cast her eyes around the dim room and slid from her warm bed to the cold air and shivered in her night gown. She was up earlier than usual, she thought. Why? She brushed her hair back off her shoulders and made her way to fetch a comb from her dresser. It was quiet being alone in the morning when only the chickens and farmers were awake. It was peaceful. She reached for where her comb usually was but furrowed her brow. It wasn't there.

"Oh!" she drew her hand back, curling her fingers into a tiny grasp. She must've left that brush in her sisters room the night before when she rushed in to say good night. Mellony smiled a little to herself then slowly crept out of her room, peeking down the hallway.

The coast was clear, a guard in the corner with his eyes closed and his hand on the hilt of his sword being the only other visible living thing in the hallway. Mellony, quick as a sprite, darted towards her sisters bedroom down a few doors from her own. She lightly knocked, hoping only to wake Raisa and not her nanny. She pressed her ear to the door but not even the soft sound of breathing was heard. Mellony, curious now, pushed the door open a crack and slid inside.

"Raisa," she whispered into the dark room. "Raisa, it's Mellony."

No answer.

She shut the door behind her and crept further into the room, the eerie silence hardly worrying her at all. She glanced around, looking for her brush which must've been on her dresser. Mellony slowly shook her head at the bed and swiped her brush off the dresser.

"Oh, Raisa," Mellony giggled quietly and slowly tiptoed out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Meanwhile, in a large room on the other side of the castle, an emergency meeting took place. Drowsy men were gathered together in the early morning, knights, guards, and knights-in-training and more all together. Some men stood or leaned against the wall while the other sat by the table, yawning and rubbing their eyes. The queen was to be woken soon but no one wanted to face her at such an early hour bearing bad news.

Captain Byron looked at the group with a slight frown. He wasn't pleased with what events had taken place all in one night. Some of the men had gone to look for the missing heiress - including his own son, Amon - and a few others went to check inventory. Men had been sent to protect Princess Mellony and where changing guards at the moment, leaving her unguarded momentarily because most of the men where looking for the most important piece - Princess Raisa ana' Marianna heiress to the Gray Wolf Throne. His morning, he knew, was not to be a pleasant one.


[A/N] Short, I know. But what else was I to do? Gibberish it would've me been had I continued...anyway, I hoped you enjoyed mtwon and m0ckingbird777 (you're probably the only two reading this σ(^_^;) feel special as I dedicate this chapter to you guys!

~LonelyButLovely