Chapter Twenty Four: Trouble

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The Queen and I continued on with our ride as the guards followed behind us from a distance

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The Queen and I continued on with our ride as the guards followed behind us from a distance. Who knew that I, Lady Anya Elkewell of the Southern Ice Tribe, would one day be riding alongside my queen as if we were casual friends? A million blizzards could've pass and I still wouldn't have guessed.

"So what is it that you want in life, Lady Anya? Surely a girl from the Southern Tribe had dreams before coming to the castle."

I thought about her question before I answered. "A girl from the Southern Tribe couldn't hope for much. It was the same life as all the other women. You get married, raise your family, and pray night and day that your husband returns home from the boarder for supper," I told her. "But if I never married, I wanted to be a nurse and help fallen warriors. That, or either become a teacher."

"I suppose that's an honest way to live," the Queen told me. "When I was young, I wanted to be a painter."

"Really?" I mused, not being able to picture her with a brush and color palette in hand, painting whatever she fancied.

"Oh yes," she began. "There was a man who would always set up his canvas and easel near my home. Every morning I'd pass by and stare at his work. He was kind and always had something funny to say to me each day.

"One day, I stopped by with a chair, wanting to sit with him and watch him work. It was the best day of my childhood, and so I continued to come back. He'd even bought me a little canvas and easel, and he taught me how to paint each time I visited  him.

"He passed away when I was thirteen and left me all of his supplies. Every day, I'd sit in that same spot and paint the way he'd painted. It's how I met the King; I was asked to paint his portrait. It took me three weeks to finish it, and in that short amount of time, he'd charmed me into loving him. That was back when he was a decent boy. The stress of ruling the kingdom weighed him down."

"I'm sorry to hear, your highness," I empathized. "I can't even imagine how that must've been for you."

"Well-"

Roar!

My head snapped to my right. We'd heard a loud, high-pitched, screeching sound, one that only came from a particular animal.

Everything happened quickly. The polar bears roared to life and it was loud enough for anything within earshot to hear. The bears then stood on hind legs, throwing the Queen and I off of their backs. We landed in the snow with a thud.

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