Ch 1-2 ~ A New Friend
Though the voice grew fainter now as the forest thickened, she still felt frustrated – cheated even – that it had succeeded in interrupting her favourite fantasy as one of the industrious mountain children. Gathering sticks for building hidden dens, setting traps for rodents and the small animals, digging holes in which to wait patiently for the bigger ones with loaded bows and bags of rocks for close-range sling-shots; she pretended to be invisible as the earthen bed, nimble and carefree as a wind-swept seed.
‘Aurelia! Come back at once or I will return immediately to the palace and fetch your father. I’m telling you, it doesn’t bother me to take him from his duties. I have before and you know I will do so again!’
Though it was no more a threat than being scrubbed in a cold bath until her lilly skin betrayed ruby blushes, it was the utmost leverage granted the old lady. Even if her father had found himself time to warrant gallivanting through the mountain pass in search of his only daughter (she would always return immediately encouraged by the playful tone of seriousness in an otherwise soothing voice, not failing to forage a handful of forest daisies to claim as an excuse for her expedition) there would be only giggles as he carried her home under the lock of one arm, all the while playing to have her ‘locked in the tallest tower of the Eastern block’, long past the hour of her lunch.