"The princess has escaped! The princess had escaped!"
The frantic shouts from the alarmed guards pierced the princess's ears as she hurried quickly through the dark, unwelcoming castle she had known for what felt like forever. There was both a mixture of terror, yet also a weak hope, in her eyes as she made her way along the walls, cautiously approaching every corner as if afraid something or someone might suddenly leap out at her from the shadows. She could hear the frightening sounds of heavy footsteps, and she knew without a doubt that they were chasing her. But this time, she could not fail. She had to get free. She must escape this dreary place that she had begrudgingly accepted as her home for many long, wretched years.
The princess sharply rounded another corner, and almost stopped in surprise and relief when she the drawbridge coming closer and closer into view. She was almost out, and almost free. She immediately quickened her step, picking up her skirts and running as best she could toward the castle's exit.
"Close the drawbridge! Don't let her get away!" one of the guards yelled.
But it was too late.
The princess made it to the open drawbridge, and she almost could not believe that it was not closed. It was always shut tightly, hardly allowing anyone to enter or leave the castle, but today, it was wide open. She didn't give herself time to think about anything else except fleeing from this horrid place, and she ran across the drawbridge, safely to the other side.
The sky was dark, filled with large, gray clouds, and rain was falling, the kind of rain that felt unpleasant and icy to the skin.
But the princess did not care. All that mattered to her in that moment was that she was free. She did not make a sound, for fear that if she did, she might wake up from this dream that seemed too good to possibly be true.
However, it was, and she hurried on her way, putting as much distance between her and that horrible castle as she could. She did not stop to think where she should go; she only knew she had to keep moving. She knew there was a town very near to the castle, but if she hid there, surely the guards would be there, ready to capture her and imprison her again, along with her sisters.
The princess's name was Ashleigh, and she had four sisters, of which were the only family she had left, as far as she knew. Her sisters' names were Penny, Marla, and Sabrina.
Penny was the youngest, at the age of ten, while Marla was the second youngest, at the age of fourteen. Ashleigh was sixteen, and Sabrina was nineteen.
Once, the four princesses had lived a beautiful, happy life together, filled with precious memories and love for each other, as well as the love they had with their father, King Aldrich.
That was before the fateful day when they had gotten separated from their beloved father.
A nearby kingdom, led by a wicked ruler by the name of King Richard, launched an unexpected attack on their kingdom, one that King Aldrich had not been prepared for.
A dreadful war was fought, but in the end, Aldrich lost, and with his loss came the separation that took place.
King Richard had forcefully taken his daughters away from him, and since then, Ashleigh and her sisters had never seen their father again. For cruel Richard had imprisoned them in his castle after successfully taking them from Aldrich.
Since that day, the princesses had never been granted permission to leave that dull and wicked castle. They had always been locked up by King Richard, and as he had told them before, they would remain there for the rest of their lives. That was what he had said.
But this time was different.
After many failed attempts at escaping, one of the princesses finally, after all of those years of being locked inside that castle, escaped.
And Ashleigh knew that this was only the beginning. She was free, that was correct. However, her sisters whom she dearly loved were still imprisoned, and she could not leave them there for King Richard to torment and suffer. She would rescue them, and then they would all be free again.
All she needed was a plan.
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