In a shack deep in the woods, a young innocent boy lives. He was very young, too young to be living alone. His mother died in a tragic incident, killed by a witch. He was left all alone with only some knowledge he learned from his mother. Every morning he walks down the river to take a bucket of fresh water. He stores it in a bigger bucket in his shack. Then, he goes to his small farm to pick fresh green vegetables and plant a new one. After that, he goes to his stable where he keeps his horse and feeds him with hay. In midday, he would run to the woods and hunt for food bringing his bow and arrows. He usually hunts small animals and cooks them at his house but not today. He was pointing his arrow to a small animal near the river bank when he realized that there is a bigger object near the animal. It was a person laying down unconscious at the river bank. He rushed towards the person and saw that it was a girl. He then drags the person to a safer place. He was confused because he never saw another person in his life, he never knew that there was something more than just the woods.
He took the person back to his shack and cooked food for both. Right before sundown, the person awakes. Shocked by the appearance of a little boy who is cooking in front of her. She tried to escape silently taking all her belongings and one precious thing that she kept.
“I wouldn’t go outside at this hour if I were you.” said the little boy
“And why is that?” asked the girl
“There are wolves and witches that can kill you. It's okay you can stay here.”
The little boy turns around holding two bowls of cooked rabbit soup and said
“Now let me be the one who asks the question. Who are you? Why have you come here? How did you find me?”
“I was- um, I was-”
“I was what?” asked the little boy
“I was running from my kingdom” said the girl.
The little boy was confused, he never heard about a kingdom. He stared at the person with curiosity, looking at the person’s face, body, legs and the outfit.
“Hey! Don’t disrespect me like that. I am a woman!” said the girl.
“Get some rest, here is a rabbit soup. Eat up and I’ll question you tomorrow.” said the little boy.
“But, where will you be sleeping?” asked the girl.
“I will be sleeping on my bench in the other room.”
At night, the sound of howling wolves can be heard, the tapping sound of the witches staff can be heard. The girl could not sleep, terrified of the noises. She gets up from the bed and approaches the little boy. She saw the boy sleeping without feeling scared or terrified. She wanted to wake the little boy but she didn’t want to disturb his sleep. She felt guilty after being saved by him and did not want to be even more troublesome. But the little boy is a light sleeper, he is awakened when the girl gets up from the bed but he doesn’t want to get up, he wants to know what the girl is trying to do. The sound of howling wolves can be heard again and again, and it felt like it was getting louder and closer. The girl is terrified and wants to wake the boy but when she takes another step the little boy is shocked and directly points a knife towards her.
“What are you doing? Are you trying to kill me!” shouts the little boy.
“Are you a witch?” asked the little boy in a high tone.
The girl was even more terrified when she saw the knife that was pointing at her neck. Teardrops fell from the girl’s eyes. She felt sad, frustrated and helpless. She took a deep breath and calmly said.
“I am not a witch, I am not going to do anything to you.”
“Then what are you doing going close to me at midnight like this!?” Asked the little boy
“I- I was scared of the noises. The howling wolves, the tapping sound of the witch’s staff. Please stay close to me.” said the girl.
The little boy lowered his knife and stared directly at the girl. He didn’t sense any indication of lies from her. He then looked at the girl’s hand, to see whether she brought a weapon or not but again he didn’t see any weapon.
“So, you’re scared of the night?” asked the little boy.
“Um- yes” said the girl.
The girl wasn’t quite sure what to answer to that question but she really needed company and so she answered with a lie. The little boy got up from the bench and sat next to the bed accompanying the girl.
The sun rose from the east, awakened the boy from his sleep. He looked at the girl and saw her hand holding his hand tightly while sleeping. He let go of her hand and opened the door to do his daily routine. A couple hours later the girl woke up and rushed outside to find the little boy. She saw the boy down in the riverbank holding a bucket of fresh water heading back towards the shack.
“Morning” said the girl.
The boy just nodded at the girl and walked pass her.
“Are you just going to ignore me like that?” asked the girl in a high tone.
The little boy put down the bucket of water and turned around and looked at the girl straight in the eyes.
“Okay, what are you doing here then? If you are just going to bother me, you are more than welcome to leave” said the little boy.
The little boy picked up the bucket and continued to walk back to the shack. Right in front of the fence, the girl screamed.
“I came here because I have no choice!”
The little boy stopped.
“What do you mean?” ask the little boy.
“I ran away from my kingdom, my family forces me to an arranged marriage and I don’t want it but how am I supposed to say no when they don’t accept an argument from an 18 year old girl who does not have any power!”
The little boy was confused about what she was saying. He never knew about any kingdom. He thought that he was the only human being and that the woods is only the place in the world. He was confused yet curious about the girl. He walked towards the girl and was confused to respond.
“What is a kingdom?” asked the little boy.
“ I would love to see it”
“Well you can’t, I ran away from it and I have no intentions to return” said the girl.
“And why is that?” asked the little boy.
“I said it before my family forces me to an arranged marriage and I don’t want it!” said the girl.
The little boy was even more confused about what the girl was saying but it made him remember one thing his mother told him before the incident, to always fix everything that seemed wrong.
“I don’t understand what you are saying but you seem to be needing a repair. How can I repair it?” said the boy.
“What do you mean repair? I don't think that there is any damage in me.”
“Your voice, it seems like you are in so much pain.” said the little boy.
The girl stood still and smiled because she sensed hope.
“I need your help, to escape to that side of the country” said the girl while pointing to the west.
“Ahh, to where the sun sets? What will you find there?” asked the little boy.
“A safe place, where I can start a new life.” said the girl.
The boy was still confused about what the girl was saying but he agreed to help her, he agreed to help fix what is damaged in her. He rushed to the shack and prepared everything he needed for the trip. The girl followed her and saw the little boy throwing stuff into a bag.
“What are you doing?” asked the girl.
“I’m preparing for our trip to where the sun sets.” said the little boy.
“So, you agree to help me?” asked the girl with a smile on her face.
“It will take a couple of days so I am taking some stuff with me.” said the little boy.
He took his little horse and started riding right at midday. They were off to where the sun set. They ride through the river bank following the flow of the river. The little boy brought his bag and his weapon, a knife and his special bow and arrow.
“May i ask something?” asked the girl.
“Who taught you archery?”
“My mom” replied the little boy.
“Why isn’t she with you? Asked the girl.
The boy stayed silent and had no intention of replying to the question. The girl felt guilty and stayed quiet. They rode all day and realized that the sun was starting to set and that darkness was about to cover the world. The little boy was aware of the situation, he knew that if he stopped and camp here it would be as dangerous as they kept on riding through the night. But then he saw a huge oak tree that has a small bunker under it. They rushed to the tree and rested there, he covered his horse with the leaves as the horse sat outside next to the biggest tree branch. Inside the oak tree bunker, the little boy lit a fire and started cooking for the both of them.
“Why do you agree to help me?” asked the girl.
“My mom told me to fix everything that seemed wrong.” said the little boy.
“Better get some rest. We probably have a longer journey tomorrow if we want to go to where the sun sets” said the little boy.
The heat from the fire warms their body. The girl saw writing on the little boy’s bag. It was labelled “A. TREMBLEY” she was shocked that it was a name. Suddenly at the last hours of the night while they were both sleeping, the little boy is awakened by the tapping sound of a witch’s staff. He woke up the girl and told her that they needed to go right now. They both rushed outside and saw the witch from the far. They jumped on to the horse and started riding really fast.
“What is going on?” Asked the girl while panicking.
“The witch is near us!” screamed the little boy.
“We need to get out of here as far as we can!” screamed the little boy.
They rode as fast as they could but then they realized that there were wolves running behind them. The little boy kept on shouting to his horse to run faster. Light started to appear from behind and the wolves started to fall back but they didn’t realize that one wolf was not giving up. The wolf jumped and bit the leg of the horse. The horse fell and they were thrown from the back of the horse and landed on the ground. The wolf retreats back to the packs. The girl was alright but the little boy landed on his shoulder and injured his left shoulder.
“What are you doing?” asked the little boy.
“I'm making a scarf sling for your arm, it's going to be worse if you don’t use this.” said the girl.
“I don’t need that! I am going to be just fi- Ouch!” screamed the little boy in pain.
“Just be quite and let me help you”
They both stared at each other and the girl treated his wound, using a piece from her clothing to create a scarf sling so he could rest his arm. For a moment they forgot about their horse until it made a disturbing noise. The horse was in so much pain, the right back leg was bitten by the wolf and the horse was not able to give a ride to anyone, it can barely even walk on its own. They treated the horse’s wound together.
“Well, I guess we are walking now.” said the little boy.
The journey continued by walking. The little boy held on to the horse’s rope on his right hand and his bag was carried by the girl. Along the way, they talked and laughed together. They shared their thoughts and experiences to one another.
“So, is Trembley your name?” asked the girl.
The boy was shocked and confused, the girl knew something about him that he did not tell her.
“It's my mother’s name.” replied the little boy.
“And what does the A in your bag stand for?” asked the girl while pointing to the bag.
“My mom said it was my name, the A stands for Arthur,” replied the little boy.
“Well then, Arthur, I am Eleanor.”
“We sure did take a long time to finally have a proper introduction.” said Eleanor.
They both continued their journey going through the woods. Not long after, they heard a rough wood chopping sound and a deep screaming sound.
“What was that Arthur?” asked Eleanor.
“I don’t know, I haven’t been this far in the woods.” replied Arthur.
Eleanor moved closer to Arthur, she was afraid that it would be a mystical being that can attack them or even kill them.
“The sound is coming from that side.” said Arthur.
“Are you sure you want to see what made that sound?” asked Eleanor.
“Yes! It would be fun right?” said Arthur.
Eleanor didn’t answer Arthur but she followed what Arthur said. They both went to that direction, climbing a small hill to discover what made that noise. Arthur was shocked when he saw another human being in this world. He saw a big tall man chopping down the woods, not far from the man, there was a house made up from woods. Arthur ran directly towards the big tall man. Eleanor was shocked when she saw Arthur running towards the man.
“Arthur! Arthur!” shouted Eleanor.
Eleanor ran towards Arthur but she was too late. Arthur has already greeted the big tall man. Arthur touched the big tall man’s hand. The big tall man was startled when he saw a little boy deep in the woods by himself.
“Arthur! Arthur!” shouted eleanor while running towards Arthur.
The big tall man was holding an axe on his right hand. Eleanor thought that he would kill Arthur. She ran towards Arthur, grabbed his arm and pulled him back. Holding him towards her body kept Arthur safe from the big tall man.
“What are you two doing in the middle of the woods?” asked the big tall man.
Eleanor panicked and didn’t know what to answer. She did not want anyone to know her true identity as princess.
“We are- um-”
“We are on a journey to where the sun sets” said Arthur firmly.
“I have never seen a big tall person in my life, and what is that you are holding?”
The big tall man was very confused. The sky started to be gloomy and the sound of thunder from far away could be heard. He asked the both of them to come into the house to talk about what was actually going on.
“It’s getting dark and gloomy, you two should come inside and rest” said the big tall man.
“Thank you, but we-”
“Yes, we will come inside to your wood house” said Arthur while he cuts Eleanor.
Eleanor was terrified because she was scared of adults and did not want anyone to know that she was a runaway bride of a royal family. The three of them sat inside the house. Rain started pouring, the big tall man gave them bread and drinks.
“What is this?” asked Arthur while holding the bread.
“That's bread, please have some of it, I know that you both are very hungry.” said the big tall man.
For the very first time, Arthur tasted bread, a food that is well cooked and processed. He liked it so much that he ate half of the bowl by himself.
“Are you two lost?” asked the big tall man.
“No we are not lost, we are actually heading back home.” Eleanor replied.
“I thought that we were going to the place where the sun sets.” said Arthur.
“We- we are travelling west, to the place where we can later call home.” said Eleanor.
The big tall man was even more confused, he didn’t know how to react to the situation. He grabbed Eleanor and brought her to the kitchen.
“I know who you are, don’t think I am stupid but your clothes define who you are.” said the big tall man.
“You are the runaway princess that people have been talking about, what do you want and why have you come here?”
Eleanor stared directly at the man.
“I know this is mad but I am running away by my own choice so please if you want to lock us here and tell them that I am here, I will not let you stay in a nice warm house like this again!” said Eleanor with a high tone.
The man came back to the chair. Arthur saw them talking and he saw some intense talking between them. The man then approached Arthur and asked
“Why did you agree to help her?”
“My mom told me to fix everything that needs to be fixed.” Arthur replied.
“Listen boy, not everything is worth fixing. Sometimes, you just need to say no and the world will not be harsh on you. Now look at you, injured hand and horse, everything about you is going to be even worse when you get involved in other’s business.” said the man.
Arthur was confused about what the man was saying. He learned a lot about human and social interaction in just two days of meeting Eleanor. He did not understand why the man said that to him. Arthur was confused and was even more curious about the world. He just met two new human beings in three days.
“What’s your name boy?” asked the big tall man.
“His name is Arthur,” said Eleanor from behind.
“And he is my protector in this journey.”
Arthur’s face became completely different, his smile was gone, his face showed confusion. He did not understand what his role is in that circle.
“What am I, mister?” asked Arthur to the big tall man.
“You are a human being and you should be free to go around by yourself” replied the man.
The night came and the three of them rested in the house. Arthur was sleeping on the long chair when he was awakened by the sound of horses coming. Arthur saw the big tall man waiting outside his house for the group of marching horses.
“What are those?” asked Arthur.
“Those are the army from Eleanor’s kingdom here to take her in.”
Arthur was disappointed at the big tall man. He was told by him that a human being is free to move around the world but now he is presented by a group of army that are going to take Eleanor in.
“You said that we are free to move around! What is this? Are you betraying Eleanor with what you said?”
“You are a very bad person!” said Arthur with full of anger.
Arthur quickly ran towards Eleanor who was sleeping, he woke her up and ran away from the back door.
“What are you doing Arthur?”
“Can you hear them? They are coming for you! We need to get out of here!” said Arthur.
Arthur climbed up to his horse and pulled Eleanor up.
“Is the horse ready to run?” asked Eleanor in panic.
“He’s all healed up! Trust me he’ll run like the wind.” said Arthur.
They escape the man’s house and ride their horse to the west. Arthur’s horse has just healed and is not really fit to run at the usual speed. Suddenly, they heard a swoosh of an arrow coming towards them. It was that he started firing arrows at the horse. Arthur’s horse was scared of the sound but Arthur kept on screaming.
“Come on boy, run!”
The sound of whooshing arrows started to appear and arrows appeared everywhere. The horse went on a zigzag run. They were stuck and had no option left then surrender until Eleanor saw a small cave behind a huge pine tree.
“Arthur! Over there” Eleanor shouted while pointing at the cave.
Arthur steered his horse to the cave and hid behind a huge pile of rocks. Luckily they were able to get away from the army. They kept silent for a long time until they were sure that the army had gone. Arthur was very disappointed with everyone he had met. His mother left, he met a girl that only brought him trouble and a hypocrite man. The both of them spent the rest of their night inside the cave.
“You have some explaining to do Eleanor! What is all with this kingdom? And why are people really bad?” said Arthur angrily.
Eleanor stayed silent and didn’t want to see Arthur in his eyes and started to cry.
“What is the matter? I want you to explain what is happening right now? Who are you? And why did you bring all this trouble to me?”
Eleanor took a deep breath,
“Arthur, a kingdom is a place where people lived in harmony together. A place where they have a king and queen as their rulers. I am the second born of the king, I am a princess. In a kingdom the important family, the royals have their own way and tradition and one of them is arranged marriage. I am forced to live with one man for the rest of my life and I- I can’t do that. I don’t love him. If only you would understand.” said Eleanor while tears dropped from her eyes to her face.
Arthur didn’t realize how cruel this world was. He couldn’t say a single word. It was just too much for a 14 year old kid with a small body to take everything in. He took a deep breath and said.
“When the sun starts to rise, we will go to the west and find you a new place to start a life.” said Arthur.
Eleanor stopped crying immediately hearing what Arthur said to her. Eleanor hugged him and turned her tears to tears of joy.
“I understand you now, I really do and that is why I am here to help you.” said Arthur.
The sun rose from east and they both continued to ride to the west. They share experiences, Eleanor tells her life story along the way and so does Arthur that spent his life alone. They share stories and love. At midday they arrived at a city in the west. It was not a crowded city nor an empty city. It was just right for Eleanor to start her new life.
“I think this is it. Our journey ends here.” said Arthur.
Eleanor looked at Arthur and hugged him for the last time before he went back home.
“Visit me anytime soon, Arthur. I will always be here to greet you.”
“It's time for me to go, more adventure awaits.” said Arthur.
Arthur said goodbye to Eleanor for the last time. He climbed back up to his horse, he looked at Eleanor for the last time and rode his horse back.
“Thank you” whispered Eleanor.
For some reason, Arthur could hear what Eleanor was whispering. His chest started pounding fast, he never experienced anything like this before. “What is this that I’m feeling?”