"Princess Hana, you are supposed to smile to the citizens. Even if you aren't happy act like you are." Rika nagged.
"Alright, but it doesn't really serve any purpose does it?" Hana replied.
"Though, it does not really alleviate their poverty or something, it is a good morale boost for them." Her personal assistant, Rika replied cheerfully.
Formal events after another, this is what I do every day. I wonder why little girls dream of being a princess. I have to attend classes in the mornings and meet with officials in the afternoon. Most of the time, I don't get a say in any of the decision, just because I am a female. But I'm just supposed to attend them anyway.
Looking at my beloved countrymen waving at me always lifts my spirits. It really gives me a feeling that everyone really loves me. But sometimes I really wonder I am respected only because of my status. Everyone greets me respectfully as I walked pass, and I return theirs. However, there isn't really anyone I can talk to. My family members are always busy looking after the country and I am not supposed to be too close to my servants, and I am supposed to be purely politically correct in front of my officials, plus I am not allowed to interact freely with my beloved people. With great power comes great responsibility, that's what a great hero said. Sometimes, I wish I can lead a life of a commoner and do as I wish, instead of acting all day long.
Ice cream vendor's perspective:
Business at the palace gates sure is great. Tourists and stuff would always be here, ensuring my supply of customers. Brisk business means more money to send back to my poor family. My parents are farmers and my three siblings are still in school. It's tough working in the farm when they are past their prime, so I send back as much cash as I can.
Selling ice cream at an ice cream stand sure has its perks; you get to see happy faces licking down their ice cream and get a free flow yourself. Princess Hana would be coming back from her tour of the town soon. Though I had been here for a few months, I had never seen her. Most would say that her beauty is unmatched, hope I would get to get a glimpse of her today.
Coincidentally, she really came. The princess was accompanied by her loyal assistant and loads of guards. The rumors about her were true, her flawless skin with her black shiny hair were a sight to behold. She did not have the snobbish look of a royalty which I expected; instead, it was a calm but slightly sad face. Her dark black eyes suddenly met mine. It sure is great being a princess; you don't have to work to make ends meet. She then let out a sigh and continued, her back becoming smaller and smaller in the distance. In this instance, I remembered, her sad face, and realized her loneliness was just like mine. Every day we meet many smiling faces. But we never really had anyone to confide in. Somehow, I wanted to meet her again, and to make her smile.
A few days later
Not many customers today, there goes my revenue. Whenever I get idle, I would think of the princess. What is she doing? Is she still wearing the same sad face? Thinking about it only makes me more frustrated. I should just go and see her. Hopefully the guard to her residence would be kind enough to let me in.
I left my cart of ice cream there and went into the palace. The outer parts of it are accessible to public, but the inner ones are not.
I have to meet a prince of the neighboring land in an hours' time. I wonder what the hurry for me to get married is. I'm just barely twenty. Every now and then, I have to do this. Usually they are nice people, but it is really hard to decide who to marry in just a few meetings.
"Hana, you really should consider getting married. You are the princess after all." Rika said.
"How about you, Rika? Are you getting married any time soon?" Hana said.
"Actually, I have a boyfriend. He's really good looking and smart and …" Rika's mood shifted from serious to joyous in no time at all, rattling on and on about her boyfriend.
"Alright, I get it." Hana interrupted.
Even Rika has someone she really likes. I would have one too, if I weren't stuck here.
Now I've got a pretty dress on and all that's left to tidy up is my hair and my make-up.
"Hana, I have got some administrative stuff to settle before the meeting. Please doll up yourself well… and good luck!" Rika said and left with a smile.
Hmm… maybe the next guy I meet would really be the one for me.
I pulled my long hair forward and started brushing it. I have been growing it out since I was little, now it is somewhere to my knees. Princesses are sort of supposed to have long hair, so I am not allowed to cut it. It was jet black like the night sky and felt like my silk dress. Brushing it feels great, but sometimes I feel that it really is too long. Starting at the roots is ok, but to brush it all the way to the lower parts was a bit of a hassle. Usually I'll get Rika to do it. But feeling the softness of my long tresses in my hands… maybe it is not so bad after all.
Ice cream vendor's perspective:
"Excuse me, I really would like to see the princess, can you let me in?" I asked the guard of the princess's residence.
"Hahaha. No way. What business do you have with her?" He asked.
"She doesn't seem to be in a good mood a few days ago, wonder if she's fine now." I said.
"Yeah, she really doesn't seem happy these days, but I still can't let you in. I'll get fired you know."
"Please… as long as no one sees it, you will be fine."
"Actually, I have something important to do right now. Can you do me a favor?"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"I really have to go to the bathroom; can you help me make sure no one gets in while I'm gone?"
"Umm, sure. Even a guard has to go sometimes."
He left me with his weapon and ran off. Actually, why am I helping him if he doesn't help me? Oh, I can just sneak in while his gone right?
Somehow, I decided to do things the "right" way and stood there like a retard till his return.
"Hey, I was expecting you to go in while I was gone. Why are you still here?" The guard asked in dismay.
"I don't really know either." I said.
"Whatever. Just get in. My shift ends soon, so you better make it quick. By the way, I'm Yoga, if you survive this; make sure you tell me about it."
"Yep, thanks, I'm Kouru. I'll treat you to some ice cream if I see you off duty." I said, running off.
Ice cream vendor's perspective:
"Um, excuse me, anyone in?" I asked.
No reply. So I just went in. For this time, I can't just say that since no one answered, I come back another day.
There was a lady combing her hair at her dressing table. Wow, it is long. It blocked her face though. I went forward, to her side. She didn't notice me.
"Hello" I said.
The princess jumped up in shock.
"Who are you? What do you want?" She ordered.
"Just an ordinary guy. I'm not here to assassinate you or something like that."
"Oh, nice to meet you princess Hana, I am Kouru, a humble ice cream vendor."
"You seem harmless. I'll let you stay for a while. But if you do anything funny, I'll call in the guards."
"Um, you didn't seem to be in a good mood the last few days. So I decided to pay you a visit."
"How did you know? Either no one ever notices or no one ever care." Princess Hana said.
"It was just a hunch."
"Fine. Take a sit. You don't have to be too formal now, since it is only the two of us. Call me Hana."
Close up the princess looked even better. Her porcelain skin was still the same at close range. The curvature of her breasts is now visible. And her long black hair flowed with every movement she made, swaying like the trees in the wind. Plus, her natural scent, similar to flowers filled the room all this while.
Can I rape her?
Oops, I let my thoughts wander again.
This strange guy, Kouru came in out of the blue, saying that he wanted to cheer me up.
I've always wanted someone to talk to, but now that someone is here, I'm at a loss for words.
"Your guard Yoga is a nice guy isn't he." Kouru started.
"Yup, he smiles at me every time I walk pass. Unlike the other guard, Kuroshi, he is way too serious."
"Kuroshi? Does he have dark skin?"
"Not really, but he has a black heart. Once a kid accidently ran in and he almost wanted to pierce the little guy. The child ended up running all the way home crying."
"Luckily was not him today."
Kuroshi was really way too serious, everyone he sees is an assassin. His halberd is always on standby, ready for action. Yoga on the other hand, was always kind, helping lost tourists and stuff.
"Hana, what's bothering you these days?" Kouru asked.
"I really feel like a caged bird. All day long, I have to act on the wishes of others and staying in this room by myself. Rika comes in often, but it is usually for business. Plus, my family members are always too busy to visit me."
"Hmm, haven't thought of it that way. I thought that princesses have it good."
"Princess! I hear an intruder." A gruff voice shouted.
"Kuroshi, this is not an intruder, he is a guest."
"Princess, you are too kind. You can't keep covering for jerks like him. He slipped in and now you treat him like a guest. I have to arrest him and hand him over for punishment."
Damn you Kuroshi, can't you listen to my orders properly.
"Yeah, Kuroshi, he is an intruder. He tried to rape me, so I'll deal with him on my own. Tie him up and lock him in the storeroom."
"Yes, my lady." Kuro bowed and brought Kouru away.
Bloody self-righteous guy.
If I didn't put Kouru in the storeroom, Kuroshi would put all sorts of accusations on him at court. He'll be dead meat. I'll go free him later, after Kuroshi's shift.
Darkness is all I see. Eagerly awaiting for the light of the day…
In a flash of light I regained my sight.
"Kouru, are you alright?" Hana asked.
"Not really, I thought I was dead." I said.
Hana tried to untie the ropes, but couldn't get it out.
"Hold on." Hana went out.
She returned with a large sewing scissors. She leant towards me and started cutting at the ropes, but her unruly long hair kept falling over, obstructing her view. Even once, her long locks fell in between the blades of the scissors, but she realized and pulled it out. I sat there mesmerized by her cuteness, about the face she makes while trying hard to free me.
At long last it was undone. Hana was sweating and didn't smell as good as usual, but I was really happy that I'm now a free man.
"Go on Kouru, you are free now." Hana said,
"How about you?"
"Me? I was not even bounded in the first place."
"Somehow, while I was locked up, I realized how you felt. Yearning for the freedom which is always out of reach."
"What can I do about it? I'm a princess. My fate was decided since I was born."
"Let's leave together. You can leave behind this place and we can start a new life in a faraway place."
Hana seemed troubled.
"I'll think about it." Hana replied.
I'll be wanted for life if I did that. But I just can't leave Hana here alone.
"I'll be back tomorrow. See you."
Is it right to leave like this? Everyone will be worried.
I sat on my bed in the darkness of the night struggling.
"Though Kouru was not the strongest, richest, smartest or most handsome, he was the first one to understand my loneliness."
"A life without acts huh…"
Sunlight streamed in through the window.
"Hi, Yoga, I'm here to see the princess." I said.
"Go on in. By the way, I can't take it here anymore, I'm quitting." Yoga said.
"Kuroshi keeps blaming every single mistake on me. The whole palace now thinks that I am a lazy good for nothing guard. They now know how I let you in; luckily I was given a chance. I got enough of this, I'm going back to my village."
"Great timing! I was about to leave with the princess too… if she agrees."
Yoga dropped his halberd. It clattered on the pavement, resulting in looks from passer-by.
"Great timing indeed. Kuroshi need his share or retribution. I'll lead you to my village, and then you can decide where to go from there."
I brought my ice cream cart in today, with all my belongings in it. I took a deep breath and went into Hana's residence.
"Good luck, Kouru. I'll cover you." Yoga said with a pat.
"Hana, have you decided?" I asked.
To my surprise, Hana did not glow with her usual radiance. She must have been worrying a lot. I hugged her to comfort her, hoping that she would feel better.
"I have decided, I'm leaving with you." Hana replied resolutely. Her now reddish eyes, boring into mine.
I wanted to jump for joy, but controlled myself.
"Do you mind hiding in my ice cream cart? You can't leave blatantly like that."
"No backing out now. I'll do whatever it takes." Hana replied.
I took one last look at my residence. The place where I grew up in. The place where I once belonged.
Sorry for leaving like that…
"Let's go, Hana." I said.
With teary eyes she tried to squeeze into my ice cream cart. Her petite body was able to fit in. That sure is the way to treat a princess… Her whole body was in with some pushing and shoving. Her long black hair still spilled out of the ice cream cart. I gathered them and put them gently into the cart. Maybe we can do something about that long hair of hers later.
"Are you alright, Hana?"
"I'm fine. Hurry up."
By the sound of it, she wasn't that comfortable, but we did not have much choice.
First I was looking longingly at my residence that I was leaving. Then I was overfilled with joy, running away with a nice guy. But now…
I was cramped in a small dark place which kept shaking around. I didn't know whether I fainted or fell asleep, I was really grateful for that, taking anymore vibrations would be way worse.
"Huh?" I said.
"Thank goodness you are fine. Sorry for putting you in such an uncomfortable place." Kouru said.
"Yo, Hana" Yoga said nonchalantly.
"Yoga, while I was pushing this heavy cart all the way here, you were happily whistling away with your hands free." Kouru said angrily.
"But the princess is yours, not mine." He said with a shrug.
Then, they carried me out of the cart. We seemed to have reached a house in a village.
Feeling the sweat all over my body and my hair all messed up, I felt embarrassed. I was always well dressed, now I'm standing in front of two guys disheveled like that.
"Um… is there somewhere around here where I can take a bath?" I asked.
"The bath is this way, my dear princess." Yoga said.
"Just call me Hana. I'm not a princess anymore."
After Hana was done. I took my bath. The bathroom still contained her lingering scent. I usually didn't take that long, but after the long journey, leaving the bath just seems so hard.
"Get out of there, it's my turn!" Yoga shouted.
"Fine." I reluctantly came out.
Hana was in the guest room lying down on the bed.
"So what do you commoners do?"
"I don't know. Work?"
"Other than that?"
"Just whatever we want to."
Hearing that, Hana sat up and snuggled up to me. Her soft hair rubbing against my face. I stroked her long hair again and again, feeling her body warming up slowly. Hana held my hand and looked into my eyes.
"Hana, you have lovely hair."
"But you know, I prefer short hair on women." I said fingering her long locks.
"Hmm. I haven't really had a haircut before. All my life I had long hair." Hana replied.
Thinking of how Hana would look with short hair excited me. Hana looked at me lovingly with her black shiny eyes still stroking her long hair.
Kouru said that he wanted me to cut my hair. I have heard of that, but I have never seen or experienced that. Sounds fun though.
Leaving my hair free, it reached all the way below my knees. I always loved the feeling of it swishing around my body. Having the thought of it being removed was new to me.
Kouru returned with a scissors. I looked at the glimmer of the scissors; it had never been so close to my head before.
"Hana, would you mind if I cut your hair?"
"Nope, not really."
But deep down inside, there was a sudden urge to escape. When Kouru touched my hair, I shuddered involuntarily. I gathered my hair and pulled it forward over my breasts, clutching the base of my beautiful black hair in my hands. Despite my protective actions, Kouru wielded the scissors close to my neck.
Hana seemed nervous, but I really wanted her to have short hair.
I looked at the scissors in my hands and at her hair. She was now holding the base of her hair tightly in her hands, but the area near her neck was still vulnerable.
Long black locks tumbled down Hana's back.
Long black hair slowly cascaded down, hanging over Hana's shoulder. Her nice white neck was now partially exposed. I stroked it, to her delight.
With the final cuts, Hana's long locks were now all splayed all over her body. She lifted up the bunch of hair that she held in her hand. The hair all over her disappeared, gathering in a great ponytail in her hand. She stared at it for a while and then placed it gently on the floor.
I used the scissors to even out Hana's hair. Now her hair was above her shoulders.
After I was done, Hana turned around and looked at me. Her black hair now framed her face and ended below her chin.
"How do I look?"
"Great." With that I hugged Hana tightly and kissed her.
Hana was shocked at first, but soon we were all over each other.
"I have always wanted to try the thing married couples do." Hana said.
"So do I." I replied, ruffling up her freshly cut hair.
The feel of Hana's short hair was just as good, I caressed it till it was all messed up.
The feeling of long hair weighing me down is gone, along with my past as a princess. All I can feel now is Kouru.