Rudolph gaped at the girl. She looked back from her horse and smiled at him. "Follow me," she said.
Rudolph did follow her, and when the odd pair of peasant-turned-stableboy and dainty princess reached the stables, he realized he probably would have been willing to follow her off of a cliff had she asked. She dismounted with the grace of a bird lowering itself to earth.
"Why did you let me in, your Highness?" Rudolph stuttered with an awkward bow.
Isadora shrugged and laughed gently. "I don't know. I was curious. Why would a young man like you come running at me from the fields? You don't seem like you'd hurt me, and I needed a new stableboy anyway. Do you need a job?"
"Yes, your Highness."
"Good." She handed him the reins of her horse, and Rudolph realized he was nearly as happy to be next to the animal as the princess. What luck to get this job! "Come on," she continued, "I'll introduce you to the stablemaster. Have you had any experience with horses?"
Rudolph shook his head.
"No? Oh well, I'm sure you'll learn quickly. No matter." She took him by the wrist and made for the stable door. Rudolph looked at her in shock, but she didn't seem to notice. Surely there was some rule against touching peasants. With a smile, Rudolph realized that Isadora didn't seem to care much for such rules in any case. Had she been a rule-follower, she would have never let him in the gate.
When they had almost reached the door, Isadora seemed to realize Rudolph still had a hold of the horse. She waved at another stablehand and said, "You-- stableboy. Will you please take my horse from...."
"Rudolph," said Rudolph quickly.
"from Rudolph, and take care of him? Thank you." The boy darted forward, and Rudolph reluctantly let go of the reins. "Now, come on," said the princess, and led him through the door to meet the stablemaster.
Note to readers (and The Politick):
This is not insta-love, so please don't read it that way. I realized a few days ago that so many things I disliked reading about in other stories I was incorporating into this one (insta-love, romance driven plot, characters who just make the strangest decisions, love triangle, pointless drama) so I'm making a conscious effort to change that, and I want to get it out of the beginning of the story as much as possible when we start rewrites (or when I start rewrites; I know the Politick doesn't like editing, but I love it, so I'll do it for both of us if she wants). Thank you.