The gates squealed open and the sound echoed across frozen ponds next to the bridge they walked across. She thought that the underwater tunnel must be part of the ponds in some way. An ice drop formed on the tip of her nose, and she found herself staring at it. Her closest level of mind felt capable of processing only the simplest of things, like a child, but the eloquent and educated adult inside her was pacing around in a dark chamber wondering what the repercussions of her actions would be.
He might kill her, the adult her realised calmly. The castle doors opened heavily and he carried her inside. From her suspended position on his shoulder, she saw a soft light wash over the white marble floor. It was so much warmer inside than outside that she found herself closing her eyes and delighting in that one momentary pleasure.
They came into the study, where the fire was crackling in the hearth. Her heart beat faster, but her muscles and everything else was still frozen. If he threw her into the fire right now, there wouldn’t be a thing she could do to save herself. He came to a standstill in front of the fire and slid her from his shoulder, and with surprising gentleness put her down in a huge gothic chair. She looked up at him, but he wouldn’t look at her. He threw a thick blanket over her and drew the chair closer to the fire and left.
She was confused at his abrupt departure. She was expecting harsh consequences to follow her actions. For what felt like hours, she listened for any sounds, but there were none.