Yuri woke up to the sound of music, coming from the small ice village just outside the boundaries of the castle gates.
Glancing out the window, he saw small, white crystals falling from the sky. Snow. Excellent, that was what the prince loved more than anything.
When it snowed, that meant he could go into town and play with the kids. They always seemed to love his special tricks - creating large, intricately decorated flakes of snow, and even managing to build snowmen that looked like real people. It was Yuri's favorite part of the day, when it snowed.
He slowly stood up, climbing out of his bed. He walked over to the mirror and glanced into it, going to fix up his hair. He braided it and put it up in a bun behind his head. Perfect, it was exactly how he loved it and wore it that way often. He changed his clothing, from nightwear to lovely light blue dress clothes lined with crystals and a white, silvery cape that went all the way down to the floor. The outfit certainly matched his features - he had light green-blue eyes, light blond hair, and pale skin. He finished it off with his small crown, and smiled at himself in the mirror.
When he decided he looked presentable enough, he headed down the stairs and into the dining hall, where his parents were both waiting for him. He sat across from them as their servants brought the food out. It was one of Yuri's favorite breakfasts, only adding to his good mood. A wonderful breakfast of muffins, fruits, and other delicious things.
He ate his breakfast in silence, not really seeing the need to speak to his parents, until his mother finally said something.
"Yuri. How did you sleep?" she looked at her son, a gentle and kind look on her face.
The prince looked at the queen and tilted his head a small bit, "Well... I slept alright. I woke up a couple of times, because of my dreams, but-"
"Are you dreaming about that fire kingdom again?" his father interrupted. "Yuri, you know that's not a real place. You read about it in a story book once, and now you're obsessed with it!"
Yuri flinched at the comment from the king. True that he'd been dreaming about this kingdom and what it might look like, but that was only because he was curious. He had never been allowed to leave the kingdom, but he never had a reason to want to. When he'd read in a book that there was a whole other kingdom -just like his, only so different- he knew he absolutely had to go and see it.
"I know, father. I'm curious," he made a face at the king, a scowl that dared his father to make another comment, "I cannot control my dreams. I am only curious about what's out there other than here."
Yuri stared down at his plate of food, beginning to pick at it. His father always did that to him, commented on his dreams. He knew why that was. His father was afraid of him abandoning the kingdom and finding somewhere else he wanted to go. The prince was, honestly, a bit insulted that his father didn't trust him. Oh well.
"If you'll excuse me, I have to go into town and play with the children in the snow."
Yuri stood up and walked away, going out the front door and heading into the village.
The prince sat in the snow, surrounded by all of the snowmen he'd created for the children to play with that day. He allowed the kids to decorate the snowmen themselves, and he thought what they were able to come up with was, as usual, adorable. The sun was beginning to disappear behind the tall, snowcapped mountains. The stars and the full, glowing moon were beginning to come out in the darkening skies and shine over the kingdom, reflecting off of the ice surrounding it.
It was moments such as those that made Yuri truly think about how wonderful his home was. He, of course, had never seen anything beyond that, so he had to love it, no matter what. He did think it was boring, though. Sometimes.
When Yuri got hungry again, he stood up and ventured farther into the village, heading towards a small wooden building that he often went to for food. As soon as he opened the door, he was greeted by an old friend of his, Mila.
"Hello, Yuri. Your usual?" she offered him a warm smile.
He smiled right back at her, "Yes, please. That would be great. I've had a very long day, playing with the kids and all."
Within a couple of moments, Yuri was sitting across from Mila and her girlfriend, Sara. He was eating with the both of them and catching up on recent things that had happened. He was thrilled to find out the news that Mila and Sara had recently gotten engaged as well. Though, he had to admit, he was the smallest bit jealous. He had to get married soon, though, he knew that.
He just wished it could be to someone he found interesting.
Yuri spent the rest of the night catching up with the girls, eating and drinking. They told him about their plans for their lives, and how they did intend on adopting a child very soon. He was delighted to hear this news. It would be one more child for him to play with when they grew up, anyway. He told them about his plans for when he got older, which weren't nearly as interesting as theirs had been.
All he had to do was grow up, become king, get married, have his own children, and die - leaving the kingdom to his son when he passed, assuming he had one. That sounded like no life he wanted to live. He just wanted love, really - no, that was a lie. Truly, deep down in his heart, he wanted adventure. Adventure with someone else, someone fun and interesting. Adventure that meant trouble, adrenaline, excitement, danger, life-threatening experiences.
He could do that as soon as he wanted to. All he had to do was find that person. Find someone just as adventurous as he was.
It seemed as though Mila could read the look on his face. "Yuri? I know what you're thinking about. If you want to leave, I think you should."
The prince's eyes widened, "No! Where am I meant to go? I'm happy here. All I want to do is explore, really. Just a bit. But I don't want to go alone."
Mila and Sara exchanged glances, then the both of them looked at Yuri. "You have such a long life ahead of you, Yuri. Don't worry about all that stuff just yet. Life gets better," Mila spoke. Though she felt that it was kind of ridiculous she had to say "life gets better" to a prince who lived in a castle.
Yuri seemed to relax for a second, "I know. I'm sorry, Mila. I just think too much, you know this. I have to just wait and see what's going to happen."
Soon after that, Sara quickly changed the subject. They moved on to talking about the certain kingdom that Yuri had been dreaming about, since the girls were curious.
With a smile, Yuri took a deep breath, and started to tell the story.
He soon decided that it would be a good idea for him to go back to the castle before his parents got worried about where he was, so he retired back home for the night.
As Yuri walked through the snow, he looked up at the sky. The Northern Lights were above him, as were several constellations that he could make out. The sight made him smile, even though the lights came out every night. He saw them all the time, but ever since he was able to get some things off of his chest with Mila and Sara, he'd been in a good mood.
A single star stood out to him, and he looked directly at it. It was his special star, he made a wish on it every night. Staring at it and taking in the brightness of the beautiful star, he did what he'd done every night since he was a child and made a wish. It was for nothing in particular, just for something new and interesting. Something to change the same routine he had every single day, something to change his life, maybe.
He headed inside and back into the throne room to bid his parents goodnight. His father stopped him on the way out and looked at him, "Yuri, we're having visitors over within the next few days. A king, queen, and their son are coming from another kingdom to discuss diplomatic business. You are to keep their son company during the day. He's about your age, you should not have an issue."
Yuri's face brightened. The news excited him. Foreign people, from another kingdom? He was thrilled to know that he would get to meet these people. He said another goodnight to his parents and practically skipped back to his room, changing into his night clothes.
He climbed into bed and looked out the thin glass window, staring directly at the full, shining moon. A million thoughts were running through his head, and he couldn't seem to calm them down. So, the wish he'd made upon his star did come true after all. He was amazed, and it was almost difficult for him to go to sleep that night. Eventually, though, he started to drift off. Finally.
More dreams about the kingdom of fire came to him that night, more vivid and realistic than they'd ever been.