I’m progressing! It only took me a whole month, but I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere! I even drew a picture this time! As I previously mentioned, I will probably continue past the ‘deadline’, and continue writing the story. If you have not read the first three parts, I have left links in the statistics for you to catch up so maybe things might make a bit more sense that way. Please feel free to give me some feedback! As long as it is constructive criticism and not senseless bashing for bashing’s sake, I am happy to listen to any advice you have to offer!
“Now, now, ladies, Prince Kurt will greet all of you one at a time. Please be patient.” Perfect! This was my chance! All the girls scattered away as an Elven gentleman in a fancy suit shooed them off. I started to sneak in closer, though I tripped over this darned ball gown on my way over. I caught myself before I could hit the floor, but still, hope no one saw that.
As I got closer I got a good glimpse at the prince. He was about average height, dirty blonde hair, fair skin, blue eyes– not too bad looking. Not that it really mattered, but hey, he wasn’t ugly so that’s a plus. He was dressed in this deep purple getup with a cape and crown and everything. I’m betting that was his casual clothes.
Alright, now that these girls were gone it was time to make my move. I continued to move in on prince charming over there when suddenly the Elf-man introduced him to another woman! Behind him, a line was starting to form! A huge one! I was never going to get my chance with him! He’ll have gone and married, had two kids, and a grandkid by the time I would have the opportunity to speak with him! Unless… I did it from the sidelines. I snuck in closer, but not by much. Just so I was in a good range of sight.
The girl he was currently with was rambling on about something, and I could tell by the prince’s eyes that he was not interested. Good sign for me. I could tell because it was the same face I made whenever clowns like Blondie the other day try and impress me. I should be able to get his attention somehow, then I could show off my new flirting skills. I thought for a moment, then suddenly burst out laughing. That actually caught a lot of peoples attention, which was kind of embarrassing, but it also caught the princes. Our eyes locked, and I went for it. The shy wave and giggle. He blinked twice, then returned his gaze to the woman in front of him. Ugh! It didn’t work! I’m not giving up, though, it’s not over until the fat lady sings!
I moved in closer, making sure the heeled shoes I wore clicked loudly as I did so. I didn’t move directly towards him so I wouldn’t seem so obvious, but close enough that he might turn around again. He heard me approaching, and turned his eyes towards me once more, though still facing the yapping broad. I swished my dress a little, then giggled again. I even through in a wink. Man, I’m classy– or so I thought, ‘til that little palace brat rolled his eyes and looked back to the other girl. What nerve! This wasn’t over, I WILL get my castle life if it’s the last thing I do!
I was enraged, I actually started stomping over towards him and as he looked my way once again, I tripped. This stupid, horrible, pink mess of a dress tripped me again! It was probably only a few seconds, but it felt so long as it happened. I crashed face first into the prince, toppling him over as well. It’s over. It’s all over.
I quickly jolted up, and offered out my hand to help, apologizing over and over. The Elf-man helped him up instead, and the prince looked towards me with a rather stoic look. With my luck, I’m not only getting kicked out of the party but the kingdom. He opened his mouth to speak, and I cringed, waiting to hear screams and shouts, but he calmly said,
“May I speak with you a moment?”
“Wha… What?” I said stupefied.
“Come with me, I need to speak with you.” He said again, “Nieven, I will return momentarily.”
“Yes, Sire.” The Elf said with a bow. The prince began to walk off and motioned with his hand for me to follow. Oh, crap.
I followed behind him to a more secluded area underneath a columned balcony. Darn, this place was fancy, I wanted to live here so badly, but I’ve gone and done it now.
“What do you want?” He murmured.
“You were clearly trying to catch my attention. Now you have it, what do you want?” He crossed his arms and glared at me fiercely. As if the pressure wasn’t awful enough before, this was really getting intense. I had to keep it together, though!
“What are you talking about? You turned my way, and I just responded politely.”
“Politely? That’s what you’re calling it?”
“Why, yes. I thought I was being rather sweet, but I do apologize if I seemed unruly.” I lied. I stood my ground as he stared at me in silence. If there’s one thing I learned from performing is that confidence was key.
“…You’re a good liar, I’ll give you that.” He huffed.
“Lying? Why I would never do that! Especially in your company, my prince!”
“You can keep going on, but I’m just going to cut to the chase. What is it you want? Money? Jewelry?” He knew! I don’t know how, but he knew! Has this happened before? It really was the end. I was so stupid to think that I could actually pull this off. I could feel my face tingling, turning red all over. There was no point in keeping up the charade. Guess this is where I give up. The fat lady had sung, and she hit a flat note.
“Alright, alright. I’m done.” I proclaimed, raising my hands up in front of me, “I’ll just let myself out. No need to get the royal guards…” I turned around to let myself out when suddenly I felt a hand grab my shoulder. I gasped in fright, not expecting this, but turned back to face the prince again.
“No need for that. You’re exactly the woman I’m looking for.” He proclaimed. I probably looked so dumbfounded when I heard him say this. I tried to respond, but all I could mutter was,
“Huh? But… Really? What? I don’t… What?”
“Look,” He said, leaning in to explain himself, “I’m not particularly fond of this whole ‘marriage’ thing, but it’s been a tradition for the royal family to marry at the age of twenty-one, so there’s no getting out of this; believe me, I’ve tried. I can tell that you’re the type of girl who just wants all the royal benefits, am I wrong?” He asked. I shrugged at first, but then I just shook my head honestly.
“So here’s my proposition; You and I get married and put on an act for the people and my family, but behind the scenes, you and I can go about our lives freely as we did before, plus you getting the profit of living in the castle as a princess. No romance, no complicated emotional nonsense, as little contact as possible. Sound reasonable?” It took me a moment to process all of this, but once I did, all I could say was,
“That sounds perfect!” I laughed, this was too good to be true! Having a husband in high places, but I hardly had to see and got to spend his fortune as I pleased? It’s every girl’s dream! At least, I assume it would be, and if it’s not, it should be! This sounds great!
“Wonderful.” He replied with a grin, “So we have a deal then?”
“Wait–” I started. He gave me a perplexed look.
“I have… A brother and a sister. We’re not from this country, so they’ll need somewhere to stay too. I’ll take your deal so long as they can live here too.”
“I’m sure we can find a house for them to stay in on the island.”
“No, here. In the castle. With me.” This whole plan wouldn’t be worth it if the two people I loved most in the world weren’t here enjoying the high life with me. It was a gutsy move, but I think I had the upper hand. He sighed,
“… Alright. I could probably pull some strings, but just the two and that’s it. It’s irksome enough having to share a castle one more person, let alone three.”
“Don’t you worry your pretty little head off, we’ll be out of your hair and out and about. You’ve got yourself a deal.” I stuck out my hand towards him. He seemed a little taken off guard by this at first, but then smiled slyly and shook my hand in return.
“They don’t know I’m doing this, so you have to stay quiet about it to them too, though.”
“Very well then. Pleasure doing business with you, Lady…”
“Maerwynn.” I replied.
“So tell me, Lady Maerwynn, can you dance?”
“I can… Well.”
“Good.” He took my hand and placed it on his arm, “Follow my lead.” I nodded and walked with him back to where the Elf steward was.
“Welcome back, Prince Kurt. You have many other bachelorettes who are waiting to meet you tonight.” He informed. Kurt waved his hand and shook his head with a seemingly sincere smile.
“I don’t think that will be necessary, Nievan. I just had a lovely chat with Lady Maerwynn here, and I think I would like to share a dance with her.” He sounded so genuine compared to the snarky tone he had before. I guess he was just as good as covering up his true feelings as I was– heck, maybe even more so. Nievan smiled and nodded his head.
“Of course, Sire.” He said, then he turned to me and bowed, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance this fine evening, Milady.” I was a little thrown off by this, but I curtseyed in return.
“I shall clear the dance floor for you, please give me but a moment.” Nieven informed. He went ahead of us and started creating an open area amongst the sea of people. I could overhear a few upset girls who were whining about how they wanted to meet the prince. I felt a little bad at first, but then again, he probably wouldn’t have given them a second glance. Maybe I saved them from a disappointment? No, I definitely did. The prince turned towards me and gestured towards the now cleared dance floor.
“Shall we?” He proposed. I simply nodded yes, not knowing if I was really supposed to answer aloud. He led me out onto the cleared courtyard, everyone standing around us, staring. Good thing I was used to this kind of thing, or I’d be pretty freaked out right now. I had never danced with a man before, but it wasn’t too hard to catch on. It was actually kind of fun too! Not to mention how ecstatic I was about my plan coming through! As we moved back and forth to the music, thoughts flooded my head about my new castle life. All the butlers and maids that I’d have at my command, all the money I would have to spend at my disposal at any given time, all the delicious food hand prepared by professional chefs every day– For once in my life I was finally getting everything I’ve ever wanted!
“What are you smiling about? You’re not falling for me already, are you?” The Prince sarcastically remarked.
“I was just thinking of whether I’d like a room facing the town or the ocean more, and then I thought, why not both?” I replied. He gave a short, dry laugh as he spun me underneath his arm. We continued to dance until the music came to a stop. The crowd cheered and applauded as our dance came to a conclusion. That was when Nievan came back.
“Sire, the king and queen would like to speak with you for a moment.” He announced. Prince Kurt nodded, then looked my way.
“I’ll be back in but a moment, my dear.” He said.
“I’ll be counting each second until you return!” I replied. When Nievan had faced the opposite way towards their destination, Kurt shot me an ‘are you serious’ look. Too much ham, I guess? I shrugged a little, but played it off as nothing. When the prince went to follow his steward, both Daniel and Flora came rushing up towards me.
“Maerwynn, what– What was that?” Daniel panicked.
“…Um… True love?” I answered.
“Do you know who that was? That was the prince!” Flora cried.
“Yes, I’m aware.”
“Why would you dance with him? You know what this party is! What if he wants to marry you now? You can’t settle down, we have places to go! People to see!” She squealed.
“I know but… sometimes things change.”
“Maerwynn, what are you saying?” Daniel asked.
“Well… The prince has already proposed and… I accepted.” I stated.
“What!?” The two simultaneously yelped.
“Why? Why would you do that? You just met him! This isn’t like you to do something so– Irresponsible!?” Daniel scolded.
“Why did you dance with a girl tonight?”
“Because you made me!”
“And did you enjoy yourself?”
“Yes, but it didn’t end with me proposing to her!”
“Well, you know what?” I huffed, “Maybe I… Maybe I always wanted this! Maybe I’ve secretly always dreamed of coming to a ball like this and being whisked away by the man of my dreams like in a fairytale, did you ever think of that?” Ugh, I can’t believe I just said that. It actually pained me to say it. I did sound convincing, though, but I think that made it all the more frightening.
“Fairytales are fairytales for a reason, Maerwynn.” He remarked.
“Look, this is my life and my decision. Believe me, I think I’m making the right choice, and not just for me, but for you guys too. I didn’t leave you out of this!”
“What do you mean?”
“I asked Prince Kurt, and he said you two could live at the castle with us! Just like a family!”
“W-what?” Flora stuttered.
“You two will live with us! Isn’t that great?”
“But… But what about our travels? That all just ends here? What about our performances?”
“We can still do that! It’s not like we’ll be locked inside! We can go to the town plaza whenever we’d feel up to it!”
“It’s not the same!”
“It doesn’t have to be! We don’t have to travel!” I shouted, “We could just… be together. That’s all that really matters, doesn’t it?”
“Well… I… Yes, but…” Flora became very quiet. I took her hands and looked her in the eyes.
“Flora, just… Give this a chance. Please.”
“… I… I suppose…” She didn’t look at me when she said this. I knew she was upset, but I know that once she see’s what the castle has to offer, she’d change her mind.
“This is insane!” Daniel hollered.
“Daniel, don’t you trust me?” I asked.
“I do! I mean, I did… I mean… What are you doing? I just… Can’t understand.”
“Then don’t understand. Just… stay with me. Please.” There was dead silence between the three of us. Before he could say another word, the prince returned.
“Good evening,” He said with a bow, “I take it you’re Lady Maerwynn’s siblings?”
“That’s… correct.” Daniel slowly replied.
“Pleasure to meet you. I suppose she already told you about your new living arrangements?”
“Perfect. You will be able to move in tomorrow, along with my beautiful bride-to-be.”
“Oh, you!” I giggled. Oh man, it was tough to keep up this sweetness, but I’ll get used to it.
“My parents would like to meet you now if you wouldn’t mind, my dear.”
“Oh, yeah! Sure! I mean, I would love to.” I answered, “Be right back, guys.” Prince Kurt led me away from the two, who both still seemed in shock. They’ll just have to trust me. I know I’m doing the right thing for us.
“Alright, so let me do most of the talking, but if you have to say anything, make sure you’re as formal as possible. I don’t know how my mother would react if she knew I was marrying a vagabond.”
“Don’t sweat it, Princey, you want a princess, you’ve got a princess.”