It's been 1,095 days since I lost my home. 26,280 hours since I lost my family. 1,576,800 minutes since I lost the person I was for 14 years. 3 years since I lost absolutely everything.
"How many times do I have to tell you," A petite girl, wearing a maid outfit, brushed the dark green hair of a sleepy younger girl. "You must act like a noble, my lady." The sleepy girl let out a yawn, rubbing her eyes. "I know, Anna. But, people are weird. There's something about them that I don't like." The girl replied, letting Anna take off her pajamas.
Anna brought out a light blue dress from the closet, along with a white lace corset. "My lady, you must understand the position that Master and Mistress have managed to obtain. People will always be jealous of what they can't have, you must not let that affect you." The girl sighed, standing in front of the mirror.
"Anna, how many times have I told you to call me Aristia?"
Anna walked behind Aristia, her hand holding the lace corset before she wrapped it around. "My Lady, I can not show such disrespect to the Whelmorn family."
She grabbed the two strings located at the back, pulling them back, allowing the corset to tighten around Aristia's figure. Aristia let out a slight yelp, holding onto the sides of the mirror.
"Don't forget you are expected to represent the Whelmorn family at the Royal Tea Party. Have you been diligently studying your lessons?"
Anna threw the dress over Aristia's frame, allowing the thin fabric drape over her small body.
"How could I not, if I even missed one lesson, you would lecture me for hours." Aristia let out a giggle, her hands wandering towards her waist.
"Of course I would, you are the daughter of the most prestigious family, second only to the Royal Family." Anna wrapped a white ribbon around Aristia's waist, accentuating her slim figure.
"Now, the carriage is expected to come soon, so gather your things and wait in the study room. I shall escort you when the time comes." Anna placed the finishing touches on Aristia's dress before bowing once, leaving the room.
Aristia's eyes wander to the girl in the mirror, staring back at her. Her hands wander up to her hair, moving down to outline her facial features. She forced a small smile before her face contorted back to her usual scowl.
"Second only to the Royal Family." She mumbled, taking a step back. "I wish that was not the case."
She took one last look before she exited her room, walking towards the study.
"I'm so grateful that you were able to make it, Aristia." I heard a soft voice behind me say, as I was stepping off the carriage. I turned around, looking at the Royal Princess.
"Greetings to the Royal Princess of The Stars." I began, grabbing the sides of my dress, bowing my head down slightly.
"Please rise." Her voice scrambled out.
"Thank you, Your Highness." The Princess held out her hand, a smile on her face. "Would you come with me to the tea party?" I brushed my hand across hers, walking beside her as we made our way to the gardens.
"Aristia, I overheard my father talking about Duke Whelmorn's victories in the war."
Forced conversations, my favorite pastime.
"I'm honored that my father was able to attract His Royal Majesty's attention after so long." The Royal Princess stopped walking, causing me to stumble over the sudden halt.
"Do you think I will be able to meet him?"
Does the Royal Princess have a desire to meet my father?
"Of course, there is no wish of the Royal Princess that can not be fulfilled."
The Princess gave a huge grin, her violet eyes sparkling like gems, a trait that all the members of the Royal Family possessed: purple eyes that resemble amethyst.
"If I may ask, what is the reason for your desire to meet my father?" I managed to let out; the door to the garden becoming closer with each step.
"Duke Whelmorn is acknowledged to be a war hero, the reason why our country, Oranion, was able to be victorious at a 2-year standstill. Because of his victories, he was able to obtain the title of Duke on behalf of The King, and was given power over the military within Oranion." The Princess recited, looking dead set at my eyes.
"Power over the military is something that is not given away easily. I would like to talk to the person who was able to obtain something so wonderful from my father." Her voice shifted lower, and I could have sworn her eyes darkened as she looked down.
The Princess softened her expression before looking back at me, the gem-like eyes returning to the vibrant purple. She let out a smile before I felt the back of my neck tingle.
"Someone who catches the eye of The King is someone I would like to talk to since The King is known to be cold-hearted. It is also my duty as Princess of Oranion to interact with the people of my country, Duke Whelmorn included."
The sensation on my neck was still there, I brushed my hand against the nape of my neck, before opening the door.
"Well, I hope to await your visit to my estate soon." I smiled at the Princess, as she walked through the doors.
"I hope it comes sooner than later." The Princess mumbled, walking the stoned path of the garden, where multiple guests were patiently waiting.
The hairs on my neck stood up, the feeling of anxiousness showering my body, and I couldn't help but be wary. This feeling always shows up when I talk with the Princess and her friends. It gives me the bad feeling I was telling Anna about.
"Aristia, I'm so glad that you accepted the invitation to join this tea party." I heard the girl next to me say before she took a sip of her tea.
"How could I decline an invitation from the Royal Princess herself?" I let out a forced smile before taking a bite of the scone in front of me.
What was her name again? I think it was...
"However, a invitation from the Thoriona Family was unable to get you to attend my coming of age ceremony."
Ah, I remember, Rosalina Thoriona, the daughter of Marquess Thoriana, and the younger sister of Rhyden Thoriona, a member of the Royal Court. She is well-known to hold grudges.
I heard a soft scoff in the direction of the Royal Princess before I looked at the girl next to me.
The uneasiness feeling returned once again, and I could only brush my hand to my neck to ease my anxiousness.
Why am I feeling so troubled today? It normally would've passed by now.
"I was unable to attend your coming of age ceremony because it collided with the return of my father from the war. After being gone for 4 years, fighting in a distant country, I wanted to let my father come home to a familiar face." I let out a small smile. "However, I did recall that my gift was graciously received."
I lowered my gaze to the ruby necklace, the one where the gem complimented Rosalina's soft red hair well.
"I'm glad that it was to your liking, even to this day." I showed her a smile, taking a small sip of tea, before focusing my attention on the flowers.
Rosalina's face fell, as she placed her cup on the table. Her hand began to shake, as I felt a menacing glare from the direction of the Royal Princess.
Ah, I just want this to end so I can go home.
"Aristia," I looked towards the direction of the girl sitting next to the Royal Princess.
If I recall, she should be her best friend, Quincia Radline.
"My father was curious about how Duchess Whelmorn was doing."
"My mother has been doing well. She has been busy training the Royal Knights on behalf of her father." I simply recited, taking another bite out of the scone.
Quincia took out her handkerchief, wiping the corners of her mouth before she continued talking.
"My father would like to set some time aside to have lunch with her." I felt the scone catch my throat before I cough slightly into the napkin.
"I'm sorry?" I simply let out.
That is not something that should be done between a married man and a woman.
"My father has been taking care of Duchess Whelmorn from before she gained the title of Duchess, he wanted to catch up with her through a meal." I saw the Princess hide her smile with her handkerchief as I caught onto what they were doing.
They're trying to bring down the Whelmorn name through misunderstandings and rumors. This was probably why I have been feeling so uncomfortable ever since I got here.
"As much as my mother would love to catch up with Marquess Radline, I do not feel it is appropriate to place my mother in an uncomfortable position with a hasty decision made by her daughter." I gave a smile towards the Princess and Quincia.
"I will talk to my mother about your father's desire to meet with my mother, and if she has time, I will personally write a letter to deliver her answer." I set down my plate, pushing the chair back slightly, before standing up.
I combed out the creases on the skirt of my dress before fixing the ribbon around my waist. "I have a prior engagement, so I hope that you will excuse my rudeness, Your Highness."
I saw the Princess's eyes widened slightly before it sharpened into a glare.
For a split second, it seemed like she was annoyed. A smile soon grazed on her face, before she stood up from her place, causing Quincia and Rosalina to follow suit.
"Of course, thank you for taking time out of your day to join me for this tea party."
That fake smile bugs me for some reason. It makes my skin crawl.
"Please consider the thing we were talking about before, I shall wait for the good news."
Her eyes closed, as she held out her hand, a big smile taking up half of her face.
It's so forced. Anyone can see it.
"Farewell, Royal Princess of the Stars." I recited the phrase, before making my way towards the double doors. I can't wait to go home.
"Eirae, what do you suppose we do? She didn't take the bait." Quincia sat down in her chair, looking at her friend beside her.
"It is well-known that the daughter of the Whelmorn family has a nasty personality, which is why she does not show up to social gatherings, so that should've set her off," Rosalina mumbled out, taking another sip of her tea.
"My dears, all will come in due time." Eirae's voice deepened, her eyes shifted to the doors that Aristia left.
"As of right now, we shall wait for her reply to my request." Eirae's smile contorted into a smirk.
"Let's see what your next move is, Aristia Whelmorn."