Chapter 20- Bustling People
I stared, breathless, over the balcony at all the people that were laughing and dancing along the streets of the city. It’s like it’s had a massive make-over. It looks completely different from yesterday.
All this in thanks for me? No way.
“You love looking out the window, don’t you?” I jumped at the sudden voice and turned to see Vince standing there dressed nothing like a King. In fact, he looked like a normal civilian- If it weren’t for his handsome face.
“I do,” I honestly answered and a small smirk graced his lips.
“Everyone’s dressed really fancy today... but why are you... dressed like that?” That came out sounding ruder than intended.
“You’re one to talk,” He narrowed his gaze at me then nudged his chin at the outfit that I was wearing. It was a simple pink blouse with a long white skirt that reached just under my knees and my hair was left open.
“I wanted to go out... If it’s okay with you,” I mumbled.
He crossed his arms and leaned against the doorframe as I awkwardly fidgeted with the sleeves of my blouse.
“Then... do you want to come with me?” I shot my head up at his question and he chuckled, pushing off the wall to come and stand in front of me.
I had woken up early today but everyone else was already awake and busy preparing for the day so I kept to myself and decided to do some last-minute reading in the library where I ended up getting distracted by the view.
“Come with you? Where?” I asked.
“Out... to the streets. I like going out undercover every once in a while,” He smiled, looking over the balcony to where I had been looking a few second ago.
“But... what can you see? All I see is the workers setting up your statue for the dance in the evening,” I couldn’t help but blush when he turned to look at me.
“My eyes...” I started.
“Your eyes?” He echoed.
“If I want, I can look far away,” I expanded and he hummed.
“Won’t anyone recognise you if you go like that though?” It was my turn to ask him a question this time. Vince leaned against the marble railing and pulled the hood of his cloak up which ended up covering a lot of his face.
“I have this and since it’s a busy day, people won’t be paying much attention anyway,” I nodded along then spun around and walked back into the library to put my own maroon cloak on.
“Let’s go,” I tilted my head up to smile at him.
He stayed leaning against the railing for a few seconds, not replying and simply staring at me with an unknown look in his eyes but thankfully, he snapped out of it quickly and nodded.
“Y-Yeah. Let’s go,” Then we headed out, ducking past as many people as we could and succeeded in doing so.
Around an hour later, we were walking through the bustling brick roads, stalls set up on either side of the road with people dressed up nicely walking past us, smiles gracing their faces.
“It’s so pretty,” I sighed, walking ahead of Vince by a few steps but stopped when I felt him grab on to my wrist.
“Is everything okay?” I asked, looking at our hands before turning my head up to look him in the eyes and he coughed awkwardly before moving his hands from around my wrist to hold my hand properly. I couldn’t help but jump at the contact but didn’t do anything.
“Or you’ll get lost,” He elaborated and now I understood.
“Right,” I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and continued walking, this time, hand-in-hand. It wasn’t weird, it was nice- for some reason.
“Everythings changed so much,” I mumbled.
“What was Lysandra like during Atticus’s time?” Vince asked.
“For starters, there weren’t this many people,” I chuckled. “Lazarus was half the size of what it currently is, it wasn’t this advanced either but the colour is all still here,” I smiled.
“Colour?” He sounded confused.
“Yes, Lazarus is a colourful country both physically and mentally. Thanks to you and the rulers before you, Atticus’s dream has come true and this country is one filled with diversity and equality amongst everyone,”
“I’m not trying to make Atticus’s dream come true,” He sounded offended.
“I know,” I nodded in understanding and he didn’t say anything but we both knew that what I said was true. From the people to the buildings, everything was colourful. There were no two same coloured houses beside each other and people of all colours mingled about.
“Do you want anything?” Vince leaned down to whisper in my ear since it was so noisy but the feel of his breath on my ear left goosebumps in its wake.
“No,” I quickly answered, moving my face away from his to hide the bright blush on my face and tucked my hair behind my ear again.
“Really?” He seemed surprised.
“Why? Am I supposed to want something?” I raised a confused brow and he shook his head, staring down at me for a few lingering seconds but snapped his gaze up when we heard a shout above the crowd.
“You there! Come look at this, it’ll suit you both perfectly!” The old lady behind the wooden stall that protruded out of a small building waved us over.
I pointed at myself, unsure if it was me and Vince she was talking to and her nod answered the question so I pulled Vince along with me until we were at her stall.
“What’s this?” I asked, looking over all the objects that were laid out in front of her with a few tags stuck to them that told us the prices.
“They’re couple-rings. It’s the trend between young lovers these days- A promise that you’ll stay together forever,” I choked at her words with a laugh and waved my hand about, denying her statement.
“I’ve not got a lover,” I laughed at her funny words but she didn’t seem to believe me and stared down at mine and Vince’s entangled hands with a pointed look.
“Ah, this is so we don’t get lost in the crowd,” I explained.
Vince tugged my hand back and I stepped back beside him as he leaned down to whisper in my ear once more.
“You don’t need to explain yourself to strangers, what they think of you doesn’t matter,” I tried not to react to his words and twisted my neck to meet the deep grey hues of his eyes which were hidden under the cloak and left for only me to see.
“O-Okay,” I nervously nodded, biting my lip then turned back to look at the old lady behind the stall who hadn’t moved her gaze away from me.
“Say... You look awfully familiar, miss. Have I seen you somewhere before?” She asked.
“Not that I know of,” I shook my head.
“Hmm... Ah! I know!” She suddenly shouted and I jumped while she pointed at me with an almost fearful look in her eyes.
“You look exactly like her!”
“Like who?” I leaned forward a bit, curious to know.
“You know,” She wiggled her eyebrows but no, I didn’t know.
“Eleanora the mage,”
“The very lady we’re celebrating today! My goodness, the resemblance is uncanny. You are truly a very beautiful lady. Your husband is going to be a lucky man and your children will be true beauties,” I blushed at her words and nodded in thanks, not knowing how else to react.
“I simply can’t look away!” She gushed and I felt my blush only deepen.
“Darling! Look, don’t you think she’s simply beautiful. We should introduce our grandson Phillip to her, they’ll look perfect together,” She pulled her husband over and the man chuckled, nodding in approval and only making me feel even more uncomfortable.
I winced when I felt Vince’s hand tightly grip onto mine and turned my head to look up at him only to freeze.
He truly looked like a raging beast.
His eyes were practically glowing silver with anger and thanks to the large hood, neither the gushing lady nor her husband noticed but that was also a problem since they kept talking and waving more people over.
This didn’t look like it was going to end nicely.
“She looks exactly like Eleanora,” An unfamiliar lady leaned down too close for comfort to observe me. “Look at this flawless skin and- Oh my! Her eyes are like the sun, goodness me. Are you sure you’re not Eleanora!?” I awkwardly chuckled, leaning away from the lady.
“You’ve got the perfect childbearing hips!”
“How would you like to meet my son?”
“Um...” I didn’t like this.
I didn’t want any of these people approaching me simply because of my looks. Ugh, why did my parents have to be so good looking?
“That’s enough!” The sudden angry and booming voice silenced everyone in the area, including me and we all slowly turned our heads to look at Vince.
What happened to being discreet?
“We’re going back to the palace. Now!” I quickly nodded my head and followed behind him as he dragged us out of the crowd but in doing so, his hood caught onto something and fell off to reveal his face for all to see.
Oh... Dear... This is bad.