Chapter 8: Return
HEAVY footsteps running on the soil ground echoed in the silence of the night. Knights in heavy armour were marching toward the front gates of the castle while their captains barked orders to capture the enemy.
They just received news of an unknown intruder who dared to step into their land without permission. They knew nothing of the intruder, except that it was a female and most likely, to be a witch.
Loud heavy breathing echoed throughout the Barley fields on hilltops, as a silhouette figure ran across the fields while being pursued by the knights had the nerves to accuse her of being a witch for suddenly showed up out of nowhere at the garden of a huge castle.
The young woman forced herself to push forward, despite the blasters on her feet. She kept on running through the fields and losing the knights in the process until she came across an old barn.
With heavy breathing, the young woman dashed madly into the barn. Using every inch of her strengths and muscles of her body, she pushes the thick and heavily barn doors, before locking it.
Panting rapidly, the woman slide against the door and got down on her knees. Hands clapped over her mouth, she tried to control the sound of her own breathing as the sound of footsteps getting louder until finally, it stopped in front of the doors.
“Damn witch. We lose her. Check around the surrounding areas! She can’t be far away!”
“Understood, sir! Shall we check inside this barn too?”
The captain tried to open the doors. “It’s locked. Has this barn been locked for awhile?” He tried to barge the doors but it appeared to be unfruitful.
“Forget it. Witch or not, it’s impossible for a female to be capable of pulling these heavy doors on her own.”
Soon after the knights left, the young woman let out a soft longing sigh she’d been keeping inside.
Anya Romans was terrified. One moment she was standing in the comfort of her own bedroom and the next, she found herself suddenly out of nowhere in a middle of a garden, with a man in a heavy armour getup, pointed a spear at her and accused of her being an intruder — a witch!
Anya tried to be reasonable and told him that she most definitely not a witch, but he refused to listen to anything she has to say and began to chase her everywhere. Anya had no choice but to fight back and on defence when he started thrusting the spear at her.
After knocking the man down off-guardedly, Anya made a mad dash toward the castle’s exit, all the while, escaping from being caught by the reinforcement units all the way to the Barley fields.
Anya looked at her blood-stained and bruised knuckles. Escaping the castle wasn’t easy and she’d barely made it out alive if it wasn’t for her quick reflexes. It also helped that she learned martial arts to defend herself against fifty men.
Josh must’ve been proud. I did some serious arse-kicking back then.
Looking around for the first time, it finally occurs to Anya the place that she’s currently in, was nowhere from her world. Heartbeat fast at the realisation, Anya couldn’t think nor breathe when she suddenly vomited on the ground.
“Oh, God!” Anya said, in between vomiting. “Oh God, why?”
After emptying her stomach, Anya laid on the ground, feeling weak as a kitten. Clenching to her now cramped stomach, she inhaled deeply and exhale a few times to try her best to calm down.
“This is just a dream. This can’t be happening...”
Anya shook her head, hot tears running down her cheeks.
“What am I suppose to do now?”
DUKE sighed for the tenth times. His tummy’s full from the delicious dinner he had made earlier, even Aidan had praised him for it. His bed’s warm and cosy, yet his mind refused to stay still.
The Excalibell Prince tossed and turned in his bed for the hundredth times until eventually Duke decided to give up on sleep and got up from his bed.
Dressed in a robe, he unlocked to the balcony of his chamber and stepped outside into the cool air.
Inhaled deeply, while Duke missed the sight of green and freshly cleaned air in the morning that Excalibell has to offer, he had to admit, being in this world wasn’t bad as he’d initially thought. There were things that he already knew and things that he still needs to learn in order to live like a ‘commoner’ in this world.
As he looked at the sight that overlooked the city, Duke sighed softly.
Has it been really four months since he arrived? Duke felt a deep sensation overwhelmed him. Within those four months, he’d learnt a lot about this world more than he’d ever cared about whenever Marian tried to teach him something.
Thinking about his beloved, Duke smiled softly. He briefly remembered once Marian tried to teach him something that involved ‘modern technologies’ and how he always tossed it away and insisted that he didn’t need to know about them since she would be living with him at the castle anyway when they get married.
Boy, he’d never seen her so pissed off at him for saying that. As sweet and lovable Marian was, her temper was something that even he wouldn’t dare to mess around with.
Duke smiled widen after his fiancee had yelled at him for not putting efforts into understanding her custom and culture, to make up for his mistake, he’d showed how much he truly cared by singing her National’s Anthem — flawlessly. He had secretly practised in order to impress her.
Duke sighed in contentment at the memory. His face fell as the next words came out of his mouth.
“Miss Anya sure has a way to make things done. But I’m afraid when the time comes, no even her strong-will would be enough to protect herself nor her family from the Challengers.”
Duke recalled the words he had said to her earlier.
“I promise I won’t let any of those Challengers touch even a hair on you. So rest assure and please don’t worry.”
He meant every word he’d said. After all, there was no need to drag an innocent outsider into his kingdom’s affairs. When Duke had told Anya about the Challengers the other day as a mean of precaution, he’d neglected to say they weren’t only after the Gran Mago title.
The Kingdom’s future would be at stake as well as whoever bore the title Gran Mago would be chosen to serve and protect the Kingdom’s future King.
“It’s enough that she caught Zennon’s interest. Miss Anya should not be dragged into this matter any further. That’s the main reason why we’d moved from her household: to protect her and her family.”
With another sigh escaped from his lips, Duke was about to return to his bed when someone knocked on his door.
The door opened shortly after, revealed Aidan, surprising still in his uniform.
“You’re still awake at this late hour, Your Highness?”
“I couldn’t get to sleep no matter how hard I tried. Is something’s wrong?”
Aidan nodded. “Your father wishes to speak with you. Right away, Your Highness.”
King Edwin waited patiently for his son to show up on the big screen before him. The big dark circles under his eyes was a proof that he had been lacked sleep for many nights.
How could this be? He pondered in silence while scratching his head. Two of the Royal Advisors behind him were already out of their wits on what to do.
“Father!” Duke’s cheerful face immediately fell upon looking at his father’s worn-out appearance.
“You wished to speak with me, Father?”
The King looked straight into his boy’s eyes. “Yes. I’ll get straight to the point, my boy. There is an intruder lurking somewhere within the castle’s gates. One of the Knights who spotted her claimed that she is most likely to be a witch.”
The king nodded. “She came out of nowhere, surrounded in bright light. One of our guards who was taking a short break found her in the castle’s garden. She’d managed to disarm the guard and ran out of the castle into the barley fields but disappeared afterwards. Which is why I need Aidan to be here and help out.”
“While I understand completely and with all due respect, Father, I fear, it is nearly impossible for us to come back home at the moment, even with Aidan’s—”
The King interrupted. “My boy, I need you to overlook this matter for me. I have important things that require my attention. Thus, I am putting the ‘Probationary Period’ to end.”
“What?” Duke stared stunningly at his father, not understanding any of his words.
Paying no attention to the Prince’s lack of understanding, King Edwin turned his attention to the Aidan.
“Aidan, I’ve already given the orders to Laxus to open the magic portal so that you two may enter whenever you are ready. I’ll leave the rest of the explanation to you.”
“Understood, Your Majesty,” Aidan kept his head bowed.
“Do not keep me waiting.”
With those last words, the widescreen turned blank.
A minute passed in deafened silence before Duke’s voice broke the silence.
Duke turned his heels, he was surprised to find Aidan kneeling on one knee on the floor with head lowered.
“Please forgive me, Your Highness. It wasn’t my intention to deceive you at the very least, as I am merely following the strict orders from King Edwin, to ensure that I keep this as a secret from you.”
Duke crossed his arms on the chest, waiting for the butler to explained further.
“It wasn’t a lie when I’d told you that it’s nearly impossible for us to return home because we were clearly trapped without a way out. Even my magic Though, ever since coming into this world, I’ve been gathering materials to create a device that would enable for us to communicate with the people in Excalibell,” Aidan showed a small communication device in his hand to the Prince.
“Opening a portal requires a link from the two said places. You need to have something from each world as a link to open the portal,” Duke nodded. “Then, what happened?”
“While it is impossible for me to open a portal from here, it certainly does not limit the usage of my abilities. Which is why I was able to create a link from here to there through a simple combination of modern technology and a bit of magic. We are able to contact with His Majesty simply by using this method, Prince. Do you understand so far?”
Duke nodded. “Yes. Continue, please.”
“When the first time I was able to make a connection to the Kingdom, and after reporting to King Edwin about what had happened so far, the King had been furious, as you could possibly imagine, especially with you.”
Duke shuddered. He knew his father well — too well, in fact. As good and kind-heart King that he was, when enraged, he became a totally different person.
“Initially, His Majesty wanted me to bring you home as soon as possible. However, something else made him changed his mind.”
“What is it?” Duke felt the colour on his face drained.
“What you’ve done have caused him a great amount of distressed with the other Lords and Councilmen, Your Highness. Thus, in order not to cause chaos amongst the people about their Prince who suddenly went missing, His Majesty had told everyone that you are currently on a business trip to a faraway land, under his direct order. Thus, the starting rumours of the missing Prince was put to an end.”
Duke breathed in relief.
“I wouldn’t breath in relief just yet, Your Highness. You see because His Majesty was very upset with you, he’d decided to punish you in the most convenient way — for you to spend three whole months in this world, known as the ‘Probationary Period’. At the same time, he’d ordered Laxuz to built another magical portal that would allow us to return home. Laxuz had successfully built the portal a month ago and was merely waiting for an order from His Majesty to use that portal.”
Duke looked like he ate something really bad. He wanted to be angry, but at the same time, knew it was his own fault everything happened in the first place.
“I suppose there is no use crying over spilt milk,” Straightened his back, he turned to look at his butler. “We best get going. Father is expecting us. Regarding Miss Anya, let me think for a while on how to break the news to her so that she won’t end up murdering us both for all the troubles we’ve caused.”
Nodded in silence, Aidan raised his hand and cast a spell.
ANYA Romans stirred as she woke up slowly. Blinking her eyes a couple of times to adjust to her new surrounding, she gasped loudly when she realised that she had accidentally fallen to sleep after emptying her stomach.
“Damn. How could I’d fallen to sleep at the time like this?” Anya rubbed her eyes tiredly.
Getting up from the ground seemed to be a tougher task then she’d thought when Anya felt a sharp pain on her abdomen, that forced her to lay down on her back again.
“Shit! At the time like this?”
Anya inhaled deeply and focused on her breathing until the pain slowly faded.
A moment after her little episode, Anya tried carefully and slowly getting up from the ground. Body tensed, her eyes searched for any sight of intruders could be hiding in the darkness while she had been unconscious.
When she was absolutely sure there was nobody around, Anya sighed in relief. Stretching her arms up high, she did a couple arm exercises, all the while, being thankful that she chose to wear cotton pyjamas, to move around a lot easier.
Anya suddenly winched in pain at the blisters on her feet, around the soles area when she was about to do some leg warming exercises. She had not felt them hurting earlier due to the adrenaline rush, and the only thing that was on her mind was to escape from the castle and find shelter. But now that the rush was over and she had gotten enough rest, the pain on her feet came in full force.
Licking her lips, Anya carefully not to put too much pressure on her feet, while thinking of a plan.
For some odd reason, she was being brought here by Duke’s engagement ring.
But why? Why now?
Looking at the said ring on her left Index’s finger, Anya frowned. She hoped Duke could forgive her for tainted an expensive ring with blood.
Anya shook her head. Forget it. When she meets up with him, she would make sure to apologise properly. For now, she needs to stay focused on to find a way back home.
Dusting herself from the dirt, Anya looked around the dark barn when something shiny caught her eyes — the ruby gemstone on the wristband which Aidan had given for her protection.
“That’s it!” Hope filled in her eyes. “I just hope this thing works as it should be.”
Pressing the gemstone, Anya waited patiently for something to happen. A minute had passed and yet, still, nothing happened.
“Come on. It’s not broken is it?” Anya repeatedly pressed the gemstone.
When nothing happened, Anya groaned in frustration.
“Damn it!” Anya lowered her head with a terrifying look on her face.
“What if... I’m stranded here forever? What’s going to happen to Ma? She’d freaked out!”
Shaking her head from the possible bad thoughts, Anya tried to remain passive of the situation.
“Calm down, girl. You’re just freaking out right now. You need to calm down and think. Think carefully. There has to be a way out of this mess. First thing first, though...”
Anya carefully opened the bard’s door once she had to make sure no one was within sight.
“I need fresh air. It’d be great if I can find some water to cool off my head.”
While inhaling the air deeply, all the sudden, the ring on her finger started to glow faintly. Anya waited for a minute before taking the ring off her finger.
“This ring may be useful. I don’t know why it glows, but just maybe, it could be of a help somewhat. Question is: where should I go from here on? Obviously, I can’t stay in this barn here forever.”
As Anya complemented further on where to go, the ruby gemstone on the wristband started glowing brightly. Caught by the surprise, Anya stared at the two jewels with mixed emotions, awed and terrified at what was happening.
Suddenly, her left hand was lifted in the air, as if there was an invisible force, and pointed at the North direction where the castle was.
“S-Should I return?” Anya asked to no one. When she refused to barge, the same mysterious force shove her forward.
“Okay, okay! I’m going! Sheesh!”
THERE were loud gasps came from both the Knights and the servants as Prince Duke and his loyal Butler marched into the Excalibell’s Castle Audience Chamber.
Dressed in a garment he had worn before he left the Modern world, Duke looked every aspect of a Crown Prince who just returned home after months of attending a business trip. Amongst the crowd, he spotted a familiar face.
“Laxuz!” Duke rushed toward the older scientist.
Laxuz gasped both in shock and surprise.
“Y-Your Highness? You’re back! You’re really back!”
Duke grinned charmingly and gave him a hug.
“How are you doing, old champ? Did my father gave you hard times?” He whispered softly.
“Your Highness, your father can punish me any way he sees fit if it means it brings you back home safe and sound,” Laxuz whispered lowly as he hugged him tightly. “We were so worried!”
“I’ll be sure to have a word with him later. You shouldn’t be punished because of my own ignorance.”
“Glad to have you back, Your Highness!” A Knight nearby saluted at him.
Releasing the scientist, Duke nodded kindly to the Knight and to the others who have surrounded him.
“Thank you everyone. It’s been a long journey. Nonetheless, I am thankful to be back home again. Furthermore, I’d like to apologise if my absent has caused a ruckus between all.”
Duke’s eyes brightened at the figure who was calling out to him.
“Father,” He approached the King and gave his father a big hug.
“Welcome home, son.”
“Thank you. Glad to be back home, finally.”
King Edwin released his son, before turning to look at Aidan. “I assumed you’ve already informed him everything?”
“Indeed, Your Majesty.”
“Good. We can talk about your trips, later. For now, let us deal with the wandering witch.”
“Of course, Father.”
The King then signalled for someone, a Captain, to step forward, along with Laxuz.
“These two were the first who spotted the intruder, in the Castle’s garden. You can ask them for further details.”
“Very well. Shall we head to the Meeting Chamber, gentlemen?”
The two men nodded and began to walk out of the Audience Chamber. Duke turned to Aidan and opened his mouth to speak when to speak when he heard the man gasped sharply behind him.
“What’s wrong, Aidan?”
Aidan’s eyes were big and filled in shock, something that the Prince saw in all of his twenty-three years knowing the man.
“Aidan?” The Prince asked again.
Aidan regained back his calm composure. With a very calm voice and a hint of annoyance.
“Your Highness, it appears the so-called witch is someone whom we knew oh-too well...”
ANYA Romans ran as fast as she possibly could with one left hand pointed North, back to the Excalibell’s castle, all the while sucking up the painful blister on her feet that was increasing rapidly.
She finally stopped running and hide behind tall trees nearby the gates, in order to catch on her breath.
So far, so good. She successfully sneaked out from the barn and made her way here without being noticed or seen by anyone.
Wiping the sweats on her forehead, Anya couldn’t help but wonder why hell did the gemstone led her all the way back to the castle and what was with the light from the golden ring indicated?
Taking a couple deep breath, Anya gathered her courage and pushed forward, making her way into the castle.
Anya arrived at the castle and carefully climbed onto the castle’s walls without being heard or seen. Once she climbed up and got inside, as she was just about to climb down, all the sudden, a loud and alarming shriek came from her faraway left.
Standing at the hallway in the garden, was a shocked looking young maid who was taking a short break when she saw a suspicious figure climbed up on the castle’s walls. Her scream alarmed nearby guards and they quickly rushed to the scene.
“Shit!” Anya swore as she jumped down and made a mad dash toward the nearest door.
As more screams for help continued to echo the corridors, Anya dashed from one room to another with knights hot on her heels.
Anya could feel the blasters on her feet getting worse by each step she took. She did not know how much longer could she run before finally giving up.
Barged into a room that leads to another corridor, Anya by now, practically dragged her feet as she made her way to the other side of the room when—
Anya gasped and stopped, panting heavily. A group of Knights have surrounded the path before her. Very slowly, Anya lifted her hands in the air.
“Don’t move, you filthy witch!” one of the Knights barked loudly while pointed a sharp spear at her.
Anya remained still. She could hardly move nor breathe as the knight kept closing in and closed to grab her arm, all the sudden, something snapped within her.
Anya broke from her semi-conscious state and kicked the Knight hard on his face.
“W-What?! You bitch!”
Another knight came rushing in swaying his blade after the previous one fell down, holding his bleeding and possibly broken nose.
Anya moved swiftly like the wind as she dodged and slammed her fist hard on the knights who were determined to strike her down with their weapons.
Using every muscle in her body, Anya fought back hard and aggressively using her fists and kicks before elbowing a nearby Knight on his jaws and smashed his teeth.
By the time the battle ended, blood was smeared on the floor and the fallen Knights were left unconscious or too weak to fight back.
Meanwhile, Anya was left gasping and breathing heavily. Her bruised knuckles were getting worse. She suffered a few bruises on some part of her face and body.
“Ugh!” Anya cried out, as her legs finally gave in and she crushed down on the floor. I can’t...Go on anymore.
“How impressive. To think that it is highly unusual for a mere witch such yourself not using any form of magic on the battlefield.”
Anya looked up and found a wizard dressed in a thick red wine robe and was holding a stick in one hand, glaring at her.
It was him who’d accused her to be a bloody witch!
“I am not a witch. Never claimed to be one.”
“Perhaps witches nowadays learn to fist-fight to protect themselves. Nevertheless,” The wizard grinned wickedly. Waving the stick in his hand, he muttered a spell and pointed the stick at her.
A swirl of hungry flame came out from the stick.
Anya shut her eyes tightly while she screamed in horror, when a black smoke swirl that came out of nowhere, formed a barrier around her.
“Impossible!” The wizard shrieked angrily. No one has ever managed to beat his Incendio infierno ever before.
No one except...
“My, my. You certainly know how to attract unwanted attentions, Miss Romans,” Steady footsteps stepped forward and only stopped in between them.
Keeping her eyes on the figure, Anya has never been so glad to see the arrogant look or smirk on that damn Butler’s face more than she was right now.
The thick robed wizard gasped astonishingly.
“M-Master Aidan! What is your relationship with that... That filthy Witch?!”
Aidan raised an eyebrow. “A Witch? Her? Hardly.”
While the wizard began to argue that it was rude of him to suddenly appear out of nowhere and interfered as he had everything under control, Aidan turned his focus on the mortal girl.
Anya looked at him confusingly why he was so close into her personal space, when all the sudden, he grabbed tightly on her waist, pulled and lifted her from the ground and held her in his arms like a bride.
“W-What do you think you’re doing? Put me down! Put me down this instant!” Anya’s face turned bright red when he tightened his grip on her.
“Ahh, so loud. My eardrums are hurting,” Aidan said, nonchalantly.
As the two continuously banter, a familiar voice suddenly called out at them.
Duke came in running toward them, followed by his entourages.
In a blink of an eye, Anya found herself being transferred from Aidan’s tight grip to the Prince’s strong embrace.
“Thank Goodness, you’re alright! I’ve been so worried!” Duke checked for any wounds and immediately frowned at the injuries on her face.
“We’ll have you clean up at once,” Duke carried her in his arms and prepared to leave when the wizard stopped him.
“Wait a minute, Your Highness! Would you care to explain to us at the very least? I’m sure the rest of us would very much like to know what is happening!”
“Of course. Aidan, if you will, please?”
Aidan sighed lowly but nodded.
“Allow me to explain.”
AFTER healing her wounds, Anya was personally being escorted to an exclusive Guest chamber located on the same floor as the Royalty’s chambers where she was immediately greeted and surrounded by twenty maids, waiting to serve her.
“Oi! What’s the meaning of all this?”
“This is to show my appreciation to you, Miss Anya. On top of that; you are cordially invited to my homecoming ball, this evening.”
Anya’s eyes grew widened. “What ball? Wait... What time is it now?”
“Six o’clock in the evening. Why did you ask, Miss Anya?”
“Six?! I went to bed around ten o’clock before I was mysteriously transported to this place!”
Duke nodded understandingly at her confusion. “The time moves slower here than your world, Miss Anya. Whenever someone crossed over one way or another — the time stopped completely. Which is why it is still evening here.”
As they walked, Duke proceeded by explaining to her the whole truth — including his father’s punishment to him and the newly invented magical portal.
Though try as she might control her anger, Anya forced to press the feelings at the pit of her stomach. She was a guest at his castle, after all. An Honourable Guest.
“Miss Anya, I understand you’re upset about us deceiving you, although unintentionally. Nonetheless, it would be a great honour for me if you promise to attend the Ball tonight. Would you consider it, please? For me?”
How the hell could a girl refuse when he looked at her with pleading puppy eyes on top of the charming smile and smooth voice that could easily melt puddles of girls?
The maids who were ordered to serve and make sure that Anya’s prepared for the party were slightly creepy. They were kind — maybe too kind and talked politely to her whenever they speak. Not too mention, they smiled a lot too, which scared Anya as she could never tell what they were thinking.
One of the maids offered to fill in the bathtub for her while Anya made her way to the changing room. While Anya stripping off her dirty pyjamas, all the sudden, there were few knocks on the door. Before Anya could reply, the door burst opened, and a group five maids offered to do the job for her.
Needless to say, Anya ended up scaring half of them with her temper that they eventually ran off crying and left her alone.
A moment later, Anya came out from the changing room dotting in a light pink robe.
“This way, Miss,” said an older servant, leading her to a very wide, and spacey bathroom. There were soap, shampoo, and sponge ready for her to use on the side of the huge bathtub, with a towel was hanging on the bench.
Anya took a deep breath and walked into the bathroom. Once entered, she quickly shut the door and locked it before any of the servants could barge in again with an offer to help her bath.
Growing up not having maids and living in a house filled with only males around had made Anya feel very self-conscious about her body. Though she often acted tough in front of other people, she was still a young lady who like any other, faced inferiority complex when it comes to her body — especially the size of her breasts.
It got worsen how Aidan had previously commented of how flat her chest was when he’d sneaked in a transmitter inside her pyjamas on the night she got first met and kidnapped by Zenon.
Damn it. That darn Butler managed to get on her nerves even when he wasn’t around! Shaking her head to get rid of the negative thoughts and sunk into the bathtub.
“Please let me brush your hair, Miss!”
“Please let me dress you, Miss!”
“Please let me put the lipstick on your lips, Miss!
“Everybody, stop!” Anya snapped as she quickly glared sharply to the servants who were holding everything that she might need for tonight’s party.
The moment she stepped out of the bathroom after having a nice long bath, the maids had marched toward her in full force and rushed to her to the dressing room where they offered to do her hair, dress, and make-up.
Groaned deeply, Anya rubbed her throbbing forehead.
“I allow you to brush and do my hair later.”
“I can dress perfectly fine and I refuse to wear that skimpy piece of a dress! Find another one.”
“I’ll get to choose my own lipstick.”
“But, Miss! You’ve already rejected other dresses! This is the only one that is most suitable for you to wear!” The said maid held up a low-cut dark plum evening dress.
“Hmm,” Anya looked at the other dresses on the bed. Most of which were really not her taste at all. “This dress is too bright. That dress is too tight and revealing. How ’bout this one?”
Anya picked up a simple plain red sleeveless dress with a thin black belt on the waist. “This one will do.”
At the choice of her dress, the maid sighed.
“As you wish, Miss,” The maid took the dress from the hanger and handed it over to Anya.“Though I’d wish you would wear that other dress, Miss. This is, after all, His Highness Prince Duke’s Homecoming Ball.”
Anya shrugged at her and went to the changing room. She was not going to have an argument with the maid again.
Half an hour later, Anya looked at her reflection on a tall mirror and whistled.
The red dress fit her like a glove. Her hair had been made into a lovely bun and the make-up on her face was little, but it definitely bought up the colours of her eyes. And the lipstick, one that Anya had personally picked, was a natural light red.
As for her shoes, the maids had all given up on letting her wear high-heels when Anya kept on tumbling all over the place. Instead, they’ve given her a nice and beautiful a pair of black flats with a silver rose at the front that went really well with her outfit.
As for her appearance, the make up artist had applied a simple make up on Anya’s face.
“Miss Romans, please do not whistle as it is very unladylike to do so.”
Frowning, she turned to look at an elderly woman — the Head Maid, who shook her head disapprovingly.
“You are an Honourable Guest of the Prince for tonight’s party, after all, Miss Romans. You must present yourself with such dignity and respect. Please remember that well.”
Biting her inner cheek, Anya simply nodded and prepared to walk out of the room when someone rushed into the room.
“Oh, one more thing, Miss!” The younger maid who had done Anya’s hair earlier, came holding something in her hand — a dark red rose. She put the rose in Anya’s hair and awed.
“There. Now you look very lovely, Miss.”
Anya turned bright red at the compliment. One hand reached out for the Rose in her hair.
The maid nodded, along with the rest standing nearby.
“Oh, your gloves! Don’t forget your gloves,” Anya put on the dark silky gloves. They stretched to her elbows; the texture felt luxurious to her skin.
Anya took a look at herself once again in front of the mirror. For once, she really looked like a young woman. Sure, she wore dresses and made her hair every Thursday just to impress Ethan Carter, but even then, it was nothing compared to what she was wearing now.
If Anya’s being completely honest, it actually frightened her.
“Miss, we must get going now now otherwise you will be late,” whispered one of the maids, already opening the door for her.
“Of course,” Anya nodded, swallowing hard.
Here goes nothing.
WHEN Anya Romans arrived at the top of the long spiral stairs, she was expecting an announcement of her arrival and a grand spotlight on her as she walked down the rest of the long stairs. However, the reality was far from those lame fairy tale stories.
No one was paying attention to her, at all. While it should have offended her — being the Crown Prince’s Honourable Guest and all — Anya found it did little to her nerves as she was already having a hard time controlling her rapidly increased heartbeat.
Decided it was best to lay low, Anya carefully made her way to where the buffet tables where the waiters were serving snacks and light drinks, while they all waited for the Royal family to arrive. From there, they would proceed to the dining room.
The last time Anya had attended to a fine dining experience was when Steve had invited her and her family for their Company’s 20th Annual Dinner Celebration. It had been a blast for her. She’d never tasted anything so good, despite having world class chefs as siblings.
Sipping a sparkling drink with one hand, Anya continued on her quest to the buffet tables when she was once again stopped by a seductive voice calling out to her.
“So the tale of an ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan is real after all.”
“Oh, it’s you.”
“My, that wounds me, Miss Romans. You don’t seem as half exciting to see me.”
Instead of wearing the usual Butler attire, Aidan donned in a sleeked white Tuxedo. His cinnamon hair, usually parted to one side, was gelled and pushed all the way to the back, making him looked even more dashing than usual.
Anya lifted an eyebrow at him. “Don’t tell me you’re my escort? Shouldn’t His Royal Highness be my escort since I am, after all, his ‘Honourable Guest’?”
“Indeed. However, the Prince is currently busy getting himself prepared for the party and asked me to keep watchful eyes on you until he comes joins us.”
Anya scoffed. “Afraid I’m gonna blast this castle apart?”
“Honestly, Miss Romans. I wish you’d be more aware of the situation and troubles that you’ve caused us earlier,” Aidan sighed deeply and crossed his arms.
With a deeper voice, he said, “Had I not been there to save you on time, there’s no telling what might happen to you. Death would be the perfect word to describe your situation then.”
Anya gulped and turned her head away sheepishly.
It was true. Had Aidan not come in time of her rescue, she would not be standing here drinking this wonderful sparkling drink right now. Not that she would ever be admitted out loud he was right. That was just like asking her to feed more of his egos.
Clearing her voice, she turned to look back at him.
“So, since you’re my escort tonight. Then, please escort me to the buffet table.”
The sound of chuckling coming from the man was the least she expected to hear. It was a nice sound and surprisingly made her heart skipped a beat.
What am I thinking?
Aidan’s heartfelt chuckles slowly faded away. He smiled warmly and gently as he could, pulled her closer and brought the back of her hand to his lips for a soft kiss.
“As you wish, Milady.”