Evelyn followed the familiar path to the palace, using deserted alleyways to hide her form and her face from underneath the curtain that is her hair.
The distinct sound of laughter and music hung in the air, coming from the group of citizens dancing with beams of smiles etched on their faces. They must be celebrating the future. Evelyn stopped.
The children danced around one another, bobbing their heads to the music as they grinned in utter delight. The couples had their arms wrapped around each other, laughing as they danced together. She faced one of the streets and watched eagerly.
Evelyn envied them, but nevertheless turned around and walked away when a man noticed the rather odd frame standing in the shadows of an alley.
The palace walls came into view and suddenly she halted. She stood there for a few moments, debating running back to the cabin and disappearing, never to be seen again. She was leaning towards a yes but quickly tipped back to no when she thought of the consequences.
She hastily jumped over the fence surrounding the palace and crossed the grass as she made her way to the underground tunnels. As she was turning a corner though, she collided with a strong obstacle and was sent tumbling back.
She made contact with the grass, and pain shot up her body.
“Evelyn!” The velvety voice said and she glanced up to find Everest standing there. The sun was blinding her vision and she squinted her eyes to see him clearly.
Everest extended his hand to help her up. She, however, ignored his outstretched hand and stood up by herself. She glared at him before circling him and attempting at walking away. However, Everest encircled his finger around hers and pushed her against the wall of the palace.
“Were you in the cabin?” He zoned on her face, his nose brushing hers lovingly.
Evelyn’s heart stopped, then restarted as she attempted at answering. Everest smirked at her frozen state, and leaned in closer, “You were, weren’t you?” He chuckled lightly.
It infuriated Evelyn and she struggled to pull her hands out of his grasp, “Let go,” She ordered but he only shrugged.
“I will.” He then let go of her hands but placed his on either side of her, trapping her. “I went to see you, but you weren’t in your room,” He stated matter of factly, zooming out to watch her face fully.
Evelyn sighed, both in relief and annoyance. She didn’t appreciate having Everest all up in her business. “Well I’m right here, so now can you let me go?” She glared at him.
Everest did as she asked and stepped away. He cleared his throat, “I wanted to apologise for yesterday’s behaviour. I shouldn’t have released my anger on you and I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He glanced down at the green grass in nervousness. The guilt he felt kept him up for hours.
Evelyn creased her eyebrows in confusion but then glanced down at her left hand and she remembered the pain. “It’s fine Everest.” She pushed the lock of hair that fell on her face to the side and watched as Everest nodded.
He continued to nod for a few seconds as if trying to forgive himself. “How are you doing? After yesterday’s fiasco?” His face held worry and concern, and despite Evelyn’s best try, she couldn’t stop the fluttering in her stomach.
She nodded nevertheless and lied straight through her teeth. “I’m good.”
Before Everest could say anything more, she told him, “I need to go.” and then left back to her room.
“Good morning, Princess,” Lord Faulkner greeted, watching Evelyn walk into the room with Ivory on tow.
Evelyn returned the greeting, smiled at the Lords and Ladies and took a seat in her designated spot.
“Why was this meeting called on such short notice?” She questioned, scanning the area to meet everyone’s eyes.
The tension was thick in the room when she walked in, she could basically smell it, and she automatically knew to call it so abruptly was necessary. As her eyes met with theirs, none spoke out but remained silent.
From her seat, she grew irritated and breathed in a whiff of air before turning to look at Lord Faulkner expectantly.
He sat down on his seat and shuffled a little, before saying, “Lord Abdon approached me this morning with new information about Prince Everest,” He paused, turning to face Lord Abdon. “Lord Abdon, would you please.” His hand gestured towards Lord Abdon as if prompting the nerves-stricken man to spill.
“Yes.” Lord Abdon cleared his throat and sat up straighter on his chair. “I saw Prince Everest with a woman, behind the palace.”
At Lord Abdon’s words, Evelyn nearly choked on her saliva but thankfully managed to compose herself. Her heart puttered in her chest loudly, the sound echoing and vibrating powerfully. Suddenly, she was as nerves-stricken as Lord Abdon.
The worst of thoughts flowed into her head, but the most horrible stood out. Was there another woman?
Within she was a mess but without, she just raised an eyebrow at Lord Abdon, prompting an explanation. She gave a glance at Ivory, who glanced back worryingly. She had the same thought as Evelyn.
The room fell quiet, void of a sound except the erratic thumping of Evelyn’s heart, or at least, that’s what it seemed to Evelyn. She couldn’t react openly, not when anyone can speculate about their affair.
“Lord Abdon,” Evelyn spoke out loudly, growing impatient with the lack of clarification. Her voice was carved from diamonds, hard and perfectly intact.
Lord Abdon shook in his boots, stuttering quietly before saying, “I was taking a walk around the palace and I-I was turning a corner, w-when I saw him,” He stopped, trailing off as he shifted his eyes off Evelyn’s persistent ones.
She watched him momentarily, before sighing and turning to the Head, “Lord Faulkner,”
This time, she got her full story, “He claims he saw them kissing, against the wall of the palace. He says the mystery woman was wearing a blue dress with her open honey brown hair. He said he couldn’t recognize her because her face was hidden behind her hair and by Prince Everest. He said he immediately turned and walked away after seeing them.”
The realisation hit Evelyn like an arrow from Robin Hood, and her eyes widened as she digested the simple fact that she had been caught. Gradually, her face paled and her thumping heart decided to quit.
She breathed in slowly and turned to ask Lord Abdon, “Were you alone?” She almost sneered out, in desperate need of answers.
“Y-y-yes,” He sauntered out, nodding aggressively.
“Did you see Prince Everest’s face?” Her question came immediately.
“If you didn’t see his face, then how did you, Lord Abdon, recognise him?” Her voice towered over the poor man’s faint voice and she almost cracked a smile at the drops of sweat trailing down his forehead. Except it was not the time to, so instead she cocked her head upwards and watched him from under her hard, overpowering gaze.
“H-he was wearing the colours,” He spoke out, his frame unmoving.
Evelyn furrowed her eyebrows, cocked her head to the side and questioned, “What colours?”
The other people in the room remained silent, watching the vigorous exchange quietly.
“I don’t know...” His eyes shifted around the room, asking for someone’s help.
Evelyn felt proud, as horrible as it sounded because it meant she had the skill to embark fear in people. It was a skill she would find useful, especially in situations like these. Situations in which getting the maximum amount of information was highly crucial.
“Lord Abdon,” She called out, looking at him with the same intensity in her eyes.
“A-a-a,” He started. “His voice, I recognized his voice.” As his sentence ended, he trailed off. Indicating there was more to tell, except nothing came afterwards. He merely sat in his seat, eyes down as he made eye contact with his shoes. He swore off using his tongue and Evelyn watched him from underneath her eyelashes in pure annoyance.
“Spit it out,” She scolded, scoffing out the words. Each letter calculated, passing the gap of her mouth with certain vexation and power.
The man shivered from the coldness of her voice, and seemed to shrink further into his seat but reluctantly said, “I knew it was him because I was following him,” He crooked out, swallowing.
“Who told you to follow him?”
The silence returned before Lord Abdon replied to the question, “I am sworn to secrecy,”
His answer shocked Evelyn and it was evident on her face. Her eyes widened and mouth fell open. She wasn’t expecting that answer. Evelyn’s vexation and agitation increased tenfold.
She glared at the man, unappreciative of his answer. “You refuse to tell your own Princess?”
At her question, Lord Abdon shook and shook his head as well but Evelyn didn’t give him the chance to reply properly, “Is that where your loyalties lay, Lord Abdon?” He was defying her, arising doubts and questions from the Royals, and she hated it.
Lord Abdon choked but was interrupted again, “You are aware that if Prince Everest had caught you spying on him, he would not be short of angry and could potentially ask for action against you?”
The tense atmosphere was now silent again, Lord Abdon back to staring at his feet. Evelyn grew impatient and decided it was time the meeting was over.
She stood up, sent a glance to Lord Abdon and walked out of the room.