Once we reached the ornamant shop, Princess Zigra politely left my side to join Lord Ilarion. She murmured something to him and he smiled widely, forgiving.
It made me wonder what she could have said so much that he so easily forgave her.
Leo shot me an incredulous look as Lord Ilarion picked up a flashy looking vase - that even I knew Princess Zigra would refuse.
Rolling her eyes heveanward in a silent prayer, Princess Zigra walked past him into the shop. Lord Ilarion laughed at he reaction as the three of us followed after her.
"Damn she's so predictable." He stated once he calmed down.
Leo shot him a weirded out look, that the man noticed." Oh! Don't look at me like that Prince Vasilios, teasing Zigra is the epitome of fun. It's so easy to get under her skin." He said, a devilish grin spreading his lips. He leaned closer to Leo as he said it, conspiring against Princess Zigra. Still his voice carried over to me perfectly fine.
"Want to make this a tad bit more interesting?" He asked, raising his eyebrows suggestively. "This is a vast opportunity to get revenge." He added, as he smirked in the direction of the princess.
"I -" Leo started, but Lord Ilarion gave him a mischeivous look and I groaned.
Leo would never back away from a challenge. Especially mischief - if presented itself.
And sadly, I'm hoping the princess has as much patience as I'm hoping - guessing - she has. Because I won't be able protect her from what the two were about to do.
Leo grinned his agreement, and looked up at the back of Princess Zigra.
At least they're getting along - be it at Princess Zigra's expence.
They didn't start almost immediately, they took their time going through the ornamantal vases that were showcased, picking up different ones, varying from beautiful, artistic, flashy, to down right weird. There were even ones that had some crazy paintings and glass worked ones.
Leo picked up a vase that was golden in color and the whole front was done in ornamantal flowers of various kinds. It was one of those flashy ones I knew Princess Zigra wouldn't think twice about buying, much less once. The flowers were multi-colored and not to mention reflected the sun, throwing the reflection around in beautiful patterns.
"Hey Zee, see this one!" Lord Ilarion suddenly exclaimed holding up a really bizzare looking vase that had a too many curves and was made out of teal colored glass. It screamed for attention, flashy.
Princess Zigra stared at the vase for a moment or two, no expression crossing her perfected poker face. Then she slowly let out a deep breath. "It's nice, I really like how it looks than same color as your eyes, you should buy it. I'll even make sure to have someone put flowers in it daily." She said, stumping me and Leo. With that said, she turned her attention back to a velvety, blood red vase that would hold a single flower.
Lord Ilarion blinked at her, then muttering incoherntly, gave Leo an what-can-you-do? shrug. Shaking his head he plucked up a vase that was lines with silver flowers on the place right before it curved out.
"What about this one Princess Zigra." Leo asked, holding up the vase he had been holding. He didn't look at her, keeping his eyes on the vase as if he was admiring it's flower work.
Thats why he didn't see her suck in a breath as soon as she turned around. She closed her eyes, like she was praying for patience, and took a deep breath - which she released slowly. When she opened her eyes again, she turned her cool, calm and calculating eyes towards Lord Ilarion and not towards Leo.
"Rion, stop it right now, please." She said. If I had thought her emotionless voice was intimidating, then I was dead wrong. It had nothing when she made her tone cold. It was chilling and even I felt a shiver run down my spine. Trying not to show it, I looked at Leo to see the prince staring at Princess Zigra with wide eyes. If he losens his hold on the vase even a little more, it'll fall and shatter to peices.
Taking the vase from his hand, I left it back from he place he took it from.
Leo sucked in a sharp breath.
"Now that's what I call scary." He muttered only for me to hear, then shaking his head he looked at some picture frames that were lining the walls.
That's when my eyes fell on something I knew Princess Zigra would love. An obsidian vase with a silver bow. It was plain, simple and nothing to draw attention to itself but for it's unique beauty.
Then I saw something she would truly hate. So I picked up the transparent vase with the rubies, sapphires, garnets, opals and other gems covering it whole, not a space remaind that wasn't covered it precious stones.
Before I could say anything, Lord Ilarion saw the vase in my hand. "Wow, Zee look at that one! Perfectly great to add more color to your too dull room!" He exclaimed instantly, not giving me a chance to keep the vase down.
Princess Zigra's turquoise gaze locked on the vase before it flitted up to meet my gaze. Then they went back to the glass. She bit her lips, her shoulder raising like she was about to laugh. Again she took a deep breath, but it struttered when she released it . Though her expression didn't change, her body language made it plainly obvious that she was holding in her laughter with difficulty.
"Be glad we're not at home." Was all she said to Lord Ilarion. Still, her eyes didn't stop flitting from me to the vase, continiually bitting her lower lip.
Ignoring her gaze on me, I left the vase where I found it and picked up the obsidian vase. "I'm thinking this would suit your taste better." I stated to no one in particular.
When I looked up at Princess Zigra, she was already staring at the vase with a contemplating look. She even had her head cocked to the side, appraising. Then she slowly and carefully made her way over to me. I held the vase out for her to take, which she did.
She flipped the vase upside-down and looked for a label.
"Rion!" She called, her voice soft but carrying. Lord Ilarion was instantly at her side, looking concerned and worried. "I know this design. Doesn't it look familliar?" She asked, her eyes gently turning the vase from side to side.
"Hmm... I guess." He replied, looking confused.
Lord Ilarion looked at the shopkeeper and demanded to know who made the vase. By then Leo too had joined us.
"I get the stock from Frenick, but this vase was made by the I'd man who lives on the outskirts of the kingdom. I think his house is on the peak of mount Saamon." The middle aged shopkeeper answered.
"How does he get all that glass down without breaking anything?" I asked incredulous. I've been up mount Saamon before. The steep climb couldn't be made on horse back. Even climbing was a neck-breaking experience. So how does an old man with a luggage of glass make it down safely?
"Oh no! He makes the glasswear in the clinks down the road. Quite exqusite designs the man make too." The shopkeeper said, pointing in the direction of the clinks.
"Do you know the name of the man who made this?" Princess Zigra asked from my side.
"I'm afraid I don't my lady." The shopkeeper told apologetically, obviously self-conscious under Princess Zigra's unwavering gaze. She had a gaze that was as piercing as my own. Unwavering and unyeilding. Something very rarely seen in a lady. At least I've never met anyone as young as her have such a unyeilding, head-strong gaze.
Nodding her head she thanked the man and bought the vase.
"Do you know of the place the man said?" Princess Zigra questioned me in a low voice as we finally made out way out of the ornamantal shop and started walking through the streets of Vensilvania again.
Hmm... observant as ever.
"Yes, my lady. Since the man lives so close to Vensilvania I take it upon myself to check in on them." I informed her, watching closely for a reaction.
Bitting on her lower lip, she nodded her head in thought.
"Rion, what do you say we go pay him a visit?" She suddenly asked her cousin, who looked down at her startled.
"Zee..." said Lord Ilarion in warning. What he was warning her against was unclear.
"Mother no need to know." She said in a whisper, but not low enough that I or Leo would have missed it.
Lord Ilarion laughed - though she had sounded 100℅ serious when she said it. "It's not that," Lord Ilarion told her, lightly musing up her hair. She slapped his hand away, smoothing it over again. "We don't have enough time to actually leave the kingdom and be ball before the ball, Zee. Moms bound to find out if we don't show up, or you show up too late."
Wait - mom?
There truly is something not right here. Why would Lord Ilarion call Dutchess Wenceslava 'mom'. She isn't his mother. No! I'm sure Lord Ilarion is Dutchess Wenceslava's sisters son. Lady Imogen Radoslaw's son, Lord Ilarion Radoslaw.
Princess Zigra sighed, her shoulder slumpung ever so slightly.
And I'm not the only one who understood this.
Casually slinging her arm around her shoulder - mostly in a reassuring gesture - Leo chirpily said, "Don't worry princess, well come again tomorrow. I'll take you to the man." He was trying to play the hero and as much as I hated to pop out his fun, I couldn't let him make a promised he'd surely regret come tomorrow.
"I don't think it's a wide idea Leo." I stated, watching the everyone so passed us and not at them. Still I could feel all three of their eyes on me. "You've never been to mount Saamon have you?" I questioned, turning my gaze back to them.
Just as I suspected, Leo shook his head, looking thoughtful.
"You can only climb half-way up there by horseback. The rest you'll have to walk and its not an easy climb. The hill is too rocky and very slippery." I explained, crossing my arms and lookinhg back at the crowd again.
"Oh, you won't have to worry about that. Zee'll climb up any hill if it gets her where she wants to be." Lord Ilarion scoffed, scowling at the princess like she had done something to gravely offend him. Which I could say, in a way, she had. If I'm not mistaken, it is her aptitude to climb up a hill that could be very dangerous than had him offended.
"If Princess Zigra wishes it so much so, there is no folly in trying." Leo added, patting my loudly in the back.
I would have scoffed like Lord Ilarion at his words, only, as a knight indidnt want to seem disrespectful towards my prince infront of anyone. The reason I would have loved to scoff was, Leo was all talk. I was sure he wouldn't make it past 3 quarter of the way up that hill on foot.
"Very well, tomorrow then, but now we must return to the Castle if we want to make it to the ball on time." I added the last part with a glance up at the sky.
And so, we walked back to find our horses. None of us in a hurry though we knew we had to.
Finding the stables we left the horses in, we paid then stables hand and saddled up.
"Hmm... I wish there was a way to see the whole kingdom at once. Then we won't have to be sneaking around like this." Zigra mused out loud, once we weather all astride our horses. She was watching the center like she still did not wish to leave.
"You just might be in luck princess." I stated with a smirk.
Both Princess Zigra and Lord Ilarion looked at me questioningly. Well, Lord Ilarion looked questioning, Princess Zigra's look was as blank as ever.
At my statement, I saw Leo face lit up with realization. He knew of the place I talked about, and since he looked like he wanted to be the one to tell it to Princess Zigra, I let him to go ahead and do it.
Smiling excitedly - almost like a child - he explained it for me. "There is such a place to see the whole kingdom from... only it's a days journey to make the way up and down. We would have to miss the ball." The last part he added apologetically.
Lord Ilarion and Princess Zigra looked at each other. I could clearly see the wheels turning in Lord Ilarion's head and accepted that the same was going on in Princess Zigra's head as well.
I could instantly tell they had a thought, but Princess Zigra shook her head and Lord Ilarion, casting the thought aside. It was plainly obvious they knew of a way to make it work, but why Princess Zigra would be against whatever it was made me not want to know.
But this means I and Leo would have to come up with a way ourselves. This was a vast opportunity to make the two spend time together - get to know each other and all that. But how to go about it?
As we ride back to the Castle in silence, a slowly plan started forming in my mind, but for it to work, I would need the help of the Queen.
Hmm... things were bound to get interesting pretty soon.