We had to stop by the stables before we could go inside.
Leaving our horses in the more than capable hands of the stables master, the four of us treked up to the Castle on foot.
"I know!" Prince Vasilios suddenly exclaimed as we made our way up to the Castle. "Is there anyway that the two of you could extend your stay here for an extra day?" He asked looking excitedly at Rion and myself.
Rion and I looked at each other, unsure. There was no way Imogen was agreeing to leaving me here or for extending our stay just because I wanted to go sight-seeing. She would insist that I was acting like a child and that we had responsibilities at home for us to be lollygagging around. There was no way Imogen was agreeing to this.
"I don't think mother would agree with, nor like it, very much." I informed informed them, my voice not betraying the disappointment I felt. I stayed as apathic as every minute I've ever spent with them. Or should I say as apathic as ever - for it wasn't just them I stayed indifferent towards.
"How about if the Queen herself requests it?" Sir Dwayne queationed after a pause. He looked deep in thought as he asked it
"I'm sure she won't be able to say no to that." Lord Ilarion agreed before I could say anything, a secretive smirk on his lips. The kind of smirk that said he knew something the rest if us didn't.
"And as much as I enjoy all of your company, I promised to meet up with Leonardo for a round of sword fighting before the ball. Can I entrust, you two to escort Zigra to her quarters? She has a bad tendacy to wonder off." Lord Ilarion went on, shooting me a sweet smile at the last part.
I gave Rion a blank stare, but not at all offended by his comment. It was the after all, I did have a tendacy to wonder off lost in thought, and right then I didn't have the time to get lost if I didn't want to be ready in time for the ball to start. At least, aside form the first day we didn't have to be introduced in front of everyone.
I could just blend into the crowd and hide away the night in some secluded corner.
"Ofcourse, we'll make sure the princess gets to her bed chamber safe Lord Ilarion, no worries." Prince Vasilios instantly agreed to my brothers request, smiing charmingly at the me and Rion. Not like I minded. Having them would just make it easier to find my room, at least.
"See you at the ball Zee." Lord Ilarion said, with a grand bow to all of us and stalked off in search of his guard.
"Shall we?" Prince Vasilios' question made me look away from Rion's retreating back and towards the prince, who had his arm held out to me.
Nodding my head slowly, I accepted his arm, slipping my hand through his. Then the three of us continued on our way back to the Castle.
'I'm curious, how are the two of you going to be Queen Caitlynn to ask mother to extened our stay here in Vensilvania?" I questioned near Prince Vasilios and Sir Dwayne, peering up at the two through my lashes.
I let my emotionless mask on, casually composed, but inside, I was truly curious to know. If mom had still been alive, all. I would need to do was tell her the truth and I'd have permission just like that. But with Imogen... I just didn't know.
I couldn't very well ask father because if I did she would outright accuse me of being a little girl who ran to my father for everything. I could almost hear her saying 'you are no longer the Eleven year old girl I promised to protect Zigra, you need to grow up. You have a responsibiliy to your dukedom as it's future ruler and you can't be running around playing games. It's time that you grow up. You should now better than to disturb and burden your father further. He has to run this dukedom all by himself and you are not helping by asking for favours from him.'
So there really was no point in asking her.
That is why I'm hoping against hope that Prince Vasilios and Sir Dwayne come up with some means to let this happen. Even a day away from Imogen is ought to be a freedom far greater than all these years.
I really wanted - no needed - this to work and that is why I'm asking, so I'll know what they are planning and stop them from doing somethinbg that'll make Imogen not let us stay.
Prince Vasilios and Sir Dwayne looked at each other over my head - I was short than them that they could easiky see each other over my head.
"We'll let you know as soon as we know the answer ourselves my lady." Prince Vasilios answered as Sir Dwayne held the doors open for us to go ahead.
Prince Vasilios and I nodded our heads at him in thankx as we stepped inside the Castle and Sir Dwayne followed. However, before any of us could so much as utter another word, someone squealed 'Vincent!' and hurled herself at Sir Dwayne
Since he was standing behind us, the lady had to pass me and Prince Vasilios to get to Sir Dwayne. I was roughly pushed into Prince Vasilios as the lady in a magenta colored gown pushed past us and hurled herself at Sir Dwayne, wrapping her arms around the mans and hugging him tightly.
"Oh Vincent, I've been looking everywhere for you! Where have you been?" She asked pouting at him as she looked up, but she still kept her hands on him rather than to release him.
Sir Dwayne took in a deep breath as if praying for patience, then slowly removed her hands from his form.
"Where I've been is none of you concern my lady." He said, looking annoyed and slightly pissed, but he still managed to keep his voice polite.
At his reply, the lady shot me a dark look, before turning back to Sir Dwayne with an innocently sweet smile. "Alright, don't tell me then, but you have to -" she started saying, batting her eyes seductively as she slowly trailed her hand over Sir Dwayne's torso.
I have to say, she was forward - a little too forward, considering Prince Vasilios and I were standing right there. Also, I could tell her seduction was doing nothing what-so-ever to please Sir Dwayne, but to annoy his further.
I looked towards Prince Vasilios - who was watching the scran unfold with an amused smile on his lips - about to suggest that we should probably leave, when Sir Dwayne's voice stopped me.
"With all due respect princess, please stop." His voice was colder than I've ever heard. And the way he said 'princess', it sounded like he thought of her as anything but. "It is out of respect for your father I'm telling this nicely, and kindly do not make me repeat myself. Stop."
With that said, he turned and walked off.
As he passed me and Prince Vasilios, he caught my free hand and genty tugged me after him. With me still holding Prince Vasilios' arm, he got pulled along with me, but mostly because he started walking at the same time rather than because I pulled him. I don't think I had enough strength to do so.
"Damn it Vince, she was getting to the best part." Prince Vasilios whined when we were out of earshot from the princess. He was grinning widely and clearly teasing the knight. From what I understood from there interactions - so far - that the two are close friends. That's how they act around each other. There are even times when Sir Dwayne teases the prince. So obviously not just anprince and his knight.
Sir Dwayne scowled at the prince and let go of my hand. "Forget it Leo, and please mind your language in front of the lady." He said, adding the last part with a pointed look at me.
"I apologise princess, I wasn't paying attention to what I was saying." Prince Vasilios instant apologised, with a slight bow in apology.
I waved away his apology. "There is no need to apologise your highness, I've two brothers who says much worse... and worser" the last part I added as an second thought. Rion was alright when it came to cursing, but Felan and even Harriette, they cursed colorfully. I have no idea how I've kept Imogen from finding out the kind of language Harriette uses. She'll have all our heads if she does.
"But seriously Vince, why did you have to stop her? She was getting to the best part." Prince Vasilios whined near Sir Dwayne again, a smirk playing on his lips and amusement twinkling in his dark brown eyes.
"Glad to be of entertainment for you your highness."Sir Dwayne mocked, falling into a low bow, placing a hand over his heart.
Prince Vasilios chuckled at his friends mocking. "Of course." He said, holding his nose in the air all high and mightily. Only the two were goofing around and not being serious. This reminded me so much of Felan and Harriette that I was starting get homesick.
I wonder what the two were doing now that only Fernando was there to keep them in line. Probably causing havoc all around the Castle and practising sword fighting to the hearts contents. I can only hope that they doing over-do it, and by the time we get home we'd find them in one piece. Oh and the two of them aren't giving Fernando a hard time.
Just then we reached my room and all three of us stopped in front it the door.
"Thank you." I told as I pulled away from Prince Vasilios and took a step towards the door.
"We will see you tonight princess." Prince Vasilios stated, falling into a graceful bow and gently placing a kiss on my knuckles. He gave me a bright smile as he stood back up.
"Of course your highness." I said bowing back.
He scoffed, making me look at him, wondering what I said to offend him.
"None of that your highness, your grace nonsence. Just call me Vasilios or Leo, as everybody does." He said, then winked before letting go of my hand and stepped back.
Sir Dwayne only gave me a curt bow and then the two were off down the way we had just come. They were talking and lightly shoving each other by the shoulder as they went.
Smiling mentaly, I went into my room, but not before nodding my head in thankx at my two gaurds - who stood outside my room.
Nethra , my own maid was already there, waiting for me. She quickly scrambled to her feet when I came inside, bowing low.
"Have you been waiting long Nethra?" I questioned her as I removed the cloak I had bought and walked over to my dressing table.
"For about a half-an-hour my lady." She said softly, lowering her gaze to the floor. She was one of our new maids and Fernando had asked father to hand her to me for I was the calmest teacher. He had also said that my patience was something to behold, so father had done so. She had a lot to learn though.
"I'm guessing you have all my things ready then." I stated, keeping the wave-like ornamantal pin Prince Vasilios had bought for me.
"Your bubble bath and cosmetics are all ready my lady. I would've taken and laid out your dress and jewelry my lady, but I don't know what you are wearing tonight my lady." She said earnestly, looking at the floor as she talked.
I hummed in responce, nodding my head as I removed the cloak and drapped it over the dressing tables chair.
"And my undergarments?" I asked, turning to face her as I removed the comb that held my hair up in it's knot.
Nethra's head snapped up to look at me before she quickly lowered her head back to the floor. "I'm sorry my lady, I'll get to it immediately." She said in a small voice, wincing as the words left her mouth.
"Very well." I told her, turning back to the dressing table to lay my comb down as well. "Speak up Nethra, no lady would like you mumbling your excuses." I instructed her. "Now help my grew undressed, it's about time we start getting ready." I added, turning my back to her so she could unzip my day dress.
"And where is Paller and Rayla?" I questioned as she helped me with my zip.
"I don't know my lady." Nethra said, no longer mumbling, as she fumbled with the zip.
"As someone to go find them then, and be back to help me with my bath." I comanded, my voice neither rising nor demanding. It was it's usual monotone, but Nethra must've heard the order hidden in it as she soon helped me get out of the day dress and hurried out of the room to find my two laides-in-waiting - which Nethra wasn't, she was just a servant my father had dumped on me to train.
I know that sounded cold and heartless, but I was merely stateing a fact as it was the truth.
Other didn't take Nethra long to hurry back and with her help I was done with my bubble bath by the time my two ladies-in-waiting came back.
"Where have the two of you been lollygagging knowing very well that I needed to get ready for a ball?" I questioned the two as soon as I stepped back into the room, from the bathroom.
"We were looking for you Princess Zigra. You've been gone the entire day and no one had seen you around." Paller quickly said, giving me a gentle smile.
I nodded my head, but didn't comment. They knew very well that I was with my brother and I would have headed straight to my room this close to start getting ready. They were surely after something else, but I didn't bother questioning it. Instead I let them help me getting dressed for the ball, doing my hair and choosing my ballgown.
Today I was wearing a deep sea blue gown with a black, lace turtleneck collar and sleeves that fell to my wrists - like every gown I owned. It had a rather flared and layered skirt and swept the floor. Rayla pinned my hair up in an updo and kept my make-up to a minimum.
Waiting for them to get ready - only Paller and Rayla could attend the ball - we left Nethra in my room and headed downstairs to join in the festives. And not to mention, Rion would be waiting downstairs for me like planned.
Hopefully, tonight I'll be able to blend in with the crowd and not attract too much attention. Everything would go perfectly, then.