I blinked at the princess, quiet taken back.
Her request had been rather startling on it's own.
I met Leo's gaze over her head and he nodded his head, widening his eyes. Gritting my teeth, I held out my hand for her. A clear invitation. I plastered a smile on my lips to hide how annoyed I truly am with this turn of events.
The reason I was angry was because I seriously couldn't believe Leo. Was he an idiot? Trying to set me up with the very person his parents had asked him to court. Had he finally gone off his mind?
I had seen it in his eyes.
He seemed taken by the princess as I was.
There was something that attracted this princess to me. I don't quite know what it was, but whatever it was, it was not a feeling I welcomed.
Also, I didn't delude myself into believing she didn't have an ulterio motive in asking me to dance.
From her behaviour I'd discern that she was trying to run away from something - or someone. Whichever it was, it was making her ask me to dance.
An elegant, gloved hand accepted my outstreached hand.
Throwning a glance at Leo over her head - she was only 5'6 inches in her heels. I still had a good 5 inches over her, so it was easy to meet Leo's gaze over her head. I shot him a meaningful look.
'Just keep her occupied for a song. Don't lose her amoung the crowd again.' His eyes relayed, as he smile charmingly at me.
Resigning myself to my fate of entertaining the princess for the evening, I led her out of the shadows and into the dance floor. I didn't even try to make my way to the middle of the dance floor, opting for dancing on the edge of the dance floor. Though she was the one who asked me to dance, she seemed almost pleased that I hadn't dragged to the squat center of the dance floor.
I got this fact straight because I was standing so close to her and felt her relax the slightest bit and not by any expression on her face. Which was as apathic as it was from the very first time I saw her - when she was decsending the grand staircase, entering the gala.
She could dance. I'll give her that.
Her every move was graceful and elegant. She didn't slouch the slightest bit, standing ramrod straight. For some reason, her eyes kept sweeping around the dance floor and wouldn't meet mine.
So I was right. She hadn't been trying to seduce me when she asked me to dance. She did have an ulterior motive.
But exactly what was it?
I decided it was my job to find out. After all, I couldn't have anything happening during the princes brithday gala. Or I couldn't have our guests harassed - which seemed more like the case here. I don't know what it was, but she didn't seem like a person to be scheaming unpleasent things.
I know her apathic nature made it hard to read her. Her face barely showed emotion - if not at all. She was the kind of person you can never tell what she's feeling. The kind of person you can never find out where you stand with her.
I certainly didn't miss the fact that she only asked me to dance after she noitced than I was a guard in the Castle. The fact was made prominent by the badge I was forced to wear.
"Is there something the matter, my lady?" I asked her, half-way into our dance, as I twirled her around. "You seem a little tense."
At the sound of my voice, her turquoise eyes snapped up to meet my deep ocean blue pair. She looked more startled to hear my voice than my question.
"I apologise, but there is a man insisting I dance with him." She answered honestly. Taking me quite by surprise, might I add? I didn't expect her to be honest with me. Especially since she seemed like the kind of person who didn't trust so easily. If her apathic nature was anything to go by.
"So you asked me to dance hoping he's give up his persuite?" I asked, raising an eyebrow up at her.
Her eyes bore into mine in way that said she was wondering if I was accusing her or teasing her. Slowly she cocked her head, looking very much like a bird as she did that. Then she dropped her gaze from mine, lifting them as soon as she dropped them. That's when she barely lifted her right shoulder in a shrug.
Had she not been in my arms, I'd have missed the entire gesture. But as she was standing so close to me, it didn't go unnoticed by me.
A smirk forced it's way to my lips and I grinned at her.
"Do you want me to take care of this little problem of yours?" I asked, genuinely wanting to help her. Not doing it as a part of my duty.
Her lips twiched slightly before she suspressed the smile that was trying to force it's way out.
This made me frown. Why did she do that? Why not smile and bat her eyes and have me take care of her problems. I know quite a lot of ladies who'd fall, over themselves for such a service from me. A galant knight in shining armor. Any girls dream.
That is what I figured all the ladies thought. Only how wrong they were to assume such a nonsence. Sure I was a galant knight. But I was nonwhere close to being anyones knight in shining armour. Not with my past who know when everything would come crumbling over me. I could never subject anyone to such a burden.
Surprising me - yet again - Zigra shook her head, which made her bangs to flop down to her eyes.
"Thankyou for the offer sir..." she trailed off, looking up at me questioningly.
"Sir Vincent Dwayne at your service." I said, courtesying to her - the song had stopped as soon as I asked to take care of her trouble with the man. And by that I meant removing the man from the premises.
She courtesied back, ending the dance.
"Thankyou Sir Dwayne, but I don't want to be of inconvenience to anyone." She told me once she straightened up. She stared at me like she was peicing together where she had heard my name before, but didn't say anything - so I didn't know of she had heard of my infamous reputation in Vensilvania.
I would have pursued the subject further, but just then I caught Leo's eyes in the crowd. His eyes were twinkling with mirth, as his eyes asked me to introduce the lady to him already.
Taking a deep breath to hold in my temper, I turned my attention back to Zigra - who had missed the whole exchage because she was still looking around the dance floor.
Unfortunately - or more fortunately - before I could say anything, she too looked back at me, her face still devoid of any emotion.
"I'm sorry, but I see my parents talking to the King and Queen. I should go greet them." She informed, her monotonous voice as devoid of emotion as her expression. She bowed to me turning around to leave.
"Wait!' I exclaimed before she could walk away.
Stopping she turned back to me, if she hadn't cocked her head, I'd not have realised she was waiting for me to go on.
Clearing my throat - I didn't like losing my dignity for anyone. I prided myself in being controled almost always. Especially where ladies are concerned.
"Let me introduce you to the prince as well." I added, holding my arm out for her to take.
She blinked at me.
The way she looked at me said that she understood that the smile plastered on my face was fake. She looked at me in a clear way that asked, why I was bothering to, when I clearly didn't want to. Then she removed her gaze from me and looked to the side - where Duke and Dutchess Wenceslava were talking to Queen Caitlynn and King Ryszard.
Slowly nodding her head, her actions said she was unsure, she accepted my arm.
As I led her to the King and Queen and her parents, I looked back at the prince. Discreetly asking him to join his parents, nodding my head their way.
Grinning, he quickly excused himself from the gaggle of ladies around him and made his way over to his parents.
"Your Highness." I and Zigra dipped into a courtesy as we finally reached the throne. Letting go of her, I movee to stand beside Leo.
I noticed that Zigra didn't smile even when she looked up at the Queen, who was smiling brightly up at the young lady. Dutchess Imogen looked slightly put off by her daughters behaviour, but she didn't comment on it. In fact, she balantly ignored it.
"So I finally be to meet your daughter Wienczyslaw." Queen Caitlynn commented, as she pulled the young girl in a tight hug. "Princess Zigra Wenceslava, you look very much like your mother." The Queen complimented, her eyes twinkling with adouring love as she gazed at the raven haired beauty.
"Thankyou Caitlynn," Dutchess Wenceslava laughed, holding a hand over her lips, while Duke Wenceslava got a distant sad look on his face.
"Yes, it is rather nice to meet Stavita Wenceslava's eldest daughter." King Ryszard stated, looking at the girl with a kind of fatherly love. "She talked so highly of her beloved elder daughter."he said as he too hugged the princess.
For her part, Zigra smiled politely at the King and Queen, but their was no change in her expression, the perfect poker face. Devoid of any emotion, apathic. Even her smile didn't reach her eyes, she was smiling more out of respect for the King and Queen than for anything.
"Thankyou, your highness." Zigra said, "But I think most praises goes to my mother." She added, looking at her mother who stood beside her.
Dutchess Wenceslava smiled lovingly up at her daughter, but why did I feel like her smile was forced? Something wasn't right here. And why did King Ryszard refering to Dutchess Wenceslava in the past tense when she was standing right there?
Clearing her throat, Queen Caitlynn cut across before the Dutchess could say anything. "I don't believe you've met my son, Prince Vasilios Waldrifrid, heir to the throne of Vensilvania." Queen Caitlynn introduced her son to the lady. I had to leave it to her highness to set up her son so quickly.
Zigra turned in Leo's direction. The only indication she recognised the man from earlier was her slightly widened eyes.
"I apologise, your highness, I didn't recognise you earlier when we met." She was quick to apologise, falling into a courtesy.
But what I found the most strange was that despite her monotone tone, she sounded like she was stateing a fact. Not the slightest bit flustered at greeting the prince. She turly was a puzzle to be solved wasn't she? Leo had his work cut out for him trying to please this princess. That is to say if she even allows it.
She talked even to her parents with a kind of detachment.
I couldn't help myself, she intruged me in a way that no other lady has ever intruged me. She was shrouded in mystery and this made me want to unsolve them myself. Even the slightest information about her seemed to matter in finding the girl behind the apathic mask.
Don't get me wrong. I wasn't interested in her in that way. I'd leave the whole love interest thing for Leo to take care of. What interests me is the mystery surrounding her. Starting with the 'night queen' rumor.
"Don't worry about that princess." Leo said, a charming smile easily taking up his lips as he waved away her apology. "It was an honest ,mistake that anyone could have made. But if you really want to make up... would you care to dance?" He questioned, holding his hand out for her to take.
I rolled my eyes.
Leo and his cheesy pick-up lines. The guy had no shame when it comes to flirting. At least he didn't lead them on and behaved appropriately. He only flirted shameless with them, never going farther than that. I also have noticed her tends to avoid the ladies who actually like him in a more than friendly way. Also he mostly flirts with girls who make goo-goo eyes at me.
I know it was nothing against me. He did to try get me interested in them. When he shows an interat in someone - mostly girls who he thinks have a chance with me - I'm often dragged to all their dates. The guy was crazy like that.
But that didn't mean he was a bad person. He was too good, if any.
Zigra didn't seem to buy his pick-up line any more than me. Though she gracefully accepted his outstreached hand and let him lead her to the center of the dance floor.
A moment after they were gone, the Queen excused herself and dragged me to a side.
"Keep an eye on Leo tonight would you Vincent." She told me in a low voice, so we wouldn't be over heard by anyone passing by. "He's been up to his tricks again. I don't want him to lose the already thin chance he has at winning that princesses heart. The idiot didn't even ask the lady to dance, you had to make him do it too."
The last part she seethed exactly like a mother rather than a Queen. This made a smile to break free on my lips.
"Already on it your highness. Give Leo some credit, my lady. He has his way with the ladies after all." I told her soothingly, taking her hands in mine and patting it gently.
She sighed. "I hope he doesn't scare her away before he can even so much as propose to her." She added, before putting in a confident smile and leaving me standing there in confusion.
This left me alone, by myself and that wasn't good. It made it easier for the ladies to corner me.
Unfortunately, before I could escape to the shadows and watch out for Zigra's stalker while keeping an eye on them, I ended up being cornered by a horde of ladies who struck up pointless conversation.
Everytime I escaped the clutches of one lady, I was caught up by another and by the time I had sucessfully got rid of them, I'd lost sight of Leo and Zigra in the dance floor. Groaning, and cursing under my breath, I grabbed another glass of wine from a passing waiter and escaped to the shadows of the long banner with the Vensilvanian crest embroidered on it.
Relaxing against her wall, I carefully swept my eyes across the ballroom, looking for the pair. I saw them talking off to the side, opposite from where I was standing.
Zigra's face showed no less emotion than she had shown when dancing with me. But I was glad to note that he was managing to keep a conversation running with the princess. And he didn't seem to be flirting with her. That was always a plus.
Because it would mean he respected her enough to treat her like a normal person and not someone below himself. This also meant that she could actually hold her end of a conversation. Mostly about things that meant something to Leo - because the idiot of a prince didn't know anything that was out of his interest.
I was curious to find out what they were talking about, but not enough for me to try an eavesdrop.
That's when I saw him, the man who seemed to be hovering close by the pair of them. He neither seemed like he was talking to anyone nor was hewatching the ballroom. In fact, I could tell he was staring right at the princess.
I had found the princesses stalker, too bad I could not see his face tiled make out who it was. There were too much people attending the gala for me to try and find out who he was by his build and hair length and color and what not. This means I will have to go over and solve this myself.
Just as I noticed this and stepped out to confront the man into leaving Zigra alone, someone crashed into me.
I gritted my teeth in annoyance.
What was it, everyone crash into Vincent day? Did I have a sign on my forehead asking all the ladies to come and crash in me?
"Oooo! I'm so so very sorry. You just suddenly stepped out of the shadows I didn't see you there." A familiar voice thrilled.
Composing my annoyed face, I put on a pleasent smile on my face as I turned too face Lady Hellena Northing . "It fine." I told her briskly. "I really don't mind having all the ladies crashing on me and spilling my wine all over me."
I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice, though I was smiling pleasently up at her.
She blinked at me looking taken back. She looked unsure whether i really meant what I said or was being sarcastic. Leaving her to contemplate it in her own time, I brushed past her, heading towards the man who I was sure was stalking her.
Only when I looked where I last saw him, the man was nowhere to be seen. Better yet, I looked for Zigra and Leo, I saw Leo a few feet away talking to his horde of fangirls, but Zigra was nowhere to be seen.