“Damn it! I thought that was just a dream.” I splashed my face with water trying to wake myself up.
“Maybe I am still dreaming.” Pinching my cheeks until color flushed in them, until it hurts. Making sure that I am wide awake and not in some weird dream.
“Nope. Definitely awake.”
A knock sounded at my bedroom door interrupting the train of thoughts and panic attack that I was about to have.
“Give me a minute!” I shouted at the stranger determined to break my door. Throwing my bathroom robe on to give myself some decency. I yanked the door open. “What do you want?” I growled.
Izzy stood in front of my door dressed in yoga pants and thin white t-shirt showing of her blue training bra.
“Good morning to you too, miss grumpy pants. Why are you still in your jammies? Giro sent us a letter that says we have to be at the training courtyard before sun up,” she chastised.
“Come on in.” I flicked my wrist making the protective runes invisible and letting her inside. She moved to enter my room marching towards my closet and started rummaging, pulling out my training bra and yoga pants. She threw it at me and pushed me towards the bathroom.
“Uhm, Izzy, what am I supposed to do with these?” fingering the training bra.
I am not a conservative person but showing a lot of skin to other people is kind of against the Gamaliel’s court protocol.
“Wash yourself. Wear it and hurry. We only have 15 minutes ‘til sun up.” She closed the door at my face.
“Ladies, today, we are going to test your physical abilities,” Giro announced.
“This is the master of arms, Shiro. He will be one of the people you need to impress if you want to win this competition.”
“Today, you will start your daily physical training, that will last until the end of the competition. The key to higher magical amplitude is a strong vessel. To win this competition, you must not only excel in controlling your magic but also be to wield your strength without it.”
Shiro gestured to the training mats assembled in the middle of the courtyard.
“First order of business, all of you will train with hand to hand combat. Then you will pick a weapon on that wall and wield it properly. The first trial will start after 3 days.” Shiro pointed to the wall adorned with various weapons.
Lances, swords, staffs, knives, bow and arrows, machete, katana and every single weapon that I can possibly imagine. I started training with Gamaliel with hand to hand combat when I was four years old and from then on he made me use every possible weapon that is available in our artillery. I kind of don’t need this crash course. To be completely honest, I just want to crawl back to my bed and sleep a little more but if I want to blend in I have to suck it up and do as I am told.
Shiro made us run for an hour and stretch. He showed us some moves and made us execute them exactly as he showed us.
He roams around and corrects our posture and every single mistake that we do. Nothing can escape his hawk like gaze.
I tried to make my moves a little unrefined so I won’t stand out as much as I want to. When it was noon time, he made us stretch once again and dismissed us, promising a much more advance and intensive training tomorrow. This time, making us work with a weapon of our choice.
Izzy bounded up next to me chirping endlessly. Honestly, I can’t care less to her endless chatter and gossip about the other girls. I am still thinking about my encounter with the goddess in my dream and the warning that she gave me about my bonded.
Why can’t my life be simple like everyone else's? Do I always have to work for my happiness?
This was one of the things that I expected to have in my life and not work for it. Honestly, why can’t my life be like one happy fairy tale that my dad used to read to me.
Let's be real, how would I be able to find a lightning mark on a guy’s chest without seeing them half naked? I can’t simply ask every single man that I meet to take his shirt off for me. I mean, I would enjoy it but it would be totally weird.
“Earth to Eve,” Izzy snapped her fingers in front of my face breaking my train of thought. I faced her and frowned at her.
“What?” I asked her still frustrated with the mythical clue that was given to me.
“I said, I’ll meet you in your door in twenty minutes. We need to attend the queen’s tea party in the garden,” Izzy said.
I went inside my room and washed the grime off my body. Oh my, I didn't expect that trying to be the sweetheart of this kingdom means smelling like sweat and heat. Usually in dark court, we have this cold weather and my only problem is sweat.
I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, touching the freshly marked moon print on my flesh. It's hauntingly beautiful and eerie at the same time. I wonder if my bonded would love it. How would it feel if he touches it? What would he say about it?
Uggh, wake up Everleigh! Since when do you daydream about guys touching you, especially, a guy you have never met? I have to be on my guard. I can't slip up. I need to bring the crown prince home.
I want to have my bonded but if kidnapping the crown prince will surely benefit my mother's agenda and my kingdom, then the gods can wait 'til I can play their mindless, ruthless and manipulative game.
I touched my bracelet and projected my ladies.
"Dude, seriously, you know we love you and support body positivity, not to mention, your love for showing off your perfect body but could you at least wear something decent and not be like, half naked in front of us," Frances whined.
"Hello to you too," I turned to Amelia and gestured at my wardrobe. She sighed and walked up to it.
"Any specific requirements that I need to know?" she inquired at me.
"Queen's tea party at the garden," I provided.
"Uggh, those are the worst kind of parties. The interaction with the backstabbing conniving ladies of the court. The senseless flattery which actually is mockery. Not to mention the gossip roullete that spins endlessly. I would take the knife throwing kind of roullete any day than those kind." Frances has always been a hater of courtlife. If she could have her way, she would rather hold a sword and lead the army than spend her afternoon mingling with ladies of the court whichever court that may be. I laughed at her comment and sat beside her in the bed.
"Oh Franny, you are always so positive," I mocked at her. Amelia pointed at my emerald sundress on my wardrobe and made a move to sit on the bed.
"So how was your evening?" Amelia said.
"Boriing. Let’s change the question Ames. Have you met any boys? Do they have deformed noses like the ones from our picture books? Oooh, do they have gap between their teeths,” Frances probed at me.
"Ugh," I rolled my eyes and flopped down on my bed. Ames faked gasped at me.
"Is that a good ugh or a bad one?" Ames mockingly asked.
"Both, One was a hyperparanoid douche while the other was suspiciously sweet," I provided.
"It must be something in the water here," Frances jokingly said.
"Could be," I shrugged.
"Are any of those two aforementioned guys, hot?" Ames said wiggling her eyebrows at me.
I snapped my finger producing my mental image of the two princes in my room.
"Hot damn," Frances whistled. "Boy, those books from scholar Hilberts classes are a total lie."
"Uh huh, Yummy yum-yum," Ames exaggeratedly licked her lips. I felt a sense of irritation on her comment but I just brushed it off. We all laughed at her comment and talked a little while about the current news at Evalinesse. A knock sounded at my door.
"Got to go, bye girls," I moved to open my door.
"Is anyone with you?" Izzy asked at me peeking inside my room.
"No. I was talking to myself. You know trying to calm my nerves for these tea party," I lied at her. She shrugged and continued to pull me towards the dreaded tea party.