The long wooden stick moved effortlessly as I guided it in an arc above my head, then brought it down. The night sky was dark, the moon casting a shadow of my figure with every step I took. Crickets chirped from the moist dark green grass, as if cheering me on. An owl watched eagerly from a tree, it's wide luminescent eyes watching for my next move.
I was practicing my swordsmanship in the backyard, like I did most nights, sneaking out of my room late so no one would come looking for me. Pretending the staff was a blade, I sliced the air, listening to the satisfying whip as it smashed into the wind. My focus was on the tree before me, using it as a target for my attacks.
I paused, lowering my arm. My gaze drifted upwards to my bedroom, where the call had come from. Immediately, I recognized the voice as my mother's.
“Come downstairs please! There's someone here you need to meet.”
I frowned. Who would come over at this hour? Or rather, who was even allowed to visit at this hour? “Coming!” I yelled back. Hiding the staff under a set of bushes, I ran over to the wall that led to my bedroom. I spotted the tree I usually used to get back into my bedroom. After finding a place in the trunk to place my foot in and push myself up, I began scaling my way up the tree. At the top, I crawled onto one of the sturdy branches. Quickly but carefully, I leaped from the branch and grabbed at the railings attached to the balcony. Pulling myself over, I swiftly landed on my feet, then entered my room, closing the door behind me and hearing the click as I locked it.
I gave myself a quick once over as I passed the mirror on my desk, then exited the room.
My footsteps were soft and silent as I padded my way down the stairs. I scanned over the crowd that was gathered at the entrance of the house. My two younger sisters stood at the bottom of the stairwell along with my mother. Anticipation and excitement clearly showed on their faces. Their hands were clasped together in front of them, as they stared at the boy standing there before them. This man, was the prince.
The prince had disheveled brown hair. Light shined down from the lit chandelier and ran along the strands of his hair like streaks of moonlight. Two deep emerald eyes gazed at me. His figure had a strong build, and he was pretty tall – tall enough to tower over my sisters and mother, but not me. Most of my genetic appearances came from my father, and he was very tall. The prince and I were around the same height.
Pulling my cloak closer around me, I glared back at the knights who stood silently behind the prince, their eyes traveling up and down me. My mother quickly glanced at me, and I understood the silent command. Formally, I bent down into a small bow then stood back up again. His guards still stared at me. I knew why. They needed to assess me, see through to if I were of any danger to the prince. My appearance probably seemed like so. I was covered from head to toe. The dark black cloak I wore shrouded my whole figure, and a hood embraced my head. My eyes were also covered by large round sunglasses. The only visible areas were my hands, red lipstick-covered lips, and the small parts of my uncovered face. A threat I was, because they weren't sure what I really looked like. They could not assume if I looked like a weak little girl, or someone who would cause harm.
Ignoring those circumstances, dressing like this was simpler for me and held more meaning. No one could really judge who I was without seeing what I really looked like, and I liked it like that. Everyone had to actually get to know me before they could assume anything. And mostly, people usually thought I was okay. And yes, I was fine with that.
The guards soon settled on just to keep an eye on me before they began to speak.
"As you may or may not already know, Prince Derek of the Loredo royal family has been looking to get engaged for quite some time now," the guard to his left said.
Ah. Prince Derek, the future ruler of Lorendian. One of the only countries in the world that conformed to old traditions from centuries ago, even in modern times. The surrounding nations – Radeskian, Toren, and Serenia – existed in the same way we did. Together, we formed a small continent that had been forgotten by most of the world. We had no military, because foreign affairs rarely involved us. If we were ever in need of protection, our brigades of knights would be all we needed.