06| Announcement

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The court hushed in respectful attention, eyes fixed on the monarchs.

Her Majesty looks back at us, there's nothing we can do anymore. It has already started. I feel like I have embarrassed her by not meeting her expectations.

She goes to king and stands before the assembled court with him.

The lively music suddenly create an enchanting atmosphere. My eyes dart around, and find Prince Kaiden Barclay there. Noah is close by. My heart quickens with a mix of excitement and nervousness remembering my encounter with prince this morning.

I exhale a gentle sigh, reproaching myself for fixating on something beyond my station. It's folly to entertain thoughts of admiration for the charms of Prince Kaiden of Lichelle.

My attention briefly strays to Prince Alden, a reminder of our less-than-pleasant encounter yesterday. Our energies don't quite align.

Beside the royals, I see the lady who was so rude to me yesterday. She's dressed in a very gorgeous dress. Her dark, black hair really adds great highlights to the dress.

Whereas my hair is just... there on my head.

A frown creases my brow, but my attention quickly shifts back to Prince Kaiden. In the daylight, he looks even more dashing in his royal attire.

Our eyes accidentally meet, and there's a silent exchange. He glances from my peculiar dress to my face, leaving me wondering about the thoughts swirling in his mind.

I can't help but feel that my choice of attire has become a topic of discussion.

Prince Kaiden's lingering gaze makes me curious, and I wonder what he sees when he looks at me.

"With joyous hearts and the blessing of kin, we declare the betrothal of our beloved son, Prince Kaiden, to the esteemed Princess Maliah Bruce, of Kingdom Prussia."

The grand announcement resonates through the hall, and as the king declares the betrothal of Prince Kaiden and Princess Maliah, a cascade of applause erupts. My hands instinctively rise to join the applause, but inside, a sinking feeling takes hold.

Prince Kaiden's betrothal? With that rude lady?

Even though I knew a connection with Prince Kaiden was improbable, the reality of his betrothal hits hard.

Everyone revels in the happiness of the moment. I grapple with my own feelings, navigating the unexpected twists of the heart. When I look at Prince Kaiden, he seems conflicted as well. As if... he wasn't aware of this at all.

"Please, let's move to the next announcement. We have two betrothals." King requests.

"Prince Alden, the cherished son of our hearts. I can only imagine the joy that my late brother, your great father, would feel in knowing the decision we now announce. In his absence, we are honored to have his beloved wife, your mother, present with us today to make this decision."

"With immense happiness and familial pride, we declare the betrothal of Prince Alden Barclay to the esteemed lady of royal lineage, Blair Wettin."

My heart skips a beat, and disbelief washes over me as the news of my betrothal to Prince Alden reaches my ears.

I shoot a desperate glance at my father, seeking answers that elude me. How could he make such a decision without even a word to me, let alone seeking my consent? Tears well up in my eyes.

"This union is not merely the convergence of two hearts but a pact that binds our realms in solidarity and prosperity. This evening, the engagement ceremony will happen right here, graced by the presence of guests from our allies and neighboring kingdoms. The wedding will follow in a month, alongside my son's ascension to the throne of Lichelle" King continues speaking, but my mind can't think of anything else.

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