05| Flowery Dress

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BLAIR

I open my eyes to a strange noise in the dark. Was I dreaming?

The noise persists, and I realize it's a mouse in the room. Fear sets in.

I sit up and spot an enormous dress taking up my entire small room's floor. These royal standards are absurd. How on earth am I supposed to walk in this colossal dress?

Did Grace place it here? Is it already morning, and do I need to hustle to not get whooped by the queen?

I hear the noise again and scan my room. Just below the dress, I spot a big sewer rat chewing on the fabric. It looks like it has been feasting for days given its size.

"Hey! That's my dress, go away!" I shout, but the rat doesn't flinch. What do I do?

I pick up a flower from a nearby vase and step down. "Stop ruining the dress!"

"Stop it!" I throw the flower at the rat, but it scurries towards me, near my feet. I scream in fear.

I run out of the room, bumping into someone and causing both of us to lose our balance and fall. Slowly opening my eyes, I find myself face to face, or rather, above a beautiful, handsome man.

There's a royal charm about him, which makes me realize I might be in trouble.

"Do you have a death wish?" he says, and I reflect heart eyes. Mother Goddess, his voice!

He pushes me aside and gets up.

As I sit straight, the rat reappears. I scream again when I try to get up but struggle due to the cumbersome dress. My worst fear unfolds: the rat disappears in my frock.

I forget how to make noise--I just faint.

Regaining consciousness, I find myself getting laid in bed. By the same man. Oh, I fainted only for a moment.

He begins to stand straight after dropping me in bed, but one of his hands get stuck beneath me. I'm too lost in his eyes to realise anything. Or even help him.

Stay like this.

He makes me roll over and release his hand.

"Did the rat leave?" I ask, remembering, hoping for good news.

He doesn't answer. Moonlight illuminates his face, and I see his features more clearly. He's... gorgeous.

"You don't wear such heavy gowns to sleep." he tells me.

I nod, lacking any excuse. I'm so new to this that I thought we have to maintain royal standards even while sleeping.

"Is that rat gone? Did you see it leaving?" I ask again. I'm afraid it's still in my dress. I'm one moment away from taking this dress off me.

He sighs and turns around, "It's gone. No need to get scared from such a small thing" he says before leaving my room.

Why was he here? What was he doing in front of my room? Who is he? The prince? I think so, recalling his appearance from yesterday.

I look outside the window and see the sun rising. Oh, I need to get ready as soon as possible.

~~~

It's been around one hour, and I hear a loud sound coming from downstairs--the grand hall. It must have started.

I look at myself in the mirror. This dress is comically large, taking up space for ten people. Despite that, it exudes a fairy and flowery charm.

Mason rushes into my room, looking dashing in silk shirts, hose, and leather boots. "Mason, you look so good," I compliment.

He glances at my dress and smiles, "Are you going to some fairyland?"

I press my lips together, unsure of what to say. This is what they want me to wear.

"Father said you need to head downstairs to greet some guests," he informs me, and I nod. Let's do this.

Heading towards the grand hall, I'm amazed by the decorations. Though minimal and simple, they still leave me astonished. Mason walks behind me, he struggles to pass by me because my dress covers the whole stair.

Several eyes, including the queen's, focus on me. Beside her stands a large man, likely King Ronan Barclay. It takes a moment to recognize him; he's matured. They're standing with others as I continue to struggle in this dress.

On the first corridor, I spot Grace holding another beautiful dress. She stops walking, looks at me with her mouth slightly agape, and shakes her head. What is she trying to convey?

I finally reach the last stair, feeling my dress getting pulled by some force. Trying to maintain balance, I stumble on my feet, legs folding, and I end up sitting on the dress.

The queen excuses herself and heads toward me.

At least I fell gracefully and didn't get hurt.

"Blair, are you okay?" Her Majesty asks, instructing her attendants, "What are you looking at? Help her get up."

I rise with their assistance, feeling ticklish in my legs. Someone is there in my skirt!

Mason crawls out from the front.

"Are you fine?" I attempt to walk toward him, but this skirt hinders my approach.

"Blair Wettin," Her Majesty's call makes me stand straight, her gaze fixed somewhere behind me. I see Grace approaching hurriedly.

"Grace, I told you to dress Blair in something glorious. What is she wearing? Do you realize how important this day is for her?"

Grace lowers her head, seemingly ashamed. "My bad, Queen, but I didn't provide Lady Blair with this dress. I was about to fetch her a different dress just now."

I gulp. What's happening?

Another lady, regal in appearance, approaches. "Where did you get this dress? This is not a fancy dress party. How can you be this stupid, young lady?"

I bow down, "Please forgive me. I didn't realize this dress wasn't meant for me to wear here. I found it placed in my room early this morning and thought it was..."

I glance at the sides, noticing my father giving me death glares. Squeezing my eyes shut, I keep my head down in front of the queen.

"Grace, take her to the changing room and get it fixed-" Her Majesty's command is interrupted by an announcement.

The royal herald, bearing a regal proclamation, steps forward, his voice echoing through the hall. "Hear ye, hear ye! Noble subjects, lords, and ladies of the realm, by the grace of sovereigns and the alliance of blood, we gather on this auspicious day to announce a union that shall shape the destiny of our kingdom Lichelle."

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