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A man sat, surrounded by the darkness of the castle tower, staring blankly and calculatingly out of the small window. His old and lanky body was enwrapped into a woolen overcoat, his foot tapping slightly in rhythm with the dripping of water from the ceiling.

He hummed an odd tune as he watched the Prince Callan walk along the garden path with a Lady he'd recently become all too familiar with. Madmoiselle Ariella du Montamorte was what they called her, though he, in his sickeningly evil mind, preferred to call her something a little less refined and a little more vulgar.

He hated the royals, and they'd get what they deserved soon enough. It was only a matter of time.

~

Ariella stared out the window of the carriage for the longest time, the trees and grass all blending together into an unsettlingly green blob. It seemed that she had found herself in the most conflicting position she had been in for quite a long time. As strange the feeling was to her, she felt herself, body and mind, falling in love with the Prince. It was as if there was something pulling her closer to him with each breath she took, each twirl of her hair around her finger, and each tap of her foot against the carriage floor. It was rather unfitting to her former vow of infinite solitude, and that was to say the least.

Cal watched the flicker of a smile cross her face and wondered what she was thinking of, it was killing him to find out. He ran his fingers across the cushion beneath him, tracing the silky pattern as he recounted all of the things that made him fancy her so much. He loved her laugh and her glossy green eyes, the way her dark hair would fall across her ivory skin, the way she would flinch away from him every time she caught him staring at her. He knew that she was the one for him: his soulmate, or so they say.

She was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on.

Ariella abruptly turned towards him, "How much longer of this? I don't know if I can take much more.. we've been in this confining carriage for an eternity," she groaned.

"A bit over dramatic, love?"

She grimaced, "I'd prefer it if you don't call me that."

"Whatever you wish, love," he smirked, "And to answer your question, I'd assume another few hours at the least. It takes a good amount of travelling to get anywhere around the kingdom, and I'm afraid the next couple of weeks will be consumed with just that."

"Weeks?" she spat, "I thought this was to be a few days!"

He ran a hand through his glossy golden hair and slouched back into the cushion, "I suppose you should've asked that before you agreed to accompany me."

Ariella rolled her eyes and crossed her legs, absentmindedly glancing down to fiddle with the lacy trim of her glove, "What even is this whole thing for, what is the point of travelling across the kingdom for days on end? Nothing could be this important."

"I guess we could take you back-"

"No-" She interrupted, watching him smirk, "That would be a waste of time."

"Then I'll expect no more complaining."

Ariella slouched back into her seat and crossed her arms, "Don't tell me what to do."

"It was only a friendly request," he muttered, "And besides, If I was telling you what to do.. you'd know it."

She eyed him suspiciously, "You should know that you often repulse me with your vulgar language."

"Suspect what you will, though no vulgarity was intended on my part."

She rolled her eyes and glanced out the window, "You still havent told me where you're taking me."

"Oh yes, of course, I will be escorting you to quite a few places, actually."

She turned back towards him, "Is that so?"

"Indeed it is, my darling," he grinned, "You happen to be joining me on the annual nobility tour. We travel to each of the homes owned by the uppermost nobility, mostly Dukes and Duchesses."

"And how many homes are we speaking of?"

"Only four. The Duke and Duchess du Bois, de Amour, de Fleur and the Marquis de Martine," he said, leaning closer to her, "We are on our way to the palace du Bois first, we are staying one night, and from there we travel to the next palace and so forth."

"But why did you want me to come with you?"

He smiled softly as he looked down to his hands, "I should think the answer to that question fairly simple, Ella."

"Perhaps some people aren't as logically inclined as yourself, my Prince, please proceed."

He chuckled, uncrossing his arms to lean closer to her so that their faces were just a few inches apart, "I suppose I couldn't wrap my mind around not listening to your complaining for a fortnight."

"Maybe if you made that comment a bit more romantic, I'd accept your answer," she hinted, staring lustfully into his deep eyes.

He glanced down to her lips, breathing in her alluring smell that subconsciously drew his body even closer to her, "I couldn't bare the thought of leaving you behind, it would very nearly kill me to be away from you," he whispered.

She closed her eyes and gave into the temptation, closing the space between them and brushing her lips across his.

But she was almost instantly pulled away from him as she did so, the carriage had run over something on the road and caused them to be thrown about the carriage. Cal grasped the sides of the carriage to steady himself as Ariella was thrown into him, causing them both to fall back against the carriage wall with a loud thump. Ariella landed in Cal's arms, resting across his lap.

They both laughed out loud as the carriage steadied itself and continued down the road. Cal tucked a piece of Ariella's hair behind her ear with a boyish grin resting on his lips, "Now, where were we?" he asked in a flirtatious voice.

Ariella rolled her eyes and removed herself from his arms, returning back to her seat across from him, "You're going to have to try harder than that, Your Highness."

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