"Rise and shine, mademoiselle!" exclaimed a loud voice, accompanied by a burst of light.
Ariella opened her eyes slowly, wincing at the light pouring into the room as Mae continued to open one drape after the other, "Dear Lord, what is all this commotion about, it has to be barely dawn," she muttered dully, turning onto her back.
"Why, it's the morning hunt, and the debutantes have been invited to join!" said Mae, walking towards Ariella and pulling her out of the bed.
Just as Mae handed her a robe, there was stiff knock on the door.
Mae looked at Ariella with an exasperated expression, "I won't deal with any more of this man's vulgar intentions-" she stopped mid sentence, interrupted by another knock, "If it is the Prince again, I will be escorting him out-" she said as she opened the door, only to find Philipe.
"A correspondence delivery for the Lady," he said softly, motioning towards the gold tray he held in his hand.
Mae nodded shyly, and took the letter from the platter, and quickly shut the door behind her.
Ariella peaked out of her bed chamber to find Mae, smiling lightly as she stood in front of the door, "Who was at the door Mae-"
Another knock sounded from the door, which Mae quickly answered, peaked outside, and then shut the door once more.
"Mae!" Ariella exclaimed, rushing towards her, "Who was that?" Mae shook her head and blushed, handing Ariella the letter.
Ariella tossed the letter over to the chair behind her, barely taking a moment to look over it, and swung the door to its fullest extent.
Callan glanced around his shoulder from down the hall.
"Your Highness, please forgive my maid," she said softly.
Cal smiled mischievously, turning to walk towards her, "You're barely wearing anything, darling," he whispered, walking her back into the room, "The hunt is in a half hour and I requested you ride with me."
Ariella blushed, pulling him inside the room and shutting the door behind him, "Well don't be surprised if I end up dead tomorrow morning," she teased, pushing him up against the wall, "The other ladies will have a fit if they see us together."
"I'll ward off any unwanted guests this evening if you join me for a private dinner," he said quietly, "For we leave tomorrow morning for the Palais de Amour."
Ariella shrugged, "I beg you don't remind me."
Mae cleared her throat from behind them, and pulled Ariella away from Callan, "She must prepare for the day, Your Highness, I fear we are running a bit late. If you'll excuse us-"
Mae shuffled around the room, pulling dresses and shoes out of travelling chests as Areilla braided her hair as instructed, "I really don't see the point in this."
"It helps to keep the hair out of your eyes," Mae muttered as she began dressing Ariella in her riding habit, which consisted of a dark blue, flower embroidered jacket, a white chemisette and a matching skirt.
Ariella glanced into the mirror at her reflection as she tied her riding boots, "I look outrageous."
"It's parisienne fashion, Mademoiselle," muttered Mae as she tidied the room, "And I suspect you don't want to keep his Royal Highness waiting much longer."
Ariella grimaced at Mae's sarcastic expression and lifted herself up from the bed, and headed towards the parlor.
Cal stood up from his seat and looked at Ariella for a moment, "You look like a real debutante today, Mademoiselle."
Ariella grimaced, "If my dressing was at my own accord I would be wearing breeches and a chemise."
"We would match," Cal chuckled, take her hand in his own, "Besides, once you're my Queen, you'll have everything your heart desires. Even if it is to dress like a man."
Ariella giggled, "Your Queen."
"All mine!" Cal exclaimed, lifting her up in the air and twirling her about.
"You'll make me sick if you keep catching me by surprise with these!"
Cal kissed her cheek, "Now wouldn't that be an experience," he smirked and turned his head towards the door, "Shall we?"
"I suppose. I wouldn't want to cause the guest of honor to be late."
Cal chuckled and led her through the door and down the hall, her hand in his.
When they finally reached the doors that led to the stables, they were met by a shrill laugh, "Your Royal Highness, how lovely to see you again!"
Mademoiselle Clarice du Bois had interrupted their path towards the door with a deep curtsy.
Cal looked over to Ariella suspiciously and was met with a grimace. Callan took Clarice's hand and lifted her up from curtsy, "Dearest Clarice du Bois, what a lovely surprise," he muttered.
"I hope you're enjoying your stay here at my home-" Clarice cut her sentence short as she caught a glimpse of Ariella's irritated expression, "And of course," she said dully, "Mademoiselle Ariella, I do hope you too are finding your accommodations fitting."
"Everything is just lovely, Mademoiselle," said Cal sweetly, "But I'm afraid the Lady and I are running a bit late. Now, if you'll excuse us," Cal walked around Clarice and pulled Ariella along with him.
They walked towards the stables, where the rest of the party had gathered. Though they had now released each other's grasp, not wanting to cause a scandal.
"His Royal Highness, Prince Callan de Frencia and Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte," announced the Duke, "The pair who will lead the hunt this morning."
The party clapped and began sharing their acknowledgements with the Prince. They were approached first by the debutantes, all wearing elaborately designed riding habits in different shades of color accompanied by large hats upon their piled curls.
"Your Highness, it's a splendid honor to be joining you on the hunt this morning," said Mademoiselle Charlotte de Amour.
"The pleasure is all mine," said Cal softly, kissing the back of her outstretched hand.
They were then greeted by the rest of the debutantes, followed by the rest of the du Bois guests.
After everyone had retrieved their horses, a gun was sounded and the party headed towards the woods, hunting dogs chasing the heels of the steeds.
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~Watty's 2018 Longlist~Previously featured on Wattpad Picks~ Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte is the most unladylike lady that ever graced the court. She is trapped in the debutante season in the hopes of finding an unwanted match, but her reckles...