By the end of the week, Atamar had decided that there were some definite advantages to the one-on-one times. She was definitely getting to know the many princes better. However, in some ways that wasn't such a good thing.
Prince Yingnano drove her crazy. She found him so obnoxious and irritating it was hard to be polite and pretend interest in him.
When she was with Prince Domnar she was often confused. He was constantly switching thoughts and topics when he talked. He did so many peculiar things and just seemed so aimless. She never knew what to expect from him and she didn't like it.
Then there was Prince Chitpeat. She felt sorry for him. He was always in trouble. It wasn't that he was a troublemaker. It was that he was pitifully bad at everything. When he tried to pay her compliments, they would often sound more like insults. If they went for a ride, he would be sure to fall off his mount. She made sure she never went dragon riding with him. If they walked, he'd trip or run into something. He'd almost shot someone with an arrow during archery practice one day. Being around him was not pleasant because she always wondered what terrible thing was going to happen next.
Although she didn't enjoy her time with those three princes, she was glad to be able to mark them off her list of possible husbands.
She was also able to mark off Prince Idrew of Skipbo. He wasn't as bad as the other three, but he was just so odd. The way he dressed made her want to laugh as did the way he talked. If he had been trying to be funny, it would have been one thing, but he was perfectly serious not only when speaking but also about his appearance. His brightly-colored clashing clothes were probably the height of fashion in Skipbo. However, they looked ridiculous to her. And the things he chose to talk about... One day he spent 15 minutes talking about watching a cat catch a mouse and eat it. He was so strange. She could never be happy married to a man like that.
Prince Gornib of Blitz wasn't much better. He wasn't strange. He was just uninteresting. She often had to pinch herself to keep awake while he was talking and he talked nonstop. At least he didn't talk about horrid things like mice being caught by cats. However, he would talk about the best way to sharpen a sword, which animal was best for traveling in different conditions, how you could tell whether clouds were bringing a storm. She admitted to herself that some of what he talked about might have been interesting...if he wasn't so monotone. He had almost no expression in his deep voice, so it was very easy to become distracted, and to fall asleep. Atamar had even seen Hamori nodding off a few times, which almost made her laugh. She knew that she could never marry a man who couldn't hold her attention for more than 5 seconds.
That left three princes. She liked Prince Nynfu. He liked to be silly and he loved to play practical jokes. He often made her smile and sometimes she even laughed. He was so merry and amusing. He would pick the most hilarious activities for their 30 minutes together. He said he had always wished he had been born a minstrel instead of a prince. His choices for activities showed it. One day they leapfrogged across the meadow. On another day, they wrote a song about a fish that learned to fly. They worked on learning how to juggle. Once Prince Nynfu even had Yt join them to teach them how to do backflips. These two activities were a little uncomfortable for Atamar because she wasn't sure how others would react if she wasn't better than Prince Nynfu. However, no one said anything so Atamar tried to just forget and have fun. She did have fun with him, but she wasn't sure if she would want to marry him. After all, there was more to life than just silliness and fun, but Prince Nynfu didn't seem to realize that.
There were still two more possibilities. Prince Fretpec of Swap was wonderful. His appearance was always immaculate. His manners were impeccable. He was superbly handsome. The other young ladies were split down the middle as to whether he or Prince Relos was more handsome. However, she remembered what her mother had said. Good looks weren't everything. Yet, he did seem to be ideal in so many ways. He was very considerate of her. He was very polite to the other princes, to her uncle, to the palace staff, and to her friends. He took good care of his horse. He was kind to all animals. Nothing he said or did was wrong, which actually made her nervous. She rather wished he'd make a mistake in some way. She felt inferior around him. It wasn't that he treated her that way, he was just so accomplished and adept at everything and she didn't feel like she measured up.
He probably wasn't the right one for her, which left Prince Relos of Quelf...
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Princess Atamar has always grown up being the best. Of course, it wasn't of her choosing. Every teen in the kingdom, including her closest friends were forced to make sure Atamar always won their games, had higher grades, and was better at everythin...