Prince Crenip arrived three days after the letter did. Princess Atamar immediately noticed some differences. He took time to properly greet her uncle, not hurriedly going through the formalities before turning to her.
He also truly looked at Uncle Ulap during their greeting, seeming to study him as if finding out what kind of person he was. When he turned his attention to her, he gave her the same scrutinizing gaze, before smiling a genuine smile.
He did not flatter her excessively as the others had. In fact, he didn't compliment her at all but simply said how pleased he was to meet her. He also didn't mention where he had been.
He simply said that he was sorry that he couldn't come sooner, but that he had been unavoidably detained. She was impressed that he didn't try to win favor by telling of his own virtues in helping the people of Rodbre.
After greeting her, he cordially greeted each of the other princes. They had ignored each other until she forced the issue by giving introductions.
She liked that Prince Crenip was so respectful even to his rivals. After the introductions, the company retired to the reception room until lunch.
Again Princess Atamar noticed some differences. The other princes mostly ignored Prince Crenip. However, they also seemed to purposely exclude him by talking about things that had been happening before he arrived.
He simply sat by listening politely, glancing around at the different princes as they talked, and only throwing a few glances her way.
Princess Atamar did not say much during the conversation, instead trying to notice all that was going on under the surface.
When it was time to head to lunch, most of the princes vied for the privilege of escorting her to the table. Prince Crenip didn't. The others vied for seats near her, Crenip didn't.
In fact, Crenip ended up sitting some distance away. Mitym & Enielda were in the seats next to him. Princess Atamar wished she could hear their conversation, but it was much too far away, especially with eight other princes talking over each other.
Mitym and Enielda were not surprised to see the commotion of Princess Atamar's entrance. The princes always made a fuss about wanting to be with her, even when she tried to make it fair by assigning days and meals where each could escort her and sit beside her.
The two of them looked at each other and rolled their eyes, annoyed for their friend. Suddenly they heard a voice ask, "Is this seat taken?"
They looked up surprised, and saw a new Prince standing behind the empty seat between them. They both hastily stood up and Mitym said, "Oh no, Prince Crenip. You are welcome to sit there."
Enielda added, "But don't you want to sit with the other princes near the princess your highness?" Prince Crenip glanced back at the head table and shrugged, "There is not much room left up there, besides it is not like I would get much chance to talk to her anyway.
I would much rather sit here. However, you two seem to have an advantage over me since you know who I am, but I don't know who you are."
Mitym and Enielda quickly introduced themselves. "I am Enielda. My father is the stablemaster here at the palace. My brother Nehat and I run the youth stable where your dragon is."
"And I am Mitym. I live with the great elf healers Nnalo & Bibma, although I am originally from a village of giants a few furloughs away."
"It is wonderful to meet you Enielda & Mitym. You already know that I am Prince Crenip from the kingdom of Signs, but I prefer to go by my name, not my title, so please just call me Crenip.
Enielda you and your brother must be very talented with animals if you are in charge of an entire stable already. Thank you for caring for my dragon.
I know that Glith will receive excellent care. Do you want to be a stablemaster like your father?"
The rest of the meal the three of them talked about various things: what they enjoyed doing in their free time, what they wanted to be when they were older, information about their siblings, and stories of their childhood.
They laughed and talked happily together soon feeling like they were old friends. When he got up to leave the table, Prince Crenip bowed slightly to Enielda & then Mitym telling them how much he had enjoyed meeting them.
After he left, Mitym looked at Enielda and said, "I wish Atamar could have sat with us. She would have had a much better time."
Enielda nodded, but said, "Did you notice that he didn't ask a single question about her or even look in her direction except a couple times when the princes got loud?
Do you think he is already interested in someone else and just came because he had to come?"
The thought was not a pleasant one...
YOU ARE READING
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...