15: I Know You

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Ever since Sophie realized her feelings for Fitz, things were... strange. For the past two weeks, everything was the same routine-wise, but it was as though she were looking at everything in a new light. It was like seeing a new color, and she couldn't get enough of it. She often found herself staring at Fitz as he worked. The way his hair skimmed his furrowed brows as he leaned over a paper, his twin gems for eyes sharply analyzing every word and the spaces in between. The way his fingers restlessly tapped on the nearest surface towards the evening, like they wanted to spring from his hand and run away from the mountains of reports and requests. The way the light streaming from the wide windows fell on his face at different points in the day, each collection of shadows and highlights more beautiful than the last. And somehow, with these little, mundane details, Sophie found herself falling harder and harder for the prince of Evertalia. It was as if she was heart was trying to make up for lost time, like her subconscious had known her feelings for a while but waited for the rest of her to figure it out.

When she finally put the pieces together, it just felt right - in fact, the longer she was aware, the more it made sense. The way their minds seemed to meld together. The way they simply just understood one another like no one else in the world could. How could she not begin the journey of falling in love with him? There was only one problem: Sophie was a servant, and he was a prince.

For the first time, Sophie felt her heart rip at her low-class status. Before, she'd never really minded being looked down upon by nobles for her simple, beat-up clothes, her main concern was getting enough money to put food on the table each day, but now that she was trapped in the constricting ring of society, she began to see the limitations of being royalty, and why she almost wished she was one anyways. The nobility practically preyed upon the royals and their lives, making sure they balanced the knife that was the law and traditional social mannerism, even if they only pretended to follow them as well. They were moral-less fiends with an insatiable desire for money and power, and would surely rip Sophie apart if she and Fitz began to court... Sophie was getting ahead of herself. She wasn't even sure if Fitz liked her back, but she couldn't help herself. Anyone would struggle to remain rational with their heart pounding and such gorgeous eyes on them - eyes that Sophie found looking at her with concern as she pulled herself back into reality.

"Are you okay?" frowned Fitz. "You're spacing out a lot today."

Blushing, she avoided his eyes, hoping her excuse was good enough to deter him from the truth, "Just worried about Keefe, that's all. We haven't heard from him in a while. I'm worried that something happened on his journey there or on his way home."

"I often worry that as well," he admitted tiredly, setting his quill down on the desk, and rubbed his eyes. It was the early evening now, and they'd been working almost non-stop since seven o'clock that morning.

"He's not away to strengthen diplomatic relations, is he?" she dared to ask, fiddling with the ribbon tied in her hair absentmindedly.

She watched as Fitz dug his nails into his palm before replying heavy heartedly, "No. No he's not."

"Then where is he?"

The prince hesitated, "He's... Honestly? I'm not really sure. I asked him to go undercover in the Neverseen to act as a double agent with the excuse that his mother was one of the main members and he was claiming his birthright."

A cold feeling of dread slithered from the backend of Sophie's tongue down to the pit of her stomach, "That's..."

"Dangerous?" he offered miserably, "I know. I hated to ask it of him, we both knew how difficult it would be, but what other choice do we have? We have very limited information on the Neverseen, and they've sieged the palace twice. Once because we were caught by surprise, and then a second time because they came out of nowhere. We still haven't figured out how they got in. They'd attacked us twice, and we haven't laid a single blow to their defenses or supplies or anything."

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