Amy was in a hurry to get Cassandra dressed.
The fifth Princess could not be late for the event. How could the Royalty wait?
[This needs to go here.]
[The dress must be smooth here.]
[Oh, yes the powder.]
As Amy moved towards Cassandra in a hurry, she was stopped by her master.
"Amy, leave it. I am getting late. Let's not do makeup." Cassandra waved her hand as she walked towards the mirror to look at herself.
Her skin was glowing under the dress that Amy made. Even though the skills were not mastery level, Amy had done a good job. Cassandra could proudly say this was one of the best dresses she owned.
"Amy you have done well." Cassandra looked at Amy and smiled. She was proud of her lady-in-waiting for doing such a good job.
"Okay, let's go otherwise we will be late." Cassandra's lips curled as she walked towards the door, leaving Amy bewitched by her beauty.
Amy always knew if Princess Cassandra dressed well she would leave even the most beautiful of the lady behind. But her master didn't want to stand out.
Cassandra looked fresh as a breeze. Her skin was smooth as her lips are naturally pink. When her cornflower blue eyes blinked, Cassandra looked like a Moon Goddess with her platinum bold hair.
Amy knew even if Cassandra looked petite, the Princess was strong. She never depends on anyone else and survived even when everyone looked down on her. The smile on Cassandra's face was never washed by the criticism of others. If that was not strong, Amy didn't know what was.
"Amy, come." Amy nodded at Cassandra's words as she followed her master in a hurry.
"Greeting to the sun of the Empire, the Emperor." All the royal family bowed when they saw the Emperor entering.
"Rise" The Emperor ordered before turning towards the Empress "We should enter."
The royal couple entered the banquet followed by the Prince and Princesses. Everyone greeted the Royal couple as the Royal family took their place.
Cassandra followed last as she sat at the far right corner. The Prince and Princesses were arranged according to their status. The ones sitting nearest to the Royal couple were the third prince and the first princess.
Cassandra looked at everyone as she moved a step back before she sat down.
[Princess Valeria is so beautiful.]
[The charm of the first princess is undeniable.]
[Princess Valeria looks dazzling in red.]
All the voices spread into Cassandra's ears as she sighed.
'This is the reason I hate to be in a crowded place.'
Cassandra turned around to look at the first princess, Valeria who everyone was complimenting. Cassandra had to admit, Valeria was a beauty. The sun-kissed blond hairs and twinkling black eyes were making her look like a doll. The red lips that matched her red gown made Princess Valeria the star of the party.
Valeria's eyes looked at Cassandra as her lips twitched. Valeria was a fire mage. Strongest after Duke Aiden alone. She hated being in the presence of someone like Cassandra who had no powers at all.
[The fifth princess is a spot on the Royal family.]
[Why should we keep her alive if she is so useless.]
Cassandra who heard such words did not show any emotions as she bowed her head slightly towards Valeria.
Cassandra knew people like Valeria loved to showcase their superiority. It was better to bow a little than to create friction between them.
The party was started but the person they all were waiting for was not here to be seen. Cassandra on the other hand was getting bored. She wanted to escape from the situation as her head had started paining.
'When will this Duke arrive? I have to go and sleep. These noises are giving me a headache.'
Cassandra closed her eyes as she took deep breaths. She could not control her powers as she had never had formal training in the area. Her powers were unique, so that could make her be killed. Cassandra knew of this fact thus she could indulge herself in books trying to find ways to control her powers,
Till now Cassandra could only focus on one person and push the other voices into the background, making them invisible. But she could not mute all the voices completely yet.
'Should I focus on one person?' Cassandra's eyes roamed around the huge room as she tried finding a person interesting enough to keep her entertained, but Cassandra could not find one.
Dejected Cassandra looked at her only source of entertainment, her siblings.
'Should I just listen to Valeria's voice?'
Cassandra made up her mind as she focused on the single voice. Soon only Valeria's voice came flooding in as the other noises took a step back.
[How dare he look at me with such eyes.]
[Why isn't Duke Salvador coming?]
[This is the party for his honor.]
[Aiden Salvador alone deserves my first dance. How can I give my first dance to someone else.]
[oh, the Duke had just entered his mansion and will be here shortly.]
[Is my dress good? I hope Duke Aiden likes it.]
Cassandra sighed as she rubbed her forehead. Everything in Princess Valeria's mind was about Duke Aiden Salvador.
'I need a fresh breath.'
But before Cassandra could take a step she heard the Empress's voice.
[Where is this girl going? As a princess, she should dance with someone. Doesn't she have etiquette?]
Cassandra shook her head as she hurriedly walked out of the hall into the garden.
Soon the fresh air filled her lungs as Cassandra felt free. She didn't know where Amy went, but Cassandra didn't care.
'Amy should enjoy herself.'
"Princess?" A voice called Cassandra as she turned around to look at an unfamiliar face.
[Oh, she is beautiful.]
Cassandra's lips twitched as she looked at the man staring at her with greedy eyes.
[The Empress was not wrong. She does suit my taste.]
Cassandra took a step back subconsciously. She didn't know the person but she knew he was someone sent by the Empress.
'The Empress finally wants to get rid of me?'
Cassandra tried to smile as she asked the man politely, "Who might this be?"
"Sorry for the late introduction. I am Earl Aetos. It is an honor to meet the Princess." The Earl owed but his eyes still stayed on Cassandra.
'He belongs to a house loyal to the Empress.'
Cassandra smiled as he greeted the Earl. She wanted to leave the place soon, but the Earl had other plans. "I would be honored if the Princess allowed me to have her first dance."
Cassandra's face paled. She knew the importance of such a dance. The first dance in a banquet as grand as this was to tell the people the interest of the two parties.
'If I dance with him, the Empress will marry me off to him.'
Cassandra's throat ran dry. She knew she had to get away from this situation as soon as possible. Even if she did not dance but the rumor of her being in the garden alone with the Earl spread, Cassandra would be married off soon.
It was a reality of society. She was a princess who no one cared about at the royal palace, so sending her off will not make much of a difference.
Cassandra took deep breaths, "I am sorry but I won't be able to dance. I was on my way back as I am not feeling well."
"But a single dance won't hurt." The Earl insisted, [or just stay here a few more minutes until someone comes and sees us.]
Cassandra's eyes widened as she heard Eal's thoughts. Her steps took a step back in fright.
'I need to get away from her soon.'
'But I cannot leave abruptly.'
'What should I do?'
"Princess?" Earl Aetos looked at Cassandra with a questionable gaze. "The Empress wished to see us dancing."
Earl Aetos smiled as he continued, "She is worried about you. Why don't we fulfill her wish and then you can go back."
"NO!" Cassandra's voice increased, but soon she controlled her tone, "I mean, I need some rest now. I am sorry for the inconvenience though. I will inform the Empress myself."
Cassandra took several steps back as she made her move, she could hear footsteps coming towards her, as the thoughts of guard reached her ears.
[Why do we have to search the garden?]
[The Empress specifically said, if we find two people together, we should inform her immediately.]
Cassandra's heartbeats rose but before she could escape, her hand was held tightly. "Princess .."
Cassandra's eyes turned sharp. "Earl Aetos, you should not touch a princess carelessly. Please release my hand immediately."
Cassandra's voice was sharp as she tried to forcefully free her hand, but failed.
[Not touch a princess carelessly? You are just a princess in name and yet you think you could give me orders?]
The fear in Cassandra's heart was increasing by the second. She felt like her journey was till here. All the care she had taken to survive was to get married to this man because of the Empress.
"Please release me …"
Cassandra closed her eyes as her breathing increased. She felt everything ends here under silence. All the voices surrounding her disappeared as she was pulled into a strong embrace.
"She said no." Cassandra could feel the steady heartbeats of the person who was keeping her head stuck into his chest.