"Is it true?"
"It must be."
"I am so excited."
"Will he dance with the first princess?"
"That should be the case."
"One is handsome while the other is beautiful. They are a match made in heaven."
Cassandra walked through the corridors with her lady in waiting quietly as everyone ignored her presence. She was just a passerby with no significance whatsoever in the eyes of others.
"Princess, will you not attend the victory banquet?" Cassandra's lady in waiting asked as soon as they entered the room. Her eyes glowing with excitement and nervousness.
"It won't make any difference."
"But princess. Everyone in the empire will be present. The Emperor had officially invited everyone."
Amy became quiet as soon as her master's voice came into her ears.
[But I wanted to go.] Amy thought, but she did not open her mouth. She knew what type of person Princess Cassandra was. The Princess hated crowded places the most as whenever she was in one, her face would turn sour.
Cassandra sighed as she waved her hands, "Fine. Prepare my dress."
"Yes, Princess." Amy smiled happily as she left the room almost running in joy.
Cassandra laughed as she sat on the chair facing the mirror.
'If it wasn't for my hair, everyone would have thought of me like a slave.'
Cassandra was the fifth princess of the Elvira Empire. An Empire where magic ran into everyone's veins like blood, where fire, water, wind, and earth mages were abundant. Everyone, no matter who had a little bit of the elemental power in their blood. Everyone except Cassandra.
'They think I am useless. Don't they?'
'And yet they cannot badmouth me on my face because I am a Princess.
'Even though it's just for names.'
The royal family that ruled the empire was considered the strongest there was. The blessed one possessing the hair like gold can only rule the empire. Golden hair was a symbol of royalty but Cassandra knew she was not considered a true royal.
Cassandra touched her hair lightly as her eyes turned sharp. While all other family members had sun-kissed golden hair Cassandra possessed a color-drenched in snow. She had platinum blond hair.
'Will I be ignored in the victory ball as well?'
'What am I even thinking? Of course, I will be.'
'I will be sitting alone yet again, should I just not go?'
'But Amy is looking forward to it.'
Cassandra sighed as she walked towards her bed and rested her body over the soft mattress. As she closed cornflower blue eyes, the surrounding noises came flowing into her ears.
[This dress looks good on me.]
[Will he look at me]
[I should be able to dance at the ball if I wear this]
[Princess Valeria wants the best hairpins. I need to make sure no one else is better than her.]
Cassandra focused on the last person, clearing the other voices into thin air. Concentrating on it, Cassandra could hear more clear voices.
[Princess Valeria will look gorgeous in red.]
[She has to stand out more than everyone else.]
Cassandra laughed as she opened her eyes and stared in nothingness. She rolled over as she consumed herself into deep thoughts.
The Elvira Empire was blessed by a witch called Elvira who had given the land the power of four elements to live in harmony. It was said that she had also created the fifth element who was abandoned over the centuries.
Elvira who was in sorrow by this act had cursed the land, "When the day comes for the true heir to shine, the greed of the clothes will bring the downfall of the two kingdoms, making it into one."
As time passed the fifth elemental mage was cornered as they created their own kingdom, Vivere Kingdom.
The history of the continent has always been a mystery but somewhere along the line a new prophecy was received, "Only the brightest star of them all can rule to bring peace to Elvira."
Cassandra got up from the bed as she said under her breath, "Fools."
The story after that was simple. People started seeing the golden hair royalty as their savior making the strongest of them the Emperor and the tradition had thus been followed ever since.
The current head, the Emperor, was a wind mage, the most powerful of them all who had ascended the throne later learning the other forms. It was said that the one who ascends the throne if he is to rule the Empire, Elvira will give them the power to wield all five elements.
Thus the strongest of the royals were preferred. But it was not that easy to survive in the palace. It was a constant battle.
'I should be thankful I do not have any visible powers.'
Cassandra's mother had died during childbirth. The poor child was raised by the maids in the palace when little Cassandra was brought in due to her hair colors.
Cassandra understood no one knew who her mother was, and she was not the only one. Apart from the first princess Valeria and the Third prince Cedric who was born to the Empress all the other royal children were insignificant in the palace.
When the child showed the signs of magic at the age of 12, they got a symbol that would appear on their body. The brighter the symbol, the stronger the innate power. But their future depended on who could cultivate and master the most power.
Cassandra sighed as she remembered. She was grateful in a way that she did not possess any symbol. She was the rare kind who did not have any ability. Which also meant she was not a threat to others.
When most of her siblings were dying mysteriously Cassandra was able to live her days in peace.
And over the years Cassandra was labeled the unfavored princess. A royal whose existence did not affect anyone.
But Cassandra had a power unknown to all. She could read minds. The deepest of the thoughts. She wasn't sure if it was a curse or a blessing but it had helped her to survive. Cassandra acted like a sheep where it was needed and unnoticeable to others at times. And soon the unfavored princess was invisible to all. Or that is what she had thought.
"Princess, I got some clothes. They did not have anything remaining so I thought I could make you something unique." Amy smiled as she came into the room with a pile of blue cloths of different textures.
Cassandra shook her head as she came back to reality. "Why is everything blue?"
"Well …" Amy scratched her finger over her cheeks as she continued, "I thought it matched your eye's color. I will make sure you stand out Princess. Trust me on that."
Amy's confidence made Cassandra smile but she could hear the truth clearly.
[And everything else was already taken away by others. I had to beg to leave these for you. I will make you the prettiest dress Princess.]
Cassandra smiled as her eyes softened. Amy had been with her since the start. Like her, Amy too was also cast out for possessing little power. But unlike Cassandra, Amy was an earth mage with an affinity for wood, and yet she did not practice it to survive.
It was an uncommon sight and Amy always felt she was not normal so she hid her powers from everyone else, only displaying a minimum of her powers needed.
Cassandra understood why her lady-in-waiting would do that. Only the chosen one can have powers and others should be eliminated. An unusual power mage was a threat to the royalty.
But Cassandra also knew there were powers other than the five elements. Just like hers. But people hid it well, not practicing it in the open.
"Princess .." Amy asked as she blinked looking at Cassandra. "Should we prepare some jewelry as well?"
Cassandra giggled, "Why are you so focused on making me stand out?"
Amy flicked as she fiddled with her fingers, asking herself whether she should say or not. "That …" Amy took a deep breath as she continued. "It is a victory banquet."
Cassandra nodded. "I know."
"Our army has defeated a region of the Vivera Kingdom."
"Yes." Cassandra nodded.
"The person who led the war was Duke Aiden Salvador."
Cassandra was quiet when she heard the name. But Amy continued not paying attention. "You might have not seen him personally as you do not attend many balls or celebrations, but Duke Salvador is said to be very handsome. The best out there."
Amy looked at Cassandra as she smiled and took the clothes keeping them against Cassandra's skin to see which texture suited her the most. "It is rumored that the Emperor will grant him a marriage proposal. He could choose any princess to become his Chief wife."
[The competition is fierce and I need to make sure you stand out Princess. You deserve to be happy as well.]
"Chief wife?" Cassandra asked. "Does the Duke already have a lover?"
Amy shook her head in denial. "No. He has never dated anyone. But with his popularity, many young ladies want to marry into the Dukedom."
Cassandra nodded in understanding.
[Even Princess Valeria.]