Chapter 46

The handmaids all fluttered around her in terrifying vigor, with such focused brevity and heightened anxiety it only served to make Cassandra more nervous. Deep within her was the tightest, most sickening feeling, as if her stomach was churning hot flames searing at her gut. She feared the more time that passed in this fashion, the more her complexion waned. If anything, she was fearful. Fearful she would be unsatisfactory.

The gown was on, the hair was groomed. Each detail was tended. As they were checking her over for any visible flaws, there came a knock upon the door, and before anyone could reply or retrieve it, it swung open and Lady Edwina came inside. She was quite a sight, decked in a gown of dark, simple elegance to contrast her fine white hair and sharp eyes.

To Cassandra's amazement, the governess failed to give her an intense look over her posture, her gown, yet only looked upon her and smiled warmly. The handmaids did not pause, only continuing their duties, as the Lady walked to her student.

"Lady Edwina," the Princess bowed her head, trying her best not to disturb the servants at work, while attempting to have her decorum towards her governess still intact.

"I hope I have not disturbed you, Cassandra," Lady Edwina said, seeming to beam with a certain pride that even Cassandra could detect. "I had to see for myself that all was in the right, that you were ready for this."

The Princess swallowed, nodding slowly. "Thank you, Lady Edwina, I believe I am."

"Oh, do not look so worried, dear!" she scolded her in the sweetest of manners. "Your color is so drained. You are so beautiful, for certain he will like you. Like you very much, I am sure."

"Really?" murmured Cassandra. "You think so?"

"Cassandra," Lady Edwina took her hand between hers. "You are lovely, both inside and out.  Simply be yourself."

Such advice was unheard of from such a woman, yet it made Cassandra feel better.

"Just remember to breathe, yes?" chuckled the governess. "Now, I shall leave you. You appear almost done, and I will allow you to finishing without my interruption."

{~}

Finally, after the servants had finished atagonizing over every aspect of her appearance, they sent her off. She was to make her entrance on the grand Hall like a bride on her wedding day. The fantastic room still filled with the decor of the previous night would be empty of persons except for the Royal Family in their thrones and her Prince waiting at their side like an expectant groom.

Just remember to breathe, yes? Cassandra took a deep breath, as if preparing to dive into an icy bath. Right around the corner he was stationed, and she would see him, with only one more simple step.

She just wanted to please him. More then anything, she hoped he would be pleased with her.

As she entered, her eyes instanteously fell upon the tall, unfamiliar figure standing at the far end of this long hall. Something in her wavered as his eyes caught on her as well, and she felt it necessary to avert them somewhere else for the time being. It was not long before her curiousity got the best of her, and her eyes returned to him, she coming closer to him and the thrones beside him with every step. It sent a pang through her to realize the vague similarity between the Prince and his cousin the Duke, as vague as the similarity was. Yet he held himself in a manner that Giddeon did not, he did not have that beaming, romantic eye that Giddeon possessed. His contenance was pale, and had an air of stately melancholy. Indeed he was unarguably handsome, with dark, dashing hair and an appealing build of face, a strong, prominent nose and a firmly set jaw. With seemingly masked eyes he observed her, cooly taking in the look about her. She could not help be pleased with the appearance of him, but still she wondered, trying to find thought in those dark eyes of his, was he pleased with her?

The End

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