"King, your majesty, there is great news. Those bandits that stole from your castle are now behind bars. You can rest now. Our dungeons are the finest in the land." The king's adviser excitedly exclaimed.
"Yes, I know. and my gold has been returned. Thank you for that update. But I summoned you here for a reason. Tomorrow is the ball, correct?"
"Well, yes your highness."
"My youngest daughter is supposed to be in it. This is her first ball."
"Oh, that's wounderful!"
"No, it's not. She can't walk in her shoes, let alone dance in them. And she is already expected to dance with Prince Alexander! Oh, what shall I do?"
"Well, sir, this is just a suggestion, but you can give her classes for all day today up until the ball tomorrow."
"Yes, while that is a great idea, I'm not sure how well it will work. She is suposed to meet her prince today."
"Well, can't they talk during her one hour lunch break/"
"I don't see why not. Thank you for helping me. You have been a great help."
"Well sir, that is what advisors are for."
* * *
"Alice! WAKE UP!" Kiera excitedly yelled.
"What do you want Kiera? It's only 6:00!"
"Today's the ball!"
"Oh great! That's exactly waht I wanted. Balls are so boring!"
"How can you know? You've never been to one!"
"Well, have you seen me dance? I'm like a dog walking on two legs!"
"Well... Un...Interesting metephor."
"You were you saying?"
"Oh yes. When I was your age, I didn't like dancing either."
"What on earth changed your mind?"
"Well, I got to dance with Prince Jake. He is the greatest gentlemen there ever is. And his dancing skills are amazing!"
"Do you get to dance with hin tonight?"
"Oh yes. His invitation arrived in the mail yesterday. He immediately requested to dance with me. I really think he likes me!"
'So, if the ball isn't tonight, why do I ned to get up so early?"
Oh yes... well... your dance instructer has insisted on an all day dance lesson for You. If I were you, I'd coperate. She's seems angry!"
"an all day dance lesson. Oh joy!" Alice muttered sarcastically as she went to report to her lesson.
* * *
"And 1,2,3, and 1,2,3. "Alice's dance instructor chanted. "You must keep in rythm if you are to sucsede. And why on earth are you so clumsy? It's as if you're tripping over invisible strings!"
"It's the high heels!" Alice said irritably. "They're not made for a young 14-year old like me. I just want to leap and skip, not dance the waltz."
"Alice! Why are you so irritated?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe i don't want to go to this stupid ball. But does anybody ask if i want to dance? No. If it were my choice, I would reathewear one of those tight dresses. A corset?"
"Yes dear, that's what they're called. And speaking of corsets, I almost forgot something. I'll be right back!" The dance instructor rushed into the costume room and pulled out a bright pink corset.
"Uh... no. I would not be caught dead wearing a corset, let alone a pink one."
"You are 14. That is the age for corsets and high heels. Fight it if you wish, but that is the law."
"Well then, it's a pretty dumb law."
"Then you should discuss it with your father. But until the bell rings for break, you must stop this arguing nonsense. It's past time you mature. You're not a little kid anymore. You need to act 14,not 7."
"I sure wish I were 7. Then I could get away with climbing trees. But now-"
"What's this about climbing trees?"
Just then the bell rang. Alice rushed out the door before anymore questions can be answered.
"Answer me Alice!" But she was already out the castle. "Oh sure." The teacher muttered. She can run in high heels, but she can't dance in them. I have a feeling she's doing it on purpose."
* * *
"Alice! If you keep this up, you are not going to lunch! Unless you learn how to curtsy, you will not get to do anything! I don't care if the prince walks in here right now!" The teacher was obvoiuslt furious! For three hours, Alice had done nothing but argue. St this moment of anger, the door opened. A young gentle men with fiery red hair walked into the door. Alice thought he was the most hansome boy she had ever met. "Oh.. hello Prince Alexander. Would you please come in?"
"Certainly. As you know, I am escorting Alice to the ball tonight. Is there any way I could have a moment with her?"
"Well... We're right in the middle of class right now. But I'm sure we could spare a few moments." At this moment she just so happened to glance at the sundial. "Oh dear! It's past lunch! Why don't you two run along and talk over lunch time."
"Very well." Prince Alexander was obviously very well- mannered. "How long is lunch?"
"You have an hour. Will that be enough time?"
"Oh yes, definitely. I only need to get to know Princess Alice. WE are assigned to dance with each other until we are old enough to find our own princes or princesses to dance with. So It's very important we get to know each other. Correct?"
"Oh yes. It is. Alice, you are excused. I hope you have a good time with your prince!" And she actually meant it. The two young royals walked silently to lunch. While looking into the princes eyes, Alice knew her first ball would be a night to remember.
* * *
"So Alice, what's it like being the youngest princess?" Alexander asked her, his eyes sparkling in the sunlight that was just barely shining through the trees. Alice thought it was a very romantic to eat lunch in the royal garden, a place she was usually forbidden to go because she climbes the trees. But no matter how strong the urge, Alice wante to impress the prince by acting like a lady.
"Well, as the youngest, I am wrapped around my dad's finger. But being a princess is quite a bore. You can't do anything on your own. I have servants to boss aroung my servants who boss around my servants! I can't even pick what clothes to wear to the ball tonight. now I'm stuck wearing this pink corset. It's terrible!"
"Well, how do you spend your day if you don't get to do anything?"
"Oh, my entire day is planned out on my classes. Life as a pirnce is much easier. You don't have to take any calsses except self defense."
"Well. First I have to take dance class. Then I learn to sew, after that is lunch, where I am usually given eating classes."
"Eating classes? I learned to eat as an infant!"
"Well, they teach you how to eat properly."
"Ok. What's next? I know you have to take more classes."
"Oh yes. That's only the first half of the day. In the second half I have an entire class on just walking with correct posture, then I learn how to order people around."
"Don't your servants already do that for you? Who orders them around and tells them how to do it?"
"Well, my dad obviously. He was trained as a child.'
" Why do you have to be trained? Doesn't ordering people around come naturally to royalty?"
"Well, Alexander, since you asked, let just inform you now that I am no ordinary princess. Instead of sitting down all day, I want to run and skip and play. My dad thinks it's a severe case of ADHD. Whatever that is." Just then, a trumpet sounded. "Sorry, got to go." Alice apologized. "That was the school bell. I'll see you at the ball tonight!" Alice knew she was going to have to impress Alexander even it it killed her. She was going to learn to waltz. Even if it killed her in the process.