A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Chapter 8)

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Chapter 8: Big Trouble In Excalibell! On the ground I layMotionless in painI can see my life flashing before my eyesDid I fall asleep?Is this all a dreamWake me up, I’m living a nightmare I will not die (I will not die)I will survive I will ...

Chapter 8: Big Trouble In Excalibell!

On the ground I lay
Motionless in pain
I can see my life flashing before my eyes
Did I fall asleep?
Is this all a dream
Wake me up, I’m living a nightmare

I will not die (I will not die)
I will survive

I will not die, I’ll wait here for you
I feel alive, when you’re beside me
I will not die, I’ll wait here for you
In my time of dying

Time of Dying, Three Days Grace


SOUNDS of heavy footsteps on the ground echoed in the dead silence of the night. Knights wearing heavy armour marched toward the front gates of the castle. They had just received news of an unknown intruder who dared to step into their land without permission.

They knew nothing of the intruder, except that it was a she, and most likely, be a witch.

The loud sound of heavy breathing and panting from the lack of air echoed in a huge Barley field.

A small figure was running for her dear life from being pursued by a group of men in a shining bloody armour, who had the nerves to accuse her of being a witch for suddenly showed up out of nowhere at an opened garden in a huge castle.

The young woman forced herself to keep on moving even though her legs were begging for some rest. She had been running for who knows how long when she’d escaped from the castle.

The woman continuously to run until she saw an old barn at the end of the field. Pushing forward, she dashed madly into the barn and shut the heavy wooden doors, before locking it.

Panting and gasping heavily, the woman slide against the door and down on her knees. One hand clapped over her mouth, she tried to control the sound of her own breathing.

Anya Romans was scared —terrified.

One moment she was standing in the comfort of her own bedroom, getting ready to fall asleep, and the next, she found herself suddenly in a middle of a huge garden out of nowhere, with a man in a heavy armour getup, pointed a spear at her and accused of her being an intruder — a witch!

Anya tried to be reasonable and talked to the man by telling him she was most definitely NOT a witch, but he refused to listen to anything she said. Needless to say, she had no choice but to fight the man when he started swinging the spear toward her, and then ran out when he had called for reinforcement.

Taking a couple of deep breath, Anya looked at her blood-stained and bruised knuckles. Escaping the castle wasn’t an easy game. She’d barely made it alive with thousands of knights kept on charging at her.

It was a really great thing that she knew how to fight and damned good at it. Otherwise, she would be killed by now.

Josh must’ve been proud. I did some serious arse-kicking back then. Anya mused.

Looking around, she’d just realised for the first time since she came into this world, it must be Excalibell.

“Duke’s world..” Her eyes grew widened at the realisation. Her heart suddenly pounding heavily. She couldn’t think nor breath. She felt like throwing up this instant.

And she did.

“Oh God!” Anya said, in between vomiting. “Oh God, why?”

After a minute or two emptying her stomach, Anya was as weak as a kitten. Clinching to her stomach, she took a long deep breath and sighed heavily. Trying her very best to calm down her nerves not to be freaked out by the situation, Anya ended up hugging herself.

“This is just a dream. This... Can’t be happening.” Her voice trembled. She rapidly shaking her head and buried her face on her knees.

“What am I suppose to do now?”


ELSEWHERE, night fell quietly at the Hillview Town that Wednesday morning. Yet, one person was unable to sleep no matter how hard he tried.

Duke sighed for the tenth times. His tummy was full, his bed was warm, and his eyes were ready to shut down, but his mind refused to do the same. Thus, leaving him fully awake in the middle of the night.

Tossing and turning for what seemed to be the hundredth times, Duke eventually gave up sleeping and got up from his bed. Wearing a robe, he went to the balcony of his chamber.

Duke inhaled deeply and exhaled at the cool air outside. While he missed the sight of green and the fresh cleaned air back home, he had to admit that being in this world wasn’t too bad either. There were things that he already knew and things that he still in need to learn in order to live like a ‘commoner’ in this world.

As he looked at the sight that overlooked the city, Duke sighed softly.

Has it been really two months since he arrived? All the sudden, he felt really nostalgic about it. Within those two months, he’d learnt a lot about this world more than he’d ever cared to do so whenever Marian tried to teach him something.

Thinking about his beloved, Duke smiled softly. He briefly remembered whenever Marian tried to teach him something that involved ‘modern technologies’, and how he always tossed it away and often insisted that he didn’t need to know about them since she would be living with him at the castle anyway when they get married.

Boy, he’d regretted it.

As sweet and lovable Marian was, her temper was something that even he wouldn’t dare to mess around with.

Duke smiled widened when he remembered after his beloved had yelled at him for not putting efforts into understanding her world, he’d apologised and showed her how much he cared by singing her National’s Anthem flawlessly — something that he had been secretly practising in order to impress her.

Duke sighed in contentment. Looking up at the full moon above, he smiled.

“Miss Anya sure has a way to make things done. But I’m afraid when and if that time comes, no even her strong-will would be enough to protect her from the Challengers.”

Duke’s smile faded as he recalled words spoken by him:

“I promise I won’t let any of those challengers touch a hair on you. So rest assure and don’t worry, Miss Anya.”

He meant every words he’d said to her earlier. After all, this was their battle that should have never required an outsider, let alone an innocent one, involved. When Duke had told Anya about the Challengers the other day, he’d neglected to inform her it was not only the Gran Mago title that was significant to the Challengers.

No.

The Kingdom’s future was also at stake as well as whoever bore the title Gran Mago would be chosen to serve and protect the Kingdom’s future King.

“She doesn’t needs to know about it.” Duke argued. “It’s enough that she caught Zennon’s interest. Miss Anya should not be involved with any of our political issues any further than she already did. That’s main reason why we’re here: to protect her and her family.”

Duke ran his fingers to his hair. He hated lying to others, especially those whom he considered as close friends, but knew this was one of the things that had to be done.

Sighing again, Duke was about to return to his bed when there were knocks on his door.

“Yes?”

The door opened, and revealed Aidan, surprising his Butler suit.

“You’re still awake at this late hour, Your Highness?”

“I couldn’t get to sleep no matter how hard I tried. What’s wrong?”

Aidan nodded. “Your father wishes to speak with you. Right away.”

King Edwin waited patiently for his son to show up in front of the screen.

How could this be? He wondered, scratching his head. Two of his Advisers behind him were already out of their wits on what to do next.

Just then, the Prince came into the big monitor screen.

“Father!”

King Edwin looked tired and exhausted since the last time they’d met. The dark circles under his eyes was a proof that he had been lacked of sleep for many nights. Duke looked at his father’s worn-out appearance worriedly.

“You wished to speak with me, Father?”

The King looked straight into his boy’s eyes. “Yes. There is an intruder lurking inside the castle. A female intruder. One of the Knights has claimed that she is most likely to be a witch. The Knights are doing their best to capture her. And while we all knew capturing a witch is a possibility, defeating her is not. Which is why, I need Aidan here and help out.”

“I understand, Father. However, as you’d know—”

The King interrupted. “My boy, I need you to overlook this matter for me. I have important things that urgently need my attentions.”

“But we can’t—”

“—Thus, I’m calling the ‘Probationary Period’ to an end.”

“What?” Duke stared dumbfounded at his father, not understanding his last words.

Paying no attention to the Prince’s lack of understanding, King Edwin turned his attention to the Butler and said, “Aidan, I’ve already giving the orders to open the magic portal so that the two of you are able to return home whenever you are ready. The rest, I’ll leave it up to you.”

“Understood, Sire.” Aidan nodded, bowing his head.

“I’ll be expecting you soon, son. Don’t keep me waiting.” With those last words, King Edwin pressed the quit button. The screen went a total blank, leaving Duke still in dazed and dumbfounded.

A minute passed in deafened silence before Duke’s voice broke the tense atmosphere.

“Aidan, what does my father meant by returning home? Didn’t you say before that it is nearly impossible to return home unless we find the Blue Tree?”

Turning his head around to look at his Butler, Duke was surprised to find that the older man was was kneeling on one knee with his head lowered in a bow before him.

“Forgive me, Your Highness. While it wasn’t my intention to deceive you at the very least, I am merely following the strict orders from your father, King Edwin, to keep it a secret from you.”

“Explain.” Duke crossed his arms on the chest.

“Very well. I didn’t lie to you when I’d said it was nearly impossible for us to return home without finding out the Blue Tree’s whereabouts because there really isn’t a way. And since I came into this world through one of Laxus’s invention and not by magic, thus, it is impossible for me to open any portal from here to there without forming any links whatsoever.”

“Opening a portal requires a link from the two said places. You need to have something from each worlds as a link to open the portal.” Duke slowly nodded. “Then, what happened?”

“While it is impossible for me to open a portal from here, it certainly does not limited the usage of my abilities. Which is why, I was able to create a link from here to there through a simple combination of a modern technology and a bit of magic.” Aidan took out something from his coat: Anya’s transmitter, the one he’d sneaked into her pyjamas to keep a track on her whereabouts.

“We are able to contact with His Majesty simply by using this method, Prince. Do you understand so far?”

Duke nodded. “Yes. Continue please.”

“When the first time I was able to make a connection to the Kingdom, and after reporting to King Edwin about what had happened so far, the King had been furious, as you could possibly imagine, and with you especially.”

Duke shuddered. He knew his father well —too well. As good and kind-heart King that he was, when enraged, he became a totally different person.

Aidan’s cough brought back his attention.

“At first, he’d wanted me to bring you home as soon as possible. However, something else had made him changed his mind.”

What is it?” Duke suddenly felt dreadful.

“What you’ve done caused him a great amount of troubles with the other Lords and Councilmen, Your Highness. Thus, in order not to cause chaos amongst the people about their Prince suddenly went missing, His Majesty had told everyone that you are currently on a three months business trip to a far away land, under his direct order. Thus, the starting rumours of the missing Prince was put to an end.”

Duke breathed in relief.

“I wouldn’t be relief just yet, Your Highness. You see, because His Majesty was very upset with you, he’d decided to punish you in the most convenience way — he’d wanted you to spend three whole months in this world as your ‘Probationary Period’, without your knowledge, at the same time, asking Laxuz to built another magical portal that would allow us to return home. Laxuz had successfully built the portal a month ago and was merely waiting for an order from His Majesty to use that portal.”

Duke face fell. His face paled, and he looked like he ate something really bad. He wanted to be angry, but at the same time, knew it was his own damn fault everything happened in the first place. But that wasn’t the reason why his face paled at the moment.

“Aidan... Do you realised what this means?”

“I do, Your Highness. However in order to teach you a lesson not to disobey your father again, I—”

“That’s not what I meant!” Duke’s sudden outburst caused even the usual composed Aidan to staggered, just slightly.

Duke let out an aggressive sigh. “Miss Anya will surely kills the both of us when AND she will hear about this! She would definitely kills you first for all the things you’d forced her to do! Just when I’d finally thought we could be friends or at least gained some of her trust, you ruined it!”

“My deepest apologies, Your Highness. Speaking of Miss Romans, when I’d first informed the King about her constant bossing you around, His Majesty had not been too happy to hear about it. However, the fact you are earning your own money made him happy. Thus, it encouraged him to his plans even more.”

“I suppose there is no use crying over a spilled milk.” Straightened his back, he turned to look at his butler. “We should get going. Father is expecting us.”

Nodding, Aidan raised his hand and cast a spell.


ANYA woke up with a stir. Blinking her eyes a couple of times to adjust her new surrounding, she gasped when she realised that she had accidentally fallen to sleep!

“Damn. How could I’d fallen to sleep at the time like this? Idiot!” Anya scolded herself. As she was getting up from the ground, all the sudden, Anya felt a sharp pain on her abdomen that caused her to lay down on her back.

“Shit! At the time like this?” She remembered feeling fatigued after she had vomited earlier. Taking a deep breath, Anya focused on her breathing until the pain fade away.

A moment after her little episode, Anya tried carefully and slowly getting up from the ground. Her body tensed as she searched for any sight of intruders hiding in the darkness while she was asleep.

When there was none, Anya sighed in relief.

Relaxing her tense muscles, she did some arms exercises. She was grateful that she chose to wear a pyjamas instead of a night gown. It’d made her escape from the castle a lot easier. Though her body was fully covered, her feet were not.

Anya winched in pain at the blisters on her feet, especially around the soles area when she was about to do some leg warming exercises. She had not feel them hurting earlier due to the adrenaline rush and the fact that the only thing in her mind was to ‘get the hell out of the castle’.

But now that the rush was over and she had gotten enough rest, the pain on her feet came in full force. Licking her lips, Anya carefully not to put too much pressure on her feet, while thinking of a plan.

It didn’t take a genius to know exactly where she was,based from the clean and fresh air. Excalibell. For some odd reason she was being brought here by a ring — Duke’s ring. Looking at the said ring that was on her left Index’s finger, Anya frowned.

She hoped Duke could forgive her for tainted an expensive ring with blood. But that was the least of her concern at the moment. If and when she met with him, she would make sure to apologise properly. For now though...

Anya looked at the small curved words written on the ring; ‘Together Forever, Duke and Marian’ .

Scratching her head, Anya sighed. What the hell was she going to do now? Just then, something shining caught her eyes on her left wrist — the ruby gemstone on top of a wristband which Aidan had given for her protection.

“That’s it! How could I NOT think of this sooner?” Anya chuckled sheepishly. “I must have been more tired than I’d thought..” Pressing the gemstone, she waited patiently for something to happen.

A minute had passed and yet, still nothing happened.

Growing frustrated, Anya repeatedly pressed the gemstone.

“Damn that butler! Does he really gives me this thing for the sake of MY protection?” She growled. “Don’t tell me.. It’s broken.”

Eyes widened, Anya stopped pressing the gemstone. She lowered her head with a terrifying look on her face.

“What if... I’m stranded here? What’s going to happen to Mum? She’d be freaked out when she found out I’m not in my room in the morning!” Shaking her head from the possible bad thoughts, Anya tried to remain passive of the situation.

“Calm down, girl. You’re just freaking out right now. You need to calm down and think. Think carefully. There has to be a way out of this mess. First thing first though...” Anya carefully opened the bard’s door once she had make sure no one was within sight.

“Fresh air. I need fresh air, and some water to cool off my head.” While inhaling the air deeply, all the sudden, the ring on her finger started to glow brightly again.

“The hell?” The light disappeared as soon as it glowed, leaving the young woman in deep confusion and annoyance.

Anya waited for a moment before she took the ring out from her finger.

“The ring might be useful. I don’t know why it glows, but maybe, just maybe, it could be of a help somewhat. Question is: where should I go from here on? Obviously, I can’t stay in here forever. But where?”

It was then, when something else happened.

The ruby gemstone on the wristband around her left wrist,began to glow. Anya watched with mixed emotions. She was awed and terrified at what was going on. All the sudden, her left hand was being lifted in the air by a mysterious force — pointed at the North direction where the castle was.

“Should I head back? But...” When Anya refused to barge from her spot, the same mysterious force pushed her forward.

“Okay, okay! No need to push me. Sheesh!”


THERE were loud gasping sound came from the Knights and the servants as Prince Duke and his loyal Butler marched into the Excalibell’s Castle Audience Chamber. Duke had changed his outfit and wore the garment he had wore when he’d first came to the Modern World.

His eyes immediately spotted a familiar face amongst the crowd.

“Laxuz!” Duke waved his hand frantically at the older scientist.

Laxuz gasped. “Y-Your Highness? You’re back! You’re really back!”

Duke grinned charmingly as he approached the man and gave him a hug. “How are you doing, old champ? Did my father gave you a hard time?”

“Your father can punish me any way he wants as long as you returned to us safe and sound, Prince!” Laxuz whispered lowly as he hugged him tightly. “We were so worried!”

“Glad to have you back, Your Highness!” Spoke a Knight nearby who saluted at him.

Duke smiled and nodded kindly to the Knight and the others who surrounded him. “Thank you everyone. I’m back now and I apologised for leaving without informing anyone.”

“Duke.”

Duke’s eyes brightened at the figure who was calling out to him.  

“Father.”

He released Laxuz and quickly approached the King, and gave his father a big hug.

“Welcome home, son.”

“Thank you. Glad to be back home, finally.”

Nodded, King Edwin released his son, before turning to look at Aidan. “I assumed you’ve already told him everything?”

“Indeed, Your Majesty.”

“Good. Regardless, Duke. We can talk about that later. For now, we have a female intruder to deal with.”

Duke nodded. “Of course, Father.”

The King then signalled for someone, a Captain, to come forward, along with Laxuz.

“These two were the ones who’d first spotted the intruder, in the Castle’s garden. You can ask for more information from them.”

“Very well. Shall we head to the Meeting Chamber to discuss more about it then?”

The two men nodded their heads and began to walk out of the Audience Chamber after given the permission from the King to do so.

Duke was about to have a word with his Butler when he heard the man gasped sharply behind him.

“What’s wrong, Aidan?”

Aidan’s eyes were filled in shock, something that the Prince rarely seen in all of his twenty-three years knowing the man.

“Aidan?”

Aidan regained back his calm composure and shook his head. When he spoke, his voice was filled with a bit of annoyance.

“Your Highness, it appears the female intruder is someone whom we both knew very well...”


ANYA ran as fast as she possibly could with one left hand pointed North, all the while sucking up the painful blister on her feet that was increasing rapidly. She finally stopped running and hide behind tall trees near the gates, in order to catch on her breath.

So far, so good. She had successfully sneaked out from the barn and made her way here without being noticed or seen by anyone. Wiping the sweats on her forehead. Anya couldn’t help but to wonder why the hell did the gemstone led her all the way back to the castle? And what was with the light from the golden ring anyway?

A thought about that darn Butler suddenly crossed her mind, much to her own surprise. Shaking her head, Anya decided to put her faith on the gemstone that was still glowing, and hoped for the best.

Taking a deep breath and gathered enough courage, Anya continuously played the hide-and-sneak game, and made her way into the castle, following directions of the gemstone.

Soon as Anya stepped into the castle, and carefully making her way into the big castle without being seen, she was immediately discovered by a very surprised servant who was on her way out to take some fresh air from work.

“Shit!” Anya ran as fast as she possibly could when the servant started screaming for help.

Dashing through the corridors, she went into one room to another. Now that the Knights were hot on her heels and with the blasters on her feet getting worse by each step she took, Anya did not know how much longer could she run before finally giving up.

Barging into a room and shutting the door, Anya was practically dragging her feet as she made her way to the other side of the room —

“HALT!”

Anya gasped and immediately stopped moving. Cornered by the Knights who were already waiting for her at the other side of the door, Anya lifted her hands in the air very slowly.

“Don’t move, Witch!” Barked one of the Knights, pointing a sharp spear at her direction as he approached.

Anya stayed in silence. She could hardly move. Or breathe, as a matter of fact.

When the Knight was closing in, and was just about to grab her wrist, only then did Anya broke from her semi-conscious state and kicked the Knight on his face.

With one Knight down and holding his bleeding and possibly broken nose, the other Knights began to charge at her all at once.

Anya dodged and disarmed a spear determined to strike her down, before landing a fist on a Knight’s jaws, sending him backwards before another Knight came rushing in and starting to attack her. She continuously dodged and parried any attacks that came her way before sending the Knights on the floor.

By the time she finished, all the Knights were either unconscious or too weak to move a finger. Anya on the other hand, was panting and huffing heavily. Her bruised knuckles were getting worse. She suffered a few bruises on some part of her face and body.

“Ugh!” Anya cried out painfully on the floor as her feet finally gave up on her.

I can’t...Go on anymore.

“How impressive, Witch. It is very unusual for a witch such a yourself not using any form of magic in battle.”

Anya swiftly turned around and found a man wearing a thick red wine robe and was holding a stick in one hand, smirking at her. She remembered meeting him earlier, before she’d been chased by the Knights out of the castle. It was him who’d accused her to be a bloody witch!

Narrowing her eyes, she said, “Does this cleared any assumptions you have on me? I am not a Witch. Never claimed to be one.”

“Ah, I suppose not. Perhaps Witches nowadays learned to fist-fight to protect themselves. Still...” The man grinned.

Waving the stick in his hand, he muttered a spell before he pointed it toward her.

“Incendio infierno!” A swirl of hungry flame came out from the stick. 

Anya shut her eyes and screamed, preparing herself for the worse when a black smoke swirl that came out of nowhere, formed a barrier around her.

“What was that?” The man shrieked angrily.

No one has ever managed to beat his Incendio infierno ever before. No one except...

“My, my. Even in this world, you’ve managed to cause me a serious problem, Miss Romans.”

Footsteps clicking on the floor echoing in the otherwise empty room.

That voice!

Keeping her eyes on the figure who was approaching her, with her heart beat wildly against her rib-cage, Anya had never been so glad to see the damn Butler’s smirking face more so than she was now.

“Aidan.” Anya whispered softly.

The thick robed man had an astonishing look on his face. He took a couple steps forward.

“M-Master Aidan! What is your relationship with that... That filthy Witch?!”

Aidan raised an eyebrow. “A Witch? Her? Hardly." He crossed his arms and shook his head pitifully. “Though I have to admit for a mere commoner, she is quite a troublesome firecracker who had caused the Prince and I troubles more than she’s actually worth.”

“What was that, you damn perverted Butler?” Anya’s face had turned bright red at his insulting words.

“Ah, so loud.” Aidan sighed.

As the two continued to argue, the man’s shoulders slumped. He was just about to tell them to stop when someone beat him to it.

“Aidan! Miss Anya!”

Duke came in running toward them, followed by a group of Knights behind him.

“Duke!” Anya smiled and waved her hand. “Boy, I’ve never been so glad to see you!”

In a blink of an eye, Anya found herself being pulled into a hug and wrapped by strong arms.

“Thank God you’re alright... I’d been so worried!” He pulled away gently and take a good look at her.

“We must get you clean up at once!” Without any words, Duke carried her in his arms in a bridal style — much to Anya’s great embarrassment.

“Wait a minute, Your Highness!” The heavily robed man called out to the Prince, causing him to halt and turned around.

“Would you care to explain to us on what is going on here? I’m sure all of us are in great confusion as what’s going on.”

“Of course. Aidan, if you will, please?”

Aidan nodded and stepped forward.

“Allow me to explain the situation, gentlemen.”


AFTER Duke had personally tended to her wounds, Anya then taken into an exclusive Guest Room located on the same floor as the Royalty’s chambers where she was immediately greeted and surrounded by a group of servants, waiting to serve her.

“O-Oi! What’s the meaning of all this?” Anya shrieked at the smiling Prince standing beside her.

“This is to show my appreciation to you, Miss Anya. On top of that; you are cordially invited to my Homecoming ball this evening.”

Anya’s eyes grew widened. “What ball? Wait; what time is it?”

“Seven o’clock in the evening. Why did you ask, Miss Anya?”

“Seven o’clock!? I’d already gone to bed before I was mysteriously transferred to this place!”

Duke nodded understandingly at her confusion.

“The time here moves slower than your world, Miss Anya. Whenever someone crossed over — one way or another — time stopped completely. Which is why, it’s still evening here even though it should be early in the morning at your place.”

“I see.”

Duke had already explained to her everything the whole truth of what’d happened — including his father’s punishment to him and the new magical portal, while they were on their way to the Guest Chamber.

As expected, Anya did not take the news well. She had a deep urge to yell at Duke for deceiving her, but eventually decided to control her temper.

She was a guest at his castle, after all.

An Honourable Guest.

Noticing how moody she’d become upon hearing the news and fearing for her wrath, Duke quickly said with a pleasant smile.

“Listen Miss Anya, I understand you’re upset about us deceiving you; although you already knew it wasn’t intentional... If promise to you come to the Ball tonight, I’ll make a promise that you can kick Aidan’s arse whenever you please for making you did those awful things while deceiving you. What do you say?”

Of course, with that offer, how could she refuse?

The servants, to Anya’s personal and humble opinion, was not helpful at all. They were kind —
maybe too kind and polite for her own taste. Not too mention, they smiled a lot too, which creeped her out as she could never tell what they were thinking.

Anya tried making an effort to be as polite and kind as she possibly could to the servants, even though she was their ‘Honourable Guest’ and should be treated with utmost respect, as Duke had mentioned to them earlier before he’d left to get ready.

One of the servants then offered to fill in the bathtub for her while she made her way to the changing room.

Just as Anya was about to strip off her dirty pyjamas, there were a couple of knocks on the changing room’s door. Before Anya could replied, the door suddenly opened and a group of servants entered with an offer to do the job for her.

Fifteen minutes passed by and the servants were still in a negotiation with the young woman in letting them helped her stripped her clothes, which Anya furiously refused to let them do so.

Needless to say, Anya ended up scaring half of the servants with her violent temper. They eventually left her alone after the  negotiation failed miserably.

Less than a minute later, Anya came out wearing the clean light pink robe. She allowed a frightened servants to take away her pyjamas for washing.

“This way, Miss.”

Another servant was leading her to a very wide, and spacey bathroom. There were soap, shampoo, and sponge readily for her to use on the side of the huge bathtub, with a towel was hanging on the bench.

Anya took a deep breath, and walked into the bathroom. Once entered, she quickly shut the door and locked it before any of the servants could barge in and offered to help her bath.

Growing up not having maids and living in a house filled with only males around had made her feel very self-conscious about her body.

Though Anya often acted tough in front of other people, she was still a young lady. And like any other young ladies her own age, she had inferiority complex when it comes to her own body — especially her the size of her breasts.

It got worsen when Aidan had previously commented of how flat her chest was when he’d sneaked in a transmitter inside her pyjamas on the night she got first met and kidnapped by Zenon.

Anya frowned deeply and clenched her teeth.

Damn it. That darn Butler managed to get on her nerves even when he wasn’t around!

Shaking her head to get rid of the butler from her thoughts, Anya stripped the bathrobe and hung it behind the door.


“Please let us brush your hair, Miss!”

“Please let us dress you, Miss!”

“Please let me put the lipstick on your lips, Miss!

“Please—”

“EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!” Anya snapped, turning a glare to the servants who were holding everything that she might need for tonight’s party.

The moment she stepped out of the bathroom after having a nice long bath, the servants had come in full force and rushed to her to the dressing room where they then offered to do her hair, dress, and make-up.

Honestly! Anya rubbed her throbbing forehead and sighed.

Pointing a finger at each group of the servants, she said,

“I allow you to brush and do my hair later.”

“I can dress myself perfectly fine, and I refuse to wear that skimpy piece of a dress! Find another one.”

“I’ll get to choose my own lipstick.”

“But, Miss! You’ve already rejected other dresses! This is the only one that is most suitable for you to wear.” The servant held a low-cut dark plum evening dress.

“Hmm...” Anya looked at the other dresses on the bed. Most of which were really not her taste at all.

“This dress is too bright. That dress is too tight and revealing. How ’bout this one?”

Anya picked up a simple plain red sleeveless dress with a thin black belt on the waist.

Nodded to herself, Anya said, “This one will do.”

At the choice of her dress, the servant sighed defeatedly.

“As you wish, Miss.” She took the dress from its hanger and handed it over to Anya.

“Though I’d wish you would wear that other dress, Miss. This is, after all, His Highness Prince Duke’s Homecoming Ball.”

Anya shrugged her and went to the changing room. She was not going to have an argument with the servant again.


Half an hour later, Anya looked at her reflection on a tall mirror and whistled.

Not bad.

The red dress fit her like a glove. Her hair had been made into a lovely bun and the make-up on her face was little, but it definitely bought up the colours of her eyes. And the lipstick, one that Anya had personally picked, was a natural light red.

As for her shoes, the servants had given up on letting her wear high-heels when Anya kept on tumbling all over the place by wearing a pair of simple low heels. Instead, they’ve given her a nice and beautiful a pair of black flats with a silver rose at the front that went really well with her outfit.

As for her appearance, it’d taken the make up artist exactly twenty-minutes just for her to apply a simple make up on the girl without Anya’s constant protests and rubbing it off each time she applied something on and had to reapply it all over again.

“Miss Romans, please do not whistle. It is very unladylike to do so.”

Frowning, she turned to look at an older looking servant — the Head Maid who shook her head disapprovingly.

Before Anya could say another word, the older servant cut her off to it.

“You are an Honourable Guest of the Prince for tonight’s party after all, Miss Romans. As such, you must present yourself with dignity and respect. Please remember that well.”

Biting her inner cheek, Anya simply nodded and prepared to walk out of the room when a younger looking servant rushed into the room.

“Oh, one more thing, Miss!” The servant who had done her hair earlier, came holding something in her hand — a dark red rose.

She then put the rose in Anya’s hair and awed.

“There. You look very lovely, Miss.”

Anya turned bright red at the compliment. One hand reached out for the Rose in her hair.

“Y-Yeah?”

The servant nodded, along with the rest.

“Oh, your gloves! Don’t forget your gloves.” Anya put on the dark silky gloves. They stretched to her elbows; the texture felt luxurious to her skin.

Anya took a look at herself once again in front of the mirror. For once, she really looked like a young woman.

Sure, she wore dresses and made her hair every Thursday just to impress Ethan Carter, but even then, it was nothing compared to what she was wearing now.

It frightened her.

“Miss, we should get going now.” Whispered one of the servants, already opening the door for her.

“Of course.” Anya nodded, swallowing hard.

Here goes nothing.


WHEN Anya arrived at the top of the long spiral stairs, she was expecting an announcement of her arrival and a spotlight on her as she walked down the rest of the long stairs.

However, reality was far from those lame fairy tale stories.

When Anya arrived at the end of the staircase, no one was paying attention to her, at all.

While it should have offended her — being the Prince’s Honourable Guest and all — Anya found it did little to her nerves as she was having a hard time controlling her rapidly increased heartbeat and nervousness.

Sighed, Anya slowly making her way to where the buffet tables were while waiting for the Royal family to arrive and from there they would be proceeding to the fine dining.

The last time she’d attend to a fine dining experience was when Steve had invited her and her family for their Company’s 20th Annual Dinner Celebration. It had been a blast for her. She’d never tasted anything so good, no matter how great of chefs her two brothers were.

Taking a sparkle drink from a waiter who’d offered it to her, she thanked him and was just about to continue with her quest to the buffet table when a seductive voice reached her ears.

“So the tale of an ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan is real after all.”

I knew that voice anywhere. Turning her head around, Anya came face to face with the man.

“What do you want, Butler-boy?”

“Why, Miss Romans. I’m here as your personal escort of course.” Aidan said with a cunning smile.

Instead of wearing the usual black and white Butler uniform, Aidan wore a nice white Tuxedo. His cinnamon hair, usually parted to one side, was gelled and pushed all the way to the back, making him looked even more dashing than the usual.

Anya lifted an eyebrow at him. “Why the heck are you my escort? Whatever happens to the ‘Most Honourable Guest of His Royal Highness the Prince’? I mean shouldn’t he be my escort since I’m his guest?”

“Indeed, Miss Romans. However, the Prince is currently busy getting himself prepared for the party and asked me to keep watchful eyes on you until he comes down and joins us.”

Anya scoffed. “Why? Afraid I’m gonna blast this castle apart?”

She lifted the glass to her mouth and sipped the sparkling stuff.

Hmm. Tasty.

“Honestly, Miss Romans. I wish you’d would be more aware of the situation and troubles that you’ve caused us earlier.” Aidan raised one eyebrow and crossed his arms.

His voice deepened in a harsh whisper. “Had I not been there to save you on time, there’s no telling what might happened to you. Death would be the perfect word to describe your situation then.”

Anya turned her head away and sheepishly looked at the glass on her hand.

It was true. Had Aidan not came in time of her rescue, she would not standing here drinking this wonderful sparkling drink right now.

Not that she would ever admitted out loud he was right. No way in Hell. That was just like asking her to feed more of his egos, and Anya could live without his sarcastic remarks for a night, thank you very much.

Clearing her voice, she turned to look back at him.

“So you’re my escort for tonight. Escort me to the buffet table, my humble Butler.”

The sound of chuckling coming from the man was the least she expected to hear.

It was a nice sound that surprisingly made her heart skipped a beat.

Anya shook her head. What am I thinking?

Aidan’s heartfelt chuckles slowly fade away. He smiled warmly at her before gently pulled her left hand and brought the back of her hand to his lips.

“As you wish, Milady.” Aidan said, before leading her to the buffet tables.

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