”Aargh!!!!!!!!!! ”

Aracelis shouted herself awake. As before, shed had a horrible dream. It was another gruesome nightmare that had left her clawing her fingernails into the comforter and sweating so hard.

Aracelis shot up her head from the dozen throw pillows crowning her bed. Black veins in her eyes, she began panting. The dream shed had this time was the most spine-tingling and mind-shattering. Shed bolted up in terror but now her memory of it had started to become fuzzy with every exhale. Her breathing was forced and mostly jagged. But of course, she had barely woken from being clawed at and bursting into flames.

She could remember seeing the face of a man. They looked alike but that was as far as her memory of the dream went. He may have said something to her and done something to her, something terrifying but she no longer knew what. Or maybe she was just feeling happy shed survived getting roasted alive : she did not forget that part. She could very well feel the burns on her skin. The air still stank of burning coals and flames. She was scared to death just thinking of it.

Still panting hard, —although her breathing was slowly steadying,— Aracelis began roving her eyes about. For one, she found that she was inside her bedroom and so she heaved a sigh of relief. She saw nothing had changed about the tall pillars shielding either side of the foot of her bed or her diary which was sitting on the bedside table.

Right.

She had kept it there when she closed her eyes to sleep last night.

The crocodile green curtains were still draped over the tall double-hung windows in the distance. The ceiling of her bedroom still looked the same— too tall and convoluted in a way it made her room resemble a Cathedral.

Looming her eyes on her body, she saw she was still covered in her clothes. Also, she could sense she wasn alone; she could tell someone else was inside her bedroom.

Why couldn she find them?

”Klenithra! ”

Aracelis was heavily surprised to find her handmaiden clamped to the body of a wall, crouching so. She had both hands seated straight on each ear. Also, her eyes were squinched firmly shut.

”Nira! ” Aracelis shouted again

Her handmaiden began to slowly open her eyes.

”Did I spook you that much? ” Aracelis asked.

”No, you didn , ” Klenithra swallowed hard on her lie.

”Okay, ” Aracelis said calmly and sat straighter on her bed. ”Can you leave the way of that wall? There is something I need to say to you. ”

”Y-yes, my Princess, ” the blonde girl nodded frantically as she said that. She reached Aracelis bedside and begged, ”I – I am sorry for being such a coward. I was … afraid. ”

”It is alright, ” Aracelis said on a light note. She was feeling exhausted and just needed to get on with her day. ”Where is everyone? ”

”Out there, and worried about you, ” her handmaiden said.

Aracelis frowned at her for saying the last part. ”What do you mean by them being worried? Worried about what exactly? ”

The maid, Klenithra, let her eyes grow softer once she said, ”It has been a long time, Princess. You were asleep for many hours. Everyone was worried that you would not wake up.

”Your father was terrified. Her Majesty has been by to see you three times already. On the third time, she could not hold back her emotions from seeing you still on your back and… and without life in you.

”She began to cry a lot, and his majesty ordered her to depart to her room for the reason of making too much noise. A doctor has also been sent for. He and a few nurses would be arriving soon for the sake of your health. ”

By the time the maid finished her talk, Aracelis already had worry lines creasing her delicate face. Her now bleached eyebrows furrowed as well. ”I don get this. Nira, tell me how long I had slept. ”

”Milady, it is almost noon, ” said Klenithra.

”Almost noon? ” asked Aracelis. ”By how many hours? ”

”We are thirty minutes behind. ”

”I see… ”

Aracelis stayed on that piece of news. Pondering deeper, a clever thought flashed across her mind.

She thought, Wouldn it be nice if I had even slept an extra day? At least, by so doing I could avoid seeing that person. But who said I didn sleep as long?

”Nira? ” Aracelis had a naughty smile playing on her lips. ”Tell me I slept past the day of that persons visit. ”

”Huh. ” Klenithra allowed her eyes to crinkle themselves. She appeared to be scratching her hair because she knew what answer her princess was hoping to get. ”Mlady, to answer your question… Prince Guy is on his way here with his military escorts. ”

”What? ” Aracelis scooted out of bed immediately. ”Why could I not have slept the entire day off? I don want to see that person. ” She was panting hard. Dream aside, she was being faced with a more dreadful subject: marriage. ”Look here, I must leave the Castle before that person comes. You have to make it happen. Do you hear me? ”

”I do. But—— ” Klenithra bit back her tongue because she remembered how much her lady hated the topic. And so she did not wish to fall into her bad book by seeking to convince her about that Princes goodness.

Prince Guy Jonathan has been the talk of the ladies since. He was the Prince that was the most talked about in the whole of Ethaelia. Every girl fantasized over him. He was good-looking, charming, and flirty. He was also rumored to be a brave and dauntless soldier and the fact he would succeed his father, the king of Froatlan, in a few years, was what many people secretly longed for.

So Klenithra thought that Aracelis didn need to be so stubborn about her meeting with the Prince. Did she know how many girls would kill to be betrothed to him in her place?

Klenithra was sure her princess didn even know that.

”Mlady, if you can allow me, I will need to go and inform your parents about the fact you are awake. ”

”Of course, you should. But first, Nira, I need to take a bath, ” requested Aracelis.

”Yes, Mlady, ” Klenithra said with a slow nodding of her head. ”Your bath is ready. The girls have just been waiting for you to open your eyes. I am relieved nothing bad happened to you. ”

”I wouldn be so sure, ” Aracelis said and squinted her eyes. She tried to recall her dream but had a hard time doing so.

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