The first (Selection Series)

This Movella is based off of the Selection series, and takes place in that world. Lilian Schrevne, the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America, has come of age to me married. Usually, princesses get married off to other countries instead of having a selection like princes. Lilian forces her parents into the first ever female selection. Will she find the results she was hoping for, or will she cause something beyond her power?

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8. The Announcement

"Ladies and gentlemen," Gavril spoke into the microphone, "I give you now the royal family for this urgent announcement. Please tune in now for this mandatory viewing."

The anthem played and I felt Posy squeeze my hand. I held it tight so she wouldn't worry. My family was seated at a long, wooden table in front of a backdrop with the Iella seal on it in gold. Right from left was Gwen, Dad, Mom, me, and Posy. Scarlet used to sit where Gwen sat.

"Hush." I breathed to Posy who was squirming at the sight of the camera man counting down to the recording time.

She took a deep breath and smiled. I did the same and sat up a little straighter in my chair. I still held onto Posy's hand and even though we both had white gloves on, I could feel her hand sweating.

"Good afternoon, our great nation of Iella. As we all know, my daughter or as you know her, Princess Lilian Melody Schreave, is going to celebrate her send off to either Italy or Scandinavia tonight on the Report. It has been brought to my attention that she will be going to neither country." Father read off of his notes.

I heard gasps from viewers and knew that people around the world are focusing on me. I steadied my eyes from wandering the room like they usually did on tv.

"Instead, we have decided to turn to you. Every time there is a prince in the royal family, he is given a selection. Now, due to the brilliant idea of Princess Lilian herself, she will hold her own selection choosing a man out of the nation of Iella. Please participate at your state province office so it can become the bold reality that your princess has thought of. Now for a few words from the lucky princess herself." Father read it all so smoothly.

I finally let go of Posy's hand as smiled and stood up to speak. I don't know if you're even supposed to stand when you speak. I took a deep breath and thought about what to say. I had to say something, I couldn't just say thanks and sit down. It had to be powerful, yet graceful and intelligent...but not snobby. It had to sound like I was finally Queen.

"Citizens of Iella," I began in my best regal tone. Not the one I use to mock Silvia behind her back, "it is my greatest honor to have your attention today. I would like to first off say thank you to all who will participate in this surprise selection. It is most definitely the greatest birthday present anyone could ever receive. A heart of Iella's very own." I looked to dad out of the corner if my eye.

He nodded to keep going. The motion was microscopic, but I got it.

"The very thought of leaving Iella, made me cry. Literally, I looked out my bedroom two days ago and tucked away this beautiful country away into my heart, knowing that it would crush me to leave. I pictured the rolling hills and beautiful cities and gushing rivers of this great nation. In that moment, I didn't feel like a One or a princess, I felt like an equal. And equal citizen who feels the same love and fire for this kingdom. Then the idea of hosting a Selection not only thrilled me, it rejuvenated me. A Selection for a princess is a refreshing idea no doubt, but it is also an opportunity to bond the citizens together in well mannered celebration. I encourage every young man of age in Iella to register at their province. If this proposal comes as a shock to all of you, believe me when I say that it's just as surreal for the palace. And especially myself. Thank you for your time." I smiled and sat down.

Gavril continued on with a few more words and the in no time the anthem played and the cameras were off. I exhaled and felt Posy's hand release from mine. She hugged me around the neck as she stood up and smiled at me.

"Party time!" She squealed in my ear.

I smiled at her and hugged back.

"Yes, it's party time. And I don't even have to say goodbye tonight."

She jumped up and down, beaming at me.

"I know! How could you keep such a big secret from me?" She asked.

"I wanted it to be a surprise." I explained.

"Oh you." She scolded.

"Go get ready, you rascal." I tickled her rips and she giggled before running off with Silvia and little Gwen up the stairs.

It looked at mom and dad, both of them beaming with pride. Mom extended her arms out, inviting me for a hug. I fell into them willingly, holding back the tears. Now was not the time for tears, it was the time for smiles. I looked at dad over her shoulder and he smiled and nodded at me. Once mom released me, I hugged my dad tight and heard him choking up.

"We're so proud. So so proud." He whispered.

A smile came across my face and I held him tighter.

"You didn't tell me! You two are nothing but trouble." My scolded us teasingly.

"We wanted to keep it a surprise." I explained.

"Well never the less, I'm glad it happened. I'm glad my baby's staying." She smiled and blotted the corners of her eyes.

I sighed and hugged her again, this time not as tight.

"I guess we'll have to prepare everything. It will be a constant state of hysteria for the next week-the maids cleaning and setting up spare rooms, the cooks preparing everything..." She rattled on and I took that moment as my escape upstairs. I walked out of the recording room towards the staircase. I was just about to head up the steps when a cluster of paparazzi rushed me. I stepped back alarmed by all the cameras and lights before a guard stood in front of me.

"Princess Lilian!"

"Princess, over here!"

"Big smile Princess!"

They all called out to me and snapped pictures as a guard pressed me against the wall.

"Princess Lilian cannot answer questions at this time. She may answer them after her birthday celebration. Please go." He spoke in a clam manner.

They hustled out into the main room where the entrance is and left me and the guard alone.

"Thank you," I looked for his name tag, "Officer....."

"Heron, your majesty."He said, straightening up a bit.

He was young and fresh faced, obviously a recent draft. He was extremely handsome too. I blinked a few times when I realized that I was staring at him.

"Um- well thank you officer Heron. What is your first name, might I ask?"

He swallowed.

"Bryce, your majesty." He bowed and kissed my hand for a second too long.

His touch made me shiver.

"Are you a new draft?" I asked dumbly, realizing that he would have to be if he was that young.

"Yes, your majesty. Right out of Sota, your majesty."

I usually discourage certain guards and servants from calling me 'your majesty' but in this case, I didn't seem to mind.

"Well I hope you do both your country and your province proud, officer Heron. I don't doubt that you will with an instinct like yours." Was he even worth all the trouble of speaking to him?

"I will do my best, your majesty."

"Good," I straightened up and smoothed out my skirt, "till next time officer."

"Same to you, your majesty." He bowed to me as I ascended the stairs, my heart in my throat.

'Wrong person to be flirting with Lilian' I told myself as I hurried up the huge stairs that seemed endless right now.

When I burst through the doors of my room, my maids were waiting and I knew that now was the time to focus.

My maids were already waiting for me. They all stood up and started applauding at my entrance. Lila was crying and Susan was holding her hand.

"Oh Lilian, that was a beautiful speech. An inspiring speech!" Alice smiled and embraced me. Her cold hands were wrapped around me so tight I felt faint.

"Why didn't you tell us you were staying? I wouldn't have had to worry so much!" Susan hugged me and bit her lip.

"Susan, you wouldn't have to worry about me. But I wanted it to be a surprise, that's all." I explained, a smile sprawled across my face.

I turned to Lila, my second mother practically, and she threw her arms around me sobbing tears of joy. Her breaths were staggered as she held me tight. I hugged back and laid my head on her shoulder.

"Lilian, I thought you were actually going to leave....oh I couldn't bear it, I was reading to fight the guards to get to you and make you stay....." She sobbed, embracing me tighter.

"Lila, you have no idea." I could feel the tears coming.

She held me at arms length.

"It's time to work." Her face was wet with tears, but her eyes bright.

I nodded.

They first washed my face of all makeup and combed hm hair out into a tight bun on top of my head.

"Now we have a blank canvas to work with." Susan spoke to her self as she sat me down in a plush chair in front of my vanity.

I exhaled as she pulled out the tweezers.

"Just to get some stray hairs, your majesty." Alice explained.

"I know, just make it quick."

I winced every time she pulled a hair out of my brow. It was more than a few stray hairs.

After that, my eyebrows were red and puffy.

"They won't look like that for the party, will they?" I asked worriedly.

"No no, after we put this cream on them the skin will heal right up." Lila explained as she rubbed a white cream that smelled of lavender on my eyebrows.

Then Alice applied foundation and concealer and mascara and all these other beauty products I couldn't name onto my face. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a different version of me. Was it a queen version? Not yet. This was a fresh faced princess ready to steal the show.

Lila combed through my blonde hair and curled small sections of it before styling it into some sort of half up and down....bun...side braid..thing. They used all sorts of technical terms around me that I could never keep straight, but whatever she did to my locks was truly stunning.

"Oh my goodness Lilian, you are stunning." Lila smiled.

"Thank you Lila." I smiled back.

Then Susan brought out the dress. Not just any dress, the dress. All covered in diamonds and sparkling on the light. I stood on a small stool so I could step into it. The zipped me up in the back and I turned in a circle, looking at my full reflection.

"My my, don't you just look beautiful." Alice smiled.

I bit my lower lip and looked at my reflection again.

Only one thing missing was missing. The crown.

I watched as Lila revealed a small, golden key on a chair around her neck that was tucked away under her dress. I didn't even notice it was there. She unlocked a drawer in my closet with it and slowly lifted the crown.

"Now, you don't have to wear it all night." Lila promised.

"Actually, you're not supposed to. You're only supposed to wear it for your entrance, a few photographs, and the blessing ceremony." Alice explained.

I nodded, but I stared at it's beauty. So colorful, so jeweled. Lila placed if on my head and told me to walk back and forth in my room. It was so heavy on my shoulders that I had to extend my arms out so I wouldn't lose my balance.

"Perfect." Susan whispered.

A soft knock came from the door and Lila instinctively opened it.

"Hello officer Green, what can I help you with?" She curtsied as a tall officer stood straight at the door.

"It's three minutes to Princess Lilian's grand entrance." His voice was low and stern.

"Of course, we're just finishing up."

"Yes, and one last thing. Your majesty," he looked at me in the eyes and folded my hands together, "happy birthday."

He bowed and my maids curtsied.

"Thank you so much, Officer Green. That means a great deal to me." I bowed my head and smiled.

"You're most welcome, your majesty."

With that, the door closed quietly and we double checked everything before exiting my room.

The sound of my heels clicked on the floor with every step, while my maid's shoes made no noise. Like maids are supposed to. A guard dropped his staff as we walked by and blushed.

"H-happy birthday, your majesty. You look beautiful." He was young and jumpy.

"Thank you officer..." I looked for his name tag.

"Mayweater." He finished.

"Thank you officer Mayweater."

Lila ushered us into a room with huge double doors that I know lead into the grand staircase that was made for grand engraves such as this one.

"Two guards are outside the door by the way." Susan told me.

"Okay." I responded, unsure of what to say.

Then I heard the royal trumpeters play a fanfare outside the doors and someone announce my full name.

"Your cue in three, two, one!" Susan whispered as the doors opened up to reveal the huge stairs laid out in a deep, royal blue carpet.

The sound of the party turned to applause and cheers as I stepped out and flashed my best smile. The flashbulbs of cameras blinded me for a few seconds, but my pupils adjusted after a few seconds. I tried not to trip on anything as I walked step by step closer to the party. I finally reached the bottom of the steps and heard ooohhs and ahhhs at my dress or crown or everything.

I met my family at the bottom and to my surprise, Scarlet and her husband with their two kids stood at the bottom as well. Everyone was dressed up and decked out, but no one was as jewel covered as me.

Gwen's in mother's arms who is tearing up at the sight of me. Father is in his uniform that we all call the chandelier outfit. Posy's dress is knee length, pale pink dress with long sleeves and a low cut bust.

She laces her hands together and smiles at me.

I'm immediately rushed by cameras for a quick interview that my parents have forced me into. It's my first solo interview ever and I'm shaking nervously as they turn on their microphones and cameras. But this is a test, not just from my father but from Illea. I have to prove to them that I'm queen material. I swallow my fear and smile.

"Princess Lilian, may I have a word with you for a minute?" A lady reporter asked with two cameramen following behind her.

"Of course." I smiled.

"Excellent." She said as she fumbled with turning on a microphone for me to speak into.

My nerves boil up inside me again as she hands me the mic. I swallow them once she tells the camera man to countdown from five. He does and a small light burns red on his camera. The reporter flashes a smile towards the lens and speaks.

"I'm here with Princess Lilian who is not only celebrating her eighteenth birthday, but is soon to become the first princess to hold her own selection as we was just announced only hours ago. How are you, your majesty?" She turned to me and I smiled stiffly.

"I'm splendid." I said cheerily.

"That's wonderful, your majesty. Now, what enticed you to come up with the idea to hold your own selection?" She asked, her silver eyes locking with mine.

"Well," I began, "As I said on the Friday Report, I just couldn't bear to leave my beautiful home Illea and I feel that now is the time for change. Our country has begun to unravel the caste system, we just successfully won the war we had tirelessly fought in, so why not have a fresh new start for selections?" I explained without stuttering.

"Well said, your majesty. Did you also feel the two suitors weren't up to your standards as Princess of such a high country?" Her voice pressed me up against a wall, holding me down until I answered.

"No, they were both very charming suitors from excellent countries. I just felt that the pros of a selection outweighed the pros of an arranged marriage." I furrowed my brow.

"So you don't support arranged marriages?"

"I didn't say that!" I exclaimed.

I took a breath and tried to calm down.

"So you support arranged marriages?" Her voice wasn't as eager.

"I feel very neutral about them. They're very useful politically and romantically for royals, but they can go terribly wrong if not handled correctly." I explained.

"In what way have they not been handled correctly?" She asked.

"I cannot come up with a specific example right now."

"Thank you for your time, your majesty." The camera clicked off and she snatched the microphone right out of my hand before the three of them scurried away to the press area.

Scarlet and her small family hurry to me and we embrace tightly, not letting go of each other. It's been so long since I've seen her in person. It was the birth of her youngest child, Samone, who is now four. Four years since I've hugged her tight and felt her curly blonde hair brush my cheeks. I miss her, I miss her so much it hurts. She pulls away and blots at her eye makeup, which is smokey and dramatic.

"Lilian, you look so.....so grown up." She smiled ear to ear as she looked at me from arm's length.

"Well it's been 4 years since you last saw me." I smiled slightly.

"I know, it's been to long."

I nodded and she hugged me again, this time it was quicker. Her husband and kids were standing at a respectable distance, letting us take in the moment. She held a hand out to them and they came closer.

"Lilian, you've met my husband Brian."

How could I forget? Brian's muscles and chiseled jaw could make any woman swoon. His fiery red hair shows his Irish origin loud and proud and his shockingly blue eyes made me forget my train of thought for a moment.

"Of course of course." I smiled.

He embraced me and then kissed my white glove.

"It's simply wonderful to see you again, Lilian. I cannot believe that you're 19 already!" He exclaimed in his adorable Irish accent.

"Thank you, King Brian." I curtsied.

"Oh please," he shook his head and smiled, "do call me Brian. We're family after all."

I nodded and looked at the little figures behind Brian's legs.

"Hello little ones." I smiled and bent down to wave at them.

"Their just a little shy." Scarlet bent down and scooped up the little girl.

Her pale cheeks were flushed pink with bashfulness as Scarlet held her in her arms. I could see her dad's eyes and lips resting on her face, but her thin nose and blonde hair were definitely her mom's. Emily....that's her name! I remembered it for once. A violet, tulle dress covered her body, making her look even smaller.

"Say hi, Emily." Scarlet cooed.

"Hi." Her small yet smooth voice was definitely my mom's.

"Hello, Emily. It's so nice to see you again!" I smiled.

She giggled and hide her face behind Scarlet's head.

"She's very shy." Scarlet explained, setting her down.

"And that's David, of course you remember him."

His starched tux, his rumpled red hair, his freckled skin, of course I remembered him. He smiled at me and showed his baby teeth still in his mouth.

"Well hello David." I smiled.

"Hi Aunt Lilian." He shuffled his feet back and forth.

"Princess Lilian," someone tapped my shoulder," I was wondering if I could have a word."

I spun around and saw the Prince of Italy standing straight, his olive skin glowing, his caramel locks combed. My eyes popped open with surprise at his presence. I expected him to be insulted at my sudden decision to bail out of the marriage, but now I could see that he's the picture of ease.

"Prince Armando," I gasped, trying to hide my tone of surprise, "what a surprise to see you."

"Well I was invited, wasn't I?" He laughed.

I forced a laugh and nodded.

"May I speak with you in private?" He asked.

"Oh, um...I don't know if there's anywhere truly private at the moment." I sputtered.

"How about a parlor?" He suggested, still smiling.

"Uh," I looked at Scarlet, who looked confused, "yes. Follow me."

We walked into the hallway of the north corridor in silence as I looked for a open parlor door. One caught my eye and I knocked before twisting the knob and hurrying in so no one saw us. He followed me, smiling before I closed it with a snap. He flicked the light switch on and fell into a plush armchair without asking first.

"So my mother spoke with you then, you called off the marriage because of my intentions?" He asked, smiling.

I furrowed my eyebrows, confused. I haven't spoken with Queen Nicoletta in 6 years almost, at my parent's anniversary.

"What?" I asked, walking towards a couch.

"My mother said she sent you a letter explaining that I intend to marry my sweetheart," he smiled wistfully and held his hands over his heart, "naturally I thought you had called it off because of the letter."

I crossed my arms, trying to sort this all out.

"I received no such letter from Queen Nicholetta." I said flatly.

He sat up scrunched up his face.

"Really?" He asked.

"Really."

"Then why did you call it off?" He asked.

"Because I'm human and I shouldn't be sold off, I should have a choice." I lifted my chin.

"Hmm," he thought, "I sent a letter stating my situation to you and begging that you end the marriage pro-"

"Why end it? I could have married the prince from Scandinavia all the same."

He scoffed, "I'm sure you would just love to marry that nerd."

"Nerd?"

"Oh yes," he stood," he's the ugliest prince out there. These big glasses and this stutter."

"Oh my god." I said in disbelief.

I had never seen the prince before, but by the way he described him I dodged a bullet. I sighed and laughed at this whole situation. He joined in.

"Lilian," he smiled and stood in front of me, "I would have married you if I could."

I smiled and took his hands.

"Same to you, Armando." I nodded my head.

We were quiet for sometime before I released his hands and folded them together.

"So," I arched my eyebrows and smiled, "who's your sweetheart."

He smiled and shook his head.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." He assured me as we headed for the door.

"Aw come on," I teased as we walked back into the ballroom.

"I can't tell you, Lilian. You would look at me differently." He gave me a sad smile.

I patted his shoulder as we entered the party again.

"Then I won't persist any longer," I smiled at him, hoping we could move on as friends, "but I'm going to your wedding."

He laughed and leaned his head back.

"Of course, I do love company." And with that, he moved into the shuffle of people.

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