Prince Vale was standing in the doorway in all his glory. The royal blue and silver in his uniform let his brilliant blue eyes stand out as they looked around the room. His black hair was wavy and slightly disheveled letting it stick out in certain places, this was the first time I had seen him in years. The last time I saw him he was 16 and still looked like a moody teenager, but now he had grown up he was no longer a child; he was a man and that's exactly what the King and Queen wanted the country to know after this ball.
I tore my gaze away quickly looking towards the piano when he seemed to look in my direction. When I looked back he had left the doorway and was making his way over to his family with a ghost of a smile upon his face.
My father turned to me now "Estella you need to act perfectly from now until the night," he was staring at me as if it would help me remember to be on my best behaviour "the King and Queen are going to have a toast for the prince and then they will ask you to play."
"Okay, but what about the rest of the girls here? They already look like they want me dead, I don't think they would appreciate me being asked to play by the King and Queen."
"These girls don't have the ability to kill you, especially not here. They are too busy drooling over the prince to care what else happens" he looked between the other girls who were in fact still staring at Prince Vale who was now by his family's side talking quietly to his father and mother.
The queen was wearing a simple but elegant blue and silver gown whereas, Princess Rayne looked like an ice princess her gown was an extravagant baby blue with streaks of a shimmering silver around it. Her twin brother Prince Elias was dressed in a royal blue uniform like his brother, for only being 16 he looked older with his brown hair framing his face and stopping at just below his chin, his golden caramel eyes fixated on the rest of his family.
I noticed that even though these princes hadn't fought in any of the wars our country was plagued with their uniforms were decorated with medals that were usually only given to soldiers who had been fighting for our country. I felt nauseous thinking about how the royals were taking credit for fighting a war that they probably wouldn't know how it looked outside of a video or picture.
"The Queen is looking at you," my father whispered "look in her head, see what she's thinking." It was more of a command than anything else, what I don't think my father realised though if I was caught doing this It could be considered treason which is punishable by death but as I'm a big believer of keeping my head attached to my body I have to do it very inconspicuously.
I glance over at the queen getting an instant connection and being able to see what she's thinking. She was eying up all of the girls here some of what she was thinking about I almost wanted to laugh at but I remained composed either way. She was wondering why none of us were socialising, she wants to know that the next queen isn't afraid to talk to others.
"She wants to know why none of us girls are socialising and talking to people" I whisper so quietly I'm not sure I said it but my father seemed to understand it and turned me as if we were having a normal conversation and i hadn't just broken the law.
He practically dragged me towards Gwendoline and her father Dante, they both had the same ability to be Able to adapt to survive. I met Gwendoline through my father being friends with her father but I haven't spoken to them in so long it felt more than awkward as we approached them.
"Dante! It's been too long," my fathers voice is loud "I'm sure you remember my daughter Estella." Dante smiles at his old companion before turning to me.
"I see those maids have spent a lot of time on you today" I could plainly hear emphasis on 'a lot' and the words stung. I understood that his daughter is beautiful naturally and he wants her to marry the Prince as much as my father wants me to.
I laugh quietly before responding "almost as much time as has been spent on you today... Sir" anger flashes across his face but he laughs none the less. As we all stand looking at each other in an awkward silence I'm happy when I hear the King interrupt with his toast. Before I heard him speak I quietly heard Gwendoline whisper "do not get in my way Thorn" her voice dripping with venom.
With his voice booming across the hall the guests deadly silent to take in everything he says and silently judge the things they think he should do differently.
"We are all gathered together here today to celebrate my son Prince Vale's coming of age, as you all know he turned 19 last week and it took us a week to persuade him into celebrating it correctly..." He paused and let the room laugh but it was too forced to be sincere. "Vale has decided that just like his father he is ready to find a bride," I looked over at Vale and he seemed to stiffen as his father said those words. He doesn't want to marry yet.. I couldn't blame him but if he didn't marry the country would start wondering about how reliable of a King he would be if he didn't follow tradition, and possibly even decide to ally themselves with the Seress sympathisers "we have had a lot of proposals from many wonderful ladies but we have shortened down the choice to 5 of Hecates finest," his eyes landed on each of us "and to celebrate this wonderful occasion would Lady Estella Thorn like to play Cète no1 on the piano for us"
Everyone spun around to where I was standing and Gwendoline looked as if she could have murdered me on the spot. I warily made my way across the floor to the piano focusing on not tripping over my skirts on the way, I sit down at the stool aware that all eyes are on me. Once again I let myself get lost in the melody, this was the first song my mother had taught me I remember messing up over and over again but she would encourage me to keep going. I think my father and the King chose this song because they knew what it meant to me, the cool keys were dancing under my fingertips as I poured myself into this song my eyes closed I let myself drift into the sweet abyss where it's just me and the notes that circulate around me forming a perfect harmony.
I opened my eyes again once I had finished and the room was silent for a few moments before there was a round of applause which was something I wasn't used to at all. I looked over at my father who was now standing next to the Royal family and they were all clapping as well even though Princess Rayne seemed to be forcing it. I silently stood up curtsying and walking over to my father who smiled at me as if he knew something I didn't. The music that was playing before quietly resumed and people went back to conversing.
The King and Queen walked over to where I was standing with my father and I had to fight my overwhelming urge to run out of the room as they felt so intimidating. "That song was Beautiful Lady Estella," the queen was smiling "I remember listening to your mother play it when she was younger" I felt comforted by her words, she had known my mother when she was younger but was always busy after she became princess and never had enough time to visit her.
"Thank you your majesty it's lovely to hear that I am somewhat comparable to her" I smiled at her and there seemed to be an unspoken communication between us like she mirrored how much I missed my mother.
"That was a truly wonderful performance Lady Estella I would like to hear this around the palace more often." The King smirked before letting me speak he summoned Prince Vale over. Vale was even more beautiful to look at close up his face was sculpted and Gwendoline used to say that he could cut somebody with his jawline and I've only just got what she meant by that.
"Your highness." I curtsied, just by looking at his face I could tell he wanted to be somewhere else.
"Lady Estella it's wonderful to meet you and may I say that what you played for us was beautiful, I could tell that you enjoyed it" the words sounded forced but well practiced.
"I did enjoy it thank you for giving me the opportunity to play here" I wasn't sure what else I was meant to say in these circumstances, I couldn't tell him that I much prefer playing by myself at my own home.
"The pleasure is all mine," he smiled at me then and it didn't seem forced. "I also wante-" before he could finish his sentence Gwendoline had decided to come over and cut in.
"I was wondering if you would like to dance... Your highness" she purred, I could only assume that she was flirting. The prince looked between his parents as if he was asking for their approval, of course they both nodded indicating that it was fine to leave and get to know the other girls, the queen looked less happy about it but still watched him walk off. I looked around to where the other girls were and they had all seemed to find a dance partner without a problem. I wondered if that had always found this kind of social interaction easy but an unfamiliar voice drew me out of my thoughts.
"Lady Estella we can't have you without a dance partner. Can we?" Prince Elias was standing in front of me smirking, his golden eyes glowing. I had no idea how long he had been standing there or how long I had been looking around the room.
"No, your highness we can't" I couldn't help but feel like laughing, something that was odd considering who I was talking to.
"Would you do me the honour of being your first dance" his smile mischievous.
"Of course" I said letting him lead me to the middle of the floor.
"So Lady Estella I heard that you can control people's minds," his eyes were glistening. "Is it true?"
I paused for a moment before replying. What if they caught me earlier? Am I going to be executed for treason? I decided just to try to respond calmly. "Yes... I can also read them," I gulped "but I don't like using my ability unless it's for a just cause" I added.
"You sound like my mother." he laughed quietly.
"Because I don't like using my ability?" I asked confused because I had witnessed the queen use her ability multiple times.
"No but you underestimate your ability," his eyes were focused on mine making sure I was listening to what he had to say. "You have one of the most deadly abilities here if you wished to use it that way, my father wants my dear brother to marry someone powerful and with family ties that would work well for the country and well you Lady Estella are at the top of the list" I was taken aback by his words, the King and Queen barely knew me yet they were seriously considering me for their son.
"But Prince Vale doesn't want this?"
"No. He doesn't believe that he should be forced into marriage but neither do you" there was question in his eyes.
"Not really," I sighed as we whirled around "I would like to marry knowing I was loved by my husband, but I don't want to disappoint my family and I'm pretty sure if I said that I wanted no part of this I would be arrested" the prince laughed at the end of my sentence.
"You know I wouldn't worry too much about that my brother seems to like you" I was confused.
"It didn't seem like it before" I felt awkward talking about this.
"Believe me when you were playing piano he was looking at you like you were the only one in the room, and usually he just looks at the musicians like has better things to do" the song softly ended but we stood still joined together. "Another dance my lady?" I just nodded, the next song was a little bit faster but not much. We passed Gwendoline who now had a new dance partner and I grimaced.
"You don't seem to like her" Elias observed.
"Abilities like mine don't win you friends," I breathed suddenly aware of close close we were "she was my friend for a time and then I heard that she had been spreading rumours saying that I had used mind control to make her be my friend"
"She might have been jealous of your ability" he suggested. I was about to ask how, when a gun shot went off in the crowd ringing out through the room, people started screaming behind me.
I spun around and saw my father crumpled over on the floor before I could do anything else I ran over to him darting anyone in my path.
When I got to his side he was cold and I could visibly see that he had been hit in the chest, sticky Crimson blood was everywhere. "Father" I croaked my voice was barely audible "please father don't do this- don't die please father" I was sobbing but it was too late, he was gone and nobodies abilities could save him. "Please, please, please don't be gone I will be alone I will have nobody" I leant over him crying into his corpse.
Faintly I could hear people saying my name asking me to move but I didn't move or listen, I wanted to stay with him. Both of my parents were now dead I was alone, I knew I couldn't seek any comfort in Ethan he hated me. I don't know how long I was at my fathers side it could have been hours but it only felt like seconds before he was ripped from my grasp leaving me numb in a pool of his blood.