A/N: I know the story seems to be progressing rather quickly in the romance department but believe me there is a good reason for it that will become evident in later chapters, I promise! Btw thank you for everyone who is reading and double thank you to everyone who's reviewing! It means a lot and I adore shadow readers but I'd really super love it if you would review even if it is anonymously! Please and thank you! Hope you enjoy it!
The next morning brought with it the sight of a pixie migration, a rare sight for most humans. This proved extremely fortuitous for the humans that had recently arrived at the castle. They were catching pixies left and right. Pixies were relatively easy targets but they're extremely rare to find in large quantities. This particular pixie migration each year marked the beginning of spring and the beginning of the annual tournament. It was simple really; the man who caught the most magical creatures won. The prize itself was a hefty sum but along with it came the opportunity to sell the creatures for an exorbitant price. The contestants had three weeks and could use any methods. Some creatures were worth more than others; like a fairy was worth five pixies but a dragon or a hydra was worth seven fairies.
"Emilia, my dear, I want you to accompany us to the tournament," Edward said as he prodded one of the pixies with his index finger.
"Yes, of course, Sir," Emilia replied with a curtsey, "I will bring every article of clothing I own."
He stood and looked over at her. "Now my dear, that isn't practical. And I can't have you looking like a maltreated slave girl," Edward said with a sly grin, "Your packing has already been done and a dress has been laid out on your bed for you to wear on the journey today. Now hurry along, we're waiting on you."
Emilia's face brightened; she rarely received new things. "Oh, yes Sir. Thank you," Emilia said as she hurried off to her quarters to change.
When she arrived she found not only a beautiful lavender dress but also a matching corset and a note. She looked at the note curiously, it read:
My uncle has provided you with this dress and corset, but to me the outfit remained incomplete. Go to your dresser and you will find my small gifts to you for this trip.
Emilia quickly changed into her new attire and then walked over curiously to her dresser. There was a box with a card that simply said –Alexander. She opened it and found a beautiful handbag that perfectly matched her dress; it too, was lavender and it was embroidered with beautiful silver and sage leaves and vines. She smiled and slipped his note into the handbag and placed it at her side. She then sifted through the sage colored paper and found several gorgeous, intricately made hairpins; some were butterflies in various shades of purple, others were leaves in either silver or sage, but there was one hairpin, larger than the rest, that caught her eye, it was a deep violet flower with inlaid silver details and a single sage colored leaf protruding from the side. She consolidated all of the other hairpins into her new bag and then placed the violet flower so it held her bangs out of her face. She was about to put the lid back on the box when another piece of paper caught her eye; it simply read: There is still one gift left. When she went to pick the paper up she noticed it was attached to a small mahogany box that had an inlaid amethyst flower and jade leaves. She carefully opened the box and gasped at what she saw. It was a stunning amethyst flower on a delicate silver chain; she smiled and put it on gingerly. She slipped the mahogany box into her handbag as well; then there was a knock at her door.
"Yes? Come in," Emilia answered as she tucked the necklace into the front of her dress.
"Miss Emilia, Master Edward sent me to make sure you were alright and to be sure to tell you that time is of the essence," Ester said as she entered Emilia's modest quarters. Ester was also accompanying Master Edward to the tournament although for reasons Emilia was pleased not to relate to. Ester was fifteen, a mere three years younger than Emilia, and was Master Edward's favorite mistress. All of the other slaves despised her because she always received extravagant gifts despite being a slave. Unlike most of the slave girls of the household, she took pride in the many men she had been "fortunate" enough to spend the night, or several nights, with. She was not particularly striking, she was average height but very large boned and obviously better fed than the other slaves, she had dirty blonde hair that she kept in a messy bun on top of her head, light, mouse-brown eyes and a tan baby face.
"Thank you, Miss Ester. I will be out in a moment," Emilia said with a forced smile as Ester closed the door. She sighed and was headed for the door when she noticed something hanging on the single coat hook next to her door; it was a lavender and violet parasol and it had another note tied to it that read –Alexander. She took the note off and tucked it into the edge of her mirror, took the parasol and walked out to the awaiting carriages.
She drew many looks as she walked down the stairs; she wasn't quite sure whether it was because she was the last person to show up or because of her new attire. Once she had reached the bottom of the stairs she noticed Alexander smiling at her softly; she couldn't help but smile back.
"Well, now that everyone is here we can start," Edward said as he and Ester boarded the nearest covered carriage.
Everyone appeared to know exactly where they were supposed to go and which carriage they were supposed to board and with whom. Then Emilia heard her name being called; she turned around and looked, frantically trying to see where the sound originated. It seemed to being growing closer but she couldn't really tell whom it was coming from in the mass of people heading for their carriages. Then she felt a hand grab her wrist; she turned around with a start to see Alexander.
"Emilia, you're with me," he said as he led her through the crowd to one of the few open carriages toward the back of the growing caravan. He helped her up into the carriage and then climbed in after her.
"Alexander, aren't you going to introduce us to your lady friend?" the young man sitting across from Emilia and Alexander asked.
"Of course Brother, Joseph this is Miss Emilia Knighton, Emilia, this is my older brother Joseph and his intended Miss Isabel Wallace," Alexander said once he had settled into his seat.
The young man across from them was indisputably Alexander's brother. He had a rather short cut of dark brown hair and striking sapphire eyes, slightly lighter than Alexander's, he was tall even in his seat and lean but powerfully built; his face was slightly less tanned than Alexander's lending him a more regal air. The young lady sitting by his side was built similarly to Emilia, slight of frame but well figured. She had gorgeous cream-colored curls that reached just below her shoulders with a sapphire hairpin holding her wispy bangs out of her stunning golden eyes. Her deep midnight blue dress contrasted beautifully with her wispy cream hair and delicately pale skin. She smiled sweetly at Emilia and Emilia could tell these were two people she was going to get along with.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, your majesty," Emilia said with a smile as she bowed her head to the best of her ability in the rather tight corset.
"Tell me, Miss Knighton, where are you from?" Joseph asked pleasantly.
"Oh, I'm not really sure, Sir. You see I was sold to Master Edward when I was very little," Emilia answered with a smile.
Joseph and Isabel both seemed to start and Joseph opened his mouth to speak but didn't upon receiving a look from Alexander. And so an uncomfortable silence passed over the group and it remained for several minutes before Emilia finally got up the nerve to speak.
"I hope my being a slave is no reason for discomfort," Emilia stuttered quietly while looking down at her lap.
"Of course not Emilia," Alexander said with a soft smile.
"Quite honestly I would rather be in the presence of a well minded slave than a pompous noble," Joseph said with a chuckle. And so the uncomfortable silence was driven off and the rest of the journey passed without its return.
I know, I know it was short! But hey give a girl a break! Lol review please!