A million apologies friends. I should have updated this weeks ago but I was trapped. But here's something. This is a collaboration between Lazarus76 and myself.
The other two regions were not expecting last minute news that their neighbor choose a different queen and that the prince wanted to tie the knot as soon as possible.
"No, this can't wait." Prince Robert persisted. "My bride demands it."
The seamstresses worked at a rabid pace to finish Mirras gown while the rest of the servants hustled through the halls to decorate. The largest garden in Fantasia was shed of half its white flowers. Everything was decorated with white flowers and draped in gold.
Ariadne couldn't help but admire her sister as the three of them were pampering. The dress shimmered like a magic sword in the sun through the window.
The day of the royal wedding had arrived and the guests were gathering in the chapel. Ariadne believed that it was all happening too quickly. Yet she had to at least act happy for Mirra.
Mirra frowned at her reflection. "I look enormous," she complained.
"It's been less than a month." Ariadne reasoned. "Nobody suspects a thing. You look perfect."
She bit her lip. "And I criticized Robert for stuffing himself!"
"That's all in the past now." Ariadne adjusted the chunky gold crown on Mirras head.
"Wow," Mirra breathed, gazing at herself as a golden bride. "Oh, I can't wait."
"This is a great day for you. You're becoming queen. Soon this quarter will be under your wing."
Mirra smiled. "And so will Robert."
"You're not planning on…" Jenaya hesitated. "Controlling him, are you?"
Her twin shrugged in response. "As long as he doesn't try to control me, which I have a hunch."
"Just… don't make the same mistakes Queen Claudette made." The bride turned to Ariadne, who was suddenly serious. "Don't persuade your people to turn against you."
Mirra took Ariadnes hands. "I promise to make these people happier than they ever been. Which is why, tomorrow, I'm heading out to the villages and giving away bread."
"How generous of you!" Jenaya cheered. "The Prince likes that idea?"
Mirra chuckled. "He doesn't even know about it yet."
In the chapel, Arthur sat between the court he served and his family. King Cobb was on his left, Gwen on his right. The place had been adorned with golden candlesticks and white roses. Everyone was chatting and gossiping as they waited for the bride to come.
Miles entered the church and took his seat next to Mal. When he saw Arthur, he excused himself to lean over.
"I must let you know, there is a lady here you will want to meet. A good friend of mine who would love it if you asked her for a dance."
"And who would that be Papa?" Mal questioned curiously.
"She's not here yet, but… Alas! There she is, in the blue dress!"
Arthur turned his head to the entrance of the church to see a rather little lady draped in Easter blue. Pearls decorated her gown, neck, and hair.
Arthur never showed it, but his heart leapt. That was the same girl from the maze! The one who was supossed to be the bride, but bravely protested. He smiled to himself thinking, 'Now that's the kind of lady I'd admire.'
Ariadne took a seat beside her sister in the front row. When Arthurs eyes were trapped against her, the music began to play.
Robert stood at the alter wearing a cinnamon brown. A bearskin vest was added along with his rank chain and crown. His bright eyes looked to the door as the woman in gold stepped in.
After the ceremony came the feast. Ariadne and Jenaya spent most of the time drinking and laughing. Ariadne was thinking about what Miles had said, about the knight asking her to dance. Jenaya leaned against her, tipsy. "Ari... That handsome knight keeps looking at you..."
Ariadne set her eyes on Arthur for one second and turned away blushing. "I know." She looked at Jenaya. "I think he's just-"
She broke off, as Robert rose from his chair. Despite her dislike of him, she couldn't deny he was a handsome groom- in a pale, icy, manner.
"Go talk to him." Jenaya giggled. "He's unmarried, you're unmarried. He could be the one."
"You are drunk sister. And besides, you say that about every man who courts me." Ariadne pointed out. "What about that physician you promised yourself to?"
Jenaya leaned back in her chair defeated. "Papa won't let me write him anymore. And worse, I don't know where he is."
"Then go out there and find him."
Once she put her goblet down, Miles came up to her table and bowed nobally.
"Dance with me child?"
"Certainly." She replied.
They walked to the center of the hall to join the simultaneously dancing couples.
"You look lovely," he said, courteously. Her mentor wasn't even trying to dance. "And there seems to be someone whose rather interested..."
Ariadne turned, and blushed. Arthur was approaching them. Miles squeezed her hands. "Don't be afraid now, he's gentle."
"I'm not afraid. I'm just… My God, you were right!"
"Now go have fun." Miles left her there. He was definetly trying to set her up, and for once she didn't mind. Though she did feel a little awkward standing on the dance floor while everyone around her was rotating.
But Arthur was quick to reach her, keeping her still just by smiling at her. Like the perfect knight, he bowed chivalrously. "May I have this dance?"
Words didn't want to leave her tongue. They lingered for a moment as her eyes lingered over his. "I... Yes, you may."
He gently took her hand and brought her to a more appropiate spot. The contact was like grasping a lightning bolt. She looked over at Jenaya who was ready to tell the world right away. The first person she told was Mirra.
"Look, look, look!" she shook the bride and forced her to turn around. "She's with a man!"
"How unusual..." Mirra sipped more wine.
The dance the couples participated in was a simultaneous one. Ariadne wasn't the best dancer, since every time she looked up to see what they were doing she stumbled.
Ariadne blushed. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Forget it," Arthur whispered back. "You're perfect."
That was like lightning down her spine. They were only attached for one second and he was already courting her. Arthur probably had dance lessons before... As well as plenty of practice with chivalry. Was it him or the wine that made her head buzz?
"Have we ever spoken to each other before?" she asked.
"No," he replied, calmly. "Except when..." he turned his head, and smiled slightly. "Except when you're fending off unwanted admirers."
"I heard you're the most chivalrous unmarried man in Fantasia."
Arthur smiled. "And who did you hear that from?"
He blushed slightly. "Well..." He turned, and accidently bumped into Robert.
Mirra looked at Robert as in, "Be nice now." Robert shook it off.
"I see you're having a great time." he said, trying to be friendly.
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "OK, who are you, and what have you done with Robert?"
"Can't a king have a good time at his wedding?"
"He's too happy right now to get angry over some silly mistake." Mirra assured.
Ariadne raised an eyebrow. "Have you promised to feed him marzipan in bed?"
"We discussed his eating phase."
Ariadne shrugged and looked at Arthur, who was clearly trying to suppress a smile. He turned to Mirra. "Well, you look lovely," he said, courteously. "Congratulations." Putting an arm around Ariadnes waist, he took her further away from the Royal couple.
"She's got him under the thumb already. He actually seems to be enjoying it."
"That's what French queens do."
He intended to keep dancing with her. But in the crowd, he managed to spot a bad apple; Nash was sitting alone and staring at them.
Arthurs knight duties kicked in. "Come on."
Ariadne turned and looked at Nash for a second in disgust and nodded.
"Sounds good." Taking her arm, Arthur began to lead her outside.
Nash scowled. "Soon." He muttered, a drunken grin on his face. "Soon my dear."
Ariadne brought Arthur to the garden at the back of the castle. That day, the swans were out on the pond more active than usual. They reminded her of romance. "Maybe some time soon, I can take you to the Japanese Quarter and give you a tour of the palace. A private tour." she added
Arthur smiled and nodded his head. "Sounds good to me."
"Like tomorrow?" she asked. "The emperor should be here in a week."
He knew nothing of any court meetings or dream sharing. "Why not?"
"Perfect." she slightly felt herself growing feelings for him.
Arthur smiled, and looked at Ariadne. "Marry me," he whispered.
"What was that?"
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