The guards looked up upon hearing the faint sound of feet coming in contact with the soft carpet, their hands quickly moving to their arms before they began to relax. The blonde teen gave them a curt nod as he walked past the guards who looked away as if they hadn't seen anything.

It was normal for the prince to wander around aimlessly at night, too engrossed in his thoughts that he would sometimes find himself sleeping at four o'clock in the morning and waking up at dawn to get ready for another busy day. He couldn't help it though. With the stress of succeeding his father's throne, performing his royal duties and making sure that his every move, every decision and even every step he made met everyone 's expectations (which was quite a feat for King Clarkson was a difficult man to impress), he found the midnight strolls relaxing and a perfect way to unwind after a long day.

And now he had another thing to stress about. "The Selection", a 'competition' where 35 girls had to compete to be his future wife and Illea's future queen and he was not looking forward to it at all. He was an only child and the girls that he had ever spoken to who wasn't a servant or related to him were only family friends and those conversations were only limited to topics about the weather and each other's health.

Basically Maxon Schreave, future King of Illea, had the conversation skills of a dead chicken when it came to interacting with women.

Maxon honestly did not know how he was going to choose a bride. He was too kind to lead the girls on and break their hearts and he wasn't really fond of the idea of choosing a bride among a bunch of girls who only wanted him for his status or the crown. His mother, Queen Amberly, often comforted her son by telling him the story about how she met his father but the prince didn't want to get his hopes up only to end up disappointing himself.

'Maybe I won't choose anyone and end up ruling the country with twenty seven cats as company' He silently told himself as an attempt to calm himself down.

A commotion up ahead made him snap back from his thoughts and 'plain ol' Maxon' was replaced with 'Prince Maxon, the heir to the throne who performed his duties perfectly, and that included checking on commotions that happen in the middle of the night'. He quickened his pace and saw the guards talk a petite redhead whom he suspected was one of the chosen girls.

"I'm sorry …Lady America, is it? You need to go back to your room"

"I…. I can't breathe,"

Maxon furrowed his brows and decided to interrupt them, his voice firm and full of authority.

"Let her go"

His voice caught the attention of the guards and the girl, whose head and stance were at an odd angle so he couldn't see her face,

"She collapsed, Your Majesty. She wanted to go outside" One of the guards explained in a nervous tone as his eyes flickered back to the girl to which the prince replied

"Open the doors"

His words caught the guards by surprise and the same guard began to stammer.

"But-Your Majesty-,"

"Open the doors and let her go. Now!"

Maxon's voice was louder than before as he spoke in authoritative tone that he had heard his father use a lot of times. The guard quickly closed his mouth for he didn't dare defy the future ruler of his country and unlocked the door.

The redhead girl slowly stood properly, staggering in the process and she finally looked up to look at the prince whose curious gaze was on her.

Bright blue orbs met his brown ones; almost knocking the wind out of him at how easily he got lost in them and all thoughts of ruling the world with 27 cats vanished.

He was now a goner.