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Chapter 4 - The Princess

Princess Gwen was the princess of the Lioness' Kingdom, one of the seven kingdoms among the Britons. Although their kingdom was the smallest, it was one of the richest kingdoms due to their location being near the coast.

Her golden hair, green eyes and white porcelain skin earned her the adoration of many, making her the jewel of the kingdom. Tomorrow was her coming of age ceremony and many of the nobles would come to visit her father's castle.

"Hmm, which one do you think suits me better? The white or the gold one?" asked Gwen as she compared the two dresses the wooden mannequins were wearing with her emerald eyes.

"You are pretty in both dresses, my lady," answered her handmaiden.

She sneakily rolled her eyes since that wasn't helpful. Gwen stood beside the mannequin dressed in white and said, "I think the white one is perfect for me? What do you think?"

"Yes, you are lovely in white, my lady," said another handmaiden.

She switched positions and went to the other mannequin and said, "At second thought, I think the gold one would look better on me. It highlights my eyes, right?"

"Yes, you are absolutely right, my lady," replied the first handmaiden with a slight bow.

Another bland answer. Whenever she asked for the other's opinion, all she would hear was praise. No one dared oppose her or gave their real thoughts unlike her mother, the late queen.

She sighed as she took a seat and stared at the portrait of her mother hanging on the wall of her dressing room. Gwen bit her lips slightly wishing her mother was here, after all, tomorrow was her 16th birthday. And even though she was surrounded by a lot of handmaidens and a lot of people would come to see her, she couldn't help feeling more lonely.

The door knocked and one of the handmaidens opened it. One more handmaiden came in and gave Gwen the news.

She then rushed toward the king's study room. There were two men talking and one of them was the king, but her purpose for going here was to see the other person whom her father was talking to. She jumped at the man and said, "Uncle!"

"There she is! My lovely niece!" said Brett, returning her big hug.

Brett was the younger brother of Gwen's late mother. He wasn't like any other noblemen who loved to stay in their fiefs, instead he loved to go adventuring across the seven kingdoms and even farther. He would usually be gone for months, but his latest expedition had taken him almost two years.

"I miss you, uncle! Please tell me all your great adventures! Where did you go? How were the people? What did you s—" Gwen stopped as she heard her father's cough.

Brett laughed and said, "Hahaha, hold your horses, my niece. I'll tell you all about it tonight. I'm actually here because of your special day tomorrow! Don't think I've forgotten about it. For now, I'd like for you to close your eyes."

"My apologies," said Gwen as she calmed herself and closed her eyes. She heard her uncle rustled through his large pouch; her heart quickened. She knew what her uncle intended to do next. After all, he had always done this. Whenever he came back, he always had something unique to give her from one of his travels.

"Hold out your hands," Brett said.

As soon as she did, a rough but light item fell on her palms. Her eyes sparkled and saw the coarse, rolled-up parchment. Gwen unrolled it and stared at the drawing.

Richard sighed and said, "Brother, you're spoiling her again. I'm blaming you for her mischievous attitude."

"Please forgive me, my king. But she's the only remembrance the late queen has left us," said Brett with his fist on his chest.

Gwen turned the parchment to the left, right, and somehow realized. She said, "Uncle, is this?"

Brett smiled and said, "Yes, smart girl! This is called the world map. This was first created in Greek, but now almost all places I've travelled to in Europe use it."

"Such a wonderful gift, uncle! Thank you uncle" said Gwen, hugging her uncle once more. This was one of the best gifts she had received in advance, which was even more precious than any of the beautiful dresses or jewels.

"Well, off you go now, I have some things to discuss with the king."

"I understand, uncle. But promise me you"ll spend time telling me about your adventure." Gwen gave him a big smile and issued a ladylike bow before leaving.

That night, Gwen enjoyed the stories of all the places her uncle had traveled to until she slept. And because of that, she dreamt about the different houses, the people, animals, and the world far far away.

When she had awoken, all she could still think about was the dream and all the places her uncle had mentioned. In fact, her mind was even more occupied with those thoughts rather than her coming of age ceremony. She really wished to talk to someone about it and while getting ready, a noble boy came to her mind. She said to herself, "Yes! I am sure he'll be here today."

The ceremony started and the moment she descended the stairs beside her father, her eyes immediately caught the sight of a boy who looked more like a commoner compared to the rest of the nobles in the area. She couldn't wait to walk over to him, but she must attend first to her duty, thus she was stealing glances at him.

The gift giving ended as well as greetings. Now, she must attend to her duties. She went and greeted the other nobles by herself with her handmaidens behind. Gwen said to the last noble family she had mingled with, "I hope you are enjoying yourselves." She looked once more at where the boy was and then added, "Please excuse me."

She made her way toward him but the son of her father's advisor, the Fantumar boy, blocked her path and said some cringy words. Gwen slightly furrowed her brows. She never liked this boy but as a respect to his family's status, she said, "Abe, how can I help you?"

"Your Royal Princess, I would like to—"

"My apologies, but I can't talk to you right now, Abe," said Gwen when she saw the boy stood up and tried to walk away.

Gwen walked straight to the boy and exclaimed, "Emery!"

And without notice, she grabbed his arm and dragged him outside.

That act surprised some nobles, especially the young noble, Abe, whom the princess had cut off and left for the lowborn boy.

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