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All eight of them were escorted to the castle's steps as they were told the details of their voyage to the neighboring town of Acacia.

Acacia was the closest town to the East Castle, making it the capital and the most populated territory in the whole Kingdom. It was a hotspot for shops of all kinds including tailors, bakers, and blacksmiths.

Acacia was also one of the most architecturally advanced places in the Kingdom with taller buildings made of stone and brick rather than wood cottages found in further villages.

"You'll be riding with our guests from the West, Your Highness." A guard in charge of their safety during their voyage to Acacia informed Jihye as she approached one of the green and gold carriages.

"Great—" Sunoo who was beside her spoke up. "I was hoping for a silent ride to Acacia. But now all I'm going to hear for the whole trip is the West Prince's and your blabbering."

Jihye scoffed.

"Don't be like that, Sunoo." She glanced at him. "Besides, you even told me once you liked the sound of my voice." Jihye taunted with just the hint of a smirk.

Sunoo wouldn't fall for the bait. If he tried to fire back and contradict her word it would just end with more of Jihye bringing light to all the past compliments he has given her.

"Just get on the carriage already." Sunoo turns his head, but Jihye catches a glimpse of the tips of his ears that burned with red.

She doesn't persist further, only huffing out in defeat. Jihye pulls herself up onto the raised carriage with the help of the driver and is greeted with a comfy interior. She sat demurely, waiting as the rest of the boys climbed aboard.

Sunoo was the next to step on, sitting in his usual seat next to Jihye while Heeseung and the unnamed guest sat across from them.

"I'd like you to meet my friend, Jungwon." Heeseung told when both carriages had taken off en route. "I would have introduced him sooner but he headed to breakfast before me."

Jihye eyes the boy's soft features, modestly admiring how ethereal his appearance was. He appeared to be a tad younger than her, maybe a year younger like Sunoo was. Jungwon had very big round eyes which seemed to hold constellations in them. Both Heeseung and Jungwon had a similar refreshing vibe that came from being from the West.

Jungwon shifted to face Heeseung. "I was hungry and I didn't want to risk being late by sticking with you. You probably would've gotten us lost."

Jihye snickers, causing both Heeseung and Jungwon to turn their heads.

"It's nice to meet you, Jungwon." She smiles in his direction and extends her hand. The boy is quick to lean forward and shake it, a dazed look in his eyes.

"The pleasure is all mine." He says like some love-struck schoolboy.

"Bow your head—" Heeseung orders in a hushed tone, abruptly raising his hand and forcing Jungwon's head down.

Jungwon grunts in surprise, his eyes peering up at Jihye before speaking. "Y—your Highness."

"No need for that..." The Princess waved for him to sit up. "Just call me, Jihye." Jungwon repeats her name aloud to imprint it in his mind. And from what he's heard from Heeseung so far, it was such a fitting name for a girl like her.

"Are you enjoying your stay in our Kingdom so far?" Jihye asks then, genuinely interested in what Jungwon thought of her Kingdom.

"Yes I have! I have never seen such a tree filled land before. It's so huge in fact I think I would get lost in its lure." Jungwon marveled to the Princess.

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now