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Three days had passed since the visit to Acacia and Hanbin's book shop, totaling his entire stay so far in the East Kingdom to be six days.

He was still disoriented each morning he woke up, his eyes expecting to see the customary mural of celestial constellations that were painted on his bedroom ceiling, but would be instead met with an imposing canopy that hung above the bed he was given as a guest.

Just this morning he had mistakenly called out for the maid who used to look after him back home in his own Kingdom. It was incredibly embarrassing as a butler who happened to be standing outside his door had heard his repeated calls.

He's never been this far without his family before, most of his voyages were made with at least one family member by his side. But now it was just him and Jungwon, who was offered the opportunity to visit the East Kingdom as a chance to further his knowledge of political affairs.

As the son of a very influential Western Politician and Nobleman, Jungwon would've been stupid to decline such offer from the Royal Family. But what truly made him want to travel the far distance we're the rumors of the Eastern Princess's beauty he had heard prior.

Heeseung had to admit, even if it was such a superficial reason, that the rumors also played a huge role in his acceptance to a possible arranged marriage. He was already nineteen, the age where Royal children begin their search for a consort for a chance to inherit the throne.

And as for Heeseung, a Prince who was fifth in line for inheritance, marrying a direct heiress such as Jihye would shoot him straight into sovereignty. Though he tries not to dwell on the subject too much for now. There was no certainty that he could be chosen while the other two Princes were in the picture.

Heeseung closed his eyes and sighed, as he continued to walk absentmindedly down the halls with no real destination to go. Jungwon had already headed to his room after dinner, stating he was too tired and full to do anything that required exerting energy.

It's just ten past seven, and subsequently, the Eastern Castle was very tranquil and dull.

He hadn't seen Jihye nor Sunoo since breakfast which made the day feel all the more plodding. And as the sun continued to set, a strong wave of homesickness filled his chest. He'd need to get over that feeling soon, otherwise his stay in the East Kingdom will become too bitter and sullen for him to enjoy.

There was a sudden itch at the back of his neck, the kind which couldn't be scratched physically, but rather had to put up with until it went away. He simply shakes it off and ignores it.

The loneliness must be getting to me. Heeseung thought.

"Boo—" Comes a hushed voice right behind him, and Heeseung is so startled, he almost trips over his own step. He stops, whipping around to discover who had whispered in his ear.

His brows furrow upon seeing no one in the hall. Only himself and dimming sun shining through the tall window panels of the castle. "Am I hearing voices now too?" Heeseung grabs the back of his head out of instinct before turning back to be on his way again.

However, his pointed stare shifts into a surprised one as he locked eyes with Jihye who now stood in front of him. Very closely at that.

"Heavens!" He curses loudly before being able to stop himself.

Jihye's eyes crinkle as she lets out suppressed giggles. "Sorry! I saw you from down the hall and I couldn't resist!"

"I couldn't even hear your steps." He says once he comes down from the rush of adrenaline. "Is sneaking up on people a hidden talent of yours?"

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now