First Prince of H'arkin
Eilane felt guilty, but her thought process was that it’d be better to truthfully deny his sincerity before he could start up again on stuff she didn’t care about.
“That’s very admirable, Rafael. Although I have read this, it was because I had to read it for class and I didn’t find it that interesting.”
His face froze. She could see that he was trying his best to still smile. A few seconds of quiet passed.
Since she so mortally shot down this topic of conversation, she felt obliged to bring up another. As in, the boy sitting across from her felt awkward, so it was her turn to keep the conversation going.
“Since we have similar reading materials, perhaps you also have fencing lessons?”
“Yes, I do.” He recovered quickly, truly a sign of his noble upbringing, “Fencing was popularized in Orlane, so I think it would be interesting to visit there and see their culture one day.”
At this confirmation, Eilane’s eyes sparkled like sapphires. “The feeling of successfully parrying an attack is indescribable. The momentum while flicking off a strong opponent is like rain repelled off a waterfowl! It’s almost effortless! The nine classical parries truly must have been designed by a strong and genius swordmaster. I hope to be able to smoothly interchange between these forms without thinking someday soon.”
As the princess stood up in excitement and inhaled with intention to continue, the prince across from her could be seen thinking:
Ah… Although I feel bad, I understand how she felt earlier when I was talking.
Thus, he too cut off her earnest attempts with mercy.
“That’s truly marvelous, Eilane. Although I take fencing classes, it is because a future ruler must be able to defend themself. I don’t enjoy getting hurt nor the strain one bit.”
Her face fell as she slowly sat back down. It was quiet yet again.
Eilane attempted weakly, “How about… Horse riding?” She loved the wind through her hair while galloping at high speeds.
“Having sore muscles the next day makes me ponder why I cannot just take a carriage to travel. Technological advancements are there to make one’s life easier. Ah, unless you were making a point to talk about animals. I, myself have two fennec foxes and a dwarf rabbit.”
“Is that so?” She gave a stiff reply.
Good thing I didn’t bring up hunting. Eilane loved seeing a single arrow pierce straight and true through its target.
Rafael began to look discouraged too, but forged on, “This rose tea is very fragrant. The selection of cakes are also well-curated, especially this red velvet. Do you enjoy high tea?”
“Well, sweet and heavy desserts make my teeth and stomach hurt. I also don’t like overly-strong scents, whether in food, cake, or tea.”
Although the two were close in age, raised in a similar environment, and everyone thought this was ‘surely a match made in heaven’ -
The two regrettably thought simultaneously:
Ah… We don’t get along at all.