Summary: For a prince to disguise himself as a peasant to meet a girl, was probably not the best idea Kyuhyun ever had. But, then again, it might have been the best decision he would make in his entire life.
A few weeks passed and Kyuhyun had miraculously managed to corner Iseul nearly every single day. Of course there was nothing miraculous about it, since Evie was in cahoots with him. She'd even managed to make their majesties fall just a little bit in love with Iseul. Enough anyway to allow Evie to dress her up as a lady and attend the autumn celebration ball. Evie had even gotten permission for Aida to attend as well, she'd employed her as a maid as well and the three girls had become the best of friends. Although it might've been safer if Iseul had stayed in Evie's chambers the night of the ball, because someone else had heard of her invitation and, to tell the truth, sneaking into the ballroom at the time of a ball was a helluva lot easier than sneaking into the palace at other times.
It was the night of the autumn ball and Kyuhyn was not in a very good mood. Iseul was acting just as awkward and formal around him as she had when she first found out about his true identity. It had already been a few weeks, it couldn't be that she was planning on acting that way forever!
Then there was the ball. As a prince he was expected to mingle with everyone and be a good host. After all, he was expected to marry one of the ladies arriving tonight, so was Heechul. Leeteuk had an arranged marriage with some princess. Of course it was a plus that he quite liked the girl and she quite liked him too. Kyuhyun knew whom he liked and wanted to marry, he just had to convince his parents to allow it and her to accept him as a human being, not to define him by his status.
Now Heechul he wasn't too sure about. He simply could not picture Heechul with a girl if his life depended on it. His nickname was, after all, Cinderella.
A bell sounded making Kyuhyun jump. “Ah, the guests...” he mumbled, sighed and trotted down to the ballroom like a good prince should.
Most of the guests had arrived and Kyuhyun was bored beyond belief dancing with some lady. He could not remember her name and she rambled on and on about her poor horse and it's eye infection. Very charming.
The arrival of Evie was announced along with Iseul and Aida. Kyuhyun almost choked on air when he heard Iseul's name. He looked at the three women and literally dropped his dance partner mid-dip. He slowly walked towards the stairs the ladies were descending, his eyes shining with awe.
There was another man that found himself completely dumbstruck by the three women. Well, actually only one of them, the one called Evie. She was a vision in a bright-yet-dark green and cream colored dress. The sleeves were short and off the shoulders, the bust well covered but the outside fabric was a little loose and it drew much attention. The corset was skintight and showed off some very attractive curves. The skirt poufed a little bit at the hips and flowed down to the floor. Her hair was a caramel brown-strawberry blonde mix, half of it loosely pinned up and all of it curled, and her eyes held a little bit of every colour.
The girl called Iseul was also very beautiful. She had a light sunny blonde hair that was pinned up apart from a few tumbling loose curls. Her eyes were blue tinted with grey, framed with light brown eyelashes and eyebrows in the same light brown colour. She wore a dark blue dress. It showed a white underdress by the hem and neckline. The sleeves ran together with the wide V-neckline and were cut just above the elbows. The bust was tight and corset were tight and the skirt flared beautifully to the floor from her hips.
The third girl, Aida, had dark brown blackish hair that was also pinned up. Her eyes were a rich chocolate brown and she wore a cherry red dress that complimented her look perfectly. It was short-sleeved with a little pouf. It had a square neckline and the bust was also poufed. The skirt on this dress began at the waist, not the hips like the other two, but it the skirt didn't flare. It widened at the hips but it didn't even remotely look like a lamp shield.
The man admiring Evie could do nothing but stare and hope he returned to his senses soon so he could introduce himself to this particular lady. Luckily he wasn't the only one that found himself dumbfounded by the ladies. Sungmin stood in the shadows keeping an eye on his prince (although it was supposed to be his night off) when the girls were introduced. He didn't look at them immediately, well, he actually didn't until Kyuhyun was close enough for him to see them with his peripheral vision. So he basically couldn't have avoided seeing them even if he wanted to. He was taken aback with the one girl he'd never met, the one that must be Aida.
“Psst, Evie, is it just me or is it really hot in here?” Iseul whispered as they descended the stairs. She'd never been so nervous in her life, but she had to admit, the look on Kyuhyun's face had a lot to do with it. It had started out as pure astonishment, then a happy puppy dog like grin and lastly the look he was wearing right now. It was a delicate and slightly frightening mix of astonishment, joy and mischief. It was almost plain that he was thinking something a little south of appropriate and, if she knew him correctly, he was also planning something...
“I think it's just you,” Evie teased and Iseul gulped.
“No, me too,” Aida croaked, her throat suddenly feeling like it had been scrubbed with sand.
“You girls everything's going to be just-” she abruptly stopped for a split second, long enough for Iseul and Aida to notice but not for anyone else to notice.
“f-fine...” she finished.
Iseul and Aida glanced at each other as they finally reached the floor.
“Evie, you look wonderful tonight. What is that look on your face? You seem entranced by something.” Kyuhyun greeted his cousin, Evie just shook her head at the last remark of his.
“Someone?” Kyuhyun laughed, “poor guy, he's in trouble now.” He turned to Aida and smiled.
“You must be Aida, it is very nice to finally meet you. I was kind of beginning to think you were fictional,” that made Aida smile.
“I am very real, as you can see. It's a pleasure to meet you, your Highness,” she responded with a curtsy.
Kyuhyun then turned to greet Iseul but found her nowhere. “Uh, where'd she go?” he asked, looking very puzzled by her sudden disappearance. Aida giggled, “she was whisked off to the dance floor your Highness.”
Describing the process of Kyuhyun's emotions would be something like this: surprise -> irritation -> jealousy (when he spotted her dancing with her partner and obviously enjoying it) -> possessiveness. He stalked toward Iseul and her partner, he was NOT going to share his woman, nope, there was not a chance in hell of that happening. He tapped the man's shoulder, kind of harshly.
“May I?” he more commanded than asked with a very grumpy tone of voice.
“Y-yes, of course your Highness,” he man said with a forced smile and very nearly ran off.
“Good evening my lord,” Iseul said, her usual awkward self. Kyuhyun just rolled his eyes, grabbed her wrist and dragged her outside. The night was beautiful, it was cool but not cold, there were no clouds in the sky and the moon was almost full. It was perfect. Well, until,
“Ah, privacy,” Kyuhyun mischievously said and turned around to face Iseul. He'd taken her to a small pond that was well hidden by trees and only faint music reached them from the palace. Iseul was completely at his mercy.
“M-my lord, why are we here?” Iseul hesitantly stammered.
“Would you stop with the formalities! My name is Kyuhyun, do me a favour and use it! You know I don't like the way you've been around me ever since you discovered the truth about me. Where is the Iseul that I knew as a peasant? I miss her,” he pouted. For the first time in weeks she stared into his eyes, unwavering.
“I can't call you by your name. You're a prince, I'm nothing! I can't act as if I were your equal, because I'm not, nor will I ever be,” she argued.
“You're wrong!” Kyuhyun growled and pushed her up against a huge tree. She didn't have time to protest, or even to look remotely startled before he crushed his lips against her. His hands held her shoulders firmly so she could barely move a muscle, though she held onto him as well so she wouldn't slide to the ground.
Her lips felt amazingly soft. No, wait a minute, what was he DOING?! Kyuhyun ended the kiss just as abruptly as he'd begun it. He stared at Iseul, bewildered, as she was obviously trying to get herself together. Unfortunately, or maybe a little fortunately, for Kyuhyun Iseul's dishevelled look was very irresistible. He couldn't help himself, he just had to lean in for another kiss. This time around Iseul responded, somewhat hesitantly but Kyuhyun was pretty sure that was just because of lack of experience, not enthusiasm. The kiss was, by far, much gentler that the first one.
Little did the two know that someone was approaching them very fast, and that someone did not want Iseul kissing someone else...