Prince Clitus of Greater Brechalon read through the news release arranged by the palace. It announced his engagement to Miss Terra Dechantagne, and described him romantically asking the young lady to marry him. He let out a long breath.
“There’s only one problem,” he told Mr. Flint, the official palace herald. “I haven’t actually done any of this. I haven’t stood before friends and family and proposed over a dessert of trifle. I haven’t asked her brother for her hand. I haven’t even picked out an engagement ring, let alone given it to her.”
“It’s all being arranged,” said Mr. Flint. “The ring is almost ready. The stationers are finishing up the invitations. The meal has been scheduled. Everything will go according to plan, Your Highness. All you have to do is follow the program.”
“As usual, I’m really not necessary to the proceedings.”
“Nonsense, Your Highness. You are vital. For example, right now, Mr. Caulinghoff is waiting for you to compose the telegram to Lord Dechantagne. He is waiting in the North Wing drawing room.”
“Then I’d best hurry over there.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Clitus took off at a brisk walk down the long corridor.
“One would think that a person awaiting me would be awaiting in the same wing that I was in,” he grumbled as he walked along.
He heard footsteps behind him, hurrying to catch up. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Bob fall into step with him.
“I thought this was your day off,” said the Prince.
“I don’t have a day off when you’re about, Your Highness.”
“What trouble can I get into walking from one end of the palace to the other?”
“Well, it is a long walk.”
“Seems like everyone is rushing to get this engagement on track.”
“Well you don’t want to tarry. Do you, Your Highness?”
“No, I guess not.”
“Just remember, your engagement is going to be a year long,” said Bob.
“Yes, I know.”
“You want to get it started so it will be over as soon as possible. After all, the lady might not want to give up her virginity until her wedding night.”
Clitus came to a stop so quickly that his boot heel skidded on the red carpet runner.
“She did indicate as much to me,” he said with a frown. “One would think it would be enough that we’re engaged.”
“I mean, she already…”
“I know, lad. She gave you a bit of nosh on the yacht. Maybe she’ll be willing to tied you over that way.”
“Come on!” said Clitus, starting off at slightly less than a jog. “We’ve got to get this show on the road.”