Ch. 6 : Dance of Honor and Pride

I don’t know how long I spent outside crying my eyes out like a lunatic. But when I was finally calm enough, I got up from the ground and gathered my dirty shawl, tossing the wooden sword aside as I made my way back into the Palace. As I snuck back inside I wrapped my bleeding hand with my shawl, fighting back a yawn as I made my way down the hallway. But as I neared my door I froze, feeling the presence of someone nearby.

I turned as quickly as I could, angling my body so I was facing the direction that the presence was coming from. But there was nothing, just empty silent space that was partially lit by the moonlight streaming in through the windows. Cautiously, I entered my room and closed the door, making sure to lock it before climbing into bed. It didn’t take long after that for my body and mind to give in to exhaustion, and I eagerly welcomed the kiss of darkness that swallowed me whole.

The next morning I was woken up by Ivy’s overly cheerful voice as she jerked the curtains open and let the sunlight in. She went on and on about how cleverly things were run in the Palace and that she felt at ease working there. I, of course, cut in by asking her how she managed to get into the room when I had locked it. And she happily showed me the new thin necklace she wore that held two keys on it, explaining that as my Handmaid, she only had the keys to unlock my room. After that she brought out my breakfast and went on about something that the other Queeness’ were apparently doing.

“They’re using their Handmaids as spys My Lady!” She said, bouncing in her seat across from me while I ate. “They tell their maids to assist in the basic chores of the Palace maids so they can gather any new information that might reach their ears first.” I nodded as I chewed, still too tired to really give her the attention she wanted. “I could do the same for you My Lady, if you wish.”

“There’s no need Ivy.” I said, speaking around another yawn. “I already told you that I have no interest in truly competing while I’m here.” I smiled at the sight of her pout, shaking my head before continuing. “But if you really want to do it, I won’t stop you.”

She squealed and jumped from the loveseat, rushing around the center table to hug me.

Just then we heard a firm knock on my door and Ivy hopped over to answer it. She gasped as a Palace maid and two Knights walked into my room, following them as they stopped in front of me.

“Lady Delphia.” The maid started, smiling sweetly as she presented an elegant cream color envelope. “We have come here to present your first Queeness challenge, please read this and begin your preparations.”

Ivy approached the maid who handed her the envelope, opening it for me before handing me the paper that was inside. The Knights and maid left as I read the paper, my eyes growing wide as I took in this new information.

“What is it My Lady?” Ivy rocked from side to side as she waited, shifting her weight from foot to foot until I looked up.

“The Royal family is hosting a last minute festival on the Palace grounds in three days.” I set the paper down as I leaned back in my seat, my mind spinning as I spoke. “It’ll last for six days and each Queeness will perform their family’s Chorus Superbia.”

Ivy gasped as I thought of what this meant, my chest quickly filling with determination as I thought of it.

A ‘Chorus Superbia’, or Pride Dance, was a unique and special choreographed dance that can only be performed by the women in a family. It was a way for girls and young women to honor their family name and their ancestors during the big moments in their life. Graduating with honors from a prestigious Academy, Shifting into your animal form for the first time, during their wedding reception and after the newborn blessing of their baby’s. These and other rare moments where a woman would perform this dance alone to show others that she was honoring and respecting those that came before her. Showing respect for their sacrifices and the lives they had that led up to them being a part of that family. It was also only passed down through direct descendants, so a woman could not perform the dance just because she married into a high status family.

It didn’t matter if you were Noble, Royal or of a Knighthood; If your family lineage was long or if your ancestors did something that earned them the right to high status among others, you had a Pride Dance. And it just so happened that the Delphia family had one that hadn’t been seen since my great grandmother married and had my grandfather.

My mother never got the chance to perform it. I thought bitterly, clenching my hands in my lap as Ivy jumped around my room excitedly. She never married, and Arden and I were never permitted our blessings as baby’s. She wasn’t even allowed to perform it after she was given the title of Grand Knight because the Duke wouldn’t let her leave the estate after learning of her pregnancy. And now, here was an opportunity to not only show off a breathtaking dance that would honor my family, but I would also get to use that moment to further distance myself from the Du Pleasant shadow.

“Ivy, go get my brother.” I told her, feeling completely awake now and eager to share the news with him. “He’ll want to hear this.”

She nodded and raced out of my room while I walked over to my bed where Ivy had laid out my dress for the day. I rushed to put it on so I could start practicing, not bothering much with my hair or shoes as I started to move around the furniture in my room. Arden and Ivy walked in just as I finished pushing things to the side, leaving a nice wide open space for me to practice.

“I hear your first challenge is a special dance during a festival.”

 I smiled, nodding as he and Ivy took a seat on one of the loveseats I had pushed away.

“Yes, each Queeness will get picked at random, with two perfoming per day.” I explained, stretching my limps on the floor as I spoke. “One will start the festivities for that day while the next will close it. And the winner will be determined by the reaction of the audience.”

“I thought you weren’t going to try to win anything?” My brother questioned, flashing me a sly smile when I turned to look at him.

“Are you going to ask me to step down from this?” I questioned back, sitting up to look at him better. “And avoid showing off for our family while simultaneously and publicly cutting ties to the Du pleasants?”

“Of course not.” His smile grew then, giving me all the encouragement I needed. “I was just wondering.”

“Besides, it’s just one challenge.” I added on, returning to my stretches. “Winning this one event won’t crown me as Queen.” I chuckled lightly, shaking my head at the thought of actually becoming Royalty of any kind. “I’m not aiming to be Queen at all, or fight for the Princes’ attention either… those desperate Nobles can have him.”

“I still think you would make a great Queen My Lady.” Ivy huffed, pouting at me from her seat next to my brother. “These other Lady’s are just too greedy, vain and petty to make good Rulers.”

Arden laughed at her words, nodding along while I stood and prepared to practice.

“You know, for what it’s worth, I agree with her.” His words made me pause for a moment, turning to face him and see if I had heard him correctly. “You would be the perfect Queen.”

Our identical amethyst eyes locked for a moment, his sincere words touching my heart in a way that made me picture it in a different light. But I shook my head clear of those thoughts and smiled at him, walking over to give my dear brother a little kiss on the cheek before returning to the middle of the room.

I danced and practiced as much as I could for the next three days, taking in criticism from my brother and Ivy who I had asked to be as picky as possible. Ivy would struggle to find anything wrong with my dance and spent time complimenting me on everything. Arden was the one who was much more critical, pointing out any misstep, hesitation and weakness in my dance. He would remind me of our mother every chance he got too, telling me how proud she would be of me and how she would cheer for me if she was here to see my practice.

This motivated me immensely, giving me that extra push to perfect every last step, sway and turn that I needed to perform.

When it was finally the night before the first day of the festival my brother brought in his sword and let me use it so I could add a little more flare into my dance. I even added my deep violet flames in as well, stunning my brother and Ivy when I showed them what I wanted to do with it during my performance. Ivy burst into tears and happily squealed and clapped when I was done, and my brother rushed over to me with the biggest smile on his face. Pulling me in for a big hug that nearly crushed my lungs.

“You are going to blow them all away Amara.” He said, kissing my forehead as I walked him out of my room. “Mom and Grandpa would’ve been so very proud of you.” A few tears slipped out after he said that, making me chuckle weakly as he wiped them away. “And I’m proud of you too.”

That night I dreamed of my mother, seeing flashing moments of my childhood pass through my dreaming mind. Seeing her practice with our Grandpa, having a picnic by a lake and curling up in her bed during a storm, just the three of us. Those distant, warm memories helped relax me as the hours ticked away, pulling me ever closer to the moment in which I would show the world the true beauty, grace and power of a daughter of Delphia.

Comments (3)
goodnovel comment avatar
Susan Martin
Ivy is super cute and sweet.
goodnovel comment avatar
Melanie Marquez
if only i could see the beautiful dance she made
goodnovel comment avatar
Bella Jersey
The rest of the girls are gonna compete with a fire dancer

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status