My beautiful reader,

I am so so so sorry! I should have updated sooner! I know there are no excuses but we had exams and I just wanted to crawl into bed and not use my brain for weeks! I also went to a forensic science and criminology camp that was absolutely one of the best things I've done in my life! I was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! Also, I've been pretty down at the moment, I have a knee condition with a name I certainly can't spell, that gives me horrible chronic pain. Everyone understands the physical side of being in pain 24/7 but they rarely understand the emotional side, it's a real bummer! I mostly stay very positive and don't let it get me down but some days it hits me hard. Goodness, that got deep! Anyway, we all have good days and bad days, we all fight battles behind closed doors and in the end they make us stronger! You may have guessed but Ed's intense love for all things horsey comes from me, and when I received one if the girls in this chapter I was excited to give Ed a horsey friend! Here's a little vocab:

Green- A horse that hasn't had much schooling or hasn't been riding a lot, they are usually harder to handle and need an experienced rider.

Filly- A female horse less than 4yo

Please enjoy! As always if I have changed your girl in an insurmountable way please DM me

Xx Zo

Lill peeks up at me her rich chocolate brown eyes peering at me from under her dark lashes,

"You're getting better at this," she says slightly sarcastically,

"Thank you darling," I reply cheerily "Sarcastic or not I'm taking your compliment!" I exclaim smiling at her, she lets out a bubble of a laugh, for such a little girl Lillian can laugh very loud. She goes back to her book, and I would expect nothing less. I walk over to the window. The gardeners are water the tall rose bushes, roses are my mums favourite flowers. I spy the stables and I am overcome with a sudden longing for a ride on Belle. I sigh,

"Just go and ride her for goodness sakes!" Lill laughs, she know exactly what I was thinking,

"But I have so many girls to meet," I sigh, "Which I enjoy, but, Belle needs her exercice the longer I leave her stables the lazier she gets," I mope away from the window and flop onto the couch,

"Marcus," I call to the footman standing like a statue in the corner, "Can you get a runner to send a message down to the stables,

"Of course Your Highness," he reaches into the side table and pulls out a pen and paper, handing it to me, his livery smell of fresh washing powder,

"Thank you," I write

'Dear Cooper,

please exercise Belle as I doubt I will be down to ride her before dark,

ensure you work on her right canter lead and do not forget to ice her back hock that strained last week,

Let her have some paddock time before stabling her,

I am ever thankful,

Prince Edward,'

I hand it back to him as the door opens,

"Hello," I say to the brunette, she doesn't curtsy thank god,

"I would curtsy," she starts, "But Pippa, she said not to,"

"That's perfect," I smile, "If you could pass that message on to the next girls that would be splendid," she smiles as I beckon her over to the couch, she seems sure of herself, confident in her walk and tone,

"I'm Ara, Ara Sanders," she is wearing a pale yellow tea dress, as a young boy I spent many hours playing at my mothers feet as she had her wardrobe made. I think that that may come in handy with the girls,

"So Ara," I toy with the pen left behind from writing to the stables, "What do you do?"

"I'm writer," she smiles clearly enthralled with her passion, "I just love the way you can capture so many people with your words," she smiles,

"Well I really like to-,"

"I also love when I get to meet my fans!" She exclaims, clasping her hands together, "I just love the way they love me!" She seems kind of pushy, and obviously loves to talk.

"Do you have any siblings?" I ask, nonchalantly gesturing over to Lill,

"Yes, I have one older brother and one younger sister," she smiles and lightly licks her lips before looking me once over,

"How nice," I smile, taking a breath, she doesn't miss a beat and fills the silence instantly,

"I can also shoot an arrow with my foot," she says as she plays with her pinky finger,

I smile and check my watch,

"That's very interesting," I chuckle, "I have spent many hours doing archery but never really pursued it because of my love for polo,"

"Ah how nice," she smiles widely,

"Lovely to meet you Ara," I say as I stand, she follows suit,

"Until next time, Edward," she smiles and heads for the door.

I get up and slowly make my way across to the window, chuckling slightly at Lillian's gasps and sighs at whatever is happening in her novel, I look down to the grounds and I spy Cooper exercising Belle like I asked, I smile. I run my hands over the curtains, they're smooth. Recently replaced. A horrible rebel attack left all our curtains shredded. Everywhere in the palace smells the same, except maybe the stables and my mother's room. Lemon, fresh flowers, and something I can never quite put my finger on, everyone laughs when I say the last scent is a purple one, but to me it is. I turn on the ball of my foot and pace in front of the couch. The next girl to walk in will be the 5th. I smile, I'm feeling a little better about this. Maybe it won't be that bad, I might meet the love of my life. My cousins Devon and Beckett Skyped me last night, their words were comforting but seeing them only makes me miss them more. My only family in Illea, are my father's parents. Dad is an only child. I sit down and take a second to appreciate the way I sink into it, it's soothing.

The door swing open and another girl walks in. She is shorter than the last, maybe my mother's hight. Maybe shorter. She hesitates at the door,

"No curtsy is perfect," I smile at her reassuringly, she sighs in relief and her pink pout breaks into a sweet smile. She walks towards me, her honey brown hair sways gentle. I smile, and read her name tag as she sits beside me,

"A pleasure, Florence,"

"Fleur, please your highness, I do prefer it,"

"Edward, please Fleur, I do prefer it," I mimic lightly. She giggle. It's sweet. Her eyes are a strong emerald green.

"So Fleur, what do you like to do in your spare time?"

She breaks into a huge smile and it lights up her eyes,

"My mum and aunt raise abused foals, and I myself really enjoy riding my Dutch warmblood, Addison,"

"You ride?" She nods enthusiastically, "My Clydesdale's name is Belle,"

"Beautiful!" She clasps her hands in her lap, she seems at ease, "Other than helping out with breaking in the green horses, I really enjoy reading and helping my brother write,"

We hear the snapping of Lillian's book coming to a close,

"You're Florence Knightly!" Lill squeals, "Your brother is Edmund Knightly the author!"

"The one and only," Fleur chuckles, "But all 6 of us publish under his name, it's easier and most things he writes is basically written by all of us!"

I smile at that, having one sibling certainly makes you more patient, I can't imagine how patient Fleur must be with 5 siblings. Fleur seems kind, she seems warm and gentle, we even have the same interests. I don't feel the raging fire and bursting butterflies that both mum and dad claim they felt when first meeting each other, maybe Miss Knightly will be my friend, an allie for these intense moths to come.

"I'd love to ride some time," she inquires, "I hear the barn takes on rescue horses?"

"We do," I respond, "Although it's hard to find stable hands willing to break unbroken stallions,"

she nods thoughtfully,

"We should definitely ride soon," I smile and stand, she follows suit,

"Thank you Edward," she starts toward the door, "It's been a pleasure,"

The door closes behind her swaying floral dress and I smile and I sit. I may never find a wife, but at least I'll come out of this with some good friends!

"I can't believe that the sister of an author is living in our house!" Lill squeals, typical her, quiet and contrary in public, but behind closed doors as energetic as a puppy.

"Yes, I'm sure you and Fleur will get alone like shoes and socks," I chuckle, I'm glad Lillian is making friends with at least one of my selected. I can't imaging having to send some of them away, perhaps I'll just have a court of kind hearted friends stay on for the rest of their lives. I feel as though I'm going about this all wrong, looking for friends not lovers. I sigh and sit back down in the couch fiddling with my cufflinks. They look like little horse heads, Aunt Rosamund sent them as a good luck gift. I need all the luck I can get. I'm determined to succeed, focused on making the country proud. I feel as though my whole life, ambition has truly been my folly. Always wanting to go further, only focusing on what I could have done better not what I'd done well. I remember when I first rode Belle. She was an unbroken filly and I was so truly disheartened when she shyed away from me. I almost gave up when she whipped her ears back and was scared of the saddle. But, with the constant encouragement from dad and mum's gentle, but firm, reminders that things take time and that you need to observe your pain, life is trying to teach you something. I preserved. And now Belle is no longer scared of being ridden. I suppose the girls will be like Belle. I'll be disheartened at every minor setback, but I mustn't give up, good things take time. I can always go to mum when I need wise words. Before my grandmother joined The Selection she had a Phd in philosophy and mum is always recounting the lessons she taught her.

The tall door swings open and a tall girl with olive skin walks in. My eyes are immediately drawn to her dress, it looks like a paint splattered canvas, her hair is in a sweet messy bun and face framing pieces fall around her face.

"Please don't curtsy," I smile and she struts over,

"I'm Cyra," she smiles and takes a seat next to me,

"A pleasure," I look at her, her eyes basically look through me, as though they are trying to speak to me, they are an angelic grey blue.

"So, Cyra," I begin pulling away from her eyes and their icy trance, "What do you do?"

"I'm an artist," she smile, that explains the dress, her smile is beautiful and warm, "It's just amazing how beautiful the world is when you stop to look close enough," I nod along, mum once hired me and Lillian a 'Mediation Guide', a sweet little lady who tried to teach us to appreciate the small things. I could never do it, it's one of my main flaws, seeing only the end goal not stopping to appreciate the journey. Cyra seems so humble and appreciative of the small things,

"I noticed you have some beautiful world in your home," she smiles and subtly gestures to the painting of my great-great grandmother "the people's queen" her fiery red hair warms the whole room.

"Thank you," I smile at her, "I've always loved looking at the pictures, but I've never really had time to look at them, if that makes sense,"

She chuckles and it lights up her eyes,

"Yes it makes prefect sense, as an artist," her whole demeanour changes when talking about art, she seems more open, lighter, "Well I'll just have to teach you some time, looking past the paint is one of my favourite things to do, it's amazing the story a painting can tell," I nod,

"Do you have any siblings?" I inquire,

"Yes," she sighs happily, "I have three little sibling, I already miss them,"

I point Lillian out to her,

"That's Lill," I smile at my little sister grinning ear to ear at the novel between her arms,

"I love her cheeky little grin," Cyra giggles, "She seems like a sweetie,"

"Oh that she definitely is," Cyra smiles wider,

"It's been a pleasure to meet you, Cyra," I begin, uncomfortable conscious of the time limit, "You will definitely have to teach me a new appreciation for the art I once dismissed," she laughs lightly and nods, giving a gentle 'thank you' as she leaves the room.

Maybe I will learn something from these girls. Every time I meet a new girl my excitement doubles, it won't be so bad, I'll come away more educated and with a plethora of friends even if I never find a bride.

What did you think babes? Not my best work, but not half bad Xx