1 The Proposal

    "If you do not want to be tortured I highly suggest that you confess already or I will be forced use violence. Your choice."

    The girl glared at the man in front of her, he's been asking the same question over and over again. She's been starting to get frustrated at the man who is so determined to make her confess.

    "How many times do I have to repeat myself? I told you, I don't know anything! I just accepted the job since I desperately need some money."

    The man sigh with her stubborn attitude. They've been at it for more than ten minutes and his patience is running thin.

    The girl that was sitting on the chair has her hands chained behind her back rendering her still. She was suspected for threatening the life of Lady Stephanie, who is one of the strongest candidates for the position of being Prince Alois' wife, the Prince of Liechtenstein.

    The man decided to change his tactic from hard to soft approach. He tried to change the subject of their conversation.

    "Tell me Miss Shasha, why are you here in Liechtenstein?"

    It seems that she was caught off guard with the sudden change of topic, she blinked and answered briefly. "Of course, it's to go sightseeing."

    "Then as a tourist shouldn't you have to have enough funds to support your endeavor?"

    Under the man's scrutiny, her face slightly turns red and decided to explain herself. "Fine, I confess! I'm dirt poor, okay? I don't even have any parents or anyone I can rely on. If I don't work, how can I support myself? I might even starve to death for being penniless."

    "So that's why you accepted this courier job?" Disbelief was written all over his face.

    "Didn't you even consider that it seems so shady? He gave you a large sum of money with just a simple task. Are you an idiot?

    If you wanted to earn money, why didn't you apply for a decent job? This country is know for its manufacturing industry. There's a lot of vacancies and the pay is good. You can even be a citizen-"

    "I can't."

    The man was rendered speechless with her interruption.

    "I tried it but it's not suitable for me."

    "What do you mean?"

    The girl release a sigh before she continued to speak. "I can only stay in this country for a month or two however the contract they offered was for a year. If I accepted the job, I'll have no choice but to extend my stay and it will ruin my itineraries. That's the reason why I was enticed with that man's offer."

    For a moment, the room was engulfed in silence. The two stared at each other, waiting patiently for the first person who will break the silence.

    The man concedes knowing by experience that the girl was too stubborn to take the initiative.

    "I'm afraid that you will need to stay here for a little bit longer. Even though your testimony is true, we can not risk anything until the threat is under control.

    For now, I'll relay the result of my investigation to the higher ups so that we can ensure your well being."

    He started to walk to the exit door but abruptly stop when he heard her question.

    "What do I do to prove my innocence? Do I need to risk my life so that I can convince them?"

    He shook his head lightly and replied, "There's nothing you can do. Just be obedient and stop thinking ridiculous things."

    "I have a suggestion."

    The man felt his head start to ache. He knew that the girl might suggest something outrageous just to prove her point.

    "Go ahead. I'm listening."

    "Why don't you use me as a bait? Since their primary concern is Lady Stephanie's safety, you can use my life as a leverage."

    "Are you crazy? Do you think that this is a game where you can treat your life as a betting chip? Stop talking nonsense." the man roared. His reaction was livid as he continued to reprimand her behavior.

    This girl, what is wrong with her? Its as if she has no self-preservation at all.

    The man wanted to persuade her but the girl continued to lay her claim.

    "I don't need you to decide for me." the girl replied icily. "All you need to do is tell them that I am willing to cooperate and risk my life for the Lady's safety in exchange of my freedom. It's their choice if they wanted to accept my proposal not yours."

    He was taken aback with the sudden change of the girl's attitude. She's like a ferocious beast that will never yield even if she's killed.

    "Fine." He didn't turn back as he went out through the door.

    When the man disappeared, Shasha heaved a heavy sigh. She knew that she shouldn't have lost her temper but she thought that it is better this way. At least she'll be out of jail temporarily.

    Ah~ It was so boring waiting inside this isolated room. This is driving me nuts.

    Shasha felt relentless. She was afraid that she might do something that she will regret if she prolonged her stay.

    Just a little bit longer. She whispered inside her head then closed her eyes and tried to take a nap.

    "How was it?" an officer approached and asked the man who closed the door of the interrogation room.

    "I need to speak with the higher ups. I'll keep you updated once I got their confirmation. For now, take care of Miss Shasha."

    The officer nodded in response to his superior's command.

    Without further ado, the man visited Lady Stephanie's residence. His request for audience was quickly approved and the servant lead him straight to the Master's study.

    Upon arrival he performed the customary gesture for greeting an aristocrat and relayed what happen.

    "I see. It seems that this girl is quite determined. Although, I'm still doubtful of her motives. However, it can't be help, it is imperative that my daughter attend this banquet.

    The National Holiday of Liechtenstein is a very important occasion since His Highness Prince Alois will make an announcement for his bride to be. All of the candidates must be present."

    The man remained silent while listening attentively for the Lord's verdict. Inside his heart, he was hoping that Miss Shasha's proposal would be accepted.

    The Lord contemplated, he was looking out the windows, observing his daughter's every move. Lady Stephanie was currently outside enjoying a cup of tea for an afternoon break.

    He knew that it is highly dangerous to let his daughter attend the banquet. The consequences were too high. He cannot bear to lose her.

    Perhaps it is better to accept that girl's suggestion?

    He knew, he was highly aware how despicable and selfish it is to sacrifice someone else's life but he steeled his heart.

    "Bring the girl here tomorrow. We only have ten days to train and prepare her for the upcoming event."

    "As you wish, My Lord."

    The next day, Shasha was released from the prison hall and met Lady Stephanie.

    Shasha couldn't help but at her. The girl in front of her was gorgeous. Her every features were exquisite like a life like painting of a goddess.

    Damn, if I am a man I would definitely court her.

    She almost forgot her manners to perform the customary gesture for paying respect to a noble. However, Lady Stephanie only smiled at her and waited patiently to finish her actions.

    "You must be Shasha, correct? I'm Stephanie. It's a pleasure to meet you."

    "The pleasure is mine, My Lady. Please take care of me and I do hope that you can tolerate my behavior even just for ten days." Shasha politely answered.

    Lady Stephanie laughed softy and replied in an almost mischievous manner. "Don't worry, I'm sure that we will enjoy our time with each others company. I can certainly see it."

    After their brief introduction, Shasha could not believe that their conversation will progressed smoothly.

    Lady Stephanie informed her about all the things that she must adhere in accordance to the agreement that she proposed. In addition, they promised that they will also ensure her safety while doing the deed of impersonating her person. All she needed to do was concentrate on her lessons so that she can perfectly imitate and execute her role.

    For the past ten days, Lady Stephanie personally guide her through all the necessary details with regards to her behavior and interactions with other people,especially with Prince Alois. She even provided her the basic knowledge with the customs and political affairs in the country of Liechtenstein.

    Shasha learned a lot. The time she spend with Lady Stephanie made her realized that she is such a wonderful person, no wonder that her father is so over protective with her. Aside from being polite, elegant and intelligent, her attitude towards other people is highly admirable. She's a very nice person, with an adventurous heart and slightly mischievous character.

    It was the 15th of August, the banquet for the National Day of Liechtenstein will be held at the castle of Vaduz. If she remember correctly, this tradition was first initiated by the head of the state, Prince Hans, together with his son, Prince Alois. Once every year they would invite the residents of their tiny principality to have a beer in the garden of Vaduz Castle, the princely ancestral residence.

    Since then, a lot of activities were held beside the vicinity of Vaduz Castle.

    Hmm~ I think there was a carnival and a 30-minute firework display as the highlight of the event this year. So, simultaneously the banquet will commence with all the happenings outside the castle.

    Shasha was taken out of her reverie when Lady Stephanie solfty knocked on her door.

    "Shasha, do you need anything else, aside from the wig and make-up?"

    "No, My Lady. That is all I need."

    Lady Stephanie gave her that look when she's quite displeased with her.

    "Shasha, what did I tell you when we're speaking with just the two of us? Didn't I tell you to address me normally."

    Shasha couldn't help but sigh and conceded with her demand.

    "I know, I'm just messing with you, Stephanie. I'll be done with my preparations in an hour."

    "Okay, I'll wait for you in my father's study."

    Once the girl left, she closed her eyes as if trying to sense if there are any people hiding their presence. When she was certain that nobody's inside, she took a deep breath and slowly opened her eyes.

    "Alright, Let's begin."

    Lady Stephanie calmly observed her father's behavior. He looks anxious even when he was just simply sitting in his favorite chair.

    "Father, relax. She'll be here in any minute."

    Her father just nodded and at the same time the door slowly opened.

    However, they were gobsmacked when they saw the person who entered the room.

    "Sa-Shasha, is that you?" Lady Stephanie's voice had a hint of disbelief. She thought that she was hallucinating.

    Shasha smiled at her and wink. "What do you think?"

    But compared to her, her father's reaction was less composed. He abruptly stand up and approach the person standing on the doorway. He reluctantly reached out to the person in front of him. He wanted to make sure if it is real and not an illusion.

    "My Lord, please refrain from touching me so casually. It is highly inappropriate."

    The man restrained himself and coughed lightly.

    "Pardon, it's just too unbelievable. You look exactly like my daughter. I thought that you were her twin. How is this even possible?"

    "Father, shouldn't you be glad that she can portray her role as myself. Now instead of questioning this possibility, we should be ready for the final preparation."

    "Ah, yes. You're right. But before that, can you imitate my daughter's voice? Even if your disguise is highly impeccable, you cannot deceive anyone if your voice is different." Lady Stephanie's father looks sceptical.

    "Of course." Shasha replied with a sweet smile. It was exactly the same expression of the real Lady Stephanie when she smiles.

    Both father and daughter was dumbfounded.

    Lady Stephanie was the first one to recover. She laughed lightly and said. "I wish you the best of luck."


    Afterwards, Shasha left their residence riding in a white coach.

    The night of the banquet will start at exactly 9:00 pm. All of the guest were starting to arrive before the aforementioned time.

    As of the moment, Prince Alois joyfully welcomed one of the guests. A man slowly descended from the car. He was tall with a slightly long raven black hair and blue shimmering eyes. His handsome face is truely a work of art as if God has taken the time to make this perfect being.

    "Your finally here, Oru."

    "Of course, Your Royal Highness. I wouldn't want to miss this very important occasion, right? Prince Alois."

    The prince couldn't help but put his hand on his forehead and complained with his behavior.

    "Oru, please stop. Not you too. You knew that I'm sick of hearing that title."

    The man named Oru just smirked. He was already accustomed with his friend's reaction. He just really want to tease him a little.

    "So, you're going to propose."

    "Something like that. Anyway, you'll be meeting her at the banquet. Please restrain yourself and control your unruly behavior. I don't want to get rejected before the official announcement." Prince Alois said jokingly.

    The man snorted before he finally answered. "I'll try."

    Together, the both of them happily converse with each other while going to the banquet hall.
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