The Pauper Prince
Mara had somewhat lost track of time since her arrival at the castle. She guessed one week, but Kelvin assured her that it was a fortnight. By this time her meals with the royal family had become, as much as a meal with a royal family could be, routine. By this it meant that she was simply dining with them and having more or less mundane conversations, and not interrogations, tests, questioning, arguments – not about their possible marriage, that is – nor long, uncomfortable pauses. She had, in time, managed to obtain footwear other than her old boots, due to needing custom shoes that took longer to make.
True to his word, Kelvin had arranged for an instructor for her, first to teach her reading and writing. After that would follow any other subjects she wished. For now Mara was requesting law and history, and later, at Kelvin’s suggestions, literature, mathematics and science. She still showed no interest in studying music, so he relented on that. Rather than combat instruction with Seamus, she requested instead to learn archery and horsemanship. What she absolutely refused to do, though, was ride sidesaddle, which her instructor insisted was the only way for “ladies” to ride. At first the Prince had tacitly agreed with that, but finally stepped up to order her riding instructions to be identical to a man’s. This required that the seamstresses make special riding clothes for her that allowed her to spread her legs enough to sit on the horse properly.