So I finally finished my 2000 words of my story Royalteen. It's all submitted, including maps and everything! Yay! Only one assignment left this term, woo!
Princess Prudence’s Royal Decrees
5. Governesses should teach interesting things like horse riding or history, not how to wave like a princess.4. All maids should be nice and friendly, not total bitches.3. Annoying younger brothers should not be allowed inside the castle.2. Parents are not allowed to be bossy and controlling, even if they are King and Queen.1. There should be no arranged marriages!
They’ve arranged a marriage for me. That’s right; a marriage!
My parents are so frustrating; they’re always bossing me about and telling me what to do. If you think your parents are bad, try having the great King Cedric for your Dad and the beautiful Queen Annette for your Mum. Seriously, they never stop telling me what to do, from ‘don’t bite your nails, Prudence’ to ‘stand up straight, Prudence’. One time they even told me to stop tapping my foot in public. It’s not my fault that the royal band was playing some good music for once. And now they’re telling me to get married! That’s right, I’m not even sixteen yet and they’re already trying to marry me off. Not even someone good looking; they’re going to just give me away to that pathetic Prince Percy. I’ve met him before at a Royal Ball, and believe me, they don’t call him the Pimply Prince for nothing.
Sometimes I wish I had evil step-parents, like in those fairy stories, who would just lock me in a tower and never speak to me again.
But no, they never leave me alone. They’re always coming into my room and talking to me, even when I would rather be on my own. As if I don’t see them enough at breakfast, lunchtime, and dinner in the Grand Hall. I mean, Mum just came into my bedchamber, without even knocking.
I was sitting at my cherry-wood dressing table, brushing my auburn hair, my head still reeling from the news, when she walked in. She closed the door behind her with a sad look on her face. ‘Prudence, I know this is a lot to take in, but it’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be,’ she said.
Admittedly I had thrown a bit of a tantrum after they had told me the news at breakfast, it wasn’t very princessey of me – my governess would have been very disappointed. It wasn’t much, just a bit of royal foot stomping and yelling that made even the servants blush.
I looked at the reflection of my Mum in the gilded mirror. ‘I thought after you had an arranged marriage you wouldn’t want your daughter to go through the same thing,’ I said. I could feel tears forming - I don’t usually cry but it had been a rather hectic day. I covered my face so she wouldn’t see them. ‘I thought you would understand.’
Mum’s heels clicked as she glided across the wooden floor, decorated with silver and blue rugs brought over from Esteria. She sat down on my four-poster bed and patted the satin sheets beside her, beckoning me to join her. I got up begrudgingly from my dressing table and sat down next to her.
‘I do understand,’ she said, giving me a hug as I buried my face into her thick, black hair. ‘But it is an Adruhal tradition and I can’t change the rules. It was hard when I had to marry your Father, too. I was your age and he was twenty-one but Esteria needed protection and Adruhal promised it.’ She gave a little sigh and hugged me tighter. ‘I know you’ll do the right thing.’ She let me out of her embrace and squeezed my knee.
I could feel the tears spilling over. Before Mum could say anything else my annoying younger brother burst into my bedchamber as if there wasn’t a solid oak door there. If anyone can make you feel worse it’s horrible siblings, especially when they’re simpering creeps like Damien. He was even wearing his blue tunic with the Adruhal crest of the lion’s head decorating the front; could he be any more of a suck up?
‘Here you are Mother, I’ve been looking for you all over,’ he said in his whiney voice, though I swear it should have broken by now.
‘What did you want, dear?’ Mum asked.
He stood next to the door, looking down at his feet; like he was shy. ‘Well, after Prudence’s dramatics this morning I wanted to let you know that I would do anything for Adruhal, even an arranged marriage.’ As he spoke he looked up and gave me a slow smirk that Mum apparently didn’t notice. My tears dried up instantly. Mum smiled at him and patted the other side of the bed. He sat next to her and snuggled in close. He’s only two years younger than me but he always acts like a baby around Mum; little brat.
‘I know you would do anything, dear, but Prudence is the eldest so it’s her responsibility right now. You’ll have your time soon.’
I threw Damien a smug smile. He’d been trying to usurp me ever since he was born. I remember when I was given my first tiara and the next day I had caught Damien stealing it from my dressing table. That was the first and last time I was ever letting Damien near my crown.
Mum then gave both of us a hug (I made sure mine lasted longer than Damien’s) before she stood up.
‘I must be off, darlings, there’s a lot to be done before Prince Percy arrives next week.’ She patted us both on the head and left. As soon as the oak door shut behind her Damien turned to me.
‘I don’t know why anyone would want you to be Queen when you throw hysterics like that,’ he sneered.
Trying to think of something smart I said, ‘I don’t know why anyone would want you to be prince when you look like the back end of a horse.’ Okay, maybe not the smartest thing to say. ‘Now get out of my room.’
Before he had time to retort I grabbed him by the collar of his tunic with one hand (which is hard to do when he’s nearly the same height as me) opened the door with the other and shoved him out into the hall, slamming the door shut. The loud bang echoed down the stone hallway. I hoped Mum didn’t hear it.
I turned from the door, collapsed onto my bed and pulled the plum velvet curtains closed, blocking out the glare of the midday sun. My parents told me that this marriage would be perfect as it would unite Adruhal and Minadril. I did want what’s best for my kingdom but I also wanted to marry for love not convenience. It sounded pathetic but I had always imagined marrying someone tall, strong, and handsome, manly yet with a sensitive side. I admit it; I was just imagining Raymund. I knew he was only a knight but I figured that when I was Queen I could alter the rules a little and marry him instead of a pimply prince. Prince Percy would be arriving any day now and I would never get to live out my Raymund fantasy.
Unless I was to go riding today, maybe I would bump into him at the stables.
With no time to waste, I threw back my bed curtains and grabbed my horse riding outfit from the cherry-wood wardrobe. It was a pain to ride in a dress but my governess would go crazy if I ever wore trousers. It was made of a hideous green fabric that always gathered thickly around my tummy, making me look twice my normal size. It wasn’t the best outfit for Raymund to see me wearing but it would have to do.
I hurried down three corridors, two flights of stairs and across the castle foyer, my riding boots clomping with every step. Once outside I tied my hair up and half ran, half walked to the stables; I didn’t want to look too keen.
I was around a hundred yards away from the stables when I saw him. His shoulder length blond hair gleamed in the afternoon sunlight and his armour was perfectly sculpted to his well-built body. With each blink of his ocean blue eyes his long black lashes brushed his sun bronzed cheeks. His laugh was as lyrical as the phoenix’s song and it was only then that I realised he was laughing with somebody. A short girl, with strawberry blond hair tied back in a bun, wearing a plain simple dress with a white apron. She smiled up at Raymund and touched his arm. She turned slightly and I could see her face. A pointed nose, sharp chin, and feline eyes: Cathie.
She spotted me just as I saw her.
‘Princess Prudence,’ she cried, a wide smile stretched across her face. ‘How delightful to see you.’ She curtseyed deeply. Raymund followed suit and gave me a polite bow with one of his dazzling smiles.
‘Are you going riding, your Highness?’ he asked, my heart fluttered as he looked into my eyes. I opened my mouth to reply when Cathie cut me off.
‘Of course she is, silly, can’t you tell by her lovely dress.’ She gave me another smile, yet her eyes narrowed cruelly as she squeezed Raymund’s arm. I felt my face flush. I knew if I were to sink to her level it would get nasty very quickly. So instead of losing my temper like I usually did, I tried to play it cool.
‘Don’t you have to clean some chamber pots?’ I asked in my best royal tone that would have made my governess very proud. The smile dropped from her face.
‘Yes, your Highness,’ she spat bitterly. She quickly curtseyed, this time without the sarcasm. She then turned to Raymund. ‘See you around, Ray,’ she said in a sultry voice with a wink. He smiled and winked back. My cheeks burned as Cathie threw me one last vicious smile and sauntered off.
‘Shall I fetch the stable boy, your Highness?’ Raymund asked absently, still staring off after Cathie and her sashaying hips. I looked at him hopelessly, and felt like chasing after Cathie and shoving her head in a pail of dirty water, but I knew that was not a very princessy thing to do. Instead, I smiled graciously at Raymund, even though he wasn’t looking at me.
‘No thank you, Raymund. I don’t feel much like riding, anymore.’
Cathie had now disappeared into the castle and he finally turned to me. ‘Very well, Princess.’ He bowed once more, picked up his sword that had been resting on the stable wall, and walked off towards the knight’s quarters. I watched him as he walked away, his armour clanking lightly. Typical Cathie! She ruins everything.
I guess that was a sign. I shouldn’t have got my hopes up. Disappointed, I made my way back to the castle. I suppose I should focus my energies on being a better princess rather than indulging in girlish fantasies. Maybe Prince Percy’s pimples have cleared up since I last saw him. It was three years ago, after all.
I had never been so nervous before in my life. Prince Percy would be arriving any minute, and the whole castle was in pandemonium. The maids were running around doing some last minute dusting. The cooks were slaving away in the kitchens preparing the feast we were to have this evening. And every citizen was waiting in the city centre for Prince Percy and his royal precession to parade through at midday. I wasn’t nearly as excited as the citizens though; in fact, I thought I might vomit. As a family we walked out onto the castle’s balcony. The cheers were deafening. I saw the blue banners and bunting hung from the buildings with our lion’s head crest printed across them. Stalls lined the cobbled streets selling the traditional goods of Adruhal; pears and apples covered in sweet sugar; candles made of scented bees wax; bouquets of Bluebells our national flower; and lion figurines sculpted out of the finest woods. Musicians roamed through the crowds playing their pipes, flutes and accordions; their hats filled with silver and copper pieces. I wished I could be as free as the children that ran up and down the streets fluttering flags and streamers, begging their parents to buy them delicious treats.
If everyone got this excited about a royal visiting I dreaded to think about what it would be like when we had the royal wedding. My Mum looked down at me with a smile. I knew she wanted me to be happy but I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. I held out my hand and my Mum grasped it firmly in her own. Damien stood to my left waving gleefully at the people, soaking in all the attention. My Dad put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed tightly just as the horns sounded.
Prince Percy was here.