The Potentially Insane
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess. She had long locks of golden tresses, snow-white skin, twinkling blue eyes, and always wore the most proper dresses. Her personality was as sweet as honey, her laughter always a silver tinkling bell, and her parents absolutely adored her. They all lived very happily in a castle until it came to the princess's marrying age, where they held a tournament that would go on for three days and three nights in honor of the beautiful princess. Whoever won the tournament would win the princess's hand in marriage, gaining the kingdom and so forth. And the tournament, held exclusively for princes, only gave out the best of the best. And so she married and lived happily ever after.
My name is Princess Gwendolyn Valerie Rose Locke, the daughter of the king and queen who rule the biggest kingdom in the country ever known in the past 250 years.
And that means I can kick your butt like no other.
"JANET! JANET JANET JANET JANET!" I yelled, sprinting down the hallway and skidding down the hard stone floor recklessly. Honestly, if somebody fell and hit his/her head, he/she'd be dead in a blink of an eye. I'm not sure if it was very smart to be running down a hard stone hallway, but hey—c'est la vie.
I ran pass the suits of armor, the tapestries, and all them potted plants when I swung into a room by grabbing the door and pushing myself through enthusiastically. I jumped and landed with my arms spread out wide.
A bunch of old ladies stared at me with open, vacant, and frightened eyes. There was a moment of silence as I stared at them and them me.
My nanny, Janet, slowly got up, grabbing her cane as she hobbled forward to the middle of the circle. The women had formed a circle of chairs in the center of my room, all sewing something or another.
"Princess," she said warningly.
"Hi, Nanny," I said soothingly, backing up slowly, "Is that a new haircut? A new dress? Because, you know, I love that 'I'm an old maiden' look on you. I mean, on other people it'd be like—'no way!' But you, on you it's absolutely ravishing. Is that a new haircut?"
My nanny may be small, somewhat shrunken, and old, but I doubt I would never stop fearing her. I love her, but she gives me the willies. She has these gray, shark eyes that really just dig into you like a hook and shake the wiggins out of you.
Like she was doing now. She did that whenever I got into trouble. Which was often.
"Oh! Look at the time," I blabbered on aimlessly, "I really have to go. You know, places to go, people to see…"
"YOU COME BACK HERE GWENDOLYN VALERIE ROSE LOCKE THE FIRST!" she yelled, shaking her designer cane after me. Well, no need to go nasty and pull out all the names on me. Whenever she pulled out my whole name, that could only mean one thing. Deep. Doo. Doo.
Doo doo. I once stepped on doo doo. That was a messy incident and oh—she's approaching me.
I turned around and sprinted out, fearing for my dear life. Hitting my head against a stonewall would be the least of my problems if Nanny caught up to me.
"GWENDOLYN!" she screamed, and she began to chase me down the hall. She might be 80-something, but she can still run like the dickens.
"I HAVE A TWO O' CLOCK APPOINTMENT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!" I screamed back, flinging myself down the stairs in a hurry. A butler was coming up the stairs and I almost knocked him out of the way. He was only saved from rolling down the stairs to his early demise by clutching onto the wall with a death grip.
"Terribly sorry," I blabbered quickly, "It's a long story and my nanny is chasing me and is that raspberry tarts?"
"Yes," he said in a daze, holding out the platter slightly. It was a tight squeeze, since it was a winding stone stairway. It led down to darkness with only mortal torches lighting the way. "Want one?"
"Oh, yes! Sugar!" I yelped in happiness. Mm. I love sugar. Sugar is good. I like sugar. (Drool) It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and good inside. You want a rush? Eat sugar.
"NO YOU IDIOT! HAVE YOU REALIZED WHAT YOU UNLEASHED!" my nanny gasped, clutching her cane to her chest with her gray eyes wide open and staring at us. I, my mouth stuff full like a chipmunk full of tarts, looked up like a deer in headlights and sprang down the stairs again. I still caught the last part of her declaration. "You never give the princess sugar! Never, you idiot, never!"
Geesh. My nanny had this big paranoia that I got hyper on sugar. No way. I don't gethyperonsugarInevergethyperonsugarsugarhypernoway
But I continued to race down the stairs, hurtling over cats and torches along the way. Faster and faster the stairs wound until I leapt out into a bigger hallway. This led to the doorway to freedom where guards stood solemnly in line. I once sat up a picnic in front of them to see if they would change guards, or if they laughed, or did anything other than just stand there. They didn't, but they did eat the raspberry tart I offered them.
But they had these gigantic, pointy objects that they called 'spears'. Believe me, I've seen spears before, and spears are wooden sticks with sharp pointy things on them. The things they carried were more like humongo sword, with glinting edges and sharp edges. But I had asked them anyways for the proper name to call them, ever since that incident where Daddy Dearest brought Uncle Mersir into the palace. I asked Uncle if he had a big appetite, since he carried that huge fork around with him all the time.
Eh. Trident. Fork. Whatever.
How was I supposed to know it was a trident? I mean, honestly. We make so many weapons out of cutlery. Gigantic fork trident. Gigantic knife sword. Gigantic spoon catapult. Can't we all just get along without having huge food fights?
Anyways. I nimbly leapt onto the table, dodged the guard's pointy objects, and opened the door to freedom.
It was raining outside. Eh, freedom could wait until a sunnier day.
"Hey," one of the guards began.
"Sorry. Am I letting the chill in?" I asked, looking back at them. My nanny was hurtling at us with full speed, but the guards didn't notice that yet.
"Well, yes," the other admitted, "And it's cold outside."
"Terribly sorry," I apologized, "but you see…" I stepped back, just in time to let my nanny drive on into the rain, unable to stop her momentum. "…I need to escape."
Then I dashed back into the room…and found myself smashing my beautiful petite face into brass buttons.
Okay, I wasn't beautiful. I was born ugly. I'll stay ugly. Live with it. My hair was a straight, plain brown, my skin was an uneven shade of tan, and my mouth was twisted to one side. But my face did not need the extra abuse of smashing into buttons.
"Watch where you're going," I said crossly to the buttons. Then the buttons mildly shook as they vibrated sound. Or rather, the person who was wearing the nice buttons spoke to me.
"Gwendolyn Valerie Rose Locke…" They must have given me that long name just to make sure I knew when I was in trouble. I looked up mildly at whoever was saying that and saw a big man with beard, glaring down at me.
"Hi, Daddy," I squeaked, "Are those new buttons? They're absolutely ravishing. Love them." I gently pulled out a sleeve and began to polish the button. One big beefy hand caught me as a dripping wet hand was placed on my shoulder.
"Gwendolyn," my nanny said hoarsely, her eyes glinting. It amused me, even though it shouldn't, that she was completely wet through and through.
"What has she done this time?" my father asked tiredly, rumbling again.
"I resent that," I said, "Why do you all assume that I would be in trouble? I could be getting some fabulous award and run in here to tell you and all you would say is 'what has she done this time?'"
"When have you ever won an award?" my father asked, rubbing his brow.
"…When I won the fifty-yard dash!" I proclaimed excitedly.
"In first grade," my nanny said dryly, tapping her cane impatiently on the ground, "Never mind what she has done, sir, other than acted so improperly on the first day that her marriage is to be decided…"
Improper. Yeah, that's my nanny's favorite word all right. 'Improper' this, 'improper' that. Come on, you try to be proper when you're wearing a corset tighter that a dying man's grip---wait. Hold on. Baaaacck it up.
"Marriage?" I squeaked.
"Marriage," my father said smoothly, "Why don't you run upstairs and change into your dress…?"
"Marriage!" I was practically screaming, waving my arms around wildly at a moment's notice. "No! No way! I am way too young to be married! I have a right! I reserve my fifth amendment until further notice! I quote Section Five of the Constitution or whatnot and use the Lame Duck Amendment for my appareled!"
"Number one, none of those have anything to do with your marriage. Two, you're eighteen. Three, we're already late as it is and you need to change. Whoever wins the jousting tournament is to be your dearly beloved." Father straightened up, polishing his buttons for himself. "Now that that's over with…" He marched smartly to a side door.
"Can't we have a rain check?" I hollered hopelessly behind him.
Magic and Lemons, Break in the Story
"You're going to have the happiest day of your life decided for you today, sweetie. Why the long face?" my father asked, munching on the chicken. We were in the box on the sidelines, with the entire jousting rounds covered with a huge colorful tent. It was almost completely jammed with people, everybody screaming themselves hoarse.
I was slumped over, grimacing to my best ability. I also had a book by my side. Princess Mary Anne always told me that a book was the best way to save face when you were bored. But only thin ones, apparently. Big ones meant you were too intelligent for your own good. There goes War and Peace, anyways. I was going to use it to hit people on the head, too…
"Why the long face? Why didn't anybody tell me earlier, so I could run away or do something princess-y like that?" I grumbled.
"Exactly the reason. Don't worry, darling, I made sure they were all princes so we could combine kingdoms in the future," my father said smoothly, gnawing at his chicken as he gazed at me. I sat on his right, Mother on his left. Rather, what was left of Mother, but I'll leave it at that.
"There's the reason why there's a much bigger crowd than usual," I sighed, "I just thought this was like the Super Bowl…with more violence. That's why it attracts people, you know. It has a whole lot more violence for the manly men to come and watch people get seriously injured. Oh yeah. Feel the hormones."
"Language, honey," my father murmured helpfully. Yeah, yeah.
"That is not the point! You set me up, you devious man you!" I grumbled, jabbing a finger at my father accusingly.
"It's going to begin," my father said excitedly, looking like a five-year-old all over again. He was sweet in that sense, but horribly out of it in all the others. Jousting, however, was boring to me. Two guys charge at each other with toothpicks-gone-crazy and everybody cheers when one lands on the ground, possibly breaking a limb or worse. Isn't that nice? To fall down and hear everybody cheering?
I was, all in all, taking marriage pretty calmly. I think it was either shock or denial. Either way, I still wasn't watching the stupid tournament.
With defiance, I jerked out my book, began chewing slowly on a piece of popcorn, and started to read.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Magic and Lemons, Break in the Story
Tristan hesitated with the horse, looking up at the prince with a fearful glance. There were so many people! Colorful people, people people, girls people, women people! They pushed and shoved him around, but they were all people! He had never seen so many people in his life! They must have stretched on for hours and hours on end! So many people!
"What's the hold up?" the prince called out grumpily from his shaded tent. The body-builders were carrying a large purple and yellow tent, pushing through the crowds. Tristan was taking care of the beautiful horse, leading it through the people. He felt a bit faint, and rather overwhelmed. So many people…
"There's a lot of people, sire," Tristan called back.
"Yeah, yeah. Lead on." The prince's word was the law, Tristan told himself as he slipped on. The horse neighed softly, as if responding to him. Tristan mildly wondered for the moment what a tournament was, what jousting was, and what the prize was. In order of importance.