"M'lady, wake up! Liana, wake up!" Again that name rings through my ears, but can't Theadora, wait a few more minutes? She was desperately trying to wake me up, along with my Chiuaua, Meringue, barking at me. Mom insisted I get a chiuaua, she said 'All princesses have lap-dogs', but why did I have to get a dog that barks like my sister shrieks? At this point I didn't know what to do. I could've just pretended to be asleep until she gave up and told everyone I was dead, but of course that would eventually end up in me getting buried alive. Or I could get up peacefully. Neither one sounded pleasing, so I rolled onto my back, my face squished onto my soft down-pillow, and mumbled.

"What!? I need my beauty sleep! All the women in the palace tell me it's very important!" I tried to yell in my harshest tone, but I'm sure it just sounded like I was talking in some foreign language no one has ever heard of. Still, Theadora understood me perfectly. She's cool like that. She's one of my favorites out of all the staff in the kingdom, even if her name is a total cliché for women in her line of work.

"You have to get up, It's an important day for the whole family. Prince Zanerxy especially." Prince Zanerxy is my brother, he's three years older than me. Of course I never call him Zanerxy, he's Zane to me. He's turning 18 today and it's tradition that he finds a bride as well. I'm definitely not looking forward to it. My older brother and I are extremely close and I don't like the thought of either of us growing up and leaving anytime soon. That's the worst thing about being royalty, growing up. My worst nightmare was moving away from all my friends, the kingdom of Raya, and my sister, too. She's a year older than me, and way more princess-girly than anyone would expect.

When we all do get married, I really don't get how we are going to be good queens and look after our kingdom if we never get taught anything. Like dancing and standing up straight is going to help Shay, my sister, and I with ruling a nation. At least Zane gets practice with sword fighting. But if we have no responsibilities now, and we have everything given to us, I don't get how we will be able to help anyone in the future. How does Mom do it?

Why do we have to get married to other royalty anyway? We should have choice! If Zane is going to get married, it ought to be to a girl he's known longer than a few hours. I know, one girl in town, who sometimes comes to help the chef, that Zane is absolutely crazy about. She's extremely nice and I know he would rather propose to her.

I think about this the whole time me and Theadora are trying to pick out a dress for me to wear. This is always hard because I hate most of my dresses, too sparkly and frilly. Maybe this is why she wakes me up so early. Finally I pick out my favorite dress, it's blue and simple. I throw on black tights, gray boots and snatch up my green gloves from the table. I

I rush down the stairs as fast as my legs can carry me and you could swear there was wind blowing through the stairwell by the way my light brown hair danced around my shoulders. I almost tripped on the dark wood as I reached the bottom floor. There were so many princesses! Could my brother really find a bride in this crowd? I scanned the familiar room several times till I spotted our butler, Vee. I ran through the crowd so quickly I could barely stop once I got to him. He jumped, startled, as he saw me nearly run him over.

"Umm. Hi!" I said, shaking. It was a large entry-way and it took me a while to catch my breath after sprinting such a long distance. It was a good choice wearing my boots since they're so easy to run in.

"Liana?" He said, trying to help me stand up straight.

"Ha-Have you seen Z-Zane?" I managed to get out. My heart was beating fiercely.

"Well, n-no I'm sorry M'lady I haven't." He stuttered. "Have you checked with Kem? He seems to know where everyone is, all the time." Kem! Of course!

I sighed at the thought of sprinting all the way to Kem but I nodded, grunted, and started running towards the garden. The big cherry tree in the back garden is Kem's favorite spot, he loves to hang on the branches. When we were little he taught me how to hang upside down on the thick, pale branches and not get scared, or sick for that matter. He has been a family friend for sometime now, I really don't know how since he used to be a peasant and Dad never let's anyone but royalty near the palace.

Kem is now the Court-Jester. I never thought his job was that important when he got it two years ago but he explained to me that without him, we would all be sad and gloomy. Soon, I reached the big pink tree. It always looks so beautiful during the spring. Sure enough, the darker blonde, hyper teen popped out right when he saw me.

"Princess!" He said exaggeratingly. Glad he's in a good mood, seeing him does make me happy too, maybe that's why he's the Jester.

"Y'know Kem, you're the only one in the kingdom who calls me 'Princess'."

"Well that is what you are, right? Or have I been calling a peasant Princess for my past lifetime?" He said as he hopped down next to me. We started walking through the lush green garden. The air seemed different today, not worse, not better. Different. "So what's going on with you? You don't seem as happy as usual." He said curiously. He poked me a few times then stopped when he knew I was about to smack him. I took a deep breath before I replied.

"Zane is getting married soon." I said, trying not to squeal. I've been told I squeal rather loud.

"Oh. Newsflash Lea. Haven't you known that for a while now? We had all these princesses come here because it's taking your brother so long to find a bride. I know it's hard, but it has to happen sooner or later. Would you rather have it over and done with, or have the agony go on?" I hate it when Kem goes wise on me. I didn't want to answer him, I never do, if I did I would most likely cry. Luckily I didn't have to, right when I was about to squeak, I saw Zane cross the path in front of us. So I bolted ahead towards him, even if I was exhausted.

"Liana? Princess!?" I heard Kem yell after me but I didn't stop, I wouldn't stop, for anything.

"ZANE!" I rushed across the dusty cobblestone and nearly tripped as I reached my brother. I looked up at him, panting like my puppy in August. Trying to get the questions out I was dying to ask him. Finally I managed to ask him one. "ARE YOU INSANE?"

"What?" He asked me plainly. I hated when he said things so quietly, rudely, so I answered for him.

"Yes, yes you're undeniably, obviousle, completely, INSANE! I can't believe you're doing this! Why are you? Are you trying to kill me?" I asked frantically, still breathing heavily. He probably thought I was loopy because he quickly picked me up and shook me violently.

"SLOW DOWN! What are you talking about Lea?" He said, more emotion this time. Good, it made me feel better knowing he was worried about my mental health, but indeed I was going off the edge of sanity. I paused before I asked my final question.

"Why are you getting married?"

"Why wouldn't I?" He countered, oh I hate it when he talks to me like this. I hate it when most people lecture me, people should take that into consideration when they wonder why I never listen. I stayed patient, though, because he's my brother.

"Because I don't want you to be like Dad. I don't want to lose you and never see you again. We never see dad and he never pays any attention to us, and when he does its just a bunch of yelling. I don't want all that to happen to you! You and Shay are all the family I really have. Still, I don't get along with Shay as well as I do with you. Don't get married, don't get married, please don't get married!" I was almost crying at this point in conversation but I hate to cry in public so I swallowed hard and stood my ground.

"It's not just us as your family, you have Theadora, Kem, and Vee as well." Of course, as usual, he has a come back even at a time like this. Again, his voice was so blunt, I could feel water filling my eyes. Worst brother of the year, but he was right. They are my family.

After this comment, Zane turned his back to me and walked away. Leaving me in the early, crisp spring air. After he rounded the corner, I finally let my tears out. They rapidly streamed down my cheeks and dropped on the sidewalk. Where they fell, they formed little ant sized puddles. After a couple drops I felt someone's hand on my shoulder and I quickly turned around. It was Shay, with Kem right next to her. I didn't even bother to wipe my tears, I just dropped my head on my sisters shoulder, not worrying about getting her wet. Soon I felt totally overcome by a giant group hug.

I paced back in forth, from my window to do the door that leads to our giant stair well. Meringue sat quietly on the floor and watched me. His big eyes followed me from one end of the room to the other. I'm sure he believes I'm crazy.

"Is this really normal? Royalty to get married like this? It's not right! We should have choices! No way Zane really wants to get married! There's no way!" I fell face first on my bed and screamed. Meringue hopped up next to me and licked my cheek. "I have to do something Mer." Right as I said this, the puppy jumped off my lime green bed and ran to my bookcase and hopped up and down several times. I ran over and picked him up to the shelf he was trying to reach. He scratched a book with his left paw, signaling me to take it out. It was thick and I honestly thought he just wanted me to read more. After I took it off the shelf I noticed it was a book of Kingdom-Raya-Laws. I nodded at Meringue earnestly and flipped through the pages to the marriage section. I found all the answers I needed right then and there.

Finally it was time for dinner. There would be dancing, talking and lots of food! Meringue and I galloped down the stairs, she carefully balanced the law book on her head. We found Dad as fast as we could. He wasn't that hard to find, he was the only one in bright red. We ran over only to notice he was talking to Zane. This was going to be epic, but I had to do it.

"Dad!" I said as I made a clean stop next to them, they were both much taller than me and it was fairly intimidating.

"Liana." Now I know where Zane learns that tone of voice. Even at this point in the conversation, I was about to lose my temper.

"I wish everyone would stop being all formal around here! This is all so stupid! All of this!" I most likely made a scene but I couldn't care less at this point.

"Lee! You're supposed to be royalty! This is how it works! Would you follow the rules for once!?" Now that's the brother I know and love. Fighting back.

"NO! Can't people around here have a little personality!? Who wants a king or queen with no personality!? Look for a loophole for once! Can't we all just act like we used to? When we were little?" I clenched my fists and would have slugged Zane if I didn't have some self-control.

"Liana.." Finally, I might be breaking through to my brother.

"Liana, that's enough! We will all follow the rules around here and that's final!" Oh, my dad. What a drawback.

"Wait, Dad, I didn't come here with no back-up." I picked the book up off of Meringue's head, she seemed to be getting tired of carrying it. I flipped open to the page I found earlier and held the book in front of my dad. "See? It's not a law that Zane has to get married when he turns 18!" I said matter-of-factly.

"But, Lea I kind of want to." Zane was not helping me out, so i gave him a death glare. Good thing I'm good at improvising. I flipped a few pages.

"Well, that doesn't mean you have to marry a princess, and I don't have to marry a prince!" Zane got wide eyes and took the book for himself. He scanned the page and solemnly mouthed 'YES'. I looked at my dad who was practically beaming with a feeling I hadn't seen on his face in a while. "Dad, will you let Zane marry a peasant? If he wants?" I asked quietly. I glanced at my brother who was smiling widely. After a long pause my dad answered.

"If Zane would like that and, if your mother and I deem the girl appropriate." There was a feeling of pride and faith coming from my dad that I hadn't felt before. It made my heart jump and it skipped a beat as Mom walked up and hugged me. Zane gave me a quick high-five, even though his hands are twice the size of mine, he said he was proud of me. I smiled brightly for the rest of the evening.

After dinner I was even more exhausted. I walked, or limped, to the back garden and collapsed on my favorite bench.

"BOO!" Of course, right when I sit down, Kem pops out of nowhere and scares me. Can't he see I'm too tired to talk!?. "Good job tonight. You should be excited." He said as he sat down beside me on the dark wooden bench. I tilted my head and looked at him curiously.

"You saw that?" Which was a stupid question. Kem always knows everything that goes on around here.

"You know it! I can't believe you managed to talk to your dad like that! I knew you had it in you!" He smiled broadly and looked up at the star-filled sky. I couldn't help but smile. "If I tried to sass your dad, one: I'd be 'banished from the kingdom for all eternity' and 2: I wouldn't be able to see you, at all. . ." I laughed expecting the whole sentence to be a joke. Then realizing everything, my face turned pink.

"Well, you know I'm the kind of person to sneak out of the kingdom anyway. ." I smiled and he smiled back.

"I know you hate being a princess, but honestly, I think everyone knows you're a better princess that you assume you are. Only a true princess would stand up to her father and speak what's really on her mind. You realize your dad must have a whole lot more respect for you now, along with everyone else in the palace." Now this was no lecture. It was something other than that. It was something that I actually wanted to hear.

"If I knew today was going to end like this I wouldn't have taken so long to get up this morning." I laughed. "But now I'm exhausted. I'll see you in the morning!" I said. I pecked him on the cheek, and I somehow found the energy to run off into the palace and up to my room. I couldn't wait to fall asleep peacefully and not get up till noon, just like old times.

*

Zane marries his fair peasant princess – Arill

Kem and Liana are always friends

Zane lives happily ever after with his wife and his family in the kingdom of Raya