When people have an arranged marriage, they usually do not meet who they are to be married to until a few weeks before their wedding – if they are lucky. I thought that having an arranged marriage sounded dreadful, for it would mean no more flirting with the young ladies, or priding myself as I watched them swoon over me as I passed them by, or running off on my horse, Ace, when I wanted to escape from palace life.

No one had given me any details about the girl I was going to marry. I wasn't even told her name; everyone had just referred to her as, "The Princess of the Ritchetclad Kingdom." I was very curious as to why they would not tell me much about her, and when I asked, they would say, "You will learn about her when you meet her." I was, however, told why I would be marrying her. It was to join our militaries together; we were becoming allies by this marriage.

Today was the day I was supposed to be meeting her. I stood in the throne room – where formal meetings would usually take place – impatiently waiting her arrival. What would she look like? Would she be beautiful, or intelligent, or daft, or ugly?

A servant came running through the doors and bowed quickly. "Her Royal Highness, the Princess of the Richetclad Kingdom has arrived." He opened the door slowly, revealing the princess. Two maids stood behind her and her two guards stood at her side. When I saw her I was shocked by her beauty, I had never seen anyone who looked as beautiful as her. Her beauty was rarely, if ever, seen in Magdine. The women in Madgine had pale skin, light colored hair, and eyes that were colored shades of blue and green. They were very beautiful, but I was so used to seeing their beauty, it had almost become boring to see them.

The princess had dark, wavy hair, and brown eyes that complimented her light brown skin tone. She had a figure like most girls – curvy, and very eye-catching. She wore a green dress, with a silver underskirt and waistband. Her dress was decorated with silver, intricate designs, and a gold tiara with a diamond in the middle sat on top of her head.

The princess curtsied low, a sign of great respect. I bowed in return, took her hand and then kissed it. "Hello, I am Prince Christian. What would a princess as lovely as you be called?"

She made several strange hand motions in response, and I stared blankly at her, because her hand movements did not seem to have any meaning.

One of her maids, a gray-haired woman, rushed forward to stand by the princess. "Sorry, Your Highness." She curtsied. "This is Princess Musette."

I smiled. "What a lovely name. I was never told, so I am wondering…how old are you?"

The princess stood and smiled while her maid answered for her again, "She is seventeen."

"If you do not mind, I would like to hear the Princess answer," I snapped, mad that the maid kept answering instead of Princess Musette.

The maid looked at me strangely. "Your Highness, did no one tell you-"

I frowned. "Tell me what?"

The maid stood there silently for a few seconds, as if she was trying to grasp the right words to say. "Princess Musette…well, she cannot speak. She can hear and see perfectly well, but…she cannot speak. She is speech impaired."

I laughed nervously. "You surely must be playing some kind of crude joke." The maid looked down at the ground and said nothing. How could they not have told me? "She cannot speak then…well, have you been to fairies, wizards, enchantresses, or witches for help?"

She looked back up at me sadly and sighed, "We have, Your Highness. We have been to too many different places, we had high hopes that it could be cured, but…" she trailed off.

"But…?"

"But there was nothing that could be done."

I turned toward the thrones where my parents were seated. "Did you know?"

My father gave me a stern look. "Our militaries need to be joined together. It's for the benefit of both of our kingdom's people."

I scowled. "Why didn't you say anything?"

He sighed and said simply, "We knew you would not go through with the marriage if you knew she could not speak."

"And you think I will go through with it now?" I said coldly.

"You must, Christian," my mother said. "It is your duty to your people, and we have already made the arrangements. It is too late to cancel."

I felt betrayed that they didn't tell me that the girl I was to be marrying couldn't speak. "How is it too late? The wedding is in a month! Cancel it!"

My father's face turned red. Whether it was because of embarrassment because of the way I was acting, or how I was speaking to my mother and him, I didn't know.

"We will do nothing of the sort!" my father shouted. "Enough is enough, Christian! You listen to me! This will help you learn—"

"Help me learn what? Learn that I can love someone defective?" I gestured to Musette. "Someone who cannot even speak?"

"Christian-"

I started saying things without thinking. "She cannot speak! How would you feel about marry someone who could not speak? Father, she's defective. I cannot marry someone who is defective! It will completely ruin my reputation among the women and men! I only associate with people who can, hear, see, and, most importantly, speak."

My father growled. "Christian, do remember she can hear what you are saying!"

"I don't give a ra-"

"Don't. You. Say. Another. Word."

I smirked. "Another. Word."

It may have seemed childish to talk to my father the way I did, and even though I would be in deep trouble for what I had said, I did not care. Just as long as I got away from the defective princess it was fine with me.

My father motioned for the guards who stood at the sides of the thrones to come and take me back to my chambers, and I gladly went with them. As I left the entrance hall, I could hear my parents quickly apologizing to the princess and those who accompanied her.

I could get this wedding canceled in no time.