"I will marry her then." The words rang in my ears as soon as I uttered them. I would? They had just popped out of nowhere, I don't think I even thought them before they spilled out of my mouth. I don't know who was more shocked, the Queen, her two advisers, my mother and father, or me. Had I really just offered to marry the girl?
Well, there was no turning back now...
"You'll do what?" My mother's voice penetrated the air. I suppose she was the first one to recover from her shock.
"Prince Endymion, your offer is very kind, but there is really no need..." Queen Selenity's words sounded hopeful, although I wasn't sure if she was hoping I would drop the offer or stick to it. The sound of her voice seemed to bring everyone out of their trance at least, myself included thank goodness.
"Please, your majesty," I started to say before anyone else could speak, "I don't think this is something I would regret." I paused at the stunned looks I was getting again. "I think I can be the one to help her."
Help who? Why, the beautiful, delicate, kind creature they called the Princess of the Moon, Serenity, daughter of Queen Selenity, the most incredible lady I had met up to that point in my life. She seemed so fragile but displayed great strength when the situation called for it, and still managed to be graceful the entire time. Why would I want to marry her after knowing her for only of a few short days? The answer is simple. She needed me now.
Perhaps it would be best if this tale was told more fully to avoid confusion.
My parents and I had arrived on the Moon a little less than a week before. That was when I had met her for the first time: a lively, sweet, spirited girl who captured my interest right away. True, I can't claim that it was love at first sight, but something about her intrigued me. Perhaps it was her naivety, perhaps it was her maturity mixed with childishness, I don't know. She sure was innocent though.
On the Moon, at least in the imperial palace, there were almost no men. There was Artemis, one of Queen Selenity's advisers, but that was about it. In the city there were more, of course, but the princess rarely ventured there. She had no need to. For most of her life Serenity almost didn't know what it was like to interact with males. So, when her mother decided that it was time for Serenity to be married and organized a grand ball, you can imagine the Princess' reaction to seeing so many eligible young bachelors coming to the Moon.
I can still remember the first time I laid my eyes on her. She was standing behind her mother, gawking slightly at the entourage my parents insisted on bringing with us. I don't think it was so much the entourage that awed the princess as were all the non-female visitors suddenly flocking around her. The testosterone levels must have been shocking.
She had been wearing a white and gold gown with her hair done up in the oddest hairstyle I had ever seen. Her mother had the same style, only her hair was silver, whereas the princess' was a cascading golden waterfall. When she finally brought her eyes to look at me, she froze. Well, we both froze. Her cerulean eyes mesmerized me, brimming with excitement and shining with curiosity. She gave me the smallest of smiles and I couldn't help but wink at her. The blush that immediately graced her cheeks nearly made me laugh, as did her saucer-sized eyes. Obviously I was being very 'audacious' to say the least. Winking at a maiden...tsk tsk.
I should leave sarcasm out of this tale since it is very serious in nature. Along with all the princes came one whom I particularly acquired a loathing for. Prince Diamond, a man who refused to leave the young Princess alone. He had a chilling grace about him, one that seemed both beautiful and deadly at the same time. I don't know what it was about him that bothered me so much but I was to find out on the night of the grand ball.
Over the course of the week, I managed to spend moments with the Princess without any of the other suitors around. During those times she was always quiet at first but then sprang to life like a bubbling brook. I grew very fond of her over those few short days. I could see in her eyes that she was fond of me too, although we never discussed the possibility of her choosing me over the others... it was something I didn't dare hope for quite yet. Still, it would come as a very welcomed surprise if she did choose me.
The day of the ball finally arrived and I had developed an even deeper hatred for the Stalking Prince. As obvious as it was that she was fond of me, it was equally obvious that she was not fond of Diamond. She avoided him whenever she could and if she was in a conversation with him she always looked to me with pleading eyes to come and rescue her. I was more than willing to oblige and cut into the conversation to rescue the fair damsel. Perhaps it was this tendency of mine to barge in on them that made Diamond equally irritated with me as I was with him. The young little Princess missed the glares that Diamond and I exchanged behind her back.
The ball was truly a splendid event. Many people were invited and only a handful of us were the suitors, the ones hoping to get Princess Serenity's hand in marriage. Well, eventually anyway.
The evening went by smoothly enough at first. I managed to steal the Princess for more dances than any other man in the room. Perhaps it may have been partially her doing as well though, since she sought me out often for dances. I saw Prince Diamond every so often, always with a wine goblet in his hand. I didn't know how much he drank but, either way, I didn't like it.
The festivities wore on far into the night. Princess Serenity finally excused herself, claiming she was exhausted. I didn't blame her, so much excitement and dancing until three in the morning, it was enough to make anyone fatigued. Only moments after she left, I noticed she had left behind the shawl she had been wearing earlier that night, when it had been still a little cool in the hall. Grabbing it from the chair I went after her. I knew she wouldn't be far.
I walked through the dark hallways, my footsteps echoing on the white marble floors. With all the excitement going on in the main ballroom, the hallways were silent and void of activity. I rounded a corner and as I walked down the corridor I heard two voices. I stopped walking and to this day I curse myself for not running to the voices rather than stopping in my tracks.
I recognized the first voice as Serenity's and my heart skipped a beat. Was it possible she had charmed me over so quickly? Then came the second voice, this one sending chills up my spine when I recognized it was Diamond.
"Prince Diamond, I am very truly sorry, but my answer is no," I heard her say, her words just barely reaching my ears.
"You cannot deny me," I heard Diamond reply. His voice was choppy and awkward. The next thing I heard was what sounded like a slap, followed by Serenity's clear, high pitched scream. It was a scream that was cut short, as though a hand had been put over her mouth to silence the alarm. I had been able to tell by Diamond's slightly slurred words that he had indulged in his fair share of the wine that night but was he really so intoxicated that he would hit the Princess?
I dropped the shawl and without hesitation sprinted down the corridor. Damn, did those hallways ever carry sound well because it felt like an eternity before I finally reached the end and turned the corner. Around the corner was a veranda, covered in shadows. As I ran, I could hear sounds of struggle; grunts and curses from Diamond, and whimpers mixed with sobs from Serenity.
When I finally turned the corner I was expecting to see Prince Diamond trying to steal a kiss, or worse yet, a feel, either one of which I would have had to hurt him for. I nearly stopped dead in my tracks when I reached the veranda and saw Diamond trying to steal much more than just a kiss or a feel.
I could vaguely hear voices calling Serenity's name from down the hallway I had just come from but my fury and rage blocked them out. Serenity was laying on the ground with Diamond straddling her hips, one of his hands cupped over her mouth while the other was running up her thigh, exposing flesh nearly to the hip. His mouth was latched onto her collarbone as his body pinned her down. Her tiny hands were vainly trying to push him off as she writhed beneath him, trying to get away. The sight of him on her sickened me.
I grabbed his shoulder and threw him off of her, allowing her to scream once more. My fist met with Diamond's jaw as he attempted to get up, causing him to stumble and crash against the wall, thus effectively stunning him. Three of Serenity's Senshi, her personal closest friends and bodyguards, came rushing around the corner as Diamond sank to the ground, rubbing the back of his head gingerly. I knew that the women were warriors and could handle Diamond on their own quite well. Personally, I would have loved to kill the Prince on the spot, but Serenity's whimpers were calling me.
I spun around on my heel and felt a renewed surge of anger towards the Prince. Serenity was kneeling there, trying to cover her exposed breasts with the torn top of her gown with little success. Her skirt was hiked up to her hips, just barely keeping her modest below the waist. Angry red marks and bruises that had just started to form marred the flawless skin on her neck and shoulders and I could have sworn the marks on her breasts looked like the had been made by teeth.
I could hear commotion and the Senshi yelling something at Diamond as I crouched down in front of Serenity, bringing my cape off my shoulders and wrapping it around her petite form. Her hands came up immediately and clutched the material to her body as tears continued to flow down her face.
I reached out to put my hand on her arm and she flinched away from me. "Princess," I murmured gently, "I promise I won't hurt you." As soon as I uttered those words she flung herself at me, burying her face into my shirt. I wrapped my arms around her and stood up to keep us both from tumbling to the ground. I picked her up with me and not for an instant did she let go of my shirt. She sobbed against my chest, her body shivering against my own.
At that moment, something snapped in me. I felt an overwhelming need to protect the woman in my arms, to make sure she was always safe, and to kill anyone who tired to harm her in any way.
"It's all right," I murmured gently as I stroked the back of her head. "I'll protect you now," I whispered fiercely. She kept sobbing into my shirt even as I turned to see how the Senshi had dealt with Diamond. I was pleased to see him in a rather uncomfortable position with Lady Makoto's arm encircling his throat as her other hand pinned his arms to his back and Lady Minako's golden chain wrapped around his body to prevent escape, while Lady Raye's fire arrow pointed directly at his heart.
I turned my head when a new group of people came around the corner. Three more Senshi ran towards Diamond, I could not remember their names, and Queen Selenity rushed over to her daughter and me. She was followed closely by her two advisors, Lord Artemis and Lady Luna.
I felt Serenity lift her head from my chest, though her death grip on my shirt remained. "Mama..." I heard her whisper. Suddenly she went limp in my arms. I quickly scooped her up to keep her from sliding down to the floor and turned to Queen Selenity.
"Where is her room," I demanded, biting my tongue for allowing my words to sound so sharp. They didn't seem to phase the Queen at all as she ran her hand over her daughters forehead. She glanced at the Senshi that had walked up to us, the blue haired Ami.
"Ami, lead Endymion to Serenity's bedroom. I will be there shortly." She saw me glaring at Diamond. "I'll take care of things here and then I'll come as well," she added. I glanced down at her and gave a nod of thanks as Ami began to lead me away. I could hear Queen Selenity issuing orders as I walked away. "I want him taken to his room and locked in there, with a guard set up at his door. He is not to be allowed out of his quarters without my direct permission..." The rest of what she said was lost to me as I brought my attention to the path Ami was leading me down, as well as the woman in my arms.
Diamond was locked up and, after Selenity came to Serenity's room, I explained everything I had seen and heard. I could tell the Queen was very angry but she kept a calm exterior the entire time.
For two days Serenity would not let anyone near her except her mother and closest Senshi. After two days she finally began to make public appearances again but she was a shadow of the lively girl I knew. She shied away from all males, even Artemis and if any man touched her, even by accident, she would scream and start panicking. It tore at my heart to see her so afraid all the time. Even I couldn't get near her. Many of the princes ended up leaving, since they needed to get back to their kingdoms and couldn't wait around for Serenity to regain her senses.
For two weeks she was like this, not allowing any man near her. By the end of the second week Queen Selenity was starting to get very worried and did a scan of her daughter with the Imperium Silver Crystal. My mother, father and I had stayed on the Moon all that time, mainly on my own insistence. She called us for a meeting after she had scanned her daughter so that she could tell us what was wrong.
"Serenity's problem isn't something I can fix," she said. "She is afraid to let any man near her since she fears he will try to take advantage of her again. It's very serious, and her mind isn't allowing her to put her fears to rest." I felt bad for the Queen. "No man is going to want to marry her since she won't let him touch her."
This news was not good of course. The reason Queen Selenity had decided it was time for Serenity to marry was not simply for the sake of getting rid of her daughter, but because Serenity had to marry before her twenty first birthday. It was a requirement in order for her to have her powers grow strong enough to be able to use the Imperium Silver Crystal and she needed to marry by that age for her powers to grow at the pace required. The details were much more complicated and deep but at the time that was all the information we needed.
Queen Selenity rubbed her temple as she gave us the news. "She's going to need a man who will be patient with her and go slower than we can imagine. Her brain has gone into some sort of block. She no longer believes a man can love her and she doesn't believe any man would want to touch her without lustful intentions. If she was treated the same way again, where a man forced himself on her, she would probably go into sever shock and possibly cause great damage." The tired Queen sighed. "No man will want a wife he can't touch for goodness knows how long, and she can't live without one. If she can't use the crystal, she will slowly fade away."
That was when I had made my offer. Serenity needed a man that would be patient with her, who could show her love. I must admit what I felt towards her was more a need to protect her since I didn't know her too well, but I guess in a way it the beginning of love at least.
"Endymion, you can't be serious," my mother gasped out, causing me to wince a little.
"I think he's very serious," my father replied before I could and I shot him a grateful look.
Queen Selenity stared at me, as if she was scrutinizing my soul. "Why?" she asked.
I shrugged my shoulders a little. "I promised her that I would protect her and that I wouldn't hurt her. I can give her the patience she's going to need, and with her married she can start drawing strength for the Imperium Silver Crystal." I glanced around the room. "I know this seems sudden, but I want to help her. I-I care for Princess Serenity, and I intend on keeping my promise of protecting her."
No one protested and my intentions were very clear to everyone.
By the end of the month, Serenity and I were married. Granted, there was no "You may now kiss the bride," since that would have probably killed her on the spot, but at least she agreed to go through with the wedding. I wasn't allowed to make physical contact with her in any way; that was her rule.
I knew she must have had a huge battle. I could see she didn't want to marry me and frankly I didn't blame her. It was so fast, so sudden, but Queen Selenity did make a point that it would be difficult to find another man who would be patient enough with Serenity. Serenity knew her duty to her people and she knew she had to marry before she was twenty one in order for the Crystal to continue to protect her kingdom. So, she accepted my proposal, but firmly let me know I was not to touch her without her permission. I agreed.
The sparkle and life in her eyes was gone and I was determined to get it back. One way or another, I would prove to her that she had nothing to fear from me, and with that allow her to live again.
I didn't know it at the time, but I was in for one heck of a ride. That was how it all began and where this tale is to start. This is the story of my Untouchable Princess.