"The Me and Mr McCarty" One-Shot Contest
Title: A Fool's Quest
Summary: When the King sets forth a royal challange can Emmett prove that Fools are worthy?
Pen name: I Punch WereWolves 4 Fun
Primary Players: Emmett
Word Count: 5,500
Beta'd by: JulieBlys
Disclaimer: All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.
Emmett stood in front of the floor length mirror checking himself out one last time. After smoothing out his shirt and adjusting the pouch that carried his multi-colored juggling balls, he reached up to make sure the bell tipped points on his jester hat were perfectly in place. When he felt his appearance was perfect he made his way into the living room of his small bachelor pad.
Before picking up the ticket that his cousin Bella had sent him to The Kings Faire, he spotted one of the few framed photos he had on display. It was of a fourteen year old Emmett, an eleven year old Bella, and his Uncle Charlie and Aunt Renee. The four of them had been dressed head to toe in garb, smiling like the fool Emmett currently was.
Thinking about the time at which that memory had been made some ten years previous caused Emmett to smile even wider. It had been taken during the summer when he had joined his Uncle, Aunt, and cousin on the road. The Swans had never been known as a typical family. From the time infant Bella could sleep through the entire night they had lived out of a custom made motor home. Charlie could never deny his wife a thing, and when Renee had found her calling in creating medieval pottery pieces, the Swans joined a traveling Renaissance Faire circuit.
Emmett, and occasionally his parents, spent every summer and school break traveling not only from state to state, but back in time to visit with the Swans. During the school year, Emmett was sent to a private school where most kids made in fun of him for his interest in all things spanning the middle ages. He was teased relentlessly his first day of junior high when he wrote his What I did this Summer report on learning the arts of jousting and sword making.
Sure, he knew it was a little weird back then, and even now, ten years after that photo was taken, he accepted that being a Ren Junkie was not what most folks would call normal. But Emmett had never thought he was normal, nor did he want to be. If being a 'normal guy' meant he had to be a jock and would slap other dudes ass as a way to say good game, he was content to be strange.
Despite all the ribbing he'd received, he'd never let it deter him. He had found a passion during those trips, and through the friendships he'd made with a few blacksmiths, Quil, Embry, and Jared, Emmett learned how much weaponry fascinated him.
So much so that while Emmett attended college in the Los Angles area, studying medieval history, he also took on a apprenticeship with some local weapon smiths.
Emmett could now not only make everything from custom swords, daggers and shields, but also tell the historical accuracy on most of the items as well. Knowing his apprenticeship was almost over, he made a mental note to inquire with his long time friends if there was any potential way for him to work with them on the circuit.
Placing the frame down, he swiped the ticket from the table along with his wallet and cell phone. His long leather belt had two pouches, one being for his juggling balls, and the other held his personal items with a hidden compartment for his cell. Through the years Emmett had learned that a lot of the faire elders looked down on using any type of electronics during faire hours. His Aunt Renee had even taken a picture of a time when the then King ordered Emmett be locked in the stocks for an hour for playing on his Game Boy.
As Emmett made his way to his Jeep, he took a chance and tried to call his cousin to let her know he was his way, but as he heard her voicemail sound off, he figured she was probably already setting up her stand for the day. Bella, like her mother was a merchant. Though where Renee's specialty was pottery, Bella made and sold hand crafted leather masquerade masks.
Emmett had made it the front gate just in time to hear the town crier start the daily faire ritual of a 'Town Meeting'. He watched with the up most interest as the Crier introduced the Royal Family - and new owners of the faire. King Carlisle took the stage with a beautiful woman on each arm. The King made a show out of taking the older ones hand and kissing it before informing the crowd that she was Queen Esme.
When his Royal Highness turned to make an introduction of the young lady on his other side, Emmett's world came to a halt. With a wistful sigh and unblinking eyes, he felt his heart stutter frantically. Everything around him disappeared to a blur, which was a feat in and of itself considering the guy next to him was wearing a getup that made him look like a centaur. The only thing Emmett could focus on was the Blonde goddess being announced as Princess Rosalie.
Despite the goofy love-struck grin etched on his face, Emmett's mind was busy spinning trying to fabricate ways to meet the Princess. As his luck would have it, the King's next proclamation gave Emmett a chance at that opportunity.
"Today, I give all of the young and fit men a chance of a lifetime. A chance to become warriors, to become knights. A chance to become Prince for a day and to win the hand of my fair daughter," he bellowed to the crowd. "For those of you who think you can handle the mental pressure and physical toll, I encourage you to sign up with the tournament master and prepare for the battle of your life. The games begin in one hour; we wish you luck."
When the meeting commenced Emmett found himself pushing through the crowd, fighting to get to the tournament master, Lord Peter. When he reached the front of the line, Lord Peter let out a blusterous laugh as he took in Emmett.
"What do we have here? A fool?" he laughed, then yelled for all to hear. "This is for men, not jesters who play with balls all day. Perhaps you'd be more suited to go entertain the children in the realm of make believe."
The crowd around them roared with laughter which caused Emmett to scowl. The blatant disregard that this man, who Emmett was now going to refer to as Lord Asshole, gave him a newfound sense of determination. Clearing his throat loudly, Emmett tapped on the clipboard the asshole was holding and said "Sir Emmett the Brave, write it down. Now."
With a sigh and roll of his eyes, Lord Asshole did as he was told, and in turn asked what kind of crest Emmett would like to on his personal flag. After a few moments of debate, Emmett's simple reply before he walked away was "A Bear."
Still feeling some residual anger coursing through him, Emmett made his way over to Merchants Row to look for his family. Halfway down the path he found what he was looking for - Bella's shop sat right next to her Mothers. Seeing his cousins back turned towards him, he snuck up behind her and grabbed her around the waist. He lifted her into the air and spun around with her. Bella shrieked and flailed her arms and legs, unsure of who had her.
"Fairy Bells," Emmett wailed as he put her down and turned her to face him. She was only on the ground for a brief moment though because as soon as she knew it was Emmett, she jumped into his awaiting arms, hugging him tightly.
"Emmy bear," She giggled. "I cant believe how long it's been. It's so good to see you."
Hearing the commotion from her daughters shop, Renee bolted over to make sure Bella was okay. The sight before her brought a smile to her face. Though she and Charlie had never been blessed with more children after Bella, all the time Emmett had spent with them made her look at him like her own son. She had missed him the past few years, but knew he had been busy working towards his career. With misty eyes her hand covered her mouth as she called for Charlie, knowing he'd want to see Emmett just as much as her.
They made their way over to the kids, happy to see their family whole for the first time in a long time. The reunion between them though sweet and full of laughter and hugs was rather short. With Emmett's impending battle ahead of him, there was only so much time available. With another round of hugs, and this time the added good luck wishes and promises of watching him throughout the day, Emmett made his way to the Towne Square for details of his first event.
Lord Peter was perched upon a small stage with various faire goers around him. With speculative eyes, Emmett scanned the crowd trying to surmise who his competition was. He easily spotted a plethora of men and even some woman who looked like they were ready to throw down for the hand of the Princess. Much to his delight, Emmett knew no matter the task, he could most certainly beat them.
"Ladies and Gentleman," Lord Peter's voice rang out, calling the crowd to attention. "It is the order of King Carlisle to set forth a challenge for those who wish to take the hand of his daughter, the majestic Princess Rosalie. I asked for brave warriors to come forth, and ten of you feel that you have what it takes. The events that have been set in place will test your strength, wit, and agility. The boundaries of your fortitude will be tested, pushed, and in some case shredded. This is a journey, not just for the hand of a princess, but a journey of self revelation and perseverance. So I say go valiant soldiers, go forth so we may find the hero we look for! Follow me, for our first trial awaits us!"
By the end of Lord Peters speech, Emmett couldn't help it, he was walking with his chest puffed out and a confident swagger in his step. Making his way with the crowd towards the first event he took in the sights before him and wondered what all of the tasks would be. There were very few things that he did not excel at here, and as the precession took a turn into the Gaming Glen, Emmett's face broke into a cocky smirk.
"The Princess requires a man whose muscles wont fail her. Task number one is the Test O'Strength. Our top eight heavy hitters will make it through to the next round."
As names of the other competitors were called, Emmett stood to the side and waited his turn. His name was sixth on the list, and while he was setting his grip on the hammer, he heard a soft laugh. Without conscious thought Emmett dropped the hammer, and his head snapped in the direction of the laugh. The sight before him caused his heart to flutter. The Princess was there watching, and as nervous as this made him, Emmett knew it was also a chance for him to impress her.
Emmett rolled his sleeves up, showing off his toned forearms and biceps. Linking his hands together in front of him, he pushed them out to crack his knuckles, adding a few head tilts to make his neck snap too. Strategically Emmett placed his right hand a fourth of the way up the hammers handle.
After a handful of deep cleansing breaths, a loud growl ripped the air, and Emmett swung the hammer back. In a sweeping one armed motion he rounded it down towards the intended target. With perfect aim, Emmett hit the striking pad, and within two seconds the sweet sound of a bell ringing was echoing through the glen.
Dropping the heavy tool to the ground, Emmett plastered a wide smile on his face and made sure to turn in the Princess' direction. She met his smile with one of her own, causing Emmett to sigh. As he stood waiting for the others to finish, he lost himself in thoughts of how it would be when he won and got to kiss her perfect lips. His fantasy was broken when the final contestant called started to speak.
"Let it be known, I will wash the floor with these peasants because not only am I the frontrunner, but the only one worthy of you, your Majesty. Mark my words, you will be on the arm of Barron Royce King II at the end of the day."
It took all of Emmett's self-control not to strangle the douche bag in front of him. Not only was he a world class ass now, but it occurred to Emmett that he had know him as a mini jackass years ago.
As a boy Royce King had believed, as he still did, that he was better than everyone else. His family had been working the Faire circuits for generations, they were the most well known pickle makers. King's Koshers carts were a staple at any faire from coast to coast. Him and his group of friends, who were also second or more generation faire folk, made it their mission to torture Emmett.
One time, after a very busy sales day in which one of the pickle carts sold out, the group of boys managed to throw Emmett into the large barrel of pickle brine. The smell of half sour gherkins clung to Emmett for a week afterwards.
Knowing that the pickle Barron was after the Princess, Emmett's determination firmed even more. Even if somehow he couldn't have her, he refused to allow Royce to win. The dill-hole was going down.
Two of the challengers were eliminated, leaving only eight to move on. Much to Emmett's dismay, pickle boy was able to ring the bell, though he did it with two hands on the hammer.
Lord Peter - who Emmett still thought was an asshole - lead the men to their next event. When they finally stopped, Emmett nervously rubbed the back of his neck while looking at the looming structure before him. The Labyrinth always gave Emmett trouble. He was pretty sure it stemmed from an incident when he was eight. He took Bella into it, even though his Aunt and Uncle told them they couldn't because they were too young. Somehow Emmett managed to get them so lost in the maze that they couldn't find their way out and were lost inside for a few hours. Since then he had only tried the maze four other times, and each time he had to use the emergency flag to call someone to escort him out.
"You will go through one at a time, the six fastest times move through to the next round. Names will be drawn at random, first up is… Barron King."
Emmett stood back and waited. The pickle punk was fast; he made it through the maze in under three minutes. The second, third, and fourth contestants were between four and five minutes. Five through seven managed to hustle through under the fourth minute mark.
This made Emmett's nerves flare up even more. He had never once made it through this damn thing by himself, how was he supposed to do in under the four and a half minutes needed in order to beat the last place people?
Taking his place at the entrance, Emmett tried to control the anxiety threatening to overtake him. The only thing that helped bring him back from the ledge of panic was seeing Rosalie walking by out of the corner of his eye. He was so caught up in the sight of her that he missed the guy with the stopwatch telling him to go. After calling Emmett's name for the fifth time, the timekeeper finally got his attention, and Emmett was off.
Running in Emmett was slightly overwhelmed by the high multicolored walls. His vision started to feel blurred by the constant twists, turns and dead ends he ran into. Every ally way he went down felt like he had been there just moments before. The urge to find an emergency escape flag was high, but thoughts of the golden haired goddess outweighed them.
"Time check," Emmett yelled. "How long have I been in here?"
"Three minutes, five seconds," was the answer he was given.
Emmett bellowed out a loud growl and ran for another passage. Luck was not on his side with that attempt, and he found himself facing another dead end. He knew that time was passing quickly so he did the only thing he could think of. He jumped up to see above the walls, looking for the right path to take.
It took a few jumps, but he managed to figure out the correct pattern of rights and lefts. Then he was off, running as fast as he could in the tight halls. He had never felt more relieved to see the set of stairs leading to a slide he needed to take to his finish line.
Skipping two and three stairs at a time, he climbed the staircase with the agility of a mountain lion. Diving head first, he flew down the slide, and the timekeeper pushed his button. Through quick panting breaths, Emmett managed to ask what his time was.
"Four minutes, twenty six seconds" the timekeeper replied with a jovial laugh.
"I did it? Hell yeah! I fucking did it!" Emmett was so shocked that he had made it in time to go to the next round. Not only did he pass the test, but he faced a longtime fear of his and conquered it. This day was shaping up to be one of the best of his life, and he couldn't wait to see how it ended.
His joy over defeating The Labyrinth was short lived though because Lord Ass-Hat wasted no time in ushering the contenders towards their next obstacle.
"The ten have dwindled down to six. And I must say, I'm rather surprised to see the not only the fool, but also the village idiot still in the running. Though Barron King is far from a surprise." Lord Peter's speeches were getting more annoying by the sentence, and Emmett wished he would just get on with it already, and tell him what he had to do. "This my friends is what we call Jacob's Ladder. It tests you not only physically, but quick wit is needed to get to the top. Those who climb and ring the bell will move on. There are six ladders - take one. You have three chances."
Emmett picked a ladder and was stuck between Mike the village idiot Newton, and the heir to the pickle buckets. He bounced anxiously from foot to foot. It had been awhile since he had done this, but last time, it had only taken him two tries. Hopefully he hadn't lost his touch.
"Gentleman, I am Jacob, and these are my ladders." Emmett wanted to laugh at this guy, if he wasn't lame enough running a game that shared his name, his garb was. The tall Native American guy wore boots made of russet colored fur, and his pants had fur trim. The vest he wore - with no shirt underneath - was made of the same russet pelts as well. But kicker was his hat, it was a fur wolf head. Complete with ears, eyes, and a mouth. It even had a tail hanging down the back. "When I blow this whistle, you may begin."
Upon the screech of the whistle, Emmett placed his hands on two of the rungs. Before attempting to put a foot on the ladder, he put some of his weight on it, checking to find the balance. Once he felt he had the right hand placement he took his first step up. When he went to take the next step though, he over shifted and ended up laying on his back in the hay below.
His second attempt was a bit better; he got both feet on and managed to climb two rungs before he fell. He had been one step away from ringing the bell, and if he could have just held shifted his weight a little more he would have gotten it.
As he stood by his ladder picking strands of hay out of his hair, he heard the first ringing noise yet. To his left Royce was just climbing down having just completed the task. Emmett's rage grew. That jerk had managed to get to the top, but not him.
With a loud huff, Emmett started up on his final shot. He got to the same point as the time before and lifted one foot. He just needed to find the balance on the next rung, and he could reach the bell's cord.
The ladder wobbled, shook, and trembled, but it was no match for Emmett. He managed to find enough stability to take that last needed step. With a long stretch of his arm, he grasped the cord, and the tinkling sounds of brass on brass filled the air.
He stayed on just long enough to claim victory before ending up on his back in the straw again. He was still laughing and smiling though. How could he not, he was just that much closer to getting his princess.
When all was said and done, Emmett, Royce and some scrawny punk named Eric who looked more like an anime character than a medieval faire fanatic, where the only three to move on. Emmett really wasn't sure how this Eric guy was even able to pick up the Test O'Strength hammer, never mind get the slide weight high enough to beat anyone.
Lord Peter rounded up the remaining combatants and led them towards the stage in the food court. A table had been set up with three seats, and the competitors were instructed to sit. Emmett took a seat at one end while Royce pushed Eric out of the other end seat and forced him to be squished in the middle.
"To be part of the Royal court you should be able to eat a feast fit for a king. What better to eat than turkey legs? Lets see who can eat the most. You will all be given a tray containing five one pound turkey legs. You will have fifteen minutes to eat as much as you can. Either the first two to finish, or the two who have eaten the most will move on to the finals."
Once the trays were set in front of the guys, Lord Peter started the timer. Emmett grabbed the first one and immediately tore into it. He hadn't eaten since breakfast, and it was a few hours past his normal lunch time so he was starving. The first turkey leg barely last three minutes before it was nothing more than a bone. Two more followed quickly.
The fifteen minute timer when off when Emmett was two bites away from finishing his fourth one. He dropped the nearly clean bone and looked down the table for the first time. Royce was looking confident having eaten half of his tray. The look on little Eric's face made Emmett move further away from the kid. He had gotten maybe one and a quarter down, but looked like it would be coming back up quickly.
The Judges looked at the remaining food and declared that Royce and Emmett would be facing off in the finals. The finale was going to a battle complete with shields and special paint tipped swords in order to see the hits.
Lord Peter brought Emmett and Royce to the Tournament Field to meet their coach for the battle. Two men were waiting, quickly introducing themselves. Royce would be getting help from Lord Aro Volturi while Emmett was partnered with Sir Edward Cullen.
Edward was a nice guy; they chatted comfortably while he helped Emmett gear up. While fitting Emmett with new clothes better geared for the fight, Edward mentioned a girl who made leather masks that caught his attention. After describing her, Emmett knew he was talking about his little cousin.
"Tell you what man, I win, I'll help you out and put in a good word with my cousin Bella. But if you hurt her, I'll break your fucking neck. Got it?"
"Of course, I wouldn't expect any less. And I can help you win, I know Aro's tricks, I know what he'd teach Royce," Edward insisted.
"You'd do that for me?" Emmett was skeptical - this guy worked at the faire. There was a good chance he was friends with Royce and would only trick Emmett. "Why would you help me out?"
"First because Royce is an asshole. When my family first bought the faire, he thought he'd try to impress my older sister by dumping me into a barrel of pickle juice. Second 'cause when she turned him down, he tried hitting on your cousin repeatedly even when she said she wasn't interested. And third, well… I really like Bella, and you're her cousin."
Emmett pondered all Edward had said, and in the end, they made a deal. Edward spent the next hour showing Emmett all the dirty tricks Aro had ever used against him. By the time the final event came, Emmett was sure he could beat Royce King and win Princess Rosalie's heart.
Finally the time came. There in front of hundreds of faire-goers Emmett stood, dressed head to toe in blue and gold. A black bear insignia lay across his chest with a smaller swan against his heart. His left hand gripped the long shield while his right held the special wooden sword. Edward as well as the Swans stood behind him, giving all the support they could
Upon the stage that faced the audience, the Royal Family gathered. The Towne Crier called out, demanding the attention of everyone in the kingdom and allowed King Carlisle to speak.
"Welcome one and all, you have all gathered here today to watch as the two most worthy contenders do battle for my daughters hand, and the opportunity to return tomorrow as Prince of my court for the day. Our champions have been challenged with tasks through the day to prove they were worthy of the title should they win it. Now they shall fight, a best of three series, first to leave a mark on the other's clothing or skin wins the round. Let the battles begin!"
The Battle Master came out and introduced himself as Jasper Whitlock and gave the men the rundown of how things would go. The southern boy only had one real rule.
"No hitting in the genitals is about the only thing I can say is a no-no. So shake hands then retreat to your side. Await my cue before you come out ready to fight."
Emmett was the first to extend his hand, and it stayed there, suspended in the air while Royce looked at it in disgust. With a sneer on his face, the Barron spat towards Emmett before walking away. Emmett laughed while heading back to his staging area.
While awaiting the cue to begin, Emmett took the chance to look up at the Princess. She was gorgeous with a deep maroon and gold dress that showed off her abundant cleavage. He was even more elated to see that she was staring at him too. His confidence soared, and he even managed to wink at her, causing her to blush.
Jasper bellowed out for the men to start the first round, and both made their way to the center of the field. With shields held high and swords poised to strike, they rounded on each other, looking for an opening to strike.
Just like Edward had said, Royce came out with some underhanded moves. During the first set of blade strikes Royce used his shield to try and push Emmett instead of blocking his strikes with it.
The back and forth of clanging swords was interrupted by Royce backing off and then throwing his shield at Emmett's upper body. Emmett, in an attempt to not get clocked in the head, moved his own to try and block it, leaving his legs wide open.
Royce took this to his advantage and slammed his wooden blade into Emmett's shin. Both moves, though dirty, were not illegal and gave Royce the win for round one.
Jasper came running out, ordering Royce to his corner and calling upon his wife, the trained medic of the faire, to come look at Emmett's leg. After her assessment, Lady Alice deemed Emmett was fine to continue as long as he felt up to it. His leg would be badly bumped and bruised but did not appear to have any breaks. After walking on it gingerly for a minute, Emmett picked up his weapons, ready for more. After a warning to Royce that it was more respected to fight clean, Jasper started round two.
In a must win situation, Emmett came out full of aggression. He took all the knowledge he knew and threw it out, letting his gut guide him. The men reversed roles of control several times, drawing out the excitement. But in the end, Emmett was able to land a slash across Royce's wrist, earning him the win.
Both men sat and drank some water before the final round. Emmett sat and listened to Edward - who he noticed was now holding his cousins hand - and his Uncle Charlie give him tips to win. Sporadically he would look up, pleased to find Rosalie still looking his way with a hopeful smile on her face. Knowing she was rooting for him gave Emmett the extra energy he needed; he was more than ready for this.
When both men were ready, Jasper gave the cue and let them go at it. And go at it they did. Swords were slicing through the air, shields where blocking and pushing them away. The way they where battling could be described as a delicate dance.
The duel was on equal footing until one of Emmet's strike sent Royce's sword flying through the air. Instead of finishing him off when he was weaponless, Emmett took a few steps back and yelled out for him to get his sword.
Instead of grabbing the wooden cutlass, Royce signaled for Aro to toss him a real blade. Now wielding a weapon that could easily stab through flesh, Royce set his target on Emmett. Lord Peter, the Tournament Master yelled out "Let them be, I'll allow it."
Emmett found himself going on the defensive. He had no choice - this crazy guy was coming at him with a weapon that could easily kill him, and no one was going to stop him. As Royce continually lunged for him, Emmett used the shield to block the blows.
Royce's stalking was akin to a predator following its wounded prey, just waiting for it to become to weak. Emmett's weakness came when he was walking backwards and tripped over Royce's abandoned wooden blade. As he landed on his back, the cover of his buckler landed a few feet away, well out of his reach.
As Royce swung the sharp sword down, Emmett made a last ditch effort. He swung the wooden replica landing a harsh blow. The sound of wood connecting with bone was sickeningly sweet.
As Royce dropped to his knees, grabbing his arm, the crowd erupted in cheers. Still in shock, it took Emmett a few moments to realize that his life saving move was also the winning hit. He couldn't even snap himself out of his mesmerized stupor until his family pig piled on him in congratulations. Their celebration was broken abruptly by the words of the king.
"Sir Emmett the Brave, you fought a good fight. I not only commend you, but admire you. Your show of strength and courage is not something we see often. You have earned the right, and I would be honored if you claimed the hand of my daughter."
Emmett didn't need to be asked twice. He bounded up the stage stairs as fast as he could, stopping in front of the Princess.
"M' Lady," he greeted with a wide smile as he took her hand in his, bending slightly to chastely kiss the back of it.
"Oh My prince."
"No. Your fool."