*Dramatic spotlight draws on mysterious Mexican teenager as she slowly walks upon a stage*

I have returned! I apoligize for my extended haitas, I have no real excuse other than being lazy as fuck and never taking the time to fully write out what I was coming up with. But after months of not updating, here it is! Thanks so much you guys for the reviews, they fed my drive to finish this (that and my sister bitching at me to finish too) and I just want to let you guys know that I really appreciated them.

With out further ado, I give you the next chapter!

I don't own any of these characters. All rights belong to Andrew Hussie.


Dave watches the chalk board and Carapace in front of it mindlessly. He currently sits in the middle of his morning lessons in the royal library. With mountains of books stacked sky high to fill the endless rows of shelves, its size dwarfs the dozen of desks Dave found himself in. Despite his best effort, the tutor's words weren't quite connecting in his brain. Normally, he would be pretty cool with paying attention to his lessons but today, he couldn't bring himself to keep his eyes open.

It's been four days since the night of the welcoming feast and Dave's found that since then, the lower nobles sure knew how to occupy his every waking moment. He continues to get inquiries about his possible engagement to the Prospit Princess. On top of that, the Queen didn't seem to have any qualms with dragging Dave from the warm comforts of his bed before the sun's first rays every morning since and having him attend meetings with her advisors and then leaving him to the mercy of them all.

And above all, Dave finds that whatever free time he manages to receive after those meetings, he has to surrender to "entertaining" the princess. Which, in itself, isn't much of a bad thought but with Sir Stick-up-his-ass hovering over them constantly, he can hardly find a time to actually have a full conversation with the princess without starting a squabble with the knight.

Add all that up and you have a perfect recipe for Exhausted Prince.

"David? The answer?"

Dave slowly lifts his head. The tight lipped frown the tutor was sending him strongly implies she doesn't take to his spacing out too well. Her foot begins to tap impatiently.

"Well?"

"Uhh…" Congrats Strider. Solid A+ answer.

Dave shifts his eyes over to his left. There sat his other three siblings. All of them had paused in their note taking to watch Dave's predicament. Rose was the closest and Dave shoots her a look, hoping she clue him in. One of her sharp eyebrows lifts inquiringly, though her mirthful eyes reveal she already knows his question.

'Help a bro out.' Dave mentally demands. Rose mockingly puts her hand to her chin for a moment, as if she was really contemplating her answer, before smiling pleasantly and giggling girlishly.

Dave could practically hear the 'Not going to happen dear brother. Nice try though.' in her eyes.

'Bitch.' He mentally grumbles.

The teacher sighs impatiently, obviously no longer interested in Dave's lack of an answer. Carefully replacing the piece of chalk back on the board, the Carpace gives Dave a withering look. "Since some of us are appearing to be having trouble following the lesson today," Dave shifted awkwardly in his seat. "Take an hour for silent study while I go prepare the supplies for today's chemistry lab. A lab, I expect you to be more focused on."

The teacher gave the four royals one last pointed look before sauntering out of the library.

"What seems to weighing on your mind?"

Dave looks up to see Rose standing with her eyebrows quirked and the remainders of her earlier amusement still gracing her lips. Dave snorts.

"So you can get answers from me but not the other way? There's certainly no double standard in that."

"Obviously." Rose snarks back as she easily slides into the unoccupied chair next to Dave.

"Well sorry to break it to you sister dearest, but these lips don't kiss and tell." Dave retorts smartly. Rose smirks.

"Blood is thicker than water." She adds teasingly. Dave returns the smirk in earnest.

"True but water goes down easier." Rose snorts this time.

"It's not so bad once you get used to it."

"You don't have a say in this. It obvious to everyone that you have virgins locked up in the stables just waiting for you to come and use their sweet and pure life nectar for your creepy midnight feasts." Dave rattles off bluntly.

Rose's eye only grow more mischievous.

"Virgins are far too simple. Mass murders and prostitutes is where it's at."

A loud groan passes through Dave's lips unwillingly, drawing the full attention of all of his siblings. Dave's eyes sting with the force of trying to keep open and he groans and lets his head roll back to rest on the back of the chair.

"Good god, I can't even take you seriously right now. So fucking sleepy…" Dave whines, earning an eye rolling from Rose and muffled laughter from Roxy.

"The horrorterrors haven't been any busier than any other time of the year, so if it doesn't concern those visions, can I conclude that it has something with Ms. Jade?"

Dave doesn't raise his head to properly see Rose's expression, but he knows she knows she's hit the mark right on.

Well sort of.

Ever since the Golden Kingdom's arrival, his dreams have been absent of his mystery girl. On a more positive note, he's finally able to move his body with in the dreams and explore the scene. The normally quiet field was alive with buzzing and chirping from the happy little critters and the tall grass stretches far out into the horizon. It was something right out of one their mother's fairytale books that she used to read to Dave when he was only a little kid. Even after awakening from the happy dreams, Dave still feels like he can faintly hear the happy squawks of content animals and the far off sound of splashing water in busy rivers.

Couple his late nights, early mornings, heavy schedule, and annoying royal pains in his ass and Dave has the perfect recipe for fed up Prince.

He's just getting a whole book of new recipes, isn't he?

"Let's just say, if I olly out the window any second now, you'll know that I only did it to save you."

Rose's lips twitch down slightly at Dave's cynical response, but decide against prying any further and opt to return to her own seat. Feeling like the subject has been dropped for now, Dave returns to relaxing his tired body against the chair…

TWACK!

Only to gain a thump to the back of his head.

Dave springs up from his seat and turns to see his teacher resting her hands at her side; one notably has a wooden ruler in it, and giving him a far too friendly smile.

"Since we're prepared now, we can move onto the lab." Her smile gains a slight smug undertone to it. "I'm sure you all are in top form."

Dave bites back a groan and flops into his seat and lets his head flop against the wood of the table. He hears Rose's girlish giggle penetrate the air.

"Window too far brother?" Her voice is far too mocking for his liking.

"My opinion has changed. None of you deserve my mercy." Dave grumbles back, letting his eyes close despite the whack he receives for it.

'Fuck you all, sleep is giving me a lesson in how to not give a fuck and I'm fucking passing this lecture with flying colors.'


Despite the extra lessons Dave was assigned to finish for falling asleep, the rest of the morning passes by pretty quickly. When Dave leaves the library, he's greeted with the sight of Sir Vantas trudging down the hall. The slow pace he has suggest he isn't too happy and that strikes Dave's interest. Sir Vantas's eyes lift to lock with Dave's and a scowl quickly envelopes his face.

"What the hell are you staring at?" He snaps.

Dave smirks. He can't stand the knight when he's hovering and watching him interact with the Jade, but he instantly came to enjoy getting a rise out of the troll whenever the Jade's back is turned. This wasn't any exception.

"Is that anyway to speak to a prince?" The prince responds, naturally gifted royal snootiness slipping into his voice easily. The Knight snorts in disbelief and bares his teeth at the amused prince.

"We both know that's bullshit so drop it. So I'll ask again, nook gobbler. What the hell are you staring at?" Dave further patronizes the knight by simply shrugging his shoulders indifferently.

"I just noticed that my future fiancé isn't with you. You seem to enjoy trailing like her a puppy so it was a just an odd to see you alone." Dave lets the words hang in the air and could see the troll's eyes darken angrily.

Dave's made an observation that whenever words related to marriage were said around the knight; he tended to act much more aggressively than normal. Dave watches the knight's fingers twitch towards the sickle at his waist before clenching tightly into a fist.

He's also noticed that the knight gets really fired up whenever he applies himself into the equation of marriage.

"It's my duty to protect her from things that could potentially harm her, whether she knows it or not." Vantas replies, his voice tightly controlled.

Dave snorts and gets an angry snarl in response.

"It sure seems a bit more than that." Dave replies, voice holding a challenge.

Truth be told, Dave's curiosity was getting the best of him now. Ever since the opening feasts, the knight's interaction with Jade was almost too friendly for his taste. During the rare times he actually makes it through a whole conversation with the Princess, Dave finds her good company and a complete sweetheart. During the second day of continuous meetings and accompany his mother with other nobles, when Dave showed up to entertain Jade in the garden that afternoon, she actually forced him back to his room to get a few hours of sleep before they were summoned for dinner. Dave would only admit at times like that he wouldn't have minded marrying Jade had it not been arranged by his mother.

Sir Vantas's eyes narrow.

"I don't like what you're implying." Sir Vantas growls lowly. Dave's smirk grows.

"Well I don't like what I see," Dave responds easily, casually smoothing out a few wrinkles on his shirt. "So maybe if someone decides to correct how they present themselves, no one will have any misconceptions." Dave flickers his eyes down to the Sir Vantas's hand. The Knight slowly lowers his raising hand from the sickle at his waist, albeit a little grudgingly. The Knight nods his head stiffly.

"Funny. Those were my thoughts exactly." Sir Vantas shoots back. By this point, the two are nearly chest to chest with each other, each unwilling to back up or stand down. Dave could see just how much shorter the Knight was compared to himself at this distance. While Dave had to tuck his head in a bit to meet the troll's glare, Sir Vantas cranes his neck back. Dave will admit he was a little impressed by how well Sir Vantas holds himself, despite the clear size difference in himself and all those around him.

"Then we're in agreement right?" Dave questions coolly. Sir Vantas snorts back in disgust.

"Fat chance." He shoots back angrily.

"Excuse me your Majesty, but am I interrupting something?"

Both boys break their stare off and turn. Kanaya stands elegantly next to the library's entrance. Sir Vantas grudgingly puts distance between the prince and himself, though the anger in his gaze still lingers.

"Nothing at all Ms. Maryam." Dave answers smoothly, ignoring the way her eyebrow rose doubtfully. "What do I owe this pleasant interruption?" He adds quickly as Kanaya's gaze flips to Sir Vantas.

"Actually, I was looking for the princess."She replies slowly, choosing her words carefully. "I thought that if I find Sir Vantas, I could locate her." Dave can see from the corner of his eyes that Sir Vantas's face takes on an angry red flush. Kanaya notices this too, but her reaction is that of exasperation. She sighs tiredly, like as if this doesn't surprise her at all.

"She got away from you again, didn't she." The statement instantly draws a snarl from the flushing knight.

"Don't say it like it's a normal occurrence!"

"Is it a normal occurrence?" Dave inquires, his initial interest in Jade increasing with this new information. Sir Vantas shoots him a glare and hisses a vehement no. Kanaya, sensing Sir Vantas's increasing hostility, sweeps forward to cut off the angry troll with a gentle hand to his shoulder. Sir Vantas stiffs at first before hesitantly relaxing into the touch, his distrusting glare still focusing on Dave though.

"Karkat, I think you should retire to your quarters until dinnertime." Kanaya's expression morphs into something of a mother trying to coax a stubborn child to sleep. Sir Vantas's eyes widen in surprise, clearly not expecting his friend to side against him.

"What?" He inquires, his tone purely flabbergasted by the finer dressed troll. Kanaya gently rubs Sir Vantas's shoulder, trying to ease the rising tension again.

"You've been far too tense these past few days. I think a day of rest for you and the princess will do everyone a favor." When Dave really looks at the Knight, he could now see just how tired out the Knight is.

His scruffy hair looks extra scruffy and unkempt. There's dark rings under the Knight's eyes look like he hasn't slept in a long while and despite the energy Sir Vantas has shown him in the last few minutes, an undertone of tiredness was now showing through as Kanaya rubs away the tension from the Knight's shoulders.

"I can't just leave the Princess on her own~" Kanaya hushes Sir Vantas's protest, now slowly steering him in the direction of his sleeping quarters.

"Of course you can." Kanaya soothes, one of her hands coming up to smooth down a few strands of the Knight's unruly hair. "She has plenty of company. All, need I remind you, proficient enough protectors to guard her if anything should happen." Kanaya's reasoning was now only met with low grumbling, signaling she was winning the argument. "Go get a little sleep Karkat. You have earned it plenty."

The way Kanaya says the Knight's name makes Dave feel like he's intruding on something much more personal and private. Awkwardly, Dave turns his body away from the scene as Kanaya gives Karkat a gentle pat on the cheek. Assuming the little goodbye was done, Dave turns his head only to lock eyes with the Knight. His gaze wasn't as menacing as earlier, but the disgust and hate was as clear as it was since day one. As the Knight strides past Dave down the hall he, feels the Knight's elbow dig roughly into his side as he passes him.

"Watch yourself Your Highness." The Knight's tone is mocking. "I can't be held responsible for what myself or my companions will do should anything happen to the Princess." Dave doesn't respond, too taken back by the extent of the Knight's paranoia. Did he really think he was going to slit Princess Jade's throat or something? He didn't get a chance to respond, the knight already too far down the hall to justify going after him. Turning to Kanaya, Dave rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, already unnerved by the female's unwavering stare.

"So uh… I take it you wish to continue to find the Princess?" Kanaya contemplates her answer for a moment before shaking her head.

"It's nothing that can't be discussed with her during dinner." Kanaya gestures down the hallway and Dave takes that as his cue to follow her. Gentlemanly as he could manage without looking like he was flirting, Dave offers his arm to the classy troll. She hesitates for a moment before slipping her arm through his and continuing her trek down the hall. Luckily enough for Dave, Kanaya doesn't let the silence hang too long. "I'm actually curious about how you're getting along with the Princess. That is, if you don't mind me asking?" Kanaya stops their pace and Dave releases her arm from his. Kanaya's inquiry would have made Dave wary but the way her face was set in an eerily exact replicia of a certain aspiring therapist sister of his, he only finds himself shrugging.

"Well she's got a great sense of humor and doesn't bite my head off if I start messing around with Mr. Crabby." Dave pauses a moment to check that he hadn't offended the girl with his insult to the Knight. Kanaya's lips were pursed together a little in amusement, giving Dave the green flag to continue. "She's not that bad to look at either, so I guess she's pretty cool." Kanaya's little smile this times grows wider, confusing Dave a tad.

"You didn't start with how she's looks. That means you're being sincere or you're much slyer then your siblings give you credit for." Dave debates whether or not he should be offended by the statement, but decides to let it slide. He was more curious as to when his siblings had managed to rub elbows with this troll. He knew his schedule was busier, but he also knew that they wouldn't be getting off without anything. As if reading his mind, Kanaya quickly adds. "I've been introduced to your sisters. They wanted a second opinion on some dresses they were thinking of ordering. Lovely choices if I do say so myself." Dave can see the female troll's cheeks take on a greenish tinge.

"You sick? Your face is getting kind of green." The puzzled frown she shoots Dave quickly morphs into an expression of dawning.

"I'm a jade-blood troll." She responds as if that explained everything. Dave vaguely remembers being taught a bit about trolls and their odd blood colors when he was younger but the information from his childhood never really stuck, leaving him with only the information he can observe from his far and in between visits to the West Royal family of Feferi and her family. Sensing Dave's obvious ignorance, Kanaya takes mercy on him and continues her explanation. "Trolls have varying blood colors. Twelve colors to be exact. They range from rust being the lowest and fuchsia being the highest." Dave raises an eyebrow now.

"What's the difference with blood colors?" Kanaya's eyes dark a bit at the question and it raises Dave's curiosity but instead she just shrugs.

"Nothing really except the durability of the skin. Higher bloods are tougher built than those below Jade. My blood color is actually the middle mark between both."

Dave was ready to inquire more, but the way Kanaya was shifting her feet from side to side suggested to Dave she didn't want to be rude and abscond. Dave gives her bow and waves her away.

"Thanks for the little biology lesson, but I need to get to my mother before her night briefing of her advisors." Dave didn't actually have to be there for another hour but it was the only excuse he could come up with in the short amount of time allotted to him. Kanaya looks unsure of whether she should really leave, but when Dave gives her another shooing motion she ducks into a polite bow and quickly backtracks back down the hall. When the designer rounds the corner, Dave is met with a presence quickly making its way towards him.

The speed of the presence suggest that it wasn't planning to stop when it finally reached Dave and on pure instinct, the prince's hand gropes for the sword hanging from his holster and swings around to jab it at the presence. He only gets a small glimpse of a long dark haired figure clad in a bright eye smarting gold gown ducking under his sword before he his world turns on an angle as his feet get kicked out from under him. Going down hard, Dave lets out a string of curses when his head cracks against the marble floors. His eyesight goes blurry for moment, causing the prince's panic to rise. Not thinking quite clearly, Dave scrambles to retrieve his fallen sword. He doesn't get far before something comes down on his stomach to pin his body in place. He instantly starts to struggle against the body on top of him. He manages to get his hands free and starts to take swings at the blurry figure.

"Dave! Dave, it's just me! Jade!" Dave stops his struggling when he finally gets a good look up at his attacker. His vision clears and indeed, his dark haired attacker was the princess. Dave's eyes widen and he instantly gapes at her, his cool persona be damned.

"Holy shit Jade! What the hell?" His voice is higher pitched than he would have liked but it looked like it had the girl's attention. "I could have taken your head out with that sword!" Jade has the audacity to giggle at the panic prince's concern, ticking the prince off just a tad.

"But you didn't, did you?" Dave scowls back up at the unconcerned princess. He frees himself from the girl's hold and dust himself off, trying to look as dignified as could.

"That's not the Princess." He stresses gruffly, holding out his hand lifting the Princess back to her feet. Her gown is slightly wrinkled from the struggle and her hair is falling out of the barrettes fashioned on both sides of her head, making her look a tad comically. "You don't sneak up on people like that and assume they know it's you. You really could have been hurt."

Jade's lips turn down for a second, catching the genuine concern in Dave's voice and finally lowers her eyes guiltily.

"Sorry Dave." She mumbles, tucking back a few hairs in an attempt to tame the hair a bit. "I just got really excited when I saw you and just sort of acted on it." She looks sheepish but the smile she sends Dave makes his anger ease and eventually diminishes.

He sighs and ruffles Jade's hair a little, drawing a surprised giggle from her. "I guess so long as you understand now, it's fine. Just next time, warn a guy, would ya?" Jade giggles again and nods her head enthusiastically.

"Sure!" She responds happily. "No more surprise Dave tackles without proper permission first!" Dave joins her laughter with his soft chuckle.

"As long as we're at an agreement, shall I escort the lady back to her room?" Dave offers his arm to Jade much like he did with Kanaya, except this time he added a little wink. Jade rolls her eyes at the gesture, but links her arm with his anyway.

"This is certainly not what I was expecting when I met you." Jade confesses, her smile taking on that mysterious air like it did the first time they met.

Dave was about to inquire what she meant by that, but suddenly his side is assaulted by a searing pain. The pain is enough to drop him to his knees. He clutches his side and he feels a wetness there.

'What the hell..?' Dave thinks dazedly, his vision blurring at the edges for a moment. Dave hears Jade's voice in his ear, it sounds like she's screaming but it sounds so far.

"Dave! Hold on! Let me call for someone! Someone! Help!" Her cries are nearly whispers in his head now as his vision gets even more blurry. He brings his hand up to his face and Dave sees a redness covering his normally pale skin.

'Why am I bleeding?' Dave feels his body growing more tired and soon the darkness overtakes his vision.


Thanks for reading guys! I will still be updating but hopefully this time, a bit quicker than this.

Reviews and constructive criticism is welcomed!