The Princess Knight
Chapter One: The Royal Decree
"Raise your sword arm, Bella! If you keep doing that then someone is bound to kill you in battle!"
"And then where would you be, oh mighty jackass?"
His sword clashed loudly with mine and it took all my strength to deflect his sword and keep my head from being slashed open. Jesus, he looked glorious in the sunlight.
"In the darkest pits of hell, pining the loss of my bestest friend in the whole wide world, whose sword arm was so weak so she died a very painful death."
I prevented the giggle that threatened to escape and gripped the hilt of my sword, twisting it to break the connection between our swords. He smirked at me.
"Impressive my dearest princess."
He grinned, that blinding grin that lightened his whole face, adding a sense of youth to the rough and ragged contours of his face, the sharpness of his jaw and made his slightly bumpy, yet otherwise aristocratic nose absolutely adorable. Dimples winked in his cheeks and his emerald eyes danced in the sunlight, his wayward bronze hair going with the wind.
I was broken out of my reverie when a warm arm snaked itself around my waist.
"And my dearest princess, do stop ogling the opponent, you'd be bird feed by now had this been a real fight."
His warm breath sent shivers down my spine and I struggled to get away from him. His arms gripped me tighter and his fingers dug in my belly. I stifled the laughter but his fingers were persistent. I dropped my sword and tried to pry his hands away, my breath was puffing and his tinkling laughter was overflowing.
"Admit your defeat my dear princess!"
He chuckled and rolled us both to the ground, our limbs were tangled and his eyes dancing in mirth.
"Edward, please! I surrender, I surrender!"
He rolled on top of my body, pinning me down to the ground, his hair more tousled than before his eyes piercing mine.
"You admit deafeat, Princess Isabella Marie?"
"You know what that entails do you not?"
I rolled my eyes at his antics. "Edward I always lose this game, and I always give you your one wish."
"Just checking for loopholes. So, how does blueberry sound?"
"Blueberry it is."
He smiled like the little child he was and planted a big, wet kiss on my nose.
"I love you Bellsy."
I scoffed at him and raised my arms so he could pull me up. "You only love my muffins, Edward Anthony."
He wiggled his eyebrows, lips turned in a smug smile. I rolled my eyes. "Mind out of the gutter!"
He laughed and slung an arm around me as he led me back to the castle, to slave away in the kitchen.
This is my life, Her Majesty Princess Isabella Marie Swan, the Wise, High Princess of Washington, Empress of Forks, Lady of Swan Castle and Chateleine of Masen Castle.
Masen Castle was Edward's gift to me on my seventeenth birthday. It is traditionally given to the future wife of the Crown Prince of the Masen-Cullen land, however, since we are in the twenty-first century, Edward has no plans of marrying at 18, but still, he gave me the castle as a pun to tradition.
Loud footsteps clanged after us. Edward ceased walking and turned to look at one of the pages clambering after us. Edward pulled me close to him and waited for the page.
"My lord, my lady.." The page, Mike Newton, panted. He was sweating all over the place and his face was pale.
"Speak up Newton, we don't have the whole day."
Edward had it out for Mike since the day he discovered his girl friend, Jessica, was fucking him. It was lucky he did not behead Newton.
To make matters worse, Lady Tanya, Edward's current girlfriend was Mike's ex-fling. Yep, Edward did not like this guy one bit.
"You are summoned by the High King to the Great Hall. Immediately, sire."
"High King?" Edward diverted his gaze to me. "My father is here?"
I shrugged my shoulders. It was rare that the High King visits our small kingdom. See, Edward was not only a Prince, he was a Crown Prince. He is to inherit the throne of the High King, and govern over the whole country. The fifty kingdoms are his dominion. Edward is, and will probably be forever the world's most powerful man, after his father, the High King Carlisle.
Edward and I rushed to the Great Hall, the throne hall of Great Grandpa Swan, but now it's just a place for fancy gathering. A page was situated in front of the white oak doors that conceal the Great Hall. I chanced a glance at Edward and see too that his forehead was lined with worry.
"Hey, it will be alright, no matter what."
"It's just bizarre that my father would travel all the way here, Bella. What could be so important that he leaves Cullen Castle?"
The page immediately saw our approach and straightened in his post. "My lord, my lady." He gave a deep bow and opened the grand doors. Another page was inside, ready to announce our arrival.
"His Majesty the Prince Edward Anthony Masen- Cullen, the Valiant, High Prince of Illinois, Emperor of Chicago, Lord of Cullen Castle, Duke of Voltera, and Knight of the Most High Order of the Children of the Knight and Her Majesty the Princess Marie Swan, the Wise, High Princess of Washington, Empress of Forks, Lady of Swan Castle and Chateleine of Masen Castle."
To my astonishment we were presented in front of the whole High Court. My mother and father sat at their thrones, the High King and his Queen on the parapet reserved for them, the four of them eyeing us with undisguised glee.
Lord Emmett McCarthy, Edward's cousin and most trusted advisor stood to the right with his wife, Lady Rosalie Hale – McCarthy. My best friend Duchess Alice Brandon, stood with her bethroed, Sir Jasper Hale, the Lady Rosalie's brother. The Denalis, including Lady Tanya, Edward's lover was amongst the vast crowd of the High Court.
"Isabella, you couldn't have gone to straighten your appearance! Gracious!" My mother reproached me, however there was a twinkle of glee in her eyes. Emmett gave a catcall to the both of us and was quickly silenced by a loud slap from his wife.
I blushed crimson and affixed myself closer to Edward's side. His arm tightened around me and gave a jovial laugh in response to my parents. "I beg your apologies my Queen. The princess and I, were quite... engaged with training."
Snickers resounded throughout the hall and I pinched Edward's side. He gave a soft yelp and took revenge by poking my side with a finger. I gripped his hands in between mine. He twined his fingers with me and pulled me closer to him, I was almost hugging him.
"It is a good thing that you and the Princess Isabella have such close relations, son." Carlisle's voice is strained and Edward cocked an eyebrow at his father. "What seems to be the situation then father, for such monstrosity to be called for?"
Carlisle looked stricken, and twice he tried to spit out what he was trying to say, however seemed to find no words for it. Queen Esme held his hand in between hers and gave him an encouraging smile.
"It is a fact, and we do not conceal it, that Volterra, one of our dominions is waging war against the High Throne of Illinois, and with it, threatening the rest of our kingdom. We need stronger alliances in between our kingdoms, we need more land, more manpower to defeat the forces that has been conquered by Volterra. However, the kingdom of Illinois does this by marriage and not by war."
"Marriage binds the forty nine states together in powerful bounds, all states, but Washington."
I felt Edward stiffen beside me. "What do you mean to say, father."
Carlisle heaved a deep sigh and with grave eyes shifted his look from his son to me.
"It means that you, High Princess Isabella, will be required, under Royal Decree to represent your state and legally bind yourself to Illinois under the blessing of marriage on your eighteenth birthday."
Two weeks. Two weeks from now and I was to be wed. I knew the possibility of an arranged marriage had seemed ludicrous in the new era, however, in a time like this, with a powerful state such as Volterra is preparing to strike, I knew that my duty as High Princess of Washington required me to do this, and save my people.
"I shall follow my duty, my lord, and with a gleeful heart bind Washington with the High Court."
Carlisle gave a sad smile and rose from his trone.
"Step forward then, Princess Isabella."
I took a deep breath and released my hold on Edward's hand. However he did not allow me to move away from him. He gripped my hand tighter and he pulled me all the way to his chest, his arms keeping me there like strong metal ropes. I found it difficult to breathe, but it was alright. I was wrapped in Edward, I was alright, I was safe. His scent was overpowering.
"And who, may I ask father, is this vagabond to whom you are marrying my Bella off to?"
"Edward its okay, calm down." I whispered, trying to calm him down.
But my words had the opposite effect. Instead of calming him down, Edward was seriously agitated. "Calm down? Calm down, Isabella? They are marrying you off to a stranger and you are telling me to calm down? You will not force Bella into this, she is not a piece of meat, over my dead body!"
Edward held me tighter to him, growling at the soldiers who are approaching him, his hand tensing on his sword.
Carlisle sighed and motioned to our right. "May I present, Duke Jacob Ephraim Black of La Push. Son of Duchess Eve Black, a daughter of Illinois." A stranger stepped forward. He seemed younger than I was, and was an atypical dark knight. He had muscular arms, and a muscular body, and his hair was jet black, as were his eyes, and his smile was indeed very kind, Edward growled and I could feel his muscles tensing, ready to pounce at the enemy.
In my desperation a pressed my lips to his neck, where his pulse was beating wildly, and wrapped my arms around his back, I held him as tightly as I can. He seemed to relax by a margin.
He buried his face in my neck, his rapid breath warming my neck, his nose brushing the sensitive skin of my shoulders. "No, Bella, I can't let you do this."
I raised my hand to grip his hair, and kept my lips pressed to his skin. "There is no other way, you must let me go now."
"No!" His grip tightened around my middle.
"Prince Edward-" Carlisle began but Edward turned seething eyes on him. "You will not marry Bella off with some Duke! I will not allow it. She is Chateleine of Masen Castle, one of the most powerful women after my mother and hers, she is the most valuable person in this whole kingdom, how dare you give her away just like that! I will not allow it!"
"Edward there is no other option, we need this alliance, or else Volterra will win this war."
"There is another option. Me."