Disclaimer: Fairy Tail belongs to Hiro Mashima. If I got paid to write fanfics, I'd write a lot more.

Cultural note: I based this on ideas of European Medieval to Renaissance time period. Underwear as we know it had not been invented. A chemise is a full-body, loose fitting, cotton gown worn under one's normal clothes. It absorbed sweat to keep the fancy gown clean, prevented chaffing from the corset, and served as both undergarments (no bras or panties back then) and as a nightgown. Honestly, you'd wear it all day, then sleep in it, too. That way, a lady did not have to get naked just to change clothes.

Princess of the Land of Spirits

a Fairy Tail fanfic

by Rhov


Chapter 1

The Graveside Promise

Once upon a time, in the Land of Spirits, there lived a princess named Lucy. When Lucy was only a child, her dear mother the queen passed away. This tragedy left her father cold and unable to look upon Lucy, since she resembled her mother like a mirror. Instead, the King of Spirits left Lucy's upbringing to the castle staff. She was given a lady-in-waiting named Aries and a personal chambermaid named Virgo. Also, since Lucy was the king's only child, he placed the captain of the guard, Loke, as Lucy's bodyguard. He stood before her door all night, slept while she had her morning lessons, and watched her the rest of the day. When Captain Loke was not guarding her, the second-in-command, Lieutenant Taurus, watched over the princess.

This story begins in the past, the day Queen Layla was buried. It rained that day, which was rare in the Land of Spirits. After the crowds left, after even the king returned to his carriage, the tiny princess remained by her mother's tombstone, finally sobbing now that there was no one watching her.

No one but the new and very young captain of the guard.

Captain Loke waited silently for as long as he could. He had just been promoted, and his heart was not hardened by battles yet. The love this tiny princess had for her mother touched the captain. He approached Princess Lucy and hugged the child.

"I have no one now," the girl sobbed.

"You will never be alone, princess," Loke swore. "I will serve you for as long as I live. You need only to call me, and I will be there. I will never let you feel lonely."

The following day, Princess Lucy realized that Captain Loke stood guard at her bedchamber door. Every night, as she followed Aries and Virgo into the suite to dress in a nightgown, she gave a smile to her orange-haired guard. Loke's stubborn loyalty to the princess, and his prowess in battling the assassins who came after her in the night, earned him the prestigious title of The Lion.

Years passed. Princess Lucy grew into a gorgeous lady, a mirror image of her departed mother. Because of her similarities, the king rarely called upon her, so it was a shock to the whole castle when, on the princess's seventeenth birthday, the king summoned her to his throne room. Princess Lucy dressed in her best gown, and she was attended by Virgo and Aries. The summons came while Loke slept, but even then, the young pageboy twins Gemi and Mini rushed to his bedchamber and woke him.

"Lion! Lion!" they cried out together. "The king! He called for the princess!"

Loke forced himself awake. He knew that if the king was speaking to Lucy, it meant that.

Despite waking up long before his duty time, Captain Loke had to wait until after supper before Lucy left the king's hall, and no one but a single kitchen maid had been allowed in or out.

He's purposely keeping me away from her, Loke realized.

At last, as the candles were being lit for the evening, the king's doors thrust open, and Princess Lucy stormed out. Loke stood by her bedchamber door like usual, and he watched stoically as she stomped up the hall.

This time, she did not smile at him. Her face was bitter, and her eyes were pink from holding back tears. Captain Loke opened the door for her with a tiny bow, but he watched her closely.

She turned around at the two servants following her. "I don't want to see either of you again. Virgo, I have every right to punish you."

"I will accept it, princess," the maid said with a bow and tiny, masochistic smile.

"And Aries..."

"I'm sorry!" the lady-in-waiting wailed.

Lucy held back harsher words. "You're not at fault, but...I'm angry. Neither of you came to my side."

"It was the king's orders, princess," Virgo explained. "Countering him would be treason for servants like us."

"Whatever, just...go away. I don't want to see you until tomorrow."

"Who will help you get dressed?" Aries asked fretfully.

"Anyone else. I don't care who. Captain, you do it."

Captain Loke's eyes widened. "Wha-...? Me?"

"That's an order," she barked, before stomping away into her room.

Loke looked to Aries and Virgo, yet those two had no advice. The orders of royalty were absolute. They had to be followed, no matter how illogical or, in this case, immodest. Captain Loke gulped hard, then stepped inside that room and closed the door behind him.

Lucy had walked to her bed and stopped, holding one of the tall, gilded bedposts. Loke saw her shoulders shaking with tears she had been holding back all day.

"He's marrying me off," she said between hiccuped sobs. "The Prince of Dragons is also newly of age. Since I turned seventeen today, they wanted to finalize everything as soon as possible. They've been planning this for...who knows how long! Months! Maybe years. Maybe since the day I was born. Everyone knew but me." She glared back to him. "Did you know?"

Captain Loke hesitated before answering. "The king informed me three months ago. I was ordered to speak nothing of it."

"You still could have warned me," she shouted.

Captain Loke stood stiffly. "It was an order from my king."

She turned around and faced him angrily. "If the king ordered me to leave this castle and move to the Land of Dragons, would you let me go?"

"Princess, I have already been informed that, on the wedding day, I am to escort you to the border."

Lucy knew she should have expected that, but it still stunned her for a moment. "You would do that, wouldn't you? You wouldn't even hesitate. Would you take me there, even if it's against my will?"

"If it is the king's orders, then I can't disobey," the captain of the guard replied loyally. "My duty is to this land and to the royal family."

"So if my father ordered me to marry some man I don't love, should I also blindly obey?"

"The king has many reasons for this arrangement..."

"Yes, yes, he spent the entire afternoon listing all the reasons." She glared up at Loke again. "If my father ordered me to lift my skirts for this man and let him take me to bed, must I obey that as well, even if it's not my will?"

Captain Loke sighed. "Princess..."

"Would you lift my skirts instead? Would you hold me to the bed as the Prince of Dragons consummates the marriage? Because I swear I will not..."

"Don't make oaths you can't keep," he shouted, hushing her instantly. Captain Loke looked away as his mind burned at what she was saying. The thought of another man touching her, the flawless jewel of the Land of Spirits, the lady people from all over called The Diamond Princess, infuriated him. "If it ever came to that," he whispered, "my pride as a Spirit would tell me that I must follow the orders of my master the king, but my honor as a man would prevent me from going that far."

Lucy's face softened. She reached up and touched his cheek, hoping to pull his face back toward her, but he remained stiffly turned aside. "Then there is more than duty in your heart, Captain," she whispered with a tiny smile of hope. "Undress me."

Loke swallowed hard as his veins surged with desire he could not allow to consume him. Lucy turned her back to him and began pulling hair pins out of the tight, golden bun. Loke looked at her back, how the dress hung off her shoulders, and the creaminess of her skin. Steeling his nerves, he reached forward and began loosening the ties to her dress. He carefully helped her to step out of the gown, leaving her in just a corset and chemise undergarment. He had to tug at the cords of the corset since Aries and Virgo had pulled it so tightly. As soon as it loosened, Lucy felt a rush of air fill her squeezed lungs. It made her lightheaded, and she stumbled to the side. With the speed of a lion, Loke swooped her up before she fainted.

"That stupid corset was about to kill me," she laughed as her vision blurred.

Loke carried her over to the bed and gently laid her down. He tugged the corset off, leaving behind just the loose chemise for the princess to sleep in. He got the last pins out of her hair and let it fall free over her satin pillows. Then he pulled the blankets over her.

"You know, the prince wasn't even there today," she told Loke as he tucked her in. "They sent one of his brothers, some brute with weird piercings and a foul mouth. The Land of Dragons..." She shivered a little. "I've heard about that place. They say it's a land of fire, metal, strong winds, where lightning strikes, poisons brew, where even light and shadow battle for supremacy. The nobles there are infamous for being destructive. They're always fighting. I don't want to live in a place like that." She looked up at her loyal captain. "If my father orders you to force me to go there, please don't make me."

He knelt by her bed and caressed her hair, just like he used to do when she was a child and had a bad dream. "The orders of the king are absolute...for me and for you. If you are going to be a queen, you must learn that."

"I don't want to be a queen," she pouted.

Loke's face softened at how childish she still was, although seventeen now. "What does my princess want?"

She looked over to him, at the way the candlelight flickered on his glasses and shined in his orange hair. "I want you to keep your promise, the one you made me before Mother's grave, that you would never let me be alone, that you would serve me for the rest of your life. I want to be greedy and keep you, and one day, I want you to call me master instead of my father."

"Lucy," he sighed, wanting to say something more, but his duty and honor forbade it.

"I don't want to marry a Dragon Prince. I want the Lion." Lucy watched how his face shifted from shock at such boldness to anguish. "Do you want me, Loke?"

The captain dropped his head to the edge of her bed, unable to look at her angelic face without losing all decorum. "I cannot answer that," he gnashed softly through gritted teeth.

She sat up a little and stroked her fingers through his ginger hair. "Do you love me?" she asked in a mere breath. After all, who knew what nosy servants might be listening in at the door.

"As my princess..." he began, but Lucy cut him off quickly.

"Not as a member of the royal family. As a woman. Do you love me?"

Slowly, Loke raised his head back up and gazed into her soft brown eyes. She was breathtaking! Despite having been by her side since she was a child, he was not blind to her beauty and maturity. The ache to be more than just her bodyguard tormented him every day.

"To love you would be..." He stopped the fervent words, and Lucy saw the tenderness in his face return to its stony firmness. "...far overstepping my place."

She pulled back angrily and mumbled, "Damn you, Loke."

"I am captain of the guard, a soldier, a commoner, a servant of the royal family. Servants are to be shadows, unseen even by the one we watch so closely." He stood up and towered over her bed. "Besides, falling in love with my king's daughter is treason. Do you really wish me to end up beheaded?"

The stubborn princess looked away and refused to answer.

"Sweet dream, princess," he said formally, then Captain Loke strode out of the bedchamber. When he opened the doors, there were two pink-haired servants waiting for him. Virgo and Aries had been listening in, eager to hear something juicy. He growled slightly, worried about how much they had overheard.

"I'm sorry," Aries squeaked. "We were worried for the princess. We heard everything." She pouted at the closed door. "It's so sad. You both love one another, but you can't do anything, can you?"

"Because I love her, I won't do anything," he answered, taking up his stiff stand before her door with his hands behind his back.

"Brother punishes himself too much," Virgo stated.

"We're servants to the royal family," Loke said sternly. "If you wish to serve your mistress, gather what gossip you can and tell me everything there is to know about this Prince of the Land of Dragons. If there is a single flaw in this arrangement, I want to know."

Aries nodded, happy to see he was not giving up without a fight. "Got it!"

Virgo tilted her head to the side. "Then does Brother plan to stop this engagement?"

"I can't," he admitted, "but I can point out any dangers to the princess's wellbeing. One day, she'll have to marry, but it'll be to a man she wants."

"What about Brother?" asked Virgo.

Aries nodded in agreement. "I'm sorry, but the only man Princess Lucy has ever shown interest in is you."

Captain Loke looked over at her door. "I must remain by her side. I cannot...usurp her," he said, putting it as delicately as possible.

With no emotion on her face, Virgo replied, "She could always usurp you. Horsemaster Sagittarius says Princess is quite skill at riding horses. She could ride Bro-..."

Loke slapped a hand over her mouth. "Seriously, Virgo, you don't know when to shut up."

Aries tugged on the chambermaid's uniform. "Let's go, Virgo. We'll ask around, Captain," she promised, then the two left down the hall.

Loke resumed his position in front of the princess's bedchamber door. However, as the night settled in, his mind was plagued with thoughts of Lucy riding. "Damn that Virgo," he whispered between clenched teeth.

End of Chapter 1

A/N: I usually don't write AUs, but this plot got stuck in my head, just a general concept of a princess and her bodyguard, an unwanted arranged marriage, and an illicit affair. I debated for days which anime characters to use. I almost went with Orihime and Ishida, but I really wanted to get back to my all-time favorite couple: Loke and Lucy. This will quickly end up in the "mature" category. You've been warned.