Chapter 5

The Lion and the Diamond Princess

On the night of the new moon, when only the stars lit the heavens, Lucy had just begun to brush out her hair for the evening when there was a rap on the door.

"I'm not in the mood for visitors, Scorpio," she called over.

Despite her warning, the bedchamber door creaked opened. "What about a visit from your knight?"

Lucy dropped her hairbrush and looked over in awe. Orange hair, catlike eyes, and although the captain of the guard was still in his riding clothes covered in dust, the Lion had lost none of his majestic charms.

"Loke!" She bolted up and ran straight into his arms, burying her face into his chest and inhaling the scent that belonged to no one but him. A second later, she realized how foolish that was. She let go and backed away with a shiver of paranoia. " he with you?"

"I come alone, and I sent Lieutenant Scorpio away." Loke's hand rested on her cheek, and his eyes tightened with worry. "The rumors are true. You've lost weight."

She looked aside, feeling foolish for making him worry about her. "Food doesn't taste as good when it's not you delivering it to me."

"Fickle princess!" He grabbed her and held her close, running his hands over her nightgown and up into her golden hair. "I missed you, too," he whispered.

After a heartfelt embrace, Lucy pulled back and looked up into his face with tears of joy in her eyes. At last, he was back! Suddenly, her smile became a scowl, and she slapped him with a resounding crack. His glasses were knocked off his face, and a red print marked his cheek.

"How dare you leave my side without my permission!"

He rubbed out the stinging mark. "The king's orders are..."

"I don't care! Never leave my side again, Loke."

He gazed down at her and smiled. "Okay, I won't."

She eyed him suspiciously. "Are you now in the habit of lying to me?"

"No," he said gently. "I will never lie unless you order me to. It's just that I've come to a conclusion about orders and the monarchy. I will follow any order you give me." He leaned down and whispered into her ear. "Anything at all."

Lucy looked up with huge eyes. Any order? She wondered just how far she could take this decision. "All right, then kiss me."

He smirked at her defiant face. "With pleasure."

He attacked her mouth voraciously. Lucy was stunned by such boldness, but she had missed this feeling. She hummed against his lips, and instantly his arms wrapped around her. Her hands clutched at him, ran up into his hair, and pulled his face closer so she could deepen the kiss. His tongue pressed between her lips, and she opened herself up to him. Their tongues swirled, a moan shivered out, and suddenly Loke pulled up, breathing hard. Lucy felt lightheaded and had to catch her breath.

"Stars, I've missed you, Loke!"

His face tensed with passion. "And I've missed you!" He dived down for another kiss. "I had to leave because of the king's orders," he explained between frantic kisses to her cheeks and neck. "I realized while I was away, I rarely follow your orders. Why should I, a mere soldier, obey my king yet disobey my princess? Who am I to pick one over the other?" He stopped nibbling her skin and rose to peer down at her. "Something Capricorn said made me think. His allegiance is to you, not the royal family. Where is my allegiance?" he whispered in anguish. "How can I pick one noble over another? So long as I am not directly disobeying my king's command, shouldn't I obey you as well?"

"What did the king demand?" she asked, curious and worried.

"His precise command was that the letter of alliance should be placed into the Dragon King's hands, and when it held his seal of approval, I must bring Prince Natsu here, oversee the wedding, and after all is consummated, escort you two to the Land of Dragons."

She drew back with a panicked look. "The prince..."

"He never said I had to be the one to place that letter into the Dragon King's hands," Loke smirked slyly. "Nor did he ever specifically command that I could not touch you. It's a generalized rule, but not a direct command that passed out of the king's mouth." He had a mischievous gleam in his green eyes, but slowly it faded with the harshness of reality. "To be honest, I'll be hanged or beheaded for this..."

"No!" she gasped.

"...but I no longer care." He took her face into his hands. "For once in my life, I want to dedicate myself fully to you. For tonight, and for as long as you command'll be my master."

She looked confused and worried. "But the letter?"

His soft laugh held all the playfulness of a kitten. "I went all the way to the Land of Dragons. The king did order that much. However, when I got there, I deemed that a sweet blind beggar woman should deliver the letter. I even paid her a silver. Now, if that beggar decides to burn the paper to keep herself warm at night, the Spirit King can take that up with her."

Lucy's eyes began to water as she laughed. "You didn't bring the prince."

He caressed her face. "My order was to bring the prince after the Dragon King's seal was on that paper. I'm sure, if he ever finds that document, he'll let the Land of Spirits know that we should go pick up his bratty boy."

"Oh Loke!" she cried out, hugging him tightly. "But...but Father will punish you."

"True," he admitted. "I decided that, as captain of the guard, I should pick my punishment. I choose exile. Before dawn, I'll be far away from here."

"You're leaving? Then take me with you!" she cried out.

He smiled and caressed her cheek. "Is that an order, princess?"

"Yes," she said firmly. "But first..." She ran a hand through his hair. He still had dust from the road on his uniform, but his face looked even more dashing like this. "Love me," she moaned. "Make me yours...please."

Loke's eyelids lowered at the seductiveness of her face. "As you wish, princess."

He lifted Lucy off her feet and rushed her to the bed. He dropped her to the mattress and climbed right on top of her.

"Whoa, Loke," she gasped at such eagerness, yet she did not dare push him away.

His hands slid up her gown, pulling it to her waist. Then he pulled her into a sitting position and yanked the gown over her head, exposing her naked body. Lucy bashfully covered her breasts, but Loke tugged the hands away.

"What did I tell you about shamefully covering yourself?"

"That was about my husband," she replied drolly, eagerly undoing the buttons on his uniform.

He yanked the shirt off and began to pull on his belt. "Didn't you say before, you consummated your love to me?"

She blushed as she recalled that day, placing his seed in her mouth.

"Perhaps I should consummate my love to you as well," he whispered heatedly as he tugged his pants off.

"Without a wedding?" she teased.

"We are in the Land of Spirits. Let the spirits witness our oaths." He leaned over her again and rubbed his nose against her. "Let's get married, right here, right now. I promise to honor you, respect you, obey your every wish, and to love you, as I have always loved you, for the rest of my days. That's all I need to say, right?"

She giggled softly. "I promise to love and honor you, treat you with respect, and never sully your pride, for the rest of my days."

"Then a ring to symbolize our oaths." Loke pulled a gold ring off his pinkie finger and slid it onto her ring finger. "A little big, but it'll work for now. Thus, as the captain of the king's royal guard, I pronounce us husband and wife. Let us seal our oath with a kiss." He leaned over and crashed his lips into hers.

Although done half in jest, Lucy felt her heart racing. With all her soul, she wanted this to really be a marriage. Maybe it was. He was a captain of the guard, after all. He had the authority to perform marriages.

"Is this for real?" she asked in a dizzy daze as Loke licked his way down to her breasts.

He raised up and gazed into her hooded eyes. "Do you want it to be?"

She reached up and caressed his face. "Yes."

"Then call me that name."

She laughed softly, yet with all her heart Lucy said, "Husband."

A tingle went through Loke's body. Legal or not, he felt that they were wedded in spirit now, and that was all that mattered in this land. "My princess and my wife." Saying that brought a tear to his eye.

Lucy shook her head. "Not princess anymore. When the king learns of what we're about to do, I might be disowned as his heir. Still," she smiled, holding his face with both hands, "I would rather live as a commoner with you by my side, than as a queen and lonely." She leaned up and kissed him. "Never leave me, Loke."

"I will always be with you," he swore.

"Serve me for as long as you live."

He nodded solemnly, remembering the oath he gave her as a child, crying by her mother's grave. "You need only to call me, and I will be there. I will never let you feel lonely."

Then she looked deeply into his eyes. She felt his breathing getting quicker, and the stiffness between his legs warned her of what was about to happen. "Say you love me. But don't say it just because I ordered it. Say how you really feel."

His hands slid over her naked skin. His face looked lost in utter happiness. "I love you with all my spirit, Lucy. I can't ever lose you. I want to make you mine...for all eternity."

"Then show me," she breathed, spreading her legs for him.

He leaned over her, kissing her deeply. She loved the way his body felt heavy on top of her. He radiated strength, loyalty, and kindness.

"I'll be gentle," he promised, pressing up against her. "Just trust me."

"I do," she affirmed. As she felt him, she gasped, her head threw back, and she was instantly lost in the sea of pleasure.

As Loke slowly made love to her, he began to realize something. Lucy was called The Diamond Princess because of her flawless beauty, yet it is only when a diamond is broken, chipped away, and skillfully shaped that it shines with its true luster. As he broke into her, as he marked that porcelain skin with bites and sucks, as he watched her sweat and cry out in blissful agony, he finally saw her shine with true, unobscured beauty. He was a craftsman's chisel, pounding relentlessly again and again, breaking away the rough innocence, so the dazzling lady inside could finally glow.

The pace quickened, and they both succumbed to their love. As she cried out Loke's name, Lucy felt the shackles of her social station fall away. At last, she could be who she truly was. She could set aside the title of princess and simply be Lucy.

He had not only given her love. Loke gave her freedom!

When it was over, Lucy slept in exhaustion. Loke gazed down at her. The candle had burned out, so only the stars lit her face. He saw that her blood had stained the sheets. The castle would know what happened here that night. He would probably be hunted through all the kingdoms.

That was fine. So long as Lucy wanted him, so long as she loved him, he would continuously fight for her. He would face exile, because he would not be alone. His perfected diamond would shine with him.

He moved some hair out of Lucy's face, which made her stir and wake up. Her eyes shined in the glimmer of stars outside, and Loke leaned over to kiss her.

"Dawn will be here soon," he warned. "Are you able to walk?"

Lucy sat up slowly. Despite weariness, tingling in her thighs, and a pain between her legs, she got up. Loke assisted her to dress, and she packed some belongings that were precious to her, mostly mementos of her mother. She also brought all of her jewelry, knowing they would need money for food and shelter at wherever they ended up traveling.

"Dress warmly," he advised. "We're heading somewhere cold."

"The Land of Ice?" she asked, grabbing her thickest cloak.

"Queen Ultear has promised asylum for both of us. I'm an old friend of her brother, Prince Gray. Once, I helped him during a challenging trial, so he owes me a favor. I already wrote to him, and Gray promised he, his brother Duke Lyon, and his sister the queen will protect us from the Land of Dragons and the Land of Spirits. Honestly," Loke chuckled and he picked up Lucy's heavy bag and slung it over his shoulder, "Gray has an old rivalry against Prince Natsu. When I told him I was stealing away Natsu's bride, he was thrilled to do anything that might humiliate the Dragon Prince."

Loke crept to the door and opened it slowly. He saw Capricorn standing guard. The tutor looked back at him and nodded firmly.

"None have come by, Captain," he assured. "Virgo and Aries are doing a fine job of keeping the servants out of this area."

Lucy blushed as she realized her tutor must have heard everything that happened between them that night. "You're all helping...why?"

Capricorn gave her a tender smile. "My duty is to you, princess, and not to the royal family. I sneaked Loke in here, and now we will sneak you both out."

Then Aries and Virgo came forward. They helped to carry some of Lucy's bags, and they gave her a traveling cloak with a deep hood that hid her face. Then they hurried through the halls.

Suddenly, the Gemini twins rushed into the hallway. "Back, back!" the two small children warned.

The group drew back as one of the king's chancellors walked by with a midnight snack. Once he was gone, Gemi and Mini hurried out again, checking passages and distracting guards with their antics so the others could sneak by.

Finally, they reached the main entrance. To their surprise, they were met head on by Lieutenants Scorpio and Taurus. Loke reached for his sword, ready to fight his old friends and underlings, but both had smiles.

Scorpio explained, "We heard you had returned, and we knew you'd try something foolish, Lion. We are going to help."

Taurus nodded eagerly. "We'll get you two out of the grounds. Anything to protect Princess Lucy's nice body."

Loke thanked them with a sigh of relief. It was good to have friends he could count on. Their sizable group hurried forward, keeping against walls, with Taurus or Scorpio scouting ahead, then waving them to hurry. Loke wrapped his arm around Lucy as she shivered from the cold night air and the thrill of running away from the castle.

They at last made it to the river that lazily flowed through part of the palace grounds. Lucy saw Aquarius with one of her boats, and Momma Pisces was at the helm, with her darker child at the stern.

"We'll get you out of here," Aquarius promised. "Only because Scorpio asked me to help."

Lucy looked around. Other members of the staff had gathered to wish her safe travel. She cried as she saw that, despite her father's heavy fist, so many of her friends were eager to ensure her happiness.

"Thank you, all of you," she sniffled.

"Just don't get caught, ebi," Cancer warned.

Aries bashfully said, "We'll distract the king somehow...I'm sorry."

"If anything is discovered, I will take full punishment," Virgo decided.

"Have fun, have babies!" Gemi and Mini cheered.

"Moooove it along, you two," Taurus laughed.

Lucy gave them all hugs, although Aquarius shoved her away. Then she climbed onto the rocking boat.

"Pisces," Capricorn called out to the boat-wright. "Take them ten leagues downstream. Sagittarius is there with a couple of horses. That should get them out of the Land of Spirits."

The child nodded. "Understood, Momma."

Capricorn glared. "I'm not your mother!"

"Fufu!" Mother Pisces chuckled. "Let's go, son."

"Yes, Momma."

The boat sailed away, slipping into the darkness and the river fog, gliding silently out of the castle, passed the nearby village, and out into open lands where only morning birds sang and frogs chirruped. Loke hugged Lucy around from the back, sheltering her from the moist chill, and gave her a soft kiss on the head. He realized this was only the start of their new adventure together, and it would not be easy for them. Still, with Lucy as his master, he would fight any enemy.

The sun began to rise, turning the fog into lacy gold. They arrived at a fording, where Sagittarius was standing with two steeds. Loke assisted Lucy up into her saddle, then mounted his own horse Regulus.

Sagittarius saluted stiffly. "Be safe, Captain, Princess...moshi-moshi."

"Thank you. Bye-bye, Pisces," Lucy cheered, waving goodbye. "Thanks, both of you."

"You're welcome, Momma," the child replied.

"I'm not your mother!"

When Lucy looked up at Loke, grinning with eager excitement at finally breaking free from the shackles of her duties, he knew that they would always be happy, so long as they had one another. He would protect his love, and always treat her with pride.

On that day, the two escaped the Land of Spirits, and after a long ride over many harsh roads, they at last came to the Land of Ice. There, the gentle Queen Ultear took in Lucy and Loke, hiding them from her father and any retaliation from the Dragons. However, they heard that Prince Natsu asked his father not to blame either the Spirits nor Princess Lucy. Peace was settled in other ways between the two nations, and Lucy lived without fear.

She and Loke brought beauty and joy to the Land of Ice. Lucy became the confidante of Prince Gray's fiancé Juvia, and Loke enjoyed hunting parties with the Ice Prince. They lived together in happiness, maybe not with all the splendors Lucy had known as a princess, but certainly the Ice Nobles did not let them live in poverty.

A year later, rumors reached the King of Spirits that Lucy had given birth to a son. At the news of an heir, the king at last forgave his daughter and offered to let her come back home, with Loke as her new prince. She, Loke, and their son returned to tearful reunions with her dear Spirit friends. Lucy reconciled with her father, and Loke got training on how to act as a prince. He had a natural gift at charming others, although he still preferred to sneak out and have a dueling scuffle with Taurus or Scorpio.

In time, Lucy became the Diamond Queen of Spirits, and Loke was crowned as her beloved king. They ruled during an era of peace, and the people in the Land of Spirits swore that while Queen Lucy reigned, the stars shined even brighter in the night sky.

And they lived happily ever after.

The End