I know, I know: another story from me. While I know that could be an annoyance to some, please let me assure you that this is a one-chapter story. I was asked by Adeela to write it. She gave me a broad topic and basically asked me to run with it. I hope everyone enjoys it and thinks that I did the "prompt" justice. Please forgive me if you're tired of seeing stories and/or updates from me so much recently. Hey, I'm on vacation, so I have to put my brain to use somehow, LOL.
Adeela, this one is for you!
-EDITED-I added another chapter for those who requested one, so don't miss it!
She was being driven insane. There was no better way to describe it.
Plans that were drawn up each month to tighten security on the first night of the full moons always ended up falling flat, no matter what. She would use past mishaps as things to anticipate in the future. She would get creative and come up with problems that might occur so her soldiers would know how to deal with anything that might arise.
It never worked, and she knew who to blame.
King Randor had made it a tradition to have a Royal Ball each month where visiting dignitaries and other courtiers around the planet could get together and celebrate. Celebrate what? She never knew. She supposed it had to do with the fact that he was High King and he had to rub elbows with the other monarchs and their courts to keep the peace around the planet. He chose the first night of the full moons, because he had to pick some time. Why not then? That's the only thing she could come up with.
But, she didn't blame King Randor for the problem. No, instead she blamed those infuriating courtiers! Now, while she knew King Randor, Queen Marlena, and Adam were technically courtiers, they certainly weren't like the rest. Typically, courtiers were rude, loud, obnoxious, and irritating...at least the younger ones were. They did their best every month to find new and inventive ways to cause problems…and she was the one who always had to clean up whatever mess was created. This time, it began when they started to show up around midday. Already, she had to pull a few of her men away from some courtiers who were hiding in dark corners and enticing them. Of course, she had to reprimand those soldiers for not acting professionally; she couldn't do so to the courtiers, no matter how badly she wanted to. Also, there had been a few women who had slipped away from the designated area to snoop around the Royal Wing of the palace. She had to chase them down and warn them of the consequences of being anywhere near Prince Adam's bedchambers, especially when he was there preparing for the event, himself.
And, what was their excuse that always made everything okay when they were caught doing these things and more every month?
There was going to be two full moons that night.
She couldn't help but roll her eyes at the notion. For years as a child, she had heard of the superstitions associated with their moons, but she had never believed any of it. She had simply enjoyed the brilliant blue lights the moons illuminated Eternia with almost every night.
The courtiers, and truly most people on Eternia, talked about the supposed effects of the moons, especially when they were full, from time to time. They said the moons could inspire hope. It was even said that they could make people fall in love and runaway with a lover for a secret late-night rendezvous. Typically, the courtiers said it lowered their inhibitions, so they could feel comfortable doing things that they normally wouldn't do. She didn't believe it for a second. They just wanted to have an excuse to not act accordingly to their social statuses. To prove it, she could easily point out that they were conveniently forgetting about the other things the full moons were known for, namely fear, murders, suicides, mental illnesses, natural disasters, accidents, werewolves, and magic.
Of course, her father would never let her shove common sense into their faces. It was simply to be endured or ignored, he said. She tried her best but it was difficult, especially since on this particular occasion, King Randor didn't want her to act as a guard like she usually did. Instead, he wanted her to be there as a guest since she hadn't done so for several years. Because he was the king and she couldn't tell him that she hated his parties, she had to agree.
Because of this, Teela found herself standing at the conference room table wearing a somewhat tight-fitting lavender dress. Usually, she could fend off drunken, wayward courtiers easily when she was wearing her uniform. She could say to them that she was on duty and that any social acts would be inappropriate. But since she was a guest tonight, she had to find a new way. This particular dress-cut would keep her off the dance floor. It didn't allow the movements that the typical princess-cut dress did, and that's what most of the courtier females wore. They wanted to be sure that they could be whisked away onto the dance floor by Prince Adam.
Getting her mind back on the present, she finished giving her officers their assignments for the night. When she was sure she had said everything she needed to say, she dismissed them. When the last soldier left the room, she immediately looked up at the roof and prayed to the Ancients for strength.
The party was in full swing later that night, and for once, she was shocked to find that most of the courtiers were behaving themselves. She was actually having a pretty good time. For the most part, she stayed close to her father or Adam. Of course, Adam could never stay too long when he had breaks, because he was expected to socialize with all of the available ladies present. Everyone, his father included, hoped someone would eventually catch his eye at one of their social events, so he'd make her the Princess of Eternia and one day the Queen.
Currently, Teela was at the punch bowl, getting herself something to drink, and Adam was on the dance floor with Princess Rhea of Oberon. As she tore her stare from the dancers, someone held out a drink to her.
"They make a cute couple," a man said as he gestured his hand towards the two royals on the dance floor.
She grimaced and replied, "They're not a couple, just dance partners for this particular song." She turned her attention to the man's face and recognized him instantly. He was a dignitary from Perpetua. His name was Sir Mal and he was notorious for getting drunk at these parties. It seemed like tonight would be no different since he reeked of alcohol.
"Really?" he asked, sounding somewhat surprised. "I see them dance together at every gathering I've been to."
She sighed, not wanting to really explain but did anyway. She didn't want him to spread that Adam was finally courting someone. It would spread throughout the planet and it would take a royal announcement from the king to stop people from believing and spreading it. "He dances with every available female at our balls," she replied; "They expect him to so he can perhaps find someone suitable among them to court. I know he's not courting anyone right now."
"Oh, and how do you know that?" He sounded like he didn't believe her. She figured he thought he was talking to one of Adam's jealous admirers. She'd fix that.
She stared at him sharply for a moment and said, "Because I am his bodyguard, for one."
Sir Mal immediately stepped back and raked his eyes down her body. Instantly, his actions unnerved her. "Wait a minute!" he exclaimed; "Captain Teela? I didn't recognize you! I've only seen you in your uniform!"
"Yes, well, I'm off duty tonight." She looked over and saw that Adam was off the dance floor again. He was walking towards Man-at-Arms.
"Would you like to dance, then?" Mal asked, interrupting her thoughts as she started to walk away. He grabbed her by the arm tightly and started pulling her towards the dance floor.
Teela looked down at his hold on her, planted her feet firmly in place, and snatched her arm away from him roughly. "No, thanks. I wouldn't be able to do much in this dress."
At that moment, Sir Mal raised an eyebrow and whispered, "Well, you could always take it off."
"What?" she gasped. "Excuse me!"
"You heard me," he stated plainly as he grabbed her arm tightly again. He looked up and gestured to someone with his chin to come to them. Teela looked over and saw that some of his friends, who were also from Perpetua, were right behind her. This group was known for getting into all kinds of trouble in their kingdom, but they had always been respectful here in Eternos. Most of the time, it was said that their antics were those of childish boys. No one had ever seen Mal and his friends as a threat. Clearly, they were one, though.
Teela quickly tried to wrench her arm away from Mal again, but he only held on tighter as his friends surrounded them so no one else in the party could see what was going on. They also held onto her so Mal could take that opportunity to pull her roughly towards one of the nearby balconies.
"Let me go!" she ordered as they pushed and pulled her outside the room. Once they stopped moving, she rapidly tried to bring her leg up to deliver a roundhouse kick to their shins but remembered quickly that she was wearing a tight dress. Despite this, she attempted to get her leg up, but she could only go so far. It limited what she could do with her legs completely.
Mal took advantage of his friends' grips on her and forcibly kissed her.
"All right!" "So hot!" a lot of them yelled simultaneously.
She could not believe this was happening, but she did the only thing she could think to do at that moment. As Mal tried to work his tongue into her mouth, she bit it hard.
Blood oozed out and he pulled away speedily and exclaimed, "The bitch bit me!" He raised his hand and slapped her several times in the face. The men held her immobile, so there was nothing she could do to protect herself. Now blood poured from her lips, and she could already tell there was going to be bruising on her cheek in the morning. She sobbed a little when Mal finally stopped and he rubbed the lower portion of his body against hers.
Then, a voice rang out onto the balcony, one that frightened everyone present, including Teela. "What's going on here?"
Everyone whipped their heads around and saw Prince Adam.
"Nothing," replied Mal hurriedly but cringed when he saw Adam step farther towards them.
It was a matter of seconds before Adam saw who he had in his arms and what state she was in. The prince's jaw dropped open and he called out to her. "Teela?"
With several tears slipping down her face, she replied, "Just get out of here, Adam, before they hurt you! Get help!"
At the sound of Teela's panicked voice, a transformation seemed to come over Adam. Despite it being nighttime, she saw his eyes darken, almost sinisterly. He straightened his posture even more and spat, "Let her go this instant!"
Mal laughed and yelled out amusedly, "Well, look who's trying to be a hero!"
The prince took a step forward.
"Adam, NO!" she yelled.
One more time, Adam stared them down and tried to end this peacefully: "I'm not trying to be anything but what I am and that's your High Prince, who will one day be your king. Now, if you want to be foolish, stay and continue to do what you're doing now. Otherwise, let her go and leave."
Teela had never heard him speak so bravely or so menacingly. She could tell that the men around her just realized how serious of a situation they had put themselves in. It was almost like they hadn't realized he was Prince Adam. Maybe in their drunken state, they really hadn't. They immediately let her go and started to walk away rapidly.
In response, Mal grabbed her and yelled to his friends, "Where are you going?"
"We're not going to face the wrath of the Royal Family," one of them announced. "You're on your own!"
"Cowards!" he yelled drunkenly. He then pulled Teela into his arms, put both his hands on her bottom, and pulled her lower body to his as he bent over her trying to kiss her.
"No!" yelled Teela as she bent backwards to get away from him, and just as she lifted her hands to defend herself now that she was one-on-one and free from the grasp of the others, she found herself falling on the ground because Mal had suddenly let her go.
She looked up in surprise and saw Adam clutching the back of Mal's neck. "I told you to let her go!" he spat irately.
Mal didn't seem scared or nervous. Instead, he simply glared at Adam and asked, "What's wrong, Prince Adam? Do you want your shot at the captain, too? Don't worry, I'll let you have her when I'm finished!"
Teela gaped as she watched Adam grit his teeth and immediately punch her assailant in the stomach. She cried out in alarm as Mal grabbed his midsection for a moment and then rushed at Adam as the prince bent to retrieve her. "Adam, look out!" she yelled.
Instantly, Adam and Mal fell onto the floor as their bodies collided. Mal got one lucky shot to Adam's chin, but the prince quickly turned the advantage by punching him in the stomach again and pushing him onto his back. He then stood before him and watched as the diplomat started to get up again.
It seemed at that moment to Teela that Adam became obsessed. No longer was he the fun-loving pacifist who didn't have a warrior's bone in his body. He was a brawler who won at any cost! As Mal started to stand, the prince swept his feet under the other's with a kick, trying to send him to the ground. It didn't work. Instead, Mal stumbled and drove himself into Adam as he fell forward. They hit the ground again, but both were up in an instant and Teela stood, as well.
"ADAM, NO! STOP THIS!" she screamed, scared that he was going to get hurt. She noticed at that moment that many of the partygoers had stopped socializing and began to look in their direction. Some were even coming out onto the balcony to see what was going on. She stepped between the two men with her hands held out, trying desperately to separate them as they straightened. She met Adam's eyes with hers and begged, "Please, Adam, let's just leave, okay? Let's just go!"
Before he could reply, Mal grabbed Teela's arm and flung her aside. He glared at her and growled, "We're not finished yet!" He rushed at Adam and rammed his shoulder into the prince's midsection as the other made his way over to him.
Despite Mal's move, though, the prince remained standing and used his arms to grab Mal at the waist to lift him upside down and then slammed him down onto his back. Quickly, Adam stood over him, grabbed his chin, and held his own fist in the air. Clearly, he meant to punch him right in the face.
Adam gritted his teeth as he stared down at the man, and his whole body shook in pure fury. "You know what?" he yelled after a moment. "You're not worth this! You're not worth it!" He then pushed his head down roughly before he let go of his chin. He stood over him for a moment and made sure he stayed down.
He then looked over at Teela and made his way over to her. "Are you all right?" he questioned as he brushed his fingers across her swollen cheek.
She nodded and watched as her father, King Randor, and Queen Marlena worked their way through the crowd.
"What's the meaning of this?" the king yelled. "What happened?"
Several men answered at once. "Prince Adam beat the shit out of Sir Mal!"
Teela turned back to look at Adam as the king gasped and looked towards his son.
Adam didn't seem to notice or care—he only watched her. He pulled her into his arms and held her tightly for several long moments. "I'm so sorry I didn't get here sooner," he whispered. "It took me a second to realize you were missing."
"It's not your responsibility to protect me," she mumbled. "It's actually the other way around."
Adam pulled back and stared into her eyes. With apparent conviction and honesty, he stated, "I'll never let anyone hurt you, Teela, if I can help it. No matter what." He then ran his thumb over her lips to wipe the blood away. He then kissed her softly, and Teela found herself wrapping her arm around him and kissing him back. "Let's go get you cleaned up and some ice for your cheek," he suggested when they pulled their lips apart.
Teela stared up at him in awe. She couldn't believe he had just kissed her in front of everyone or that he had basically saved her! She never thought she would see this day! And, she knew what rumors would be spreading throughout the planet tomorrow! Shaking herself from the stupor she had found herself in, she smiled at him and replied, "And for your chin."
He smiled and as they were walking, they glanced over and saw Man-at-Arms and several guards picking Mal off the ground and gathering his friends. Undoubtedly, Mal would be spending the night and many more in the palace dungeon. His friends would be questioned and when their roles were learned, they would probably join him.
When Adam and Duncan's eyes met, Teela noticed that her father mouthed to Adam, "Take care of her."
He nodded and led Teela past his father, who still looked thoroughly surprised.
"I believe the party's over," Adam said as they walked by.
The king nodded but showed no other sign of comprehension.
One of the guards who was nearby also nodded and replied, "Yeah, the full moons have done it again!"
Instantly, Teela groaned and stared at the guard for a moment so she could remember who to give a verbal lashing to in the morning.
I just wanted to give credit in a more thorough way to Adeela now. I didn't put it above because I didn't want to spoil the story. Adeela asked me to write a story about Teela being harrassed by dignitaries or courtiers in court. It was an excellent prompt and this is what came as a result. I only changed the premise slightly and this is why: I changed it to a ball instead of court, because Teela is usually standing with Adam and her father in court. Neither would have let the events in my story occur. Also, she would have been wearing her uniform and had the ability to move around, so she would have kicked these guys' butts in no time! So, I had to restrain her with a tight dress that inhibited her movements. I hope everyone found it plausible and enjoyable!