Prompt: The Princess and Her Knight
"Now presenting, Princess Ruby Rose!" Came the cry from the herald, as the short girl walked through the doors to the ballroom. At once, all eyes were on her. She gave them all a respectful curtsy, watching as they bowed to her. They bowed low, those knights and soldiers-at-arms, guarding their ball and feast all knelt with their swords drawn. It was the most respectful thing to do.
Princess Ruby was indeed the heir to the kingdom. She would be the ruling monarch in a year's time once she reached the age of eighteen after all.
She descended the staircase with regal grace. Not once tripping over her heels, nor the long flowing dress which she wore. Her head was held up high and a hand was delicately placed on the railing. But to those who knew her well, she was nervous. More than nervous. She hated these parties and everything about them. She hated the shoes and the dresses and he stuck up atmosphere that surrounded the nobility and foreign royalty. But it had been her life. Ever since she was old enough to speak and walk on her own.
And it wasn't like she had a mother to teach her the role. No, the late Queen, her mother had died when she was still quite young. But her father, the Lord Regent, and her bastard elder sister, had kindly helped her fulfill what duties they could and teach her how to do what they could not. Ruby's eyes were focused on her sister Yang in the crowd. She was the only of the soldiers-at-arms bowing with their eyes on her, instead of the floor. With every step, Ruby saw Yang nod. Counting the little victories that Ruby made in the simple but oh-so important job of walking down a flight of stairs.
As she reached the bottom, she saw an armoured hand held out to her. With a smile, she grasped it tightly and allowed her knight to bring her down the last few steps, safe and secure in her persona; guard's hold.
Ruby nodded to her knight. Her only knight which she allowed full access to her and her room, at all times of the day or night. The one knight she trusted above all others, and not just because it was the one female knight assigned to her.
"Thank you," Ruby whispered to her knight.
With a careful bowed head, the woman responded with a serious, "You are most welcome, your highness."
"Please, enjoy your night. I know your family is here as well. I don't want to take up your time when it should be spent with family. Don't worry, I have plenty of others to guard me tonight."
Her knight nodded slowly, looking at her with concerned blue eyes. "Are you sure?"
"I am. Please, enjoy your time tonight. We can talk and laugh about everything tonight once this is all over. But maybe later, introduce me to your family? I really want to meet your sister. You talk so much about her, I feel like I already know her without actually knowing her, you know?"
Her knight let out a quiet laugh, "I do. As you wish, your highness. I shall introduce you two as soon as this party begins to thin."
"Take care Winter."
With a final nod of confirmation from the princess, the two parted ways. Ruby to the throngs of guests. Her knight to her family and to her own talking amongst the crowds.
The party continued through the evening. Hors d'oeuvres were served, of which the young princess was unable to take a single bite, despite her growing hunger. Musicians played, allowing for many to dance. Ruby was unfortunate enough to be the center of attention, pulled this way and that by perspective suitors. She was the princess after all. Her dance card was always filled.
By foreign princes, the second sons hoping to become powerful and the king, not knowing that her eventual husband would be no more than the queen consort. There were nobles, high ranking and low alike, all vying to tie their family to royalty. There were wealthy suitors and once wealthy suitors alike. All wished to dance with her. To whisper sweet nothings in her ear, to bring her to blush and to gain her favour.
She hated them all equally.
As soon as one song ended and another began, she was once more dragged off with another dignitary. Some son of a local lord. As the music started to play, she felt a hand placed in hers and one resting much too low on her hip.
"You are quite ravishing, princess," came his snooty first comment.
Ruby rolled her eyes. It was so much easier for men. No dresses, or makeup required. They could do what they wished, to dance or not at their own volition. They could make what comments they wished to, be they disgusting or otherwise. And she had to take them all.
"Thank you, sir," she responded quietly. There was little else to say. With the one hand which should have been on his shoulder, she raised his own to its proper place on her hip.
He smirked as they started to dance.
"It has been quite the busy night for you hasn't it. So many suitors, all in preparation for me." He lowered his hand once more.
"I did have many suitors this night before you. Just as I will likely have many more after," Ruby replied in the manner Yang had taught her. The closest way to say she was uninterested without pouring a drink into his face. Not that she had a drink at hand. She did raise his.
"You do have to admit that I am the best looking here." He quirked an eyebrow.
"There are many fine gentlemen here tonight," Ruby truly hated this part of the dance. The quiet words. Why could her suitors not take the hint. "But if I must say, that man over there may be more of my taste."
She nodded towards someone with short white hair, whose back was to them. As Ruby and her partner spun, changing spots, Ruby watched as his eyes narrowed at the sight of him.
"He's short and thin. Most likely shorter than you. He would be unfit for a beautiful girl such as yourself. You deserve someone tall. Someone strong. Someone-"
"Exactly," he stared into her eyes, lowering his hand further from her hip, squeezing lightly.
The feeling repulsed her. Eyes wide, Ruby tried to squirm away from the touchy future lord, only to be held tighter. They spun around, continuing with the dance as to not bring suspicion upon them. Ruby wished she could step on his foot, to scream or shout or do much of anything. Something like what Yang would do. She knew Yang would not stand for this. She would have knocked him unconscious with a single blow by now. But she was stuck, locked in place by social convention and her status as future monarch. She had to act perfectly. To be the princess that was above senseless violence that plagued her elder sister.
And still she struggled from his grasp.
"I believe the song is done," came a voice from behind. Deep, but higher pitched than many other men she had danced with that night.
"I think not. That was only the first verse. There are multiple." The lord's son replied with anger at being interrupted.
"And yet still, your song is done."
"How dare you. You wish to only interrupt my time with the princess. Wait your turn or we will cross swords."
"Then I will take that duel," the response from Ruby's saviour was music to her ears. "Bring your sword outside now and we shall duel in the courtyard. The winner may have a dance with the princess, and the loser shall be shamed and leave this ball."
The lord's son let go of the princess, squaring off against the much shorter threat. "I accept."
With that, he stomped off, leaving Ruby alone with her saviour. "I'd like to thank you-"
As Ruby turned, she gasped. It was the one she had pointed out to her partner during the song. White hair, perfect blue eyes, a gentle scar across one of them. Her saviour's eyes were serious for an instant, before softening under Ruby's own gaze. Then a small smile tugged on her lips.
"If you would kindly ask your guards to bar him from re-entering, I think we both would be thankful for that." Her saviour's voice was a lot higher now, lacking the deepness with which she spoke to her assailant with.
Ruby giggled, complying with her saviour by asking the first soldier-at-arms she passed. Her saviour held Ruby's hand, bowing low before placing a delicate kiss on it. Her saviour's hair was short and pure white. So similar to her knight and confidante.
"May I have this dance?" Ruby asked, knowing it was the proper response to give.
"It looks like you could use a break. It didn't look like you were enjoying your time very much." The reply shocked her. It was the truth, but she had doubted anyone had noticed her dislike. "Would you care to sit with me instead? I have some food at my table that I would be honoured to share with you."
Ruby smiled, taking her hand. "I would be delighted."
Finally sitting down after so long on her feat was a heaven-send. More so was the food that her saviour had so graciously given her. She was starving. But still, she forced herself to act ladylike. Like the princess she was, taking small bites of the delicious cuisine, even while wishing for this whole charade to end so she could stuff herself and go to bed with a full stomach.
"I should thank you, but I fear I don't yet know your name."
"Weiss," came the curt response.
"I must apologize then. I had assumed you were male when your back was turned. Your short hair and lack of dress and…" Ruby stalled, unsure how else to continue without insult.
"My less than feminine body?" Weiss chuckled, filling in the obvious blanks. "I do like to think that I have proper curves when wearing the right clothing, but I prefer suits to dresses. And my sister warned me about the risks of long hair in combat. Easy to pull on."
"Are you a soldier then?"
"A squire actually. I'm training to one day be a knight. My hope is to one day be tasked with guarding the princess. If it's not too bold of me to say."
Ruby blushed and smiled. "Well, you have already saved me once. I believe I could put in a good word and see you promoted to-"
"No." Weiss cut her off, grasping her forearm lightly.
"No? But it would allow you to achieve your wish, wouldn't it?"
"But it would not be me achieving my wish. It would be nepotism, or currying favours. I don't want to look back and ever feel like I am only where I am because of others. I want to prove that I am good enough to be a knight. To be worthy and strong enough to be allowed as your guard. Not because of a chance encounter. How would you feel if your wish were achieved without any hard wok on your own? What is your goal in life?"
"To keep my kingdom safe so no one would die in the same manner as my mother," Ruby said simply.
"Okay, maybe not your wish. Did you know that you're too selfless and caring?" Weiss chimed, leaving Ruby to giggle.
"My sister always told me that I should be selfish for once in my life."
"Well, I think I agree with her there. You're the princess and yet you still try to keep others from losing face. And you asked me to dance when it was quite obvious that you had no desire to."
"Well, you would be the first to realize that."
Now it was Weiss's turn to giggle. Ruby never thought she could love the sound of something so much.
"Well, it takes a girl to know the plights of another girl. I noticed you were unhappy with this whole ball by the second step down the stairs."
"If only everyone were so observant. But does that mean I had your notice since the beginning?"
"How could anyone not notice you?"
Ruby descended into a scarlet blush. Her own silver eyes flicked down from Weiss's own vibrant blue to her smiling lips, then back up in an instant. Weiss looked so soft, so caring. And she would be remiss to note that she looked heavenly in her suit. Almost pure white, only patterned by the very stitching of the fabric. It was luxurious and carefully tailored to fit her, and as she continued to notice more about it, she realized how much it accentuated what little femininity her body possessed, while still maintaining her strong and disciplined form. Weiss looked perfect. Ruby could not imagine her in a dress, as much as she tried. Even with her soft features, from carefully shaped eyebrows, to the gentle slope of her chin to even the curve of her ears. There was no mistaking that Weiss was a girl and an incredibly beautiful one at that. Even the scar over her eye seemed to accentuate her beauty rather than detract from it.
Ruby's heart skipped a beat.
As she opened her mouth, preparing to say something undoubtedly stupid, she was interrupted from behind.
"Ah! There you are princess." Ruby spun around to see Winter smiling at her. "And it seems like you have met my younger sister."
"I knew there was a similarity between you two," Ruby exclaimed.
"Yes, Weiss is actually the one bit of family I truly wanted you to meet. I thought that you would get along quite well. You're both kind-hearted after all. And dressed quite lovely tonight."
"Weiss is so handsome." Ruby nodded, looking over to the girl. "Eep!" She squeaked out, a hand over her mouth as she once more blushed profusely. She had not meant to say that out loud. Ruby looked away, choosing to stare out into the dance floor instead of at the girl sitting next to her. If she had, she would have noticed an equally bright blush on Weiss's face.
Winter laughed. "I will leave you two be this evening. You did command me to enjoy my free time, princess. But, I do warn you that you still have a dance card to fulfill with other nobles and suitors."
Winter paused, "that is, unless you have someone you wish to dance with instead. Nobody can take the princess away from a chosen partner, after all."
With a wink at her sister, she left.
"Would you care to dance?" Ruby whispered; her shyness obvious to all.
"Are you sure, you don't look like you enjoyed it very much." Weiss's brow furrowed with concern, only then realizing she was still holding onto Ruby's forearm. She slowly let go, only to have her hand caught between Ruby's.
"I disliked the game suitors play. How they pretend to flatter me, while only noticing my appearance, and then brag about themselves."
"Well, your appearance is truly flattering," Weiss jested.
"But maybe if I have the right dance partner?" Ruby looked up into Weiss's eyes. They were so kind. And so blue. Ruby could feel herself lost in that gaze.
"I would be honoured."
The two stood and walked hand in hand to the dance floor with a shared smile. The night and ball continued, just like any other. The music played, a lords and ladies and dignitaries from foreign realms discussed what meaningless things there was to be discussed. Food was served, as was drink, and all partook in it. But Weiss and Ruby just danced.
Hand in hand, spinning around the dance floor with gentle smiles and eyes only for each other. And too soon, the night was over. Many left in horse drawn carriages, while others made their way to the guest rooms of the palace. The musicians began to pack up their instruments, save for a single violinist who chose to continue his practice. And still Weiss and Ruby danced to that sole violin.
"Your highness?" A voice called out, pulling the princess from her stupor. "The night it over. And the Schnee squire is required to return home with her lord."
"Ah, yes. Thank you," Ruby said to the man, a servant. She looked over to her dance partner. "Will I see you again?"
"Hopefully soon. I did say I wish to become a knight in your employ. And… I enjoyed my time with you. I would be remiss to say I didn't wish to do something like this again in the future."
The two stepped away from each other, letting the distance pull their hands apart.
"Then I will pray that you become a knight quickly. If only so I can see you again."
Weiss smiled one last beautiful, soul-shatteringly perfect smile as the princess Ruby. "With you as my goal, I can't do anything but."
Hello all and welcome to Whiterose Week me-style! Did I/will I do all the prompts? No, there's a lot of them and I have other stories to write! I did try to do most of them though. They're all out of order from the 'official' prompt list, but that's fine by me! These will be posted randomly throughout the next week, regardless of any of my other stories' posting times.
Here. Take this as a present given to the readers on my own birthday... day.