1.1.1 Author's note: Hiro is spelled wrong for a reason. I am not referring to Heero the gundam pilot, I'm talking about the original Heero Yuy that was assassinated. I'm spelling it Hiro to make it easier to understand the difference. Also the Queen is a made-up character, the princess is the Lucrezia Noin we know and love. This is just a prologue. AND! The prologue turned out to be fifteen pages so I'm splitting it up into parts. Non- yaoi. Now that we have that cleared up, enjoy!

Pro. Ch. 1

April 7, 1563

"Absolutely not!" cried King Hiro Yuy, his fierce brown eyes flashing dangerously. " That lake has been a part of France for as far back as any legible records go. I most certainly will not give an occupied section of my country to Spain just so your brother can build his dream palace on the shore! Not when the land is actually being put to use by my people in feeding the rest of us respectable French. Good, fertile soil would only go to waste if it were a part of Spain," he spat the word in contempt, "where all you would do is look at it. I've heard enough! Ridiculous Spanish! Don't write that part, squire."

The uniformed squire looked up from the parchment and quill pen he had been using to write his king's response to the request just received from the king of Spain, nodded in acknowledgement of the admittance and re- dipped the pen in the ink. His eyes followed his ruler's agitated pacing, pen point poised over the half-finished letter, waiting for the next brainstorm's outburst to emerge from Hiro's anger thinned lips.

Then there was a soft squeaking noise coming from the doorway that made both men look up. The heavy oak and brass door was slightly ajar for a mysterious moment before a small, black head poked through near the doorknob.

"Daddy? Mother says to tell you that it's bed time and Hilde and I have to go to sleep now." Four-year old Princess Lucrezia smiled endearingly at her father.

King Hiro's infuriated expression faded at the sight of his pretty little daughter. "Alright Lucrezia, tell your mother I will be there in a minute. I'll read a little more of A Midsummer's Night Dream, how's that?"

The princess's purple eyes that were so unlike her father's own deep brown ones lit up in anticipation. "Okay! Bye!" She added to the squire, who was somewhat embarrassed to witness his highness's private relationship with the princess. He simply gave her a humble nod.

He watched as the little girl giggled and left the room, her long raven hair swinging back behind her. The squire turned back to the king and, seeing that his mind was going to turn back to his current, frustrating predicament and his attitude souring again, the young man hastily complemented the princess in an attempt to maintain the royal's good mood. "Princess Lucrezia looks prettier every time I see her Your Majesty. She's growing fast."

The returning scowl on Hiro's face retreated for the moment as a look of fond pride dominated it. "Yes, thank you squire." He sighed heavily. "I suppose I should go tuck my pretty little daughters into bed, eh? Well, we can wait to finish this until tomorrow, squire. It will give the messenger a chance to rest and his mount to gather its strength. Be in this room at nine o'clock sharp tomorrow morning and we'll continue."

"Very good sir. Sleep well." The squire replied as the king swept out the doorway his daughter had previously occupied.

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Princess Lucrezia shut the door to her father's office behind her and, checking to make sure no nobles were there to see her, raced down the hall, across the gigantic ballroom, up the wide grand staircase and through the corridors to the royal family's private quarters. Hiking her long red skirts up, she rounded a corner and ran head-on into someone her own height. She looked up, rubbing her aching head, about to scold the clumsy servant when she realized that she had bumped into Lady Sally.

The other little girl recognized her at the same time, holding her own bruised forehead, and her blue-gray eyes widened in surprise and delight.

Lady Sally Po and Princess Lucrezia Noin Yuy stood up at the same time and started apologizing profusely. They stopped, and looking at each other, burst out laughing.

"Sally! Guess what? My dad's going to read Hilde and I some more of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Do you want to join us?" Lucrezia eagerly asked her best friend.

"I'd love to!" she exclaimed. Then, remembering her manners, she added, "If it's all right with you and your parents, of course."

"I'm sure it is." The princess wasn't wishfully thinking either. Lady Sally was just one of the young girls residing in the palace as her personal playmates. Sally's parents eagerly sent their daughter to the palace six months ago when King Hiro and Queen Noin requested little girls of their noble friends to be introduced as companions for their young daughter. Her Majesty was afraid that, with the imminent birth of the baby growing in her womb, she wouldn't have enough time for her eldest.

Although many girls were sent and some were still coming, Sally Po seemed to be the only one the princess had formed a close bond with. She was courteous to every new arrival and dutifully spent at least one afternoon in 'playtime' with them but their names were never brought up again and they were soon sent home to their disappointed parents.

At first Lucrezia's parents were apprehensive about the relationship between herself and the somewhat wild Sally (wild in comparison to the other prim and proper young ladies of the kingdom). After time, though, they too grew fond of the girl and accepted their inseparable friendship.

The little girls flew down the hall a bit further and stopped in front of an ivory door with gold trimming. In Victorian-style writing it said 'Princess Lucrezia's room' at the top in small gold letters.

Sally and Lucrezia opened the door a crack and peeked in. A tall woman with glossy black hair pulled back in an intricate style was walking slowly around the room cradling a pink bundle in her arms. Although the four-year-olds had been completely silent the lady looked up immediately, turning kind, bright blue eyes upon the girls.

"Daddy said he will be here in a minute, mother. He's gonna read more of A Midsummer Night's Dream, too! Is it alright if Sally stays here and listens too, please?" Lucrezia spilled out without taking a breath.

Queen Noin Yuy couldn't help but smile at her daughter's enthusiasm even though she was supposed to be calming down for bed. "Of course Lady Sally may stay tonight. Go change into your night clothes now, and Miss Sally may use an extra set of yours so that she does not have to trouble herself with going back to her room."

"Thank you very much Your Majesty" piped the little blonde. She grabbed the hand of the equally eager princess and they ran off to the adjacent bathroom.

The queen chuckled to herself and looked down at her youngest daughter in her arms. Only seven months old, the baby had her mother's blue eyes and the luxurious black hair all three of the royal family's women shared. It was uncommon in France, the dark hair and slightly amber skin tone. The amber hue grew fainter with every generation but was still there, evidence of their Italian origins. The queen herself, who had also been born in France, had darker skin than Lucrezia or Hilde but lighter then her Italian mother. It was a favorite bedtime story of Lucrezia's, her heritage. Noin's grandmother had been a beautiful Italian woman that a German explorer had come across on the way home from one of his expeditions. He had fallen ill from one of the many diseases found in Africa, where he had been adventuring, which didn't affect him until he reached Italy. When he awoke from his fevered sleep he saw an Italian angel taking care of him. He promptly married the doctor's daughter and settled down in Verona. Their daughter was, in turn, swept away by a Frenchman, an explorer himself. Unlike her grandfather, Noin's father didn't settle down but rather left his wife and small family in France during his explorations, one of which he never returned from. Noin herself had been raised a perfect Lady and, after courtship of proper length, had married Prince Hiro. After romanticizing the story and polishing over some of the more unpleasant details it made an excellent tale for the young princess to fall asleep to. Queen Noin worried that her daughters wouldn't fit in with the other royal court's girls, as she hadn't, fearing that all wouldn't share her husband's opinion that she had given their daughters her rare, exotic beauty. Or so he had told her when they were married. Especially little Lucrezia, with her purple eyes that her own mother had never seen before. She had no recollection of any family members mentioning the unusual color as a trait in her line.

The Queen smiled tenderly as her small daughter yawned sleepily. She winced as she heard two wild yells behind her and the crash of the huge, draped bed as the other two children pounced on it. There was the sound of happy giggles followed by a deep chuckle from the doorway.

At the joyful exclamation of "Daddy!" the raven-haired woman turned around, her smile growing wider. The brunette man came over to her and kissed her on the cheek.

"Hello, dear, I'm sorry to interrupt story time but I must get Hilde to bed now, if you don't mind saying your good night to her first."

"Of course," Hiro replied. He kissed the baby's soft cheek and told her he loved her, wishing her sweet dreams. He stole a quick kiss from his wife as she passed on the way out, laughing as the girls under the thick, purple velvet blanket 'eww'ed at the display of affection. Once the door had been safely shut behind her he took the correct book from it's resting place on the shelf and went over to the gigantic bed, sitting on the edge.

"Good evening Lady Sally," he greeted warmly. " I see my daughter is manipulating your time again," he teased, chuckling quietly.

Sally giggled and exclaimed "Of course not sir! Princess Lucrezia is my beeeest friend!"

Lucrezia giggled too, watching the exchange that was more of a ritual now. She then wriggled impatiently and, seeing her eager look, her father opened the book. This new author of plays was really quite exceptional in the king's opinion, and even if the children couldn't understand some of the concepts now, they would one day and for now it was enough for them to hear the beautiful, if translated, words. Hiro grinned as the girls scrambled to get completely under the plush covers. He started the tale where they had left off a couple of nights ago. "'Peter Quince!'" cried Bottom. 'Now I am down for Pyramus in the play, which is the lover's part and the most important…'"

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