Chapter 1: Princess in Denial
Boredom. Pure, unadulterated boredom. Celine was sprawled across her bed, feet dangling over the edge. There simply wasn’t anything to do. She couldn’t think of anything more to draw. Sewing was out of the question because of the lack of new fabric. She had read all her books. She could send a pigeon to her brother for new reading material, but she knew that wasn’t what she truly wanted. Today was one of those days when the tower room she lived in felt too small, when the air felt too stale and musty, when the scene from her window was too familiar, too… inviting. It was one of those days when she wanted out. Not that that would ever happen, of course. Her parents had locked her in that tower when she was just thirteen, and there was no way they would let her out now. As a minor, and a royal, she still belonged to them, and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Celine had stopped thinking about escape long ago, but of course on days like today… it was harder.
Just then a panicked yelp came from outside. Celine sighed. Apparently someone had found the dragon. Again. She closed her eyes, hoping that they wouldn’t get past it…
“Hello?!” someone shouted from below, closer to her tower. No luck there.
Not even sitting up, Celine called back in a bored voice, “Be ye prince, or be ye peasant?”
A pause, and then, “Neither!”
Hold on a minute. That voice, it sounded oddly… feminine?
Celine rushed to the window, leaning out to find that there was indeed a female mounted on a fine white steed below. She had shoulder-length brown hair and a bright turquoise tunic underneath her gleaming silver armor. Celine was absolutely dumbfounded. Plenty of princes, dukes, knights, and even peasant boys had attempted to rescue her, but this was the first girl to appear. Still, attempted rescue was attempted rescue, and there were certain discouragement procedures she had to follow. Even so…
“How did you get past Muffin?”
The female knight looked up at her quizzically. “Muffin?”
Oops. “The dragon,” Celine called back.
“Uh, I’m pretty sure his collar said ‘Monster,’ not Muffin.”
Celine shrugged. “Monster, Muffin… same thing.
The knight gave a genuine laugh, and Celine was surprised that she found the situation so humorous. She tried another tactic.
“There’s no way into the tower, by the way. It’s impossible to get up here.”
“Who said I wanted to get in?” the knight shot back.
Celine was speechless for a moment. “But then… why are you here?” she finally asked.
“Well, I saw a dragon and assumed it must be guarding something. I see I wasn’t wrong. However, I feel as though that dragon was a little too easy to defeat, and judging by your attitude… I’d say you don’t want to be rescued.”
Some unknown anger flared up in Celine and she yelled back, “Don’t be stupid, of course I want to be rescued!”
The knight merely raised her eyebrows and asked, “Do you? Because I don’t see a princess in distress, I see a princess in denial.”
Celine felt her anger dying, and she thought back to all those times she had sabotaged rescue attempts, how many times she had spurned the advances of men, but also… how many times she had yearned to be free. She disappeared back into her room, and the knight below thought that perhaps her endeavors to persuade this hostile princess were in vain. However, she appeared again moments later and dropped a rope made from torn cloth to the ground. She then quickly shimmied down, her hands sweating slightly from nerves, and plopped down onto the grass below, her deep purple dress fanning out around her. She looked up to see the knight offering her a hand, and before she could second-guess running off with a strange girl she had just met, she let her swing her up onto the saddle to sit behind her.
Before they rode off, however, she thought to ask, “Oh, what’s your name?”
The knight turned back to grin at her. “It’s Roe.” And with that, she gave her horse a light nudge and they were off.