"A-ha! Got you James!" the little Princess sits on top of the young Lord and holds her wooden sword to his neck. She hears two people coming to see what the matter is.
"Bested by a girl, James?" asks Prince Aldren with a sly smile.
"I was gracious, I let her pin me do-" Lord James is cut off when the Princess angrily presses her toy weapon further into his throat.
"Let him go, Kit." Prince Magnus pulls his sister off his friend.
"That was fun! Who shall be the bandit next?" the Princess beams.
"How about Kaden?" Aldren says.
"No, Kaden won't play, he never plays when I'm here." Kita frowns. She never understood why the young Prince tried his best to stay away from her.
"It's best that way, Kaden is far too good at Knights and Bandits to play with us. And Kita should go back to the palace." James was always the most sensible one of the group.
"NO! I don't want to go sew and dance and make tea! I want to stay here and practice my warrior skills." Kita whined but still, the three boys took her back to the palace.
They pulled her along and resisted her constant pulling and screaming. Servants watched discreetly over her tantrum with silent judgement, not wanting to interfere with the royal children.
"What's going on here?" Kita's screaming died down at the sound of Kaden's voice. "I told you, if Kitty comes to play with you guys you must refuse her. Swordplay is not for young Princesses." Kaden stared down his friends angrily.
"I too can play! I bested James twice and Aldren once. I can play!" Kita shouted at Kaden.
"Look at you! Your hair is all messed up, your dress is ripped and your crying like a girl!" Kaden spat at her.
Kita felt like crying all over again, "But I am a girl!"
"Exactly. Which is why you should not be outside playing swords with these three. Go, Kitty. Go away." Kita had no fight left in her to scorn Prince Kaden for calling her by a stupid pet name. Instead, she turned and wailed, running to the annex.
"You ought to be nicer to Kita, brother." Aldren said.
"Do not boss me around. She's eight years old, she should be learning the ways of a good woman and all she does is frolic around like an idiot with you lot. " The boys cast their heads down. Each of them were independent and strong but they were all scared of Kaden. He was next in line for the Golden Throne and at the rate the current Golden King's health was deteriorating he would have to shape up quickly. Kaden was also the oldest of the group. He was almost twelve. Whereas, the two younger Princes Magnus and Aldren were both barely eleven and Lord James was ten. Being a girl and a whole two years younger than James, Kita was always the baby of the group.
"We'll refuse her from now on." Magnus spoke.
"Good. I need to go to a politics meeting now with the Golden Court. I bid you goodbye, Magnus. I won't be there to see you and your family off. Safe travels to Eskar." Kaden bowed and walked away. Aldren suggested the boys go play some more before their friend had to leave for his own Kingdom so the trio picked up their swords and ran back to the gardens.
Kita smiled at the big yellow and pink present on the table in front of her. She ripped it open eagerly and saw inside there was a beautiful blue dress. She hugged her father and gave him a thank you before running with her maids to go put it on.
She emerged with a giddy smile back into the dining room wearing her new birthday dress.
"You look lovely, Princess Kita." the royal family from the Golden Kingdom had arrived.
Kita displayed her dress with a curtsey, "Thank you, King Gideon." He smiled warmly at her before moving to find King Andrew, her father. Queen Nina gave her a big hug and many compliments about her dress.
"And soon you shall to full become a woman, my dear." Since the Queen Ishali of Eskar had died unexpectedly last year, Queen Nina had filled in the motherly role. Not that Nina didn't mind, she had only boys so it was a breath of fresh air to mother the little Princess. "Before long you shall start to fill out and you shall be approached by suitors. Then you can marry and bear children and prosper in motherhood like your mother and I." Kita wasn't abhorred by the idea of living to serve her partner's needs and sit around all day but she definitely wanted something more in life.
Everyone's heads turned to the big doors as a loud chatter came closer and closer. The doors opened and the Princely trio strutted in. "Kit!" Aldren ran over and enveloped her in a massive hug. He was taller now. In fact, they all were. Of course, she had seen her brother grow so she was unsurprised by his size but Aldren and Kaden had truly grown and grown well. The last time they had spoke was last year at Queen Ishali's grand funeral. "How does it feel being in double-digits? Pretty cool right?" Aldren smiled and put her down.
"I don't feel any different. I don't look any different do I?" Kita asked.
"No. Most girls at your age have already bled and are growing breasts or asses. You lack all of the above." Kaden stated rudely.
"Now Kaden, it is different for all women when they bled or start to grow into a woman." Queen Nina rubbed Kita's back reassuringly and walked back over to her husband and friend.
"Anyways, most of the boys I know your age don't have those red spots all over their face!" Kita stuck her tongue out at him.
Kaden grew angry quickly, "Hey! It's normal. It just means I'm maturing and turning into a man." He then walked away angrily.
Kita smiled at her small victory. Kaden was now fourteen and Queen Nina had mentioned everybody his age was like this, angry and moody. "Could James not come?"
"No, he wanted to Kit. But his father has him training. You know Lord Herth worked hard to earn his title and captaincy of the guard. If James wants to inherit the position he must also work hard." Aldren said. Kita had faith in James he could do it, James was always so diligent and hard-working.
"Er.... Kaden and I bought you a secret present since you turned ten. Want to see it?" Aldren asked. Kita nodded furiously and followed him and her brother outside.
When they reached the stables she saw Kaden holding the reigns of a beautiful black and white mare. "Whoa! She's so pretty. But she's too big for me!" Kita barely reached the top of the horse's bicep. She was quite small.
"This isn't your horse, Kitty." Kaden patted the mare's neck. "She was your mother's latest and most favourite horse. The mare is pregnant. Only about three weeks along but the foal will be yours." Kita grinned and threw her arms around Kaden. He stiffened and pushed Kita back. She smiled at him anyways, she knew Kaden was moody and closed-off but had a soft heart.
Prince Kaden woke up with a jolt when a loud crashing sound came from outside his door. He got out of bed and peered his head out of his door. From down the hall, his brother also peeped out his bed head. It was early in the morning, and there was a big commotion in their wing. They spied a sleepy looking Magnus coming towards them. "What's going on?" Kaden inquired.
"I have no idea. There are almost ten maids that keep going in and out of Kit's room with sheets and hot water. I can hear Kit screaming too. Perhaps a rat or something crawled into her room." The boys laughed. They enjoyed laughing at Kita's antics when they were together. Lord James had graduated his first year of Knight school and Kita insisted she and Magnus visit to congratulate him. It had been two years since she had seen James because he had not come for her tenth birthday last year. So Princess Kita and Prince Magnus had been sent along with a small portion of the royal Eskar guard and maids to the Golden Kingdom while their father stayed home.
"It would not surprise me if she had knocked over an oil lamp and set fire to her room. She is so uncontrolled and clumsy." Aldren snickered. It was true, the Princess didn't have her head screwed on her head properly at eleven years old.
Just then, Queen Nina came into view. She looked as if she had been called on just as she woke up. She was dressed properly but her face was fatigued.
"Mother! Do you have any idea what's happening?" the boys ran up to her.
"Princess Kita is growing into a woman, boys. It's natural and I ask you to be gracious about it. It's eight in the morning, go get dressed, all three of you!" the Queen shushed them away and entered Kita's chambers. The boys looked at each other with a disgusted look on their faces. They were glad to be male.
When Kita came down for breakfast she was shy and nervous. Queen Nina reassured her and filled up her plate for her. King Andrew smiled lovingly at his daughter. King Gideon was still in bed, he said he had a headache and poor stomach. The boys were whispering to each other and stealing glances at the Princess. She ate quietly. It felt uncomfortable to have all that padding down there.
Once the adults had left the whispers turned into casual conversation. "You know Aldren, once a girl bleeds she turns into a woman." Magnus stated obviously to his friend.
"Yeah, Mag. So why hasn't it worked for Kit?" Aldren laughed evilly. The enjoyed teasing their only girl friend. Kita shrunk in her seat and scowled. Stupid boys.
"I heard once a girl bleeds she can have children. She can be bedded too." Kaden spread butter on his bread like he hadn't just insulted Kita. "Fancy a rutt, Kitty?" Aldren laughed but Magnus tackled Kaden out of his chair.
"TAKE IT BACK! THAT'S MY SISTER!" Magnus and Kaden rolled over one another, throwing punch after punch. "YOU WON'T SLEEP WITH MY SISTER!" The boys were torn apart by Lord Herth.
"If you wish to fight. You will fight like men outside not in here." Lord Herth's deep voice boomed. He dragged the pair out of the room and told Aldren to follow.
"Ignore Kaden. He is fifteen. He's all hormonal and suddenly thinks all to life is fighting and flirting with girls. Fucking pathetic." James patted Kit's back.
"You swore! That's bad language, James." Kita gasped.
"I don't think swearing is bad. It helps to convey emotions and widen my vocabulary." He smiled.
"Oh. Well, Kaden is a bastard anyways." Kita giggled. It was her first time cursing.
"Hey! Way to drop the bomb, Kit!" The pair laughed.
The room was deadly silent. Not even a sound came from Queen Nina. Kita could feel herself tearing up but she didn't dare cry, she didn't want to ruin the respectful silence the room held. The priest rolled the white blanket over King Gideon's head and chanted some blessings. When he was done Queen Nina thanked him and knelt down at the side of the bed. This was when she finally broke down, she bawled her eyes out by the side of her dead lover. Kita awkwardly smoother over her black dress, she didn't know how to deal with a crying person.
Aldren was next to break down. He sobbed quietly and wiped his eyes in the black sleeve of his shirt. King Andrew took both his son and Aldren out of the room. Kita was hesitant to follow. She didn't try console Queen Nina, she needed her time to grieve. But she was worried for Prince Kaden. He showed no emotion whatsoever. She supposed he was prepared for this moment, King Gideon had been sick for years and Kaden was probably trained to be unaffected so he could go on with his Kingly duties. Kita looked at her friend, his face stayed trained on his father's body under the sheet. She decided it was best to leave.
Once the door had closed Kaden came out of his trance. He ran over to his mother and embraced her. She sobbed on his shoulder and screamed in pain. All he could do was hold her and rub her back. He had to be there for his mother. But who would be there for him?
"You'll write everyday?" Kita nodded to her brother. The whistle for the steam train sounded and she hugged Magnus. "I love you, Kita."
She smiled sadly, "I love you too, Magnus." They broke apart and Kita ran straight over to her father and hugged him tight.
"Make me proud, Kit. I expect you to be an exemplary young woman when you return, my dear. Magnus and I will visit for your birthday every year. I hope you will send letters to Nina and her sons since they can't come to see you." Kita nodded and blinked through her tears. To their right, Kita's black and white yearling filly was loaded onto an animal cart with a whiney.
Kita's father walked her into the train and sat her down by a window before kissing her forehead and leaving.
"She'll be safe with us, King Andrew." Lady White gave a small curtsey. She was the head of the ladies' priestess temple Kita was being sent to. There she would learn how to be an excellent woman, wife and Princess, things her mother would've taught her if she were not dead.
"Good. Thank you for taking her in. She needs to be somewhere out of reach and safe. Since we have gotten these threats and carcasses at outside our palace telling us Kita was in trouble and a target, I have been terrified for my daughter's safety." the King helped Lady White hop into her train carriage.
"Under my protection, she is safest, my King." She nodded and the train pulled away. Magnus chased the train until it left the platform whilst King Andrew simply looked on.