Chapter 1: Nelliell- Red Insults Raging
"Ha!” I shouted as I thrust my sword under my opponent’s sword, tapped him on the collarbone, then pulled back before he could retaliate and readying into my attack stance. My opponent stepped back and took off his silvery knight’s helmet, shaking out his shoulder-length red hair and smiling. “Well done, Princess Nelliell!” “Well done to you too, Sir Erart,” I grinned back at him, taking off my helmet as well and shaking out my silvery-blonde hair. “Your form has improved as well as your coordination,” he said, walking to stand in front of me.
He placed a hand on my head and ruffled my hair. “However, that’s enough training for one day- the Prince of Nomentalis is here to have an audience with you and the king.” Ugh. Not another one! I groaned internally and grimaced with displeasure. Sir Erart must’ve seen my face because he chuckled and patted my head. “I know you don’t like the prospect of being married off to one of those princes-.” “The very idea of it is sickening,” I interjected. “-but you do know that it’s for the good of our kingdom, Dracobane, right?” “Yeah, I know,” I sighed, nodding my head.
Our Kingdom of Dracobane is small but strong. We’re the richest nation in the land of Lifthersfield, and our kingdom is famous for its number of dragon slayers. In the whole land of Lifthersfield, dragons are known as ‘Satan’s Angels’. Their fire is summoned from Hell itself, and their demonic features and ability to take on human form is the very definition of evil. The Royal Family of Dracobane, which I’m a part of, has been of a noble line of dragon slayers since Dracobane was first formed four hundred years ago.
But I’ll probably never get to slay my first dragon because I’m to be married off to some stuck-up swine of a prince on my twentieth birthday, which is about a year from now. And until then, I’m stuck with meeting the princes of different kingdoms to see which one is ‘suitable’ for courting.
“Princess Nelliell?” I snapped out of my thoughts as Sir Erart called my name. “Yes? Sorry, I was just thinking about-.” “You should go get ready for the arrival of the Prince.” “Okay,” I muttered, displeased with the prospect of seeing another man with the title Prince Whatever-of-the-Kingdom-of-Not-Important. I sheathed my golden sword, Kanterah, and headed back to the main courtyard of the castle. I greeted the guards as I walked by them and climbed the stairs to the royal quarters where the royalty and nobles had their rooms.
The moment I opened the door to my room the first thing I saw was my maid in waiting, Plantia, glaring at me with the most impatient and exasperated look I’ve ever seen on a person. “Nell!” she almost yelled at me. Even though she’s only a year older than me and just a servant, she’s like an older sister. I flinched away from her impending wrath and raised a shaking hand in greeting. “Hey…?” I squeaked out.
Plantia grabbed my wrist and yanked me into the room. “Geez, Nelliell. You’re as dirty as a pig! You weren’t out training again, were you?” I shifted and looked away slightly. “Gods above,” she sighed. “One day you’ll be the end of me.” She let me go and turned to the bathing chamber. “I’ll get a bath ready,” she said. “In the meantime, take off your armor and put up your sword!” “Yes ma-am,” I muttered. The way this relationship is made should be the other way around, I thought crossly.
I unstrapped my armor and leaned the sword against the wall next to my bed. After all the armor had been stripped from my clothes the bath was ready. When that was done, I had to put on a big, fluffy, puffy, frilly pink and purple dress. “NOW you’re ready,” Plantia said with satisfaction. “Now go to the throne room and meet with your father! Prince Netherland is almost here!” I let out a long sigh.
“Now presenting, Prince Netherland of Nomentalis!” the announcer called out the name of the suitor. The giant doors opened and the prince walked into the throne room. I kept my fake smile on my face; He’s not that old- I’d say about twenty to twenty-five- he’s got a respectable air about him, and he seems like a nice man. I thought. Prince Netherland looked at me with awe and knelt to one knee.
“My Princess Nelliell,” he said with a respect-filled tone. “It is an honor to be in your graceful presence.” And his tongue is smooth silver too, I thought, just like the other ones. “The traveling to this kingdom has been worthwhile if it means I will have the chance to be betrothed to you, milady.” “I am honored to have the presence of our most powerful ally in this castle,” I said, swallowing my displeasure at the way he said betrothed. “Please stand, Prince Netherland.”
“King Sandaphon,” the prince raised his eyes and smiled at my father. “I thank you for allowing me to stay in this castle.” “Think nothing of it,” Father said with a laugh. “Wait, you mean he’s staying here?” I asked, shocked at the news. “Of course, Nelliell,” Father said, looking at me in equal surprise. “Didn’t Sir Erart tell you?” I glared at the said knight off to the right of my chair. “No, he didn’t.” I growled. Sir Erart smiled apologetically and mouthed sorry to me.
“Nelliell, would you be so kind as to show Prince Netherland the castle’s interior?” father asked me, clearing his throat. “O-of course,” I slightly growled. I glanced at the prince and he looked away quickly, but not before I caught a slight glimpse of him eyeing me with a look of… was that greed? Evil intent? I shook my head. We’ll see what he tries.
“This castle is a lovely one,” Prince Netherland said as we walked through the royal gardens. “You can drop the act, Prince Netherland,” I snapped at him. “The king of Nomentalis doesn’t have a son, and on top of that-.” “My… father adopted me when his sister, Queen Lianna of Thaereno, passed away. I am that Kingdom’s late Queen’s son, and the King’s nephew,” I gasped. “So you might want to watch your tongue around me, Nelliell.” He drew out my name in a leer and threatening tone, bearing an evil smile.
“Don’t you dare speak my name with that tone,” I growled. “Especially when you’re a guest in my castle; know your place, Netherland.” “I’ll speak to you in any way I wish!” the boar-headed donkey snapped. “But if you really want me to stop, you’ll just have to duel me!”The swine said. “You should know that I’m the best swordsman in my kingdom; a pretty girl like yourself isn’t afraid to get some dirt on the pretty dresses, are you?” I growled and shoved a finger into his face. “We’ll see about that!” I said in a low, menacing tone. “You’ve got yourself a duel!”
In a few hours, I was decked in my golden armor and holding my golden sword out at the ready. Prince Netherland was in his red armor with a red sword, the color of blood. “This is a duel,” My father said sternly, glancing from me to the Prince. “The only restriction will be that no fatal blows shall be landed.” “As you wish, my king,” Prince Netherland said, sucking up to my father. “Of course, father,” I said with a sneer at my adversary. “I’ll try my best.” I heard Sir Erart stifle a laugh, and a flicker of fear flashed in Prince Netherland’s eyes, but then steeled into a smug grin.
“Get ready to lose, Netherland,” I growled. “The day I lose will be the day I get eaten by a dragon,” he replied smugly. “Begin!” father chopped his hand down and the duel began. I swung my sword out to the side and charged at Netherland. He did the same, and in an instant we clashed. I swung my sword and nicked him on the cheek. He stumbled back with a startled yelp and I took the opportunity to get inside his guard.
With a sweep of my sword, Prince Netherland’s sword flew into the air and landed ten feet away, point in the ground. “The victory goes to Nelliell!” My father shouted. “Well fought, both of you!”
“You might want to go find that dragon, Netherland!” I said, sheathing my sword with a smirk. I tried not to cackle as I dramatically turned around and strode out of the dueling arena; he opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water. That duel didn’t even make my heart speed up, I thought, grinning. I didn’t even break a sweat!