Memories of my Rival

 

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This is quite perplexing. I, Prince Leica Orvil (soon to be king), am getting married to Princess Theodora Rathan this very day. I admit that she is beautiful, but she is so boring; always talking about how her dresses were specially made and gossip about her friends. She is to be my wife, but I absolutely loathe it. I even have the urge to skip out, but if I do then my mother might blow me out of a cannon. She will do it (she is a sadist after all).

If my bride to be was as interesting as my rival then I would be glad to marry her. What rival you ask? Well when I was ten-years-old, my mother told me that I was lazy with my studies and that I needed an initiative, so she grabbed a boy she found on a street and declared him as first in line for the throne, unless I proved better than him. This boy was the same age as me (I would be older since I was born four days earlier than him). His clothes were absolutely hideous with tears on his pants and shirt. His black hair was tangled and I could swear that he smelled of fish. He introduced himself as Lori and even claimed not to be interested in the throne, but I definitely didn’t buy it. Who wouldn’t want to be king?

After the day we first met, the instructor taught us even more advanced material that literally made me go dizzy. The concept of zero is very difficult for a ten-year-old. Lori, on the other hand, was going through the lessons like it was nothing and even claimed that it was too easy. He mentioned not even needing a calculator, but I have no idea what that means. What is a calculator?

Now that I think about it, he looked really good cleaned up. I bet if his hair grew a bit longer he would be a beauty…stop that thought! Forget I even said that.

Besides our written lessons, we were taught swordsmanship. Swordsmanship is my strong point, but Lori is once again performing better than me. What does he mean that it is like Kendo? What is Kendo? Stop using such difficult vocabulary!

I admit that I was frustrated that Lori was performing better than me and at this rate I might really lose my throne. I even considered poisoning him, but decided not to when I noticed that Lori ate the vegetables from my plate for me (Peas are evil). I guess he is good as a dumpster.

One day, when I decided to study through the night in the library, Lori approached me claiming that he couldn’t sleep and began to tutor me. I have to admit that the way he teaches is easy to understand compared to the instructor.

The next day, Lori and I performed better in our studies compared to last time. I was really grateful to Lori for teaching me, so I decided to teach him some swordsmanship when it was night time (he actually taught me some new moves).

I guess Lori and I were almost friends, but he was still my rival for the throne.

Now that I think about it, there was one time when I absolutely loathed him to the very core to the point of ignoring him for a whole month. We were running laps during our physical training, but after the tenth lap, Lori fell over (I tripped him by accident). The fall was pretty hard to the point he sprained his wrist. I apologized, but he threw a punch into my face. Next thing I knew, Lori and I were in a wrestling match on the ground. Mother scolded both of us, but it was obviously Lori’s fault.

During that time, Lori and I didn’t speak to each other. Lori looked pretty mad too and I noticed that he cringed when he held the quill. The sprain was pretty bad, but it is still not my fault…OK, it was my fault, but he didn’t need to punch me. It was just an accident.

When a month had passed, Lori and I were in speaking terms, but not in friendly terms. We vented our frustration on each other during sword practice to the point that the sparing swords would be damaged. I guess mother had enough, since after breaking quite a number of sparing swords she sent us to a very large clearing covered in craters…this area was where she practiced the new cannons. As you guys have guessed, Lori and I became target practice for the newly developed cannons at the time. I ran for my life that day and Lori was the same. We even worked together to avoid the cannon balls flying at us, forgetting any rivalry we had.

It was a miracle that we survived. We both apologized to each other with tears in our eyes. The tears were from relief. On that day, Lori and I called mother “Master” for a long while in respect for her (also to prevent her from sending us out to be targets again). Mother warned us not to misbehave and I can tell you that we were both good little boys for the next few months.

I was improving in my studies and swordsmanship, since Lori became my rival and he was also showing promise as someone who might work in my court someday, if he didn’t take my throne. I actually wanted him to be my right hand man when I took the throne. He was very clever and I found him entertaining with his talks about another world with horseless carriages and people flying in the sky. It was nonsense, but very intriguing. If such a world existed, I would like to see it…actually, I want to see it with Lori.

This is quite embarrassing. I’ve been calling him my rival this whole time, but recounting the past, he was truly my first friend…my best friend. I really miss him. Where did he go? I’m not sure.

When it was my eleventh birthday, there was a great celebration. Mother announced that I would get the throne, since I have improved in my studies to become a ruler. I was over the moon, but then I wondered what would happen to Lori. He obviously performed better than me and yet I still got the throne. Mother might have just been testing me, so Lori was just the push I needed, but I still wanted to have Lori around. I asked if Lori would remain in the castle and my mother just told me that it was up to me. If that’s the case then I will make him my advisor or maybe make him the captain of the knights; anything to make him part of the castle and to remain by my side.

Sadly, when I found him he was surrounded by a white light near the pink rose bushes. I don’t know where this white light came from, but as it grew, Lori began to disappear. I called his name running to him. I needed to get him out, but when I reached out, just inches away from him, he vanished. There was nothing to show that he was there at all.

I was in denial that he had just vanished, but when I searched for him the following days, I had to accept that he was gone.

Oh dear, remembering that day has brought tears to my eyes. I really do miss him.

I can hear the church bells ringing: time to get married to the princess and take my throne as king.

I entered the church and stood at the front waiting for my bride to be. I should be happy, but as I mentioned, she is so boring and not at all like Lori. If I was marrying Lori then I would be happy…I can’t believe I just thought that! Lori is a man, but based on his looks, he would be beautiful as a woman. There I go again! I have to stop thinking about him. Lori is gone. I have to accept that I will never see him again.

Looks like my bride is finally arriving (calling the princess my bride is making me feel sick now). The stares of the people are very unnerving. The princess is now by my side. I hold her hand feeling how cold her touch is. Lori’s touch was warm and made me feel safe, especially when we were avoiding cannon fire during our punishment. I miss Lori.

The priest is speaking, but I can barely make out what he is saying. I really am out of it…I truly miss Lori. If he were here, would he object on the wedding or maybe he would wish me good luck in my new married life…I WOULD CRY IF HE WISHED ME LUCK IN SPENDING MY LIFE WITH A GIRL THAT ISN’T HIM! I don’t want to be here. I want to be where Lori is.

“Your Majesty, Leica Orvil, do you take her majesty, Theodora Rathan as you lovely wedding wife and as your queen?”

The priest is finally asking me to take my vow for the princess. If I say “I do” then we will truly be wedded…wedded…I want…I do…

“I DON’T! I’M SORRY BUT I REFUSE THE MARRIAGE!”

What am I saying? Actually I know what I am saying: I don’t want to marry the princess. I never did, even if it is for the good of the kingdom.

“Leica, what are you saying?”

The princess sounds hurt, but I really can’t go through with it. Even the people in the church are starting to make a ruckus, but my mother is surprisingly quiet as she stares in my direction. She might be planning to kill me.

“I’m sorry,” I stated again and began to run in the direction of the exit. I have to get out of here. I have to get out of here to find him. I HAVE TO FIND LORI!

Suddenly, a bright white light appeared before me and something or someone flew out colliding into my stomach. The air was forced out of me, but I managed to stay conscious. I was coughing roughly as I was forced onto the ground, landing on my bottom. The light vanished, but whoever flew out still remained lying on top of me.

All was silent as my eyes fell on the person on top of me. I saw long black hair with a clear veil with rose patterns on it and a white dress with layers on the skirt that made it resemble a blooming flower. I could tell that this person must be a female. I heard a groan from this person and when this person lifted up her face our eyes met. This face…I know this face…this person is Lori. I know this person is Lori. I could never mistake his face.

“Lori?”

“Leica?”

I could feel tears flowing from my eyes as I embraced Lori. He finally came back. He really came back. I’m so happy…Lori is back, but why is he wearing a dress? I took a good look at him and noticed the two bulges on his chest. I touched one of those bulges and got a slap on the cheek by Lori.

I touched my cheek looking at Lori with doubt.

“You’re a girl?”

Lori nodded with slightly red cheeks.

“Really?”

“Yes really. I was shocked too, you know.”

“You were shocked?”

So he wasn’t trying to hide his gender from me when we were ten?

According to Lori, she thought she was a boy, since she was often called one by the other orphans when she lived in an orphanage, but a trip to a doctor from where she came from said that she was a girl and when her time of the month started when she reached her teenage years, she finally believed it. This was truly shocking, but…I AM SO HAPPY!

I kissed Lori on the lips without any warning. I felt no resistance, but I did feel Lori kiss me back. When our kiss ended, I told Lori how much I missed her. I saw the tears flow from her eyes as she said, “I missed you too.”

Our happy reunion was cut short though when I heard the princess exclaim in anger, “How dare you choose another girl over me!” I turned to face the princess and saw her running at me with a dagger in her hand. Where in the world did she get that dagger? I was going to dodge, but then I realized that Lori might be stabbed, so I stood my ground ready to take the strike to protect Lori.

“GUARDS, SEIZE HER!”

The guards suddenly surrounded the princess, knocked the dagger out of her hand and restrained her. Their actions were fast. It was as if they expected the princess to attack. I looked toward my mother who yelled out the order to seize and saw her approach me with a smirk. I know that smirk. She was planning something.

“My dear son, I didn’t know you had it in you to refuse a political marriage.”

“Mother…I’m sorry…”

“There is no need for an apology. This actually works better for me.”

“…What?”

“The plan was for you to marry the princess of one of our enemy countries and when she tries to assassinate you, we will rescue you and then have leverage over her kingdom and thus have an expansion.”

“…You knew that the princess was going to try to assassinate me?”

“That’s right, but I didn’t expect her to strike so early, but this still works in our favor, since it is absolute proof that the kingdom did send an assassin to kill you.”

I was really shocked that my mother had this all planned out. I bet she didn’t even consider what would happen if I was really killed. Anyway, she then ordered the princess to be taken to the “field” for practice…she has my condolences. Our kingdom is sure to expand with this assassination scandal, but now mother is looking toward Lori.

I held Lori protectively as I stood before mother wondering what mother was planning to do to her.

“Lori…I see that you finally discovered your gender.”

Lori nodded with a frown. So mother knew the truth and hid it from me?

“Can you tell me why you are wearing a wedding dress?”

That’s right, why is Lori wearing a wedding dress? Was she getting married too? Just the thought hurts my heart.

According to Lori, she was adopted into a rich family when she returned to her home world and when she reached the age of eighteen (the same age as me) she was engaged to her stepbrother. WHO IS THIS STEPBROTHER OF HERS? Today was her wedding day, so when she got here she was about to say her vows. I felt heartbroken. She was really going to get married to a man I never met.

“So why are you here now?”

That’s right, why is Lori here? Lori’s words nearly put me in a trance.

“During the ceremony, I couldn’t stop thinking about when Leica and I were together. I really missed him and then it came to the point that I just wanted to find a way back…a way back to where Leica was and so when I ran off from the altar before I was to say my vows, I was surrounded by a white light and then found myself here.”

Lori was thinking of me just like how I was thinking of her: of our one year together. It was a time we both couldn’t forget. I was so happy.

Mother chuckled with an amused smirk and then asked Lori, “Are you happy to be back here?” Lori was silent for a long time to the point that I felt my heart might stop and then she said a few words.

“I am happy…I am happy to be with Leica again.”

I was so happy that I pulled her into a hug and pressed my lips to hers again. I didn’t care who was watching as I kissed MY Lori. When we separated Lori was really red and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was red as well.

Mother glanced at both of us saying, “I see you two are both happy to be with each other and seeing that you two are still dressed for a wedding and both of your potential spouses are no longer available how about continuing the ceremony with you two?”

I could see the amusement in mother’s eyes, but I really liked her proposal. I knelt before Lori and asked for her hand in marriage. Lori seemed hesitant, so I added, “It only took a moment for me to realize that you are my love, is it the same for you?” After another pause from Lori, she smiled and held my extended hand.

“It took more than a moment for me to realize that I love you, my ex-rival.”

Lori and I both laughed and then entwined our fingers as we both returned to the altar. There were no shouts of objections for this wedding between me and Lori. It made me wonder if the guests were aware of mother’s plan, but let’s not think about that. Lori and I sealed our vows with a kiss and then left the church to announce our union to the kingdom.

I don’t know why Lori returned or where she returned from, but I am just glad that she is no longer my rival. She is my best friend, my true love, and my forever queen; and I believe that we will have interesting stories to share as our love grows.

The End

 

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