The Lullaby of Treble Castle
Lucien knew what his primary job was, but since everyone seemed to put him in a position of leadership, he felt like he just had to live up to it. He wasn't sure of how to handle all of the pressure at times. Lucien wished everyone would see him as he was - a human. One that, like every other on the Earth, was imperfect and fully capable of making mistakes. He'd made several mistakes over the course of his life, but there was one thing he just had to not mess up on. He was not going to fail the departed Queen to which he vowed, and he certainly was not going to fail the new princess that he'd taken into his heart. It was more than clear to everyone around him. His love, unwavered, was displayed proudly for all to see. He couldn't do that with the Queen he'd originally fallen in love with. It made him happy.
He noticed that there was no box sitting outside of Room One, so he immediately assumed that Rachel had claimed it all ready. It could have arrived before she did. He opened the door to find that Rachel was there on the bed, brushing out her long hair. It was rare to see it unbraided. She was typically not the kind to leave her hair fuzzy and out of place, so Lucien immediately noticed. Her hair must have been down to her hips.
She didn't greet him when he first walked in. Rachel was concentrated on what she was doing. This was very par for the course. She wasn't the type to pay a lot of attention to her surroundings, especially once she became comfortable with them. It wasn't until Lucien sat next to her that Rachel even noticed he was there.
"Are you still mad at me?" Rachel asked, trying to brush her way through a very stiff knot.
"I'm not angry with you, but I am disappointed in how you reacted," Lucien replied quietly. "Princess, you have to realize that if you are to assume rule here, then you have to be much more diplomatic than you present yourself. A queen who does nothing but react violently is a tyrant."
"I'm not a princess," Rachel said, turning away from him. "I wish you'd stop calling me that."
"I can't do that." Lucien said honestly. He took in a very deep breath before saying, "Because I have lived my entire life as a knight. First as a squire, then as a knighted protector of this castle. If I had fallen in love with you during my youth, I still would have called you princess. Whoever I serve is royalty in my eyes."
Rachel was slightly taken aback by his words. She wasn't used to anyone being so cordial like that. Especially past would-be lovers. "That's more than noble of you, Lucien. You truly have the heart of a valiant knight, and I love that about you. The problem is..."
"I wasn't aware of any problem," Lucien said.
"There really isn't. It's not really a problem, it's just..." she was at a loss for words. There was something Rachel just had to tell him, but it was hard to just spit it out all ready. She hated that. Talking too much about the past always made her choke on her words, so she liked to avoid it whenever possible. "I once met someone who, like you, seemed like he wanted to be a valiant knight. Knights don't exist where I'm from, so he was something special. He acted more than chivalrous, and I loved that about him. Truth is, he wasn't very knight-like at all. He acted that way, just because he wanted something from me. It more than broke my heart at the time."
"Is this why you were so defensive to my advances early on?"
"Partially. I didn't want to fall into another trap. It was one reason I focused so much on work back home. I wasn't going to fall for another sweet-talking asshole who just wanted to have his chance to throw me into his bed," Rachel said, putting her hairbrush on the nightstand. She started to braid her hair as she continued. "Now, all this time later, I realize that I have someone who actually is a knight and lives by his code of honor. Here is a knight who is thrust into an incredibly destiny solely because he lives by his honor and refuses to give up even in the face of defeat. There behind him is a whole party of misfits, all with connected pasts and futures, who wish to combine their hopes and dreams to create a new world." She stopped for a moment, then giggled at herself. "My goodness, I think I just described every single Last Legend ever made."
"It's a set of stories that I follow back home. Everyone I know likes them."
"...there are times when I wish I could see the land you come from. Alyssa and Linda were talking about it. You come from across the sea, yes?" Lucien asked. He wasn't lying. He was curious about what it was like outside the castle two hundred years later. He wondered if the castles would be bigger, or perhaps made of metal instead of stone? Would the royalty dress more elegantly? Perhaps it was easier to travel than using a horse drawn carriage? He smiled as he let his imagination run free.
"Yes, but once you cross the sea, there is a whole country that has to be traversed, too. The trip back home wasn't going to be very fun."
"It sounds like you had quite the journey just to get this far."
"It was pretty eventful. Going through customs was more than difficult. I swear the guards were enjoying it too much. The flight was long and boring though Ally refused to let me sleep through it. Then landing in Paris, when it would have been so much easier for everyone if we'd just gone to Frankfurt instead of Paris. They didn't want us to get lost, they should have just made the whole trip in Germany... then again, they probably weren't counting on us getting lost, but that's beside the damn point." When she realized she was rambling, she stopped herself. "I'm sorry, Lucien, you have no idea what I'm talking about."
"No, princess, it's fine. You sound like you need to vent about it, and you've not had the chance to."
"Eh, it's okay. If I was back home, I would have just gone to my online diary and ranted about it there. Not a lot of people would stop to listen to me talk. I talk too fast and never about anything anyone considers important enough to stop and listen to," Rachel said it so dejectedly, like she was even implying her friends did that to her. "I could talk for hours and hours and hours, but since no one wanted to listen, I wouldn't bother saying anything. Eventually, I found an outlet through my online diary. If they wanted to know, they would read it."
Lucien didn't want to get closer to her until she was done braiding her hair, but he did want to wrap his arms around her right then. He would listen. He probably wouldn't understand most of it, but he didn't care. He would listen to anything she had to say, without complaint. He knew she needed that, but he also got the sneaking suspicion that she wasn't going to take advantage of his ear. Then again, he got her to trust him on everything else, right? "You can talk to me."
"Lucien, I would bore you with everything I could tell you."
"Hardly, my love, I could never get bored of you."
"Ha, now that's one of the sappiest lines I've ever heard."
"I take it that you don't believe me."
Rachel finally put the clips back in her hair so it would hold in place, then tied her ribbon at the bottom of it as usual. "It's not that I don't believe you. Far from it. Lucien, at first, I didn't believe any of this, and now I've accepted it as the truth about how life is now. Maybe I'll be able to accept that part of you eventually."
"I hope that you will."
She looked over at him. She seemed so happy right then that Lucien wished he could just stop time all together. This is the way he wanted her. That smile, the energy she gave him when she felt like that. Lucien reached over to her, gently stroking her face, and she answered by kissing him straight on the nose. "I think I feel something."
"So you've started to become aware of what you do to me, then?" Lucien asked, pulling her closer. "This is what keeps me sustained. I can get it to come out through bringing you to climax, but it's much nicer when it's genuine happiness like this."
"This energy? This is what you eat?"
"To put it bluntly, yes."
"You said you would listen to anything I say without complaint."
"You take care of my every need, physical and emotional."
"This is my duty as the one who is linked directly to you, princess."
"Is it your duty that makes you such a knight, or are you just doing this because you're hungry?"
Lucien shook his head in disbelief. "No, no. That's not why I am doing it now."
"So you're saying that at first, you put up this front because you wanted to eat."
"That is not what I meant!"
Rachel frowned. She wanted to cry, and the energy in the air shifted.
"Do not think that I do not love you, princess. I will admit that the first impulses were to devour your energy at first sight, yes. But if I did not also fall in love with you at first sight, then I would have punished you explicitly upon your disobeying me. My fellow servants to the crown, we all were like this. We had gone crazy with no companionship and nothing to feed on for so long that it was hard to resist. Karoly kept saying we should just devour the lot of you over and over again, but..." Lucien lifted her chin so that she would look him straight into his blue eyes, not even realizing how she felt about them. He needed her to feel his words, as they were nothing but the truth. He needed her to know that while he was replenished by the energies she released when she was in a good mood, that was not the reason he wanted to make her happy. "I love you more than anything, and now I have been charged by my former queen to protect you and love you as I would have done to her had I the chance. I am yours, you are mine, and forever we shall be."
"Lucien," she whispered.
"Don't ever think otherwise. You are the queen. You may have no kingdom, but you have one subject that will follow you for as long as it is possible." Lucien said. "Please."
She reached up around his neck to pull him into a kiss. "My dear sir knight, you don't have to prove anything to me. I know that you'd never lie to me. But instead of being my servant, I think it would be more fair if you were my equal. I don't want you to consider my word as law."
"Then, allow me just one request. Allow me to call you princess when we're alone. I get the feeling it embarasses you, and this is why you say such a thing."
"Oh, fine, Lucien. When we're alone, I can be your princess. But around others..."
"You are my love around others."
"I can accept that."
"See? Compromise is a part of diplomacy, princess. Wonderful practice run!"
"Okay, now I'm starting to feel belittled."