Whoever this von Wolfe guy was, he must be pretty good at jousting. Insanely good. Because every challenger that went up against them immediately forfeited before the whole over the top announcements happened! They would just line up as if preparing to wait for the signal to start, then suddenly one of their companions got the white handkerchief out to wave their surrender.
Even Lord Raeken, Lord of Assholes and Big Heads and Prideful Bastards, waved the white!
Not only that, but every time a challenger stepped down, Lord von Wolfe appeared to be very...dejected? Distraught, perhaps? His three companions, Erica, Boyd and Isaac, (he may have overheard the names at one point because he is a nosy bastard) always patted von Wolfe's back, likely telling him the next one wouldn't back down.
Whatever was going was incredibly odd. And Stiles wanted to get to the bottom of it!
Hence why he sent his blacksmith, Kira, to snoop.
“Well whatever is going on, you won't surrender! You will beat him just like you beat everyone else!” boomed Mason with that charisma he could only have as a weaver of parchment tales. “We will not be intimidated!”
Stiles' other two companions, Scott and Lydia, whooped alongside Mason. After all, if they won the tournament overall they each would get their fair share of the winning like the did after every round of the tournament. Plus they would be a part of a secret history only they would know.
And then Kira came back, flushed in the face and breath nearly stolen from her.
“P-Prince Derek! v-v-von Wolfe...h-he's Prince Derek H-Hale!”
Wait...Prince Derek Hale? The Prince Derek Hale?! As in the Prince Derek who was the next king once his uncle was given the boot?!
“I take back everything I said.” Mason sighed, clapping Stiles' shoulder. “Team Król is not going to go against von Wolfe. We are forfeiting.”
“Why?” scoffed Stiles, adjusting some pieces of his armor. “The guy is doing the exact same thing I am: competing in a tournament we normally wouldn't be allowed to because of who we are. The difference is that he's a Prince, and I'm a barely spit and piss bucket of a squire.”
Scott gaped at him, almost appalled on his behalf by the statement. “You're not a spit and piss bucket...”
“Glad to see that your priorities are straight.” hissed Lydia before she rounded on Stiles with her unearthly frustration. “You can't go against him, Stiles! If you so much as injure him in any way, that would be on the grounds to be tried for treason and endangerment against the crown! Not only that, but I'm certain that they'll discover that the great Lord Genim Król is actually former stable boy Mieczsław Stilinski. And then you'll also be tried on grounds of forgery and impersonation.”
“Prince Derek's uncle is still sitting on throne, too. He'd probably attempt to behead you twice.” Kira added, eyes rounded in horror.
While all compelling points, Stiles wasn't into the idea of giving up. He glanced over where von Wolfe – er – Prince Derek stood with his companions. His shoulders were sagged and, if his helmet wasn't covering his entire head, Stiles was certain that the man would look like a kicked puppy. All he wanted was to compete. Probably loved it just as much as Stiles did. But because of who he was born as...he was denied the chance to do this.
Poor guy more than likely didn't realize that his secret was out...
“Time to get on the horse, get into position, and purposely lose...” mumbled Scott, pouting and looking about as conflicted as Stiles felt.
Stiles chewed on the inside of his cheek as he mounted his horse. It trotted into position, none the wiser that its day was going to be easy. Stiles stared ahead at the Prince, frowning. The Prince was in position across the way, poised upright and full of hope. Radiated of it. Just looking at him made Stiles feel all the more guilty that...
He glanced behind him, seeing if the white handkerchief was out. To his amazement, Mason was struggling with getting it out of his pocket. Must've been deep in there. He had time. He could...he could...
“Bloody fuck it.”
He threw on his helmet, lowering his lance and signaled his horse to run. Sure, he wasn't told to go, but he didn't want to be stopped by anyone. Not even his friends. He ignored their cries of protest – only focusing on the challenger charging towards him now. The crowd went wild, thrilled to see a match finally. Their cheers roared over the pounding of the hooves. Over the splintering of the lance as it crashed into Prince Derek's shoulder and nearly knocked him to the dirt.
The Prince's companions came by his side quickly, checking to make sure anything sustained was superficial. Stiles' companions came rushing as well. But not with smiles on their faces.
“Are you crazy?!” snapped Lydia. “Do you realize what you just did?!”
Stiles smirked, tugging off his helmet. “Uh, believe I just won yet another match. Drinks on me tonight?”
“Stiles...this is serious!” Scott whimpered.
“You just...you just hit the Prince...” whispered Kira, the color in her face draining.
“You're dead, my Lord.” Mason stated matter-of-factly. “Incredibly dead.”
Stiles shrugged, unable to stop smiling.
Even as the Prince trotted over, tossing his helmet to the ground.
The crowd gasped and screamed, obviously horrified. All the Lords and Ladies in attendance looked scandalized. And the Prince...
He had the biggest, most breath taking grin across his lips. It was the most beautiful thing Stiles had ever seen. Think he had just experienced that whole love at first sight phenomenon with that smile alone. The guy's stunning looks only added to the smile.
Definitely love at first sight.
Stiles swallowed, giving the Prince a slight nod. Took everything in his power to not show how anxious he was all of the sudden. “Prince Derek.”
The Prince chuckled, ducking his head shyly. His ears also went a tad pink. So this was how Stiles was going to die.
“You knew. Yet you...you didn't forfeit.”
“No, your highness. I did not.”
“That was either very bold, or very stupid.”
“I want to think of it as facing a fellow competitor that loves the sport.”
“You could be tried for treason and endangering my life.”
“I could. Yeah.”
Prince Derek licked his lips, amused. “Well, Lord Król, I am forever in your debt for showing me such kindness. Whatever you need...do not hesitate to ask.”
Stiles perked up, smirking deviously. “A room in your castle once this tournament is over? Perhaps we can get to know each other?”
If Stiles wasn't already in love with this man...he certainly was after hearing that laugh.
“Besides that. I was actually going to invite you after the tournament anyways. You...intrigue me.”
“As do you for me, your highness.”
“All right. Derek. I expect an invitation on the last day of the tournament.”
“Already drafted. I expect to see you in a few days time after the tournament.”
“My bags are already packed.”
Pri – Derek gave Stiles a nod, his smile softening. As if he realized he might be in love, too. “My offer still stands. Whatever you need – you have me to call upon.”
“I'll remember that.”
Derek nodded a second time, trotting away on his fancy horse towards his companions in the most regal way. Stiles turned to glance back at his friends, his excitement written all over his being. Of course Lydia was rolling her eyes and clicking her tongue while Scott, Kira, and Mason gave him approving thumbs up. It was a dangerous line he was tip-toeing, but he figured the Prince wouldn't be too upset when he found out the truth about Stiles. Not when he had fooled everyone as well.
And he wasn't.
When Lord Raeken discovered Stiles' secret, sold him out, and had him locked in a stockade for villages to mock and throw food at (though his friends tried to take the brunt of it)...the Prince arrived in his glorious clothing with a humorous grin a few days later. He crouched down before Stiles, surveying him with those galaxies for eyes, and chuckled.
“How the mighty have fallen...” he teased, though there was a hint of sadness in his voice.
“If you're going to kick me down some more...at least be original about it.” Stiles barked, his heart hurting.
“I'm not here to do that.”
“Then why are you here?”
Derek didn't answer. Just rose to his feet and motioned for Isaac to approach. Then, the stockade was unlocked and opened. Scott and Kira assisted Stiles in standing, sharing expressions of confusion with everyone else. Derek motioned towards Boyd and Erica, and a huge revelations was spoken.
Boyd and Erica had assisted Derek in some extensive research. Research that said that time and time ago, the line of Claudia Król Stilinski was once noble. In a spat between brothers, one half of the Król line was disgraced and shunned. Had to change their name from Sokól to Król. From their name meaning falcon, to their name meaning king. Rather poetic, really.
Then, while Stiles was still a little shaky on his feet, Derek knighted him.
“To make it harder for it to be disputed.” he confessed with a wry smile.
“I thought only kings could knight people?” Scott asked.
“Good thing I'm King, then.”
Before anyone else could say something, especially the rather conflicted mob of commoners, Derek patted Stiles' cheek with hints of sarcasm and winked.
“Sir Stilinski...don't you have a tournament to win? I didn't come here to see you covered in filth. Better get ready. And don't disappoint me. I'll revoke my invitation to spend time in my castle if you do.”
It took a bit of time, but it all caught up to Stiles. He felt a light wash over him that he thought he would never experience again. His spirits rose. So did his tongue.
“You can't revoke the invite. I'd storm your gates! But...if you insist. I suppose I can do one more leg of this tournament. As long as you're in the crowd.”
Derek chuckled, ducking his head to hide whatever he thought he needed to hide. “Wouldn't miss it for the world.”