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I'll Fight for What I Want(Even if it Kills Me)

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The sound of wood hitting against each other with men grunting, gasping and wheezing as they get beaten or jabbed by the opponent's wooden sword. Dust turned into mud as the blue sky becomes dark and rain begins to fall. Thunder could be heard from a distance along with a strike of lighting, but that didn’t really matter. The men training continued to do so knowing that when mother nature changes , the battle doesn’t stop.

In the middle of the training grounds, two people are dueling harder than the rest. They both have speed and persistence. One of them though lacks specific skills. He acts cocky and irrational, always thinking he has the upper hand, especially since he is a Prince. His father wanted him to grow up and learn something of importance if the man was to become king someday. Instead of acting like a childish boy who gets everything he wants.

The other trainee is a Knight. They are cautious, sure-footed, determined, and very skilled in fighting and sword handling. The person observes their opponent carefully. How their steps are not calculated and the fact that they are not paying attention. The Knight takes the opportunity and knocks the man down, using the wooden sword in their hands and pressing the point against the Prince's heart.

“Dead… Never take your eye’s off the person you are fighting or will die every time, Prince Hardy.” Sir John Wainwright called out.

“He cheated! I want to re-duel!” The Prince exclaimed.  

The Knight, who always wore a helmet when dueling, unlike the rest who didn't like to when they train, took theirs off. Chin length fiery red hair cascaded down as the headgear gradually came off. What surprised the Prince the most was the feminine features upon the persons face.

Brown eyes shot daggers at Hardy. “She did not! You, sir, were to busy showing off to your pals that you didn’t see me come at you. It’s your fault you lost, not mine.”

“Lady Haught, fine work. Best you go back to your corridors for now.” Sir Wainwright placed a comforting hand on the Knights shoulder before she headed towards the door.

Nicole Haught, a Knight with no actual propose, other than training those who wanted to become one as well. She desperately wanted to be a ‘real’ Knight. To protect and serve a Princess from all the unknown dangers of the worlds. But to do so, the redhead either had to wait until such as job came up or she left the Kingdom walls of Haught and went to others to offer her services.

The Haught’s name alone was well known. Everyone knew it was a family of Knights and nothing more. They served many Kingdoms and trained even more men. Whenever a girl was born into the family, they would be allowed to take part in the training if they wanted or were able to do what they wanted instead. Kings and Queens were not fond of the openness the Haught’s gave their children but never spoke poorly of them either. Not when they had quite a few of their Knights roaming their castle halls keeping everyone safe within it.

Arriving at her room and disrobing from the training jerkin, Nicole put on her tunic and wrapped the belt around her waist. Some days she hated training, others she found appealing. Today was the latter of the two. It wasn’t the first time, she helped train a Prince and knew it wouldn’t be her last. This particular lad though was a man-child and had no sense in what he was doing. She honestly felt terrible for the Princess, who most likely would be forced to marry him, and the Kingdom he would be taking over. No one deserved that much ignorance to be ruling hundreds or even thousands of people.  

Changing pants was the next thing the redhead did. She did quick work to undo the boots and the drawstring holding her pants up. As much as she loved training, Nicole enjoyed relaxing just as much. After retying the string to her trousers, she slipped her boots back on and headed outside. The Knight might be done for the day, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t watch the others learn and grow.  

Nicole joined her mentor Sir Wainwright out on the second-floor balcony. It was a habit for them, watching the men and the few women train to become Knights. It gave them a sense of peace and pride knowing that their hard work was paying off. Helping others to develop better, stronger and more confident in themselves than the day before. Nothing was more satisfying than that to them.

The mentor and his trainee were deep in conversation about new sword technics and how to go about teaching it when heavy footsteps caught their attention. Nicole looked towards the sound and smiled. Her father still donned in his metal armor, stopped just before his daughter.

“Welcome back, father. How was your trip to the Kingdoms? Make any good impressions whilst there?” Nicole inquired.       

“You know very well I wasn’t selling myself, just riding along with the other Knights to make sure they arrived safely.”

“That explains the month and a half. But you’ve gone an extra two weeks. What kept you away, Nathaniel?” Wainwright asked.

It wasn’t unusual for the older Knight to be gone for weeks or months at a time. The closest Kingdom was a four days ride. After that, it doubled in numbers. Most times, Nathaniel would be gone for months instead of weeks. Usually, he would be doing personal training or like this last time, making sure his newest Knights arrive safely at their new or old Kingdom. It was safe to say, Nicoles’s father tended to be gone more now than when she was a kid.

Shortly after Nicole’s eighth birthday, her mother became ill and died soon after. Her father didn’t take his wife’s passing well but managed to pull through nonetheless. It was hard on the both of them after that. Nathaniel had stopped doing his regular outings to train on top of letting his friend Sir Wainwright take over for the Kingdom in that aspect. It was easier to end ninety-nine percent of his responsibilities, it was safer in a way. The older Knights only concern was to be there for his daughter and his daughter.

Once the initial shock of losing her mother subsided, Nicole managed to get her father to return back to his royal duties, with one condition. Nathaniel had to let her train to become a Knight as well. It was a dream before the redhead's mother passed and she knew her mother wouldn’t approve if she let it slip between the cracks afterward. It was her mother’s last dying wish. To know her daughter fulfilled her dream of becoming a Knight just like her father.

It took some time getting used to being the Head Knight again at his Kingdom, but Nathaniel powered through. Having his daughter by his side, learning and progressing quickly, it made matters more comfortable every day. By the time Nicole turned twelve, the older Knight had gone back to traveling and occasionally brought the young girl with him so she could understand the full extent if his Royal duties of a Knight.    

“I was called upon a few times on my way back through. Most from townspeople and had one appealing visit as well. Those particular folks will be arriving soon.”

Nicole’s father walked away with no explanation. No inquiry as to who was visiting the Realm. The way Nathaniel spoke and the way his shoulders squared, the people who were arriving, were significant. How important, the older Knight didn’t reveal. Nicole wished her father had. Sure they’ve had Princes come to their Kingdom but whoever they were sounded more significant. Powerful. Now the redhead had to wait. For how long, she didn’t know. The older man’s “soon” ranged from a day to an entire month. She really wished it wasn’t the latter of the two.

With the last statement still roaming in her head and trying to come up with the endless possibilities of which King or Queen was coming to their Kingdom, Nicole decided to try and keep her mind preoccupied. She returned her focus to the men, women, and few children down below in hopes of navigating her mind elsewhere. Sadly, after ten minutes of watching and talking to her mentor, it did nothing but make mind spin even faster. Maybe sparring with the kids in the rain will help.


____________________

 


Dust was flying out from under the carriage and the horse's hooves. If the wind was blowing in the right direction, you could hear the horses neighing, wheels clanking along with the sound of shoed hooves galloping down the beaten dirt path. Trees surrounded the road on both sides, making the scenery unsatisfying to look at. The two people inside in carriage didn’t mind though, it was a journey that they wanted to make and knew how long it was going to take. Even if it meant staring upon thick forests with nothing to hide beyond the wild animals it held.         
 

The trip took roughly a month and a week long. Heavy rains made the path to muddy to ride through which put a pause on the journey. The passengers weren’t thrilled about having to stop and making them late, but wooden wheels, even with four horses pulling the carriage, would still somehow get stuck. Not that the people inside would know anything about it in the first place.

Back at the Haught Kingdom, Nicole and her father were busy training. The older man is training a newer recruit while the daughter is focused on Prince Hardy. One is fighting harder than other and continues to sigh in disapproval. The blonde hair man has barely made any progress in the last two months, and it was starting to aggravate her. By now, most trainees had the basic formats down, but this boy-man could hardly hold his sword properly.

The older Knight, on the other hand, was gentle and reassuring. His new trainee was nervous to begin with and straightforward about making his parents proud and didn’t want to mess up. Nathaniel was pleased with the boy's admissions and told him that the beginning sessions were always done tentatively. The young man smiled then nervously gulped when he glanced over at Nicole. The Knight followed his path and chuckled.

“No worries, son. I won't have you duel against my daughter anytime soon.”

The boy gasped and was about to say something when he was interrupted by the sound of a horn. The noise lingered, then stopped. A few seconds later it sounded off again. Nathaniel gave an apologetic grin to his trainee and set about placing the wooden sword in a crate with the others.

Nicole continued to fight, much to the Prince’s dismay. The trainee swung his head towards the noise. The redhead took the opportunity and did one of her favorite moves. She dropped down and spun around with one of her legs out. Making Hardy fall onto his back. The Knight took her wooden sword and pressed it to his chest, again. Nicole lost count after twelve on how many times she had done that in the last hour of training.   

“How many time do I have to tell you not to take your eyes off your opponent!” The Knight yelled at the Prince. “Whatever is going on, does not concern you!” Prince Hardy scoffed and slowly got up off the ground.

While the Knight had taken out Hardy, the large double-wide wooden doors had opened for a team of horses pulling a carriage behind them. The buggy was black with gold wheels and borders. The crest on the doors was a mixture of silver, gold, and red. It had a golden lion on either side of a red and silver shield with a gold Kings crown above it. Below the shield and between the lion's feet was a golden ribbon with the name EARP in red in the middle.

Nathaniel waited until the horses stopped entirely before walking over to greet his guests. He took a quick glance over his shoulder when he heard his daughter yelling at the Prince. Shaking his head, the Knight returned his focus back to the people who were getting out of the carriage.

“Welcome to Haught’s Kingdom, your Majesty’s.” The Knight bowed before the King and Queen. “How was the journey?”

“Long with a couple of wet days holding us back.”

“Sorry to hear. Now, if you’ll follow me, I’ll introduce you to my strongest and most well-trained Knight I have.”   

The King, Queen, and Nathaniel, all walk over to the younger Knight and their trainee. The Majesty’s recognized the blonde haired man and the both of made a mental note. The three stopped a few yards away and watched the two battle, intently.

Nicole spied her father and the two guests. She was busy circling the Prince and waiting for his next strike. Again, the boy-man took his eyes off her when he noticed the King and Queen. The redhead saw the smirk on his face and took it upon her to get rid of it. While his eyes were still trained on the others, the Knight wielded forward and struck Hardy in the arm. She then quickly crouched down and brought her sword up to protect her. The Prince swung back and the two swords collided with each other. Nicole used the power she had in her legs and pushed herself up, putting all of the force in her arms in hopes of making Hardy unbalance.

The Prince thought he finally had the redhead, but when she lunged upwards, he did, in fact, lose his footing. Nicole took the chance and jumped up, bringing her feet in the air and kicking the blonde hair man in the chest, sending him flying backward. The second Hardy was on his back, the Knight was already on him. The younger man was able to recoil and brought his sword up but was fast enough. The redhead swung the wooden hard enough that when it hit the other, it went right out of his and way out of his react.

Nicole pointed the sword at the Princes face. “Surrender, unless you think you are able to take me down before I kill you.”

Hardy weighed his options and chose wrong. He wanted to impress the King and Queen by being able to take out the Knight and figured he’d be able to do so by now. The Prince made the slightest movement and instantly regretted it. Nicole’s foot made contact with his groin, and her sword was pushed hard into his chest once again.

The King and Queen clapped their hands at the performance, and both of them were apparently impressed by the Knight. Nathaniel looked over at his guests and received a nod from the Lord. The older Knight walked over to his daughter and congratulated her on winning another round with the boy-man. Ever since returning home, he was surprised that Nicole hadn’t given up on the Prince. Even though it was clear as day that the redhead was getting more and more frustrated with Hardy every day. Deep down, Nathaniel would have sent the man home already for just wasting their time when they could have been training someone else.

Nicole turned around and walked away from the Prince while she took off her helmet. The Knight stepped up to her father with a smirk on her face. It quickly went away though when she saw the crest-like pin on the male guest that she didn’t know. That was when she decided to give Nathaniel a curious look and nodded towards the King and Queen. The older Knight gave her look that said ‘wait a minute, and I’ll introduce you.’ The redhead was guided over to her guests and bowed before them when she stopped in front of them.

“Your Majesty’s, welcome to our Kingdom,” Nicole said loud enough as she was still bent forward.

Customarily a woman would curtsey before royalty. It was the proper way of doing things. Nicole, for the most part, did not seem it was appropriate to make such a gesture. She was a Knight after all, and they all bowed, but then again, Knights were usually men and not women. Either way, the redhead was looking forward to changing the way on how women were expected to do specific tasks and stay within their ranks. She was never one to follow those kinds of rules anyway.   

“Thank you…”

“Lady Nicole Haught, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Haught and the next heir to the Knight’s Realm.” Nicole bowed again. “Pleasure to meet you both… excuse my manner, but I am unfamiliar with your crest.”

“King Ward Earp and this is my wife, Queen Michelle Earp. I must say, you have quite the impressive techniques.” The man said. He heard a scoff come from behind the two Knights. “Prince Hardy James, do you have something to say?”

“No, King Ward. It's good to see you both again.” Hardy walked up beside Nicole and continued talking. Not even bothering to bow to greet the King and Queen. “My father inform you that I am here training?”

“No, he did not,” Queen Michelle said hastily. “How long have you’ve been doing so?”

“Two months.” The Prince said proudly, but was quickly shot down by the Queen.

“Not much progress, I see. Your father's money going to waste as usual.” The Queen turned her attention to Nicole. “I applaud you for training with him that long. It only makes the decision even easier to make.”

The Prince took a step back and dropped his head to hide his face that was flushed with embarrassment. He generally thought Queen Michelle liked him, for the many hours he has spent at their castle trying to court one of their daughters, he assumed they were on good terms. Now he didn’t know what think, but before he could say anything the King spoke up.   

“My wife is correct. Lady Haught, I am requesting for you to train at my castle. I am in need of new blood, and Sir Haught offered me his best Knight. I must admit I wasn’t expecting a woman to be a Knight, but I can see you are qualified enough. I will not take no for an answer.” Lord Earp heard another scoff come from the Prince but ignored him.

“How long?” The redhead asked curiously.

“Until my fresh blood is deemed ready enough to protect my Kingdom.”

“I’ll accept on two conditions.” King Ward nodded. “No other Knight stands in my way, while I am training. The moment they tell me how to do my job, I walk. Second, my mentor Sir Wainwright comes with me.”

The King and Queen looked at one and then to Nicole and Nathaniel. Ward wasn’t the type of person to make deals with those who were apart of Nobility. He didn’t even like striking deals with other Royalty members. The King was self-centered and genuinely didn’t care for others. Anyone below the Royalty line was considered a peasant, and he didn’t like to associate himself with them. He didn’t even care about those who lived within his Castle walls.  

The Majesty’s looked back at each other and nodded. King Ward reluctantly turned to the younger Knight with a blank expression. He honestly did not like the situation he was in but had to get over it. The lord would merely complain about it on the journey back home.  

“I approve of your conditions.”

Chapter Text

In a span of three and half weeks, Nicole and Sir Johnathan Wainwright traveled through the different Kingdoms. More often than not, when they stopped for the night, it was usually along the path in the woods. Sleeping under the night's sky gave them a sense of peace and always calmed both of the Knights nerves.

After Nicole’s mother had passed, she would slip out of bed and find a way to the top of the castle. Her mother, Jacquelyn, told her tales about the stars. How each individual one belonged to the spirit of someone who died. Their souls would travel to the sky and become a star to watch over the loved ones down below. Nicole’s mother had also told her that even though you could only see the bright dots at night, they were always there during the day as well. So, when the world turned dark, the redhead would find herself lying on the roof, speaking to the stars until she fell asleep. Even years later, lying under the night sky, with her arms under her head, the Knight still talked to stars with her mentor joining her every now and again.

The morning upon arriving at the Earp Castle, the two Knights rode through the village. Almost everyone would stop and stare when they saw the mop of red hair. It was big news that King Ward was having a new Knight come in and train eligible men. It was even bigger news when said trainer was a Haught.

The Haught bloodline was very well known throughout all the Kingdoms. The first Haught to become a Knight was over a century ago, and when news broke out about the redheaded peasant, all the realms didn’t want to believe it. It became even harder to acknowledge when Sir William Haught went to each Kingdom with his mentor and battled the best Knight there.

After winning nineteen fights, most ending in deaths, the man reached the Kingdom of Earp. As the legend goes, was that two fought and finished in a truce. Both men were equally matched. When Sir William was sworn in as the next heir to the throne of the Knights Realm, the last man he had fought, Sir Elijah, became vile and filled with rage. He wanted revenge on the Head Knight for thinking he wasn’t the best, as he had also trained at that castle as well.

Sir Jackson got so angry that he rode almost nonstop until he reached the Knights Realm. When he arrived, he sought out the older man and had found him in his sleeping chambers. The Lord then took the dagger that he kept at his side and plunged it into the sleeping man’s heart. After killing the Head Knight, Jackson ran out, bloody knife in hand, until he reached the gate. What stopped him, was seeing the man that took his thunder.

Sir William was on watch when he heard a noise coming from the west wing. When he turned around, he saw the bloody dagger then looked into the eyes of the now murderer. The Knight didn’t know who Sir Jackson had just killed, but it didn’t matter. He was going to revenge their death. William seized his sword and ran forward. The second he was a within reach, he swung his sword back and lunged towards his opponent. The Knight aimed for his chest and clinking of metal against each other only put more power behind the anger he had.

The Knights fought. A twelve-inch dagger against a twenty-eight-inch sword. You wouldn’t think the match would be even, but when both men were trained in the same place and by the same mentor, the odds played out perfectly. Three minutes in, adrenaline pumping, sweat pouring down faces, bodies, and soaking through the material of their jerkins, the fight began to subside the tiniest bit. Sir Jackson was losing the steam he had been using to fire his rage, and Sir William used it to his advantage.

The story ends with the heir to the thrown to the Knight’s Realm winning the battle. No one knows's the authentic ending other than Sir William plunging his sword through the other Knights stomach. Rumors goes that Sir Jackson surrender but William killed him anyway. Others speculate that there was a third person was connected and helped the heir. The only people who know the real ending were the ones involved and every Haught child born afterward.

Nicole recalled the story in her mind as she got closer to Castle Revenant. It was rare for a Haught to be on Earp land, never mind being within the Castle walls. For a Knight from Castle Black-Shield to be training men for King Ward Earp, was unheard of. Ever since Sir Jackson killed the Head Knight, the two Kingdoms were at an impasse.

The Haught’s and the Earp’s did not speak to one another, and any of the new trained Knights very rarely would pick Castle Revenant to serve at. Over the last couple of decades, Sir Haught and King Ward had talked and calmly made peace between the Kingdoms. Everyone was surprised when the treaty was written up but understood why it had happened. The King was in need of fresh Knights and knew that the best came from Castle Black-Shield. The Earp Majesty didn’t always make the smartest decisions, but this choice to work with the Haught’s again was one of his better options.

As they got closer to the Castle gates, Nicole got a little nervous. She didn’t know what to expect on the other side of the stone walls. If anyone was going to be acceptive of her being a woman Knight. That was always the tricky part about staying at home and training for her father. Not many people knew about woman and children joining and learning. Sure the kids started out as squire’s, no different than herself, and trained even harder when they came of age to become a Knight. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with women doing a man’s job. It just wasn’t the way life worked, but Nicole would be damned if she let anyone get in her way of trying to prove them all wrong.

Sir Wainwright reached out and touched his protege’s shoulder. He watched as the distant look on her face came back to focus and looked over to him. The mentor chipped his chin outward and smiled. Nicole followed his line of vision and couldn’t stop her own smile from forming. Not far from the Castle gates were two little boys fighting each other with sticks in their hands. Both she and the older Knight shared a look and chuckle. The two of them remembered that was how the redhead started out before her mother passed. Somedays it felt like it was yesterday, others felt like it was much longer.

Once the redhead got closer, she pulled the reins, stopping her horse, and got off. Sir Wainwright did the same and took hold of the ropes for the younger Knights. Nicole walked over the boys, picking up her own stick, joined the side of the boy that was the smaller of the two.

Both boys stopped at the unexpected visitor and gasped. They recognized the armor and crest on the right chest of the metal plate. Not once had a Knight ever paid any attention to them. They were just a couple of kids so why would they? What caught them off guard the most though, was the fact that the Knight was a redheaded woman.

“Mind if I join?” Nicole asked gently. She didn’t want to scare the boys any more than she had.

“You… you want to join… us?” The older looking boy pointed between him and his friend.

“Of course.”

“Why?”

“Because all Knights have to start somewhere. Plus you two remind me of myself when I young and did exactly this with my own friends.”

“Really?” Both boys asked.

“Knight Honor.” The redhead lifted her right up.

The boys nodded to one another, and within seconds they were attacking Nicole. The Knight ran and found the closest boulder to jump up onto. Both kids had separated by the time the redhead reached the rock and were surrounding her. Nicole smiled at their strategy and acted like she couldn’t go anywhere else. She knew all she had to do was jump, and she’d be free to take them both on, but they were kids which meant they probably didn’t have experience in fencing but their own.
   

The smaller of the two boys were face to face with the Knight and went straight for her. Their sticks collided with the boy putting as much force behind his swing to knock Nicole’s ‘sword’ out of her hand. The taller kid came up from behind and quietly climbed the boulder while his friend and the redhead fought. Just as he was jumping, mid-air, the Knight surprised him and caught him. She threw him over his shoulder and jumped off to chase the other the boy.

Both kids were laughing at this point, with the sticks long forgotten. The boys didn’t mind that the Knight had joined them. Didn’t even care that they didn’t know her name, it was the fact that she took an interest in them and wanted to join that made them trust her for some unknown reason.

Sir Wainwright was laughing at his protege. Whenever the two went somewhere, and they spotted kids fencing, Nicole always stopped to join them. If she could teach them a thing to two while playing, then that was all that mattered. The young Knight loved kids, and anytime there was one or even a group at Castle Black-Shield, then she would be the trainer for them. It was very rare that anyone else would teach them because they all knew Nicole had the patience of a saint. It was why none of the other well-trained Knights, wouldn’t offer their services to teach them all.

“I can not take you anywhere, Lady Haught.” Sir Wainwright called out as Nicole walked closer to the horses.

The smaller boy was clinging on to her leg while the other one was getting a piggy-back right. Nicole smiled widely. Her mentor was a great friend of hers, and knowing that he approved of the redhead wanting to stop every chance she could to horse around with some kids, meant everything to her.

“You know me, always looking to recruit new squires.”

“Really?” The boys practically yelled in excitement.

“Of course. Though I do need names of my new trainees.” The Knight said as she placed the older boy back on the ground.

Before either boy could say their names, the sound of someone shouting caught their attention. The yelling was coming from behind the closed gate, and Nicole looked down at boys and noticed that they were frozen in place. This caused the Knight to action. She briskly walked over to her horse and pulled her sword out the sleeve. Sir Wainwright had also noticed the boys reaction and did the same as his protege.

The shouting got closer as the gates opened. Nicole and Wainwright got into their fighting stance and waited. They weren’t sure who was yelling or why, but whoever it was made people scared and didn’t settle well with either of the Knights. When the gates finally opened and a man walked through with a crown on his head, both mentor and protege brought their swords down and bowed.

“What is the meaning of this.? I was informed by one of my guards that Knights were playing with peasants!” King Ward yelled.

“That was I, your Majesty,” Nicole confessed. Before the King could reply, she continued. “I was looking for some fresh squires for your new blood.”

“I am not paying you to play with dirty peasants. You are here to train my men.”

“With all due respect, your Majesty. All Knights need a good squire, and unless you have children running around within your Castle walls, I have to find them within the Kingdom… If I do recall as well, one of the deals was that no one told me how to do my job and if you are doing so, I’ll get back up on my steed, and return to Castle Black-Shield.”

King Ward glared at the redhead. No one had ever dared to speak to him like that. To be honest, no one ever dared to talk to Royalty like that without the ending results of said person having their head cut off. But sadly enough, the Knight was right, and it pained the King to acknowledge that factor. Deep down, Ward really wanted to take the Knight’s sword and stab her with it for making him look like a fool in front of others. If he weren’t so desperate for new recruits, he probably would have done it, and the peace treaty between the Earp’s and Haught’s would become obliterated.

Instead of responding back to Nicole, the King turned his eyes to the man standing next to her. He was slightly taller and older looking. Broad shoulders and medium built.  Had black hair and brown eyes. His jerkin didn’t match the Haught heir though. His clothes were black and silver versus wearing the metal armor like Nathaniel’s daughter. Ward assumed that the man was Nicole’s mentor that she wanted to bring, that was also apart of the deal.

When Nicole realized that Ward wasn’t going to address her and moved his sights onto the man beside her, she took one step forward. “King Ward, I would like to introduce you to my mentor and friend, Sir Wainwright. He will be helping me in training your new men.”

“Can you not do it alone?” The King challenged her.

“I am capable of training multiple men and women at the same time, but to train them ‘as quickly as I can’ like you want you me too, I require some extra help. Someone I trust other than my own father and actually has a clue in what to do.”

“Very well. Welcome to my Kingdom of Purgatory and Castle Revenant.”

The King turned around and started walking back through the gates. Nicole glanced over to her mentor and shrugged her shoulders. She turned back to her horse and slide her sword back into its holder. The redhead then walked over to the boys who were still shocked to see the King and managed to get their’s names. She promised that she would be back to find them and if they wanted to become squires, they needed their parent's permission first. Both boys had nodded their heads vigorously and took off running into the village. The Knight shook her head and returned her focus on following the King Ward.

A couple of guards had taken the horses over to the stables. Handing over saddles bags and swords to each Knight. Shortly after, the King showed them their sleeping corridors. It was on the second floor, and each room was reasonably large, with a poster bed with a bench at the end, a small desk, and a large window looking over the Kingdom. The place with slightly more extensive than what Nicole and Wainwright had back at Castle Black-Shield, but they weren’t going to complain. Castle Revenant was their new home for the time being and speaking ill about someone’s else’s home just wasn’t right.

Once situated in their new chambers, both Knights followed the King down the stairs and out a set of double doors that lead them to the outdoors. It was different than going through the main gate. There were no stores or homes, no children running around and playing. It basically was an open field surrounded by Castle walls. The only difference was, there was actually a couple of trees that provided much-needed shade from the summer heat and sun.

Nicole glanced around the field. It was big enough for training enough men for King Ward. How many trainee’s, she didn’t know yet. Walking out of one the archways, were three women. One of them was the Queen and the other two looked to be her daughters. Both were very pretty, the Knight thought. The slightly taller woman had brown hair with a small crown atop her head, semi-pale skin, wasn’t much shorter than the redhead, but the facial features screamed business.  

The other girl, who was also wearing a small crown, Nicole could tell right away that she was free-spirited. She might have been wearing a dress, but her eyes gave her away. The girl had dark brunette hair that reminded the Knight of a mare with a great stylist. Again, not much shorter than her but if both Princess’s were to heels than that would make a difference. Back to the eyes, they were continually moving. As if looking for a way out to just kick off her shoes and just run. The redhead knew a thing or two about that as well.

“Ah,” The King called out when he saw his wife and two of his three daughters. “Sir Wainwright, let me formally introduce you to my wife, Queen Michelle.” The older Knight bowed. “Lady Nicole, Sir Wainwright, these two young ladies are my daughters. My oldest, Willa,” Ward gestured to the brown haired girl then moved his hand to the other girl. “and Wynonna, my middle child.”

The Knights bowed again, and when Nicole came back up, she noticed something shine from the tree that stood in the middle of the open field. She didn’t say anything, for fear of getting someone in trouble. Someone who may or not be allowed on the Castle grounds. The redhead would investigate what she saw after talking with the King some more. Nicole was pulled from her thoughts when King Ward began talking again.  

“Where is your little sister, girls?” The King's words were cold, and the redhead would almost call it venom-like.

“Probably off reading one of her fantasy stories, daddy,” Willa spoke. She too did not seem overly thrilled about talking about her sister.

“Please go and find her. Have the servants and a couple of guards help you as well. That girl needs to be taught her manners.” Ward mumbled the last part, but both Nicole and Wainwright heard him.

The Princess curtsied then proceeded to walk away. The two then began to argue over having to find the younger sister and not entirely knowing where to look. No one spoke up on how just about everyone within the Castle walls could hear them speak back and forth, but at that point, there was no use. Anyone who dared to talk about the Majesty’s daughters was a sure sign for a death sentence.

“Now, how about you two get settled in, familiar yourself with the Castle. If you get lost, retrace your steps.” The King and Queen walked off without another word. Leaving the Knights dumbfounded.

Wainwright shook his head. “I will come find you before dinner. I am heading to my corridors to rest after that last leg of the journey.”

“I’ll see you then, Wainwright.”

The redhead was now left alone, and the curiosity of knowing what she saw earlier got the better of her. She made her way to the tree in the middle of the grounds. As she got closer, Nicole could see a lighter green color draping off of a tree branch. The Knight stopped just before the tree trunk when she heard someone talking. The voice was feminine, soft and beautiful, like an angel. Nicole wanted, no needed, to know who the voice belonged too. She needed to know who put luring spell on her, with just the sound of their voice.

The angel continued to, and that was when the Knight realized she was reading, what she couldn’t tell. The story was unfamiliar as would a lot of them. Nicole wasn’t much of a reader growing up as her focus was on being a squire and helping take care of her mother when she fell ill.  

Nicole looked up and was the angel sitting on one of the branches. She wasn’t very high up, ten feet at least. From what Knight could see, the girl was a brunette, but the facial features were unknown, due to it being buried in a book. A giggled slipped from the girl's lips, and the redhead knew the second she heard it, she wanted to listen to it again.

Right before Nicole was about to make herself known, the brunette adjusted her position. Unfortunately, one of the girl’s hand slipped on some moss and was going over the branch. The Knight was quick on her feet and opened her arms just in time for the other girl to fall into them.

“Uh, thank you.” The brunette squeaked out. Her eyes were wide, and breathing was still substantial.

“You’re welcome,” Nicole said as she still held onto the girl.

The Knight looked at her angel. She was so beautiful. The girl's voice sounded like an angel, but now that Nicole was looking at her, no one could tell her otherwise that the girl in her arms wasn’t an honest to god, angel. The redhead had never seen such piercing green eyes before. They were absolutely mesmerizing, and she could get lost just looking at them.  

“Do you mind putting me down, please?"

Nicole cleared her throat and placed the woman back on her feet. She dropped her head to hide the blush on her cheeks and saw what caught her attention in the first place. The Knight moved passed the other girl and picked up a small crown. The redhead gulped as she put two and two together. She walked back over and gently handed over the crown.

“I believe this belong’s to you, your Highness.”

“Yes, thank you.” The Princess placed her crown on her head after trying to brush out her hair. “I must ask the name of my savor.” The girl looked up at Nicole and smiled.
 
She was a little taken aback when she finally noticed that the person who caught her, was a woman.

She doesn’t know what possessed her to do it, but the Knight pulled her sword out, wrapped her hands around the grip, and placed in front of her as she kneeled on one leg.  “I am Lady Nicole Haught, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Haught and heir to Castle Black-Shield of the Ghost River Triangle.”

“Please get up. You don’t have to be so formal with me, Lady Haught.”

The Knight stood up and placed her sword back into its holster on her belt. “Okay,” Nicole said softly.

“I’m sorry, my head is still reeling from my fall. I’m Waverly Earp, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Nicole took a step forward, grabbed the Princess’s hand and brought it to her lips, lightly kissing her knuckles. “Believe me when I say this, your Highness. The pleasure is all mine.” The knight said with a dimpled smile on her face.

Chapter Text

Waverly didn’t know what to think when her eyes fell on the redhead walking towards her when she was sitting in the tree. She was up there to escape for a while. To divulge into the world of reading and learning everything she could from it. Though she was supposed to be meeting her father to welcome the new Knight at their Castle. The brunette couldn’t bring herself to care though. King Ward had never given any information on who the new person would be, and the brunette figured it probably be another male with a good fit body and a massive ego to match. So when Waverly saw the flash of red and what looked to be a more feminine body, she just about lost it. Well, in her case, she actually did, since she slipped out of a tree and was caught by the redhead.

When the Princess’s eyes met with deep brown one, she knew she was a goner. The red hair, gorgeous smile, dimples, eyes that she felt she could stare at them for days, and a woman. But not just any woman, a Knight no less. Waverly had never heard of women being Knight’s, yet she was standing right next to one. Who was also currently blushing for making such a bold gesture when she kissed her hand.

The brunette was slightly confused though. “Lady Nicole, are you training my father's men?”

“Yes, your Highness.” Nicole watched as an amused smile came across the Princess’s face. “If I may be so bold, do I dare ask what that smile is for?”

“Never thought my father, the King, would hire a woman.” Waverly lightly laughed. “Makes me wonder if the world is ending.” The youngest Earp walked off then, leaving the Knight alone with her thoughts.  

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After walking as fast as she could to her chambers, Waverly slammed her door closed. Lady Nicole Haught was beautiful and charming. Just being near her was causing the Princess’s breathing to quicken and it bothered her to no end. Having the redhead's arms around didn’t help her either. In a matter of seconds, the youngest Earp felt safe with someone she didn’t know and just thinking about it, made her breath catch in her throat again.

There was a tremendous problem with the way the Princess had felt. Being with a woman, wasn’t right. It was sinful, wrong and a ticket straight to hell. Just thinking about someone of the same sex the same way you would a man caused an uproar. What Waverly was feeling, had to be tampered down and ignored. She knew it was going to be a lot harder than she had planned for, with the Knight staying at their Castle for a long while.

Waverly walked over to the side of her bed and sat down on the edge of it. She let out a huff and flung herself backward's, so she was lying down with her feet hanging off. The brunette couldn’t believe what was happening. Well, she could but couldn’t at the same time. It had been a few years since she had discovered that she was attracted to women.

One night, back when the Princess was fifteen, she managed to slip out of the Castle and explore the village. It was unethical for royalty to ‘mix’ with people who weren’t part of the monarchy. King Ward made it very clear ‘that Prince’s and Princess’s don’t mingle with peasants.’ Waverly thought it was absurd at the time and still felt that way years later.

When she got to the edge of the village, the brunette had to take a deep breath. The adrenaline of slipping past the guards and some of the Knights had her heart racing. It was the first time she had ever gotten past them, and it felt nice to be free from the Castle walls. Free from everything that came with being a Princess. This was her chance to finally be normal for once without having a title before her name.

Looking at the stores and workshops, Waverly couldn’t help but admire them. One of her favorite stores was the dress shop. The seamstress always went to the Castle instead of vice versus. Often times, an actually royal seamstress would arrive instead but when the need for a new dress for urgent, that’s when the woman from the village came in.

As the Princess was looking through the window, a girl about her age appeared and opened the door. Waverly was frozen in place at the sight of the other woman. A feeling that should have been towards a man washed over, but for some reason, at that moment, she didn’t seem to care. All that mattered was getting to know the girl, that what felt like the first time, opened her to a whole new way of life.

The two became fast friends. Always sneaking in and out of the Castle every night. The girl, Elizabeth, knew that Waverly was a Princess and every time they met, she would ask a question about being a royal. The brunette didn’t mind in the slightest since she did the same as well. Knowing how to sew was a fascinating thing to learn, and Waverly was eager to do so.

After a couple of months of sneaking around, Elizabeth brought the Princess down to the nearby river. It was one of the girls favorite spot and hoped Waverly would like it. She had set up a little picnic for them and hoped it would pass as romantic. Beth had a feeling that the brunette loved her but didn’t do anything about it out of fear. It was completely understandable since she was scared as well and hoped the gesture wouldn’t frighten her friend off.

Once Waverly arrived though, the fear the blonde haired girl was feeling, left in a heartbeat. The smile on the Princess’s face would have light up the night sky, and it was the most beautiful thing Elizabeth had ever seen. By the end of their picnic, the two were sharing their first kiss together.

Sadly, as time went on, it got harder and harder to see each other. The King had found out about his youngest daughter sneaking out every night and had a guard posted outside her bedroom to make sure she never left. When Ward heard that she was sneaking off to see a girl in the village, he became furious and forbid the two to ever see each other again, going as far as threatening Elizabeth and her family for trying to ‘change his daughter.’ Beth and her family moved two weeks later to another Kingdom to get away from King Ward and his threats.

The Princess felt like she was in a dream, only she was awake for it. Flashes of Elizabeth flooded her mind. The long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, her tall, slim frame, how warm she always felt. Waverly knew that Beth was her first love and also knew that it was a risky move back then to see her as much as she did. It still was a risk even now, many years later. Unfortunately, the youngest Earp knew that at some point, her father was going to force her to marry some man that she didn’t love and never would either.

That was secret Waverly held on to for all these years. She didn’t fancy men the same way she did with women. The brunette tried to though. Many different Princes had called on her and never once did the feeling she had for Elizabeth make an appearance towards the men. The Princess felt terrible, exceedingly terrible when she turned them away. But she wasn’t going to force herself to like or even love some man when she knew it in her heart that she would never fall for them.

Memories upon memories flooded the Princess’s mind, and silent tears fell down her face. It was a constant battle to ignore how she felt and now a beautiful redhead, who took her breath away, was making it even harder to escape those feelings. Just thinking about the Knight made the tears stay at bay and a small smile graced her lips. The feeling of being in her arms felt natural and oddly familiar. Like she had met this woman before even though Waverly knew she hadn’t. A gorgeous woman like Nicole would have been hard to forget about.

The youngest Earp’s door flung open and slammed against the wall causing her jolt upright at the sound. “There you are! We’ve been looking all over for you.” Wynonna said.

“Father is rather displeased that you weren’t with us when we greeted our newest guests.  Completely outrageous if you ask me. A woman Knight, what was father thinking?” Willa angrily spoke from the arch of the doorway. “Come now sisters, we have to be back at the dining hall soon, or else daddy won't let us see the light of day again.”

Wynonna pulled her little up off the bed and dragged her out the door. Waverly mumbled under her breath. “Like we already do now?”

____________________   

 

Nicole had gone back to her corridor to change out of her metal armor. She went with her more casual jerkin verses the freshly washed training one. Usually, the Knight hated wearing jerkin while teaching the men and woman how to fight but if she wasn’t the one doing much joisting, then the metal armor wasn’t necessary to wear.

From the moment the redhead saw the youngest Princess, she couldn’t get her out of her mind. There were only two people who knew that the Knight preferred women over men and those were her father and Sir Wainwright. When she told them about it at fourteen, both had told her to be careful and maybe rethink about it before putting herself in a situation that she couldn’t get out of. Nicole was a little dumbfounded that both men were okay with the fact that she fancied women. Nathaniel once said, ‘I don’t blame you. They are pretty to look at.’ Her mentor had also agreed with the statement, and that was that.

Throughout the years, the Knight had seen a fair share of pretty women come and go from her Castle. A couple of them, she had small relations with, but nothing too serious. But out of all the women she had seen in the course of her life, none outshined the woman she had caught in her arms earlier that day. The Princess was without a doubt the most beautiful woman in all the Kingdoms, hell probably even in all the world.

The Knight wanted to get to know her better. Maybe become Waverly’s friend or someone she could rely on. Protect and fight for her. Keep her safe from all the evils of the world. Nicole shook her head violently. She barely knew the Princess and was already thinking way out of context about her. The youngest Earp probably already had a caller, a Prince no doubt, which meant she was not needed in that way. Though thinking back to when the brunette walked off with dirt flying under her heels, she did seem somewhat flustered about being so close to Nicole.

Again, the redhead shook her head. She continued getting changed and went about working her way to the dining hall. Nicole waited outside her mentor's room. She knocked once, jingled the door handle then knocked again. It was code for both of them to let the other know who was there. It made it more comfortable as well, cause it meant it was a friend on the other side of the door rather than a stranger. It was also something they came up with when the younger Knight was a child, and the two never seemed to stop the tradition.

The door opened, and Wainwright walked out. Nicole could tell that he was slightly nervous. The older Knight hadn’t trained a group of men for a while, and when his protege asked for help, he couldn’t let her down. But that didn’t stop the twisting feeling in his stomach. To train men in your Kingdom was one thing, but to do so at another Castle with a watchful eye always lurking to find a flaw, it made his nerves fly all over the place.

“I can smell your nerves from here, Johnathan Wainwright. You trained me, remember. Stop overworking your head. I wouldn’t be claimed as the ‘best’ if it wasn’t for you and my father. Am I wrong?”

“I suppose not.”

“Alright then, bring your head back to land before it flies away on you. I need you front and center whenever the King brings in these men.”

“Of course, Lady Haught… shall we?” John gestured down the hallway. Nicole nodded her once, and the two made their way through the Castle.

____________________

“I see you’ve managed to find your through my Castle?” The King questioned from his seat.

“Indeed we have, your Majesty.” Sir Wainwright answered while trying to hold back the annoyance in his voice.

Both Knights looked at the table in front of them. King Ward sat at one end of the table while Queen Michelle sat at the other. There were many seats in-between on both sides. From where they stood, the oldest and youngest Earp daughters were on the right with the middle was the left. Nicole, the ever nonchalant that she was, took the seat across from Waverly, which happened to be a couple chairs down from Wynonna. John followed suit and joined her in the next seat over.

The table had all kinds of different foods on it. There was probably enough there to feed everyone in the village, but neither Knight was going to bring that detail up to the King. They had already seen once how he reacted to the people who lived there and honestly it boiled their blood some. Most if not all the Knights that came to train at Castle Black-Shield were not apart of the monarchy. Most would say that it was standard practice for ‘peasants’ to become squires then Knights as they got older. So for King Ward to disrespect his people like that, was uncalled for and very un-royal of him.

It wasn’t long before conversations started, mostly between the Queen and her daughters. They were talking about the next steps they would be taking in the monarchy. How the oldest was the heir to the throne and the two youngest would either marry into another royal family or take part in some place else. From time to time, during the conversation, Nicole would move her eyes off of the food she was eating and glance over at the youngest Princess. She managed to keep her face neutral even though she was dying to smile. There were a couple of times when the redhead would look up and see Waverly staring back at her. When those moments happened, that’s when the small grins broke out between the two.

Throughout the entire dinner, the Knight and the Princess continued to glance at one another. Trying to be subtle about it though was a different story. Nicole ended up being caught twice by Sir Wainwright. He would lightly knock their knees together to get her attention and make her see that she was staring at the youngest Earp far too long. If the Knight wanted to keep her head attached, she had to stop. It was a lot harder than Nicole thought it would be though.

“Lady Haught, how long have you’ve been a Knight?” The Queen asked.

Nicole thought for a moment. “Almost six years, your Majesty.”

“And how old do you have to be to become one?”

“Twenty-one. I became a squire at a young age and both my father and mentor, Sir Wainwright here, trained me.”

“So a child becomes a squire?” Princess Wynonna questioned. Trying to digest the information.

“Yes, your Highness,” John spoke up. “At the young age of seven, children will start by pages then by thirteen-fourteen they become squire's and start the training to become a Knight. Lady Haught, on the other hand, started training much earlier than teen years due to her father. Her being the next heir means she needs to know how to properly fight sooner than the rest.”

“What about finding a husband? All Kingdoms are ruled by men.” The King asked.

“My father will not force me to marry. He believes I am fully capable of ruling Castle Black-Shield.”

“That is absurd. No woman rules a Castle. That is an outrage.”

“So is having a female Knight, yet here I am the one to train your men, come the end of the week. Women are capable of doing anything we set our mind to. I am living proof of that.”

“You do not speak to a King like that, Lady Haught. Or else I will teach you what happens if you do it again.”

“Shall I remind you of the peace treaty, King Earp? The one you and my father, Sir Nathaniel Haught wrote up when I was a child? It would look awfully terrible if something happened to the heir of Castle Black-Shield while being at your Kingdom, your Majesty… My father will have no problems in bringing down the gates of this Castle if you so much as breath the wrong way in my direction. If I recall correctly, that was the deal you two made long before my name was even brought into it. Correct me if I am wrong, your Majesty?... Now, if you want to start a war, fine. Just know that the men you have now, will not survive against all other Knights throughout all the Kingdoms that will join my father's side, me including.”

The brunette watched as Nicole hastily got up from the table and left the dining hall with Sir Wainwright quickly following after her. She couldn’t believe that the Knight had just spoken to her father, the King, like that. But most importantly, the redhead did it in front of his family. To say that Waverly’s father was angry and upset was an understatement. The thing was, she wasn’t going to side with Ward.

Everything Nicole had said was right and truthful. When Sir Haught was at the Castle a couple of months ago, he swore on bended knee that he would come after the King if anything happened to his daughter. From the looks of it, Lady Nicole Haught was indeed informed about the meeting. Now, it was a matter of convincing both Nicole and Sir Wainwright to stay, even if leaving was technically the smarter choice to make.

“May I be excused?”

Chapter Text

Please stay. Those words echoed in the Knight’s head. They were simple but had so much meaning behind them. When Nicole left the dining hall, she had only expected John to follow after her, in which he did. What she wasn’t expecting was Princess Waverly to do so as well.

Nicole wasn’t sure if she wanted to be in a place where the King would give her self-doubt. She knew she was a good Knight and was capable of training. Lord only knows the redhead had been doing so since becoming one herself. But have someone make the redhead feel like she useless and unworthy of the task, it made her reconsider the job.

The moment Nicole heard her voice then felt her hand wrap around her wrist, it was like everything that was telling her to go in her head, had slipped away. The Knight wasn’t sure why the Princess had stopped her, but when those two words fell from her lips, all she could do was nod her head. It was like a spell she didn’t know she was under.

Beautiful emerald eyes pleading and the voice, the redhead could only describe as angelic, was what kept her from saddling up her horse and riding back to Castle Black-Shield. Prove him wrong, Lady Haught. Make him eat his words. You’re here to train his men not have him control your life. He’s a shit ticket of a father and an even bigger asshat for a King, but all I ask for you to do is, please stay. Nicole recalled what the Princess said. But the only words that mattered were the last two.

When nodding her head in response, it almost felt like a promise. Like the Knight would always stay far longer than what it would take to train the King’s new men. She barely knew this woman, and yet Nicole was already doing what the Princess asked. If it were anyone else, she would have walked. Continued on going back home and never taking a second on reconsidering. But somehow Waverly had her wrapped around her finger in no time at all. The only thing left to do was to get to know the brunette and hope that the other woman felt the same as she did. Even if it was a dangerous thing to do.

____________________   

 

Two days came and went, and by the following morning, the two Knights were already waiting near the gates for the arrival of one of the Guards from Castle Black-Shield. They were bringing a small carriage with all the training supplies that they needed. Nicole and John would have brought it themselves if they had the space on their horses. Thankfully a Guard had offered their services to help just so the other two could make it to the Kingdom of Purgatory faster. The only downfall was having to wait to train until the supplies showed up.

Behind the gates, you could hear people shouting. A proud grin crept onto Nicole’s face when she started listening to people yell out her last name. The excitement, amusement, and curiosity were heard in those voices as a horse and buggy traveled through the village. As they got closer so didn’t the shouting. The redhead looked over to Sir Wainwright with a slightly worried look. Sometimes people would try to jump onto the carriage and steal the training swords and shields and then try to sell them as their own. It wasn’t often that it happened, but when villagers followed the buggy closely, it was always a concern.

Guards began to line up near the gates to take care of the situation if need be, though as the horse got closer, the people started slowing down. When they realized the direction the Guard was going and reached the path towards the Castle, the villagers knew not to mess with the contents inside the buggy. They might not have of known the exact items that were hidden inside the buckboards, but to touch them knowing they were most likely going to the King was a terrible idea.  

When the gates finally opened and the two Knights noticed the villagers standing as far away as they could, Nicole couldn’t help but wonder, why? A lot of times, people wanted to be as close to the Castle as possible to catch a glimpse of something that they’ve never seen before. If they could manage to see Royalty walking around outside it was like striking gold for them. The villagers in the Kingdom of Purgatory though were different. Fear and pain were written all over their faces, and the redhead wanted to know to why. Why these people, the Kings people, were afraid to come near Castle Revenant. Maybe Princess Waverly can tell me?

Once the Guard came and dropped off the supplies, he left directly afterward. The Knights weren’t surprised by it. Not many people who worked at Castle Black-Shield liked the idea of having the heir train men for King Ward. It was still a sore subject for most, but everyone had to get over it considering Nicole decided to leave in the first place. Though, it might not have been the smartest idea until she laid eyes on a certain brunette Princess.

Now it was time for King Ward to summon all of the men that he needed to be trained. Lady Haught and Sir Wainwright still didn’t know how many they were, but numbers never mattered to them either way. They only hoped that maybe, just maybe, the King was smart enough to hire some men with fencing knowledge on their side. Whether it was from horsing around as a child or actually taking lessons, the latter of the two was preferable, but they weren’t going to be picky about it. The Knights would stay at Castle Revenant as long as it would take to train every single man that walked through those gates.

As the two Knights started to set up the grounds for training, the sound of hooves galloping towards them caught their attention. The rider was wearing a long pink dress with white embroidered flowers on it. Long brunette hair flowed in the air as a light gust of wind came through. Nicole’s breath caught in her throat as she watched Waverly ride passed her with a hint of a smile and tears on her face. At that moment, the redhead wanted to abandon all responsibilities and follow the Princess. So she did.

“I’ll be back.” Nicole nodded towards the retreating form. Then she heard it; yelling.  

From the sounds of the shouting coming from the direction that Waverly had just appeared from, Nicole guessed that the Princess wasn’t supposed to be taking off. The Knight took off running before Sir Wainwright could say something. Doubling her pace as the yelling became more aggressive. The redhead made it to the stables, found her horse and quickly got him out of the stall. Instead of bothering with the tackle, Nicole just jumped up on the horses back and kicked his hindquarters, putting him in a full trot.

Nicole rode in the same direction as the Princess did. It dawned on her that the gates were not that way but behind them but the Knight continued anyway. It only took a minute for her to reach the Castle walls, so she frantically looked for a second gate that led outside. Thankfully, the redhead found it. By the looks of it, it was secluded and barely ever touched, almost like a backup route that no one knew about. Well, one person knew about it and used it very wisely.    

The gate was still slightly jarred opened when the redhead reached it. She got off her horse, opened it and briskly walked out. Just as fast as she could, Nicole got back up on her horse and stopped. Right outside the gate was a path leading into the woods heading towards the village. It was odd that it was there and heading in such a direction, but the Knight wasn’t going to question it. Once again, she lightly kicked the hindquarters and was riding towards the forest, thanking her lucky stars that she had her sword conjoined at her hip.

____________________

 

It wasn’t long before the sound of another horse could be heard. Nicole knew that wasn’t a Guard from the Castle because when she left, no one was anywhere near her or the location of the second gate. She hoped that it was Waverly and no someone from the village taking a stroll down the same path. Luckily for the Knight, a beam of light coming through the patches of the tress made it easier to catch a glimpse of a pink dress.

After slowing her horse, the redhead got off and carefully walked over to the Princess. Waverly was sitting on a log next to a river with her head buried in her hands. Nicole heard sniffling and faint whimpers coming from the small woman in front of her, and it made her want to take the brunette into her arms. She felt the need the take Waverly and hide her from whatever caused the pain that she was in. At the same time though, she wasn’t sure if the Princess even wanted anyone near her.

“Ahem,” The Knight cleared her throat, accidentally startling Waverly. “I’m sorry, your Highness. I don’t mean to scare you. I just wanted you to be aware of my presence.”

“If you’re here to bring me back, I will kindly tell you to step off and if you dare touch me, don’t think I won't use your own sword against you.”

“Do you even know how to use a sword, your Highness?” Nicole teased.

“No,” Waverly mumbled, but the Knight still heard it.

“I can show you if you want.” The Princess turned around and stared at the redhead looking bewildered. “What?”

“You’d do that for me?”

I think I’d do a lot of things to you. “Why not? I’m here to train aren’t I?” Nicole asked. She felt her cheeks become warm and hoped that the Princess hadn’t noticed.

“Men not women, Lady Haught, don’t forget that.” Waverly did notice the redness on the Knights face but decided not to question about it.

“I see.” Nicole thought for a moment, realizing the situation. “I can always train you out here.”

“Playing a dangerous game, going against the King’s rule. You really want to lose your head for trying to teach King Ward’s youngest daughter how to wield a sword?” The redhead saw the corner of Princess’s lip twitch as the brunette fought off a smile.

“If it makes you smile, then it’s worth it, your Highness.”

“Waverly… When there’s no one else around, call me Waverly. I told you, I despise formality.”

“As you wish, your… do you know how to skip rocks, Waverly?” Nicole changed subjects.

The brunette shook her head. Her eyes lit up as she smiled at the Knight. “Can you teach me, please?”        

Hours went by as the Knight and Princess skipped rocks down the river. Waverly caught on very quickly and was starting to become better than the redhead. The smaller woman never mentioned the reason as to why she left the Castle in such a hurry and Nicole was never one to press for answers either. The way she looked at it was, if someone wanted to talk about what was troubling them, then they would.

Princess Waverly had talked about the book she was reading before falling out of the tree. It was surprisingly about a forbidden love story between two families fighting against each other. The two teenagers accidentally bumped into each other while in the mercantile. Neither one of them knew they were from those certain families and began spending time together. In the course of a month, the two figured out each other’s their last names and realized that what they couldn’t be together anymore but the teenagers were already in love with one another and that they would find a way to work it out.

Sometimes fairy tales don’t always end the way you think it would. Sometimes they finished in tragedies, despair, and even death. Like how the Princess’s story ended. The two teenagers ran away as soon as both families found out about the love affair. They were going to elope as soon as possible, but as reached the next town over, the young man was shot by the girl’s father. Unfortunately, Waverly couldn’t finish the whole tale. She still had a few more pages to go, and if Nicole was interested, the taller woman could borrow the book to read herself or have the brunette tell her the rest. The Knight, of course, said she wanted Waverly to conclude telling her the story. If meant that the redhead got to spend time with the Princess, she would gladly accept the opportunity.

The brunette then continued talking about how excited she was to learn how to protect herself. The idea of a Queen or Princess needing a Knight and or Guard around to keep them safe was absurd. Waverly at least felt a little guiltily after saying that, but the redhead understood what she meant. Nicole told her that it was okay, that women should know how to defend themselves instead of feeling vulnerable and afraid. That they should be able to take care of themselves if something was to happen and no one else was around to help. The Princess was astounded by the answer. Then again, it was probably because Nicole was a Knight and actually knew how to wield a sword.

“Are you the only female Knight in your Kingdom?” Waverly questioned.

“Yes, your Highnesses. Only because our Kingdom is for training.”

“You don’t have Royalty ruling there?” The Princess was astonished.

“No, the only ones considered Royalty would be my father and myself, but we don’t stake claim on the matter, and we feel that telling people how to live isn’t fair. The Knights Realm was created for just that. To train future Knight so they can serve Kings and Queens in other Kingdoms. And to answer your first question fully, I’m the only one due to other women returning back home and serving for their Royalty.”

“So you’re telling me, you’re technically a Princess yourself?” Waverly wondered.

“I’m an heir, not a Princess.” Nicole corrected.

“Same difference.”

“With all due respect, but no it is not. My father won't force me to take over if I don’t want to. He’ll train another Knight and teach them the laws of ruling Castle Black-Shield, but he won't do so until I tell him otherwise that I don’t want to take over. I won't have to take a husband to train by my side either. I refuse to be forced into something that should come naturally. If I feel that I can handle an entire Realm by myself, then my father will let me do so. I may appoint someone as my advisor but nothing more.”

“Must be nice to have so much freedom.” The Princess mumbled under her breath. She cast her eyes down to the river, watching the water flow in one direction,  

If wasn’t for the air current, Nicole wouldn’t have heard it, but she did. She knew there was more behind the statement but didn’t push any further. Instead, the Knight looked up and noticed the change in the sky. It was slowly becoming nightfall, and if she didn’t get back to the Castle soon, Sir Wainwright would probably come looking for her.

When the redhead looked back at Princess, she was still staring down at the river. Nicole wasn’t really sure why or what Waverly was looking at, but sadly it was time to return back to the Castle. Even though her gut was telling her to do the opposite. The Knight had truly enjoyed spending time with the brunette and hoped it was the same for the other woman. For some reason, she felt a connection with Waverly and wanted to explore it more.

“It’s getting late, your Highness. We should be heading back soon.”

“I’ll leave as soon as you drop that damn formality, Lady Haught.”

“Of course, Waverly. As long as you do the same.”

“Fine by me, Nicole.”

The two women gathered their horses. Nicole had wanted to help the brunette mount her horse but thought better of it. The Knight then took off her belt that held her sword and tied to the side of the saddle underneath the fender. With the blade covered by a sleeve, she wasn’t worried about the horse or the Princess getting hurt. The redhead wouldn’t forgive herself if Waverly or the animal got hurt because of her weapon.

After Nicole mounted her own horse, the two set a slow pace as they headed back towards Castle Revenant. The Princess was to the left of the redhead and would take small glances at the taller woman. The way her body moved with the horse without a saddle on was a sight to see.  The more Waverly watched, the more her mind went somewhere else. A blush crept onto her cheeks as she started thinking about how she wished she was… no, thoughts like that about a woman were not supposed to happen. But that didn’t stop the brunette from thinking them anyway.

Again, no different then during dinner, the Knight and Princess would end up staring at each other. Both would catch one another stealing glimpses of the other and watch their face’s turn as red as Nicole’s hair. Neither minded though, it was nice to think that maybe, the other felt the same as they did. But for right now though, little peeks here and there, was all they were going to take. It was safer even if neither one of them cared much about it and was more than willing to take risks to see what could happen between them.

Waverly was willing to wait though. She knew she liked the Knight but also wanted to get to know her better. She also didn’t want to assume that Nicole fancied women instead of men, so the Princess would wait and see if her assumption were correct. What Waverly didn’t know was that Nicole was internally fighting the same exact problem.

Nicole and Waverly made it back to the Castle just as the sun was going down over the horizon. The Knight knew that there was going to be some type of punishment for the Princess for running off and for being gone all afternoon. There was a slight chance that the King would be gentler on his youngest daughter knowing she was with a ‘protector’ but the off chance of that happening was slim.

As the two got closer to the Castle Revenant, they saw someone leaning against the wall next to the second gate. Sneaking back onto the Castle grounds was officially no longer an option.

Chapter Text

“Wynonna,” Waverly said sheepishly. She got off her horse and faced her sister. “Hi.” The brunette weakly waved.  

“Hi? That’s all you have to say after being gone all afternoon. Daddy is furious that you took off, by the way… What the hell were you thinking, Waves?” Wynonna looked over to the Knight, who was now standing next to her own horse. “And you.” The middle Earp Princess pointed. “If you have been with her this whole time instead of bringing her back, you might as well be backing up your things!”

“I’m here to train, your Highness. Not keep an eye on Princesses. The way I see it, I kept your sister company and out of harm's way until she was ready to come back. I will say though, I will never force anyone to do anything against their will, and that's including Princess Waverly.” Nicole glanced over at the brunette and softly smiled. She then walked over to her. “May I bring your horse back to the sables, your Highness?”

“You may, Lady Haught. Thank you for accompanying me as well.”

“It was my pleasure, your Highness.” The Knight took the reins from Waverly’s hand. Lingering briefly as their hands touched.

After Nicole left, the Earp sisters stared at one another. They stayed like that for a couple more minutes before Waverly had enough and walked through the gate. She honestly didn’t want to deal with her sister at the moment and had better things to do with her time than have a staring competition with her. The brunette heard her middle sister yelling at her but decided to ignore Wynonna instead.

As the Princess made her way back into the open field, she spied Nicole over at the stables. Her mind and body told her to join the Knight but went against it. Waverly needed to try and avoid any and all distractions for the rest of the evening. She made to make her way to her room before King Ward, or Queen Michelle found her. The youngest Earp really hoped that living in a big Castle would bring luck on her side. Thankfully, it did. Before her parents, sisters, or any of the Guards could see her, the brunette slipped into her corridors and closed the door shut. Hoping that everything and everyone behind the door would leave her alone until morning. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and she wasn’t that lucky.

Unfortunately, what Waverly didn’t know, was that Wynonna would have understood the reason for her taking off and that the middle Earp would have also felt the same way she did.  

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When Knight saw one of the other Princess’s leaning against the wall of the Castle, she knew it wasn’t going to end well. It was better to try and leave as quickly as possible than to stick around and listen to an argument. It wasn’t like Nicole didn’t want to stay and defend the youngest Earp, but it also wasn’t her place to do so either. The reason for Waverly taking off was still unknown so helping to protect her, other saying, ‘everyone deserves a little time to themselves,’ wouldn’t have mattered as much.  

After being at the stables for a minute or two, Nicole noticed the brunette briskly walking through the yard. Her sister was shouting at her and it quite obvious the Waverly was ignoring her. The Knight happened to look over at the right time and saw the youngest Earp looking back at her with a small smile on her face. The redhead had a grin of her own and nodded her head once to acknowledge the other woman. Thankfully no one was paying attention to their brief interaction. It might have been a small one, but it meant everything to Nicole.

Once the horses groomed, fed, and watered, the redhead retired for the night. She couldn’t stop thinking about her time with the Princess. Listening intently and hanging on to every word the Princess said. Aside from skipping rocks, the two women walked along the river and ended up sitting on a large but long boulder. They sat relatively close, their pinkies occasionally brushing up against one another. Nicole had the urged interlaced their fingers together but decided not to. It wasn’t appropriate nor was it the time to try such a gesture. It could have been seen as a comforting moment, yet the Knight didn’t want to upset Waverly by holding her hand either. Even if her mind was craving to touch and hold the brunette again.   

Though the day was a relatively easy one, the Knight felt exhausted. She skipped dinner with the Royal family and went straight to the kitchen. Grabbing whatever food she could without looking like a slob. It was actually a lot harder than it looked but the cooks didn’t seem to mind. If anything else, they found the redhead amusing for trying to avoid the shouting going on in the dining room.  

From what Nicole heard, it didn’t sound like there was much choice in the matter. You’ll do what I say. You are my daughter, and you will obey my rules. He will be here in a couple of months. The Knight had an inkling on what the subject was about and sadly also knew who the King was yelling at.

After gathering up food, Nicole left the kitchen and went straight to her chambers. A part of her wanted to go and see Sir Wainwright and apologize to him for being gone all day and leaving him to set up the training supplies, but another part of her just wanted to lie in bed and eat. The Knight chose the latter of the two and headed for the door to her room instead.

It wasn’t long before the sound of someone crying worked its way into the redhead's chambers. Unfortunately, Nicole recognized the cry and did everything she could to hold herself back from leaving her room and finding the brunette. After five minutes of listening to the wailing, she had enough. The Knight stormed out her corridor, slamming the door closed and followed the sound. Surprisingly enough, it only took her a few minutes to find Waverly’s door. She knocked quietly, hoping not to startle the Princess.

“Go away, I don’t want to see anyone.”

Nicole thought for a moment. “Waverly, your Highness, it’s Nicole.”

After a moment, the door opened. “What are you doing here, Nicole?” Waverly rasped out.

“I could hear you crying, and I wanted to make sure you were alright. I know it’s not my place to do so, but…” The Knight looked at the brunette eyes and saw the redness in them. “I’m sorry, I’ll just leave you alone.”

“No wait, please.” The Princess grabbed ahold of the redhead’s wrist. “Thank you, for checking on me… Would you mind keeping me company for a little while? If you’re not too tired of course or maybe not tired of my company.”

“I don’t think could ever be tired of being around you,” Nicole said honestly. “So, yes, I’d love to accompany you.” Waverly beamed. She then opened the door wide enough for the Knight to walk in.       

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Nicole ended up being the one to fill the void. She talked about her mom and her passing. The childhood she had before Jacquline died. Her mom was her biggest supporter when it came to becoming a Knight. There were times when the two of them would walk through the woods, find the best stick and just start fencing. The older woman did have quite a bit of knowledge on fighting despite never actually training with Nathaniel. She did, however, work privately with Sir Wainwright when her husband was away. It was meant to be a surprise when Nicole began her training, but the mother's untimely death meant the Nathaniel never finding out until his friend told him a few years later.

The Knight then began talking about her horse, Sir Starbuck. He was born on the Castle grounds, and when he became old enough to ride, every man in the Kingdom tried to break him in. Whenever they jumped on his back, the horse immediately stomped him his front hooves to the ground and brought his back one up, throwing the rider off at the same time. After almost all the men had gotten hurt by the young stallion, Nicole, sixteen at the time, decided to take a chance.

The redhead did things carefully. She brought apples and approached the horse slowly. Nicole always made sure that the animal knew her every move and still kept eye contact with him. It took her a couple of weeks to form a good enough bond with the young stallion to get close to him. All the while, he continued to buck off men every day. After about a month and a half, the horse finally trusted the redhead. She was able to put a loose rope around his neck and led him to a nearby lake.

After walking the colt out into the water, so it was touching just above his stomach, Nicole jumped up onto his back. The horse jumped a few times, but with the redhead continually giving soothing words, he finally relented and gave in. She repeated the process twice a day for a week and before she knew the young stallion saw letting her be on his back without having to be in the water.

Nathaniel was impressed with his daughter. Thought it was a brilliant idea to put the colt in water. None of the other men thought of it, and because Nicole was the first to be able to ride the horse without falling off, the head Knight gave her the young Stallion. When asked why she named her horse Sir Starbuck, the redhead said, ‘he was a star at bucking off men.’ Come to find out, he really didn’t like male gender to begin with. The other reason was that her horse had a white star-like shape on his forehead and it was the only white patch fur on an all-black horse.

The Princess felt better the longer Nicole talked. At the same time, she loathed her. Waverly’s own childhood was nothing compared to the redheads. It was always ‘you have to do this, and you have to do that. You have to be a certain way and can’t act like the peasants in the village.’ Having an actual say in what she wanted, would be a dream come true. But the reality of that ever happening, was slim to none all because she was a Princess and really wasn’t allowed to speak her mind, not without having any repercussions afterward.

“Nicole?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for distracting my mind. Your childhood sounds pleasant, apart from your mother passing.”

“Yes, it was.” The Knight looked out the window and noticed how dark the sky was. “I should head back to my chambers. It’s late, and I have to be up early come morning.”

“Right… Fathers men are arriving tomorrow. I actually forgot about it.”

“That’s all right… If you’re not busy, come by and watch. You’d be amazed at what you can learn just by listening and observing.” Nicole said as she got up from the corner of the Princess’s bed and walked to the door.

“Is that how you learned?” Waverly questioned as she followed behind the redhead.

“That and playing around with my old friends with broken sticks that we could find.” The Knight reached the door and grabbed the handle, turning around to face Waverly one more time before exiting. She waited until the smaller woman said something.

“Thank you again for accompanying me this evening, Lady Haught.” The Princess leaned forward and up on her tiptoes to place a chaste kiss to Nicole’s cheek. She watched the woman’s face instantly become the same color as her hair.

“It was my pleasure… Sleep well, your Highness.” The redhead managed to choke out.

“As goes to you, Nicole.”

Just as the Knight opened the door, she grabbed one of Waverly’s hand and brought it up to her lips. Nicole gently kissed the Princess’s knuckles then slowly slipped out of the room. Never once losing eye contact until the door closed.     

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Morning came, and the horns were sounding off. Both Knights were already in there training jerkins and were patiently waiting in the middle of Castle grounds. A few minutes after the horns had stopped playing, King Ward waltzed onto the field with his fresh blood walking behind him. The Earp man had a smug smile on his face, and Nicole wished she could just take the wooden sword that was nearby and hit him with it. The Knight hated men that acted cocky and hated them, even more, when they were Royalty. It was only a matter of time before she could wipe that stupid grin off his face by finding flaws in his new recruits. Something the redhead couldn’t wait to see.

“Welcome everyone!” Nicole yelled out. “I am Lady Haught, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Haught and heir to Castle Black-Shield.” The Knight heard some snickering from some of the men after she said her name. “If I or my mentor Sir John Wainwright, who will be helping me, hear anyone make comments or rude gestures about my last name you will be asked to leave. I do not care what the King says, I am here to my job, and I will not have anyone offend my family or me while doing so. Depending on the severity of such a comment, I will make you battle against me whether you are ready or not and I will make your life a living a hell afterward.”

The redhead watched most of the men swift on their feet. She knew she was making them uncomfortable. Nicole also knew that most if not all of them knew who she was and that her threat would not go unheard. Haught’s had a reputation to uphold, and that was keeping men and woman in check while training.

Nicole turned to stare at the King. She waited to see if he would say anything and to her surprise, he didn’t. Ward nodded his head and turned back towards the Castle. Looking past the retreating form, the Knight saw Waverly sitting one of the benches. The brunette smiled and gave her a small wave just like she had a few days prior. The redhead had her dimpled grin on her face the moment the two made eye contact with each other.

“Ahem,” Sir Wainwright cleared his throat from behind Nicole. “Lady Haught, your trainee’s.”

“Yes. Ri-right!” The redhead stammered.

The Knight blushed furiously and took a deep breath before returning her attention back to the men. Nicole glanced back at Waverly and noticed that she trying to hide a knowing smile behind her hand. She wanted to glare at the brunette for laughing at the fact that she was caught staring; instead, her own smile only got bigger. There was something about the Princess that made her want to throw caution to the wind and forget about everything. Though the logical stance of that was not the most excellent idea knowing it was ‘wrong’ for Nicole to even think about being with Waverly in such a way.

“Nicole, are you doing okay?” John gently grabbed her shoulder.

“Yes, sorry, my head seems to be in clouds right now.” Nicole shook her lightly and turned back to the trainees. “Alright men, I see that the majority of you brought your own horse. How many of you actually take care of them?”

“That’s what stable hands are for.” One of the men yelled.

“Whoever just spoke, I want your name.”

“Peter York.”

“Okay, besides Peter York, who doesn’t take care of their horse.” Just as both Knight’s expected, none of the men raised their hands. “Shameful, don’t right shameful. How do you expect to be a proper Knight if your steed doesn’t trust you? Just because Knights have squires, does not mean you shouldn’t care for the animal that supposed to help you serve your Kingdom.”

“I thought we were learning how to fight?”

“Name!” Sir Wainwright yelled.

“Kyle York.”

“Set of brothers, wonderful." The older Knight deadpanned. "Well, Kyle York, one must have a noble steed before learning how to wield a sword. Any man or woman that has come from Castle Black-Shield of the Knight's Realm will all tell you the exact same thing we are telling you. Now, all of you get your horse and start grooming them. Once you're done, polish your riding gear.”

“Xavier Dolls, ma’am. I don’t think the King will be happy about us not training properly.” A tall, dark-skinned man said.

“I’m aware of that, and I certainly do not care. I am training you exactly how I would back at Castle Black-Shield. Test my knowledge, and you’ll be packing your bags before you even begin or you can test my skills against me right. I suggest you choose wisely.” Nicole sternly said.

The redhead had gotten up in the man’s face, squaring her shoulders staring him in the eye, and puffing her chest out a bit. The Knight did not want the men thinking she was weak just because she was a woman. It was a constant battle to fight to prove her worth, and she most defiantly would do so in a heartbeat. The man, Dolls, drifted his eyes down in defeat and joined the others at the stables.  

Nicole was happy that the new recruit backed down. Though she was slightly upset that she wasn’t able to show off some of her skills to the Princess, who just happened to still be sitting and watching intently on the bench. A thought ran through the Knights mind when she started thinking about teaching Waverly how to fight. How Nicole might be able to hold the brunette from behind and show her how to properly hold a sword. How to have the perfect stance at all times so she wouldn’t lose her balance or even how to block...  

The Knights thoughts were interrupted when a familiar face came into her line of view. She wasn’t sure why that particular person was there considering they should have been at another Castle, training. What happened next though, made Nicole furious. The redhead watched as the person, the Prince, walked up to Waverly, pulling her up from the bench and into his arms for a bruising kiss.

All Nicole saw, was red. All she wanted to do was yanked the man off of her, but all she could do was stand there with the look of disgust and disappointment on her face. Knowing that she’ll never be able to be the one to kiss the Princess and be the one to make her happy for the rest of her life.

 

 

Chapter Text

After gawking at the Prince and Princess for a second too long, Nicole had enough, especially once the man started to bring his hands to the woman’s backside. She couldn’t watch Waverly get groped by a handsy moron. The redhead turned towards the stables and began walking away. That’s when she heard it. A loud slap, flesh hitting flesh.

Nicole whipped head around quickly just in time to see the brunette bringing her hand away from the Prince’s face, as he brought his own up to cover his cheek where he had been hit. The Knight wasn’t sure what brought on the slap, but she couldn’t help but chuckle. Sadly that laugh, ended in fear when the man began to advance on Waverly.

The redhead took off running towards the two and grabbed her dagger that she kept on her belt at all times. Nicole watched as the Princess backed away from the man with fear in her eyes. Waverly’s back hit a pillar and stood frozen as the Prince got closer.

“Leave me alone! You have no right to kiss me!” The brunette yelled out.

Just as the man took the final step to be as close as possible to Waverly, the Knight grabbed the back of the collar of the Prince’s tunic and yanked him back with her left hand. Nicole brought the dagger up, firmly held in her right, to the man’s throat. Lightly pressing it into the skin to make him realize that she would harm him unless he stopped moving.

“The Princess just gave you an order, Prince Hardy James. She asked of you to leave her alone. Advancing on her is not doing such.” Nicole growled in his eye.

“This doesn’t concern you.”

“It does if you harm her. I am a Knight, remember. I serve to protect, and that is what I am doing!… And from the slap I heard, you weren’t given consent to touch her. I watched what happened, I saw how you took ahold of her.”

“She’s mine to take.”

“Princess Waverly isn’t your property.” The Knight said as she pressed the dagger further into his neck. She flashed a concerned look over to Waverly, finally taking a second to check on her. “Are you alright, your Highness?”

“I am now, thanks to you." Waverly smiled softly before redirecting her focus on the Prince. "What are you doing here, Hardy? Mother told me, you were wasting money over in the Knight Realm. You can let him go, Lady Haught, but I ask of you to stay.”

Nicole nodded in agreement. There was no way she was leaving the Princess’s side with the Kingdom’s idiot. The Knight was also interested in the same answer from Hardy, considering she left the dumbass back at Castle Black-Shield. There was no way for the Prince to have completed his training in the time she had started her journey to the Kingdom of Earp, to when he had begun his. Nicole had barely been at Castle Revenant for a week, and travel between the two Kingdoms took roughly a month, weather permitting as well. So it was impossible for him to finish in just a few short days.

Prince Hardy had a smug ass grin on his face. He took a step back as the Knight lowered her dagger from his throat and went to stand by the Princess. He grabbed a small scroll tucked between his tunic and belt. The blonde haired man slowly unraveled it, and his attitude only got cockier. He then began to read it out loud, and before Nicole knew it, both hers and Waverly’s face went from curiosity to shocked and horrified.

“The King has arranged for you two to get married?”

 

____________________


Waverly stormed through the Castle halls until she found her father. She was completely outraged. Unfortunately, the brunette knew this day would come, and in recent events, or arguments in her case, it was sooner rather than later. Only thing was, the Princess had no know idea who she as marrying. The situation was utterly absurd! So far, she was the first out of her sisters to get married, and the brunette wanted to know why.

It wasn’t fair by any means. Willa or Wynonna should have been the ones to be forced into marriage first, not her. It didn’t seem logically either. Why marry off the youngest who has no ‘foot in the door’ to becoming queen, that was the oldest Earp’s birthright. Waverly, on the other hand, was just there. Her older siblings would have to die or step down from taking the throne for her to have any type of power of any kind. Though deep down inside, the brunette didn’t want any of it. What she wanted, was what Nicole had. Freedom and self-control!

The Princess finally found her father after checking a couple of other places that he liked to be in. King Ward was perched upon his throne in the Throne room. His royal adviser stood in front of him, talking about recent decisions to make. Waverly ignored the conversation like she always did. Whatever choices her father fulfilled, tended to be the worst ones because the King never cared about his Kingdom and the Princess was fed up with hearing how poorly the villagers were doing because of his actions.

Storming into the room, the youngest Earp put on her fiercest look she could manage. “Father, I need to speak with you!” She said sternly.

“You know better than to interrupt-”

“My arranged marriage is to Prince Hardy James!” Waverly interrupted the King. Knowing full well of the consequences.

King Ward’s face harden. He hated when people cut him off while he was talking. “Yes, it is.” He bit out.

“And if I disapprove of your choice?”

“You have no say in the matter in who I choose to have you marry.”

“There is such a thing called ‘marrying for love,’ which is what I want. Not being forced into something I don’t want.”

“You stupid girl, I don’t care what you want. We are Royalty, and we marry others within the monarchy. The James have money and power-”

“So this is about money? I have to marry the stupidest Prince, who by the way, only thinks of himself and Mama royally dislikes him with a passion. So why do I have to marry him and not Willa or Wynonna?”

“Because you’re the one he wants. Whether you like it or not, Waverly, you’re marrying him. Now on another note, I saw you sitting outside watching Lady Haught begin the training. You’re a foolish girl if you think you can bed a Knight. One that will never take an interest in you and find you disgusting for wanting her in such manner… I won't have one of my daughters sleeping with women like some normality. You are a disgrace as it is to this family for bedding a peasant. Hopefully, your new husband won't find out about your little affairs. Maybe he can whip some sense into you.”

Tears cascaded down the Princess's cheeks. The words her father spoke cut through her like a sword. The only difference was, the blade would have felt nicer than what the King had just said. Disgrace. That one word hurt Waverly the most. Ward never did understand her. He never supported her in anything, even the little of things like getting an education. He saw right through her as if she was invisible, and to her, she already was.

The only thing the brunette could think of, to try and mend what had been lost with her father, was to go through with whatever he had planned for her. Waverly surely didn’t like the idea, but if it meant ridding the title of disgrace from her name, then she would do it. Even if it meant spending less time with a certain redheaded Knight that the Princess knew she already had feelings for. Maybe the King was right. Perhaps she was just a foolish girl to think that Nicole felt the same way as she did.

Waverly bolted out of the Throne room as fast as she could. Deep hollow laughter echoed behind her. The sound bouncing off the walls and quickly following her down the hall. It felt like a ghost was chasing after the Princess with nowhere to hide from it. It only caused more tears to fall as her heart pounded in her chest. She continued to run until she got to her sleeping corridors. It was the only safe place for her other than being out in the forest down by the river. Leaving the Castle now was a terrible idea, especially with Prince Hardy lurking throughout the shadows.   

 

____________________

 

For the rest of the day, Nicole couldn’t think straight. Her mind wouldn’t stop going over what Prince Hardy had said. Arranged marriage! Was that why he was sent to train at the Knights Realm? Did King Matthew James want to make him seem more reliable and respectful to others by sending him to Castle Black-Shield? I surely do hope that King Ward doesn’t want me to continue his training or would he expect me too? But an arranged marriage? To Waverly no less? Why her? Why not the older sisters? None of this makes any sense!

After making the new trainee’s muck out stalls and feed and water their horses, Sir Wainwright, and Lady Haught made them run around the Castle grounds. They needed to be in the best shape of health to serve for King Ward, and running helped to do so. Nicole got the idea of having them climb a rope, that she tried around the tallest and sturdiest tree branch, to help build arm strength. It was something that her father had her do while she was training and always made sure to make recruits do so as well. The point of it was to see if they could climb the rope without using the tree trunk for help and to see if they could pull up their own body weight. So far only two of the fifty or so men, Xavier Dolls and a man with an incredible mustache, could do it.    

No matter what she did, the Knight couldn’t rid her thoughts about Waverly. It only got worst when the Princess never came back to finish watching the rest of the training. The boy-man on the other hand did. He continued to harass the other men, making it seem like he was better than the rest of them. It took Nicole, John and a Guard to get the Prince to leave the grounds. He was becoming a distraction towards the other recruits and just an overall nuisance in general.

That feeling Nicole had, when King Ward had his smug looked when the trainee’s arrived that morning, came back full swing but towards Prince Hardy. Numerous occasions had she wanted to take the wooden sword and hit me up the side head with it or shove it down his throat. The boy-man just wouldn’t shut up, and it was driving the Knight crazy. That was another reason why she wanted the blonde haired man to leave, his constant talking was out doing her own when she was giving instructions. It was annoying and downright disrespectful, especially for a Prince considering they were supposed to be well mannered and diplomatic. Hardy proved to be anything but those things.  

Once being back inside her sleeping chambers and into her regular day jerkins, versus the training, the Knight started thinking again. Something wasn’t adding up to the Prince’s arrival. Nicole remembered hearing the King say that he wasn’t supposed to there for months but instead showed up early. Did King Ward forget he summoned him now or had he lost track of time? No, that doesn’t make a lick a sense! Hardy was at Castle Black-Sh…

Everything began to click. King Ward and Prince Hardy had a private conversation later on in the evening after discussing the in’s and outs of the deal. At the time, it wasn’t something Nicole paid much attention too, but now, it was all she could think about. Did the King lie to his daughter or did Hardy just want to show up early? The first thought made more sense than the second. The Prince was supposed to stay in the Knights Realm for a couple more months for training, or until he actually fulfilled the training requirements. Though that would have to mean he’d have to be there longer considering he wasn’t learning anything, to begin with.      

Nicole was furious beyond the point of reasoning. She didn’t want to believe the thoughts that she was thinking but just couldn’t seem to stop. Waverly was lied to too and being forced into a marriage that she obviously didn’t want. The Knight knew that most Kingdoms worked that way, but that didn’t mean it was any easier to accept. It made her happier to think that her father wasn’t anything like King Ward yet it also devastated the redhead knowing the Princess had to deal with a man like that. Her only problem now was trying to figure out what Prince Hardy’s true intentions were, now that he was at Castle Revenant and why he had left the Knight’s Realm before his training ended.


____________________


It wasn’t long before the Princess was back outdoors. She felt suffocated in her own Castle even though she was alone. Waverly stayed alert as best as possible as she began walking the perimeter of the open field. The brunette had every intention to ignore Prince Hardy if he dared to try to speak to her again. Although in hindsight, she knew he would. The man was like a lousy coin, always returning after throwing it away. There was nothing worse than someone you despised hanging around you constantly. Waverly had once told the Prince that she did not take fancy to him and hoped he would get the picture, but with no such luck, that didn’t happen.

Marriage was a scary thing to think about. To be bound to someone in holy matrimony for the rest of your life was probably the most terrifying thing to Waverly, especially to a man that she did not love. That was just it though, the Princess wanted a fairy tale ending at some point in her life, but she wanted it to be on her terms and not her fathers. Preferably to a woman as well, but that was never going to happen, at least not in her lifetime anyway.

Tears began to fall down the youngest Earp’s face again. She hated that she was in the predicament that she was in. Ever since her father had found out about Waverly sneaking off to be with a woman, he had become even crueler towards her. She knew Ward truly never loved her, not like a father should, or at least in her eyes that wasn’t how you treated a child. But then again, King Ward honestly never showed any type of affection towards her in the first place, so why should he now?

As the Princess continued to walk, she ignored everyone around her. At least until she walked into she sister Wynonna. “Baby girl, you doing okay?” The raven-haired woman gently asked as she was concerned for her sister.

“No, I’m not, Nonna,” Waverly answered honestly as she wiped tears from her face.

“What’s-” Before the middle Earp could even begin asking what was wrong, Waverly cute her off!

“Father is forcing me to marry Prince Hardy James. Him! Mama hates him just as much if not more than me!”

“Huh, I thought I saw him walking around outside the Castle walls earlier… wait! Wasn’t he supposed to be training at Castle Black-Shield?”

“Yes, he is. He had months of training left, but now he’s here to pester me instead… What I am supposed to do, Wyn. I don’t want to marry him!”

“Did you tell daddy that?”

“Of course I did! He told me that I don’t have a say in the matter. What do I do?” Waverly repeated.

“I don’t know, baby girl. I really don’t. We’re Royalty and unfortunately being apart of that means arranged marriages usually. I don’t like the idea any more than you do. It’s not fair by any means, but it’s not like we had a choice in the matter when we were born either. The only thing we can do is fight back until daddy sees that the men he has picked out for us aren’t the right pick, especially one who wants to go by Champ now.”

“What on gods green earth are you talking about?”

“Prince Hardy James wants to be called Champ,” Wynonna said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What, why?” The brunette exclaimed.

“Because according to him, he beat Sir Nathaniel Haught in a training duel before leaving to come here.” Waverly gasped. Nicole is not going to be happy about this.

____________________


It didn’t take long for the news to break out about the Prince winning a duel against the Head Knight. Hardy James was gloating about it every time he came in contact with someone he hadn’t talk to. When King Ward caught wind of the news, he congratulated the man. The information only made the blonde haired man seem like an even better fit for Waverly cause now Hardy could wield a sword and win against the best Knight ever to be alive.

Nicole, on the other hand, wasn’t taking the news all to kindly. There had to be a better explanation as to how the Prince had gotten the upper hand on her father. Another thought crossed her mind was that the boy-man was solely lying about the win to look like a better suitor for the Princess. The idea boiled her blood. Both she and Sir Wainwright agreed that it would have been impossible for Hardy to beat out the Head Knight in a duel. The redhead herself had a hard enough time winning against her father in any type of fight, so there was no way the Prince could have done so himself and so quickly after Nicole leaving.

One way or another, Nicole was going to get to the bottom of it and confirm that Prince Hardy James was nothing but a lying son of a bitch and she knew exactly how she was going to prove it.

Chapter Text

The following morning, it had seemed like Nicole’s father had become the laughing stalk of the Kingdoms. Everyone within the Castle walls was talking about Sir Nathaniel Haught’s lost, something that hadn’t happened since becoming Head Knight. Nicole felt like a small child walking through the halls. She knew everyone was now questioning her ability to do her job and only hoped that the King didn’t feel that way. Though she was still determined to prove all those who did believe Prince Hardy, wrong. There was no way, the imbecile that never paid attention other than focusing on who was watching could have defeated Nathaniel Haught in just a few short days.

As the Knight made her way to the dining hall, she could hear the servants whispering. It wasn’t too hard to figure out what they were conversing about. One would occasionally slip and talk too loud, repeating back what the other said, particularly a name no less. To Nicole’s surprise, some actually didn’t believe that the Prince could have managed to win, other than possibly cheating to do so. The redhead grinned at the notation that others didn’t think very highly about Hardy James.

It wasn’t long before Nicole was entering the dining hall. All of the Royals were already seated, including the Prince who sat to close Waverly for her liking. From the looks of it, the youngest Earp didn’t approve of it either. Her body language was tense and almost stiff as a board. Anytime Hardy tried to lean closer to her she would grimace move away from him. The sight made the Knight want to kick the boy-man out of his chair and punch some manners into him but reframed from doing so.

Sir Wainwright was already sitting as well. He sat closer to the Queen rather than King Ward. That prompt Nicole to want to do the same but decided against it. The redhead knew that the King would have some words if she did but at the same time, if she sat somewhere else, she wouldn’t have been able to sit directly across from Waverly.

The room quiet, minus the sound of utensils clinking off the plates. Hardy was smirking at the Knight, and it took everything in Nicole to not punch the stupid boy in the face. Sadly, the Prince just had to open his mouth.

“Lady Haught, you hear I beat your father in a duel?”

“I have.” Nicole gritted out. She tightened her hold on the silverware in her hands. What made her loosen her grip was the feeling of Waverly’s foot running up and down one of her calf’s.

“Thought maybe the heir would congratulate me on finishing my training.”

“I would if I didn’t find it utterly untrue.” The Knight said without a second beat.

“Are you saying that I, Prince Hardy James, am a liar?”

“It’s exactly what I am saying... you couldn’t even beat me while trying to impress the King and Queen when they were at Knights Realm recruiting me. You failed miserably that day, so I know without a doubt, you’re making the whole story up. My father hasn’t lost a battle in almost thirty years. That’s including while he trains. If anything, my father, Sir Nathaniel Haught, let you win.”

“I won fair and square.”

“Then prove it.”

“What?”

Nicole stood up, glaring at the Prince. “I said prove it. Today at high-noon, meet me in the middle of the grounds. Wearing your fighting jerkins. Actually, you’ll need a suit of armor. If you did indeed beat my father, then we will not be using training swords because you are advanced enough to use the real ones.”

“I don’t have to prove myself to you.” Hardy stood up from his chair, puffing out his chest.

“Fine. We will do this the official way. I, Lady Nicole Haught, challenge you Prince Hardy James to a duel at high-noon in the training grounds. Shall you fail to arrive, will make me the winner and you nothing but a liar and a coward!” The Knight spatted.

Before the Prince or anyone else could say anything, Nicole was already walking out the door, leaving everyone flabbergasted. Well, everyone but Waverly. She had the urge to laugh at Hardy’s shocked expression. The Princess knew that the redhead wasn’t going to be overly thrilled with the news and was happy to see her doing something about it. She also knew that Nicole was right, the Prince was a liar, and she couldn’t wait to see the Knight put him in his rightful place. Maybe that way there, her own father would see that Hardy James was not the best man for her to be married too.

____________________


Clinking and clanking of metal swords echoed off the Castle walls. All of the recruits watched in awe as the two Knights battled against each other. They could tell by the flawless movements that they both had years of experience. Every move was calculated, and neither of the two people misstepped. It was like a well-rehearsed danced that they had been doing their entire life and never once forgot the steps.

Nicole and John continued to circle each other as they tried to knock their swords out of the other one's hands. They both knew it was an even match, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t try to outdo the other and win the fight. The last time both Knights fought, they came to a draw. Sir Wainwright, always trying to teach the redhead new lessons, though he could get the upper hand and attack her after she had put her sword back on her belt.

The lesson was to never trust the other opponent and to always be ready to fight. Another part was to see how fast Nicole could wield her sword and protect herself before getting stabbed. Needless to say, the young Knight learned that day and was always ready for battle.

As the hour progress, so didn’t Nicole’s patience. By how high the sun was, she knew she still had some time before she would have to fight Champ. If there was one thing the Knight needed to do, was relax and the only way she was knew how was taking a ride on Sir Starbuck. After the redhead announced that training was over for the day she left for the stables to saddle her steed. Nicole definitely wasn’t trying to see if a certain Princess’s horse was missing from its stall, in which case, it certainly was.

____________________



It didn’t take long for Nicole and Sir Starbuck to end up in a particular part of the woods. The Knight would be lying if she said she rode there by accident. She had a feeling that Waverly would be there but in some ways, wouldn’t have been surprised if the girl wasn’t. Fortunately for the redhead, the Princess was

“I see you are following me again, Lady Haught.” Waverly teased as she looked over her shoulder.

“I thought we were dropping formalities, your Highness.” Nicole quipped back. She jumped off her horse and walked over to the Princess.

“We are. So what are you doing here? Last I saw, you were practicing for your duel against Prince Hardy.”

“I did. Before any kind of fight, I try to clear my head by going for a ride. I just so happen to end up here.”

The Princess nodded and faced Nicole. “Is there a reason you came here or did you just end up in this spot by chance.”

“By choice, actually. I may have noticed your mare missing from her stall and thought maybe I could see you before my fight.”

Waverly blushed had the admission. “You wanted to see me?” She asked softly.

“I know it's not ethical, but yes. I always enjoy seeing you.”

Not ethical... Will never take an interest in you. Find you disgusting for wanting her in such a manner. Nicole’s and her father’s words mingled in Waverly’s mind. Where one thought ended another one began, and each time it got more devastating than the last. The Princess wasn’t sure if the redhead’s statement was meant to be in a friendly manner or one that suggested something more. Waverly knew she was developing feelings for the Knight, even though she had spent little time with the woman, but still, that didn’t stop her heart from wanting Nicole.

“Waverly, you alright?” The Knight gently laid a hand on Waverly’s forearm, hoping to bring the Princess out whatever thoughts she was thinking.

Nicole could tell that the brunette was struggling with something and it started the second she had spoken her last words. The Knight wasn’t sure if she had overstepped by admitting to like seeing the Princess, but she had hoped that she hadn’t. Her and Waverly seemed to be on good terms and what the redhead thought was, ‘something else.’

The night Waverly had kissed her cheek had Nicole’s head spinning. It didn’t seem like it was done out of thoughtfulness for being friendly, but a more intimate affection. The Princess had lingered a few seconds longer than what deemed appropriate as friendly, and the Knight was sure, that the brunette was trying to tell her that she was interested in something more.

Waverly broke from her thoughts when she felt the redhead's hand touch her. “Hmm… oh, um… I’m fine.” She lied.

Everything the Princess was feeling was anything but fine. She really didn’t know what to do. The Knight had been at the castle for almost a week, and the woman was compassionate and sweet but also very protective when need be. It was a week, yes, but somehow during that time, Waverly figured out that Nicole would always be there for her. Certain things that the redhead had said to her during private moments, only confirmed her theory.   

Instead of pushing the subject, Nicole just nodded and turned her head to take a look around the woods. She slowly retracted her hand from Waverly’s arm and rested it on her belt. It wasn’t that the redhead didn’t believe the Princess but the way the youngest Earp had dismissed the question and sounded so unsure of herself, made the Knight wonder if she had said or did something wrong. In thinking so, the redhead cautiously took a small step back, as if she was checking the area more thoroughly.

“How do you know Prince Hardy isn’t telling the truth? What if he really had beaten your father in a duel?” Nicole snapped her head towards Waverly. She definitely wasn't expecting the Princess to ask her that.

“Are you insinuating that the Prince, the same man who thinks you are his property because he is your betroth, is capable of telling such things and then have the audacity to not have to prove himself?”

“Like you said, he is a Prince,” Waverly said. “He also doesn’t own me, either.”

Nicole didn’t mean to get upset, but she just couldn’t help herself. She was already worked up from her encounter with the Prince and unfortunately, that anger was focused on the wrong person. “Could have fooled me, considering how you are already taking his side! So what, now that your future husband can lie straight through his teeth you’re just going to bend over for him, like the whore he wants you to be?”

The Princess marched in front of Nicole and slapped her across the face. “How dare you insult me like that! All I did was ask a couple of simple questions, and here you are calling me some common whore. I could have your head for such speaking such tales.” Waverly barked out. She was furious with the Knight. After everything she was just thinking about the woman and how sweet she was, the redhead had to go and say that.

The Knights face stung and bright red handprint on it. Nicole was tempted to bring her own hand up and touch where the youngest Earp had hit her, but instead, she dug her nails into her palm. She didn’t want to show any kind of weakness in front of Waverly or make it look like getting slapped bothered her. It did, of course, it did, but the redhead wasn’t about to admit that in any form of way.

Nicole scoffed. “You want my head, fine. Take my sword and do the job yourself. Just remember, you’ll be at war with the strongest Knights in all the Realms. Castle Revenant will burn to the ground faster than your father, the King, can build an army. Considering I am the one training men for him.”

“Are you threatening my Kingdom, Lady Haught?”

“That’s a promise, Your Highness. The second my sword touches my skin, my father will rage a war on the person who killed me. He will not take mercy on the fact you are woman and simple base it on you being an Earp.” The Knight spatted out.

The redhead quickly turned around and walked to her horse. She mounted Sir Starbuck and gave him a kick in hind-quarters, riding off back to the Castle. Never once looking behind to see if Waverly had followed her or not. Even if the Princess had, Nicole would have ignored her. Well, at least I have enough anger to use against Prince Hardy now.

____________________


It wasn’t long before Nicole was back at the Castle and in her corridors. She put on her metal armor and sword belt. Everything was up to par and ready to go, minus having to put on the helmet. The Knight was still fuming from her encounter with Waverly earlier in the day and couldn’t find in her to care about she had said to her.

A loud knock on the door interrupted Nicole’s thoughts. “Who is there?” She yelled out.

“Open the damn door and find out!”

The voice was unrecognizable to the redhead though she had head before. She wanted to believe that it belonged to one of the female servants but knew better than to think one of them would speak to her like that. Nicole wouldn’t have cared, considering the employee’s at her own Castle spoke her that way. Everyone was like family there so really didn’t matter, but at Castle Revenant, it made all the difference in the world. People who weren’t considered Royalty had to hold their tongue no matter how wrong the person was.

Nicole opened her door to find Princess Wynonna standing outside of it. She wore a dark blue dress that complimented her eyes and wore a necklace that certainly didn’t belong with the attire. “Your Highness.” The Knight greeted. “What do I owe the pleas-” Nicole’s sentence was cut off when she felt a hand come across her cheek. I’m going to have a permanent hand mark there before the day is out.

“My little sister is in tears because of you.”

“Your Highness, I’m deeply sorry that I’ve made Princess Waverly upset, but I do not have the time to explain myself. Once this duel is over, I promise you I’ll apologize to her.”

“You better. If I find out that you didn’t, your little duel with Prince Hardy will be nothing compared to what I will do to you.” Wynonna barked out.

The middle Earp turned around before the Knight even respond back to her. Nicole blinked a couple of times before she realized what happened. She shook her head once and walked over to grab her sword that was lying on the bed. The redhead felt terrible knowing she had made Waverly upset and had made cry. It was never her intention to have an argument with the Princess, but the thought of the Prince actually winning a duel against her father had her blood boiling. Nicole knew how he fought and there was no way the man could have won. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the time to dwell on the matter.

Before long, Nicole was standing outside in the training ground. To her surprise, there were multiple people gathered around the yard. The Knights she was training all stood together, while the guards, servants and hundreds of village folk were spread out amongst the walls of the Castle. The redhead glanced around and found the Royal family sitting together at the main balcony. Sadly, one of the chairs were empty.

Moments later, Sir Wainwright walked out into the yard with Prince Hardy trailing behind him. From a small distance, Nicole could tell that the blonde haired man was having a hard time breathing from the weight of the armor. It took time to get used to the metal suit with a sword hanging around your hip. The heaviness along with the smells of the wax and oils from cleaning made it harder to endure while wearing the armor, but once to use it, like Nicole was, it felt like lightest, most easiest thing in the world to wear.

“You ready?” John asked when he got close enough to Nicole.

“You know me, Sir Wainwright, I was born ready.” The redhead chimed.

John stood close to the younger Knight and leaned into her. “I’d bid you good luck, but he with the way he is panting, you won't need it.” Sir Wainwright said quiet enough so only she could hear.  

Nicole chuckled. “Thank you, John.” She nodded at her mentor before he began walking to a safer spot in the yard. The Knight then took a step forward and directed her next question to the Prince. “You need a moment?”

“No!” Prince Hardy hissed.”Let’s get this over with so everyone can see that the only fool here, is you.”

You are going to regret those words soon. “We will have to see, won't we?” Nicole sneered.

“Ladies and Gentleman!” King Ward’s voice rang over the training ground. “We are gathered here today for a duel between Prince Hardy James, the next heir of the James Kingdom, and Lady Nicole Haught, heir to the Knights Realm. Contenders, you will fight until the other one surrenders. No sudden death!… Swords at the ready!”  

Both Nicole and the Prince wielded the swords and stood in their fighting stance. Both of them stared at each other with hard looks on their face’s, and neither was about to back down.   

“Let the fight begin!”

Chapter Text

Prince Hardy lifted his sword and lunged forward. Nicole could quickly end the fight before it even started but decided to see if the Prince actually had what it took to take on a real Knight. The redhead moved to the side and raised her own sword, swinging it upward to collide with the blonde haired man’s.

The angle in which Nicole stood in and the force she used in her swing, was enough to send the Prince staggering back a few feet along with almost losing his sword. She smirked at the telling sign of Hardy getting frustrated. They had only just begun, and the man already couldn’t take it. It wasn’t going to take long for the duel to come to an end because the blonde haired man didn’t have the patience to obverse his opponent, like always.

Once regaining his footing, the Prince charged at the redhead again. Nicole could see the determination in his eyes, but the worry on his face spoke volume. He wasn’t ready for a real fight with sharp objects. Hardy knew he was going to lose and it was written all over his face.

Nicole watched as the Prince raised his sword and continued to until it was leveled with his head. Big mistake. The Knight waited, it was all she had too. The man was two feet in front of her when she bent down, and a took a step forward. Metal against metal, scraping sounds echoing, as the man went toppling over the redhead and hitting the ground.

Spinning around and kicking the sword up and out of Hardy’s, Nicole snatched the weapon quickly. She then aimed one sword in the Prince’s face, and the other pointed to the slit of the armor that was open near his manhood. All armor was the same. Nothing was sealed entirely because if it were, no one would be able to get into it.

“Surrender or what hangs between your legs will no longer be there!” Nicole growled. When she noticed that the Prince was going to try and kick her, she moved the sword that was near Hardy’s groan, closer so it was barely touching him. “Move, and I’ll cut it off and make you eat it.”

Prince Hardy's eyes widen in fear, as he nodded and yelled. “I surrender!”

What little crowd was there, they all cheered for the triumphant winner. Nicole took a step back but continued to grip both swords and had them pointed at the Prince. She wasn’t going to take any chances and have him try something behind her back. The Knight didn’t trust Hardy and never had. Something about him always gave her reason to pay closer attention to whenever he was around.

“You are nothing but a liar and a joke. You are not a champ and never will be!” The Knight hissed out.

“I am though. This proved nothing.” Hardy said with a smug smile-slowly rising up from the ground.

“It proved you didn’t beat my father because you don’t know how to fight properly.”

“That may be true, but I still get Princess Waverly either way. She will be my wife soon, and I’ll do whatever I want. While you will be nothing to her.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen.” King Ward’s voice rang out. “Cheers for our Knight, Lady Nicole Haught for winning and protecting her family name.” Prince Hardy’s smug smile faltered a bit but grew even more prominent, and the Knight wished she could just punch him in the face.

The crowd cheer again and before Nicole knew it, people began running towards. They were yelling words of endorsement and being benevolent to the Prince for losing. Though none of them actually meant it and unfortunately it showed. The villagers and servants didn’t like Hardy because he was conniving and self-centered. He always brought up his families money and how he could do anything he wanted. They were thrilled when someone finally was able to knock some arrogance out of the man.

The redhead felt suffocated. Everyone was surrounding her and patting her on the back. All Nicole wanted to do was run. The words the Prince had spoke circled in her mind, and it bothered her to no end. He was right though. Princess Waverly was never going to be hers in the way that she desperately craved for. The Knight knew that no matter what she did, the youngest Earp was, indeed, going to be Prince Hardy’s wife.

Pushing through the crowd, the Knight made her way inside the Castle. Her squire followed after her, taking her sword and making sure it was placed back inside its case. Nicole quickly took off her armor and practically threw it at the young man. She felt terrible, even apologized for being a little rough, but the redhead needed to get out of the tight confide space of the metal suit and be away from everyone.

The moment the armor was off, Nicole beelined her way for the stables. Not once did she stop until she saw her horse, Sir Starbuck.

____________________


Nicole rode out of the Castle. She didn’t care that she had just won the duel against the Prince. She knew she would have. Yes, it was cocky, but the redhead really didn’t care. All she wanted to do was get away from everyone that started to surround her, cheering her on for the victory.

She felt like she couldn’t breathe, and the Knight didn’t know why. It was a victory, and yet it felt like a loss at the same time. No matter what I do, Prince Hardy will still be marrying Waverly. That thought alone gave a bolt of anger and jealousy pulsing throughout Nicole’s body. It was like she was the punchline of a never-ending joke and all the woman could do was sit there and allow it to happen.

Getting away was the only option, and the further Nicole went, the better. Unfortunately, her horse had other plans. Sir Starbuck trotted his way toward the woods and down the familiar path. The Knight was still frustrated and upset from the morning and everything that was going on in her head that she didn’t pay much attention to the fact that her horse was leading down to the stream.

“What makes you think I want you back here?”

The Knight’s head shot up from staring at Sir Starbuck’s mane. Her eyes locked with the Princess's and all she wanted to do was smile but kept a tight-lipped one instead. Nicole’s heart clenched as she remembered everything she had said to Waverly and even though the redhead thought it was true, didn’t mean she had to speak those thoughts out loud, and because she did, Nicole ended up fighting with youngest Earp.

“I can go where ever I want. I don’t need your permission to do so.” Nicole stated. She got off her and dropped the reins as she walked over to the stream. Completely ignoring how Waverly was glaring at her.

“And what gives you the right to think that I do?”

“Like King Ward will actually let you go anywhere by yourself, you have to sneak off just to be here as it is. He has reins on you and your sisters. I get that your royalty, but what about free will… No, I forgot, the monarchy does not have any. It is the exact reason you are marrying a complete imbecile. One who will never be able to protect you but instead, use you to however he sees fit.”

Waverly was fuming. She hated that Nicole made her feel like that. She was angry and upset. The brunette didn’t want to be fighting with the Knight, but the moment the Princess saw her riding towards her, the youngest Earp couldn’t help but feel her blood boil. She remembered the redhead calling her a whore and now she was right back to that same accusation as before.   

“I will not be subjected to this. You are here to train future knights for my father; instead, you duel against a Prince because he said he beat your own father in a training match. Were you that intimidated that you have to prove you were better than him? For what? Nothing! You made him look like a Kingdom's joker in front of hundreds as he lost to a woman.”

“You are still defending him!” Nicole shouted. “He lied and now he is going to be your ruthless husband that is just going to take and take and take from you. He will not care about how you feel as long he gets a piece of ass.”

The Princess knew it was wrong, but she had enough of what Nicole had to say. She walked over to the Knight and slapped her against the face. Harder than she did earlier that morning. This time though, it was different. The redhead stared at her differently. She watched the black of the woman’s eyes begin to grow and then the next thing she knew, Nicole’s lips were against her own. It took a moment to realize what was happening, and then Waverly was kissing her back.

The Knight knew that she was crossing a line, but for how she felt, it didn’t matter. Her father always told her to speak her mind, even if women didn’t get much say in the matter. Nicole was raised to stand up for herself and to never let anyone take her down, and that was precisely what she was doing. But the second the felt Waverly’s hand come across the face for the second time that day, something in her just snapped. The redhead placed her hands on the Princess’s cheeks and forcefully connected their lips together.

The kiss was anything but a sweet and delicate. The Knight nipped and pulled at the brunette’s bottom lip. She removed her hands that had worked their way into silky brunette hair and grabbed Waverly by the waist, while the Princess had a vice grip on her jerkins, just above her breasts. She started to push the youngest Earp backward until the smaller woman’s back hit a tree. The second a faint moan slipped through the Princess’s lips, was when Nicole abruptly stopped and immediately started taking steps back.

“I-I... I’m so sorry, your Highness.” Nicole stuttered. She was mortified by what she had just done. No matter how much it had felt right, it was still wrong. “I... I should not have done that.” The Knight turned around and quickly began walking towards Sir Starbuck. “I must leave... I’m sorry.”

“Nicole, please wait!”

Nicole hastily got up on her horse and rode away. Ignoring the desperate plea to stop coming from Waverly.

____________________


 
Shit! Shit shit shit shit! I should not have done that. God, if King Ward finds out I kissed his daughter, my head will be on stake for sure. How could I have been so stupid? Waverly doesn’t see me like that and she never will... God, she must hate me now. Kissing her without permission. I am as bad as Prince Hardy if not worse. I will never forgive myself for this.

Nicole paced along her room for what felt like hours but was only ten minutes. It took everything in her to not take her sword and end her own life right then and there. Though dramatic, it felt like the better option than facing Waverly and dealing with the distaste the Princess would have towards her. Anything was better than that. Even giving the pleasure of Prince Hardy winning in a duel was better than seeing Waverly’s face filled with horror and disgust.

Everything around the Knight seems to disappear as she continued her pacing. She was scared out of her mind that Waverly will tell her father and everyone that wanted to listen that she is one of them. A woman who is attracted to another woman. To a small number of people, they would not have cared and saw nothing wrong with it, but within Castle walls and the monarchy, it would be how you found yourself with a noose around your neck.  

When a loud knock on the door startled Nicole, she tried to regulate her breathing before walking over to open it. With a hesitant step back, in case of someone wanting to slap her again, was at the door, the redhead slowly opened it and was relieved when it was Sir Wainwright.

“You look worse for wear.” John joked.

“Just what every woman wants to hear from a man.” Nicole retorted.

“I call them I see them, you know that Nicole... now, what’s prying at you?”

The Knight chuckled nervously and rubbed a hand at the back of her neck. “I did something stupid. Like it could cost me my life, kind of stupid.”

“What did do you?” Concerned etched across Sir Wainwright’s face.

“I kissed Princess Waverly and before you lay into me...” Nicole sighed. “I know it was wrong and I know I should not have done it but I did.”

Sir Wainwright was about to put his hand on the young Knights shoulder, but instead, he let his arm drop. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to console his friend, it was because Nicole began pacing…again. From John’s perspective, he could tell that the redhead was being harsh on herself. It was a lot to take in and a massive risk if anyone found out.

“Kissing Princess Waverly was a mistake,” Nicole said abruptly. “And it won't ever happen again.”

“Does it feel like a mistake?” Sir Wainwright walked over to the door and closed it. He should have done much sooner and hoped no one had heard what Nicole had just admitted to.

“No, it felt amazing. I know we have talked about this before, and you were okay with it, but I can not help but feel wrong for this.”

“Do you like the Princess?”

“Yes, very much so,” Nicole replied without a second of hesitation.

John walked up beside Nicole and finally placed his hand her shoulder. “Then it is not wrong. No one will understand how you feel but that it on them, not you or her, for that matter.”

“I do not think Waverly likes me like that in the first place.” The redhead dropped her head and sighed.

“Did you ask her that?”

“Well... no,” Nicole mumbled.

“Maybe you should than because that girl looks at you the same way you do her.”

____________________



Waverly stood still, utterly shocked as she watched Nicole ride away as fast as could. It was like she was frozen to the ground and wasn’t sure what to do. The brunette had barely known the Knight for almost a week, but during that time, it felt like a lifetime. Other than the arguing the two had started, everything was great between them, until the fighting began.

Then the Princess had slapped Nicole, for the second time that day. She was insulted and hurt, and unfortunately, her anger got the best of her. Waverly felt terrible for hitting the redhead for not only once, but twice and while she wasn’t expecting anything to happen, the unexpected kiss was defiantly welcomed.

It had been years since the youngest Earp had been kissed like that and that was excluding the one Prince Hardy gave her the day before. There was a subtle difference between Hardy and Nicole. The Prince just took, and while the redhead had technically done the same, she looked mortified after doing so, something Champ wasn’t. The Knight had apologized directly afterward and sadly left before Waverly could reassure her that it was okay.

“Oh, fudge-nuggets!” Waverly said out loud. Her horse picked its head up from eating the grass and looked at her curiously. “Do not give me that look! We need to go and chase after her. She did nothing wrong.” The Princess quickly made her way over to her horse and mounted her.

As they rode off towards the Castle, the brunette couldn’t contain her smile. She had been craving to feel the Knight’s lips pressed against her own. To Waverly, it was honestly the most incredible feeling in the world. Nicole’s lips were soft and plumped, and now that she had a taste of what it was like to kiss the redhead, it only made the Princess want to do it more. It was a thirst that probably would never go away, and Waverly was more than okay with that.

Arriving at the Castle and leaving her horse in the stables, Waverly made her way down to Nicole’s chambers. There were times when she had to hide behind pillars and large statues from being seen by people that the Princess really didn’t want to confront at that moment; Prince Hardy being one of them and her father being another.

Surprisingly enough, the times the Princess had to hide, it was only from the servants and maids. In some ways, Waverly wasn’t really all that surprised when she didn’t see her family throughout the Castle. The brunette figured they were in the throne room discussing Prince Hardy’s loss, something the youngest Earp knew would happen, despite what Waverly had said to Nicole. It wasn’t that she thought the Prince was a good or terrible fighter, but she didn’t know the circumstances that happened at Castle Black-Shield. Not that the Knight told her anything about his training efforts or skills either, for that matter.

Thankfully it only took the brunette a couple more minutes to make her way down to Nicole’s chambers. She was concerned to see the door opened to Nicole’s room and tried to ignore the sick feeling in her gut. The feeling washed away immediately when she heard, only the Knight’s but Sir Wainwright’s voice as well coming from inside the corridor.

The Princess stopped right outside the door and leaned against the wall. It was wrong of her to ease-drop like that, but the second she heard Nicole say, ‘I kissed Princess Waverly,’ she froze. “I know it was wrong and I know I should not have done it but I did.”

“Yes, you should have and I so glad you did!” Waverly whispered to herself.

Waverly leaned further towards the door and could hear footsteps shuffling around the room. She figured it was Nicole pacing, the redhead had told her that she did that a lot when figuring things out in her head. The brunette could feel her heart racing against her chest thinking that the Knight felt terrible for doing something that she wanted to do but knew it was wrong. There was a ray of mixed emotions, and the Princess felt bad but also couldn’t be happier that Nicole had kissed her.

But then, the youngest Earp’s heart sank. Plummeting to the deepest, darkest places that she hadn't felt in a long time, not since her father found out about Elizabeth. “Kissing Princess Waverly was a mistake,” she heard Nicole say. “And it won't ever happen again.”

Tears welled up in Waverly’s eyes and began to spill down her cheeks. She wiped at her face, and she quickly made her way back down the hall and straight into her chambers. The Princess slammed her door shut and jumped on to the bed, instantly curling around a pillow and crying into it. She ignoring anything and everyone from the outside world for the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

Cold shoulder, ghosting, the plague, just plain disappearing, however one might describe someone ignoring another person was how Nicole felt was happening between her the Princess over the last couple of days. She understood why though, the Knight had no business in locking lips with Waverly. The conversation should have never ended that way in the first place but did anyway.

The point was, the redhead knew from the moment she laid eyes on Waverly, things at the castle weren’t going to be easy. Her feelings for the brunette developed far too quickly for Nicole’s liking, but there was nothing she could have done about that. Well, there was one option though it really wasn’t at the same time. After meeting the Princess, the Knight could have created some story and lie to King Ward about not being able to train his men, but that also meant Nicole wouldn’t be able to see or be around Waverly either. So the choice between staying or going was simple; leaving Castle Revenant was never going to be an option.

During the next couple of days of not speaking with the youngest Earp, the Knight tried her best to actually make conversation with her. Every time she did though, Waverly would turn on her heels or walk right past her. Seemingly ignoring Nicole’s presence all together and unfortunately, it made things ten times more difficult to apologize to the brunette. Nicole knew she had to talk to the Princess and desperately wanted too, but now that was being ignored, the redhead didn’t know how to engage the situation.

Attempt after attempt, Nicole tried her best to make conversations with Waverly. She took every opportunity there was, and sadly, the youngest Earp wouldn’t budge. Not even saying hello or a simple excuse me, would come out of the Princess’s mouth and it was driving the Knight absolutely insane. It was getting to the point that the redhead was having a hard time training the men because she was so focused on trying to come up with new ideas on getting Waverly to talk to her in some way.

Regrettably and most definitely the worst decision the redhead would have ever had made was deciding that if the Princess didn’t want talk to her by the end of the week, Nicole would tell the King that she would be leaving. The choice wasn’t easy, but the Knight couldn’t stand not being able to speak to Waverly. It really was the hardest thing that she ever had to go through, and just didn’t want to continue living the way she was; in a castle where a woman who owned her heart, that no longer acknowledged her.

____________________


“What’s been going on with you?” Willa said harshly as she entered Waverly’s chambers. “You should be spending more time with your future husband instead of hiding away in your room like some scared rat.”

“Now is not the time, Willa!” Waverly responded flatly. She flipped the page to the book she was holding and continued to read.

The oldest Earp sister started pacing the room.“Father is not impressed, Waverly. You should also know that Prince Hardy is getting impatient and wants to know why you won't see him. Both of them are rather upset with the way you are acting, which is quite childish I might add.”

“I really don’t care what you think or how they feel. If it bothers them that much, how about they spend time together and get married instead of forcing me into it. You know what, here's a thought, you marry the Prince.”

Willa sighed and tried to remain calm. “Look, we both know that is not how it works. Prince Hardy chose you over me. I would gladly marry him and become the next Queen like I was supposed to, but no, he wants you. So get over yourself and start spending time with him." The older Princess left the room and slammed the door behind her.

“And here I thought you wanted to be nice to me for once.” The youngest Earp said out loud to herself.

Willa had a point though. The brunette was acting childish, and honestly, she didn’t care. Waverly was devastated and heartbroken. She sincerely thought Nicole had feelings for her especially when the redhead kissed her. But when the Princess overheard the conversation between the two Knight’s, she was proven wrong. The kiss was a horrible mistake, and from the tone of Nicole’s voice, apparently, she had regretted it too.

Ignoring everyone, mainly the Knight, wasn’t precisely the original plan, but it quickly spiraled out of control when Waverly began treating Nicole like she wasn’t even there. She felt terrible for doing it, yet the Princess couldn’t seem to stop once she had started. It was like a never-ending walk with no place to actually go to. The redhead was supposed to be hers. Someone the brunette could go to and be herself, be able to talk about anything and everything, and most importantly, the person she could fall in love with. Instead, Waverly was hiding away in her Chambers, crying her eyes out, and wished she could go back in time before she and Nicole had their first argument.

Life wasn’t that easy though. Time could rewind, and deep down, the youngest Earp knew everything happened for a reason. It was a matter of fixing the situation and making it better versus continuing to make it worse. Waverly knew she had to confront Nicole at some point, but she just didn’t know what to say or how to go about the conversation that she knew damn well that it was going to awkward. The funny thing was, the first step she had to do was actually leave her corridors; something she had rarely had done for the past week.

____________________


As the moon hung high in the atmosphere, the rest of the world seemed gloomier than ever before. Not because it was nighttime and the sky was dark, but because Nicole finally reached her limit and was getting ready to announce her departure from Castle Revenant. She didn’t want to leave the Kingdom of Purgatory. It was an excellent opportunity for the Knight to train at another Castle and with the King that helped declared peace with Castle Black-Shield. Yet, it was too hard to be in the same place as Waverly Earp. She needed time for her heart to heal and that also meant that the redhead required space from the Princess for her heart to mend correctly.

Walking into the dining room where everyone was currently feasting on dinner, Nicole tried her best to not make eye contact with the youngest Princess, who had noticed her presence in the room. The noise of utensils clinking off of plates and soft sounds of chewing filled the room along with the tension between the Knight and Waverly. No one else noticed it, other than Queen Michelle who had picked up on her youngest daughter’s strange behavior before the duel that took place a week ago.

The Queen had her suspicions about her daughter. One that involved the Knight that she and her husband recruited. Nicole was attractive, attentive when it came to the youngest Earp, was strong and held her ground, was willing to defend her families name at a moments notice and above all else, Michelle saw how the redhead looked at Waverly. Once upon a time ago, Ward use to look at her the same way; nothing but love in his eyes whenever she walked into a room. The blonde hair woman could see that Nicole loved her daughter, but the way life was, it was forbidden for them to be together. Not to mention, her daughter was set to get married to Prince Hardy James.

“Nice of you to finally join us, Lady Haught.” King Ward remarked sarcastically.

Everyone at the table stopped what they were doing and glanced between the King and Nicole. When all eyes shifted and stayed on the Knight, she started to feel overwhelmed by the unwanted attention she was getting. Though it wasn’t the first time nor would it be last the redhead would have people watching her. The number of duels she had gone through and continuously training new Knights should have made this particular encounter be a breeze, but surprisingly it only made Nicole’s nerves a thousand times worse.

“Excuse my tardiness, your Majesty, it will not happen again… I am late due to packing my bag.”

“What?” Waverly exclaimed. “You are leaving?”

Nicole continued to avoid eye contact with the Princess and stayed focused on the King. “I feel I am not welcomed here and your men seem to think I am not capable of training them. Sir Wainwright will take my place, and your recruits will be trained. I will be gone by sunrise.”

Hastily turning around the Knight began walking out of the dining room but stopped abruptly when she heard the Prince speak. “I always knew you couldn’t handle a job like this.”

“Unlike you Prince Hardy, I have a Kingdom to run to which I will be taking over soon. I am of age, and if my father wants to step down as Head of the Knights Realm, then the title will be handed over to me. At least I have a family name to uphold.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” The Prince barked out as he stood up.

“My father did not force me to train as a Knight like your father did to you. Only you wasted his money by not paying attention and trying to be better than everyone else. When in fact, you are the worst trainee I have ever had and will never be good enough to be a Knight.”

“At least I will be King of my Kingdom.” Hardy fired back. God, you really are a man-child! Nicole thought.

“You realize I am an heir. My father, Sir Nathaniel Haught is Head of the Knight Realm. That technically makes my father, King and me, a Princess. I will be Queen before you ever become a King.” Nicole flatly said.

The Knight once again turned back around and wrenched opened the door and began storming out. She heard King Ward faintly yell at someone to ‘sit back down,’ but Nicole ignored it. The further away she got from the room, the better. Leaving all the castle was the right decision even though it still felt wrong to do so.

Just as Nicole rounded the corner and swiftly made her way down the hall to her chambers, she heard someone calling out her name. The redhead knew who it was. Everything within her told her to stop walking and listen to what the woman had to say, but the Knight couldn’t do seem to make herself halt. Her feet kept treading onwards while the angelic voice became louder.

“Lady Haught, I demand that you stop and listen to what I have to say.”

____________________


Listening to Nicole announce that she was leaving was the worst thing to happen since Ward told Waverly that she was marrying Prince Hardy. What made the situation worse than it already was, was that the Knight wouldn’t even acknowledge her anymore. The brunette knew it was her own doing so she should have expected that kind of reaction after treating the redhead so poorly for the past week.

As soon as the Knight left the dining room, the Princess bolted out of her seat. “Waverly sit back down, right this instant.” Her father all but growled at her. The youngest Earp didn’t listen though, and she continued to follow Nicole out of the room.

“You come back here, little girl.” The King's threats fell on deaf ears as the door slammed shut.

Waverly couldn’t have cared less about her father's threats or the fact that he was shouting at her while she continued her path down the hall. She had to make things right with Nicole and before she left the Castle for good. If the Princess just had the courage to confront the redhead about what she had overheard sooner, she wouldn’t have been chasing her through halls.

For someone who had left a minute before I did, Nicole sure had made some tracks. The moment Waverly saw fiery red hair, she quickens her pace to catch up to the woman to had stolen her heart. Unfortunately, the sound of her shoes was not loud enough to make her presence known.

“Nicole!” Waverly yelled out.

The Princess watched Nicole faulted for a brief second. She could have sworn she saw the Knight’s head slightly twitch but if Waverly was honest with herself, she really wasn’t sure. She called out again, and the same thing happened. The redhead did her best to ignore her, but the youngest Earp knew that Nicole wouldn’t do that to her; not entirely anyway.

“Lady Haught, I demand that you stop and listen to what I have to say!” Waverly ordered.

Finally, Nicole stopped. She had reached her corridors, and her hand was on the lock to open her door. The Knight sighed loudly and dropped her forward until it was pressed against the wood in front of her. Waverly’s tone of voice spoke volume. It was a mixture of anger, disappointment, and hurt all rolled into one but the redhead could hear the hurt over the other two.

“If you did not hear me correctly, I am leaving tomorrow before the sun rises, your Highness.”

“I heard you just fine the time. All I want to know is why. Why are you leaving, Nicole?” Why are you leaving me? Waverly thought the last question. She didn’t dare to say it out loud with the possibility of someone else overhearing.

“I told my reasons to the King. Now if you will excuse me, I am ending my night early so I can wake when I need too.”

Nicole push opened her door and quietly went in. She left her chin resting above her chest with her eyes trained on the floor when she closed the door. The Knight didn’t want to risk seeing the genuine disappointment in the brunette's eyes. She knew if she did, there was no way the redhead would be able to leave.

Laying against the door for a moment, the Knight pushed off it and walked over to her bed. She was steps away from it when the door busted open. Nicole whipped around in time to see a very furious Waverly walking in. The strange part was, was that sight before her was frightening but also very sexy at the same time. Sadly, all that anger that the Princess possessed was directed at her instead of someone else which made it less sexy and incredibly intimidating.

“I told you I wanted to have a word with you, but instead you closed the damn door in my face.” Waverly hissed. When the sound of wood meeting stone in a soft thud, the Princess hastily locked the door and then returned to glaring at Nicole.

“Now.” The Princess continued. “You are going to answer my question before you rudely decided that I did not need one... why are you leaving, Nicole?”

“I am not welcomed here!” Nicole said quietly.

“By whom?”

“You!”

Waverly was startled by the simple answer. “What are you talking about?”

“You’ve been treating me like I do not exist in this castle. Every time you have seen me, you walk away so quickly that I am starting to think I have the plague... I do not know...” Nicole sighed. “Is it because I kissed you?”

“Yes and no. Please let me explain first.” Waverly took a deep breath. “The kiss did not bother me. What did, was me overhearing you tell Sir Wainwright that it was a mistake. That I was a mistake. Hearing that hurt me more than you will ever know.” Tears began to take form and Waverly did her best to blink them away.  

“You heard that conversation.”

“Some of it. When you rode off, I went after you. I couldn’t find you anywhere so I thought you would be in your chambers, and I was correct. As I approached your room, I heard you ranting on about how you kissed me, that it was a mistake and that you will never let it happen again... I ran off after that. All I heard was regret. You regretted kissing me.”

“It was wrong!” The Knight yelled.

“I do not care if it was or not.”Waverly fired back. Tears began to shed and run down her face. “You can not stand there and tell me that it did not feel right because I know in my heart it did, and I think you do too.”

“I-I can not say how I feel. You are getting married to Prince Hardy soon. No matter what I say, it will not make a difference.”

“It does matter, so please tell me, Nicole.” The redhead shook her head. “That is an order, Lady Haught." The Princess's voice started to crack as she did her best to hold back the sob that was trying to come out. "Tell me how you feel.”

“I will not.” Nicole continued to refuse.

Waverly groaned. She wiped at her eyes and took another deep breath. Not knowing how Nicole felt was becoming infuriating but at the same time, understandable. A woman confessing their feelings to another woman, especially one that was engaged to a man, wasn’t right. The Princess didn’t care though. She knew how she felt about the Knight and one way or another, she was going to get her point across, and the youngest Earp knew precisely how she was going to do it.

“Kiss me.” Waverly finally said.

“What?” Nicole’s eyes went comically wide at that the brunette’s admission.

“I said kiss me, Lady Haught.” Again the Knight shook her head. “Fine then.”

It was almost like a scene from one of the youngest Earp’s books. The part where the girl runs towards her lover and they catch her. Kissing one another with equal passion. Though it wasn’t a fairytale or scene from any novel, it was real, so very real. Waverly made quick steps towards Nicole, who watched her every move. When the Princess got close enough, she grabbed the sides of the redhead’s face and pulled her down until the lips connected. What made it better, was the Knight wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist and pulling their bodies together, so they were flushed against one another other.

Chapter Text

Nicole was very aware of the predicament that she was in at the moment, but couldn’t have cared less either. Not when Waverly Earp's lips were connected to her own, and the girl's body was pressed up against her. Nothing could have beat the feeling that was coursing through the redhead's veins.

The hands that were once holding Nicole's face in place moved to tangle in red hair. Waverly gently yanked on the short hair her fingers were twisted in and pulled the Knight closer to her. She needed the space between them to be gone and quite frankly, the clothes that they were wearing needed to go too.    

A small gasp had fallen from Nicole's lips when she felt her hair being pulled. She wrapped her arms tighter around Waverly's waist and began moving them, twirling them around in the direction of the bed. It only took a couple of steps, then the Princess was falling over and laying on the mattress with the Knight hovering over her. They both knew at some point they would have to talk, but right then and there, it really wasn't the time to.

"You are so beautiful," Nicole whispered against Waverly's mouth, brushing a strand of hair off her face, before crashing their lips together again. The Princess had ordered the Knight to kiss her, and she refused. There was no way in hell she was going to make the same mistake twice.

Their lips moved together in a perfect dance. One would bite the others bottom lip and smooth it over with their tongue, begging for entrance, of course, it was granted instantly. Nicole and Waverly battled for dominance with the Princess winning. She had enough of being what everyone thought of as 'weak' and didn't want Nicole thinking the same.

Quickly, the brunette moved up the bed until her head could rest on the pillows and as soon Nicole was right above her, she made her move. With a much strength Waverly could muster, she flipped the redhead on her back and straddled the woman's torso. The Princess smirked at the shocked expression on the Knight's face, along with hearing the redhead's breath hitch, and took the opportunity to start kissing along Nicole's neck.

A low moan escaped from redhead as the older woman grabbed ahold of the Princess's waist. Without realizing it, Waverly had slowly started moving her hips across Nicole's stomach, creating the most delicious friction she'd ever felt. The Knight, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to stop herself from helping the smaller girl grind harder into her; subconscious moving her own hips as well.

"Waves." Nicole moaned in Waverly’s ear, as the brunette gently bit her earlobe, pulling at it before kissing down her neck again and stopping at the Knight's pulse point, earning a groan from Nicole. What they doing was wrong, they both knew that, and they both knew that talking was the better option instead of giving in to their desires, but their heads are too clouded with arousal to even care.

"Nicole." Waverly murmured against the wet skin at Nicole’s pulse point. The action caused a shiver down the redhead's spine. She pulled back and looked down at Nicole, noticing that the blacks of her eyes were completely blown wide. The Princess had no doubt that her own was most likely the same. "I want you to-" Before Waverly could finish her sentence the sound of a door slamming shut echoed down the hallway and throughout Nicole’s chambers. Nicole and Waverly froze in place, staring at each other, eyes wide and full of fear. They were breathing in deeply and as quietly as possible thinking that if they were any louder, someone would open the door and find them in a position the two shouldn’t be in.

The Knight blinked a couple of times and was brought back to reality. She glanced down at her the Princess’s current state and was alarmed by what saw. Her hands were resting on Waverly’s waist while the girl above her, had her hands resting just below her breasts; to the point where they were slightly cupping them. If someone had busted into Nicole’s Chambers, both of them would get the death sentence immediately for fooling around with each other. That was something the redhead couldn’t let happen, she couldn’t let Waverly die because she wanted to be with her. No matter how much she wanted to be with the youngest Earp.

Gently maneuvering Waverly off of her, Nicole got off the bed and straightened out her rumpled jerkin. "This can not happen again." She said while having her back to the Princess.

"Do not start this again, Nicole." Waverly jumped off the bed and stood at the end. Completely annoyed at the fact that the Knight was not grasping her intentions with her.

"Waverly, it is the truth,” Nicole spun around to face Waverly. “And you know that. Like I said before, you are marrying Prince Hardy, and it is forbidden for us to be together.”

"I do not care if it is forbidden or not. I want to be with you, not some moron of a Prince."  

"With all due respect, your Highness, I do not think you get much of a say in the matter."

Waverly clenched her jaw. "Are you looking to get slapped again, Lady Haught?"

"Not especially, no. The fact of the matter is, we can not be together. No matter how much I wish we could be."

The Princess slowly walked over to Nicole and wrapped her arms around her neck, bringing their foreheads together; a small smile on her lips when she faintly felt the redhead's hands on her waist. "We belong together, Nicole. I know you feel the same connection as I do... A simple touch sets my skin a flame. Your lips upon my own, causing a desire I never knew existed. Being in your presence means I am the only person in the room and while in your arms, I am the safest I have ever felt. You can not tell me you do not feel the same way." She said in a low tone.

Everything in Nicole told her to lie to the girl in front of her but she couldn't though. Waverly was right, she did feel the same, but that didn't matter. The Princess was still betrothed to a man that probably only wanted her so he could become the next king.

"I-I can not." Nicole pulled away and walked towards the door. "I think it is time for you to go back to chambers, your Highness." She pulled the door open and kept her eyes trained on the floor, not wanting Waverly to see the tears in her eyes.

"No." Waverly's voice cracked. She did everything she could to fight back the sob that was threatening to come out. She hastily walked to the door and shut it. "I refuse to leave. Not until you confess your true feelings for me." Nicole shook her head. "I would rather die a thousand deaths by my father's hand than not be with the woman I fell in love with."

"You hardly know me," Nicole whispered.

"I know enough to know you feel the same way. I am not blind. When you look at me, every person in the room disappears. You have this look in eyes... you can look at anyone and be expressionless but the second your eyes lay upon me, they soften, and you have this smile that takes my breath away, every single time."

"I refuse to be the reason you die because you want to risk being with a woman. With me."

"N'cole...Am I worth it?" Waverly quivered, a sob escaping and voiced cracked.  

"What you are asking, is an instant death if anyone should find out." Nicole started. Hurt written on Waverly's face. Slowly, the Knight wrapped one arm around the Princess's waist and the other to cup the girl's cheek; brushing her thumb lightly across it. "I refuse to lie to you, Waverly, so I will tell you this... From the moment I caught you in my arms, I have been yours. What we share is forbidden, but I am willing to risk it for you because you are worth it."

Surging forward, Waverly connected their lips once more and grabbed ahold of her Knight's jerkin. She pushed Nicole up against the door and winced when she heard a soft thud. The Princess hoped no one was close enough to listen to it but also had a feeling that if someone were, they probably wouldn't care. Not when a knight was staying in that room.

"Wait!" Waverly pulled back abruptly; panting softly. "You told my father that you were are leaving. Would it be selfish of me to ask you to stay?"

"No, it would not be." The Knight smiled the Princess and tightened her arm around the girl’s waist; encouraging her to ask the question.  

"Please stay, then? If not for my father, then for me."
 
Nicole gently pecked Waverly's lips, sighing at the contact. "I will stay for you and only you, my love."

____________________     


Ward paced around in the throne room. He was livid at the fact that Lady Haught had the audacity too mock a prince and then break a deal that hadn’t been fulfilled yet. On top of all that, his youngest daughter, the same one who had taken a liking to the Knight, wasn’t listening to his orders. He was the King, and if his own flesh and blood wouldn’t listen to him, why would anyone else. It had seemed ever since Lady Nicole Haught stepped foot into his Kingdom, Waverly had started acting out more, and it had to stop.

The worst part about all of it was the fact the Waverly wasn’t taking to Prince Hardy James like she was supposed too. Hardy had made a deal that he would marry one of King Ward’s daughter’s, and the older man was all for it. Offering his oldest, knowing she would marry in a heartbeat if it meant being the next queen, but when Hardy refused and said he wanted the youngest, Ward had no choice but to agree if he wanted the money that was agreed upon.

“This is an absolute outrage!” Ward hollered.

Michelle, who had been quietly sitting in her throne aimlessly watching her husband pace for the last half hour, shook her head. In some ways, she felt terrible for him. Someone had finally stood up to Ward and showed no fear in the process, yet at the same time, her youngest daughter seemed to have become quite taken with said person. The Queen knew right from the start that Waverly was special. Not because she was the youngest child or her miracle baby, but because her daughter showed more interest towards woman than men at a young age.

As much as it was wrong, it honestly was hard to understand why it couldn’t be seen as normal. Michelle remembered the first time Waverly had snuck out of the castle to go meet with a girl from the village. From the very beginning of that friendship, the Queen knew that her daughter was attracted to the girl right away. Sadly when Ward caught wind of the budding relationship, that was seen as a sin, ended quite abruptly.

It had been years since Waverly had shown any kind of interest in anyone, but no matter what, it was never going to be towards a man. Michelle knew that, and she had a feeling her husband did too, though that didn’t stop him from forcing his daughter into an arranged marriage with a complete idiot. One who ogled not only Waverly but every single woman that walked through the castle. Including Lady Haught, the woman she very well knew that held her daughter's heart on her sleeve without knowing it herself.

The Queen tried to be an open person, but when society wasn’t opened too much, it was harder to show that she accepted her daughter. Unfortunately, Michelle hadn’t gotten the chance to speak to her daughter directly about her ‘secret’ feelings towards women. She had always been close by her husband, by his request, which also meant not being able to be the proper mother that she wanted to be. Somehow or rather, that was going to change.

“Dear, come sit down before who wear a hole in the floor. Watching you is making me lightheaded.”

“Then do not fucking watch! Our daughter is acting as if she owns this castle. Without me, she would have nothing!”

“Waverly has never liked being apart of the monarchy, and you know that. Why force that on the girl?” Michelle asked. She honestly couldn’t understand why her husband had made such a deal with a Prince who only cared about himself, but at the same time, she could believe it.

“Cause it is her duty as a woman to fulfill her part. I do not care that she does not like this arrangement, but it has to be done. Prince Hardy did not want Willa or Wynonna, he wanted Waverly. So that is who he will marry. Whether she likes it or not!”

That was always the hardest part of being a Queen. Listening to the facts and unfortunately, Ward was correct. Women in the monarchy never had much say in the matter or any at all. Kings would marry off their daughters for everything and anything. Money, power, more Knights, land, allies. It never mattered what the reason was, as long as the King got something out of it and made the Kingdom better, is what did.

“If Waverly was a man would you be forcing him to marry for money?”

“If she were a man, we wouldn’t be in this mess! Princess’s would be lining up to marry a future king!”

“Guess that speaks volume for Hardy James!” Michelle mumbled under her breathe.

“What was that?” Ward turned around and glared at her.

“I said, I guess you are right.” The Queen lied. She wasn’t stupid by any means. Being on the receiving end of Ward Earp’s wrath usually meant having a death sentence.

“I know that I am,” Ward yelled. His words echoing off the walls.  

Michelle shook her head. She couldn’t understand how the man that she married years ago had become one that all he wanted was power. When she first had met Ward, it was at a royal ball; he was seventeen, she was sixteen. He was charming, sweet and ambitious, had big hopes and dreams for when he became King. Yet, over time, after they got married, by arrangement, and his demeanor changed. The Queen just wished she understood why her husband became that way. Everything was perfect up until one day, he just snapped. Ward simply wanted more, and nothing was ever going to be enough for him.

“If she doesn’t start acting more like Princess and begin showing more affections toward Prince Hardy. There will be hell to pay.” Ward growled while storming out of the throne room.    

____________________


Morning came, and Nicole was more ready for the day than she ever had been since arriving at Castle Revenant. She had a spring in her step, a smile on her face, and most importantly, she had her girl on her arm, figuratively and quite literally. After she and Waverly had departed for the night, after kissing far longer than should have, the Knight promised the brunette that she would escort her to the dining hall for breakfast.

Nicole knew that the moment she walked through the doors to the dining hall, she would be questioned as to why she was still there. If it wasn’t for Waverly being very persuasive, and asking her to stay longer for yet, a second time, the Knight would have left long before anyone realized she had left. Just the thought of leaving though made her stomach turn. It wasn’t that she wanted to go in the first place, but the deal with King Ward was simplistic, and Prince Hardy was mocking her ability to train men to become Knights. That and the fact she had kissed the Princess and thought it was best to leave before Waverly had her head cut off for doing such a thing. Thank god, Waverly actually reciprocates the same feeling as I do!  

Directly after escorting Waverly back to her Chambers, the redhead went to search for Johnathan. Actually, it ended up being a mutual search and the two almost collided into each other. It startled both of them, and then John began pleading for Nicole to stay. To ignore narrow-minded ignorant Prince’s who wouldn’t be able to handle a war if he was thrown into one. To not let the pathetic useless men that she was training to veer her from the goal of making them into the Knights that Kings dreamed of having.

Once Sir Wainwright was done ranting, the redhead pulled her mentor into his room and closed the door. She explained that she had changed her mind, to which he asked if it had anything to with a certain Princess that had chased after her, again. Nicole did her best to contain the smile on her face, but the redhead failed miserably. It was a dangerous game that she and Waverly were getting into, but at that moment, she had forgotten about all the risks and just took in the sensation of being with Princess. Though, within seconds, the young Knight became serious and practically begged John not to say anything to anyone; a loud sigh of relief came from her when he promised he wouldn’t.

Though, all of that didn’t matter right then. It was a moment of truth as Nicole and Waverly walked through the doors together into the dining hall. The brunette had her hand wrapped around the Knights arm, right at the crease of the elbow. All eyes fell upon them as they made their way through the door. King Ward had a hard look on his face, Michelle was unreadable, but for a split second it looked like one side of her mouth had curled up into a small half smile. Willa and Wynonna’s eyes were as wide as saucers and Hardy, he went from having a smug smiled on his face thinking he had won, to chocking on the water he had just begun swallowing at the sight of his future bride on the arm of the one person he hated most. Sir Wainwright, well, the older Knight was the one who opened the door to let the two women in and he had a hard time containing his own smug smiled knowing his young protege and Princess had caused quite the scene.

After regulating his breathing, Prince Hardy slammed his fists on the table, stood up abruptly and knocking his chair over in the process; causing everyone in the room to stared him. “What the hell is this?” He sneered. “You are supposed to be gone by now!”

King Ward nodded in agreement at the young man and then turned his head toward his youngest daughter and Knight. “I have to say, I agree with Prince Hardy. You broke our deal yesterday and said you would be gone by sunrise.”

Sir Wainwright closed the door and walked in front of the couple. “I can explain, your Majesty,” He started. “I convinced Lady Haught to stay by reminding her the most vaulable rule at Castle Black-Shield.”

“To never give up even when the task at hand is at its most difficult.” Nicole felt Waverly gently squeeze her arm and then a slight tug to get her to start walking again.

“That does not explain why my girl is on your arm!” Hardy exclaimed.

Ignoring the Prince's outburst, Nicole walked the Princess over to her seat and pulled out the chair for her and pushed it back. Smiling gently at Waverly when the girl thanked her. Finally, after composing herself, she glared at Hardy. “I happen to bump into her while she was exiting her corridor’s for breakfast and I asked if I could escort her here.” The Knight explained while lying through her teeth. “Also, Princess Waverly is not your girl, until the day she says I do.” Unfortunately, that last statement was the wrong thing for Nicole to say.

The words rang in both the King’s and Prince’s head. Ward and Hardy began formulating plans of their own to make Waverly belong to the Prince sooner. One becoming ten times worse than the other.

Chapter Text

From the moment Prince Hardy stepped foot onto Castle Revenant, he knew he had to make his mark. He and King Ward had talked about him marrying one of Earp daughters, to which he immediately agreed too as long as it was Waverly. There was talk a few years back that the youngest wasn’t so keen on men, but the Prince took it as the woman not finding the right man to fawn over. Though the two knew each other, it had been a while since they had last each other and Hardy had gotten it in his head, that he was going to be Waverly’s knight and shining armor.

Upon arriving at the Castle, just days after Head Knight’s daughter did, he found the youngest Princess sitting on a bench watching the new recruits train. A flare of jealousy coursed through his body that his future wife was ogling all the men, that were listening to Lady Haught. At the same time, a ping of anger ran through him at the thought of the redhead. The Prince hated Nicole with every fiber of his being and wanted to do everything he could to show that he was better than her. That a woman had no right to be training King Ward’s newest recruits, but that thought got pushed to the back of his mind and as he continued to stare at Waverly.

After gawking long enough, Hardy had learned one thing. The Princess was certainly not watching the men but at the Knight. He saw how the girl waved at Lady Haught with a bright smile on her face, and that made him even more furious. So the Prince had taken matters into his own hands by marching over to Waverly and snatching her into his arms while kissing her senseless. What he wasn’t expecting, was the slap that came afterward. That only caused the anger to grow and made him advance on the girl. Hardy would have succeeded in making everyone know that the youngest Earp was his if the redhead hadn’t intervened.

Once announcing that Waverly was his future bride, the Prince thought she would be thrilled that such a man, like himself, wanted to be her husband. Except, the Princess avoided him at all costs. The only time Hardy actually saw the woman was while they were in the dining hall. It had seemed that the brunette had taken to the Knight and continued to watch Lady Haught train the King’s men. The perception of it drove him crazy. That time Waverly spent watching the men, was supposed be time for them to get to know each other better, even after his duel with Nicole.

What caused fuel to the fire, was the Knight saying that Waverly didn’t belong to him until after that got married. She was nothing but a woman and apparently didn’t her know her place. Hardy was told by King Ward that Lady Haught spoke to him with such disrespect that he was ready to behead the woman but reframed from doing so after Nicole revealed the acknowledge about the peace treaty between the two Kingdoms. The Prince thought it was absurd that the woman got away with it and certainly wanted to help the King in teaching Sir Nathaniel Haught’s daughter her rightful place in the monarchy. But before Hardy was going to do that, he had to make sure Waverly realize that she didn’t have a choice in marrying him or not.

____________________


A whole week had gone by since Nicole had stated that the youngest Earp didn’t belong to Hardy until they got married. Waverly had felt like she was floating amongst the clouds for how happy she felt. She and the Knight had been spending every morning and evening together, stealing kisses when they were in the safety of their corridors. There were times where their kissing had become heated, and the two women did their best not to lose themselves in each other. It was far too soon and honestly, far too risky to be that intimate. It wasn’t that the Princess didn’t want to give herself entirely to the redhead, which she did, but she also didn’t want someone finding out about them either.

During the past week, it had seemed Prince Hardy had finally accepted that the Princess wasn’t an object and was allowed to spend time with whomever she wanted. Hardy had been surprisingly reasonable to Nicole and had started treating the youngest Earp with more respect; like how a true Prince should act towards his future bride. The Knight thought it was an intriguing turn of events on how the man seemed to have changed his attitude overnight. His smile looked genuine, but slightly forced whenever it was directed at her, which the redhead figured it would have. Her own smile was forced towards him as well and hated that she had to be nice to him in the first place.

A soft knock at the door caught Nicole’s attention from her spot on the bed. She sat up and swung her legs over until her feet touched the cold floor. The Knight slightly winced at the feeling before slipping her feet into the pair shoes that Waverly had custom made for her. The gesture was sweet and thoughtful, and all the redhead could think about was how grateful she was to have met this woman. Before she opened the door, another set of knocking rang throughout the room and soft voice saying Nicole’s name caused her to stop for a brief moment.

“Good morning, your Highness!” Nicole said with a dimpled smile when her eyes landed on Waverly after opening the door. “Is there anything I can do for you?” She winked at the Princess, then proceeded to smirk when she saw the prettiest blush start to form on Waverly’s face.

“I was wondering if you would like to join me as I walk to the dining hall?”

“I would be honored to escort-.” Just before the Knight could finish her sentence, she saw someone walking towards them, out of the corner of her eye.

“I will happily escort you, my lady, if you so let me do so.” Prince Hardy bowed and then offered his arm for Waverly to take. When the Princess quirked her eyebrow at him and opened her mouth a couple of times without saying anything, he decided to explain his intention. “Your sisters and mother have asked me to escort you outside onto the training grounds to have morning picnic with them.”

“I was not told such a thing, Prince Hardy.” Waverly glanced back at Nicole and saw the slight shake of her head and the clear confused expression on her face.

“They decided upon it before sitting down at the table. Your mother is expecting you soon, and it’s a wonderful morning to eat outdoors.” It took a moment for the Princess to finally accept his offer. Hardy did his best to contain the smirk off his face when the Knight looked a little dejected.

“I will see you when you are training?” Nicole grinned at Waverly and nodded before leaving her chambers to go in the direction of the dining hall. The opposite direction of which the Prince and Princess were heading in.

The walk to the dining hall was eerily calm. Even after Johnathan had joined her, the hallways were to quiet for Nicole’s liking. Sir Wainwright had spoken of the same feeling. He too felt like something was off but couldn’t understand why. Both Knights exchanged wearily looks to each other as they approached the double doors leading to the hall. The second they open the door, everything came to a screeching halt. The redheads breathing had picked up as she started to internally panic.

Sitting at the table was the entire royal family, silently eating whatever was on their plates. That sickening feeling that the Knight felt made her stomach tighten even more and before anyone could question her, she bolted out of the room and headed towards the hallway where she last saw Waverly. In her heart, Nicole knew she had left the Princess alone with Hardy, but she had given him the benefit of the doubt. Her one hoped was that whatever the reason the Prince had for lying, that had been for something good, like apologizing for being a shit-ticket, but deep down, the redhead knew better.

____________________


Being interrupted by the Prince was by no means, on Waverly’s agenda. She had every plan to push Nicole back into her room and kiss her until they were both breathless. The redhead was like alcohol, and she was addicted to her. Every little thing caused the Princess to ache in ways she never thought was possible. There was nothing that could stop Waverly from wanting the Knight, not even the pin-headed Prince Hardy, no matter how hard the man tried.

As the Princess walked down the hallway, with her hand lightly wrapped around Hardy’s bicep, she couldn’t help the unsettling feeling she had. Something about the impromptu picnic gave Waverly a sense of worry. It wasn’t like her mother to plan something so sudden. The Queen always liked giving her daughters hours ahead of time to plan accordingly. A random picnic, though a thoughtful thing to do, it wasn’t like Michelle.

With each step Waverly took, the unsettling emotion got worst. Nothing could shake the feeling, but before the brunette couldn’t even question anything, Hardy was dragging her towards the casemate. The Princess had only ever been in the room twice in her entire life. The Chamber was filled with swords and armor, and Waverly had gotten in trouble for being in there; it was too dangerous, and she could hurt herself, Michelle once told her. In that very moment, the youngest Earp couldn’t have agreed more with her mother.

“Hardy, what in the hell are you doing? You are supposed to be escorting me to the courtyard!” Waverly went to pull her hand away from the Prince’s bicep, but Hardy snatched her hand in his.

“I think not.” The Prince pushed the door open and shoved Waverly inside, slamming the solid wood against stone.

“Excuse me. We are not supposed to be in here! I demand you to bring me to the dining hall, now!” Waverly stood her ground. She wasn’t about to get intimated by the boy-man, but that thought quickly changed when she saw the wolfish look on the Prince’s face. “Why are we in here?” The Princess decided to ask, hoping that changing the subject would get her the answer that she wanted.

“I think it is time you start behaving like my future bride.”

“Excuse me?” Waverly repeated. “I will do no such thing!”

“Then you leave me no choice.” Hardy advanced on the Princess and smirked when the girl tripped on her dressed, while she tried to back away from him. Too easy, Hardy thought.

The Prince hastily took off his belt that secured his pants. Hardy watch as Waverly attempted to stand up to get away, but he quickly stepped forward and grabbed ahold of her arm. She struggled against him, hitting him in the arm, chest, and when a hand came across his face, Hardy saw red. He tugged the arm that was in his grasp and spun the woman around, so her back was to him. The Prince then kicked the Princess out from under her feet and piercing cry fell from the girl’s lips.

It wasn’t the first scream that Waverly had belted out. The second the Prince had grabbed her arm, she yelled out in fear. The terrible part was that they were practically on the other side of the Castle and it would take a miracle for someone to hear her, but the Princess screamed anyway. When Hardy knelt down, his knees pinning her legs down, he snatched up her other arm, and that was when she felt leather come across her wrists.

“Please stop, Hardy. I beg of you, please stop.”

“I will stop once I take what is rightfully mine!” Hardy bit out. After the belt was wrapped tightly around the girl's wrists, he used one hand to push his pants down. “I am going to treat you like the bitch you are and use you for my own pleasure.” Waverly breathed in sharply and let out a piercing cry at the top of her lungs the second she felt the Prince pull down her knickers.

“Shut up, you bitch.”

____________________

Nicole ran like her life depended on it. She reached her chambers faster than she ever had before and kept moving forward. The redhead continued to chastise herself for letting Waverly leave with the Prince in the opposite direction. The whole idea seemed abrupt and out of character for the Queen, but sometimes you just had to go with the flow, especially when it came to the royal families.

When reaching the courtyard, the redhead came to a stop and racked her eyes back and forth to see if she could spot the Princess. Just when she was about to take a step forward onto the grass, Nicole heard a scream and whipped her head towards the direction, as she felt her blood run cold. The Knight took off running again and pushed her to go faster. The yelling got louder, mixed with muffled words, as Nicole worked her way through the Castle. Then a piercing cry rung out behind a door, that she had never been through before.

Without thinking, Nicole charged right in, and the scene before her was absolutely terrifying. Her brain acknowledged that they were in the casemate chambers and that was when it dawned on her that she had plenty of swords to choose from. “Get away from her!” The Knight yelled as she grabbed a sword that was closest her to.

The Prince looked behind him and saw Lady Haught wielding a sword and charging for him. He hastily got up and stupidly tripped over the Princess, in fear for his own life. He had never seen the redhead so angry before, but he didn’t care. She had just interrupted him from taking what was his. “She’s mine to take. I order you to leave.”

“I do not take orders from you!” Nicole snarled as she kneeled next to Waverly. “Are you alright, your Highness?” It was a dumb question to ask, but it was the only thought the Knight had.

“Keep him away from me.” Waverly pleaded. She felt Nicole get up and watched as she raised her sword towards the Prince. Just as she sat up, another voice was heard.

“What is the meaning of this!” Michelle gasped as she saw her youngest daughter sit on her legs with her wrists tied behind her back. “What did you do to my daughter.”

“I caught Lady Haught trying to hurt her.” Hardy lied.

“She did no such thing!” Waverly cried as she glared at him. She then noticed Nicole hadn’t made another move since her mother came in. The Princess knew that her Knight was waiting for her orders. “You dragged me in here so you could use me like one of the whores you have recently been with.” She winced at her own wording and the irony of the statement as well.

“I saved you!” Hardy retorted then swallowed nervously when the blade got a bit closer to his heart.

“Enough!” Ward barked out. He stepped in front of his wife and took in the scene. Lady Haught was cornering the Prince with a sword in hand, while Waverly was struggling to get up off the floor. “The Queen asked a question, and I want the truth!”

Before Waverly could speak, a clinking noise caught her attention, and she saw Nicole punching the Prince in the face. “Prince Hardy tried raping me.” The Princess chocked out.

Nicole spun around and quickly made her way over to Waverly, helping her up off the floor and releasing her bounded wrists. The second they made eye contact the Knight looked at the girl with concern before clenching her jaw and staring up the King. She stood to her fullest and spoke with more authority than she ever had in her entire life. “I demand you make me Princess Waverly’s personal Knight.”

“You are here to train not to follow my daughter around like some lost hound.” The King replied.

“Prince Hardy just tried to harm your daughter, and I have no doubt he’ll do it again. Now, I demand I become her Knight, or I leave this Castle and take her with me... or do you want me to announce to the Kingdom that the King doesn’t care about the fact the Prince, who is arranged to marry his youngest daughter, almost raped her.” Nicole growled.

For once in his life, the King felt threatened and could feel his palms getting clammy, and a bead of sweat start to form on the back of his neck. The Knight looked like she was about to kill someone. Her chest was puffed out, and her eyes were dark, but the second his daughter touched her arm, the redhead slightly relaxed. There was no getting around the situation without the Kingdom getting hurt in some way. If Lady Haught did leave with Waverly, villagers would surely know that something terrible happened and if Nicole opened her big mouth and spread the word about what had really happened, then his people would remove him from the throne.

“You will become her Knight.” The Queen voiced, ignoring the way Ward had glared at her, as she made her way over to her daughter and engulfing her in a hug. “You saved my daughter,” She smiled at the redhead then focused back on the brunette. “Waverly, my angel, are you okay with what Lady Haught is demanding?”

Waverly could feel a small bubble of laughter wanting to escape, but she reframed from doing so by clearing her throat. Why wouldn’t she be okay with having to be around Nicole all day? It was like a dream come true for her. She knew her Knight meant well by it that the redhead didn’t think she couldn’t handle herself. Nicole was looking for her, and after what had just happened, the brunette couldn’t blame her for demanding such a thing.

“I accept her offer. I will feel much safer knowing that I am being protected by one of the strongest Knights in all the realms.” Waverly took a quick glance at Nicole and couldn’t help but smile at the slight blush that had dusted the Knights cheeks.

“We will talk later, my angel.” Michelle squeezed her daughter’s arm before hugging her. “How about you get some fresh air with your Knight and shining armor.” The Queen whispered in Waverly’s ear. When she pulled back and chuckled at her daughter’s wide eyes as she nodded towards the door. “Go, your father and I will speak to the Prince about his behavior and see about getting you out of this arranged marriage.”

Nicole took a step forward and offered her arm to the Princess. “Breakfast, your Highness?”

“No, outside please.” The Princess’s eyes darted to the wall where Prince Hardy was leaning against. “I want to be as far away from the Prince as possible.” Waverly grasped onto Nicole’s arm, and as the two made their way past the King, the brunette couldn’t help but think about what the Knight had said.

I leave this Castle and take her with me. Surprisingly enough, Waverly thought that was a marvelous idea and honestly couldn’t help but think how her life would be if she left the Castle and monarchy for good.

Chapter Text

Wynonna had a reputation for being free the spirited child out of the three princesses. She was never one to follow the rules, only when her parents gave her strict orders, she'd abide them... occasionally. Though, more often than not, Wynonna did quite the opposite of what Ward demanded her to do. Rules of staying in after dark had her sneaking off to the village in the middle of the night. There was a whole world to explore, and Wynonna was desperate to experience it all firsthand.

When Wynonna was twenty-one, she had quickly learned that she wasn't the only one to leave the Castle walls after curfew. One evening, after the sunset, Wynonna saw her youngest sister sneaking out her corridors and quietly making her way down to the courtyard. For once, Wynonna stayed and became a lookout for Waverly; knowing her sister, Waverly wanted to explore just like had. Over time though, once became twice, and so on and so forth, and before she knew it, Wynonna began lying about Waverly's whereabouts to her parents for months; Wynonna never found out the answer to where or why it had become so frequent.

A few years later, during a royal ball, Wynonna watched as her parents and Willa waltz around the room; she stayed close to the food table and where the ale was kept. Wynonna never had interest in dancing whatsoever, no matter how handsome the prince was. Wynonna's feet stayed right where they were and had no intentions of moving away from all the delicious food the cooks had made.

Throughout that night, Wynonna glanced around and found herself watching her baby sister interact with all the different royal families. She noticed that, though Waverly loved to dance, she refused offer after offer from every prince in all the realms. It was odd at first, how Waverly's smile had seemed force yet gentle when she reclined. Wynonna couldn't help but stare and then saw the faintest of a genuine smile when Beth Gardner, from Castle Widows, asked the youngest Earp to dance to one of the more upbeat songs that were played. Waverly had accepted. Unfortunately, it caused quite the uproar from the younger Gardner sibling, Tucker, when his sister took his 'date' away from him. Wynonna didn't think much of it, she figured Waverly wasn't interested in being courted at the time. Not once had she imagined that her little sister was far more interested in the fairer sex.

It was the little things that had Wynonna wondering about her little sister. The lingering eyes on princess's that visited the kingdom. Small, yet almost unnoticeable smiles and red tinted cheeks whenever any of the ladies maids complimented Waverly on anything. How Waverly got jealous when princess Rosita Bustillos, a close friend of hers, had announced that she was courting a man from a nearby castle and could see herself falling in love with him. Wynonna thought the jealousy was brought on due to Waverly feeling like she had lost a friend because Rosita was spending most of her time with her new beau.

When Lady Nicole Haught arrived at the kingdom, Wynonna noticed the significant change in her baby sister. Waverly was happier than usual, her smile was no longer fake, her attitude towards the monarchy went from not caring about it to reading every single book the girl could get her hands on. Whenever Wynonna would see Waverly talking to Nicole, there was a spring her sisters step afterward. Unfortunately, now was not the case when Wynonna ran through the castle halls and abruptly stopped when she saw the knight leading an upset Waverly outside to the courtyard.

"Baby girl!" Waverly turned around, and Wynonna could visibly see the pain in her eyes. "What in the hell blazes happened!"

"Oh, come now, dear sister," Willa said as she walked up from behind Wynonna. "You know Waverly is a bit theatrical. Will do anything to get all the attention on her."

Waverly flinched when she felt Nicole's arm tense under her hand. She knew her knight was beginning to get furious at her older sister. "Willa," She choked out.

"I am not theatrical. I was almost-." Waverly tried to get the last word out, but another sob washed over her as the all too recent memories flooded her mind. She shook her head violently and buried her face into Nicole's jerkin while clenching the fabric in her fists; Waverly felt her knights arms wrap protectively around her back.

"Haught, why the fuck is my baby sister in tears." Wynonna hated seeing Waverly cry and to see her that distraught, she was ready to tear apart the person who caused it.

"You cannot be feeding into this foolish behavior, Wynonna?"

"Willa, I swear to all the gods if you speak one more time before I get my answer, I will redirect my anger towards you. Now... Shut. Your. Mouth!" Wynonna punctuated the last words to get her point across. Willa scoffed, grumbling something under her breath and storming off back into the castle.

"Ahem." Wynonna loudly cleared her throat. "Now, will one of you please tell me what is going on?" She said in a calmer tone.

Nicole pulled back from Waverly's vice-like grip and stared down at her. "It is quite alright. Tell her." She heard her princess mumbled into her chest. Nicole nodded wordlessly and looked over at Wynonna. "Prince Hardy, he tried to ra-... take advantage of Princess Waverly, your highness."

"He tried to do what! When? Where? You know what, never mind!" Wynonna turned on her heel and marched towards the castle. She didn't want to hear how the rest of it ended. It didn't matter quite honestly. If Lady Haught was already with Waverly, it meant she protected her little sister, and that was what mattered.   

Waverly turned her head in time to see her sister walking away. "Nonna, where are you going?"

"To slaughter a worthless scum of a prince." Wynonna sneered to herself and continued down the hallway.

* * * * *

Wynonna was furious! No one hurt her baby girl and got away with it. She knew what Lady Haught was implying when she stopped mid-sentence and used the word advantage. There came a time when a neighboring kingdom went through the same thing, and Wynonna remembered her father saying that a servant tired to take advantage of the princess that was distraught because she had lost her mother. Wynonna also recalled Ward using the term rape and had asked her lady-in-waiting what it meant back when she was thirteen.

Storming down the castle halls, Wynonna heard the servants whispering about the 'incident' that happened in the casemate chambers; by the time she got there, the room was empty. Before she slammed the door shut, she looked around the room and noticed a sword lying on the ground. She wondered if the knight had grabbed it to defend Waverly or if it was the one that was kept on her belt. Wynonna shook her head. She was distracting herself with useless questions that didn't need answers. Finding prince Hardy was her main focus.

It took a little longer than what she had hoped, but nonetheless, Wynonna found the prince standing outside the throne room with his hands tied behind his back and one of the royal guards holding Hardy in place. She couldn't help the smirk that formed on her face. He was basically defenseless without the use of his arms, and Wynonna knew she had the upper hand on him. It was her families kingdom, after all.

"I'd like to speak to the prince," Wynonna ordered the guard. "Alone preferably."

"I'm sorry, your highness, but I am under strict orders by Queen Michelle to not let him go."

"Princess Wynonna, tell this imbecile of a guard that he can't treat me like this. I'm royalty." Hardy whined, then winced when the guard squeezed his shoulders back. "Ow."

Wynonna ignored the prince's outburst and pondered for a moment. "Okay... How about this. You let him go, BUT stand a couple of feet away in case he tries to do something stupid." The guard gave a curt nod and did as he was told.

Hardy gave a sigh of relief but soon was lying on his side after he felt a fist connect with his jaw, again. Wynonna took the opportunity and kicked him in the shoulder, sending the prince on his back. She jumped on him and punched him directly in the nose. Wynonna swore she could hear something snap, then when blood started spewing out Hardy's nostrils, she realized that sound was the bone breaking. Wynonna jumped up and began to walk away, but stopped and kneeled next to him, grabbing the lapels of his jerkins.

"You so much as look at Waverly the wrong way," Wynonna growled in his face. "I'll have every Knight and guard bring you down to the dungeon and do to you what you intended to do my baby sister." She got up, kicked hard to Hardy's family jewels, and left with a satisfied smile on her face.

Hardy coughed up blood and curled in on himself. The guard chuckled.  "What?" The prince chocked out.

"You pissed off the wrong princess, my lord. Princess Wynonna is not known for being crazy for nothing. That threat, if you do not comply, will take forth, and if you are lucky enough, she won't add the horses to have their way with you as well." The guard burst out laughing at the horrified look on prince Hardy's face.

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The morning had started out ideally; Michelle had intended to talk to her youngest daughter about the recent change in her mood. Everyone in the castle noticed it. How could anyone not? Waverly was bubblier. She smiled and giggled more. For the past week, if Waverly wasn't doing her studies, she was out lounging in the courtyard (discreetly) ogling a certain redheaded knight. Michelle had a feeling as to what was going on between the two but also didn't want her daughter to feel obligated to tell her about the new friendship the two women had found in each other.

All that was good quickly turned sour that morning when Lady Haught arrived at breakfast without Waverly on her arm. As soon as Nicole bolted from the doorway, Michelle knew right away that something was terribly wrong and hastily followed the knight with her husband in tow. Not once had she imagined to walk in on a scene regarding her daughter in such a manner. When the prince opened his mouth and said that Lady Haught was the cause of it, Michelle knew he was lying. Not because she had seen the knight barge into the casemate chambers, but because she knew Nicole would never touch her daughter in such a way. Lady Haught looked at Waverly like she was the one who aligned the moon and stars every night, and to think about Nicole harming her daughter, it wasn't possible. One glance and the queen could see the love Nicole had for Waverly.

Michelle was thankful that Lady Haught demanded to be her daughters, personal knight, and Waverly, accepting the offer. It meant that she was going to be protected at all times and wouldn't have to worry about the prince trying to take advantage of her again. Michelle wondered if Nicole would have listened to Ward if he told her to lower her sword or if she would only accept orders from Waverly at that moment. The answer simply came when Waverly started to cry, and Lady Haught was quick to be by her side, not without punching Hardy beforehand. There was no mistaking at that point that Nicole Haught was indeed in love with Waverly.

Back in the throne room, breakfast entirely disregarded and no doubt had gone cold, Michelle stood before her husband, quietly sat on his throne. "Well?" She finally asked Ward after what felt like an eternity had gone by.

"Well, what?"

"Prince Hardy is not a suitable husband for our Waverly. We could have walked in on them fornicating... no, that is the wrong term. He tried to force himself on her."

"Hardy James is a grown man who has urges. No different than you and I. Waverly is soon to be his wife and yet refuses to act upon it. No wonder he felt the way he did."

"So you are saying that... that prince Hardy is in the right, and our daughter deserves to be taken advantaged of? NO! I won't allow it."

Ward abruptly stood up and walked over to his wife. "You do not get a say in the matter. I am the king. I have more power over you." He snarled.

"I will not allow that man to marry my daughter! I want him out of our castle and off our kingdoms land. He deserves to have his head cut off, or better. Castrate him so he can not fornicate with other women."

"Hardy James will marry Waverly." Ward hissed. He was red in the face, eyes blown wide with anger, and breathing labored. "She will accept him as her husband, whether she permits it or not."

"No." Michelle firmly stated. She was not going to backing down. Waverly deserved better than a man who couldn't or wouldn't take no for an answer. She deserved to be treated as an equal, something Michelle was not seen as. "No bastard is marrying my daughter."

In one fluid motion, two things happened. The door to the throne room slammed open, as Ward backhanded his wife across her face. A loud gasp echoed throughout the room. "How dare you strike my mother." Wynonna bellowed out and quickly went to mothers aid.

"Women are only good for bearing children and keeping a house clean," Ward screamed. He didn't care who heard him or not. "Since you are royalty, you do not have to worry about the latter. You are my wife, and you will act as such. So keep your mouth shut, woman. Next time, I will have your tongue cut out for speaking to me in such a manner. Know your rightful place."

Ward stepped around the two women and gestured the guard to bring in the prince. His face became redder as he saw blood on Hardy's face. The king didn't have to guess who done it. Wynonna's sudden appearance spoke for itself. Ward tilted his head and shook his body, before standing to his fullest height. "Free him." He commanded.

"Prince Hardy, you came here to marry my youngest daughter in a few short months. With recent events, I, King Ward of Castle Revenant, hereby announce that the wedding will still take place and in the nearby future."

Wynonna gasped. “You are still allowing that asshat to marry Waverly!”

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The day, though excruciating long, even when spending it alongside Nicole, Waverly couldn't rid the feeling of the prince's hands touching her. Every time she thought it had gone away, the slightest contact from her knight caused her to jump in fear. Nicole's eyes were filled continuously with concern when Waverly would flinch and move away from her, but at the same time, they showed understanding.  

Waverly stayed away from the castle as long as she possibly could. Thankfully, before venturing out, Nicole had Sir Wainwright train for the day so they could be anywhere but be near the castle. The sun began to fall over the horizon when they slowly made their way back to Waverly's chambers. As they passed one of the corridors, they noticed two guards standing there. Both Waverly and Nicole knew who was staying in that room and were glad that he wouldn't be able to sneak out without being caught.

Reaching the princess's corridors, Waverly pressed her back against the door and look at Nicole. A wave of brazenness washed over her as she got lost in her knight's eyes. Without second thoughts, she grabbed the nape of Nicole's neck and connected their lips. Though it was a risk, it was one she was willing to take. She hadn't been able to be as close to Nicole as she had hoped all day, but Waverly couldn't help but feel like she was neglecting her knight; something Waverly never wanted to do.

"Waverly." Nicole pulled back breathlessly and did her best to put a small distance between them; she kept her voice low so no one could hear them. "We can not risk being seen like this. The guards could see us."

"They are around the corner. It is only us. I needed to feel your lips on mine." Waverly lowered her head, afraid to know how Nicole would look at her after what she was about to say. "I-I feel like for you to still want me..."

"Darling," Nicole lifted Waverly's chin, silencing her. "You went through a horrific event this morning. Please, do not feel you have to be intimate with me for me to be interested in you. Believe me, spending time with you, in any way, it what I want."

"I love you." Waverly breathed out and leaned forward, laying her head against Nicole's chest.

"I love you too, my darling. Go inside, and I will see what the cooks have left in the kitchen." Nicole felt Waverly nodded and reluctantly pull away with a smile on her face.

Waverly watched her knight walk away. She bit her lip as her eyes trailed from Nicole's muscular shoulders all the way down to her ass. Waverly could feel a blush form at her chest and worked its way up as she forced herself to divert her eyes from Nicole's backside. Waverly looked up once more and noticed Nicole walking backwards, staring back at her, smirking. Oops! Waverly fumbled with her door handle from behind until it opened, and waved at her knight before slipping inside; a smile never leaving her face.

"I wondered when you would reappear."

Waverly spun around, heart beating a rapidly, and accidentally slammed the door closed. She brought a hand up to her chest and took in a deep breath. "Mama, you frightened me... ho-how long have you been here?" Waverly stared at her mother, who sat casually on her bed.

"Long enough to hear you and lady Haught share a kiss before entering." Waverly's eyes widen, and she felt all the blood drain from her face.

"I-I-I uh d-do not know wh-what you are in-insinuating, mama." Waverly cringed at how much she stuttered. She knew her mother wasn't stupid and that the reason she could barely say one word was that she was lying.

"Waverly, angel, would you like to attempt that again or tell me the truth this time?" Michelle calmly said. She saw her daughter on the verge of tears and decided not to tease the poor girl. "Sweetheart, come here."

When Waverly didn't move, Michelle sighed. "Waverly, are you happy?"

"What?"

"Does Lady Haught make you happy? I want the truth." Waverly slowly nodded her head. "Then that is all that matters to me." Michelle padded the area next to her and grinned as her daughter took up the vacant spot.

So many things ran through Waverly's mind. She was scared more than anything else. Her mother heard them, which made her wonder if anyone else had as well. Waverly honestly thought her and Nicole were in the clear, and now, it felt like the world was crumbling down around her.

"You were twelve," Michelle began. "The seamstress and her daughter came to the castle to get all our measurements for new dresses. I thought when her daughter tried talking to you that you were shy. Once I noticed the redness in your cheeks, and your eyes being anywhere but on her, that was when I began to wonder if you fancied her. A couple a years on, Beth confirmed my thoughts."

"I thought only daddy knew about her. Figured he kept that information to himself."

"He was furious. Could not understand why you would want to lie with a woman and not a man. Your father still cannot fathom it." Michelle looked over at Waverly and slyly smirked. "Girls are prettier."

"Mama!"

Michelle laughed lightly before giving her daughter an adoring look. "Angel, your knight loves you. She would have killed prince Hardy on your command. Not your fathers or my own, but yours. Lady Haught heard you cry, and she was at your side faster than I could blink an eye. Her main concern was you and has been since her arrival. I must ask: do you feel the same about her?"

The answer was easy for Waverly. "With all my heart... I know it is wrong in the eyes of everyone else, but I can not stop these feelings I have for her. What is going to happen to us, mama? We have been mindful when being around others. If you heard us, then we're not careful enough... I can not lose her."

Michelle could feel her heart breaking as the tears rolled down Waverly's face. She understood the concern her daughter had. Two women being together in a such a way was illegal but seeing Waverly that distraught, broke her heart. There was no doubt that Waverly loved the knight just as much if not more than Michelle loved Ward. Unfortunately, with recent events and Ward only thinking about the kingdom and not his daughter, Waverly would sadly have to be with someone that she would never love.

"Nothing will happen to you or your love. Your secret is safe with me."

Waverly kept her head on her mother's shoulder until there was a knock on the door. She walked over and opened it, already knowing who is it was. Waverly greeted Nicole with a grateful smile on her face. Nicole had brought a tray with an assortment of different foods and a bottle of wine under her arm. Waverly chuckled and grabbed the bottle and the glasses between her knight's fingers and led her to the desk in her room.

"Your majesty," Nicole bowed. "Sorry for not having princess Waverly back in time for dinner. She wanted to watch the sun go down." It wasn't a complete lie. Waverly really did want to see the sun set, but she also didn't want to be in the same room as Hardy. "Guards are posted at prince Hardy's chambers. Am I to assume that he is staying or will he be leaving come morning?"

"That is actually why I am here, angel." Michelle winced a little. "There is a change in plans. Your father has changed the wedding date to the end of the month."

"What!" Waverly yelped. "I am to be married in three weeks!" She turned to look at Nicole and saw the same incredulous look on her face as well. What am I going to do?

Chapter Text

"It is getting late." Michelle rose from the bed and gave Nicole a pointed look.

The queen had stayed in Waverly's corridors while the young couple ate. She listened to her daughter talk about the day's events after they left the castle, and Michelle noticed that Waverly was deflecting. Waverly avoided any and all physical contact from Nicole, even going as far as avoided looking at the knight's face. It was entirely out of character for Waverly, and Michelle wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that she knew about them or if they were just used to hiding that Waverly didn't want to risk it. Whatever the reason was, Michelle stepped in and was going to push things in the right direction.

"You look exhausted, angel. Get some rest." The queen hugged her daughter and kissed the crowned of her head. "Escort me to my room, Lady Haught?"

Nicole nodded. "Yes, your Majesty. Good night, Princess Waverly." With a curt nod, Nicole opened the door, and Michelle followed her out.

Waverly's behavior was peculiar, Nicole thought. Before she left for the kitchen, it was evident that Waverly had desire and a hint of lust in her eye's, but once Nicole returned, it was like she was a complete stranger to her. With Michelle in Waverly's corridors, gave some understanding as to why Waverly acted the way she did. Come morning, Nicole decided that she would talk to Waverly about it.

"Lady Haught," Michelle glanced over at Nicole. "I wanted to personally thank you for this morning... for protecting my Waverly."

"No need to thank me, your majesty." I would do anything to keep her safe, Nicole wanted to add but kept to herself. She would never risk exposing hers and Waverly's relationship, no matter the cost.

Michelle was no fool, though; she could practically hear the knights unspoken words. She softly smiled and continued walking. "There's more you want to say, Lady Haught. I can see that you are holding back bolder words towards my daughter."

"I do not know what you are insinuating, your majesty. It is my duty as a knight to protect those that are of royalty."

"Hmm, yes." Michelle nodded once. "Though it is different when it comes to Waverly. This morning proved that..." She thought for a moment, wondering how to approach the subject carefully without scaring Nicole off instantly. "You are very fond of her, are you not?"

Nicole wasn't a hundred percent sure where the queen was taking the conversation with her questioning, but she was going to answer as honestly as she could. "I am. We have become good friends since my arrival." And that was the truth, her and Waverly were and still are very good friends.

There was a sense of respect and loyalty that Michelle saw in Nicole. Of course, the knight wouldn't openly admit to something like that. Who would? Michelle sighed and turned to face Nicole. As much as she wanted to be gentle on the matter, the two of them easily could run rings around each other when trying to pry into something and avoiding the issue altogether. So Michelle decided to just be blunt with Nicole instead. "I know about your affair with Waverly." She said a little to loudly and prayed no one heard her.

Nicole felt like all the air in her lung had been sucked out of her; if someone had so much as touched her, she knew she would have fallen over. Her body had gone stiff, and her heart pounded in her chest. Nicole wasn't sure if she should deny the accusations or wait for the inevitable to happen. She went to open her mouth, but Michelle held her hand up before Nicole could get a word out.

"You need to be more discreet than you are now." The queen continued. She saw the fear in Nicole's eyes and knew she had to carry on with what had to be said before Nicole took off running. "If Prince Hardy or god forbid my husband caught wind of this relationship, they'll come and kill you. She would be devastated if that happened."

Explains Waverly's behavior, Nicole thought. She hadn't been able to form a word. Just the thought about coming up with any sort of reply to the queen was beyond her. Honestly, there was no right response, and the more Nicole tried to come up with something, the more her mouth felt like it had cotton growing within it. What made Nicole even more shocked and tongue-tied, was Michelle accepting her relationship with Waverly instead of having her dragged her off to the gallows to be hanged or be made an example of by having her head cut off in front all those who wanted to see an unnatural woman, to be killed. Though her brain was utterly scrambled, Nicole knew without a doubt in her mind, she would be forever grateful for the woman in front of her and would prove to Michelle that she was worthy of being with Waverly.

"Please note, Waverly's aware that I know about you two." Michelle gently snickered; she smirked at the knight who still hadn't moved. Michelle was beginning to wonder if Nicole was even breathing at all. They weren't far from her chambers, and though she wanted to continue her conversation with Nicole, she knew it was safer to let the knight ponder on her own for a while.

"I bid you goodnight." Michelle walked away and heard footsteps resending in the other direction. She glanced over her shoulder and watched as Nicole quickly rounded the corner. There was a good chance that Nicole was heading to Waverly's room to discuss what they had just talked about and the upcoming wedding.

The small voice in the back of Michelle's mind, wanted Nicole to take Waverly and run away from the castle. To never look back and just be happy together. Without a doubt, Nicole was brave enough to do that, but it was Waverly that concerned her. Would her daughter have the courage to leave her sisters and mother behind and have the life she always dreamed about? Michelle truly hoped that her daughter did and would consider leaving Castle Revenant for good.

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How could someone not appreciate Prince Hardy? He is handsome, comes from a wealthy royal family, and is willing to learn how to wield a sword? So how can Waverly not see all that? How can Wynonna also not see that our little sister is acting dramatic to get attention? It was evident with the way she hung onto Lady Haught the way she did. Those tears were fake. I can see that, so why is Wynonna so oblivious to it?

Willa paced around her corridors, stomping her feet like a five-year-old not getting the horse she wanted. She was furious with Wynonna for dismissing and threatening her the way she did. They were supposed to be thick as thieves, and not allow anyone to come between them, but unfortunately that all changed when Waverly was born. Willa managed to sway Wynonna away from the annoying newcomer for a few years, though as Waverly started walking, her middle sister began spending less time with her and she hated it. Hated that the unexpected arrival of a new sister tore her relationship with Wynonna apart. Willa had no one when Wynonna paid attention to their baby sister.

As time went on, and Willa got older, she spent more time with their father. She began learning more about the monarchy firsthand rather than studying from a book. The knowledge of knowing that there was power behind being royalty, and more importantly, a king and queen, gave Willa a sense of thrill. To be able to rule a kingdom someday was all she ever thought about. Telling people what to do, writing new laws, raising taxes to have more money, being able to sit on the throne and not worry about anything, was precisely what Willa wanted, and Ward couldn't have been prouder of his oldest daughter for recognizing that power.

The day a letter arrived from King Matthew James, stating that his only son was eligible to get married and was interested in one of Earp girls, Willa couldn't have been more excited. Michelle was less enthusiastic about the matter, but nonetheless, Willa couldn't wait to get married. That was until a second letter arrived and all hopes of becoming the next queen came crashing down around her; Prince Hardy wanted to married Waverly. Ward suggested the Prince marry his oldest daughter, someone who knew the ins and outs of the monarchy, but Hardy insisted on marrying Waverly, thinking that the two of them would be the ultimate power couple of the century just based on their looks. Needless to say, Willa had found another reason to hate her little sister.

More and more reasons piled up after the Prince arrived. Willa still couldn't understand why Waverly avoided the man and had spent her time reading or gawking at the knight trainer. In Willa's eyes, the redheaded knight was a peasant, a woman with no substantial authority or business of training her father's men. She knew Ward hated the fact that a woman was doing a mans job, but Lady Haught's father was busy ruling his own kingdom and Ward was left with no other choice. After Willa found out that Nicole had more of a leg to become ruler before her, she understood why her father and Prince Hardy loathed the woman; she did as well.

With all of that information, still didn't explain why Waverly had no interest in getting married. Willa tried on countless occasions to understand her little sister's reasons, but none of them made sense. That was until, a few days ago, she was approached by her father with an unbelievable tale. It seemed, Waverly had become fond of someone within the castle walls.

"That is absurd, daddy!" Willa exclaimed. "Waverly fooling around with anyone other than herself is absolutely ludicrous."

"One might think that, yet I have a prince who is fucking every whore in this kingdom because his bride-to-be won't go near him. That little bitch is going to ruin our kingdom if she continues the way she is!" There was a double meaning behind Wards words, as to why that was, Willa wasn't sure. She wanted to question her father but knew she would have to another time.

"I refuse to have any daughter of mine turn me into a mockery within my own kingdom." Ward continued. "I will become the laughing stock of all the realms if word gets out that one of my daughters does not know their rightful place."  

"Is there any way I can help, daddy. Perhaps, I can persuade him to marry me instead." Willa offered. "Waverly is dull and stupid, so is the Prince. Though it might seem like a match made in heaven, I think I change his mind."

"Prince Hardy has made it very clear of his interest in Waverly, Willa. There is no changing that buffoons mind... as for helping? There is something you can do for me. For our kingdom."

Another wave of anger coursed through Willa's veins. She felt the heat rising from her neck all the way up to the tips of her ears for how crossed she was at the memory. Aside from the anger, Willa felt proud of herself. Ward trusted her, confided in her about Waverly's affair with someone other than her husband-to-be. Her father wanted Willa to keep a close watch on her sister, and though it seemed like a simple task, Waverly spent the majority of her time with Lady Haught. After what had apparently happened that morning, and hearing that the redhead demanded to be her little sister's personal knight, the two would be together all the time; Waverly's own knight was just another reason to add to the list of things that Willa hated Waverly for.

Instead of heading straight for her corridors, Willa took a walk around the castle. Shortly after storming out of the courtyard that morning, she had lost Waverly, and it took all day trying to find her. The attempt to find her became a lost cause, and instead of wallowing in self-pity, Willa decided to talk to her father. Though even doing that, became an issue when she watched Wynonna attack the Prince, who was helpless to defend himself against her. Willa could only shake her head in disappointment at her sister's behavior to act un-ladylike, and to know that the guard holding Prince Hardy allowed such actions to take place and then laugh about it, was an even bigger letdown.  

After an ungodly amount of time, Willa was finally able to speak to Ward, alone. Hearing the announcement of the wedding being advance to a closer date, excited Willa. Served Waverly right, she thought. Maybe then, Waverly would stop sneaking around with someone she wasn't supposed to. The fact of the matter was, who was it? Willa desperately wanted to know that answer and thought of every man that was within castle walls that her little sister could have taken a liken too. She was sure that it had to be one of the men that came to train to become knights, it was the only logical answer. The York brothers had both showed interest in Waverly at some point, or another and Willa wondered if it were one of them.

Before long, the sun had gone down; Willa tried her best in avoiding all the servants as they whispered about the event that took place in the casemate chambers and honestly she was tired of hearing about it. Everyone around her was more concerned about Waverly and her need for dramatics than the Prince who only wanted attention from his future wife. They all pitied Waverly and were ready to spit at Prince Hardy for taking action on what was his, and it was utterly disgusting. The Earps and James were royalty and were supposed to act like it, not entitled little brats who thought they were better than everyone else.

As Willa was about to round the corner to go down one of the hallways, she heard, "I know about your affair with Waverly." Instantly, she knew that it was her mother's voice.

Willa peaked down the hall and saw her mother facing in her direction; unfortunately, she couldn't tell who the person was that Michelle was talking too. The hallway was dark enough that the only thing she could see was her mother's golden locks; it didn't help that the mystery person had their back to Willa as well. Willa didn't want to get caught eavesdropping on a private matter that involved her mother, but then again, Michelle didn't know she was even there to begin with.

"Keep a close watch on Waverly and see if she is sneaking about with anyone. I want you to report back to me immediately on your findings and tell me if you find that others know about it. No matter who the person is, tell me, Willa. You would be doing the kingdom a great service by exposing our traitors within our own castle."

The words of her father rung in Willa's head. She couldn't believe what she was overhearing. Her own mother knew about Waverly's affair and was telling that person to be more discreet, that Michelle, the queen was approving their relationship with Waverly and hoped Prince Hardy and her husband wouldn't find out about it. Willa was absolutely disgusted. She never thought, not once in her life, she would end up hating her mother, but in the end, she did.

Michelle Earp was a traitor to her kingdom and to her own family name. The queen was going against all laws of the monarchy, and it had to be stopped. Tears of anger ran down Willa's face as she quietly made her way in the opposite direction. She would sleep in one of the many guest chambers they had to keep her distance from her mother for the night. Come morning, Willa would have to deliver the news to father of what she had confirmed, and who knew about Waverly's affair. Come morning, life in the castle was surely to change forever.

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Waverly had just got done getting out of her dress, and lying the garment down when her door opened and slammed shut. She turned around hastily, expecting to scream at whoever entered her room, only to have her breath caught in her throat. Her knight stood, leaning against the door, wide-eyed and hair a little disheveled. Nicole was breathing hard, and shallow, and Waverly couldn't help but wonder why.

Blinking hard, Nicole shook her head once. She was still reeling in everything that Michelle had told her. Nicole had to talk to Waverly, and without realizing it, the knight ended up in her loves chambers. The only reason Nicole knew that was because she heard Waverly's soft angelic voice speaking to her.

Nicole finally took in Waverly's appearance, and slowly eyed her up and down. She felt her mouth go dry at the sight of her love in nothing but her shift. The cloth clung to Waverly's skin, making every curve more defined. The undergarment was low cut, and Nicole saw the tops of her breasts, heaving up and down with every breath she took. "Wh-what?" Nicole stuttered and swallowed thickly; making sure to keep her eyes on Waverly's face. "Sorry my love, what was it you said?"

"Are you alright?" Waverly repeated once more and smirked. She saw how Nicole looked at her and the instant blush that dusted her cheeks. The way Nicole saw her, Waverly could see the love pooling in the knight's eyes, yet the way Prince Hardy looked at her, she felt like she was a piece of meat waiting to be feasted on in the worst of ways. The sole thought brought a shiver down Waverly's spine.

"Walking with my mother... how was it?" Waverly asked abruptly; needing to fill her mind with anything other than the Prince.

Nicole cleared her throat. "It was... uh... brief. Quite interesting, to say the least."

"Oh?" Waverly turned around to sit on the edge of the bed, patting the spot next to her like Michelle did for her not long ago. "Did she speak to you?"

"Yes." Nicole smiled weakly and sat in the vacant spot on the bed. "She-she told me..." She hesitated, not knowing if she should bring it up now or wait until morning.

Waverly stared down at her hands in her lap and fiddled with her fingers. "Mama knows." She glanced over at her love. "She told you as such?"

Nicole could only nod in response. "I thought she might" Waverly continued. "Either she warned you of our affair or threatened you, which is it?"

"Lesser of the two," Nicole recalled what Michelle told her before entering her chambers. "I hoped as much." She heard Waverly mumble.

As much as Nicole wanted to talk about what it meant that someone knew about their relationship, she desperately wanted to see Waverly smile. "I have something for you. Well... not with me. In the morning, your gift will have arrived. I hope you will like it."

"Without a doubt in my mind, I will. Any gift from you, I shall love." Waverly looked down at her hands and blushed furiously as she remembered that she was only in her undergarments. "Nicole, my love, despite what happened this morning, might you stay with me all night? Only to sleep, of course..." She shyly whispered.

"I can not bear the thought of him escaping his corridors and slipping into mine during the night to finish what he started earlier."

Nicole heard the tremble in Waverly's voice, and it made her heartbreak. She couldn't imagine what her love was feeling and to know that the Prince was right around the corner lying in his own bed, boiled her blood. Waverly shouldn't have to be afraid of sleeping with fear of being attacked in her own castle. If Waverly wanted protection, day and night, Nicole was undoubtedly going to uphold her promise and keep her love safe.

"I will always do what you ask of me, my darling. Keeping you safe is my main priority." Nicole reassured Waverly and cupped her cheek, forcing the princess to look her to see the truth in her eyes.

Waverly rested her forehead against Nicole's and just basked in being in her presences. She always felt at peace when she was with her love, and Waverly was grateful for that. After staying like that for some time, the two finally pulled apart and continued to ready themselves for bed. It was intimate watching Nicole take off the pieces that held her jerkin to together, and then the jerkin itself was removed. Waverly felt a wave of arousal seeing her knight in nothing but her undergarments but pushed the feelings aside. Tonight was about being safe not being pleasured, though that didn't stop the inappropriate thoughts running through Waverly's mind.

"Are you alright?" Nicole mimicked Waverly's words from moments ago. She could see the desire in Waverly's eyes but decided not to act upon it.

Waverly cleared her throat. "Yes. Join me?" She gestured towards the bed as she crawled under the covers.

Instead of answering, Nicole grinned then got into the opposite side and made herself comfortable. Suddenly, she felt the bed dip and her arm being lifted before a warm body pressed up against her. "Are you okay with this?"

"Definitely... goodnight my love," Nicole mumbled and securely wrapped her arm around Waverly's waist. She heard the princess mumble 'goodnight' before drifting off into a peaceful slumber. 

Chapter Text

Eyes fluttered open, and Waverly immediately shut them, scrunching up her face, cursing at the sun for being so bright. The morning had come far too early for her liking as she had a restless night. Imagines of the Prince, forcing himself on her, invaded her sleep and caused Waverly to wake. Every time she closed her eyes, he was there, taunting Waverly with words and actions. A couple of times, Ward was there, praising Hardy for a job well done. At some point during the night, Waverly had given up trying to sleep and just took comfort in lying in Nicole's arms as her knight slept blissfully. She didn't remember closing her eyes and finally getting the much-needed rest, but Waverly knew by how tired her body felt, that sleep succumbed her no more than a couple of hours ago.

Opening her eyes again, Waverly attempted to slip out of bed but felt an arm tighten around her waist. A faint smile graced her face as she pressed her back into Nicole's front. During those couple hours of sleep, Waverly figured she must have turned over and her love followed suit. Unfortunately, the feeling of content was disrupted by the sudden need to relieve herself, like a stampede of wild horses. Waverly's bladder screamed for relief, so she slowly lifted Nicole's arm up and slipped out of bed. Once standing, came the horrid realization that Waverly had two options, use the chamber pot stored under her bed or venture out to the outhouse that had the most horrendous smell to it.

Just the thought of reliving herself while Nicole slept in her bed, made Waverly blush furiously. It was rather embarrassing to think that her love could wake up to her and that was something Waverly really didn't want happening. She hastily grabbed her robe from the end of the bed and wrapped it around herself before storming down the hallway. Waverly walked passed a few doors before an idea came to mind. Embarrassing as it was, it was the only thought that saved her from having to go outside barefoot.

With a long sigh, Waverly hurried down the hall until she reached the door she wanted and knocked. She pressed her ear to the wood and didn't hear anything, so Waverly knocked again. And again and continued until a very grumpy and annoyed Wynonna opened the door. "The fuck do you want?" Her older sister rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

"Not very lady-like Nonna." Waverly chided.

"Waves, it is the asscrack of dawn. Why are you waking me up?”

"CanIuseyourchamberpot?" Waverly said quickly.

"Repeat. Slower this time, so my mushed up head can understand you."

Instead of answering, Waverly pushed passed her sister and dove under the bed. She visibly cringed at the thought of possibly finding a man hidden under the confines of Wynonna's bed yet wouldn't have surprised her either. Fortunately, Waverly was spared from having to see anything indecent.

Wynonna stood, confused and very much still tired as she watched Waverly pull out the silver bowl. "Waverly, why are you grabbing my piss-pot? What is wrong with the one in your own corridors?"

Waverly froze. She hadn't thought that far ahead in her plan. "It um... uh... has a crack in it." Waverly squeaked.

Wynonna furrowed her eyebrows. Her sister was acting strange, and she couldn't figure out why. It was still too early to comprehend anything properly and decided it was best to ignore all the questions that invaded her brain. Wynonna nodded her head, more to herself than Waverly and stepped out of her room to give her sister privacy. Leaning against the door, Wynonna tilted her head back and closed her eyes. Sleep was overrated since she barely slept since the Prince arrived and Waverly being forced into something she didn't want. Wynonna hated seeing her little sister upset, and with the events that took place yesterday morning, it made sleeping even harder knowing the dimwit got away with it.

The sound of a door opening caught Wynonna's attention. She looked down the hallway and saw a flash of red stepping out of Waverly's chambers; her face furrowed at the sight. Why was Haughtstuff in baby girls room? Wynonna loudly cleared her throat and listened as the noise echoed down the hall. When she saw Nicole jump, she snorted and watched as the knight spun around, trying to identify the source of the sound.

"Your Highness." Nicole straightened up and adjusted her clothes, mentally giving herself a high-five for sorta getting dressed. Heat rose up from her neck to her face as she realized she was caught off guard and more importantly, sneaking out of Waverly's chambers.

Wynonna walked towards the knight with a questioning look. She glanced up and down at Nicole's jerkin and the sword that was in held in her hand. "What business do you have in baby girls corridors so early in the morning?"

Shit, it is too early for quick answers, Nicole thought. Thankfully by saving grace, Waverly stepped out of Wynonna's room. She had heard her sister's question to Nicole, and the knights pause to answer. There was little hope that Nicole would stay asleep long enough until she got back into her chambers, but knew Nicole would noticing her presence gone, and go looking for her.

"Lady Haught, sorry to have abandoned you in my chambers."

"What was she doing in there in the first place, Waves?" Wynonna wondered. She looked between the two and tried to decipher what was going with them, and couldn't help but noticed her sister's heart eyes towards the knight. Barf!

"If you must know, with happened yesterday I felt that I needed extra protection and asked Lady Haught to sleep in my chambers."

"I awoke to her gone and was only coming out to search for her. Happy to see that Princess Waverly is all right." Nicole added in. She shifted on her feet as Wynonna glared at her for a few moments longer. Nicole was never one to feel scared or threatened by anyone, by Wynonna sure as hell had her feeling that way.

"Okay. Due to it being goddamn early, I will let this slide." Wynonna started to walk back to her room but stopped. "Hey, Haught? Think you could teach me some fencing lessons."

"You want to know how to wield a sword?" Waverly curiously asked. She really wasn't all that surprised that Wynonna wanted to learn but was curious to know why she wanted to learn all of a sudden.

"Yes, I do. Have a problem with that?"

"Not at all. Nicole will not mind teaching you, won't you?" Waverly smiled at her knight. Not realizing she had addressed the knight by her first name.
"Af-after noontime," Nicole stumbled over her words. "I will search for you and begin your lessons. It will have to be off castle grounds due to your father."

"Perfect!" Wynonna clapped her hands together. Without another word, she walked into her corridors and slammed her door shut, leaving Nicole and Waverly alone in the hall, wondering what they had just got themselves into.


* * * * *


As promised, Nicole and Waverly ventured out of the castle to retrieve a gift that was to arrive that morning. Waverly was still unaware of what she was supposedly getting from her knight, but undoubtedly, she knew she would love it. Though a particular thought came across Waverly's mind, why were they riding out to their spot to get said gift? A couple of times Waverly tried to ask the question but thought better of it. Nicole would have told her if she wanted Waverly to know, and no matter what Nicole would keep her safe.

Not far into the ride, Nicole had pulled an apple out from her saddlebag and handed it to Waverly then another for herself; Nicole had asked the chefs to pack a breakfast for them last night and have it ready for their early morning horse ride. Waverly grinned like a fool at Nicole's thoughtfulness. Prince Hardy would have only thought of himself. Though it was a simple gesture, Waverly fell in love with Nicole even more.

Waverly was brought out of her haze when she heard someone yell Nicole's name. She looked all around her and saw no one in sight, not even within the tree line. "Nicole!" The person called again. Waverly squinted her eyes and tried her best to find the mysterious voice, but to her avail, nothing.

"He is in the trees, love." Nicole softly laughed as she watched Waverly. "You will never find him on the ground."

The closer they rode to the trees, the harder it was to find the man. He had stopped calling out Nicole's names but began making bird calls instead. Waverly had to admit; whoever he was, he was quite good. "Who is this mystery man we are seeing?"

"An old friend of mine." Nicole simply stated. "There come's a point in a warriors life when swords will not do. Taking out the enemy from a distance requires something different, lighter even."

"Nicole, what are-" Waverly abruptly stopped when it clicked. "You are not suggesting that I...? What about our training lessons?"

"Do not get me wrong, you are wielding a sword quite well, but I feel this is more your calling. Your stance while holding a sword is of better use with a bow and arrow than a sword." Nicole bit her lower lip while staring at Waverly. She hoped she hadn't offended the princess by speaking the truth though she really wanted to see how well of an aim Waverly had.

"Guess we will see!" Waverly smiled brightly. She had always wanted to try archery, but since she was a woman in the monarchy, the idea of doing so slipped from her mind years ago.

When they finally approached the spring, a man jumped down from a tree; he wore a green-like jerkin and tights! A bag strap was slung across his chest, and a bow peeked out from behind his back. The only thing this man was missing was a particular hat that would have Waverly guessing who this person was.

Nicole jumped off Sir Starbuck and hugged the man in front of her. Once they broke out of their embrace, she quickly turned around and helped Waverly off her horse. "My friend, this is Princess Waverly of Castle Revenant. Waves, this Robin."

No! It can not be? Could it? "Robin? As in Robin Hood?" Waverly smiled widely; she couldn't help but ask the question. "The man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor?" She snickered.

"Afraid not. Robin Jett," Robin corrected, taking ahold of Waverly's hand and kissing the back of it. "Though I admire you for thinking I am a scoundrel who helps the poor." He smirked a little when he saw a faint blush make its way on the princesses face. "I would have said yes if my friend Jeremy was with me. He would be the Little John of our duo. I must say you are more beautiful than Nicole has described you." The princess blushed again.

Waverly smirked at Nicole "Oh! She spoke of me to you?" She was curious to know if Robin knew about Nicole.

"Not to cut this short," Nicole cut in, interrupting whatever her friend was about to say. As much as she knew Robin would never be interested in Waverly, the thought of someone else hitting on her boiled her blood. "Did you bring it?" She said through gritted teeth.

"Straight to business with this one,” Robin hooked a thumb in Nicole's direction. "Have a little fun. Be adventurous. Kiss whomever you want." He winked at Waverly. "Get drunk on love."

“Robin! Bow and arrows." Robin was about to say something else but quickly closed his mouth at the glare he got from Nicole. He nodded once and took the bag off. "Here you go. One genuine bow and a couple of dozen arrows to go with it."

Nicole did everything in her power not to punch the guy in the face. Robin was a shameless flirt, and though he was like Nicole, who was only fond of the same sex, his flirting just came naturally to everyone; male or female. Though it didn't mean her girl had to be on the receiving end of the man's flirtatious streak. Nicole felt a delicate hand wrap around her bicep and the other rest beside it. Waverly. "Thank you, Robin." She grabbed the bag and looked at her princess with a smile. 

"Let us see how good you are. No doubt a natural at this." Robin pulled out a small parchment from his belt and used the sap from a tree to hold it in place. It was a reward sign for someone he didn't know and figured he could help find the man. "Aim for this. Precision does not matter at the very moment. All you need to worry about it holding the bow property and getting a feel for," Just as Robin took a step back from the tree, he heard a soft thud. He blinked, once then twice as he stared at the arrow that was in the middle of the parchment. "It." Robin slowly finished his sentence.

Turning to face the women, Robin saw Waverly holding the bow in her left hand, and her right arm bent behind her. Nicole was beside her, eyes wide in shock at the princess. He blinked again, and without realizing it, Waverly had grabbed another arrow and fired; landing a pinky width away from the first arrow she shot.

"Damn." Nicole breathed out in awe. Waverly really was a natural at archery and even better than herself. The knight smiled fondly at her girl who started jumping up and down and squealing in excitement.

An hour went by since Waverly started her 'lessons' on archery. Robin had taken off shortly after Waverly had gone through all her arrows and helped show her how to dislodge them from the tree without them snapping carefully. Nicole had joined Waverly in practicing her archery skills. She would hear Waverly giggle when she missed the parchment altogether and would hit the tree farthest away. That was when they started moving the paper further away to see if Waverly's skills at close range were also as good at long range; sure enough, Waverly had mad skills, and Nicole feared for anyone at any distance that pissed her off.

After some time, Nicole noticed that Waverly was beginning to become a little distant. She stood beside her and touched the princesses shoulder. "Waverly, you seem lost in thought. What is it, my darling?"

There was something on Waverly's mind. A thought that she had been considering since Nicole had mentioned it to her father. I leave this castle and take her with me. It played in her mind over and over, and Waverly wondered if her love actually meant or if she had said it to make her father agree with Nicole becoming her personal knight.

"My love, I must ask... did you mean what you said to my father yesterday. That you would leave with me by your side?"

"Of course. I won't let anything bad happen to you. Not again." Nicole promised. 

Waverly took a staggering breath. "I have thought about nothing else since you asked and... I must request that you do." She looked at Nicole, tears beginning to take form. "I do not wish to live within these castles walls anymore. To marry a man that I will never love. To be forced to follow the monarchy way." Waverly turned and cupped Nicole's cheek. "Take me away from a place that I am so obviously not wanted in. Will you help me escape from this castle? Forever?"

____________________


Willa awoke to the sound of horses whinnying. Instant regret filled her senses as she remembered that she chose the far end of the castle that was near the stables. She heard the noise again, and the curiosity got the best of her. Peeking out the window, Willa saw two people riding out of the castle together. Figuring out who they were was simple. Only one person in the entire castle had red hair, which meant, Lady Haught and Waverly were going somewhere. Willa didn't dwell on it much, though; she had other matters to attend to.

She had quickly gotten ready for the day. Willa dismissed her lady-in-waiting without so much of a thank you for helping her into her gown. Willa was on a mission! As much as it pained her to go through with it, it had to be done. She marched her way towards her parent's corridors. It was still early enough that they both could easily be there; breakfast wasn't for a little while longer anyway.

As Willa rounded the corner, she collided with someone. Her steps faltered a bit but managed to get her footing back. "You are in a rush this morning, my sweet." Her!

Two options came to Willa's mind. Ignore her mother and go straight to her father or confront the woman about what she overheard the night before. The smarter way to go was to take the first idea and run, but Willa was upset enough that she wanted answers herself.

"Like you were last night?" Willa hissed. She watched as confusion wash over her mother. "I heard you talking to someone in the hall."

Michelle's eyes grew wide as the realization hit her of what her daughter was talking about. What she feared, came true and unfortunately on the wrong person. She admired Willa so much for taking an interest in the monarchy and wanting to find her place within it, but Michelle noticed that her daughter saw the power behind being royalty. Willa was a younger, smarter, and female version of Ward, and that scared her. It was only a matter of time before the monarchy or her husband destroyed Willa; it seemed the latter of the two had won.

"I am not sure what you are talking about." Michelle feigned innocent. There was no way she was going down the rabbit hole without a fight. "Shall we head to the dining room?" Michelle tried changing subjects, but to her avail, Willa wasn't about to give up so easily.

"Cut the act, mother. I am far from ignorant. You know about Waverly having an affair, and you told this man to be more discreet."

Willa does not know whom I talked to, Michelle realized. A wave of relief washed over her that her daughter didn't notice that it was Nicole. "Who is it? Tell me!" Willa demanded.

"Why should I destroy any chance Waverly has at loving someone." Michelle proudly said. "Prince Hardy is not worthy of marrying any of my daughters! So why should I force it on her?”
Instead of answering, Willa turned around and marched to the dining room. She ignored her mother's pleas to stop. It had to be done. Maybe Michelle would tell the truth in front of her husband instead of dancing around the question. Willa had no interest in running circles with her mother and knew telling Ward was the right choice.

"Willa, please do not do this!" Michelle tried to grab Willa's arms before she opened the doors to the dining room, but it was no use.

"Father!" Willa called out when she spotted him. She continued to ignore the protests from her mother and avoided making eye contact with Wynonna, who was surprisingly already sitting at the table. "We have a traitor among us." Willa turned and glared at Michelle.
"What in the hell are you talking about Willa?" Wynonna stood up from her seat and put her hands on her hip.

"Your wife knows about Waverly's affair and refuses to tell the truth on who it is with!" Willa announced.

Michelle looked around the room and stared between her daughters and her husband. Time had started to slow down as they all took in the information. Wards face turned red with anger and Wynonna had a dumbfounded look on hers. Willa's though was emotionless. Like her daughter wasn't sure how to comprehend what she just did or how to feel about the matter.

"Tell me, woman! Tell me whom that little bitch is fooling around with!" Wynonna started yelling at that point. Telling her father not to call Waverly such vile names; Ward ignored her. He stared at his wife and continued to demand for answers.

"I'd rather die than tell you anything, Ward Earp." Michelle snapped. Waverly deserved to be happy, and Nicole gave her that. There was no way on gods green earth, was she about to destroy her daughters only chance at happiness. 

"Then you left me with no choice. Guards, take my wife down to the dungeon."

Chapter Text

Nothing seemed real; Families were meant to build each other up. Not tear them apart and watch them crumble to the floor. The monarchy had a funny way of destroying what mattered most, yet no cared. Being royalty was nothing but a game. Seeing how long it took until one of them snapped from the pressure of the monarchy. What happens when one does, or all them do?

Michelle's words swirled around Wynonna's brain. I would rather die than tell you. That statement was going to be her mother's last words to Ward. The anger is her father's eyes and sentencing Michelle straight to the dungeon, proved that. A fact remained, though, was Willa telling the truth? Was Waverly having an affair with someone other than Prince Hardy? Did Michelle know who that person was?

"What did you do, Willa?" Wynonna screamed, her voice cracked. Out of everything that could have happened, her mother going to jail wasn't one of them.

Wynonna always knew Willa wasn't thrilled about Waverly. She was scoffing at every chance Waverly was mentioned or praised and more recently, getting married. To even have a knight follow her around for safety reasons. She couldn't understand why her older sister hated Waverly so much. Wynonna tried to talk to Willa about it, but her sister ignored her. Willa did, what she did best; she continued to follow Ward around like a lost puppy.

Something had to change! Michelle was only protecting her daughter, and Wynonna knew that. Even she, herself wouldn't have outed Waverly for having a lover like that.

"Your mother is a traitor for keeping secrets, Wynonna. What is done is done." Ward angrily spoke as he stormed out of the dining room.

"Why, Willa?" Wynonna wheezed. "How could you do this? To our mother!"

Willa stood frozen from shock. Her mother, being taken to the dungeon wasn't something she expected. Most prisoners got the death sentence shortly after getting imprisoned. No one knew that information but Ward, Willa, the executioner. Was Michelle going to get the death sentence if she doesn't confess? Willa knew there was no going back. What is done is done. Willa was starting to hate that saying.

"How could you!" Wynonna screamed again. She wanted an answer, but her stiff as a tree sister wouldn't speak. Wynonna marched towards Willa and shoved her to the ground. "I hope you burn in hell, Willa. You could not leave well enough alone, could you? Why?"

"Because that little wretch gets everything!"

"She speaks!" Wynona mumbled.

"I should be getting married. I am the oldest. Instead, I got brushed aside because the prince wants her!"

"You think Waverly wants to marry a man she will never love? Willa, you are so far blind it is unbelievable. Prince Hardy can try all he wants, but he will never win Waverly's affection." Wynonna confessed.

Wynonna watched as Willa took in her statement. She could see the wheels turning in her sisters head and knew Willa didn't understand her point. And people call me the oblivious one! She wasn't going assume anything, Wynonna also wasn't going to out Waverly either. Especially not to Willa. Not after her older sister framed their mother, Wynonna stormed out of the dining room and headed towards Waverly's corridors.

By now, Waverly would have been entering the room with her hand around Nicole's arm. Wynonna liked the knight. Found her intriguing, mysterious, and most of all, brave, but she wasn't going admit that to anyone, either. Wynonna kept her true feelings to herself unless she spoke to Michelle, Willa, or Waverly. That didn't stop her from admiring the fact that Nicole went after what she wanted, and didn't take no for an answer. Something Wynonna craved to have but didn't dare to go against her father or the monarchy. Who would want to?

Waverly so nowhere in sight. She wasn't in the hallways, her chambers, or the courtyard. Wynonna found that very odd. Mornings had a set routine, and as princesses, they had to abide by them. With breakfast all shot to hell, Wynonna figured that it didn't matter anymore. She still had to find her. Waverly needed to know what had happened and that their father knew about her affair.

There was a slight chance that Waverly's lover was a man, though Wynonna doubted that. She thought about all the women who would come and go from the castle serval times a month. Her mind boggled with the endless amount of names she tried to remember. None of them stuck out though. Wynonna thought about Nicole being her baby sisters lover. They were always together, and the knight was very protective of Waverly. No, Waverly and Nicole were friends, nothing more. Right?

Living in a castle made finding someone rather tricky. Playing hide and seek had to be the worst game Waverly had ever come up with when they were younger. There weren't enough hours in the day to find the little pipsqueak. Wynonna hated it then, and she despised it now. She didn't have time to waste. Waverly needed to be at the castle now!

"Where the hell are you, baby girl?" Wynonna said to herself. She started searching outside. After yesterdays events, Waverly being indoors seemed unlikely.

Wynonna walked to the tree in the middle of the courtyard and looked up. Waverly tended to read on one of the branches versus being a normal person and read on the ground. She is not here! She glanced around, desperate trying to spot her sister. Wynonna turned her head and recognized a familiar person. Maybe they will know? She ran towards them, cursing her dress the whole and started shouting their name.

"Your highness." Sir Wainwright bowed. "A pleasure to see you. I am about to start-,"

"HaveyouseenWaverly?" Wynonna rushed out.

Sir Wainwright blinked and tried to comprehend what Wynonna had just asked him. The only word he got out of it was Waverly's name. Another second passed, and that's when it clicked. "Your sister? She is with Lady Haught. Breakfast down by the lake or stream in the woods- you seem distressed, your highness. Are you okay?"

"No. All hell is breaking loose, and I need to find my sister. Thank you."

"Let me get you a horse. Saddled it up and you can ride out there. Faster than running."

____________________


The questioned lingered in the air. Nicole wanted nothing less than to leave with Waverly beside her. To have a life together and to grow old with each other. She felt complete with Waverly sleeping in her arms all night and wanted that to continue until the end of time. The world made sense with the princess in it, and Nicole didn't want to loses that. She had finally found that happiness her mother talked about having with her father. The kind of love that people dreamed about having but never getting. Where your soul reunites with its other half, and all those around you disappear. Leaving you and soulmate to be the only two people left on the earth. Nicole knew she found that with Waverly and knew it would break her heart if she left Waverly behind.

Waverly observed Nicole as she took in her question. Asking such a thing was a risk in itself, but she couldn't help it. To have the freedom to do whatever she wanted without the scrutiny of the monarchy hounding her. That was what Waverly craved. Nicole had that by being a knight. The monarchy barely ever worked with the knight's kingdoms. They only did when new technics came about, and they had to inform the head knights about it.

Nicole took longer than expected to respond, and Waverly began to panic. Did Nicole not want that kind of life with me? Am I only someone to fool around with? Does Nicole not love me as I love her? "I-I am s-sorry, I over st-stepped." Waverly backtracked.

"No, my darling!" Nicole snapped out of her haze and grabbed Waverly's hands. "I am stunned by your question is all. Please do not feel regret for asking me such a thing. I am honored."

"You are?" Waverly said breathlessly.

"Indeed. Your trust means everything to me— I would love nothing more to take you with me."

"... but?" Waverly could see the trepidation in Nicole's eyes.

"As you said, you are to marry the prince. We leave, escape, there will be people hunting us down."

"I want out, Nicole. Do not make me marry that man when I would rather be marrying you." Waverly confessed. Her face reddened at the admission and hoped that she hadn't overstepped the mark.

"Then, we will." Waverly's eyes widen and beamed. "Lets us head back to the castle, pack essentials, and then when night falls, we leave. Head straight to my kingdom and marry. I will even buy you the prettiest ring to wear."

Waverly squealed in delight. She jumped into Nicole's arms, wrapping her around Nicole's neck and kissed her. On instinct, Nicole placed her hands on Waverly's waist and squeezed. The princess played with the small hairs at the back of her lover's neck as the kissed became heated. Their mouths moved against one another as their tongues battled for dominance. Moans slipped from each other's mouth, which only spurred them to deepen the kiss further.

Nicole inched her hands down to Waverly's ass and squeezed, elating another moan from her love. She bent down a little and lifted Waverly. Nicole felt Waverly wrap her legs around her waist and the hands in her hair tightened. She stepped forward, slamming Waverly's back against a tree before breaking the kiss. Nicole then dragged her lips along Waverly's neck, while her hips pushed up on their own accord.

"Nic." Waverly gasped when she felt Nicole nip at her pulse point before soothing it over with her tongue.

She was on cloud nine, and Waverly loved it. All thoughts of what happened with Prince Hardy were nowhere in sight. Her family was back at the castle, eating breakfast, while Waverly got to be free. To kiss her knight in shining armor and not think twice about it. Everything Waverly ever wanted, had her pinned up against a tree, pulling moan after moan from her.

Before long, Waverly began rolling her hips, matching Nicole's every thrust. If it weren't for the layers of her dress, she would be close to flying over the edge, just from Nicole kissing her. Waverly wanted more though. She wanted to feel every inch of her loves skin against hers. Kissing and touching every nook and cranny and learning what made Nicole moan or gasp louder.

Gradually, Waverly brought her hands down Nicole's down back, digging her nails in as she went. Her core throbbed at the deep moan that came from her knight. She pulled the jerkin up until she made contact with warm creamy skin. Waverly continued to pull until she felt some resistance. Belt! As much as she loved seeing Nicole wear the thing, the belt needed to go. Now!

A soft chuckle fell from Nicole's lips. "What?" Waverly breathed out.

"Darling, you are growling." Nicole sunk her teeth into Waverly's pulse point again before doing the same to her collarbone. Nicole could feel how aroused she was by the slickness between her legs. A part of Nicole wanted more. To rid Waverly of her dress and petticoats, and feel the princess come undone underneath her. However, the logical side of Nicole knew that it was too soon, and she didn't want to push Waverly. She'd never forgive herself if it caused Waverly pain by remembering what Hardy did to her.

"I want to feel you." Waverly rasped out. "This tunic needs to come off." She grunted as she tried to rip the cloth off Nicole's back.

With a sigh, Nicole took a step back and waited for Waverly's feet to touch the ground. "We should stop." Her voice was thick with arousal. The hurt in her princess's eyes was enough to make Nicole regret her words. "I do not wish you hurt you. Not after what took place yesterday morning."

"I do wish not to remember that." Waverly cringed. The mere thought of what happened between her and the prince made her stomach turn in disgust. She needed a distraction. Preferably a pleasurable one, though Nicole was right. Maybe they shouldn't test the waters so soon after being sexually assaulted? Waverly brushed that thought to the back of her mind and looked over at the stream. Suddenly an idea came to mind. Maybe I can show her that I am ready? "But you are right. Should we lead our horses up to the lake? Dip our feet in the water?" She said sweetly. The thoughts racing in her mind were anything but appropriate.

When Nicole turned around to gather the horses, Waverly smiled wolfishly. The lake was no more than a five-minute ride up the stream from where they were. Ample amount of time to come with an idea to distract Nicole long enough to put her plan in motion. Waverly shook her head and mounted up. She looked over at her knight, smiling lovingly at her, before racing off towards the lake.


* * * * *


The princess sat on a log and took off her riding boots; a gift Nicole had bought her before they got together. She slid her stockings off next, folding them up then stuffing it inside one of the boots. "My love, mind brushing your hand across the water before I go dipping my feet in."

"Afraid it will be too cold?" Nicole cocked an eyebrow at Waverly. She couldn't help but shake her head and laugh a little at the ridiculous pout Waverly gave her. If there was one thing that Nicole learned from being at Castle Revenant, it was that she couldn't say no to Waverly. "You are lucky I find you adorable, and that love you so damn much."

Waverly giggled and smirked. "I know."

As Nicole walked to the edge of the lake, Waverly undid the knot holding her dress together. She yanked at the shoulders, feeling the dress open wider and wider. The moment there was enough space to wiggle herself free from the garment, Waverly stood up. She pulled her arms out of her sleeves and felt the dress fall to the ground. Leaving the princess in her blouse, petticoats, and pantaloons.

Nicole turned her head in time to see layers of petticoats falls to the ground. The knight's eyes widened, and her mouth went dry at the sight of her princess in nothing but her undergarments. Most clothes were made to be loose yet Waverly's fit her like her glove. It accented the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hips. Nicole bit the inside of her bottom lip to suppress the groan the threatened to escape. Last night seeing her love in her shift was by accident, but this was different. A wave of arousal hit her like wildfire, and Nicole wasn't sure if she would be able to stop herself a second time around. Not with the way Waverly was seducing her.  

Looking at Nicole, Waverly knew her plan at worked. She bit her lip and started to walk towards her knight, making sure to remain eye contact with her. There was a newfound confidence in herself, and Waverly was enjoying every second of it. She loved the effect she was having on Nicole and wondered how it would take for her knight to break.

Right before Waverly got to the edge of the water, she bent down next to Nicole and whispered in her ear. "Join me." She gently bit her ear and smoothed it over with her tongue; smiling at the shiver that ran down Nicole's spine. Waverly stood back up and took a step around her knight. Without having to look over her should, she already knew Nicole was staring at her.

Now or nothing. The princess took a steadied breath then pulled her blouse over her head. Even from a foot and half away from Nicole, Waverly could still hear the knight's breath hitch. She threw the shirt at Nicole, smiling when it hit her face and pulled down her pantaloons.

Nicole couldn't believe what she was seeing. Waverly was bare as the day she was born. She'd known from the moment she laid eyes on Waverly, that the princess was beautiful. Though, what Nicole was staring at now, was beyond beautiful. Waverly was a goddess! Her long hair flowed down her back, with sun-kissed skin, perked breasts, and perfect round ass. Nicole knew she was drooling.  

The knight licked her lips; her core throbbed with need. She wanted nothing more than to lay Waverly to the ground and bury her fingers deep inside of her. Wanted to hear her screamed Nicole's name while having her head was between Waverly's legs. "Are you coming or what?" Nicole heard before watching Waverly dive into the water.

"I am about too," Nicole mumbled. She jumped up from the ground and took her clothes off with lightning speed. Nicole didn't care where her tunic landed, not when a beautiful naked woman was waiting for her in the lake.

"You are so beautiful!" Waverly complimented. Her eyes racked up and down Nicole's body. The sight of perk round breasts, a taut stomach, and red hair at the apex of her thighs, made her mouth water. Waverly rubbed her thighs together and felt a slick-ness that had nothing to do with the water around her. She lifted her right hand and crooked a finger at Nicole, beckoning her love to join her in the water.

Like answering the call of a siren, Nicole was helpful when it came to the princess. Her feet moved on their own accord, and before she knew it, the knight stood inches apart from Waverly. Nicole brushed a strand hair behind her love's ear and whispered. "If I am beautiful, you are a vision." She smirked when she saw the prettiest of blushes start from Waverly's chest up to the tip of her ears.

Time seemed to slow down as the two admired each other. Though they were fully exposed, they felt safe. Safer than they had been in a long time. No one could destroy this moment. It was theirs. A memory locked away to remember forever, and Waverly and Nicole had barely gotten started. The knight's hand cupped Waverly's cheek and gently pulled her in for a chaise kiss. Nicole's arm wrapped around Waverly's waist, causing their bodies to be flush together.

They both moaned, feeling stiff peaks pressed against their breasts. Waverly deepened the kissed and coiled her arms and legs around Nicole. The knight gasped when she felt how wet Waverly was against her stomach. Nicole's hands cupped the princess’s ass and pulled Waverly closer to her.

A deep moan came from Waverly as she slowly started to grid, causing her clit to rub along Nicole's stomach. Giving her the much-needed friction she craved. "Waverly." Nicole groaned. "Are you sure about this. I would never pressure you."

"I want this. I need you, Nicole." Waverly moaned again and took one of Nicole's hand and guided it to where she needed her most. "And besides," She leaned into the knight's ear and nipped it. "Pressure is what I need." Waverly canted her hips forwards and pushed Nicole's hand down further.

A deep gurgling groan escaped from Nicole's lips as she ran her middle finger through Waverly's slit. Dipping into the princess’s entrance the tiniest bit, causing Waverly whimper. The knight wanted to tease her. Wanted to hear every sound her love could make. Hear her beg for Nicole to take her, but Nicole didn't have the patience. She brought her hand back around Waverly's thigh and turned around.

"Wh-what are you doing?" Waverly cried out once she felt Nicole walking out of the lake.

"I will make love to you, but not in there. I want to feel you. Taste you. I do not need a body of water surrounding us as I take you, my love." Nicole smirked when Waverly moaned yet again. She had concluded that that was her favorite sound, and she wanted to hear it over and over again.

Like a gentlewoman, Nicole walked over to the blanket she placed on the ground after arriving at the lake. The gesture warmed Waverly' hearts. The blanket's original use was for a breakfast picnic or to lounge by the lake, but they had other ideas. With a tight grip around Waverly, Nicole began to sit down. When she finally settled, Waverly pushed onto her back. The knight looked up, wide-eyed, and tried to get her bearings. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of Waverly straddling her hips and hands on her stomach.

Watching droplets of water run down Waverly's body made Nicole's mouth dry. Her eyes followed one drop fall from her collarbone to a hardened nipple. Without a second thought, Nicole leaned up and wrapped her lips around the stiff bud. Waverly gasped at the sudden feeling. She coiled her fingers into red hair and started a slow grind again.

Nicole sucked on the nipple harder and brought a hand up to pinch at the other. With a loud pop, she glanced up at Waverly. Nicole placed hot opened mouth kisses over Waverly's chest until she wrapped her tongue around the hardened bud. Waverly was in absolute heaven, but she needed more. She needed to feel Nicole inside of her. "Please love. Inside." She begged. Waverly knew she sounded desperate, but she didn't care.

"Okay." Nicole kissed every inch of skin she could reach until she captured Waverly's lips with her own. She gripped Waverly's waist and flipped them over, lying the princess down on her back.

The princess squeaked in surprised and stared up at Nicole. She crashed their lips together and deepened it immediately. When Waverly was a teenager, she didn't care for kissing all that much, but with Nicole, she couldn't get enough. Nicole sat up a little, breaking the kiss to trail her right hand from Waverly's waist to stomach. The two locked eyes as Nicole continued to run her hand further down. She stopped at the corse hair on the princess's mound, silently asking for permission. Waverly nodded before her breath caught in her throat as Nicole ran her middle finger over her clit. The knight drew wide lazy circles; igniting a low groan from Waverly.

"You sure?" Nicole asked one more time.

"Yes, please, my love." Waverly chocked out.  

Nicole smiled as she moved her fingers further south, running them through Waverly's wet folds. They both moaned. Waverly for how good it felt to have Nicole touching her and Nicole for how wet Waverly was. She sighed when she felt Nicole circle her clit again before entering her with one finger.

A deep groan came from Nicole as she felt Waverly's velvet walls tighten around her finger. She waited a moment for the princess to get used to her, then pulled out to the first knuckle and re-entered her. Waverly threw her head back and dug her fingers into Nicole's shoulder. No doubt never leaving crested shaped moons there. The sensation of finally being filled by Nicole was overwhelming. The way her knight looked at her touched her made her feel more loved than she ever felt in her entire life. From the moment Waverly was caught in Nicole's arms, she had wanted to be with her, and now it was like a dream come true.

"More." The princess pleaded.

On the next thrust, Nicole pulled out her finger; earning a whimper of disapproval from the princess. "I know, darling. I know." Nicole reassured as she slotted herself between Waverly's thighs. She lined up two fingers to her entrance and re-entered her; restarting the process over again. Nicole watched for any signs of discomfort and gave Waverly time to adjust to being stretched. Waverly couldn't stop the loud moan from leaving her mouth. She bent her head back again and felt Nicole's lips on her neck.

The two built up a steady rhythm. With every thrust, Waverly matched with a roll of her hips. It didn't take long before she could feel the pressure of her release building up in the pit of her stomach. Nicole felt her clamping down around her fingers and decided to place her thumb on the brunette's clits; making tight circles around the bundle of nerves. The knight brought her other hand up and started teasing Waverly's right nipple. Soon Nicole watched Waverly arch her back and screamed with Nicole's name on her tongue.

The princess heard the horses whinny in the distance. Remembering that they took off around the lake before their rendezvous started. Waverly thought she heard a tree branch snap, but figured it was a wild animal.

"Fucking Christ!" Nicole stared down at Waverly. Her eyes widen in fear as she realized that the princess wasn't the one who said anything. Rather her older sister, Wynonna. Shit!

Chapter Text

"Oh, Gods, my eyes!" Wynonna spun around and tried not to empty the contents of her stomach. She desperately tried not to have the image of Lady Haught screwing her baby sister seared into her retina's, but the damage had already been done. Wynonna gagged. She hadn't expected the two to be so open about their love affair. Or maybe they weren't? The lake was a mile out from the castle and hidden by plenty of trees , she thought.

 

The horse she rode in on, nudged at her shoulder. "No. I refuse to look at them until both have clothes on. My eyes are burning. I shall tear out my eyes because of you two!" Wynonna yelled out the last part.

 

From behind her, she could hear the rustling of clothes and soft curses being said. Who spoke them didn't matter, what did was the fact they were women fooling around with each other. Not only was it forbidden, but it was also a crime. Both of them could see a noose around their neck if Wynonna told her father about what she saw. It was bad enough that her father thought Waverly was having an affair with a man. If Ward found out Waverly was seeing a woman, who knew how he would react to information.

 

"Wynonna," Waverly's voice lace with distress. "You mustn't tell anyone. Please." She pleaded.

 

Wynonna finding out was one thing, and even though Waverly felt that her sister would keep her secret, it was still a considerable risk to take. If Willa had been the one to find them, there was no doubt Ward would learn the truth, and both of them would be dead. It terrified Waverly how Wynonna might take the news. There was no mistaking what she and Nicole were doing, and Wynonna was so far, acting calmly. That was what scared Waverly the most.

 

"You both finally clothed?"

 

Waverly looked over at Nicole, watching her wrap the belt around her waist. "Yes? Please, Wynonna, you would not under-"

 

"Do not go getting your knickers in a bunch." Wynonna faced her sister; the laugh that threatened to spill from her lips, caught in her throat when she saw the tears pooling in Waverly's eye. "Baby girl," she started.

 

"Wynonna, we-" Waverly looked back at Nicole once more, regaining what little confidence she had left. "I love her." She breathed out.

 

The words hung in the air as an uncomfortable silence filled the space between them. Wynonna's assumptions were correct, even though part of her wished it wasn't. Dangerous territory to be stepping into, but she refused to see her baby sister unhappy. Nicole was a part of that equation, no matter how wrong it was in the eyes of others. Wynonna stared at the knight, wondering if she would also confess her true feelings towards her sister in front of her.

 

"And you, Lady Haught? Do you share the same feelings as her?"

 

Nicole knew Wynonna was testing her. Testing her loyalty to Waverly or if she'd run away in fear of someone learning her secret. She stood straighter, shoulders squared, and stared directly into Wynonna's eyes. "I have never loved anyone the way that I love her."

 

"Ew." Wynonna pretended to gag. "Also, you better since I caught you with your fingers up her flapdoodle." She smirked when Nicole's face became the same shade as her hair.

 

Waverly felt relief wash over her knowing her sister accepted their relationship for what it was. "My gods, Wynonna! Must you use such vulgar terms to my- never mind." Waverly felt her face warming. "You are supposed to be with mama and daddy for breakfast? Oh, gods, by now it is much later in the day. Fiddlesticks!"  

 

At the thought of Michelle, Wynonna remembered the reason she went looking for Waverly. Slightly regretting going to the lake after finding her sister and seeing her in such a position. A shiver ran down her spine, and she couldn't tell if it were from the thought of what she saw or her mother being taken to the dungeon by Ward's commands.

 

"Nonna, you have gone pale. What is it?"

 

________________



Pain shot through Michelle's entire body as the guards threw her against the wall. She slumped down to her knees, trying to make sense of what happened before cold metal enveloped both her wrists. The bottom of her dress became wet, but that was the least of her worries. It wasn't right , she thought. Michelle was the queen and should have a say in what happens but she was powerless. Decorations on a tree, shining so bright, then boxed away, never to be seen from until needed again; That was what Michelle was. A decoration hanging off of Ward's arm whenever he felt he needed Michelle in his presence.

 

The guards spit in her face, saying she was a 'traitor to the crown' before retreating down the long, narrow hallway. Leaving the queen locked up and kneeling in a puddle of water. It surprised them Michelle didn't fight harder. To break free, escape before being thrown around like sacks of flour. Honestly, they pitied her. Michelle was honoring her youngest daughter's privacy as a parent should. The queen was by far better than the king, but she wasn't the one who ruled, Ward was. Men ruled the kingdom, it was the law, or so they thought. They had to follow the king's orders, or else their heads would wind up on a stake.

 

Michelle slowly stood up and twisted herself around. The chains crossed and chinked against each other, straining from being pulled to their full length. She had heard stories about men breaking free from rusted old chains. Twisting them until their own arms coiled, snapping the links connected to the cuffs. The chains Michelle faced were new. Shiny with a light layer of dust indicating they hadn't been in the castle long. Why would Ward order new chains from the blacksmith?

 

"Beautiful, are they not?" Michelle jumped at the sound of her husband's voice. "Made by the finest metal in all the land. Blacksmith boiled down the old ones to make me a better, stronger sword." He padded the handle of the sword resting on his hip. "The water, it ruined your new dress."

 

Michelle whipped her head around to see Ward staring at her with remorse in his eye. "Excuse me?"

 

"Your dress. The water ruined it." The queen stared at Ward curiously. Why was he being nice ? "The seamstress worked very hard on this. Did she not?"

 

"Yes," Michelle slowly answered. "She did."

 

The king took a step forward. "Will have to pay her more on the wedding dress Waverly will wear when she weds Prince Hardy soon. A shame her mother will not be there to see her marry such a fine young man... unless you reveal to me that little tramp's lover."

 

There it was.

 

"Nev-" Ward took another step forward and struck his wife across the face; one of his rings cutting her bottom lip. The action caught her off guard and gave Ward the opportunity to push her into the wall; Michelle's head smashed into it. She collapsed to the floor.

 

"Clumsy woman." Ward tsk. "You ruined your dress and now your face. A shame, truthfully." He walked up behind her and kicked her in the back, forcing Michelle to rest on her stomach.

 

A loud groan fell from Michelle's lips; Ward stared at his wife. He once loved her, years ago. His heart would beat out of his chest every time he saw her. Shy looks, small waves, a beaming smile whenever they saw each other. That was all in the past. Ward felt nothing for her ever since she told him she was with-child for a third time. He never wanted children. Not until Willa was born; She was his everything. Wynonna was out of control from the day she was born, and from that day on, Ward never wanted another child. How Waverly was conceived was a mystery. Michelle would always call Waverly her 'miracle baby.' Thinking about Waverly caused his anger to rise.

 

"Tell me who she is sleeping with." Ward snarled.

 

"No!" Michelle gasped.

 

The king let out an animalistic growl and grabbed Michelle by her hair, yanking her into the kneeling position. He pulled out his sword and pressed it to his wife's neck. "Tell me who she's sleeping with!" Ward repeated, his voice deep and low; Michelle almost didn't recognize him.

 

"Over my dead body."

 

"Then, so be it!" If Michelle would not tell him, then Ward was going to force it out of his youngest daughter. He shoved Michelle to the ground, holstered his sword, and left the room; A devious smile on his face. Waverly would do anything for the ones she loved, and Ward was going to use that to his advantage.

 

________________



The castle was in an uproar by the time the three of them returned to the main gate. Wynonna went over every detail that took place in the dining hall. Willa's betrayal, mama's defiance to not say who Waverly's secret lover is, and Ward sending her to the dungeon. The turn of events horrified Waverly. Her affair with Nicole was not only an atrocity but was now affecting other members of her family. All she wanted was to love the woman standing beside her and not have consequences to face. Instead, she stood outside the castle gates, wondering what lay ahead for her; feeling lost and alone even with Nicole and Wynonna right next to her.

 

"We need to go in. See what damage daddy has created since leaving to find you." Wynonna got off her horse and stared up at her sister, noticing her eyes locked on the gate. She glanced over at Nicole, the knight looking at Waverly with worried eyes. Wynonna sighed loudly and walked away from the pair, giving them some pace to talk.

 

"Waverly," Nicole whispered; she reached over and squeezed her hand. "We have to stay positive. Wynonna said your father and Willa believe your affair is with another man, not... me ." She whispered the last word. "We will walk through those gates, answer the questions they throw our way, and figure out how to get your mother out of the dungeon safely. It is all a big misunderstanding."

 

"Willa heard you and mama talking last night. She is daddy's favorite and trusts the words that flow from her mouth... The moment we go through those gates, what we have, will burn to the ground and be nothing but a pile of ashes."

 

Nicole winced. Waverly was right. Everything was about to change, and whether she believed it or hopelessly wished it wasn't true, they had to face the music. Her heart hammered in her chest like a beat to a drum. Whatever was happening or was about to happen was going to affect not only them, but the entire kingdom. She wanted to respond. Reassure Waverly that everything was going to be fine and that they'd still carry out their plan to leave the castle as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Nicole couldn't.

 

What lies ahead was unknown. A battle that Nicole would surely lose if she fought on her own. Hundreds of men trained by not only her but by her mentor too. Surviving wasn't in the cards for her, not unless the new knights took Nicole's side and vowed loyalty to Castle Black Shield, Sir Nathaniel Haught, and her. The chances were slim though. Almost all the men swore fealty to King Ward and had no desire to fight for another man. A small thought crossed Nicole's mind. Would they change their mind if they thought their majesty was a mad king? A simple yet incredulous thought. One that could save the multitude of scenarios that could happen. Depending on how Ward handled the situation, it depended on whether a war would begin. A result that would surely end in a bloodbath. Nicole blinked twice and realized Waverly was looking at her expectedly, waiting to see if she would respond.

 

"Whatever happens, we will figure it out. Together." Nicole wanted to reach over again and bring Waverly's hand up to her lips, but couldn't. The gates opened up, and dozens of guards came rushing out, shouting incoherent words.

 

Ward stood at the main entrance, Willa and Prince Hardy standing behind him. Anger radiated off him, a wild animal locked in a cage, poked and prodded. Waiting to take revenge. The three of them stood, glaring directly at Waverly. Deception, repulsive, disgrace, expendable, all things that screamed from the look on their faces. Waverly felt a shiver run down her spine, knowing they were staring at her. Not Wynonna or Nicole, but her. She was the cause of the castle being in a riot. Servants, guards, knights, they were all glaring at her, judging her for not following Ward's orders. None of them would understand how Waverly truly felt though. Forcing them to marry someone they don't and never will love. To have to follow every rule the monarchy had. Even villagers assumed being royalty meant living an easy life. It wasn't. Not for Waverly.

 

Being different meant living on the outside and always looking in. Wondering what it would be like to not have your family see you as a disappointment. Waverly felt that way, always had until Nicole came into her life. Sauntering in without a care in the world. Catching her when she least expected it. Everything Nicole was and is, made sense. Falling in love with her felt right, even if others didn't understand. Now, the world Waverly had created in a short time with Nicole was crumbling to the ground all because she was selfish.

 

Waverly dismounted her horse and began walking towards her father, ignoring Wynonna's protest in waiting a bit longer. She felt Nicole's presence behind; her loyal, loving, and protective knight. With each step taken, Waverly focused on all the good that had taken place a few short hours ago. Practicing archery, laughing at Nicole's jokes, kissing Nicole, and making love to her. Those moments seared into her mind as Ward's gaze tried to pierce through her soul.

 

Ward once had power over her. A scared young girl who didn't want to deceive her father. The same man who threw the first girl Waverly ever loved out of the kingdom with her parents. No explanations, no warnings, just exiled from the only home they ever knew. All Waverly's fault. That's how Waverly used to think. She was older, wiser, and knew damn well that it wasn't her fault her father couldn't accept change. Couldn't see that his daughter was different and fancied the fairer sex. If Ward had accepted her as Michelle had, the kingdom would have been a safer place. Instead, villagers feared their king and their life knowing one wrong move, and they would find a noose around their neck.

 

With one last deep breath, Waverly stopped in front of the steps. "Father."

 

"Where have you been?" Ward demanded. "Your absence has caused quite the uproar."

 

Prince Hardy stepped forward. "You were out with him, were you not?" His voice echoed across the yard.

 

Ward stopped the prince from advancing any further. "That is enough out of you." He hissed. "Well," The king stared at Waverly. "Your husband-to-be asked you a question. Answer him!"

 

Waverly wanted to refuse to acknowledge Hardy. To tell them to go to hell and walk away from the castle, but knew she had to respond if she wanted to see her mother again. "Went on an early ride. Was out before sunrise. Do not believe me, ask Lady Haught. She accompanied me seeing as she is my personal knight. Keeping me from harm's way." Waverly said the last sentence while glaring at Hardy, resulting in him rolling his eyes. She saw Willa do the same thing.

 

"Nonsense!" Willa snapped. "Using your butch guard dog as an excuse is poor manners. Even for you."

 

"Willa. Speak unless spoken too." Ward snapped. He couldn't blame his oldest daughter for being upset. None of this would have happened if Waverly had simply followed the rules and known her place within the monarchy. If she had done what she was told and not fussed about any of it. If only Waverly and Wynonna were more like Willa.

 

"Nicole is a knight, not my guard dog!" Waverly couldn't see, but both Wynonna and Nicole grimaced at her statement, knowing she had just made a big mistake.

 

Ward smirked devilishly. "On a first-name basis with the help, I see." He chuckled at Waverly's eyes widening; Recognizing her mistake. "Who else do you call by name while lying on your back with your legs spread wide open like the whore you are?"

 

"Do not interfere." Wynonna grabbed Nicole's arm before she could try to defend Waverly. "You will only make everything worse if you do." Nicole glared at Wynonna, but relented, knowing she was right.

 

"I am not a whore!" Waverly screamed. She hated hearing that word just as much as she hated being called that! "I have done nothing wrong. I am perfectly aware of what I am being accused of and quite honestly, that is nonsense. Now, if you will excuse me, I will be in my chambers changing out of my dress before seeing my mother."

 

The air thickened around them at the mention of Michelle. Willa didn't want to feel guilty for being the reason her mother was in the dungeon, but she couldn't stop how she felt. It was wrong to do what she did, but Ward asked her to keep watch and find out the truth. She had to do what was asked of her. It was the king's orders; Willa couldn't disobey her father. Could she?

 

Pushing down the turmoil, Willa ignored her father's protest and got in Waverly's face. "You are the reason mama's locked away like a prisoner. Can you not do what daddy asks of you? Prince Hardy is a perfectly good man to marry and you are throwing him away for what? A peasant? One of the castle's servants? Whom are you seeing?"

 

"Someone more deserving of my love than a man who would rather spend money at the local tavern than learn how to properly defend himself because he is afraid to break a nail!" Waverly replied without missing a beat.

 

Both Nicole and Wynonna snorted, turning their heads so no one would see them snickering. Waverly may be small, but she was fierce and scary when she wanted to be. Snarky too , Wynonna thought.

 

"Enough!" Ward bellowed, his voice capturing everyone's attention. "That traitorous bitch will hang tomorrow by sunset unless you reveal the name of your lover!"

Chapter Text

The world came crashing down around Waverly as Ward’s words sank in. She became a fish out of water, gasping for air, flopping around on land, trying to make it back to where life made sense, but she couldn’t. Waverly felt cold concrete beneath her fingers and felt her nails scraping against the surface. Nothing was making any sense, except the touch of her Knight and her sister.

 

Both Nicole and Wynonna pulled Waverly up to her feet or tried to at least. Waverly’s body became limp. Sacks of flour stacked on top of each other felt lighter than an unconscious body, so motionless a body of water couldn’t compete. Nicole wanted to pick her love up, carry Waverly to her chambers and whisper reassurances until she awoke, but held back. It was too risky to show such an intimate gesture with the king standing nearby. Staring, laughing, and mocking his own child.

 

How did they get to this point? How could Michelle’s life be hanging by a thread? So literally come morning. Michelle was an innocent bystander, and yet she was paying the ultimate price for someone else’s crimes. A beautiful morning turned into a horrible nightmare where darkness seeped into every corner with no way out.

 

Nicole squeezed her eyes shut, then reopened them. Praying her nightmare would end. Instead, a laugh-filled with so much hatred the devil himself would take pride in it, echoing throughout the courtyard. Waverly was still unconscious in her arms. Her head hung low with drool beginning to dribble down her chin. Even with life hanging by the balance, she looked unbelievably breathtaking.

 

“You would hang your wife!” Wynonna screamed, struggling to keep Waverly from falling. “For what?”

 

“Your sister is to be betrothed but seeks companionship with another person. Someone who is not the man she is to marry.” The lack of pronouns towards Waverly’s mysterious lover wasn’t lost on either Wynonna or Nicole. They knew something wasn’t right; he wasn’t suggesting Waverly was sleeping with another man.

 

“He is not worthy of Waverly’s love.” Wynonna countered back. Hardy was a sleazeball that deserved a donkey for a wife.

 

If anyone deserved to be with Waverly, it had to be someone who looked at her like she rose the sun every morning and hung the moon and stars each night. Someone who would risk everything to be with her and fight for her. Not treat her like a wild animal locked in a cage or look at her like she was nothing more than tobacco to chew and spit. Truthfully, the only person to deserve Waverly’s love, had to be willing to defend her honor and be with her despite how society didn’t agree with it.

 

Ward began laughing hysterically, with a malicious smile on his face. “Since when does the monarchy care about love?” He mocked. “We have built hundreds of generations on arranged marriages. Love has never been a factor in our way of life, so why change traditions?”

 

We should change those traditions, Nicole thought. She wanted to leave Waverly’s side and punch the smug look off the king’s face. A traitorous crime that would result in death, but no doubt satisfying in the end.

 

A low groan grabbed Nicole’s attention and her focus back to Waverly. Her love slowly came to and taking in the surrounding scene. “Tell me this is all a terrible dream.” Waverly whispered.

 

Nicole looked down at her love and saw the tears building up. She wanted to pull Waverly into her arms, pepper her face in kisses, and take away her pain that shone in her eyes. Sadly, Nicole could only stand next to her, holding on to make sure she doesn’t crumble to the ground. “I am afraid not, your highness.”

 

“Take me to my room, please. I beg of you.” Wynonna glanced at the two then back at her father. She had to fix what had happened. Try to reason with Ward to see that there were better options than forcing an unwanted marriage on her baby sister. “Please.” Waverly pleaded.

 

Wynonna nodded at Nicole and slowly let go of Waverly’s arm, trusting Nicole not to drop her sister. Despite the looks, Nicole did the one thing she shouldn’t have done. She took Wynonna’s place by standing on Waverly’s right side and picked her up, bridal style. Multiple gasps came from different guards and knights, gawking at how easily Nicole could carry the princess.

 

“I got you, Wave,” Nicole whispered, making her way up the stairs, ignoring the looks she knew she was receiving from the king and prince. Waverly needed her, and that’s all that mattered to her. King Ward didn’t scare her, and neither did Hardy. What did, was what lies ahead for her and Waverly’s future.

 

“Oh, dear sweet daughters of mine.” Ward gave a pointed glare to Wynonna and Waverly. “Until Waverly’s lover is revealed, neither of you are to see your mother.”

 

“And if no one confesses?” Wynonna hesitantly asked.

 

“Then the next time you will see her, she will have a rope around her neck- Speaking her last words.”

 

Watching someone you love cry themselves to sleep was never a simple thing to do, especially for Nicole. The last person she saw cry this much was her mother before she passed. Her father had gone to another kingdom, and after months of being gone, Jacquelyn got the impression that something had happened to him. Word had gotten out that there was a fight with an unknown group of people, and they had attacked Nathaniel and his small battalion. Months after Jacquelyn received the news about her husband, Nathaniel returned home with battle scars littered across his body.

 

“Haught’s do not give up without a fight!” Nicole whispered to herself, remembering her father’s words, wishing he was there to help guide through the mess she was in now.

 

Waverly was curled up on her bed with her pillow wrapped in her arms. Her breathing was slow and even, but her face was still red and a little blotchy. Still beautiful, Nicole thought. The urge to lie next to her and hold her until the problem went away was at the forefront of her mind, but she knew it wasn’t appropriate. If someone barged in, their secret would get out, and everything Nicole ever wanted would turn into dust.

 

The thing she feared most and had enough nightmares to fill an entire ocean was the one thing Nicole tried to avoid after she met Waverly. Was Waverly worth it? Without a single doubt, Waverly was worth a thousand deaths if it meant Nicole got to love her. But was it worth risking Queen Michelle’s or worse, Waverly’s life over? Nicole didn’t have an answer for that, and she felt her heart pounding in her chest at the thought of losing the woman she loved. Even though no one knew she was Waverly’s lover, it was only a matter of time before the truth revealed itself. Nicole had to do something, anything. Then it hit her.

 

Nicole left her post by the door and went to the desk. She grabbed a piece of parchment and dabbed the quail feather into the inkwell. It had been a while since Nicole wrote anything and cringed at how terrible her handwriting looked. Apart from her wanting to ask Waverly to help her compose the message she was writing, she knew in her heart, she couldn’t. Nicole didn’t want to risk it or make matters worse. By the time she finished writing, someone had knocked on the door.

 

Nicole carefully opened the door and was surprised by the person behind it. “Wainwright? Why are you not training the men?”

 

“It seems they were not focused, not with all that is going on right at this moment.”

 

“I see.” Nicole looked back at Waverly’s sleeping form, checking to see her breathing was still even. After a moment, she walked out into the hallway and closed the door behind her. “I am to assume you called it quits for the day?”

 

“Yes. I wanted to check on you.” Wainwright whispered. “Is there anything I can assist you with or the Princess?”

 

She stood there thinking about the actions she wanted to take next. Having Wainwright assist Nicole was better than abandoning her post without someone taking over first. Honestly, Nicole wouldn’t leave until Wynonna returned, so Waverly wasn’t alone. Waverly needed Nicole, but at that moment, there was something she had to do.  “Actually, you could not have come by at a better moment. I need you here to stand watch. I will leave a note to her, telling her you traded places with me. For now.”

 

John looked at Nicole curiously, wondering what the woman had in mind. “And what exactly are you doing?”

 

“There is a matter I need to take care of, and Johnathan, promise me one thing.”

 

Wainwright’s eyes widened at the sound of his own name coming from Nicole. She only ever said his first name when it was important. “Anything, my Lady.”

 

“If I am not back here by nightfall, keep her safe at all costs. For me.” Before Johnathan could think of a response, Nicole had walked back into Waverly’s corridors, leaving her a note, and left without another word. Wainwright knew that whatever Nicole was about to do if he had known her plan, he would have stopped her before making a terrible mistake.

____________________



With never having to familiarize herself with the ‘less than appealing’ part of the castle, Nicole found herself to be in a bit of a jam. Lost, she mentally corrected herself. It wasn’t often she found herself to be in the lower parts of a castle. Even in her own home, she rarely ever entered that part. When Nicole had, she couldn’t help but notice how grimy it looked and how gloomy it felt. The dungeon was by far the less than ideal location that no one should be in unless warranted. Yet, here Nicole was, struggling to find the place that held a captive who did nothing wrong but protect her own daughter from a life she didn’t want.

 

The irony of finding the dungeon wasn’t lost on her. Years before Nicole became a knight, when she was sixteen, she had shackles put on her and placed behind bars. It was at a time Nicole was figuring out who she was and if she truly differed from the rest of the world. During a birthday ball, she had met a princess from a neighboring kingdom. For Nicole, her stomach became filled with knots and her mouth turned dry. She sputtered like an idiot trying to talk to her.

 

Princess Shae was someone Nicole never expected and was grateful for expected to happen. Hiding behind closed doors, stolen kisses when no one was looking, and a handful of sexual rendezvous with the princess was everything to Nicole. Her and Shae’s first kiss lead Nicole to realize she was in fact interested in the fairer sex. No boy of her age ever caught her eye or held her interest in any lengths of time. Nicole was twelve when she had her first, from a local boy training at the castle. She threw up seconds later and vowed to never lay her lips upon another boy as she found it repugnant. Not even a year later, Shae kissed her, and Nicole wanted more.

 

Three years into their secret relationship, Nicole and Shae were spending time in Nicole’s chambers, sharing lazy kisses in her bed under a pile of blankets; shielding their naked bodies from the world. They spent their night in utter bliss with hours of lovemaking, and it wasn’t until dawn broke the pair had finally settled for the rest of the morning. They were happy, satisfied, and their bodies were feeling sore when a knock on the door alerted them.

 

When Nathaniel walked in on the princess and his daughter scrambling for their clothes, he didn’t know what to think or how to process what he was seeing. Once the princess left from Castle Black-Shield, it took days for them to look at one another. Nicole awaited the inevitable to happen and tried like hell to avoid her father. She didn’t want to die at sixteen for being who she was but Nicole figured her father wouldn’t have understood. Being proven wrong never felt so good.

 

Nicole stopped in the middle of the hallway, smiling at the memory. She looked down the hall on her right and saw the entrance to the dungeon. The smile that was there fell and became more of a grimace. Knowing the queen had been locked up, terrified Nicole. Ward was losing sight of what being a true king meant, and that was something she couldn’t understand. Just like when she first arrived, she couldn’t figure out why the villagers were afraid of their own king. Now she understood their fear.

 

At the bottom of the stairs stood two guards; One bulkier and a few inches taller than the other. They both held spears in their right hands and their face held no expression. Nicole wondered when the last time these men saw any daylight and then wondered if there were other prisoners locked up beside the queen. She didn’t want to assume the worst, but couldn’t help herself. Ward didn’t seem to care about his people or his family, and that simple matter bothered Nicole to no end. He didn’t deserve to be a man with such eminent power. What Ward deserved, was to be dealt the same treatment he gave everyone else.

 

“You are not allowed down here!” The bigger of the two men sneered.

 

“I am here to speak with the queen!” Nicole stated, squaring her shoulders and puffing out her chest to show that she wasn’t scared of them.

 

“I can not allow that. King’s orders.”

 

Nicole nodded in understanding and took a moment to think; choosing her next words carefully “I see. There are accusations that the queen knows who the man Princess Waverly is seeing in secret. If that is the case, that would mean that I, her royal guard, would not have seen the pair together. She made a mockery out of me in front of the king, and I demand to seek answers from her. I refuse to be seen as a fool!”

 

The guards stood there taking in everything Nicole had said. They understood where she was coming from and honestly felt bad. Lady Haught was known for her keen senses and capabilities as a knight and knew not to fight her. She may have been a woman, but even with both of them together, they would still lose the battle. No one dared to go against Sir Nathaniel Haught’s daughter and the guards had brains enough to let her through the entrance without a second thought.

 

“You were never here, Lady Haught.” The guard said as Nicole walked by.

 

Nicole smirked. “I am with Princess Waverly in her chambers.” They nodded to each other in agreement then acted like they never saw one another.

 

Taking that first step into the dungeon was dreadful. The first thing to hit her nose was the smell of urine and gagged a little. Then the stench of death hit her nostrils and Nicole wanted to vomit. Swallowing down whatever vile threatened to come up, Nicole continued to walk through the dungeon. She looked around noticing how it differed from the one Castle Black-Shield had. It was an open layout with shiny new chains connected to the wall every six feet from each other. Puddles of, what Nicole hoped was water, was scattered all along the floor. What surprised her the most, was that Queen Michelle was Ward’s only prisoner.  

 

When Nicole reached the end wall, she felt her heartbreak. Michelle had been in the dungeon for a few hours and looked like hell. Her dress was ruined, face beaten, and worse of all, Nicole could see dried blood on her chin from where she stood. “Your Majesty.” Nicole softly said, not wanting to scare the queen.

 

Michelle snapped her head up at the unknown voice and was relieved to see Nicole. “Lady Haught, I am surprised they allowed you in.”

 

“I may have fibbed to the guards about seeking answers from you.”

 

Michelle slowly got to her feet and tried to walk towards Nicole, only for the shackles to stop her. “Waverly? How is she? Who is keeping her company?”

 

“Sir Wainwright is with her as we speak. I left her in great hands… as for Waverly.” Nicole couldn’t help but think about her love’s tear-stained face. “She is scared and worried about you. She cried herself to sleep because the king won’t allow her or Wynonna to see you until tomorrow morning. When you are to hang.”

 

Nicole expected Michelle to react in despair to her impending death, instead she received a much calmer response. “Hanged? My husband has gone soft.”

 

“What?” Nicole stared at the queen, confused by what she meant.

 

“Look around you, Lady Haught. I am the only one here. Why? Because Ward does not believe in giving his people fair trails. Being hanged is nothing compared to sword cutting off your head! He is a vile man and any prisoner here dies within forty-eight hours of being locked up… even if I or Waverly confesses the truth, I will still hang tomorrow.”

 

Nicole’s eyes widened at the truth. Surely Ward wouldn’t hang his own wife if the truth were out? She stepped into Michelle’s personal space and reached into her pocket, grabbing the note she had written. “I won’t let anything happen to you. Take this note, I address it to my father. He is due to be at Gardener’s Castle by now. It’s a three days walk from here. A day’s ride on horseback.”

 

She reaches into her pocket again, grabbing the second note she wrote before Johnathan arrived at Waverly’s corridors. Nicole slipped the second piece of parchment into Michelle’s hands. “I promised you I would keep Waverly safe and made a promise to her to get you out.”

 

“We both know that is impossible.” Michelle sighed dejectedly.

 

“Maybe so, but as a knight, I do not plan on breaking those promises… Read that note and follow the instructions after you are set free.” Nicole squeezed the queen’s hands and left, desperately trying to ignore her pleas to explain and not to do anything stupid.

 

Unfortunately, Nicole couldn’t stand there and do absolutely nothing. It went against every she knew as a knight. Protect the innocent and serve her king and queen. Nicole had never sworn in on bended knee to King Ward and was not required to fight for him. Waverly, on the other hand, her heart belonged to her and would serve by the princess’s side until the end of time.

 

Even if the end of time, meant sooner rather than later.

 

Chapter Text

Fear and rage were two emotions Wynonna never enjoyed mixing together. Imagining a world where people created explosions was what Wynonna thought about when putting those two combined. Nothing good and lots and lots of holes in the ground. Much like her thinking process. 

 

Everything happened all too fast and continued to speed up at an ungodly rate. There were no signs of stopping or even slowing down, and Wynonna was having none of it. She wanted everything to come to a halt and yet knew it wasn’t going to unless she tried to stop it herself. There was only one person who could help Wynonna in changing Ward’s course of action. It had to be done quickly or else her mother’s life would be over. Wynonna took a deep breath and stormed down castle halls in search of her sister. 

 

Knowing she wouldn’t be in her corridors, Wynonna practically sprinted towards the throne room. The door opened with a loud creak. “Shh, you stupid thing.” She rolled her eyes, realizing she was shushing an inanimate object. A quick glance around the room, Wynonna’s shoulders dropped in defeat. Her sister wasn’t there. Then where would she be , Wynonna thought. 

 

Almost a half an hour later, Wynonna finally found her sister outside; behind the castle wall. Wynonna stopped in her tracks and watched the woman before her pace back and forth. She looked… scared. Nervous, even. The complete opposite of what she was normally like on a day-to-day basis. Watching the scene unfold right in front of her, almost made Wynonna change her mind and attitude, but it still didn’t change the fact that her mother was being held captive. 

 

“How could you?” Wynonna yelled, not caring if anyone was around to hear her. “Our mother will die because of you!”

 

Wynonna’s words hit her like a slap to the face. Guilt consumed her, and she did everything she could to not crumble to the ground like dead leaves. “I know!” Willa did her best to hold back her tears. “I never thought daddy would go that far.”

 

“Why Willa? Why did you become daddy’s lap dog and do everything he wanted? Are you that desperate for his attention? To be the one to take the throne? Well, here is some news for you: Waverly and I don’t want the throne!”

 

Willa stopped her pacing and turned to face Wynonna. Her face red in anger and a hint of embarrassment. “I was jealous, all right! Jealous that she gets everything without giving a single interest in the monarchy. Prince Hardy should be mine! Not hers!” 

 

“You think Waverly wants to marry that buffoon? She will never love him , Willa!” Not unless he became the fairer sex , Wynonna thought, and even then, the prince probably had no real chance with Waverly. Not with Lady Haught in the picture.

 

There was so much Willa didn’t know, and it was always right in front of her. If she had paid a little more closely to what her younger sister did, Willa might have figured it out years ago, like Wynonna did. All Willa ever did was follow Ward around like some lost puppy looking for any type of attention or food to nibble on. Ward adored her and always thought Willa couldn’t do anything wrong, and yet Willa wasn’t satisfied enough with all the praises she got day in and day out. She wanted that taste of power, to have people kneel before her and worship the ground she walked on. The little voice in the back of Willa’s head told her it wasn’t worth it. Not if her mother's death would constantly be in the back of her mind, reminding her that she was the reason Michelle died. 

 

She’ll never love him . Willa wasn’t sure why Wynonna said what she did, but it was how she said it that caught her attention. The words played over and over in her mind and nothing seemed to click. Why would Wynonna say that if it were true? Waverly is sleeping with a man. Right?

 

“Gods Willa! For once in your life, think about someone other than yourself!” Willa snapped out of her thoughts and glared at Wynonna. 

 

Willa scoffed. “That is rich coming from the likes of you!” 

 

Wynonna walked up to her sister and grabbed the front of her dress. “Our mother will hang tomorrow because of you, Willa. Remember that!” She said again. Hoping this time the words would register in Willa’s head. “You want the prince so much, go sleep with him. I bet all my money that dog would not mind one bit.” 

 

Willa gulped in fear, then brushed Wynonna’s hands off her. “I-I can not fix what has all ready been done. You know as much as I do that daddy will never allow mama out.” She stormed past Wynonna, holding in her breath to stop the sob that bubbled in her throat. 

 

The words ‘I am sorry’ we’re on the tip of Willa’s tongue, but she couldn’t seem to force them out. What she had done was wrong, she knew that, but there was turning back now. 

 

____________________



A small groan muffled into the feather pillow Waverly was sleeping on. She rolled over and brushed her hand against the bed, knowing Nicole was there. Except her hand swept across a cold, empty spot. Waverly sprang forward, her head whipping around the room, hoping her eyes would land on the source she was seeking only to find that she was alone. Nicole was no longer by her side. 

 

Waverly’s heart pounded in her chest at the prospect that Nicole left the castle. Left her . No! Nicole wouldn’t do that to her. Her Nicole wouldn’t leave her when she needed her most. Not when Nicole made a promise to her. A promise to always be by her side as long as Waverly wanted her to be. Though how Waverly was feeling at that moment, she wondered if Nicole rescinded on her promise.   

 

If Waverly was being perfectly honest with herself, she wouldn’t have blamed Nicole for abandoning her. Their relationship was on the brink of being outed to the entire kingdom, and that thought alone was terrifying. Who knows how the villagers would take to the princess having relations with another woman. She feared how Ward would take to the news. Her father wasn’t happy about it when he found her cuddled up to Beth all those years ago, and now that she was betrothed to a man, there was no way Ward wouldn’t punish her this time around. 

 

She jumped out of bed and paced back and forth. Waverly’s mind continued to race with thoughts that she wished would go away. Nicole wouldn’t leave me , she chanted in her head to drown out the negative thoughts. 

 

A whole minute gone by before Waverly was yanking the door open to go find Nicole, only to stop in her tracks when she saw Sir Wainwright standing there. 

 

“Your highness.” He greeted her. 

 

“Where is Nicole?” Screw formalities , Waverly thought. She knew Sir Wainwright knew about her and Nicole’s relationship. 

 

“I do not know where she went but I know she will be back. Lady Haught has something to take of. She asked me to stand watch for your protection.”

 

Of course she did , Waverly smiled at Nicole’s thoughtfulness. 

 

“Do you know how long she will be gone for?” Waverly wondered and tried not to chew on her fingernails. 

 

“I do not, your highness.” Johnathan gave her an apologetic smile. 

 

Waverly exhaled, then mumbled a thank you to him before closing the door. Once the door clicked closed, she pressed her body up against the door and laid a hand over her mouth to muffle her cries. She needed Nicole now more than ever. Her sisters were god knows where. Probably acting very unladylike . There was a really good chance Wynonna was beating the snot out of Willa, and Waverly wouldn’t have blamed her. What Willa did was inexcusable. She would never forgive her. 

 

Knowing Wynonna was preoccupied, Waverly wished Nicole hadn’t left. Without realizing it, she had started pacing again. Her insecurities were getting the better of her and Waverly hated it. She looked up and noticed a small piece of parchment laying across her desk. Waverly tilted her head in curiosity and walked over to look at the paper. A small grin plastered across her face when she realized it was from Nicole. 

 

 

Went to take care of some business. Will be back soon, my love.

-Yours Truly   

 

 

Soon? How long is soon, Waverly wondered. The not knowing part drove Waverly crazy. In an instant, she was pacing again. The note was left at the desk with a few tears stained in it. Waverly didn't want to cry, she really didn't but she couldn’t help how she felt. 

 

That morning was perfect. She and Nicole had connected in a way Waverly never thought was possible and now, her life was spiraling out of control. How could her life go from perfect to literal hell in a matter of moments?  

 

____________________



Nicole made her way to the corner that connected with the hallway to Waverly’s corridors before stopping. She replayed her conversation with Michelle over and over, trying to rid the memories of how poorly she looked. Michelle being locked away was her fault. If she had been ten times more carefully, then Willa wouldn’t have found out about Waverly’s mysterious lover. Hell, if she hadn’t gotten involved with Waverly, none of this would have happened. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and Nicole’s heart wanted Waverly more than life itself. 

 

Nicole couldn’t change the past even if she wanted to. If she were allowed to change one thing though, it would have been where Michelle talked to her last night. Last night felt like a million years ago. Nicole thought for a moment. Thinking about how having such a conversation out in the open like that was a poor choice on Michelle’s part. Had the queen done it on purpose? Anyone could have heard her talking and unfortunately, someone did. Someone who apparently had a vendetta against Waverly. 

 

She brushed a hand through her hair and took a few staggering breaths. Nicole’s heart raced and her nerves spiked. Her stomach filled with knots and the thought of throwing up was instantly at the forefront of her mind. What was about to happen was going to change everything. 

 

With one last deep breath, Nicole pushed off the wall that she was leaning on and rounded the corner. She saw Wainwright still posted outside Waverly’s door; his body looked a bit more stiff than usual compared to his relaxed stance Nicole always saw him be in. Nicole wondered if Waverly had woken up and tried to go looking for her. 

 

That thought alone had Nicole quickening her pace down the hall. “John.” She huffed out. “Has she…” 

 

John averted his eyes, his head slightly bowed down. “She awoke almost ten minutes ago. Been in a frenzy since.” 

 

Nicole’s eyes widened in fear and almost shoved Wainwright out of her way. She hadn't meant to be gone for so long, but hoped her note would have subsided some of her fears. 

 

“Your highness,” Nicole said as she opened the door and slipped in. She couldn’t risk someone else hearing her use the princesses first name. 

 

Waverly spun around on her heel. “Nicole.” Her voice cracked as she saw her love closing the door. 

 

“Are you all right?” Nicole walked up to Waverly and gathered her into her arms, holding her tight. 

 

Waverly sniffled and tried to calm her breathing. “I woke, and you were not there beside me. My mind went crazy with thoughts that you had left. I went to find you then saw Sir Wainwright posted at my door. He told me you went to take care of errands of some sort.” She looked up, eyes filled with tears and fear. 

 

“I am so sorry, love. I had meant to be back before you awoke. The castle is larger when looking for a certain room.” Nicole joked, hoping to lighten the mood a little. “I left a note. Had you not read it?” 

 

“I did. I just could not get my mind to stop playing tricks on me.” Waverly buried her head into Nicole’s chest and wrapped her arms around her waist. She breathed in, trying to take in the vanilla scent and something that could only be described as Nicole. Instead of smelling vanilla, Waverly brought her head back, her nose scrunched up in disgust. “Why do you smell like death?” 

 

Nicole gulped. “I-” How was she supposed to tell her? She took in a deep breath and did her best to not look Waverly directly in the eyes. “I went out searching for the dungeon.” 

 

“You did what?” Waverly ripped her arms off Nicole like she had been burned. “We- how- were you able to see her? Is she all right? Please tell me she is?” 

 

So many ideas ran through Waverly’s head. She knew her father was a cruel man and would torture anyone however he saw fit. There was a little morsel of hope that Ward wouldn’t be as cruel to his wife, but Waverly doubted that thought. Ward was as evil as there could be, and she highly doubted what Nicole was about to tell her was anything but good news. 

 

“She will be.” That wasn’t what Waverly expected, nor did it answer her question. 

 

“Wi-will be? What does that mean?” Waverly stuttered. 

 

“I have a plan to get her out. I promise.” Nicole didn’t wait for Waverly to respond. Instead, she took a step forward, weaving her fingers into brunette hair and brought their lips together into a searing kiss. She tried to pour every ounce of love into that kiss and prayed Waverly understood. 

 

Waverly melted into the kiss after the initial shock of it. Her arms instinctively wrapped around Nicole's neck and was quick to deepen it by running her tongue along Nicole’s bottom lip. A small moan escaped Nicole’s lips. Before either of them could get carried away, Nicole pulled back and rested her forehead against Waverly’s.

 

“What type of plan?” Waverly whispered, her hands playing with baby hairs at the nape of Nicole’s neck. Her eyes remained closed as she allowed her body a moment to calm down. When Nicole didn’t answer though, Waverly opened her eyes and saw the nervousness and fear swirling in the brown eyes she loved so much. “Nicole?” 

 

Nicole turned her head and looked out the window. Attempting to stall what she was going to say next. She felt Waverly’s finger gently curl around her chin and pulled her back towards her. Nicole was powerless to resist, though her body was telling her to prolong the inevitable just so she could enjoy a few more blissful moments with her love. 

 

Waverly’s insecurities were written all over her face, and Nicole hated seeing her be this worried. “I promise, this time tomorrow the queen will roam free.” 

 

Waverly’s eyebrows furrowed, and she tilted her head, trying to decipher what Nicole wasn’t telling her. “Daddy does not set prisoners free. Anyone with half a mind knows that. Not unless…” She trailed off. Her mind thinking of the only solution her father would accept. “Ni-Nicole.” Waverly’s heart sped up and her breathing became laboured. 

 

Watching every emotion pass over Waverly’s face was heart wrenching to see, and Nicole couldn’t bear it anymore. She surged forward and captured Waverly’s lips. They stumbled forward a bit before Nicole regained her footing and picked Waverly up the slightest bit. “I love you, Waverly Earp. Please remember that.” Nicole whispered against her lips and placed her back on the floor. 

 

In a flash, Nicole was opening the door and was pushing past John. “Do not let her follow me. That is an order.” Nicole stared at her mentor, unshed tears filling her eyes. 

 

It took a second for Waverly to realize what was happening, and she was racing towards her door. “Nicole. Do not dare do this.” Her hands gripped the doorway and looked both ways. Sir Wainwright was blocking her view. “Move, Johnathan.” Waverly tried to shove past him, but she turned around with a remorseful look on his face. “No! Nicole!” 

 

Waverly jumped forward and saw red hair walking in the direction of the throne room. “Nicole!” She screamed. Tears streaming down her face. 

 

Arms wrapped around her waist as Waverly struggled to free from them. “Baby girl.” She faintly heard. 

 

“Nicole, you get back here this instant! Let me go, I need to stop her.” Waverly started punching the person holding her back. When she realized it was no use, she started screaming again, knowing Nicole could hear her voice echoing down the hallway. “Do not do this to me! Nicole! Please! Nicole! Come back to me! Nicole!” 

 

 

With every step she took, Nicole forced herself to continue forward. She wiped at her eyes as her tears fell freely. There was no stopping the sobs that escaped her lips; she knew that, but Nicole had to do what needed to be done. That didn’t mean hearing Waverly scream her name didn’t make her decision any easier. In fact, it made her heart break knowing her love would probably never forgive her for what was about to happen. 

 

“I need you, Nicole. Please do not do this to me. To us.” Nicole heard Waverly’s voice. She had to cover her mouth to stop the gasps that threatened to come out. 

 

This was the only way , Nicole reminded herself. She had to save the Queen. For Waverly’s sake, Michelle had to live, and in order to save her, she had to do the only thing she knew she could. 

 

The doors to the throne room mocked her as Nicole shoved them open. Ward sat on his throne, his face red with anger. “Why are you here, Lady Haught?” 

 

“I demand you release the queen!”

 

“And why would I do that?” Ward snarled.

 

 “You wanted Waverly’s lover! Here I am! Release the queen and take me instead.” A shiver ran down Nicole’s spin as Ward wolfishly smiled at her.  



Chapter Text

For two days, the castle was… quiet. The servants said that they felt like everything was at a standstill; like waiting for the burning fuse of a cannon to reach its end before the blast went off. King Ward had been silent in those forty-eight hours and no one knew which was worse. Ward being quiet or that nothing happened since Michelle had been set free from the dungeon thirty-six hours ago.   

 

The queen's release caused quite the uproar for a certain person. He felt entitled to be a part of the process since he was soon-to-be marrying the youngest daughter. It didn’t take long for Ward to put him in his rightful place. Prince Hardy didn’t exactly appreciate being screamed at, but it told him to keep his mouth shut until further notice. 

 

Nicole’s confession stayed very hush-hush. Ward wasn’t sure how to go about her punishment. Not with the peace treaty he had with the Haught’s. It caused his anger to boil worse than oil and water put together. He wanted to put her head on a spike as soon as Nicole confessed to fooling around with Waverly, but unfortunately he couldn't. Not yet , Ward reminded himself. 

 

How to keep Nicole’s punishment quiet was going to be a problem, but the longer Ward thought about it, the more he enjoyed the idea of outing Sir Nathaniel Haught’s daughter to all the realms. Letting everyone see that the greatest female knight ever known was dirty fucking jack. All the kingdoms in the realms wouldn’t dare have their knights be trained at Castle Black-Shield. King Ward’s smile turned more sinister at the prospect. Embarrassing the Head Knight of the Knight’s realm and ending his reign would be a lovely bonus on top of ending Nicole Haught’s life. Screw the peace treaty! 

 

Willa and Hardy watched and waited for Ward to say something as he walked the length of the throne repeatedly. Days of not hearing him scream or rant put the fear of god in the both of them. For Willa, she could understand her father’s silence. Lady Haught confessing to being the mysterious lover was a lot to take in. Not once had Willa expected that to happen. For her little sister to be one of them . She didn’t want to believe it, but after hearing the echoing of Waverly’s sobs coming from the hallway after Lady Haught left her side, it was hard not to believe it. 

 

In the days since everything happened, Waverly hadn’t left her chambers. Sir Wainwright also hadn’t left her door and made sure no one went in. Including the Ward and Prince Hardy. Only Wynonna was allowed into the room, as requested by Waverly that she didn’t want any other visitors. Willa’s guilt had gotten worse as she heard her little sister crying every time she passed her corridors. Receiving a glare from Sir Wainwright each time she passed didn’t help her feel any better either. 

 

A loud yell came from the other side of the room, snapping Willa out of her thoughts. Her father’s face was beet red from anger, and she watched him grab a hold of a sculpture and throw it to the ground. “Daddy! That was expensive!”

 

“That girl needs to be punished!” Ward screamed. 

 

Willa wasn’t sure if her father was talking about Waverly or Lady Haught. “Wh-”

 

“I want that filthy Jack's head on a spike.” 

 

Well, that answered the question , Willa thought. “Daddy, we can not kill her. We have the peace treaty to think about. Sir Haught will raid our castle before we even think about hurting a hair on her head.”

 

“I would not be so sure about that, Willa.” Willa tilted her head. Did her father have the guards beat up Lady Haught? 

 

“I say we drag her to the village and let people see for what she really is.” Prince Hardy chimed in. “My father has a way of embarrassing those who cross him.” 

 

Willa gasped. “The walk of atonement? Father, we can not do that to her! The treaty!”

 

“To hell with that treaty. Lady Haught destroyed the peace between our kingdoms the moment she defiled your sister.” 

 

Willa wanted to scream at them both. Scream until her voice was hoarse and her mouth dry. She wanted to tell them they were fools and were stupid to think that embarrassing Nicole Haught was anything but a good idea. But she couldn’t. Her voice would have gone unheard and she would have been locked away as well. When the thought of being placed in the dungeon entered her mind, an idea brewed. 

 

Princess Willa Earp had work to do and had to do it quickly. 

 

____________________

 

“Let me in!” Wynonna demanded when she reached the entrance. 

 

“Go back to your corridors, your highness.” The guard replied, avoiding eye contact. 

 

Wynonna pinched the bridge of her nose, releasing a loud sigh. “Dolls, my father turned you into a guard because of me.” It was true. Ward had his reasons , and wouldn’t tell anyone why his only person of color ended up as a guard instead of a Knight, even though Xavier improved better than all the other men Ward collected to be his Knights. “Now let me in. Please.” Wynonna pleaded. “Please.” She repeated. Her voice bordered on begging. 

 

If any man would give into Wynonna, it would be Dolls. Their relationship was much like Waverly’s and Nicole’s. Because Xavier was a man with darker skin and Wynonna being royalty, their relationship was forbidden. The two of them being together was easily overlooked when Ward realized Waverly wasn’t interested in Prince Hardy and became obsessed with figuring out who her sister was interested in , instead. 

 

“My orders are to not let anyone in to see the prisoner.” Dolls took a quick glance at Wynonna and regretted it. Seeing her give him her big puppy dog/ pleading eyes was making him weak in the knees. He hated seeing the princess so distraught. 

 

“She’s not a prisoner. Lady Haught is royalty!” Wynonna shouted. Wincing when her voice echoed down the hallway.

 

Xavier’s face hardened. “Your highness, I do not feel you understand the situation. Lady Haught coerced princess Waverly into having relations with her.” 

 

Wynonna pulled her head back, utterly appalled. How did Dolls know that information? Had he overheard someone in-the-know talk about it? Did someone tell him why the heir of the knight’s realm was being held as a prisoner? How could this information just slip from someone’s mouth? Unless , Wynonna thought for a moment, someone came into the dungeon spewing hatred at Lady Haught and Dolls overhead, such words being said

 

“Who though?” Wynonna mumbled. 

 

“Your highness?” Dolls questioned. 

 

“Let. Me. In. Now.” Wynonna poked at Doll’s chest, as her words came out as a growl. She had to see Nicole. Whether or not Waverly wanted to admit it, her little sister needed to know how her love was doing. 

 

Dolls shook his head and sighed. He hated that Wynonna could make him do anything, including risking his fate at the castle. “I never saw you.”

 

Wynonna nodded her appreciation to Dolls, then took a step into the cold, wet chambers. The door closed behind her; the latch echoing off the walls. She had never been inside the dungeon before. Her father told her that the dungeon was forbidden. Even Michelle told her, Willa and Waverly to never go into the dungeon. When Wynonna was little, her mother told them stories of how people went into the dark, scary corridors and never came back out. Wynonna wondered if her mother was forewarning of just how terrible their father really was. 

 

The stale musky smell of the chambers filled Wynonna’s senses, and she started gagging. There was no way Nicole hadn’t emptied the contents of her stomachs. That’s when a thought occurred to her. Did her father have the decency to feed Nicole in the last two days? She had a sickening feeling that Nicole was knocking on death's door. Wynonna quickened her steps and as she reached the end, she abruptly stopped; a gasped leaving her lips. 

 

Nicole looked terrible. Cuts and bruises littered her face and arms. Her jerkin had rips and tears and blood stains. If Wynonna had to guess, some of Nicole’s injuries were from the day she got thrown in the dungeon. The other injuries were fresh. The blood trickling down the side of her face proved that assumption. 

 

“You look like hell.” 

 

“Because all women want to hear that.” Nicole spit out blood. “Why are you here? You should not be.” 

 

“Huh. You do not wish to know how Waverly is doing first? I may have been wrong about you.” Wynonna wanted to be mad at Nicole for not asking about her little sister, but she had a feeling Nicole was going to avoid that topic. 

 

Nicole’s eyes narrowed, and her face hardened. “With all do respect your highness… fuck you.” 

 

“Look, I want to know why you confessed. Why you thought leaving my sister was the best choice.” 

 

“Your mother was going to die, and I made a promise to Waverly that I would get her out… and I did.” 

 

Wynonna’s eyes widened. “At the cost of your own life?” She snapped. 

 

Nicole looked away from Wynonna for a moment, then locked eyes with her. The look Wynonna received gave her her answer. She stared at Nicole, almost challenging her to confess, but knew the knight wouldn’t. Stupid nobility.

 

“So, are you going to enlighten me who left you looking like the walking dead?” 



____________________



The silence was slowly making Waverly go insane. The sounds of men grunting from training used to fill the void, but now all that she could hear was nothing and it was unbearable. Pins could drop from the other end of the castle and crescendo off the walls, and she’d still be able to hear it. Waverly used to love the quiet. Now, the silence meant it was the calm before the storm. 

 

The storm clouds built back up in her eyes. Her love would soon end up in the ground because of her. Because Waverly wanted to risk being with someone that wasn’t her betrothed. Wasn’t the man her father deemed perfect to be her husband and possibly the next heir to the throne. Prince Hardy was an airhead and a pig. Waverly pitied the soul who ended up his wife. She sure as hell would not be his. 

 

Waverly grimaced at the thought of being the prince’s wife. Ward moved up the wedding again, so they could wed sooner rather than later. Hardy was far too happy about the ordeal from what Waverly had heard. 

 

Since Nicole’s confession, Waverly hadn’t left her room. The only people allowed into her chambers were Wynonna and Sir Wainwright. She trusted them. Wynonna sided with her the moment she found out about her and Nicole’s relationship. Sir Wainwright knew from the beginning about how Nicole felt about her and had been their most trusted friend. Wishing them the best of luck. Only their luck ran out. 

 

Willa happened. Now you know what it feels like when people take your things . That’s what Willa spat at her hours after Nicole’s confession. Cold, heartless, and not a single drop of empathy was found when Willa spoke those words. Waverly wondered what she did wrong to get such hatred from her oldest sister. 

 

As the hours passed by, Waverly’s patience got thinner. Dread filled her senses and became heavier by the second. Carrying a horse around seemed lighter than the invisible weight hanging over her shoulders. Not knowing what was going on scared her, but it also allowed Waverly to pretend, even for a moment, that none of it was happening. 

 

The door to Waverly’s chambers creaked as she opened it. Sir Wainwright still stood where she last saw him. She was bothersome by seeing him standing there, always keeping watch. It wasn’t from a lack of appreciation. Waverly just didn’t understand his presence. “Not to sound rude or ungrateful… Why are you posted at my door?” Her voice was quiet. She wondered if the knight even heard her. 

 

“They gave me orders to watch over you, Princess Waverly. I am merely doing what I am told to do.” 

 

“By whom?” As soon as the question left her lips, the answer clicked in Waverly’s head. “Nicole.” She whispered into the air. It all made sense. From the moment Nicole left her corridors to visit her mother, Sir Wainwright had been by her side. Figuratively and literally. Her eyes slipped closed, and she took in a deep breath. Only Nicole would think about Waverly’s safety before putting her own head on a stake. 

 

John turned to her, his face serious. “She cares for you.” His own voice was barely above a whisper. “She is in love with you too. Nicole would have never traded places with your mother if she did not love you as much as she does.” 

 

“Do you know how she is?” Had Sir Wainwright caught wind of any news while not being so near to her? Has Johnathan even left his post in the last three days? “Has she gotten food or-or water in the past two days?” 

 

“I do not know your highness.” Sir Wainwright dropped his head forward in defeat. 

 

“But I do.” Waverly stepped towards Johnathan and peered over his shoulder. Wynonna’s piercing blue eyes meeting her green ones. Waverly tilted her head back to her room, gesturing for her sister to join her. She gave the knight a smile of appreciation with sorrow circling in her eyes. 

 

Waverly pressed her body against the door, sighing heavily. Whatever Wynonna was about to say, she knew it was going to break her heart. 

 

* * * * *

 

For the first time in her life, Waverly marched down the set of stairs that was forbidden. Though the unknown that lied ahead frightened her, she had to remain calm. Nicole couldn’t know that she was a walking disaster. Splashing water on her face prior to leaving her chambers in an attempt to freshen up, helped calm her nerves some. She thought about the times she had brought water up to her face before spending hours drooling over her knight while training useless men. 

 

Or Waverly’s most recent memory, when she dived into the pond without a stitch of clothing on, beckoning her love to join her. 

 

Making love to Nicole seemed like a distance memory now. 

 

The plate balancing in the palm of Waverly's hand felt heavier than it should have. Asking the kitchen servants to arrange something healthy and hardy for a prisoner wasn’t ideal, but it had to be done. Nicole needed substance before she starved to death. And Waverly couldn’t allow that to happen. 

 

She knew who would be standing guard at this time of night. After her conversation with Wynonna earlier, made her conclude that standing around doing nothing wasn’t appropriate. Her love needed help and Waverly was going to do so. She didn’t care about the consequences. Waverly Earp was done being told what she could and couldn’t do. The king and Prince Hardy would have to get over it. And themselves. 

 

“I admire your enthusiasm, your highness. Though I do not advise continuing with this outlandish plan of yours.” Sir Wainwright said from behind her. He carried a bucket of water for her and a clean pair of her jerkins in the other. 

 

The smaller bucket in Waverly’s hand swung back and forth and she continued to descend the staircase. “I admire your loyalty to my love,” Waverly clap backed. “And though I understand your need to follow orders, you do not have to follow me down here. We both know you would rather be asleep at this moment than follow me around in the middle of the night.” 

 

A low chuckled bounced off the walls. “Bold of you to assume I sleep.” 

 

Waverly giggled. A smile tugging at her lips. She stopped and turned to Johnathan; her smile quickly fading. “I know I say this often, but I thank you for standing watch and being near and not running off at the first chance when hearing about mine and Nicole’s unsavory courtship.” 

 

Sir Wainwright’s face took on a look of sadness and admiration. “I once told this to Nicole many moons ago and I will tell you the same. Love is love, your highness. I have believed that since I was a boy. We can not stop our heart from choosing who we love. Simply not possible.” 

 

The smile that had quickly faded blossomed again. Waverly tried to bite her smile to suppress it, but it was no use. “I wish more people held the same thoughts as you. Maybe one day, years from now, people like Nicole and I will not have to hide in fear.” Waverly thought out loud. 

 

Not wanting to continue any further, Waverly turned back around and finished walking down the stairs. To her left was the entrance to the unknown, and there stood the guard Wynonna told her about. The look on the man’s face caught Waverly off guard. It appeared he was expecting her to show up. Question was, would he allow her in?

 

Her question was quickly answered when Sir Wainwright stepped in front of her and demanded for Waverly to enter. With no repercussions or retribution of their whereabouts. As Johnathan put it, the guards' life would be in his hands if word got out that Waverly and Wynonna both saw the prisoner. The guard, Dolls, understood, and Waverly caught a hint of remorse when Sir Wainwright mentioned her sister. 

 

Walking towards Nicole felt like it took an eternity. She focused on Nicole being alive and not how the dungeon looked or smelled. The bright silver hanging on the walls grabbed her attention but ignored them. Waverly didn’t want to think about how her father or the new chains dangling on the wall or Nicole being attached to them. 

 

The moment her eyes met dark red hair, Waverly’s breath hitched. She was going to kill the person who left her love a bloody mess. 



Chapter Text

 

Firewood crackled in the night. A gentle breeze flicking the flames. Stillness. Quiet. The moon shone down on the lake. Glimmering. Beautiful. Breathtaking. The lake was the perfect spot to stop for the night. Riding from sunrise to sunset was exhausting. 

 

Nathaniel looked around him. Each of his men did something of their own kind. Nightly routines while traveling were far and wide. Most stargazed while others read a book they packed for nights when the moon hung bright. Tonight took a different turn for them. One that they never expected or hoped to never happen. 

 

To learn the next heir to the throne of Castle Black-Shield had been thrown in the dungeon, causing the quiet to be overwhelming. Nathaniel wanted to start a war. The woman handing him the note, out of breath, and drenched in sweat, told him to read first, fight later. 

 

The letter had come from his daughter. Admitting to falling in love with the youngest Earp and was going to admit to her crimes to the king to save the queen. 

 

Stupid, selfless, stubborn daughter that he couldn’t be more proud of. He feared for his daughter's life. Ward took no prisoners to live long, helpless lives. Short term meant more room in the dungeon. Less food and water to give. Not wasting the guard’s time by standing around and doing nothing. 

 

The woman sitting beside him ran the entire way. The queen of Purgatory ran to find him. Nathaniel knew something was wrong the moment she spotted her on the trail looking disheveled and dirt clinging to her sweat soaked skin. With no royal guards escorting her and blood staining various parts of her body, Nathaniel almost wished he hadn’t seen her. 

 

Pulling the Queen to the side where his men couldn’t hear her was the right decision. “Ward... he found out about Nicole and my daughter, Waverly. They held me prisoner because I refused to give the name of the person who was having an affair with Waverly. I knew she was in love with your daughter. I see no issues but Ward... he does.” 

 

That was an hour ago. He still couldn’t form words towards the problem at hand. Nathaniel stared at flames, flicking and cracking. 

 

“Nicole? She traded places with you.” He finally said. The guards were snoring and curled up next to the fire. 

 

“She’s brave and rather stupid. I do not think she understood the full extent of what surrendering would mean.” Michelle exhaled loudly. “I can not imagine how my angel is feeling right now. Her love is chained away in the dungeon. No doubt with fresh bruises and cuts all over her body. If Ward does not beat her, my Waverly’s betrothed will.” 

 

“Your daughter is arranged to be married and she and my- they were not discrete enough?” 

 

“Their love shines in their eyes. The sun and moon are nothing to compare. Nicole is fierce when it comes to my daughter. She all but murder Prince Hardy a week ago. That horrendous man tried forcing himself on to her. Nicole, she... she would have killed him if it were not for Waverly crying out to her. That was when I knew she finally found the one she dreamt of. Someone who could protect her and love her always.”

 

Sir Haught looked up from the fire, lost in thought. Nicole had always had a protective steak in her. Long before she ever entered the word of squares and knighthood. When his wife fell ill, Nicole protected her. She felt as though it was her job too. Nathaniel was proud of her. 

 

Nicole was a proud warrior. Her being locked away, possibly beaten, meant she was feeling weak. If Nicole was anything like her father, she wouldn’t want people who loved her seeing that way. Seeing her defenseless. Nathaniel hated thinking Nicole allowed this to happen. 

 

His daughter found love, though. The kind of love you do stupid things for to protect the one you love most. Princess Waverly captured his daughter’s heart, and Nicole would pay the ultimate price for it.

 

Nathaniel took the time to ask Michelle questions. Forming plans to aid his daughter before it was too late. He prayed that when he arrived at Castle Revenant, his daughter’s head wouldn’t be on a spike. Ward was a spineless lizard that had no heart. He would die soon at his hands. 

 

The breaking of branches caught his attention. Nathaniel jumped up from his spot on the log and pulled out his sword. His eyes scanned the area, landing on the direction the horses were looking in. He waited. 

 

An arm grabbed his bicep. Michelle dug her nails into his skin. “Why in the bloody hell are you here?” 

 

____________________



Blood. There was so much blood surrounding the woman she loved. Her blood saturated her jerkins. Nicole’s face had blood raining from her nose, mouth and various fresh cuts on her cheeks and chin. The small pale of water Waverly had carried down with her became red. 

 

“Ahh!” Nicole hissed. Trying to jerk her head away from the princess but didn’t have the energy to. 

 

Waverly’s brow furrowed with concern. “Sorry.” She whispered. Her right hand brushed the gash along Nicole’s cheek. “I need to clean your wounds so they do not become worse.”

 

A dry, airy, almost dark laugh slipped from Nicole’s lips. “Cleaning wounds won’t stop my head from rolling into a bowl.”

 

The idea caused Waverly’s breath to hitch, her throat tightening. She shook her head, trying to rid the image away. “I will not let that happen.” Her voice was as shaky as her hands. 

 

The thought caused goosebumps along Waverly’s skin. Life at the castle had been escalating at warp speed, and there was little sign of slowing down. Ward made the announcement of her wedding being moved forward. Again. Now she was to be married by the end of the week. 

 

With great triumph, Ward then announced Nicole’s Walk of Atonement. Giving full credit to Prince Hardy, who stood by his side gleefully. Waverly found it curious that Willa was nowhere in sight. She wondered if her oldest sister was busy planning for the wedding or pouting in her chambers. The latter deemed more appropriate. 

 

Unfortunately, the news that hurt Waverly the most was hearing about Nicole’s death sentence. She knew that once word got out, Sir Haught would knock down the castle gates and start a war with the Earp’s. Placing Nicole in jail had already broken the peace treaty. It didn’t matter that she committed a felony. One that was frowned upon by almost everyone. Johnathan’s voice broke Waverly from her devastating thoughts. 

 

“We both will not let that happen.” Sir Wainwright stepped forward, bringing his hand out to touch Nicole’s shoulder, but dropped it before making contact. 

 

Being in the dungeon was wrong. Nicole didn’t belong there. It wasn’t her fault she fell in love with the princess. It wasn’t Waverly’s fault either. The heart wanted what it wanted. No one would understand that. Wynonna and Michelle thankfully did. Sir Wainwright learned that information rather quickly. How Wynonna reacted to him standing by the door and asked him rather odd questions, made him realize she knew more than most. 

 

While tiptoeing through the castle, Waverly mentioned her sister visiting Nicole earlier that day. Waverly was determined to see Nicole after finding out one of Ward’s goons attacked her. Leaving her a bloody mess. Sir Wainwright believed that goon went by the name of Hardy. The smug ass grin he had walking past Waverly’s chambers early that afternoon was proof enough. He had to urge to cut Hardy’s face off, but held back. There was enough going on and he didn't want to add to the mess. 

 

His time would come, and he would avenge his protege. 

 

He would end the life that dared to hurt Sir Nathaniel Haught’s daughter. 

 

“I think neither of you have a say in my fate.” Nicole hissed.

 

Waverly had never heard Nicole’s voice be so cold before. She searched Nicole’s eyes and saw nothing. Dark brown pools of nothing. Her Nicole was replaced with an empty hollow of a shell. Someone had literally beaten the life out of her Nicole. Whoever this person was, it wasn’t the woman she loved. 

 

“I will die by King Ward’s hands. My head will roll down the streets and my body will hang. That is my fate. I was a sinner and I will get what is coming to me.”

 

Her jaw dropped. Waverly couldn’t believe the words she was hearing. Who spewed such hatred at Nicole? Who made Nicole believe such filth? The words played over in Waverly’s mind. Did Nicole regret being with her? She looked over at Sir Wainwright, staring at him with a fierceness that sent him walking towards the entrance. They were alone, and Waverly prayed she could break through the wall Nicole built around herself. 

 

“What is this nonsense you speak? Who treated you like dirt?” Waverly demanded, but kept her voice soft and calm.

 

The next word Waverly heard was one she did not expect. “Leave.” 

 

The word why was on the tip of Waverly’s tongue. She needed answers as much as she needed air to breathe. Hearing Nicole tell her to leave stole all the air from her body. Waverly didn’t understand. Couldn’t wrap her brain around the situation. 

 

“Leave.” Nicole growled. Her body was limp, yet she pulled at the chains to make a point. 

 

“No. I will not. I need to finish cleaning your wounds. Get you to eat some food.”

 

Nicole stared at Waverly. Every single fiber of her being was screaming at her to stop. To stop and listen and comply with the woman she loved. Her brain was screaming at her to do the opposite. Waverly had gone through enough shit already and didn’t need to see her like this. To tend to her while being at her most vulnerable. Nicole was the strong one, not the other way around. She couldn’t handle being weak, especially not in front of Waverly. Her mouth formed words faster than her brain could process them. 

 

“Leave. I do not want you here-” 

 

“Ni-Nicole.”

 

“You stupid, insolent girl.”

 

A sob escaped Waverly’s lips. To be on the receiving end of Nicole’s anger was one thing. To hear Nicole call her stupid was another. She had seen Nicole take down a trainee during a faux fight because he voiced that the youngest princess was anything but smart. Nicole threatened the man’s life and almost gave their cover away in those mere moments. Waverly once voiced that her father believed she was stupid, and Nicole spent the next afternoon easing her mind by having Waverly tell her everything that she knew. 

 

Nicole called her brilliant and told her she was far more intelligent than any person she knew. 

 

Tears welled up in the back of her eyes. Waverly took in a long breath to keep the tears at bay. Nicole’s word cut deeper than any sword ever could. She understood Nicole was hurting and wanted to lash out. That didn’t mean it hurt any less to hear those words. “I know your pain. I am… here because I love you.”

 

“I am here because of you. I will die because of you. Being with you will be the biggest regret I take to the grave.”

 

“Y-you d-do not mean that. I-I love you and you love me, Nicole. We will find a way to-”

 

“I never loved you. You are another whore to me. Someone to bide my time. I never want to see your face again.” 

 

Waverly spun on her heels and ran out of the dungeon. Tears rolled freely down her face. Her heart shattered into a million pieces. She never thought Nicole could be so heartless. So cruel. The woman chained to the wall wasn’t the same woman she fell in love with. 

 

The door slammed closed, echoing off the walls. The sound rang in Nicole’s ears. Tears flowed like a river. She did what had to be done. No one could see them together, especially now. Waverly will understand that Nicole had to break things off. She was getting married to a despicable man. There was nothing Nicole could do to stop that. For the first time in Nicole’s life, she had to break her promise. 

 

One day Waverly will come to terms with her decision. She may never forgive Nicole, but what did it matter? Nicole’s death sentence was soon to be made. 

 

She was to die after walking the streets naked in shame for being a sinister. After Waverly’s nuptials to a monster. Nicole had to watch Waverly kiss him. Depending on if the king was feeling merciful, he might even spare Nicole’s life until Waverly is with child. To force Nicole to witness Waverly’s happiness while being married to a handsome prince. 

 

To force Nicole to be miserable. To watch Wavely live the life she dreamed of having with her, with someone else that Waverly would never love. Nicole was going to suffer the consequences of loving a woman. A princess. Waverly . Nothing would ever be the same. 

 

Nicole couldn’t love Waverly. The pain would hurt less if she believed she didn’t love her. 

 

“I do not love Waverly Earp,” Nicole said aloud. 

 

I do not love Waverly Earp. 

 

I do not love Waverly Earp.

 

I love Waverly Earp and I can not save her. 

 

I have failed her. 

 

I must die. 

 

I need to die, for I can not save the woman I love from the life she does not want. 



Chapter Text

 

 

The pillow beneath became soaked with tears, again. Waverly cried the whole morning and passed out during the night. When her body finally awoke, her mind immediately went back to those few horrifying minutes with Nicole. How dare Nicole say such cruel words to her! Waverly understood her love was hurting, but did she have to lash out so harshly? 

 

Sir Wainwright tried calming her down. Tried to help her understand how Nicole was feeling. Waverly understood just fine. She didn’t need a man to further explain the situation. Nicole was in pain. Knowing that didn’t take away her own pain. It didn’t help smooth the cuts that were made. It didn’t stop the tears from falling. 

 

Waverly wanted to understand how this sweet and affectionate person became so cold and cruel. Who beat the sense right out of her? Whoever caused those cuts and bruises were going to die. Waverly wanted her Nicole back. Her Nicole that would fight to live, not only for herself, but for Waverly. The Nicole who’d never give up that easily. Without her Nicole, life meant... 

 

Waverly gingerly got out of bed, walked over to her washbowl and splashed water on her face. The morning sun shone through the window. Birds chirping filled the once silent room. Her face turned cold, angry. 

 

The outside world was happy while she was not. Her bubble of love and happiness burst days ago, and the world beyond the castle walls had the audacity to mock her. Nicole was going to die. The love of her life was going to die. The world shouldn’t be that happy. Not when she was feeling so miserable. 

 

Her hands wrapped around cold ceramic. Waverly stared at her reflection in the water. Eyes red, cheeks puffy with tear stains. Her thoughts swirled, dangerous and outrageous. A life without Nicole was pointless. She was surviving, not living. Why survive when the one person keeping you alive, happy, loved, was going to die? Why not join them in the afterlife? Waverly’s fingers inched towards the drawer that held Nicole’s dagger. She grabbed it from Nicole’s chambers when no one else was looking. As her fingers grasped the handle, a knock vibrated her door.  

 

“What?” Waverly hissed. The door slammed against the wall.

 

“You look horrible, baby girl.” 

 

“Fuck you.” 

 

“Wow! Language. I did not think you used such crass words.” 

 

“Why are you here?” 

 

“Daddy would like to speak to you regarding the wedding.” 

 

“Tell him to go to hell.” Waverly went to close the door on Wynonna’s face but stopped. “Sir Wainwright, if the cooks come by, tell them I am not hungry. Please.” 

 

“Yes, your highness.” Johnathan nodded. He looked at her, eyes softening. 

 

“Do not give me that look! I do not want your pity. Take it elsewhere.” The door slammed closed, leaving a stunned Wynonna with a quiet knight. 

 

“Will you not tell me what is the matter with her?” 

 

“Not my place to speak on her behalf.” 

 

“Stupid nobility.” Wynonna walked towards the throne, wondering how to tell her sister about the news of what was to happen soon. 

 

Waverly peeled her ear from the door. Wynonna’s heavy footsteps were no longer there. She reopened the door and looked at the knight. Sir Wainwright didn’t deserve to be treated poorly. He had gotten the brunt of her haste since leaving Nicole’s side. Then it hit her. 

 

“Your highness?” 

 

“Sorry for sounding rude. I wanted my sister gone. It feels as though she has become the king’s new lap dog. She is only here when he has information to tell me… would you accompany me, please.” Johnathan nods. He always does. He would do anything to keep her safe. It’s the promise he made. 

 

“Shall I be concerned about where we are heading?”

 

“You shall. A stupid knight needs to be spoken to. This time, she will listen.”

 

“I do not feel it is appropriate to see her right now.”

 

“Oh, I am aware. I do not care.”

 

“I was afraid you would say that.” Waverly smirked at the chivalrous knight.  

 

The walk was silent. Eerie. Servants whispered as a determined Waverly marched down the hall. Nothing was going to stop her. Not her father. Not the prince. Not even Wynonna could get in her way. Sir Wainwright was a willing participant, and though Waverly knew he wasn’t particularly fond of where they were heading. He went anyway. 

 

No guard or servant could convince her to stop. They all knew where she was going. They all hoped she wouldn’t get caught. Her life would be over if the king found out where she was heading. Would he reconsider if he saw the chemistry between them? Would he realize that he’d be taking away someone important to his daughter? Did he really want to start a war with the Haught’s? If he did, does Ward believe that his new knights, that are not fully trained, would fight for him and not side with the person who taught them? 

 

The silence radiating from the staircase leading to the dungeon held power. Waverly never noticed it during the night. Now that the sun had risen, and she wasn’t sneaking in, everything felt different to her. She realized time spent locked away, changed people. Hardened people. She might not get her Nicole back, but it didn’t stop her from trying. 

 

Dolls stood at the door, waiting for new orders. Waverly felt his eyes on her but refused to acknowledge him. He would only try to persuade her to turn back. That wasn’t an option. Not anymore. She turned to Sir Wainwright, giving him a look that she hoped he understood. The knight opened the door for her and nodded. Giving her a hopeful smile. 

 

Fresh horse manure invaded her nose. Horrible smell so early in the morning. Waverly’s stomach grumbled from the lack of food, making her squeamish. No time to dwell on that. Bigger, important things needed to be done. 

 

“I told you to leave. I never-”

 

Waverly held up a hand. “You did enough talking last night. Now it is my turn and you do not get to interrupt me.” She held eye contact with Nicole, not daring to blink. “You said nasty things to me. Your words hurt and did more damage than my father ever could.” She dropped her hand and brought it behind her back, lacing her hands together. 

 

“I realize you were selfish. I came here against my father’s will to be with you. To take care of you in the only way I know how, too. Instead, you use words to tear me apart. You might have as well put your sword through my chest. You were selfish to do that to me. To make me feel unloved by you. I know you said those words as an act of selflessness. For you do not want me to get hurt. For me to live.”

 

Waverly took a step forward, dropping in a pool of blood. “Here is the thing, my love. No amount of cuts can stop me from loving you. Stop me from helping you. You may not want me here, but you are a fool to push me away. I refuse to give up and if you have, then I shall have enough hope for the both of us to survive. I will be here, by your side, whether or not you want me here.” She reached into the bucket of water that was left behind, wringing out the excess water then dabbing across Nicole’s skin. 

 

“You should not be here.” Nicole finally said. “Your father will kill you.”

 

“Then we will spend our lives together in the afterlife.” 

 

“That is not funny. Morbid, though not funny.”

 

“I was not trying to be funny. A life without you has no meaning, Nicole. I told you, I would rather die at my father’s hand than not love you. I knew what I was getting into when I asked you to stay. I do not regret making such a decision. Do you regret staying?”

 

Nicole took a moment to think. Hissing as cold water reopened some cuts on her face. “I want to. I can not though. I am a fool to hurt you as I did.” Nicole leaned toward the hand touching her cheek. “I want better for you. You deser-” 

 

Waverly captured Nicole’s lips, stealing whatever words she was going to say. Kissing Nicole felt like the first day of spring and Christmas morning tied together. It had been too long since feeling her lips against her own. 

 

At first the kiss was awkward. Nicole’s bruised body and chained arms made moving difficult. That didn’t stop either of them. Waverly kept her hands soft and away from any cuts. She knew Nicole’s lip was split open and the slight taste of metallic filled her mouth. Disgusting, yet Waverly didn’t care. Not when Nicole was responding in a way that Waverly never thought she would. Not after everything that had been said last night. 

 

Hearing Nicole say that she wanted to regret everything Waverly stung but knowing she couldn’t, made up for the hurt. Waverly knew Nicole did what she thought was best. She was hurt and couldn’t do anything, so lashing out was the only option. Seeing Sir Wainwright stand by her door that morning after she had lashed out at him for the same reasons had her realizing that she couldn’t leave Nicole. Her love could speak a thousand hurtful words, and she’d still come back. 

 

“Excuse me.” 

 

Waverly abruptly pulled back from Nicole, face flushed and lips slightly red. She turned her head and saw Sir Wainwright a few feet away. When had he come in? 

 

“I am sorry to interrupt your highness. We need to go. Now.” 

 

“O-okay.” Waverly kissed Nicole once more, brushing her finger across her cheek. “I will be back later, my love. No more pushing me away. All right?”

 

 … 

 

A hand wrapped around Waverly’s bicep the moment she walked out of the door. Her lips parted to speak but felt a hand cover her mouth. Waverly’s eyes widened in fear. She expected Johnathan to step in and defend her. Instead, she was dragged towards the shadows of a hallway she’d never been in before. Once her eyes adjusted, she saw Sir Wainwright following, observing. Why wasn’t he protecting her? Why wasn’t he stopping whoever was holding her? Who the hell was holding her and why wasn’t anyone doing their job? 

 

Far from the entrance of the dungeon, the person holding her finally let go. Gripping her arm to spin her around. She yelled, “What is the-”

 

The hand that was once covering her mouth did so again. “Shh.” Waverly heard. “Stay quiet. They mustn’t hear you.” Dolls ? Dolls took her. “The king and prince are searching for you.” Dolls continued to whisper, slowly retracting his from her mouth.

 

“Guards came here to find you. I lied, sending them back on their way. It will not take long for them to learn the truth.” 

 

Waverly felt her eyes grow wide as saucers. She hadn’t thought about her father or Prince Hardy looking for her. Her sole worry was Nicole. Not her father or the imbecile of a prince. It wasn’t like they cared about her. They never had. Why go looking for her now when the last few days they’ve never acknowledged her. Waverly was a whisper in the wind to them. Her life would never matter, not to them. Not to the monarchy. Why now? Why this moment when things were heating up between her and Nicole?

 

“We must hurry.” Dolls said, breaking Waverly from her thoughts. 

 

A hand pulled at her own. Sir Wainwright placed a hand between Waverly’s shoulder blades, giving her a gentle push in the direction Dolls was leading her. So many thoughts raced through her head. So many she couldn’t comprehend. All Waverly knew was she was being led down a dark hall that they had never allowed her to explore before. 

 

A small glimmer shined up ahead. Waverly wondered where it would lead too. Where she was being led to. Neither man spoke. Just the sound of their breathing and footsteps filled the air. The sound haunted her. Echoing in her ears as if she was strolling down the dungeon to her love. A shiver ran down her spine. A feeling she hated. 

 

The light grew stronger the closer they got. Waverly saw an outline of a door as more sunlight broke through the cracks. The sunlight from the tiny window disappeared, then reappeared. An outline of a person’s head was formed on the floor.

 

Nothing was making sense. Who was waiting behind the door? Was this a trap? Had Sir Wainwright given away her secret? Did Dolls? Who was going to bring her to her father? Would she be able to see Nicole one last time? Her questions became answered the moment the door flung open. 

 

“No time to waste, baby girl. I will explain along the way. Move it.” Waverly’s wrist would surely have a bruise on it from the amount of pressure both Dolls and Wynonna applied to her arm. 

 

They dragged Waverly across the threshold into the sunlight. The annoying birds that pissed her off earlier were chirping away still. The sunlight was much brighter than earlier, and Waverly wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She felt the day was gloomier than it was, even with rain clouds in the bright blue sky. 

 

Wynonna pulled her sister to the tree line. Waiting. Listening. A few shouts echoed throughout the castle. Both of them knew who was yelling. The entire kingdom knew. His voice was distinct. Loud. Powerful. Nightmare worthy. 

 

Everything was still so confusing for Waverly. Her sister had acted like seeing her was out of obligation to the king earlier that morning. Now she was being the big sister that Waverly loved. The question was, why? Why was Wynonna acting strange? It was out of character for her. 

 

What was so important that Ward and Prince Hardy needed her? 

 

After a few minutes passed, Sir Wainwright jogged their way. His face unreadable. Body stiff with every move. He knew something she didn’t. Waverly glanced at her sister. She too was avoiding eye contact with her. Wynonna’s body was jittery. Something Wynonna usually wasn’t unless a terrible event was about to happen. 

 

“Keep moving. The wedding can not go on without a bride.” 

 

“Wh-” Waverly’s mind went blank. Surely they didn’t mean what they were implying. 

 

Waverly’s arm was tugged on again and was brought into the woods. The shouting became quieter. The birds went silent. Branches and leaves crunched under their feet. It was all too much. Then, a loud snort filled the silent air. Her attention went towards the noise. Standing, tied to a tree, was her horse. Saddled up and ready to go. 

 

Her brain finally caught on to what was happening and abruptly stopped. Waverly yanked her arm from Wynonna’s grasp. “I- I am not leaving. What do you- Nicole is still locked away. I refuse to leave her side. I am going back.”

 

“I can not allow it, baby girl. As we speak, Nicole… daddy is prepping her for the walk of atonement.” 

 

Waverly gasped. “The walk of shame.” She had heard about the punishment. All the kingdoms had. Prince Hardy’s father started it, and the monarchy praised upon the cruelty of the act. If kingdoms didn’t want to fulfill a death sentence, they could use the walk of atonement as a testament to show power over other realms. 

 

Wynonna continued. “She is to walk through the village naked for the world to see. People will… they will throw what they want at her.”

 

“Stop. No more... When?” Waverly hesitated.

 

“Later today. Your wedding is to proceed after daddy….” 

 

Waverly held up a hand. She didn’t want to hear the end of that sentence. “What the hell will daddy do to her until then. Wait- What will we be doing until then?”

 

Too many thoughts ran through Waverly’s mind. A few ideas circled over and over, making Waverly’s stomach queasy. She knows her father and Prince Hardy are cruel. Leaving Nicole alone with them brings tears to her eyes. Waverly wanted to be by Nicole’s side. Far enough away where she can’t be seen, and close enough to protect her when the time came.

 

Waverly looked at the castle. Her father’s screaming, haunting her next words. “I told her I would be back- if I do not return to her, Nicole- she will think I abandoned her.” 

 

Sir Wainwright placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Lady Haught will understand. She would want you far away from this.” 

 

The next few moments were a blur. Wynonna and Sir Wainwright laid flat on their backs, confused by how they ended up there. Waverly rushed to her horse, untying the reigns at lighting speed. She mounted her horse and took off back towards the castle; a plan brewing in her mind. 

 

While everyone focused on Nicole, Waverly could sneak back into the castle undetected. She needed to grab an important item if she were to free her love from King Ward Earp. 



Chapter Text

  

Waverly walking away from her was hard to watch. It caused an ache in Nicole’s heart. She never thought Waverly would return to her. The words she spoke the day before were horrendous. Why Waverly returned will never make sense to Nicole. Nicole was grateful that Waverly had come back. Despite telling Waverly she didn’t love her, Nicole knew it was a lie. She wished she could prove her love once more.   

 

The dungeon was long, taking Waverly away from her sight long before hearing the door slam shut. Her nerves spiked when remembering the urgency in Sir Wainwright’s voice. It wasn’t often Johnathan spoke in such a way. Hearing it made Nicole sick to her stomach. 

 

Nicole sank back onto her heels. Her chained hand drifted up to her lips, brushing over them lightly. The feel of Waverly’s lips lingered, searing into her memory. She would die remembering soft hands tugging on her hair and caressing her face. 

 

When the door shut, Nicole wondered where her mentor would take Waverly. What was so important for Waverly to leave in a hurry? Was Ward looking for her? Did the prince decided it was time for round two on beating her to a pulp? Nicole hated that Hardy had the upper hand. She could easily end his life in a hand-to-hand combat if her hands weren’t chained to a wall. 

 

Sitting there felt like hours had passed by. Nicole had been a prisoner far longer than she expected. Michelle told her Ward didn’t keep prisoner for more than a day. Being locked up for god knows how long scared her. Calculating how many days she’d been in there turned into a battle. Days turned into nights and blended together like a terrible full course meal. 

 

After what felt like another day had passed, Nicole heard the door slammed open and footsteps marching towards her. The steps doubled and were heavy in sound. Nicole knew it wasn’t Waverly coming back this time. The second set of steps were ones she remembered. Unsure and lousy. 

 

Nicole took a deep breath and waited. The steps got louder and louder until they vanished. Coming to a screeching halt. She didn’t have time to process what was in front of her before a hand came across her face. 

 

“Where is she?” Ward snarled. 

 

Nicole opened and closed her mouth a few times, making sure it wasn’t broken. “Who?” 

 

“My daughter.” 

 

“Which one? You have three?” 

 

“You know which one!” Nicole heard the prince bark out. 

 

“I have been locked away in a dirty dungeon. I assure you no one has come visiting.” 

 

Ward’s hand came across Nicole’s face once more. He pushed her onto the ground and took the loose chain and wrapped it around Nicole’s neck. “I will leave you like this and she will find you blue face and dead. Hardy will keep her company in the time of need.” He whispered in her ear. 

 

White hot heat bubbled inside of Nicole’s chest. She hated the man before her. Threatening her by using her Waverly was the wrong thing to do. Nicole yanked her head back and slammed her forehead straight into Ward’s. The king fell backwards. Her laugh, a hollow sound, echoed around them. Prince Hardy jumped to Ward’s side, trying to help him up. Ward shoved him away. 

 

Ward slid on his knees and grabbed Nicole by the throat. “I will find her and you’ll watch her be bred like the bitch she is.” 

 

The hand around her throat squeezed, then threw Nicole to the wall. Guards came running down the dungeon, actively searching for an opening for someone to hide in. “Find her!” Ward bellowed. “Find her!” 

 

The king continued to shout. He called orders to the prince and a few guards! Ward turned to stare at Nicole. “Bring her to the courtyard. We will make an example out of her until later.”

 

Nicole blinked, staring at everyone crowding her. They wore sinister looks that resembled the kings. She hated that look. Nicole blinked again and felt a fist connect with the side of her face. 



... 



The bright sun bothered Nicole’s eyes. There were voices all around her, speaking quietly. Her head felt as if someone mashed it with a brick. Nicole felt a pulsating on one side of her head and only got worse at the seconds ticked on. The longer Nicole kept her eyes closed, the more she noticed. The light breeze cutting across her face, male voices she recognized from training, distinct horses sounds, and footsteps on concrete. 

 

A small moan left Nicole’s mouth when she moved her head. “Good. You have come too. Can not have you take the walk of atonement, dead.” Nicole heard someone say, but the pounding in her head left her confused and disoriented. 

 

Nicole vaguely heard the man say something. To whom, she didn’t know. Her head got yanked back, wincing from the pain and the pounding circling throughout her head getting worse. A weird sound came from behind her and a hand grabbed a fistful of her red hair. The laughter filled the void. Nicole didn’t know what was happening. The weight of her scalp got lighter and throbbing continued to get worse. If only Nicole could grasp what that sound was. 

 

A few minutes went before Nicole opened her eyes. Blinking to accommodate the sun shining on her. The laughter seemed to halt. They waited for a reaction to come. One never came. Nicole glanced down and saw clumps of red tresses surrounding the area. Red hair that once resided down her back. She wanted to cry, but held back the tears. Ward’s beginning tormenting didn’t deserve such actions. Nicole was a Knight. Crying after something so simple wasn’t an option. As the heir to the throne and losing her mother, Nicole knew that whatever Ward threw her way was nothing in comparison. 

 

“Get up.” The man beside her commanded. Nicole slowly turned her head in his direction and saw a man cloaked in a brown robe with a rope around his waist and wearing a holy cross around his neck. High priest. She groaned from annoyance and pain. 

 

Nicole wondered when the robed idiot was going to make his appearance. The monarchy had one high priest, Juan Carlo, and Nicole couldn’t stand the man. She had met him before when her mother passed. Juan had the decency to look upset, though Nicole saw right through him. 

 

The high priest never liked Nicole’s mother because she believed in the knight's realm’s customs. Where everyone was an equal and treated as one. Women had the choice to work alongside their husbands or stay at home with the children. Juan Carlo hated equality. His beliefs were with God, yet everyone knew he preferred women following the ‘do not speak unless spoken to’ rule and women belonging at home and not doing men's work. 

 

When Juan left shortly after arriving and giving his condolences, Nicole told her father she never wanted to see the high priest again. 

 

Life mocked her. Nicole wondered what her mother would think if she were alive and knew her daughter slept with a princess. 

 

“Get up sinner.” Nicole smirked and spit at his dirty shoes. Juan Carlo was a man of God, he didn’t believe in striking people. 

 

Prince Hardy did, though. His hand slapped her face, sending her face flying to the opposite direction. “Show respect to the Man of God.” He hissed. 

 

Nicole’s nose scrunched up in disgust from the smell of his breath. Hardy’s reached out his hand, running it through her hair. His laugh was hard and evil. “I can not wait to see you without a stitch on. I will make my bride watch me take you before I do the same to her. I am given the honors to strip you bare for the walk of shame. I am hard just thinking about it.”Shle gagged at the thought. 

 

Hardy’s hand left Nicole’s head and slowly dragged down her face. Nicole stayed still until his fingers got close to her mouth before snapping her jaw shut onto one of them. A copper taste filled her mouth as the prince cried out in pain. She waited until he pulled back to release his finger before spitting his blood back at him. 

 

“You stupid bitch.” Hardy went to slap her again but was intercepted by the high priest. 

 

“Not now. She needs to be brought to the front gates.” Juan spoke. He stared at the prince expectantly. 

 

Nicole felt her wrist get nicked. Blood trickling down her hand. One guard gripped her shoulders and lifted her off the chair. They dragged her towards the castle and saw blackness. 

 

____________________



“Whoa, girl.” Waverly pulled at the reins and jumped off her horse. There was nowhere to hook her horse up, though that didn’t matter. She knew it would take a few minutes to return to her chambers. Her horse stalked back towards the tree line as if reading Waverly’s thoughts. 

 

Waverly quietly ran to the opening that she used to sneak away from the castle. No one besides Wynonna and Nicole knew about the spot, and everyone else was focused on other matters. Though Waverly was a key importance to the problem, the guards were focused on Nicole. For now, Waverly thought. 

 

The door squealed, and Waverly immediately paused, looking around to see if someone heard. Waverly cautiously looked around, double and triple checking the area. Her eyes fixated on the door, gently prying it open. Down the lowly lit hall, Waverly paced herself. One wrong move people would hear her presence. That couldn’t happen. Not with Nicole’s life at risk. 

 

She reached the entrances to the courtyard and stopped. There was no time to waste. Waverly couldn’t get her legs moving. They roped her love to a chair in the tree where they first met. Moving became inconsequential. The sun beat down on Nicole’s unconscious face. She would have looked beautiful if it were for the situation at hand. 

 

Footsteps caught Waverly’s attention, breaking her from her trance. No time to waste , Waverly reminded herself. The opening that was a straight shoot to her room was in her line of sight. Multiple pillars would make her invisible. She heard voices out in the courtyard near Nicole. The urge to stop and run to her stayed at the forefront of her mind. Waverly glanced back and saw the high priest and Prince Hardy. She hated those men. 

 

Waverly desperately wanted to protect Nicole from them. Her time would come. 

 

The hallway was clear. Eerily quiet. Waverly tiptoed through the hall. Every step she took, she looked around to see if the guards found her. Ward wanted her, and she knew that. Finding Waverly would bring him great joy. Waverly couldn’t afford that to happen. 

 

On the other side of the door held many memories, good and bad. Waverly would cherish them always. Now it was time to say farewell. Her door swung open. There was a moment Waverly believed her father would hide out in her corridors, waiting for her return. She was grateful to be wrong. 

 

Waverly ran to the other side of her bed and crawled under. Her hand felt the leather strap and pulled. She placed the quiver on the bed and hastily went to the drawer. Waverly took a steady breath before retrieving Nicole’s dagger and the garments specially made. 

 

The corset stayed on with the tunic over it. Pants slipped over bare tan legs. A belt held the clothes in place. Waverly stared at herself in the mirror, doing up her hair in a tight fish braid. Never in her life had she imagined wearing trousers. Nicole convinced her it would be more sustainable to wear if she needed to run. The skirt of a dress could cause her to trip and possibly slow them down. Her love didn’t voice the latter when Waverly held a bow in her hand. Waverly knew what Nicole was trying to say and understood perfectly. Shortly after arriving back to the castle after the first initial archery practice, Waverly sent a correspondence to the local seamstress. The woman hid the garments in a new dress for Waverly and her sisters. 

 

Shouting erupted outside the window. Waverly quickly grabbed the quiver and looped her arm through the leather strap. She slipped back through her door and raced down the hallway. The courtyard had gone quiet. Not a single murmur could be heard. Birds weren’t chirping. Horses stayed silent. The kingdom's life came to a halt. Waverly’s breathing quickened. Her heart pounding in her chest. There was one explanation, and she didn’t like it.  

 

All the guards were in the command grounds, by the gates. Waverly couldn’t believe her father allowed the castle to be empty. She was grateful for the coincidental help. The parapet walk, where guards stood watch, was empty. Her father was an imbecile to believe that she would fall for his tricks. Nicole was in danger and about to walk through the streets with shame. Waverly being there to stop it all was what Ward wanted. To capture her and force her to watch it all happen. 

 

Not a fat chance of that happening. It pained Waverly to hold back. For Nicole’s sake, she had to time this perfectly. Failing was no option. She crouched behind the wall, head peeking around it. Villagers crowded the castle gates, observing what was to come. Waverly could see Nicole from above. Her mouth hung open. Nicole’s shoulder length hair has been cut off. They replaced the tunic and trousers she wore with a brown robe. 

 

Juan Carlo was going to make Nicole repent.

 

Ward and the prince stood far enough away to make themselves known, but close enough to intervene. They stood with matching smug smiles and hands folded together behind their backs. Their formal stance was demeaning and their way to stake dominance. Waverly hated that stance. 

 

The high priest walked forward and said, “We are here to witness a great justice today. To watch this woman take to the faith and replenish her soul. This woman, Nicole Haught, first of her name and heir to castle Black-Shield, has told her sins and is ready to take the walk of atonement. She will walk the streets a sinner and return with the faith within her.” 

 

People erupted with cheers. Waverly wanted to smack every one of them. She watched with horror as Prince Hardy walked, chest puffed out, to Nicole. He hands roamed far too close to areas his hands shouldn’t be and ripped the robe off Nicole’s body. Vile built up in her throat. 

 

This was the part she would detest the most. 





Villagers threw whatever they could get their hands on at Nicole. The act was disgusting towards a respectable person. To them, Nicole no longer represented respect and loyalty. She was a sinner in their eyes. Waverly felt like a sinister person for wanting to kill every person who threw something at her. 

 

The woman Waverly called, Mother of Shame, followed Nicole. Wearing stupid light grey robes and headgear like the nun she is. The fucking cowbell and her voice echoed through the streets. “Shame.” Ding, ding. “Shame.” Ding, ding. “Shame.” Ding, ding. 

 

Accuracy was a wonderful thing. Waverly was positive she could hit the woman with an arrow. The distance didn’t matter to her. She wanted Mother of Shame to shut the hell up and stop rattling the damn cowbell. 

 

Nicole’s walk took forever. Waverly’s nerves quivered. The longer she stayed out in the open on the parapet walk, the likelihood of being spotted. How long was that walk?  

 

“Waverly!” 

 

Waverly whipped her head around at the sound of her name. She never imagined seeing that person ever again. “Mama? Wh-how?”

 

“Nevermind the how. We are here to help.” Michelle glanced down at the floor. “Do you know how to wield that instrument?” 

 

“She loves my daughter.” Waverly peered around her mother and saw a tall man wearing a blue tunic and had red hair. “Nicole would have shown her how.”  

 

“You are Nicole’s father, Nathaniel? If you are here, then sir Wain-”

 

“Here.” Sir Wainwright stood next to the head knight. 

 

Other men crowded behind them. They crouched down behind the small pillars to avoid being noticed. 

 

“Good. I need all the help I can get. Her walk is almost over. Ward will only end this one way. I will not let that happen.” Waverly grabbed her bow and went back to watching. She wanted to ask more questions. They weren’t important, though. 

 

She had help and wasn’t saving Nicole alone.

 

Waverly whispered, “I am going to kick so much ass I might go a show size.” She heard her mother chuckle beside her.

 

More movement sounded in her ear. Waverly listened. The footsteps got farther away. Whoever joined them, left. Someone else had a plan of their own. She hoped it didn’t collide with hers. Waverly stole a quick glance. Nathanial and Johnathan were missing. Bigger fish to fry. They held swords and were of no use high above.

 

Nicole, covered in dirt and food, slowly returned to the common ground. Hardy descended the stairs, a wolfish grin tugging at his lips, and a hand at his belt. The two guards guided Nicole to where the Prince stopped, shoving her onto her knees. Waverly saw Prince Hardy bend, then stood back up. She wished she knew what the bastard said to cause a shiver down Nicole’s spine. 

 

King Ward bellowed out. “We have witnessed greatness. The heir to the Knight’s Realm on her knees for forgiveness and repentance. The crime she committed will not go unnoticed. We can not allow such sinister acts to continue.”

 

Her eyes drifted down to Nicole. The paleness of her skin shining in the sun. Nicole glanced up with her still bowed down. Their eyes met. Waverly nodded her head once and Nicole blinked. Message received. 

 

“We will vanquish our sinners. We will rise with the dawn of a new era.”

 

The bow grasped in Waverly’s fingers felt heavy. 

 

Waverly lifted her bow and slotted the arrow between her fore and middle finger, connecting the end with the rope. Her eyes narrowed in on her target. Deep breath in. String drawn back to her jawline. Breath out. She let go, sending the arrow soaring.



Chapter Text

 

 

6 days ago: 

 

Fingers trailed up and down Waverly’s back. The thin material of the shift did nothing to stave off the feeling that stirred in the pit of her stomach. It was a feeling she experienced lately as she and Nicole spent more time together. A feeling that she wanted to explore with her love despite what had happened that morning. 

 

A shiver ran down her spine at the thought. Waverly instantly buried her nose in Nicole’s neck, inhaling the vanilla scent she fell in love with. Nicole’s arm tightened around her waist and her fingers stilled along her back. 

 

“Are you all right, my love?” 

 

A long sigh escaped Waverly’s lips as different scenes from that day played on her mind. One standing out from the rest. “My mother knows about us.” Waverly finally responded after collecting her thoughts. “I am not sure how to handle that thought. She knew by how you responded to no one but my voice.” 

 

Waverly felt Nicole shift under her. “She trusts your judgement and possibly mine. As for him… he would not have lived another day if not it had been for you. Your voice stopped me.” 

 

“Though his death would be justified, daddy would string you alive. I shan’t go a day without you. My life means more with you by my side… but-” Waverly paused. 

 

“Wave?”

 

“Hardy will not surrender. Your life, like mine, is over.” A dark thought passed through her mind. “I will kill him if he harms you.”



A low, steady breath left Waverly’s lips as a clunking sound reverberated off the stairs. She watched as Hardy doubled over in pain, with hands covering his groin while screaming out in agony. Another arrow slotted between her fingers then let go to its next target; Hardy’s shoulder. One arrow was enough to kill him, but she wanted to hurt him like he did to her. 

 

The crowd of people gasped and murmured, turning their heads in the directions in which the arrows came from. Guards stood at the ready, protecting their ruthless king as he gawked around in fear. A hooded figure came running out of the shadows, gripping Nicole by her arm and shoulder, pulling her away to safety. Waverly would thank them later. 

 

Prince Hardy attempted to move for his sword and got hit with another arrow; leaving him lying on his side, defenseless. People screamed in horror and began herding the streets worse than cattle. They had no sense of direction of where safety may lie, and that only filled them with more fear. 

 

Guards surrounded their king, building a barrier with their shields. An unknown traitor was in their midst. The kingdom was unarmed. Walls kept people out, yet the king’s were crumbling to the ground. There were gaps between shields big enough for Waverly’s arrows to slide through. She looked to the ground, smirking at the defenseless boy-man. More guards ran to his rescue; big mistake. More arrows flew through the sky, taking out men who got close enough to protect the prince. 

 

Listening to the screams of his people sent Ward in a downward spiral. Relinquishing control was never in his sights. Going into battle blind against people he couldn’t pinpoint drove him mad. He was a leader, a king , and the fundamental knowledge of how to protect himself or his subjects was nowhere in sights. Being in a battle was the last thing he ever expected. Anyone with half a brain knew not to go against him. He was ruthless and cruel, and everyone feared him. It made him powerful and in control of every situation that came his way.    

 

Seeing it all unravel caused a feeling in the pit of his stomach that he hadn’t felt in a long time. Fear. Was someone going to overthrow the crown? His eyes darted back and forth between guards, hoping to land on something or someone to explain the uproar. To find the traitor. He looked over to the prince and found him lying on the ground. Lady Haught nowhere in sight. Anger filled his chest and in seconds turned back to fear as another arrow flew towards him. There was only one person he knew who had that kind of aim, and he prayed he was wrong. He prayed his traitorous wife hadn’t come back for revenge. 

 

“Go, Angel.” Michelle touched her shoulder, pulling her out of the trance Waverly was in. “Find your knight. They,” Mama nodded towards the ground. “Shall not win. I will watch over you.” She gestured to her own bow. There wasn’t a chance in hell she’d let her youngest daughter get hurt. Not again. Ward and Hardy were going to pay for their crimes. She would always watch over Waverly. It was a mother’s oath too. When all this was over, she prayed Waverly and Nicole would be long gone and hidden away somewhere safe. 

 

Waverly nodded and slung her bow over her shoulder. Getting to her love was her only mission. Nicole had been whisked away by some hooded stranger. She had to make sure this person would not hurt her best baby. That stranger would die at her hands if another wound appeared on Nicole’s body. Her knight needed a healer, and fast. Who knows how badly her wounds really were after no proper care to them. The last thing Waverly wanted to worry about was infected cuts or worse, Nicole getting worse and dying. A shiver ran up her spin at the thought, causing her blood to run cold. She couldn’t afford to get lost in the idea of losing her love. What was important now, was that Nicole was okay? She was alive… for now. 

 

Her head shook violently at the last remaining thought of the worst-case scenario. There were better things to worry about. Like the guard dressed in red and gold charging her way and reaching for his sword. Waverly mirrored his actions and grabbed Nicole’s dagger from her belt. She wasn’t the best at wielding a sword- dagger, but she was wiry as hell and wasn’t about to stand down. As the guard got closer, he flipped the flap of his helmet up. Relief washed over Waverly when she saw the blue eyed, mustached, bandit that joined her father’s army. That relief turned to fear when she noticed the hardened lines etched into his face. His sword shined under the fading sun as it levelled with his chest. Her eyes widened when she felt his hand touch her side and shoved her out of the way. Thunder roared in the distance as the guard’s sword collided with another that came from behind her. 

 

The darkened skin revealed the truth of who John Henry Holliday was attacking. “You stand on the wrong side of the fight, Xavier.” 

 

“I fight for truth. For freedom. Love conquers all, does it not? Run, your highness. Find your knight!” Dolls yelled as he continued to match John Henry’s swing for swing. 

 

She scrambled off the ground, placing the dagger back in place, and took off. If Dolls made it back to the castle, then Wynonna did too. Waverly wondered if the person who whisked Nicole away was her sister in disguise, hiding her true identity from their father. It was the only thing that made sense, so Waverly prayed she was right. 

 

Getting inside the castle felt easier than expected. Her mother shot down every guard that stood in Waverly’s way. Each body crashing to the ground was an echo of the thunder deafening the world around them. The strikes of swords clashed with the lighting illuminating the grey sky. Time was running out before grey turned to black and the only light to see came from the stars and the moon. 

 

The longer she searched and stayed out in the open, the more nervous Waverly became. Anyone could see her and attack, or capture her and claim whatever price Ward set upon her traitorous head. Her stomach churned at the thought of Ward being the one to find her and doing to her what he did to her Nicole. Waverly knew that Prince Hardy would enjoy whatever punishment her father brought upon her. 

 

Thinking about the bumbling idiots, Waverly wondered how they were fairing off while searching for Nicole. 



____________________



The sounds of metal clinking vibrated through his ears. It was a sound he knew all too well. Years of experience and many battles won and lost scorched into his memory. Walking into, what would be his biggest fight yet, without armor would be Nathaniel’s greatest regret. Time was of the essence when he learned what had happened to his daughter. He prayed one day Nicole would find someone who to love and cherish. Never did he imagine that person being the daughter of his biggest archenemy. 

 

Despite the peace treaty, Nathaniel knew Ward wouldn’t have followed through with his end of the deal. Ward was a liar and a deceitful man. Before Michelle had arrived at his camp, he had heard a few men talking as they rode past him. They talked freely about a king continuing the engagement of his daughter to the prince who had tried to assault her. Nathaniel found it despicable that any king would force their child to marry such a malicious man. As king, Ward should have called the betrothment off and put the prince’s head on a spike. If any man tried defiling his Nicole, death would have been least of their worries. 

 

A pang of regret and pain washed over him at the thought of his daughter. Nicole should have never been in this mess. Should have never been forced to take the Walk of Atonement. She was a knight. The heir of Castle Black-Shield. Her so-called punishment didn’t justify the means. Nicole did no wrong. It wasn’t her fault people couldn’t see that loving someone of the same sex wasn’t wrong. That there was beauty in being able to love who they wanted without repercussions. Everyone had a right to the same opportunities of finding love and being with them. The monarchy took that away from royalty, though. There were rules about marrying a person who didn’t have power behind them. Nathaniel hated the laws and vowed to never follow them. It was why so many people moved to his kingdom. They had a voice when so many others across the land did not. 

 

Fixing all the wrongs and making them right was all Nathaniel wanted... need to do. He had to do the one thing he hoped would never happen. Putting an end to an evil king and restoring what was once lost.  

 

Arrows flew, whooshing past him with every step he took. He was close to his goal, and yet it felt like a million miles away. Ward’s guard paid no mind to him. They were all busy protecting a man who couldn’t fight for himself. Nathaniel wondered if Ward even knew how to hold a sword. 

 

From the corner of his eye, he saw something, or rather someone move. He darted his eyes towards the direction, seeking who would dare to challenge him. Nathaniel’s eye grew wide when the face he saw became clearer to him. What he assumed was a guard looking for a fight, was someone he thought left the castle. They carried their sword with dignity and pride: The work of a great soldier. The problem Nathaniel had, was the uneasiness he felt not knowing how well they could wield a sword. 

 

Nathaniel had a choice to make. Battle the king or protect. Weighing his options felt heavy and redundant. A groan passed his lips as he trekked his way to his subject. Knights were not meant to start fights, but sure as hell ended them. King Ward could wait. Protecting was a knight’s royal fidelity.  

 

“You worthless scum!” Hardy winced at the harshness of the princess’s words. It wasn’t the first time he had been on the receiving of her anger, and he had hoped to never see it again. He was supposed to have the upper hand on the princesses. His charming good looks gave him everything he wanted and more, but that all deteriorated to the ground the moment he stepped foot into Purgatory. Waverly was supposed to fall for him like every saloon girl he passed did. Wynonna and Willa were supposed to accept him into the family and yet, none of them happened. His betrothed couldn’t stand him, and her sisters saw right through him as though he was nothing but a nuisance. At one point, he thought Willa would give him a chance. Then overnight it seemed, she changed. 

 

 “On this day, this sword I wield will uphold the tranquility that once was. Bring forth the Earp dynasty that fell long ago. Thou shall be known as the maker of the peace. Beginning with your demon blood spilling today.” There was so much more she wanted to say. Bring light to the horrors Hardy had done to her sister, but she couldn’t. Tears pricked at the corner of her eyes and her throat seized up. Finding the right words were becoming harder and harder the longer she stared at the monster before her. 

 

Nathaniel cringed at the choice of words flowing freely from their mouth. He hurried his pace, reaching out his hand to catch the arm bringing the final blow to Prince Hardy’s life. “He’s royalty, much as yourself, your highness. His heinous crimes shall seek justice. Lock him up in the dungeon for the time being.” 

 

“Hardy is no prince. Death is the penalty for the crimes he did. If not for Lady Haught, his grave would have been dug sooner. Today is his fault. The walk of atonement is the work of a James.” 

 

“Throw him in the dungeon and we shall make him do the same. His death needs not to be on your hands.” She looked at him curiously. This man before him spoke wiser words than her father ever could in a lifetime. Her words were true, though. If Nicole hadn’t realized Waverly was missing from the dining hall sooner, her sister could have been found in a worse off state than she was. Upon hearing how her sister was tied and in such a position by Prince Hardy filled her with rage. When learning that Lady Haught knocked him out and was on the verge of ending his life, she knew Nicole was one to be trusted. That Waverly, if her suspicion was right, she had finally picked a smart one. 

 

He looked down at the prince and saw the fear etched across his face and the tears flowing freely from his eyes. Nathaniel wanted to feel remorse for Hardy but couldn’t find it in him to care that he was petrified. The princess made a valuable point. Death was the ultimate price to pay. Sometimes being noble was a pain in the ass. 

 

“A traitor shot me. I did no wrong here.” Hardy cried out. He wanted to see the bastard’s face before taking their life. No one maimed a James without 

 

“Need not be so happy. That traitor has aim far better than most men. She kept you alive for reasons I do not know. You hurt my daughter, she hurt you in return.” Nathaniel said cockily with pride filling his chest.

 

He really was impressed that Waverly didn’t run away at the first signs of trouble. Maybe she was the woman Nicole had been searching for all this time. Someone Nicole could settle down with and rule Castle Black-Shield together. 

 

Footsteps slapping against the concrete floor tore Nathaniel’s eyes away from the scene to the noise approaching them. He gripped his sword, ready to pull it from its sheath to protect the princess. 

 

“Xavier! Your arm-” Wynonna reached out, gently resting her hand near the gash on his left forearm. Blood oozed out and trickled down his arm and over his hand. How did he get hurt and why wasn’t he with Waverly? Where did her sister take off to? Had she gone off to find Nicole? Where was Lady Haught? 

 

“I have suffered much worse, princess Wynonna.” Xavier said, breaking Wynonna from her train of thought. “All but a scratch. Promise.” A weakened laugh passed Doll’s lips. Pain seared through his body more than he liked, but being close to Wynonna helped ease his mind from thinking about his wounds. 

 

Nathaniel could see the soft smile trying to break through the pain the man was feeling. “Tell me what I can do.” 

 

“Drag him to the dungeon. Make sure no one gets in and his shackles are tight.” Nathaniel ordered. He watched the man make eye contact with the princess, seeing her nod her head in confirmation. Though he was a lord, he understood the man’s hesitancy to take orders from him. He was a stranger with no royal emblem marked on his tunic to clarify his authority. 

 

“I am Lord Nathaniel.” He rushed out. A small gasp left both Wynonna’s and Xavier’s mouth.  

 

Wynonna never expected to see Nicole’s father back at the castle. She wondered how he found out about today’s events. Had her mother found Nathaniel after being released a few days ago? How would she have known where to look? A million and one questions filled her mind on how the lord stood before her, but none of that really mattered. He was there, and he was ready to fight. 

 

Time was running out. Guards were slowly realizing that there were others on the grounds, making it harder to protect their king. The time to strike was now. An opening was forming and Nathaniel didn’t want to lose his chance. “Go. Now. Before the guards figure out you are not loyal to the king.” 

 

The princess and the guard took off, dragging Prince Hardy behind them. Nathaniel’s face hardened; hand wrapped firmly around the grip of his sword. His muscles tighten as he squared his shoulder and swung his body around. The clanging of metal was deafening in his ears as the end of his sword collided with another. His expertise allowed his senses to heighten and to look out for certain sounds. 

 

As he fought off each guard that came at him from all directions, Nathaniel couldn’t help but pray that Waverly found his daughter before it was too late.