The Princess and The Prince-Thief
-It All Started with a Dance-
Princess Marinette Dupain-Cheng was quite happy with her life. She lived happily in the Kingdom of Creaturae, so called for her family possessed the magical ability to bring life to even the most docile creatures (save for a few exceptions of course). She smiled happily at all her subjects, enjoying the tastes of the city and greeting all those who saw her with a wave. She felt happy as her 21st birthday drew closer, and she was to become Queen of Creaturae, taking over for her parents as they were to retire. She was even happy at the news that the mysterious hooded figure named Chat Noir, known for stealing any and all cat-like jewelry and artifacts, was apprehended last week before he managed to tackle her Kingdom of their precious jewels.
Soon enough, though, her happiness would quickly fade as the most unexpected news came from the Senators of Creaturae, a group of men and women of the people of Creaturae who helped balance out the powers of the royal family.
“AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE?!”
The young princess was wide eyed with confusion and trembling with anger, gripping the already crumbled letter tightly in her white knuckled fists. Even her jet black hair was frizzled and a mess from stress, the twin-tails she wore were almost nonexistent now. Her Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Alya Cesaire, stood at the entrance of the Princess’s study, sighing deeply and shaking her head at her closest friend and student’s behavior. It was understandable, of course, but still un-queenlike. Alya’s job was to make Marinette ready to become Queen, and despite them being best friends for a few years now, Alya was still her mentor and had to divide the line between being a friend and being a teacher.
Marinette threw the letter in rage at the nearest trash bin, and slammed her hands on her wooden desk, causing ink to spill and papers to go flying
“They can not do this! My mother married my father, who was a common baker! Why do I have to marry a prince?!” She screamed with another bang at her now dented desk, “It’s not fair!”
Alya came to the right side of her Princess, placing a hand on the girl’s shoulders and saying softly, “My lady, please. Calm yourself. This is no time to throw a fit.”
Taking out her handkerchief, Alya cleaned up the black ink from the floor and straightened up the beaten desk. Marinette let out a heavy breath, stabilizing herself and her mind the best she could. Alya was right, of course. This wasn’t the way a Princess/ future Queen was suppose to act. But this news was unlike anything she could have imagined.
“Why though?” Marinette spoke, sitting down in the big desk chair with a loud thump of defeat, “Why now, when my birthday is in a month?”
“It seems as though the Senators felt it was necessary to make sure peace was achieved. We have been in a cold war, so to speak, with the Kingdom of Mortem for over 10 years now, you know that.” Alya walked over to the trash bin and retrieved the abused letter, straightening it up and trying to read it herself. “Besides, Prince Adrien Agreste is supposedly a very handsome man. You should be happy that he even agreed to it. I heard he turned down even Princess Chloe.”
Marinette groaned and rolled her eyes at the name of her most hated rival. Apis and Creaturae always threw massive parties and celebrations together, which meant Marinette had to spend time with Chloe...a lot. There was many a nights where the girls were punished for putting jelly in each other’s hair and placing live small crabs down the other’s dresses. Neither one of the girls knew who truly started the feud between them. Despite attempts by their parents to get the girls to get along, it never ended up that way, and Marinette usually had to spend weeks away from her most loved pastime, making outfits and designs under the eye of the Royal Tailor, and instead she had to write papers and essays on the history of Apis and Creaturae’s relationship.
Alya brought Marinette back to reality with a cough and a nod to the front door, causing Marinette to jump and see her mother, Queen Sabine, standing in the doorway.
Alya bowed low, and introduced her Queen as customary, “Her Majesty, Queen Sabine.”
Standing up to greet her mother with a short bow of the head, Marinette said in excitement, “Mother! I didn’t think you would be back from town yet.”
Confident and strong, Queen Sabine always drew respect and appreciation from all those around her, but her soft voice and warm heart was truly her most welcoming gifts. With the same dark-raven hair as her daughter, and greyish blue eyes, she was beautiful indeed, despite age and time showing upon her face. She came forward towards her daughter, glancing over at Alya with the letter in her hand, and drew a small smile as she turned to face Marinette.
“I see you got our letter, dear. I am sorry I didn’t tell you personality, but we had just been told only a day ago ourselves,” Sabine placed a gentle hand on her daughter’s own, trying to pass reassurance through her, “ That’s why we went into town. We have been trying to reason with the Senators, but the law is clear. They have the power to demand certain things from us, like arranged marriages, to help stabilize the morale of the people. You know the Kingdom has been restless, with the threat of war looming over us.”
Another deep breath of air escaped Marinette’s lips, her mother’s voice of reason only added to the fact she felt trapped. How was she supposed to marry someone she never met, let alone someone from the kingdom that has threatened war so many times? Marinette actually didn’t know for sure why, her parents would never tell her. They would say they would handle the situation before Marinette would even need to worry about it.
Feeling low, Marinette felt tears fill her eyes. She reached for and grasped at her mother tightly, hugging her and burying her face within her mother’s neck. “Mother, I really don’t want to do this,” she whispered, feeling her mother hold her closer and patting her back soothingly.
“As Queen, you are going to have to do a lot of things you don’t want to do,” Sabine answered, trying to cheer up her daughter, “This is a perfect test to the people to see how you respond and handle stressful situations.”
She let Marinette go, keeping her at arm's length with a wide smile across her lips. “Besides, you’ll get to meet Prince Adrien tonight.”
“Wait-what?!” Marinette stuttered out, blinking at her mother’s words.
Sabine laughed at her daughter, and looked over at Alya, “I take it you haven’t gotten a chance to tell her, Lady Alya?”
Shaking her head, Alya shrugged and laughed, “She really didn’t let me get there yet.”
“What is going on tonight?!” Marinette asked, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes at both her mother and her friend.
Alya shaked her finger at the Princess sternly, “If you calmed down earlier, I would have already told you.” She straightened up her back, before speaking again, “The royal family of Agreste has asked to throw a celebration party here at the palace, in order for you and Prince Adrien to get to know one another as well. All the Kingdoms will attend.”
“I need to finish some last minute preparations myself, if you’ll excuse me.”
Alya bowed goodbye to the Queen and walked out of the study to direct the house staff on the next few hours plans.
Sabine gazed over at her daughter once more, placing a hand on her shoulder, “Do not worry my dear, I know you will make us proud.” She kissed her daughter on the cheek then she too, left, leaving Marinette alone with her thoughts.
Her mother’s words hung heavy in her heart, as Marinette felt a knot forming in her stomach of uneasiness. She has to set an example, sure, but she felt like something else was going on in the shadows between the Kingdom of Mortem, the Senators, and her parents.
As the sun was nearing the horizon, Marinette sighed for the thousandth time that day, staring at her reflection in the mirror as one of her personal maids, Rose, was pulling Marinette’s hair up in a high bun. They had already done the Princess’s makeup and formal attire, going with the traditional House of Cheng cheongsam dress. It was red with elegant black spots and swirls of jewels, the house colors. A beaded Ladybug dotted the back of the dress, the creature highly beloved in the Kingdom of Creaturae.
“You look so beautiful, Your Highness!” Rose exclaimed, with giggled excitement. She looked at Marinette in the mirror, noting her Princess’s long face and far off look.
“You are really lucky,” Rose began, her tone low but a smirk graced her lips, placing one last bobby pin within the hair bun, “I wish I could dance with a Prince.”
Marinette brought her eyes up and looked at her maid with a sympathetic smile, pushing away her own problems to assist the maid, “I promise you one thing, Rose. When I am Queen, I will let the house staff attend these balls and parties, too, so you guys can see how boring and dull they really are. And not just as maids or butlers or chefs either.”
Rose giggled again, taking a step back from her work. “I know, Your Highness. You are going to be the most compassionate and caring Queen. Prince Adrien is lucky to have you.”
At the mention of the Prince’s name, Marinette grew disheartened once again. She stood up and looked at herself one last time in the mirror, trying to swell up the confidence and grace she knew she possessed within her.
A knock on the door caused the two girls to turn, with Marinette giving permission, “Enter.”
In strolled Alya, her own house maid, Juleka, right on her heels. Alya’s auburn hair was pulled into a fluffy-tail, her eyes shining a golden glimmer of excitement. Wearing a madras of gold, silver, and white, Alya looked stunningly elegant. A necklace with the House of Chesire’s crest rested on her bosom, a fox of gold and white.
Rose and Juleka, their jobs complete, stood aloft from their Lady’s, awaiting further action.
“Oh Marinette!” Alya exclaimed, grabbing her friend in a strong embrace,” You look so amazing! You are going to knock their socks off!”
Marinette felt even better in the arms of her friend, the security knowing that if anything were to go wrong, Alya would be there for her. “You got this, girl,” Alya said, informally, with a quick wink.
“Thanks Alya; you look amazing, too,” Marinette responded joyfully, smiling widely.
After excusing their maids for the evening, the girls made their way to the entrance hall of the palace to join the party. Crowds of people from all the seven kingdoms were there; talking, negotiating, and eating delicious snacks. The Kingdom of Testudo, with their powers of protection, let their most powerful wizards guard the halls entrance and exits. Music from bands visiting from the Kingdom of Ovium played upbeat violin and cello melodies. The Kingdom of Draconus had speakers and wise-men talking with all the royal families. Lastly, the Kingdom of Vulpes, where Alya was from, provided games and playful toys for younger maidens and gents.
Marinette immediately realized Chloe was here, sadly, as her loud voice of demands could be heard across the entire hall.
“I specifically said no tomatoes! It is so hard to commonors to understand these things, I swear!” The angry blonde Princess pointed at the young butler, who was actually the head of staff named Max, holding a platter of small sandwiches,. “ Don’t make me use my powers on you!”
Marinette swooped in with courage, Alya right behind her, to defend her house staff.
“Good evening Princess Chloe Bourgeois. If I remember correctly, you are not allowed to use your powers on my house staff, and you will treat them with respect.”
Max bowed himself out, giving a mouthed ‘thank you’ to his highness.
Chloe dropped her hand as the butler left, turning to study Marinette up and down with a disgusted eye. Marinette puffed out her chest in defense, trying not to let her rival get to her tonight.
“Princess Marinette, how kind of you to grace us at your own party. You are going to treat dear Adrakins with respect or so help me, I will make you jump off a cliff.”
Marinette tilted her head in bewilderment, lowering her stance a little at Chloe's non-threatening threat, “Treat who with respect?”
“Prince Adrien Agreste, you dumbass!” Chloe exclaimed, stomping her foot, “ Him and I have been friends for a long time, and you will do well to remember that!”
A shot of stillness overcame Princess Marinette, this realization that she was to marry someone who was friends with Chloe overtook her. She felt queasy, a sick feeling in her stomach causing her to turn around quickly, covering her mouth. She ran pass Alya, as fast as she could get away. She made it almost to the bathroom, when suddenly a hard body slammed into her before she took another step, sending Marinette to the ground with a loud thud. Her nauseous feeling was swallowed, with the pulsing pain running through her arms and butt now more of a problem.
She looked up, prepared to be blunt and rather mean to the person who caused her to fall. But she was met with the most enchanting green eyes that locked her in place.
“Oh Gods, I am so sorry. Here, let me help you.”
The young man was taller then she, sure, but lifted her up so carefully like she a feather. His blonde hair shone like a halo above his head, and he had on a black royal suit with a neon green trim. He seemed no older than her. A emerald cat paw print was clearly embroidered on his collar. It was familiar to Marinette, but untraceable in her mind, for the handsome man smiled and caused Marinette to blush.
His hand was still wrapped around Marinette’s softly. “I am truly sorry,” the stranger said, “Let me make it up to you with a dance?”
Marinette smirked and responded, “I suppose that would help my aching sides. But I warn you, I am not a very good dancer.”
‘Formalities be damned’ , Marinette thought, as she really wanted to forget about Chloe and everything else. One small dance with this noble wouldn't kill anything.
The blonde man gave a sly grin back, “That’s okay, I’ll help you”, as he lead the Princess to the dance floor.
A slower song started playing, as if on cue, causing the couple to come closer together. A warmth flooded Marinette’s face and stomach, as she felt his hand on her hip. She placed her own on his shoulder, their other hands never leaving each others.
He began to lead, their movements synced in unison.
“Your Highness, I wanted you to know this wasn’t how I was hoping to meet you for the first time,” the man said in hushed tones, close to Marinette’s ear. She stepped on his foot only a little from the closeness, but quickly regained her footing.
“You know me?” she replied, pulling back a little, but as they turned to the beat, she ended up closer to him then before. A rush of electricity shot between them as they looked each other in the eyes.
“Who doesn’t know the most beautiful woman in all of the seven kingdoms?” the stranger whispered, this time as close to Marinette’s ear as he could be. “Princess Marinette, soon-to-be Queen. You hold the power of life within you and give it to those less fortunate than yourself.”
The heat never escaped her cheeks, words unable to be spoken clearly, “I-I do not know you, good sir, yet you speak like I do.”
A mysterious cat-like grin graced the lips of the stranger, as he winked at her without another word. Marinette held tightly to the man as they finished their dance in silence, the energy between them ecstatic and wild.
As they drew to the end, the world around them came back into focus. Suddenly, a round of applause exploded in the hall, making the couple separate completely and look around the area.
The whole banquet was laughing, cheering, and clapping, then a few people parted to let King Tom and Queen Sabine come forth.
“Father, Mother!” Marinette screeched, realizing that she was indeed, engaged, and just danced with another man...and she liked it.
But her parent’s smiles were happy and full, with King Tom’s massive booming voice silencing the hall. He was a large man, where respect was something he didn’t have to worry about earning, but he did anyway with his people and his court.
“Let us celebrate tonight, as we see these lovebirds getting along already!”
Marinette froze at her father’s words, turning to the handsome stranger with owl-eyes.
The young man bowed at her, as he should of in the first place, and came back up with a sparkle of coy in his eyes. “I am Prince Adrien Agreste of the Kingdom of Mortem,” he said, introducing himself.
The once more sickening feeling overcame Marinette, but also the feeling of betrayal, due to the fact this was the one person she did not want to see. She slammed her foot down on Prince Adrien’s foot, storming off from the party in a fit of tears.