I’ll Save the Prince (Prince!Ten x Reader)
How goes it? Are all of you deceased from NCT’s comeback??? I know I sure as hell am!! Before I delve into all the smutty requests coming up, I thought I’d rewind for a moment and give you all some fluffy Ten, which a lovely anon requested! This is a Prince AU, with a HUGE twist. I got really involved with the story RIP
P.S. Ten really is an Actual Prince
The sun was blazing, far too bright for its own good, as it shone down brilliantly on the capital city. The market place was crowded with people on the lookout for deals, trying to make their meager amounts of money last. You felt the familiar weight of coins press against your thigh in your apron pocket, your hand cupping the cool metal protectively as you squeezed between stalls. In your family, money had recently become sparse, so every coin was precious and worth thousands more than it truly was. You had to be smart and calculate the best possible deals, using your sharp mind to its full potential. Market day had been your responsibility since your mother had passed away, your father following her fate not even a few hours later, unable to live a day without his beloved wife. That had been years ago though, and you were stronger know, had a stronger mind, and a tongue that would make a knight quiver in his armor. You were not one to be messed with.
You shopped swiftly, the sun over your head functioned as your clock, not wanting to waste a single second. You needed to get back to your brother as soon as possible, you were afraid to leave him alone for too long. On your way back home, you stopped by the apothecary, picking up the herbs used in your brother’s daily tea. As you entered your house, the pathetic jingle of coins in your pocket set a lump in your throat, knowing you were running low. You wouldn’t be able to afford your brother’s medicine now. You had to figure out a plan fast.
You called out warmly, “I’m home,” slipping out of your clogs as you walked up the steep stairs of your thin house.
You entered the house’s only room, a big one where your whole family used to sleep and cook. Now it was just you and your twin brother, who laid in his straw bed, sweat pouring down his feverish brow. You hurried over to him, dropping the basket you’d used for the market, “Oh, no.”
You bit your lip and took a cloth you kept by the bed and soaked it in a bowl of water, dabbing your brother’s forehead as he panted in his fever induced sleep. His eyes cracked open slightly, whimpering pathetically as he lifted a shaky hand to still yours, “It’s no use, ______.”
Tears were welling up inside of you, but they were filled with anger; anger at yourself that you couldn’t do anything to make him feel better. You swallowed them, putting on a brave face for your twin, “Hush, now. Stop being a pessimist and get some rest, I’ll make your tea.”
Through his glazed over eyes, you saw him give you a familiar hard stare that was common when he had been well. He didn’t say a word, letting you rest the cloth on his forehead and pick up your basket, watching you diligently make his bitter tasting tea.
When you had finished, you brought the steaming cup over to him, blowing on the hot liquid to make it a comfortable temperature. Satisfied after you dipped you tongue into the bitter liquid with a scrunched face, you offered the cup to him, “Drink up.”
Your brother didn’t even bother to crane his neck, simply refusing it, “What’s the point _______?” He wouldn’t even meet your gaze as he swallowed thickley, “At this pint I’d rather just die than drink that damned tea.”
You slammed the cup down onto the bedside table, fury in your eyes as you snapped, “Don’t say that! Don’t you dare ever say that!”
Your twin smiled wryly, “It’s okay, _____, you don’t have to try anymore. I’ll be okay.”
You felt something in you break as his words washed over you, your voice cracking, “I won’t be okay though.” You buried your head into the bed, feeling a weak hand stroke your hair as you sobbed, “I don’t want to be alone.”
Your brother didn’t say anything else, having already drifted back to his feverish dreaming, his hand sliding off head and landing softly on the bed. You sat up, furiously rubbing the tears from your eyes, realizing what you needed to do. No point in laying around crying, no one was going to save you from this. You had to save yourself.
You determinedly stood up, fists clenching as you walked over to the only wardrobe in the entire house. It was a dark imposing piece of wood, inside was the key to saving your brother.
You ripped open the double doors, revealing a suit of armor that glittered in the sunlight that fell across it. You were temporarily blinded, shielding your eyes from the sudden assault of light. When they adjusted you reached in and took out the helm, examining the strange piece of metal, beautiful as it was. Engraved into shining silver was the royal crest, only present on the helmets of those who served in the royal guard, protectors of the royal family. Before he had become ill, your brother’s specific job was to guard the crown prince, heir to the entire kingdom, no light task for sure.
You set the helmet down gently, careful to not awaken your brother, who would be furious if he knew of your plan. You grabbed what could only be your twin’s most prized possession, a beautiful broad sword that had been made just for him by the royal blacksmith. You unsheathed the heavy weapon, gazing upon its cruel beauty as it seemed mocked you. You felt as though it was testing if you were actually going to go through with your plan. With a whisper, you spat a fiery challenge, “Watch me.”
Having decided, you walked down the stairs and out your house, hailing down a messenger with one of your prized coins. You spoke swiftly, the page not missing a beat, “Deliver this message to Sir Johnny, Captain of the Royal Guard: ‘My brother is finally better and he’s eager to return to the Guard. Please stop by the house to meet him tomorrow morn. _______.’ Got it? Now off with you!”
The page nodded as you pressed the coin into his palm, running at a break neck speed to the imposing castle. In the bright cloudless day, it was the only thing that could block out the sun, it’s towers and spires stabbing into the sky proudly. You clenched your fists again, feeling ready to accept your new challenge: impersonate your brother and take his place in the Royal Guard in order to save him!
You woke even before the stars had been chased away by the sun, creeping around your house to ready yourself for your first day as a member of the Royal Guard. You splashed your face with cool water in the washroom, debating whether it would be worth it to cut your hair or not. Regardless of the situation, you were still just a girl who could hardly stand the thought of cutting off her tresses. You decided just to tie it up, your brother’s hair had grown quite long anyway and he hadn’t been seen by his guard friends for about a month. Although you were twins, your height differed slightly and your face was rounder and more feminine, a rosy glow that couldn’t be hidden. As you stared back at your face in the small mirror, you thought it would be best to avoid showing your face at all times, glad that you had the helmet to shield yourself.
You quickly dressed into your brother’s clothes, taking a moment to tuck the covers of your twin’s blanket up to his chin, pressing a kiss to his forehead. Johnny couldn’t see him, or else your plan would be foiled. So your story was to pretend that you yourself had fallen ill and were extremely contagious, that would keep him away.
You finished getting ready, clumsily donning the armor by memory as you tried to remember how your brother did it. You had some difficulty with the chest plate, the size a bit too big for your smaller frame, but you had to make it work somehow. After minutes of struggling and worrying you would hear a knock on the door at any moment, you finished, placing the clostraphobic helmet on your head, but keeping the visor open to breath. Only your eyes could be seen poking through, your long lashes the only indicator of your true identity. Only a complete fool could tell the difference by accident.
It was at that exact moment you heard the excited knocking on your heavy wooden door, your heart beat picking up as you trudged down the stairs. Your hand shook as you grasped the handle and pulled, revealing the handsome face and lovely long hair of the Royal Guard’s Captain, and your brother’s best friend, Johnny.
“Oh, man! It’s been too long!,” he laughed, embracing you warmly as he clapped your shoulder. “It’s amazing you’re finally back on your feet, and so quickly. And here I thought I would never see you again, yeah?”
You gulped, this was your first test, lips already quivering as you replied with a poor imitation of your brother’s voice, “Well, all thanks goes to my sister…pal?” You wanted to slap yourself, ready to have your helmet ripped off and your true identity to be revealed by Johnny. What kind of punishment would you receive? Impersonating someone was a crime, right? Right?!
Johnny didn’t even bat a lash, before he grinned and joked, “Is that right? ______ always would have made a better soldier than you, ya know!” He peered over your significantly shorter head into your house, “Where’s she at anyway? Always a treat to be greeted by a beautiful girl on the way to work, am I right?”
Your jaw dropped, unable to believe that Johnny was this much of a dunce. You recovered from your monetary loss of sanity and pretended to be your typical overprotective older brother, “Hey now, Johnny. Just because we’re friends doesn’t mean you get first dibs or something…”
Your brother’s friend burst into a fit of laughter, hand coming to rest lazily on the hilt of his sword, “I know, I know. I was only teasing you. I know how protective you are of her, only the best for ______. That’s what you always say, remember?”
You felt warmth spread through your chest, a fondness for your sick brother that made your heart ache, “Y-yeah, that’s right. Well,” you made your way to close the door behind you, stepping out on the street, “Ready to go?”
“Sure am!,” the tall soldier exclaimed, clapping you on the shoulder once more before leading the way to what you could only assume was the castle. Your nervousness was beginning to disappear, replaced instead with a newfound confidence as you strolled through the streets. Before, people wouldn’t even spare you a glance, the occasional catcall was all you received. Now people would tip their caps to you, give nods of recognition, bow in respect as you walked by them. It was a strange feeling to be in your brother’s shoes, knowing you would never be treated this way without this suit of armor.
Already living in close proximity to the center of the capital where the castle laid, you only followed Johnny for a few short minutes before you stood before the large iron gates. Johnny shouted up to some garrison soldiers, who shouted back before cranking open the gates. Your eyes widened at the majesty before you, the impressive architecture and just sheer grandness of the whole castle. You’d never been inside the gates, that privilege only being reserved for merchants, the court, those of social standing, and soldiers.
Johnny glanced over at you with an eye smile, “We should go greet Ten, right? He and the others really missed you.” Johnny stopped suddenly, looking over at you with eyes full of sadness, “Actually, most of us thought we wouldn’t see you ever again…”
Your lips parted at his confession, mind wandering to your brother, still laying sick in his bed unbeknownst to them. You felt guilty, knowing they were happy to see the wrong person. Johnny perked up again, knocking his fist against your helmet affectionately, “But you’re here now! Come on, let’s not keep everyone waiting.”
You followed Johnny through twisting corridors, up grand staircases, and hallways filled with paintings probably worth more than your life. You finally arrived at a beautiful gold enamel door, the knobs a shining brass that made a clinking side as Johnny opened the door with his gauntlet-clad hand.
Not even a second passed before you were completely swamped, swept into hugs and smacked on the shoulder so many times you were sure you’d find a bruise there later. Johnny shooed them away, protecting your shaking form as he laughed, “Alright, alright. Let’s let His Highness have a chance to see his favorite soldier.”
An amused voice retorted, “Is that jealousy in your voice Johnny? Or am I imagining things again? Step aside and let me get a good look at him.”
Your gasped from within your helmet, the sound echoing loudly throughout the room. Only a few people gave you looks, but they looked more amused than anything. Before you stood likely the most handsome boy you had ever laid eyes upon. A gorgeous smile played on his perfectly soft looking lips, deep brown eyes twinkling happily. Gentle waves of black hair spilled over his forehead, his hand coming up to push it away from his eyes as he laughed, “What’s this? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
Your eyes were impossibly wide, completely forgetting all words as he leaned in and embraced you warmly, his mouth close to your ear, “It’s been too long, brother. You’ve been missed.”
Your heart stopped, feeling his breath fan across your lips as he spoke. You could barely find it in yourself to reply, “I-I’m glad to be back, Your Majesty.”
He pulled away, looking at you quizzically, “'Your Majesty’? You haven’t called me that since you first joined as a soldier. It’s just Ten, remember? No need for formalities.”
You were taken aback, “Yes, sir! I-I mean…Ten.” You let the one syllable name spring off your tongue, the sound of it leaving your lips satisfying.
“That’s better. Now,” he winced gingerly, “Please forgive me for this next bit. They really wanted to, and I couldn’t say no…”
You furrowed your brow, confused, “What do you-”
You squealed rather girlishly by accident, the stinking scent of what could only be ale poured all down your body as they roared in laughter. Your nose crinkled, hair already beginning to smell as the stickiness washed down your body, “Come on, really?”
They were giggling like village girls and bar maids, even Ten couldn’t contain his amusement as he covered his nose with a handkerchief. He offered the little piece of silk to you, biting his lip as he stifled his laughter, “Here, maybe this will help.”
You rolled your eyes at him sarcastically, but blushed, taking the small square of fabric and dabbed at your eyes, “Gee, thanks, Your Majesty.”
He smiled, but behind his smile, you saw some type of confusion. For a moment you were worried he was beginning to catch on, you needed to act more like your brother. You coughed loudly, “Hm! So, which of you shitheads should I beat up first?”
That seems to shut them up, their eyes wide in shock for a moment before they burst into another fit of giggles. Ten sensed your discomfort, the ale beginning to dry and make your skin itch, “Here, I’ll have someone draw you a bath.”
You felt panic rise in your throat, “O-oh! No, I’m fine! Promise!” You were in dangerous territory and your cover could be blown.
“No, you’re not,” Ten lifted a perfect brow, already sending an attendant to prepare your bath. “Let me take care of you for once, okay?”
You couldn’t argue with royalty, your shoulders sagging in defeat as you nodded silently. As you waited to be whisked away by servants, you watched the other boys interact, smiling to yourself as you watched them act so childishly. You thought how happy your brother had been only a month ago, amidst all his comrades
and friends. Your eyes lingered on Ten, who seemed to be doing the same thing as you, watching from afar with a smile playing on his lips. Sensing your gaze he looked over at you, his face suddenly changing again into one of confusion and scrutiny, as if he were looking into a pool of water. You looked away with a blush on your cheeks, hidden behind your helmet as a servant informed Ten that your bath was ready.
You were led down a hall decorated with ancient suits of armor to a large bathroom, probably the most luxurious looking room you’ve ever been in. You gaped at how ornate the bathtub was, steam curling from the surface of the water that was sprinkled with flower petals. You were left alone as the servant backed out, realizing your identity was still hidden as long as you were careful.
With a relieved sigh, you went to unbuckle your armor, resting the lightweight metal on the tiled bathroom floor gently so as to make no noise. You didn’t want any unexpected guests, for sure. You stripped quickly, glad to be able to see the womanly shape of your body in an exquisite full length mirror on the wall as you stepped into the steaming bath.
You let out a small moan of appreciation, sinking deep into the bath and letting the water swallow you whole. You scrubbed the sickly sweet smell of ale from your skin, still unable to understand why men did these sort of things.
There was a sudden knock on the door, Johnny’s voice coming in muffled through the door, “You good in there? Need any help?”
You sat up suddenly, smacking your head hard back against the tub, “Ow, shit! Y-yes, I’m fine!” You clapped a hand over your mouth, forgetting to make your voice deeper. You looked over at the door handle and realized that it wasn’t locked.
“What was that?,” Johnny questioned, turning the handle at the same time. “I’m coming in.”
“No!,” you cried out, still disoriented from smacking your head. “Don’t-”
“Oh, hey! There you are,” Johnny smiled, pretending to shield his eyes. “Didn’t know you were still in there. Your hair’s gotten so much longer! One month can really change a person, I was wondering why you were so short looking.”
If you weren’t afraid of your cover being blown, you would have smacked him in the face. Your hands were too busy discreetly cupping your breasts as you tried to remain calm, “Y-yeah. I’m really out of shape, it’s kind of embarrassing actually…” You were trying to imply that you didn’t want to be seen naked, but it went through one ear and out the other.
Johnny pouted, “Hey don’t say that. You had the best abs out of the entire Guard and I bet they’re still there, let’s see…”
“WAIT! NO!,” you shrieked girlishly as Johnny lifted you from under the armpits and out of the tub with ease, letting you dangle midair in his grasp.
To your surprise he remained rather composed, even when you were before him in all your naked glory, Johnny still managed to be calm, “Well then. You surely aren’t a man.” Your eyes widened as he placed you down gently, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around you to give you some semblance of modesty. He gulped, scratching the back of his head, “Hey there, ______.”
“Hey…,” you said, still scared to breathe as you tripped over your words, “I-I can explain-”
He didn’t seem to be listening as he passed a hand over his face and groaned, “Your brother is going to kill me.”
You grew agitated, snapping your fingers to get his attention, “Nevermind about that, Johnny,” you took a deep breath. “You absolutely can’t tell anyone that it’s me.”
“Why not?,” he whispered, flopping his hands dramatically, “You know this is probably some sort of crime? Like a felony? Like the ones that get you thrown in jail?”
“I’m not stupid,” you pouted, tightening the towel around you. “This is the only way I can save my brother, Johnny.”
“What? Is he not better?,” he furrowed his brow.
You nodded, clenching your fists, “That’s why I have to do this. We don’t have any money left, and he’ll die if I don’t get him some real help.”
Johnny grasped your shoulders, bending down to your level, “_______, why didn’t you say anything sooner?! I’m sure the Prince would have helped him long ago. Hell, even I would have!”
“Then help me right now, Johnny,” you whispered, “This is something I can’t do myself.”
The tall soldier’s lips parted in surprise, but he nodded in understanding, “Okay.” A sudden loud bang was heard, seeming to come from the room where you’d been. Johnny’s hand reached for the hilt of his sword, shock and confusion written on his face. His entire demeanor changed as he reached for the door, voice low, “Get dressed, soldier, and meet up with me. Looks like I’ll have one more person besides the prince to protect.”
With that he rushed out the door, heading towards where shouting could be heard in the distance. You dressed quickly, once again struggling to put your armor on correctly, hands shaking as you thought back to Johnny’s words. I don’t need to be protected, you thought with a frown. I can protect myself and I can protect the prince. Watch me.
Strapping on your sword, you traced Johnny’s footsteps, realizing that it was much quieter now, causing uneasiness to settle in your stomach. You reached the room that you had initially been in, only to find it in shambles, the entire side wall had been completely wiped out. You gasped, pressing a hand to your mouth as you saw the bodies sprawled around in the rubble. You felt like you were going to vomit, tears pricking at the back of your eyes as you stumbled back a few steps. Ten was nowhere in sight, the Crown Prince was gone. You wandered over to a few of the bodies, gulping as you checked to see if any of them were still alive. You had no such luck, turning to search for Johnny when he realized with relief that he was not among the fallen.
A hand grabbed your ankle, a scream released from your throat as you stumbled back in shock. One of the soldiers you had thought dead was clinging on to your leg for dear life, but he didn’t look like a soldier you had seen in the room earlier. His voice was raspy, raw in his throat as he gurgled, “We have him already, you fool. You’re too late!” He cackled, dragging himself up your leg as you began to scream in terror, not sure what to do in that moment.
Suddenly, you were embraced from behind, a strong arm brought a stained broadsword down on your assailant. You screamed in terror, feeling the man’s life blood splatter down your armor, the hand on your leg twitching and going limp. You couldn’t help the tears that spilled down your cheeks as you turned to find the familiar face of Johnny, not a single trace of mercy on his features.
“Shh, it’s alright, ______,” Johnny murmured, sheathing his sword and taking your head in his two hands so you had to look at him. “Listen to me,” he shook you lightly, “______, listen to me. If you want to help your brother, you’re going to have to help me.”
“I need you to help me save the prince.”
You hiccupped once more, lip trembling as you met his gaze, “Why me? I could hardly handle a half dead man attacking me! You think I could fight,” you gestured to the gaping hole where the wall used to be, “whatever did this?!”
Johnny gave you a hard, serious look, uncharacteristic for the usually cheery boy, “Absolutely.” He scoffed, looking you up and down, “I mean, who is brave, or down right crazy, enough to steal their twin’s armor, impersonate him, sneak into the castle, and even trick the Crown Prince?”
You looked up at him, realizing that a trained soldier, renowned for his battle prowess, was praising you. He believed in you. Why shouldn’t you believe in yourself? You knew in this moment your brother would haven’t hesitated, agreeing to rescue the prince without a seconds hesitation. You thought of Ten’s beautiful smile, the way his voice had been so close to your ear…you had to save him too. You blushed, knowing that it was more than duty driving your actions. You didn’t want to admit it to yourself, but when your eyes met Ten’s, something deep inside of you awoke. Something you didn’t realize you had within yourself. No one fell in love in a matter of an hour though…right?
You set your teeth, determination in your heart, “Okay, I’ll do it. But Johnny,” you murmured, “What did this?” You looked out of the hole again, seeing the vast kingdom spread before you.
“Dragon,” he replied, eyes hard as he followed your gaze. “And not just any old dragon, no…this was the same dragon that killed Ten’s grandfather, the old king.”
Your eyes widened, “How do we know Ten is still alive then?!” Panic and fear coursed through your veins as images of Ten’s body mirrored those in the room.
“We don’t,” Johnny stated, already beckoning you to follow after him. “But we can only hope that the dragon is a greedy beast. If he’s smart, he won’t kill the prince right away, instead hopefully he’ll use him as a hostage to get what he really desires: gold and jewels.”
Your mind went back to all the bedtime stories of greedy gold-obsessed dragons your mother had told you and your brother, and the brave knights who saved princesses captured by them. If you hadn’t been so worried, you would have laughed at the turn of events. Here comes a female wannabe knight to save her prince.
Johnny and you arrived at the stables, taking two horses that were already saddled and ready to ride. He turned towards you, “Have you ever rode a horse before?”
You shook your head, eyeing the large animal nervously. The tall knight came over and guided you into the saddle, “Well now’s your time to learn. Just do what I do, you’ll be fine.”
You nodded, watching as he swung his leg over the black stallion with ease, “Let’s go. Hyah!” He snapped the reigns, the horse snapping to attention and bolting out of the stable and into the castle courtyard. You panicked, hands shaking as you mirrored Johnny’s actions, “Hyah? Ah!”
Your grey mare was a feisty girl, kicking off at a break neck pace and catching up with Johnny’s horse in a matter of seconds. The long haired boy, glanced over at you in approval, a type of brotherly look you hadn’t seen since your twin had fallen ill. “The dragon lives in a deserted town not too far ahead, a short ride. When we get there, I need you to follow my every command. Do you understand?”
You nodded, focusing on the task at hand and urging your horse on as the two of you raced towards the prince.
You arrived at the abandoned village, a desolate place that smelled of burning wood and fire, no surprise there. Johnny cautioned you with a hand as you followed him from the spot where you had hidden your horses. “We have to be extremely quiet, dragon’s have senses far superior to ours. He’ll know we’re coming if we’re not careful.”
“Okay,” you whispered, placing a hand on the hilt of your sword to reassure yourself.
Johnny noticed and nodded in appreciation, “See? You already have the instincts of a soldier.” He halted you, taking you behind a brick wall that had managed to survive the town’s demise. “Draw your sword. Quietly though,” he winced, as you noisily pulled out the gleaming piece of metal.
“I pray to every god that it won’t come to it, but if you somehow have to use it, I want you to be able to defend yourself,” Johnny whispered, silently drawing his own sword. “It’s a broadsword, so it must be held strongly in two hands since it’s a heavier weapon.”
You mirrored his pose, widening your stance and lifting the sword to match the height of his, “Like this?”
He nodded, “Yes, good. Now,” he brought the sword in a swinging arc, a devastatingly powerful move. “Try that.”
With conviction, you almost expertly copied his move. Johnny’s eyebrows shot up, a hand pulling up his visor in surprise, “Good, ______.” You smiled, proud to have shocked him, a seasoned fighter and master swordsman.
He looked around, “That’s all we have time for now, we need to move on. If we end up surviving this, I’d be glad to teach you more later. Maybe even your brother could, if he hasn’t killed me before the dragon does.”
As you got closer to where a stream of smoke circled into the air, a foul sulfuric odor poured into your nostrils. You coughed and brought your visor down, seeing Johnny do the same as the smell reached his nose, “What is that?”
“That, ______, is dragon,” Johnny whispered, clearing his throat quietly as you crept even closer to what appeared to be the remnants of an old keep. You gazed at the crumbling stone, trying to picture what it might have looked like before the dragon had destroyed it.
You and Johnny snuck over to one of the walls, peeking into a hole to get a good look at what you would be dealing with. You stifled a gasp with your hand as your gaze landed on the great scaly beast curled up on top of a heaping pile of glittering gold and jewels. Johnny hushed you, placing a hand on your back to steady you as he craned his neck in search of Ten. You did the same, finding him trapped under one the dragon’s great big claws, bloodied and bruised. Your heart leapt as you pointed and whispered, “Johnny!…”
“I see him. Seems like he’s still alive,” he replied, turning toward you. “Here’s the plan. I’m going to sneak in there to see if I can just slip him out without the dragon waking up. I want you to stay here, okay? Worse comes to worse, I want you to run as fast as you can from here and hide. Do you understand? Ten and I may die, but I don’t want you to be killed as well.”
You went to protest, but Johnny snapped back, “I can’t take you away from your brother, _______. He still needs you.”
You shut your mouth, watching with your stomach turning in knots as Johnny took a deep breath and began to inch away. You stopped him with a whisper, “Johnny,” you lifted your visor and pressed a kiss to the cheek of his helmet, “Good luck.”
The tall knight nodded, squeezing your shoulder one last time before he slipped into the large hall that the dragon used as his home. You silently moved around too, unable to take your eyes off of Ten who lay weakly beneath the dragon. You felt so useless just standing there, wanting more than anything to just run in after Johnny. You decided it wouldn’t do no harm to follow him from afar, just in case, right?
You did just that, creeping after Johnny who was already crawling on all fours up the huge mound of gold towards the prince. He was so close too, just a few arm lengths away from the dragon, who snoozed away, peacefully unaware. Your breath caught in your throat when you heard a gentle clang, watching as Johnny accidentally bumped into a gold vase. It teetered precariously, setting your teeth on edge. Johnny lifted a hand to still it, his foot slipped though, and instead of stilling the vase, he pushed it, the heavy metal tumbling loudly down the pile of treasure.
It was like a chain reaction, the way things occurred. First, Johnny’s hand went to his sword’s hilt. Next, Ten awoke, wiggling under the weight of the dragon’s claw with a gasp. Finally, one single terrible green eye cracked open and an ugly pink tongue snaked between scaly lips.
“Well, well,” came a deep rumbling from the back of the dragon’s throat. “What have we here? A little metal man coming to save his weak and tiny prince? How absolutely touching.” The dragon emphasized his words by pressing Ten down into his pile of gold, making him cry out in pain.
“Stop!” Johnny shouted, standing up completely and drawing his sword. “Let him go, you ugly ass lizard!”
“Oh, no, I can’t do that,” the dragon purred, revealing his pointed teeth in what must have been a smile. “He’s too valuable and I haven’t even gotten my gold yet.” He stretched lazily while sitting up, tightening his grip around Ten as he seemed to inspect him, “After I’ve received what I want, then I’ll kill him. There’s too many of you humans scurrying around anyway.”
“For a lizard, you sure do talk a lot,” Johnny retorted, but you could sense the slight waver in his voice. “If you won’t give him to me, then you leave me no choice but to take him from you.”
“Oh my, what a feisty little metal man you are,” the dragon chuckled, an ugly rumbling sound. “You know what isn’t so good about that armor you wear?”
Johnny furrowed his brow, “What?”
“How easily it melts,” the dragon laughed, sending a stream of fire directly onto Johnny, causing you to scream out in terror. You watched the dragon knock him back with his tail, the tall soldier falling limp down the mound of gold.
Making any noise was a grave mistake, the dragon whipping his head toward you, “Oh dear, seems like we have another little metal man here as well. You humans are like little ants, always crawling everywhere and breeding like rabbits. Truly disgusting.”
Ten craned his neck to look at you, “No! Run away!” He struggled in the dragon’s grip, but the beast only squeezed him tighter. “Go!”
“No,” you finally mustered the courage to speak. “I’m not going anywhere.” You looked over at where Johnny lay, his body still and his armor blackened, tears pricking at your eyes. “I won’t, not until you give the prince back or I die trying.”
The dragon blinked, “Suit yourself, but the second option will be your only outcome, little human.”
“Bring it, you damn lizard,” you gritted your teeth, drawing your sword. From somewhere deep inside, you felt a strange sense of calm, call it adrenaline or you just being crazy, but the sword felt familiar in your grip.
The dragon roared, releasing a stream of red hot flame at you, which you barely dodged. You rolled to your right, heading towards the tail end of the dragon, who moved clumsily as you maneuvered around him nimbly. Johnny had been too tall to dodge, but you were much smaller, littler enough to sneak in and around the dragon’s legs without his claws catching you.
Ten was screaming in agony, the dragon crushing him in his claws as you rushed to free him. Reaching one of the dragon’s hind legs, you swung your sword wildly, remembering what Johnny had shown you earlier. The dragon bellowed in pain, but that surely wasn’t enough to stop him.
“_______!,” you heard a voice yell, turning in relief to see Johnny hobbling up the mound of gold. “Keep going, I’ll distract him!” The tall knight dragged his sword behind him, bringing it down one of the dragon’s front legs. He was injured, but definitely still able to throw punches.
You nodded, the sound of your panting echoing as you got the sudden maniacal idea to climb up the scaly beast. The oversized lizard wasn’t going to put Ten anywhere near your reach, so you would just have to go get him yourself. You grabbed onto one of the dragon’s spines, hauling yourself up onto his back as Johnny distracted him. You were light enough that the dragon barely noticed, but once you got closer he surely would.
You were around his shoulders when he suddenly thrashed violently, sensing your presence, “Argh! Get off of me you disgusting little creature!” You screamed, almost falling as you managed to clutch onto a spike for dear life, the sharp spine slipping past a crack in your armor and puncturing your soft skin. You saw Ten being whipped around, his eyes darting around wildly as he struggled to not have his neck broken from whiplash.
“Ten,” you screamed, wincing from your wound as you used the dragon’s scales to shimmy across his arm towards him. “Hold on! I’m almost there!” Johnny was doing all he could to distract the beast, which turned out to be enough as you reached the prince, “I’m here, it’s okay!” You clutched onto him, realizing you didn’t know how you were going to pull him from the dragon’s grasp.
“Johnny!,” you shouted, already seeing the taller knight crawling up the beasts leg onto his back. The older boy seemed to understand, drawing his sword high above him as he reached the back to the dragon’s head. The giant lizard was scrabbling with one clawed hand behind his back, trying to grab at Johnny who managed to evade his reach. You watched in amazement as Johnny stood and brought his broadsword down upon the dragon’s neck, cutting deeply. The beast roared in agony, his wings flapping weakly and crumpling underneath him as he began to fall.
It felt like a building was collapsing from underneath you, your hands clutching onto Ten as the dragon’s grip on him loosened. The two of you free fell, landing hard on the slippery pile of gold and sliding down a ways, watching with wide eyes as the dragon collapsed beneath Johnny’s sword. The older soldier didn’t even spare a second glance at the fallen beast, dropping his weapon and stumbling over to where you and Ten had fallen. “Ten! ______!”
“Johnny,” Ten murmured, eyes still the size of dinner plates, allowing the tall knight to collapse next to the two of you, pulling you both into his broad chest. He ripped his helmet off, hair clinging to his sweaty soot covered face, “Thank god you two are okay.” He squeezed you again, but you cried out softly in pain. “______? What’s wrong?!”
“’________’?,” Ten furrrowed, confusion written on his handsome features, “Who’s _______…?”
Unable to protest, Johnny pulled your helmet off, allowing your true face to show, hair falling down from where you tied it up as he laid you gently down. You’re head felt dizzy, lifting a hand to see it covered in red as Ten looked over at you in shock. The long haired knight worked diligently to remove your armor, hand pressing onto the wound you’d received from the dragon, “Can you hear me _______?”
You gasped at the sensation, seeing stars from the pain, “Y-yep! Can definitely feel that too!”
Ten moved over to get a good look at your dirty face, brushing your hair away from your eyes, “Johnny…who is she? I thought this was-”
“She’s his twin sister,” Johnny mumbled, starting to panic as he realized you were losing a lot of blood. He rushed to take off his armor, pulling his tunic over his head to press it into your wound after lifting up your overshirt.
You managed to look up at Ten, a shy smile on your face, “I’m sorry we had to meet like this. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way-”
Ten hushed you, lifting your head into his lap, “We’ll have none of that. I’ll hear about all of this,” he gestured down your body, “later. For now, rest.” He looked angry with you, but also confused, like he wasn’t sure you were real.
“Your Highness, we need to get her back to the castle as fast as possible,” Johnny said, already lifting you easily into his arms. “She needs medical attention immediately.”
“Right,” Ten gulped, seeing the way your pretty eyes glazed over. The moment he saw them unblocked by a helmet, he realized that it really had been you the whole time. He knew something had been off, but he hadn’t been able to put his finger on it. Now he knew, and he still couldn’t understand why.
As Ten mounted his horse and watched Johnny cradle you against his chest, snapping his horse to attention, all he knew was that you were possibly the most beautiful and bravest girl he’d ever seen. Bloodied and sooty as you were, to him, you were still prettier than any of the princesses that he was forced to court.
You woke up in a cloud. Or at least, that’s what it felt like to you as you were stirred awake by a gentle hand. “Rise and shine, sleeping beauty.”
Your eyes cracked open, not wanting to leave the soft warm comfort of the bed, as you looked up grumpily at Johnny. You felt clean bandages wrapped around your waist, helping your injury recover. You groaned, flopping back down as he chuckled, “Get ready. Clothes are on the chair, come to the throne room when you’re ready. The prince wants to see you.”
You instantly perked up, which didn’t go unnoticed by the tall soldier as he winked at you, “Don’t keep him waiting.” You blushed, waiting for him to shut the door before you bolted over to the chair. You found a simple, yet beautiful dress made from the softest material you’d ever touched. It was a gorgeous maroon, like the color of a dried rose, beautiful and whimsical. It fit like a glove, slipping over your curves like it was meant for you. You stepped into a pair of shoes that were placed beside the chair, searching for a mirror to check your appearance. Finding one, you ran your fingers through your hair, pinching your cheeks to give them a rosy flush of color. It felt strange looking at yourself without seeing a suit of armor, your bare skin unfamiliar.
With that, you set off to find the throne room, winding through the hallways until you eventually were greeted by guards at a pair of large ornate double doors. They neatly pulled the heavy doors open, revealing a row of three thrones, lit by sunlight that filtered in through large windows. It was a beautiful and impressive room and you felt tiny compared to its grandeur.
One of the guards announced your presence and the crowd of people who had been gathered near the thrones turned towards you. There were some smiles, some furrowed brows, and some impressed smirks, and you couldn’t help but blush at the attention. In the midst of all of them stood Ten, dressed in a deep navy that complimented your maroon well, almost like they were a matching set. You turned a deeper shade of red as you approached him, curtsying clumsily as you stuttered, “Your Majesty.”
You hadn’t saw the way Ten’s eyes widened when you had walked in, a dusting of pink sprinkled across his smooth cheeks as he beheld you. A smile spread on his lips as he saw the way you bobbled when you curtsied, he wanted to have some fun with you, “______, you stole your brother’s royally sanctioned armor, impersonated him, and snuck into the royal guard.”
You looked up at him in surprise, eyes big, forgetting that you’d committed several crimes. You looked over at Johnny, who wouldn’t meet your gaze, preoccupying himself with something on the ground. “Your Highness, I can explain-”
“I’m not done,” Ten interjected, causing you to shut your mouth obediently. He took a step towards you, so close that you could have reached a hand out to touch him. To your surprise, he took your hand gently in his, lifting you up, “And, you helped save me from the very dragon that killed my grandfather.”
Your lips parted, gazing into his warm eyes as he smiled at you, perfect teeth flashing brilliantly, “Thank you, ______. You didn’t have to help me, but you did anyway. You’re the bravest girl this kingdom has ever seen and,” he looked up at you shyly between his lashes, “Possibly the most beautiful too.”
Your hand shook in his, which held onto yours securely, anchoring you to the ground, “T-thank you, Your Highness-”
“Ten,” he smirked, seeing how nervous you were by his words. “It’s just Ten, remember? Pleasure to finally meet your aquaintence properly.” He stooped down, kissing the back of your hand with lips that were softer than flower petals.
You gasped softly, trying to recover as you murmured, “_______. The pleasure is all mine.”
“Oh, I bet it is,” he winked, tugging you just a little closer and refusing to let go of your hand. He turned and beckoned a certain tall knight over, “Sir Johnny. Please join us.” The long haired knight smiled, coming to your other side and warmly taking your hand with a comforting squeeze.
Ten looked out upon the crowd, glancing proudly at you and Johnny, “My people, behold your champions! Dragon slayers by the names _______ and Johnny.”
You felt a happy warm flush wash over you as Ten and Johnny lifted your arms into the air, looking out upon the crowd and landing on a pair of eyes that mirrored your own. Time stopped, the only thing moving was your feet toward those eyes. You ran into his arms, causing him to stumble back a few feet as you whispered, “You’re here.”
“Hey there ______,” the familiar timbre of your brother’s voice chuckled, embracing you back as the crowd around you clapped.
You let the joyful tears slip down your face, “How?”
Your twin held you out at arms length, giving you a knowing look, “I think you know. Why don’t you go thank him?” He nodded to somewhere behind you, following his gaze, your eyes landed on the prince.
You don’t know what you were thinking, but perhaps you were finally letting out all the withheld emotions you’d been feeling. When you stumbled clumsily towards Ten, you somehow ended up in his arms, cupping his face as you pressed your lips sweetly to his. You broke away after a few seconds, eyes snapping open as you realized what you had done, “O-oh, Ten, I-I…”
Ten didn’t even hesitate, grinning once again about how such a courageous girl could be so shy, “Why don’t we try that again, hm?”
The dark haired prince cupped your face this time, seeming to shield you from the world as he pressed his lips to yours passionately. As the crowd cheered once again, your bodies moved flush together, knowing that he could feel your heart beating against his chest. You let out the smallest of moans, quiet enough so that only he could hear, his hand going to your waist in approval as he pulled away and gasped for air. He didn’t even take a breath, pressing kisses to your neck that tickled,'making you giggle softly, “Ten!”
“Say it again,” he whispered, looking up at you in wonder. “Please say my name.”
“Ten,” you breathed against his lips, pressing one more chaste kiss there before pulling away and melting into his arms.
“Thank you for saving me, ______,” Ten murmured, stroking your hair.
“No,” you shook your head with a smile, “I think we saved each other.”
He laughed, grinning as Johnny and your brother came over to tug you two into a group hug. For the first time in a long while, you felt safe, secure, and more happy than you could even express with words.
Johnny looked down at you, raising his eyebrow with a smirk, “So, are you still willing to become my apprentice, Lady ______?”
You gaped at him, looking over at Ten who grinned, “I might have made you the first female knight on the Royal Guard.”
“You won’t be a lady for long though,” Ten continued, lacing his fingers with yours shyly. “I was thinking you could be more along the lines of my princess?”
You laughed, pecking his cheek, “I’d like that very much, only if you’re my prince though.”