Chapter Note: If you read the warnings in the prologue, you'll know what's going on here.
Traitorous Acts Part 1
I.: The Princess Duo~
"Oh Lord! Hilde, are you alright?"
The blue-haired maid continued to stare, dazed, from where she was on the floor. She never wanted to see another vase come flying her way ever again. That was what she said every time a suitor came asking for the princess's hand. She felt herself being dragged in the room she had dubbed 'The Rejection Room' and propped again the wall.
Hilde jumped a little when a wet cloth was pressed to the lump on her forehead where the vase had made. She had barely dodged the delicate porcelain. A cup was placed against her lips. She held the glass and downed its contents in one gulp. Princess Duo continued to babble.
"I thought you were that wretched Prince Acht! I swear, that man doesn't understand the meaning of 'no'."
The clobbered maid nodded weakly and slowly climbed to her feet. She was still dizzy, but she could see that her princess was sitting at the table and looked extremely distressed. Duty always came first, and Hilde moved forward to comfort her mistress. Duo dropped her face into her hands, a lock of hair falling out of its intricate design.
"Why can't Father see me as something other than just another daughter to marry off?" she asked, voice muffled. "I've tried everything, you know that Hilde."
The maid nodded, heart aching for her princess and friend.
"I practically rule the country for him behind the curtain, but he still...doesn't appreciate it."
For that Hilde had no answer.
Duo continued her monologue. "Why do I have to be a woman anyway? It's not as if he doesn't have enough daughters. Infact, he doesn't have a son!"
"Princess, please do not trouble yourself with this. I'm sure there will be someone you like very soon."
Duo snorted in a very unprincess-like manner. "I don't count on that. I'll just try to ward them off for as long as I can."
At that moment, a manservant appeared on the vid unit at the front of the room. "Duo-sama," he called, bowing low. "His Majesty the king wants to see you. He said it was of most urgent matter." With that, he disappeared.
Duo and Hilde exchanged looks.
"Not so soon!" protested Duo.
There were some high-pitched giggles from behind the filmy drapes hanging off the darkened bed.
//Him and his concubines...// Even her thoughts sounded dry. "Father!"
Duo winced at the responding snarl. "What?!?!"
"Y-You called for me...?"
There was a low groan and a feminine shriek of pleasure, and the drapes were parted lazily. "Ah yes, Duo." The king retreated behind them to dress, then approached his daughter and held her in a loose hug. "Well, I must say you look more beautiful every time I see you."
Duo's smile was slightly strained as she tried to hold in her frustrations. "What did you want to see me about?"
With a hand still lightly around her shoulders, he led her out of his chambers and into the garden. Duo became wary.
"You will be sixteen three days from now. There will be a masquerade held in your honor. Afterall, it is a critical time in a woman's life, is it not? So it deserves some celebration."
Duo didn't like the idea. "And there won't be any over-stuffed princes or dukes that's three times my age trying to impress or drool over me?" she asked suspiciously.
Anger flashed over the king's features momentarily before a forced smile took its place. "Oh no, no!" he assured her. Duo had no time to rejoice though. "But there will be a young man of large fortune and high status attending."
"Now, now, Duo. You're a grown woman and I can't have you forever under my wing."
She tried again. "Is it not a bit strange to hold such a party on the brink of war?"
The king's Caring Father façade dropped to reveal the cold-blooded, selfish man beneath. "That's enough, Duo. Not a word more. You will either accept this man or I will choose a husband for you personally!"
"But you can't!"
"You're in no position to tell me that."
Despite her efforts, tears sprang to her eyes, but before they could spill, Duo turned her heel and raced back to her room.
However, as soon as she reached the elegant chamber, she threw herself on the bed, breathless not from the run but her anger.
When night came, Duo was awakened by the knock on her door.
Hilde's voice reached her ears: "Time for dinner, Duo-sama."
She didn't move. "I'm not hungry."
"Leave me alone!"
Upon hearing her maid's retreating footsteps, Duo rose from her bed slowly and rested her elbows on the sill of her open window. The moon was out and it was almost completely dark, she noted. Night came early during this part of the year, and Duo always snuck out to the lake just outside of the woods surrounding the royal quarters. However, she was in no such mood right then.
The slender hands tensed into fists and her entire body shook at the king's words from earlier. Stepping away from the cool breeze typical to summer nights and closing the window behind her, Duo pulled out her nightgown. Undoing the clasps of her dress, she let it pool around her ankles, and the numerous layers of undergarments followed. Now fully bared, she stepped in front of the mirror and revealed...
A young prince. Duo Maxwell. Crown Prince of the L2 kingdom. The only threat to the King's ultimate power.
Rich chestnut slithered over naked flesh as Duo pulled out the many pins holding up his hair. He grinned bitterly at his reflection, violet eyes lacking the joyful sparkle of when in public's presence.
"Who are you, huh? A man or a woman?" he inquired of his own image. "Or maybe a man forced to play the role of a woman from birth by his power-hungry father?"
Sometimes he really did have to look in the mirror to remember who he was.
WAHAHA!!! Yup, forced crossdressing just like the prologue warning says!
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