10-year-old Prince Derek was fleeing from Princess Odette, who may have been smaller than him but could certainly keep up with his slow-pace feet. Derek suddenly fell to the ground with a thud when he collided with a black stallion. King William's captain chuckled and dismounted his horse, helping the young prince off the ground and setting him straight on his feet.
"Be careful, Prince Derek. You might get hurt running around like this without a guardian." The Captain remarked
"I'm sorry, but I can't get Odette away from me! All she wants to do is play dress up and-" Derek was cut off when he heard Odette approaching.
"Hide me!" Derek whispered urgently
Derek behind the captain and crouched low so he wouldn't be within Odette's sight, the young princess finally arrived at the castle gate and gazed around the area.
"Excuse me, have you seen Prince Derek?" Odette asked politely
"No I haven't Princess, perhaps he's in the kitchen. It is around noon, isn't it?" The Captain explained with a joking grin
Odette nodded and rushed off, Derek came out from his hiding spot and hugged the captain's waist.
"Why didn't you say where I was?" Derek asked puzzingly
"Well, I am usually the one who MUST play dress up with Princess Odette. I wouldn't want to see you put through that kind of torture, Prince Derek." The Captain grinned softly
"Thanks! Can you always chase her off like that?" Derek asked eagerly
The Captain laughed out loud and ruffled Derek's hair
"I'm afraid one day, my lord. You'll be the only one left to chase her off." The Captain said softly
The next summer, Derek was eleven years old and refused to come out of his bedroom. Queen Uberta tried for hours to get her son to come and say hello to Odette, she finally gave up and went to greet William and Odette.
"Oh dear King William...I fear that Derek has a bit of jitters today, perhaps you two should return on a summer's day that is more convienet." Uberta chuckled nervously.
"If I may, my lady. Perhaps I can talk with the Prince and get him to speak to her?" The Captain suggested.
"Oh yes, please do try." Uberta said eagerly.
The Captain dismounted his horse and went inside the castle, he went to Derek's bedchamber door and knocked on it once.
"Prince Derek?" The Captain called out.
"I WON'T see her." Derek yelled.
The Captain sighed and entered the room, Derek was using a picture of Odette as target practice.
"Derek..." The Captain began
He sat on the bed and pointed it out a seat to Derek, the young prince sighed and sat next to him.
"When I was a lad, I could not tolerate young ladies let alone face the fact that I would marry one of them. I was known to tease girls and run away every time they'd come near me, and how I hated the idea of my parents pushing me to actually love a lady. Still...When I was nineteen or so, I met Celia and I loved her. I loved her more than my own words could express. You are going through a phase, your Majesty. I assure you that it will pass."
"What if it never does and I'm stuck getting married to a girl I can't even stand to be around?" Derek asked.
"Believe me, I would never let that happen. Both you and Odette deserve equal happiness and if you are not happy with each other in let's say....nine years. Then I will personally request that William and Uberta call off the idea of an arranged marriage." The Captain suggested.
"I swear on my life." The Captain vowed.
Derek hugged his neck, The Captain returned the hug.
"...but you must come downstairs and say hello to Odette. Get to know her, for my sake."
Derek nodded in agreement, The Captain rose from the bed and pointed to his back. Derek smiled and hopped on it, The Captain paraded like a horse all the way down to the drawbridge. He let Derek off his back and pushed him forward.
"Say hello." The Captain whispered.
Derek greeted Odette, the Captain watched with a smile. He knew Derek and Odette would fall in love, only problem was he never knew how long it would take. Or even if he would live to see the day.