There are days I believe I am a stranger to myself. And then I wake up and realize it's the truth and the only logical explanation for why I am about to duel a royal champion for permission to request the hand of lovely Princess Misha. In the twenty-first century.
I must be dreaming.
The sound of a metal visor assures me I am not. However do I end up in these circumstances?
Oh yes. Royal law. All princes to inherit the throne must be married by their twenty-sixth birthday.
Mine is just a month away, which why I went off to find "Misha" a dear childhood friend, in hopes she is still single. I hadn't expected a challenge before requesting her hand.
"Ready, Prince Damen?" Nadav's voice cuts through my mental turmoil. My dearest friend and advisor, he'd volunteered to help me suit up.
The duel was to take place with modern rapiers in the traditional white pajama suit, for the duel to be halted at sight of first blood in case someone forgot to block.
I thought all of this had gone out centuries ago. I guess I was wrong.
"Thanks, Nadav." I feel him move back, watching as I stand.
Looking in the mirror proves that I look as ridiculous as I feel. My visor was is crooked and wearing billowing white pajamas doesn't improve anything.
I took fencing lessons for five years, I'd like to think I could at least look the part.
Nadav escorted me out to the freshly cut front lawn. My opponent stood on one end near a stone fountain, rapier drawn and held in the rest position.
A silent duel by request, I wish him luck by a friendly wave and nod. I am glad when the duel is called to order and I don't have to think about my opponent's lack of manners.
It was over in a matter of minutes.
Despite my initial expectation to be occupied for at least a half hour, it was couldn't have been more than five minutes before I was unarmed.
A cold, sharp point pressed lightly to my throat.
I held up both hands to signal defeat, relieved when the point was lowered.
I retrieved and sheathed my rapier when a crash caused me to turn and see my opponent sprawled flat on the ground.
In spite of my bruised pride, I automatically respond according to my royal upbringing, by dashing to forward and offering a hand.
"Are you all right?" The question is an understatement as my hand is accepted by a mud and grass stained figure.
Nadav presses a clean kerchief into my open hand and I offer it to a lovely pair of violet eyes.
Princess Misha herself. A mischievous smile; framed by dancing black curls as she tugs off her hand guards.
"Misha?" I stare as she takes the kerchief and dabs at spot of dirt on her wrist. There is a new glow about her. "How-wha?"
Laughter spills out as she hands off her visor and rapier, accepting a plate of sliced lemon. "You passed. Would you care to stay for dinner?" She offers the plate. "And possibly breakfast?"
Gingerly biting the sour gift, I find the tartness refreshing. "Consider both accepted. What was the test?"
The smile wavered. "You helped me up. Out of twenty suitors, you are the only one who helped me when I fell."
The understanding dawned with a familiar proverb. "The one who helps you up will help you for the rest of your life-"
"And the one who pushes you down will push you past time's end." Misha finished. Her features schooled themselves serious. "I will gladly marry you if you will have me, Prince Damen. Any man that can reach past his bruised pride, to help the very one who brusied it, that is something I seek in my future husband."
Shared memories ease the silence until I offer my arm. "I never quite forgot you, Misha. That's why I came here firstI didn't realize you'd changed though."
"Changed?" Misha paused.
I smiled around the wedge of lemon. "You truly believe now, I can see it. That's why I came here first. He costs everything. He is worth the price." I squeezed her hand gently. "A virtuous wife is worth more than rubies. You're worth the price."
Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words. www.fictionfusion.blogspot.com