My Prince Must Come on a White Horse

There was a legend; a tale as old as time itself.

About a beautiful princess kidnapped from her kingdom by a dastardly dragon and locked away in a tower and a knight in shining armor, who rode up to the her prison on top of his white horse and called out before her open window.

“Hark, princess! My name is Ascot Brickenden, and I am here to return you to the kingdom.”

A girl no older than nineteen years of age peered down from the balcony, her fair locks brushing against her shoulders. The knight’s eyes locked with her own azure ones and he his muscles strained under the tension.

Alice’s pink lips parted and her melodious voice fell out.

“Too tall.”

Ascot’s face fell under the weight of his disappointment.

“Milady, please‒”

“I said too tall! Guards, take him away!”

Two burly men wearing full body armor with the emblem of the royal family ingrained into their breastplate seized the young knight by his arm and escorted him off into the forest.

“Next!”

The lengthy line of knights in sterling armor moved forwards, and the next man on his white mare came forwards.

Ever since she had been kidnapped by that ophidian beast five years ago, Alice Albray had gone through the same routine day in and day out. There had been several knights who came to rescue her, but she had rejected each and every one of them. The situation had become so prolonged that the dragon holding her hostage had long since perished. She could have returned to her home at any time, but she refused to leave without her hero. Thus, the king sent guards to speed up the process of his daughter’s daring demands.

You see, Alice Albray had a certain criteria that need to be met before she would allow a knight to rescue her. Her hero would be handsome, herculean man with sterling silver armor, riding upon a milky mare so white that it would blind her.

It had become common knowledge among the potential suitors that Princess Alice Albray would not accept anybody who fell even an inch short of her standards. So one could imagine her bafflement when someone came to her in rusted chain mail and riding on top of soot-stained a brown mule.

She could not help but laugh.

“And who might you be?” She greeted in a condescending manner.

The scrawny man attempted to remove his helmet, but it was so rusted that it snagged his frizzy, ginger hair.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

Alice cackled when his voice cracked in the middle of his sentence.

“Just leave.”

Arthur’s eyes widened in bewilderment.

“But why?”

Alice shot him a disgusted look.

“To simply name one? Your acne.”

She pointed to the inflamed pores.

Arthur’s pasty hands timidly brushed his cheeks, as if confirming that her statement was, indeed, true.

“You are nothing more than a lame commoner who does not know their place. Guards, take him away!”

As Arthur was dragged by his elbows into the forest, Alice could not help but notice that his gaze was not broken like the others who have failed before him.

Rather, they did not break eye contact until he was disappeared by the forestry.

Arthur Nash was only person Alice had rejected to return the next day.

His armor was still rusted and his mule was still filthy, but as he took of his helmet, Alice could discern small scabs littering his sallow skin.

He had tried to forcibly remove his blemishes.

Alice found her voice stolen by her shock as Arthur began to recite his monologue.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

As her disbelief began to ebb away and as she came to the realization that this was indeed reality and not some horrifying nightmare, she became appalled.

“I rejected you yesterday! How dare you return to me today!”

“You rejected me for my acne, and I have fixed the problem.”

She scoffed.

“I rejected you for many reason; acne was simply one of them. If you truly want me to name another one…”

She paused for a moment before a sinister smile stretched on her face.

“Too pale.”

“Pale?” Arthur stuttered out. “How am I supposed to fix that?”

“That is none of my concern,” she declared. “Guards, take him away!”

As she observed Arthur being removed from the premises, Alice could not help but praise herself for her ingenious idea. She had purposely chosen something that the fool could not change to demolish what little hope he though he had with her.

And though she was completely confident in her plan, she squirmed in discomfort as a little seed of uneasiness was planted in her heart. For when she stared into Arthur’s glare, his brown eyes flared with determination.

It was midday when he came again.

And had it not been for his filthy mule, she would not had been able to identify him.

With each movement Arthur made to hoist himself off of his steed, his face contorted in agony and he waddled underneath her balcony.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

“Wha…what on Earth happened to you!?”

Before her eyes stood an inflamed Arthur whose skin was now reminiscent to that of a cherry’s and flaked off of him with every motion made.

“I spent the remainder of the day sweltering under the intense heat of the sun. Though my skin is slight sun kissed,” He winced as he craned his neck up to lock eyes with her. “I am no longer pasty, am I not?”

“There…there are still other problems with you!” Alice hastily blurted out, unnerved with his persistence.

“What do you have in mind?”

Arthur visited her every single day for the next three months. No matter what she said, no matter what she did, the next morning the man was standing underneath her windowsill, reciting the same line.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

She had dived into the depth of her imagination for reasons to reject him, but for each and every one he had response.

“You are too short.”

Arthur stumbled about, wearing boots with five inch heels.

“You are too scrawny.”

Arthur shoved wool into his sleeves to inflate his arms.

“You are too pubescent.”

Arthur had stuck locks of hair to his upper lip.

It had gotten to the point where Alice could no longer pay attention to the knight before her. Rather, she would seek out Arthur in the line, estimating the time she had left until her impending doom.

That fool was keeping her from her future husband!

Grumbling to herself, she watched with a mixture of hatred and dread sunk into her stomach as the man in question approached.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

She cried out in exasperation as she cradled her head in her arms.

“Just go away!”

“Not until you give me a response.”

“No! Never! I will never accept you!”

“Why?”

“Because I said so!”

“I will not leave here without a valid reason.”

She let out a scream of agony.

“It is because of your mule!”

For once, Arthur faltered in his response.

“M-my mule?”

Alice spared a glance downwards and noticed that Arthur was unnerved.

A smirk stretched across of her face.

“Yes, your mule! It is the most horrendous creature I have ever laid my eyes on!”

Arthur opened his mouth in an effort to speak, but Alice would not allow him retort.

“Just look at it! Yellowing teeth, matted fur the color of feces; it is truly disgusting!”

The princess ordered for her guards to escort him and the flea-ridden beast off of the premises. However, she could not help but notice that Arthur no longer held her gaze like he did when he was rejected before. Rather, his eyes were casted to the ground, as she could have sworn she saw a drop descend from his face and onto the dirt.

Arthur Nash did not come to her tower the the next day.

Or for the rest of the week.

Or for the remainder of the month.

And Alice was furious.

How dare that wretched plebeian have the audacity to leave her, the one and only Princess Alice, waiting? Just who did he think he was?

Alice mumbled the phrases under her breath as she searched for the rusty tin in the sea of shining sea of silver.

She was so eager to see him (Not because she liked him, heavens no! She just wanted to chew him out and see the pitiful face he made when she denied him for the fifty-fifth time) that she no longer bothered to listen to the speeches of the other men. She spurned them immediately without so much as a second glance.

However, one man whom she had instantly declined was offended at her rude rejection. Little did she know, but this man was an extremely prideful prince from a powerful country in the East.

And he did not like being told “no”.

“You wretched tramp.”

The chattering amongst the crowd fell to absolute silence at this prince’s slanderous comment.

Alice eyes widened. Never before had anyone ever insulted her.

“Excuse me?”

“I do not believe I faltered.” He glared at her, and the normally defiant princess who would not stand to be ridiculed found herself paralyzed under his vipery glare.

“You are a wretched tramp who cannot see a good husband even when he was standing before you. You have been trapped in that tower for how long, rejecting how many decent men? It is truly pathetic. You are not even that pretty.”

The mass of people before her murmured in agreement, and one lone voice amidst the crowd cried out “Alice the tramp!”

Another voice joined in the jeering, and another, until even the wind seemed to be chanting “Alice the tramp.”

She opened her mouth to demand them to stop, but her throat tightened and all that could be let out was an unassertive squeak.

She tilted her head down, unable to find the pride or dignity to look over the crowd.

“Alice the tramp!”

“Alice the tramp!”

“Alice the tra‒”

“SHUT YOUR VILE MOUTHS!”

Alice whipped her head up and scoured the crowd. It could not be possible. Could it really be him?

A scrawny, pale man with an acne scarred face rode forwards on his filthy, flea-ridden mule. And for a reason Alice could not put into words, she was overwhelmed with joy.

“The lot of you are the most barbaric people I have ever met! No wonder she does not wish to return with you if this is how you treat her when she says ‘no.’

The Eastern prince scoffed. “And who might you be?”

“My name is Arthur Nash and I am here to return Princess Alice to the kingdom.”

“You? You are nothing more than a lame commoner who does not know their place.”

“Do not dare call him that!”

Everyone, including Alice, were utterly dumbfounded by the princess’ outburst. Though she did not know what to make of the emotions brewing in her stomach, she did not risk stopping the words that flowed from her lips.

“Only I can call him that! Only I can ridicule him, and insult him, and put him down. Only I can tell him that he’s scrawny, or pale, or ugly. Only I can send him away, day after day. Only I can do that because I know he will return to me the next day!”

Everything and everyone was silent. The wind stopped roaring, the leaves stopped rustling, and the men stopped chanting. Except for one man. One man who came to Alice a commoner riding a mule in rusted armor.

“My name is Arthur Nash, and I am here to return you to the kingdom, Princess Alice.”

Alice gave her first sincere smile since she had been locked in her tower. “I would love to return with you, Arthur Nash.”

And as her fingers interlocked with his and they rode into a sunset where the orange flushed faded into an indigo hue, she could not help feel that, although it was not a prince in sterling armor or a white horse, that this was her happily every after.  

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