Chukker

“His Majesty, the King, is very close with His Highness, Prince Lelouch.”

The princess sat quietly as she looked forward and pretended she was too absorbed to overhear the two ladies speaking to one another.

I’ve never really understood why, but the second prince is the favorite, and that is how he came to play polo so enthusiastically over the years as it used to be His Majesty’s favored pastime. Which brings us to sit out here on this utterly dreadful day, watching this nasty little game.”

She frowned. She would have turned around and said something, but from the voice, she knew that it was the Duchess of Canterbury, the wife of the minister of foreign affairs and infamous favorite of Her Majesty, the Queen herself, at the gentlest slight, could very well have a hand in the downfall of the monarchy. Or at least damage their reputation. Ruffled, she restlessly tapped her silk fan into her gloved hand, trying her best to pay attention to the game unfolding before her. She may be a princess of the Court, but she had yet to gather any real influence or backing. Dealing with the wrong person in the wrong manner would reflect poorly not on only herself but all involved with her; her new family included.

She had heard of this game called polo that her husband enjoyed, but she had never seen it until now. Of course, now and then again, she had seen the gleaming horses and the prince in his high boots and white clothes. But that had been it until now.

Fanning herself, she watched as he galloped across the large field at breakneck speed before swinging his mallet and sending the ball beyond the two posts waiting at the end. There was polite applause, and she watched as the horses and their players separated from the tight clump they had formed around the ball. Her husband, speaking to one of the nobles on his team, glanced up and met her eyes. He smiled and nodded, and she flushed, grateful for the cool air of her fan.

Comforting herself with the thought of how he had personally invited her to spectate, she quietly watched and enjoyed herself. Hopefully her husband would emerge victorious; the tide seemed to be in his favor, thanks to his skill. But even if he didn’t, that was alright too. It was just a game. Nothing to lose your temper over, unlike what some men prescribed to.

It hadn’t escaped her that the Duke of Canterbury had nearly killed one of his servants after throwing a mallet at him out of rage. She had had the grace not to make her notice obvious, but he had been screaming loud enough for her to hear, and what she had heard furthered her decision that the duchy of Canterbury was a place of rot and evil. Even now she could see His Grace closing in on her husband, the length of his mallet interfering with that of her husband’s as he drew closer and closer until there was barely any space between them and then–!!

Amidst screams of terror, the princess rose and, gathering her dress in her arms, ran onto the field and refused to stop running, no matter how undignified it was, until she had knelt by her husband’s side and held his head in her lap.

“Oh, my God.” Tears in her eyes, she searched him for any signs of imminent death. Covering the lower half of her face with her hands, she looked behind her as servants and nobles and even the King himself rushed towards her. Wheezing and groaning, he gasped for breath. “Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.”

“I’m quite alright. There’s no need to call for God, my love.” So frantic with terror was she that she didn’t even notice his address. Struggling up, he kept heaving for air. “I’ll be alright. Just took a hard fall is all. Will you be so kind as to help me up? I’m finding it somewhat difficult as if something is pressing down on my chest.”

Taking his arm and holding his waist, she shouldered him, when he cried out and nearly toppled back onto the ground. She knelt on the ground. He tried to smile through obviously excruciating pain.

“I suppose I had one too many biscuits.”

“I think your jokes are horrible.”

“I know you do,” he said softly. “But you’ll still love me anyway, won’t you?”

She nodded through her tears, and he wiped her tears away. “I’m glad the feeling is mutual.”

And then the crowd of bickering, screaming, and fainting blue-bloods carried her husband away, leaving her with her tears and the love of her husband.

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One thought on “Chukker

  1. Sean O'Brien says:

    I almost have to imagine the Duchess is being so loud about it is because she’s either trying to goad C.C., doesn’t care to make her displeasure known given her standing, or both. You can just hear the uppity tone in her voice that makes any sensible person want to roll their eyes. C.C. does seem to have learned pretty well about not snapping and keeping her composure, which is probably more than can be said for the Duchess. I’d imagine that was somewhat instilled even before she came to the country to be wed.

    The fourth paragraph where she surmises it’s the Duchess reads strangely to me when she says who she is and that she’s the favorite of the queen. The part with “gentlest slight” feels like it could be part of a new sentence or something as I’m not entirely sure if she’s talking about the Queen or the Duchess with that line.

    I confess I know little of the game though the idea that Lelouch has a sport he likes to regularly engage in amuses me quite a bit. It makes sense of course that one of royalty with no health deficiencies would do such a thing, but the concept with someone often pegged for a lack of physical ability is always a small amusement for me. No surprise he would invite C.C. as besides probably hoping to impress her with his skills, I’d think he’d like her to see what he does and not be cooped up by herself in the castle.

    Funny that the Duke provides an example of someone who is taking this all way to seriously right after she thinks about that fact. I wonder how evil a place Canterbury actually is or if they’ve simply been cursed with a bad pair for Duke and Duchess.

    It’s not said directly but I can only surmise that the Duke struck with mallet causing Lelouch to fall from his horse. He must have been a mess too for her to think him possibly dead though it could have also just been the shock of seeing him struck so. It’s a good tactic to try to ease her down, and himself as well I imagine, with a bit of deflecting humor even after that bit of pain from trying to stand on a broken leg. And that it leads to that little declaration of love is very sweet despite the circumstances.

    But man the Duke is an ill-tempered idiot.

    Thank you 🙂

    Like

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