PREVIOUSLY: For the Love Challenge, Princess Yanyu whisked Chase away to the capital of her kingdom. Now, how will Princess Charming’s team fare? Find out who she chooses to woo!
Mer’s Illusion: Who do you plan on choosing as your date, Charming?
[The others note with slight amusement at the faint coloring of Charming’s cheeks at the question.]
Princess Charming: Well, I suppose maybe Night.
Prince Snow: The dangerous, rebellious type? Hm. I’m not surprised.
[Princess Charming pointedly ignores Prince Snow’s comment and teasing grin.]
Princess Charming: Is everyone fine with this arrangement? If so, I will go ahead and inform the hosts of our choices.
Prince Zel: W-wait. Have you planned the date yet? Where do you plan on taking him?
Princess Charming: I have some ideas. You’ll find out soon enough.
[Smiling secretively, Princess Charming walks away from the group. For a brief moment, her footsteps falter when she remembers Ambrosia’s warning, but she shrugs it off and puts on her best smile as she approaches the hosts.
She curtsies, her gaze sweeping over the hosts before settling on Night. She smooths a crease in her dress almost nervously — a surprisingly timid gesture from this usually overly confident princess who charges head on into everything.]
Princess Charming: My greetings. I hope we haven’t kept you waiting for too long. We have made our decision. I will be taking part in this challenge on behalf of my team, and…
[Princess Charming pauses before continuing, an inviting smile tugging at her lips.]
Princess Charming: Would you like to go on a date with me, Night?
[There’s a twinkle in Night’s eye again and a broader smile on his lips, almost victorious.]
Night: I thought you’d never ask.
[Princess Charming visibly relaxes, and she beams back at him with a hint of flirtatiousness.]
Princess Charming: Were you waiting for me to?
Night: Just for you to make up your mind.
[She laughs, then winks at him playfully.]
Princess Charming: Was there ever any doubt that if I were the one taking part in this challenge, I’d choose you as my date?
Night: Who knows? You might like playing hard to get.
Princess Charming: Hmm? Do I look like I’d be that type? In that case, come and get me then.
[With another wink, Princess Charming turns and walks towards the room.
Her hand rests on the door knob, hesitating for a brief moment before she pushes it open and enters the room.
The chamber is mildly lit as if by some internal light. You might even think it’s the walls themselves that are glowing, like they’re made from some illuminative crystal. In the corner of the room, a sleek silver panel sits in the shadows.
She blinks at the unfamiliar environment, then shrugs.]
Princess Charming: Let’s see… How does this work? They did call it room of illusions, so I assume it will work the same way as illusion magic in our world. Let me just imagine something to test it…
[Her eyes flutter shut as she concentrates on the magic deep within her and the image painted in her mind. When she opens her eyes, the room is transformed into her bedchamber in her castle, causing her to smile in satisfaction. However, she can feel her energy draining as she tries to keep up an illusion of this magnitude.]
Princess Charming: Ugh. I must have used more magic than I thought when I was making those food… Or maybe it’s something about this world. My magic energy gets drained so much faster somehow. How am I going to keep this up for the entire date?
[Striding into the room, Night takes one look around the foreign walls, his expression seemingly clear of any surprise, and then smiles at her.]
Night: What are you doing?
[Startled, Princess Charming’s concentration wavers, and the illusion drops, returning the room to its original state.]
Princess Charming: Setting up for our date, of course.
Night: Come here.
[Nodding his head towards the panel nested in the corner, he begins to walk towards it with long steps. Staring after him curiously, she follows after a brief moment of hesitation.]
Princess Charming: What is it?
[He holds out his hand to her with his palm faced outward.]
Night: Give me your hand. I’ll show you how to use the room.
Princess Charming: Holding my hand already before our courting has already begun? How bold.
[Princess Charming smiles to show that she is simply teasing and places her hand on Night’s palm.
Folding his fingers over hers, he draws her closer, guiding her in front of the panel. He moves to stand behind her and, with his chest nearly touching her back, eases her hand onto the cold silver. When he leans down and speaks in a lowered voice, she just might feel his breath warm her ear.]
Night: Now, think about where you want to take me.
[Her cheeks unwillingly heating up, she tries to ignore his proximity and peers down curiously at the object in front of her. There’s a look of doubt on her face, but nevertheless, she closes her eyes and does as she was told.]
Night: Take a look, Princess.
[She peeks through her lashes at the room and notes the transformed surroundings with surprise. Looking around with wide eyes, she barely notices Night removing his hand from hers as she studies the room with unrestrained curiosity.]
Princess Charming: How did it do that? I didn’t use any magic. Is this… object magical? This is most interesting indeed. I wonder if I’d be allowed to take one of these things home with me?
[Night lets out a low chuckle.]
Night: I wouldn’t mind, but Alexandrite probably wouldn’t like that. You can ask, though.
[He glances at the console, taking a moment to consider it.]
Night: I think it was one of our kinsmen who made it capable of doing all this. But we don’t call our abilities ‘magic’ where we come from.
Princess Charming: Hm. I suppose there’s no harm in asking. Nicholl would pass out from excitement at this strange object that can create illusions just like we can with our magic.
[She eyes the room again with blatant curiosity before smiling at Night.]
Princess Charming: My apologies. I got distracted by this new discovery. Shall we get our date underway?
Night: Whenever you’re ready.
Princess Charming: Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Here goes nothing.
[Pressing her hand on the panel again, she closes her eyes and imagines. When she can feel a gentle breeze touching her hair, she smiles in satisfaction and wonder.]
Princess Charming: Ah, this is even more realistic than I thought it would be.
[She turns to observe the room. They are now standing on a grassy hilltop, an endless blue sky stretching before them.]
Princess Charming: Not bad. Almost exactly as I imagined it. Well then, Night, are you ready for the time of your life?
[Without waiting for an answer, she whistles loudly. Almost immediately, there comes a loud flapping of wings and a giant gust of wind that threatens to sweep them off their feet. Princess Charming can hardly restrain her excitement as she waits, practically bouncing in place.
Night turns his head in the direction of that ominous sound and, at the sight of a silvery blue dragon, folds his arms across his chest. You might say he looks impressed.]
Night: Well, this is unexpected. Something tells me you’re just getting started.
Princess Charming: Of course. You’re in for more surprises.
[The dragon lands in front of them, shaking the ground. Princess Charming has to grab Night’s shoulder to steady herself for a moment.
The dragon’s head bows as it crouches low, waiting.]
Princess Charming: Come on!
[Grabbing Night’s hand, she pulls him towards the dragon.]
Night: You’re the boss.
[He lets her take the lead, amusement clear on his face.]
Princess Charming: Climb on.
[Placing her hands on the dragon’s back, she once again marvels at the quality of this illusion as she can almost feel the dragon’s scales scratching against her palms. She heaves herself onto the dragon’s back, shifting into a more comfortable position.
He follows suit, pressing one hand against the side of the dragon and lifting himself into the spot behind her with ease. He slides his arms around her waist, as one would have done on horseback.]
Night: So, where to?
Princess Charming: You’ll see! Don’t worry about it for now. Just enjoy the ride!
[Almost on cue, as soon as the dragon hears the word “ride”, it flaps its great wings once and rises into the air. Taken by surprise, Princess Charming gives a loud squeal and grabs at the dragon scales as she almost slides off the dragon’s back. Thankfully, with Night holding her from behind, she manages to regain her balance quickly and bursts out laughing.]
Princess Charming: Wow. Riding a dragon is harder than I thought. I’m really glad this is an illusion, so I can’t fall to my death at least.
[At the dragon’s sudden flight, one might have noticed that Night’s arm had tightened around her waist and his smile had grown, which was more than evident in his voice.]
Night: Yes. But without a little danger, it may not be as fun.
Princess Charming: A daredevil, huh? I’m glad I picked the one with a sense of adventure.
[A mischievous smile crosses Princess Charming’s face as her eyes light up in excitement.]
Princess Charming: In fact, I just got the most wonderful idea of what we should do next. But I suppose I am getting ahead of myself. I promised a dragon ride, and this is what we shall enjoy for now.
Night: As you wish. But let’s take it up a step.
[He unfolds his arms from her waist to settle her hands over hers.]
Night: Do you trust me?
[Princess Charming pauses, as though thinking the question over seriously.]
Princess Charming: Yes. Surprisingly, I already do.
[He begins to ease her fingers off the dragon’s scales, lifting them up and outwards until her arms were spread out.]
Night: Then, let yourself go.
[There’s a brief moment where Princess Charming closes her eyes with a look of slight panic, wobbling on the back of the moving dragon. Almost unthinkingly, she leans back further against Night, using his steady presence to balance herself. Feeling strangely comforted, she finally does as she was told and opens her eyes. An exhilarated laugh escapes her, as she gives herself up to the enticing excitement, the adrenaline pumping through her veins.]
Princess Charming: This is amazing!
[Chuckling, Night trails his fingers down the length of her left arm before bracing her waist in his steadying embrace once more. He lowers his head beside her ear, and when he speaks, his breaths graze her skin ever so softly.]
Night: Try telling the dragon to move faster.
Princess Charming: Do I just… say it out loud? Or do I imagine it like I did earlier?
Night: Say it.
[Feeling slightly foolish, she clears her throat and speaks to the air.]
Princess Charming: Dragon, fly as fast as you can.
[Immediately, the flapping of the dragon’s wings starts increasing in speed. The wind blowing around them becomes stronger until Princess Charming is forced to close her eyes, ducking her head slightly.]
Princess Charming: Uhhh. I have a bad feeling about this.
[The dragon’s wings start flapping furiously until she swears it’s nothing but a blur, and they shoot forward at a breakneck speed. Princess Charming squeals loudly as her hands instantly fly to the dragon’s back, clutching at the scales for dear life.
Despite having to shut his eyes against the gust, Night holds his head up high, seeming to relish the blast of wind whipping past them, and he gives a small laugh.]
Princess Charming: I know it’s impossible to die in an illusion, but… dragon! Stop! I didn’t mean this fa–
[As soon as she utters the word “stop”, the dragon’s wings cease their frantic flapping. The dragon comes to a sudden halt, hanging in midair motionlessly.
Princess Charming’s sentence ends in a scream as the passengers are thrown right off the dragon’s back from the abrupt stop. Loud unladylike curses which would undoubtedly earn her a lecture back at home escape her mouth as she falls. They make Night smile at her in the air.]
Princess Charming: Dragon! Catc–
[Her order is interrupted by a splash as she finds herself submerged in water, having landed in the middle of the ocean. Kicking her feet, her head breaks the surface, and she gasps for breath.
Not a few seconds later, Night follows suit, coming up a few feet away from her, but as soon as he draws in enough air, he throws out another soft laugh.]
Night: Just as planned?
[Charming blinks at him before throwing her head back in laughter.]
Princess Charming: Would that save the date if I say yes?
Night: If you ask me, the best things happen when you least expect them.
[He looks around at the miles of ocean surrounding them.]
Night: Normally, I would suggest that we explore under the sea, but I’m not supposed to be the one calling the shots here. Our next move, Your Highness?
Princess Charming: Well, I do like the idea of exploring under the sea. I did originally have a plan for our date, but the plans have been botched anyway by my unskilled commanding of the dragon. Why don’t we just go with the flow and see where things lead us?
Night: In that case…
[He holds out a hand to her, his palm faced outwards.]
Night: Shall we?
[She smiles and places her hand in his.]
Princess Charming: Let’s go.
[Curling his fingers over hers, he slips beneath the water with her. The water continuously increases in shades of darkness as they dive down deeper. Bubbles trail after them as they swim, attracting the attention of various small, colorful fish.
After a minute or two, Charming finds herself running out of breath. Glancing back at her, Night inclines his head towards the surface.
Shaking her head, Charming smiles with confidence. Her eyes fluttering shut, she holds out her hand. For a moment, nothing seems to happen, but then the water around them seems to barely shimmer. Charming breathes in gingerly, testing the results of her magic. Her grin widens as she holds up a thumbs up to Night.
He inhales and, feeling no water rush into his lungs, gives a small chuckle.]
Night: You’re equipped for every situation, it seems.
Princess Charming: Of course. What kind of princess would I be otherwise?
Night: Well then…
[He moves to settle his other hand on the small of her back.]
Night: May I have this dance, Princess?
[A smile tugs at the corner of her lips as she peers up at him coyly.]
Princess Charming: Underwater dancing? My, this is a first. I would be very honored.
[She moves her hand to his shoulder and shifts a little closer to him. He begins to whirl her through the water, leading her in a dance much like the waltz. Amidst the periodic swirl of glistening bubbles, Night’s gaze remains locked on hers.
She seems to be enjoying herself greatly as she twirls with vigor, her eyes dancing in delight and a bright smile stretching from ear to ear.]
Princess Charming: You know, I’ve grown tired of dancing because of the countless exhaustingly boring dancing lessons and balls I’ve been to, but this dance has certainly reignited my interest.
Night: Has it? Then, what do you say we make it more interesting?
[He bends his head towards her and lowers his voice a notch, taking on a tone of intimacy.]
Night: Tell me something. Have you ever been kissed underwater before?
[An expression of shock crosses her face before she composes herself. Her cheeks color slightly as she tilts her head up at him and winks, a flirtatious smile tugging at her lips and a humorous glint in her eyes.]
Princess Charming: Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve had the experience. Most suitors seem to be too terrified of me — or rather what I can do to them with my magic — to steal kisses from me on dry land where they can run away, let alone underwater.
Night: That would imply they were unwanted.
Princess Charming: Are you implying yours wouldn’t be unwanted?
Night: Are you trying to say they would be?
[She purses her lips with a solemn expression as though deep in thought about his question, but the teasing twinkle in her eyes give her away.]
Princess Charming: Why don’t you come and find out?
[Shooting him a smirk, she twirls out of his grasp elegantly before turning back to peek at his face to gauge his reaction. At that precise moment, he lunges forward, lacing an arm around her waist and cupping her chin to bring her lips to his.
Taken aback, she lets out a gasp against his lips. His mouth is firm on hers, yet softer than she expected. Her hands seem to have found their way into his hair of their own accord, and before Charming even knows what she’s doing, she’s pulling him closer, melting into the kiss.]
[When Night returns to the other hosts, Wildfire lets out a low whistle.]
Wildfire: Way to score at the end of the date.
Night: You make things sound so dirty.
Wildfire: What’d I say? Maybe you just have a filthy mind.
Arsenik: You’re both making it difficult to ask for his rating now.
Wildfire: Why? It’s not like he really scored. The loser.
Night: First, you give me a pat on the back, and then, you put me down for it. Make up your mind, Wildfire.
Ambrosia: If you’re hoping he will rate her with respect, Sir Arsenik, I don’t believe that’s possible for him.
Night: Ouch. You always think so badly of me, Ambrosia.
Wildfire: So, did you have a good time or what?
Night: Hmm…it was certainly different. I’ll give it 3 and a 1/2 stars. As for my interest in her, 4 stars. I would like to see her again. Heh, you look so foreboding, Ambrosia.
Ambrosia: I wonder why. Let us proceed to the next one.
Night: So eager. I like it.
Date’s interest: 4
Date’s satisfaction: 3 1/2
The Lads in Distress team’s overall score for now is 7 1/2.
Oh, yeah, did that date sizzle or what? If it made your heart beat, be sure to vote for Princess Charming at the end of this Love Challenge.