The Bride's Groom Chapter 1

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My name is Albell Sentnaria. I am a 4th generation boy of the famed Sentnaria merchant family. Unlike other merchant families, my family is incredibly poor. So when someone of high birth offered a large sum to my family in exchange for marrying me to his child, my family jumped at the chance.

Now here's my dilemma. I'm betrothed to the prince of the kingdom, who has a weird taste in brides. Depending on how I seduce him, I will either have him as my bride or he will have me as his bride. To make matters worse, I will have to seduce him, who will be crossdressing as the princess of the kingdom while crossdressing myself as a young girl. Why me?!!!

The Bride's Groom Chapter 1
A tale of crossdressing love between two straight boys.


By Shinieris

Once upon a time, there was a king and queen, strong and wise, ruling over the small kingdom of Jusinaff. They had a prince, whose strength was envied by men far and wide and a princess whose beauty was unrivalled in lands far and wide. Together with the council of nobles, they commanded respect from even kingdoms thrice their size.

However, this story isn't about the king, the queen, the prince, the princess or even their dogs. This story happens far far in the future. About 200 years roughly, or 227 years to be exact, in the reign of King Tacki the Bleeder. This story is of a merchant's boy named Albell and his bethrothed Prince Cole. This is a story of how they put each other down before the date of the wedding.

Good day. My name is Albell Sentnaria, 15 years old. I am a 4th generation Sentnaria, a merchant family based in A' Tartima, a port city in the southern region of Jussinaff. My great grandfather, the great Roberys Sentnaria the First, started the family empire that spanned decades. By the time of his death, the name Sentnaria became synonymous with silk trade in Neropa. Unfortunately, his son, my grandfather Roberys Sentnaria the Second squandered his wealth chasing skirts across the continent. His brother, Adolphus Sentnaria wasn't any better. He took took a big chunk of the family's wealth and went off chasing skirts in the opposite direction, across the great sea. The difference was, Adolphus never returned. Meanwhile, instead of trying to save the family wealth, my grandfather ignored our family's crumbling empire and gave his favourite mistress a dining set made of gold.

That prompted my father, Josephus Sentnaria, 12 years old, to kick his own father out of the house. He sent my grandfather to the family mansion deep in the wilderness with a small annual pension, a small staff and ignored him. When my grandfather tried to escape and reach his hidden stash outside the town, my father threw him back in there and erected a tall limestone wall around the mansion. That wall was built as much to keep robbers out as to keep my grandfather in. That was when father truly forgot about grandfather. It didn’t' seem to matter much to our family, as father was blessed with good business acumen from an early age that probably rivalled my great grandfather. He had taught me all he knew about business from the moment I could read and write as well as his personal business philosophy so I wouldn't become like my grandfather. He demonized my grandfather so much that when I was younger, I imagined him to look like a demon from hell who had a hundred naked women on each of his arms and ate ema bills for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have never seen the old man even once in my life, father and mother seemed to think that meeting him even once would corrupt me for my entire life.

That brought me to my mother. Father met her on one of his travels as he attempted to find new business opportunities to revive the family business. He first saw her beating up a pair of thieves who were trying to rob her with her parasol as he was taking a break from a stressful business negotiation. It was love at first sight, or rather, love at first heels. She kicked him and beat him up when he went to talk to her, thinking that he was another thief who was after her money. Mother was from a family of small town crafts, making textiles and selling it in their small shop in the town of Se Alinop. It was after a short period of courtship that they got wedded in a chapel in her hometown. Father took advantage of the fact that mother's family made textiles to expand into the textiles business meant for the commoners. It was a departure from my great grandfather's business strategy that was aimed at only the rich colonial masters and the Neropan populace who grew wealthy from stealing from the natives of the colonies.

His gamble worked. The family business was revived. We no longer had a monopoly on silk trade, but father's good business decisions slowly increased our capital and our reach, allowing even our cotton and flax based textiles to gain acceptance even among the wealthy.

When I was born, both my father and mother stayed still at our mansion in A' Tartima until I was 6. That was about the time when Neropan economy faced a crisis from the open rebellion of their oversea colonies. Due to the rebellion, cheap goods stopped flowing in, gold stopped being shipped to Neropa and our criminals could no longer be taken away. Neropan economy suffered a depression that had not been seen for over 400 years. Our small kingdom of Jussinaff suffered greatly from the rebellions. Before the open rebellion, Jassinaff controlled one of the two biggest colonial territory known to man, rivalled only by the territories of the much bigger Alton. When the rebellion started, Jussinaff had to abandon the farther crown dependencies in favour of saving money to deal with rebellion in the more profitable colonies.

Because of the economic depression, both father and mother had to travel separately, trying to reach as many of our suppliers and retailers as possible. Father even gave mother free reign to make decisions as she saw fit without consulting him. The only time I could see them was when they came home every half-year to compare notes and arrange business planning for the next half-year. So since I was 6, I could only see them twice every year. Sure, they always spoiled me while they were home, but when I was younger, it always felt lonely as my only company were the servants. As I got older though, it started to become less and less lonely. Not having my mother constantly breathing down my neck every single time taught me to be independent and I was more mature than most children my age. Despite that, the days when father and mother came home was always the days that I looked forward to.

That day is today. Mother will arrive later in the evening by carriage. Father will arrive in two more days as he had to finalize a business deal in faraway kingdom of Rostisse. Imagine my surprise when I come home after school and see my mother coming out of her carriage.

“Mother!” I shout as I drop my bag and run towards her.

“Bell,” mother says as she smiles and takes me into her arms. At 15, I am still about a foot shorter than mother, and she has to bend down a little to hug me.

“I thought you will arrive in the evening, mother. How come you’re here early?

“The train ran earlier than scheduled. I was lucky I was already on the train when they departed, otherwise I will arrive tomorrow morning,” mother says as she turns to our house servants, “Please have these delivered to my room, if you please.”

“Of course, Madam,” the servants bow as they start to pick up mother’s luggage one after another.

“Not that,” mother says suddenly as she points at a box that one of the maids is carrying, “Put that in the living room.”

“Ahh, I haven’t seen this place for tens of years,” an elderly man walks out of the carriage, helped by two of the coachman.

“Bell, this is our distant relative from the colonies, please take him to the living room,” mother commands as she turns back and sorts out her remaining luggage.

“Yes mother,” I say to mother’s back as I help hold the elderly distant relative by his left arm, while his other arm holds a walking cane that clicks clacks on the ancient marble floor.

I help the shaking elderly distant relative sit on one of the expensive, ornately carved and generously padded wooden chairs, a remnant of my grandfather’s womanizing ways that my father once debated selling to cover the family debts. I was glad back then when he chose not to sell, as these chairs were very well made and comfier than any chairs I had ever sat on, despite its advanced age. When I see the old man has settled down, I call one of the maids to prepare drinks for us, including mother.

Unlike other merchant families, the only indication of our wealth are our two mansions, our factories that produce silk from silk threads and a section of ports at the town’s harbour as well as the only drydock in A’ Tartima. We have no money, save for those meant for daily household expenses and the pittance we pay our servants. Our daily expenses and worker wages are paid for by rents from ships that use our docks, so if no merchants come to use our facilities, we will be in serious trouble. Our trading business on the other hand does not contribute to our income, as all profit are used directly to pay the businesses and to settle the enormous debts that father took to restart the company. When I was younger, whenever I asked for something fancy, father would scare me by telling me that he needed all the money to pay the debts or the moneylenders would come and sell me away as a slave. Maybe because of that reason, we only have two maids, one cook and two manservants, with father’s friend coming over every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to do the accounts. That friend of father’s, Mr. Jarson, always looked at me in such a way that made my skin crawl, though.

“Oh good, you prepared my hot coco,” mother says as she took a seat next to me, sipping her hot coco once she is settled.

“Before I forget, this is our distant relative from the colonies, Adolphus. He’s here on business with our family.”

“How do you do, sir? I am Albell Sentnaria, son of Josephus Sentnaria.”

“I am feeling better, young man. I never thought I would ever see this house again before I die. How do you do, Albell?”

“I’m fine. Thank you, sir.”

“Very good, very good. You will need your health for the coming days.”

“Uncle!” my mother scolds.

“Excuse me?” I ask, slightly confused by his words.

“I’m sorry. I am getting ahead of myself. Please forgive this old man for being a little too excited,” Adolphus chuckled.

“Mother?” I ask, wishing for an explanation.

“Damned you, Adolphus. I wanted to wait for my husband before we say anything,” mother curses.

“The child deserves to know, Carmina. The earlier he finds out, the more time he will have to make a decision. This concerns him greatly, Carmina.”

“Mother, what’s going on?”

Mother sighs, then she places her hands on mine, “This is a hard thing to say. I’d prefer if we wait until your father comes home.”

“Are we bankrupt?” I ask.

“No.”

“We lost the silk trade entirely?”

“No, we’re still in the running.”

“Your family is pulling out?”

“No, I would’ve beaten them up half to death if they even try to.”

“Father’s dead?” I cover my cheeks with my hand as my mouth forms a long ‘O’.

“No, you idiot son. I just told you he’s coming home! Weren’t you listening?”

“Then what?” I shout, losing my patience.

“You’re getting married!” mother shouts back.

“Pardon?” I ask, not quite understanding how that came to be.

“Let’s just say that someone of very high birth is asking for your hand for his child,” mother states as she brings a small jewellery box of gold and bronze from one of her luggage.

“Mother, I’m not getting married to a girl I don’t even know. Are you even going to show me how she looks like at least?”

“Of course,” mother says as she opens the box and takes out a photograph of a dark haired young girl.

“Ohhh, she’s beautiful. Looks kind of dead, though. Am I really getting married to her?” I ask, a little excited at the prospect of marrying such a beauty. Of course, I will have to meet her a few times before I can decide. What if her face is her only redeeming feature? What if she has a rotten personality? What if this photograph was taken before she became fat?

“That depends,” mother says as she produces another photograph, this time of a young boy with the same coloured hair. They look similar in a way.

“Who’s this?”

“Your possible husband,” she states.

I look at her trying to see if she’s joking. “Sorry mother, you lost me there.”

“They’re both your possible candidates. The boy is Prince Marcus Cole and the girl is Princess Mary Collette.”

“Prince? Princess? Are you pulling my pants, mother?”

“I am not joking. Our king himself asks for your hand to marry his child.”

“Our king? They are our prince and princess?!”

“Correct, didn’t you know?”

“I don’t. I’ve never left this town, remember? So what, do I marry both of them? Or do I pick one?”

“You will only marry one,” mother answers.

“Then I choose the princess!” I say quickly.

“Not so fast, I never said you will be the one to choose, didn’t I?”

“Right… so they will be the one who choose?”

“Correct.”

“Mother, I find it disturbing that you’re allowing a boy and a girl equal right to marry your SON!”

“You don’t need to worry about it. I have thought of marrying you off to a rich old man who will help pay off our family’s debt. So marrying you off to royalty is a nice alternative,” she says with a mean smile.

“Mother???” I say as I push my butt backward, inches by inches. Mother is looking very weird today.

“It’s about time that you do something for the family, Bell. You don’t want to marry old men, do you? So far, I’ve got three proposals from old men, would you prefer those instead?” mother says as she makes a wicked grin.

“Mother, come on. This isn’t funny anymore,” I say as I move back a little further away. Not that it was funny from the start.

“I’m serious, Bell. With those men, I will have to dress you up and make you act like a girl until they die. After which, I expect you to take all their assets and money and bring them home. Of course they know you’re not a girl, so it’s not like we’re trying to cheat them or anything, at least not before they die. But with the royalty’s offer, you at least get the chance to choose between becoming a girl full time or remaining a boy. What you do and how you manipulate matters so that you marry the princess and remain a boy will be entirely at your discretion. The only thing I care about is that you seduce them and you seduce them so well they want to marry you the next day. Do you understand me?!”

“Ye-yes ma’am!”

“Good, now are you going to accept this proposal or not? Don’t worry, it’s purely business. You won’t be expected to fall in love or any of that bullshit.”

“Umm, okay?”

“Good, now open that box,” mother points at wooden box that looks to be a clothes box.

I walk unsteadily towards the box on the other side of the coffee table and sits down on my legs as I open it. I am confused. What does this mean?

“Mother, is this a present for the princess?” I ask as I look at the blue jacket, plait blue short skirt and white shirt inside it.

“No silly. That’s your uniform. You’ll be attending St. Carina’s School for Graceful and Elegant Ladies in the capital.”

“EXCUSE ME!!!? I will be wearing this to school?”

"Correct. You will crossdress as a girl for the duration of your school life from now on.”

“Is this princess bent? Why would she marry a crossdressing boy?”

“That's actually up to you!”

"What do you mean, mother?”

“When this prince was asked to get married, he stated that he will only marry a crossdressing boy.”

“Wait, so if I crossdress, then I marry him?”

“Correct.”

“If I don't crossdress, then I marry her?”

“Correct.”

“Then I'm marrying her!”

“Not that easy.”

"How hard can it be???”

“The prince's father also gave the boy a condition. If he wants a crossdressing bride, he must crossdress as well so that he understands what his bride goes through. Personally, I think the king was just pissed and tried to push the prince to find a bride. I can’t imagine how the king must’ve looked like when the prince accepted. So he'll also be crossdressing as a girl for the duration of his school year. He will graduate first though, being a year older.”

I’m starting to feel something bad coming. "Wait, don't tell me... this gorgeous girl is the prince!?”

“Correct. Though please call her Collette when she's in that form. It will cause a misunderstanding that we would rather not have.”

"I want to commit suicide.”

“Please do so only after we got the monetary reward.”

"What monetary reward?”

“The crown will give me, I mean us, a reward of 6 million ema if you managed to get either Prince Marcus Cole or Princess Mary Collette to marry you before the prince turns 19.”

Ema is the form of currency that is used in Jussinuff. It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 ema banknotes. In the past, one ema equals to a gold coin which was also called ema. When the rebellions started, our king stopped using the gold standard and now one gold coin (called gold ema) equals to six ema. Considering that 1 ema is enough to buy two loaves of long bread, even having 100,000 ema makes a man rich. Our king, who has gone broke from the rebellion, is willing to pay our family 6 million ema? Why do I feel like we’re being scammed?

“Does father know about this?”

“He does. He gives his blessings.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“You don't need to believe it. Just do it.”

“What do I get from this?”

“Why, you get to marry a prince... or a princess. You'll be set for life.”

"Ha ha, I mean it, what do I get from all this?”

"Great gay sex?" mother says with an amused smile.

"Please don't joke about that, mother.”

"You have to admit, it was a funny thought.”

"Seriously, mother. What do I get?"

"A title?"

I growl at her. "I'm gonna run away from home just to spite you, mother."

"Do that and I'll make sure my goons catch you and sell you as a gay slave, your choice,” mother says in a tone that removes all doubt from my mind that she will actually do it.

"Urgh, you don't pull any punches, do you, mother?"

“I believe in tough love, dear son/daughter of mine. As you well know,” she smiles that sinister smile again, one that pretty much foretells a coming doom.

“I want half of the reward, then.”

"Not in your dreams.”

“You got 6 millions, what's wrong with giving me, who's taking all the risks, half of it?”

"You seem to misunderstand. I'm not going to use it for myself like your grandfather did. That money will be used to revive our family empire. It's not nearly enough, but 6 million ema will pay off all our debts.”

“Half, or there won't be any wedding.”

“None, and there will be a wedding whether you like it or not.”

“Then you marry him, mother!”

"I would have, but I'm too old for him.

“You would leave father?”

“He'll understand.”

I don’t even want to imagine it. “Half, or I'll seduce him and we’ll commit lover's suicide the day before the wedding.”

Silence...

“You drive a hard bargain. 2 million ema and not a catty more.”

Catty is another currency we use in Jussinaff. It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 50. It was based on the silver catty, but it had been over a century since it had the same value as its silver counterpart. When the rebellions started, the value of gold skyrocketed while silver remained floating not much higher than its previous average. Nowadays, the value of 100 catty coins (made of tin and nickel) equals to 1 ema note, though when the rebellions just started, 1 ema note equalled 80 catty coins.

“3 million ema.”

“2 million ema.”

“2.8 million ema.”

“2.1 million ema.”

“2.75 million ema.”

“2.15 million ema.”

“Mother, let's just cut the bullshit, shall we? I'm tired of arguing with you. Won’t you rather that I cooperate with this hare-brained scheme of yours? Besides, we both know the crown doesn’t have 6 million ema to give us. So it’s a moot point, isn’t it?”

“Of course they don’t. Any gold they have are being used to suppress the rebellions. It doesn’t matter if they can’t pay, we’ll still profit.”

“No way, what will happen to my part of the reward?”

“You won’t be getting any part of the reward, as I said earlier. However, we will be getting something better,” mother says as she throws a folded piece of paper at me.

I read it silently, going over several lines over and over as my eyes goes wide. “They’re giving us the Karka region if they can’t pay the 6 million ema a month before the wedding?!”

“Yes, Karka region is the easternmost part of the crown overseas territory. It is the home of the spice trade and smack dab in the middle of the silk trade’s water route. We get it, and we control a hell of a lot more than 6 million ema,” mother said, looking very satisfied.

“Wait, why would the crown release such an important region to us? Unless… don’t tell me. This region is under open rebellion!?” I exclaim after realizing that possibility.

The old man Adolphus chuckled after being silent for so long. “He’s a sharp one, this boy. You sure you want to sacrifice him to the crown?”

“You don’t need to worry about the rebellion, dear son. Your father can sell water to dolphins while demanding them to pay in ema. Besides, haven’t I told you how your father managed to buy the ceremonial sword of the King of Arriga at a fair price before selling it back to the king for 6 times the price he bought it the day after? You don’t need to worry about his ability to calm the rebellion, my dear son. By the time you become the prince’s bride, people will call you the Princess of Karka.

“You already have all this planned out, don’t you, mother?”

“Oh yes, I have. Your acceptance of the terms of the proposal was already planned well in advance.”

“Why do you even need to wait until father’s home then, mother?”

“I was hoping that you will blame him for it,” mother says with a grin.

“Fine, I will be your sacrifice. But you will give me my share of 2.5 million ema, mother, if you wish for me to cooperate.”

“Agreed. But you will do your utmost to seduce him in whatever gender he fancies. I don't care if you do it as a boy or a girl.”

“Aren't you worried that the family line will die with me?”

“Not a problem. I'm carrying your little brother or sister.”

“Wait, you're pregnant?”

“Yes, indeed.”

“Is it father's baby?”

“How rude!” she smacks me on the head, “Of course it’s his child!”

“But you never see each other apart from those times twice a year when you come home,” I say as I rub my head.

“We met a few times the past few months. I think this one happened when we met in Dushlan.”

“Well, congratulations then, mother,” I say to her, hugging her at the same time. Suddenly something clicks in my mind. “Mother, isn’t there a law that states that the prince of Jussinaff can’t marry a common girl? The bride must be of noble blood?”

“I was wondering when you would ask that. Of course, such a law exists. That’s what he’s here for,” mother says while pointing at the old man Adolphus.

“Hohoho, judging from your reactions and your confused expression, I assume that you have not yet guessed who I am. My name is Adolphus Sentnaria. I am your grandfather’s younger brother, who ran off with a big chunk of the family wealth. Over the years, I have made quite a name for myself. I am now the Count of Maurice, that small island colony in the south seas.”

“That no good drifter is a count?!”

Mother smacks me on the head. “That’s rude!”

“Hahaha, that’s quite alright. To tell the truth, I am glad that I can still meet the family like this, in the house that I grew up in, no less. It is good to come home at last. I’ve been looking for an heir for my county and my title. I’m so glad I found someone worthy at last.”

“But wait, what will your children think if you suddenly hand the title over to a distant relative?”

The old man Adolphus gives me a sad look as he says, “I do not have any children. An accident that happened during my younger adventuring days rids me of the ability to have children. You and your father are the only two who can inherit the title. Your father refused, though. He said dealing with nobility is bad enough, becoming one of those pompous jackasses will torment his soul forever.”

“Just like father to say that,” I giggle a little, “Well sir, if you have nobody else to inherit the title, then I will gladly take it off your hands. Albell Sentnaria, Count of Maurice, I like that.”

“Unfortunately, you will become Countess of Maurice, my dear Belluca,” mother says as she writes something on a piece of telegram paper.

“Who’s Belluca?” I ask, suddenly feeling cold shivers all over my back.

“You, of course. Your name will be Alya Belluca Sentnaria, Countess of Maurice. When commoners address you, they must address you as My Lady the Countess of Maurice, or Countess Alya of Maurice if the one addressing you is a noble,” mother says as she writes on another piece of telegram paper.

“Mother!” I whine at the injustice.

“We want you to seduce the prince, so it’s only fair that you use your new title to secure a private room at the topmost floor, same floor as the prince.”

“But aren’t private rooms in private schools very expensive, mother? How can we afford it?”

“Don’t worry about that,” mother takes a break from writing and points her quill at grandpa Adolphus, who waves his hand at us, “He’s paying for it. About time he does something for the family after running off with our money. Your weekly allowance will also come from him. It won’t be much, so do try to limit your spending to cute accessories, affordable foods and sexy lingerie only, will you?”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you, mother?”

“I do, very much,” mother says as she puts all the telegram papers into its envelopes and hands all three envelopes to me, “Would you be a dear and make sure these reach the telegram office? Make sure they give you the stamped token. You should never trust anyone entirely.”

*Well, here's my first attempt at writing in present tense. I wonder if it will work. I was told that present tense is great for comedies and things that happens urgently. Do inform me if it fits, will you?
**To tell the truth, I was wondering which to tick under 'TG Themes'. I mean it's a story of two boys who's going to marry each other. But they fall in love while both are wearing girl's clothes. This is a real dilemma.
***To all others who waited for continuation of my other stories. I'm so sorry. I was minding my own business, typing away the next chapter of Escape! when suddenly my computer hanged. Considering that I wrote a damned lot of stuff in Notepad, I was pissed and expelled every expletives known in my culture. When it happened on its 6th time, I was on the verge of throwing my laptop on the floor and looking forward to stomp on it. So I went to sleep for a week and when I woke up, I had the inspiration for a sweet crossdressing love story. This story is the result. I hope I can write well enough that the sweetness of my dreams give everyone diabetes. Do tell me what you think, please.
****As usual, please leave your comments and feedbacks. Praises helps me to write faster, constructive criticisms helps me write better.

p/s: I don't use Microsoft Word or Open Office because it's so damned heavy it takes 5 minutes just to load.



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