Contest of Crowns
Contest of Crowns
Author: Freya Lyons

Chapter 1

The first place I read the news from was Buzzfeed. I wasn't really one to follow the news much. If the story was big enough it would find its way to me through my friend group or my parents would mention it during dinner. This time I wasn't near either of those people however, I was on a train, heading back home. 

They had posted a picture of two people. The man was older, with grey hair and a grey beard. He wore a military uniform and had a golden crown on his head. His wife was about the same age, though she still had some brown mixed in with her hair. She wore a modest, royal blue dress, and had a silver crown on her head. I scrolled down and started reading the article. 

'A curious announcement from the royal house of Medora, a kingdom north of Scotland. The king announced today that a contest will be held to find the crown prince a wife. Medora is known to be secluded, with not much news coming in and out of the country. They announced a test will be put online for whoever has any interest in becoming a queen. It does not matter what your nationality is, as long as you are above eighteen years old.'

That was weird. Sure, I had dreamed about being a princess when I was little, but thinking about the possibility now seemed ridiculous. Instagram was going mad over it though. Every other post was a repost of the article, of the announcement or a selfie asking if she looked to be princess material. Eventually, I just called it quits on the app and plugged in my headphones for some music. 

It was already dark outside when I finally arrived home. My parents halfheartedly greeted me, both still consumed with their work from behind their laptops. I worked in a cafe to save up for college. I didn't really feel like talking anyway, my bed upstairs was too tempting. 

I ate whatever I could find in the fridge and dragged myself up the stairs and into my bed. I wanted to do more with my life than serve coffee and tea to hipsters working on their books. But right now, I was stuck. 

A few weeks passed, and the craze about the test had only increased. People from all over the world were sharing their answers, screenshotting their results, and making wild conspiracies if it was actually true. During all of this, a few photos were released of the prince, and it is safe to say, the craze only got bigger.

He was handsome and rich and royalty. Soon more stories came to surface of people actually breaking up with their spouse to pursue the test. Though there was one problem: you could only do it once. 

You had to add your ID or passport, there was no way to do it twice unless you faked your identity. It took a few weeks, but eventually four girls were lucky enough to share screenshots of their winning screen. 

I hadn't taken the test. I did not need to know if I was royal marriage material. Besides, when it came to dating I kept everything nice and simple with Tinder. To make it bearable, alcohol was involved, loads and loads of alcohol. 

I had two best friends. One was named Anne, the other one was Faye. Anne had been in a devoted relationship for as long as any of us could remember. But Faye and I had started the sad singles club. We got together and took over each other's Tinders.

"This guy asks if the carpet matches the drapes." She told me, looking positively disgusted. 

"Ask If his IQ matches his age." I answered. Faye was pretty, which wasn't a good thing on Tinder. Within seconds the messages started pouring in, sadly most of them were just asking for sex. 

We ate pizza and drank cheap rum mixed with knock off Cola brands. It was the broke lifestyle we were both very much used to. She worked most of the time just like me, but her savings went out of the window every time there was a new sale.

I clicked on a new chat that had popped up. The guy looked decent enough, he was a musician which was one of Faye's weak points. I read out his opener. 

"I'm not a prince but I can give you the keys to my kingdom." I readout. "I hate the male species." She looked over my shoulder and grabbed the phone. Her nails rapidly tapped the screen as she typed out. 

'I'd rather have the prince'

"He already rejected me, but tinder doesn't need to know that." She said and grabbed a piece of the pizza that had long turned cold. 

"Wait, you actually did the test?" I laughed. "I thought we agreed that it was stupid."

"It's stupid until you think about the schmoney." She said. "Why the hell are we on Tinder if you still have the opportunity to become a princess?"

"Have you seen me? I am not a princess." I said. The alcohol may have gone a little bit to my head, giving me a nice confidence boost, but I was not stupid. I was tall, too tall. Guys don't like it when you tower over them. My acne had pretty much cleared up, but I still had some small scars on my face. 

"Get your laptop. We're doing it."

The test looked official enough. After scanning in my passport, and waiting for it to be approved, it opened up. "Oh, Jesus Christ Faye." I sighed. "There are like five hundred questions."

"Yeah, and none of them are multiple-choice." She answered from the couch. She had taken back her own phone and was talking to her matches. "I'd start now if you want to go to bed before the sun rises."

I had to add photos of myself first. I took a screenshot of a few from my Instagram and added them in. I looked pretty decent in them, god bless face tune, and got to the questions. 

They were all over the place. They asked about my favourite colour, but they also put me in hypothetical dilemmas, where I had to write out a response. I don't know why, but I still took it seriously and put in my honest answers. By the time I reached question two hundred, I had completely sobered up.  

I fell asleep somewhere around question four hundred.

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