CHAPTER 24 - Of a Glorious Prince

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"Aah, you are here! Welcome." The prince greeted me, as he entered into the great hall, where I had been sitting on a settee waiting for him.

I bowed low, standing up, suddenly shy.

"Come on in," he said with his usual pleasant demeanor.

In the brightness of the daylight, he seemed to be the sun, such was Prince Nova's aura. I found myself smiling at him warmly.

"I thought you'd never show up," he said as we walked side by side, into a huge well-lit passage.

"How could I not after receiving your letter yesterday?" 

When I had gotten a note from Prince Nova's guard, hesitancy had gotten the best of me. But in his eyes, in everyone's eyes, I was a citizen of the Spring Realm and rejecting a prince was never an option.

"You always have a choice, Eleni. But you came." He said with a charming smile.

I gaped at him - No one really gave me a choice. I smiled to myself.

Following him, as he took turns after turn, in the massive palace, I lost sense of all directions. We reached the end of the passage.

Wonderstruck by the posh, white, translucent interior of the room we now stepped in, I rotated mid-step, taking in as much as my sight could. A huge ball-shaped chandelier, hung over the roof, radiating pure white light; it resembled a massive pearl, freshly picked from the sea. Looking at my reflection in the crystal-clear whiteness of the walls around, I tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear, that fell loose on my cheek. The floor beneath was of a light golden hue, illuminating with glitters with my every step. The air playing in the halls and passages, seemed to be making way for us, for the Prince of Air. It buzzed around me, speaking of calm and mirth.

With lightness in my feet, I looked at the man beside me, his hands clasped at the back, taking long strides that had me walking faster. The signature curl of his hair dangling over his forehead. I pursed my lips, suppressing a whine, as I watched him sweeping it away with a swift movement of his fingers.

"We are here," he said halting in front of – nothing in particular.

I looked around me, there was no entrance, just the center of the huge room.

Right then, he tapped his foot over a bright golden surface of the floor, the spot which was brighter than the rest of the floor. I took a few steps back reflexively, as my mind registered what was happening.

A circular part of the floor, detached itself and was rising up high in the air. I watched it float in empty space, my mouth wide-open, and then peered down the hole that now lay bare.

Snapping my head at his complacent face, I mimed my bewilderment. He chuckled, and extended his hand forward, "After you, miss."

"What's down here?" I asked, with my eyes affixed on the silvery staircase that descended below.

"Find out with me?"

With extreme wariness, I relented, and took a step. A part of my body was extremely reluctant but the other part trusted Prince Nova.

He climbed after me, the echoes of our footsteps mingling into each other, bouncing off the circular walls off the hole. I peered down the railing of the staircase and my foot slipped.

"Careful," he said, giving me his hand for support, "here."

I blushed slightly, as I put my hand in his.

We climbed down a few more steps until at last firm ground touched my boots. He gently let go off my hand, and I pointedly averted my gaze from him.

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