It was one such day at the sea-side. Words melted into silence as the sun changed colours. They sat in companionable quietude until the prince turned to look straight at her. She waited expectantly, the melodious chirping of the home-bound birds lightly falling on her ears.
In a voice heavy with a thousand unsaid words, he said, “I can make you Queen of Erusaelp.”
The world seemed to spin around her. Queen of Erusaelp… Queen of Fels… I can make you Queen… Heart’s greatest desire… The prince… The Magician…
She could feel the stardust pushing against the confines of the bag, the gift reminding her of the giver. A voice from her past… those radiant eyes… all-knowing, mysterious smiles… An explosion of colours and sounds from her past…
“Ohhh… What have I done! I have to go…” she said, hastily getting up, trying to regain her balance.
The prince looked at her, bewildered. “What is wrong? Do you not feel the same way? Have I fallen short?” he asked.
She stopped and slowly turned towards him. She looked into the eyes of the prince who had shown her Erusaelp, the friend she had shared laughter and conversations with, the man her heart had grown to be so fond of.
She touched his face and gently said, “It is not you, oh, Prince!” she said. “It is I who has erred… I was to be Queen of Fels, and I have misled you.”
“Fels! Will you leave your prince and wondrous Erusaelp for a land that is spoken about only in stories?” he cried.
“Fels may be a fairytale for many, but for me, it is the greatest reality. I have tarried too much. I must leave at once,” she replied, hastily gathering her things.
“Then, let me come with you,” the prince beseeched her.
She paused and attended to the memory nudging at the corner of her mind.
“I will tell Mother and Father at once. Oh, and all my friends, too! We will set off for Fels at dawn,” she said to the Magician, happily.
“My dear,” he replied. “This is a journey you will have to undertake without them.”
She pondered about what he had said. “But you will be with me?” she asked, timidly.
The Magician conjured up a puff of sparkling stardust. It encircled her and made her body glow. He said, “I will always be by your side.”
“I have to find my own way,” she said. Her heart tore in pain, but her eyes were determined.
She took a final, long look at the Prince and then walked away from Erusaelp forever.