When she came to, she was surprised to find herself… alive!
She looked around. She seemed to be in some kind of a dimly lit room with a very high, muddy brown ceiling. She got to her feet and followed what seemed to be the only exit.
She had barely taken a few steps when a man approached her. He was young, about her age, and walked with a spring in his step.
“At last, you have awoken. I was beginning to worry,” he said with a smile.
His smile put her at ease instantly.
“Where am I? Who are you?” she asked.
“Well, you are on the other side of the quicksand. There’s a world beyond yours, too, you see,” he said, with a hint of playful sarcasm. “I am the prince of Erusaelp.”
“Oh!” she said, suddenly realising that she was in the presence of royalty. It reminded her of another place, another time…
“Are you happy?” the Magician asked her, his all-knowing eyes piercing through her. She felt he could read her soul, but he chose to let her answer.
“I have the knowledge of a thousand books, companions who adore me and wealth to fulfill my heart’s desires,” she answered.
She paused, then, sighed. “Suddenly, it does not seem good enough,” she told him, truthfully. “I want something more… supreme.”
He nodded, his eyes sparkling mysteriously.
“I can make you the Queen of Fles,” he said.
Her eyes widened. Her breath caught in her throat.
Until the Magician said it, Fles has existed for her in legends and myths alone. It was said to be the kingdom above all kingdoms, the most powerful, the most magical… In quiet, moonlit nights, she had dreamt of it. In moments of solitude, her heart had cried out for it. Although she had never admitted it, least of all to herself, she knew that Fles was her heart’s greatest desire. And here, the Magician was telling her she could be its Queen!
“How?” she whispered.
He smiled one of his many secret smiles. And his eyes told her that all she needed to do was trust him, completely. That was not difficult in the least.
Her being fired up. She put her hand in his. She was ready.
The Magician knew. “I promise to make you Queen of Fles,” he told her. And she knew that the Magician would keep his promise.