Friday, August 30, 2013

The Prince and the Desert Queen, part 2

It wasn’t long before the prince came upon a large, shining white structure rising up out of the sand. It must be a mirage, the prince thought. I am going so mad from all the heat and the light and the exhaustion from chasing after that peahen that I am beginning to see things! The structure resembled a temple or a palace, and was constructed of mother of pearl and reflected a variety of colors in the light: white, silver, orange, gold, pink, blue, teal, and even pale purple. The door was flanked on both sides with large pillars made of the very same material, and at the top of these pillars were carved sculptures of peacocks. The palace was surrounded by a moat of shining objects that, upon taking a closer look, the prince could see were actually a mix of jewels: sapphires, pearls, diamonds, ambers, rubies, garnets, turquoises, and others. The prince marveled at the sight, hoping to take the entire magnificent thing in before he came to his senses and it all disappeared. But when it did not disappear, he carefully strolled up to the shimmering door and reached out to touch it. He expected that his hand would phase through it as if he were a ghost, and then it would finally disappear.
            But he was perfectly able to touch the door, and even run his hand over it to feel the stone. Except for a few carvings in odd shapes, and three small oval-shaped indentations in the center, the door was smooth and flawlessly cut. He traced his finger over the carvings; whether they were language or decoration, he could not tell.
            The prince tried to open the door and found that it was locked. His first instinct was to knock and see who would let him in, but then he remembered that this was likely fairy territory; being invited into a fairy’s home would even further lessen his chances of returning home safely. So he left the grounds and continued on his way.
            The prince was beginning to feel quite tired and hot, though he could not have guessed how long he had been walking. His legs were beginning to ache, and he thought that it would be quite refreshing to sit down in the warm, golden sand for a rest, and have some of the water he had brought with him when he left to go hunting. But the moment the prince touched the sand, he felt a sharp sting through his tunic. He immediately tried to grab whatever it was that stung him, but he felt nothing but the hot sand. The prince ran his finger over the sting, which was painful to touch. He thought it must’ve been a bite from a spider.
            My word, the prince thought, I shall die before this day is over. The idea didn’t scare him; rather, it made him feel very inconvenienced and uncomfortable. His death meant that his aging mother would somehow have to produce another, healthy heir. His beloved turquoise princess would be devastated and mourn for him every day of her life, and perhaps she would be so caught up in her grief that she really could not bear to find another lover. His friends and hunting partners would grieve for him, and he wondered who would take over the care and feeding of his dog.
            Something shot out of the corner of the prince’s eye, and he turned to see that it was the peahen he had been chasing, which had surely led him to his demise. He certainly didn’t care for a turquoise feather from her neck now. Horrible creature!” he shouted at her “You have brought doom upon the kingdom of Ellian! If I had the energy, I would kill you right here!”
          The peahen cocked her pretty head to the side, before vanishing before his eyes. In her place stood a woman, with hair the color of blue topaz and skin the tint of rubies. Her gown was covered in hundreds of brilliant peacock feathers, which were moving closer and closer to him as she approached him. He saw nothing but this flurry of feathers as she pulled him to his feet. He was enveloped in her hair as she moved in and kissed him hard on the mouth.


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