I force myself to leave Black hill, but can’t. She is here. She is broken. She is hurting as a hunted and injured animal. I want to hug her, press her against my chest, brush her tears of cheeks, comfort her, take care of her as long as she needs. She left as she always does, but she will be back. I will be here for her.

I return to the main hall.

  • Have you seen her?

Porir approaches me as soon as he sees me. Worry is painted in his face.

  • Who?

I am prompt. My mind is still with my hurting Sunshine.

  • Black princess.

F*ck. I forgot totally about her. I shake my head, kneading my healing wound.

  • Maybe after all she didn’t return. We had only one man confirming she is here. Maybe he was mistaken.
  • Let’s give it a chance. Moon is still young.

He nods and eyes one woman nearby. I exhale.

  • Use a distraction, my friend.

I tap his shoulder.

  • I will be around if you need me.
  • Don’t worry about me. By the way, SHE is also here.
  • She?!

He echoes in disbelief.

  • Fate brings you together too many times. Think about it, Eirikrinn.

Servants open the door to the other hall. Everyone starts to get in. We follow. It’s a remarkable hall. Arc ceilings and walls are carefully and richly decorated. In front stands two thrones. Both are covered in gold and padded with cushions. One throne is adorned with lions who stand wraped in real lion’s fur and have bloody moving eyes. Second is a contrast to the first one. It is bedecked in fragile lilies. If you look more carefully, you will notice that the edges of the flowers’ leaves contain shining silver and are very sharp. You have to learn how to sit on this particular throne otherwise it is deadly dangerous.

  • For our all sake it’s better if we will see tonight here the Princess.
  • After all that’s the reason we are here.

Porir uses his beautiful distraction in woman’s form. It helps to hold our cover as we know here no one. Black prince has his sweet time on the dance floor. Princess is nowhere to be seen.

My mind wanders to my Sunshine. Where is she? How is she? Is she better? She was lost in herself when she attacked me. Why did she want my death? 

  • You are a beast. You are one of them.

I remember her shouting. Why did she say it? She screamed “Beast” when she was sleeping. He or they hunt her even in her dreams. When did I hurt her so strongly, so badly to become a beast? All I did was I loved and respected her.

My sharp hearing catches harp playing. Something drags me after it, so I follow the sound through the halls till the sound becomes clear. Doors are opened. It’s a music hall and has wonderful acoustic. She sits alone lost in thoughts her back turned to the entrance. Her dress is high up and that gives my eyes very good access to her bare thighs. She is pale. Her whole body is covered in tattoos. They are glowing in dusk. Harp leans between thighs. It moves together with her swinging body. Her fingers run through the vertical strings. Melody is soothing and relaxing. I stand trying not to breath, afraid to move and interrupt her. 

  • Leave. 

My shoulders shoot up a bit from an unexpected her voice. She didn’t look at me. How does she know I am here? 

She doesn’t turn to look at me later either. She doesn’t stop playing nor say anything. She looks lost in music. I step in and take guitar in my hands. Sit on a bank not far from her and join her in music. She leads, but gives space for my instrument to follow her in a united melody. Our instruments meet each other, hug and dance, float together in the air as meant to be one. Her body looked empty when she left me. I was wrong. It’s full of pain. She gives it away, leaves it in this magical sound. We sit and play for a while.

I stand up and put a palm gently on her cheek, it barely touches her skin. She continues playing, but leans her head toward my touch. Her eyes are closed. She still needs time and space, but she will come back to me. With a more calmness in my heart I head back to the throne hall.

  • So?
  • Nothing.
  • You?

Porir shakes his head. No sign of Black princess.

  • We waste our time.
  • Maybe you are right.
  • Meet you outside.

I turn and walk toward the exit.

  • Eirik..

Porir’s voice is hollow, lost in the air like he has not enough air to breath and finish his thought. I turn back to him. He looks shocked and rooted in place a few feets from my body. I trail his gaze and I see her.

She is in a snowy white long goan decorated in black lace. Her dark hair and deep eyes. Her silky skin. Blood red lips and ..

  • … a crown

I whisper my thought so silently that no one could hear it, just the small vibration crosses the air.

  • SHE is Black Princess.

Porir started to move his lips in my direction. 

I can’t tear my eyes off of her. My heart forgot beating and I stopped breathing. Black prince takes her palm in his and kisses her lips. They turn to all guests. Majority of them put their palms on their hearts and all as one says “Kingdom and future”. She does it as well with the bright smile on her lips though it doesn’t reach her eyes. 

I remember now her doing the same gesture on the beach before leaving me. I couldn’t hear her then, but now I am aware. She chose her family, her blood, her land over me. Each time she left me, she did it for the same reason. Her Black kingdom.

  • What do we do now? kidnap her? or will she come with us willingly?

First time I don’t know what to say. I ignore Porir. 

My kingdom needs her to survive. I, on the other hand, need her to make my life vivid rather than existence. But she.. She will never come with me willingly. She always showed her loyalty to her kingdom, to her blood, to her people. I have impresion after tonight, they adore her. She never told me, but I know she loves me the same way I love her, but my blood is a poison and I am the beast to her. We made assoults for a few centuries on her people and land, we made deals and last ones we didn’t keep. We slaughtered without any mercy her grounds and alliencies.. I suddenly catch my breath on the next thought. We killed the King. Her FATHER.

I AM the BEAST she was looking for. I am the ONE who made her life miserable. I am behind ALL of this. 

  • What have I done? 

I speak with myself at the door. 

  • Wrong question, my friend. It’s real luck. You both share the love. Who could know, SHE is the ONE! So what are we going to do?

He says happily with a sincere joy. He doesn’t understand how complicated all this became and how I messed up.

Continue reading chapter 33