To find this little paradise in the middle of such horrible mountains was a god send. I dipped my toes in to the water and watched them turn to water. It relieved the aches and sores I had been getting from my riding boots, since I was unused to wearing shoes.

Lyra and Zakhon were chatting as they drank from the stream, and I smiled at them. Although I still didn't feel comfortable with Zakhon, Lyra seemed to like him and had no problem with chatting to him about the sea and her life, while he listened intently and described the forests to her.

Then my eyes fell on Destran. He was washing his face in the water, and as he stood, droplets fell from his hair. He caught my eyes and smiled, walking over and sitting next to me. He stared at my missing feet momentarily, then laughed and offered me some fruit bread. I took it with a smile and we both stared in to the stream.

"So, how are you Destran?"

"Well, and yourself?"


There was another silence and then he questioned me.

"Why did you come on this quest?"

"I want to see the world."

"But you could have done that any time. Why now?"

"Any other time I could have headed out in to the world and just wandered from village to hill to forest... but now, I have something at the end of it. I'm in search of the stone, I have my friends around me, and besides... you need someone to look after you." I winked.

"Prince Destran does not need anyone to look after him."

"Lighten up. All those years of training must really have limited you in everything if you can't take a joke." I elbowed him in the ribs.

"All those years of training will make me a good king." He retorted.

"So would a good heart and a decent brain, both of which you have."

He opened his mouth to reply, then shut it again, a blush on his cheeks.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome." I pulled my toes from the water and they returned to their normal form. "So what have you been trained to do?"

"Well, to be honest, I've been studying. After our fight, I put a lot of work into becoming the best king I could be. Learning time management, studying the laws and how to counter every loophole people try to pull. Of course, it hasnt been all book work, I've been learning how to fight, and ride, and dance."

"To dance?" I grinned as he blushed. "Is that to impress all the ladies at your ball?"

"It's more a formalilty." He said awkwardly.

"I wish I knew how to dance. We don't dance under the water."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. We have this thing called the Meet at the Corals, where we all sing and the fish weave in and out of the corals to our song, but that's the closest we come."

"It sounds beautiful."

"It is. I wish you could see it. But then I wish I could go to a ball. I guess we always want what we haven't had..."

The End

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