Chapter 23

                Arthur was ... enchanting that morning. I returned to his room to find him sitting on the floor, waiting for me. I was about to sit down when he said, "No, don't, your Highness. The floor is definitely no place for a princess to sit."

I sat on the bed, bewildered but intrigued.

"Are you comfortable?" he asked. "I could not bear it if your Highness was in any sort of discomfort."

I grinned and lay on my side, staring at him.

"Does your Highness require anything?"

"No," I replied, gazing into his eyes, unashamed of the amount of love in mine. "But I have a request. Come and lie before me. Then, forget yourself."

Arthur stood up and slowly, seriously approached me. He lay on his side opposite me and gazed at me with eyes which were not hypnotically intense but burned fiercely with love.

"What have I stumbled across in my travels?" he asked, reaching out to touch me as if clarifying I was really there. "And who am I? A lone and lost stranger, I believe, but I have forgotten all else other than the skill of speech. Before me lies a wondrous sight: a beautiful princess, shining with a silver glow which shimmers like starlight. What mystical creature can this be, that gives the life of the beholder meaning? Without her, I will be nothing from now on. I wonder if she can read me. I will die from pleasure if she gives me a sign that she has acknowledged my presence and understands, not what I am saying, necessarily, but what I am feeling at this moment."

"I acknowledge you," I murmured.

Arthur looked astounded, and not just as if he were acting amazed but as if he were truly startled.

"She speaks! In my own tongue! And her words are making my dreams come true! Speak more, fair princess; speak more words of truth and wisdom and of utter beauty."

"Young man," I said reprovingly, quite enjoying myself, "you should know that there is only one such word in the whole of this language. If you tell me that word, I will consider you worthy of my attention and you may give me a kiss."

"My beautiful princess, you sing it and you emanate it and you are it. It can only be love."

"It would be a crime against nature if it weren't," I agreed.

"Where may I kiss you?"

I knew exactly what he meant, but I answered another meaning of the question. "Somewhere in the air above a mountain peak under a cloudless sky where roses grow and doves fly."

"It would be my pleasure, fair maiden."

He gazed into my eyes until my mind blanked. A few seconds later, I could think again and Arthur and I were lying on a bed of air in (not under) a clear, blue sky. Below us was the peak of a tall, snowy mountain. Among the patches of white, I could see roses redder than blood and around us, I saw the soft bodies of a thousand doves which flew around the vast expanse of the chasm between earth and Space.

"I lied when I said there was only one word which was true, wise and beautiful," I told Arthur as he kissed my cheek and caressed my hair.

"It wasn't a lie, you merely forgot. What was the other?" 

"A name of a prince who became alone and lost."

"What was he known as?"

"Arthur Mesmerising."

Arthur gazed into my eyes. "I have a feeling I am he."

"He was destined to be the other half of my heart," I told him.

"I'd be honoured if I was."

"Are you willing to complete my heart?"

"Yes."

"Then, I will remind you of yourself." I kissed him. "You're Arthur Mesmerising, you're absolutely gorgeous and my heart belongs to you."

Arthur stroked my cheek and we fell through air and landed on his bed.

"But isn't it queer how you've forgotten who you are?" he asked.

I experienced an odd sensation. It felt like I'd forgotten my name and my personality. I was here, lying with Arthur, but he was the only thing who made sense.

"Who am I?" I asked, alarmed.

"The most important person in my life." He kissed me and I instinctively kissed him back, holding onto the only thing that could help me remember myself. I was lost and fearful. What if I was someone terrible? This person who loved me must love me despite my flaws and so I clung onto him.

"I'm nothing without you," I said.

Henry who had been walking past the room at that moment, stopped and said, "What?!"

Arthur stopped and sat up, but held my hand so I wasn't swept away by despair.

"What?" he asked impatiently.

"Now?" Henry asked in disbelief. I had a sudden memory of ... disliking him for some reason.

"What on earth are you talking about?" Arthur asked. "I'm kissing her here."

"You've told her the final thing she'll say before she's completely bound to your will..." Henry looked distraught. "I didn't realise you'd do it so soon..."

"I haven't bound her to my will! She was saying that of her own accord."

"Oh and it's just coincidence that she looks lost and frightened, is it?

"Yes! I told her to forget herself because we were having a romantic moment."

"I don't believe you."

Arthur looked exasperated. "Remember yourself," he said to me.

I suddenly came back to myself. "Henry, what are you talking about?" I asked.

Henry looked relieved. "You're not bound to Arthur's will?"

"No! Why would I be?"

"Because he wants you to be."

"Just leave us alone."

Henry walked off, sighing.

"Let's go to my house," I said, slightly cross at Henry for having spoilt the moment.

Arthur stood up and helped me up and we walked out of the house, hand in hand.

*

The End

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