When I had finished crying, I gently pushed Adam away. With one hand, he rubbed my arm sympathetically.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Follow me," he said, and led me through the Palace's Entrance Hall, up the central staircase located there and along a corridor to a wooden door. Before we entered, he ran up to a shelf protruding from the facing wall, picked up the brass bell on top of it and rand it. He returned to me and smiled as a servant jogged upstairs and towards us. He bowed before Adam.
"Would you be present to ‘ensure proper conduct is maintained' as my parents say?"
I giggled as he was obviously poking fun at this rule but the servant (a young man with dark hair and brown eyes) nodded, his expression serious.
With that, Adam opened the door and we walked into his bedchamber. Inside, there was a dark-coloured wardrobe which stood out against the cream-coloured walls, a four-poster bed with indigo-coloured hangings which contrasted with the light atmosphere, a deep green cosy-looking velvet armchair beside which stood a bookshelf, a desk beneath the only window in the room (through which flooded bright sunlight) on which there were fountain pens and a neat pile of parchment, and a bedside table on which stood a single candle. The floor was carpeted in soft wood-like material the colour of teal and the ceiling was painted cerulean blue to mirror the sky outside.
"How charming," I said, more sincere than I had ever been in my entire life.
Adam smiled. "It's delightfully comfortable."
He turned to the servant standing mutely behind us.
"If you sit on the armchair, you can watch our activities. If we begin to bore you, and I assure you no misconduct will take place, feel free to pick up a book."
The servant looked insulted, as if he took his job very seriously, and strode off to sit on the armchair, proceeding to watch us like a hawk.
Adam led me over to his bed. He sat upon it and patted a space beside him. I sat down.
His warm brown eyes regarded me ... warmly and his expression was so gentle and tender that I felt more like we were siblings than mere peers.
"Is there something you wish to discuss?" he asked, in a quiet voice due to the presence of the servant.
It was strange, but faced with this calm, caring radiator of kindness; I could forget the rest of the world. There was just me and him, wrapped in the fuzzy, pleasant atmosphere.
"No," I replied. "Like you said, it's over now."
"What an ordeal it must have been for you," he said, shaking his head slightly.
"I'm fine," I assured him.
Adam smiled. "Would you like to stay for a few more hours? We can arrange for a letter to be sent to Wavia Palace - I understand that your obligations begin tomorrow so that it can sink in that people are going to start depending on you - and I can ask my parents if you can stay for supper."
"You're very kind. I would like that very much."
Adam's smile grew until he was beaming. "Right. Let's make it happen."
"What a quaint thing to say."
"Well, it stems from Fantasy's role in my life and a desire to realise my dreams," he told me.
"How inspiring." I was being quite serious: I had never heard anything which had entertained Imagination so, or inspired a desire to return to believing in Magic like a child as Adam's words did.
I followed him firstly to his desk, where he sat and wrote a letter to my parents; then to his parents' main chamber where I found I would be greatly welcomed at supper, then to the Aviary, where Adam sent off the letter tied to a hawk's leg with a piece of string and finally back to the bedroom where we sat again on the bed and the servant resumed his job of ‘ensuring no misconduct took place.'
"So...," Adam said.
I remembered suddenly my burning question that Henrietta had promised to answer. Knowing she wouldn't be very hurt if I asked someone else, and also knowing I wouldn't see her for another five hours or so, I plucked up the courage to ask the Eagle Emperor's son.
"Adam, do you know of any cases of forbidden love?"