That evening, the plan went splendidly. At four o’clock in the afternoon, Coal Terra came to Wavia Palace and asked to see the parents of Rosia Ocean. Aunt Claudia and Uncle Max were summoned, and after a few minutes’ conversation, Rosia and I were summoned too.
I was brimming with pleasure as I entered the room and Coal stated his proposition.
“Your Highness, Selena, Miss Rosia, I have come to this beautiful land to ask if Miss Rosia will dine with me this evening at a restaurant in my humble country, the Land of the Boulders.”
At this, Rosia flushed brightly and utterly avoided looking at her parents. In fact, she was so embarrassed that she gazed a lot at the floor.
“The reason that I have asked for you, “Your Highness,” Coal continued, looking at me,” Is that Miss Rosia will surely need accompanying home from the restaurant after the meal has ended, should she accept, that is. In addition, it is probably proper that Miss Rosia and I are not alone.”
Rosia blushed furiously. Coal was fighting a smile. Both my aunt and uncle looked very serious.
Coal rose to his feet. “My dear Rosia, would you be interested in this proposition of mine?”
Rosia glanced up. Their eyes met and she drew a sharp intake of breath.
“It would be an honour, Your Highness,” she replied.
Coal beamed. “Thank you.”
He glanced at me and winked.
“And would you, Your Highness, accompany us? There is no one I would trust more in this kingdom than a Dolphin princess.”
I nodded smiling. “I certainly would, your Highness.”
“Then I shall give you time to prepare yourself, my ladies.”
He bowed his head and sat down.
Rosia and I left the room.
“Oh my,” she said, sounding terrified but excited. “Did that really just happen?”
“It did,” I said, smiling.
“But he’s a prince! And I’m a subject.”
“You’re related to royalty,” I pointed out.
“You know that doesn’t make me anything close to a princess,” she said reproachfully.
We were now hurrying away from the room. Our paths were about to split so I kissed her on the forehead.
“You’ve as much right to love as I. Now make yourself look beautiful and take that Dragon prince’s breath away.”
Rosia still looked scared, though.
I hurried to my room.
Once there, I changed into some pretty clothes that weren’t too flamboyant. I also picked up the sapphire Adam had given to me so many weeks ago. I had had this threaded onto a silver chain to make a necklace. I put the jewellery around my neck and a few powders on my face.
Once done, I rejoined Rosia in the hall. She looked very becoming in a pale pink dress with her long curly blonde hair framing her face and hanging around her shoulders.
Coal joined us and I ordered two horses to be fetches from the stables. Once these were saddled and bridled, we set off, Coal travelling on his own dappled grey mare.
Adam met us at the border between Wavia and the Land of Boulders. I couldn’t help remembering the part of Henry and Vanessa’s story where Henry had spoken to the guards and asked if Wavia Palace was still his home. But I swiftly pushed the thought out of my mind, my last intention being to dampen the mood or spoil the evening.
I was greatly amused as we met the Eagle Emperor’s son, firstly by his and Coal’s (surely coincidentally) matching ebony suits, and secondly, by my cousin’s bewildered glance at me because of Adam’s presence.
Responding to the latter event, I teasingly whispered in Rosia’s ear “Now, I couldn’t let you have all of the fun, could I?”
She suppressed a laugh.
“You in powerful positions are so sneaky,” she murmured.
“Good evening, Adam,” I said cheerfully, addressing my dinner date for the evening.
“Evening, Selena,” he replied, smiling.
“Do you know, I’m glad that the two of you planned this,” Rosia commented. “I was really worried that my cousin would feel awkward for the duration of my meal with Coal. But with your added presence, sir -” this part was directed at Adam - “it will be such fun.”
Coal leant down towards my cousin and murmured, “I never realised you were so beautifully heart-warming. How I underestimated you, I shall never know.”
“I pray you don’t think of me too highly, lest I prove a disappointment.”
“Oh, I highly doubt that you will disappoint me,” Coal replied.
I gazed at Adam who had been silent during this conversation.
“Where are my flattering comments?” I asked, mocking offence.
Rosia looked away from Coal and stared at me, her expression conveying that she had believed me to be serious. Coal chuckled lightly and Adam grinned.
“Well, some might accuse me of sentimentality if I told you your heart was at once the moon and the stars and that your spirit was a brightly burning beacon - a symbol of strength as well as of blinding beauty.”
I felt my expression soften totally.
“Oh, Adam,” I breathed.
“I love you,” he whispered.
Coal and Rosia instantly started up an animated conversation about the weather while I rode forwards and kissed Adam. When we broke away, Coal rode his horse in front of us, smiling warmly at us.
“I’ll lead the way,” he announced. He looked at Rosia and told her, “You may ride alongside me if you wish, fair lady.”
Rosia looked as if she might faint from honour and admiration; she rode up slowly, her horse’s pace reflecting her daze.
I rode beside Adam and we slowed so that there would be an element of privacy to my sister’s conversation with Coal. We ourselves were quiet: Adam seeming to be reflective (though the contentment was clear on his face) and I not really knowing what to say.
This calm pervaded the ambiance of the journey until we arrived at the doors of a restaurant called ‘How Fine to Dine’, a name which was quaint in its poetic nature. Then I became excited about the meal we were really to have here and Adam awoke from his reverie; he said to me with an air of confidentiality, “This is the night to celebrate our beginnings, Selena.”