Chapter 7

I Want To Meet You

The castle windows were infested with water droplets as the rain plummeted hard against them. The curtains were drawn in the princess's slumber room and thunder edged a bit closer, flashing and illuminating the outline of the guards that were ordered to guard her inside and outside her chambers. Almost all of them were fast asleep; some are even snoring and mumbling to themselves in their sleep. One lay awake after a full day's rest and sat alert in the darkness, waiting. He had heard rumors that the Her Royal Highness was attacked earlier by some invisible enemy. There must be magic involved… he thought. Some people questioned why someone would even attack their princess now. Why now, they would wonder. The guard wondered the same thing.

A slight clanking came from a corner and he abruptly swung his sword at the sound only to find his companion's helmet had knocked against the beautifully furnished wall. The whole chamber was truly magnificent though; portraits hung everywhere that were bordered with gold and silver, and the carpet was embedded with rose-scented oils, just enough but not enough to make one drowsy. Throughout the room was scattered with different cabinets made out of gold and tables made by glass. Unlit candles that used the finest scents were resting upon each table on a silk cloth.

Luxury, the guard thought to himself; all his life, he was a peasant until one day, he had helped saved the late Majesty's life and he was rewarded to serve in the castle as a guard and warrior. But how lucky he was to see the late Majesty through all those bushes or else the fallen tree would've collapsed on her…She was so beautiful…he thought. And actually, he had found himself mesmerized by her beauty. Normally, commoners who gaze upon such royalty would be beheaded but she requested specially that he were to guard her family personally. Queen Esmeralda was believed to be one of the most beautiful women on Earth, and it was rumored that her daughter was even fairer. He let out a frustrated sigh, if I was to guard her, why cannot I gaze upon her face? In his mind, it was absolutely absurd to not even know what the person you are protecting even looks like.

The guard suddenly had an idea. He smiled mischievously and crept towards the rich, purple bed that had its curtains pulled down. His hand drew and lifted the layers of the gold curtains of the bed and he drew a deep breath as he saw her. But it was no normal breath; he tasted a heavy, molding, rotting smell that encircled the princess's fair face. And, true it was, the princess was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He was mesmerized. With one hand outstretched, the guard attempted to caress her gentle, pearl white skin.

And his hand went through the princess.

Impossible! He thought. No one should have the power to do that… He recounted the royal heirlooms and could never think of a sorcerer or sorceress in the family. As the seconds passed by, the man realized that he could no longer feel his hand. His whole arm became transparent like the princess and it started to fade. With shocked eyes, he saw little creatures not of this world start to gather around the hand. Their skin was grayish green and the whole body looked somewhat distorted. The eyes were pure black and their tongues were long and bright red, licking about their mouths, hanging open like that… as if they were hungry…

One bit into his thumb. The pain came. It was all real; he wasn't dreaming after all. He screamed and screamed until every guard was awake, and still he screamed on as the small creatures bit off his flesh. He was losing a lot of blood. The dark red blood slipped down from his arm and dripped onto the princess's dress. Regret filled his eyes as the last of his arm was torn from his body.

Since he lost so much blood, he died before his companions could medicate him.

And still, his eyes were bulged, his mouth was hanging open, and it seemed like he was still screaming.

Strangely, the princess never recalled hearing screaming last night when she awoke.

"Are you sure, Your Majesty?" asked one of the guard's friends. His face was grave and he looked puzzled at her dress, still stained with his partner's blood.

Sunny glared back at him. "Look, I know you lost a dear friend but I wasn't any part of it! So quit asking me about it. I told you --- I. Did. Not. Hear. Any. Screaming. Last. Night!"

"Ah! But what about the blood? How did he die than? Right on top of you? And how could you not have heard him scream? We all awoke after a few moments!" He questioned on.

"Are you saying I, the princess of Royal Family, slaughtered one of the guards sent to protect her?" She fired back.

The man remained silent. Outraged, the young princess headed out the chamber, the solid wooden door slamming in her wake.

How propostrous! Why would I murder that idiot? She thought silently. Besides, he was probably peeping on me while I was asleep!

But in the middle of the hallway, Sunny stopped. Then why did he die? …was it really me that did all that?...

"Good morning, Your Highness. It's a beautiful day, don't you think?" A deep, rich voice asked thoughtfully.

Startled, she turned back to see who it was. It was a tall, muscular man wearing a plain white shirt and black pants. His eyes were troubled but his smile was so carefree. His dark brown hair was short and his hands were smooth and appeared to be quite skilled, at what she did not know.

"Good morning to you too!" She replied back, smiling.

Damen had decided to make the first move of greetings and seemed to have startled the girl. He was amused at her reaction. Many girls would've called the authorities to lock him up if it hadn't been for his great figure. But what startled him the most was when she started to skip to him and lent forward, her face so close to his and replying back "Yes, it is a beautiful day!". Her eyes black eyes reflected back the scenery and her hair flowed down her shoulders. Her skin was so white and soft-looking… she was stunningly beautiful.

"Aww… come on! Give us another smile! It's a lovely day, as you have said! No reason to ruin it with a grim, expressionless line!" She laughed and pulled his cheeks to a forced smile. Damen laughed. What an amusing girl… I should have fun with her while I can. He thought darkly.

"So what are you doing in my property on this great day, stranger?" Sunny asked, still smiling.

"Oh nothing, just here to see an old friend, you see. He died recently and I've come to pay my respects." He said as he bowed. "But let's speed things up: my name is Damen Transcend. May I please know who this young, beautiful lady is?"

Giggling, she replied, "You may call me --- Sunny."

"Oh! But of course! I expect nothing less than the king's daughter!" He replied back. Damen moved about her. "So beautiful, your hair is!" He touched her hair with his lips. "So lovely your figure!" He slipped an arm around her waist. "And so lovely your face!" He kissed her cheek.

Sunny broke away from him, laughing like there was no tomorrow. Damen frowned; why is she laughing? Shouldn't normal girls be blushing by now? He thought exasperatedly. She's a strange one…

Sunny was quite taken with her newfound visitor. He was magnificently beautiful, yet, she felt compelled to get to know him better rather than stare in his complex face. Of course, that whole conversation was obviously just innocent flirting but she had felt something as he came in contact with her. It was a deep sorrow that she has never felt before. It chilled her; it didn't feel right. And his face… it held so many secrets. She knew that even though he is smiling, he is feeling something much different in contrast.

The sun was shining on; its beams were bouncing off the nature that surrounded them.

"So… tell me about yourself Damen." Princess Pearls asked suddenly as they were roaming the castle grounds, "I mean… Where are you originated from?"

"I came from Dunst." He simply answered. By the confused look on her face, he added, "It's a little ways from the castle. You may have heard of William Sins?"

"Oh yes! That robber! I heard he murdered a maid a month ago! Did they catch him yet?" Sunny asked in a worried tone.

"Oh no… actually, I do believe that no one really cares." Damen casually said.

The princess looked shocked. Never in her life has she heard of such absurd thing! A madman, running loose… what is the world coming to?

"But how can they not care? He killed someone! Shouldn't he get arrested or something?" She exasperatedly said.

He shook his head. "No one cared for the maid. She was just a beggar to people's eyes on the street." He sighed. "You see, Dunst is actually a pretty dark place to be in, let alone grow up in. I have lived there for years and years now… but not all my life."

Quietly, Sunny asked, "But what about your mother and father…?"

Stricken with a wave of grief, he lied right through his teeth, "They abandoned me as a child and a caring man took me in."

Sunny's eyes went blank. She stared at him and a tear fell down. "Why aren't you telling me the truth?" She whispered in him. But the voice was not hers. It was much lower and softer, but it still contained traces of femininity.

Stunned, the man stood still and stared back at her. How could she know? He thought. Is she some sort of witch? A demon, perhaps? What is she?

A few moments later, the silence broke. She shook her head and she looked upwards. And then she faced him again. Her eyes were no longer clouded by grey.

"What's the matter?" She asked as she bent her head, closing in on his face. "What?" She repeated.

Wordlessly, Damen shook his head. It was all a dream… All a dream… She didn't really do that. I was just imagining things again… He thought in his head, his mind racing.

Smiling, they continued walking.

"You know, I have always wanted to meet you… my princess." He whispered in her ear.

Sunny turned stiff. She had never told him that she was a princess.