This is a sequel/spin-off of The Dance of the Cursed. However, if you haven't read it, don't worry about it. The two stories will pretty much have nothing in common. There may be minor references to the first story, but nothing major. So please, read on! And don't forget to review!

Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable


Streaks of warmth flowed through the window. Xavia slowly turned her green eyes to the world outside. Her bed was positioned just right so that it was always the first thing she saw in the morning. It looked like a very odd angle for the bed, but she liked it that way.

The day was beautiful: blue sky, green grass, and it looked warm, too. It would probably rain later; it always rained in the springtime, but for now it was gorgeous. The only downfall was that she would be spending it alone, as always. Her closest sister in age, Della, had been married in the winter, and Xavia had been alone most of her time since then. She didn't really have any friends; all the servants kept to their selves and left Xavia alone to do what she wanted. Usually she appreciated it, though at times it grew lonesome.

Xavia swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. She walked over to her dresser and poured some of the water from the pitcher into the basin. She splashed some of the cool water onto her face and looked in the mirror. As she had grown older, her hair had taken on a reddish-golden shade. It hung in gentle curls down her waist. She considered tying it back with a ribbon but decided it against it. She was rather fond of her hair, and besides, Father hated it when she wore it so improperly. Xavia found it quite amusing to do anything that Father hated.

She walked over to her wardrobe and gazed at her dresses. Most of them were too small, but she hated being fitted for new ones. Eventually, she pulled out a light blue one that would have to do. Once she was dressed properly, she walked down the hall and went out the door to her courtyard. It was hers, meaning that all of the fountains and such had been put precisely where she wanted them, and it was in her wing of the palace. Hardly anyone ever went in her wing besides herself and the servants. It was almost like having her own, smaller castle. Quite a change from just six or seven years ago when she shared a room with eleven other sisters.

Xavia walked around the various trees and fountains. She noticed that she had left her maps on the stone table. Lucky it didn't rain last night, or they would be ruined. She spent a lot of her time poring over old maps. It was what interested her. She wanted to see all those wonderful, exotic-sounding places that she could only imagine.

Her thoughts kept drifting back to those days all those years ago, when the rajah Afzal had sat with them in the grass and told them wild and strange stories. And he had said they would meet again, and that she would travel to his land, but he had never come back for her. Xavia sighed again. It was a foolish thing to hope for, anyways. He had his own life, probably his own family, and would not be interested in some princess he had known when she was only a child.

If Father would only allow her, she'd go away even without Afzal. She wasn't at all needed here. A girl wasn't even allowed to rule without a husband, and King Edward did not appear to be close to dying anyways. When the time did come, one of her sisters could come and rule, or perhaps even one of their children!

After a while in the sunny courtyard, Xavia decided to walk to town. She grinned; Father hated it when she did that. He had become a tad more lenient with his daughters after the incidence with the obstacle course, but he was still King Edward: very strict and perfectly proper. Xavia was neither.

She started off to town without telling anyone. No one would mind; the servants didn't care and King Edward wouldn't notice until much later. Then he might scold her a bit, and Xavia would just laugh at him, as she usually did.

It was a lovely day, even lovelier than it had seemed from the window. Bright, green grass covered most of the ground, now, and bright spots of flowers dotted the fields. She circled through the meadow and forest to make the walk a longer one, just to appreciate that it was no longer winter.

After a time she got to town. Xavia loved going to town, just to watch things. There were people mulling about everywhere, buying and selling and going about their business. There was something fascinating about everyday, common people. Xavia often wondered whether or not it was more satisfying to be common, to work for everything you had. She had never really done hard work.

Xavia wandered through the town. There weren't many vendors with people selling things yet, since spring had just begun. There were some cloth sellers with their dyes and people selling pots, nothing too exciting. Eventually she went into the book store. There had to be something interesting there.

She meandered through the aisles, not looking for anything in particular. She turned down the aisle, but her eyes were still wandering among the rows of books upon books. She ran into someone, and pulled backwards immediately. There was a young man standing in front of her. He had coal black hair that hung in curls at the back of his neck. His skin was dark, and he looked very foreign. But the most catching this was his eyes. They were bright blue, not matching the rest of his appearance, and they gazed far past her, like he didn't even notice her.

Xavia might have been frightened; he was quite strange looking, but then she noticed he was carrying a cane. He was just a blind man.

"Oh, Sir, I'm terribly sorry!" she apologized.

"It was my fault," he said with a thick, eastern accent.

"Oh, but I should have been watching where I was going," Xavia said.

He simply nodded slightly, preoccupied, almost as if he did not wish to acknowledge her. In a moment he slid past her.

Xavia found herself staring after him for some time. She found him rather intriguing; he looked rather like Afzal, besides the blue eyes. She finally turned back to the shelves of books. After a while she found a cover that caught her eye. It had wild stallions racing through bright, golden sands. She picked it up, and without hardly thinking about it, brought it to the counter.

In front of her in line was the man she had ran into. She glanced at his purchase. From what she could see, it looked like something about old maps and legends and such. Surprisingly, he seemed to have no problem buying it, considering his blindness. He just listened to the amount due, and took some coins from his pocket. She supposed he must be used to not seeing. Before too long he headed out the door with his cane.

Xavia bought her own book quickly, and she swiftly headed out the door. She didn't mean to stalk, but she wanted to see the man again. She looked both ways, but did not see him anywhere. She smoothed her hair and skirt and walked down the street with a much more dignified air. The man really wasn't important. He was just a man, after all, just another face in the crowd. She most certainly did not care about him.

Xavia glanced at the sky, thick, dark clouds were beginning to cover it. It could only mean one thing; more spring showers. She would have to go quickly if she wanted to get back to the palace before it started. She hurried back the way she had come, starting off across the fields. She would not make her circle so wide this time, though. It wasn't exactly that she minded the rain, she just didn't want Father to yell too much.

Before she was even half way home, the rain started pouring down. It came in big, fat drops that splattered her, soaking her clothes. In a matter of minutes, she was wet through and through. Her blue dress clung to her skin, and her hair hung wet and limp. Xavia looked up at the sky and smiled. For fear of her father, she didn't get caught in the rain often, but at least this time she could truly say that she didn't mean to.

She spun around in circles, then leaned back to catch a raindrop in her mouth. It was rather childish, but there was no one around and besides, children had much more fun than young ladies!

"Xavia."

She jumped and turned around quickly. To her surprise, the blind, foreign man was standing behind her. How in the world did he know her name?

"Xavia," he said again. His voice was deep and rough, almost raspy.

"Um...yes?" Xavia said awkwardly.

He walked closer to her. She wasn't quite sure what to do. She rather wished to back away, but he was blind and it might be rude. Looking at him, she realized that he was quite handsome, though it was a rather odd thing to be thinking.

The man leaned forward, and before Xavia knew what was happening, he was kissing her. A zap like lightning went through her. She was too shocked to pull away, and for the moment she simply let him kiss her. When she finally felt that she had regained her senses, she quickly backed up.

"What—what are you doing?" she asked, feeling entirely bewildered. A foreign man, whom she had never seen before in her life, suddenly knew her name and was kissing her on the lips! There was something a big strange about it.

She looked into his eyes. They were so blue, so intense. It was so odd, he was blind, that was obvious, he couldn't even truly be looking at her, yet she had trouble meeting his gaze.

"I'm sorry," he said after a moment. He sighed. "I must leave now." He slowly started to walk past her, tapping his cane along the ground.

Xavia turned and watched him, feeling probably more confused than she ever had in her life. She watched the man until he was out of sight. "Sorry for what?" she called after a moment. But either he was too far away, or just didn't want to respond. It suddenly occurred to her that when he kissed her it didn't seem like he was blind. But his eyes, they—they certainly looked blind. He never seemed to be looking straight at something, but rather through it and far, far away. In a few minutes, Xavia realized that it was still raining, and she wasn't getting any dryer. She ran back to the palace, hoping that King Edward would not be too angry with her. It truly wasn't her fault, after all.