Aikka kept looking back at Molli as they flew towards the palace.
She seemed to be in awe as they approached the capital.
Hundreds of tall, white stone buildings on a lovely carpet of green. Surrounded with lovely trees and flowers.
Molli was in awe, but she was also a little afraid. She had a dozen questions running through her mind.
'Which one of these houses is Aikka's? What are his parents like? Will they expect me to speak right away? How will they react to me wanting Ruby with me? What should I do? And why are we moving away from this place?'
It was true, they were moving away from the city to go further up the mountain that was behind it.
Aikka had G'dar land in a green valley, then he escorted her through some trees.
What she saw next, there were no worlds to describe it.
"Welcome to my home."
In front of them was a crystal clear river surrounded by green with splashes of color. In the river's mouth on top of a waterfall was a large stone palace.
It was beautiful. Unlike anything she had ever seen before.
"This is where you'll be staying. I have some rooms all set up for you, they have a lot of windows so you can see outside and feel more comfortable. I will show you around after i introduce you to my parents. They have been very anxious to meet you." Aikka told her as he place a cloak over her shoulders to cover her slight frame.
"I hope you can forgive me however. I need to get you cleaned up a bit before they see you. I didn't tell you before because I was not sure how much you would understand. I am the Crown Prince of Nourasia, the planet we are on right now, and my parents are the current king and queen. Appearances are very important in a royal court, and we need you to.. well…"
Molli gently silenced him before taking his hand within her own to show that she understood.
On the inside however, her heart was pounding like a drum. Aikka was a prince! She was to be presented before a royal court, which she knew from her mother's stories to be more dangerous than a pack of bloodthirsty jackals.
But, she was willing to risk being eaten if it meant she could be with Aikka, for however short of time.
So Aikka lead her inside to a luxurious bathing chamber, where she was scrubbed and dressed and pricked to the point where she thought she was going to go insane and give all the maids that were responsible for her body's current abuse a good thrashing.
But when she saw Aikka's reaction when he came to get her. She deemed the pain worth it.
A very schoolboy blush overcame his face as his jaw dropped for a moment, before he managed to get a grip on himself and compose his features.
Molly didn't know what the big deal was, they were just clothes.
They were just clothes to her. The maids had dressed her in a long, flowing skirt that had two layers. Solid white on the bottom layer and transparent light pink on the top. A white, sleeveless cross over crop top. And they gave her gold jewelry to wear also, though she had to fight to keep the silver earings her mother had gave her. They consisted a simple gold circlet, necklace, and cuff bracelet.
To Aikka however, they made her look like a real princess. She appeared even more beautiful than when he first saw her.
"Um. Molli, you look very beautiful. Are you ready?" Aikka asked as he offered her his hand.
Molli nodded slightly as she place her hand in his.
She was preparing for the worst as he escorted her through the palace to the throne room.
The room itself was large and open. Mosaics depicting some great events in Nourasain history were crafted on two opposing walls.
At the end of the room were two gold thrones. In each throne, sat Aikka's father and mother.
King Lao and Queen Nori.
They looked stern as their son approached with Molli at his side.
"Welcome back Prince Aikka. Your mission was a success it seems. This is the wild savage you described?"
Needless to say the meeting with the parents didn't turn out as well as Molli and Aikka had hoped.
Aikka's parents, as well as the rest of the royal court, looked down on Molli as if she was a desert sand rat come to ruin the palace rug beneath their feet.
Scratch that, Ruby was the sand rat. They looked at Molli as if she was lower than a rat.
Aikka did his best to calmly tell his parents that Molli and Ruby weren't desert trash and where honorable guests, but his parents wouldn't hear of it.
They could stay as long as Aikka could keep them out of trouble and out of sight.
Nourasains were well known for their hospitality. But whether their hospitality was good or bad depended on the situation.
Due to the fact that humans were viewed as greedy, selfish and rather stupid creatures in the eyes of the creatures of other planets, and that she had been poaching rare creatures from a wildlife preserve.
Molli received a large dose of hostile hospitality.
Unknown to Aikka, and everyone else, Ruby was a rare and magical creature known as a Phoenix Dragon. Well known in Nourasain legends and were considered sacred.
Ruby however was so uneasy within the palace walls that she hid in Molli's hair and never showed more than her head and part of her neck. And even then it was only for a moment.
Thus she was dubbed by the court as the human girl's worthless pet snake and shared her partner's harsh treatment.
The meeting ended, and Aikka lead Molli to a large bedroom with high windows and sparse furniture.
"I cannot apologize enough for my parent's behavior Molli. Humans are rather in poor view, however I am positive it will not be long before they see that you are not like the rest of your species. Do not worry. Things will get better. You will see. I will be back in the morning to wake you so we may begin your lessons." Said Aikka with a hopeful smile.
He placed a gentle kiss on her hand, bidding her goodnight, before leaving for his own chambers.
The moment the doors to her room closed shut, Molli fell to her knees.
Gasping for breath.
That was one of the worse moments of her entire life. She wanted to say it was the worst moment of her entire life. But something told her that she had much worse moments suffered in her first life.
She could not be certain however.
What she could be certain of was things couldn't possibly be much worse.
So they could only get better from here on out.
With that hope filled thought, Molli and Ruby crawled into their new bed and fell fast asleep.