Melissa was annoyed for a moment. Then she shrugged. It’s no use arguing with someone who is so much stronger than I am. She clung to a horn plate not to fall down. A little later, Prince Victor sat behind her, and the dragon crept through a huge tunnel toward the exit. When the afternoon sun that fell through the tunnel opening illuminated the path ahead of them, Melissa discovered Reginald standing stiff in a narrow side corridor. She hoped that Leander was still with him. I must let them know that they shall wait for me. She bent forward and called to the dragon as loud as she could. “Promise that you will bring me back here.”
“No need to scream. As soon as I am rid of the prince and have enough food, I will drop you off right here.”
Melissa was sure that her friends had understood the answer of the dragon at least. She had no time left to look around because the dragon accelerated. Like a cannon ball, he shot out of the tunnel. The opening was in a rock face that rose steeply from a sea of green treetops. Melissa stopped breathing when they rushed from the mountain into emptiness. She saw treetops becoming bigger with terrific speed. She could already distinguish single trees.
“Please, God, make him fly”, she prayed silently. Just above the treetops, the dragon spread his wings and glided with breathtaking speed over the wood toward the west.
At the same time, the old cherry in Lysande’s garden had a wonderful dream. Since it had entered the property of the witch, dreams were all it had left. It smiled in its sleep. In its mind, a gentle breeze played with freshly grown leaves. The cherry felt the energy with which the green welled up from its buds. The smell of nectar and pollen hung in the air. Bees buzzed around its crown. Juices rose from the roots to the crown powerfully. It felt the wind caressing the crippled branches and the new leaves, whispering comfortingly. For the length of a dream, joy replaced pain.
A few hours earlier in Engelstal, the search for crown Prince Victor had been broken off after a long morning. It hadn’t yielded any useable traces of him. Pale as death, King Gregor had raced through the corridors of the castle and had insisted that Lysande accompanied him. Only now, he assigned her a room.
“Lie down, or do whatever else you do to get a vision, and look for my son “, he said. “I order you to!”
Lysande did not contradict him. She knew her brother well enough to know that it was no use trying to explain magical activities to him. As if one can force visions. Gregor never understood how the power of the Talented works. He can consider himself lucky that I am not a simple seer. Lysande went into the assigned room. It was small and homely. The whitewashed walls were unadorned. A carpet with red, green and gold, the colors of the royal house of Engelstal, lay in front of the big fireplace where a merry fire flickered. Her bag stood on a broad bed with soft blankets and furs. She took out the crystal ball and concentrated. The crystal started to glow from inside. Lysande sent her spirit to search for Victor. The crystal bundled and strengthened her powers and showed her things unseen by her eyes. She used her blood ties and sent her spirit into that of her nephew. The crystal ball went black. Lysande recoiled.
“He probably only sleeps”, she tried to calm herself. She breathed consciously for a few times. Then, she ordered her nephew to open his eyes. The crystal ball remained dark. Lysande knew what this meant. Since Victor could no longer see, he had to be dead. Pain split her heart.
” He cannot be dead. He must not be dead.” Incapable to sit, she walked to the window and leaned her face against one of the columns that framed it. The coolness of the stones soothed her burning cheeks but not the pain in her heart. She loved her nephew. Since she had gone away, she had often watched him with her crystal ball. A few times, she had spied on him in the woods when he was hunting. He had never noticed.
For hours, Lysande stood at the window, but she saw nothing and felt neither hunger nor thirst. Not even the gloriously colorful sunset eased her pain.