We wait anxiously in the throne room for the Fae Prince Ryvan and his human wife, Princess Ella, to arrive. They have come with their royal Fae Healer to see if they can help me.
I’ve reached a plateau in my recovery. I’m able to walk, but it is still only for short distances and not without great difficulty. Sometimes the pain in my legs becomes so great that I have to use my chair. I am grateful that I can walk, but I wish desperately to regain the full use of my legs.
One of the guards enters, interrupting our conversation. He bows low. “Forgive the intrusion, Your Highnesses,” he announces. “Prince Ryvan and Princess Ella have arrived.”
My heart slams in my throat. I push my hands into my lap to still their shaking as I tip my chin up, ready to receive our most welcome guests. I’m anxious to meet them, but nervous that my hopes are for naught. I so desperately want to regain the full use of my legs.
“Show them in,” Gerold orders.
The doors open, and my mouth drifts open when the prince and princess appear. They are indeed a handsome pair. He has dark hair, glowing green eyes, and the pointed ears typical of his kin, lending him an ethereal handsomeness that human men could never achieve. A ghost of a smile crests my lips, for not even this Fae can rival Errik’s attractiveness. I take his hand in mine, squeezing gently.
The princess has chestnut hair that frames her shoulders. Her eyes are pale blue, like a clear sky on a warm day. Her face is heart-shaped, and I smile when I realize she has freckles, just like me and my brother.
I’m still slightly stunned that she is human. Ryvan’s father sealed the borders of their kingdom with magic shortly after Ryvan’s mother was killed by an invading human army. He hated humans, and I wonder how Ryvan and Ella fell in love in the first place. I make a mental note to ask her when we are alone later.
My brother stands to greet them. “Welcome, Prince Ryvan and Princess Ella. I am King Gerold, and this is my sister, Princess Halla, and her husband, Prince Errik. We are glad you have arrived safely.”
Prince Ryvan inclines his head. “Thank you. We are happy to be here.” His eyes dart to me, and I’m struck by the kindness they express. “We only hope that our Healer may be of help to the princess.”
He glances over his shoulder, and another Fae steps into the light. His eyes glow light blue, and his hair is the color of spun gold. He bows to us. “I am Healer Oradon.”
I smile. “I have been eagerly awaiting your arrival. Thank you very much for coming to offer aid.”
Princess Ella addresses me. “As soon as we heard you needed help, we knew we had to come. Our kingdom knows of your bravery, Princess. We only hope that we will be able to help you.”
“You may call me Halla,” I tell her, nodding in acknowledgment.
She flashes a dazzling smile. “Then you may call me Ella.”
I like them already.
We all head to the dining hall, offering our guests food after their long journey. Ella sits beside me, Errik and Ryvan are seated across from us, and my brother sits at the head of the table. I cannot help but notice Ryvan lovingly place his hand over Ella’s slightly swollen abdomen when she settles.
I glance down at her stomach. “You are with child?”
“Yes.” Her face is practically glowing. “A girl.”
“How lovely.” I smile, my hand alighting over my abdomen as well.
“You are, too?” she asks.
I nod, trying to keep my expression cheerful despite my fears.
Healer Oradon tilts his head. “Forgive me. May I interject?” His gaze darts to Errik. “I understand you are Mer—is that correct?”
Oradon frowns. “You are worried because you fear the child was conceived when you were in that form.”
My mouth drifts open. “How did you know?”
“Oradon is a seer,” Ryvan says.
“I believe the child will be Mer, but I will have to assess you to be certain.”
Panic stops my heart. “Please,” I ask anxiously. “Can you examine me now?”
He nods and stands from his chair. Approaching, he takes my hand. He closes his eyes and lowers his head, features tensing in deep concentration. After a moment, he tips his head back up to me and smiles.
“I was right; your daughter will be like her father. Both will live in two worlds. So will any future children conceived of your union.”
Relief floods me, so great I feel as if my heart will burst. Gerold and Althea beam and I’ve never been happier.
Later that night, as we lie in bed, tangled up in each other’s arms, Errik places his hand lovingly over my abdomen. “Our daughter will be able to spend time with both our families.”
I comb my fingers through his hair, capturing his glowing blue eyes. “You can show her where you came from and teach her about the sea.”
He kisses me, smiling against my lips. “More importantly, her uncle Toren can watch her whenever her parents need some time alone.” I laugh, but he sobers. “How do your legs feel?”
“About the same, maybe a little better. I have regained more feeling, and when Oradon used his magic, they seemed… stronger somehow. It’s too soon to know for sure, though.”
He cups my face. “And if they remain as they are?”
I know he asks because he worries I’ll fall into depression. Yet the truth is, I’ve never been more content. I touch his cheek then trace the pointed tip of his ear as I stare deep into his eyes.
“Even if I never fully heal, I do not need this to be happy, Errik. I have you and our daughter. You are all I need, my love.”
His eyes brighten with tears as he cups my cheek. He brushes his lips to mine and whispers against them. “You are my heart, Halla.” Tenderly, he splays his palm across my abdomen. “Fate led us to each other, and I will always be yours.”
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