“Xyta placed a hex on Prince Eloran. She wanted him as her slave. I had to break it. I also placed a protective spell on him to make certain she could not do that again.”
“By why your symbol?” He made it sound as if this were unusual and Prince Eloran held his breath for the answer.
“I…” She seemed reluctant to speak further.
“You could have placed a simple protection spell on him, but instead, you placed your symbol there. Why, Anan?”
“Anan?” Prince Eloran sounded very curious.
Anan turned to him and placed her hand over his heart. She smiled softly to him. “Long before I met you, I dreamt of you. I loved you long before I saw you in the woods. I started to think you were nothing more than my imagination. Then I saw you in the woods, in need of help. I recognized who you were from my dreams. I chose to protect you because I love you.”
He looked about to kiss her. King Nassir’s voice broke that thought.
“Tell him what it means, daughter.”
She closed her eyes. “It means that if you are in danger, no matter where you are, I will know and I will be able to come to you in an instant.”
Eloran frowned a bit. “Does that mean that if you are helping someone through the Gate, and something happens to me, you will know? You will leave and come to me?”
The Prince shook his head. Though he knew little about magic, he did not think it a good idea for someone to leave in the middle of a spell. “You can’t. That’s dangerous to you, isn’t it?”
“It is dangerous to the Gate, and to my daughter.” The King answered.
Prince Eloran looked up to the King sharply. “No.” he looked to Anan. “You have to remove this, Anan. You can’t do that.”
“I have seen the future, Prince. I know the gate will not be harmed.”
She turned to the King.
King Nassir gave her a stern look. “When he has left, we will speak.”
She curtsied. “Yes, father.”
The King looked to the Prince. “Why are you in my daughter’s home anyway?”
Eloran blushed and gave Anan a sheepish smile. “There was a reason, other than being with you. I almost forgot.” He stood tall and looked to the King, then Anan. “I came to invite you to my brother’s birthday celebration. It’s in one month.” He looked to King Nassir.
“I wanted to invite your daughter to the Spring Ball, but Klaes said there was not enough time. He also said that if I invite Anan to my brother’s birthday celebration directly, she does not need to mention who she is, but that if King Falk invites King Nassir’s daughter, she would give a formal thank you from her father. There are, unfortunately, some that would not appreciate a Finaran at the Crown Prince’s birthday celebration.”
King Nassir nodded in thought. “If I were not here, what would you do?”
“Ask Anan what she wishes.”
The King looked the Prince in the eye. “What do you wish?”
He turned to Anan. “For Anan to be safe.”
She smiled as she placed her hand on his cheek. “I am your protector, Prince. You are not mine.”
He placed his hand over hers, turned his head and kissed her palm. “We shall protect each other.”
The King cleared his throat to remind the two they were not alone. Both grinned and turned back to the King, who looked Anan in the eye.
“Daughter, what do you wish?”
“As it is the Crown Prince’s birthday, I believe it would be prudent to keep my full identity secret until another time. I want to go to the celebration, but feel a formal invitation and thank you would take away from Prince Seth’s day.”
“So be it. Leave the formal invitation to another time.” He took his daughter in his arms and kissed her cheek. “I will send someone in a few days to take over the Gate. Then we will talk. The squadron should be here shortly.”
He let Anan go, nodded to Eloran, and left. The couple looked at each other as the door closed and smiled. Eloran took Anan in his arms and held her close.
“You really shouldn’t be my protector if the Gate might be harmed. I know the implications of that, Anan.”
She looked up into his eyes and smiled. “I know what I’m doing, Prince. Trust me.”
He stared down into her eyes for a moment before nodding. “All right.” He gave her a curious look. “Your father saw your symbol on my chest. How?”
She smiled and placed her hand over his heart. “Those with Finaran blood will be able to see it,” the smile turned slightly sheepish, “even when it is covered with clothing.”
He gave her an odd look, but she spoke before he could.
“Don’t worry, Eloran. Those who see it will know to be quiet.”
Eloran looked relieved. Anan smiled then kissed him. They soon found their way back to her couch. They wanted to be in bed, but knew that with the squadron of soldiers soon arriving, they needed to be patient. Once the squadron came through, then they would be able to adjourn to Anan’s bed.