Alex and Ice returned back to the Richardson Castle. They started to walk towards the castle gates and Ice pulled him up.
“Don’t you think it’s not going to go well if you walk straight in? Richardson will kill you if you did,” Ice warned him.
“It doesn’t matter, this is very important and it concerns everyone,” Alex answered.
They saw the castle doors open and King Richardson appeared seeing the four travellers as he started his own attack on them. A group of knights also were with the king and they surrounded the party with Richardson inspecting them.
“Alex, you’re a dead man. I said never to come back and never to touch Celia,” cried the King walked out from the castle building.
“I have never touched her King Richardson. It is you who has problems with yourself,” reasoned Alex.
“You have, I bet you!” cried Richardson. “I have not!” shouted Alex.
“You little shit,” yelled the king.
Then Alex grabbed the king and bashed him into the wall as he yelled. The knight then grabbed Alex and held him.
“Listen, old King. I have been kind to you the whole time I have known you. But you make these ideas up and I’ve had enough. Now I love Celia and would never do anything that she would not approve of. What have you done? I believe if you feel what you’re doing is right then you should be doing it. Listening to you is the wrong thing to do. Don’t you see what is happening to you?” yelled Alex.
“He doesn’t. He really doesn’t” whispered Alfred to Ice.
Celia smiled next to Ice as they exchanged smiles. That was the first time that Alex openly said he loved Celia.
“I still don’t like you,” said Richardson quietly.
“At least I’m keeping your daughter’s blood alive,” said Alex straight to his face Alex as he pushed the knights aside
Richardson turned to face and Alfred grabbed his old staff from his cloak and knocked Richardson in the back. The king fell to the ground. The knights looked at the wizard amazed.
“For now I’m in control of the kingdom. Place the king in his bed. There are things to attend to now,” said the old wizard and the party moved on.
“You stay here with Celia and Alfred to keep them safe, Ice,” ordered Alex as Ice nodded.
“If Richardson is a problem, we’ll freeze him,” instructed Alex as he grabbed his horse from the horse stable
Alexander had found a new voice within, a stronger voice of maturity. He turned to face Ice, Celia and Alfred.
“I shall return soon, Celia. I am to journey alone to find Morcar and Draken before they cause trouble with the six crystals they have,” said Alex.
“Where will you search?” Ice asked Alex.
“I will search every sea and ocean there is and every forest and house in the land. But my expectations of Morcar and Draken are that they have found all six crystals and are heading to the Season Island. Until the dragonflies are well again then we can fly to the Island and find the criminals,” Alex answered the party.
“Why don’t you just stay here until the dragonflies are well?” asked Ice.
“No,” quickly answered Alex, he had thought of a new idea, “I will go and search for them for a little while. There is something I need to do,” Alex said.
“Are you sure?” asked Alfred.
Alex put his hand on his shoulder, smiled at him and sighed, “Yes I am sure and I shall return in one piece,” he said and with that he left the castle doors and headed off to the castle gates.
Ice looked at Richardson outside with the knights carrying them towards them and he let them pass. He looked at Alfred.
“What do I do now?” he asked.
“Don’t know,” said Alfred as the wizard watched the knights carry the king back to his throne room, “Rest and explore these rich walls while you have the time.
Richardson was placed on his throne sitting up and Ice and Alfred came inside the room. They dusted their hands clean and turned to each other.
“That wasn’t so hard. We must now wait until Alexander returns. I hope he does return with some good news,” Alfred commented.
“I hope for that to happen too. The waiting can be painful for some. Thinking what could happen to me and the elements. I just don’t know what to do. Waiting for the end to come is so hard to bear, or think,” Ice thought with despair.
“Alex will sort this matter out. We are a good team together. Morcar and Draken is no match for the likes of us,” Alfred smiled.
Ice tried to smile and he saw the garden inside the castle. It reminded him of some of the places in the world he had visited and looked like some of the flowers in the country.
“What a nice garden you have there Alfred,” said Ice happily. “Yes, one of the good things about Richardson Castle, we are
famous for the old look of castles and for our gardens, including the prize one here. It’s one of the oldest castles around Ice. That’s why we are respected around the country,”
“How come it’s lasted so long?” Ice asked.
“The older kings have been successful through good old niceness and protected our boarders for so long. We also had good kings until this one. This king did well in the beginning but his management failed and led to the stress that he carries for himself nowadays,” Alfred explained to Ice.
“May I have a look around this rich castle and see what other things I may find?” Ice asked Alfred.
“Indeed you can. Go off and find whatever you can. You might find something interesting here,” Alfred answered him.
Ice strolled off by himself away towards the upstairs area and Alfred watched on in wonder.
“I’m chatting to one of the rare elements. It’s a small world it is, I think,” he smiled to himself.
Celia was standing by herself in the corner and Alfred called her over, “Celia come over and see what new spells I have made in my room. Hopefully it will pass the time too.”
Celia followed Alfred away from the castle door opening and went to Alfred’s room.
Alex had ignored his first plan of searching for Morcar and Draken, he knew where they were and he couldn’t do anything without the aid of the dragonflies and the ThunderDragon. He however was lost in his mind. He had a lot from Alfred and Ice but there were still doubts in his mind about his new found life. He decided to take a walk to the fine edges of the Richardson country and saw the markets. It was alive and buzzing and it was filled with young children playing and talking to their friends. Alex sailed through the place until he stopped at a fruit stand. He saw there was a different person from the one he was expecting there.
“Where is the man who works here?” Alex asked the young man.
“He’s on his break. He’s just down around the corner if you wish to chat to him. We have specials on strawberries and apples today. Like some?” he asked Alex.
“No, thank you,” he answered and he pressed on around the corner. He turned around the corner to see an older man biting into his lunch then he turned to see who the shadow was.
“My young knight, my own son! How are you?” he cried happily. He quickly got up and they hugged each other.
“Tired but happy to see you,” Alex answered.
“It’s been a while but why are you here? Aren’t you busy nowadays?” asked his father.
Alex nodded and rolled his tired eyes, “Yes I am. It’s just I don’t know,” “I know the Richardson Castle is busy. I’ve heard about some
major attacks on the castle in the last couple weeks. I didn’t tell you mother of course because then she would worry about you and want you to come home again. I kept telling her that it’s the life of a knight. Fighting dragons, and wizard and people,” his father told her.
Alex smiled at hearing the words wizards and dragons. How real his father’s thoughts were.
His father paused for a moment and waved to his son to sit with him on the seat next to him. He looked into his son’s eyes and sensed something wrong.
“Found any friends?” he asked him.
“Yes, a good wizard and the king’s daughter,” Alex answered. “Oh the king’s daughter, I only wanted you to be a knight, not the future king or anything!” his father chuckled to himself.
“I know, but I don’t think I’ll be king of anything in my life father,” he stopped half way and his father looked again at his eyes.
“Something’s wrong with you, in here?” he asked and he pointed to his heart.
“I just don’t know what to do,” Alex said randomly.
“I know there are things in life you can’t ell me but there are moments in your life when we get to crossroads. There are many paths to take in this life Alex,” his father counselled him.
Alex’s eyes started to shake and he turned to face his father and looked into his eyes.
“I feel I’m at a crossroad where I have the choice to stay and fight or to walk away and be safe. I feel I want to return home and forget about everything but there is a feeling deep inside of me that knows what is happening in this world is wrong and that I can make a different out there,” Alex explained to his father.
His father saw and understood his son. He had grown up fast in the last couple of months.
“The choices that we make mark the personality of who we are to the world. The choices you make, Alex, will be shown to the world. If you left then people may think that you lost hope for this world. Have you lost that have hope that you’ve been fighting for since you left me? Some people won’t believe this but there are many good people out there. It’s just the few good men who stand up to fight for the others. There is no such thing as destiny. It’s just being in the right place at the right time. Have you lost that hope inside of you? Can you still see the goodness in this world? Have you seen it?” his father asked him.
The sounds of the market faded away and the silence grew around the pair talking. Alex flashed images of the good he had seen in the past couple of months. The elements, Alfred, Celia and the people of Richardson. The sweet gardens of Richardson Castle, the lands he had travelled looking for hope and goodness.
“Look into my eyes, Alex, and say to me you have lost all hope. That you never want to see the sweet faces you love again. That you have lost hope for your friends, mentors and your love. That the seasons will stop changing because of the tough and almost impossible task at hand you see in your future. When the lords of our world call for the greatest battle of all time, you will stand up above the rest and proclaim your soul to the goodness of our world,” tears started to fall down his father’s cheeks.
“My boy, these times that will come, I won’t be here always. Look to the stars and I will be there with you when the darkness falls upon you. When pure shadows draw blood from you, hold on to your heart and soul and be brave for the word of goodness. You will fight for this world because you care too much about people, Alex. You care for existence and for this earth. I have seen what you have seen, the creators of this world and they need your help. Through dream and fantasy I have seen them. Don’t give in to things that appear too large to handle. Fight my boy, fight and when the morning comes you will know that the war is over and we have won our lives back and our right to live in this world. I know there is a pure hate and a pure love out there. These things I know of and you do what you think is right in your heart.”
Alex had gone stone cold thinking. He never saw his father talk like that, and he knew that he knew about the elements. He knew that the world was worth fighting for and he knew what was right to do in his heart.
Celia laughed and clapped at one of Alfred’s spells and he bowed to the princess and closed his new spell book. He seemed to be more of a magician than a wizard. He put the book on the desk and sat down. She was sitting on the bed and commented on his magic, “You don’t make serious spells, do you now?” asked Celia.
“Not really. I don’t like harmful spells,” admitted Alfred.
“Did you really want to be wizard when you were Alex’s age?” she asked him.
“Yes and no. I didn’t mind being a wizard but didn’t like the battle and fighting. I joined the Richardson Castle in my middle years and I quite liked the place because it was quiet, until now it’s been noisy,” Alfred explained to Celia.
“You see Celia, we have choices to make and I made the choice to join the Richardson Castle knowing war could come at anytime. Same thing for Alexander. He knew war could come and he’s decided I hope to stay on and help us,” said Alfred.
“He has to help us, does he?” asked the worried princess.
“Not really Celia. He can walk away if need be. It’s up to everyone if they wish to fight on. For Ice, me, you, anyone,” Alfred answered her. Alfred turned his head and looked out of the window and he thought about Alex and the future.
“Will he fight for what is right?” asked Celia.
A long pause came after that and Alfred was thinking about it. He returned with an answer, “I think so. I hope,” said an unease old wizard. Ice had now been exploring the castle for an hour. He explored all the big and small rooms of the castle. He didn’t want to leave the small rooms out of his search for wonderful things. He crossed into dark and light rooms and crept into huge room with ancient pieces of works, Ice turned around the corner and arrived at the Queen’s room. He was quiet as a mouse and he was about to push the door wider when it somehow opened by itself. Ice was spooked by it. His eyes were bright and wide open and eased himself into the room. It was rich in red robes, sheet and filled with the smell of perfume.
Ice started to notice smaller things, chest of drawers and wardrobe. To his surprise stood the queen, looking at some old paintings. One was of King Richardson. One painting of Richardson was shown on the queen’s bed. The painting captured the happier times of the older king’s life, one new life and a young child. How did the years change so quickly over that time? He lowered his eyes to the ground for thought and he lifted them again to view the queen’s face. Ice was saddened to see the queen’s face. She has lost her husband to a world of kingdoms and castles. Her daughter was now a young lady, with a knight who loved her. As quiet as Ice might be he was still heard by the queen.
“You’re Ice the element I have heard about. Celia talks of you to me sometimes,” she told him.
Ice, unsurprised as he was, froze in his spot and stepped a little closer to the queen
“Nice to meet you at last I haven’t had the chance to talk to you yet. Yes, I am Ice, element of the weather and creator and protector,” said Ice.
Ice was quiet and the talk was about to change the subject. There was something on the queen’s mind and he knew it. The door closed by itself and Ice quickly turned around then back at the queen. The perfume started to fade and the air was still. He suddenly held his chest as he felt a pain come across him. The queen laid eyes on the element and spoke to him.
“I heard a whisper in the wind. You think love will never touch you. You believe your ice heart will protect you from the people you love,” she said.
Ice’s face changed his face to bitterness and his expression to remembrance
“My frozen heart. How did you know that?” he asked the Queen. “I try to understand you, to get inside of you, Ice. But you wouldn’t let me,” she answered.
Ice stepped back and his eyes were widening again at hearing those words. He couldn’t to defend himself to the Queen about his own reasons why he can’t love.
“How can anyone love someone like me? My reward and punishment is immortality. I will live forever and watch my friends die one buy one throughout the years to come. You will die and so will Alex, Celia and Alfred,” said Ice.
“Your morals in love are very good. You are millions of years old. Ever found someone special?” asked the queen.
“No. The simple and complex answer is the same. I can’t find that special one. I don’t think there is such a thing. It is a dream within a dream, a fantasy embedded into fantasy. A pure thought that can’t be wished upon or achieved,” spoke Ice.
“You must have seen many people in your life, Ice, do you remember them?” asked the queen.
“Yes. Many I do and many I don’t. Not as many people as people may think I have seen.”
“What is love, Ice? What is really it all about? You have seen love evolved from the beginning of time. What is it?” whispered the queen.
“Love can be something like loving your child to loving the woman you desire. Love can be the things you do. Like sword fighting, or ruling a country right down to fruit picking. For me, Love is unique something that the heavens have given us because we are human. We are holy to this world. I wish I had love. That feeling that all the other humans have had but not me. I wish to find my perfect love but I know even with my frozen heart. I am forbidden to love,” said Ice.
They were sitting on the bed as the queen saw that he was a very special man. Ice was in a daze, he never felt so relaxed in his whole entire life. He remembered at the beginning of time he felt a little like that. So relaxed and happy that he felt he wasn’t complete in tact, the pieces of his body the floating high above the clouds. The Queen spoke again and brought the element back down to earth.
“What if I could find your perfect love? Who could melt your heart? That one who will understand you without saying a word. What would you say if I could do that for you?” said the queen.
“I would say that the devils are playing with your mind,” spoke Ice. “I did not find my perfect love, Ice. Richardson was the wrong man for me. He has lost the meaning of love for me, his daughter and the kingdom. You are a special person in the history of humankind. Yes I can agree with you that I can’t find your perfect love but I know this can. I want you to have this,” said the queen.
The world seemed to have stood still for a moment and Ice was as quiet as time. He watched her take something out of her drawer and then closed the drawer again. She handed over a music box to Ice as he looked at it.
“What a bizarre sight to see. What is it?” asked Ice.
“Open it and listen and watch,” said the queen as Ice did so.
He opened it to hear the most beautiful music that he ever heard in his life. There on the music box dance floor were two people. They started dancing as the queen spoke of it. A white blinding light shone through Ice and revealed a skeleton within him with a frozen heart was beating within.
“The music box reveals things inside of us. You must understand that Ice sees what’s inside,” she said to him.
Ice watched the two dancers slowly moving around the board on the box and continued to be captured by the daze of life.
“One day your music box will break in half. You will not see it happen but it will happen in time. The woman will travel the seven seas and wander the earth to find your love. As the man that is you will be waiting to see this woman. When you see the woman piece in the music box again after the all those years, then the person who holds that piece is your perfect love,” she explained.
“How can I just be with this perfect love? When will she come to me? I can’t lose this music box,” asked Ice confused.
“Everything will be clear in the end. You will thank me for this. You’re thinking I’m mad, but faith is the key to find your love,” said the queen.
“I don’t know about the perfect love idea,” thought the element. “The perfect love idea is really the person who you feel most
comfortable with and understand the most and love the most. You tend to see the idea of perfection love but it’s the imperfections that make up the perfection,” explained the queen.
“Thank you,” said Ice as he saw the dancer’s part and moved to the sides of the music box. The white glow of the music box disappeared as the box lid closed.
“What’s wrong?” asked Ice.
“You have not found your love yet. The day you show your true feelings to the one you truly love is the day that they dance again. The day when all becomes clear,” explained Ice.
“Now go and defend our world from Morcar and Draken. Thank you Ice for convincing me to get Alex to go with his heart with my daughter Celia, I am happy that she will be safe with you and others,” said the queen.
“Thank you for showing me this idea. The heart that one day that may be fulfilled,” Ice said as he put the music box into his pocket.
The queen watched him walk away as she smiled.
“Ice, your love will come to you because your heart is pure. It is not an idea or a belief. It is a fact of life,” she told him as Ice walked away.
He came around the corner and pulled out the music box and shook the thing around a little.
“I don’t know about this. Who knows what this box may do in the future? Even the smallest of things can help change the face of the world…time and space,” thought Ice, walking back towards the garden and Alfred.
He wandered past the room he explored and guided himself down the stairs to where he saw a young man enter the castle doors in a full knighthood suit with a familiar silver and back cape behind him. Alex had retuned from his trip to the market. He looked up at Ice and the two could tell other that they had grown in the past couple of hours, a little wiser and a little older too.
“We go to Season Island,” he cried out to Ice as he made his way to Alfred’s room.
“Together we fight for love and peace,” Ice said to himself as he followed Alex down the stairs to the room.