The door opened and the same girl from before brought in a folded
fabric. She set it on the bed and looked at Sylvia,
"In an hour, you will come down to eat. Here is something that Master has provided for you to wear." She turned stiffly and walked out, locking the door behind her. Sylvia sat rigid, terrified of the grisly girl. She unfolded the article and saw that it was a dress. It was a creamy blue colored gown, floor-length with a velvety grey vine-like pattern stretching from top to bottom. It was gorgeous, but Sylvia was confused as to why he would have given her something so nice to wear. Perhaps she couldn't find the strength to accept the truth in the situation.
She descended slowly down the spiraling stone staircase, stone
walls on either side keeping her from seeing anything around the
corner. At the end she saw the girl and another waiting. The
other was shorter, younger than the first girl, with black hair
and the same grey, glazed-over eyes.
"Come." The blonde one said. They turned simultaneously and began walking down the hallway at the end of the room. Sylvia warily followed. Through a larger door at the end they went where a table sat in the light of the moon. Tall blue and silver curtains swayed and candle flames danced rapidly to the light breeze. Few plates of food and a basket of bread sat on the table, with an empty one waiting for her. He was at the end of the long table, standing and observing her. Sylvia mustered the courage to speak.
"I'm dreaming, aren't I?" He grinned, and began to walk towards her.
"Please, sit." He pulled out the chair and motioned for her to come. She did, and he slid in the seat for her. Sylvia had tied the vial tightly to her inner thigh, and was feeing its coolness now. She became nervous that he somehow knew. She swallowed hard, and told herself it was all just a dream. "Now, eat. I know you have questions, but you are undoubtedly famished." It was true, Sylvia was hungry. Deep within, though, she felt that she shouldn't eat. She feared it might be a trick for she found out early on how full this place was of deception.
"How do I know that I can trust it? Trust you? That if I eat it I won't turn into one of your ghoulish slaves?" She looked him in the eyes but then quickly looked away out of fear. He chuckled.
"Sylvia, do you think I would bring you here just to be a worker? No, no these servants are not slaves. They chose this life."
"I highly doubt that." The air felt heavy and tense, but Sylvia couldn't stop herself from casting scrutiny. It was highly unlike her. "I'm sorry, truly. I just want to go home." Her eyes remained down; it was best to keep on his good side she decided.
"Sylvia, you are home." A large cool hand pressed on her shoulder. She flinched and looked up at him once again, not pulling away.
"What?" She asked with a pang of dread. He smiled gently.
"You belong here… with me." Sylvia wanted to protest, but instead turned away and shrugged off his hand. His gentleness was perplexing; 'shouldn't he be forcing me to be his bride or slave?' she asked herself. Sylvia suddenly felt nauseous and weak with hunger, and stretched for a slice of bread. It felt and smelled safe, she thought. The prince watched silently and grinned as she began tearing off pieces and eating them. He admired how her long dark wavy hair and pale slender arms looked in the moon light, only wishing he would again look into her silvery blue eyes.
"You're evil, aren't you?" She asked suddenly.
"It depends. Why do you ask?" Sylvia thought of how she could respond without offending him.
"I just get that vibe from you." She didn't want to tell him how frightening his appearance was or the fact that he lived in a large eerie castle with seemingly undead servants; although he was probably well aware of that.
Sylvia had many questions but couldn't make herself ask anymore. She picked at what was on the table until her hunger subsided. They sat in silence.
"Won't you eat?" She asked him. He had been standing behind her the whole time. He walked around and sat in the chair to her left.
"I will later, Sylvia. Have you finished?" She nodded. He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes at her. "You're lying… but I will let you go if you wish. You must be exhausted; I didn't expect you to come as soon as you woke."
"Were… were you watching me?" She was horrified at the thought.
"It's hard for me to explain, and right now isn't a good time for you to know. You need sleep… perhaps tomorrow I will tell you." Sylvia stood; he did as well, and said
"Goodnight. Thank you for the food." She turned to leave but he grasped her wrist and turned her to him. Her heart quickened.
"Sylvia," he paused and stared at her for a moment, "sleep well. I will be here if you need anything." She nodded and backed away until he let go, then she turned and quickly left the room. She began running through the hallway and up the stairs, slamming the bedroom door behind her. Her heart was racing and her head spinning. She fell to the bed and curled up beneath the heavy covers. She wanted to cry, but she felt watched and confused, almost angry. Sylvia placed the vial under her pillow and closed her eyes. Owls called for each other in the distance, and down below even the chirps of frogs and bugs seemed far away. She was afraid to blow out the candles, afraid not to see if anything crept into her room.
Sylvia dozed off for a little while, but couldn't sleep because she was anxious for it. She thought that if she went to sleep she would wake up in her own bed at home to see the sun streaming in through the old windows. It felt like she had been there a week already, but in reality it had only been a few hours.
The presence of something in the room made Sylvia peek from under the covers. She saw the fairy coming. Sylvia sat up and smiled at her.
"You haven't done it yet? Why?" She asked impatiently.
"I haven't had the opportunity."
"Well your chance is now. He's downstairs sitting at the desk next to the hallway entrance. You can sneak behind him and take it." Sylvia's eyes widened.
"What if he sees me?"
"The effect is almost instant, just take in quickly." Sylvia got up with the vial in hand and slowly opened the door.
"I'll be waiting." The fairy whispered as she flew out the window. Sylvia slipped the potion down the front of the dress and walked silently downstairs. There he sat just as the fairy said, writing, but as she reached up he turned around and smiled. Sylvia's heart sunk.
"Couldn't sleep?" He said softly as he began walking towards her. She was frozen. He looked concerned; her face was full of fear and almost losing color. "Sylvia you look ill…" He stared at her for a moment, reading her. Sylvia's cheeks grew hot. He then placed his hands on either side of her face and drew closer, "are you so afraid of me?" he whispered. An odd sensation came over her when he was so close; it frightened her to feel that way. She slapped away his hands and took a few steps back. His face hardened.
"I'm going home, I don't belong here and you know it." She produced the vial and quickly pulled the cork. His eyes widened,
"NO!" He yelled angrily, but she turned it up and in one swallow it was gone. She looked back at him just as he grabbed her hand with a growl. He clenched his teeth at her for a moment before he was overcome with pain. She saw how his face changed and gasped with horror. He clutched his chest and fell to his knees. Was he dying?
"I'm sorry!" She backed away from him and tears began falling as she dropped the bottle to the floor and ran for the door. She didn't stop running, even when the fairy called to her. Sylvia cleared the field before tripping over a tree root and slamming to the ground.
"Sylvia what's the matter?" The fairy shouted when she finally caught up. She stood crying,
"You killed him! You said it would put him to sleep but he's dying!"
"No Sylvia! He'll be fine I swear! I know it looked painful, but he will wake up from it in a half hour, unless one of his servants brings him an antidote. Sylvia we don't have much time, we need to go, now!" Sylvia followed her through thick brush and a creek, unlike the path she took to get there. When they came to old castle ruins, they stopped. Sylvia was desperate to catch her breath. Their eyes met with horror when two wolves' howls pierced through the night. "We're here, that old arched doorway will take you back."
"What about you? Won't he punish you?" She smiled.
"It was the risk I had to take. Now, go!" Sylvia thanked her and prayed she truly was a good fairy before stepping through the doorway.
It was dark and the moon was gone for the night. The sky was beginning to lighten and spread its bright morning colors across the sky. Sylvia did not awake in front of the hill, but just outside of her house by the howling of her forlorn dogs. She took a moment to stare at her familiar surroundings before she ran shouting joyously, almost being taken down by her overly excited dogs. Steam was rolling from the bathroom as Sylvia took a long, hot shower repeating to herself "it's over, it's over."
She made her way to the bedroom and collapsed on the bed with a victorious grin across her face. She was fast asleep thinking of how sweet it is to be home.
The prince pulled himself up off of the floor, finding his wolves and servants standing before him. One had given him the antidote.
"Find her." He growled. They took off and in a moment he was alone. His chest ached and his head pounded, but he made his way back to his own bedroom on the third floor. He stared over the land from his wide window that oversaw everything, listening to the howl of the wolves beginning the hunt. He knew it was too late, for she was being helped by the fairy that gave her the potion.
He stumbled to his cabinet filled with medicinal herbs and created a concoction to ease his pain. He sat in a chair in the moonlight, wondering what could happen next now that she was gone. He had no idea if the fairy truly sent Sylvia home or not and if she didn't, their world would come to ruin soon.
The crystal sphere sitting on the table lit up. She had made it home and was falling asleep; this was wonderful news. He was still angry about being poisoned, but thankful that she could still return. He picked up the crystal ball and looked into her dreams. He saw his self, she was dreaming of him.
Sylvia was fast asleep with strange dreams that were connected to nothing that had just happened, until she saw the prince. She was standing in the lake staring up at the immense castle. The water was steaming and glowing green, but felt nice and warm. He was standing on the shore in his long cloak. His black hair was moving in the breeze and his piercing gaze made her still, but not afraid. His expression was calm and warming. He began walking towards her in the water and placed his hands on her shoulders.
"I need you back here, Sylvia."
"Why?" She asked softly. He said nothing as his hand reached up and brushed the hair from her cheek.
"Come, stay with me." He whispered "I need you." He moved in closer and kissed her on the cheek. She stood still, her heart pounding. "Our world is tumbling down…"
Sylvia woke up to the sun streaming in through the curtains, confused and disconnected from reality. She knew it really was him, but was wondering if it could be a trick. She was, however, thankful he was alive, but also angry that the events last night weren't a dream, and the adventure wasn't over. As she got up and began getting dressed, something stuck in her head. Something she knew was a sign that he truly needed her, a name; Mythaeus.