Grail looked somewhat happy as he called him ‘Phel.’
–They must have been quite close then.
It was said that humans and fairies were once much closer than they are now. Aquasteed believed that it was due to the power of the old king.
They must have worked much harder back then to be loved by the fairies. Most of the documents in the castle were old, with very few being recent.
But that was perhaps not too surprising.
The first king had not only built Marineforest, but was accepted by the Fairy Kings. Aquasteed had nothing but respect for him.
“So it is my descendant who has Grail’s ring, but who has Pearl’s?”
“Oh, I see. Now that I think of it, I have not asked you your name yet.”
Pheles looked at Aquasteed and Tiararose and then offered his hand. Aquasteed shook it while giving his name.
“Aquasteed, eh? It is a good name.”
“And this is Tiararose, I see. And you say that she alone was blessed by Keith? How wonderful.”
Pheles looked at Tiararose in surprise, and said, ‘Keith must have softened then.’ But Grail was quick to reply.
“Not at all.”
“I thought so!”
Pheles clapped his hands together and laughed. He suddenly seemed almost childlike. Aquasteed watched and wondered which was his normal self.
And just why was Pheles, the first king, here?
–Surely he was not the monster who was sealed down here.
Aquasteed then wondered if he was here to watch the monster. But considering you were supposed to be able to create rings down here, perhaps his presence was related to that. Or it could be both.
Pheles’ fingers snapped, and in an instant, the altar in the center of the room transformed into a throne. Aquasteed heard Tiararose and the others gasp behind him, and he wondered with suspicion about what would happen next.
He didn’t think there was any malice to fear, but everything was so unpredictable.
–I have never felt that a smile like this was frightening before.
“Hmm. It’s too bad that the others cannot see me.”
“You’re a ghost, Pheles. So only some people can see you.”
Grail said consolingly as Pheles complained.
Aquasteed heard the word ‘ghost’ and was not too surprised. It would not have been possible for a human to live so long.
“You will be able to make a ring here. Isn’t that why you came?”
The voice was clear and seemed like it would not accept any denial.
Of course, Aquasteed’s answer was ‘yes,’ but there was something that he needed to be sure of as the crown prince of this country.
“Let me ask you something first. I heard that there is a monster here…”
“It is fine. It is sealed away. It will not wake up.”
Aquasteed sighed in relief, then he looked directly at Pheles.
“Tiararose lost her memories when she put on the ring of the Fairy Queen of the sea. …I wish to make a King’s Ring in order to bring her memories back.”
He was worried that he would be rejected. Making a ring just for one woman? However, Aquasteed looked at Pheles and realized that he was not the type of person to say such a thing.
He did not seem like he would focus on small details and lived his life freely. His instincts were telling him this.
Pheles said immediately and beckoned Aquasteed closer.
Aquasteed walked over to the throne and kneeled.
Pheles laughed with satisfaction and called Tiararose’s name. As it was a ring for her, would it not be best to make it near her? He said and looked at Aquasteed.
Grail brought Tiararose over to them and gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
Tiararose was confused but obeyed willingly.
In the next instant, Tiararose’s hair floated in the air and wind blew in the room where there had been no wind.
Then her eyes widened as she saw another person in the room.
“…Prince Aqua…there are two of you?”
“I am Pheles Marineforest. The first king of this country, Tiararose.”
“! I am sorry. I am Tiararose Lapis Marineforest.”
Tiararose immediately bowed and then kneeled.
“Enough with these formal greetings. Now, let’s make that ring.”
–This isn’t the ending, is it?
As Pheles announced this, he smiled in a way that looked just like Aquasteed. He seemed very happy and it almost made you forget that there was a monster sealed nearby.
“Ahh, that is right. Tiararose, you must be worried as well.”
“But you mustn’t worry about the monster. It is sealed away and will not come out.”
Pheles told her that he was happy that she was concerned about Marineforest.
“You can see me and hear me as long as Grail is touching you.”
“Yes. I’m terribly sorry you have to do this, King Grail.”
“Oh, I don’t mind.”
After this exchange, Pheles called Tiararose and Aquasteed to him.
“Now, Tiararose. Give your left hand to Aquasteed.”
She nodded and did as he instructed. Aquasteed took her hand and kissed it softly.
His eyes were usually kind and serious–but he looked like a different person now. There was a nervousness in the air that made her gulp.
Grail removed his hand from Tiararose’s should and said, ‘Close your eyes.’ And so she did so.
Now that she could not see anything, the only thing she registered was the warmth of Aquasteed as he held her hand. Her heart began to beat faster, and she started to worry that the others might hear it.
“I, Pheles Marineforest, shall bestow the King’s Ring to Aquasteed Marineforest.”
Aquasteed’s fingertips traced over Tiararose’s left ring finger.
Her wedding ring was there, but she quickly felt a different ring through her skin as well.
The original ring and a new ring.
“The words of the vow…I’m sure you know them?”
The first king said to Aquasteed.
“O stars that watch of the lands of Marineforest. I, Aquasteed Marineforest hereby make this vow. Even if the land that holds this kingdom should fall with the stars, the shine of this ring shall never fade…”
Just as Aquasteed finished saying the vow, the ring that was on Tiararose’s left ring finger began to shine brightly.