“Here… Why, I have passed here many times before.”
It was a surprise that it existed in such an obvious place as this. She thought, but there were lots of trees and flowers, and you would not be able to tell it was an entrance at a glance.
“It is here indeed, but the actual entrance to the ring is much harder to find. After all, no one has ever realized that this was a tree gate before. Considering all that, it is quite impressive that you were able to find Pearl’s ring.”
“Oh, that…uh, a woman’s intuition.”
She couldn’t say that it was because Levy was there with information about the game, and so she answered vaguely.
They went through the gate and were suddenly surrounded by the thick smell of plants.
It was a tunnel of trees. Tiararose thought that it was a mysterious tunnel that could lead to anywhere. There was a time before when she had gone through with the fairies and been led to Keith.
There were many flowers blooming inside of the tree gate. And not just any flowers.
“Aye. Blessings of the earth.”
The flowers had jewels in the center instead of nectar. Because of this, the treegate sparkled and it was quite bright in spite of being a tunnel.
Keith picked one and gave it to Tiararose.
“The earth makes the jewels. As the environment is so good here, special flowers are able to grow.”
“Only in your territory, I suppose.”
“Yes. You cannot see them anywhere else.”
–If anything, them growing anywhere else would create chaos.
Afterall, these were precious stones inside of flowers. Flowers did not run away from you, so you could take as many as you like.
“Pearl’s territory was also impressive. I guess all Fairy Kings are…”
“Oh, do you think better of me now?”
“…No, I always had a respect for you, Keith.”
And so it wasn’t a matter of thinking differently, she insisted. Keith saw her and said ‘you are amusing,’ with a laugh.
“Tiara, you are the only person who acts like this in front of me, a Fairy King.”
“…But you are the one who said that I should.”
He had forbidden her from calling him ‘king’ himself, Tiararose thought with annoyance. But Keith seemed to find her attitude very amusing, and he laughed yet again.
“Oh! Prince Aqua and the others are heading towards King Pheles this very moment. We must also hurry!”
There was no time to waste. And so Tiararose began to walk faster. She usually walked very slowly, Keith thought.
–I have to acquire the ring quickly and return to Prince Aqua!
He may not have any need for her power, but as long as she had the ring of the starry sky, there was a possibility that she could be of use to him.
After walking for some time, a silver door appeared before them.
It was framed with plants and had a majestic and overwhelming aura that made you stop in your tracks.
Keith saw Tiararose’s reaction and laughed as he flung his arm around her shoulders.
“What? Are you scared?”
“There is nothing to be afraid of. This place welcomes you, you know?”
Just like that time you were invited to my castle–Keith said, as he opened the silver door.
There was a small room on the other side. And unlike the tree gate, there were no flowers or plants at all. It was just a quiet space with white walls and a pedestal in the center.
It didn’t really match Keith, who seemed to have a taste for fancy things.
Tiararose had been looking around without entering, and so Keith offered his hand. She took it and allowed him to escort her to the pedestal.
The ring on the pedestal was a double chain type that went on your pinky and middle finger. The chain was designed to look like plants and the ring part had flower-shaped jewels and was very pretty.
That was her honest reaction.
She looked at Keith, and he nodded back. His golden eyes were urging her to hurry up and take it.
Tiararose slowly picked the ring up and looked at it. It was pink-gold in color, but looked almost green depending on how the light touched it. She was just about to put it on, when Keith stopped her.
“Tiara. I am a king who stands right here. Would you still insist on putting it on yourself?”
Keith took the ring from her in exasperation.
“You wouldn’t treat a king’s gift so thoughtlessly, would you?”
Keith said with a laugh. Tiararose could not say anything to that.
And so she obediently offered her right hand and closed her eyes.
Keith took Tiararose’s hand and slowly kissed it—and then placed the ring on. And with that, an immense power rushed inside of Tiararose.
“That is my power. Tiara. I am sure you will be able to use it well.”
Keith’s power ran through Tiararose’s entire body. It was so strong that she almost lost her balance, but Keith held her securely.
A Fairy King’s ring would take a whole day to acclimatize with your body. But if you took it off before then, there would be a strong reaction. When this had happened before with Pearl’s ring, Tiararose had fallen into a deep sleep and then lost her memories.
–But this was a much greater power.
She took in a few shallow breaths and waited for her calm to return.
“…I’m fine now.”
“Don’t get too comfortable until a day has passed…ah.”
Just as Tiararose had caught her breath and moved away from him—there was a popping sound, and plants starts to grow from the floor, where there had been nothing a moment ago.