Creatures of destruction and masters of deception.
Deep within the vast, endless deserts, they roam undiscovered. Waiting for their next victims so they may feed off of their energy and take pleasure in their despair.
It is said that they grant three wishes to whomever frees them from their lamps.
Encountering one could be either a gift,
Or a curse.
No one really knows the true intentions behind their actions.
No one to this day has even laid eyes on one.
Perhaps they don’t even exist at all.
But who can really say?
A young princess waits patiently outside of the door to the grand dining room of the castle. She listens carefully to the conversation her parents have with the king of Saraia. Her efforts are in vain but she continues to try to make out the hushed conversation they have.
Her eyes scan impatiently along the long hallway that she stands in. The walls are built out of fine wood and stone, leaving the hall smelling like an ancient forest. A rare smell due to the kingdom being built in the middle of the Arabian desert. Such forests do not exist in such a dry, deserted place.
Her attention falls back onto the conversation. Unable to wait any longer, she peeks her head inside the room. Her father’s sharp brown eyes catch her bold attempt. With a stern look, he orders her to wait outside.
“Father.” The young princess persists. “It’s been a whole week. I think I deserve an explanation.”
The stern look in her father’s eyes seems to break. His brows begin to furrow along his tanned forehead, shifting his face into a fragile state. This look greatly concerned the young princess. It was one of sheer apprehension. She had never seen such a look come from her own father before. She knew that after this dinner, her life would change forever.
She takes a deep breath in and steps inside of the grand dining hall under her father’s instruction. Her heels clop steadily against the hard, glass floor. Despite the steady rhythm her footsteps make, she moves on trembling legs. A cold sweat runs down her back as she makes eye contact with the Saraian King. She feels as though she could fall into the empty black pit his eyes hold. It was far too discomforting to hold such contact, so she looks away and brings her attention back to her parents.
The young princess sits down beside her father. She keeps her eyes on him, unwilling to glance over her shoulder at the king of Saraia.
“_______.” Her father speaks slowly as he says her name. The lights of the dining hall reflect off of a thin layer of sweat forming on the side of his brow. Seeing this, the young princess begins to feel even more uncomfortable. “This is Ahish,” he continues. “King of Saraia.”
Knowing she must be polite, the young princess faces the Saraian King and gives a slight bow before quickly bringing her attention back to her father.
Her father clears his throat and looks to his daughter and then at the Saraian King. “As you know, he’s been visiting a lot lately. We have been speaking with him for a while now and we’ve finally come to a conclusion.”
It seems as though every word is painful for the young princess’ father. She looks behind him at her mother who clutches tightly onto her chest. “Alright, what is it?” She asks hesitantly.
Her father takes a swift breath in and his fragile expression hardens. He seems to have seized his courage as he looks his daughter directly in the eyes. “He has a son around your age. He will be your future husband.”
The young princess falls silent in her chair. Her fears have been confirmed. Although, she knew something life changing was going to happen. Now that she is of age, this was coming whether she liked it or not. But to be wedded off to such a kingdom was not what she desired.
“You really think this is a good idea?” She quietly asks her father. She wonders why she speaks in such a hushed tone, since the Saraian King is sitting right beside her. But she does not consider her rude behaviour and continues. “This is Saraia we’re talking about.”
“Don’t speak about it so openly like that.” Her father sternly tells her. “The king is sitting right behind you.”
The young princess holds her ground and firmly crosses her arms. “Father, after all they have done and you want me to marry his son?”
Her father glares at her, furious that she would speak so out of line in front of the Saraian King.
The young princess’ mother suddenly speaks up. If her daughter won’t listen to her father, perhaps she will listen to her own mother. “______, please. This is difficult for all of us.”
Hearing his wife’s stressed voice, the father’s face falls back into a fragile state. Such a situation is far too much for him to play the king’s role right now. But as the king and father, he must be strong for his wife and daughter.
“We’re being forced into this, aren’t we?” The young princess asks.
Clenching his fists, her father speaks again. “There is little choice when it comes to marriage.”
The princess begins to lose her composure. “There must be another way.” She pleads to her parents.
Her father looks away from her and shakes his head. “Alas, there is not.”
The grand dining hall falls silent, tension filling the air like a raging sandstorm. She feels the tiny particles of dread slam into her skin like sand from the storm. She feels swallowed up in it all, her body violently thrashing around in the heavy winds.
Overwhelmed by it, she pulls herself out of her chair. “I need some air.” She swiftly exits the room and back out into the hall. She cannot allow anyone to see her completely lose her composure. It would be disgraceful.
Instead, she braces herself and wraps herself up tightly in a jacket. She ventures outside into the night. Along a short path outside of the castle garden leads to the outskirts of her kingdom.
She steps in the cold, vast landscape known as the Arabian desert. Hot as the summer’s sun during the day, and cold as the icy mountains of the north by night.
In the secluded darkness of the desolate land, she allows her thoughts to run a wry. I know I can’t run. She thinks to herself. Running from her fears won’t solve anything. Her mother taught her better. It would only make her a coward. She has to fight this, face it and confront it.
The wind grows harsher as the dread in her chest pierces deeper through her skin. There has to be another way.
A sudden purple light begins to shine like the moon in the distant desert. Its light touches the tips of her shoes, its presence trying to lure her in like a beacon.
She knows she should run. Anyone else would do so in fear of it being a demon. But maybe this alluring presence could change her fate.
The light reflects off of a large hill of sand. A hole is dug deep inside of it. Without any fear, the young princess steps forward.
Beneath the ancient, desecrated desert lies a strange cave. Water flows along the trail, the current leading into the unknown. The luminescent water flows like the vast ocean, the current trying to pull the young princess with it like the waves of a shore. It guides her deeper and deeper. The further she goes, the more driven she feels.
Where the water ends lies an ancient temple. As she steps inside, the purple light fades into nothingness. But the strange presence it holds remains, urging her forward.
As she continues, it appears every other second whenever she seems to stray from the path. It continues to be her guide forward. As she walks along the dark hall of the temple, she notices ancient artifacts surrounding her, carved into stone walls. Wherever she is, she can’t help but wonder how old this mysterious place is. Such artifacts could be worth millions.
The young princess stops dead in her tracks as a shadow appears before her. By the way it’s built, it seems a tall man is standing before her. He stares down at her, arms crossed in a relaxed position.
The young princess seizes her courage and steps forward. As she does, a young man reveals himself within the shadow. He wears only purple pants to cover his lower body, leaving his chest exposed. As the young princess looks him in the eye, a chill runs down her back as she notices his vibrant, purple iris’. She notices a strange aura emits from his body, almost hidden, like he’s trying to conceal it.
The unknown man speaks. The deepness of his voice rumbles like thunder, causing the young princess’ chest to tremble within the sound. “How did you get down here?”
The young princess is wary but she answers anyway. “I don’t know. I just followed this purple light that appeared out of nowhere.”
The hint of a smile curves along the unknown man’s face. “So you can see it?”
“...yes?” She answers with uncertainty, unsure what he means. The light was so vibrant. How could anyone not see it? “Who are you?” She can’t help but wonder what a shirtless man is doing all by himself underground in an ancient temple. From how cold it is outside, she would imagine anyone would be freezing at the moment. Even during the day, their skin would be burning under the hot sun. This man is so strange to be dressed in such a way.
“My name is Zassul.”
The young princess tilts her head in confusion as more questions fill her mind. “What are you doing down here?”
“I live here.”
“All the way down in this temple by yourself?” The princess asks him this, debating whether she believes him or not.
Zassul only smiles at her reaction. “Is that a problem?”
The young princess rubs her arm uncomfortably. “Well, I guess not.” She awkwardly answers. She wonders if perhaps it was rude to ask such a question. In these difficult times she lives in, home is wherever there is a roof over your head.
“It’s not like I can leave.” Zassul tells her.
“Why not? Are you trapped?”
His smile seems to grow as she asks this. “Not anymore.”
The young princess can’t help but continue to question this strange man. “How long have you been down here?”
He continues to give her simple answers. “Many years.”
“That sounds lonely. What about your family?”
“Don’t have any.”
“You don’t have anybody?” The princess is sad to hear this but Zassul only shrugs, seeming to be unaffected by his desolate life.
The young princess continues to think how strange this man is. It’s clear to her that he is some magical being. She can sense it in his chakra. She knows she should be afraid of him but she is not. And it is because she does not sense any evil intent directed towards her.
“Were you the one who lured me here?” She asks him.
Zassul slightly tilts his head to the question, like he’s debating on how he wants to answer. “No.”
Hearing this, the young princess crosses her arms, unconvinced. “You do not have to lie to me. I already know you are some magical being.”
Zassul can’t help but smile at this girl’s cleverness. “And how do you know that?”
He grins ear to ear, delighted by such a gift this young lady possesses. “You can see chakra? That’s very impressive indeed.”
Now that it has been revealed to him that there is no need to hide anything from her, the princess continues to question him. “So what are you?”
Zassul shakes his head. “It wouldn’t be very wise to tell someone who dwells amongst the humans. Your kind fears and hates us.”
She only shrugs at his words. “And yet, I’m not afraid of you.”
“Well, I don’t intend on harming you.”
“Then there is no need to fear you.”
Zassul continues to avoid the question. “The stories my kind are told in will scare any normal human away.”
The princess grows a bit impatient and sighs at his words. “There are many. You’ll have to be more precise.”
Zassul answers with a sly smile. The purple light suddenly appears again, engulfing his entire body. The young princess covers her eyes from how bright it is. As the light fades, Zassul disappears with it.
The young princess blinks several times, trying to figure out what just happened. “Did I imagine all of that?”
His purple light appears again, shimmering around the entrance. It shines more brightly than it did before. It hovers around the entrance, waiting for the young princess to follow. It leads her to the exit of the cave, back into the cold desert.
The castle has fallen silent due to the late night hours. The princess quietly enters one of the main halls. The guards allow her to pass, knowing better than to say anything. But what the princess doesn’t realise is that someone else is waiting for her return.
A scowl begins to distort her beautiful, delicate features as her eyes set onto the Saraian King, Ahish. Arms tightly crossed, he looks down at her in a snooty manner. “It’s awfully late for you to be wandering off this late. You never know what could happen to a lone woman like yourself.”
The young princess refrains herself from an eyeroll and keeps her composure. “Thank you for your concern, Your Majesty, but I think I can handle myself. I do not need a babysitter.”
With that, she returns to her quarters without another word to him. What a creep. She thinks to herself. Of course, it is to be expected from the likes of that man. The royal family of Saraia has never been kind to anyone, not even their own citizens. They’re all about profit. The young princess can’t even imagine what his son is like.
A flash of purple appears before her eyes. Her entire surroundings become engulfed in it. She squints from its vibrant presence and covers her eyes. As she blinks, the light disappears and Zassul stands before her.
She gasps as she sees him in her quarters. “What!? Zassul!? How did you even get in here!? There are defensive wards all over the castle to scare away creatures like you!”
“You mean those crappy decorations that look like lanterns?”
The princess grows agitated from his arrogant demeanour. “Is there a reason why you followed me home?”
Instead of answering her, Zassul raises a hand. As he does, a sudden chime rings through the room along with another flash of purple. As it fades, a purple amulet wrapped in a silver chain appears on the young princess’ chest.
Her eyes grow wide as she peers down at the pendant. “What did you just do!?”
Zassul smiles. “My thanks to you for finding me.” Another flash of purple bursts through the room. As it vanishes, so does he.
The young princess falls silent, mesmerised by the mysterious pendant that just appeared around her neck. She senses a magical aura radiating off of it, the presence of the strange man emanating within it. She can’t help but wonder why he was so happy because she found him.
But one thing she is certain of is that because he is a magical creature, perhaps he could help her.