Elizabeth laid her head on the cool surface of the marble table as she tried to convince herself to go out and do her duty. The coolness almost made the hard area comfortable. Slowly Elizabeth dragged her head up and shook it back and forth trying to motivate herself. “What is wrong with me?” she thought. “I never neglect my duties this long and yet I’ve let the corn wilt and it’s still a struggle for me to go.” Her body felt like lead, even so she trudged through the castle and out to her waiting carriage.
The carriage road through the once vibrant country side, now dull and grey, just barely surviving. They reached the farm in no time, pulling up beside the eagerly awaiting farmer and his wife. “Thank goodness you are here, your majesty,” the farmer said as he and his wife bowed.
Elizabeth raised her hand to silence anything else he might say before asking, “Where is the afflicted area?”
“A-all of it, your majesty,” the man stammered, confused by her brisk manner when every other year she had been so warm.
“Thank you, I will begin on one side of the field and work my way across, until I have brought light back to this land,” Elizabeth said. She wondered whether or not she had the strength to do so but she found it hard to concern herself with such worry.
She walked along the edge of the field running her hands over the rough leaves of the corn, trying to focus on all the good things this corn would bring. Finally when she reached the edge she took a deep breath, filling her lungs with all the air she could. She slowly exhaled; watching as her breath became light filling the air and swirling in magnificent gold ribbons around the plants bringing life back to their very cores. Well at least that was the expectation. Elizabeth stared in horror as her light came out a pale muddy yellow and barely a breeze instead of the gust of gold she was accustomed to seeing.
“Wow, looking a little weak there, Elizabeth,” A voice said behind her, causing Elizabeth to jump and strike out, hitting Pierce square in the jaw. “You know if all you had to do was hit the plants I’m sure they would be growing in no time with a swing like that,” Pierce said as he massaged his jaw.
Elizabeth blushed, as she said, “Well maybe you should not scare a lady when she is trying to work and you would not get hit. Now if you will excuse me I have to try this again.” With that Elizabeth breathed in again, holding the breath inside her for just a moment before releasing it. She stared in wonder as her breath transformed into curls of vibrant gold light, twisting in and out of the rows of plants before slowly causing the plants to grow and have life once more.
“See,” she said turning to Pierce triumphantly, “I know what I am doing. Now, if you will excuse me I have more work to do.” Then she hurried on to the next field, relieved that not only her powers of light still worked, but also that she seemed to feel more compassion for her land than she had in days. When she reached the next field she started the process over. She walked along feeling the plants, paying attention to every tiny divot or bump her fingers felt, before breathing in and exhaling. She watched in dismay as, again, only faint whips of beige light left her lips, only reaching the first few plants. She stood there, not knowing what to do as Pierce walked up again.
“Your powers are really touch and go today aren’t they?” he teased.
Elizabeth’s anger flared. How dare he tease her at such a moment. In defiance to his carefree attitude Elizabeth breathed in again. “I’ll show him what my powers can do,” she thought. She exhaled and to her amazement, this time the light that spread across the field was so bright it was almost blinding. It swirled and danced through the leaves in a playful, almost teasing manner, before settling and causing plants to grow. Elizabeth stared; she had never before produced such light. How was she able to use such power when she felt her most vulnerable? Slowly she turned as she focused on Pierce. Both times she had been alone when she had failed, and both times she had succeeded far beyond expectation when he was there. Was he the secret to her success today? She had to find out.
Once more Elizabeth ran ahead to the next field and tried to bring it light before Pierce got there. This time almost no light at all appeared. Frustrated she waited for Pierce to arrive before she tried again. Worried, she breathed in and slowly exhaled, watching in amazement as the thick golden curls flew over the field. Here was the answer to her problem. She had no clue why, but for some reason having Pierce close strengthened her powers.
That was all she needed to know as she called out, “Pierce it is your lucky day, I will allow you to accompany me today as I do my work. That way you can familiarize yourself with my country without having to go alone.”
“Sounds like an efficient way to spend my day. Besides, how could I turn down a personal tour from you?” he responded with a smile, before turning and walking back to his carriage to inform his driver that he would now be joining Elizabeth.
Elizabeth watched as he walked away. She needed to figure out what he had that gave her power so much strength, and she needed to do it fast. She could not risk him returning home without figuring it out. Her country depended on it. Despite the worry, she smiled for the first time in weeks as she thought of the interesting day she had ahead of her.