The Princess returned to the private chambers with meats, cheeses and piles of fresh fruit. The King went into a cabinet and produced several bottles of his finest wine. All of the kings who were present made toasts in Delfic’s honor, wishing him luck and promising to help him however they could. Delfic was sitting next to the Princess, and although he wanted to be polite and focus on what the kings were saying to him, he found it impossible not to be distracted by her beauty. Sometimes she touched his forearm softly before she spoke, to get his attention; it sent chills down his spine. From the young couple’s interactions, it became obvious to everyone how much they were in love.
After the meal, Delfic was given gifts by King Shinz that might prove helpful to him on his life-or-death quest. These included a beautiful sheath and leather belt so he could wear the Dycentian blade, a bow with a quiver that held ninety arrows, and a sack of gold coins. He was also gifted a special dog whistle that when blown would call any passing dog to his aid; conversely, one blast of the whistle would be enough to paralyze an attacking canine.
Delfic’s most treasured gift of all, however, came from the Princess. She gave him a satchel of food she had lovingly prepared herself, and a warm, soft kiss on the cheek.
“I first laid eyes on you only hours ago,” said Marazana softly, her head resting against Delfic’s shoulder, “but I feel I’ve known you all my life. I shall be thinking about you all the time, Delfic. Please take good care, and come back to me as swiftly as you can.”
“I will return,” promised Delfic. “And then we will be together for always.”
Delfic and Arthur rode away from the castle’s grounds on Tempest, whose saddle bags were loaded down with the gifts and fresh provisions. They had been given instructions to head for the Docks, where a royal ship called the Nine Sails would be waiting to take them on the next part of their journey.