Chapter 20 : The Parting of Ways
A momentous occasion serenaded the departure of the fourth princess. Days of feasting, playing, song and dance, prayers, and storytelling gave rise to an excitement in the city as if all the people were going on this adventure with her. What the moon had shown that gave reason to this adventure was never made clear, it was said only that the fourth princess had a great destiny she must seek on her own light feet.
Ink was put to parchment to create lists and maps and letters and all sorts of things the fourth princess didn’t understand why she needed, lists were changed as it was realized the small girl couldn’t possibly carry so much then changed again when Moon had a say, maps were discarded as the princess declared she wouldn’t know where was going until she was there, but the letters she took with her giving thanks to those who gave them.
At last the celebrations were done, the bag was packed, the princess equipped, and she stood at the gates of the city waiting for the courage to turn her back on her family. She hugged each in turn, taking in the texture of her mother’s hair, the comforting scents of the queens, the touch of Tigra, the smile of Snow, the laughter of Lynx, and the strong, warm embrace of her father the Beast King of Bengal. These words he spoke to her: “Strength is in knowing where to find support.”
These words caused a pang of unease in the princess and she froze, unwilling to let her father see this, yet he noticed anyhow. “Saeng, you are my daughter. A princess of Bengal. You have strengths you are yet unaware of.” These words, meant to ease her heart, again made her unease grow. “Can a star compare…” she began to ask, and her father placed his forehead to hers. “My little light. Who is to say what is a star?” The meaning of this question came to her, and her shoulders relaxed, she rested her head against his. “What this journey reveals of me, Father, I pray you will accept.” “You could be no more than the swelling ocean, you could be no less than the curling vine, I accept it all. But you are my daughter, I expect greatness.” She laughed a little nervously and they separated. Saeng looked once more on her family, engraving their dear faces in all directions of her mind, then she smiled so sweetly, and turned to the west wind.