Yewna didn’t mean to grab Ninombir’s hand. It was a reflex, something that just felt right. Nin didn’t show any signs of it being out of the ordinary. Inside his head, to put it lightly, he was freaking out.
She grabbed my hand! Never in a million years would I think that one such as her… is this a friendship thing? Oh, girls are so hard to read! Then she gave him a look, one that pierced his very soul. It was slightly murderous, but tenderly so… more like “I will murder you if you leave me.” This can’t be. He thought. How can I mean so much to her? We just met?
Then in an instant, it was gone. Her hand left his. No one had even noticed, they were all too busy maneuvering through the herd of the Grandon Airships. Nin noticed the gigantic ships as if for the first time. Most of the ships had silver and gold blimps. Only one was painted in the Empire colors of green and blue.
Yewna was bouncing up and down in excitement. She couldn’t seem to keep still. Ninombir’s heart sank at the sight of the largest ship. He knew then that any connection he’d had with Yewna would immediately be lost. There is no way a Princess could be with a mechanic like me.
Yewna’s hand brushed aginst his before she turned away. Had that been an accident? He watched her go. As she left, her dress changed to a collage of greens and blues.
“Well,” Talbi said behind him, “Are you mute and dumb? Follow the girl. Get your reward.”
Yewna moved deftly between the crewmen, but she was not very hard to follow. Her bright dress was like a banner leading Nin on… leading him on to where? They’d shared a night of great conversations. What was that compared to her duties as a Princess?
The airship clamped with the Flagship in a shuttering crunch. Nin would have been a lot more shaken if not for everyone else. Here they were thousands of feet in the air, in these wondrous contraptions, and not an ounce of excitement. Only Yewna’s bobbing curls of tri-colored hair gave rise to the joy of the moment. She turned and gave him another murderous look, doe brown eyes staring between the strands.
“Yewna!” A deep voice called from the walking bridge that connected the two ships.
“Daddy!” Yewna responded, running to a man of stature with a salt and pepper beard. It couldn’t hide his generous grin. A silver and gold ringlet was woven into his hair. This was the king… or well, one of 88 kings and queens that ruled the floating continent of Ronalee.
Yewna was whispering something in her father’s ear. He was staring directly into Ninombir’s eyes. Well, Nin thought, here we go. It was good while it lasted.
The king came towards the mechanic. Nin held out his hand for a shake. The king ignored it completely and gave Nin a giant bear hug. “Thank you so much.” He said. “Thank you, friend, for saving my daughter ‘s life!”