My Side: Day 25 of 31 Days
For Day 1, click on the photo above
The Enchanter slipped out the door without making a sound, and Jewel was left alone. Although, she not alone. In the corner of the room, ablaze with furry, stood her Advocate.
Jewel saw him and said, “You can put that sword away now.”
“Can I, Jewel? Or is there still a lie that lurks in this room?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, truly confused. She thought through the conversation carefully, but it only confirmed in her mind that everything the Enchanter said was good and pleasing to her ears.
“I don’t remember him saying anything that wasn’t true,” Jewel countered. “In fact, he was a perfect gentleman! You could learn something from him. Look at you, drawing weapons on a visitor.”
“He was no visitor, Jewel. He was an imposter, and you should never have given him an audience.”
Jewel was astounded. “Weren’t you listening to anything he said?” she cried. “Are you so suspicious that you could not hear the good and kind things he said to me?”
“That is his way, Jewel. When you are in his kingdom, he uses evil as his tool. You were tangled up in it before you were brought here, and you remember how tightly it bound you.
“But the people of this kingdom are best trapped by the good things. It is the good that keeps you from his presence and mars the face of the prince until soon, you are serving a prince of your own making. A beautiful lure can be far more effective than a brazen hook, Jewel, and I’m afraid you have fallen for it.”
“No…no, that can’t be. He wants to make a truce with us! He did not come here to trap or fight me.”
“He has no need to fight with those he’s beaten.”
“Beaten? I am not beaten! I have won! Didn’t you hear? The Enchanter has seen something in me he never saw before. He has come to understand the prince because of me, because he knew me once, and he sees how beautiful I am now. He said it right in front of you. He called me a friend.”
“Jewel, do you really think that you could affect a change in the Enchanter with your beauty that the prince could not do with truth? Do you really think you could conquer something he has condemned?”
Jewel rolled her eyes and turned back to the mirror. “Apparently, I can, because he recognized how far I’ve come. I don’t think you appreciate the fact that I’m not the girl I once was. He said more kind things to me in five minutes than you’ve said the entire time you’ve known me.”
“The question is, are those things true?”
Jewel spun to face him. “Of course they were true! Look at me! I am beautiful now. I am like him.”
Her Advocate shook his head slowly. “He told the truth about one thing, Jewel. The prince will not recognize you when he comes home.”
She was hurt, and very much frightened, by her Advocate’s response to the Enchanter’s visit. In one instant, the Enchanter had validated her growth and allowed her to believe, for one second, that she had something to do with it. What was wrong with that?
After living for so long in debt to the prince and his adviser, she felt relieved to give a little back, to add some goodness of her own to the pile. Now, the prince’s own enemy had come and acknowledged that she—Jewel!—was the one who had brought about his change of heart. Wouldn’t the prince be amazed when he heard?
He would rejoice. She was sure of it.
Then the adviser would know what the Enchanter had already figured out: there were some things she could do very well on her own.
“You should be on my side,” Jewel said hotly when she thought about it.
“No, Jewel. You should be on his. I have not moved.”
Angry tears streamed down her cheeks. She could not see the difference.
“Come,” he said, directing her to a seat by the window where a large scroll blanketed an ornate table. “Let me show you.”
“Not now,” she said. “I am tired.”
That was only partly true. Many times in the past, she had stayed up studying the scrolls with her Advocate while the candles burned down into puddles on the table. She did not have the heart for it on that particular night when the Enchanter’s footsteps were still hot on the stones in the hall. She wanted some time to think, alone. An idea had begun to form in her mind. It would condense into thoughts that would lead to a plan that would take her somewhere she never intended to go.
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