|Fireflies lit up the glade though it was a moonless evening. Berone laughed and tried to snatch one out of the air to no avail. Her latest companion watched warily for any change in her mood. She was known to be impetuous,making split second decisions that changed the world around her. "Find me a receptacle for these creatures Clave. I find them amusing," she told him.
Clave glanced around knowing there was no such thing nearby. Getting an idea,he picked a large Bell flower and rushed to hold it out to the princess. "I will contain them in this until we return to the towers," he offered.
Berone scrunched up her nose and said," Alright but I'm holding you responsible for them."
She reached out and pulled him close enough to plant a big kiss on his lips. "He might be the one," she thought,"He was tall and dark with blue green eyes like the Enchanted River.
Clave kissed her back and relaxed a little. It seemed he was finding favor in her eyes. The alternative was terrifying.
Nobody knew the whereabouts of her other five suitors and he didn't want to find out.
Berone used a small branch from a tree to swat down a dozen lightening bugs ,putting them all in Clave's container.
"That's enough," she decided as Clave pinched the top of the Bell flower tightly together.
He used his free hand to help the girl across the bubbling rill and up to a field of wild flowers.
"Let's sit up here for a while," she said," I want to know all about you,".
Clave breathed a sigh of relief and spread his cloak on a fallen log for her .
A shiver went through her and she said,"Put your arms around me Clave, I think I love you,".
Clave gladly embraced the girl ,trying to guard against losing the fireflies at the same time.
It didn't work and in a moment the petals opened releasing the creatures back to the sky.
"NO!" cried the princess and a jolt of energy went out from her body into the poor boy beside her.
In an instant he was gone.
"Oh no!" she sobbed,"I never meant to do that,".
Clave opened his eyes to see five young men surrounding him.
The oldest offered his hand to help him up saying, " Another lover boy huh? Well it's your lucky day. We just found a way to get back home from this god forsaken place,".
Clave looked at his surroundings,it was beautiful and quiet there. A lovely young woman brought him a glass of ale and smiled as he drank it down. "Where are we?" he asked.
"We call it Beronia because she banished all of us to this place at one time or another in her life.
"I knew she was a sorceress!" Clave exclaimed,"How are you getting home?"
The woman touched his arm and said,"I too am trained in the realms of magic. I was banished to this world just yesterday and I know I can reverse the spell."
Clave stared at the girl and realized she was one of the servants who offended Berone at a banquet the day before.
A cool breeze blew across a sparkling lake beside them and a flock of parrots flew past. "Why do you want to return?"
he asked them slowly. The men looked at each other and then glanced at a group of women and children playing at the water's edge.
The oldest spoke up to say," That's a good question,".
The serving girl, whose name was Seria, giggled and covered her mouth with her hand. Clave smiled saying,"That girl did the best thing ever for us. She sent us to Paradise. I ,for one, am staying right here,".They finally all agreed and dispersed to pursue their own form of happiness.
Back at the Towers, Berone wept bitterly though her father , the king, tried to console her . "I finally found my one true love and lost him the same day," she cried with a burst of such energy that the old king was blasted straight to Paradise where he lived happily ever after.