• By the time Tal, Fenwick, and Knight had gotten about as far as a mile, it was nightfall. Knight has said he knew a place they could stay. The young man had given them directions while Tal supported his weight. He was heavier than he looked.
    "Are we there yet?" asked Tal tiredly.
    Knight feebly nodded. "Yes. Just look behind those trees over there." he croaked, jerking his finger to the trees in front of them.
    Tal set Knight down and looked behind the trees. What she saw made her eyes widen and her mouth hand open in astonishment. It was a beautiful, white palace! Vines and flowers crept along the walls and curlique gates to the right. Rick, velvet drapes hung outside some of the elegant windows. Many of the windows were stained glass and wonderfully hued and shaded with the loveliest colors she had ever seen. Their pictures were of many different settings; warriors poised for battle, sorcerers casting magic, princesses being rescued by knights in shining armor, and scenes of romance. There were white parapets and outdoor stairwells, spiraling from the top of the tallest tower of the castle to the very bottom, flowers winding around the pretty railing. The garden, where they were in now, was filled to the boundries with fragrant flowers and colorful petals floating in the summer breeze. Tal had never seen anything so beautiful in her entire life.
    "Knight, how did you know about this place?" she asked him, amazement dancing in her golden eyes. Knight smiled at her blooming curiosity.
    "I used to live here. I don't think anyone lives here anymore though. Both my parents died when I was young. And the servants they hired left as soon as I told them I didn't want to become dependent of others for my every need. I believe we'll be safe here. There's also some herbs and things we can use to make a poultice for my back." he explained, the white feathers of his wings fluttering a bit. He seemed so calm and peaceful looking at his childhood home.
    He looks so happy here. No wonder he led us here.Tal thought, hiding her face behind a cascade of black hair. She didn't want Knight to see her blushing, it appeared ridiculous with her gold eyes.
    "Now that's what I call a house!" exclaimed Fenwick in a happily fortified tone. The martin quickly scurried to the door leading inside. Tal sauntered over, supporting Knight.

    Once inside, Tal found some herbs and made a poultice for Knight and rebandaged his wounds. He then got up and seemed absolutely healed. He spread his wings wide and stretched them.
    "Much better. My father always said those herbs would make you feel better the moment you got them." he said pleased.
    Tal tore her gaze away from him to her feet. Knight was like an angel with his wings outstretched like that.
    This is stupid! the girl told herself, flicking her tail in embarrassment and annoyance. I've never had any feelings for men, yet I can't help but feel like I do when I'm with Knight! At times he is a fool, but at the same time. . . I really don't know. . .
    He looked back at her, his blue eyes shining beautifully. "I think there may be some old clothes of my mother's you can use if you want. You two seem about the same size." he offered kindly. "And feel free to wash up."
    Knight led Tal to an extravegant room full of silk, lace, and other expensive things. He opened a large oaken closet, and in it were dozens of elegant clothes. Tal took a silken blue nightgown. She held it gently in her hands as if it were made of glass, afraid that if she so much as got it dirty, the blue nightgown would fall to pieces. Knight looked at her with a satisfied smile.
    "Do you like it?" he asked earnestly.
    Tal nodded, not knowing what to say. "Yes. I do. It's lovely." she said eventually.
    "It belonged to my mother. She always appeared as splendid as a queen when she wore it." the young man said, leaning on the wall.
    "Is this her bedroom as well?" asked Tal curiously. It felt strange that Knight would let her wear something of his mother's.
    Knight nodded and left the room. Before closing the door, he said, "You can stay here tonight. And if you ever find yourself hungry, feel free to take something from the kitchen."

    Tal took a nice, warm bath and then changed into the blue silk nightgown. She looked at herself in the mirror. The gown seemed to float when she moved, giving the illusion that she was somehow flying just as she guessed Knight probably could. When she stepped back into the room, she found Fenwick fast asleep on the illustrious bed. A lavender robe made of some extremely soft material lay on the comforter. Tal put it on. She sat on the red blanketed bed and gazed up at the canopy above. She sighed and strode over to the window.
    Outside was Knight Silverblade staring up at the dark night sky. Tal smiled and headed outside, glad to be conversing with someone.
    "Knight? What are you doing out here?" she asked with a playful smile.
    Knight looked at her and a small grin broke across his handsome face. "Merely looking up at the sky. It's strange how much more beautiful things appear in the moonlight. Like you in my mother's gown." he replied softly. Then he shuddered and said, "I'm sorry. I know you probably wouldn't want to hear that from me."
    But strangely, Tal had been happy to hear him say that. She walked up to him. She gently touched his arm and he flinched. Tal laughed at his nervousness. "Actually, I'm quite glad you said that. You can be very flattering when you want to be. And quite comical when you're not even trying." she told him quietly.
    "You mean like my pants falling down?" he questioned with a raised eyebrow.
    Tal looked up at him, his white hair like a silvery river in the sky. "Yes, like your pants falling down."
    The girl leaned her head on his shoulder. She could feel his sinewy muscles beneath his tan skin.
    Then Knight did the one thing that Tal thought he would never do. He placed his arms around her and held her close. He moved his mouth closer to hers. Her heart beat faster and faster and his lips neared ever closer. But it was a good kind of rapid beating, like when she was excited for a great event.
    Finally she felt his lips gently press against hers. Tal knew that is was a kiss. But she had never known how it would feel to actually experience it. She didn't know how it felt. It was quite hard to describe. But in a good way. A fantastic way. A brilliant way.
    She didn't remember much after the kiss. Just that she was dizzy and light-headed. The last thing she remembered was Knight picking her up in her arms before she fell asleep.