Destan’s eyes shot open and he found that he was laying, not in his soft, warm bed, but on the cold, hard ground. He wasn’t even in his room! He was outside in what looked like the palace gardens.
Mist like rain fell from the cloudy, grey sky above, covering his robe in a coat of glistening beads. What was he doing out here? Had he sleep walked? Where was that chiming coming from? There was certainly no clock out here, and it sounded too close to be from the church bells in Gründorf.
Destan wiped the moisture from his face, slowly sat up, and nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight before him. There was a figure in a black coat standing before him. The figure was wearing a hood that hid its face from Destan’s view—he was not sure if he was glad for it or not.
The prince got to his feet, not daring to take his eyes off the intimidating figure. “You must be the final spirit, right?”
The figure gave one slow nod in response.
“Then I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?”
The phantom nodded gravely once more. It then gave an exaggerated sigh and removed its hood to reveal the face of a striking young man with short, perfectly disheveled raven hair and brilliant blue eyes that glimmered with an amusement that was inappropriate given the solemn circumstances and setting. The man looked to be no older than twenty and had meticulously groomed facial hair. Now that his hood was down, he didn’t look nearly as intimidating as he had before.
“Yep! That’d be me, laddy!” the spirit said cheerily, with an accent that Destan thought he recognized as Scottish. “And who might you be?”
Destan raised a brow. “Um … pardon me, but aren’t you supposed to know that. The other spirits did.”
The ghost smirked. “Humor me.”
“My name is Destan—”
“Nope! Don’t like it. I’m going to call you Blondie,” the spirit interrupted with a bright smile. He set his hands on his hips and looked around, whistling lowly. “Would you look at this sight? It’s bloody depressing! Your future looks really bleak, Blondie.”
Destan’s eyes widened, his gaze darting around the frostbitten palace gardens. “This is my future?”
“It would seem so,” the ghost nodded.
The prince studied the man for a moment longer, furrowing his brow. “Hold on. I don’t know you…”
“So? I don’t know you either. What’s that got to do with anything?”
“The other spirits that I met I at least vaguely recognized, but I’m quite certain I’ve never seen your face before,” Destan explained.
The ghost shrugged, moving closer and gently elbowing him in the side. “Then perhaps I’m someone you haven’t met yet, laddy. I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, after all. Speaking of, let’s have a look around your future, shall we?” He shivered and rubbed his arms. “Let’s go inside first, yeah? I’m freezing my arse off out here, and this rain is going to make my hair all poofy.”
The ghost hurried towards the castle as thunder sounded in the distance. Destan followed after him, still trying to make sense of the strange spirit. “When I first saw you, I thought you’d be … different.”
The ghost airily waved his hand, not bothering to look back. “What? You expected me to be all silent and brooding? I know I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut and point ominously at grave stones, but after 1800 years of that rubbish, it’s become ‘old hat’, if you know what I mean. A ghost needs a bit of conversation every once in a while! Now hurry up, Blondie! Time is of the essence, and your future is hanging in the balance, and blah, blah, blah!”
Destan pulled his robe more tightly around himself—his short legs struggling to keep up with the quick spirit. All I want for Christmas is a ten more centimetres… he thought glumly to himself as he and the ghost traipsed up the terrace steps and entered Rosenstaat Palace.
The palace hallways were dark and silent. No colourful decorations hung on the walls, and there were no servants merrily humming Christmas carols as they went about their work. Was the palace abandoned?
Destan brushed a damp tendril of golden blonde hair out of his face as he turned his head this way and that. “Are you sure you’ve brought me to the right time, spirit?”
“Of course, I’m sure,” the ghost scoffed indignantly, crossing his arms over his chest. “This is your future.”
“I don’t doubt that—I just wonder if you’re brought me to the right time of year. I see no decorations.”
“You banned them,” the spirit replied, smiling pleasantly once more. “Once you became King, you decreed that Christmas shall no longer be celebrated in the kingdom of Rosenstaat.”
Destan blinked hard, taken aback by what he’d just heard. “No… That can’t be right. I may not like Christmas, but I would never take it from someone else.”
“Ah, but you did,” the ghost said flinging his arms out wide. “Just look around you, Blondie! Not a Christmas wreath, or sprig of mistletoe, or fruitcake in sight—though I’m sure no one will miss the latter. I always hated fruit cake…”
Destan shook his head vigorously, stumbling back a couple of steps. “No, no! This isn’t want I wanted! I just didn’t want to have to suffer through this holiday.”
“Mission accomplished, I say!” the spirit cried merrily. “You banned Christmas from the kingdom and now you—along with everyone else—don’t have to ‘suffer’ through it.”
Destan gaze trailed down to his slippers. “How could I do something so dreadful?”
“You let your misery consume you,” the ghost said, flicking his raven hair out of his face. “You let it eat away at you every December until it eventually took hold of your heart. You let it take over and it made you cold. You stopped caring about what your people needed, and you focused on your own selfish desires.”
Destan’s heart thudded painfully in his chest. “N-no. You’re lying! This can’t be my future!”
The spirit smirked, though his expression lacked malice. He grabbed hold of the prince’s arm, chuckling softly. “Don’t you let that pure heart of yours break just yet, Blondie. I haven’t even shown you the best part!” he said, forcefully tugging him down the hall.
Destan got the distinct impression that by ‘best part’ the ghost wasn’t talking about something nice. The ghost led him through the palace, past miserable looking servants and staff, and eventually they found their way to the resident wing. Destan tried to tug his arm out of the spirit’s grasp, but he was too strong. The prince felt the blood drain from his face as they approached the king’s chambers.
“Please! I’ve seen enough! I don’t want to know any more!” Destan cried desperately.
The Ghost turned his head, giving him a crooked grin. “Sorry, Blondie. You haven’t seen enough yet.”
“Maybe, maybe not. I guess we’ll see after this, ey?” The spirit winked before throwing him through the door and into the king’s chambers.
Just as before, Destan sunk right through the wood as if he too were merely an apparition. He caught himself before he could fall to the ground and quickly composed himself. The room was dark and the drapes were drawn. The only light in the large room came from the dying flames in the fireplace. At the back of the room, beside the balcony doors, sat man in a dressing robe hunched over a desk. His left elbow rested on the surface of the desk whilst the finger of his left hand curled into his mess of short, golden coloured hair. He didn’t move, or sigh, or anything to signal that he was even awake.
Destan cautiously made his way over to the desk and leaned forward to look upon the man’s face. He looked familiar—he looked like Klaus. But, unlike Klaus, there was no vibrancy in his features. His blue eyes were dim and stared listlessly down at the desk, his long dark lashes nearly shielding his irises from Destan’s view.
The spirit leant over on the opposite side of the man, leaning his cheek against his fist. He pursed his lips. “You’re a fetching one, you are. Too bad that frown ruins it—you’re going to get premature wrinkles.”
Destan’s lips parted slightly as he stared at his older self. “He’s me? I look so…”
“Brooding? Dark? Mysterious?” the spirit offered.
The prince shook his head, his eyes never straying from his future self. “Sad… I look so sad.”
The spirit hissed in a breath through his teeth. “Right. About that…”
The bedroom door burst open and Destan jumped in surprise, though his older self didn’t even flinch. A beautiful, but furious looking woman stormed into the room, her light brown eyes absolutely livid. She paused just behind older Destan’s seat, took a deep breath through her nose, and haughtily pushed his wavy, dark blonde hair over her shoulder.
“I’ve been patient with you, Destan. I’ve endured this stupid, sulky behaviour for fourteen years, and for what?” the woman demanded, straightening out her satin gown. “We don’t have any children, this kingdom is the laughing-stock of Germany, and on top of everything else I’m absolutely miserable! It’s Christmas Eve, Destan! I deserve a little bit of happiness after having to deal with you for all these years. I don’t care what you say, I’m celebrating the holiday this year!”
The man shut his eyes releasing a tired sigh. “Not in this kingdom, Klara.”
Destan cringed. That’s Klara? So I do have to marry her after all… he thought glumly to himself.
“Fine! I’ll go to Östlichwald for Christmas and I’ll stay there.” The prince saw that her eyes were filled with tears despite her sharp word. “I thought marrying you would make me happy. There was a time when you were sweet—if not a bit blunt sometimes. But now … there’s no life in you, Destan.” She crept towards him and cautiously placed her hands on his shoulders. “Please stop this. Lift the ban on Christmas and celebrate it with me. At least pretend that we’re happily married, even if it’s just for a day.”
The king was quiet for a long moment, his solemn expression unchanging. “Go to Östlichwald,” he said coolly. “Leave me if that’s what you want. I don’t need you—I don’t need anyone. The ban on this blasted holiday will stay in place, and if you don’t like it, then go somewhere else.”
Klara’s pretty features hardened as a tear slid down her cheek. She removed her hands from his shoulders and backed away. “I wasted my youth on you. I wasted my time thinking that you would change—that your heart would soften with time, but it hasn’t. You’ve become so … cruel. I was a fool to think that you would ever care about me. You don’t care for anyone—not even yourself.” She took a deep breath and lifted her chin. “Goodbye, Destan. I hope you find loneliness to your liking.”
The king scowled, gripping his hair. “Loneliness would be much better than having to listen to you whine and complain for the rest of my days. Go on, then—leave.”
Klara’s red lips parted as if she were going to say something in retort. However, seeming to think better of it, she shut her mouth just as the tears began to stream from her eyes. She turned on her heel and hurried out of the room, slamming the door and leaving the scent of jasmine and ambergris behind her.
Destan gritted his teeth and took a step away from the man who was supposed to be himself. He narrowed his eyes at the king, the heat of anger bubbling up inside of him like lava in a volcano. “How could you say that to her?” he shouted, wanting his older counterpart to hear him. “How could you be so mean? How could you destroy everyone else’s happiness because of your own grief? How—how could you…?”
The king shut his eyes tightly once more, swallowing as a single tear rolled down his cheek. The spirit leaned casually against the wall beside the desk, examining his fingernails. “Don’t you mean, ‘how could I’?” the ghost asked.
“That’s not me!” Destan protested, pointing an accusing finger at the king. “I would never say or do the things that this wretched man has!”
“Perhaps you wouldn’t as you are now,” the spirit said calmly. “But this man—this you—shut his heart to love.”
Destan braced himself on a chair, feeling light-headed all of a sudden. He feared he already knew the answer to his next question, but he had to ask. “Wh-where are my friends? Where are Hansel, Gretel, Evie, Finn, Wilhelm, and Jacob?”
The spirit’s bright blue eyes flickered towards Destan. “They’ve all left you. They’ve cut you out of their lives. Can’t say that I blame them—I mean, just look at him! Who’d want to be around a sad sack like him, anyway?” the ghost asked, motioning towards the broken king.
Destan slowly shook his head. “Is this future set in stone, spirit? Is there nothing I can do to change this terrible fate? Tell me what I must do!”
The spirit chuckled lowly and pulled up his hood. “That is not for me to tell, Blondie.” The ghost pushed himself from the wall and sauntered toward Destan, offering his hand. “Come on, laddy. We’ve still got one more stop to make.”
“No more!” Destan said swiping the spirit’s hand away. “I want to go home!”
“I can do that, but then you wouldn’t learn,” the spirit said, holding out his hand more insistently. “If you’re content with this future, I’ll gladly take you home. But if you want to change this, you have to see one more thing. So what’s it going to be?”
Destan’s gaze darted between the ghost’s hand and the shadowy face that hid beneath the spirit’s hood. He was grinning again, but Destan could not tell if it was sinister or friendly this time. After a long moment of weight his options, Destan hesitantly reached out and grasped the spirit’s hand. I don’t want this future. I … I want to change.
The room around them began to swirl and blur into incomprehensible shapes and multitudes of colours. When the swirling finally stopped and the world came back into focus, Destan saw that they were standing in the palace gardens yet again. However, this time, the gardens were covered in a fresh layer of snow and pretty, white flakes drifted down from the heavens above. Destan turned his face up towards the sky, feeling icy snow flakes land upon his cheeks.
“How can this be?” Destan whispered, not wanting to disturb the silence that surrounded them. “I banned Queen Isole from Rosenstaat.”
The spirit shrugged. “I guess there was no grandfather clause in your agreement.”
The ghost nodded his head to the stone path in front of them. “You’ll see. Come on.”
As the spirit started off down the path, Destan hurried after him, his slippers crunching in the freshly fallen snow. All was quiet between them as the spirit led Destan up the path and into a familiar rose garden. The plants were an ugly, dead brown, and there was not a single white bloom in sight. This wasn’t right. His mother’s rose garden always thrived, even during the harsh winters that Rosenstaat used to have.
That’s when he noticed the stone casket. It was covered in a thin layer of snow and the area around the casket didn’t appear as if many people had been to visit—there were only two sets of footprints, not including his and the spirit’s. A single pink rose, tied with a white ribbon sat atop the casket. It looked fresh as if someone had only just been there to drop it off. Other than the rose, there appeared to be no other signs of memorialization.
Destan reached out with a shaking hand and set it atop the tomb. “Is this…” his voice trailed off, as if the rest of his question was carried away in the gentle but icy breeze.
The ghost nodded gravely. “Aye, lad. This is yours.”
Destan shut his eyes, finding it difficult to swallow the cold lump in his throat. “When did it happen?”
“Earlier this morning,” said the spirit.
The prince’s heart sank into his stomach. If that was the case, then his funeral must not have been very large, for there were only two sets of tracks leading to and from this place. He gingerly picked up the rose and examined it carefully, wondering who had been kind enough to pay tribute to such a horrid wretch like himself.
“So this is my fate? I am to die alone with only one kind person to pity me?” Destan asked, his voice as brittle as the snowflakes that fell from the sky.
The spirit didn’t reply this time, much to Destan’s dismay. The prince shut his eyes tightly before any of his tears could fall. His chest ached with some horrid pain, the likes of which cannot adequately be expressed in words. He gripped the rose tightly in his hands, feeling its thorns digging into his palm. I die alone, unwanted, and unloved … I have no one but myself to blame. I shut love out of my heart and this is the price that I will have to pay, he thought, his face contorting with agony.
His body began to tremble—and it had nothing to do with the icy air. The cold that chilled him now, came from within his very being. It was a cold that no blanket could ward off, and no fire could warm.
He spun around to face the ghost, his eyes wet with unshed tears. “You said that I could change this. You said that this didn’t have to be my fate.”
“I did,” the spirit replied easily.
“Then tell me what I must do to change it! Please! I’m begging you!”
The ghost clasped his hands in front of him, silent once more.
The prince could no longer hold back his emotions. He felt warm tears roll down his cold-bitten cheeks as he fell to his knees in front of the ghost. “Don’t resign me to this fate… Tell me what I must do!”
Still the spirit said nothing, only staring down at him from beneath his black hood.
Destan wiped his tears away with the back of his sleeve, though they continued to spill from his eyes. “I will keep Christmas in my heart, and I will cherish my friends and family always. I swear I will not let my grief destroy me. But I ask you now, please, do not let this terrible fate befall the people of this kingdom. If it is in your power to change my future, then do it—not for my sake, but for the sake of this kingdom and the people who I love!”
The spirit laughed humorlessly. “Your fate was never in my hands, lad. It is not in the hands of any of the spirits you met tonight.”
Destan stared up at the spirit, his eyes wide and unblinking. “Then it’s … in mine? Is that what you’re saying?”
The ghost nodded and removed his hood once more to give Destan a broad smile. “It’s always been up to you, Blondie. Life is what you make it—so make it great.” He winked, and the world began to swirl once more.
The next thing he knew, Destan was tumbling down, down, down, into a swirling abyss of dark shapes and shades of grey. Although, strangely, he wasn’t frightened. He felt as if the chains of guilt and sorrow that had weighed him down for so many years had finally lifted. He was free.
He leaned back into the fall and shut his eyes, a relaxed smile spreading across his face. His heart was open, and he was finally ready to let love in and shut misery out. He was in control of his future, and he was going to make certain that it was changed for the better.
Destan awoke to the sound of birds chirping and sunlight streaming through the parts in his bed drapes. He sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Before he had the chance to form any comprehensible thoughts, he heard the sound of his door opening and footsteps. His bed drapes were then pushed aside to reveal Florian.
The advisor raised a brow, studying the prince carefully. “Good morning, your highness. I didn’t expect you to be up already…”
Destan smiled sleepily and brushed his hair out of his face. “I just woke up. Normally I would go right back to sleep on a day like this—wait! What day is it?” he asked, worry clenching his stomach.
Florian’s stared at him for a long moment, appearing unsure if his charge was joking or not. “It’s Christmas Eve, your highness. Surely you knew that.”
Destan beamed and hopped out of bed, hugging Florian tightly, much to the advisor’s surprise. “I haven’t missed it! I still have time to make things right!” he cried, pulling away from the advisor and hurrying to the wardrobe to collect some clothes. “Please tell the stable hand to ready my horse and two carriages.”
“Whatever do you need two carriages for?” Florian asked, looking more confused than ever. “Are you going somewhere? His majesty wanted to have breakfast with you—”
“And so I shall have breakfast with him. We all shall,” Destan said as he went in his washroom to change.
“All, your highness? I’m afraid I don’t understand,” Florian called.
Destan quickly pulled on his clothes and carelessly tied his hair back with a ribbon. “Never mind that. Have the table in the blue dining room set for nineteen.”
Florian laughed in disbelief. “That many, my prince? Are you feeling alright?”
Destan marched out of the washroom, straightening out his clothes. “I feel wonderful, Herr Florian! It’s Christmas Eve, after all, and I want to share this day with all the people I care about—Grandfather, you and the other advisors, Herr Christof, the Gottschalks, and my friends.” He took his cape from out of the wardrobe and slung it over his shoulders. “Ask Hofrat Pfeil to have the grand ballroom decorated for tonight.”
“Alright…” Florian said slowly. “Are we having some sort of ball tonight? I wasn’t informed—”
“That’s because I’ve only just decided,” Destan said cheerily, pushing back his shoulders.
“And who will be attending this ball?”
“The good people of Gründorf, of course! As soon as you have my horse readied, I’m going to the village to invite everyone.”
For a moment, Florian was at a loss for words. Finally, a bright smile spread across his face. “Of course, your highness. I’ll begin making the preparations immediately.”
Destan nodded. “Thank you. Oh, and please hurry. Time is of the essence.”
The prince rode through the village’s east entrance, followed by the two carriages that he’d requested. The villagers stopped what they were doing and bowed to him as he passed by on his while stallion, Adolfis. He paused in front of the large Christmas tree in the town square and held up his hand to halt the carriages behind him.
“Happy Christmas, good people of Gründorf,” he said, projecting his voice just like his grandfather had taught him. “I’ve come here to spread a bit of Christmas cheer. As you may or may not know, the palace has been a bit lonely ever since the former crown prince and princess passed away. But this Christmas Eve night, I want to end that loneliness and celebrate with all of you, my loyal, hardworking subjects. Thus, I would like to personally invite you all to the palace tonight for a grand Christmas Ball. There will be food, drink, and merriment, and I would be deeply honoured if you’d all join his majesty and me on this joyous day. The Festivities will begin at sundown, and I hope to see you all there!”
Some of the townspeople cheered, while others murmured between one another—perhaps they knew that this sort of behavior from him on Christmas was unusual. Disregarding the confused looks, Destan nodded his head, said a polite farewell, and headed further into town with the carriages following after him.
He arrived in front of a familiar bake shop and dismounted his horse. After telling the carriage drivers to wait there, he marched up the steps to the shop and knocked a few times on the door, hoping that everyone was there.
After a few seconds the door opened to Ida Rosamond. She blinked her hazel eyes, staring at Destan as if befuddled by the mere sight of him. “Y-your highness!” she said, curtseying to him.
Destan heard the sound of chairs sliding against the floor and a moment later, Hansel, Gretel, Evie, Herr and Frau Bachmeier, and Mother Mansrot appeared behind Ida. All of their eyes—except for Mother Mansrot’s—were wide with surprise.
“What are you doing here, Destan?” Gretel asked.
Destan smiled brightly. “I’ve come here to invite you all to the palace for the day.”
Hansel crossed his arms over his chest. “You do know what day it is, don’t you?”
“Of course,” Destan said. “It’s Christmas Eve, and I want to spend the entire day with my friends and their families.”
“Yes! We’ll go!” Dorothea said quickly.
Gerald shot her a stern look. “We will?”
Dorothea glared back just as sternly. “We will. I’ve never been to the palace before and I’m certainly not going to pass up this opportunity just because I have stubborn boys.”
Evie looked up at Ida. “Can we go too, Mother?”
Ida frowned as she straighten out her apron. “You can, darling. I have to stay here and prepare for tomorrow’s rush.”
Destan reached into his satchel and pulled out a sack of coins. “Nonsense! No one should have to work on Christmas Eve.” He took Ida’s hand and set the sack in it. “I think that should be enough to compensate for tomorrow’s pay.”
Ida’s jaw dropped. “And then some! This is too much, your highness, I cannot possibly accept this,” she insisted, trying to hand it back to him.
The prince waved his hands in front of him. “It’s yours now. After all the hard work you and your family do to keep this place running, you are more than deserving of this. Please take it, Frau Rosamond.”
Ida shook her head, but Mother Mansrot softly nudged her in the side before she could utter another word. “It’s a gift, Ida, dear. It’s bad manners to decline a gift on Christmas, especially if that gift is from a charming prince.”
Ida shut her eyes, a sweet smile building upon her face as she held the bag close to her chest. “In that case, thank you, your highness. I suppose we’ll all be able to come to the palace after all.”
“Just give us a few minutes to get ready, would you?” Dorothea said excitedly.
“Take as long as you need,” Destan replied.
Gretel grabbed Evie’s hand and pulled her back into the shop. “Come on! We’ve got to put on our very best dresses. I can’t believe we’re going to spend all of Christmas at the palace! It’s like a fairy tale!”
“It would be even more like a fairy tale if there was snow,” Hansel grumbled, looking accusingly toward the prince.
Destan chuckled. “I just can’t win with you, can I? Would it make you feel any better to know that I’ve brought carriages for you all to ride in?”
Hansel’s dark brown eyes lit up, smiling for a split second before clearing his throat and putting on his best frown once more. “It might…”
The prince grinned, knowing that that was the most positive response he would get out of Hansel just then. “Well, I’ll leave the carriages here for you, and you can come up to the palace when you’re all ready. A grand breakfast will be prepared in honour of you—my special guests.”
“Thanks, I guess,” Gerald grunted.
Dorothea jabbed her elbow into his side to which he groaned. “You can’t tell, but he’s very excited, your highness,” she said with an unwavering smile.
Destan turned to leave when Hansel called out, “You know, this doesn’t make up for you ignoring us yesterday!”
The prince glanced back over his shoulder, still in the best of spirits. “I know, but I’d say this is a very good start.” He mounted his horse and waved to them. “Farewell for now. I must be off to collect Finn, but I’ll see you at the palace!”
The day went marvelously, and he was able to spend time with all the people that he cared about. It was by far the best Christmas Eve that he’d had in a very long time. Now, night had fallen and the ball was in full swing. Destan sat off to the side in the grand ballroom—as he normally did—but this time he smiled as he watched his friends, family, and subjects enjoy the festivities. No bitter or sorrowful feelings arose within him as he watched everyone chat and dance—it felt good to know that he had helped to create such happiness on this joyous day.
He sighed contently, leaned back in his seat, and shut his eyes—all of that planning had made him terribly drowsy. Just then, he felt a soft tap upon his shoulder. His eyes fluttered open and he saw that Evie stood before him with her hands behind her back. “You should go dance. The village girls want you to ask them, but they’re too shy to approach you.”
Destan laughed. “Why are they shy? I don’t bite.”
“I know that, but they don’t,” Evie said, nodding back to the group of giggling girls whose eyes were train on him. Evie’s gaze suddenly fell to the ground and her cheeks flushed an attractive shade of pink. “But, before you ask them, there’s something I’d like to give you.”
Destan tilted his head. “You got a present for me?”
Evie’s full lips twitched to one side. “Well, no, not exactly…” She removed her hands from behind her back to reveal a pretty, light pink rose with a white, satin ribbon tied around it. “I-I know it’s not much, but I grow these roses myself. Mother says I must have some sort of magic touch because they grow all year round in the little pot I keep them in. I know you like roses, so I thought maybe you could put it in a vase in your room.”
Destan’s eyes widened upon realizing that the rose Evie now held in her hand looked exactly like the rose he had seen upon his stone casket. Had she been the one to leave it there? Destan’s features relaxed and he gingerly took the rose from Evie’s grasp. He couldn’t help but smile. He knew then that no matter what happened, Evie would always be there for him. It was a wonderful feeling to know that someone who didn’t have to care about him, genuinely did.
The prince stood up from his seat. “It’s a lovely present, Genevieve. I promise that I’ll take very good care of it.”
Evie clasped her hands in front of her, bouncing excitedly. “I’m so glad you like it! It was the prettiest one on the bush.”
He held out his free hand for hers, his smile softening. “I think I would like to dance now.”
“With me?” she asked, sounding mildly surprised.
“Well, I am offering my hand to you, so … yes,” Destan said with a laugh. “There’s no one else I’d rather dance with. Would you do me the honour, Fräulein Rosamond?”
Evie’s cheeks turned red as she nodded and took his outstretched hand. He led her to the middle of the ballroom and they waltzed together for much of the night, chatting and laughing like good friends do.
Destan would never take his friends, family, or Christmas for granted ever again—he made this solemn vow to himself. He would enjoy every Christmas he got to spend with his loved ones, and he would cherish the love and affection he was given forevermore, because that is what this holiday is about. Thanks to the spirits, he had been changed for the better, and he hoped this change within himself would ultimately lead him to his happily ever after.
I hope you all enjoyed The Prince of Prophecy’s Christmas Carol! I had a great time writing it! If you liked this short story you should check out the books (the second book, The Prince of Prophecy Vol. II: Cursed, will be released in paperback and hardcover on the 27th–this coming Saturday)! I wish you all a very happy holiday season!
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Artwork by: Enrica Eren Angiolini (my illustrator)