Chapter 22:

Chapter 22

Prince of the Sun

Still simmering with anger from an interaction with Nikita, Jace went looking for Momoka once again. Trying to catch sight of that sparkly dress.

Why did he even bother with Nikita, that girl made his life much more difficult than it needed to be in so many ways, why would talking to the girl change a thing?

He felt like such a fool and just wanted to go give Momoka a big hug and assure her that she had nothing to worry about. Even if that was a lie, it was a pretty lie. Still Nikita’s words held weight. He desperately hoped that it wasn’t true. That Momoka wasn’t falling victim to the curse. The signs were beginning to show themselves, and it would be Nikita who felt the brunt of Jealous directed toward her.

He knew the gloomy expression he wore was unprincely, especially at a major ball. Yet it was hard to contort his face into a smile.

His eyes scanned the crowd desperately searching for Momoka. As he did, one person caught his attention.

Within the mythical world skin colours tended to mirror the mortal from deep browns to pale pinks. Of course he was an exception to the rule with completely white skin. But a man stood in the crowd completely alone with teal skin. All the rules of Jace’s polite Phoenix society seemed to melt away as he stared at him.

He had a black suit on that covered almost all of his skin, aside from his hands, his neck, his shirt not buttoned all the way up, leaving a little of his collar bone exposed, Jace’s eyes lingered there a while. He had the most perfect jawline of any man’s dreams. Full lips that were smiling. However his eyes were covered by a smooth black mask, one with large horns that started at his forehead but lay back, following his slicked back hair.

He seemed to notice Jace, though his eyes were covered Jace knew he was looking at him. His smile grew into something quite irresistible.

Jace’s mind was suddenly absent of thoughts of looking for Momoka and he was compelled toward this man.

Jace had never seen him before. Was he someone’s guest? He didn’t appear to be talking to anyone, he seemed quite alone. Almost embarrassed Jace wracked his brain trying to find a name that just wasn’t there.

“Hello Prince,” he purred. His voice like silk that caressed Jace’s cheek, but even stranger he spoke the language of the Phoenix, with familiarity too.

“Hello, I don’t believe we have met,” Jace said meekly.

He chuckled, dark rolling thunder of a summer storm. “It might seem that way. My name is Zebedaios.”

“Oh a pleasure to meet you,” Jace said, a smile creeping its way onto his face.

Jace had many questions to ask Zebedaios. Yet before he could, Zebedaios extended a hand to him. “May I have this dance?”

Jace wasn’t even aware of the change in music. He took Zebedaios’ hand without even thinking.

Zebedaios led him onto the dancefloor and Jace assumed the position typically reserved for the feminine though he had performed it a few times when dancing with Thariel. Zebedaios knew the dance very well and led Jace perfectly, twirling him around and pulling him tight in better time than even some of the Phoenix surrounding them.

It made Jace wonder if Zebedaios was actually a Phoenix?

If only he could get a peak behind the mask yet even up close the mask was solid black. Zebedaios was slightly taller than Jace which was an oddity in itself. The royal Phoenix were usually taller than just about everyone. Jace himself standing at 215 centimetres, with his horns Zebedaios’ would likely be taller than even Thariel. Jace had no idea what kind of myth Zebedaios could be, up close he smelt of lemongrass and jasmine.

“Zebedaios may I ask what kind of myth you are?” Jace whispered during a moment of tight embrace.

That deep rumbling sound came once again, pressed to him, it was hypnotic. “Oh my dear Prince, shouldn't you be able to determine that?”

Jace was deeply puzzled as Zebedaios spun him around.

“You’re not a Phoenix, at least I don’t think so,” Jace said.

“An interesting deduction,” Zebedaios purred, his lips so close to Jace’s ear.

Jace’s hand was clasped in his and Jace had almost wished that he was not wearing gloves so that their skin might touch. It was so intoxicating being near him, Jace felt as if he might faint.

“Are you a member of the Fae?” Jace whispered.

Zebedaios' smile continued. “I’m guessing you have not met many Fae, Prince.”

He was correct and that was neither a yes nor a no. A very Fae way of answering Jace thought. So perhaps that was it.

“Is there someone in particular you were with or invited by?” Jace asked, trying to be delicate as he could yet he couldn’t think of a different way to ask, he was in such a trance.

Zebedaios whispered in his ear, “I don’t need an invite.”

Electric shivers ran down Jace’s spine with the rhythm of his voice. Jace’s mind was so foggy he couldn’t think of what Zebedaios meant by it. He enjoyed the dance, trying to focus his attention on the more difficult footwork rather than Zebedaios in front of him. How embarrassing it would be to mess up a dance of the Phoenix being its Prince.

How wonderful a distraction Zebedaios was, it had felt like the world was crashing around him with Momoka and being whisked around the dancefloor by such a beautiful and mysterious stranger had occupied his mind fully.

He had no idea why Zebedaios was here and yet he didn’t care, Zebedaios couldn’t have been any kind of dangerous or he could not have gotten inside the palace. Despite how mysterious he seemed Jace felt safe dancing with him, sure being a royal Phoenix helped yet there was something darkly comforting. Like lying in bed with a book while a snowstorm raged outside.