Chapter 25:

Chapter 25

Prince of the Sun

As he came to the edge of the crowd it seemed that Zebedaios was watching him. He turned and walked further away. Jace hesitated and watched, it seemed that Zebedaios was walking towards the doors at the back of the ballroom. Ones that led to the balcony.

Jace knew no one would be out there as it was way too cold for most myths. Yet Zebedaios walked boldly toward it. Jace followed again, trying to think of a kind of Fae who enjoyed the cold. Sadly his knowledge of the Fae was lacking. It was infuriating as he felt as if he had spent his entire life studying the mythical world yet there was this huge gap in his knowledge when he needed it.

Zebedaios slipped through the door. Not many even seemed to notice as the music had burst to life and everyone was too preoccupied with finding a dance partner and returning to the dancefloor.

Jace quickly joined him on the balcony.

Outside the icy winds of midnight bit into him, tussling his white curls.

He was met with a sight that took his breath away. In the depths of winter, in the arctic circle something magical happened. Though many in the castle hated to brave the cold outside, therefore were confined within its walls just about all of winter, they missed out on such magic which entranced mortal and myth alike.

Aurora Borealis.

The green serpent snaked across the sky, dancing slowly, its colour changing into purple and blue before fading back into the darkness of the night. The dance was so hypnotic it was a spiritual experience for anyone lucky to witness it. The palace of the Phoenix would often get a front row seat to its performance.

The colourful light shone down on Zebedaios illuminating his teal features perfectly, as if this was his golden hour of sunlight.

A smile grew and grew on Jace’s face but he wasn’t able to say anything, too in awe of the scene around himself.

Zebedaios, lent back on the railing of the balcony, the lights glistening on his glossy hair and horns, his perfect smile directed at Jace. He didn’t seem at all bothered by the cold.

“Thank you for joining me Prince, it’s much more private out here,” His voice was a low rumble that the wind almost stole from him.

Jace did not want to miss a word, he stepped forward.

“You’re welcome,” Jace said simply.

“Oh my Darling Prince, there is no need to be so nervous,” Zebedaios purred and pushed off of the railing, closing the distance between them even more.

“You seem to know so much about me, how is that?” Jace said, he knew the nerves were raw in his voice, yet it seemed he had no way of hiding them from Zebedaios.

There was that rumbling chuckle that made Jace weak at the knees. “Phoenix are full of emotion, powerful souls filled with light. The royal family might try to hide this behind masks of emotional indifference yet you are Phoenix. There is no hiding what is in your heart, at least, from me.”

Jace’s heart started to race, was Zebedaios in his mind? It certainly wasn’t possible. Was he able to read Jace’s soul through his eyes? He had heard some myths were able to do that and in reality Zebedaios mask hid his eyes Jace had no way of knowing what his eyes were doing underneath.

It should have scared Jace. He should have fled and ran to April or Gaufrid yet he wasn’t afraid.

“And why is that?” Jace asked, taking another step closer. If he wanted he could reach out and touch Zebedaios.

Zebedaios’ head dipped a little, in the direction of Jace’s face. That smile, those lips, illuminated by the northern lights. It was intoxicating and Jace could think of nothing else.

“You might not want to admit it, but if you set aside your pride you might already know.”

“My pride?” Jace had no idea what he was referring to.

“While your confusion is adorable, I’m not going to give up the answers so easily,” said Zebedaios, his tone falling into something deep and seductive, “You’re going to have to discover it yourself.”

Temptation was overwhelming Jace but he would not let it get the best of him. He remained firm, despite his heart beating so loudly he was almost sure that Zebedaios could hear it too.

“So you’re bold enough to keep secrets from the royal family?”

Zebedaios took another step forward, his scent filling Jace’s nose with lemongrass and jasmine. He was so close, Jace tilted his head up, looking deeply into his mask, wishing it was gone.

“I’m bold enough to do much more than just keep secrets from you,” Zebedaios purred.

Jace tried so desperately to control himself yet Zebedaios was so close, the very scent of him drew Jace in, it took all that he had not to take another step forward. To be as close as he was when they danced.

“How much more?” Jace’s voice was but a whisper.

Zebedaios closed the gap between them, his arm reaching behind Jace and pulling him close. His other hand caressed the side of Jace’s face. Fingertips barely touching the soft skin of the side of his face, they danced across it and light crackled under their gentle touch. Jace fought so hard he was trembling, yet he didn’t push away. Though he knew he should, he just couldn’t.

“You needn’t be so frightened Prince, I’m not going to hurt you,” Zebedaios’ voice was a whisper in Jace’s ear, warm breath heating the side of his face.

“I’m not afraid,” Jace breathed.

“You’re trembling,” Zebedaios whispered directly into his ear, his lips almost touching him.

A shiver ran through Jace’s body that he just couldn’t control. And Zebedaios chuckled, that deep rumbling that now Jace could feel on and in his own body.

“It’s not from fear nor cold,” Jace said, pulling more confidence into his own voice.

“Is that so,” Zebedaios said, pulling way from Jace’s ear to come to be face to face with the Prince. Mask so close Jace desperately wished he could pull it from Zebedaios’ face.

Jace might have, he just might have.

If Zebedaios hadn’t leant forward.

If Zebedaios lips hadn’t come closer.

If Zebedaios hadn't kissed him on that balcony.

A kiss that was like none other that Jace had ever experienced, his whole body was alight with fire and the warmth of desire. Zebedaios’ lips were just what he had imagined.

He embraced Zebedaios, leaning into it further, Jace kissed back.