Weeks passed, and more and more Sela found herself drawn to the feeling of serenity the gardens offered…always under the watchful gaze of the King.
Roy had been appointed her guardian. He was always close but kept his supervision in the shadows. He had become enamored with the beautiful, mysterious Sela, who sadly, barely gave him notice. Their limited conversations were brief and mundane but Roy fought with futility, to spark even a paltry bit of interest from her.
His fight would soon bear fruit, but not for him. One evening as Sela was coming back to the house, she was startled to see a man standing in front of her.
He was the kind of man you instinctively knew that you shouldn’t look at, but she did. She was captivated by his striking handsomeness and magnetic eyes but somewhat frightened by his sudden almost ethereal presence.
“Good afternoon.” he said. “I see that you are admiring my gardens.”
Sela looked around the display as if for the first time and said “yes. They’re beautiful. There’s such a sense of peacefulness here, almost like you’re in a different world. A world of grace and innocence. Her voice trailed off as she said “a world I think I’d like to belong to.”
“Have you seen the pond?” he asked. Sela said “no, I haven’t.”
“Come with me,” he said.
They walked along the flower-laden pathway to a huge pond whose beauty rivaled the gardens.
“It’s fully stocked with the finest Nishikigoi, better known as Koi,” he said. “They are symbolic of luck, prosperity and good fortune. They also represent perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Most importantly, they are symbolic of loyalty, and loyalty is very important.” Then he turned and looked as though he knew the exact spot where Roy was standing.
Sela gazed at the playful Koi, who came to the surface begging for food. “May I feed them?” she asked.
His answer was sharp and succinct. “No. I have people for that.”
As if nothing had been asked or denied, he continued. “Many people erroneously believe that these creatures originated from Japan, when in reality they are thought to be native to China.”
Sela’s eyes were fixated on the massive, brightly colored fish and the over sized pond lilies. Pink lotus plants seemed to dance on the surface, disturbed only by an occasional beetle looking for the sweet nectar of pollen.
A large, concrete angel with wings spread, held an urn with a never-ending flow of water, which lent the sound of a gentle cascading waterfall. “If Utopia exists,” thought Sela, “surely this must be it.”
“It’s easy to feel like you can lose yourself here, isn’t it?” he asked.
“Yes it is,” she said.
He turned as if to walk away and Sela said “wait. Who are you?”
He looked at her with his intense, beguiling eyes and said “I might ask you the same question.”
To be continued________________