I was born when my mother fought with my father. She was so mad that she split my soul to two, and there was me, and my sister, Terra, the Earth Goddess. I inherited my mother’s happiness, and my sister, my mother’s fury. We are different, too different. Terra likes to stay, while I like to be free.

I live where I please even at a young age. I flock to where the crowd seeks me and then I listen. I listen to the people’s words. They say they are cold, and so I breathe warm air. They say they are hungry, and so I scatter seeds to their fields. They say they are unhappy, and so I blow away the clouds.
They thank me with their prayers, but sometimes, they forget to appreciate my doings. I sulk one day to Terra. She is angry at her people. They destroy what she has given to them. They destroy the trees, the animals, and the rivers. She asks me to join her to punish the people.
So, I did join her. She lets the earth shake. She quakes and mountains erupt with smoke and fire. There is ash everywhere. There is even death at her feet. I blow the snowy clouds to the villages. I create a large twister that parades through their homes.
“We must pray,” the people say. “We must pray for Shinatobe to forgive us.”
My sister becomes madder. She strikes her wrath and creates the coldest mountains. The icy air is trapped between these mountains. The people cannot move. They have to stay home. They call this home, Slianvwi.
“We must pray again. Shinatobe must not have heard us,” the people say.
My sister becomes more enraged. She creates the harshest winters so the crops cannot grow. All of the plants and most of the animals die. There is nothing left but death in Slianvwi, where the dead roam. I tell her to stop, but she does not listen. She says it is my fault. Everything.
I drift to a cottage, and it is there I meet a young boy.
“Why do you cry?” he asks me.
“I am not crying,” I reply.
“But you look unhappy,” he says.
“How can you be so happy?” I wonder.
He laughs at me. “How can I not be happy when it is snowing?”
“Are you not mad at the Gods?”
He laughs again. “Why be mad when Slianvwi is special? There is no place like Slianvwi.”
I decide to tell him, “I will help you. You will rise among your people. You will lead them.”
These pages are for you, Tsar.You will guard them with your life and you will love your country with your soul. I will continue to support you as long as you follow my words.
“Does he know those words?” I ask her.
Shinatobe sighs, “I am afraid he has forgotten them. That is why you must write them.”
“But, how do I present this to the Tsar?”
She breathes a chilly breath, claiming, “You need not worry. He will know me.”
With another breath, she transports me to the land of the dead. I stand in front of the Tsar, who is reading a document. He demands for the guards, but Shinatobe enters my breath.
She speaks, “Tsar, you have forgotten our promise.”
The Tsar shudders in fear. “N-n-no, I have not.”
She mocks him with a loud guffaw. “You must repent or I will make you pay for your sins.”
“I will do anything. Just spare my life,” he pleads.
“These are for you to copy. Every Tsar will read this,” Shinatobe instructs. “If not, then death.”
The Tsar obeys and his workers make gold tablets. My writing is there. This is the work of a scribe. Shinatobe and I leave during the night. She tells me that there is another story to write. She wants to call it, Love.
There was that feeling of suffocation: the joy of blankets stiffening my body. How very redundant of me. This time, Morganne had chided me further. She complained of how her back was breaking because she had to carry me. They had apparently left the ice cave the way they had entered. A downward hill now became an upward one. There had been a long rope tied around from one of the boulders. I had been on Morganne’s back while Hendrick had wrapped his arms around her neck.
“Are you even listening to me?” She had one of the reddest faces I had ever encountered.
“Leave her be, Morganne.” Nestor was examining the artefacts that we had uncovered. “Did you recall anything though?”
Again, I tried to explain, but my head had ached. So, I lied, “No. I . . . could not.”
“What a pity,” he murmured.
Nestor seemed to have given up on deciphering the writing. He was even holding it the wrong way. I was tempted to correct him, yet I knew I could not. My knowledge of the work was supposed to be kept to myself. The doors of my chamber had  now opened and in dashed Hendrick, dressed in velvet red with golden buttons running across his chest and an over-sized fur cape.
“Your Highness!” Lady Fenov was panting.
“Renata! Renata! Will you attend my coronation?” Hendrick panted.
Nestor answered for me, “No, Your Highness. Renata will be returning to Urcis.”
Hendrick jumped beside me and stared at me. “Must you leave?” he asked too tenderly.
I had to confess that I wanted to say no. However, I had to tell him the truth. “I have to return to Urcis. As much as I adore Slianvwi, I still have to go home.”
“But what of my coronation? Is it not possible for you to delay a night?”
It was Morganne who warned, “There is no time for an extra night. We have already prolonged our journey and this is as far as we can venture.”
With a huff and a grunt, Hendrick threatened, “Then . . . I am not attending my coronation!”
He had escaped, running towards nowhere.
“I do not know what to do with him,” Lady Fenov expressed her concern.
Dmitry had now arrived to visit me. He was probably worried about my health, yet he was here to reply, “He is only afraid that Renata will leave his side forever . . . just like how the former Tsarevich and Her Highness did.”
I sat up and decided to say, “I will convince him to stay. Do not fret.”
Somehow, it always became my responsibility to resolve issues. Just as I had expected, Hendrick had ran to the frozen lake in which I had fallen. He was at its edge and once he saw me approaching, he yelled, “You lied! You said you would always support me!”
Heavy snow was accumulating; snowflakes were attacking my mouth. I could barely speak without swallowing some form of coldness. I knew that if we were to stay here any longer, we would both freeze to death. His illness would probably take his life at this rate.
“I did not lie,” I argued. “I am supporting you . . . from afar. That does not mean that I am abandoning you.”
“Liar!”
His eyes were twinkling in despair. He was having trouble controlling his sniffles and the hoarseness in his voice. I had forced him this way. I had made a child break. I almost thought I saw her face again. That look of disappointment. She had passed away like that, and I had not done anything. I had simply watched. I could have watched this time too, yet I chose to cradle the weeping child.
“If I could simply be here, then I would,” I explained, “but . . . my family needs me. My country needs me too.”
Lifting his head, he asked, “Your country?”
“I may not have been honest with you about my identity. I am the Princess of Urcis and Nestor was my tutor. Now . . . do you understand that I must leave? Just like how you have to be Tsar, I have to be a princess.”
“T-t-then, I’ll marry you!” Hendrick stuttered.
I pinched his cheek, comforting, “I would love to, but I have to follow the King’s orders. I have to marry a Koseian Prince for my country.”
Now that I thought of it, I could have agreed and I could have lived the life I wanted. I probably would have governed this country due to his failing health. I did not know why I had rejected him without hesitating. Stupidity? Must have been.
I did say, “I . . . could be your godmother? That way, I can visit you. Would that be fine with you?”
Immediately, he hugged me back with his short, skinny arms. It had to be one of the unyielding hugs I had experienced. Its message was clear: I will miss you. I would miss him too. That pesky brat. I would not know just how much I would miss him until I learned that even breathing would be painful. Breathing in the bitter Slianvwic air.
 “Promise me that you will rule your country with love and care,” I reminded him.
His smile was too much like that boy’s. “I will always love Slianvwi. Slianvwi is where I was born and Slianvwi is where I will die.”
“You silly boy!” I squeezed his cheek again. “You should not be thinking of death!”
We both laughed in unison and hand in hand, we walked back to where we belonged: in court.
Chapter 44                                                                            Chapter 46
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