Queen Horatia ordered her guards to immediately search the palace grounds for suspects but the guards came back with nothing to report. Taking himself away from the commotion of the search, Prince Cassius found himself a quiet corner in the palace’s garden maze and sat down with a sigh.
As he carefully removed the glass cloche protecting Queen Horatia’s Everlast Rose, he saw Quinn appear through one of the doorways in the hedges. Fireflies buzzed noisily above them, leaving a beautiful roadmap of light trails.
“Is it ever justified to sacrifice something that’s important to you in order to offer something that matters more to someone else.” he asked forlornly.
As the only prince of Intervallum, Cassius had grown up with the burden of knowing he would one day be King – a burden that weighed heavily on his mind yet one he was ready to undertake with great conscientiousness and pride. After he had met Horatia and the discussion of marriage was brought up, it was discovered within their respective constitutions that because Queen Horatia was already a monarch and therefore higher up in the hierarchy of nobility, if they married, Prince Cassius would have to renounce his claim to the throne of Intervallum to become the Prince Consort of Isochronus instead. With no direct heirs to the throne of Intervallum, both Queen Horatia and Prince Cassius knew that there could be no future between them, but perhaps blinded by the folly of love that shields you to the prospect of all impossibility, they continued to stay together regardless.
With Queen Horatia’s reputation, her throne and her safety from the baying mob on the line, Prince Cassius now had a tough decision to make. Deep in thought and distracted by the glow of the Everlast Rose, Cassius failed to see the fireflies leading farther into the garden maze.