The Palace Beneath the Rhine – Part Two

The next day, I waited for her to appear at my tower, eager to strike up another conversation. Much to my disappointment, she missed our first meeting and left me wondering as to where she was.

 

She may be seeing to her subjects, I thought as I spotted a particularly dim-witted carp bump into the crystal wall of my room, they no doubt need guidance. As I stared at the confused fish, I began to imagine Fluss surrounded by school of those foolish looking creatures as she patiently tried to teach them the ways of the river. 

 

“Never bite a hook,” she would say, curving her ivory finger into its shape but having to pull it away from a little fish that swam towards it. Fluss would smile and shake her head gently at her charge, her blue eyes shining brilliantly. A lock of blonde hair with its gentle wave would then fall across her face; she would brush it aside, arm clad in that beautiful white dress with its delicate patterns and silver threads.

 

The same fish accidentally bumped into the crystal again and I stirred from my reverie, feeling rather embarrassed at getting lost in such childish daydreams, especially under the never-blinking eye of that carp. I stepped away from the wall and began to pace, hoping Fluss would come soon. 

 

It was not until well into evening, however, that I saw a slender path sprout out of the crystal hall and wind its way towards my now cold tower.

 

Fluss walked that path, but not alone. A second figure followed, a dark shape I could not make out through the water. Dread crept back into my heart, for I was certain that whatever creature followed the Rhinemaiden was my true warden. Perhaps it was Bridgeman? Was this all a plot of his? 

 

 

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You can also buy the novel The Grand Tour, a story about William Bridgeman’s journey across Europe during the twilight of magic.