She started to fall, first through blackness, then, with a flash of light, Leigh was tumbling through a clear blue sky. Suddenly, she was jerked upward. Leigh could feel the talons peircing her skin gently, not enough to hurt, but enough to get a good grip. Feathers rustled above her, and out of the corner of her eye she could see Joel. Leigh couldn't tell how he wasn't falling, she tried to turn her head, but she found it wedged between Mia's legs. She could feel them begin to slow, and she sensed they were close to the ground. Proving her suspicions right, a few moments later, Leigh could feel solid cobbled streets beneath her. The first thing Leigh noticed were the jagged black mountains rising up in a circle around the kingdom. The second thing she noticed, was Joel. Instead of the scrawny, pale boy she had seen in the alley, standing before her was someone she more or less expected to see out of a beautiful land like this. He was taller, more muscular, with wavy dark hair and striking electric blue eyes. Leigh stepped back to join Mia as the crowds pressed in. "I'm guessing this doesn't happen every day?" She whispered. Mia shook her head, "No, it doesn't. Remember though, they've never seen you before either," Mia angled her head toward Joel, "And his return is, indeed, a special occasion. Joel's father sent him away when the war's intention was clear, for either the king to die or step down." She explained. "Sorry to interupt, but we should head toward the palace. My father is most likely already waiting for us, word travels fast around here." Joel said. As they walked along, Leigh tried to peice together all that she had saw and heard. From what Mia told me, it sounds like Joel's father is the king, that would explain the crowds and why Mia described it as a "special occasion." Up ahead, Joel was in a heated conversation with a soldier. They were looking at the black mountains, the soldier said something Leigh couldn't catch. Then Joel thanked him and the soldier walked off. He dropped back to join Leigh and Mia, and they carried on in silence. The whole city was fascinating to Leigh, as they carried on, she spotted a little boy clinging to the mane of a young lion, though it was colorless and wispy Leigh found the lion beautiful. She turned to Mia to ask her about it, but she was focused on something in front of them. Leigh realized they had reached the palace. The two gaurds swung open the heavy iron gates, and they stepped into the courtyard. They followed Joel through the halls and finally came to a stop in front of an archway just as grand as the entrance. Inside, the king sat, waiting.