The palace was abounding with excitement and joy. With the return of Princess Annabelle to her parents, everything seemed right in the land of Litefaray. In fact, the mood of the citizens had undergone such a drastic change that the king and queen threw a party to honor the heroines of the day.
"Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay. You have done us a great favor in bringing our daughter home to us," the king announced as he hugged Annabelle. "Please, come and stand before everyone."
Willow and Tara moved from a cozy place in the corner of the room and took their place in front of the throne. All eyes fixated on the young couple before cheers and applause filled the room. Tara and Willow beamed from ear to ear; they were happy for the recognition, but even more proud of their good deed.
As the roar of the crowd died down, a band began to play slow music. Willow turned to Tara and asked, "Shall we?"
The blonde witch simply nodded as her girlfriend took her hand and led her to the dance floor. Stopping at the perimeter of dancing guests, the couple wrapped their arms around each other and swayed to the sweet sounds of the band.
Willow was enjoying the feeling of being in Tara's arms until she remembered the incident with the bears. "Wait, is your leg even healed enough for dancing? Dancing can't be good for your leg. I mean, if you put more pressure on it than necessary, it might start bleeding again or get infected, and then we'd have to get you to a doctor. Do they even have any doctors here, or do they just heal injuries magically?"
Tara smiled and rolled her eyes a little. "Willow, I'm okay. It's been getting better, and nothing will stop me from dancing with you," she said as she looked into the beautiful green eyes in front of her. "Aside from my injury, I’m glad that everything turned out okay."
"Everyone is safe, all of the bad guys have been punished, and we even got new clothes. I’d say all is of the good," Willow added.
Tara looked down at her and Willow’s new garments. Since the ones they were wearing before became torn and dirty during the rescue, the king and queen insisted on providing them with new outfits -- especially since they were going to a royal party.
"At least a bear didn’t rip your skirt," Tara offered.
"Awww...sweetie..." Willow grinned. "Can you imagine all of the clothes you’d have to replace because of me?"
Tara playfully hit Willow’s arm. "Willow!"
"Hey, you’ve torn some of my stuff too!" Willow countered.
Tara giggled and then struggled to make a straight face. "Those incidents are completely justifiable," she said.
Willow joined in the giggles and then leaned closer to whisper in Tara’s ear, "Honey...I know."
Ever since Willow had begun to spend every night with Tara, she felt the bond between them increase. Their love grew stronger with every conversation or spell. The slightest glance or touch from her lover would send chills through Willow’s body; she knew that Tara was her soul mate.
Willow sighed and held Tara closer. Having Tara in her arms made her more real. Tara gently kissed Willow’s earlobe and whispered the words, "My love," into her ear, making everything feel even more comfortable, more right.
Sunlight shone brightly in the open field where Willow and Tara had made their initial arrival in Litefaray. Again, birds chirped and woodland animals scurried around the colorful foliage. Willow and Tara stood as the center of attention once more, with the royal family off to the side.
"Thank you so much," the queen stated with a smile.
"Yes, thank you. You are truly brave and filled with goodness," the king added.
"And you’re nice!" Annabelle happily exclaimed.
Tara and Willow smiled. "We’re glad we could help," Tara replied, reaching out to squeeze the young girl’s shoulder.
"And thank you so much for the party," Willow continued, "It was great."
The king and queen returned the smiles. "Are you ready to go back home now?" the queen asked the wiccan couple.
The two nodded in unison and then a brightly-colored oval appeared before them. Willow and Tara pointed at the portal, waiting for the king and queen’s approval. They nodded their heads.
"Should we click our heels together?" Willow asked Tara with a smirk.
"No silly, that’s only if we don’t have some passageway to travel through," Tara reminded her lover with a bump of her shoulder. "Ready?"
Willow grabbed Tara’s hand and squeezed it. They waved goodbye to the people they were leaving behind and then jumped through the gateway.
When the two witches disappeared, the egg-shaped opening closed as if it was never there in the first place. The king turned to his queen and daughter and took one in each hand.
"And they lived happily ever after," he stated with a grin.
Tara closed the book that Willow was holding and then looked up to face the grinning faces before them.
A small boy with freckles splattered across his face was the first to speak. "Wow, that was a great story! Those witches were cool! Is it real?"
Willow and Tara turned to each other and smiled.
Back to Chapter 8