“Nobody is coming to save thee, little girl.”

Never have I heard words that cut as deep as those of the great serpent. The dark cavern I was confined in, the fiery chains that bound me and the loneliness that overtook my mind burned my spirit in torment. My sentence was to spend forever in Dragon’s lair.

Days had passed since I came to the entrance of the cavern. Enticing thoughts of adventure led me inside, but I was ignorant of the colossal creature within. Now my tormentor’s brazen words caused a bitterness that made my imprisonment feel twice as long. Time left me with only faint memories of what it was like to breathe the fresh air of freedom outside.

I flinched as his flames licked around me, reminding me of my horrid fate. His toothy, reptile grin brought chills to my burning skin. I hugged my knees, trying to protect myself from the flames of the beast, but they crossed my arms and legs in painful pangs. I knew there was no hope for escape.

“But no worriment necessary,” Dragon jested, “forsooth the Master says, ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as common to man.’”

He swooped down, slithering into the corner. It was there where a den of lost warriors lay—nothing more than dry bones, brittle and bleak. These bones were my only companions whilst I stay as a prisoner here.

“Many hath suffered thy fate before, he saith.” Dragon’s underlying growl consorted his every word.

“Your words are cold.” I spoke quietly to myself. I feared to speak to Dragon, for I did not want his replies. “And yet your flames scorch an ill fate into my soul.”

I thought back to the teachings of my parents, and Dragon’s words did not match. If Dragon was a servant of the Master, wouldn’t he know the Lord more than I? Could my own knowledge of God be false?

“Are you sure that’s what he meant?”  I tried to decipher the truth in my head, but the more I tried, the more confused I felt. I couldn’t deny that Dragon’s words were real. He spoke what was written in the Holy Book. “Why would God sentence his own creatures to death? Doesn’t he love us?”

“Doeth he love thee…?” Dragon regurgitated my question, trapping me in confusion. “Hath he love for one like thee? In the Master’s eyes, thou art nothing more than a harlot, bringing heroes to thine doom as they try to save thee.”

I wanted to argue with him, but he crept closer to me. His monstrous size beside me stole my breath away and I couldn’t speak my rejection.

“So says the proverb: ‘Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death’! And where are we? We lie here, in the lair. Yet ssstill…” Dragon’s claw curled over my shoulder. “Sssee… sseesst thy own lussstroussss power…”

My mind grew vivid with the image of his massive power used against me, if I resisted him. “Hallow my crown… I’m offering thee now… Join me, little girl… thou can reignest over death… with me….”

Fear cocooned my heart with a sharp wave of dread. “But I have no power, if not with God! Your words cannot be truth. They will surely lead me to death! Then I will be condemned with the rest of the world to live in anguish.”

Dragon pulled his claw away and cocked his scaly crown. “O, how mistaken thou art! To thinkest I obey my Master at all times, to thinkest every human’s fate is death, to thinkest I do not my own will when Master’s gone…. what he knoweth not he cannot judge….” Dragon circled me, pressing his tail against my back. He wanted me to follow him.

“For in secret, a harlot thou canst be. A secret it will ssssstay…” His throat gave a loud purr as he tried to comfort me with his hollow words. “I shall present to thee my hoard of jewels. Come, little girl… Come with me.”


Suddenly, Dragon’s words seemed welcoming! In contrast to my current living, riches were far too enticing to ignore, and if he spoke truth… then I had nothing to fear.

Words from the Holy Book entered my head in reply to the question my heart asked. ‘Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord’ and also ‘Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.’

As I obediently followed Dragon into his hoard room, I sent a prayer to the all-knowing Lord God, if he could hear my thoughts. God, Father. If you are there, and if you care, then please send a knight to save me. Show me that you can hear me.

Before I even finished my prayer, a cool, blue butterfly fluttered by and found rest on a nearby stone. Dragon was too consumed by greed to notice its trail of glittery dust.

Beyond the glittery trail was a gentle wind that carried the dust. With some effort, it reached me and soothed my parched skin with gentle mist.

Then suddenly, Dragon snorted an angry, scorching breath. “Who’s there?!”

He searched for the change in the air, sensing the relief that I had been given. “I ssmell…innocence… and it’s not coming from thee, little girl.” Dragon’s golden eyes narrowed until he was leering, this way and that. “It’s from a creature… of the cryssstal fountain.”

I gasped when he saw the butterfly, delicate and harmless. I feared for the tiny creature that knew not the danger the cavern held.

He gazed at it for a long time until he spoke. “Her pure life is only momentary here.” With that said, he pushed me along once more, behind him.

I watched the sweet creature that had ministered to my weakness. The relief was only brief, and it left me wishing for salvation from the hell I was lost in.

Hoping to forget how sweet the kindness was so that I could withstand the pain, I focused on Dragon. “I was taught that God Almighty is omniscient and omnipotent. Wouldn’t he be angry that you do your own will?”

“Thy ears has witnessed the falsehood of ignorance, I’m afraid,” Dragon replied. “It is written, in the book of Job, that the sons of God presented themselves and one among them was asked by their Master, ‘Whence comest thou?’ The Master knew not where his servant had been.”

I carefully pulled myself onto Dragon’s tail, so I would not be left behind.

“Nor is the Master omnipotent, for so he saith unto this angel about his servant Job, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power!” He gaveth this angel power to rule over Job and great power, indeed it was…”

Columns of stone lined the pathway down to the gateway, where Dragon hoarded his untold treasure. As he brought me into his domain, gold illuminated all around! As far as the eyes could see, there were emeralds and crowns and goblets full of rubies!

I could not contain my surprise! I gasped when the glory of the room gave my eyes a grand twinkle. “Oh, Dragon! It’s beautiful. Are you really going to share it with me?  I’ll be a queen if I have a hoard this big!”

I let my thoughts stray from the peril that haunted me. The riches and the beauty, was it as tangible as it was dazzling? Or were my eyes playing tricks against my mind? I bent down to grasp a handful of riches, to feel the shimmering treasure for myself.

As I admired the coldness of the coins and jewelry between my fingers, I heard a voice just beyond the entrance.  It was a quiet voice, chanting foreign words to my ears.

“…Te effusus est enim Dominus spiritum soporis, et occlusit oculos vestros…”

I furrowed my brow, looking up at Dragon, silently, to see if he heard the voice, too.

But as I wondered, I realized. The man spoke, louder and louder, and the tone of his voice carried his strange words to the ears of Dragon.  He wanted to be heard!

The man continued, meaning to mesmerize the serpent. ”…igitur timete Dominum et vos draco. Deus refugium populo suo…”

Dragon must have understood the foreign tongue, for he roared despairingly at the ancient words. In defense, he spread his massive wings and blew furnace-hot fire from his widened nostrils.  Thankfully, I was shielded by his scaly, armored tail, but anyone else would die instantly from the pyro’s path of fire.

Through Dragon’s angry writhe, I struggled to stay on his tail. He thrashed it wildly and I fell, but as I did someone’s arms caught me. Immediately, I recognized the woman as Delyth, my dear friend, cloaked by a grey hood.  She protectively pulled me away from Dragon and urged me to flee.

In the twinkling of an eye, we ran together and Delyth spoke calmly. “Rejoice in the Lord for he has provided a way of escape. He says in his Word that with temptation, he also makes a way of escape, that we might be able to bear it.”

Her words were a fluent cure for my soul, combating the confusion Dragon inflicted. Still, my skin continued to burn as if I were standing in the flames of his angry breath.

“You saw your prayer butterfly didn’t you,” Delyth assumed, “that the Spirit sent to you, soothsaying the hope that would come. So I have found you, thanks be to God!”

I followed my friend as she led me along, but the pain of my burns put me in a foul mood. “I didn’t pray for a butterfly. I prayed for a knight to slay the dragon!” I was careful not to miss a step. I didn’t want to be left behind. “Who spoke in the strange tongue?”

“Rhys.” Delyth answered simply.

“Rhys…!” He was a friend, but not the knight I had prayed for! “That’s not fair! He’s your knight, not mine!”

Abruptly, my own harshness hit me and I softened with concern. I could hear Dragon ferociously fighting behind us and I tried to look back  but Delyth didn’t let me.

“This way! A thoroughfare.” We ducked into a crevice between the walls, jagged and steep. “Don’t lose your footing.”

As we left the danger behind us and fled into the dark cavern, I expected the dampness to feel good. The stone walls were cold against my skin, but for some reason, the heat of Dragon’s breath still hugged my arms and flushed my face. It was as if Dragon were still with me, looming over and waiting for me to fail. I couldn’t escape him, even when he drew further and further away.

Our path quickly grew tighter. It felt like the darkness was going to crush us. The coarseness scraped against my skin, burning my body. Finally, the sound of rushing water could be heard but no light was to be seen. Delyth came to an abrupt halt, and I gently bumped into her. Wet air sprayed my face and I gasped.  Cool mist!

“An underground river!” Delyth commented. I could barely hear her as she spoke over the thunderous river. “We’ll never be able to cross in the dark. We need a light.”

I grabbed Delyth’s arm for security and stepped inside the chamber to stand next to her. There was nothing except blackness against my eyes. “But there is no light! Do you have something?”

Delyth didn’t answer before I felt someone touch my shoulder.

“Are you ok?” Rhys’ voice was quiet, but he was close.

“Rhys!” I felt Delyth’s cloak against me when she embraced Rhys.

“We need a light to cross the river…” I despaired. “We have no torch.”

The darkness around us was growing too much for me to bear, so I closed my eyes to feel natural. I tried to focus on the sounds around me.

“Is the dragon sleeping?” Delyth asked.

“Yes, but it won’t be long.” Rhys spoke. “We need to get as far away as we can, before he wakes up.”

I gave a frustrated sigh, because I felt ignored. I was in a sour mood again, but then he addressed my concern. “Do you have a fire bomb with you?”

“Yes,” Delyth answered him. “But only one and I can’t see.  There will be no use for it in the river. First, we should formulate a plan on how to cross. Then we shall light the surroundings and proceed.”

Suddenly I had an idea! “We don’t need a fire bomb!” Freeze bombs, powerful creations of science, could easily help our plight. “We can freeze the top layer of water on the river!”

There was a pause, and I wondered if my friends had heard me. But just as I opened my eyes, a small glow appeared from someone’s travel pouch. I watched in awe as a small, corked flask, filled with liquid and icy fog, was revealed from the bag. I let my gaze rest on this liquid-crystal, glowing with a soft, blue hue.  It was all that could be seen, but the fact that my eyes could focus on it gave my soul comfort.

“I have a freeze bomb.” Rhys said.  “Will it work?  The waters sound rapid.”

“I don’t know…” Delyth was apprehensive. “The top layer might freeze, but then what? Do we jump on the portion of ice and go downstream?”

My joy crumbled as Delyth discouraged my idea, but Rhys ministered to me with his reply.

“In the Holy Book, Israelites crossed the Red Sea to escape the Egyptians. And again, they crossed the Jordan to reach their promised land. Let us now have faith and see the wonders of the God who divides watercourses, for the overflowing of waters; the God who fathers the rain and who begets the drops of dew.” I watched as the blue flask was held out over the sounds of rushing waters. I held my breath, afraid of the risk that Rhys was willing to take.

“I believe!” Delyth announced. “Act quickly, before my doubt oversets.”

Another pause in the darkness before Rhys started chanting over the loud river’s roar.

“Qui matres glacies? Creante factus est quasi lapisin aqua gel de caelo, et superficies abyssi constringitur.  Laudate Dominum omnes profundo pelagi liberavit: Ignis, grando, nix, glacies, et spiritus laudate Dominum!”

With an exclamation, Rhys dropped the icy flask into the rushing water. I watched as the glowing blue was carried away with the rapids. Our only light disappeared. Our hope had been lost! Nothing happened!

A verse came to mind, one my parents always spoke of. It spoke quietly to my spirit, telling me to believe.  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 

Suddenly, as quickly as the rapids had washed our hope away, a cool blast breezed past us, followed by complete silence!  I could feel the chills against my burning skin and I could feel a frosty breath escape my lips. Shimmering ice forms burst from the river and raced through the water that blocked our passage, freezing all that it touched. I could see it, even though it was dark, the glittering ice climbing past the water and creeping along the ground, stopping at the tips of our shoes.

Delyth made a sound from the thrill, grabbing my hand in the dark. “I hear no rushing river..? It can’t all be ice…? Do I use the fire bomb to light our path?”

Without warning!  A low, rumbling horn sounded.  Four torches were approaching, and shadowy faces could be seen from the encircling light. They were Dragon’s guards!

Fear griped my heart again. The room was icy and yet the burning of my skin felt like fire. Dragon knew exactly where I was.

I grabbed Delyth’s arm and spoke quietly to her. “The fire bomb will draw their attention! We have no time. We must cross now!”

“Go.” Rhys spoke courageously. Now that the roaring of the river had turned to silence, I could hear him unsheathe a sword.  “I will gain a torch for our advantage, but it will not do well for all three of us to stay behind and fight. Cross the river and find safety in the shadows.”

The fear was still strong inside me, so I tugged on Delyth’s arm.  “Please, come with me. I don’t want to be alone again.”

Delyth moved in front of me, gently setting my hands on her back. “Keep up, but don’t hold on. If I fall, I do not want you to go with me. Take careful steps…” As we slowly crossed the ice, I could feel water rising against our shoes. The river was beginning to flow again.

Delyth called my name. “Krymscona! Stay with me! Quickly.” Like magic, the river had formed an ice wall for crossing. Once on the other side, we could outrace the guards by finding a pathway uphill. I was worried for Rhys, and I knew Delyth was afraid as well, but neither of us looked back. There was no time.

Once safe, we found ourselves in a corridor, dimly lit by a wall torch. Shadows lurked in the corners. They formed horrific faces from the pointy stalactites hanging high above.

“Are you all right?”  Delyth asked me.

“Delyth, I’m scared…” I said. I held her sleeve tightly, so I wouldn’t be lost in the shadows.  The chattering voices above us made me jump, and I tried desperately to think of something else.  “Why does Rhys speak foreign words?” My heart questioned aloud.  “Must we all speak such a language when we speak to God?”

The chatters loudened as the creatures from above grew more active, threatening us with their taunts in the blackness.

Delyth defended God against my doubts. “Krymscona, the Lord has no partiality to our lingual skill. His Word tells us-“ The loud beasts suddenly loomed in front of the torch and revealed themselves! A bat swarm! She embraced me tightly and held me as the swarm flapped chaotically around us.

That didn’t stop her from citing the verses from the Holy Book. “’Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am as sounding brass!’ Or chattering bats, for that matter!” I could hardly hear her, even though she cried out to herd away the swarm. “’And though I have a gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing! …”

Silence rushed into the corridor. In a split second, the bats vanished. A fiery glow illuminated the darkness as a man approached us with a torch. Delyth sprung to greet who she thought it was, but it was not Rhys.  This knight was tall and mighty. His armor was gold, like the untold treasure from the chambers of Dragon.

“Behold! Ye enchantresses, I have come to spare thine souls.” He bowed. “Come hither, with me down this corridor, and I shall bring you to thine safe passage.”

I couldn’t contain my surprise! I gasped at the armor that shone with the same magnificence as Dragon’s hoard. Oh, to reach out and touch it, to see if it was as tangible as it was beautiful… but I didn’t dare do so, since it would be seen as improper.

He was the answer to my prayer! Though I knew Delyth was wary of strangers, so I expected a harsh welcome from her.

No welcome came, however, for death itself interrupted our greeting, in the form of bedeviled skulls appearing from nowhere to dance around us, horribly.  They were lit by evil-spirited green flames, and from the looks of it, they didn’t seem happy with us for intruding on doom’s peace. I let out a small shriek as the skulls smiled a toothy smile and cackled at my tormenting thoughts. “Please don’t let them overcome me!”

The golden knight flashed his sword, defending Delyth and me from the skulls. His blade ripped through the air and sent one flying.

“These poes feast on terror! Thy fear shall be the main course. Nevertheless! Girdest thineselves with power, like my example.”

Delyth unsheathed her own dagger, but it seemed useless against bone and fire. “’There is no fear in love,’” Delyth defended me against the evil with a chant like Rhys’ yet in our own language. “’Perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment.’”

Soon the bedevilment faded as the skulls danced on.

Delyth looked the knight in the eye. “I do not know where you’re from. Tell me. Do you come in the name of the Lord?”

“I come in service to thee,” he replied and took my hand. I was infatuated at once by his heroism and kindness. “Milady, I heard a word that thou were in great peril.”

“These halls can only bring ill will.” Delyth replied.

“Thou call me a traitor?”

“No, I call you a stranger, whom arrived from the shadows.  One must be an ally before he can be a traitor, and an ally you have never been.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me along.

“But Delyth.” I wanted her to listen to me. “He fought the bedeviled skulls to protect us!” Looking back at my knight in shining armor, I thought about pulling away.  But… I feared being lost in darkness between them, and so I continued to cling to the one that I knew. “You cannot say he has not been an ally. He helped us!”

Delyth turned to look at the gold knight once again.

“Tell me something I want to hear.”

The knight’s mouth curled into a coy smile.  “There art a burning question in thy heart… How do thou knowest when one is a sinner and when one is a saint?”

“For what purpose have you revealed my thoughts?” Delyth tested.

“Thy own heart hast answered thee, my dear. It says, ‘Perhaps there is no sinner. Perhaps there is no saint.’ Perhaps…”

“Speak out,” Delyth urged, “so I can hear you.”

“Perhaps there is no …Word of God because there simply is no God.”

The shadows gathered like curtains around the torch and it blackened. Whiffs of smoke filled my nose as silence lingered.

While silence lingered with the darkness, I caught a glimpse of a prayer butterfly, not too far away, glowing in the dark. It fluttered and floated deeper into the shadows. Before I could react, the knight re-lit his torch and the fire returned.

He broke the silence with an invitation. “Let us journey ahead together! No sinner, no saint alike.”

To my surprise, Delyth let the knight lead without arguing. It was my own thoughts that made it hard to follow his path.

The sight of the blue butterfly reminded me of the relief I had felt. I yearned for that relief once again. I wished to follow the tiny winged creature down a different path, even as I stayed close to Delyth, because it was the right thing to do…

But then, I decided otherwise. I stopped and held onto Delyth’s sleeve tightly so she would stop, too.

“I want to go that way instead. Please, let us go that way.”

“Over yonder is a crooked path. Alas! It leads nowhere more than to a thorn patch.”

Delyth caught sight of the butterfly I saw, and begin to stray with me away from the knight and his torch.

“Those butterflies are meaningless! Come down my own path with me.”

I felt Dragon’s confusion again! Should I follow my knight, who God had sent to answer my prayer? The knight was sent to me! By God! But when I thought of the butterfly, I remembered the kindness it had brought me, while I was imprisoned. It cared for my well-being when I was not worth caring for. Why would my knight tell me it’s meaningless?

As I pondered, the voice of the Dragon echoed in my mind, and I recalled what he had spoken. I ssmell… innocence… from a creature… of the cryssstal fountain. Her pure life is only momentary here…

    Then, the Scripture came to me once again, from The Holy Book, the one my mother had read to me, followed by a calm breath of peace that overwhelmed me.

    ….Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… Through faith we understand… things which are seen are not made of things which do appear…

I grew joyful as truth started to dawn in my mind. I began to see God through the faith that was sprouting within me. Evil had no power over me as long as my spirit was freed with new hope; not a hope bound by laws of this world.

At that, I released my hold on Delyth and took my own step towards the butterfly’s unseen path. “Delyth! The prayer butterfly is our symbol of faith!”

“A hope for things unseen…” She repeated my thoughts as if she could read my mind. Delyth stepped onto the butterfly trail, too.

“If ye not take heed my warning,” the gold knight warned, “condemnest me not. I warn you another time! Let not thine blind faith takest thee to thine doom.”

Delyth glanced over her shoulder at the gold knight. Then she turned to confront him.

“Our Savior God has said to us, ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.’”

The knight retorted. “Thou worship thy… ‘symbols of faith’ over my wise counsel? Oh! What treacherous fools!”

“Don’t say you’re wise and yet deny the truth!” Delyth argued. “For ‘the fool hath said in his heart…. There is no God.’”

The gold knight bent down and spoke directly to me. “Believe not in what everyone has told thee. Thy parents know not all things, my girl. Choose they own way. Come with me, where it is safe.”

“But I see now.” I spoke for myself. “My parents may not know all, but they are wise, and they know many things. They have told me of my knight, who is God’s Son. He has already defeated the great serpent that causes grief to my soul.” With the confidence of my choice, the burning of my skin weakened. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was no longer a looming threat that I had to fear. With my God, I knew that Dragon’s flames were nothing to be afraid of.

“But sir. Please come with us. You mustn’t stay here. It’s too dangerous.”

He stood up and distanced himself. “I do not accept thy… faith.” He waved his torch a few times before heading down the path he chose. “What a shame. I can’t travel with such an enchantress as thee! I do hope thou survive! If thou had a stick, I’d share my torch, but nay, it is not so. Maybe thy path of dreams will leadest thee to one!” He laughed, disappearing down the corridor.

Delyth wasted no time. “In this world, there is much doubt. We must seek our symbol of faith, Krymscona. It is our only hope now.” She took my hand and started down the obscure way.

Darkness again. It stung my eyes, but this time a stillness not known before was with us. I thanked God for leading the knight to us, even though he tried to lead us astray. Without him, I would not have found my confidence in you, my God! My prayer brought more butterflies, as several joined us, encouragingly.

Soon we saw a gleaming pool with a gentle hue. The water was deep and when I gazed upon it, I could see light shining from underneath the water, revealing an exit to Dragon’s lair. Peace beckoned me to reflect on all that had happened to me since I had been caught by Dragon. I realized my follies: my selfish complaining when my friends came to my rescue, and my greed when seeing the treasure of Dragon’s hoard.

My thoughts raced through my mind. I silently asked God to forgive all that I was guilty of. I also sent a prayer for Rhys, who had stayed behind with the strength of a true knight, protecting us from the guards. As I prayed to meet him again, a butterfly landed on my arm and daintily waved its wings at me. Once I was comforted, it fluttered to another perch on the other side of the pool.

Delyth warmly reached out and pulled me into a hug. She held me for a long time in the peaceful silence and I could see her dark hair glowing brilliantly.

“God has saved us.” She whispered. “He is our Lord and he has provided us our way of escape.”

She pulled away from our hug to look contemplatively at my face, making sure I was well.

“Surely, God loves us. We know that there is no darkness in him, and at last, we have seen his light. We must go down under the water and swim towards the light. You first. Don’t be scared.”

She gently guided me to the pool’s edge. “See…? How calm the water is. Don’t think about how long you’ve been under, Krymscona. God will save you. Recite the Lord’s prayer like your parents have taught you to do.”

I was surprised Delyth wanted me to go first! She always led the way! She was my mentor, my friend, my elder and smarter than I.

The rushing water of the river before had been something to be afraid of, but the water of this pool gave my spirit peace of mind. I reached out and touched the water, testing the temperature. It was cool to the touch. I dipped my arms in to gain a bearing before entering the water.

The burning on my arms seemed to subside. It left only a trace of pain.

“I shall see you on the other side, then.” I reassured Delyth before taking one deep breath, two, and then another before gaining the courage to enter the water in a dive.

Immediately, the water began to soothe the burning, fiery sensation against my body, just as it had done for my arms. While the water cooled me, I obeyed Delyth by reciting the Lord’s prayer.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, and thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house Lord for ever.

As my mind  rested on the final words of the prayer, I felt myself break the surface of the fountain outside. Oh blessed day! The fresh air was a heaven to my renewed body. It felt like ages since I had been free of Dragon’s fiery chains of bondage, and now I felt the absolute freedom grace gave me. Butterflies flitted around the pool, lighting my shimmering wet hair like sapphire. They were little angels celebrating my arrival, and their prayer dust, mixed with gentle falling raindrops, made the air around me sparkle with magic.

As I searched my new surroundings for Delyth, I saw my dear friend had already surfaced. Rhys was waiting for us at the bank of the fountain. He quickly helped us out of the water. I gave them both a cheerful hug, happy to be with them in the safety of God’s blessed love.