Chapter Twenty-two: “Ceolum”
Isa and Alene walked side by side. They did not speak. The land around them lay dotted with beautiful flowers and soft green grass waved around them.
“This land is beautiful, is it not?”
Alene nodded. “It is very lovely.”
Again, they walked in silence. Isa broke the silence again. “I know you want to ask me something, little one. Go ahead and ask.”
“Oh…” The girl rubbed the back of her head. Was her curiosity that obvious? “Well, it is really nothing. I am just curious.”
“There is nothing wrong with curiosity. Ask what you want to.”
Alene nodded. “Well, I was wondering, why did you go into the prison and why did they let us out?”
“I was the reason you were all freed.” He smiled “I told Dolum that I would give myself up to him, if he would free everyone he held prisoner. That included you.”
“Why would you do that?”
Isa stopped and sat down on a stone, underneath a fig tree. “There is one reason. I care about everyone. My father and I love everyone and we do not want anyone to be imprisoned by him. That is why I did it.”
“But why am I the one you decided to travel with?”
“Well,” the man sighed, “I can save everyone, but I will not force them to follow me. Many of those people do not care for me or my father, but I still care about them. I will not force them to follow me. You wanted to follow me, so that’s why I came to you.”
“Good.” He patted her head. “Now, we must keep going. It is 39 more days until we reach Ceolum.”
Alene giggled. “Yeah!”
For days, they walked and walked. Isa would help the little girl along. Everywhere they went, they met people who knew Isa. They wanted to hear his stories and the words that came from the king.
Alene learned much from listening to him, and it made their trip fun. She learned more about Isa and King Ansaldo every day.
One morning, Alene trailed behind Isa, yawning and rubbing her eyes. “Isa… I’m tired.”
“I know we woke up early this morning, but we are almost there.”
This perked the girl up. “Really? How close?”
Isa smiled and did not answer. Up a hill they went, and the young man stopped at the crest. “Look.”
“Whoa!” Alene gasped. In front of her stood a city of white stone with a wall of beautiful gems.
“Alene, welcome to Ceolum!”
[Next Chapter: Alene and Isa reach Ceolum, and the girl finds herself surrounded by old friends.]