Peter was deep in thought. Since he saw Zachariah, his heart had been a mess. Initially he was afraid that people might see the connection between him and Zachariah, given the likeness of the appearance.
Fortunately it seemed that not many was able to see Zachariah's countenance from where they were standing. Perhaps they were too afraid and did not look straight into his face. However, he was sure that the Queen would have seen Zachariah very clearly, and would definitely make the connection straightaway.
What should he do? Should he leave now given that once the Queen had seen him, she would judge him and presumed that he was related to the darkness and evil that Zachariah represented.
But, Peter felt indignant with that thought. Given his conscience was crystal clear, why should Zachariah, this evil man that he had no inkling about, decide his fate?
He should be given an equal chance, like any man, to win the hand of a woman that he fancied. After all, he was the Black Knight. He had earned his reputation with his gallantry and heroic deeds. In his heart, he wanted to be given an opportunity with the Queen to explain himself, to stay in the competition, to be given a chance at love.
He was not a bit disturbed by the newfound discovery about Queen Mia. Now the world had learnt that the Queen had supernatural powers and could light up in flames. But, Queen Mia had always been extraordinary. She had led a country and she was the most beautiful woman he had never seen. There was nothing that was ordinary about her.
He wanted to speak to the Queen in person, and that desire burnt strong.
He sneaked out of his room, and flew past the hallway, up the stairs, to the tower in the East. He knew that was where the Queen resided. He knew he was quiet and stealthy. He was called the Black Knight for a good reason.
He was already sitting outside the window of the Queen's bedroom before he knew it. In fact he had been sitting there for fifteen minutes, because he did not know what to do. He was concerned if he just barged in, the Queen would be alarmed and he would lose all his chances of winning her heart. Her Guards would not realise his presence as he was literally like a shadow in the darkness. He could easily stay here the whole night without being found out.
The Queen's bedroom was still lit up though it was late. Perhaps she could not sleep too. Perhaps she was wondering how her suitors would run away now that they knew about her secret. Perhaps she was too good to be worried about this matter.
Suddenly, the windows were opened and a voice said, "How long would you like to stay at my window? Come in."
Peter's heart sank. It could not believe he had been found out. He slowly crept towards the window, and with his head bowed down, he entered the room through the window.
"Who are you?" The voice asked. Peter could recognise it now. It was the Queen's.
Cursing under his breath, he recomposed himself. First he knelt down, on one knee, and said, "My apologies, I did not mean to intrude."
"Well, you intruded. The songbird that lives in the tree outside my window, told me that you have been outside for some time. I was waiting for you to leave, if you meant no harm, but you did not leave. I reckoned you did not mean harm either if not you already had ample time to act. Tell me, why are you here and what do you want?"
With his head still bowed so his face was not in full view to the Queen, Peter said, "My Queen, I only plead to seek an audience with you, to explain myself. I am Peter Black, one of the suitors here in the castle. I mean no harm, I am most sorry for my intrusion."
"You have an audience now. Tell me, what is it that you want." Mia's voice sounded strained and cold.
"I want a chance to explain," Peter paused. "To explain why I bear resemblance to the Lord of Zapareth, whom I only saw the first time myself three days ago." With that, Peter lifted his head.
He saw the Queen standing in front of him, in her sleeping gown. She was exquisitely beautiful. Though her gown was a pale pink and very plain, she looked delicate and soft, like a Dahlia in full bloom.
Her face was stern then it slowly softened.
"I was alarmed that I bore semblance to the evil man. But I did not know why. I did not know him, though I cannot lie that I think our semblance is so strong, we are possibly related." Peter shook his head.
"I haven't had a chance to meet with you and I was afraid, that once you saw me, I would stand no chance, not even a chance to explain."
"That isn't a good reason to be sneaking around my window," Queen Mia said.
"I know, I am sorry, My Queen." Peter Black said dejectedly, knowing that he had probably made his predicament worse.
"Now go. Anyway you might want to know, the softness in your eyes is a far cry from the coldness in Zachariah's. I will never judge anyone, just because, you look like someone. Now go. Go the way you come from."
Peter scrambled to his feet, and crept out of the window swiftly, disappearing into the darkness. He even closed the windows behind him.
He sighed in relief. The darkness beckoned him. He climbed up a tree, swung to another tree branch, skipped and then jumped to another. The cool breeze kissed his cheeks and he was very glad.
For that instant, he knew he had fallen in love.