I touched the surface of the water gently with the edge of my toe, testing the temperature and feel of it. Where my the tip of my toe grazed the surface, little waves of water rippled across the edge of the pool. The steam hanging in the air around me was highly misleading. I stepped into the room thinking that the water would be hot or at least very warm, but it was rather cool. Not too cold like the ocean but cool enough to invite a slight chill. I looked around to make sure no one was watching and submerged my foot in the water. As soon as I did I felt a tingling and then couldn’t feel my foot. My initial thought would have been to panic but this was different. It was like every muscle in my foot had relaxed. I moved further into the water submerging my body up to my neck and let out a gentle sigh. This was nicer than I anticipated.
I brought my arms out of the water and untied my hair. The thick brown mass fell past my ears and landed on the surface of the water softly. I could feel the coolness even on the farthest tips of my hair. It was soothing and seemed to pull me in. The feeling began to climb until it reached my scalp. A smile formed on my lips and before I knew it I had dropped beneath the surface letting my face feel the the water’s wonders. It was like magic. I felt like I was lying in a cloud. Serene and weightless while gravity and stress racked the bodies of those outside of the palace. Was this what rich people experienced everyday? Then I heard them. The whispers.
Like soft, thin threads weaving their way through my ears. I couldn’t make out what the words were but they seemed rather peaceful. As I listened beneath the water I couldn’t bring myself to believe that these whispers were made by human voices. Something was different. They were less threatening, less concealing. Like they were revealing all they had by not saying a single word clear enough for me to understand. I opened my eyes underneath the water and looked around. Rays of moonlight filtered through the surface, illuminating the depths of the pool. I stared at one ray and noticed it was moving. I blinked a few times thinking it was a hallucination but the movement was still there. The light was twisting, bending, and swirling as if something was...dancing inside it. Around it the water moved in compliance and I slowly became entranced.
Then my breathing stopped. My eyes widened and immediately I burst through the surface of the water taking in a giant lungful of air. I floated up to my neck trying to catch my breath. Behind me someone called out my name. I turned around alarmed and saw one of the palace guards standing there with a smirk on his face. Instinctively, I brought my arms up to my chest.
“I know the water feels good but you’d better remember to breathe,” he said.
“What are you doing in here?!” I exclaimed.
“I’m a guard,” he said like it should be obvious, “Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“I know you’re a guard, “ I sneered, “but last time I checked this was the women’s bath.”
“Then you must not have checked at all,” he laughed, “This bath belongs to the moon. The only reason it is cleared out is because the princess wanted to make your visit special.”
“The moon?” I asked, “And you mean that both men and…”
“Yes,” he said cutting me off, “The moon welcomes all to bathe in her waters. Man or woman you are nothing more than a person.”
“You keep saying the moon like it’s a person,” I said, “It’s just a rock in the sky.”
“You’ll learn that she is more than just what you’re people think she is,” he said, “Surely you saw something when you almost drowned yourself?”
I just stared at him unable to answer the question. I did see something and I had been set on leaving, telling myself it was just my mind in awe of the palace. Now I wasn’t so sure.
“Well while you think about that,” he said, “I actually came in here to tell you the princess has requested you join her in her room.”
“For?” I asked.
“Sorry she wouldn’t tell me,” he said, “but it must be something special.”
“What makes you say that?” I asked.
“I know the princess,” he said with a smirk.
On that note he left me sitting there in the pool wondering on whether or not to be scared or pleased.