“Now I’m not a very superstitious person but, this is too much to ignore!”
“The Gods can’t be happy with us, dear.” The queen shook her head and reached between their thrones to pat his hand.
“A parade of black cats, walking under the ladders where the painters were touching up the ceiling, is bad enough. They crossed the entire hallway, tails straight up, as they threaded their way under the ladders.”
“I understand three of the mirrors in the great hall broke today, and the entire salt bowl spilled at the festival dinner.”
“Your majesties, the royal princes are gone.” The head guard stopped to the right of the king as he he spoke.
The queen's face crumpled, and she whispered, "No, no, look for them, please they can't be gone."
"The twins have hidden before. Have you searched?" The king's hand thumped down on the arm of his throne.
"Every spot we've ever found them in before is empty. A guard posted in each to wait for them to appear. They aren't in the castle, and they aren't in the gardens. We are spreading the search to the village now." The guard sounded like his world was ending.
The queen turned white and ran from the throne room.
"Follow her," the king barked. "I can't lose her too."
The queen ran, as fleet as the lithe cheetah on the royal crest. Out through the kitchen and into the herb garden, she never slowed. The guard turned the corner in time to see her kneel at the foot of the Oak of Life.
The King went right by him hurling himself after his wife. Too late. She shimmered and disappeared. The echoes of delighted laughter descending from the trees branches, sent shivers through him.
What did the Gods want? He would give anything to have his family in his arms again.