Then came the evening.
The wind ceased at sunset.
The familiar streets gained a sort of twilight mystery, while your soul felt an easy anxiety, as the heart was visited by sweet pain that accompanies the first act of falling in love, when you don’t know what will be the upshot of it all.
Please postpone your engagements, dear reader. I suggest you recollect how it happens. In the story called «The Queen of the Night», you will fall in love with a young astrologer and will save an enchanted maiden soul from immortality.
I’ll take you along the invisible boundary between worlds and you’ll see which of them the heroine of the second story would choose.
Next, you manage to penetrate into the castle of an old witch; before your very eyes, Lorinde, wearing a live cloak, will fly from trembling birds…, ah, why I’m I telling you the story – pour yourself a cup of tea, light up the old family table lamp – what have you got? A green glass or with lacy old shade, and may be you have such with a lamp in the form of a candle fame and crystal icy suspensions? Sit comfortably on the chair, open the book and enjoy the vague mist of my stories.
To provide a place where the Queen’s potential suitors could stay, a huge hotel complex spanning almost the entire Kingdom had to be built.
The Kingdom itself was very small and there wasn’t much money in the treasury. Thus, the hotel had to be built with individual contributions instead of public money. The wealthy could invest their thalers into the construction, hoping to receive future dividends. Many were willing to contribute as everyone wanted to benefit in one way or another from shares of the hotel, which was tentatively called «The Queen of the Night Shelter», Queen of the Night being a brand of the Kingdom.
The Queen was the most beautiful queen in the whole world. She was only shown to her potential suitors for two hours a day – from midnight to two o’clock. Except for the only maid in the house, nobody would see her again until the next midnight.
No one else was allowed in the Queen’s chambers, but all day, the maid scurried through the palace, coming and going with viands. She prepared dresses for the Queen, sniffed and scrutinized everything. Every conversation with the Queen was in written form, maintained by the same old woman, the Queen’s servant. Such had been the arrangement since time immemorial.
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