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The King lands, in a flash of velvet green, on the stem of the climbing flowers outside the gate. He shakes, a fluttering heartbeat, a vibrating emerald on a ruby onyx backdrop. He is alone in this waxy twilight, periwinkle sky, a sea that smells like papaya juice.
He hops a stem, talons that curl into an unbreakable clutch. Inside his eyes is fire, hot and smoky, blackened orbs that sift through the shapes. And so they rise, those yellow orbs, their darting patterns flash throughout the dark. The King stays motionless, his feathers idle, and still, there is nothing but his fluttering heartbeat.
They come, the orbs, slowly at first, a cautious flight that loops through dense humidity. The King is patient; he knows the game of the fire-dancers.
They blink at him, a playful tease, wings beating in quiet hum. They dare to come, come closer. Periwinkle melts to navy, and yet, he still won’t move, and there is only that fluttering heartbeat. He waits till they surround him, a buzzing curtain of blinking stars, and still the tension builds. His muscles clench; the time has come. The King has found the match.
A rustled leaf, a flash of green, the twilight turns to dusk. The King has vanished, not a trace. One of the orbs goes out.



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