Wide was the landscape, a beautiful coloured plateau surrounded by the harsh dark grey of ruthless summits, that reached for the clouds and sang with the wind. It was my landscape, a place I once built for a story, a place, where I was sure no one could come close to us, without being noticed. “Breath taking”, my muse whispered as she looked around and pride flushed through my veins. Her golden hair danced with the wind and she smiled: “She will not find us here.” Then she turned around and looked rather sincere. “I will try to explain to you, what happened. You see, not that long ago, I made myself independent. Well, at least I tried. I am officially a freelancer now. A freelancing muse.”
“That is rare, I guess?”
“Oh yeah, that is really rare. Especially for someone like me. It is allowed, but not welcome. That’s why there are so many stupid rules! Apollon does not want us to work independently.”
Apollon. An almost frightening idea came to my mind.
“Officially, there is no problem, but in reality, they try to make my work unbearably complicated. I needed an apprentice, you see, and I chose you. They want to check on your improvement, but they actually want you to fail, so I get in trouble again.”
Breathing got suddenly more difficult. Apollon wants me to fail? “There is a rule, that my apprentice needs to find a client to work her magic on. But we would have had two months till then. So, I got tricked to look away and you got tricked to choose an impossible client. Oh, such trickery! I can’t believe I fell for it!”
I had an important question: “Why is Ronin an impossible client?”
“The pale knight”, she corrected me. “He got trapped in the maze of the lost hearts a long time ago. There were always muses, who tried to help him, but they all failed. There is something dangerous about him. I never looked into it myself – a mistake, as I see now – but I heard stories about him. It seems that Muses, who come too close to him, fall in love. But strangely enough, not in a good way. I once talked to a muse, who had this problem. She described it as an empty love. It was too strong for her and she told me, that the feelings didn’t feel like her own. Although we tried to help her, she completely lost her magic and she couldn’t work anymore as a muse. And she was not the only one.”
I was frightened. “So, this is what will happen to me?”, I asked. “I will lose my magic?”
“If we can’t find a way out…” Her voice was not reassuring.
“That would mean, that I will never be a muse.” At least I wouldn’t be dead or something.
But the look on my muses face got me horrified. “It is a bit more serious than that, I am afraid. Without your magic, you can’t build places like this beautiful mountainside anymore. You would not be able to find the characters for your stories. You would not be able to find a good story at all.”
I gulped. “I will not be a writer anymore.” I shivered through those words.
“And worse than that. If you get caught in the dark again, you will be without your careful designed weaponry.”
“Perfect. Alone against depression without any sort of protection.” I felt tears rushing to my eyes. “Well, that really is dangerous.”
We went silent for a while. I thought of Ronins smile and the warm feeling he gave me. It was strong, so much was true, but still I couldn’t feel the danger – apart from inappropriate behaviour for a happily married muse of course. Inconvenient, to say the least.
“We have only this one option”, my muse said at last. “We have to solve this mystery!”
“The Mystery of the Pale Knight”, I whispered, suddenly intrigued.
“Tell me how you feel. Or how this love feels.”
I shrugged: “It is awkward and a bit painful, but I wouldn’t describe it as empty. Actually, I would describe it as a completely normal, but very heavy love. I don’t know, what to do with it. But I guess, if I were single, I wouldn’t wonder about it. I would get crushed by it, but I wouldn’t think: Oh, what an inexplicable experience!”
My muse gave me a good long stare. “That is good”, she said eventually. “I think, you might be just the right person, to deal with it. You love a good mystery, don’t you?”
“Oh, yes I do!”
“Well, this here is a really good one. What makes all the muses fall? What is the pale knights secret? And how can you get rid of this heavy feeling of love, before it crushes you?”
Well, this question needed solving! And quick! A musequest of the dangerous kind…