This is an exclusive extract from my dream novel "INSIDE THE DEEP OCEANS". I sincerely welcome your comments and feedback as they are my tonic of motivation.

Sander walked through the arch way into the long garden corridor, feasting his eyes on the lovely scenery around him. The sea periwinkle entwined itself in its graceful way along the arch spilling its flowers like pink stars. The willow weed along the pavement was cleverly pruned making beautiful rippling effects throughout the path way. Beyond them was the aqualine rose in its exotic red that draped the whole surrounding like red velvet carpet. “Well well, Oceania has her style. “Sander muttered to himself as he marched forward into the wide hallway that followed the trail of the corridor.

It was a big hall with chandeliers hung along the length that was actually illuminated by dozens of medusa when required. In the middle was a fountain with the cupid angels looking at him with vague amusement and smiling about some long forgotten joke. The fountain poured its turquoise water from the base of the marble where the angels stood and it fell gracefully like a ballet gown into the circular marble pool. But the most exquisite thing about the fountain is that the angels actually sing out a cupid whenever they feel like singing. He was always suspicious that this was one of the handy works of Merlinia as she was the only person in merland who dares to imagine this way and has enough guts to replace the life size statue of Poseidon with the fountain. He reached the grand staircase straight ahead of the fountain, which looked rich and magnificent with its deep red carpet and sea tree handles. Astron , one of the four guards of the Queen greeted him on the way. "What's up, Sander?" He asked grinning wide, "Looking for your smart mouth princess?"

"No, am rather looking for the mother of that smart mouth", Sander said with a smile. Is she there?

"You bet. The Queen is in her study. She finished her ground parade just ten minutes back", said Astron.

You better run along our "Charming groom"! Or she will start of again for her courtroom service.

"Oh right", said Sander. "I will catch her. Good time Astron".

"Good luck charming groom".

Sander raced up the stairs thinking about his nick name; Charming groom indeed. He was called that for years as everybody knew like the back of their gill that sander was their next king-to –be.

He came up, halted himself in front of the wide paneled,elegantly carved Greek wood door with solid gold handle. Even before he could knock, a voice called out.

"Do come in Sander", Oceania said with her honeysweet voice that can melt steel. But the graceful authority in it always amazed him. Merlinia had inherited that beautiful gift, and he was pleased.

"I pay my respects Oceania", said Sander, with a bow of his head.

"Ah... Cut it out my son. Am in leisure", said Oceania with a smile.

Sander took a seat opposite to her and seated himself comfortably in the high back swan cushion chair.

Oceania examined her future son-in-law with pure pleasure and admiration. He was in the peak of his youth with all vigour and virility. He was lean but well built. His arms and shoulders were well muscled and toned. He was the youngest General-in-command and trained sincerely ever since he took that position, and the results were showing in his glimmering skin; His hair was shining in lustrous black, His face was all angles with high cheek bone and a perfectly chiseled aristocratic nose. His dark brows were finely arched and set finely above those beautiful, intense golden brown eyes; his lips were lovely pink and thin which always bore an amused half smile that can make any sane woman in the world go insane. She smiled in approval. Lovely young man for my Merlinia, she thought for a thousandth time.

"Have I passed Lady Judith?" he asked Oceania referring her by birth name, his half smile becoming full.

"With flying colors" said Judith smiling. "What is it that brings my lovely young man to my study room?"

"Ah that", said Sander smiling and stretching out. He was always comfortable with his future mother-in –law though she was the Queen and after a considerable time he said - "Am thinking of asking out".

Judith smiled at that statement and raised her beautiful auburn brow. "Come to senses at last?"

"Been running in my mind for quite some time and I thought it's the right time ", he said.

"High time I will say", said Judith. "Have you got the engagement ring?", She asked.

Sander fiddled for a moment with his pant pocket and brought out a blue velvet box. He opened it carefully and turned it towards Judith. Her eyes widened in wonder as she saw the pretty thing sitting in the case and her eyes misted with unshed tears. "My God!", she said her voice so beautifully raw with emotion. "You love her so much!!!"

Sander saw the emotions play in her lovely face and smiled. "Ouch! And here I thought that's my best kept secret".

Judith smiled. "When are you asking her Sander?"

"Tomorrow, Lady Judith! Ask her to meet me in the ocean stir walk please", Sander said.

"You are asking the Queen to act as your messenger young man", she said in a haughty tone.

Sander grinned. "Am making as many best impressions as possible".

"You can make an even better impression by asking her personally", Judith countered.

"Ah! That is difficult now, Lady Judith. We are having that foolish-to-the-core fights again".

"Again?", Judith asked.

"Again", Sander grinned.

"What is it this time??? Tulip arcades???"

Sander looked sheepish. "No its sticky pink candy".

Judith snorted. "Of all the things in merland you go for sticky pink candy?"

Sander started laughing and moved towards the door, he caught the handle and half through he said "where in the world did you get a girl like her? One moment she makes me think like I have everything in this world and the other she makes me fight for a butter pink candy. Good day Queen", he said and closed the door behind him.

Judith sat there for a long time her thoughts beyond herself. "Where in the world did you get a girl like her?" the question haunted her rushing all the memories of the buried past and slowly, trembling she walked towards her treasure chest opened it and placed her hands on the treasure inside. It felt warm on her skin and she stood there holding it for what seemed to be hours… She shook herself , made herself steady and closed her treasure chest with a crushing sound trying to shut away all the memories. Where in the world did you get a girl like her?", the Question kept coming back to her and she would never ever answer that. No . It will go to the grave with me. She told herself.
Funny! Said a voice inside her. You cannot keep Merlinia in the dark for long. She has all the rights to know about it. Her mind and heart fought battles and she did not take any side. She lifted her head and walked with the grace of an Oceania and allowed the past to sleep behind the treasure chest forever.