She'd agreed to meet with him at midnight, perhaps to amuse herself a bit. Venus had certainly been amused when she'd heard, laughing gaily and begging to watch, secluded in the shadows. Of course, the Princess Mercury had declined. Of course, the blonde minx was probably out there somewhere. Most likely with company of her own.
Mercury exited the grand palace with silent steps. She dared not break the sanctity of the silence or disturb those wise enough to be abed. Silk and chiffon floated around her for she did not bother to cloak herself. The chill of the nighttime had never affected her. Her clear, pale skin and disregard for climate gave her a ghostly, otherworldly appearance. She was nearly translucent under the starlight and may have frightened a passerby had he not known her.
Then again, he probably would have been frightened had he known her.
Mercury smiled softly as she entered the garden, tracing the floating lights with eyes the color of oceans she had never seen. She heard high bells ring when they noticed her – laughter, though most would not know that. They flew about her awhile, whizzing past her ear and playing with her skirts. Then they took her by the hand and led her down the path, presumably to where he waited.
She laughed when she saw Zoisite, evoking a rather bell-like quality herself. The poor man was caught inside what seemed to be a hundred lights, all giggling and twinkling with glee. He was spinning and trying to shoo them away while they played with his hair, tying it in knots he wound spend hours undoing at first light.
He turned to her and looked rather embarrassed, his voice sounding higher than she was accustomed to. "Lady! I... err..."
"Peace," Mercury intoned in a voice that was both soft and stern, quiet but commanding. "Let him be, little ones. Our joke is done."
Though they seemed reluctant, the lights eventually left them. Some zipped away while others slowly floated and still more didn't actually leave, they just gave the couple distance. Zoisite still seemed nervous with them lingering about.
"Lady, what... What exactly are these?" He seemed as if he wanted to say 'these things,' but thought better of it when one flickered menacingly.
Mercury walked over to him and held out her hand, bidding one of the lights to rest in her palm. She brought it closer to their faces, allowing Zoisite to get a good look at it. "They're fairies, General. They always come out at midnight to play."
Zoisite leaned forward and stared at the little being in Mercury's hand, barely visible thanks to her luminescence. But he could tell that she was dressed in purple and green, had brown hair, and was grinning devilishly at him. After a moment, she flew up, kissed him on the nose, and then left them.
Zoisite cleared his throat with great dignity as Mercury laughed at him again. It was not unkind.
"Fairies..." he murmured, clearly impressed. "I never thought I'd see them."
"You never thought they were real," Mercury corrected.
Zoisite smiled slightly. "I reconsidered my position when we first arrived here, Lady. There are many, many things about your land that I never thought were real. But, fairies..." He paused. "Fairies you knew would be out at midnight."
Mercury laughed again, smiling elegantly. "I'm afraid I played a little trick on you, General. I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Zoisite told her, staring out at the fairy lights again. "I am very glad I was able to see them."
Mercury looped her arm into his and began to lead him away from the prying eyes, little as they were. "I was hoping you would be."