We came through the other side in a burst a bright white light. The air that filled my lungs choked me for a second before I realized that my gills had appeared out of reflex as soon as we hit the water. I pressed a hand to either side of my neck and focused on forcing them to merge back to my skin so that I could breathe.
"Are you alright?" Zalas asked, his voice concerned but slightly distracted.
"I'm alive." I spat sarcastically as I shook my head from side to side, water spraying out from my braid. I was completely soaked through.
"Perhaps you could give me some warning next time before you decide it might be fun to fly through a giant waterfall."
Zalas merely laughed at my disgruntled tone as he took my hands in his own and pulled me backwards so that I had no choice but to raise my head.
"Look where we are Vanima and then tell me that this was not worth getting wet clothes for."
I blinked against the harsh light that blinded me, but as my eyes adjusted I felt my breathing stutter and my heart skip a beat.
This had to be what Heaven looked like.
The waterfall we had just flew through, was repeated in mirror image on the other side, but instead of falling straight into the ocean, the water tumbled down mountains of pure white stone and flowed into a river that twisted and turned through the incredible land that lay before me, nestled in the clouds.
Unabonan weaved in and out of clouds that were a mixture of fluffy pinks and whites, slowly descending down on the Kingdom spread below.
White cliffs extended out on either side of the waterfall and then the cliffs turned into ragged mountains whose peaks were hidden by cloud. Everything was white, blindingly white, starch white, crystal white, pearl white, every white you could think of.
"Welcome to the Air Temples." Zalas whispered in my ear, his musical voice only adding to the intensity of the view.
"It's beautiful." I breathed, feeling my eyes widen slightly as I tried to take in as much as I could at once.
"That it is Vanima, it is the most beautiful sight in the world."
Unabonan swooped even lower and now I could begin to make out the houses that seemed to rise out of the mist that covered the ground. They, like everything else, were white, but they seemed to glimmer in the sun, like sparkling diamonds and when I questioned Zalas about it his answer shocked me to the point of disbelief.
"They are diamond. Mixed with the stone that we mine from the mountains, but the outside of the houses and some of the insides are decorated with diamonds. We Air Sprites just love shiny things." He flashed me a white toothed smile. "It is not as valued here as it is to you Princess, the Dragons have always made diamond and there was a surplus so we used it to decorate our houses. Bits and pieces are added on over time, the more wealthy you are, the more diamond in your house. Wait until you see the palace." He grinned again. "It is like the nothing you will ever see again in your life time."
"I don't doubt that in the slightest." I laughed, still trying to come to terms with the fact that their houses were practically made from diamonds. Back at home, the diamond necklace my Father had given me had been my most precious item that I only ever wore for extremely special occasions.
We swooped lower and now I was able to see people, and although they were still faceless and tiny, I could see that they too had pale skin and light hair like the Prince behind me. Some of them turned their faces to the sky as we flew over head, their toothpick hands waving excitedly as Zalas laughed and waved back. Unabonan uttered a happy roar and shot a small flame out of his nostrils that flickered an electric blue before disappearing entirely.