The elevator doors opened, and the Princess stepped out onto the street, smiling at Isaac who waited at the lift for her. The hill they lived on had an unusual elevator that ran inside the hill, one of only two earthbound elevators in the world. It was linked to a tunnel, 205 metres long that came out next to the Wanganui river. A tower was built next to the elevator.
As they walked home, the Princess admired the gold and red of the sky reflected in the rivermouth below the tower. She had finally settled down, and could now see the beauty of the town. On rare days where the air was particularly still and clear, the mountains of the South Island could be seen from the hill, as well as Mount Taranaki to the West, and majestic Mount Ruapehu to the North. The Princess felt like she was standing on top of the world.
Married life had begun smoothly with Isaac moving into her house. The days passed by, and they were all happy. The Princess was the main bread winner, while Isaac worked part time. Isaac had started a business, and had big dreams for it. The Princess was not all that impressed with his efforts so far. “Where is your business plan, your mentor, and your customers?” she asked him pointedly. She suspected he would not be happy or fulfilled as a provider if it stayed that way, now that he had a family. For now, it worked.
The Princess had changed jobs. She was now working at the UCOL campus providing level 1 and 2 technical support to the students and staff. She had studied at the campus with Silver-tongue, a decade ago. Isaac had been there too, but back then he had been a stranger to the Princess. What grief could have been avoided if she had known him. She learned from Prince Mac, her new boss that Silver-tongue was not liked as a student. He always wanted marks of 100%. Mac said he had been protected by his professional relationship as the Tutor from Silver-tongue’s manipulations.
It was a delight to be back there, this time as a member of the staff. The people were great to work with, especially Prince Mac, her old Tutor. The Princess thrived under his leadership and words. Her morale and self-esteem grew. She laughed often. The fear of being knifed in the back with words left her eyes. In the Kingdom, she called the campus Engedi.
One weekend Isaac went away to an Alumni weekend at a College north of Auckland he had attended four years earlier. The Princess did not accompany him that weekend because she had to work.
While there, Isaac asked the King for His direction and the next step to take. The King answered Isaac within a day, telling him He wanted them both to go to College. Scholarships for the first year of a Diploma of Business awaited them. Isaac said “Thank you Lord, but you had better handle this; she will not take this from me …”
“You WHAT?” she exclaimed when Isaac returned home and told her about the scholarships. “I don’t want to go to College as a student! It is not on my to-do list. Why can’t you do this at UCOL? I knew I should not have let you go up there on your own” she muttered. “Well, you asked me about my business plan and mentor. That would be the next step …” Isaac replied. She did not want to leave UCOL, and did not want to hear about it. That night, the King spoke to her through His word;
“The Lord our God said to us at Horeb “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp.” Deuteronomy 1:6
She tried to ignore it. The next night the King was waiting for her again, and He was even more specific;
“You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.” Deuteronomy 2:2
The Princess replied “It is no longer Horeb, a dry desolate place. It is a place where I have finally found happiness.” Although she did not want to leave, she had to consider what the King wanted for them. They made the journey north and scouted out the land. She chose to obey, making the painful decision to go north, a decision that came at great cost.
She told Prince Mac. Without knowing, he accurately described where she was on the map of the Kingdom. He described Engedi as a “camel stop”, “an oasis”, and said “she was right in her decision to take up the scholarship.” He went further and acknowledged the Lord saying “this is the Lord’s will.”
Her son Prince Justin chose to stay with his father who had recently returned from Australia. “Why do you not want to come with us?” she asked him. “I want to be with Dad” he replied, needing his father.
She understood, and hid her sorrow. It felt like her family had split up all over again. Prince Justin stayed with them until the last morning. As she drove him to school for the last time, she asked “Tell me son, what have you learned in your years with me?” Prince Justin answered; “I have learned that no matter where I am, I am loved.”
The Princess handed her son over to the King and let him go. On the 33rd anniversary of the day she left Napier, and the tenth anniversary of her father’s death, the long journey north began. She tried not to look back.