The warm air rustled through the verdant gardens. The citrus trees and tall cypresses were planted in long rows, cut through by the white road that led to the palace. Pairs of topiaries stood sentinel on either side of the alabaster way.
They were in the shapes of animals both real and fantastic, majestic lions, great bears, noble dogs, giant dragons, and so on. The uncanny detail and lifelike appearance delighted the guests of the great prince. They were more than simple garden decorations however. On any occasion where the prince’s life was threatened, the animals would spring to life.