“Are you worried about Mame Treina’s challenge?” Selene asked as Dradel stared blankly out the window.
“I am thinking about it,” he admitted, shifting his gaze to her. “How is he?”
“He has become quite a charm,” Selene answered. “I believe there is nothing to worry about.”
“Have you met?”
The faerie shook her head, but said nothing of it.
“You will look after him, won’t you?” Dradel asked a different question.
“Of course. You can trust me.”
“I trust you.”
A week later, Selene showed up again at the palace. This time, she entered from the front door, instead of out of thin air. “How rare,” Dradel commented with his eyes slightly widened in surprise—this was a far way off from the real extent of surprise that he felt. Selene walking through the double doors of the palace looked just right—she belongs to a place such as this, Dradel caught himself thinking.
The faerie only smiled. Nobody could completely figure her out, this was something that had long been decided.
“Would you like to have tea in the garden?” Dradel invited.
“I would love to.”
Servants gave them odd looks—not because they were dumbfounded by the presence of an elegant lady having tea with the prince, but because this particular lady was invited to tea the first time she paid a visit. What made it more peculiar was the fact that although Dradel and the lady with pink eyes talked like old friends, the nosy maids could not observe any sort of flirtation.
This made the lady even more mysterious.
The first time Lauren caught sight of the dazzling faerie was on the occasion of a gathering. That evening, a new face appeared in the room. She appeared to be younger than most, but also more intelligent than most. It was a small town, and everyone knew as soon as she appeared that she was new. The lady introduced herself as Selene, so Selene was what everyone called her.
“Hello,” the lady greeted Lauren in particular, with a soft yet authoritative voice, and a barely noticeable smile.
“H…hello.” Somehow, the very presence of Selene made Lauren nervous.
“I have heard that you live with the ‘Prince Charming’ of this town,” Selene said. “Who is he?”
“Oh…if he saw you, I’m sure he would fall in love with you in an instant, Selene,” Lauren joked, “He is very popular here, Charon is. But…Selene, you are equally attractive.”
At this comment, Selene showed a somewhat timid smile, but didn’t respond.
Selene appeared in front of Lauren only that one time, but it was enough for her figure to be deeply engraved in the depths of Lauren’s mind. When she gazed upon Charon, it sometimes occurred to her that Charon and Selene shared a very similar aura.
Ever since Charon turned into a male, he hadn’t met Dradel, nor contacted him in any way. While Dradel regularly asked about Charon on Selene’s visits, Charon never once mentioned the prince’s name. The faerie maneuvered between two sides, until one day.
That evening, Dradel had already retired to his room, getting ready to go to bed. As a habit, he retrieved the glass slipper in his care and examined it in the moonlight. This had become a habit ever since he first found out that the slipper glimmered under the moonlight beautifully, as Selene herself did under dim lighting. As he watched it beam, suddenly, the slipper shattered.
That evening, Charon was sitting on his bed, watching Lauren walk around with a clearly uncertain expression. “What’s bothering you?” he asked, baffled.
“This.” While speaking, Lauren headed over to the space where Charon had put the glass slipper. As Charon’s eyes widened in utter shock, Lauren held the slipper in her hands. Never before had anyone else touched her, Charon thought, except Dradel, that is. “Whose is this?” Lauren demanded, tears swimming in her eyes.
Although Charon knew that the more appropriate and acceptable thing to do was to assure her that everything was okay, at that moment, that wasn’t what he did. Instead, a switch seemed to have turned on by itself within him as he asked calmly, “Whose do you think it is?”
“Selene is a great woman,” Lauren said. “I always did sense something strikingly similar about you two.” At this, Charon looked up at his partner, surprised that she had noticed, even if it was only a small part of it. “That look you gave me just now, when you saw me holding this slipper,” Lauren continued, “I’ve never seen such emotion in you before.”
Then, right in front of Charon’s eyes, Lauren threw the glass slipper to the floor, shattering it into a million pieces.
The glass slippers were the very essence of Selene, this was known to both Dradel and Charon. And when the one in their hands shattered, their first thought was to check on the condition of the other. For Dradel, without the faerie, he couldn’t reach Charon; and for Charon, Selene’s very existence was important.
That was why Dradel on his white horse, and Charon on foot, travelled towards each other at top speed, as the sun set, and day turned to night. Halfway through their journey, they abruptly skid to a halt, having just caught the other by a glance. From the alarm they witnessed in one another’s eyes, they each stood in solemn silence, as if returning to the moment Charon had been transformed, as if returning to the moment Selene had first appeared out of nowhere and overwhelmed them with her aura—only, this time, Dradel and Charon’s shock was not expressed in words. They couldn’t express it in proper words.
Charon let himself sink to the ground. At the same time, Dradel dismounted from his horse and showed Charon the box in his hands—a box containing the shattered pieces of the glass slipper. In response to this, Charon showed a box with containing almost identical pieces.
After a long time, Dradel finally asked, “What happened?” in a voice filled with naïve concern, as the glass slipper in his hand had shattered for no known reason.
Knowing that Dradel had the other slipper all along meant knowing that the faerie had paid him visits as well, however frequent or infrequent. “Do you know who Lauren is?” Charon asked in return, before answering Dradel’s question.
“She threw it on the floor.”
“What happened to yours?”
“I was holding it, and it suddenly shattered right there in my hands.” Dradel lowered his gaze to the shattered remains. “I was holding it like I normally would.”
“The two are connected after all, even if they were in separate locations.” This statement was only a result of logical deduction upon learning how the two slippers shattered at the same time, at the moment that Lauren had wrecked one of them. But it seemed to imply something more than that.
A moment of silence was enough for both Charon and Dradel to understand the implication. And so Dradel invited, “I must ask you to become my foreign minister.”
Charon nodded. “My pleasure, Your Highness.”
Even in two separate locations, there was only one of Selene. And even in two separate locations, Charon and Dradel were of one single unit.