I could not think about what to say to my mom but stare into nothingness. My mom then stopped hugging me to look at my face. She felt my head as she ran her fingers through my short hair.

"You cut your hair," mom said.

"I did, I wanted it cut," I said.

I can see her frown turn to a fake smile.

"Stephan, who is this woman?" Yeol asked me.

"Yeol, everyone, this is my mother," I said.

"My name is Marisa," Mom introduced herself.

"Well then, anyone who is a friend of Stephan's is a friend of mine," Yeol said, "Come along, you must be hungry."

"Why, yes sir," Mom said.

After we show my mom the house and everything, we treated her to dinner.

"I must say, this is a beautiful home you have here," Mom said.

"Of course," Yeol said, "This fine home was built for me in my honor as chief of Menagerie."

"I see, and there's a dragon here too?" Mom asked.

"Yeah, Merek. He's cool," I said.

Aikan looked at me with a concerned look telling to ask my mom how she came here.

"So, how did you find Stephan here in Menagerie?" Aikan asked her.

"Oh, it took me awhile to find you," Mom answered, "Once I realized you left, I searched every town that has possibly seen you. With no luck, I bought a boat and sailed to every island on the map. Once I couldn't find you in any of the islands, I sailed to every island I could see. That's how I managed to find this place."

"And no one came with you?" Yeol asked.

"No, I came here all on my own," Mom answered.

"I see, I will send men to check your boat to see if you're lying," Yeol said.

"That's fair," Mom said, "To assure you, I only for came this way for Stephanie."

"Stephanie?" Yeol asked.

"Mom, I'm Stephan," I said.

"My little Stephanie always preferred Stephan," Mom said.

I can see Aikan with a not so happy look on his face.

"An uncommon name for a boy," Yeol said.

"Oh no, Stephanie's a girl," Mom said.

Those words she said made Aikan look disgusted by her.

"Stephan is a guy!" Aikan said.

"Exuse me?" Mom asked.

"He's not a girl, but you were stubborn to listen," Aikan said.

Both mom and Aikan gave each other the evil eyes.

"You know what, I feel tired," Mom said.

"Here, I'll take you to where Stephan stayed in," Yeol said.

As mom and Yeol left the dining room, Aikan and I looked at each other.

"I'm sorry, Stephan," Aikan said, "It was rude of me."

"It's fine, she hasn't changed," I said, "I'm gonna go outside for a bit."

(Aikan's POV)

Stephan then walked out to get some air. I know what I said was wrong, but Stephan wasn't lying about her thinking he's a girl. I only stood up for Stephan because I love him and I want to stay with him as much he wants to be with me. That's why I must ask him.

I walked to my father's room as I see him standing there in silence.

"Father?" I asked.

"Oh, Aikan," he said, "I'm sorry, I got lost in thought."

"Okay," I said, "I want to tell you something."

"What is it?" Father asked.

"When you die, I'll become chief of Menagerie," I said.

"Yes, I'm aware," Father said.

"Well, while I'm not chief now, I want to take another step," I said.

"And what's that?" Father asked.

"I want to marry someone," I answered.

"I see, that is a big step," Father said, "And who do you want to marry?"

"It's not common, but you know me and him are happy together," I said.

"So... this means," Father said.

"Yes, father," I said, "I want to marry Stephan."

"I see," Father said.

"I know, I want to be with him for the rest of my life," I said.

"Very well, promise me one thing," Father said.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Make sure he says yes," Father answered with a smile.

"I will," I said, "Thank you, Father."

I gave him a hug, and ran out to find Stephan.

(Stephan's POV)

I sat outside looking at the moon.

I still couldn't believe my mom found me here. I mean, I'm happy to see my mom again, but what if she goes back to how was back then? What if came to bring me back home? I honestly don't want to go home, I want to stay.


I heard Aikan from far behind me.

"Aikan," I said.

"Stephan, there's something I want to tell you," Aikan said.

"What?" I asked.

"Stephan, all I want to do is make you happy," Aikan said, "So, I will do this to always keep happy."

"Wait, what are you saying?" I asked.

"Stephan... will you marry me?"

Those words... I never thought he ask me that, it's so sudden. It's not common for two men to be married. But in Menagerie, who cares? This really is the best place to be. I didn't notice at first, but I felt tears running down my cheeks. I have to answer.

"Yes... yes I will," I said.

"Really!?" Aikan asked.

"Really, I mean it," I answered.

"Thank you, Stephan. Thank you," Aikan said.

This was greatest moment of my life... at least I thought it would be.

"Aikan, Aikan!"

The same panther keidran ran toward us out of breath.

"Oh, it's you," Aikan said, "What's wrong?"

"It's your father," the panther said, "He's been... he's been..."

"What, he's been what?" Aikan asked with a scared look on his face.

"Your father's been murdered!" The panther answered.

No way, that can't be true. Something kindhearted as Yeol has been murdered?

"What!?" Aikan asked.

"It's true," the panther said, "I found his body in his room."

Aikan then ran straight inside to find his father. For a cheetah, he really can run fast.

As the panther fell to his knees and cried. I ran inside to find Aikan. I was getting worried. I finally found Aikan on his knees with tears running from his eyes. I took a look at what Aikan was looking at and froze.

It was true, Yeol is dead. He laid down on his back dead. There was a wound on his stomach as blood stained his purple robes. It was horrifying, who would do this