Chapter One

I felt…I don't know. Sad? Depressed? Desperate? The ballroom was as bright as the sun and as cramp as possible. Yet, I felt it was dark and dreary. Maybe it was because I knew, no matter how much I deny it, that Char won't be near me again.

Dancing with Char felt like heaven. Even if it was the third. And the last. But I was saddened over the fact that Char was with Lela, the maiden who wears a mask, comes from Bast and rides an orange coach. I was depressed that he didn't feel like being with Ella, me. I was desperate enough to take off my mask, kiss Char and say I love you but the curse reminded me that Kyrria and Char is in danger if I do.

Char was talking. I never thought of him as garrulous. He might have sensed my silence and decided to fill our air with chatter. Just like the first time he was in Ayortha. But I wasn't Ayortha. I was Ella! Ella! I wanted him to talk to Ella. Me. Just like before. I still remembered the way he talked to me, freely and openly. Not like this. He was talking about Kyrria and court affairs. Even if he was talking like and old friend, I felt like I was with High Chancellor Thomas.

I couldn't hear what he was saying. I was too busy thinking about the future. I will go and Char will forget Lela and Ella. If he were to go to Bast for Lela, he would just find a town, full of people but no Lela. Lela is just an imagination.

A tear caroused down my cheek the second time in front of Char. Before he could see, I bent my head and tried to wipe it away. He didn't see, thank goodness.

We spent the whole evening together. Until twelve. The bell chimed.

"Goodbye Char. I'm really disappointed I can't hear you sing. I am sure it would be a sublime moment. But unfortunately, I have to go." I told him. I knew I said to myself I will hear Char sing but I also realized that if I go, Char would escort me and he would see not a pumpkin coach but a big pumpkin. He would be surprised and I would be revealed.

"Goodbye Lela. Can I come to Bast someday?"

"Bast would be honored, and I would be too. Goodbye and I hope we'll be reacquainted yet again." I said.

Char did escort me back to the carriage. He helped me up and kissed my hand. I wanted him to kiss me yet again. But I know I must act like a friend and be nonchalant about it. My rat coachman pulled the reins and the carriage went away. The figure of Char, all alone in front the castle, becoming smaller and smaller. The carriage went farther still. I wanted to stop the coachman after all he is just a rat but I stopped. I knew what would happen.

As Char grew smaller and as I went farther away, my heart started to bleed. I burst into tears knowing that this would be the last chance for me to see him. Char would be gone, again. Lost. Again. I will never see him again.