“… It’s dark. Why is it so dark?”
All the candles in the room had been extinguished earlier to welcome the new moon guest.
Speaking of lights, the flames in the fireplace flickered. A young man entered the room and looked around, “Alana, you’re not here?” He wondered.
The young man picked up a candlestick and bent over, smothered the remaining embers and relit the flames. He then lit the candles throughout the room. It was only when he approached the window that he noticed Alana on the terrace.
“What are you doing in such a place? Tomorrow is an important day, you’ll catch a cold.” The young man leaned over and pulled Alana’s arm towards the inside of the room. However, Alana’s long hair, swaying in the wind, timely entwined with his ornamental button. “I’m sorry, stay still. I’ll remove it.”
“Cut my hair, Callisto, it’ll come off easily.”
“Don’t be stupid. How could I dare to hurt your beautiful hair?”
Alana could care less about her hair, but Callisto seemed to think otherwise. He constantly praised Alana’s hair, which she had inherited from her late grandfather and was the colour of a beautiful milky golden mix. Callisto took out his sword and snapped his button off.
“So, what were you doing on the terrace tonight?” He asked, glancing at her.
“I was looking at the sky.”
“Sky? Certainly, the starry sky tonight is wonderful, but it’s too dangerous to go out without a companion. I wonder if Marquis Longolia was assassinated? You should know not to.”
“I see. I’m worried about you Alana; I have a lot to say to you.” Before Alana could say anything, he continued.
“Why are you always like this? If I look away, you don’t eat. You bathe, without commanding us to heat the water. Even if the fire in the fireplace goes out in the middle of winter, you leave it. If you don’t get a servant to look after you, you’ll easily weaken. Yet, you say you want to be alone and immediately drive out your servants. When will you be aware of this? You are the most precious person in this country of Armenia. The last royal in the family. There is no one who can be your substitute.”
Callisto seemed to notice that Alana was squeezing something. She tried to hide it, but it was taken from her and forced open.
A cherry-coloured liquid swayed in the small vial, glowing like the flame of a candle. Without listening to Alana’s voice, “stop”, he opened the lid and drew it to his nose. “Hmm, the scent is of rosebush…perfume? It has a fascinating aroma, but it’s a bit too early for this.”
“Return it.” Alana stole back the bottle from him and quickly closed the lid, before putting it into her pocket.
“You’re looking at a constellation of a rose? I’m not one to enjoy tasting roses, but it’s a different story if you look at the stars. From now on, I will be with you. Don’t go out onto the terrace alone. Call for me, alright.”
“I’m relieved, I thought you didn’t have a hobby, but you do love stars.” Callisto smiled as if someone had just confessed to him. But Alana shook her head.
“I’m not particularly fond of them.”
“If that’s the case, then you can like them from now on. A long time ago, we saw a big shooting star together, isn’t that right? ‘If I make a wish upon a shooting star, will it come true?’ That’s what you said.”
“That’s right, they’d definitely come true, won’t they? I’ve never made one, but I think it’d have been good to have tried. If I’d wished, maybe the current situation would have changed.” The two looked up at the night sky through the window. It hadn’t changed; there were still many stars in sight.
“Every time someone wishes for someone’s death, the stars will disappear one by one.”
Alana softly sighed “…Does the star represent a person’s goodness in their heart? Or perhaps life, a future, hope, a dream?”
Callisto shrugged in reply, “I don’t know, but people become stars when they die, that, I’ve heard of.”
If one touched the window closely, they would be able to see Alana’s reflection. Her rich hair cascaded down her lemon-coloured dress. Alana suddenly turned to face the window.
“When the moon is full, the stars aren’t quite visible, but when it’s a new moon, they show up. Many stars appeared today. The world is still full of light.” As she spoke, each syllable conveyed a subtle sense of longing.
“It’s a word that everyone in this country thinks about. Everyone wants to avoid conflicts because they do not want war.”
Alana’s eyes reflected emptiness, “You don’t know me,” she muttered.
“I know. We’ve been together since we were born. I know everything about you.”
When Alana raised the tip of her nose, the corner of his mouth rose.