"You! Human girl!" I had only just emerged from my room, dry eyed, when the Princess found me. I groaned inwardly; her over dramatic and simpering voice was the last thing I wanted to hear now. Well, not the last thing. The Prince was now beating her to that medal.
"What?" I asked, as she reached me. Something about the look on her face told me something was wrong. I changed my reply, and heard a note of worry in my throat. "What's wrong?"
"One of the mirrors is broken!" That's all? Was the first thought through my head. One of her mirrors had broken. Boohoo. "One of the mirrors in the hall of mirrors!" She continued, exhasperated. One of those mirrors? How? I had been there not long ago.
"What do you want me to do about it?"
"Clean it up!" She shrieked.
"Alright, alright, show me." I sighed, resigning myself to her word. She looked upset. Something had unsettled her. Perhaps the mirror had broken when she looked in to it. The jokey thought failed to make me smile. All I could think of was my brother.
I followed her down the corridor and up several flights of stairs before we reached the hall of mirrors. What she had said was true; shattered mirror fragments lay across the floor, the ruins of part of one of the most magnificent wonders of the world.
I felt a sadness beyond what I felt for my brother at the sight. It was as though the mirror had felt my agony and smashed with the sorrow. It had smashed right at the point where my brother had been torn from me for the second time.
A man appeared, carrying a large box. Clearly the fragments were to go in there. He put it down, glanced at me, then the princess and left.
"Clear it!" The princess cried. I looked down at the pieces. Something caught my eye.
"There's blood on it." Something had happened. My thoughts immediately flashed to my brother, but I told myself he was safe somewhere in the castle. "What happened here?"
"An accident." The princess lied.
"I told you, an accident. Now do your job." She hurried off.
I began to pick the pieces up, hesitating each time I reached the pieces that had blood spatters on them. I dared not touch them, in case something sinister had happened. Finally they were the last pieces on the floor.
"You'd better pick them up."
I span round and saw the man who had brought the box.
"Do you know what happened here?"
"Yes." He replied, then looked around for eavesdroppers. "The prince, he punched the mirror and shattered it."
"He punched it?" That must have happened shortly after I had left. I remembered the encounter. It couldn't be because of what I had said? He wouldn't care about the words of a servant, no matter how harsh.
"Yes. The princess found him and was talking to him, and he punched it, then walked off. The gossip's been spreading like wildfire."
I placed the last of the shattered pieces in the box, and the man picked it up.
"Thank you." I said distracted. The prince had spilled his blood over the princess, not what I had said. It had to be that.
"Kayla." I muttered, staring at the fragments still in front of me.
"Are you alright Kayla?"
"No. I'm not." I said simply, then turned and walked off. I felt rude, but there were so many thoughts racing round and round my head I could not be blamed. I had too many questions, too many worries. Too many fears.
What if what I had said had made him so angry that he hurt Kevin? What if what I'd said had caused him to hit the mirror? What did that mean? Why had he done it? Why was all of this happening? Why was I concerned about this alien, when he had only recently pulled the only thing I loved from my arms? I was so engrossed in thought I did not notice where my feet took me. When I emerged from my head I was in a corridor I did not recognise. I looked round, wondering how to get back to my room. And then a door down the corridor opened. I stared as the prince emerged, and as he closed the door he looked up and saw me. His face was a mask, but his eyes raged, as though he were fighting an inner battle. I caught sight of his hand, bandaged in new gauze. So it was true.
I did not speak, unable to articulate any of my thoughts. He simply stood, frozen, looking at me. And then he turned and walked off down the corridor.
I stayed, like a statue, until he was out of view. And then I felt movement return to my body. I had no idea what had just happened, but I knew in my heart that the next time I saw him, I would be as unable to speak. Because his eyes told all as soon as he looked at me.
He had punched the mirror because of what I had said. And though I hated him, that realisation sliced through my heart like one of the mirror fragments. Because somehow, I had affected him. And that made him more human than I had believed; that made him harder to hate.