"Where is she?" Seria whispered under her breath as the two of them trudged through the forest.
The Boy glanced back at her, a whimsical smile on his face. "You. You're talking more now," he noted, turning his attention back to the trail. Seria was at a loss of what to say. By now, the dream had lost its hazy element. Everything no longer seemed so mysterious. She didn't feel as if she were floating into this world as an outsider.
And soon enough, they found the looming castle, with a red-haired woman sitting on a ledge. She had refined features, of one who was used to commanding others.
She raised an eyebrow once she saw the two children walking over to her.
"Hello? Are you two lost?" she asked. Seria gazed at her with admiration.
"What a pretty woman," she breathed. The Boy looked at Seria, eyes softening. He then turned to the woman, staring her down.
"Do you know Prince Byron?" he questioned.
The princess's eyebrows furrowed, and she turned away with a scoff of disgust. "Oh yes, him. What a brute! I hope I never see him again..."
She slouched a bit in her seat, staring down at the turquoise comb in her hands.
"...I thought he was different," she murmured.
"Huh?" Seria and The Boy asked in unison.
The princess hopped off of the ledge and cleared her throat. "I guess you two haven't heard of me. I am Princess Marisa."
"That Marisa?" The Boy interrupted Seria to ask. "You're really her? The one who's been married and divorced six times?"
"Wh-what's divorce?" Seria asked, though it sounded like a familiar word. The Boy stared at her with wide eyes and shook his head. His expression looked hooded for a second before he turned away.
What is he hiding?
"But Marisa! Byron did it to rescue you! That's what princes do. They rescue princesses!" Seria exclaimed.
Marisa looked as if she was about to cry, but she also looked determined. She spun around and thrust the comb out to Seria.
"If he really is a prince, then give this to him. I suppose...this once, I'll try again," she said in a small voice. Seria hugged Marisa before she could pull back.
"Thank you, princess! I hope you and Byron are happy together!" she stepped back, smiling. The Boy stood off to the side, watching all of this. Marisa straightened, trying to keep a dignified figure.
"G-go off now. Don't keep me waiting," she said, sounding stronger than before.
Seria and The Boy nodded, and they made their way back to Byron.
Upon seeing the comb, he picked them up and spun them around in his happiness. He then took the comb and pocketed it. They followed him back to Marisa and saw him pick her up and carry her off into the sunset.
A happy ending...
Seria spotted something glittering on the ground and picked it up. It was the turquoise comb, only it had a crack in the middle of it.
Byron came running back and saw that Seria had the comb. "Oh! You can keep it. I'll get her a new one. I just came to ask something," the prince turned to The Boy and stared him down. The Boy stared back pleasantly.
"Who...are you?" the prince asked, looking serious for once in his life.