The girl followed the trail of the star with her eyes and saw a blast of bluish-white light in the place where the star fell. The girl immediately emerged from her shocked state with what she saw and ran towards the source of the bright light. She ran and ran until she reached the back of the forest. By now, the extremely bright light has been diminished into a mere sparkling light surrounding a figure sprawled on the soft soil. The unmoving figure was clad in a dazzling bluish-white gown. But it was really not moving… not even breathing. The girl immediately ran to the side of the fallen figure and dropped down on her knees. She studied the figure thoroughly and grew more amazed the longer she stared at it.
The figure… was a girl, with long golden curly hair up to the shoulders. Her skin was milky white and was glowing… literally.
Who are you? or rather… What are you?
The girl looked up to the sky and searched for her star. And it was… it was gone. Her brightest star was gone from the sky…
She stared at the magnificence in front of her.
Her brightest star was gone from the sky… and is now right before her eyes?
Is that even possible?
The girl, still clad in her worn out coat, looked right and left to see if anyone was around the area, which was a relatively impossible circumstance given the fact that that part of the city was almost deserted.
And as expected, no one was in sight.
Only the innocent crickets have the share of the knowledge of what happened moments ago.
I cannot just leave her just like this.
The girl fixed her eyes back to the splendor lying unconscious on the unworthy soil. She took off her coat, which she deemed undeserving to even touch the splendor’s body, and covered the figure with it.
This will do for now.
She then picked the being up and carried it back to her house, bridal style.
Upon arriving in front of her door, she had no choice but to momentarily put the being down on the unworthy earth as she searched the pocket of her coat for the house keys. Upon unlocking the door, she immediately picked the figure up again, entered her mousey apartment and used her left foot to completely close the door.
The whole place was still dimly lit courtesy of the now almost empty oil lamp and the small glass windows on the upper part of the door.
I have to get some firewood before the oil completely runs out.
The girl hurriedly walked towards the far end of the room and slowly laid the being down on top of the mattress of the bed located there. She then took the oil lamp from the table and placed it on the small table in front of the bed. The light of the oil lamp’s fire heightened, if that was even possible, the magical glow emanating from the mysterious being. The girl glanced at the unconscious girl in bed, leaned towards her and examined the being’s features.
The girl has a shoulder length golden hair glowing with such a splendor that it was enticing. She has this innocent heavenly face, long slightly curled eye lashes, proud nose and pink freshly looking lips that made her look almost inhuman. She was wearing a bluish white gown reaching just below her knees. Her skin… her whole body… was sparkling.
Who are you? Are you really my star?
The girl continued to stare at the unconscious being in bed, completely mesmerized by her beauty.
Are you a goddess?
The girl was slowly reaching out to touch the being’s cheek, if only to prove the reality of her existence, when the light of the lamp suddenly flickered. This woke the girl up from the trance she’s in and reminded her of the thing she has to do first.
I… I have to gather some firewood.
The door of the apartment slowly creaked open and in came the girl now holding a large bundle of dried twigs and branches tied with a rope. She dropped the bundle in front of an old firepit and slowly untied it. The fireplace was an old ramshackle one. But if it would only be given ample attention, one might be able to see through its aged look into its old classic charm. The mouth of the fireplace was decorated with a bronze screen depicting a shrub with branches and leaves while the fireplace itself was composed of an ordinary mantel piece, with a classic architrave and shelf and an upper part chimney breast paneled like the rest of the room. The whole architecture, the whole fireplace, might have exuded elegance and splendor in the early days, but is now a mere old structure weathered by time. She momentarily glanced at the fireplace, now already used to whatever beauty it might have held, and placed the branches and twigs inside the hearth before throwing a lighted sulphur-match inside it. A few moments after, the comforting sound of crackling wood being consumed by the growing flame filled the room. The light from the fireplace slowly crawled out and illuminated most of the parts of the humble abode.
The tall girl smiled at her accomplishment before extending her hand towards the crackling flames. She felt good. The heat that the flame radiated warmed her up and made her remember the days when their domicile was not as humble as it is today. Their dwelling place used to abound in merriment and laughter, two things already extinct at the present day.
She smiled a bitter smile. Oh how she missed those days…
Suddenly, the figure on her bed stirred, might it be from the sudden warmth radiated by the fireplace or something else, no one knows. This sudden movement made the tall girl immediately rush towards the figure’s side. She then grabbed a wooden stool, situated it right beside the being glowing with an unearthly light, and comfortably sat at it. She then gave back her attention to the one in bed and noticed her coat still draping the figures body. She frowned.
I think I have something more worthy to be draped over your body.
The girl stood up from her sitting position and went to a chest situated at the other end of the room. The chest was made from oak roof timbers, carved with elaborate designs and laden with gold. The girl painstakingly lifted the chest’s lid and started looking for something inside it.
“There you are.”
Finally coming across what she was looking for, the girl smiled. She then took out from the chest, what looked like a folded lavender cloth, before closing the lid of the chest. She stood up and carried the cloth towards the bed. She took her cloak draped on the girl’s body and replaced it with the lavender quilt taken out from the chest box. In the middle of the quilt was an image of a tiger's head gorged with a ducal coronet. Under the icon of a tiger was the words “Vestigia nulla retrorsum” which means “no steps backward”. The girl examined what she has done then smiled.
“I never thought I’d be using that quilt again.”
She then leaned towards the figure in bed and touched her forehead. It was not hot, simply… warm.
“Hmm… I guess you are just exhausted. Rest well and wake up tomorrow morning. You’ll have to clarify many things.”
She smiled at the unconscious being before walking towards the long table. She sat on the wooden stool in front of it and for that night, rested her head on top of the table.
It was a beautiful morning. The two shutter of the window facing the bed were open though one of the shutters seems to be falling off anytime. The melodious sound of the birds chirping could be heard from outside as the warm rays of the sun entered through the glass covering of the open windows. The still dazzling figure sprawled on the bed unhurriedly stirred, as she heard the song of the birds, before she slowly opened her eyes. Her surrounding was a haze to her but as seconds passed by, her once blurry vision sharpened. She then struggled to sit up while trying to look around her.
“Where… am I?”
She noticed something soft now covering only half of her body. She confusedly examined the quilt draped over her before turning back her attention to the room.
“Ah! You’re awake already!”
The sudden voice of a girl surprised her and made her turn her head to the direction of the sound. And there just in the middle of the slightly ajar door and the wall, stood a tall girl wearing a brown cloak. The girl smiled at her before taking off the cloak covering her body and placing it on top of the table. She then closed the door. Inside the cloak, the girl was wearing a faded bluish-green long sleeved dress sculpted with faded green ribbons on both sleeves and a faded green belt-like ribbon around the waist. The dress was already old and weathered but was still beautiful and elegant looking and fit the owner perfectly. The girl’s hair was raven black and was braided towards the back, giving her that neat and pleasant aura.
“Where… Where am I?”
The girl, now sitting on the bed, tried to make out where she was while the other one arranged the cheese, bread and milk on top of the table.
“You are in my humble abode and I am Yuri Kwon.”
The girl named Yuri, now finished with setting up the table, turned to the girl in bed and smiled.
“Come here and eat. You must be famished.”
The girl sitting in bed stood up and slowly walked towards the table. But before finally sitting down in front of it, she stopped and looked at Yuri curiously.
“What I mean is… in what world am I in?”
Yuri, rather surprised at the question asked, was left momentarily stunned. She waited a few seconds for the other girl to tell her that it was a joke before finally accepting that the other was serious at what she asked. She then sat down beside the still confused looking girl before giving her a knowing smile.
“I knew it. So… what kind of being are you? Are you a goddess? My mother used to tell me tales about your kind when I was a kid but never even once did it cross my mind that I would personally meet one one day.”
Yuri grew ecstatic while the golden haired girl simply blushed at the appraisal but immediately proceeded to correcting it.
“I… I am not a goddess. I’m only one of the daughters of the Solar and Lunar Dieties.”
“My name is Jessica.”
Yuri and Jessica had just finished eating and are now leisurely sitting in front of the table. Jessica was the one shyly talking while Yuri was attentively listening.
“Earth you say? All I remember last night was that I was in my rightful place in our household when I suddenly heard a voice. In my curiosity, I left my place to look for the source of the voice but I apparently, got too close to this planet of yours and ended up being sucked by it. The strong pull and the blinding light were the last things I could remember before everything went black.”
Yuri glanced at Jessica’s flushed cheeks and smiled. She does not know why but there is something in this girl that makes her feel blissful. It was like a simple glance could make her want to smile the whole day.
Jessica shifted, obviously feeling conscious under Yuri’s gaze. Yuri noticed this and blushed. She coughed in embarrassment and whacked her brain of something to say to ease out the awkward atmosphere her action created.
“Uh… So… What are you planning now?”
Jessica looked out of the window and sighed.
“I wish to go back to our household right away but my still exhausted body could not permit that to happen right now…”
She turned her head back to Yuri.
“Can I… Can I stay here with you even for a few days?”
The scared and nervous expression on Jessica’s face was completely opposite that of Yuri’s elated and blissful expression right after hearing the words uttered by the former. Yuri immediately nodded at Jessica and gave the other a delightful smile.
“Of course! It would be my pleasure to be of any service to the daughter of the Lunar Diety.”
Seeing the still nervous expression on Jessica’s face despite her obvious approval, Yuri placed her right hand on top of Jessica’s own in a reassuring gesture.
“You don’t have to worry about anything. I am happy to serve as your company for a while. Though of course I have a simple way of living and I cannot afford much…”
“It is alright. A shelter and a friend is all I need at the moment…”
Jessica smiled at Yuri and the latter smiled back. For a few minutes, no one talked as they basked in the comfort of their meeting but Yuri, needing to go back to work, broke the silence as both of their cheeks turned into a shade of pink. Yuri then stood up and bade Jessica goodbye. But before leaving, she instructed the latter on how to use the oil lamp and the sulphur-matches and reminded her also never to go out for even in the light of the day, her heavenly glow was still fairly visible. And with all that said, Yuri left the still shy Jessica inside her humble abode.
For the next few days, the same routine happened. Jessica would wake up with Yuri getting back from work and preparing the breakfast which they would both consume together. After that, Yuri would leave again to go back to work but not without some reminders for Jessica. Yuri would then be back at noon and as soon as she’s back, they would happily indulge in a simple bread, milk and cheese meal brought home by her. After that, Yuri would set back to work again. And when darkness falls, right after another simple dinner, they would both go to the back of the old manor and into the forest. There, they would pick up some branches and twigs for the fireplace while basking at the mysterious glow of the moon. Yuri would then carry it inside with Jessica in tow, and they would both light the fireplace and sit in front of it, soaking in the comforting sound of crackling wood and flames and in the warmth that the fire itself radiates. And their days passed by like that, filled not by mindless chatter, but by comforting silences and soothing smiles. And both were happy and contented in their own little world.
But as they say, everything comes to an end. The night of Jessica’s departure arrived and as both shared a measly dinner, an unwelcomed feeling of sadness seeped through every nook and cranny of the small room. It saddened the both of them but they both know that nothing else could be done. Jessica has to go back to where she belongs.
And like their usual routine, right after dinner, the two got ready to go out. But this time, instead of immediately reaching for her keys, Yuri first walked towards their family chest, and took something from it. Yuri then slowly walked backed to Jessica. She then wrapped around Jessica’s neck, that thing that she took out from the chest box. It’s her red faded scarf, the one given to her by her loving mother. The two then went out of the room silently and upon reaching the back of the manor, stopped, and faced the forest. There they stayed there in silence for a few minutes, their hands intertwined.
Jessica smiled upon hearing the endearment that Yuri made for her, days ago. The simple word coming from Yuri enveloped her with warmth she could not explain. She lifted her head and smiled at Yuri.
She uttered a sound of acknowledgement, telling the other that she had heard her. But Yuri did not speak again. She merely stared at Jessica, seemingly memorizing every feature of her face.
Jessica likes the feeling of how Yuri’s name rolls off her tongue smoothly. It was like, it was meant to be uttered by her and her alone.
Yuri faced Jessica and stared right through her eyes. She slowly lifted her right hand and ever so slowly and softly, caressed Jessica’s left cheek with her fingers. She then lifted her other hand and now cupped Jessica’s face. Little by little, the gap between their faces vanished and as their lips danced in the magical song that only they could understand, the lovers glowed with a magnificent white light, a symbol of the heaven’s acceptance of the two bonded hearts.
And as their lips parted, Yuri’s tear stained eyes caught a last glimpse of her lover’s blissful smile before she completely turned into sparkling star dusts that flew towards the sky.