In Red (Chapter 1, page 2 of 2)

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Roxanne, sitting on a group of stones, was looking at her with eyes as big as saucers.

"Are you alright?"

"I… didn't know you doubted the curse."

Celeste reflected on her own last words and on previous conversations with her sister.

"Well, I couldn't have come if I didn't, could I? I know what you mean, though. I made you believe my engagement was a horrible enough idea to prefer death - and it is. But I must admit your reasons for running away have awakened thoughts in me I had always been too scared or too lazy to seriously consider.

So… let me take it back. I would have come even if I didn't. However, I'm glad you provided me with an additional - and, I'm beginning to think, stronger - reason."

Roxanne tried to assimilate this unsuspected broader perspective and wondered about its future consequences.

"I think you're a very brave person," she said in all sincerity.

They continued their journey and, eventually, the daybreak cold arose. It had been a while now since they'd taken off their shoes, which contributed, infinitely more than tiredness - also starting to affect them -, to their present slow pace.

"One would think Father's reason, when he brought us these shoes, was not only to embellish our feet," said Celeste, striving to make her tone joyful, while she sought the nearest softest grass.

"It's an idea worth considering," answered the girl in red.

At last, they arrived at a village. They headed towards one of the few two-storeyed buildings, with a sign that said Inn. They knocked on the door.

A woman in her fifties, clearly the owner, came to open. She was more than surprised to find the two girls. Then, she scanned their outfits and showed a glimmer of recognition.

"Oh, Goodness! Come inside."

The interior was bright and cosy - very different from the home they had just left.

She took them to a small bedroom upstairs and, once inside, she noticed their feet.

"In there," she said, pointing at a door on the right wall, "you can wash. I'll light the fire for you, and I'll bring some water and bandages."

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