“It's no use. He's forgotten me by now.”
The girl's brown hair dimly reflected the moonlight as the tears in her eyes sparkled like the stars above them. She tore her eyes away from the cloudless sky to look at the grassy hill beneath her. Her companion sat next to her, arms tucked into a green poncho, listening.
“ Then why do you still sit here?” the woman asked.
“When we used to travel together, he would always come from behind the moon to surprise me. So every night that I can get away I watch the moon from this hill. I keep hoping that he'll come and surprise me again, then take me away to somewhere beautiful. But he's forgotten me.”
“Why would he forget?”
“Why would he remember? I'm no one special. I don't even know why he bothered to know me in the first place.”
“He may see something more in you than you yourself do. I doubt that he's forgotten.”
“I try to hope, but... I don't even know if he's alive.”
“Did something happen that he might have been killed?”Concern was evident in the traveler's voice.
“Y-yes...” The tears started flowing down the girls face. “It was horrible...”
“Tell me about it.”
“I'm sure you don't want to know.”
“I'm sure I do. Tell me.”
The girl shivered. Her thin blue dress was far from enough to protect her from the nighttime chill. The tattered fabric had obviously seen better days. She stared down at the moonlit grass for a moment, collecting her thoughts.
“W-we were traveling...” she began with a stutter. “I didn't imagine that anything could happen to either of us, not with Micheal guarding me. He was so strong, and so brave...” The girl gained a wistful look in her green eyes as she talked about him. “He didn't like people to see it, but he was gentle and kind. He always kept his promises; he even promised to protect me forever. And he would have done it too...” The tears began to flow faster. “But then...”
She broke off with a sob. The traveler wrapped one arm around her, comforting her as she cried her feelings into reality. After a few moments, she gained the courage to speak again.
“Th-the forest. That way.” The girl pointed down the road to the west, the direction that the traveler had come from. “That's where it happened. It was dark, and the path was narrow. But I wasn't scared at all! I knew Micheal would do everything he could to protect me. But then there were so many of them... No way could he...” The tears overwhelmed her again.
“Take your time,” said the traveler.
“No, I'm alright,” the girl said, looking at the traveler again. “But when they attacked us, I got separated from Micheal. Three, maybe four were attacking him at once; h-he hardly had a chance to fight back. Those cowards... Why did they even attack us? We didn't do anything!” She grew suddenly quiet as the tears streamed down her face, staring at the grass once more. The angry flush in her cheeks quickly faded. “They were probably just afraid. I shouldn't judge them. Micheal wasn't human, you know.”
“He was a celestia?”
“Yes. A lot of people were afraid of him just because he was different. Not many people bothered to get to know who he was inside.” She looked back up at the stars. “But I can't imagine what my life would have been if I hadn't met him.” She smiled and stared up at the stars once more. “He... was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
The infinite stars held her attention for moments more as she moved through memory after memory of her time with him. Finally, her eyes focused on the moon again, and she looked away, crying.
“B-but they took me away. I don't know what happened to him because one of them dragged me off into the forest. I tried to get away, but the man was too strong; I couldn't break his grip. I called out for Micheal, and he tried to help me... but those cowards held him back as the man dragged me away. I don't know if he survived or not...” She trailed off as tears fell from her eyes like waterfalls.
The traveler sat with her, silently sharing her pain, for so long it seemed like forever. The sounds of nighttime floated through the air, the hoots of owls and the chirping of crickets mingling to form a symphony of stillness. Finally, she decided to say something.
“So what happened to you after that?”
The girl shrugged. “They brought me to this village, said that they had saved me from a monster. Sold me to the owner of the local bar. Since then I've just been trying to survive,” she said bitterly. “But I don't even really see the point in that anymore. He's either dead or he's forgotten.”
They sat in silence a while longer.
“Anna!” The shout rang out from the village below. “Get your lazy self back down here! We have customers!”
The color drained instantly from the girls face. “I-I'm coming, Marie!”
“Come faster! These drinks won't serve themselves!”
The girl stood, fear obvious in her every movement. She started running down the grassy hill when the traveler caught her shoulder.
“Did she just call you Anna?” she asked hurriedly.
“Y-yes, that's my name. I have to go!”
Recognition flashed across the traveler's face. “He hasn't forgotten you. I can guarantee it.”
Anna stopped in her tracks. She turned, disbelieving, to face the traveler. “You mean Micheal? He's alive?”
“Alive and searching for you. Wait for him. He's coming.”
There were no words to describe the joy that lit up Anna's face. Without a moments hesitation she embraced the traveler, smiling and laughing. “He's alive! He's alive!” she repeated over and over. The overwhelming radiance that seemed to stem from her joy lit up the air around her with an electric energy. “Thank you so much!”
“Anna!” The angry shout came again, louder this time.
The traveler gave a small smile under her floppy hat. “You'd better go,” she said, momentarily returning the embrace. “but don't forget what I told you. He remembers you.”
Anna pulled away. “Thank you! You don't know how much this means to me!”
“Anna! If you don't get down here right now...” The shouter seemed to be getting impatient.
She ran down the hill, waving to the traveler. “Thank you, Mara, Thank you!”
The traveler raised one eyebrow. “Mara? If I remember correctly that means... oh.” She smiled again. “Remembered.” She waved one final time to Anna, then turned and moved on.