Mille sat in the dark, trying to hold back her tears. How many hours had passed? Hunger growled in her stomach, and the cookies she had brought with her were long gone. Her throat was parched, but she had no water to quench her thirst.
The thought of leaving the room crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed it. Her mother wasn’t there, and the last time she had seen her, something was off. People hadn’t noticed, but Mille had felt it deep down. Her mother’s eyes weren’t the same, and when she tried to hug her, her mother had pushed her away.
A single sob escaped her lips, and she tried to stifle it. She couldn’t let herself cry; she needed to be strong. But as the minutes ticked by, her resolve weakened, and tears streamed down her face. She sniffled, trying to control her emotions, but the memories of her mother were too much to bear.
To Mille, her mother was the most extraordinary person in the world, even greater than her father. Honestly, she thought her mother was even cooler. There was nothing she could do about it. Wizards shine more brightly than knights, don’t they? Of course, she liked her father too, but when she grew up, Mille had already made up her mind to become a great wizard like her mother. When she shared her determination with her mother, she was thrilled and promised her, “I’ll teach you everything I know.”
So Mille had visited her mother every day, eager to learn. But now, her mother had broken her promise, and she was nowhere to be found. Mille was alone and lost, wondering why her mother had abandoned her.
“She forgot about me,” Mille whimpered, her voice barely audible. It hurt to think that her own mother could look at her like a stranger, while her father still loved her.
“Mother…” Mille cried out, hoping for some kind of answer.
Why is Mom pretending not to know me? Is it because I’m not as good at magic as her yet? Or maybe because Mom didn’t spend much time with me after Lionel was born, and now she’s upset with me?
As Mille thought about it, memories of all the things she had done wrong flooded her mind. She remembered going to bed without brushing her teeth, hiding cucumber under her dish because she didn’t want to eat it, and eating all the cookies that were given to her by Banetsa instead of sharing them with others.
The more she thought about it, the more mistakes she remembered making.
“Mom, I’m sorry,” Mille cried out, her heart heavy with sorrow and fear. It was late at night, and the only sound was that of distant owls. Mille felt alone and scared.
She was hiding in the forest underneath the Grand Castle, her secret hideout beyond the palace walls. If she were still in the palace, she would have already washed up, said goodnight to the maids, and fallen asleep on a soft bed. In the past, her parents would have kissed her on the forehead and wished her sweet dreams before she went to sleep.
“Mom, Dad…” Mille stood up, her legs weak from sitting for so long. As she tried to open the door to the storage room, she realized that it wouldn’t budge. She pushed and pushed, but the door remained stubbornly shut. Panic started to rise in her chest as she realized she was trapped.
She knew she could easily break the wooden warehouse using the magic her mother had taught her, but fear overwhelmed her, and she screamed for help, calling out for her parents.
“Mom! Mommy! Daddy! Help!” Her voice turned into a desperate scream. Would she be stuck here forever? Would she never see her family again?
“Mommy!” Mille pounded on the door with all her might, screaming for all she was worth. Then, at the moment when she was about to lose consciousness, without enough air in her lungs to scream anymore, the door suddenly flew open.
“Mille!” Her mother’s voice was like a beacon of hope, and Mille rushed towards Erna, embracing her tightly.
“Mom! Mom!” Tears streamed down her face as she hugged her mother. Looking into Erna’s eyes, Mille felt a sense of relief wash over her. Her real mother was here. She was safe.