Chapter Eleven: “Appearance”
“Help…!” Alene wept and tried to untangle her hair. However, nothing she did was able to free her, actually, her hair became more tangled, as she pulled. “HELP ME!”
The sun finally set behind the valley walls. She cried out for help until darkness completely covered everything around her. She felt so tired from struggling and weeping, but Alene let out one more cry for help. “HEEELLLPP!”
“I-is someone there!?” The girl looked around for the owner of the voice. A light seemed to be drawing near, on her left.
A man carrying a lantern, came to her. “So, that was you. Poor child, let me help you down.” He set the lantern down and reached up for her hair. “I can try and let you down from here.” He fiddled with her hair and tried letting her down. “Little one, I am sorry. The only thing I can do is cut your hair to let you down.”
“What is it? It’s the only way to get you down.”
Alene shook her head as best she could. “B-but if my hair is cut, I won’t be pretty, and then no one will like me…”
“Who told you that?” The man seemed slightly annoyed that she’d said something like that about herself.
“Salem… b-before she left me here…”
The man’s gaze turned angry for a moment before softening. “She lied. I know Salem. Why were you with her?”
“S-she was taking me to Coelum.”
He growled to himself. “That woman… she’s a servant of Dolum.”
“Yes, now will you let me cut you down?”
Alene pulled against the briars. “Are you certain you can’t free me without cutting my hair?”
He sighed. “Weren’t you listening? I can’t untangle your hair… is it really that important to you, to look beautiful?”
“I just don’t’ want to be alone… and if people don’t like me…”
“Does that really matter…?” The man picked Alene up to prevent the briars from hurting her more. His face softened into a smile. “Who really cares what you look like? King Ansaldo doesn’t care.”
The man nodded. “If he loves a man like despite what I look like, then he certainly loves a beautiful girl like you. It doesn’t matter if you have long or short hair. So, would you like to be freed, little one?” Alene nodded. “Very well…” He set her down and pulled out a knife.
[Next Chapter: Alene’s rescuer cuts her loose but he is not happy with her.]