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Anju

“Welcome to the Stock Pot Inn, um… do you by chance have a reservation?” It was a question Anju hated asking, she just couldn't stand turning people away when they needed a room. “Oh Mr. Link, I'm so glad you'll be staying with us your room is in the knife chamber.” The strangely dressed boy took his room key and left the Inn. “Enjoy the Carnival.” she said a little to late as he was already out the door. Anju sighed and sat down for the first time in hours.

“It's almost time for your break why don't you go upstairs and take a nap Anju?” asked her mother.

“No mother I'll go after the post arrives, besides, I don't want to look at it.” she said sadly.

“Darling you can't keep thinking of Him.” said her mother angrily, “He is a coward and not worth any of your tears my dear.”

“Don't say that about Him!” cried Anju, “I'm sure he had a good reason to disappear right before our wedding.” she defended.

“You'll waste your life away on that boy, no matter, they say the moon is falling, we'll be leaving in three days.” her mother scoffed.

“Three days? But what if He-”

“You will not be staying here to wait on Him! Do you understand? I wont let you die on His behalf.” Her mother stormed out of the room.

“Oh Kafei, where are you.” whispered Anju.

“Anju?” He asked nervously, “I love you Anju, to me you're more than my best friend. Will you- Will you marry me someday?” they had just been children back then, playing in the North part of town together every day. Singing songs or making up stories together and when carnival time came around they would watch the carpenters hurry to finish preparations or watch the entertainers prepare themselves. Life was so much simpler when they were children.

“Of course I'll marry you Kafei!” she had said with delight. “I can't think of anything I'd want to do mare.”

“Then I promise, I will marry you someday, we'll have a ceremony during your favorite time of the year too, carnival time!” he said jumping up excitedly. “I'll bring the sun's mask and you bring the moon mask and we'll be together forever!”

 

 

 

Anju woke from the memory. “Oh No! I fell asleep!” she said, “I hope the post hasn't come yet!” almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth a postman walked through the door. He handed her a letter that was obviously from Him.

“Where did you get this?” she asked excitedly.

“From a postbox.” the postman replied dully.

“That's not what I meant! From a postbox where?”

“From a postbox somewhere!” he answered as he handed her the letter and left the Inn.

Anju sighed. “That's not what I meant either.”

Anju opened the note,

 

Dear Anju,

I am so sorry that I disappeared suddenly. I hope I will be able to fix everything someday so I can come back to you. I love you with all my heart, but I am ashamed, I was not able to keep my promise to you. As soon as I am able to fulfill my promise I will come back. Soon I will find a way to send you proof that I am coming back to you. Please wait for me.

With all my love,

Kafei.

“so he's all right, thank goodness.” whispered Anju.

The little boy who was staying in the Knife Chamber had been listening to the entire conversation. He put on a mask that looked exactly like Kafei. Anju gasped, “Are you looking for Kafei too?” she asked. “I can't leave right now but could you meet me in the kitchen at 11:30?”

The child agreed to meet at 11:30 and then left the Inn. Anju quickly wrote a letter in response.

Dear Kafei,

I understand. Please take all the time you need, I will wait for you no matter how long it takes. I am relieved to know that you are alive and also to hear that you did not leave because of me. Please, whatever the promise was, forget it, all I want is you.

There is a strange boy who has promised to help us. He wears green clothes and is followed by a fairy, his name is Link. I trust him, please if he finds you let him speak with you.

With all my heart,

Anju.

“You received a letter from Him?” her mother was outraged. “How dare he try to contact you? After what he's done!”

Anju hid the letter she had just written in her apron pocket. “Don't be angry mother, I told you he left for a reason.” begged Anju.

“No reason is good enough for what he's done!” honestly disappearing as he did and just before your wedding!” she snorted. “Forget him Anju, you're just setting yourself up for heartbreak.”

The sting of tears hid behind Anju's eyes, “I- I'm going on my break now.” she managed to say. She rushed passed her mother and escaped just before the dam broke and tears flooded from her eyes. She didn't even care that her bride's dress was still set up in her room, she ran passed it and flung herself on her bed to cry.

The door creaked open and gentle hands touched Anju's back. “It's alright, Granny knows it hurts, Granny knows.” Anju fell asleep soon after.

She woke again just in time to serve dinner to the guests and clean up afterwards. Before she knew it, it was almost 11:30. She wondered if the little boy dressed in green would remember his promise. Sure enough he was already there when she entered the kitchen.

She gave him the letter she had written and he promised to deliver it by morning. “Thank you so much!” she bowed gratefully.

The boy left soon afterwards, not even sleeping in the room he had reserved. “What an odd little boy.” Anju wondered quietly before slipping off to bed.

The next day Anju could hardly hold her anticipation in. “He will return, he has to return. Kafei must have given him some sort of message or item for me. He has to come. He must.” She couldn't help but fidget. Finally, some time in the afternoon Link finally came back.

“Did you see Kafei? What did he say? Is he safe? Did he give you a letter for me?” she asked.

The boy pulled out a pendant that Anju instantly recognized. “I see.” she said, “I'll wait for him then.”

“That's it, we're leaving for Romani ranch tomorrow!” declared Anju's mother. “That moon is going to destroy the entire city!”

“Leaving? But!” exclaimed Anju.

“No protesting, Anju you are forbidden to stay here and get yourself killed waiting for that worthless man.”

“He's not worthless mother, and I will wait for him! He's coming back and I have proof!” Anju pulled the pendant out of her pocket. “There's nothing you can say or do for me to leave, I have faith that he will come for me.”

Anju's mother was silenced by her daughters defiance. Nothing more was said about it.

Granny smiled, “It'll be alright, it's not as if the moon hasn't tried falling before, Time keeps getting turned back before it succeeds though.” No one paid attention to the old woman. She was always saying outrageous things.

“What about Cremia? She's your best friend isn't she?” argued her mother. “What would she do without you? You are staying for nothing.”

“I have decided to wait for him and that is that.” said Anju calmly.

No argument her mother made would sway Anju. She rubbed the pendant of memories with her thumbs. “He will come back and I will wait for his return.” whispered Anju with determination.

 

The tension between Anju and her mother the next morning was so thick it could almost be cut through with a knife. Instead of working the front desk as usual Anju was sent upstairs to sweep the third class chambers. Most people had already left the town and no one was in the inn anymore. “Some carnival this turned out to be.” she mumbled.

The earth started to shake as the moon lurched forward. Anju dove to catch a vase that had fallen off the shelf. “That was close.” she sighed. She looked outside at the emerald sky and the angry moon that was dropping steadily closer. “I'm sorry mother, I really am. But I must wait for him, because I love him.”

 

“We're leaving now Anju. Last chance to come with us and save yourself.” offered her mother.

“No thank you mother. I will stay and wait for him.” Anju sat at the edge of her bed, holding the pendant in her hand. “I believe he is coming.”

The Earth shook again, she was all alone, the only person left in the entire town. She looked out the window, “It won't be long now.” she worried, “Don't doubt him Anju, he will come.” she told herself.

Link walked into the room and sat down on the bed across from Anju. He didn't say anything and neither did she. They waited for Kafei together. The door opened and someone else walked into the room, he was hiding under a Keaton Mask but something seemed so familiar about him to Anju. He took off his masked and Anju gasped. She leaned down to hug the familiar little boy. “I remember you.” she greeted.

He pulled away from her, “Anju, I'm sorry I'm late.” apologized Kafei.

Anju smiled, “Welcome home.” she greeted.

There, using the boy as a witness, the two finally became one, Anju and Kafei, Kafei and Anju. They presented the ceremonial mask to their witness, finalizing their marriage.

Anju looked at the boy, “You should go find shelter. No matter what happens, we will greet the morning together.”

And they did.

 

 

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