Light tapping echoes around the piano room.
A woman in a white robe walks down the last few steps of stairs and enters the empty room.
She walks up to the now 20 meter tall tree and peers up at it from behind her simplistic, white mask.
The Masked Lady has always watched over her silent companion, Deemo.
She listened to him play his wonderful music, and, as the days passed, became aware of his loneliness.
She did what she could to try to make Deemo happy, but he was inconsolable.
It was understandable.
Everyone feels lonely every once in a while.
But, she was here, why is Deemo still lonely?
One day, she hears a new, unfamiliar voice and two sets of footsteps coming up to the library.
She stirs from her nap and watches as Deemo comes in with a brown-haired girl.
Where had she come from?
“Hi!” the little girl greets cheerfully.
The Masked Lady nods slightly in greeting, watching the girl carefully behind her mask before turning her gaze to Deemo.
The pianist seems…happier.
He may not be very expressive, but the Masked Lady has shared this castle with him long enough to know.
She doesn’t need any expressions or words to understand Deemo.
As the days go by, the Masked Lady watches as Deemo grows closer and closer to this girl.
Why does he seem to prefer this girl over her?
Why can this girl heal his heart whereas the Masked Lady has failed?
Why is Deemo trying so hard for this girl?
The Masked Lady doesn’t get it…
The Masked Lady continues to gaze up at the large tree before her, thinking to herself as she listens to the quiet ticking from the pocket watch dangling from her neck.
“It truly has…grown quite tall…hasn’t it?” she murmurs to herself.
Despite this fact, the tree isn't quite tall enough for the little girl to reach the skylight to return home.
If she had tried to climb, and she fell...well then, that won't be pleasant, now, would it?
The little girl was disappointed of course, after all she did wish to go home, but she happily announced she'd stay with Deemo.
The saddened atmosphere around Deemo lifted the moment the declaration was made, or so the Masked Lady could sense.
The two have once more been spending time together and their inseparable bond has returned, but far stronger than one can imagine.
A small leaf comes loose from its branch and slowly falls towards the Masked Lady.
She watches it fall and catches it in the palm of her hand.
“I wonder…” she says softly, examining the leaf resting on her palm.
The pocket watch around her neck ticks away softly as the Masked Lady looks back up at the tree, her expression hidden behind her mask.
“Perhaps, now is the time,” she declares quietly and crushes the leaf in her hand, “I put…it…into motion…”
She opens her palm and lets the leaf’s remains flutter to the floor…
TO BE CONTINUED…