Christopher sits facing a girl with dusty hair dressed in a smudged dress, wearing one glass slipper.
Christopher: Well…you look better than you did the time before last when I saw you.
Cinders: Meaning I look worse than the last time you saw me? Thanks. The spell only lasted until midnight. Guess the Cauldron caught me during the time when my fairy godmother’s enchantment was still active.
Christopher: You have a fairy godmother?
Cinders: I’m not entirely sure. She claimed to be, but she sounded entirely too amused at the idea.
Christopher: When was this?
Cinders: When I caught her in the kitchen. At first I thought she was a thief, and in a way she was. She stole my mistress’s glass slippers, her pumpkin, and me.
Cinders: Well, actually she turned my mistress’s pumpkin into a coach which she used to drive me to the ball in, transforming herself into a footman. Or a coachman. She was actually both…right before she gave me a magical make-over.
Christopher: All right, let’s see if I understand this. Your fairy godmother was also your coachman and your footman. At least she was for the night of the ball. She drove you in a coach which was actaully a pumpkin…and she cleaned you up, using magic?
Cinders: Exactly! She did all of this so I could go to the ball and dance.
Christopher: It sounds like your fairy godmother was going out of her way to be nice to you, even if she was a bit liberal with other people’s possessions.
Cinders: She was! And the ball was beyond nice. It was wonderful, magical…confusing. It was everything I could want and nothing I wanted.
Christopher: How so?
Cinders: I thought I’d be seeing my mistress at the ball but it was only briefly. Instead I danced with a prince who was pure charm and enough like my mistress to make me swoon, but he’s the prince. The man my Lady Ariella has nothing but contempt for. She would be beyond hurt if she knew I was dancing with him…and enjoyed dancing with him. There’s a lot of shame mixed in with my confusion.
Christopher: I wonder what your fairy godmother was trying to accomplish, sending you to the ball.
Cinders: I think it was some kind of trick. A trick meant to teach me a lesson but a trick nonetheless. I’m not sure if it was meant for me or someone else.
Christopher: Who do you think it was intended for?
Cinders: The prince? The ghost horses pulling my enchanted coach were once his. My fairy godmother said as much driving me to the ball.
Christopher: You were driven by ghost horses. That sounds like a cruel trick on the horses, harnessed beyond death.
Cinders: I think the drive was meant to free them. I’m not sure if my fairy godmother was ever cruel, just filled with a mischievous glee. Like she was getting a real kick out playing my coachman and my footman as if those roles were some splendid joke she wasn’t sharing. I wonder…
Christopher: Wonder what?
Cinders: If not only the role of my fairy godmother, but my entire night at the ball was part of the same trick.
Christopher: Just what do you think this trick is?
Cinders: I don’t know. I have a feeling I’m about to find out. Only I don’t think there was any ill-will directed at me even if I was being tricked.
Christopher: Because you had a magical, confusing night?
Cinders: Yes…I got to dress up, go to a ball, experience something magical, yes. Overall it was magical in a good way even if it wasn’t what I wanted. I wonder if this night wasn’t meant to show me that.
Christopher: What do you mean?
Cinders: I’ve never gone to a ball, danced with a handsome man like the prince before. I never wanted to, but what if my fairy godmother thought I did? Or that I should try it before devoting myself heart and soul to my mistress?
Christopher: You are devoted heart and soul to your mistress, aren’t you?
Cinders: Completely! Only I’m not sure if my fairy godmother knew this. What if I had to experience this night in order to convince her that I am devoted to my mistress? If I did convince her. Perhaps this night was more for her peace of mind than for me.
Christopher: Perhaps. Do you regret going to the ball?
Cinders: No, but if I ever go again, I want to go with the Lady Ariella. I want to dance with her, not some mysterious prince, no matter how charming he might be.
Christopher: It sounds like your fairy godmother needed to be convinced you were true to your mistress.
Cinders: I feel like I’m being punished for being untrue. I think my fairy godmother made me faint when I was searching for my mistress’s glass slippers. She thought they were the perfect fit for me, but they belong to my mistress. The moments when I slip them onto her feet are as magical as anything at the ball…and I went and lost one!
Christopher: I’m sorry.
Cinders: So am I. I wasn’t going to leave without the missing glass slipper, but I passed out. When I came to, I was in my mistress’s pumpkin patch, missing a slipper, the smashed pumpkin which was my coach sticking to my bare foot.
Christopher: I see why you think this was a trick.
Cinders: Yes, it does seem like a prank, doesn’t it? My mistress found me in that state. I’ve never been so ashamed.
Christopher: Was she upset?
Cinders: No, she seemed more amused than anything. (She frowns.)
Christopher: Amusement sounds better than anger.
Cinders: I’m not sure if it is. Anyway I’m finding that other slipper even if I have search the entire palace staircase from top to bottom.
Christopher: Good luck finding it.
Cinders: Thank you.