Chapter Four


Newspapers everywhere were asking for interviews, but it all seemed to be the same information. Some painted this man as a killer, others a masked stranger, and there was even a psychological journal labeling him as a psychopath who may have escaped from a facility. Either way, the matter was over and done with. Gepetto was sick of interviews, and he just wanted to stick around in Florence a while longer with his friends.

"How did you find me?" Cornelia asked. Anastasia explained everything when they sat around Lucia's table with coffee and cookies.

"So, you knew him this whole time?" Cornelia said.

"Yes, but I was afraid to say anything. I didn't want to sound like some gossip girl," the princess replied. Cornelia looked down at her clothes and her now closed wound on her left wrist.

"I think…I think I need some new clothes," she sighed.

"Cornelia!" Gepetto exclaimed. "We can do that tonight if you would like!"

"Okay!" She seemed very delighted to hear that news, but there was an indescribable melancholy about her.

After coffee and cookies, Cornelia looked at her doll's extensive clothes selection. Gepetto explained that a few friends made them for him, but they weren't around as of late.

"I really like this one," she gestured to the fire dancer that was on the doll already. He knew there might not be something similar in a shop, but they could have a look around. They had plenty of money to work with after the adventure. They had split the money evenly, but that still left them with a lot for the world they lived in now.

They searched a few small shops, but Cornelia didn't seem satisfied with most of the clothes made in Italy.

"Maybe this one?" Anastasia asked, holding up multiple dresses, but she shook her head at each one.

"This?" Lucia suggested, but again Cornelia shook her head. "More simple."

"What about this?" Karin said, holding up a peach colored dress with a halter-top. Cornelia nodded, trying on the dress. It fit her perfectly.

"Well, aren't you being modest today?" Gepetto said, purchasing the dress at first sight. Anastasia tied the blue ribbon Cornelia had given her into the girl's hair. Now it was a simple, single ponytail.

Cornelia smiled, walking outside with her new dress into the warm summer night. Her and Gepetto went for a walk before returning to Lucia's.

"It was a nightmare in there," Cornelia said. "I never thought doll making could be so horrifying."

"Cornelia, it really isn't like that at all," Gepetto said. "We don't use real people to make dolls."

"I know, it's just…the things he must have done. Two girls died. I was in the same house with two dead girls and didn't even know it! He was tying strings around my wrist! Like, I was his real doll!" she exclaimed. "I just…I can't get over it yet."

"It's all right now. We found you, and you're alive," Gepetto said, tears in his eyes. "You were gone for a long time, you know that?"

"I know," she replied. "It's strange, I felt like I was asleep for the longest time. I couldn't find you either, so I went looking for you."

She went quiet, sighing as she looked up at the night sky, a tear escaping her eye.

"Do not cry Cornelia. I cannot bear to see you sad," Gepetto said.

"But, you're crying too," she said.

"I know…I know," he said, pulling her into a hug. "Someday, I will tell you about my adventures, and how we all came to know each other."

"I hope you do, I feel like I missed a lot," Cornelia said. "And then I can tell you what I've been doing all this time."

"I'd like that." Gepetto and Cornelia walked the streets some more before they walked back inside. Karin was asleep on the couch with Blanca, Lucia had fallen asleep in her room upstairs, and Anastasia was asleep in a large chair.

"Kurando," Gepetto greeted.

"Evening. You can have the guest room," he said. "I'm not going to sleep much tonight."

"All right, if you're certain. Try and sleep at least a little. Good night."

He took Cornelia with him into the guest room where he hung up his hat. Cornelia took off her shoes and lay down in the bed.

"I'm very tired, Papa," she said.

"I know. I am too. It's been a long day, hasn't it?" he said, lying next to her. She yawned, closing her eyes and positioning her left arm underneath her head. Gepetto remained on his back.

It didn't take long for her to fall asleep, and he knew she had once her head tilted to its side, brushing against his white sideburns. He was hesitant to wrap an arm around her. He didn't want to disturb her.

"Cornelia," he said, looking outside to the stars. "Thank you Yuri…you've helped me find my daughter again."