Leading the way into the gardens the two women proceeded to walk and talk. They talked about the flowers and the stars; both surprised at the other's knowledge. As they walked neither one was aware that they had gravitated closer together and their hands had gently clasped, fingers interlacing.
They walked for a full hour until they came to a stop in one of the gardens towards the front of the palace. From here they could hear the gentle music being carried on the light breeze.
"Dance with me?" asked the Princess, a small, shy smile on her face.
Tara's answer was to move into Willow's embrace and gently lay her head on the Princess's shoulder. Slowly the two swayed to the music, a feeling of contentment and peace washing over them. They stayed like this until the stroke of a clock broke the trance-like state into which Tara had fallen. Realising that it was twelve, she broke away from the embrace and with an apologetic look on her face proceeded to make her exit. The Princess followed, but the minute of shock at no longer having the blonde in her arms slowed her to the point where she could not catch her. All that was left was a glass slipper, which the Princess picked up almost reverently as tears began to cloud her vision.
Tara was nearly home when the last stroke of twelve rung out. The coach, footmen and even her gown disappeared leaving her standing barefoot in her rags. Running the rest of the way home, Tara couldn't stop the tears from falling. When she arrived she found that the one glass slipper remained. She hurried to tidy herself up as best she could and place the slipper safely away before her sisters should arrive home.
No sooner had she sat down, then the door opened and her sisters voices rang out clear through the house.
"Tara, come help us undress and let us tell you about the wonderful time we had tonight!" This was said for the sisters could not resist the chance to rub salt into what they thought to be a gaping wound.
Following them upstairs she started to unplait their hair and unlace their bodices, remembering to sound suitably impressed as to the people whom they had met. Only when talk turned to the Princess did Tara's interest become true. They told her of a beautiful stranger that had arrived at the ball and that it would seem the Princess had become infatuated with her. The stranger had disappeared at midnight leaving behind a glass slipper and a broken hearted Princess. They believed that she would make every effort to find the beautiful creature to whom it belonged as she was undoubtedly deeply in love. When asked as to how they knew this, the sisters merely said that they knew because as they were leaving the palace the Princess could be seen gazing fondly at the slipper.
Probably for the first time in their lives they told the truth. For but a few days later, the King's daughter had it proclaimed by sound of trumpet that the woman whose foot the slipper fitted exactly would be the one she chose to spend her life with.
At first they tried it on all the Princesses of the court, then the Duchesses, the Marchionesses and so on, until they decided it was time to take the search to those who were known to be present at the ball.
The Prime Minister, who carried the glass slipper on a velvet cushion, was kept very busy. It was not long before it was the turn of Tara's sisters.
After getting over their initial shock at having the Princess and Prime Minister Giles standing on their doorstep, they did all they could to squeeze a foot into the slipper, but to no avail.
"Are there any other maidens in this household?" questioned the Prime Minister.
Looking quickly towards the kitchen door and then back, the two sisters jointly stated a resounding "NO" for it was their belief that Tara was nothing but a low life and therefore could not possibly be the owner of the slipper.
Unfortunately for them, the Princess was extremely observant and having seen their looks at the door, proceeded to make her way towards it.
Opening the door almost silently, Willow was once again struck with a bout of uncertainty. Sitting on a small chair by the chimney, was a blonde girl, darning some stockings and humming a tune to herself.
Upon hearing a creak from the door Tara looked up and was immediately captured by eyes as green as emeralds. The Princess made her way into the kitchen, closely followed by the Prime Minister and then Tara's sisters.
"Tara's merely a maid!" spurted Anya as she entered the room.
"The proclamation stated that everyone should try on the slipper," said Giles as he knelt before Tara and placed the slipper upon her foot. A collective gasp was heard as the slipper went easily on and fitted perfectly.
Smiling shyly up at the Princess, Tara reached under her chair, and from her sewing basket pulled out the other slipper and placed it upon her foot.
By this point both Hallie and Anya had fainted, but neither Willow nor Tara noticed so lost where they in each other eyes. Unnoticed too was the fact that Tara's rags had disappeared and had been replaced with a gown even more splendid then the one she had worn to the ball.
Slowly coming round, the Princess asked a question that she had wanted to ask since the first moment she had seen the blonde.
"Tara. Would you be mine?"
Tara responded the only way her heart would let her. "Yes," she whispered as her arms wrapped around the Princess' waist and their lips joined for what would be the first of many times.
Two weeks later another ball was held. This one in honour of Prince Riley with his new wife Princess Buffy and Princess Willow and her, as the Princess herself proclaimed it, Everything, the Princess Tara.
And now the tale is over, true love has been shown to have no boundaries and Willow and Tara, the heroines of this story lived Happily. Ever. After.