The Monsters Chapter 4
By Serena Elisa
Ozzies Fort - 600 A.D.
What a wonderful hair you have, mum! Can I do mine like this?
Of course, my love...sit here. Ill comb your hair...
The blonde, slim Mystic woman rose from the stool and the child took her place.
She began brushing the childs red hair, but soon her son became uneasy on the stool. He started giggling and moved backward to rest his head on his mothers soft bosom.
Flea, stand still! she protested, but it was no use.
She hugged and squeezed him, making the small one scream with happy terror.
Flea sighed, filling another glass with ruby-red liquor, and looking at the musicians with empty eyes.
Usually he could manage his melancholy moments with ease: his studies and researching about magic were absorbing enough to keep his mind too busy for brooding. But not this time, because the thought of magic was too tightly related to sad memories. It had been useful, in other occasions, to read other kinds of books: novels, poetry, something with no connection at all with daily life. But this hadnt worked either; he wasnt able to concentrate enough to read.
Music was the last resort. It had always relaxed and comforted him.
Not this time. He looked down into his glass and saw his mother again...
No mumbling, Flea, Ive asked you to fetch those herbs two days ago! Now, go!
But the womans stern expression soon relaxed seeing the ten-years-old Flea picking the basket and walking toward the door in a sad silence. She smiled.
Wait, she called, and went to adjust her sons cloak.
Dont go too far.
You remember where the herbs patch is, right? You...
She gently stroked his cheek.
Theres a good...boy, she murmured.
She was a lucky mother. Her Flea was respectful, affectionate...there was just that little...weirdness. But who hasnt any weirdness?
Ill be back soon, mum, he announced brightly, standing in the doorway with the basket in his hands.
She smiled again -a warm smile so similar to his own- and waved a hand.
The last time he had ever seen her.
Flea couldnt distinguish his reflection anymore on the surface of his drink. He hurriedly wiped the tears away from his eyes and drank the liquor -a bit too quickly, it made him cough.
Had his mother been really so serene while saying him goodbye? Hadnt she been slightly worried? Was she sending her son far from the house on purpose?
He had asked himself those questions so many times. He would never know.
He was about to dismiss the musicians when the door slammed open and a big Hench entered the parlour. Gorgl, of course. He bowed, pretending to be formal because of the other people looking at him. He wasnt very convincing.
What? Flea sighed.
Sorry to interrupt your...uhm...fun, but...
He was staring at the -now silent- orchestra as if they were a group of alien life forms. Eating a lot, drinking a lot, dancing, entertaining women...that was what he could call fun.
No! The girl...she was following you around again, so I arrested her.
The Magician looked thoughtfully at his bodyguard.
Ive been here all the afternoon. How could she have followed me around?
This morning, sir! When you went to train with Sir Ozzie, and...
And youve waited nearly six hours before telling me!
You wanted to stay alone, so I...and I thought...
...that staying in that cell for some hours would teach her.
Would teach her what?
Gorgl shifted his feet on the floor. He had entered his masters rooms so enthusiastically and now he had lost the initiative. If only there hadnt been those stupid musicians, staring and listening...
Not to follow people, sir?
Flea thanked the orchestra and finally dismissed everybody. The Hench was about to draw a loud sigh of relief, but saw the Magicians impatient stare and thought better of it.
Sure shes the same girl?
You saw her the other time!
Yeah...but humans...they all look alike!
The Hench ignored Fleas burning glance and smiled.
Should I execute her, sir? he asked helpfully.
My god, no! Why should you?
The Hench looked confused.
For...you know...following you?
You have not harmed her, have you?
Good. Lets see her!
A complex system of mirrors allowed the guards to look into cells without being seen.
She hasnt moved, the Hench whispered.
Auree was sitting on the small couch, leaning against the wall.
But...thats her! Flea exclaimed after a quick glance into the mirror.
Thats her, yeah... Gorgl stolidly repeated.
I mean, its the girl with the tray...you remember? About a month ago...she accidentally hit Slash during a banquet...
The Hench looked blank, as if his master were speaking another language. Flea gave up.
You were too drunk, I suppose. Im sure its the same girl
Gorgl grew more and more restless while the Mystic Magician intently observed the prisoner inside, with a frown on his pretty face.
The human slave was hugging her knees, her stare lost somewhere. Like a disheartened, sad little animal in a cage.
Flea murmured something the Hench didnt understand.
What did you say, sir? he asked.
His master didnt answer. That pathetic girl looked utterly desperate...but not, he noticed, filled with those angry feelings of someone who had suffered a major offence. Hers was that quiet, silent despair which comes from a whole life of unhappiness, daily defeats and small humiliations.
Flea didnt liked humans, but...he didnt hate them either. So he really felt pity for the girl.
I said...shes the saddest thing Ive ever seen Flea repeated in a louder tone, Why was she following me? Did she explained something?
You havent asked her, have you? the Magician sighed.
Uhm...no... the Hench admitted, looking away.
Perhaps I should ask her by myself
Gorgl gaped, shocked.
You mean to...enter there, sir? With her?
What do you fear? That she could hit me with the pillow? That she could rape me? I could have lost that little battle at Magus Castle, but Im still able to face a slave!
Gorgl searched his slow mind for something right to say, but he could find nothing and took the wise decision to shut up.
But Flea didnt move.
No, it would be no use going there, he sighed, studying the mirror again, Shes plainly terrified. She wouldnt speak. Well, Gorgl, let her go.
Uh...let her go?!
Yes! She hasnt done a thing! But...watch over her. Right? Can you remember her face now?
"I surely will," Flea thought, leaving the prison area.
While walking slowly on the way back to his chambers, he remembered another episode of his youth. A funny one.
He had been in the orphanage for six months...no fun in that. But a day he had overheard a conversation between two of his teachers, a discussion about him...
That young magician, one had been saying, He...disturbs me. Its rather difficult to believe hes a boy, isnt it?
Thats what he says, the other one, an old female Mystic, had answered, Better not contradict him...or her. That young one has been through a very traumatic experience...
Flea had then perceived a tinge of bewilderment in the first ones voice.
You mean...nobody has actually checked that pupil real sex?
The old woman sighed.
Do you remember Skliphew?
The former doctors aid? The one who broke both his arms in that strange accident...oh! Are you saying...?
There had been a shocked silence, and the young Flea had had to put a hand over his mouth not to laugh loudly. He disliked violence -it was so vulgar- but sometimes there is no alternative.
"What would you do if a lecherous old man tried to rip your underpants off, eh? Send me a pretty female nurse and perhaps I'll show her my little secret!"
Oh...hes dangerous! the first teacher had continued, I dont think this is the right place for him. We should...send that...person to the female school.
"YES!" Flea had yelled merrily in his mind. Just some months before, the idea of living among girls would have been a very depressing one, but now the thought had a new, exciting flavour.
You must be joking! the other teacher had protested, What if hes actually a boy?
Flea had heard the first one clear his throat before speaking, a bit reluctantly.
Well...a boy like him...shouldnt be a problem for girls.
"They think that...they think THAT?!"
At that point, the young Mystic hadnt been able to stay quiet anymore. He had run away, far from the teachers room and, reaching one of the large classrooms, had burst into laughter. Some of his schoolmates had glanced at him nervously, but none had spoken, knowing Flea was a bit mad.
Returning to the present, in front of his own door, Flea found himself actually laughing.
Too bad Ozzie had come to take him away...he would have enjoyed the female school.
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