The Monsters Chapter 6
By Serena Elisa
Truce Village - 1000 A.D.
Are you well, Lucca? Youre acting so strange...Please let me go, dear, I have so many things to do...Oh, your father has closed himself in the study again...but Im not hearing strange noises and Im a bit worried. However, tell him that Im expecting to go to the Fair, this evening, and I want to dance! I wont see him slumped somewhere like a sack of potatoes with a mug in his hand!
Ill tell him, mum.
Lucca looked again at her mother -standing and walking- not entirely believing her eyes. She quickly wiped away a tear and went to meet Taban, her father. He had a letter in his hands and seemed embarrassed that Lucca had seen it. She immediately understood what was happening.
Grandmother she said, coldly.
Shes well. And grandfather is, too.
Why are they writing, then?
Because they love us, Lucca. Is it so strange?
They have left not to return...Ive never met them...
Yes, when I was born! I cant even remember them! Tell me, dad, please Did they run away because of me?
Taban sighed unhappily.
There are many things you dont know and that I cant explain you...not yet. Someday you will understand. Please dont judge my parents. They were forced to leave...This doesnt mean they didnt care. They did stay with me until I was independent, until I created my family...
Luccas voice was full of repressed anger.
All right. So they were forced, its not their fault. But they continue to write us and this makes you sad. I cant stand it!
Not sad...just nostalgic.
Lucca turned and went toward the door. She stopped.
Where are they, anyway?
I dont know.
Are you writing them back?
Of course. Can I say you greet them?
She shrugged, without looking at him, and left.
He sighed, picked a pen and sheet of paper and thought intensely. The messenger bird was waiting outside the window.
Dear mother and father,
Everybodys well here. Im glad to hear youre fine too, and that my little sister is learning to read. I hope she will soon write me by herself. I saw Megara last month, and she stayed with us for two weeks.
Megara was his other sister, a girl the same age of his daughter. Lucca believed that girl to be her cousin.
Taban shook his head, feeling unhappy and a bit guilty for having to hide so much from Lucca. Well, the day would come
Lara is always...
He had to stop again, disturbed by a sudden thought evoked by his wifes name. A dream about a machine he had actually built a long time ago and which had nearly caused a tragedy...He shook his head to dispel that unpleasant memory and resumed the letter.
...is always impatient with me, saying I dont bring her out often enough. Shes never tired. I really dont know how she can find so much energy...
Ozzies Fort - 600 A.D.
Auree turned and saw a Diablo addressing her an imperious gesture.
The monster grabbed her arm.
Yes, Im coming! Let me put down this stuff...Im ready!
She followed the Diablo, too confused and curious to worry about what could happen. No Mystic had ever shown to notice her existence before, except to assign her a work and check the result.
She was led in a corridor where eight other girls were waiting. Auree realised immediately that nobody knew the purpose of the meeting, and exchanged slightly worried glances with the other slaves. She was growing nervous.
So, she was startled and almost jumped in the air when a door opened in front of her and Flea the Magician appeared, smiling.
Auree had never been so close to him, and it was really an impressive view. And a unique olfactory experience as well. He was surrounded by a cloud of perfume so intense that Auree, not accustomed to expensive essences, felt a bit light-headed...and weak-kneed, for other reasons.
But he was speaking.
Well, girls...to put it bluntly, I have gathered you here because I need a new chambermaid.
He paused, looking around at the nine faces. He had painstakingly chosen the best fine-looking women among the slaves; the task had taken him more than a week and that silly Gorgl had not refrained to comment on the decision, in a very stupid way.
I want to see beauty around me, is it so strange? Flea had told the laughing Hench. And, after having seen the unpleasant places in which those girls had to consume their existence, he had declared also that he had to give beauty a chance to emerge from the ugliness of slavery.
Then he had given up the hope of making Gorgl understand.
And perhaps the only truth was -but he was only dimly aware of this- that he wanted to give a chance to a certain girl who had enticed him with her strange behaviour and her sad eyes.
Auree had noticed that beautiful women surrounded her, all better looking than she was...or so she believed. And surely a lot younger than she was. Not that she had paid any attention to other slaves after Flea had entered the corridor.
He was wearing a yellow-orange shirt and long trousers of the same colour, and a white large cloak with purple streaks along the hem. His deep-red hair was tied up in a long braid that swung with each movement of his head. Aurees attention was caught by his bodice, that kind of shirt that leaves its owners arm and shoulders completely naked. Her thoughts wandered. Those things looked genuine, but...
"It can't be...it must be padded or something..."
Then she forced herself to look elsewhere and the delicate beauty of Fleas face enchanted her. The most fascinating thing was that the face -in some inexplicable way- seemed incongruous, contradictory. From the neck downward, Fleas body looked entirely feminine, but there was something masculine in his expression, in his eyes, and the global picture was disturbing.
Auree gathered herself enough to remember that she shouldnt stare, and dutifully lowered her gaze. She had already lost part of Fleas speech.
...And it will be a heavy, demanding job...because, unlike other inhabitants of this castle, I like cleanliness, tidiness...Ive heard that some of you had already worked as chambermaid at some rich ladys place, so you know what Im talking about
Five girls were shifting their gaze and shuffling their feet on the floor at the point about the heavy job. Auree disapproved of them. She would have paid to have the opportunity to work for him...
Well, I hope you understand that this is a delicate task and I wont press it on anyone against her will. Im asking for a volunteer.
...No, she wouldnt. It was impossible. Definitely. She hadnt the nerve...she wasnt even able to sustain his gaze.
Just two of the remaining four girls had raised a hand. Flea turned and moved a step toward them. The farthest one withdrew. Flea sighed and examined the last one: a blushing girl that wasnt looking at him and seemed scared to death.
His plan had worked. It was she.
The Mystic quickly scanned the servant. She looked better than he remembered.
You? Your name, dear? he asked, in an encouraging tone.
She bobbed a curtsey.
Auree, sir, she answered, really hoping that sir was the right title, Im working in the kitchen, sir.
She wasnt entirely aware of how she had put herself in such a mess. She didnt even remember to have raised her hand. Too bad the floor wasnt going to split open and swallow her...
You can refuse, you know. Even now...nothing bad will happen, he whispered, only for her ears.
That intimate tone, like they were already old friends, was really strange, and confused her further. Auree dared to lift her eyes although she could distinctly feel her face grow hot. Flea was fractionally taller than she. He smiled, a marvellous, friendly, warm smile. That, and his gentle voice, conquered her.
No, sir. I accept sir.
Her voice sounded a bit squeaky.
All right. Thank you, girls. You may all return to your work and you, Auree, will instead gather your belongings from the dormitory and come to my apartments. I will assign you another room, near mine.
He gestured one of the Diablos that were waiting in the corridor, surrounding the nine slaves.
You, accompany her. See you later, Auree.
The monster looked at Auree with scarce sympathy.
Flea retired, and so did almost everyone. Only another girl remained and stopped Auree, speaking in an urgent tone.
What kind of initiative is this? What do you think you are doing?
Im trying to enhance my position. Im fed up with washing dishes, she answered bluntly, annoyed from the other womans angry behaviour.
In that way? My girl, really cant you imagine what does he need a chambermaid for? Havent you heard about that Yulanna?
Auree gave the woman a hard stare.
Werent you always saying that usually men like him arent interested in women?
Usually! But...who knows? He isnt even human, after all!
So, if you dont know, you shouldnt criticise people!
Auree walked away quicky, followed by the Diablo.
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