The King seemed to roll his eyes. He had probably heard Lylyu say this a dozen times, and yet it never seemed to get old for the younger men on the Jury.
'Glad somebody besides myself is enjoying this,' thought Lylyu sarcasticly.
"Proceed." The King declared.
Lylyu took that time to gather her thoughts. "It was a cold morning, and I had just gotten back from doing my chores at the orphanage, when I heard a gruff voice in the office. I listened closer and heard a man offer a decent amount of money for something unspoken, but I judged by the way that they were talking about it that it was me, and I guessed right, since I am the only girl of the orphanage who is of age," Lylyu added. "So when he came out, and I saw what a hideous, greedy pig he was, I took his sword. I never had an intention of using it, of course. But he chased after me, cursing like a sailor." Lylyu smirked. "Shall I repeat what he said?"
The King almost smiled. "No, continue."
"Well, I think you would have found the words very useful, as I know I did. Anyway, he chased me around the streets and I decided that I wouldn't just run around and let him have the advantage. I swear, the only damage done was a new style of facial hair, as well as a missing sword. But as you can see, he was assaulting me first. I only responded," Lylyu finished the story with a curtesy.
The Jury seemed to be enjoying the show a lot more than Lylyu had thought they would've. The one with the black hair seemed to smile a lot. It was very flustering.
"What would the punishment be on regular circumstances?" Asked the King.
The chamberlain cleared his throat. "Most often a woman assaulting a man with his stolen sword is punished by a jail sentence of two months, but along with the public show I believe that the equivalent would be six months."
Lylyu hated the chamberlain even more. The King sat, pondering the consequences of the trail and most likely wondering when he could get a newer, comfier throne. Lylyu didn't blame him.
"The punishment will be taken. Any apposed?"
The Jury was silent, but the man with the green eyes continued to study her, which made Lylyu suddenly become very interested in the ceiling. She did not beg for mercy, she never did. She just stood, her head slightly inclined, face having no resemblance to worry or regret.
"I appose," said a voice from the Jury.
Surprised, Lylyu looked over at the man who had spoken, who had, in fact, been the man who had been so interested in her before.
The King looked taken aback. "And why might this be?"
"I do not mean to disgrace you, My Lord, but I believe that this girl has not seemed to change no matter how many times you might have tried to put her right. I think that instead she should be enlisted to do something more challenging than siting in a dungeon for a couple of months plotting her next big act."
"And what might you be proposing?"
The man paused. "I need help on my estate. There are many chores and only a few hands to help. Might you be willing to let the girl become a servant to me?"
The King looked delighted, in some cruel way. Lylyu stopped thinking that the slightly attractive man was trying to help her, and gave up her fake hopes for ever getting lost at sea.
Lylyu was not surprised when the King agreed, or when she was taken to a women's quarter to be washed, or when through it all her hands stayed either behind her back or in someone else's. What surprised her was at the end she was taken straight to a wagon. The wagon wasn't the fanciest she'd seen, but it was much better than the ones back at her hometown.
It had white cloth draping it, blue embroidery and patterns, oak wheels and base, and lovely black stallions pulling it. Just before she could ask why she would be riding in this, the man came out and onto the Palace steps.
"Hello there, mr. Master," Lylyu greeted with a mock curtesy. "Glad to be in your service."
The man nodded. "I'm glad to hear that,"
Lylyu was astonished that he hadn't even acknowledged her mockery. So she went on doing the best she could to make it harder for him. She entered the wagon without his permission, she sat without his permission, and watched the other servants wait. The man only replied with a grin. Not a grimace, not a wince, a grin. As if he was enjoying this.
Lylyu sighed, frustrated. What was it that made him so hard to annoy?
Her new master entered the wagon, without any escorts. It was just Lylyu and him. Lylyu nervously scooted back, and pressed herself against a corner.
The man sighed. "Did you know that if I hadn't gotten you out of there the Jury was supposing that the King would have some poison 'acidentally' dropped into your food? For good glory why are you trying to make this man mad?"
Lylyu pretended to be thinking. "Well, I think it's quite funny when the King's face gets as red as his coat, it brings out his eyes."
The man actually laughed. It was a clear laugh that made Lylyu a little weak. She hated it. Why was she acting like this? Make him embarrassed already!
"Sir-" she started.
"Call me William," he inturrupted.
Lylyu rolled her eyes. "Sir Call me William, why would you save a person in a lower class than yourself? You might think that you are helping, but I do no think you know what you are doing."
"And what am I doing?"
"Hiring a burden."
Chapter Two - the Burden Begins
Master William had been away at court for an hour, and already Lylyu saw what his absence would mean. The other servants, about ten of them, seemed to think that Lylyu was here because they were not good enough. They also thought that the Master was favoring her. Wether that was true or not, Lylyu didn't know, but what she did find out was that when you make your fellow servants angry, bad things will come your way.
That morning Lylyu was assigned to do all of the harder and dirtier chores, while the others scrubbed dishes and sweeped floors. Muck out the stalls, gather a barrel full of water, do it again, scrub those floors until they shine! Lylyu was sick and tired of the head servant's nosily voice, and was about ready to strangle him herself, when a younger girl trotted up next to Lylyu as she was starting to wash the Master's clothes.
"I know what you're thinking, and one of us has tried it before. I wouldn't."
Lylyu grimaced. "What do you mean?"
"Last year a girl my age, fourteen, locked him out of the house, and threatened him lots. She got beaten until she was lame and mute. No longer does she talk, not to anyone. He always gets what he wants."
Lylyu had heard something like this before, when she was a servant for a nobleman in the east. Beatings were never scarce when you had the hard life. But Master William letting this happen? Lylyu was almost surprised, though she knew that she did not know the man enough.
"What's his name?" Asked Lylyu.
"The head of the servants? Richard."
Lylyu nodded. "Thanks. My name's Lylyu, what's yours?"
The girl smiled. "Lily,"
"Nice to be here with you, Lily. I hope your life turns out better than mine is," that made Lily smile.
"I'm sure we can tell each other our stories later, but I have to get going. Richard needs me to 'scrub those horses until I can see them from the moon!'"
Laughing, Lylyu returned to work. She was deep in thought for a while and hadn't noticed when her Master had snuck up in front of her. Finally, she looked up, and was met by the ginning face of Master William.
"Seems like you have made some friends already,"
Lylyu grunted. "Along with a handful of enemies,"
William frowned. "Are you not used to making so many enemies? Or are you usually so popular because of your friends?"
Lylyu looked back to her work. "Both, I guess. It depends on what situation I'm in. Usually when I am a slave I get one or two people I can trust, and a barnful I would rather have killed."
William looked taken aback. "Would you kill me?"
Lylyu thought about that. "I'm not sure. I would if it would accomplish something for me, but if it didn't I wouldn't,"
"That's a relief. Walk with me," the Master almost ordered.
"But my chores?"
"I will have another finish them."
Lylyu did not like that at all. She didn't need another reason for the other servants to hate her.
"I think I can finish them quickly, and then come help, if you wouldn't mind."
William turned back around to face her. "You are stubborn. Very well,"
Relief rushed through Lylyu as she returned back to the washing bin.
William looked out over the grassy hills of his backyard, where horses were being walked. Lylyu saw that the horses and her had something in common: they both wanted to roam and play, but they were always tied down when they were allowed to see their dreams.
"What is it you would like to talk about?" Lylyu asked, breaking the silence.
William shrugged, and responded simply, "I have an idea and I'm not sure if it would work."
"So you're going to ask your newest servant. How kind," Lylyu snapped, but felt bad for doing so.
William kept a straight face. "Well, it involves you, so I guess I thought it would be nice if I had asked you about your opinion."
"How considerate," Lylyu grunted.
William nodded. "But I don't think that we can speak of it unless we are sure that we are at a mutual agreement."
"And what is that?"
"That you can stay quiet while I explain it all to you,"
Lylyu rolled her eyes. Quiet? When was she ever quiet? She continued scrubbing the clothes, but still very curious about what Master had to say.
"Can you?" Master inquired.
"I'll try," Lylyu said as she finished scrubbing all of the clothes.
Lylyu carefully laid out the clothes onto the rope that was strung about the side of the house. The clothes dripped freezing water all over Lylyu, but she was to preoccupied to take notice. She cleaned off her hands and followed Master William into the house and through the front doors, to the lawn and gardens.
The first time Lylyu had been through here she had been too annoyed to enjoy its beauty. Now she looked around and saw the wonderful colors of the flowers and the perfectly green lawn, looking just right for taking off your shoes in.
The house looked even bigger from the outside, it's stone walls and towers making it look almost like a miniature castel. Lylyu could see that the flowers and other plants have recently been planted, and the trees were green with new branches. Two old oaks towered over the front entrance, the only plant life that didn't look like it had been planted recently.
"May I call you Lylyu?" Asked Master, interrupting her thoughts.
"If you would like to, 'cause that's what I answer to."
William smiled. "Great, and you can call me William, because that's what I answer to."
Lylyu let out a frustrated sigh. Hadn't they been over this? "I'm afraid I cannot do that, sir."
"And why might that be?"
"Because I am your servant, not your equal,"
William grinned. "Not for long,"
Lylyu pondered this. "What do you mean?"
William sat on his lawn, and motioned for her to do the same. "What do you think about being my advisor? You have a quick tongue and seem to know what you stand for,"
"I may be all of those but I have no place to be an advisor, I am just merely a servant." Lylyu said, confused.
"So you are," William studied her. "And I am also your master, which makes me able to make you whatever I want."
Lylyu saw where this was going, and seemed to appreciate her master even more. "Your going to make me an advisor instead of a servant?"
Lylyu's heart fluttered, as if it had heard what was going on and was happy as well. There was still doubt in her mind, an it took a while for her to find out why. When she did, her voice came like a squeak and a squeal mixed together.
"But the King agreed to have me be your servant, nothing more,"
"And serving me you will be," William grinned.
Lylyu got the point, and suddenly saw that her life may not turn out to be miserable after all.
"Do you accept?" Asked Master William.
"Yes," Lylyu answered.
"It is done," William said. "You start tomorrow, meet me at the dining room in the morning. And I am now known as William to you,"
Chapter Three - the First day
Lylyu woke early that morning in one of the guest bedrooms, feeing like she had slept for a year. The room had cream colored walls with wooden floor and an oak bed. The mattress was one of the comfiest Lylyu had ever slept on, and left her feeling well rested.
A servant of William's came inside the room and started a bath. It was only when the servant turned did she realize who she was.
Lily smiled. "It is me,"
Lylyu felt awkward. Yesterday she had been Lily's equal and today she had become a master of sorts.
"We're still friends, right?"
"Of course!" Lily exclaimed. "I've never had a friend before, and I'm planning on keeping one."
Relief coursed through Lylyu as she stepped into her bath. "Would you like to talk?"
"How we came here? Or were we come from?" Lylyu suggested.
Lily smiled sadly. "I came from a farm down south. We had a small amount of money and that was all used at the end of the year for more animals and crop seeds." Lily paused. "My father liked to ride horses with my older brother, and when they went out one morning, they did not come back. My mother and I searched for days trying to find them, but it was helpless. My mother couldn't pay the rent to William's father so I became his slave, and now, with William's father dead, I still serve."
"Oh, Lily!" Lylyu wanted to give her new friend a hug, but was afraid that it would be a little awkward while she was in the bath.
Instead she began to share her story. "My parents both died from the sickness when I was six. Ever since then I have been what most people would call a pain in the rump."
Lily's eyes shown with pitty. "I feel so bad for you! That must be so hard!"
Lylyu nodded. "But I got used to it. The last thing I remember of them was my father telling me and my brothers to stay hidden and away from them. We got the message that they died a week later."
A knock at the door startled them both. "Just a moment!"
Lylyu quickly got out of the bath and toweled off. Lily handed her some dress clothes and helped her get into them as quickly as possible. Then Lily said her goodbyes and left, leaving the door open for the visitor.
It was William, dressed in brown trousers and a white undershirt with a green vest. He looked like he could be going into town without drawing much attention to himself, as if he wanted to blend in.
"Hello," Lylyu greeted.
William stared for a moment more. "You look... Amazing."
Lylyu blushed. "I had help,"
William shook his head. "I have never seen a former servant look so..."
"Clean?" Lylyu offered.
William grinned. "Beautiful."
Lylyu wasn't sure, but she guessed that her face was the color of a tomatoe. "Thank you,"
William shrugged and motioned for her to follow her in the dinning room. The hallway Lylyu stepped out into was decorated with red-velvet rugs and paintings of what looked like ancient people. Lylyu would have asked about them if William didn't seem distracted with his thoughts. Oil lamps burned in the places where there were no windows.
Finally they reached the dining room, where William sat at the head an motioned for her to sit beside him. The table was dark oak, seeming to shine as if it had been polished just that night. There were small decorations on the walls, paintings and more oil lamps. Lylyu had noticed that there weren't many decorations in the living areas than in most nobleman's houses.
"What is it you are doing today?" Lylyu asked when food was brought to the table.
There was bread, cheese, and fruits, all lined up like somebody was judging which one would be able to complete a certain task. The kitchen maids exited the dining room through a smaller door to the left of William.
"I have a meeting with one of my father's customers this afternoon. They have been living on his land for a while now and since he died there is a lot of business to take care of with the property."
"And what are you planning?"
William scratched his head. "I am not completely sure yet. They are not very happy with me; they think that I will take away their house and leave them homeless."
Lylyu thought for a moment. "And will you?"
William startled. "No, definitely not. That would be something my father would've done,"
"You don't seem to have had a very great connection with you father," Lylyu noticed.
"You are correct," William agreed. "But I am his only son and must continue the family tradition, he act of being wealthy."
Lylyu grunted. "You don't sound that pleased about being such,"
William nodded, but didn't elaborate. Lylyu guessed it was an uncomfortable subject.
"Have you had any ideas on what to do for this meeting this afternoon? What time must you leave?"
"Must we leave," William corrected. "And I only have a few ideas, most will be to comfort the family and make sure they know that their home will remain and no payment will be raised. I'm thinking of lowering the payment, actually."
Lylyu smiled. He was turning out to be better than most noblemen. "Great idea. Will anything else happen today?"
William thought for a moment. "This is why I needed an advisor, I can never remember what meetings I have any day of the week."
"Anything at court? Family business?" Lylyu prompted.
William stared at her for a moment. "You are better at this job than I would have thought you would be,"
Lylyu ignored the grin trying to surface when she had received the praise. "So am I right?"
William shook his head. "There is nothing else. Today will be a shorter day for me,"
Lylyu smiled. "I'm glad. You look like you could use a break."
William locked eyes with her. "You are more like a mother or a sister than an advisor. How is that so?"
Lylyu thought for a moment. Was she required to answer this now that she worked for him, or was she able to push back the unexpectedly personal question?
"I'm afraid I wish not to answer that, for now."
William nodded, but he still looked confused. Even more so that he didn't get an answer. Lylyu was grateful that he didn't press her for an answer.
"We leave in an hour," William said. "It's a long ride, you will want to eat now."
The rest of breakfast was eaten in silence. Lylyu wanted badly to say something, but wasn't sure if she was allowed to. As she thought, she suddenly really did want to answer William's question.
"It is because I lived with my brothers for two years after my parents died. They needed a mother and I took that position. I basically raised my older brothers until they had to leave, being of age. I was sent to an orphanage and became.... Me,"
William looked shocked that she had spoken, but nodded nonetheless. "That must've been hard,"
Lylyu gave a weak smile. "It was,"
A servant interrupted the conversation, announcing that it was time to go. "Thank you," William told the servant as he stood.
They walked out of the room and came to the front doors. Shoes were given to them both, along with a sword for William and a dagger Lylyu hid inside the folds of her dress, secured by the waistband. As they exited the house, Lylyu was confident the if it came to the circumstance, she would be able to protect William and herself with the dagger. She already knew that she was more than just an advisor. William had made that clear already. She was his gaurd. There was no one else but them and the wagon driver coming to this meeting.
Lylyu climbed inside the wagon with William's help, and sat on one of the built in benches. To her surprize, William sat right next to her, their knees almost touching. Lylyu hoped that her shiver wasn't noticeable on the outside.
"Why did you do that?" Lylyu finally asked.
"Sit by me?"
William grinned. "Why not? Are you nervous? I won't do anything,"
"I know that," Lylyu rolled her eyes, noticing that William frowned. "I was just wondering."
"Would you like me to move?" William asked, still frowning.
"No, your fine." Lylyu smiled weakly.
The ride was bumpy, and Lylyu had a hard the staying in one spot. At one point the ride got so bumpy she had to hold into William to stay on the bench. He complied with a small smile and pulled her closer. Their legs were touching as they huddled together to keep from falling off.
"Are we almost there?" Lylyu asked over the sound of turning gravel.
"Not halfway yet." William answered.
Lylyu managed to stifle her groan. The ride would be very long, and Lylyu hated traveling. She scooted closer to William, and he looked down at her questionably.
"I don't feel well," Lylyu answered the unspoken question.
William nodded and put his arm around her waist. Lylyu felt her heart jump to her throat, and had to remind herself that it was just an act of courtesy. Lylyu found it hard to think straight with William so close, but she enjoyed the comfort and didn't want to move.
"Almost there," William whispered into Lylyu's ear.
"Okay," Lylyu replied, and got up unsteadily.
Lylyu patted out the wrinkles on her dress and put her shoes back on. She had taken them off to be more comfortable on the ride. When Lylyu looked down at the shoes, she realized that she had no idea how to buckle them and tie them in the way that would make them look proper.
Lylyu looked helplessly back over at William, who was watching her with interest. "How do I tie these?"
William patted the bench space next to him. "I can help."
She sat and put her foot up on the bench, careful to keep her dress in place. William took her foot in his hand and with the other unlaced a part of the shoe, then laced it correctly.
"First you want to make sure that it is laced the way that you know how to tie." He demonstrated by waving his hand over the shoe. "Then you tie it normally, but with this extra twist right here..."
He finished tying the shoe and Lylyu thanked him. He told her to try on the other shoe. She fumbled with the laces and tied it, but couldn't get the weird trick he did afterwords. William stifled a laugh and helped her. Their hands brushed, and Lylyu's breath caught.
"Uh... Sorry," Lylyu mumbled.
"Don't be," William smiled. He finished tying the shoe and looked back down at her. "Your eyes are so pretty... I'm surprised I hadn't noticed before."
The wagon stopped and Lylyu gulped. "We should probably get going...."
William smiled. "Just a second..."
"Stop." Lylyu ordered.
He stopped coming closer, but didn't back away. "You called me by my name."
He said it like a question, and Lylyu became confused. "It's what you told me to call you,"
William smiled. Lylyu felt his breath on her face. Even though Lylyu did want to be closer, she knew it wasn't right. She started to back up.
"William, not right now. Please," I begged.
William nodded and backed away, his eyes turning sad, his face blushing. I sat upright and looked over at him, noticing he actually looked disappointed. Lylyu felt bad. She hadn't wanted to hurt him, but now was not the time, and she was not the person.
Reaching out, Lylyu grabbed William's hand. "I'm sorry, but we have to go in now."
William looked back at her, his eyes soft. "No, I'm sorry. I shouldnt've done that. It was-"
"It was nice. I just don't think now is the time." Lylyu gathered her courage and kissed him softly on the cheek. "Let's go,"
William's eyes widened, but he stood up. He grinned, and took her hand, bringing Lylyu into a hug.
"I'm glad you're here," he said, and Lylyu was pretty sure it wasn't just for the wagon ride.
They walked out of the wagon, William holding the curtain of fabric for her. It seemed that William was more of a gentleman than he was before, and Lylyu wasn't sure what to make of that.
Chapter Three - the Meeting
The door swung open and a young boy of about twelve opened it. Lylyu gasped as he slammed the door and yelled something to the occupants of the house. He showed up again a minute later with what looked like his mother. In his hand there was a knife, and it was pointed right at us.
"Hey, now," William calmed, seeming to have expected this. "We mean no harm,"
The boy didn't lower the knife from William's throat. "Who's the girl?"
Lylyu answered for herself. "I am William's advisor. I mean you no harm, and neither does William. Please remove the knife from my Master's throat."
The boy didn't oblige. Lylyu drew her own, swiftly and quickly, and pointed it at the boy's throat. "Remove. The. Knife."
The mother's eyes widened as she saw her son get threatened. "Sheath the knives, both of you!"
The boy did, and once it was put away Lylyu did the same. William straightened his shirt and held out his hand. "Hello, I'm William Admas, the owner of your property. Now, it might seem like I am going to raise prices, but I am not. I have news that you will want to hear."
Lylyu wasn't sure about where William was going, but she nodded. The mother looked at her boy and nodded. He retreated into the house and the mother took William's hand and shook it.
"Hello, Sir Adams, I am Rachel. I hope you wouldn't mind if we stayed on the porch?"
"Not at all, but I would appreciate it if you only called me William. Sir Adams was my father, and I don't want to be compared to his many.... Mistakes,"
The woman's eyes brightened a bit. "You don't agree with your father?"
The woman smiled. "We will get along just fine, then."
William returned the smile. "Now, I hope you don't mind me getting right down to business, my advisor and I are in a hurry," Lylyu gave a curious glance his way, but he wasn't watching her. "I would like to lower your payment to me and I ask you if there might be anything I can do for you?"
The woman nodded eagerly. "This house is very empty at the moment, and that is because just a few years ago my husband and son went missing. We could not pay our mortgage because of the terrible occurrence, so our daughter, Lily, was taken to your father's house to be a servant."
Lylyu gasped. This was Lily's mother. The woman that had raised the sweet servant and friend.
"You must know her," Lily's mother continued. "And it would be wonderful if she could be returned home. She just barely turned fourteen, sir, and we miss her dearly."
William nodded, his eyes sorrowful. "I know what it feels like to have a missing family member," Lylyu stored the fact in her mind. "And I hope that I can return her as quickly as possible. Are you still able to pay off mortgage now that you have had time to save up? Surely your son can take a job,"
The woman, Rachel, nodded. "He would be glad to once he sees his twin back at home."
Another shock to Lylyu. Lily hadn't told her that she had a twin! Lylyu pushed back the thought and listened to the conversation still going on.
"-and will bring her home at the week's end. Pleasure doing business with you. Until next time," William ended the conversation.
"Good travels!" Rachel called back to Lylyu and William, who were already walking back to the wagon.
Once inside the wagon, Lylyu prepared herself to interrogate William. He never told her he had a missing family member, and hadn't told her that they would have to be leaving quickly. Was that all just conversation stoppers or did he really mean it all?
"Please don't ask right now," William told Lylyu. "My head feels like it wants to burst off my neck."
Lylyu nodded and sat by William, knocking on the wall to tell the driver to get going. The wagon started rolling, and Lylyu watched William carefully.
"Do you have a headache?" Lylyu asked.
"Very much," William answered.
Lylyu nodded to herself. "Close your eyes, breathe, and give me your hand."
William complied. Lylyu studied his hand for a moment, then pressed on a spot between his thumb and his first finger. William winced, then as she pressed harder he almost yelled in pain.
"What was that for?" William practically shouted.
"Do you still have a headache?" Lylyu asked without apologizing.
William thought for a moment, then gasped. "It's gone!"
Lylyu smiled. "Works every time,"
William grinned. "Thank you,"
"No, really. If you hadn't drawn your knife I'm afraid that the look in that boy's eyes wasn't going to go as just a threat. He wanted to murder me," William said.
"Well he didn't, and that was my plan. I don't want you dead." Lylyu laid her head on his shoulder.
William let out a nervous laugh. "You still want to know about the missing family member thing?"
"Yes," Lylyu admitted, but didn't take her head off his shoulder. She was enjoying it more than she let on.
William sighed. "It's my mother. She's been gone for a while, and I think it's because of my father. He wasn't the best husband you could ask for," he paused. "Or father, if you ask me,"
"Why is that?" Lylyu asked.
"He wasn't a family-man. He married because it would end a fight between houses. My mother was born into a Nobel family and my father was the son of a very rich man. They got married and the two families became one, stopping the old rivalry." William told her. "My mom disappeared when I was twelve, and was able to understand that she left because of my father, not me. I don't have any siblings because the nurse told her that if she had another child, she would surely die."
"Oh," was all Lylyu could say.
William nodded and continued telling his life's story. "When my mother left my father was no different, only more drunk and paranoid. He kept me in my room most of the time. When he died, I was sixteen, and wasn't very sad to see him go. After a bit more schooling, I took over his job and became a part of the Jury and ruled his old house. You might not know, or want to know, but the room you're staying in now was my old room, before I switched when my father died."
"Oh, William!" Lylyu exclaimed, and too her head off his shoulder. "That's horrible! Why didn't you tell me!"
"About the room?" William questioned, clearly confused.
"No, your mother."
"Oh. Well, I don't really tell people about it. Some people believe she died in birth, and I never bothered to prove them wrong."
Lylyu was almost teary-eyed when she pulled William into a hug. It was a little awkward when they were sitting on the same bench, but comforting both ways nonetheless.
"Lylyu?" William asked.
"What happened to your parents?"
Lylyu sighed, then told him all about it. The sickness, the brothers, the life after her parents death. All of it, all because she trusted him. After she had told him all she knew, William remained silent for a while. When he finally spoke, it was in a soft, barely hearable voice.
"I think you bested me in the worst childhood competition," he admitted.
Lylyu could only stare at her hands.
How many more times would she tell someone about her past? This was the second time today, and it had come so easy that it seemed to be from someone else. William touched her clasped hands lightly with his.
"It will be okay, you know that, right?" He asked.
"I know. I was just lost in memories." I lied.
Just thinking about her childhood made Lylyu shiver. The wagon seemed to collapse in on her, shaping into a box that squeeze her innards.... No. She had stopped letting herself do that. The illusions had to stop, and she was not going to let them keep coming.
"We're almost there," William told her.
Lylyu panicked. "I don't want to be alone, I can't-"
William squeezed her hands. "It's okay. I won't leave you. What's wrong?"
"The illusions...." She mumbled.
She looked back up at him, but he had turned into a horrid, hairy spider, with eight legs and many eyes. It's pinchers snipped at her. Lylyu screamed.
Chapter Four - the Explanation
"Lylyu? Are you okay?" Lylyu heard the voice, but it sounded like it was off at a distance, a mere mumble in the wind. "Lylyu!"
Her eyes peeled back slightly. In the short moment that her eyes remained open, Lylyu saw William looking back at her, worried. There was a ceiling behind him, so she guessed they were inside and she was laying down. The bed underneath her was very comfy.
"Lylyu, please wake up, please!" William begged.
Lylyu mumbled something, but she didn't quite remember what it was. Her voice seemed to be far away, as if she was just imagining it...
She snapped awake, sat up, and banged her head against William's. "Ow... William?"
"Hey, it's me... Gosh your head is hard,"
Lylyu grimaced. "So is yours,"
William chuckled softly and scooped Lylyu onto his lap, cradling her head in one hand and underneath her knees with the other. "What happened to you? It looked like you thought I had turned green. Are you okay?"
Lylyu nodded slightly, but didn't answer any of his questions. This clearly annoyed William. Lylyu heard a door open and close softly, but if William had noticed, he didn't care.
"Lylyu, tell me. I won't judge you, or hurt you, if that is why you won't answer me. You trust me, don't you?"
A nurse came into the room and set down a tray of different medicines and herbs. A dry rag and a steaming wooden bowl was also situated in the tray. The nurse looked at William, annoyed, but too scared to bring anything up.
"William, let me think, okay? I just went through a horrible hallucination and got my head hit and can't process questions. Give me at least a few minutes." Lylyu pleaded.
William looked like he wanted to argue, but nodded anyway. He put Lylyu down, to her disappointment, and told her he would be in his office if she needed anything, or was ready to talk. He sounded so much like her father that Lylyu almost rolled her eyes. But instead she nodded and looked back to the nurse,
"Hello," Lylyu said.
The nurse barely looked up. "Hello,"
Lylyu saw the reply as an invitation to keep talking, even though she knew that the nurse was not encouraging it. "What might your name be?"
The nurse placed the rag into the bowl and brought it out a moment later, wringing it and placing it on Lylyu's forehead. "Miranda,"
"You don't seem very talkative," Lylyu observed.
"Not many servants are," the nurse replied with a half smile.
Lylyu liked the nurse already. "My name is Lylyu. I'm the new advisor for Master William. He seems very nice."
"Advisor?" Miranda looked surprised. "The way he looked at you I was almost certain you two were.... Nevermind. It was rude of me to assume."
"Please don't make me say it. It's clear how he thinks of you,"
"How does he think of me?" Lylyu asked pateintly.
"He loves you, very dearly." Miranda said, without much elaboration. "And you need to hold still. You got a nasty cut on your side,"
Lylyu hadn't noticed it, but there it was. Her dress had been torn at the side. She didn't remember what it was from, but she didn't care at the moment. He loved her?
The nurse placed some herbs and ointments on the cut, then washed it out. Lylyu looked around the room. It was the room she had slept in the night before. She was laying on the ground, and the nurse was bent over her, checking for any more scrapes or wounds.
"There's nothing else. Thank you for the help, Miranda. You are a great person. Mind if I call you a friend?"
"I don't think that servants are allowed to be friends with their masters, even a master's advisor."
Lylyu winced. "Please, I need a friend here or there,"
Miranda smiled a motherly smile. "Well then," she said. "You should get lots of rest and plenty of sleep. I will see you soon, friend."
Lylyu smiled as Miranda walked out the door, carrying her tray and closing the door careful not to make too much noise.
After a bit of rest Lylyu changed out of her torn dress and into a more comfy house-dress, as Lily called it. Lylyu was excited when she told Lily about the meeting with her mother. Lily had twirled around and giggled with joy when she heard that she would be going home soon, but then she looked back over at Lylyu.
"But we won't be able to see each other very much,"
"I will visit as much as I can, and I will try to make it so that you can visit as well."
Lily clapped for joy and cleaned up the room a bit. "I was told the the Master wants to talk with you,"
"So was I," Lylyu sighed. "Miranda, the nurse, thinks that he loves me. Do you think he does?"
Lily's eyes widened. "Well, he looks at you in that michevious way, and he was miserable all until he came home with you, so I think that he is, but that's coming from a girl who doesn't know much about what it means to be loved, so don't trust my words."
Lylyu smiled softly. "I like him back, I really do, I just don't think he knows what he's doing."
"What do you mean?"
"He doesn't know exactly who I am, and he refuses to think of me as just an advisor. But, oh well, I better get to his office before he sends someone else down here to get me,"
Lily grinned and gave her a good luck hug, then continued working. Lylyu was left alone as she went down to meet William.
She found him in his office, feet propped up on his desk and eyes closed. Lylyu almost left so that she wouldn't disturb him, but he opened his eyes and welcomed her in. Lylyu took the seat on the other side of his desk and William set his feet down.
"I thought you might've fallen asleep," William greeted.
"I had, but Lily woke me up and got me ready. I told her about the deal with her mother," Lylyu admitted.
"And how did she take the news?"
"Excitedly," Lylyu answered. "I believe that she is anxious to see her family again."
"That's good," William said. "And how are you?"
"I'm doing better than before," Lylyu almost smiled.
William's face straightened and he became more serious. "What happened? You said something about illusions and hallucinations?"
"Yes," Lylyu admitted. "They have been happening for a few years."
William's concern did not go away, and Lylyu hadn't expected it to.
"Do you know what started them?" He inquired.
"No," She answered tiredly.
William let the subject drop, but don't seem happy about it. "How is your side?"
"It's okay, I just don't remember what happened."
"You fell out of the wagon and onto the gravel. May I ask what you had thought I was?"
Lylyu nodded. "A spider. A big spider." She shivered.
William nodded, pondering this. Lylyu wondered what there was to ponder. Her case was a very special one that couldn't have much done about it.
"Do you still see me as a spider?" William asked.
Lylyu focused back in William. "No," she asnwered. "Just you - but I like that. I mean.... I like you being a human,"
William nodded, a grin spreading on his lips. Lylyu couldn't help it anymore. She walked over to the other side of the desk and kissed the lips that had been so amazingly soft, immediately shaping against hers perfectly, taking in any movement with his own.
Chapter Five -
The next morning Lylyu awoke with a grin spread across her mouth. She sat up and smiled some more. Her room was exactly the same, and winter was still coming, but everything seemed brighter.
Lily came in a moment later, causing Lylyu to wonder how the house's servants knew when you had woken up. Pushing the thought away, Lylyu smiled at her friend.
"You look cheery," Lily said with a small yawn.
"Very," Lylyu said, slipping out of bed.
Lily started a bath. "And why might that be?"
Lylyu hopped over to Lily and started clumsily spinning her around the room, causing Lily's long hair to bounce around.
"What is this for?" Lily gasped for breath.
"I.... You were right!"
"About what?" Lily asked, pulling her arms away.
Lylyu grinned more. "I kissed - he kissed - William and I kissed-"
"Kissed who?" Lily inquired.
"Him!" Lylyu giggled, plopping down on her bed.
Lily's eyes lit up. "Really! Oh that's amazing! Lylyu!"
Lily pulled her into a hug, crushing Lylyu.
"Now, breakfast is in the dining room and I want to hear all about it," Lily said, pulling Lylyu's nightclothes off and replacing them with a nicer, flowing dress.
When Lylyu looked into the mirror, she gasped. She had never seen herself look like a proper woman, and seeing herself in the dress made her heart flutter. She wasn't sure if it was a good thing or not.
Her dark hair was swept over one shoulder, and a elegant dark green dress hugged her middle and dropped when it met her waist. It wasn't a big, poofed-up dress, but it was fuller than any Lylyu had ever worn. There were no other colors, just green. Her pale skin and dark hair contrasted the dress so much they seemed to work together.
"Oh, I love it!" Lylyu exclaimed.
Lily smiled. "I knew you would,"
Lylyu grinned and hugged Lily again before exiting her room. She headed to the dining room, uncomfortably walking without shoes on the fancy rugs.
She reached the dining room and was surprised when she saw that William wasn't in it yet. A nearby servant glanced questioningly in her direction, but didn't make eye contact. Lylyu gestured for the young man to come over.
"Where is the Master?" Lylyu asked.
The boy nervously stuttered, "In his room, my lady. I'm afraid he isn't feeling well,"
Lylyu nodded and smiled, but on the inside she was curious, and as much as she hated to admit it, she was worried for William. What was wrong?
"Could you take me there?" She asked.
The boy nodded, and guestured for her to follow. They walked down a few hallways and made some confusing turns, but finally made their way to the Master's bedroom. Lylyu thanked the servant and he walked back the way they had come without saying a word.
Lylyu took a deep breath and knocked on the oak door. William's voice came through, slightly muffled, to come in. Lylyu pushed the door open and entered.
The room was about as decorated as Lylyu's, with bigger, thicker curtains over the windows, the only light a small candle on the nightstand. The bed was bigger than Lylyu's and had red silk coverings, ruffled a bit where William lay in it.
"Lylyu?" William asked.
Lylyu smiled, he didn't sound sick, at least. "It's me. Are you okay? I heard from one of the servants that-"
"I'm fine," William interrupted. "That is just my excuse when I don't want them to come in. To them, I get sick about once or twice a month. To me, I get more sleep."
"Oh," Lylyu said, suddenly embarrassed for worrying so much.
"Come, sit with me," William patted the space next to him.
Lylyu complied, propping her back up against the abundant pillows on the back of the bed. "So your not sick?" She asked.
William grinned. "No,"
Lylyu sighed. "Well, that's good. Should I get some food taken in here?"
"Have you eaten?"
"No," Lylyu admitted.
William called for a servant, who came very quickly. The servant left after a few words and Lylyu and William were left alone again. Lylyu shifted a little nervously. Did William think that the day before was something special or was he having second thoughts?
"How did you sleep?" William asked.
Lylyu shrugged; she couldn't quite remember. "Well, good, I guess. I usually sleep late and awake early,"
"It's a talent I never gained," William said, smiling weakly. The smile was something Lylyu loved the most, but couldn't bring herself to admit it.
"You have many talents, you just don't think of them the way others see them," Lylyu bent down and kissed William's forehead gently. "You are a little warm, though,"
William's smile grew bigger. "I'm afraid that it's just blush...."
Lylyu grinned almost as big as William's was. William sat up in bed, and situated Lylyu so that her head was in his lap. Lylyu felt herself blush as William ran his fingers through her hair, pulling at small knots and tangles.
"Ouch!" Lylyu winced.
Lylyu nodded and reached up, skimming William's strong jawline with her fingertips.
"You can't imagine how good this feels," William said.
"Your hair. It's really soft,"
"Oh," Lylyu said. "Thanks, I guess,"
William smiled softly, and after a moment lifted Lylyu off of his lap, making her sit facing him. Lylyu's legs trailed off the side of the bed, her dress flowing past her feet. Lylyu looked back at William, just as he was bringing his face to hers.
The kiss was gentle but firm, fragile and comforting. Lylyu could've come up with a million words describing it, but as soon as she thought of the first two, William had pulled away.
"Sorry," he said. "I didn't ask, and I-"
Lylyu interrupted him with a kiss on the cheek. "It's fine,"
William grinned. "It is?"
Lylyu nodded, standing up. "I hear footsteps,"
Just as she said it, the servant from before brought in a tray, followed by another with an identical set-up.
"Thank you," William said as the servants placed the two trays on his desk.
They left without a word in repliance.
"Don't they ever talk?" Lylyu asked. "I mean, besides when they are answering a question,"
William thought for a moment. "Strange, huh? I never had that problem with you,"
Lylyu rolled her eyes, and watched the grin on William's lips.
"Well, you never complained, so it's not really my fault," Lylyu commented.
Laughing, William took the two trays and set them on the bed, gesturing for Lylyu to sit again. Lylyu complied, cross-legged on the bed sheet.
"Aren't you worried it'll get dirty?"
William shook his head. "Your not a messy eater,"
Lylyu took the answer as a compliment and begun to eat. There were fruits and bread, this time something Lylyu was used to. She dug in with a watering mouth.
"Actually, I think I was wrong," William said, making Lylyu look up. "When you are hungry, you eat like you have never seen food,"
William took his napkin and wiped fruit juice from Lylyu's chin. Lylyu blushed, and thanked him.
"What are the plans for today?"
William shrugged. "Not much, but I do like helping some of the servants with the garden. It's very peaceful, and it's nice to get dirty every once and a while."
"My mother and I used to garden in these small pots we kept in the front window. She would come home every season with a different plant. My favorite was called a Delilah," Lylyu smiled at the memory.
William smiled, too. "That sounds like you remember a lot more from your childhood than you let on,"
Lylyu shook her head. "My brothers told me stories about when I was younger. The Delilah's were a month or so before she...."
Lylyu couldn't finish. An involuntary tear trickled down her cheek, but Lylyu was too lost to wipe it away.
Author Notes: Part two of many. Please give feedback!! -KP