They enter the main hallway. The maids lined up and bowed as they pass, one maid cheerfully expressed her gratitude.
"We don't know what to do without you here, Earl Stephan. Only you could please the Young Lady."
The maids draw back when Hime glares daggers at them, especially when she directed her eyes to the maid who last spoke.
They all bow in apology for the interference. The servants then went silent as their masters passed by.
"I dislike those maids. Why there are so many? I only need one." She says as they go past through the large door in the corridor.
"Tell that to your mother." Her uncle replies then she sigh.
"Anyhow, I shall need not to dress up, right Uncle Stephan?" She lowers her head down to inspect her shimmering pink dress.
"Of course, you look good. Just like me." Stephan seconded, smiling.
"By the way, when did you arrive, Uncle Stephan? Did you know that mother is coming home today?" She asks as she tightens her grip on his large hands. She feels the heavy sigh of his uncle.
"Just this morning. I had no idea that she is coming over. I was, in fact, surprised to witness how everyone's so busy downstairs. I came here without the expectations that I'd be able to see her, but I guess, I'm lucky enough to catch up my older sister once in awhile."
"I thought she called you." Hime says, pouting. "She always does."
"Unlikely." He replies. "I came to visit my lovely niece, not the other way. Now, are you not feeling honored, Lil Hime?"
"I am!" She exclaims with a lively voice.
Stephan pours out a smile, lowering down just enough for him to reach her niece's white ear, then he whispers.
"I have a surprise, too, for my lovely niece. It is for your upcoming birthday."
Hime giggles. "I am looking forward to it, Uncle Stephan!"
He loves making surprises for his beloved niece, really.
When they're at the staircase already, she tensely stands behind her uncle's back and grips at his black suit, tightly. She'd be facing her mother today...without enough preparations.
It has been six months since Hime last saw her mother. If she hasn't had any pictures of her, then she is not the one to blame if she'd come to forget what the Marchioness actually look like.
When they step down from the long stairs, Hime feels that her heart is lost somewhere in that inexplicable prison she calls Abyss of NowhereLand. She could feel her heart thumping in nervousness. Then...
Her mother is there, sitting modestly on a couch. Beautiful as always. Marchioness Melia Rinette Ashkelon Moorefield, wife of an English aristocrat, Marquis Gilbert Moorefield.
The Marchioness is the only daughter of renowned Welsh noble family, from the House of Ashkelon, the older sister of the young Earl Stephan Lucreece Ashkelon, the current headmaster of the Ashkelon Manor, Earl of Skenfrith, Wales.
When the lady married the English Marquis at the age of sixteen, she became a Marchioness and left the Ashkelon Manor to move in at the Marquis' manor in Cardiff, miles, miles away from Skenfrith.
Her legs are crossed modestly as she sat on the lounger. Her face is relaxed as always. And her azure eyes are staring cold, and ifthatcoldness has a form then it shall be ice, even much much colder.
She is lovely and beautiful, astoundingly gorgeous. She still looks so young, so teen, although she's already twenty-five.
Her golden hair is wavy down to her waist. She is like a French Doll, and Hime, her daughter, is the miniature version of the Marchioness.
No one would actually think that she is already married. She's the type of a noble who shows no lucid emotions at all, as always. She is known as the callous noblewoman.
When the Marchioness notices her brother's unexpected presence, her face distorts to something none could fathom. Then there is a false smile slowly forming on her glamorous lips, and Hime knows it isn’t a smile at all.
She first speaks, surprisingly though, "Today is no ordinary day. I am surprise that you are actually here, Stephan."
Stephan answers with a broad smile. "You are lovelier each day, my dear sister. Is there a limit on how younger you could become?" He says teasingly.
"You did not tell me you are visiting." She replies, narrowing her eyes a little.
"It is hard to contact you, as I can remember." Their tones suddenly sounded serious at the next minute. Hime feels like she is out of place, somehow.
"Whatnot. I am here to see my daughter. But I am glad you are here as well. Such a rare occasion it is." The lovely Marchioness says as she turns her monochrome face from her younger brother to her daughter, who, on the contrary, is timidly standing beside her uncle. Her eyes are filled with hesitations.
"Come, my daughter." The Marchioness invites.
And it is the first time that Hime's mother said it with a smile. But Hime knows it very well that that smile is not meant for her.
"Welcome home, Mother." Hime says and she almost bite her tongue. She gives a wary look towards her uncle before she sit next beside the Marchioness. "I am so happy to see you."
"So am I. Are you doing well?" Marchioness Melia asks.
"Yes." And that is the only answer Hime could ever give.
How can she ever tell her'no'? Hime Moorefield is never been an answerer of "no" as long as her parents are concern.
"Good. I am here to settle your birthday this coming week."
Hime widens her eyes in surprise. The fact that her mother remembers her birthday is already enough for her. She turns to look at her uncle to see his reaction, and then she smiles when he winks at her. Her uncle, too, is happy for this rare moment, she thought.
"I brought a present which I know you would certainly like than anything else." The Marchioness states.
Something she wanted? She is already facing it, sitting next to it, but it is hard to get the Marchioness' attention. Is it not?
"A unique present? Amazing! You heard that, Lil Hime?" Her uncle exclaims, making an audible clap, and it appears to be that he is far than excited about the said present than Hime herself.
The young earl takes a seat right in front of the young lady, and crosses his legs in a not so arrogant way. There is a shy smile on Hime's face, and her uncle, Stephan, is the first to notice it. She is really excited for the present that her mother is going to give her. But she is gladder that her mother has remembered her birthday despite of her busy and complicated life.
The young lady thought, earlier, that she is going to celebrate her eight birthday alone with her uncle and with their household servants. Not to mention the stern butler, who seems to keep hatred against the world, Mr. Charles.
A hasty silence infiltrated in.
"You can come in now, Cain."
Her mother says to break the eerie silence that hastily went through. And Hime, as well as her uncle, are holding their breaths as they turn their gazes at the new figure standing at the main door.
A kid is standing firmly at the entrance door.
Her both hands are on her sides. And a pair of clear blue orbs is staring blankly at Hime. It is the very first in her history that Hime has met a person rather than the Marchioness, who possesses such cold, emotionless eyes. She thought it is her mother alone.
Her black hair shimmers long down to her shoulders. It is long and exceptionally straight. She is thin and somehow fragile, but Hime knows she is much thinner and skinner. The girl is not really tall, however, she's just taller than Hime about some inches.
It is something that has not been felt before, but Hime, right at that moment feels an unwanted jealousy. Himeliariz Moorefieldhas always wanted to have her hair utterly straight. And purely black.
"She is flickering." Hime utters in a very low voice. She has personally assumed that the kid is ten years old. Two years older than her or so it seems.
"I bet she is not." Her uncle disagrees.
His brows quirk up as he rolls his eyes toward his sister. "Who is he, Marchioness?" This time, Stephan addresses her sister in her title, a way of indicating that he's not having a meek conversation with his dear sister but to a Marchioness of Wales.
Her uncle said 'he' and it is enough for Hime Moorefield to be conscious that the kid is not a girl, but a boy. After all, her uncle is an excellent observer.
"Come here and introduce yourself, Cain."
Her mother says and gestures towards Hime. "This is my daughter as you can see. And I expect that you know about my brother, Earl of Skenfrith." She says it with proud.
"Pleased to meet you, Young Lady Himeliariz Moorefield," he starts but he doesn’t look like he meant it. Then he turns to the earl.
"Pleased to meet you, Earl Ashkelon. It is a great honor to have met you in person." The boy says while placing his right hand on his chest, and then, he bows politely.
Hime and her uncle exchange looks to each other.
"I am Cain Lockland of Nottingham."
The young lady widens her eyes to some great surprise. She is appalled by the way he talks. It isn’t only his eyes that are cold, but his voice, too. She wonders if the new boy has some emotions.
"I thought she is a girl." Hime honestly says while staring at the kid, not considering if the guest have heard her or not.
"Well, he looks like one." She adds. It is Hime's first impression of the new kid and that is the first day that Cain wore a sour face, but little did they know, that was also the last. At least, to Hime's perspective, that indeed, the boy has emotions when provoked.
"Well, what do we have in him?"
Her uncle asks while crossing his arms. His dubious eyes scrutinizing the boy from head to toe, trying to put a judge out of the boy's appearance. He wears a black cloak so he can hardly imagine how he dresses behind those thick cover. Thus he can't distinguish whether he's a son of a noble or not.
But truly, it puzzles the young earl since the boy possesses such blue eyes. He must be someone from an English noble family.
"Cain is the present I was talking about." The Marchioness says without further ado.
"What?!" A shock Earl Stephan got up on his feet.
Himeliariz widens her eyes in surprise. Her face unbelieving.