“How can an amateur servant,
such as this present you're so proud of,
discipline a young lady?”
"What?!" A shock Earl Stephan got up on his feet.
He’s completely surprised that he has slammed his hands on the table that is situated in front of him, unconsciously though.
Hime is speechless. Her tutors didn't teach her how to react properly on a situation like this.
"You heard it right, Stephan. Cain is the present for my daughter." Her mother confirms. Her cold eyes are locked to a shocked Earl Stephan.
"Pardon me but, what do you mean about this, Marchioness? I strongly need an explanation." Stephan, at that brief moment of time, gives his older sister hisfirsthard look. And that is the first time Hime Moorefield saw her uncle in that way.
The Earl of Skenfrith, as they have known him, would never raise his voice against the Marchioness...whom he loves so much. There is even a rumor that the young earl has a sister-complex. But rumors are just rumors. They could never be true unless proven.
"Do not tell me you are treatingthatkid as a mere thing? A present to your child? This is utterly obnoxious!" He hisses, shaking his head.
"I cannot allow my daughter any longer to roam around outside the manor without any trusted companion. And starting this day, I cannot allow her to befriend any of those filthy commoners. They are all but a bad influence to her." Hime's mother retorts.
"Sister! Are you saying you are to imprison my niece inside this seemingly isolated manor? Certainly that I cannot allow." Her uncle protested in a higher tone, it is seen on his face that he is having a hard time to control his emotions.
"Did I ever say I would imprison her? I am her mother perhaps you forgot?"
"What I wanted Stephan, is to make sure that my daughter is in good hands." Her mother explains, then she looks straight at Stephan. "I trust Cain."
"That is not my point." He fisted. Deep inside him he is completely puzzled because this is the first time that his sister gives some declaration that shetrustedsomeone. When in fact, he himself is not even sure if the Marchioness still has her trust on him, and it bothers him a lot.
His voice is now controlled. "It is the same as saying you do not trust Hime."
"It is the outside world that I do not trust, Stephan." She clarifies, not wanting him to misunderstand.
"But sister, it seems to me, that you are forbidding her to have friends. You cannot go further than this."
"That is my motive in fact."
Hime is holding her breathes, unable to react, just like the old times.
"Motive?..." There is a heavy sigh.
"…You not only plan to isolate her but you create your own motives and decide for her life?" He asks, however, he couldn't almost believe that it was his own voice.
"I am her mother. I decide for her. I know what is best for my daughter." She rests her chin above her knuckles.
"In this matter what's best for you is unhealthy for her." Stephan disagrees. The Marchioness narrows her eyes, it has been a long time since Stephan disagrees with her.
"You should just quiet down and agree just like you always do, Stephan. I will pretend this is nothing and you have not raised your voice against me, so be glad."
She looks back at Hime and said.
"Hime, listen to me. I will give you Cain. He will serve you from now on. So remember this day that I give him as your birthday present."
Hime. In the eleventh day in the month of November, Hime's mother, the impassive Marchioness, for the veryfirsttimehave uttered her name.
And it is the nicest word coming from her mother that she has to remember for the rest of her life.
"I understand, Mother." Hime answers with a broad smile.
"I refused." Her uncle fisted his hand.
It shocked the Marchioness and Hime herself, and Stephan couldn't even imagine that he is actually opposing the Marchioness. What is he doing anyway?
"Hime is a child. I cannot allow you to forbid her to have normal friends as many as she like. What is wrong with you, sister?" He looks very serious this time.
The Marchioness pauses for a moment.
"Outside world, uneducated people, those who belong in the low class society, is all but a waste of her time. Besides, it only disquiets me to know that many unlawful people are arising these days. It will lessen my worry if I know that my daughter has someone with her the whole day, a person whom I can trust."
Stephan grimaces. But the entirety of his face showed his utter disappointment.
"I cannot imagine how you have become so austere and callous, Marchioness. You discriminate innocent people. It makes me so sad how insensitive you have become. It is not like you at all." He says with a sour tone.
The boy named Cain, remains still on a corner, he seems to not mind the atmosphere at all. Although he is not expecting the first meeting to be like this.
"This is the first time you oppose me to this extent, I shall not be glad."
"Because you do not have to go this far!" He looks at the boy Cain, shaking his head once again.
"And now you are yelling at me, how ridiculous." The Marchioness tries to make her tone just natural but she is totally surprise at her brother’s unpredicted behavior. Hime is almost teary on the other side. She couldn't believe her mother and her uncle are exchanging words in front of her.
What has gotten to her uncle, anyway?
Most of the time, and with this kind of situation but a lesser issue, her uncle would just remain calm and never would he dare talk against the Marchioness.
This moment her uncle isn’t protecting her mother anymore. He isn’t trying to understand her any longer. Perhaps he has had enough.
It is quite a surprise to Hime to know that her uncle has this kind of side. He is always humbling down to her mother, isn’t he supposed to do that now?
"Pardon my ill-mannered behavior, Marchioness. I should have not yelled at you." Stephan then bemoans, now aware of his blatant behavior. His face is apologetic. And then again, Hime is wrong.
Despite how against his uncle is to the Marchioness' decisions, the young earl, is always the one who would try to understand his older sister.
Stephan would always humble down to her.
Her uncle must have loved her mother very much. He could not even bear to raise his voice, if he does, he seems to have regretted it later. She wished she had a brother like that.
"You need to understand, Stephan, that my daughter's health is not as healthy as yours. And in retrospect, I received some reports that my daughter has been escaping classes and she attempted to go to towns by herself in disguise. I cannot overlook things, especially for my daughter. She needs strict discipline, now doesn't she?"
Stephan is then dumbfounded. It appears to be that he is shocked by that short revelation coming from the Marchioness.