It was four in the afternoon when the weather started to get colder, humid breeze had its coming all the way to Cardiff.
“What are you doing here, I wonder?”
Hime started as she noticed that Cain was sitting on her favorite spot under the aged oak tree. When she had finished talking with her mother, she walked around the mansion looking for Cain, there were things she needed to clarify with him.
When she didn’t find Cain inside the mansion, she decided to take a look at the back where the sewers often do a little chit-chat with the maids. But she detoured her way when she saw some moving figure in the oak tree stood meters away from the servants’ area.
She never thought it was Cain.
“This is my place.” She said, Cain turned to look up at her.
“I thought so.” He said. “But there was no plaque with your name on it. Roots, a lot. Big roots.” He said as he stood up, brushing off the grass on his trousers, he asked, “So how was it with your mother?”
“You told her things without askingpermissionto me.” She added, her eyes were inquisitive.
“I did. I heard a yes.” His chin was up while his free hand rested on the oak tree to support his weight.
“Was it a no?”
“Enough of that, will you?!” She roared.
“And you lied to me many times already. Those rules were not from my mother, you created it to deceive me. Why? I am your owner.”
“I did it to test your character.”
“What did you find then?” Hime was irritated, but curious at the same time.
Cain leaned closer towards her. “It was a sad revelation that you were not acting like a lady, at all. That was my observations.”
That statement was enough for Hime to draw some beads of tears under her eyes but they did not fall down on her cheeks. It was the very first time that someone has insulted her, not to mention it came from a servant.
“You are so mean. You are supposed to serve me, mother said so, and part of it is to please me as your master.”
Cain succumbed, he was a bit tensed to see her dejected face.
“Okay, I lied.”
“Not that again!” She shrieked.
“I was actually making sure if you are worthy of my loyalty. I would not risk my life and waste time just for nothing. I have dignity of my own.” Cain enunciated, he sighed before he added, “And so far I think, it was not a bad thing after all.”
“I don’t really understand you, Cain.” She pouted, embracing her upper body with her hands, the atmosphere was getting colder every minute. It seemed that a rain was coming.
“Of course you will not. We have just met yesterday, you said so yourself.” He seconded. “I wouldn’t expect you to like me at first sight. The feelings are mutual anyway.”
When he noticed that the lady was feeling cold, he exclaimed, “Well, heavens! You are cold. We must go inside now, Young Lady.” He suggested while offering his opened hand for her to take.
“My hands are clean.” He said when Hime hesitated to take his hand.
“I did not say anything.” She uttered as she took Cain’s cold hand.
“Your face is telling it.” He commented, enclosing the lady’s hand into his, he then started to walk and Hime was hesitantly following him.
“Say, Cain, is it really necessary to hold my hand?”
“Yes it is.” He said while they continued walking. “So I will know if you are already freezing or not.”
Hime slightly giggled. “You sounded like Uncle Stephan just now.”
Cain did not respond at that, but rather, he said, “I want to clear things out, Young Lady. I did not lie for nothing. It was true when I said that I get direct orders from your mother, for now at least. And so consider this action as a feeling of duty, no personal attachment should arise in the progress.”
“Now you sounded like a personal bodyguard. Ugh.” She grumbled.
“I can be what I want, too.” He said.
“Say, how loyal are you to me, and to my mother?”
“I am loyal to myself.”
“You are weird.”
“Well, loyalty is a pride of a man who brings honor to his name, to his master. It can be voluntarily in nature or a prelude to vengeance and betrayal. But respect? You need to earn it by doing things outside the feeling of duty called loyalty. Which one are you, Lady Himeliariz?...”
“…And which role do you want me to be?”
“I just want you to play with me.” She said.
“Then play we would.” He answered.
Six months ago, in Nottingham.The avowal of faith was a prelude to unlock the chain of secrecy.
“Then, how about working in my household?”
He was thinking deeply.
“I will accept your offer, Madame, not because of your riches, but because I wanted to bring back the dignity of my parents. I will continue my parents’ legacy that will lead into restoration of honor of our sullied names.”
“What is this legacy?”
She asked, and for the first time she felt chill just by staring closely at the boy’s icy eyes. Those unfriendly look was familiar to her, it was the stare she obtained herself when she was twelve years old.
“Loyalty.” His tone was stoic but proud.
She gazed down at him interestingly, contemplating. “Hmn.”
“I will serve you Madame to the fullest. I will give you my loyalty even to the extent of risking my own life.”
“Do you really think you can cleanse your parents’ name through this?”
“It is better than doing nothing at all, Madame.”
“The moment I sense a smell of betrayal, I demand life imprisonment or worst, death. Will you take the risk then?”
"Done. But you will not serve me, you will hand this loyalty of yours to my only daughter.”
She saw his surprised reaction, but it was gone by the next second.
“I accept.” He bowed.