note: This story took place in a fantasy world...
At nighttime, a man with shining armor was lying in the wood, waiting for something to happen…. A dim light appeared in front of him all of sudden, and there was a woman, holding an oil lamp, walking towards him slowly.
The man raised his body to get a good look at the woman. She was beautiful; her long wavy brown hair looked charming under the light of full moon. The woman stopped in front of him and smiled weakly.
"I've been waiting for you for a long time…." She said in a soft voice.
"Can you skip that part and continue to the part where they were dating each other, Isabelle?"
I looked up at her, my master's daughter and also my bestfriend, Anne Lightfield, who was now sitting on her bed with an annoyed look in her face.
"But the story wouldn't be interesting if you skip—"
"I don't care the whole story," she said hastily. "I just want to know how they fell in love with each other!"
"They fell in love with each other from the beginning, but both of them died at the end." I said immediately while changing my sitting position on the floor.
"Noo!" she screamed. "I just started to love the story! How cruel!"
"It's just a story. You don't need to scream out loud, do you?" I said in astonishment.
"Yeah… but it's so sad!" she said. "Imagine if you were the heroine in the story, and there was a handsome knight, kneeled before you, held your hand and said, 'I love you.' Oh my god! Can you imagine that?" she said excitedly. "And then, and then…."
I watched her fantasized quietly, admiring her beauty that I did not have. She was fifteen, with a silky shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes and curving eyelashes, oval face, healthy complexion, a good body, and feminine. She is perfect, too perfect.
Then I looked at the mirror beside me. There was a twenty-year old woman, with black hair which was put up in a neat bun, green eyes, heart-shape face, pale, too thin. But fortunately, I was tall—around 175 cm—which I was quite proud of.
"Are you listening, Isabelle?"
"Oh, forget it. You never seemed like to hear my love story." She said, annoyed.
"Sorry," I said briefly.
She exhaled. "I wish I had a handsome knight as a husband, wouldn't it be great?"
I chuckled and said, "I won't be surprised if it happens, since you are a fair maiden. Everyone wants to marry you."
"Oh! Don't make me blushed!" she said, her face redden.
I was born in an orphanage, located in a small village. My mother, knowing that she would not live any longer, asked a friend of her to look after me and died afterwards. She died of some disease which she had bear for several years. I was so weak that I could not stand even for just half a minute without a stick, since that disease my mother had have affected me when I was still in her womb. I started to be isolated in a small room when I was five years old, separated from other children and never felt the sunray on my pale skin anymore. They were afraid that that unfamiliar disease has infected me and it could spread to everyone.
It was until I was twelve, a doctor came to our little village. He treated us, especially me—who was the only one infected by that mysterious disease. He took pity on me, so he brought me to the city where he resided with his wife and his two children, Anne and her older brother, Franz. He looked after me, as I was his own daughter. A year later, I finally recovered from that disease. I could stand or even play tag with Anne a whole day. But not long after that, my master—how I called the doctor now—died. Her wife was so upset at me, blamed me that my disease has caused him dead. I felt it was my fault, so I vowed to serve the family until the end of my life.
It was morning, I walked to the kitchen to prepare the breakfast for the whole family. As I was wearing the apron, a voice called out my name.
"Yes?" I answered.
A plump woman with a huge smile appeared in front of the door of the kitchen. Her name was Daisy. She was the one who took care of me after the death of my previous master. She taught me many things including how to read and write. She had her red hair shortened, she said that would make her face look younger.
"Good mornin', honey." She said in a cheerful voice. "Be a dear and do me a favor? I want you to buy foods. The freezer is getting low of the supply."
"Sure." I said as I put off the apron and walked towards the freezer. There is a note of ingredients, which I had to buy.
I set out of the two-story house, and went to the market. Everyone greeted me whenever we met, nearly all the people knew me.
"Mornin', Bells!" a fish storeowner shouted. "We've got fresh fishes today!"
"Great," I said while looked up on the note. "I need three salmon fillets."
Half an hour later, I finished buying all the supply we need for three days. As I walked across a café, a server named Alex called me.
"Good morning, Isabelle! You're shopping today?" He asked.
A bare-chested man—whom Alex served now—glanced at me with interest when he heard my name.
"Just finished." I corrected.
"So you're free now?" He asked, an excited smile appeared on his face.
"No, I still have more works to do" I answered.
His smile vanished from his face immediately. "Oh… you're sure pretty busy everyday."
To be honest, I didn't like Alex. He kept asking me out knowing it was impossible for me—a maid.
"Coffee, please." That bare-chested man said in a loud voice. He seemed annoyed by Alex's lack of service.
"I'll be right back with that," Alex said as he left and winked at me, which I detested so much.
That bare-chested man talked to me suddenly as I took my step leaving the café. "I never thought I'll see you again at this place, Tiny."
I stopped. Startled by that nickname, it was how the children called me at orphanage. I looked at him, examined him.
He had spiky blond hair, blue eyes, wore a white headband with accessories attached to it, had too many earrings (three on his left ear, six on the other side, and two on his left eyebrow) and necklaces on his bare chest. He was slender but muscular. He only wore a khaki pants and a pair of boot, and had an extremely pretty face. A huge boomerang (around two meters) was leaned against the wooden chair beside him. Who is this impolite guy, was what I thought at that time.
"Don't say you have forgotten about me." He said, glaring at me.
"Who are you?" I asked politely.
"A little brother who used to chat with you from the pet door." He gave me a clue.
I remembered now. Back then, No one talked to me except the adults. They only talked to me from the other side of the door of my small room. When the mealtime came, they would push a tray of food through a small pet door, never revealing their faces to me. Until one morning when I was eleven years old, a boy came visiting me. (Flashback)
"Hello…." A boy said, he peeking through the pet door.
I turned my head to him. "…yes?" my voice was hoarse because I haven't spoke for a long time.
"You're lying on the bed too long," said the boy. "Why don't you come out and play with me?"
"What's your name?" I asked in sisterly voice.
"Aiden," answered the boy, smiled sincerely.
"Cool name. How old are you?"
"Eight. What's you're name, Tiny?"
I was offended so much when I heard that 'Tiny' word that I wanted to shout at him but to weak for it. "'Tiny'? What do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Everyone calls you by that name," he answered.
"Tell them not to call me 'Tiny' anymore…!" I turned my back to him.
He seemed startled by my angry voice. "Don't be angry…."
I ignored him. I wanted to be left alone.
"I'm sorry…." He pleaded.
I turned to him again. "Leave or you'll get infected." I said coldly.
Aiden left. He won't come back again, was my thought at that time. I knew I'd been rude to him and I regretted. I wished he would come again, I wanted to talked to him again. And that afternoon, he really came.
"Hello," he said in a more confidence voice.
I was sitting on my wheelchair when I looked at him. "…hello, Aiden." I tried to be nice to him this time.
"I brought you some candies," he said as he put the candies on my floor through the pet door gently.
"Thank you," I said. I knew I mustn't eat candies but I took it, in order to make him happy.
"What's your name, sis?" he asked cheerfully.
"Isabelle." I answered with a smile.
He started to visit me everyday since that day. He would bring me some storybooks and read for me, and whenever he was tired of reading too long, I offered myself to read instead. The adults seemed okay with that, as long as I didn't come too close to Aiden, Aiden wore a mask and all the books' wrapper got changed whenever I'd touched it. We've become a really good friend, or more like a brother and a sister.
A year later, something happened to Aiden. Aiden heard a doctor had come to a village not far from here. He couldn't wait for the doctor to come to our village, so instead, he sneaked out of the village to fetch the doctor. But, what could a ten-year old boy do outside, where there were monster lurking all over the world, alone? Aiden got attacked by a bear-like monster, caused a huge wound on his back. Fortunately, the adults came rescuing him the minute he was attacked, but Aiden had a large amount of blood loss; he was unconscious for a long time.
The doctor came to our village, he treated Aiden, who told him to cure my disease. Therefore, the doctor brought me to the city. Of course I didn't know about that part of story at that time, but before the doctor died he told me that a young boy had pleaded him badly to made me healthy again.
(Back to present)
"Aiden?" I guessed hopefully.
"That's so slow of you," he said, smiled. I discovered that his smile was different from before. He smiled with full of sincerity when he was a child back then, childish or more like an idiot, but his smile now was a cynical smile, somehow it made his face looked more like an angel's.
"How's your scar?" I asked, concerned. "I heard you were seriously injured."
"This?" he turned his back on me. Three long, angry slashes ran diagonal across his back, that monster must have scratched him deeply. "It won't disappear. It's kinda cool, don't you think?" he added proudly.
"Is that the reason why you're not wearing a shirt?" I asked, embarrassed as I looked over his body, he also had some blue tattoos on it.
"Your coffee, sir." Alex returned. He put a cup of coffee on the table and stared at us as he went off. He seemed annoyed by looking at how close Aiden and me.
"Don't you think I look sexy?" he asked naughtily, that cynical smile appeared on his face again.
"You've changed. A. Lot." I added
"So do you." He said. "You've changed a lot too. I've never imagined that you'll grow this big. Who would have thought a tiny weak girl will grow into a tall healthy woman."
"Haha, funny." I said in monotone. "I must go home now, goodbye."
"How're you doing?" he asked.
I stopped, surprised by his sudden change of attitude, an arrogant man changed into a worried man. "Fine," I answered.
"Honestly, you look pale."
"I'm always like this."
He chuckled. "Why you're so cold to your long lost brother?" he asked while stared at me. "Don't you feel any nostalgia?"
"Because you're change," I repeated. "It feels like talking to a stranger, you know?"
"Yeah, world's changed me." He admitted. He took the coffee and sipped it.
I looked at his giant boomerang; the color was white and orange on its edges. He noticed it, so he answered before I asked, "My weapon."
"Weapon," he repeated, he put the coffee back on the table. "I'm a… hunter, you see?"
"What hunter?" I asked, amazed
"It's a secret." He grinned.
"Hmph," I tried to sound offended. "Well, goodbye then. I really have lots of work to do."
He rose up as I took my step leaving him. "Where do you live?" he asked.
Aware of his intention, I stopped him. "No, you DO NOT follow me." I warned him.
"Why?" he asked, surprised by my reaction.
"I'm a maid, you see?" I answered. "What will my mistress say if she sees me home with a boy? She's a strict lady!"
"Oh, yeah? Well see you tomorrow, then." He said lightly as he sat down on the wooden chair again.
I walked again and after a few steps, I looked at him. He waved at me when our eyes met. I smiled at him and went home.
To be continued.