Arisu no Kakumei
The New Maid
Kuroyuki Alice stepped out of the car, carrying a small black case with her. After muttering a short thanks to the driver, the black vehicle moved on without a second thought. Alice moved out of the middle of the road and into a huge golden gate, the entrance to the biggest and most extravagant mansion she had ever seen.
Alice couldn't help but admire the whole place. A well-paved road spread out from the gate, spiraling up to a small hill until it reached a four-story mansion. The hill had trees, shrubs and small flower gardens all around it and Alice spotted the roof of a gazebo nearby. The mansion itself was magnificent - it seemed to be made of white marble. It practically towered above everything else.
"So this is the place I'll be staying from now on," muttered Alice to herself. "Who would have guessed…"
Alice noticed a silver insignia in the middle of the golden gate in front of her. It was shaped like a wolf's piercing eye, with an intricate A in the middle of it. It was the emblem of the Aesir, a fearsome organization that had existed since time immemorial. And it was the same organization whom Alice considered to be the enemy. This emblem in front of the gate only reinforced Alice's thoughts - she was about to enter the territory of the enemy.
And in order to enter such territory, Alice had to ring the bell.
Despite the abundant wealth presented in front of her, no one seemed to be home. Alice had ringed the bell three times already, but no one came from the mansion. Also, she couldn't help but wonder how silent and peaceful the place was. Shouldn't a house as big as this one have lots of staff lingering around? For the past five minutes she'd been standing, she didn't notice a single maid or employee pass by. It was odd, very odd.
Alice tentatively put her hands on the gate and it actually moved. She pushed the gate and it opened easily for her. Puzzled, she crossed the threshold, wondering how such an important family had so little security.
Alice followed the paved road that headed towards the front door of the mansion. She passed by some lovely gardens and couldn't help but admire the works of art. Whoever created and maintained the gardens was sure to be an amazing person. Even someone as clueless in the arts as her could admire its beauty.
As she reached the small steps that lead to the balcony of the mansion, a loud shuffling noise caught her attention. Alice froze, listening to the sound coming closer…
"Somebody stop that dog!"
Alice jumped as she saw a huge mangy dog rushed out from the right side of the mansion. The dog turned the corner and ran straight for her. Confused by the sudden turn of events, she reacted too late when the dog jumped up towards her.
Alice landed on her back. The dog stopped running and playfully licked her face. She giggled, while trying to take the animal's snout off her. "Hey, that tickles!" she told the dog. "Stop that!"
The dog obeyed and sat beside her, watching her as she stood up and dusted the dirt off the black dress she was wearing. As she did so, a man in a butler's uniform appeared from the same spot the dog came from, panting heavily as he approached them.
"F-fen…" he muttered. "B-bad… Bad dog!"
Alice watched as the dog whimpered and his triangular ears folded to his head. The man arrived in front of them and gasped more air.
Alice scrutinized the new arrival with a critical eye. The man was tall and slim and looked young, probably in his early twenties. He had fair skin, messy green hair and strange golden eyes. He was wearing a standard butler uniform - a black vest over a long-sleeved white shirt, a pair of black slacks and shiny black leather shoes. Alice heard from Yamato about a butler serving as a bodyguard, but this guy looked really weak to be that person. Still…
"You're…" said the butler to her, finally catching his breath.
"Kuroyuki Alice," she answered. "I'm the new uh…" She still had trouble accepting the fact. "The new maid…"
"Ah, yes…" The butler had one final gasp as he stood straight and regarded her. He was really tall, towering over Alice for at least half a foot. "Akira-dono had informed that you were coming. I'm really sorry that I wasn't able to meet you at the gate."
"Oh, it's okay," Alice told him quickly. The butler looked really apologetic and distressed at the same time. "I should be the one who's apologizing, I practically invited myself in."
"Oh, don't worry about that!" said the butler, getting in a good mood so suddenly. He smiled widely and offered a hand. "I'm Saki Masato, the resident butler. In short, I'll be your co-employee."
Alice shook his hand. "Oh, nice to meet you, Saki-san."
"Oh, just call me Masa-kun. Since it'll just be the two of us, we should be at friendlier terms."
"Well, you can call me Alice then." Masato looked friendly and he reminded Alice of the pleasant old uncle in the bakery near the orphanage, who was really sociable and chatty. But something was off about what he said… "Wait, what do you mean the two of us?"
Masato looked puzzled. "I meant what I meant. There will be two of us living in this mansion, aside from Akira-dono and his sons."
"But what about the other staff?"
"We are the staff, Alice-chan," said Masato with a big smile, like it all made sense perfectly.
However, Alice was trying to absorb everything. How could two people clean and maintain such a huge place as this?!
Alice's thoughts were cut off by a voice that came from above them. "Who are you?"
Both Alice and Masato looked up. A blue-haired boy was watching from the balcony's railing, staring at Alice with purple eyes. He was about the same age as her, wearing a collared blue shirt and black shorts. His hair was short and a bit spiky, ending up all over his head. His gaze was so full of curiosity and Alice stared back with a slight frown.
"This is Kuroyuki Alice-chan," introduced Masato. "She'll be serving the master starting today." Masato looked at Alice and presented the boy. "This is Yamato Riku-dono, Alice-chan. He's the youngest of the three sons of Akira-dono."
To Alice's surprise, the boy Riku jumped off the railing and landed between her and Masato. The surprised butler fell in his butt on the ground while Alice stepped back. But Riku stepped toward her and studied Alice closely, their faces only inches apart.
"You have strange eyes,"Riku told her.
"I've been told that often," said Alice. "Seeing as they're of different colors, it's not that surprising."
Riku grinned but said nothing. Instead, he looked at the dog that sat beside Alice, wagging its tail playfully. "Strange," he said. "Fen likes you. He doesn't like strangers that much."
Alice crossed her arms; she didn't like the way Riku ignore her earlier statement. "Then that's something we have in common - I don't like strangers that much either."
"Me too," said Riku, smiling childishly. "Strangers scare me, but Alice-chan is…" He paused for a while, looking at her closely. "Different…"
He then turned around and walked towards the front garden. "Come, Fen…"
The dog obeyed and followed the boy out. Alice watched as the pair walked among the flowers, carefully ensuring not to step on any of the plants. A small cough caught her attention and she turned back to Masato, whom she didn't notice until a while ago.
"I didn't expect Riku-dono to react like that," said Masato. "He's usually more aloof…"
"He's very strange," Alice told him.
Masato chuckled. "He's special. But he's a good boy. The dog, however, is another story."
"You mean Fen?"
"Yes, Fen." Masato grimaced. "Unruly animal, I can't just control him. Very ungrateful, even though I fed him every day three times a day with no delay."
"Oh!" Masato noticed Alice's bag and quickly got hold of it. "I should escort you to your bedroom."
"Ah, you don't have to!" Alice waved her hands.
"What, escort you to your room?" Masato chuckled as he dismissed Alice's actions. "I don't think you can find your way in the mansion so easily."
"I meant my bag - you don't have to carry my bag."
"Oh, this?"Masato swayed Alice's case. "I may not look like it, but I am a gentleman. Plus, a light little thing like this won't - oops!"
Alice's case popped open and the contents flew all around them. "Oh, I'm really sorry! Really, really sorry!" Alice quickly kneeled and gathered the clothes sprawled around them. "Oh, let me help you…"
Masato picked up the nearest stuff. Unfortunately, it was a white bra…
In the end, he turned his back and allowed Alice to collect all her clothes and carry her bag. He was looking really red after that.
A few minutes later, Alice successfully fended all of Masato's apologies. Despite her annoyance, she had to appreciate his sincerity and the fact that he was just trying to help. However, she had to quickly take note of his chronic clumsiness. Aside from spilling all of the contents of her bag, Masato bumped his ankle on a very visible post and almost broke a vase when it was hit by his arm. It seemed like Masato wasn't in fully control of his body.
When Masato left her in her room, Alice was free to appreciate her surroundings. Her room was spacious to be a servant's quarter, complete with a soft bed and a big wardrobe. There was even a computer on her desk and a bookshelf with some books. A pair of windows had a nice vista of the back gardens, which was more beautiful than the front ones, and also crowned by a lavish fountain and a huge greenhouse.
Aside from her room, the whole interior of the mansion was lovely. Masato had led her to the huge receiving hall, with its carpeted floor, comfortable chairs, wonderful furniture, golden chandelier and an antique grand piano near a corner. The hall's main attraction was the spiraling wooden staircase, which lead to next three floors of the house. The butler guided Alice to the second floor, which contained four rooms, two of which were occupied by them. She had no doubts that the rest of the place was as great.
All of it seemed like a dream to Alice. These kinds of things only happened to the princesses and princes from the storybooks in her childhood. But here she was, stuck on a place that would have made Cinderella's prince's castle pale in comparison. One thing was for sure though - Alice was not a princess in this certain palace.
Yamato Akira had made it clear. In exchange for protecting his sons, Alice was allowed to do anything else. Alice's main goal is to find out about the Valkyrie Project, no matter if Akira wanted her to do the same thing as well. She doesn't trust him, but an opportunity like this doesn't come often. She still had a lot of questions left unanswered and she will do everything to find out the truth, even if it means going back to that dreadful facility.
Alice shivered and tried not to think too much about it. A loud bark from outside caught Alice's attention and she peeked out from her window. She saw Riku playing with the dog Fen, running around the fountain. Despite being near her age, Riku showed a child-like behavior as he chased Fen all over the place. His earlier actions also intrigued her - it was as if he was acting on a different thing rather than reason. Alice wondered how Yamato Akira raised him for him to be like that.
Speaking of which, Riku was the youngest son - which meant he have two older brothers…
These two other sons - will they be like Riku? Or will they be much more different? Alice couldn't help but wonder.
Another thing Alice placed into mind about Masato was that he can't make good of his promises. An hour after the butler promised to fetch her to help her get acquainted with the place and her duties, Alice decided she had waited long enough and it was time for her to look for him instead.
Alice first searched the first floor, which aside from encompassing the huge receiving hall, contained an equally large banquet hall, a state-of-the-art and very clean and organized kitchen and two spacious offices that appeared to be locked. The offices had golden plates on their doors with names on it. One belonged to Yamato Akira while the other one seemed to be owned by Yamato Haruki.
It was pretty obvious that this Haruki person had to be one of Akira's sons.
Since her search on the first floor was fruitless, Alice decided to head to the stairs and take a look at the other rooms in the second floor. As she reached the landing, she bumped into someone. The impact sent that person into the floor with a loud "Kyaaah!"
"Sorry!"Alice quickly offered a hand and helped the person up.
The person she bumped into was a young girl with short brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a very cute black and white maid outfit with lots of laces. Alice was horrified at what she was wearing; if she was going to be a maid in this mansion then she might be forced to wear such a ridiculous costume.
The girl took Alice's horrified look the wrong way. She gasped and immediately said, "I'm really sorry, I wasn't looking at where I was going!"
"Oh, it's okay, it's partly my fault, too," Alice assured her, as the maid seemed to be close to panicking. Her blue eyes showed fright and the way she shook and stumbled around was quite severe. She seemed to be in a really big trouble. "I'm Alice, the new maid here. Maybe I can help you if there's something that needs to be done…"
"Oh no, I'm okay," the maid quickly answered. "I just need to find Riku-sama."
"He's playing with the dog at the backyard," Alice told her.
This seemed to have calmed the other girl down. "Oh, I… I see." She was still fidgeting a little, but there was a calmer expression on her face. "Ah, thank you."
"You're welcome." Alice watched as the maid bowed to her and went down the stairs carefully. There was still something odd about the girl, the way she shook so suddenly when Alice least expected it. Then she realized she hadn't asked the maid where the butler was and silently cursed herself for forgetting about it.
Putting the strange maid at the back of her mind, Alice started what she went up the stairs for. Unfortunately, the first two rooms she tried were both locked, but lucked out in the third one, the door of the room easily opening for her.
The door opened up to the largest library Alice had ever seen in her life. Several large bookcases lined up in the room, every inch of which was stuffed full of books of different colors, sizes and titles. Alice felt excited; she loved reading books. Back at the orphanage, the nuns would give her all kinds of books to read and she adored each and every one of them. She stared at the titles, forgetting what she came there for.
She came across an interesting title about something called calculus. Calculus? Is that some kind of animal? Alice wondered if she can borrow it.
"If you want, you can have it. But I suggest you start with trigonometry first."
Out of instinct, Alice jumped up and immediately located the source of the voice. Standing in the next bookcase was a tall blue-haired man wearing glasses. She was so absorbed in the books that she didn't even notice him.
His piercing green eyes stared at her from head to toe. "I haven't seen you around here," he said. "What are you doing here?"
Alice challenged his stare with a resolute one of hers. "Shouldn't I be asking the same question to you?"
The man looked surprised. By a closer look, he wasn't much older than Alice, probably just by three or four years. But the black expensive suit he was wearing made him look more mature. But there was something in his posture and the way he spoke that reminded Alice of someone…
"I guess it is rude to ask the lady's name first," said the man. "My name is Yamato Haruki. I'm the eldest son of Yamato Akira." His expression changed into one of rising suspicion. "Now, I hope you have a good reason why you are here," he said in a threatening voice.
Alice did not show any reaction at all. "Oh, so you're one of his sons," she said in a nonchalant voice. "I'm Kuroyuki Alice, your new maid here."
One of Haruki's eyebrows shot up. "The new maid? But I've met her already and she looked nothing like you."
"And I've never met you," Alice told him. "That butler said that he was going to show me around the house since there are…" She wavered as a sudden thought surfaced in her mind.
Her silence made Haruki to continue the conversation. "Yes and?"
Alice ignored him and quickly moved towards the nearest window. Haruki was alarmed at her sudden movement but did not say anything. She hurriedly opened the window.
Alice saw Riku still playing with the dog. But approaching them from the side was the trembling maid she met moments ago. There was something wrong about her nervous movements and the way her eyes flitted from place to place, as if she was trying to see if someone was there beside them…
It was pretty stupid for her. Didn't the butler tell her that aside from the two of them, there were no other servants in the house?
"What are you doing?" asked Haruki when Alice put a foot on the windowsill. When she had both feet and she scooted her body so it could fit on the opening, he yelled in a panic, "Hey! What the?! What do you think you're doing?"
Alice gave him a grin. "I'm doing my job!" she said before jumping out.
Haruki reached the window and watched as Alice fell three floors down. She did a flip and landed like a nimble cat in front of Riku and Fen. Both boy and dog looked up in surprise at her sudden arrival.
Alice came face to face with the girl, which gasped in fright. Her eyes darted from her to Riku and then to her hand. It was clear in her expression that she was very afraid.
Alice sighed; even if she was an intruder and might be after the life of Riku, she was still a teenager just like her. "Give it up," Alice told her. "If you go now, I will spare you."
The girl's head bowed low as she gripped both her hands. She was visibly shaking but her answer surprised Alice. "No…" she mumbled. "I can't go now…"
"What?" Alice couldn't quite hear her.
"If…" she kept on muttering to herself. Alice slowly stepped towards her. She stepped back. "If I'm discovered… I will… Use… Yes, that's what they say… I'll be safe…"
"What are you mumbling about?" asked Alice. But her expression turned to shock when the intruder got a small steel knife from her pocket. It looked like a simple knife, but the red gem studded in its handle gave it away. "No, don't!"
"They told me…" said the girl, her voice loud and clear. "I will be…" And then she stabbed herself in the stomach with the knife.
"No!" yelled Alice. Her worst fears had begun morphing in front of her. Once the girl stabbed herself, the red gem glowed with a brilliant scarlet light. She screamed in pain as her whole body writhed and trembled. Her scream turned into a growl as her whole body began deforming and growing in tremendous speed.
Alice stepped back from the rising form. The dog Fen whimpered while Riku stared open-mouthed at the awful transformation. In a matter of seconds, the girl turned into a red-eyed hunched monster with terrible fangs and sharp claws. It growled as it looked hungrily at Alice, Riku and Fen.
"What…" said Riku. "What is that?"
"Riku!" yelled Haruki from a window above them. "Get out of there!"
Meanwhile, Alice was shaking. "How could they…" she said, her hands curling into fists. "How could they do this to an innocent girl?!"
"Alice-san…" whispered Riku as Alice stepped forward, towards the beast.
"I'm sorry I could not save you," said Alice with sad teary eyes. "But…" she wiped her tears and stared at the monster with determination. "I will put an end to your suffering!"
Alice reached out her right hand. "Tyrfing!' she shouted. The golden eye on her right turned red and shone. As it did, streams of red light came from her fingertips and formed into a huge sword. Alice gripped its handle and rotated it with ease.
It was nothing like an ordinary sword. It was huge, roughly her height and width. It was impossible to see her wield it in one hand. The sword's handle was black while the blade was made of silver. There was a shining red gem on the center of the handle, which was exactly the same color as her gleaming red eye. Alice swiped the sword and a gust of wind blew out of one mere swing.
The monster roared as it looked angrily at Alice. She, however, just breathed in and said, "This will be over in a while. Until then, bear with it."
Roaring furiously, the monster attempted to crush Alice with a claw. She did not move but clutched her sword tight with both hands. Before the claw reached her, she did one forceful swing and cut the claw out.
The monster cried as scarlet blood poured out of its decapitated arm. The blood rained down on Alice but she did not waver. She dashed forward quickly and stabbed the monster in its stomach.
More blood rushed out from this new flesh wound, staining both girl and sword. And with a strangled yell, Alice moved the sword and in one quick motion, sliced the whole thing into half.
The monster's upper half fell back into the ground. The bloody Alice panted as the lifeless bottom half landed near her. Trembling terribly, she fell down to her knees, her sword on her side. Blood spattered all over and her surroundings but she did not even utter a word.
Alice was still shaking and wheezing when she heard steps coming forward. She stared confused as Riku walked towards the torn body of the monster. He kneeled, soaking his pants in blood and put a bunch of flowers near it.
The boy turned towards Alice with a sad and innocent smile. "She'll be happier in a new place now. Right?"
"Yes, she is…" said Alice before she cried in agony.
A shocked and confused Haruki watched from above. She saw how the girl called a sword from out of nowhere and killed the beast so easily. This girl… Who was she?
His father… His father had something to do with this.
Haruki shook his head and went to a nearby table. He grabbed his cell phone, flipped it open, pressed some buttons and put it in his ear.
After a while, somebody picked up from the other line. "Yes, this is Haruki. I want to you search everything about a girl named Kuroyuki Alice."
To be continued…
Author's Note: This chapter had been ready for a while now but I have forgotten to post it. I'm being forgetful nowadays. Well, it took some time but here's the official first chapter of Alice Revolution. Yay!
Yes, I fully know that the theme of this story is pretty dark and there is gore here and there. I'm wondering if it should be an M instead of T? I dunno if what classifies as M and how it differs from T. What do you guys think?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the chapter. Drop a review before you go. Thanks!