Chapter 11:

0.9: A Friend I Can Rely On? And His Cute Maid

Train in the Clouds

Chapter 0.9Bookmark here

143. 144. 145.Bookmark here

Room 145 was positioned among all the others, with its burgundy red door and the silver plaque indicating the number, written in large.Bookmark here

Why am I saying this?Bookmark here

Because I found myself there some time after Mivrea had left the room. I realized that she would not be back for a few hours, too angry at my behaviour, and I decided to sneak away to Heathcliff's room, too curious about what he could have told me.Bookmark here

As it was evening out, the corridors were lit by chic chandeliers, which made the place resemble certain illustrations seen in ancient fairy-tale books.Bookmark here

Upon reaching the place, a woman with tied dark-hair stood guard over the room. Her face had a sweet outline and her gaze was similar to that of a mother: she showed a certain kindness towards her master. Her eyes were dark and little and her cheeks had a bright pink hue. She pouted her lips as if she was worried.Bookmark here

"Good evening, Master Heiji. Can I do something for you?" The woman asked. Her voice was soft and gentle.Bookmark here

"Yes, I need to speak to Heathcliff." I replied, softened. That young woman pushed me even more to talk to him - or rather, to delve into the history of the Alston family. I did not understand, however, what exactly attracted me to her.Bookmark here

The maid slid the door open and the flounces of her black dress moved smoothly. As soon as Heathcliff saw me, he gave a mysterious little smile and let me in. The boy was wearing a white tuxedo and elegant ivory shoes.Bookmark here

"Oh, I knew you were coming, Heiji-kun! But please, sit down." He said politely; at that, I sat down. "Thank you very much, Benedith. Now you can go." The woman left the two of us alone to converse.Bookmark here

"I think I should start from the beginning. It will be a bit long but you try to listen to everything, it will be useful to you." So Heathcliff settled into his chair and rested his elbow on the edge of the window. Then he began to narrate.Bookmark here

"The Alston family has been known for generations. My grandfather was the personal secretary of the ruler who preceded the Seiler family, for example. The previous King's name was Cales Rayner. He was the last of the Rayner family to reign.Bookmark here

"At the time, there was already a bit of tension. Old Derriere Seiler, Gustave's father, was at the head of a movement against the presence of the Rayner family, after certain choices that had been made by the Royal Council.Bookmark here

"It was a violent movement, called 'Empeto', which had no qualms about ruining the career and life of those who opposed it. My grandfather really didn't believe they would have gained power. But, instead, after Derriere's death, its members became more bloody and his son decided to take the place of leader.Bookmark here

"Things were not going well for the Rayners: in the month of Skyfal in the year 1969 - and I mean February, in human language - Cales' daughter was seriously ill, while the other son, who was supposed to be his heir, had been beaten to death by one of the Empeto.Bookmark here

"The King, after all this, continued to fight hard. But the threat of war was imminent and he had to protect his royal title at all costs. Thus, the First War of Succession happened in November of the same year. And, how you know, Gustave came out victorious. Cales, on the other hand.. people never knew how he died. Some say he was killed by Gustave himself in battle, others say he was the victim of an assassination attempt to kill him in his bedroom.Bookmark here

"What has gone down in the history of the figure of the representative of the Seiler family is his legendary sword: the story tells that any fearsome opponent who was touched by that Exskylibur would have gotten paralyzed and, if not killed by Gustave, would have died soon after from an heart attack."Bookmark here

Heathcliff sighed and, having finished his explanation, threw himself back on the seat back.Bookmark here

I was speechless. He said it all so naturally and seriously that I felt obliged to believe his words.Bookmark here

'So Mivrea idolizes that man just because she is unaware of all this? His father certainly told her nonsense, to increase the esteem for him and to make sure that his children love and honor him like a hero. ' I thought. 'Also, in that same year, my grandfather got on this train, now that I think about it.'Bookmark here

Benedith re-entered the room and brought the nobleman a steaming cup of some boiling liquid. The fragrance of that substance spread through the air and enveloped the cabin with his bitter sweetness.Bookmark here

"Here, Master. Your tea." The woman put the cup down on a small table while I grabbed the dead phone to check the time. It was already 9 pm and dinner would have been served soon. The sun had completely set and a sky empty of stars represented our background.Bookmark here

"What happened to Cales Rayner's daughter?" I asked with a sad expression.Bookmark here

"Shortly after his father, she died of a heart attack. My grandfather remained in the service of the family until his death and was able to tell me. He told me: 'Heathcliff, you should have seen that poor creature! So alone and helpless against the wickedness of the people. . She laid weak on her four-poster bed with a pale face that recalled death and quivering lips. ' "He answered while sipping his precious tea. The cup also seemed precious, decorated as it was with those blue and gold strokes on the delicate white layer.Bookmark here

"And to think that Mivrea-san spoke of him as if he were a majestic and wise king." I thought aloud; whereupon Heathcliff's little tea remained.Bookmark here

"Mivrea? Mivrea Seiler?" He spat angrily.Bookmark here

"Yes, her. I'm hosting her in my cabin, why?" I asked innocently.Bookmark here

"God, I can't stand that girl. She's so spoiled and she follows her father like a lost dog! She's the definition of 'arrogance'." He commented, "Benedith, please don't look at me like that. You know what I'm saying is true."Bookmark here

"Oh, my Master. Don't get so angry or you will have blood pressure problems again!" Benedith put a hand to her lips, visibly worried. "Should I get you the medicine?"Bookmark here

"Benedith, it doesn't matter; I'm fine now. Anyway, Heiji-kun, I certainly wouldn't want to keep you here for long as it will be dinner time very soon."Bookmark here

"There are no problems." I replied, "Rather, it appears that there is mutual hatred between you and Mivrea-san."Bookmark here

"You bet! From how she treated me last time.. But better not talk about it now or I'll really need to swallow the medicine."Bookmark here

At that, I no longer mentioned Mivrea in front of him. Instead, I proposed to accompany him to dinner. Initially he refused but, with the help of kind Benedith, I managed to convince him.Bookmark here

"Come on, then, my dear sirs." The maid said, clapping her hands.Bookmark here

"Shouldn't we wait for Ald-" but I was interrupted.Bookmark here

"There won't be any need." Heathcliff pointed out, "Benedith is more than enough."Bookmark here

"Ara, ara ~ (Yes, I couldn't believe my ears.) What an honor to hear these words! Maybe Master Heathcliff is falling in love with his sweet maid?" She joked, with a subtle blush on her cheeks.Bookmark here

They seemed to me, after all, good company at the time. I therefore thought that my doubts about the princess were well founded and that it was only a personal hatred of her.Bookmark here

The dinner was very pleasant: we sat at a table positioned near the embroidered curtains in the room. The window was open and a pleasant wind stirred our hair. Classical music spread throughout the room, played by Benedith herself: she was on a light wooden stand and, with a small instrument that resembled a piano, she greatly improved the quality of our already delicious food.Bookmark here

In that instant, the woman seemed to me an angelic figure: with that smile of hers printed on her moist lips and her eyes closed, outlined by long and elegant black lashes, I could only feel more attracted.Bookmark here

Heathcliff ate in silence. Every now and then, some noblemen would direct their gaze towards us, but I didn't pay much attention to it.Bookmark here

I felt really good that night.Bookmark here

But something was missing.Bookmark here

And that something was Mivrea, who had completely disappeared. I thought I would have met her, but she probably had locked herself in the room and she had decided to eat away from everything and everyone. Those worries were, however, interrupted by Benedith who put a soft hand on my shoulder and explained that she would have liked to sit with us.Bookmark here

"Master Heiji, you seem worried." She told me once she leaned back in the reddish velvet chair.Bookmark here

"It's nothing, Benedith-san."Bookmark here

"Rather," the blond began, "looking at where the train is heading, I assume we'll end up in Valendella."Bookmark here

"Valendella?"Bookmark here

"Yes. Actually, a few heads from Valendella there's my family's main mansion. We can drop by."Bookmark here

The head was their equivalent of a kilometer. I was a little confused at first, as it was the first time I had heard that expression, but then I got used to it.Bookmark here

"Sure, it wouldn't be a bad idea." I replied, with a slight smile. The maid also gave me a warm smile and I blushed, embarrassed.Bookmark here

From how my story is going, though, you should have guessed already that I got in trouble again somehow.Bookmark here

I mean, things can't go well for too long for me.Bookmark here

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Konoko Asada
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