Train in the Clouds
"Mivrea-san!! Where did you go?"
"Mivrea-san, stop being capricious!"
Suddenly, the sound of some heavy object falling to the ground made me jump in fright.
I was in the kitchen, after skipping dinner and wandering hours and hours in the various wagons, getting lost several times. I was not sure what time it was as there were no clocks around except my phone which, unfortunately, had run out and was now useless.
I'd asked pretty much everyone I met if they'd seen a girl with those features around, but the answer was always a blunt 'No' and I didn't really know how to react.
To tell the truth, I didn't even know which side to be on! I believed what Heathcliff had said, but at the same time I had bonded with Mivrea Seiler, even though she was no more than a snooty snob who did nothing but eat.
Although I didn't know what to do, however, I kept looking for her in vain. Until, in fact, I did not hear that suspicious noise.
"Is there anyone?" I asked and my voice boomed in the empty room. By now, the kitchen staff were long gone.
"Oi!" I screamed again. No noise. The room was dark and I couldn't even see what was around it well.
'Where's the light switch when you need it?' I thought as I took a few steps forward, gradually feeling a smooth surface near my body. It had to be some table.
At one point, when I moved my foot, with my eyes half closed, I tripped over something big in front of me and fell to the ground. When I fell, pots resting on certain devices began to create a loud noise and a high-pitched voice made a sound similar to a moan.
"Damn it, it hurts!" I swore loudly once I landed. I had hit my chin.
"I could say the same, you idiot!" The same voice retorted, "You hurt my leg!"
A sparkle in my eyes appeared when I recognized the voice and immediately turned to the shadow, while putting my hand on my aching chin. "Mivrea-san !?"
A small light illuminated us and the objects around us. The princess had with her, in fact, a small lantern with a rather funny shape: it was decorated with floral and childish motifs on the sides and was more or less the size of two lighters.
"Heiji .." she said, once she looked at me well. I observed her too: her hair was messy and her lips were dirty from some delicacy that she had probably just finished devouring from the remains of the dinner. She wore a blue dress with small yellow ribbons that I had never seen on her.
"What the hell are you doing here in the kitchen? Ah- this damn chin. Is there any ice?"
"No ice but there was a bottle of Kurkun extract on the sideboard." She replied, avoiding explaining the reasons for her escape into the kitchen, "I-I'm only saying that because I have to apply it to my leg too."
"Give me that thing in your hand, Mivrea-san." And, mysteriously, she obeyed me. So I got up and walked to the sideboard, under her guidance, and then applied that stinking liquid to my chin. The pain seemed to disappear after a while and I felt extremely satisfied.
"You didn't answer the first question though." I replied, as she smeared the extract on a red part of her calf.
"I was hungry, that's all. Rather you must be having fun with Heathcliff Alston, huh?"
"Look, I understand you hate each other for some unknown reason, but I find him nice-" She cut me off.
"Heiji, maybe I was wrong to have such a violent reaction, though .." and she brought the lantern close to her face, "I wouldn't trust him that easily."
"At least explain to me the reasons and I'll listen to you. Why do you hate each other? Why don't I have to trust him?" I walked over to her, but she shrank back with a red face.
"D-don't get too close." At which, as a joke, I brought my face closer to hers and laughed. "I-I'm serious: if you go away, I'll tell you."
I sighed, walked away and then placed my arm on the sideboard next to us. The light from the lantern was beginning to dim and, all of a sudden, it went out, leaving us locked in the darkness again.
"Perfect, just what we needed. It is worn out."
"We have to get out of here." I said.
"And how? We can't see anything, stupid human. We'll end up getting hurt again. At this point, we're stuck here."
I felt her move as the skirt of her wide dress caught on her shoes and she fell on top of me, who, in turn, fell on my butt on the floor.
"Stupid dress! Stupid dark!" She cursed. She kept moving her arms frantically and hitting my chest with her little hands. At that, I tried to stop her and grabbed her hand.
"Stop! You're hurting me." I complained. Then I felt something soft near her pale fingers.
"M-maniac! Where are you touching!?" She fidgeted.
"As if I know!"
A distant sound interrupted our conversation again and we both stopped and were paralyzed with anxiety. Maybe someone had heard us? Would I have ended in trouble again?
"Don't talk." She whispered. I felt her lips so close to mine at that moment that my heart started pounding in my chest and I felt my head spin. I could even hear her breathing and her accelerated heartbeat.
"STOP WHERE YOU ARE, THIEVES!" Someone shouted and Mivrea and I looked at each other, terrified. The same stranger turned on the light in the room whose switch was, strangely, difficult to reach, since it was far from the door.
And it was at that point that we saw a boy wearing a big striped pajama. He had a familiar face, studded with freckles. Then I remembered the violin player who was attacked by the nobles and taken away by force.
On seeing each other so close together, the princess and I immediately broke away from each other, very embarrassed and as red as tomatoes. Then I cleared my voice and looked at the young man.
"You are… Brick, right?"
"How do you know my name ..?" He asked. He then scanned my face, showed a fearful expression, and bowed quickly. "M-Master Heiji, I'm sorry."
"For what?" I arched my dark brows, confused.
"For using such an informal tone with you."
"Oh, you don't have to worry." I said as I waved my arms, "But please don't tell anyone you found us here."
"I won't! But .. is the Miss feeling okay?" He asked, looking worried. I turned to Mivrea and saw that she was turning pale, so I approached her.
"D-don't touch me. I have to go!" It left me surprised when I saw that she wanted to run away from the situation. And she did, because, seconds later, she lifted her pretty and long skirt and ran away.
'What's the matter now?' I wondered and went after her, limiting my speed a bit.
"Wait but ... the information you promised me!!" I exclaimed and she turned to me for a second and motioned me to shut up. We were making too much noise, anyway.
"Another time!" She answered and resumed running even faster than before. I decided to slow down, as I felt that following her would have done no good.
Brick joined me shortly after. He continued to apologize promptly and bow to my every slightest gesture, despite me telling him to stop because I didn't want to be considered a real knight.
"What's with all this mess!?" Some noblemen entered the carriage and one of them began to shout threats. "You ruined my refreshing nap!"
As soon as they saw Brick, they all pointed fingers at him and the poor fellow hid behind me, scared. I crossed my arms, with my forehead furrowed.
"Brick-kun didn't do anything. It was me." I said solemnly. The strangers eyed me and some of them put their hands on their cheeks, astonished.
"The Human is taking the blame for that rascal. Oh dear .."
"He must have convinced him somehow! Catch him and break his skull!"
'They are crazy!' I said to myself and grabbed the boy by the wrist. Then I ran into the kitchen again, leaving them all confused, but they were forced to follow us. I guided Brick behind a table and scanned the surroundings for some object to throw.
Then I heard the sound of a frying pan moving, due to all the commotion, and the noise I had heard earlier started again.
"That brat activated the CQ System!" Yelled one of the enemies.
I grabbed a lightweight pan and tossed it in their direction. A man in the group, wearing a tricorn hat with large blue feathers, was hit and passed out on the ground.
Quickly, everyone turned to the wounded man and began asking questions. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity: I grabbed the boy again and ran as fast as I could.
In the blink of an eye, we were in another car. Some people were awake and stood in the corridor to understand what was happening. I walked to my car, pretending that nothing had happened.
"I heard a loud noise and screams. I wonder what happened."
"Well, I think it was that cook's son again! I bet he steals the food and- oh, that's him!"
'Just perfect.' I rolled my eyes, annoyed.
We started running again. Brick tried to keep up with me as we threw open doors and moved among the noblewomen in their pompous skirts.
In short, I reached my room and informed Alder, who was checking the corridor where my suite was, that the unfortunate would have stayed there to sleep. He was tired and sweaty, plus his face was pale with fear: I certainly couldn't leave him in that state.
"Also, prepare a cup of hot tea, if you can." I ordered, but got complaints from the butler.
"But at this time, sir .. It's 5 in the morning."
"It does not matter." I retorted, "Don't you see how he is reduced? He looks like a ghost."
"Fine, Sir. I'll do it in a flash." And he walked away, with his back straight.
As for my host, he thanked me for the umpteenth time and fell asleep in a few minutes, exhausted by the insults and by my speed.
"And now who will drink that tea?" I sighed.