The Master and The Slave
Neya checks her ankle first, finding that her sprained ankle has healed overnight. Neya crawls out of the bed, letting both of her feet touch the cold wooden floor, and then she sneaks her way to the door. She heard a mild rustling noise in the other room. She eases the door open, letting her eye to peek through the gap.
Through the gap, Neya watches Nesto tying a handmade basket with a rope and proceed to carry it on his back like a bag. He then grabs his axe and places it in the basket. Nesto opens the door and left the house. Neya slowly opens her room door and walk to the front door that Nesto just used. She then peeks through the gap again, watching Nesto head toward the forest.
Neya opens the front door, then she gets out of the house and starts stalking him through the forest. Neya watches Nesto from far as he walks through the narrow path in the forest while stepping over a few overgrown roots on the path. Nesto stops in his track causing Neya to stop, she looks at Nesto then quickly hide behind a tree.
Neya leans to the side to peek, seeing Nesto turns his body to face the bushes beside him. He then squats down next to the bushes and begins picking berries from the bushes. Neya let out a breath of relieved, she thought Nesto had noticed her following him. Nesto places the berries in the basket, he then turns to look in the bushes and his eyes widen.
Neya looks closely and saw Nesto pick a blue flower from the bushes with a smile on his face, his place the blue flower in his jacket pocket and pat it gently.
"Flower?" Neya whispered to herself.
Nesto stands up and begins to walk down the path again. Neya waits for a few moments before following Nesto again. It doesn't take too long for Nesto to stop on his track again, but this time he stops at a riverbank. Nesto takes off the basket and places it under a tree. Then he took the axe and start cutting down a few tree branches. He took a couple long branches and shave it down to a fishing spear.
With the spear in his hand, he stood on one of the large rocks near the river. Neya watches Nesto as he stood quietly on top of the rock without making any noise, then suddenly he throws the spear down into the river. Nesto pulls the spear out of the water and two fish can be seen stuck at the end of it.
"I don't understand him at all, he is just fishing without any care in the world," Neya whispered to herself.
"Is it me the problem? No, it's him. It's not me," Neya whispered to herself.
Neya thought what is she doing right now is a waste of time, so she heads back to the house leaving Nesto alone. After Nesto catches a few other fish, he then walks back to the basket and stores them in it. Nesto then gathers firewood in the forest, and then he walks back to the riverbank, grabbing the basket of material he collected.
He carries the basket on his back while holding the firewood in his hands. He took the same path to reach his house. Nesto arrives at his house, then he begins to prepare the breakfast outside of his house by igniting the fireplace. He cooks the fish and prepares a special brew of teas by mixing the tea leaves with the berries he found in the forest.
He went inside the house to grab the wooden plate and cup, but before he heads outside. He peeks through the gaps of Neya room door, he could see Neya still sleeping on the mattress. He heads back outside and prepares the food, he went back inside with a plate of grilled fish and surprises to see Neya sitting at the table.
"Morning, master," Nesto greet Neya with a smile on his face.
Neya shows no emotion after hearing Nesto address, her lip flattened and her eyes tired. Nesto overlooks the emotionless responses and prepares the meals in front of her. He places the blue flower beside the plate and backs away from the table while he waits for his master to enjoy the meals
"I don't..." Neya position both of her hand on her face.
Nesto lean closer and waiting for her to finish her sentence. Neya pulls her hands away and a look of defeat looms over her.
"I don't understand you. Why are you so nice?!"
"Why are you so damn happy despite being a slave?!"
"What are your plans?!" Neya asks while her gaze bore into Nesto.
"I'm sorry, but there is no plan," Nesto answers with a small smile to calm her down.
"Stop. Stop smiling!" Neya shouted in anger.
"How could you be so happy in this shitty world?!" Neya ask.
"Master..." Nesto said.
"Answer me, that is an order!!" Neya command.
"I'm happy because of you," Nesto answer.
Neya let out an unstable laugh after hearing Nesto answer. Her eyes begin to redden as she slams her fist on the table while laughing uncontrollably.
"Because of me? You love watching me suffer, do you? You pretend to be nice to me so you can confuse me and watch me become paranoid about every single thing," Neya accused.
"Master, that's not—" Nesto about to say when Neya throws the plate at him.
"I won't let you! I won't fall for your trick anymore," Neya exclaim.
Neya stood up with rage, pushing the chair back and flip the table. She then grabs a long tree branch underneath the table and walks to Nesto. Nesto stands his ground and not moving an inch of his body, he clenches his teeth. Neya raised the tree branch and swing it toward Nesto, she hit him with all of her anger and frustration.
"Why won't you fight back!?" Neya scream.
Neya kept on hitting Nesto while screaming profanity, she swings and hit. Nesto stood there letting Neya lash out her anger. The tree branch kept hitting his side and arm while occasionally the tree branch grazes his head leaving a bloody cut.
Neya stop as her breath getting heavy, she looks down at her feet and notices the spilled tea cast a reflection of her. She looks into her reddened eyes and saw the same eyes that the men used to torture her has. Then she remembers that her father had the same eyes when he hit those two injured elves back in the throne room.
"My father and those men," Neya mutter.
"They are the same, I always look up to him. Now, I'm becoming him, I'm becoming those men that I despise," Neya said while she gazes on her reflection.
Neya let go of the tree branch, letting it fall to the floor beside her. Then she looks up at Nesto, she saw blood flowing down from the cut on his head. This man in front of her is the only good thing that happens to her and because of her unstable mind, now he is going to hate her for it.
She destroys everything good around her.
"I'm sorry" Neya mutter slowly.
Neya legs gave away, and she was about to fall to her knees. When Nesto grab both of her arms and pull her closer for a hug. Neya eyes widen as she felt Nesto warm body press against her.
"I can't be normal anymore. My mind is broken, just like what those men say they would do to me," Neya said.
"It's not broken," Nesto said. Neya was surprised to hear those words.
"You don't know what I felt, all those pain they inflicted on me. I try to stand against it for six years on my own, but it was useless," Neya said.
"I know about pain, trust me. Master, You not too far gone, you still have good in you," Nesto said as he rubs the back of Neya's head.
"How could you say that?" Neya asks, her voice cracking.
"Because for the last two days I watch over you, never once I saw you have the intention of seeking revenge for what happened to you. You hated those men that torture you, you hated your family for abandoning you, but you didn't go after them. You only wish to escape the pain and be free from your anger," Nesto said.
"How do you know about me?" Neya asks.
"You speak in your sleep, and I put the rest of it together by observing you," Nesto answer.
"I don't want to live a life with pain," Neya said.
"That is impossible. There is always pains as you live your life, but I promise you. As long as you are my master, I won't let a bad thing happen to you like it did before," Nesto promise.
"Thank you, Nesto. Thank—you," Neya said while the dam of tears she has been holding back broke and release every last drop of her tears on Nesto chest.
"You ask me earlier, why am I so happy. It's because I found a good master to serve under," Nesto said.
Neya smile as she hears those words while her tears dripping from her cheek and her eyelid begins to become puffy while she clenches her teeth. Nesto looks at the blue flower on the floor, it has been soaked by the tea and crushes under the table.
Then the memories of Eilna flash before his eyes. Eilna is holding the blue flower in her hand while sitting under the tree, she leans against Nesto. Nesto notices the flower in her hand, Nesto eyes went to Eilna smiling face while she gazes into the flower.
"You sure love the Claryfair flower," Nesto said.
"It's because of you," Eilna said as she brings the flower close to her nose.
"Me?" Nesto asks while Eilna sniffs the fragrance of the flower.
"Don't you remember? It's the first gift you ever gave me," Eilna said.
"I don't actually," Nesto said.
Eilna hit Nesto playfully on his chest with her fist. She pouted as she glares at Nesto for forgetting about the flower. Nesto raised his hand to defend himself from Eilna attack.
"It's happened at the castle when we were still kids," Eilna said.
"Ohh, I remember. It's when you still dressed like a boy," Nesto said as he remembers the first time they met.
"Oh Yana, Nesto. Huh, Thank the goddess, I didn't love you for your brain," Eilna said while shaking her head, Nesto just laughs it off.