I still did not believe we were following the clumsy maid. Slowly, she advanced, guiding our step, staggering constantly among the trunks of those trees illuminated as if it were Tanabata. Fazio walked to her side, helping Kurumi after taking her by the hand, which she refused to accept from the beginning because she did not think she deserved so much kindness from his part.
Kurumi's inferiority complex was something that fascinated me.
The discomfort that was not going away only intensified on me, causing me to smile in the darkness. Her constant suffering is my enjoyment, to have her controlled like a puppet thanks to that great weakness of hers.
Nevertheless; she had a great weapon at her disposal, breaking my barrier to the outside world. A side that broke my intentions as it did minutes ago when we found her and my sister under the tree.
Her bloody smile.
"Big bro Kai! You are hurting me...!"
Amrita's voice took me out of my trance, causing me to notice that I was squeezing her hand. Her face reflected deep pain. She pulled away sharply, not waiting for me to say something in my defence. I turned my gaze to the sky, which was covered by the leaves of the endless trees. Lanterns hung from the branches, along with multicoloured flashes that floated around. She was lost in their shining, being reflected in her eyes amazed with our surroundings.
I closed them momentarily, only see how that pink ribbon that Amrita always has on was removed, drawing my attention.
I froze, unable to say anything.
Her long hair swayed with a sudden burst, caressing her gently. The object in her hands danced at the same time, a magical aura taking possession of us. A complicity was formed, requiring me to explain it. The coloured lights; sparks that gleamed non-stop, hovered between us, laughing softly. A circle had formed, enclosing us as they jumped up and down. I did not pay attention to them since I was lost in my sister's actions. She sighed, escaping between my hands. They were invisible, I knew it very well. In the same way, they were walking beside me, being the stroke that followed the sighs. With them freedom escaped; they could go out and flee. They are invisible. They are in one place but not at the same time. Something ineffable that to their pleasure handles their freedom with the others while passing unnoticed.
"Big Bro..." the pause between her words was eternal. "Can you feel it too?"
Chills did not fail to appear after listening to her, my heart altering more than necessary, the sighs coming out like bubbles when the breathing exhausted, air leaving the lungs. She was not the only one who had felt a sense of déjà vu after arriving into this unusual world. I could hear the trees talking, the flowers singing and the wind murmuring. The familiarity was difficult to explain, believing that I had gone mad, denying that feeling from within me.
Amrita's ribbon escaped her delicate fingers, turning towards the coloured lights that were still jumping. She raised her hands, unable to reach it. I raised my arm, holding it between mine, the wind still wanting to steal it.
Stealing the only thing left to her from a special person for us.
"Yes." I finally gave an answer. I instructed her to turn around so I could tie it back in her hair. "But I think we can talk about it later. We must know exactly where we are. Then we will worry about that detail."
"My sirs, you better not stay behind. We do not know if there are creatures in this place." Fazio's voice overshadowed the lights, extinguishing them. They fled, probably in shame at being seen by someone else. Their gossip disappeared, the voices fleeing from both of us. "Please, do not separate from us. It is our duty to watch over you. If something were to happen to both of you, we would be unable to forgive ourselves."
We kept silent.
Without noticing, Amrita placed her hand over mine, her warmth being transmitted to my body. She trembled slightly, her body clinging to my waist. Her legs hit my knees, remembering that she was wearing the uniform of a school she never attends, following my bad example. After feeling it completely, my ears heard a rattle. I quickly faced it, to notice that a wind chime was rocking in one of the thousands of branches. My sister did not notice it, losing herself in the gaze of our main butler.
This world is alive. In more ways than I imagined.
"Fazio... don't you feel it?" I was able to perceive how my sister's lips wavered.
He turned his back on us, returning to where Kurumi was. He gave us one last look, blinking slightly.
"I'm sorry to tell you that I do not know what you're talking about, miss. I just feel a little cold as the night is falling."
Amrita closed her eyes, only to finally sigh. I still did not understand his changing attitude, causing me to fix my glasses to hide it. I shook my bangs, meditating what to say. The penumbra enveloped us more and more, absorbing us. A terrible sensation ate at us, causing us to reach them quickly. The clumsy maid was still struggling to stay on her feet, her breathing breaking as she dragged her worn mahogany loafers onto the lawn, wetting them with a midnight dew.
"Do not get away from me. Did you understand, Amrita?" Those words escaped from my mouth, me without understanding my inexplicable concern.
This time I squeezed her hand, except delicately.
Her laughter calmed my heart, wanting to kill myself after noticing that, indeed, I depend on it to move forward.
I wanted to protest. I wanted to say something. I wanted to complain. I wanted to hit the walls. I wanted to eat. I wanted to drink something. I wanted to rest. I wanted all the comforts of the mansion. I wanted to fire her for being so inept.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," she murmured in embarrassment, covering her face with those hands that were dedicated to cleaning every corner of a home that was impossible to return.Resting on Fazio's chest, she couldn't stand crying for her innate awkwardness. He tried to calm her, rubbing her light hair with soft strokes like a hazelnut. For some reason, that made me uncomfortable.
There was no reason at all for that to make me uncomfortable, but there was something that caused it. I loathe Kurumi Misato. I do not know since when. My memory does not seem to remember it either. Since I have use of reason, I have always felt dislike towards her and her lack of everything. Everything in the sense of absolutely everything. She burns the food. She irons badly. She stumbles on her maid's dress. She lacks personality. The only good thing she has is that smile.
One minute... the only good thing she has?
I shook my face piercingly, preventing one of my greatest flaws from coming to light. I covered it between my arm, only so that my younger sister was the only one to notice it. She watched me with bright eyes, wanting to laugh at the situation. I frowned, pretending to get angry. She just playfully hit my knee, both of them resting on the ground. That reminded me that we were inside a cave.
"You are sooooo cold sometimes, that I can hardly believe that you blush with extreme ease. You're weird, brother Kai! Still holding her laugh, she clings to me. If Fazio found out about this, he would bother you a lot with double-hints and such."
"Definitely that butler needs to remember his place," I stammered, still holding my face in my arms.
"But doesn't that mean they are close? I always joke with Kurumi." She blinked, placing a finger under her chin. Then she tilted her face, one end of the ribbon falling into her purple checkered skirt. Her violet eyes flickered like a star.
"The relationship you have with that useless is different from mine," I breathe to control my blush. "Mine is more..."
It's more what?
"It's more... what?" Amrita asked me the same question that rounded my mind.
"Just walk and make her stop crying!" I exclaimed furiously, trying to escape from my own embarrassment.
She got up, wiping the back of her dust skirt. She took a few small steps forward, only to turn around, her ankle dancing in the dust.
"I'll do it because it's Kurumi. I'm not your servant to follow your orders," she stuck out her tongue, after placing a finger under her eye, mocking me. "Silly old brother."
Ignoring our predicament, all I did was bite my tongue. I had begun to question my exact relationship with Fazio. He was just a simple servant. One more piece of furniture. A surprisingly attentive and efficient piece of furniture. I have to establish the limits between trust and disrespect, remembering what happened in the morning in the mansion but, what generates me the most insecurity is the look he gave me when I told Kurumi what she really was: a simple servant.
"Take it easy, Kurumin!" my sister's kindness to others was something I will never understand. She extended her hand to her, encouraging her to stand up. "It is not your fault that we are in a cave without exit and uncommunicated from any creature of this world."
"Miss Amrita, I do not think that sounded very encouraging." Sighing in surrender, Fazio had to contain Kurumi even more.
"It's my fault, lady Amrita! I'm so sorry... really... to make things worse my pain does not go away and... according to Fazio the fever is increasing... I'm just a burden for all of you, "I noticed that she left my butler, forming tiny fists in her dress. "Leave me behind. I have put you all in a difficult situation and the least I want is for something bad to happen. After all, one of my duties is to ensure the welfare of both of you, and I will keep my word."
Before Fazio managed to finish the name of that woman, my legs worked much faster. I was irritated. Much more irritated than usual. My selfishness was in, wanting to enjoy all my comforts was minimal to what I felt now. Maybe it was her words. Maybe her attitude. Or maybe that smile that is the only thing she possesses that is not a fault like her other duties. I dragged my soles towards her pathetic figure, which trembled when I faced her. Amrita said nothing. She only recoiled a little, giving us her back. She gave me a little blow on the knee, being a sign of encouragement. Something told me that, despite her young age, she understood my intentions better than I did.
As if she had known me for a long time, knowing my habits; nervous tics; weaknesses; actions."Yes, it's your fault, useless," gloomy, I was able to whisper. Fazio stood up untimely, throwing me the same look as in the forest, a defiant one. "Do not meddle. After this, we will have a brief talk about these inappropriate behaviours.
I could swear I heard a remark coming from his mouth.
"It's your fault. We should leave you behind. This stupid allergy has made you more inept than before. Even with a fever, you are unable to move forward. You were the one with the idea of following a path. A path full of lanterns. According to you, it was by intuition. An intuition that would take us to a place where we could find answers. The only answer I have found is the fact that I know you really do not work at all."
"Brother..." Amrita sounded discouraged, perhaps defrauding her after being wrong. She clasped both hands in her chest, trying not to let her feelings get in the way.
"You are hopeless! You can not even fulfil an order. A simple command," I pointed out with authority, Kurumi giving a wail of surprise mixed with anguish. A sweet melody that I would like to repeat for eternity, but then I will have many more moments to enjoy it. I stopped for a moment and then added: "I ordered you not to faint again. And what are you doing? Fainting! Then start a tantrum over your inferiority and guilt complex. If you are supposed to watch over us, do it! Do not stay there as an inept crying on the floor! You better make your intuition true or I'll fire you. This suit is not cheap. I will reduce it from your pay."
"Ehehe!" My sister laughed in the distance, now happy to know it had not been a mistake. She hugged me from behind, supporting her head. "I knew it."
With serenity, Fazio bends down as a sign of apology. "You will have to tell me the moment of this talk."
"Oh, we'll have it. And it will be long. Very long. There are a couple of limits that we have to re-establish." I crossed my arms. I realized that Kurumi was still on the floor of the cave, watching me with stupor after my words. "Stop looking at me like that. Not that I was an exotic animal. Now get up and keep smiling like an idiot, which is the only good thing you know how to do."
"Certainly, Kurumi's smile is beautiful." Fazio joined in the conversation. The aforementioned lightly smiled. "Also, I must admit that my null sense of direction also caused us to go around. After all, we walked hand in hand with her being unstable because of her allergy and fever."
Fazio and his lovely words. We have to talk about many things. Many with respect to their attitude.
"Fazio... Lord Luke..." staggering, Kurumi was able to rejoin.
She placed a hand on her chest, then gently moved her face somewhat reddened by fever. Her emerald eyes shone like the same precious stone, generating discomfort in me. She extended her arms, going straight to my head. Smiling, as she had never done before, she had the audacity to, above it all, give me a hug, closing her eyes.
"Thank you. Thank you for your words. To take the time in someone like me."
She covered my hair, causing me to close my eyes a few times. It was a reassuring feeling. Difficult to explain. I could feel the heat on my face, not knowing if it was because of affection or my biggest weakness.
"I want to join as well!" Amrita shouted in protest, engaging in a manifestation of affection from which she longed. For his part, Fazio could not help laughing. "Hugs! Hugs! You're like a mom, Kurumi."
"Hmm?" Now she opened them, not understanding what Amrita meant. Once she realized her actions, she stepped back in embarrassment. "Oh my God, what have I done! A very serious lack of respect ..."
To avoid seeing my face completely crimson, the best idea I had was to give a strong punch to the wall. A small stone fell between my feet, some sand sliding between my fingers. Amrita faced me with a mocking grin. I wanted to say something, I knew it very well.
As sweet as Amrita may be, deep down, she also had a dark heart like mine.
After all, we are siblings as well.
"Um ... it's not to ruin what just happened but ... it would be better if you did not see your hand at this moment..." now Amrita's face was turned in concern, covering her lips in surprise.
As they say, curiosity won.
The first thing I saw was the crimson liquid descending between my knuckles, in a small stream. It was minimal; tiny. Feeling that texture so cold and metallic so close I shuddered. So much so that now my face had turned pale. It increased my heart rate and blood pressure; however, at the second, nausea and dizziness appeared. I wanted to faint. I was going to be as pathetic as Kurumi. I walked away quickly, ignoring my surroundings. Both servants watched me perplexed, seeing my lack of composure. Now it was me who wanted to collapse on the ground. My sister held my arm, giving my best so that my second weakness did not come to light although, with this show, they must have already noticed.
Especially my butler.
"B-B-B-B-Bloo-Bl-B-Bloo-," I began to hesitate like a small child before the monster of a fairy tale.
Yes. The great Kajitsu Luke II Aluto has hemophobia.
"Handkerchief! A handkerchief!" Kurumi searched through the pockets of her ragged dress. "Fazio! What are you so calm ?!
"I do not think it's so necessary, it's just a small wound. The young master is strong, he will be able to bear it."
You are a demon!
However, before we could understand and establish a plan of action, the serpent appeared.
Its thin tongue traced the corner of its lips, watching us with piercing yellow eyes. Those scales looked wasted, their gigantic size increasing the shadow that ate us. It moved slowly, approaching us. Its sturdy body was difficult to move given the width of the cave, giving us the opportunity to process the information. It smiled again, revelling in having fresh prisoners tonight as dinner, tormenting us with Its presence. Kurumi hugged Fazio, still shaking. Amrita threw herself at me slowly, trying not to disturb the animal. I tried to think how ot got there so fast. I wanted to do it, being honest. My legs wavered, feeling what real terror was. I want so much to die. So much I want to end my life to be finally free. I would give, I would even do what I could to fulfil that dream. However, it was not among my plans to be eaten by a snake with clear eyes.
If Kurumi had not followed her intuition, we would not be in this predicament. If she had not hugged me I would not have hit the wall, waking the animal. She is definitely a useless servant.Unable to wait another moment, the serpent advanced towards us, spreading its venomous fangs to eat us. In a matter of seconds, Fazio launched himself at my younger sister, carrying her in his arms. She was silent, avoiding screaming because of the terror we were experiencing. Kurumi did not hesitate twice either, running towards my butler believing that he would arrive at a safe place. Her current condition made her task worse but, surprisingly, her speed was the greatest of all. She managed to overtake, being now the leader of the escape. Lifting her dress, she ran and ran without caring. The distance between the four growing. As much as I hate doing physical activities, I had no choice but to forget my hemophobia no matter how hard it cost me, striving to get to them.
The race became eternal, listening to the snake laugh. I could feel his tongue on my eardrums, indicating his closeness. We just ran and ran. There was no exact direction to follow. The insecurity. The adrenaline. My chest hurt and burned. It was hard for me to breathe. My throat burned.
However, I could feel a warm feeling. A nice. A premonition that something was about to happen.
Something good. Something magical.
"This happens to you for being a clumsy maid! -extending my arms, as I continued to blame her for our current predicament.
As much as she was much ahead of us, Kurumi listened to me, apologizing again.
"Brother! Brother! Brother!" Amrita shouted from the shoulders of Fazio, removing her face while she extended her arms to, perhaps, help me to reach them when I was last, very close to the snake.
"I am sorry! Excuse me! Sorry!" screaming, I could swear Kurumi was crying.
"My master, it would be better to hurry your step instead of arguing, that this thing will reach us and..." quiet, as if it were a game, Fazio remained immutable, even funny, after the situation.
I remained silent, trying to recompose my energies. I had to hurry. My heart was beating ahead and running. I began to breathe through my mouth, loud sounds escaping my throat when I missed my breath.
"You should exercise more." Fazio sent one last comment.
This time I will not be silent about this lack of respect!
It had gone directly to my pride.
"I swear that someday you're going to...! "imploring for a pause, my threat instead of leaving seriously turned out to be pure air with a tiny voice.
No matter how far we went, Kurumi stopped abruptly. She turned around, her face pale and frightened.
It's not time to rest, stupid!
"Kurumi ...? Why do you stop...?" My sister sounded scared once she returned her sight to the front, seeing her personal servant stop without warning.
The snake was close. Very close to me. Its tongue brushed my suit, causing it to increase its speed like never before. I closed my eyes, taking off my glasses to try harder. Now it was Fazio's turn to stop, imploring me to do the same. I could even hear Amrita's voice yelling at me to stop. I ignored them, having felt a part of the snake in my body.
Once I felt it, I was able to return to that feeling... the same one I had when I fell from the sky in this bizarre world.
"Dead... end..." the delicate voice of the clumsy maid was the last thing I heard.
The screams came later, especially my younger sister's.
I never thought that feeling the emptiness of falling would be so eternal. Certainly, I liked the feeling of insecurity in my stomach, causing a strong advance in the sense of not knowing what would happen next. Feeling the wind caressing my cheeks, with my eyes closed towards the horizon, caused me to let myself snuggle, not wanting to believe that I was falling once more. I preferred that my head be blown away by what was in the background, instead of being the aperitif of a snake with clear eyes. It keeps sounding absurd. I'm still looking for logic. But nothing can deny what is happening right now. I just fall. And I let myself fall. Waiting for, this time, nobody to stop my ending.
"Wait a sec, they're going to fall on us!"
A voice. A voice that caused my heart to beat again just as it did when the animal pursued us. Something good. Something magic. That voice made my surroundings shine in advance. I could swear to see those multicoloured lights wrapping me once more, singing a song. A ballad. They danced and danced, indicating that the meeting was approaching.
A meeting that would change the direction of this world. Our destiny. Our future. A new story was about to begin. A story that, definitely, will not have a happy ending.
«You have to get out of here. Please, come back home. Recover the coin and return home ... please.»
"Who you are?" I whispered to the wind.
Her body was warm. My breathing had been cut once it cushioned my fall. A delicate figure, indicating that I was a woman. A young woman, perhaps adolescent having an undeveloped body, unlike Kurumi's. I started coughing, trying to regain my composure and thus analyze my new surroundings. It reacted slower than normal. I appreciated saving my glasses, otherwise, they would be destroyed. Once I opened them, a green hair hypnotized me after being an unusual colour for my world. Of course, very clear. Delicate as the lawn. Pointy ears that caused me to touch out of mere curiosity. Although, the detail that most shook me, was the colour of her eyes.
A colour that, to my surprise, captivated me.
It's the most charming mint colour I've seen.
Unable to believe my fascination, I recognized his voice once it rose with my cheeks. It was the same person who had shouted that we would fall like a shower of stars. Except that, this time, it made me remember absolutely everything that happened since the snake laughed again after having followed us.
"Ah ... I knew a storm was coming."
It was her last words before she pushed me, causing that near moment to disappear forever.