A/N: I'm back, and with a huge announcement: I'm joining up with the US Army! I know it's a big choice and all, but my decision has been made. This is also the reason why this Elf chapter has taken so long. I'm not gonna get into too much detail about my personal life, but I'll still be writing regardless. This particular chapter is one of great tragedy and also something that many of us experience at one point in our lives. I'm sure many of you will be able to relate to this story's message like you have all the others. Anyways, if you really must ask me about my announcement, I'm open to PM's about it. Otherwise, let's get started on this new chapter!
“Wake up! Wake up!” I carefully shout, hoping that I don't wake the others.
“...Zzz...” The young woman continues to slumber despite my efforts.
-Pop- -Scribble- -Smack-
“...There, that'll be your punishment when you awaken.” I softly announce, much to my own amusement.
I leave the room to attend my own business just as the other servants are starting to get everything settled for today's agenda. My sensitive ears perk up at the sound of low mumbling, but it doesn't register anything coherent. Given that particular servant's personality, it could be about 10 different things at the same time. Sometimes I wonder why I ever took her in on that fateful day. Maybe it was out of pity, possibly contempt, or it could even have been curiosity. Whatever reason it may be, most members of my race would erupt with wild emotion if they ever found out that she is-
“Ah, I slept in! Why is everything yellow!?” A voice echoes behind me through the hallway.
“...Why don't you read it? Idiot.” I sigh and keep walking on to the dining room.
“Oh, thanks Master!” She answers happily.
“I told you not to call me that.” I grumble as I ignore her antics to find some breakfast for the morning.
A few minutes of walking are all I need to make it to the grand dining room on the other side of the mansion, where all of the other servants are busily eating their fill before quickly vacating seats for others. I make a path towards an seat at random, sidestepping past all of the servants rushing to get started on their duties. Somehow, I avoid getting knocked down from all of the bodies pushing and forcing their way through the narrow pathways formed between the numerous small tables that are arranged beside the main table. I let out a sigh of relief as I settle into my seat, giving my usual order of coffee to the dining staff. Only an hour into my day and I'm already starting to feel a headache coming on, both from my sleepy servant and from the stress that I know will be coming through the front door. It's fortunate that I don't have much of a presence here, otherwise I wouldn't be able to witness the staff in their daily lives. Most of them act professionally despite my lenient rules, but I can see everyone's sincere emotions which is a welcome sight.
“Wah!! Look out!” An all-too-familiar voice breaks my peaceful musings.
“...Too late.” I comment, as my cup of coffee spills all over my lap sending stinging pains surging through my legs.
“Sorry, Master, I messed up again.”
“Just sit down, and try not to touch anything.” I order with annoyance.
I gesture for another cup of coffee and whatever else my servant wants for breakfast.
“How long have you been here, Fay?”
“3 years, 5 months, and 2 weeks.” She answers with a grin.
“Three years, and you're still as clumsy as ever. What's bothering you?” I share in Fay's cheerful mood, smiling warmly myself.
“Well, it's nothing too important. I shouldn't add any more to your worries.”
“Huh.” I let the topic go, but I can't help the feeling that something is different about Fay recently.
The rest of breakfast passes by like usual, with Fay and I making small talk as well as going over what I expect of her on this particular day. I ask about how her studies are going and it surprises me that she seems to have been practicing until the dead hours of night. We arrange to have a private match together after the day's over, leaving a warm joy in both of us. Fay isn't the most adept of maids, and I remind her of that fact often, but the way she seamlessly spreads her contagious optimism is one of the reasons why I've taken a liking to her. It hardly bothers her that I employ all manners of monsters and Humans at the mansion since they were all once like her. It's concerning to think that so many people have lost their homes and families due to the war, but I'm glad that there are equally as many saviors for them.
With breakfast finished and everyone ready to greet today's guest, Fay and I exit the dining room after giving our compliments to the kitchen staff. A few minutes of walking later, I notice how quiet Fay seems to have gotten recently. Although she was her usually aloof self during breakfast, walking alone with her is different. It's like what happened during our conversation at breakfast, except this time Fay looks like she is secretly hoping that I ask her about her worries. As much as I'd like to figure this out, my business comes first as we reach our destination: my private study. Inside, I have arranged for a small coffee table to be set up with four chairs so that we may have a light-hearted, if not casual conversation. I take a seat at the table while Fay stands by my side as she was instructed this morning. The wait is long and boring. So boring that Fay asks me the same question over and over as I answer it the exact same way.
“When is she supposed to show up?” Fay asks me for the fifth time.
“She'll be here soon; just be patient.” I tell her again, leaning back in my chair.
“Milord, the Elven Lady is here to see you.”
“Good, send her in.”
The door opens and reveals a young Elven woman with angelic blonde hair. She is wearing a modest turquoise sundress that compliments her amber eyes wonderfully. I give a nod in her direction as I motion to an empty seat across from me. She smiles and accepts my invitation, keeping her view locked on my seated form. We share a quietly courteous stare for what seems like an hour, but really only about five minutes pass by. In our refined world, we can learn much about each other just from a single connection with our eyes. I gesture for Fay to begin serving tea, to which she nods and does so without incident. With our cups on the table, the young lady breaks the silent mood.
“You are quite the complex man, Lord Darrow.” She narrows her eyes as she sips her tea.
“I could say the same to you, my fair Lady Reveria.”
“Please, call me Talia. It's a pleasure to finally meet you in person.” She extends her hand to me.
“Likewise; it's an honor. You may call me Cale.” I answer, taking her delicate and gentle hand into mine.
“...” We just smile and continues to drink the tea, content with each other's company.
“Achoo!” Fay interrupts with an audible sneeze.
“Sigh...cover it next time, Fay.” I order without losing focus.
“Yes Master...” She obeys, albeit dejectedly.
“This is a very welcome sight. How did you ever manage to get a Human servant?” Talia looks at Fay like a scientist studying a new disease.
“She needed a new home and a loving family, which I provided on the condition that she work as a servant.” I try to avoid calling it by a certain term, but Talia instantly picks up on it.
“It's nice to see a Human in service to a member of the Elven race. Maybe that's why you are such a grand gentleman among us.” She coos, making a subtle pass at me after thankfully overlooking that word.
“I don't think I'm that well-known. Most of the villages still hold me in contempt; even other pure-bloods like myself shun me away.”
“The villages just don't take well to drastic changes. I'm sure that it will all change once we start looking forward at our future. Maid, another cup please.”
“Yes, Lady Reveria.” Fay answer with a practiced tone.
I turn to look at her and my heart drops at the sudden change that has come over the normally-ditzy maid. Fay's emerald eyes are clouded and dull as she moves in a robotic sense to refill Talia's cup. A wave of concern washes over me as my hand unconsciously moves towards her to give her some comfort. Unfortunately, with Talia watching, I dismiss the act before she sees it and leave Fay alone in her movements.
“That was a lot of fun. I'll be sure to put in a good word for you in your home village. See you tomorrow, Cale.” Talia rises from her seat with a sparkle in her amber eyes.
“I'll be looking forward to your visit. Won't you come more than just once?”
“Mmm, that depends on how well you...entertain me.”
“You must know how I do things by now.” I close my hands around Talia's as her face alights with a blush.
“Ahem!” Fay coughs, throwing off any hope of romance in this moment.
“R-Right, I'll see you later.” Talia gives me a hurried hug and walks out of the room.
“Fay, I think she's the one. I can finally rejoin my people after so many years on my own.” I say aloud as I close the door.
“Do you really like her that much?” Fay takes hold of my arm as she rests her head there.
“What's not to like about her? She's reliable, considerate, refined, and has the most beautiful-”
“...?” I direct my attention to Fay, only to find her teary-eyed and sniffling repeatedly.
“What? G-Go on, f...finish what y-you were...s-saying.” She starts sobbing softly as she buries her face into my chest.
“Fay...just tell me. I promise to help you however I can.” I slowly bring her in closer to my gentle embrace.
“It's always been the same. No matter how much I try, you never look my way. Why can't you ever look at me like that?” The maid is openly crying now, tears rolling down her face as she looks up at me in sorrow.
“What brought this on? Why is this bothering you now?” I guide us over to the chairs and carefully seat us without breaking the embrace we share.
“Every time a new girl came to meet you, I prayed that you wouldn't be interested in her. I begged Eros with all my heart that you would stay here with me. I know it's selfish, but I couldn't help it. When I saw how happy you were with Lady Reveria, I just lost hope. Why do you have to leave me after all we've done together!?” Fay shouts, her face red with tragic love.
“Fay...I never knew. If you told me before, I-”
Before I can say anymore, Fay tackles me to the floor, locking my lips with hers in a deep kiss. She presses herself against me with desire, crying all the while, but nonetheless letting her feelings explode as they are laid bare. I try to respond in kind, but Fay suddenly gets up and moves to the door as she looks back with crushed emotions.
“Please reconsider...I love you too much to let you go.” With those powerful words, she leaves the room.
A/N: Hmm, this is a difficult choice indeed. The refined Elven noble or the cheerfully ditzy maid? I think I made it a bit one-sided, but what do you guys think? This is such an interesting chapter since Elves can be male or female. I wonder what else I can do given the chances? Nevermind, I've been doing that since I started writing these one-shots. "Pon, what's Yuuko making for dinner?" "Why do you want to know?" "I just realized that I've never been to your house since Yuuko moved in. I could bring Magnus, Sigfred, Prince Aster...ooh this will be so fun!" "No. You can't bring that many people to my house." "Fine, then who do you want to bring?" "...Magnus." *Silence* "I thought you two hated each other." "We bonded over the fact that we hate you more." "Yay! I love it when I see teamwork in action!" "Uh, Sir, aren't you forgetting...?" "Oh right! Next chapter will feature the taskmaster we all know and love, Anubis!"