heyyy guyss! Just so you know, this story is almost at its end. Well, not really. It's in the middle. Kind of. I don't know >__< I was daydreaming about this story the whole day yesterday and in my mind, it came by realllyy fast. But once it's written, it seems to be long, so I dunno lol. But this story is intended to be short; a little less than a hundred pages. I can't wait to finish this one so that I can get on with another...xD I don't want my freedom to be taken away by school just yet...-___-" it's drawing closer and closer, and I'm making use of the time I have right now haha.
Well, I know the ending already...and because I'm a really emotional person, I got teary-eyed and my throat tightened *is kind of embarrassed* Well...I can't help it. It's like watching a movie in my head and *sobs* I won't spoil anything though But I'm not sure if you guys'll get teary-eyed just like me when you'll read the ending and the epilogue. Maybe, maybe not
The whole town of Atol was talking about the Lady Malena’s temporary lodging at the Baron Ramon’s manor house. This made the Ostrea’s reputation soar to greater heights that it made the Baroness appear more pompous each day. If Malena wanted to stay at their home for a year, she was only too willing to comply. The Baroness, who was so concentrated by her sudden rise in popularity, was not aware of her daughter’s unexpected change of attitude.
If anyone noticed this transformation, it was their servants. They would see the young lady and the beauteous Malena’s butler at night, walking along the rose bushes that lined the inner gate. The servants knew how the young lady Cassandra had always gotten the men she wanted, and this was no exception. The lady Malena’s butler had become captivated with the young lady, that they felt sorry for him when she would finally be bored of their love, and cut off all ties with him. To the servants, he was only another name added to her long list of lovers.
There was another man Malena became wary of in the Ostrea household. He was introduced to her by Ramon as his trusted adviser, and that reason alone made Malena detest the man. He was only a littler bit older than her, but the intelligence that palpably showed in his eyes made her somewhat intimidated. There was no other man that intimidated her as much as he did her, and was scared that her true intentions would surface if he caught her with her shields down.
This trusted adviser, who was named Luke, was a formidable opponent. He watched her as if he was expecting her to kill Baron Ramon, which Malena felt like doing, any moment. He watched her like a cat would to his prey, and his dark eyes, as dark as Dante’s, caused a shiver to ripple across her skin in a manner that made her somewhat alarmed. No one had ever caused this feeling in her before, and the chill continued to spread up her arms until she could not take it anymore. She wanted Dante to extort vital information from his captive immediately, but Dante said that he still needed time to extract the information, so that the young lady, of whom he was entrancing, would not question the motive of his query.
Dante had already effectively captured Cassandra’s heart. It was not hard for him. He had been ordered to seduce noble women in the last four centuries, and though it was a job he considered to be insignificant, it was one of the few he also considered to be pleasurable. It was easy to win a woman’s heart. With the right timing and words, they would faint right into his arms, and would follow whatever he said; which was usually what his master wanted him to say or do.
Malena was staring blankly at the canopy overhead. The light from the sconces, and the candle in Dante’s hand, illuminated the Arabic patterns that weaved together in an endless tale of color and harmony. She still could not sleep. The look Luke had in his eyes was embedded to the back of her eyelids, and it was what she saw every time she closed her eyes. His look could be compared to that of a black abyss; an endless hole filled with undisclosed creatures that crawl in the oppressive emotion of hatred.
She didn’t realize she was sweating until Dante leaned over the bed with a towel, and wiped her forehead. She sighed, feeling at ease. He always had the ability of relieving her from fear. She didn’t want to admit that she felt the latter emotion, but she did. She always felt that sensation crawl up her skin in the late of nights. That was why she had ordered for Dante to stay with her until she slept fitfully. It was the only way to keep her at ease. She had always felt the fear run inside her every passing night, but on this night, it was becoming overwhelming. What caused this emotion to stir in her icy veins?
“Dante, what is it that you hold most dear?” Malena asked, wanting to forget the trepidation with a question.
“What I hold dear?” Dante was amused by his mistress’ query. He did not think she was so interested in his life. “Why do you think a demon like me has that?”
“Everyone does.” Malena turned to look at her butler’s face that was half shadowed by the candlelight. “Even I have that. Maybe not what you hold ‘dear’, but important. What is the most important thing to you?”
Dante looked thoughtful for a few seconds, then his lips arched into a hollow smile. “My memories. The memories that I have cultivated over time.”
“Over time?” Malena asked softly. “How long have you lived?”
“I have been on this Earth for eight centuries,” he replied. “I have had many masters that have made a contract with me, and I have experienced many things; things that will be kept in memories.”
“And what is so important about your memories?”
“The experiences have led me to become a better servant to my masters. I have learned from my past faults.”
“Faults?” Malena repeated, with a slight smirk on her lips. “Why, I did not think an infallible demon such as yourself could commit any fault.”
Dante’s lips twisted wryly. “Demons are like humans. We are imperfect. But we hold much power over you.”
Malena laughed. “And yet I can still command you, and you cannot do anything but abide my will.”
Dante’s lips curved down. “That is the truest tragedy.”
Malena smiled, wholly forgetting the fear that she had felt but a moment ago. She could sleep fitfully tonight, and it was all thanks to the butler that had never left her side. What he said was true. There was no one else she could trust in this world but him.
Dante waited until he could see the regular rise and fall of her chest beneath the covers. He presumed that she had already fallen asleep, and he waited a couple more minutes to ascertain this conjecture. While he waited by her bedside, his senses sharpened and he became aware of a presence that lingered just outside the door. The faint glow from the candles did not quite illume the shadow that opened the door with the precaution of one intending to do harm.
“Ah,” the figure said, his lips bent into an unseemly smile. “I knew you were here.” The faint light was enough to reveal the facial contours of the man, and Dante could only chuckle softly in spite.
“Hello Luke,” Dante said pleasantly. “What have you got there?” He looked pointedly at the short blade which he held proficiently in his hand. “Is that a present for me?”
“I apologize,” Luke said wryly, “but this is not for you. It is for your mistress.”
“Any present for my mistress has to go through me, you see,” Dante said amiably.
“Is that so?” Luke asked. In a split second, he had thrown a small dagger towards Malena’s sleeping figure. Dante caught it between his two fingers, without having to jar his sleeping mistress awake. He bent the dagger with his fingers effortlessly, as anyone could bend paper easily.
“I had always known there was something about you,” Dante said, throwing the bent dagger on the rugged floor.
“And I you,” Luke replied, looking particularly delighted by Dante’s previous performance. “I see that lady has made a contract with you.”
Dante only smiled coldly in response. “I suppose the Baron has made a contract with you as well.”
“Yes, it is what you think,” Luke said. “I have been ordered to kill your mistress discreetly tonight, but I can see that it won’t be in discreet after all.”
Dante gathered his mistress into his arms before another set of daggers could chance on striking her flesh. She was awoken by this action, and when she opened her eyes, what she saw was not the canopy, but her butler’s black vest. She could feel herself being moved smoothly around the room, and she could hear two voices speaking quietly, but loud enough for her ears to pick up. She didn’t realize her current situation until she caught sight of the man she had become to fear. He moved around so swiftly that she could only see the color of his jacket in the dim light.
“I see your princess has awoken,” Luke observed, suddenly appearing before her with his blade. Dante moved even more rapidly than him, and he was by the door in an instant before Luke could swing the blade into her chest.
“My, my. I didn’t expect you to become even more powerful than I,” Luke said appreciatively. “How can that be?”
Dante had opened the door of the chamber and was in the hallway, leaning against the railings that surrounded the second story. He still had his mistress in his arms, and was doing everything he could to make her comfortable.
“What is this?” Malena demanded. “Is he trying to kill me?”
“Unfortunately so,” Dante said. “But do not worry, my lady. I vowed to protect you, in honor of our contract.”
“I know that,” Malena grumbled. She saw Luke emerge from the threshold of her chamber, the small blade clutched in his hand. She said, inclining her face towards him, “Was it Ramon who ordered you to do this?”
“Yes, of course,” Luke said. “Who else would it be?” Who else would it be?
Malena thought. Why did he say such a thing? Luke tried to strike Dante many times with an agility Malena had thought impossible, but Dante kept on moving away from his blows with twice the man’s speed. Malena was quiet while she admired both men’s prowess.
The door next to Malena’s chamber opened suddenly, and out came a drowsy Cassandra in her nightdress. Luke and Dante immediately stopped in their action, but Cassandra did not take notice of their dispute. What she noticed, however, was the way that Malena looked secure in Dante’s arms. Dante was now her lover, so what was this?
“Dante!” Cassandra was fully awake now, and she stomped towards him with a puckered face. “Tell me what is the meaning of this!”
Luke didn’t want to involve his master’s daughter in any way, so he leaped over the banister to land softly on his feet on the first story. Cassandra did not even notice this, as she was busy glaring at her lover and his lady.
“Put me down,” Malena ordered, and Dante complied. She faced the enraged Cassandra with a somber expression. “I am sorry, my dear Cassandra. It is truly not what you think. My ankle had been hurting these days, and it came to me in the middle of the night when I walked down the stairs to fetch a cup of water.”
Cassandra almost believed the well-disguised lie. “But why did you not ask Dante to get the water for you?”
Malena replied easily, with the same earnest expression she had employed before, “It is because I did not want to disturb him in the late of nights. I have my own feet, and I could very well get water for myself.” She added, with a somewhat teasing tone, “Besides, I know that he is very tired from this evening’s rendezvous with a certain lady.”
The sconces against the far wall did not fail to display the blush that ever so slightly crept into Cassandra’s cheeks.
“Please do not speak of this to my parents!” Cassandra asked, holding Malena’s hands in hers. “They will disown me!”
Malena’s mouth turned upwards into a masked smile. “Of course I will not tell. This will be a secret kept between the two of us.” Cassandra’s eyes shined with gratitude.
“But in return for keeping this secret,” Malena whispered, “I shall have you do something for me.”
“Anything!” the young girl said, suddenly subservient to the lady. Malena pressed her right hand, which was still gloved, against the smile that started to spread across her face. This was not how she initially wanted to manipulate the vain girl, but this was still a satisfactory plan either way.
“I suppose, from the look on your face, that you have not accomplished this meager task?” Ramon asked the next morning in his office.
Luke bent his head to hide his feeling of ignominy. “I apologize, master. If your daughter had not involved herself, I would have killed both the butler and the lady in no time.” This was in fact, a very blatant lie. He could not even touch the butler who so carried the lady easily in his arms. He had deflected or eluded his pernicious attacks; attacks which he was certain would kill a normal human man instantaneously. But his opponent last night was not human at all. Just like himself.
“There is something about her butler that you must know about,” Luke said, raising his head to look at his master in the eye. “He is not what he seems.”
“What is so different about him?” Ramon asked, leaning forward in his chair. There was an obvious glint of malice in his eyes.
“He is like me. The lady has made a contract with a demon, who is her butler,” Luke replied.
Ramon was shocked, amused, then excited in just the span of a minute. He had always known there was something odd about the butler whose eyes were as black as a sable. He had wondered why Malena did not perish from the poison he had secretly placed into her wine. He surmised that the butler had probably known of his intentions, and pointed it out to the lady. Was this the real purpose of her sudden visit? Was this a subtle act of conflict? If that were so, then he certainly had the upper hand of things.
Ramon suddenly felt the ache of the pentacle that was engraved on the sole of his foot. He knew what this meant. The contract was almost complete. All he needed was to fulfill his vengeance towards the man he used to call friend.
“Cassandra, what do you know about your father’s hatred towards my own father?” Malena asked as she stroked the young lady’s hair gently. They were in her room, sitting together on the side of the bed.
Cassandra had started to like the lady Malena. She had never felt such admiration for anyone before, but this lady made her feel special, and she gave her a nice, warm feeling inside. She had not known why she had hated the lady before, but as of now, she loved her as she would have loved a caring older sister.
She recalled the many things that her father had occasionally spouted over the dinner table. He had always said coarse and vulgar things about Lord Salvador, but he never really talked about the reason behind it all. She remembered how her father laughed that night when he heard of the Rosello mansion burned to a cinder. She had always been petrified of her father, and those days when he would act insane, she would lock herself in her room to avoid his gaze. She told all of this to Malena, feeling an instant relief. She had never confessed these things to anyone before, and she was glad that she had someone to talk to about it.
It was hard for Malena to keep her face emotionless when inside, she was burning with anger. She had to leave the Ostrea’s manor before she would commit a murder before everyone’s eyes. She had to keep herself imperturbable before she could act and question the Baron about his motives. She did not like anyone maligning her father’s name, and in her eyes, this was considered a heavy sin. She needed a little more time to compose herself before confronting Ramon.
“Cassandra,” Malena said, “you promised you would do anything for me, did you not?”
“Yes!” Cassandra said eagerly.
“Then I will tell you what to do. Do you have the strength to ask your father about Lord Salvador? He and my father used to be great friends. I want to know why he abruptly changed his like to hatred in an instant.”
Cassandra tried to hide the shiver that briefly traversed her skin. “I—I…well…that…”
Malena looked at her with beseeching eyes. “You will not do this for me?” She lowered her eyes so that her long eyelashes fluttered against her high cheekbones. “I see that your love for my butler is not important for you. You would not care if I tell your parents about your affair…”
“No!” Cassandra said quickly. “I was hesitant at first, but now I am not. I will definitely ask my father for you!” She stood up, looking confident. “I will do this for you and my love.” She started for the door, then looked over her shoulder. “Just wait here, my lady. I will get the information you need. Just you wait here patiently.” She opened the door, and closed it quietly behind her.
“Your performance is quite top-notch.”
Malena turned to look at her butler, who had mysteriously appeared in her room. He was sitting on the windowsill, the translucent curtains billowing about him like a mist that wanted to obscure the charismatic demon that had everyone falling on their knees.
“She is a foolish girl,” Malena remarked.
Dante walked towards the bed, and leaned against a bedpost, looking down at his mistress. “Don’t you think Ramon already knows that I am a demon?”
“Yes, I think he has already known,” Malena replied. “He too, made a contract with another demon, and that is Luke. There was no wonder I felt” fear
“something unusual about him.”
“Why would the Baron make a contract with a demon? Only those whose hatred is pure and inviolable can be offered a contract.”
“He loathes my father,” Malena said. “Is his hatred so inexorable that he wants to murder me too? He would have stopped when he knew of my father’s death. Why this ongoing hatred? I really do not understand.”
“Certainly the only person who knows the truth is he himself.”
Cassandra knocked on the door of her father’s office. No one answered, and just when she was about to turn the knob, she heard voices inside. She leaned in to press her ear against the wood. Despite her clear effort to eavesdrop, she could only decipher a few words. “Contract” “Pentacle” “Butler”
What contract? It must be a contract that her father has with his tenants. The pentacle? Was that not the sign of the Devil? She had seen the diagram of the pentacle on the Sacred Texts that was in Church. She had encountered a scripture that contained the details of the pentacle, and it was about humans who willingly sold their soul to the Devil in return for absolute power. The pentacle was a sign of the mark of the agreement, and it was said to be tattooed to the human’s flesh. It was silly. Who would, in their right mind, be willing to offer their soul? Yes, many people wanted power, but would they risk being damned for all eternity? No. Of course not.
She knocked on the door a little bit louder. “Father! May I have a word with you?”
Luke opened the door to reveal the young daughter. Cassandra pushed the door a little bit wider, and stalked in.
“Father!” she said.
“What is it?” Ramon looked exhausted, and he looked like he had aged fifty years overnight. “Tell me now.”
Cassandra started to falter in her confidence. “Well…I…”
“What?” Ramon demanded. He was in no mood to have idle chatter with his daughter.
“I just wanted to ask you why you hate Lord Salvador so much. It’s become quite odd, this hatred of yours, and I feel sorry for the Lady Malena,” Cassandra said this as fast as she could, wringing her silken skirts with trembling hands.
One of the Baron’s eyebrows quirked at this strange performance his daughter was giving him. How equally strange it was to have her interested in that lady’s life. What was it to her? Did she ask merely because she was curious? Or was it that she was asked to do so?
“He betrayed me,” the Baron answered truthfully, knowing that this would soon reach the lady’s ears. “That bastard betrayed me.”
Cassandra was speechless; she could not even dare to move because for an instant, she had caught a glimpse of the insanity that she had known only too well, appear as clear as morn in her father’s eyes. She picked up her skirts, and turned for the door; seeking solace from the lady whom she knew would understand and comfort her.
When she arrived at the lady’s chamber, she was so eager to tell of what her father said, that she did not notice how the chamber suddenly turned immaculate, and how the butler, her love, was carrying his mistress trunk on his shoulder and was making subtle movements to the door.
Malena’s face darkened when Cassandra finished her tale. She thanked the girl for asking, and stood up from the bed. She carefully arranged the bonnet on her head, and headed out the door.
“Where are you going?” Cassandra asked, turning pale. She noticed too late how the lady had suddenly switched to a traveling dress, and that her belongings which hung in the chamber but a moment ago, were gone.
“I am leaving,” Malena replied coolly from the threshold before disappearing into the hallway.
“No!” Cassandra ran to stop the lady from stepping any further. “Don’t go!” She clung to the lady’s cuffs, trying to stop the tears that threatened to fall from her eyes.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Malena said slightingly, pulling her arm back from the girl’s snakelike grip. “I have to leave this house. You may contact my butler anytime you wish, if that is what you are asking.”
The girl could not speak any further. She had become so attached to the lady during the few days that she had been with her, that she could not bear to see her leave. Malena was the only person who treated her nicely, and she wanted to feel the love that her parents would never give her.
“My lady!” the baroness was running towards her, lifting her skirts to reveal her white ankles. “Why are you leaving so suddenly?” Her face was troubled. “Did we do something to change your mind?” She tilted her head at an angle which she thought would best accentuate her cheekbones. “If there is anything we could do for you…”
Malena held up a gloved hand to silence the older woman. “I am leaving of my own accord. I have business at home which I have to attend to. I thank you for your hospitality, but now I must leave.” She curtsied to the older woman rigidly, and walked down the staircase with a gloved hand holding on to the banister.
Cassandra felt her heart sinking. True, she had come to love the butler, but she found that he did not mean anything to her anymore, if he were to be compared to the lady. She wondered when she would come back. Of course she was going to visit again, wasn’t she? But perhaps she did not like the atmosphere in the manor. Her father loathed the lady’s father after all. She turned around, her skirts rustling, and headed to her room. She was going to grieve behind closed doors. Leah: Was Vida's father a cute guy? @__@ hahaha. I don't know...well...I guess he's okay looking (well, that's in my mind). He's not my type though 'cause ew. He's a fugly rapist.
Amy:Awww 10 years ago? That's wayy long. So you guys were like 4 years old then? wow. I don't remember much memories when I was that young.
Katfaye: haha, thanks! Actually, I would love to see everyone from mcbc in person!! That would be SO AWESOME!! We'd all be bosom buddies! Yehey! xD
Sara: I love your theory!! xD What would you do if you had a butler who would obey your every command? Just like Dante? *swoons* I think I would be too shy to order him around...except...BWAHAHA. No, my thoughts aren't straying to that department.