Love & War: Part Two
"Y ou? What are you DOING IN HERE??" I bellowed incensed. First that party servant, Hallie or whatever her name is. Now this one.
"Uh I can explain?" She replied with an anxious smile on her face. I then eyed the book in her hands. Rage filled my bones even more so.
"What are you doing with that? THAT'S ONE OF MY PRIZED POSSESSIONS!" I snatched it from her, neglecting the pink Kacheek and my assistant.
The blue Kacheek didn't know how to explain herself, except pity came over her face. The pink Kacheek was stunned, as if she's never seen the blue one react this way before. My assistant just stood there, emotionless.
"Fine I'm sorry-"
"Get. Out." I growled and she scurried along with her friend. I put the book back in its case. My assistant just looked at me.
"Sir, shall I go clean up the hall?"
"Yes Greyson, go." I spoke in a monotone and he left.
I looked at the floor, which contained a polaroid picture. Me as a young child holding the book, my face full of glee. My heart sank as I was filled with nostalgia. My mother had given me that book...
Back when she was still alive...
I now had to conjure up a punishment for the other one. She will pay for this one.
Pay, pay, PAY.
But what sort of job would make one most miserable? Let's see...
There's the dusting and sorting of my books.
Washing dishes and serving meals.
And plenty more.
I always have my servants rotate jobs so that everyone gets a fair share. It would be a shame if someone was responsible for all the jobs at once-
Wait. That's it!
A wicked grin appeared on my face.
So much for a decent revenge scheme. Couldn't think of anything in time. Couldn't evade Eliv. But I thanked Hallie for her efforts.
"I'm guessing the great Eliv prevails." Hallie groaned as we all sat in my room.
"Maybe it's for the best." Chloe responded. "Dewey, you were bound to be punished regardless."
"Thanks, Chlo. I feel so much better." I stated sarcastically."I wonder what my 'punishment' will be." I made air quotes. Before anyone could reply, Eliv came into the room.
"Ladies." He put on a fake tone of courtesy. "You,” He pointed at me. “I have several jobs for you."
"It's Dewey." I corrected him. "What's my punishment, Thade?"
"I told all of the servants that they can kick back and relax. That I have the perfect candidate that would carry out all the required responsibilities." He raised an eyebrow smug. I then had a horrible realization. "No."
"Yes! You will be doing all the jobs that the other servants usually do. No breaks. And if I even hear so much as a complaint or rebellion brewing up, you're toast. Got it?"
"It's Mr. Thade to you!" He hollered and I rolled my eyes. "And you start now." He threw a mop in my hands." "Go on."
I stomped down the stairs, annoyed.
I went back to the library to complete my anagrams and riddles. Hope she enjoys the consequences of attempting to toy with the mighty Eliv Thade.
I dipped the quill pen in thick black ink and proceeded to my puzzle. This time an anagram.
A gelert waited patiently for my response. "gtanunaor", the anagram was.
"Orangutan." My voice barked and the gelert coughed up 420 neopoints in defeat. She left as I tossed a Neopoint from the bag in the air in satisfaction.
20 minutes later, I decided to take a break from my puzzles and went to go check on the rebel. I found her in the kitchen, mopping.
"Having fun?" I queried sarcastically and she glared at me.
"Does it look like I'm having fun to you?"
I laughed. I got a drink of NeoCola out of the fridge, drank half of it, and deliberately spilled the rest on the floor. "Oops." I feigned pity. "You missed a spot."
She growled and went over to mop it up. When I was not looking, she stomped on my tail. I whined in pain and my face darkened. "You little-"
"That's what you get for doing that."
I went over to give her a piece of my mind. We were then in each other's faces. "Go ahead, hit me. Abuser."
"Maybe if you wouldn't have, oh I don't know, trespassed into my library and went to destroy my book, you wouldn't be in this position." I practically spat in her face.
"I did that because I wanted to teach you a lesson, you no good, rotten Kacheek. You always push us around, yell at us. It's not fair. I took this job to try to make a living, NOT to be a scapegoat. Yet I stay anyways and take the abuse just to better my life. My dad walked out on my mom when I was young. My mom and siblings always pushed me around." Tears built up in her eyes. "I was always bullied at school for being different. For dressing different, for liking different music, for disobeying everything. My siblings turned out to be successful with decent careers and yet I'm stuck here. Alone with my two friends who also need the money. And I thank the lord everyday for them. Because if it wasn't for them, I would have went insane." She cried. While I was about to express that I could care less, something came over me.
I felt...sorry for her. I don't know why, but I know where she is coming from.
She just went back to mopping.
"Trying not to cry because you don't want to look weak. I know the struggle." I articulated and she turned around, looking at me in curiosity.
"My mother abandoned me at a young age and my dad was barely around to raise me. I injured myself at one point in life and failed to attract another lover because of my looks. I-I know how it feels to feel alone. I'm..." I struggled to spit the words out of my mouth. "I'm sorry."
She was taken by surprise at my apology. And for the first time, I noted how this Kacheek looked. I observed her. She was a shade of light blue, with dark brown wavy hair. Black cardigan, trousers, and shoes. She wore a bone necklace as well, and gothic lace facepaint. For a gothic girl, she was actually somewhat graceful. Yet her eyes were occupied with sadness. A sadness that always lingered within.
"Tell you what, I shall give you another task. Take over the green one's job of sorting the books in my library."
"Chloe? What about these other tasks, however?"
"I'll prompt the other servants do these chores. Besides, they need to get off their lazy bottoms."
She advanced on to the library as I called for all the servants to do work.
So I did what Mr. Thade instructed me to do and started sorting through the books in his library. Man, he really does have so many. I wonder if he even reads any of them.
Thade came up into the room and sat down in his chair to work on puzzles in his books. "So...Delena is it?"
"Call me Dewey. Delena is such a...girly name."
"Dewey...you claim you are trying to make a living here?"
I nodded. "All the basic jobs everyone grabs, and the more premium jobs require tickets. Which I fail to find. When I saw this job was open I just had to grab it. My friends Chloe and Hallie worked here longer than I have."
"I see." Eliv replied as I continued arranging the books in a certain pattern. "Any interests?" He inquired.
"You know. Hobbies. Hopes. Dreams. Desires."
"Ohhhhhh..." I trailed off. "No one's ever asked me that before."
"Well I'm asking." Eliv persisted. He sounds so professional right now. I didn't know how to react.
"Well I've always loved music. Always had visions of perhaps looking into the music business. I always wanted to be in a band to be honest. Play drums or something."
"Interesting." Eliv replied. "Favorite bands?"
"Twisted Roses, Mellow Marauders, etc."
"Nice." Eliv replied. Why was he being polite all of the sudden?
"My relatives always told me that music was an absurd dream. That it would never come true. It hurts when people always bring you down."
"You and me both." Eliv replied. "Like I mentioned before, I was always mocked for my looks when I was older."
I looked at him. He had a white patch on the left side of his face with a red eye. His other eye being black. He wore a purple coat and had bandaged arms and feet.
"What happened to you?" I asked carefully. I was afraid he would feel provoked.
But Eliv only looked crestfallen as he narrated his past. "I had contracted a severe infection in my eye a few years back. It escalated to the point where I needed surgery. They stitched the area, as you can see, and my eye swelled up and became inflamed. I took something to get the inflammation to go down, yet the scar remains. The bandages on my arms and feet are due to burns from a fire." Eliv closed his eyes in shame.
"I'm sorry." I stated. "That must have hurt, a lot."
"That's why I'm so bitter. Because of my home life...because of all the rejection from people..." He trailed off. "Pain changes you."
"It's understandable." I replied. "Why do you think I act out so much?"
He nodded empathetically. “It's not too late to make something of yourself, Dewey. There's probably someone out there for you."
I laughed. "Don't be ridiculous. Nobody likes me. I’m strictly independent."
"Which is good. But don't be too doubtful yet." Eliv replied sincerely. "Deep down through that rebellious front is a sweet girl with a big heart. And if individuals fail to recognize that, then it is their loss."
I paused sorting the books. I blushed. "You really think so?"
"I am certain."
I was flattered. "Thank you...Mr. Thade."
"Call me Eliv." He smiled at me. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I truly connected with someone.
Dewey and I resumed our tasks. She categorized the books while I tackled my anagrams.
She's actually a fascinating girl. A bit on guard, but sweet and innocent deep down. She understands my pain, which makes me...jubilant. I have been desiring for someone throughout life who would get where I am coming from, despite my looks.
"Whoa, how many books do you have in here?" She asked fairly amazed.
"Thousands. I haven't even read half of them. Some I purchased. Others were given to me, etcetera."
She searched through them. "'Shell Poetry', 'Art Designs', 'Neopian Music'?"
"You can take that one, if you want. The music one. You may like it."
She held the book in her hands, smiling. "Thank you."
"Take the Art Designs one, too. I perceive you to be an artsy person."
"Are you sure?"
"Consider it a gift."
Her face brightened up. "You know, you're not so bad after all. I guess even ones who seem ruthless have decent parts to them after all."
I took it as a compliment. "There's good and bad in every soul."
She nodded in agreement. One of my servants them came in...Chloe, the green one. "Mr. Thade, sir. A wocky named Wallace has come to challenge you."
"Send him in." I responded simply and this ‘Wallace’ walked into my library in anxiety.
"Settle down, young one. I don't bite all the time. Now, present me the puzzle."
It was another riddle. "You will always find me in the past. I can be created in the present, But the future can never taint me. What am I?".
I answered it. "History." The wocky looked down in defeat and forked over the bag of Neopoints. "Don't worry, there's always next time." I reassured him and he left.
"Wow Eliv, for the first time in ages you weren't all arrogant." Dewey replied smirking and I was a bit taken aback but remained casual. "Yeah...I'm in a good mood, I guess."
"Good." She smiled and continued looking through the books.
"Dewey, you can take a break if you wish."
So she stopped and sat in the chair near the fireplace. "It's so cozy in here. No wonder why you're always in here."
"Yeah...I like this place. I feel a sense of security."
"Explains the portrait of your castle." She grinned and I chuckled. "Point taken."
The pink one, Hallie, announced that it was almost dinnertime, and that it was Dewey's turn to complete the task. She was about to go when I stopped her.
"Tell Lila that she has to make dinner tonight." I immediately interjected and Hallie went on her way, but not before eyeing both Dewey and I with a perplexed look.
I did not want Dewey to leave yet. I was enjoying her company.
"I don't want to burden you, Eliv." Dewey replied.
"You're not. I like talking to you."
She blushed again. An hour later Greyson had brought my dinner up, but as I went to grab it I stubbed my foot. "Ow! Htat tuhr!"
Dewey looked at me bewildered, as if I was speaking gibberish.
"I keasp ni angasram." I assured her.
She was still baffled.
"I speak in anagrams." I simplified. "Especially when I'm upset."
"You made your own language? That's impressive." Her face lit up. It was adorable.
"Affirmative. I try to speak in mostly English around those who do not understand me. But most of the time I prefer communicating in anagrams."
"Ah, I get it." She nodded.
"Sye. Klie I dsai, oyu rae na esmoawe irgl. Od tno tle eonnya rtea ouy dwon." I smiled. It took her a minute to comprehend, but she got it.
Later on, after spending my time with Thade, I went to my room, though I didn't want to leave.
I was actually having fun.
I went in Hallie's room, which was entirely painted in pink, had white lights hung up, and a rosy, pink feminine vanity across from her canopy bed. The walls had various “boy band” posters hung up and her nightstand had a rainbow lava lamp next to it. Her and Chloe were sitting on the ledge of her window, which revealed the Haunted Woods across the horizon.
"There you are, missy. I was wondering what happened. What was going on over there?" Hallie demanded and Chloe looked at me too, waiting for answers.
"Nothing. We were just...talking."
"Anything I guess." I was nonchalant. I attempted to play it cool. "We were just bonding, that's all."
But I realized bonding was indeed the wrong word, because Hallie and Chloe had aghast expressions upon their faces. "He didn't murder you?"
I shook my head no.
"Boss you around?" Chloe questioned.
I gave them the same response.
"I know. It's shocking. Wallace the wocky even challenged him and he was all polite. Didn't brag about defeating him. And I was wondering why he had Lila make and serve dinner instead of me."
"Yeah, that was odd." Chloe replied suspicious and I nodded.
"We just...connected I guess. He understood me. I understood him. It's no big deal."
"If you say so, Delena. If you say so..." Hallie replied and I scowled.
"Lights out!" I heard Eliv yell across the hallway. Chloe and I quickly went to our rooms.
I lied down under my blue comforter, replaying the experience of spending time with Eliv.
Weeks have passed and the three of us just continued our daily tasks. Eliv still had me work in his library, which my friends continued to find unusual. But it's whatever. Him and I were getting to know each other. And as the days went on, we grew closer.
Which made me like my job even more.
Eliv handed me different tasks to do in the library. Sometimes sorting books. Sometimes tidying up the library. All that jazz. Today I was organizing the books.
Eliv progressed with his riddles, people slipping in here and there to challenge him. As usual, they were always defeated. He still had some arrogance within him. But it seemed like almost every time I was around, it was toned down. Even towards the servants he was not as cruel as he usually was.
We were both quiet, and I was trying to find a way to start the conversation.
"So...how are the anagrams coming along?"
"Good, good. Always easy peasy. How about you...with the books?"
"Fine, fine." I replied. Why is this starting out awkward?
So we resumed in silence. Moments later Eliv spoke up.
"How are you feeling?" He was intrigued.
"You just seem kind of quiet. I was...a little concerned."
"Yeah, sometimes I'm like that."
"If something's ever troubling you, speak up. I am here to listen. I don't want you to hold it all in all the time."
I smiled. "Thank you." and went back to sorting. Unfortunately, a few seconds later I accidentally knocked a few books over. I growled under my breath as I picked them up.
But as I was gathering the books, there was one peculiar book that caught my eye. There was a weird red symbol almost in the shape of a 7 on the grey cover. "Hey, Eliv?"
He looked up.
"What's this book?"
Thade walked over to me and examined it. "Oh that...that's the Grimoire of Thade. It's a book dedicated to all the puzzles I have written over the course of my lifetime. It is still a work in progress though, as you can tell. I was wondering where that had gone, I've been looking for it for days. So thanks."
We both smiled at each other. "You must have put it on the shelf and forgot, ya goof." I teased.
"Hey, even intelligent puzzle masters make mistakes." He replied smirking. There goes the egotism again. At least he dropped the perfectionist act for now.
As he positioned the book next to his desk where he was working, he spoke up. "You know, Dewey, I am actually delighted getting to know you."
"Yeah..." He trailed off. "Pleasant having someone to talk to."
"It's no problem, believe me. I actually like spending my time in here."
And I meant that.
To be continued…