The Maid of House Jones
The City of Bronze and Memories Lost
It was a long and painful walk from the gate to the front door of the estate. The paved road had so many twists and turns and everywhere I looked was obscured by trees. Thankfully the owner had the insight to place benches and water fountains in just the right spots in case a poor soul like me could rest her blistering feet. Still, what a ridiculous and flawed design for an estate that only serves to stroke the ego of the owner.
Every so often I would pull out the Help Wanted flyer to help motivate me to keep going. The job was asking for maids of any experience, including those with no experience at all, and the pay was unbelievably good. If anyone could get the job, they would also get free rooms on the estate, daily meals, and transportation if said future employees have none. With so many benefits on top of the great pay, it was surprising that there wasn a line as long as the road of people wanting to give it a swing.
Then again, who nowadays would want to be a maid? I took the job so eagerly because they were the first high-paying job that called me back for an interview. The other options that involved my major barely acknowledged my existence which only stings the more that my best option to pay back my loans was this.
Not wanting to think about such a heavy burden, I continued up the hill.
Now nearly out of breath with only the promise of big money keeping me going, I finally made it to the door. Hours ago, I called the faculty from the gate phone, so they knew I was coming. I knocked on the door and waited for someone to arrive.
The door soon opened to reveal a tall, gorgeous maid with long black hair and a sharp smile. Her skin was pale with freckles sprinkled all over her face. Her maid uniform had many light blues and aquamarines, the dress barely passed her knees, and her sleeves were open at the wrist drooping at the far ends.
”Eve Teodora Young. On behalf of the master of this estate and everyone who lives here, we honor your arrival. ” She spoke so sweetly and properly that I felt strangely empowered and nervous to be greeted in that manner.
”Thank you for having me, ” I replied.
The maid welcomed me in and I followed her. It was only now I realized the house was massive. It easily had three stories and nearly endless rooms. Everything looked to be made of marble and practically shined from how clean things were. Paintings hung proudly of Norse-inspired depictions of valkyries riding on pegasi and an old man on top of a recently defeated animal. That must have been the master of this place. My glance moved further upward to the ceiling to notice other maids cleaning the nooks and crannies of the support beams. Their uniforms were designed to give them freedom of movement, but what bothered me was that they had nothing to keep them from falling from such heights.
I bumped into another maid who soon after apologized and quickly went on her way. She seemed older than most of the maids and her uniform had a long dress and form-fitting long sleeves. Every maid had different designs to the uniform ranging in colors and length. Each maid also ranged in colors as if the whole world was mixed into this one place. It was nothing but maids.
We finally made it to the kitchen where three maids were cooking in a studio size cooking area. They flew from one pot to a cutting board dancing effortlessly around each other and keeping the area near spotless.
I was given a place to sit and was offered something to drink. I nervously asked for water.
As soon as I was settled, the maid who let me in who was called Tina Nguyen said, ”Please wait here. The interview will start shortly. ” She then left.
It was at this brilliant point that my nerves caught up to me. My imagination drifted to the thought of me having to serve an old man who would watch me intently as I worked. A shiver threatened to shake my whole body. On one hand, I didn want to be violated or mistreated in any circumstance. On the other hand, I couldn stop thinking about all those digits that would flow into my pocket for a single hour I would work here. Besides, this was a temporary job that I could quit at any time. If I didn like it here, or better yet was not qualified, then this wasn for me. But I was running out of time to find any amount of income before my parents stopped supporting me to live with them.
”Master Wallace, you shouldn be walking around like that. ” At the word ”master ”, I snapped out of my thoughts doing my best to prepare for who I was about to see, but what I saw shattered expectations. Walking into the kitchen was a half-awake, around-my-age man wearing only a pink-ish bathroom. He was scratching the back of his matted burnet hair. The top of his forehead and left cheek were slightly scared.
”Its my house. Ill walk around naked if I want. ” The cheeks of the kitchen maids turned red at the statement. I felt my face heat up at the comment as well. Was this the son of the owner?
He didn notice me at first making his way to the refrigerator. He poured himself a glass of water and made his way to the table I was sitting at. It was only during his long sip did he realize I was sitting across from him, his eyes snapping awake.
”Who are you?! ” He demanded of me. Before I could explain he turned to the kitchen maids. ”Who is this?! ” The kitchen maids sheepishly avoided eye contact which only infuriated him. He turned back to me. ”I don know how you got in… Tina!! ” In the pause, there was a realization in his eyes as if everything in that moment came together.
The blue-dressed maid came in on cue as if she wasn far. She had a look that didn imply that anything was wrong. ”Yes, Master Wally. Is something wrong? ”
He scoffed at her words. I could feel as though the whole house was holding its breath. ”Of course this was your doing. Inviting strangers without me knowing. ”
e referring to this young lady who came for an interview- ”
”I told you, we aren doing that. I made it clear that would be the end of the conversation! ”
”End of the conversation, yes. But this is an act. Besides, she had to walk all this way up the drive path just to sit down to have the chance at this job. How can you deny such dedication? ” Tina looked like a child trying to convince their parents to keep a stray they found. It was weird since she was taller than her master.
I stood up. ”I-if this is a bad time, I could just leave. ”
”No! No. ” said the master. His face softened as he looked at me. ”Will you be willing to wait just a little while so I can get… presentable? ”
I nodded and sat back down. I was compensated for the extra waiting time with food as lunch was close upon us. The dining hall that was a part of the kitchen was filled with maids eating and drinking. They talked in hushed and loud conversations. Some were directed at me, but it was more out of curiosity than malice gossip. The food was wonderfully made. If this was the kind of stuff they were serving daily, on top of the pay, this would have sold me to the job. Still, I felt on edge partly because I didn know what I would be doing.
The master came back now clean and dressed. He wore a dark blue velvet tux with white highlights. His hair was slicked back and he had a focused expression.
”Will you please come with me for the interview? ” He asked. I nodded and I followed him. We made it to a large patio that overlooked the other side of the estate. Down below the height of the hill, there was a lake that glistened off the afternoon sunlight. I could see a peer where several boats were docked. The more I explored this place, the bigger it seemed to get. How many people were needed to keep this place functional?
”Please, have a seat. ” the master of the house pulled out a chair for me to sit in. At least he had gentleman qualities. Once he sat down himself, he flapped a stack of papers in front of him and began the interview. ”Eve Teodora Young. Graduated with a major in Physical Geography – Geodesy and a minor in general sciences. Interesting background for someone applying for a maid job. How did you hear about this position? ”
”A-I saw a flier, ” I said nervously.
”Relax. These are just the general questions. Nothing Im sure you haven heard before. ” I took a deep breath trying to remember the last time I had an interview. ”Now, why do you want to work as a maid for this estate? ”
I hesitated. ”If I can be honest? ” He nodded. ”I saw the pay that was being offered, but I have no interest in being a full-time maid at your fathers estate. ”
”Grandfather I believe you meant to say. Technically its my estate now. My grandfather is dead. ”
”Oh… Im–sorry to hear that. ”
”Hes been dead for a long time. Im over it. ” He said it so passingly that it was disturbing. So he was the true master of this place. ”Aside from the money, what do you wish to gain from this job. ”
”Ah… Im not so sure. I can think of anything I could gain from being a maid. ” I said sheepishly.
He grinned and said, ”Youd be surprised. ”
”Oh, I don mean being a maid would teach me anything worthwhile or nothing at all. I just mean that it seems so far removed from what I went to college for. I want to travel the world, you see, and being a maid is such a stationary position. ”
He looked at me for a while before putting the papers face down on the table. ”How about this? If you agree to work here for a time, then I will help you improve on that dream of yours. ”
”Meaning what exactly? ”
”First and foremost I will pay for any standing loans you have accumulated during your college career. ” My jaw dropped at that, but he was only getting started. ”On top of that, if you prove to have good work etiquette, then I will assign you jobs that are better suited to your major and accumulated skills. All this and more under the guarantee you work here for the whole of a determined time. ” He thought for a moment as if calculating the time. ”A year should be enough. ”
”A year?! ” I nearly fell out of my seat at the prospect.
”Is that too long? ” he asked, seeming concerned.
”Nononono, its short. Compared to everything Im getting, it seems like a year is no time at all. What could I possibly be given to do to earn all of that? ”
”Nothing too grand I would imagine. You would start with simple tasks to get you allocated to how things work, then well slowly escalate at your pace. ”
”And what if my pace is slow? ”
”As long as you work your hardest for a year, then you will have fulfilled your requirement. ”
I was overjoyed I could practically kiss him on the cheek. It was too good to be true, but I dared not question it. By the look of this house and everything around it, it made sense that he could afford such an investment. Since it seemed like I was the only one to get an interview today, I must have been given a special offer. As soon as I could speak, I agreed to the offer I signed my name where I was asked.
I decided to live on the estate for conveniences sake and they helped me move in. The rest of the day went by like a blur. My mind was flooded with ideas of what I could buy from a car to a new game station to an apartment. Of course, the room I had now would always overshadow any place I could get myself. Being a maid may not be for me, but at least I can enjoy every waking moment of being one.
Wallace could appreciate that he was already dressed to go to the meeting, even if he was going to be early. The spear, sword, shield, and gun were a bit much he thought, but he could only love Edith and the rest of the martial maid corp for thinking of his safety. Tina was tidying up his suit and was with other maids to see him off. They were standing at the docks of the lake a little after the interview with Eve Teodora Young.
”We still need to talk after this, ” Wallace told Tina firmly.
”I await whatever punishment you see fit, Master Wally. ” She smiled deviously with her sharp teeth that went unnoticed by Eve. Wallace was unfazed at her comment. ”I don mean to do anything behind your back, but we needed a new maid. ” Wallace looks away from her and the other maids. ”I thank you for at least interviewing her, but don forget to give her a chance. ”
”I gave her a chance and an offer she can refuse. ” He gently removed Tinas hands from his suite only to kiss them. He then left the blushing Tina behind reaching the edge of the docks.
”We pray for your safe return. ” The maids said in unison as they bowed to their master.
Wallace jumped into the water, but no splash was made.
The sky was bright and blue and would soon dip on the edge of dusk. Time would pass and the dusk would never leave, but would somehow find its way to dawn. The plants all glowed with bioluminescent pinks, blues, whites, and some greens. On the left side of the dirt path Wallace walked, there were many cliffs sides with waterfalls yelling in the distance. However, if one was to look over the edge, they would find that the falls lead to no water source that could be seen with the naked eye. And yet, ripples like water could be seen over the edge of the path and throughout the horizon on a surface that cannot be seen except for the ripples. Specialized boats glide across the invisible surface towards the council hall Wallace was making his way to. The council hall is a collection of interlocking branches and roots that cover a frame made of unrefined metal beams. The open gaps at the top of the structure are filled in with glass.
The place itself was beautiful, but Wallace found himself hating the place more for the meetings it held rather than the structure itself.
e quite early, Master Wallace. ” A groveling, subservient voice came from a similarly groveling, subservient man. He was only as tall as Wallaces kneecaps and was hunched over a stand with a list of names. His brown-green skin along with pointed ears that were twice the length of his head was proof of his goblin heritage. Scroll Keeper Makeavelian was one of the goblins that kept watch over the entrances of the council hall and Wallace had nothing but respect for him and his colleges for only through them can someone enter. ”I understand you called this meeting, but even then this is a surprise. ”
”I had another business that ended not too recently and decided to come here since I was ready. All is fine Scroll Keeper. ”
”For now, but later? ” All the while the Scroll Keeper didn look up from his papers. These were good omens if none specified.
”I will deal with later. And as always, I know you will keep things in line. ” Makeavelian grunted letting Wallace in.
The halls were filled with fey music as waiters and waitresses glided past any patron visitors and spokesmen offering them drinks and hors doeuvre. Wallace took a glass of orange wine. As he was about to drown the oncoming headache that was sure to come, he heard a voice that brought on the headache then and there.
”Well if it isn the Master of the Menagerie.
” A proud and pompous voice came from the silver-skinned, long white-haired, pointed-eared Cardinal Silnicas Brandie. (Cardinal, in this case, is a royal title not unlike Duke) Wallace stared at the Cardinal while slowly sipping on the wine.
”I hear it was you who called this meeting. Is that true? All these years, I wouldn take you for the type. Tell me, what would cause someone of your
enown to do such a thing. ”
”You will get your answer when the meeting starts. ”
”But Im here now and the time for the meeting is soo long away. What harm is there to be had over such a conversation. ”
”You want to know so badly, then maybe you would like to feel the sharp ends of my katana. ”
”Oh, long Ive waited for the day. ”
As the two squared off, a deep commanding voice came in between them. A bulky, two-horned man with a ring in his nose and a battle-ax on his back stared them both down. ”Councilmen, ” he said as a greeting, but both Silnicas Brandie and Wallace Kim knew what it was actually.
Wallace was the first to kindly and respectfully say, ”Cardinal Silnicas Brandie, forgive me for my harsh, brash, and simply violent words. ” Wallace bowed.
Silnicas does the same. ”Master Wallace Kim, I shouldn have pushed you on a matter that you wish to keep to yourself. Can I call you Master Wallace or do you prefer your other, more pristine title? ”
”Wallace will do. ”
”Well then if you will excuse me. ”
As soon as the Cardinal left, Wallace regained his dismayed frown and downed the rest of the wine.
”You shouldn let him get in your head, ” said Baron Blackhold.
”Disagreement in unity. That is what we preach here and what I practice. ”
”What you have with Silnicas Brandie is a rivalry; a skirmish. But he has a point, what have you called us here for? ”
Wallace shook his head. ”I would rather wait until the meeting. I would like to avoid all rumors from spreading. ”
The Baron blew smoke out of his nose in response. ”I understand. Shall we make our ways to the seats? ”
”I wish to prepare longer. ”
With that, Blackhold left Wallace to be alone with his thoughts.
The meeting room always seemed small to Wallace. There were only a handful of seats with one big one between all of them and the speaking grounds was only 10ft in radius. That said, there was a seat for each representative with a table used for holding papers or food if there happened to be catering that day. Rarely would a meeting have all of the seats filled with their respective representative since not every meeting concerned the whole council? Today was one of few exceptions. Aside from the big seat and his seat, Wallace stood on the dirt-covered speaking grounds with the attention of the whole council on him.
Wallace spoke allowing his words to echo. ”Ladies and gentleman under the Court Hall of Dusk, Ive called you all today to discuss matters involving the deaths of a handful of maids under my employ. ” The hall burst with murmurs of confusion and disbelief.
”You mean to tell us that you brought us all the way here to whine about the loss of your playthings. ” Spoke an old, bronze skin woman with pointed ears, not unlike Silnicass.
”I believe what Mistress Seliana means is, though we the members of the court lament your loss, surely you did not call us to inform us of a personal death. ” This mans skin was rough like bark and his eyes were black with green irises.
”Forgive me for acknowledging the court of the passing of a handful of my loved ones, ” Wallace spoke venomously, ”but I think it would better please you to know that that is not the reason I called you here. How they died is whats important. Their deaths were at the hands of giants. ” More muttering sprung up. Some claimed heresy while others didn know what to think, but the overall feeling was that of disbelief.
Cardinal Silnicas Brandie made the effort to calm the crowd. ”Ladies and gentlemen under the Court Hall of Dusk, may I remind you that we are all here. We came under the simple understanding that Master Wallace Kim had something important to tell us and question not about why, or not enough, to warrant not coming at all. Why? Because we all believed that Master Wallace had something important and trustworthy to say. Now I have my doubts, but I have a feeling we cannot pass this up as hearsay. ” The court quieted down understanding the weight of Seliana taking the side of Wallace.
Another voice came from the crowd. ”Do you have proof of what you say? ”
”Only the corpses of the maids and, in respect for them, I did not bring their bodies. Knowing that I would have no proof, I come to you hoping that you will at the very least keep your ears to the ground and ask you to share any similar events that may have happened in your region. ” All other members claimed to have no such experiences.
Mistress Seliana spoke, ”To claim that giants are about is to accuse my house of not keeping watch over the border and to assume the border is weakened. Do you claim these things? ”
Wallace responded, ”Even stars die eventually, Mistress Seliana, but I do not claim to either of those things. However, my tragedy has brought to light the fact that giants are roaming and precautions must be made. ”
”And what did you have in mind? ” asked another member. ”Did you want us to send you support? Protection? Have you thought that maybe you are being targeted by malicious forces? ”
”They will gain nothing from attacking my house for I have little to take compared to the rest of the council, ” Wallace responded.
”But you do have something to lose, Master of the Menagerie, ” Seliana said mockingly.
The air within the room shifted into feeling like the ozone as Wallace said to Seliana through his teeth, ”Choose your words wisely Old Hag Seliana. ”
”Enough! ” Boomed the voice of Baron Blackhold. ”Disagreement in unity. No violence or the provocation of violence is allowed in this court. ” The Baron calmed down and continued. ”If there is anyone among the court who does not believe in the words of Master Wallace, raise your hands now. ” No one raised their hand. ”Because we are in unanimous agreement that the words of Master Wallace are firm, we will all take precautions for this yet to be determined fret. However, Master Wallace, because of the lack of evidence you have for your claim, the court is unable to move with any further decision. Is there anything else you would wish to say? ” There was nothing else and the meeting was adjourned.
The meeting went better than Wallace thought all things considered. To think it all swayed for the better because of Brandie. Though the council was aware, Wallace was still alone in this fight.
The first morning of the job was a weird one. I woke up not knowing where I was. I thought I was on vacation with my parents until I saw my maid uniform hanging on the wardrobe. It was red and the skirt was as long as Tinas, but with fewer frills. It didn have long sleeves only stopping past my shoulders. I hesitated to put it on, but I remembered all the benefits I was getting from this day to a year from now. I couldn put the uniform on faster.
Not knowing where to go next, I decided to make my way to the kitchen for some breakfast. I was able to map out the layout up to my room from the front door, so it wasn hard to find the kitchen in the big house. Once there, I saw the three maids that were working at the kitchen yesterday hanging around a table that the master–or Master Wallace from today on–was sitting at. He wore his robe from last time, only now he wore sweatpants, a t-shirt, and slippers along with it. He was drinking coffee looking as though he was fighting a hangover. Must be a heavy drinker or went to a rich party last night.
”Good morning. ” said the three girls in unison. This in turn caused Master Wallace to perk up.
”Good morning, ” I responded with a smile. ”I didn know where to go next, so I came here. I hope thats ok? ”
As if he just realized who I was, Master Wallace tiredly said, ”Right. I guess I didn give you any real instructions. ” He began to rub his temples as if he needed a moment to think.
One of the peach-colored-uniformed maids asked, ”So you ended up getting the job? ”
”Yes, I did, ” I said. ”Im Eve. ”
One after the other, the kitchen maids gave me their names. Sallie, Madison, and Lana OConnor all looked the same with their tan skin and red twin tail hairs. The only thing that separated them was that Sallie looked to always be excited, Madison kept spacing out, and the one who spoke to me, Lana, was the most focused. Master Wallace was still in a thinking position, so I figured I would strike a conversation.
”Is it just you three behind the kitchen or are there more of you? ”
”Just us, ” said Sallie.
”That sounds like a lot of work for just the three of you, ” I remembered the sheer number of maids that were all eating during lunch the day before and that may well not have been all of them.
Madison spoke up next. ”We are really good at what we do. No one can best us with a knife. Well maybe Edith, but Edith doesn cook. ”
Sallie perked up. ”Maybe you can help us in the kitchen as your first job. ”
Madison followed. ”OOO, can she master? Weve never had four people work the kitchen. ”
”And for good reason, ” argued Lana. ”She doesn look like she can cook to save her life. ” Which was true, but it felt bad hearing it from someone who just met me.
Master Wallace finally stopped stroking his head and said, ”You know what? Thats not a bad idea. Its the easiest and less saturated area. Ill even watch you since I don have anything else to do today. ”
Lana responded. ”Don you have training with Ediths corp? ”
”Right. Forgot. ”
”Shall I send someone to tell her you are not well? ”
”Im fine. In fact, Im going now. ” And he trudged on with his coffee in hand. ”Good luck, Eve. ”
Even before he left, I was spirited to the work area by Sallie and Madison with Lana trailing behind. The two bubbly sisters taught me everything from where certain dishes and utensils were to how the produce was organized in the cupboard and refrigerator. Lana was always on my back when I got something wrong when it came to preparing the food and at first it was annoying. It wasn until I nearly cut my hand–which she prevented–that I came to respect her words. It helped that she didn gloat or say anything along the lines of ”I told you so ” and simply ask for me to be better. I did get better, but there was still so much to learn.
During this time, I was able to ask them personal questions which led me to find out that they were in fact sisters, but their blood relation was complicated. My first thought was that they had different parents, but I didn think it was too possible to have different parents, look the same, and be born on the same day. I tried to get a clear understanding, but nothing came of it. Eventually, they started asking me questions and I responded by talking about my major and how I wanted to travel.
Madison asked. ”Is that your dream; to travel the world? ”
”I wouldn say its my dream, ” I said. ”Traveling the world is something just about anyone can do nowadays, and traveling the whole world seems like a stretch. ”
”So you don have a dream? ” She asked. She sounded like a child who was told that Santa wasn real.
I paused to think about that question. ”I think its more of an I forgot my dream rather than I don have one. Nearly 5 years of college and two months of struggling to get a job hasn given me enough chances to chase a dream let alone plan for one. ”
Lana then asked, ”Well, now that you have a job, will you start making plans for that dream of yours? ”
”And since when have you cared about someones dreams? ” Madison retaliated.
”Ive always cared about peoples dreams. ” Lana defended.
”Yeah right. ” Said Sallie. ”Youve always shot our ideas down. ”
”Thats because your ideas are crazy and unrefined like that one time you wanted to jump to the moon. ”
”Edith could do it! ” Said Madison.
”Edith could jump a large rock. Edith could–eventually–jump a mountain, but not to the moon. ”
The sister continued to argue and at some point, I couldn hold back my laughter. Despite the seriousness in their voices, none of it felt hostile to me. Once I started laughing, they stopped arguing.
When I was done laughing I said, ”Truth be told, Im just playing it by ear. One day I hope to have a dream again, but not now. ” All three sisters seemed disappointed by that answer but didn push past that.
During all of that, I noticed that the house would shake one minute and the lights would flicker the next. It was only after that conversation that my curiosity piqued.
”What is that? ” I asked
They didn know at first what I was talking about. When they did figure it out, they told me that it was nothing to worry about. After a while, different maids started coming in to get something to eat. I was kept out of the way so that I wouldn get tripped over while the triplets worked. This gave me a chance to get a look at all of the maids.
They all seem to be around the ages of 15 to 40 with some expectations here and there. Something I didn notice before was that some of them had weapons on them. Those that did all had mini skirts and boots. Others had goggles as well as glasses with what looked like soot on their faces. Each of their uniforms had a different color and pattern like how the eldest had black, victorian uniforms; some were green, the younger ones had pink, but no one had a red uniform. It must have been a color unique to me and I wondered if the color would change at some point.
Once everything calmed down in the kitchen, Tina came to check up on me.
”It seems they
e putting you hard at work, ” she said, though I was doing nothing.
I scrambled to my feet. ”Im sorry. Ill help them clean the dishes– ”
”Done. ” They said in unison.
”–or help them put up the– ”
”…you guys move fast, ” I said marveling at how efficient they were.
e fine as long as you did something. ” Confirming that I did, Tina continued. ”Good. I just wanted to see how you were adjusting. ”
”Well, it seems Im now stationed in the kitchen and this was my first day. I guess I would like a more extensive tour of the estate. ”
”Oh yes. That is something we should get done. Youll have to forgive us. We haven had a truly new maid in a long time. ”
”What about the maids in the pink uniforms? ” I asked referring to the younger maids in general. We were walking and talking at this point.
”Their situation is… different. You were employed here whereas they were adopted. ”
”Adopted? As in they
e orphans. ”
”To put it simply. ”
”Were you employed or adopted? ”
”Adopted. I think only the oldest maids were employed, but thats a long story. ”
”Master Wallace is a pretty nice guy to do all this. ”
” she said sweetly,
”but if you
e referring to what we were just talking about, that all started with his grandfather; Master Clifford Jones. ”
I thought back to the interview and the look on Wallaces face at the mention of his grandfather; uncaring. ”What was he like; the old master? ”
Tina tilted her head back. ”Master Clifford was… a great man. ”
I believed she meant what she said, but there was a complication in the comment. On this land was a story of a generation passed and the current generation. The history here was as rich as the house, yet, only since yesterday have I heard of this place. People pass the estate every day, but how many questions what goes on in here?
The first place we visited was the bathing room. It was drained for cleaning. Maids in wet-resistant cloths wore paddings and helmets as they slipped around on brush skates that scrubbed the floors. Some had brushes on their hands while others had mops using them like hockey sticks.
Next was the indoor farm. It was built like a greenhouse with gardens of vegetables, flowers, and a tree as the centerpiece. Roaming around were varying farm animals, as well as birds of prey, rodents, and so on. Tina assured me that this wasn where all the food came from. Though the thought crossed my mind, I keep feeling like some of the animals were off. I saw some with extra limbs, others had wrong colors, and so on. I figured these were all birth defects and this ”farm ” acted more like a sanctuary. All of the maids here wore more of what I thought was appropriate for outside work, but still keep the frills most of the uniforms had. There was one maid that was probably in her mid 30s with droopy eyes and autumn brown and curly hair. Animals seemed to flock around her more than the other maids.
The last place we visited was the gym. It was a huge place with now folded bleachers you would find on a high school football field, basketball hoops were folded mechanically on the tall ceiling, and volleyballs were tucked away in a corner. Currently set up were beat-up dummies of different kinds and targets for arrow shooting. Right outside the glass windows was a tennis court and the sounds of guns firing. The maids here were some of the eldest ranging from what I assumed were ages 25 and older give or take. One of the maids who was spectating was a tall, brown-skinned woman with long orange hair and big round glasses. The sides of her hair that would have covered her cheeks bent upwards. Wrapped around her waist was a chain that acted as a holster for the long sword on her backside. Beside her was another brown-skinned girl much shorter than the other and had short silver hair. Her skin was glossy and reflected any light that hit her. It was almost metallic in a way.
”This almost feels like a military, ” I note as my eyes trailed to some maid doing pushups. ”Will I have to do that at some point? ” I don know if I could have handled a drill sergeant in a maid uniform barking orders at me.
Tina laughed. ”Not if you don want to. I doubt Master Wally would have you do any of this, though. ”
”So why have it? I understand a need to protect your home, but couldn you install a security system? ”
”We do. Completely homemade and tirelessly tested. ”
”Im sorry, did you say homemade? ”
”With our satellite and wifi. Speaking of, is the wifi working well for you? ”
We were just leaving the gym and my mouth was agape.
”I could guess you guys were rich, but this is crazy. Where is all this money coming from? ”
Tina laughed at my shock. When she was able to calm down, she began to answer my question. ”It goes back to Master Clifford. It started when he found a deposit of an ore never before seen by anyone. After financially stabilizing himself, he went on to find ways to use the ore taking part in the research himself. After realizing that the ore could be used in modern technologies, he proceeded to dip his hands in creating his own brand of tech that we use in the house and other electronics. Appliances, vehicles, and tools were pushed out under his name, and companies came to him for technical guidance and improvements. In the meantime, the ore was fashioned for other uses such as weapons, but thats for more personal use than a sold product. ”
”Seems like he made a big name for himself, but I can remember hearing his name anywhere. His death must have weighed heavily on the world. ”
”It did, ” Tina said solemnly. ”Many lamented his passing. ”
”It just seems weird to me that Wallace seems to have so little respect for him. ” At the same moment I realized that I didn use the word master, Tina also looked confused at what I said. ”Sorry! I didn mean to speak so casually. ”
Tina only smiled. ”You have the right to question things. In that vein, it would be better to ask Master Wally in person. ”
I felt as if I struck a nerve when it came to the relationship between Wallace and his grandfather. I made a note to not bring it up, lest I create bad blood with my employer.
The tour had to end there as there were still places to see, but the time to see them was short. I was slowly mapping out the layout in my head, so I wasn afraid of getting lost. After one last meal of the day, I made my way to my room to turn in. Although this was just the beginning, if the days to come would be like this, then this will be a breeze to get through.
I pulled out my phone to check notifications I missed, listen to a Bible reading, and play games or watch videos. As I did, I realized that I never really unpacked my luggage. Some clothes and toiletries were all I had among other electronics. The room had a tv and a sink and mirror. The one window outside had a view of the lake and everything surrounding it. I thought about personalizing the place to better fit my style which led me to wonder when I would get paid. On that thought, I wondered if I would need to buy anything for this room. I would assume I would take whatever I buy with me, but at the moment it felt wrong.
I thought back to the conversation I had with the triplets. This opportunity gave me so many options to pursue, yet I couldn think of how to capitalize on it. It was like someone giving me a football field-sized pool but I didn know how to swim. Sure, I could always learn, but it feels like a waste on someone who can immediately appreciate the gift.
From my window, a bright, sparkling light filled my room. I tried to see what was causing it, but the light was too blinding. At some point, the light dimmed enough to get a good look at what was happening, and what I saw changed everything.
The lake was the thing that was glowing sprouting a beacon of light into the sky. From that light came a giant man with long messy hair that I assumed was blowing in the wind. The hair on his arms, chest, and head was almost as dark as his dark purple skin, but there was enough of a distinction to tell the difference. His body showed like the night sky with star patterns dotting across his chest. His eyes were empty but were focused on the mansion. In one hand, he held a club black and splintered. As he rose from the lake, he showed no signs of being wet.
I was entranced by the sight and lock in place by fear. Even if I ran now, by the time I would get to the first floor, he would be knocking the whole building down with that club.
An alarm went off accompanied by blinking red lights that came from the floor. I fell to the soft carpeted floor in a fright that snapped me out of my fear leaving my instinct to live to take its place. As I put on some shoes and grabbed my coat, I felt the house shake with multiple footsteps and soon after an earthquake level rumbling.
Taking what I could, I opened my door to find maids running in all directions. They each seemed to be moving purposefully to a destination rather than panicking at the thought of a giant as big as the mansion was on its way here. Not having a place to go, I decided to make my way out to leave the estate. I was constantly running into maid after maid until I finally ran into the triplets who held me in place.
”Eve, ” said Lana, ”are you all right? ” After nodding to confirm that I was, she asked, ”Where are you going? ”
In a panic, I said, ”I don know where to go, so I figured leaving the premise was the best option. ”
”Well, it isn . ”
”But where can she go? ” asked Madison. ”It doesn seem like she was given a designation. ”
”Lets take her to the Master, ” advised Sallie. ”Hell know what to do. ”
”Are you sure?
” critiqued Lana.
”Hell be in the most dangerous spot-
” A sound like multiple cannons going off reverberated throughout the house nearly knocking us off our feet.
”I guess we don have any other options and we
e wasting time. ” Lana took my hand and ran fast up to the ceiling with her sisters behind us. With nothing else to do, I noted that their eyes were like snakes now. Many of the maids had extra details about them that were more than human.
We finally got to one of the roofs and the sight was extraordinary. Immediately before us stood Tina, the brown skin maid from the gym, and the droopy-eyed maid from the farm. Past them, a formation of ice made its way to the mansion, but at some point rose from the ground as if it was encasing a dome. I could see cracks in what I assumed was an invisible force field.
”What are you doing here?! ” demanded the brown-skinned maid whose name was Edith Fox.
”We didn know where else to take her, ” Lana explained referring to me. ”We figured the Master would know what to do with her. ”
The giant was much closer now. Cannons from somewhere on the side of the building fired again landing direct hits for some. The giant barley slowed his pursuit. From higher up, machine guns fired at the invader with even little effect.
The droopy-eyed maid, Shirley Brown, spoke up over the noise. ”Even dragons would be wounded by this many hard-hitting attacks. ” Despite her home being threatened by a nearly unstoppable force of nature, she still kept her dopey smile. That said, she was shivering a bit.
Lights flashed on different parts of the giants lower body, but they did not come from the mansion. He swung his club at the ground kicking up dirt and trees. In the clubs wake was left with ice.
e going to be slaughtered if we don go now! ” Cried Edith.
”Master Wally told us to meet here. He will be here soon. ” Tina said with a bomber jacket in her hands.
”Hes here. ” the voice of Wallace came from behind me. His hair was spiky and naturally groomed. He wore a form-fitting red t-shirt and dark blue cargo pants. Noticing I was here as well, he asked calmly, ”What are you doing here? ”
My voice shook as I replied. ”I didn know where else to go. They thought you would have an idea. ” hey referring to the triplets.
Without hesitation, he said, ”I put you in the care of the kitchen maids, so you are under their protection. Sallie, Madison, Lana, ” each girl perked up at the sound of their names, ”Defend Eve with your lives. ”
”Yes Sir! ” they said in unison, and they took my hand to lead me back into the mansion.
Wallace took the bomber jacket from Tina who bowed in response. The back of the jacket had a nordic design of a crow encircled by runic symbols. A memento of his grandfather. It was described to be armor and a wearable symbol of the house of Jones. This would be the first time Wallace would put it on. Slipping the jacket on, he made his way to the railed off the edge of the roof followed by the three maids.
”Call back all of the maids on ground level, ” he ordered. ”If this is the same giant who took the lives of Rebecas party, then we will not give it the satisfaction of taking more. Edith, Shirley, Tina! We will take this thing down with the support of those behind the barrier. ”
”Basic weaponry does not affect it and we have yet to find a weakness. ” Edith relayed the order for the ground fighters to pull back. At the same time, her arms grew feathers and sprouted fox ears on her head.
”So this is the power of the legendary giants, ” Wallace commented. ”But if the legends are to be believed, then they do bleed. We can kill it. ”
Upon each of her joints, Tina grew an extra mouth with tongue lapping out. She looked out hungrily at the giant with a big toothy grin. Drool dripped down her face uncontrollably.
Edith produced a wolfs tail behind her and she drew her sword. It was edged with diamond amethyst the House of Jones was famous for. Light glinted off its fractured surface.
Shirleys arms and legs became like coal taking on its texture and color. Heat began to radiate off of her.
Wallace jumped off the railing and the three maids followed him. As he fell, charges of electricity flew from his mouth. He grew in size and shape until, by the time he landed, he was in the form of a brown-furred wolf the size of a pickup truck. With a howl that shook even the sky, he charged at the giant.
I tripped and fell on something (most likely nothing) trying to keep pace with the triplets.
”Come one! ” Lana tried to get me up. ”You can stay here. ”
Unfortunately for her, I was frozen in place. The house keeps rumbling from either the guns firing at the giant or the giant itself. Fear clouded my judgment to believe that anywhere in this house would be safe. Even if I believed the contrary, the look on who I believed were the head maids of the house and Wallace suggested that this was a common occurrence. Even if this only happens once a month, thats still 11 times Id have to experience this war-like atmosphere. I curled up in a ball covering my head with my arms. I trembled despite Madisons efforts to comfort me.
”Eve, come on. ” Madison pleaded for me to move. ”This will all blow over soon. I promise. ”
True as that may be, how could they expect me to stay after all of this? More loud sounds pummeled the air around us.
Wallace was knocked to the side with his dog-fitting bomber jacket now coated with ice. Landing on his feet, he again used his lighting bite to try and hold back the giants arm that held the club. From nearby, Shirley blasted a torrent of fire square in the chest of the giant. Her fire didn seem to even singe the hairs off.
”At least they live up to the legends, ” Shirley said calmly. From between her hands, she conjured birds of prey out of the fire to try and distract the giant. ”But we can allow you to stand. ”
With the giant focused on the firebirds circling his face, Edith took the chance to fly Tina upon his neck. Once there, Tina unhinged her mouths and slammed her teeth on the bearskin. It was like biting into hard bread, but she continued to apply force until she was able to break off chunks of flesh for each mouth. Black ichor blood gushed out but quickly scared up. Tina gathered she could consume enough of this giant to reach his heart no problem, but with how tuff the skin was and how quickly it healed, the giant would have destroyed everything by then. Her actions didn go unnoticed as the free hand of the giant went to swat her like a nat.
Just as the hand reached its peak height, Edith conjured an air slash with her sword that caused a cut across the hand. It too healed quickly. Tina moved from her spot but had to think of another way to be of use.
Edith flew towards her master just as he was getting punched backwards with the recently injured hand of the giant.
As he got to his feet, Edith spoke in his ear. ”Tina can bite through its flesh, but its inefficient and the creature heals too fast. It seems my sword is effective but- ” Wallace shot a bolt of lightning from his mouth to intercept the club coming toward him and Edith. Though the club was repealed, it was enough to cut Edith off forcing her to get back into the fight.
The message was clear. Diamond amethyst was this giants weak point, but there needs to be an application of more force than what Edith could muster with just her sword.
”Eve Teodora Young… ” I heard my name, but no one around me said it. Tears had long since streaked down my face, but at that moment I felt determined. But what was that ancient-sounding voice and why should I trust? Go after it even? I didn want to be roped into this any more than I already had been. Like Madison said, this will all blow over, and once it does Im gone. Ill leave this place and never look back.
But when I looked up from my cowering position, I saw the faces of the three kitchen maids. I barely knew them, yet the concern on their faces was real. Maybe it was only because of the order their master gave them. I thought back to the time we had spent today. They worked so hard to teach me how to do what they did. I remembered the glee on their faces serving their fellow maids. I could tell that above all else, they would serve their master even in times such as this. Lana, the most logical of the three, received an order from her master to keep me safe and she didn second guess it. She took my hand even now as I burden her.
”Eve Teodora Young… ” I got up quickly and raced down the hall not knowing where I was to go. The triplets yelled after me telling me I was going the wrong way. I assumed they were right behind me, but somehow weren catching up. With every twist and turn, I grew more anxious about what I was doing.
”Eve Teodora Young… ” I ran faster. My heart drummed at my chest.
I hard stopped at an open door leading into a big room. The bed within was at least California king size if not bigger. It must have been Master Wallaces bedroom. Though my lungs burned, it didn stop me from taking a step inside. I was halfway inside when the triplets caught up to me.
”Eve… ” Sallie said gasping for air. ”We gotta… go. This isn … this isn the place to be. ”
I made my way to a drawer next to the bed.
”What are you doing? ” asked Madison. I didn answer.
”Enough of this. ” Lana stomped over to me. ”Eve-! ” she stopped dead in her tracks. Lana was looking over my shoulder into the drawer that I opened. Inside were many things, but what caught my eye was a spinning top. The rims had four-bladed edges with nordic symbols in the middle that looked like a spear. The edges were made out of a shiny amethyst.
I picked up the spinning top and showed it to Lana and her sisters. ”I can explain it, but we need to get this to Master Wallace. ” Sallie and Madison were bewildered by how pretty the top was. Lana was shocked; almost horrified.
Lana looked me in the eyes with a look I couldn understand. She said with little emotion to show how she truly felt, ”I don know how you knew where this was, but if you believe it to be so important, take it to the Master yourself. ” The other two sisters were taken aback. My heart sank. To take this thing straight to Wallace was to go to where the giant was. It was a death sentence.
Edith kept cutting at the damned thing, yet she couldn get any deeper. Even the places that were already cut seemed to be harder after the fact. Tina couldn find a place to sink her teeth in. At this point, every time she bit into the giant, it would go swat at her. Wallace and Shirley were practically useless. Shirleys fire stopped being a distraction and Wallace couldn even knock the thing off balance. The gunfire came to a crawl to minimize chances of hitting allies, but most likely with how ineffective they were at harming the giant, it became pointless wasting ammo.
Wallace knew that every maid would sooner die than evacuate while their master fought tooth and nail. That was the exact scenario he was trying to avoid. He could retreat now and force everyone to leave, but then the giant would be loose on the world with nothing to stop it.
The club bashed Wallace hard enough to throw him at the mansion. He flopped to the ground showered in stone and glass and he reverted back to his human form. Not taking the time to let the dizziness settle, he made his way back into the fight.
I should have known this job was too good to be true. Even though wearing a maid outfit wasn that bad, all things considered, it was still not something I wanted to do. But then all of this started happening and there was a real chance they were losing the fight. Then I was told to deliver a toy to Wallace that may or may not change the tide in the fight. But I didn know how and I couldn bring myself to believe that it was worth my life with or without the 1-year benefits in mind. When Lana told me to do what she asked me to do, I should have cut my losses and left the estate. And yet…
”Wallace! ” Wallace was nearly at the border when he thought he heard Eves voice. Was it just the ringing in his ears? ”MASTER WALLACE! ”
Wallace stopped dead in his tracks just near the border. Turning around, he saw Eve racing down the hill to him with speeds nearly inhuman. He tried to meet her halfway, but she got to him before he could move.
Master Wallace grabbed me by the shoulders with fear in his eyes. ”What are you doing here?! ” he asked in a panic. ”I told you to go with-! ”
”Take this! ” With my palms facing up, I offered him the top. Tears were streaming down my face from the wind as I ran and the fact that the giant was getting closer. To my dismay, he just stared at the damned thing. ”I know. I don get how this is supposed to help, but heard my name get called and it leads me to this. ” He looked up at me in surprise. ”Ive gone delusional. Im crazy or have a death wish but I didn know what to do I was scared and I wanted to save everyone. ” I was crying so bad that I could barely hear my own words. Yet, in my ugly crying, I heard myself say ”save everyone ”.
At that moment I felt his cold hands wrap around my somewhat warm hands. I felt him kiss me on the forehead and he took the top. I was speechless and was crying no more. When I looked at him, he smiled so sweetly and proudly.
”You are truly a great maid. ” He said to me. ”For your bravery and the maids of House Jones- ” Just then the giant busted through something like glass that once separated us and him. Wallace turned around. His face was now masked with a frightful determination. ”-I will deny my grandfather no longer. ”
Wallace extended his arm to the side with his hand open. The top miraculously did not fall but hovered right on the palm of his hand.
”Gungnir! ” As if on command, the top began to spin with increasing speed. The giant raised his club, ice covering the whole thing, and practically dropped it on top of us. I screamed and hid my face preparing for impact, but not wanting to die.
I was forced to look up when something shook the ground. Not only was the club parried, but a good chunk of it was cleaved off the top. But how did that happen?
With a swoosh, I saw that Wallace was holding a spear whose handle was now crossing his back. Said handle was a pearly white with a gold nub at the base. Between the staff part and the spear part, there was a golden circle reminiscent of the edges of the top, but there was practically nothing in the middle. Still on the staff but right below the circle was tied up, a red band with another golden circle at the end that floated in the air like it was underwater. Finally, the spear blade itself was generic in design but was completely made out of the amethyst crystal.
Wallace on the other hand had a wolfs tail sprouting out from his back, wolf ears popping out of his head, and jet black wings floating over his shoulder blades. He then jumped into the air and started floating a few feet above the giant as lighting javelins encircled him.
Wallace could feel the power of Gungnir stitch into his very nerves. Every pulse gilded his movements as if this was always his subconscious instinct. He could see Edith caring Tina off the beasts body and he knew Tina was gawking at him. The giant abandoned the club and frosted up his fist. The air pressure seemed to drop as well as the temperature as the giant threw what could have been his most destructive attack.
”You definitely deserve the name Giant, ” said Wallace with an empowered voice that echoed through the whole estate, ”but will not allow you to cause any more suffering! ”
With all his might, Wallace threw the spear at the giants heart. The lighting javelins followed in delay. Though the javelins didn seem to affect the giant, the spear effortlessly pierced through the creatures hide. So hard was it thrown, it managed to lodge itself in the ground behind the dead giant creating a thunderous clap throughout the area.
I didn watch the giant fall. Didn care about the cheering in the far distance. I fell to my knees looking at Wallace floating in front of the crescent moon. I was in awe, but that was a poor simplification of how I felt. I was stunned. I was alive. Though most of the land was destroyed, everyone was fine. I didn quite feel Edith and Tinas hand on me to help me up nor did I care that a laid-back woman was riding a fire horse in my direction. I just watched as Wallace descend from the sky calling the giant-slaying spear to his hand. Not a single drop of blood could be seen on the majestic weapon.
I didn care what tomorrow would hold. I had no plans for tomorrow at all. I still had so many dreams that I had yet to find, but if my future self could send me letters, she would tell me that this was step 1.