CASeries #1: KNIGHT
Chapter Twenty-Two: This Isn't So Bad
“Alright.” Charles shoved a long list of chores in Valeriana’s hands. “You need to dust all the surfaces, clean the storage room and place everything in proper order. After that, put away the old carpet in the hallway and sweep away all the dirt under it, then roll the new carpet which you can find in the storage room. Don’t forget to wipe all the portraits clean and don’t leave a spot of dirt.”
The poor girl almost fainted as she listened to Charles enumerate all the tasks being expected of her to accomplish. She wearily stared at the long list of chores he wrote down for her and sobbed inwardly.
“You expect me to do all of this?”
“We expect nothing less,” Charles answered. “Though that list goes on, you’ll be happy to hear that you aren’t required to finish all of that today. Those are the main tasks you need to finish this week. If you don’t, Corvan and I agreed we’ll kick you out.”
“Ha . . .” she said, laughing. “I’ll be happy to go back to my first room.”
“Unfortunately, that place is back to being a dump.”
When he broke the news, it took all of the girl’s willpower not to scream. “No freaking way! I cleaned that up for hours!”
Valeriana felt blood rushing to her brain. She was so pissed off getting told to do this and to do that. The way they acted was getting on her nerves.
“They’re probably used to have someone serving them.” She rolled her eyes.
She irritably washed the dishes in the sink. It was such a shame that such a great building was wasted on such people. They had a lobby, kitchen, den, and all sorts of rooms that satisfy their own hobbies—and they had it all to themselves.
Still, she didn’t get the reason why she had to do everything.
“Damn. My. Life,” she grumbled indignantly.
When she was dismissed, she was already worn out. Tamara showed her the way to her new room and patted her shoulder.
“Enjoy what you’re about to see.” Tamara grinned. “You deserve it.”
As she was about to leave, she seemed to have remembered something and turned back to tell her. “By the way, the whole floor is yours.”
“The whole what?!”
She then left her standing in front of the door to a room in the floor that was supposed to be hers.
Sighing, Valeriana clamped a heavy hand around the knob of the door and turned it. Carefully pushing it open, she stepped inside with her eyes on the ground. She lifted her gaze and felt her jaw drop at the sight. She quietly closed the door behind her before letting her eyes feast on the view.
“This may not be a bad idea after all,” she muttered, dazed.
Valeriana removed her boots and placed them in the shoe-rack by the door. The floor was carpeted so she figured she needn’t wear any shoes inside. The floor was fluffy and was a bit ticklish on the soles of her feet, which made her giggle. The first thing that caught her eyes was the bed with four posts. Squealing like a little girl, she ran towards it and jumped, doing the superman pose in the process.
“Oh yeah!” She cried before landing on the soft mattress. She buried her face on the comfy sheets and inhaled the sweet scent it emanated.
She lifted herself and used her elbows as support, brushing the strands of hair that wandered on her face. Looking around the room, she spotted a neat fireplace on the other side. There was one armchair seated just a little away from it. It looked like a decent place to read books on or to relax.
Valeriana stood with a sigh and allowed her eyes to further scan the room. End tables were placed on either side of the bed. They were decorated with fresh flowers and an antique lamp.
She gasped. “This room is simply amazing.”
She had her own shelf of books and an armoire, which held real weapons. She found a door that led to a balcony outside her room. There was not a word to describe it better than splendid.
She stood there sightseeing for a while until she felt the weariness catching up. She felt tired after a long day. Her lids felt heavy, yet all of her exhaustion was drained away when she saw a familiar object standing a few steps away from the bed. She rubbed her eyes.
“Is that my luggage? That’s my luggage, right?”
Standing up, she reached out and brushed the tip of her fingers against the zipper then flinched back. When she realized she was being delusional, she excitedly grabbed the bag and threw it on her bed.
When she opened it, the first things she saw were her clothes and her personal things. She withheld the scream that was on the tip of her tongue and started taking them all out. As she did, an envelope fell out and landed on the floor.
Valeriana, noticing the letter, placed her clothes on top of the bed and bent down. She clipped the letter between her fingers and eyed the words scribbled on the surface of the envelope. It was her mother’s handwriting, addressed to her.
The strange constraints tightened around her heart and her eyes felt teary.
She shakily tore the top of the envelope and fished out the letter folded inside. As she scanned the words, a sob ripped through her chest and a fountain of tears began streaming from her eyes.
To my dearest little baby girl,
So you found a very nice academy where you can study in. Honestly, Val, you shouldn’t go along with people you hardly know! I don’t care if their offer sounds legit! Who knows if they’re actually fakes? I was worried sick when you didn’t come home. I thought you were going to find a part time job. I feel so betrayed, Valery.
Valeriana could imagine her mother sighing to herself as she wrote the last letters of that paragraph. She was an overdramatic woman when she was composing letters. She wouldn’t blame her mother, though.
In any case, you don’t have to be so hard on yourself. I’m not asking you to shoulder all the burdens. Share some with your brother and me. We’re all in this together, right? You take after your father so much it’s so scary—acting like the strong one all the time. You don’t have to feel responsible for every single mistake you do. You’re overdoing it. Worrying for those small things will only make the problem bigger. Leave me, your mother, to handle it.
I always tell you this, Valeriana. I guess that with you having such a thick, stubborn head, it’s impossible to say it once. I already said over a million times, yet you can’t shove it into that skull of yours. There’s no helping it, though.
I know that when we lost your father, the aftershock of knowing that he’s gone affected you greater than me. I love you so much, Valeriana. Always remember that. I know I must’ve not been the best mom, but . . .
Finally, before I end this letter. DO NOT FORGET THAT I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR LEAVING HOME WITHOUT TELLING ME! YOU READING ME, YOUNG LADY?! YOU AREN’T EVEN OF LEGAL AGE TO DECIDE FOR YOURSELF!
“Damn, she’s angry,” Valeriana muttered to herself.
I asked a special favor from that Aeron LaVallene guy and that headmaster of your school.
“I wouldn’t want to ask how she did that.” She shivered/
I’m so happy they agreed to let me send you your things. Otherwise, I would’ve thrown a fit. Did you know how hard it is to get in touch with them? It’s almost like you’ve gone into another world or something.
“You’ve hit bulls eye, mom.” Valeriana did not know if she was going to smile or sigh. “You should’ve gotten me out of here instead of encouraging me to stay.”
I’ve put all the things you need. I also threw in your laptop in there. If you have internet, try to send me a message.
And as much as I want to say this personally, I am guessing that the chances I was given had already slipped by, so I’m giving this to you now. Under those pile of clothes, there is a box. Before I gave it to you, your father owned it. He specifically told me in his will that I should give it to you when you become eighteen. Since I don’t know if I’ll get to see you, I’m going to give it to you now. Seriously, I never even knew your father possessed a girly stuff like that. I’m guessing it belonged to his mother.
I guess that’s all. Be safe, baby girl. Make sure to send a letter back to me if you can.
Curious about the box, Valeriana rummaged through her bag and sniffed. Her nose became stuffy from crying, and though she took half of the time pausing to wipe her nose, this did not stop her from gingerly taking out all of the clothes from her bag.
After losing herself to her deep thoughts, Valeriana’s knuckles brushed against a cold metal. She looked down slowly and ran her fingertips over the surface of an antique-looking box with engravings of roses.
Taking it into her hands, Valeriana felt a warm feeling emanating from it. It was somehow like it was more valuable than it looked. All she knew right now was that it probably held a mysteriously important object, knowing that her father considered giving it to her on her eighteenth birthday.
But then again, her father had that quirkiness of his.
She scrutinized every side of the box and found no key or lock. When she tried opening it, she couldn’t either.
“How the heck am I going to open this, then?”
She didn’t want to give up so soon, but weariness started to take a toll on her and she sighed. She ultimately decided to continue this tomorrow and shoved all of her carefully folded clothes inside the dresser of her room. She placed the box on top of her dresser in front of the mirror and ran her fingertips over the surface, feeling utterly nostalgic.