Doll

Chapter 1

What do you usually do in a masquerade ball?

Going around to find a partner to dance with, having a conversation with people you know, or just sitting alone in a corner of the room and looking around ?

First of all, Celes is not exactly a party kind of person. The only reason for her to be in this masquerade ball is because she got an invitation from the Organization, the place where the high class doll makers gather. The leader of the Organization is Celes’s hometown elder, which makes Celes cannot say no to the invitation.

So here she is now, dressing in white, standing in a corner of the room and looking around. She feels bored, and not because no one invites her to dance. People who knows her as Chroma realizes her right away. They invite her to dance but she turns them down with a light smile in attempt of trying to be polite. In her mind, she knows that was the fakest smile she could ever make. She wants to leave, but leaving in the middle of the party is very rude. So it leaves her with only one option, stands there and waits…

The room that’s used to hold the ball is enormous. That’s why the Organization uses the free space to display the finest works of all the doll makers in the world. And of course, Celes has her doll displayed here as well. People who doesn’t want to dance go around and take a look at the dolls. Each of them has a unique style and feature. Celes knows most of them, but then she realizes there are some works she doesn’t know about. So in the end, she lazily moves her feet toward those dolls…

This is the first time that Andrea goes to a masquerade. At the age of 19, she’s still very young and inexperienced in making doll, even though she came from Coventry, the birthplace of many famous doll makers. However, her works are still very beautiful. The elder has high expectation from her, and so are the people in her town. She has short curly brown hair and light yellow eyes. She’s a good-hearted maiden and sometimes can be a little carried away. Andrea comes from a high class family, so she’s always accompanied by a bodyguard named Aylio Hylvester. Aylio is a tall man with long white hair and deep purple eyes. He’s gentle, elegant and very protective. He has been Andrea’s bodyguard for a very long time. Andrea treats him as a senior friend, even though he’s 2 years older than her. Right now, they’re observing the doll display. Andrea likes them a lot. She wishes to be just as good as these doll makers one day. Her most favourite doll is the one belongs to Chroma, which is displayed in the right corner of the room…

“Isn’t it just beautiful?”_Andrea observes the doll in the glass container.

“It is.”_Aylio adds up. “It’s from Chroma-san right?”

“Yes. And I love her works the most. She’s just as the same age as me but she’s so talented.”

“I agree.”_Aylio smiles at his friend. “Speaking of which, I did hear a rumor that Chroma-san was invited to the party.”

“What? Really?”_Andrea turns away from the doll, her eyes look at Aylio with surprise.

“Yes. You have always wanted to meet her right? I suppose looking around won’t hurt, don’t you agree?”_Aylio suggests.

“Let’s do that.” Andrea runs pass Aylio in excitement. “Man I really don’t know what to do without you.”_She turns her head and smile at Aylio while her feet keep on running.

“Watch out!”

Aylio shouts at Andrea, which makes she turned around, but it’s too late. She has already stumbled to someone and they both lose their balance and fall to the ground. Aylio makes haste to Andrea’s place. There, he sees Andrea is trying to get up, along with another girl who is also trying to get back on her feet.

“I have told you many times that you should always keep your eyes at where you are going.”_Aylio says to Andrea as helping her to stand up.

“Sorry…”

“Don’t “sorry” me. Sorry her.”_Aylio points at the girl behind Andrea.

“Oh…”

Andrea turns around and sees a girl in white is slowly standing up, her back facing Andrea. Her mask is on the floor, so Andrea picks it up and approaches the girl.

“Hey…I’m sorry for my clumsiness. You drop your mask on the floor so I pick it up for you. Here.”

“Thank you.”_The girl turns back and takes the mask from Andrea.

“No, it’s…”_Andrea’s eyes while open as she sees the girl’s face. “You are…Chroma-san?”

“I am indeed.”_Celes puts her mask on her face and replies to Andrea.

“Oh my goodness…”_Andrea covers her mouth with her hands in shock. “I am really sorry for what I just have done. You’re okay right? Do you hurt somewhere?”

“I’m fine.”

Celes stands up, but then she fells a sharp pain at her right ankle. She immediately leans against the wall for extra support. Andrea and Aylio notice that. Andrea looks at Aylio and he just nods.

“Your ankle seems unwell.”_Aylio approaches Celes. “Can I offer you some assistant?”_Aylio extends his hand.

“I still can walk. Don’t worry.”_Celes takes off her shoes. “I guess I’ll catch a taxi and go back home. Please excuse me.”

Celes intends to walk away, but Aylio grabs her shoulder, which makes Celes stop.

“I’m sorry for stopping you but I cannot let you go without at least do something to make you feel better. After all, it’s us who are at fault. That’s why we have to make it right. Besides, it’s not appropriate for a lady to walk in bare feet in a masquerade ball, am I right?”

“You are pretty persuasive.”_Celes chuckles quietly.

“Then would you follow me, milady?”

“Sigh…”_Celes turns around and looks at Andrea. “I must admit. You have a very impressive bodyguard.”_Celes smiles lightly.

“Oh no, he’s my close friend, not bodyguard.”_Andrea shakes her head.

“Is that so?”

“Yes. We have been friend for many years.”_Andrea smiles brightly.

“I see then.”_Celes turns her head and looks at Aylio. “Well, what do you want to do with my ankle?”

“This way, please.”

Aylio leads Celes out of the ball room to a smaller room upstairs. He lets Celes sit on a chair then opens the clipboard behind her to take out some first aid tools. Celes removes her mask since she is going to go home anyway. Aylio return to her with two splints and bandages.

“Thank you. I can do it myself.”_Celes extends her hands toward what Aylio is holding in his hands.

“I cannot let a young lady bandage herself after my mistress has caused some incident like that.”

Aylio simply smiles and knees down. He starts to bandage her ankle before Celes could react.

“I think you shouldn’t let your mistress wait like this…”_Celes looks at Aylio who is now putting the splints at 2 side of her ankle.

“I think she will be upset if she finds out that I didn’t take a good care of you after her mistake. Could you hold the splints for me, please?”

Celes holds the splints firmly while Aylio ties them with some bandages. It takes just about five minutes to finish.

“Thank you.”_Celes smiles casually.

“You are welcome.”

Aylio looks at Celes and smiles, but his expression suddenly changes a bit when their eyes meet. Celes notices it. She can’t help but feel curious.

“Is there something the matter?”

“No. It’s nothing.”_Aylio turns around.

“ “Her eyes looks stiff.” Is that what you are thinking?”_Celes tills her head and smiles.

“I don’t mean that…”

“It’s okay. I get that a lot.”_Celes calmly smiles. “Well I really have to go now. Thank you for helping me. See you again someday.”

Celes stands up as she tries to balance herself. She picks up her shoes and walks toward to door in bare feet. Knowing that Aylio won’t let her go all the way down the ground floor with her broken leg, she raises her hand to the level of her head as a signal to tell him that she doesn’t need his assistance anymore. Aylio feels hesitant at seeing her signal, but decides to listen to Celes anyway. He silently leaves the room and heads back to where Andrea is waiting…

The clock turns 23 pm when Celes returns home. She feels exhausted and painful due to her ankle. Celes tries to get to her room and gets change and brushes her teeth. After that, she throws herself onto the bed despite all the unfinished work. Celes knows that she’s too tired now, so the only thing she wants so do now is falling as sleep as soon as possible, and swears to never go to any party again. But before going to sleep, she opens her notebook to make a quick check on her schedule.

 

“So this is my last free week hm…”

 

Celes sighs and puts the notebook on the small table next to her bed. She lies down on her cozy bed and closes her eyes, wishing for her ankle to recover before she has to depart for works again…

 

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