“Hello Celes-chan. Azure is talking here. If you’re listening to this message, you must have arrived to your hometown right? You might be surprised to see everything is as clean as new since I have hired some cleaning service to dust off your house beforehand. If you see anything is missing, just give me a call and I’ll surely make them regret it. Hehe~
Too bad I couldn’t go with you. Take care okay? Oh and when you’ve arrived, send me a message to let me know about it. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.”
Celes turns on her cell phone and dials Azure’s number…
“I have arrived. Thank you Azure, for everything.”
_ _ _ _ _
It has been more than 10 years since the last time Celes returned to her hometown. It’s a small city in England called Coventry. This is the birth place of almost all the famous doll makers in the world. For Celes, she finds her hometown peaceful, but for some certain reasons, she doesn’t like staying here. This time, she goes back to Coventry to report her Seven deadly sins collecting work. The elder of the town is the one who gave her that task, and her duty is to give the elder the collection after she has done.
Comparing to Celes’s house in Japan, this one here is much smaller. It’s only has 1 floor and 2 bedrooms. Nevertheless, it’s still a well-designed and convenient house. Azure’s message is the first thing Celes notices when entering the house and seeing the telephone beeping non-stop. It has been a week since the masquerade ball. Her leg is now nearly recovered, which she’s thankful for. For now, the jet lag is still getting the best of her as she feel somewhat dizzy and tired. Eventually, Celes decides to unpack later. The grand clock strikes 10am as Celes goes upstairs and throws herself onto the bed and falls asleep.
_ _ _ _ _
*Ring ring ring*…
It’s 4pm in the afternoon when Celes is woken up by a phone call. She sleepily grabs the telephone on the small shelf to her left and answers it…
“Good afternoon Chroma-san. Did you have a good flight?”
The voice comes out from the phone snaps Celes out of her daze. She immediately fixes her voice to a more refined tone and replies to the caller.
“Good afternoon ma’am. Yes, the flight went on well. I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t inform you sooner about my arrival. I had a jet lag so it slipped off my mind.”
“It’s okay. I understand.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Now, I want to invite you to have a small tea party then with my family. Can you make it at 5?”
“Oh you don’t have to do all those things for me. I’m fine on my own.”
“Just one evening. I insist.”
“Well if that so then I guess I couldn’t refuse.”
“Great then. I’ll see you at 5.”
Celes hangs up the phone. She rushes to the bathroom. She knows that she doesn’t have much time left, so she tries to clean herself as quick as possible. For tonight tea party at elder’s house, Celes chooses a simple white dress with a platinum necklace. She ties up a small part of her hair into a bun behind her head and use a white floral design clip to keep it in place. Celes makes her way downstairs, put on her light brown boots, opens the door and walks outside. To her surprise, there is a black car in front of her house. From the car comes out a tall man with white hair. Celes recognizes the person right away. It’s Aylio.
“Good afternoon milady.”_Aylio bows.
“Good afternoon. May I ask what are you doing here?”_Celes askes. Her voice is filled with curiosity.
“I was asked to escort you to my mistress’s place.”_Aylio smiles.
“Oh I see.”
“Please come inside.”_Aylio opens the car door for Celes.
“You don’t have to be so formal, you know?”_Celes smiles lightly.
“It’s a part of my work, milady.”
“Please, call me by the name Chroma.”
Celes enters the car. Aylio closes the door next to Celes and goes to his driver seat. He starts the engine and drives away. Celes looks mindlessly at the scenery outside the window. Everything has changed a lot since then. She loses her mind into her surrounding until Aylio raises his voice.
“So you just arrived this morning, milady?”_Aylio looks at the mirror above his head.
“I did tell you to call me Chroma-san, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did.”
“You don’t have to be so formal in daily life, you know?”
“Well, if you insist.”_Aylio fixes his tone. “So how was the flight, Chroma-san?”
“It was a little boring, I may say.”
“I see. Then how is your ankle? Has it recovered yet?”
“About 95%. I still feel a bit of pain sometimes when I walk too much.”
“I guess that’s good then. After all, it’s just only been a week since we met in Japan.”
“Say…Did you rent the house you’re staying now? The house in this city I mean.”
“Rend?”_Celes raises her eyebrow. “That house belongs to my family.”
Celes’s answer surprises Aylio that he almost crosses the red light.
“Yes. I inherit it from my parents.”_Celes says naturally.
“Inherit? That mean your parents are…”
“I’m very sorry. I didn’t know…”
“It’s okay. I’m fine.”_Celes smiles lightly, trying to hide her heavy mind.
“Well we will arrive shortly. My young mistress is thrilled to see you.”
The elder’s house is on a hill in the city’s outskirt. Celes has been there once long ago. When the car arrives, a maid has been waiting in front of the house. She bows and opens gate. Aylio drives inside the yard and parked the car in the garage. He opens the door for Celes. Celes thanks him and processes into the elder’s mansion.
“Welcome back to Coventry, Chroma-san.”
“Good afternoon, ma’am.”
“Please, come inside.”
Celes follows the elder inside her mansion. Compare to 10 years ago, lots of things have changed. The furniture looks more modern, the house painting is lighter and the atmosphere is certainly more welcoming than that of the past. They passes the hall and enter the drawing room. The elder points at the chair next near the window and tells Celes to sit down. Celes does as she says and takes her seat. The elder sits opposite to Celes. Few second later, the maid serves them some tea and cookies. Celes notices there are two empty seat beside her, which makes she feels curious.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Are there going to be more guests?”
“Yes. They will arrive shortly.”
Right after that, the door opens as a young maiden and a tall guy walk in. They are Aylio and Andrea. Aylio looks pretty calm while Andrea is very excited since Celes is here. She makes her way right to Celes and bow to her.
“Good morning, Chroma-san.”
“Good morning, young lady.”_Celes stands up and bows back. “I believe that we have met at the masquerade ball a week ago.”
“Yes. I’m very sorry about the incident I caused that time. Is your ankle fine now?”_Andrea’s voice fills with concern.
“I’m fine now, thank you.”_Celes smiles warmly.
“Andrea, have you introduced yourself to her properly?”_The elder reminds Andrea.
“Oh right, I totally forgot that.”_She smiles awkwardly. “I’m terribly sorry for not introduce myself properly the last time. My name is Andrea Wilson. It’s an honor to meet you, Chroma-san.”
“The honor is mine.”_Celes replies calmly. “May I ask what your bodyguard’s name is?”_Celes turns her gaze to Aylio.
“My name is Aylio Hylvester.”_Aylio places his right hand on his chest and bow to Celes. “It’s an honor to meet you, Chroma-san.”_He smiles.
“Same here.”_Celes smiles.
“Well, now all the greeting ceremony has done, why don’t you two join us in the tea party?”_The elder says with a welcoming voice.
Andrea’s grandmother, Cassadra Wilson, is a first class doll maker. She’s the mayor of Celes’s hometown. Cassadra has light brown hair with deep blue eyes. Up till now, she’s the most powerful person in the doll maker world. Every doll maker who is born in Coventry has the ability to give their creation live and control them as will. It’s a special kind of psychic power that can manipulate objects as if they’re alive. The source of power comes from the eyes, so that means if their eyes got injured, their power will be decreased and in the worst case, they could lose it.
Celes knows that the elder invites her here not just for drinking tea. She in fact wants Celes to give her the dolls that contain the seven deadly sins souls. Celes has prepared it beforehand. She carefully put them in a wooden box and used another bag to take them along with her. Now Celes just waits till the elder tells her to give them to her. And she doesn’t have to wait for long since the elder asks about them right after Andrea and Aylio sit down.
“Chroma-san, I believe that you have accomplished the task that I gave you?”_The elder asks politely.
Celes gives the elder the bag. The elder takes it then opens the wooden box. She observed the dolls carefully and finally lets out a satisfied smile.
“Very beautiful. You have done a great job, Chroma-san.”
“Thank you for the compliment”
“Now why don’t you three enjoy the tea? I have some business that need to be taken care of.”
And with that, the elder leaves the table. Celes looks at the remaining people. Aylio seems to not care very much about her present while Andrea on the other hand, is pretty excited to talk with her. Celes smiles at her.
“I believe that you have a lot of questions for me, right?”
“I do.”_Andrea replies with exciment. “I heard from my grandma that you’re also born in this town right?”
“Indeed I am.”_Celes takes a sip at her tea.
“Then you must have pretty amazing psychic power don’t you?”
“I did, but now I don’t.”_Celes puts the cup down and looks at Andrea. “I lost it many years ago.”_She smiles calmly.
“Oh no… I’m sorry for asking. I didn’t know…”
“It’s okay, I’m fine.”
“It’s too bad, I mean you’re so talented…”_Andrea sighs. “Say…I really want to show you my creation. Do you mind, Chroma-san?”
“Not at all. I would love to.”_Celes smiles.
“Great. “I’ll go up and prepare it. When I’m done I will give Aylio a call. Please take her to my room, okay?”_Andrea smiles at Aylio.
“Of course, mistress.”
Then Andrea dashes out of the drawing room. Celes picks up a cookie and takes a bite. Aylio watches her as he drinks his tea. Celes notices that.
“Is there something on my face, Hylvester-san?”_Celes raises her eyebrown.
“Oh no.”_He smiles.
“Then why are you staring at me?”
“I’m just wondering that why I have never seen you in this town before, given that you were born here. After all, this is my hometown too.”
“Well, I only lived in this town for 10 years. After that, I moved away.”_Celes answers calmly.
“Ten years are more than enough to see somebody, yet I don’t recall seeing you.”
“Then maybe we weren’t meant to meet back then.”_Celes finishes her cookies. “After all, I don’t remember knowing you either.”
Right then, Aylio’s cell phone rings. He turns on his phone’s screen and sees a message from his mistress. Aylio stands up and extends a hand to Celes.
“My mistress wants you in her room.”_He smiles.
“I have already told you that you don’t have to be so formal.”_Celes stands up and looks at Aylio, not taking his hand. “Please leads the way.”
“Follow me then.”
Aylio leads and Celes follows him upstairs. Andrea’s room is on the second floor, the first one to the left. Aylio knocks the door. Just a second later, Andrea opens it then tells Celes and Aylio to enter. Celes thanks her and walks into the room while Aylio politely refuses to as he says he has some business to take care of. Andrea nods as understanding Aylio’s work and closes the door.
“So this is your room and your workshop, isn’t it?”
Celes observes Andrea’s room carefully. She sees many doll-making and painting tools on the desk by the window. In the corner of the room, there is a large glass cabinet that stores Andrea’s creation. Interestingly enough, they’re mostly fabric dolls, which Celes finds pretty adorable.
“Yeah. Since my grandma gave me such a large room, I think it’ll be more convenient if I put the workshop in here too.”
“It seems so.”_Celes smiles at Andrea. “And your dolls are pretty cute too. I like them. They’re very lively.”_Celes turns her gaze back to the cabinet. “I haven’t seen anyone made so many fabric dolls before. You must love to work with this material, don’t you?”
“Yes, I enjoying making doll from fabric because of its variety in material and color. My mother used to teach me how to sew when I was a little kid, and I find it very fun to do. That’s why I choose fabric as my main material in making dolls.”
Andrea’s face lightens up when she talks about her mother. Celes feel a little nostalgic looking at her like that, but she shakes it off her mind and smiles casually.
“I think you should really follow your dream to the end. After all, your work seems really fine. If you have a change, you should go out of this town and see the world. From what I see from your dolls, I can tell that your imagination is being limited just inside this place. Since you have a potential to go further than this, you should considering asking your grandmother the permission to go outside more.”
“You really think that I have talent in this?”_Andrea’s eyes brighten up.
“Thank you, Chroma-san. It means a lot to me when you’re the one who says it.”_Andrea smiles genuinely. “But then…”_Andrea’s mood suddenly drops. “My grandma doesn’t want me to make fabric dolls anymore. She wants me to use wood and porcelain just like you.”_Andrea sighs softly. “I’m not really good that that though…”
“Why does she want you to stick with the tradition so much?”
“She said that in the future, I would have to take a very important position in this town, the position that required a sophisticated doll making skill using wood and porcelain. That’s why…”_Andrea sits down on the sofa next to her.
“What kind of position is it then?”_Celes raises her eyebrow.
“I don’t know. My grandma didn’t say specifically.”
“Then… Do you think that you will come to like that position?”
“I don’t know, since if it’s about wood and porcelain…I’m not so sure that I’ll like it.”
“I see…”_Celes looks at Andrea with sympathetic eyes. “You know, maybe I could show you something about using those material right now. How does that sound?”
“Yes. Why not? I still have some time left before I must go home.”
“Thank you Chroma-san.”_Andrea stands up and holds Celes’s hands. “I’m very greateful.”_She smiles brightly, which warms up Celes’s heart.
“Alright. Let us start then.”
For the rest of the afternoon, Celes explains all the details about the technique of using wood to make dolls. Andrea listens attentively and takes note of things that she never knows about. The lesson would have gone longer if Celes didn’t hear the cuckoo clock in Andrea’s room strikes 8 o’clock.
“I guess I have to go now. It’s getting late.”_Celes looks outside the window and sees that it’s already got dark and the clouds are covering the sky. “Besides, I think it’s going to rain soon…”
“Yeah. It’s raining season now.”_Andrea closes her notebook. “I will have Aylio take you home. That’s the least thing I can do to thank you for teaching me.”
“It’s okay. I can take a taxi.”_Celes politely refuses.
“Please, I insist.”_Andrea repeats the offering with firm voice.
“Well…If you said so…”
Andrea picks up her phone and tells Aylio to prepare the car. Celes takes her bag and checks if she forgets anything. They gets downstairs and see Aylio has already standing by the car. Celes looks around to find the elder but she is nowhere to be seen, so she has to ask Andrea to give the elder her goodbye. Andrea nods and tells Celes to get going quickly so that she could get home before the rain comes. Celes says goodbye to Andrea and gets into the car. Andrea waves to her then turns her attention to Aylio.
“Drive safely okay?”_Andrea smiles lightly.
Aylio gets into the car and drives away. Andrea passes Celes’s goodbye to her grandmother before returning to her room. Looking at the fabric dolls on the shelf, she sighs softly.
“Why can’t grandma accept me like this…”
Then she opens her notebook and starts reviewing Celes’s lesson.