Sweep, sweep, sweep. Asaka’s broom went left and right, stroking away the dust and other imperfections lining the floor of her little house.
Once a slave, she had been released and given a proper job when it was revealed in her master’s will that she was to be released and given a job as a servant at the castle of their king should anything untimely happen to him. All the arrangements had been put in place and she arrived with the king’s servants’ recommendation.
The girl paused, longing for her own turmoil to be swept away like what little filth had been allowed to build up in her home. Months ago, she was the content slave of her lord Belenus. Her precious, beloved Belenus. She had been bought out of pity once upon a time by the family’s loyal maid. She has spoke only Han-Laian at the time was scared of these strange people the maid brought her to, especially the yelling lord of the house. He bellowed and hollered angrily at the maid before storming out. Second only to being kidnapped and sold as a slave, it was the most frightening experience of her life. They had a conversation in a tongue she could not understand thus she knew not what they intended for her.
Then the kind son of the lord educated her and he and the maid had both been kind to her. As much as she missed her old life in Han-Lai, her life in Lassen had been pleasant, free or no. Then he got married to that horrible woman. It was true that she and Belenus were in love, but despite the constant accusations to his “wife”, Belenus had never done anything inappropriate or adulterous with her. That vile bride of her beloved died cursing Asaka.
By that time, the elder maid had also passed on, leaving Asaka alone to do the housework, which tore at her lord’s heart. He desired to buy a second slave to help her, but alas, the matter was never settled, for the in dark of the night a terrible beast came for her and attacked. Invoking the name Lady Beliza, it drained her of her life’s blood and she died. Then she was saved in blinding light and awoke to find Belenus dead next to her. There was bitter weeping and vain begging for him to awaken, but for naught. Her beloved lord was gone.
Asaka sighed, continuing sweeping up the dust and mess into a dustpan and disposing of it. She went about, here and there, going about various activities to prepare for the evening with almost robotic routine. She ate her dinner, cleaned up the leftovers and table. Stored what could be saved, and went to bed. Ever since the night that…thing, attacked her, she had been afraid to sleep alone and in the dark, but did so uneasily anyway. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and tried to relax knowing she had a banquet to help prepare for on the morrow. She fell into a deep, dreamless, if uneasy sleep and all was darkness for the evening. Not four hours could have passed before she suddenly received a knocking at her door. Startled and frightened by the unwelcome visit, her eyes shot upon with haste and she was to her feet. Neglecting a robe to put on over her nightgown, she reached for a knife she kept under the mattress and crept slowly towards the door avoiding the creaky floorboards with precision like a cat. Her apprehension rose as she neared the door, and whatever courage had given her the strength to go up to it nearly gave out.
“Asaka? Asaka,” A voice called from the other side. “Are you in there?”
She could swear she almost recognized it as her lord’s, but dared not believe. The devils that haunte the night could be tricky.
She remained silent, and didn’t dare to speak. She put her hands over her mouth to stifle a cry when the doorknob turned from side to side as the person at the door tried it, but found it locked.
“Who’s there?!” she finally yelled, unable to control herself.
“Tis I. Belenus. Don’t you know your lord’s voice?”
“Impossible. You are dead. You died. Be gone, devil, or I’ll scream.”
“Then scream. I am going nowhere. You always were a cautious, gentle soul.” The voice chuckled.
“Is there anything I can do to prove it,” the voice on the other side then asked.
“What was the first phrase I saidfluently to you in your tongue?”
“You begged me to take you home. You were very afraid of my father, who never said two kinds words to you. You were afraid he was going to have you killed or resold. I swore I would never let that happen.”
It was enough proof for Asaka. Rather than collapsing to her knees in an emotional wreck, she hurriedly unlocked and tore open the front door. There Belenus stood upon her doorstep.
Before the man knew what was happening, she lunged and buried her face in his chest. She now broke into sobs as she felt how real his chest was. The warmth of his very human body.
“How,” she managed to ask between sobs.
“The Lady Valkyrie chose me, and now, with Ragnarok come and gone, and I did my part to aid in that battle.”
“Ragnarok…” Asaka asked. “That all encompassing light…?”
“Yes, Asaka. The world ended for but a moment. But our Lady Lenneth Valkyrie brought us back from oblivion. Now I have been given new life. I have returned, Asaka.”
With that, he swept the girl off her feet and instigated the deepest, purest kiss either had ever partaken on. She returned his show of love and the two embraced for the longest time.
“Asaka,” He said. “Let’s go home.”