"Yes...Just a little shaken up.." she replied, smiling sheepishly. She was still leaning on Meara with Onyx behind them.
"Here, sit down." Dawen said, hurriedly pulling up the nearest chair.
"I think this job of yours has attracted a few... unsavory customers," Meara commented dryly.
Emie wiped her face with her handkerchief. "I'll be fine..really..." she said. "I don't want to worry you guys. However I do request..."
Dawen nodded. "Anything,"
"Um, it's a little personal. But I need to talk to him privately..if it's alright.." she said referring to Onyx.
"To me? Well, I guess it's okay. I'll be right back." he told to Meara and Dawen.
She nodded and gave Emie a look of concern. "All right then."
"What is it?" Onyx asked.
"That punch you did to the man....it seemed mighty familiar.." Emie began. "If I wouldn't be much of a bother to you, would it be fine if you come along with me to my home?"
"Your home..?" Onyx echoed.
Emie nodded. "I would like you to meet someone. Someone who might be able to help me out and see if my hunch is correct.."
Onyx mutely agreed. "I hope it's okay if I bring Meara along..?"
Emie nodded vigorously. "It's not a problem at all!"
Onyx nodded. "Then I'll go get her,"
"Let me see if I understand," Meara said, puzzled. "We're going to Emily's house because she has some hunch about you?" At his nod, she blinked a few times, then agreed. "All right then."
"Thanks a lot..she seems a weird girl but let's try to understand it.." he said. She nodded.
Onyx went back with Meara. "Okay, let's go,"
"Emie! What happened to you?!"
"Geez, I still look that dirty?"
"Of course you are! And look at your knee! You must have skinned it somewhere!" Chayise exclaimed.
"Well, I'll clean it later. I want you to meet someone,"
Meara found herself being pulled in as she shyly curtsied to the older woman. "Umm... good day, madame."
"This is Meara Florentine. You remember? From the newspaper?"
"Oh yes. It's nice to meet you Lady Florentine. I am Chayise, Emie's aunt. She's always talking about how she wanted to meet you," she said chuckling.
"W-Well, I don't think what I've done is that significant..." the petite girl answered.
Emie smiled then she paused. "And this..."
Onyx stepped inside the house. Chayise gasped.
Onyx attempted to step back when the older woman placed her hands on his face. She looked at him so closely that he felt like she's trying to see his insides.
"Uh..." he mumbled.
"My lady...?" Meara murmured, wondering what was happening. "You know... Onyx...?"
Chayise took Onyx's hands. "Come, I must show you something,"
Onyx reluctantly let the woman drag him completely inside. He sat down beside Meara, completely confused of what's going on.
Chayise hurriedly went up to the stairs while Emie placed two glasses of mild wine on the table. The two thanked her. Chayise went down and presented a very old but preserved painting of a lone boy wandering in front of an enormous house. The two peeked at it.
"Oh my!" Meara cried, running her fingers over the portrait. "He looks like... "
"Is that...?" Onyx stuttered.
"This boy is named Celvhon. He is the son of the husband of my older sister. He impregnated the housemaid. He is an illegitimate child."
"That is so sad..." Meara said, still gazing at it.
"The boy had a very tragic childhood. At such a young age, his mother cruelly revealed to him that he was a product of an indecent affair and therefore an unwanted child. Add to this is her constant torturing at him. Physically and mentally. The boy's mind was filled with confused revelations. And in the end, he was thrown out of the house at the age of nine."
She caressed the little painting carefully. "This picture was made by me. I happened to be there on the day that Celvhon spent his last day at the house,"
She continued. "I cherished the picture upon discovering that the boy was now a wanderer. I vowed that I would find him no matter what and somehow try to restore what was deserving for him."
"In the period that my sister's husband was having an affair, it turned out that she had become unfaithful herself. She and her lover had a baby girl. She is Emie."
Meara let out a gasp of shock, already her mind having a suspicion as to who this woman is.
"The lover fled away upon knowing that he had a child. A coward perhaps. He didn't want to take responsibility for it. And so my sister was actually left with two children. One from her and one from her husband. By this time, my sister was in shambles. She became destitute. And felt utmost misery."
"The next time I met up with her, she was happily married to a man which used to be a customer of hers. At the time being, she worked as a prostitute. That is how she met her new husband. He showered her with gifts and love. She was finally at peace once again. However, the luxury she was given turned her into a greedy and cold-hearted person."
"I found Emie a few years ago. She was a mere child. And a very cunning thief at that." at that, Emie giggled.
Chayise looked straightly at the young man. "Through Emie's story, I was able to piece together the things that happened while I was gone. Emie was also thrown out of the house and well, she became like her half-brother,"
"The poor dear..." Meara gave Emie a look of sympathy. "What happened to Celvhon?"
"Celvhon is still not found. I told Emie everything I knew. And with me, she also set out to find her lost brother. She wishes to be reunited with him and eventually be a happy family with me,"
"In an attempt to melt my sister's heart, I tried to give her this painting. But like I said, she has definitely changed. And therefore, she refused to keep this."
She turned over the image. Onyx's eyes widened.
To my sister Ruby,
May you find happiness always. I give you this painting in hopes that he will lead the way to the softening of your heart. Please guide him when you find him. I will always be here to help you.
"R-Ruby..." Meara's eyes flew to Onyx. "You... you are Celvhon..."
Emie nodded. "Aunt Chayise is Ruby's...my mother's younger sister. Her other son..."
"is you," she said, facing Onyx.
Onyx was too stunned to speak. Finally he blurted out, "But Ruby is not my mother..why does she keep on bugging me still?"
Chayise shook her head. "My sister has perceived that you might be a threat when she inherits her husband's riches. He is, after all, the leading business man in the wine company,"
"You might've met him...his name is Alevor Henfinn,"
"It was all about money.... nothing but her greed..." Meara whispered, not knowing whether to be angry at the woman or to pity her. "She hurts Onyx all for the money..." Her head came up and she looked at Chayise. "But Lord Henfinn... seemed so nice..."
Onyx confusingly continued. "I...I knew Mr. Henfinn. He once invited me at his house. I knew he's the husband of Ruby. But I couldn't understand why he's so nice to me.."
Chayise smiled. "Lord Henfinn's heart is true. Because he is the bestfriend of your father,"
Onyx's mouth went open.
Chayise smiled some more. "As soon as I found out that Celvhon was not living in the house anymore, I informed him about it. Mr. Henfinn treasures your father a lot. He promises to help in the search, also hoping that you be given the happiness that you should've deserved a long time ago. His meeting with Ruby...well, that was an accidental one. He plans to put her in her place when the right time comes. And give his whole business to you. You are the sole inheritor of his wine company. Emie, is also a part of this. She will also receive her own share. Everything will be solved."
Onyx kept quiet most of the time but inside he felt troubled and confused. He couldn't believe that the people connected to him are living so near to him. Then he remembered.
"Our school is being moved to Sandur," he said suddenly. "I'll be going with them,"
Chayise nodded. "I know. I've heard some things about it. It is truly a fortune that I have already met you before you go farther away from us. Oh and before I forget, there is one more thing. Emie, please show it to him."
The young girl nodded. She stood up straight. "This is the girl you and Miss Florentine always see at the pub."
Onyx and Meara nodded.
Emie closed her eyes and was surrounded by a blinding light. The light started to fade but Onyx could definitely see the change.
"No way!" he exclaimed.
A small, cute and definitely younger girl faced them. "And this is the girl that you bumped with during one day in town." she said mischiveously.
"You... you have the power to change your age..." Meara breathed, eyes wide.
Chayise interrupted, "Emie's ability is still unknown and is labelled as a rare one. And since she's still very much young, she doesn't have to enroll to a sealing school for the time being. When the time is right, then I'll send her to you. Until then, I'm happy to take care of her."
Emie gleefully spread out her arms and beckoned Onyx to come. "Big brother! You're supposed to give me a hug!"
"A hug! Come on!" Emie prodded.
"Um...maybe next time.." he mumbled awkwardly, he started towards the door. Meara followed him. Emie followed them outside to play around in the backyard.
Meara turned to the younger girl and gave her a hug. "I'm glad to know you've found your brother, and madame, I admire your resilience," she smiled and got up to leave. "Thank you for your hospitality and kindness."
"Miss Florentine, please wait.." Chayise called out.
The dark-haired girl stopped in mid-step and faced Chayise again.
"I'd like you to give Celvhon this letter. It's from Alevor. Give it when the time is right. It's up to you," she said. "I have a very good feeling that you've been a significant person that changed the dear boy's life. I hope you will continue to support him. Please take care of him." she finished, smiling radiantly.
"A-All right, I will, I promise."
The petite healer closed the door behind her. She tucked the letter on her pocket and started to go where Onyx was. She wanted to call out his name but she was mesmerized by the whole sight.
Onyx held out his arms and Emie, in the verge of crying, went inside and the two fell into a tight embrace.