A dainty girl with wavy dirty blonde hair set up in a messy ponytail by a lose red bow muttered numbers as she counted the many trees that passed through the windows.
“Six hundred and four...Six hundred and five...”
Another much taller girl sat next to the dazed girl with her face stuck in a book, clearly getting invested in it by the tear droplets that were coming from her small blue eyes. The other dirty blonde across from them handed the girl a tissue from a nearby satchel with an exhausted sigh.
“Sara. Can you quit it with the muttering? It’s getting annoying...” The girl finally said with a deepened frown “We are almost at the mansion anyway...”
Sara started pouting at the other with knees being propped up to her chest
“Well what do you expect me to do? Talk to the both of you?” Sara exclaims with a frown directed at the eldest “It’s ridiculous our dead beat excuse of a father was even allowed to make the call and bring the both you along. You are both old enough to make your own choices!!”
At the mention of their father, the air stiffened along throughout them. Ume silently winced and had an expression of sorrowful pain while Tomoko shared the same expression with fingernails digging deep into her arms.
Sara grew uncomfortable with the air in room and lifted a hand up to touch a small area on the side of her head. She put her hand down abruptly after coming into the slightest contact.
“He...must have some motive.” Tomoko replies albeit hesitantly.
“M-Maybe he might actually care about us!” Ume exclaims with a wavering smile when hearing two scoffs come from the girls near her.
Ume opened her mouth to continue pushing the topic, but was shortly cut off by the sound of a train whistle and a voice following shortly after.
“Next stop! Bluebell Road!”
“T-T-That’s our stop! Already!?” Ume stammers as she nervously starts getting all of the suitcases and satchels together, tossing it over to the other two girls to carry.
The girls went down the stairs of the train and came down to a small train stop with a bunch of posters either relating to supporting either side of the war or needing more people in the war to fight for their country.
Ume and Tomoko moved on ahead and looked through the letter they received. Sara stayed behind to watch the train leave the station with loud whistles and steam emitting from it.
“Man...That train was pretty comfortable as well.” Sara sighed with two of her hands going behind the back of her head.
“The train was comfortable?” Tomoko asked with a look of disbelief “Wouldn’t you prefer a bed over train cushions any day though?”
Sara thought for a moment with a click of her tongue.
“Let me think about it- No.”
Tomoko and Sara continued bickering about the idea of sleeping on a train over a bed while Ume continued looking through the letter with an expression of dread and confusion.
“Oh god, w-what if he lied to us? What if he is trying to kill us!?” Ume mutters to herself with her hand going through her hair to calm down.
“If he is trying to kill us, then he has another thing coming.” Sara responds with a sneer, before snatching the letter out of Ume’s hands “Who is the guy we are staying with anyway?”
Tomoko snatched the letter back with a disapproving frown etched across her face “His name is Mr. Wortshire. He is a very rich and famous man, we should be lucky that he even considered us to stay with him.”
“Wortshire? You mean the Wortshire that everyone views as insane?” Sara asked bluntly causing her older sister to glare at her.
“Do not refer to him as crazy.” She sternly informs the other “You should feel grateful that he is letting you stay with him to begin with.”
“What is that supposed to imply!?”
“That you are childish and annoying?”
“G-Guys... Maybe we should-“
The sound of horse hooves interrupted the argument when an old looking lady with glasses arrives, sitting on top of a chariot with reins in her gloved hands.
She stops when coming into proper eye view and studied the girls for a short amount of time.
“Are you the three children that Mr Wortshire will be taking in?” She asked before looking around with narrowed and confused eyes “Where is the boy?”
“Ma’am...That would be our sister.” Tomoko corrects with a small gesture to Sara, who avoided eye contact with the lady by staring down at the ground beneath her.
“Oh...I see.” She says before turning towards the shorter girl “I deeply apologize then for the mispronunciation.”
“It’s fine...” Sara mumbled, still avoiding direct eye contact with the older lady.
“Come. We can’t be late for Mr Wortshire.”
The ride to the mansion was awkward and silent for a large portion of time. Ume tried to bring up conversation starters for everyone to communicate, but the old lady would only stay silent and send occasional side glares towards Sara.
It made some sense...It almost seems that I am considered to be an alien in her eyes.
The younger blonde pushed the thoughts aside and continued to ignore the seething glares that were directed at her.
Once they arrived at the mansion, Sara noted a few things about the architect. Firstly, it looked incredibly old, almost like it was ancient with many run-down gargoyles and vines growing on the walls of the house.
Second of all, it had many odd elements to it. Such as red paint dripping off of the flower bushes, oddly shaped trees, hedgehogs being everywhere in the backyard. It almost reminded Sara of a movie or book by the description alone.
The third and most interesting part of it though, would have to be the rare variety of animals. It seemed as if there was every animal to be accounted for. A tiger, a hyena, a wolf, a lion, each animal seemed to be lounging about outside and completely at ease.
“We have arrived.”
Sara snapped her head over in the direction of the old lady’s voice to see her getting off the carriage with the graceful etiquette.
“Take your shoes off before entering the house. I do not want you dirtying to house with mud.” The old lady informs the girls as they obey the orders and leave their shoes at the welcome mat of the house.
Sara gave an impressed whistle at the scenery of the house. It had a classy look compared to the outer walls of it. Almost like an ancient castle with the chandelier hanging from the ceiling and two pairs of stairs from each side of the upper hallway.
“...Miss Burton. Where exactly is Mr Worstshire?” Sara asked with narrowed eyes directed towards the elder “Seems as if it was some sort of tale and the guy never actually existed...”
“I assure you that he does exist.” Miss Burton clarifies “He is in his office at the moment so I suggest you keep a low volume, as to not disturb his work.”
“That is going to be pretty tough Miss.” Sara replies with a mischievous grin.
“It might be tough but-“ Miss Burton cut herself off once catching an eye view of Ume observing an ancient artifact in her hands “DO NOT TOUCH THAT!”
Ume flinched at the booming voice and hurriedly placed the artifact back on its pillar with a flustered expression. Miss Burton sighed at the taller girl’s nervous actions and quickly dusted off the artifact with her hand.
“These are ancient relics! Breaking one of them could lead to horrifying consequences!” She scolds Ume, who had her head hung low.
"S-Sorry...It looked very interesting and I thought it would be fine to look at it..." Ume replied, getting teary eyed at her mistake "I promise I will never do it again. I never meant to set a bad example."
The woman glared at her for a little while longer before sighing in disapproval.
“Despite living in such a regal environment, you act as if you have never set foot in such a strict household before.”
The comment made Ume stiffen up and look away in shame with slight mutterings of ‘sorry’ and ‘it’s been a while’.
“Anyway!! In speaking of rules around this house, I will explain them to you very carefully so listen up, potatoes!” The lady chides as she waved over to some nearby butlers to pick up the bags and suitcases while walking up the stairs of the house.
Potatoes? What kind of idiotic nickname is that? Even toddlers can come up with something better.
“She is a massive bitch...” Sara mumbled underneath her breath to her sisters while glaring at the elder woman.
“Language!” Ume gently scolds the younger with a narrowed gaze of disapproval “And she is just trying to run the house since it appears the owner is busy.”
“Couldn’t she be a little light hearted about it? Or better yet just not freak out over a vase?” Sara explains with a wave of her hands to indicate her point “Actually! This whole house is weird! Why are roses being painted? Why are there wild animals outside? Hell, why does it look like it shouldn’t be here to begin with!?”
They all turned their attention to the lady who stood on the steps with a slightly aggravated sigh at their oblivious nature.
“You know I can hear every word you are saying, right?” She drawls in a sarcastic tone of voice “Well, whatever! Any rumors being discussed about the nature of this house is strictly forbidden!”
“Hold on just a minute!! Why is that-“
Sara got cut off with a quick glare in her direction causing her mouth to close with a loud clamp.
“It is only Mr. Wortshire’s business to know about the true nature of this house.” Miss Burton briefly explains with an exhausted expression “The rules are simple. First, you may not touch any artifacts or jewels in the house without permission. Second, you have to assist the servants with painting the roses as your daily chore-“
Sara scoffed silently to herself at the long list of rules with her arms crossed while her sisters obediently nodded along to the words of the rules, briefly getting distracted by some things around or outside the house.
“And the last, yet most important rule of all, Do not go into the last door of the third hallway.”