Chapter 5 - The Courtworth's Mansion

Clank! A silver spoon dropped and clanked onto the kitchen floor. Maria calmly took it and washed it, then took out two tea cups out of the kitchen cabinet on top of her head. While making tea, she glanced out of the window, where it was still dark. Then, she glanced at the clock. 5 A.M.

Not so long after, there was a knock on the door.

"My, my, who would visit us in such hour?" Maria murmured, opening the door.

"I'm terribly sorry, but we're still closed-"

"Good morning, Maria."

Maria blinked, surprised. "Darnell! What are you doing here, so early in the morning?"

Darnell bowed his head politely. "I decided to arrive a little earlier."

Maria giggled and opened the door widely for the young man. "Although, you should probably reconsider your understanding of 'a little earlier'. " She returned to the kitchen, but soon came back to the living room, with 3 teacups on a silver tray. She also brought a fancy teapot with her, along with some sugar cubes.

Darnell responded with a quiet laugh, noticing that Aya was nowhere to be found.

"Is she still cuddling on her bed, Maria?" Darnell asked in between the sound of the repetitive ticks the clock made.

Maria poured the tea elegantly, and nodded. She putted 2 sugar cubes in one of the teacup, and handed it to Darnell. "Can you please give this to her? And wake her up, of course."

Darnell fell silent for a brief moment, but then asked where Aya's room is.

"Her room is in a seperate building. Just go to the backyard through the kitchen, and follow the rocky path. A few steps in the forest, you'll see a small house – smaller than any other house, more like a shed – and that's the Mistress' room."

"Such a hassle just for a room," Darnell commented. "It seems that she doesn't want to be disturbed, if her room is in another building. Is it really okay for me to go there, wake her up even?"

Maria shook her head, a big smile on her face. "It's fine. Please remember to give the tea to her as well."

I'm a guest, I'm supposed to sit down, have a tea, and relax, not waking up girls! Darnell thought bitterly, but smiled without any complaints. He walked through the kitchen and out to the backyard. The sky was still pitch black, but birds chirping in the forest signed that it was almost dawn.

A cold breeze blew Darnell's black hair. He gritted his teeth, feeling the cold penetrate his bones. But he walked without delay.

Like Maria said, there was a small house in the forest, hidden from sight. Darnell thought it was a little odd to have a room separated this far from the house, even for someone like Aya. But he sweep off his doubt and knocked the door.

Knock. Knock.

Darnell knocked the wooden door twice. There was no respond from the resident of the house – if there is any.

He knocked again, quite loudly, although Darnell was quite afraid that the wooden door was fragile enough that it can snap at any moment.

Darnell turned the doorknob. He found that it was not locked. "Geez, how careless can this girl be?" he chuckled.

Darnell slightly pused the door. Unexpectedly, it was heavier than he thought. "It's me. I'm heading in."

When he peeked inside the room, there was quite a huge desk behind the door. No wonder it was heavy.

He took a step inside, and scanned the room. It was buried in dolls – dolls so beautiful that Darnell was at loss for words. The quantity also amazed him. There were many types of dolls as well, animals, plushies, even human sized dolls.

His eyes were now focused on the bed across the room. The lamp was not on, only a dim light from the small desk lamp beside the bed. A slender body lied down, facing the wall, unmoving. Covered with a deep blue blanket, Darnell can't see the person's face.

"Aya, you left the door unlocked," Darnell approached the bed and put the teacup gently on the bed desk.

There was no respond once again.

"Aya? Wake up, now." Darnell shook the body.

Still no response.

When Darnell pulled the covers away, there was a body, lying there unmoving.

That pure white skin. Short silky black hair. Wide blue eyes, without any radiance like any normal human being.

Darnell stood there in shock. "A-"

"Good morning, you." a familiar voice calmly greeted the shocked guest.

Darnell immediately turned to the voice. "Don't surprise me like that, Aya."

"Oh, did I? I didn't meant to do it." Aya giggled and approached him from the dark corner of the room.

Darnell sighed, and fixated his eyes on the doll again. "Who was it?"

"Hm? That doll of me?" Aya took the teacup from her desk and took a sip. "Well, several people. I can't remember them."

Darnell just nodded, smiling without taking his eyes off the doll. "You did a great job, with this doll, I mean."

"Not what people usually said in these sort of situation," Aya laughed, followed with Darnell's chuckle.

Aya pushed the desk out of the doorway. "You're very early. Still 5 more hours until our appointment."

Darnell clicked his tongue. "I can't stand the suspense."

"What are you, a child?"

"You're one to talk, playing with dolls."

"Not just any normal dolls. I made them all."

"And I'm buying your service with my own money."

"Your own money? You just took it from your dad."

"I have a proper, legal job, not like you."



"What are we, a child?"

"You're right." Darnell walked pass Aya and opened the door. "Well, shall we go now, Mistress?"

"Don't call me that," Aya answered sharply, with a hint of red on her cheeks. Darnell didn't notice this fact. "Besides, I haven't prepared my luggage, and all that."

"There's no need of those. Just bring a small suitcase for some of your usual dresses, and your important tools, and I'll prepare everything else for you at the mansion."

Aya gave Darnell her empty teacup. "You have my greatest gratitude."

"What, you're acting formal now?" Darnell laughed, but took the teacup anyway.

Aya looked down to her feet. "... Thank you..?"

"There we go," Darnell smiled. "You have ten minutes to get ready."

"20. I need to take a bath too."

"Fair enough. I'll wait in the main building." Darnell stepped out from the building, and walked away.

Aya sighed and turned away. She processed what just happened right after she woke up. She turned slowly towards the door, outside, looking for the figure she called 'Darnell', who was nowhere in sight.

"Ah, just about time," Darnell stood up from his seat, looking at the figure that just entered the room. He fell silent on the sight before him, and just stared at her without saying anything.

"Hey, it's not polite to stare." Aya calmly answered and walked passed him, sitting on her chair.

"I'm sorry, it's just..." Darnell came back to his senses. "It's just... a little weird seeing you in a normal dress. In a good way, of course."

Aya wore a normal white dress, not too thin but not too thick as well. It was perfect for the uncertain weather there. She also wear a matching white hat, protecting her eyes from sunlight.*

"I'll take that as a compliment," Aya replied with a flat tone, as if none of Darnell's words affect her at all.

Maria also entered the room, but in her normal maid outfit. "I'll be fine with these."

"Well then," Darnell coughed , and turned to Aya, and back to Maria. "Shall we get going, then?"

With Darnell's personal horse carriage, the three of them arrived in the Courtworth's Mansion without any hindrance on the way.

Aya stepped out of the carriage, followed by Maria and Darnell came out last. As soon as Darnell came out, the carriage drove away in the speed of light.

Aya stared at the huge mansion before her eyes. It was similar to her long gone mansion. It makes her remember the times when she was still in her mansion, with Maria, her father, her mother, and Snowball. The mansion was probably too big for the 5 of them, but nevertheless, she was happy.

But then...

"Don't think about your past, now, Aya." Darnell patted Aya's shoulder gently.

"A-ah, sorry. Well then, please lead the way."

Darnell smiled, and walked towards the mansion. When he arrived at the entrance, he knocked the door twice.

"Ah, It's Nell! It's Nell!" a girl's voice can be heard from inside. Aya stared in shock, and turned to Darnell.

When Darnell opened his mouth to answer, the door was also opened widely for them. A petite girl appeared before Aya.

"Y-You shouldn't do that... " Darnell sighed helplessly.

"Well, I don't know that Nell brought some friends," the girl smiled. She had the similar black hair like Darnell do, but her eyes was a matching black. Her straight hair goes down to her waist, and she had a huge red ribbon on her right side of her head, on top of her ear.

She then glanced at Aya, and gave her a friendly smile. "My name is Ayane Courtworth, the only daughter of Eric Courtworth and Mia Courtworth. Nice to meet you!"

Aya smiled anxiously. "I-I'm sorry to intrude in such hours. My name is Aya Dravis, it's nice meeting you too."

"Aya? That's what people usually call me for short, but I guess it won't work out while you're staying," Ayane giggled. She glanced at the person behind Aya now.

"Ah, my name is Maria. I'm Mistress Aya's personal maid. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Maria bowed politely.

Ayane walked inside. "Please, come in and make yourself at home."

"Hey, that's my line." Darnell walked inside impatiently.

"But Nell, we decided to kick you out of the Courtworth's family when you were out!" Ayane covered her mouth afterward, as if in shock.

Darnell replied nothing.

"Just kidding~" Ayane smiled. "Well, sit down, then. You too, Nell." She then walked (or more like skipping?) through the hall and make a turn.

"I'm sorry, she's always like that." Darnell sighed and sat down on the luxurious sofa in the living room.

Aya murmured 'excuse me' as she sat down across Darnell. Maria did the same and sat beside Aya.

Aya looked around, and finally said "Was she your little sister?"

Darnell nodded and smiled. "She's too energetic for her age, I suppose."

"Really? For me, it's normal for her to be that energetic. Weren't you like that when you're her age?" Maria asked curiously.

"No, I don't. And it's not normal."

Aya blinked. "Isn't she like, 10? Or something like that?"

Darnell laughed. "She's 14. And almost 15, at that. Only 3 months to go until her birthday."

Aya and Maria fell into silent.

"But she has such small body. Is it a physical disorder?" Maria asked in a similar tone as her previous question.

When Darnell about to answer, once again, Ayane walked (skipped) into the room with a huge smile on her face. "I'm back~"

"Welcome back, Ayane-chan." Aya greeted her as if she was greeting a small girl.

"Hello again, Aya nee-sama!" Ayane followed Aya's greeting.

"Hey, hey! Why don't you call me nii-sama?!" Darnell complained from his seat.

Ayane turned to him, an innocent but mature smile on her face. "But it's disgusting for a teenage girl to call her brother that."

This time, Darnell fell silent.

"Just kidding," Ayane smiled her usual smile and sat beside Darnell.

"Sometimes, your jokes are harsh..." Darnell murmured to hisself.

Ayane now turned to Aya again. "Well, what are your business with the Courtworth family?"

"Ah, I was actually just... umm..." Aya thought some excuse for her business.

"We're just staying here for a few days, because our mansion has been severely damaged by a fire." Maria continued Aya's sentence calmly.

Ayane gently smiled, a similar smile like that of her brother. "I see. But Nell..."

"Hm?" Darnell leaned towards her a little.

"You know that... father didn't-"

"Don't worry, Ayane. He won't."

Aya and Maria was a little surprised seeing Ayane's worried and serious face. Realizing this, Ayane turned back to her usual expression.

"Ah! About time, tea, my guests!" Ayane exclaimed when she noticed someone in a different maid outfit from Maria walked down the hall, with a tray of teacups.

"I-I'm terribly sorry about the long wait," the maid put down the teacups with the same quantity as the people in the room – excluding herself.

"Oh, why don't you sit down with us?" Ayane suggested.

"Ah, I... Umm... I think it's best not to..." the maid shyly reject the suggestion.

Ayane shook her head. "It's okay. Sit down, here." The teenage girl moved a little to give the maid space.

"W-well, if you insist, then please excuse me." the maid sat down like Ayane instructed.

Ayane smiled, happy that she win. "This is my personal Maid, Lilly. Lilly, this is Maria, and Aya nee-sama."

Lilly bowed a little. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Maria also bowed in a same manner. "The pleasure is all mine."

"My, aren't both of them quite similar?" Aya giggled.

Lilly had long, black, wavy hair. Her green eyes, shaped like an almond shines brightly matches her beautiful face. Her cheeks were rosy, almost looked like that she was blushing all the time. Her crimson lips just add to her perfection, as well as her white snow skin.

"Well, although her name is Lilly, sometimes I just called her Snow White." Ayane smiled.

"If I am Snow White, then you would be my dwarf, wouldn't you, Mistress?" Lilly replied, a mischievous smile on her face.

"Yes, you're a snow white that can fight~! Ah, such a snow white makes my heart beats so fast~" Ayane hold her cheeks and nod her head up and down.**

"Lilly also serves as a bodyguard for Ayane," Darnell explained in Ayane's stead.

Ayane nodded. "She saved me several times from kidnappers! Isn't she lovely~?" Ayane stared at Lilly in admiration.

"Ah, then she really is similar to Maria," Aya agreed. "Although she may not seem like it, Maria is good with knives and saved me several times too."

Ayane clapped once, stared at Maria, and back to Lilly. "I'm sure you'll get along well~"

Lilly looked down, blushing, while Maria just smiled gently.

"Umm, Lilly," Darnell was the first to talk in the awkward silence.

"Yes, Master Darnell?" Lilly answered immediately.

"Could you prepare a guest room for both of them please? They will be staying here for a while."

Aya and Maria noticed the same glimpse of worry on Lilly's face, but she stood up and nodded. "Right away."

Aya took her teacup while still fixating her eyes on Lilly, who already walked away from the room.

"By the way," Ayane said after she emptied her teacup. "How long are you going to stay here, Aya nee-sama?"

Aya thought a little. "About a week or so."

"I see," Ayane nodded.

Lilly came down shortly after. "Your room is ready, Mistress Aya, and Ms. Maria."

Aya nodded. "Please forgive me for all the hassle."

Ayane laughed and shook her head. "It's not a hassle at all. Besides, the more the merrier, right?"

Aya smiled in relieved, and bowed politely. "Thank you in advance for your cooperation for the week."

*Like that of Shiina Mayuri from Steins;Gate. c:

**/cough/ She's fangirling /cough/

Depending on my mood, I'm going to slip some AyaxDarnell moments. But I know some of you ship AyaxDio, so if you are against AyaxDarnell, just tell me and I won't make them looked more like normal friendship.

(I think I'll add more anime references to the story o-o /kickd IT'S FUN D:)

I'm sorry for the late update. /sob

Once again, Mad Father characters are not mine, and are copyrighted by their rightful owner~ And also, Ayane and Lilly are not mine too~

Thank you for FreakyPokeGirl1 and Lilly927 for your character~

Those that already lend me their characters and not appeared in the story yet, no worries, I already prepared a plot for all of them~! /huehuehuheuhe

Thank you for reading ~ Wait for the next chapter~

Chapter 6 Summary - Odd Resident, Eerie Residence

Eric Courtworth. Mia Courtworth. The tragic story between the couple. A young teenage boy, hiding sadness deep within. 2 best friends, no connection with the outside world. Wearing a mask, hiding your true intention. Is it evil? Or is it justice? Saving lives. Love. Friendship. Family. Enemies. Friends. Those to care for and those to hate for. Picked the wrong answer...