39: The Next Morning


Image: Uncredited, scarestalker.com

Edmund woke up to the massive form of Ung, staring down at him.

“Would the Master be wanting his breakfast?”

Edmund winced as he tried to move his stiff body, struggling against his creaking muscles. He glanced around, noticing that his partially digested dinner had vanished from the floor where he had left it. He sat up slowly with his back moaning in pain from remaining curled around his empty stomach all night.

Edmund had not slept well. He had awoken repeatedly during the night, the deafening chiming of the clock bell breaking him almost completely out of his dreams. Sometimes, in his half-woken state he had completely forgotten where he was, and wondered if all the strange and stern people standing on pillars had come to the orphanage to decide whether they wanted to adopt him as their child.

Several times he had considered looking for somewhere else to sleep, but he was frightened of getting lost in the labyrinthine halls of the mansion and there was no certainty he would escape the massive bell.

Edmund sat quietly before he realized Ung was still staring at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. He gave a timid nod and stretched as subtly as he could as Ung lumbered away.

For a moment, Edmund was terrified Ung would vanish and leave Edmund as lost as he was before. He felt a rush of blood to his face as he desperately tried to think of a proper way of drawing attention to himself. He never had to do so before and he didn’t like the idea, but anything was better than staying trapped in the horrible maze of corridors.

“Uh,” Edmund finally stammered, when Ung was half-way across the room. The massive man stopped and turned back, his face passive and unassuming. Edmund swallowed. “I’m lost,” he finished, lamely.

“Would the Master like me to show him to his room?” Ung asked. Edmund nodded, and Ung held out his hand, pointing in the direction he was heading. Edmund stood, kicking the sleep out of his legs, and followed the lumbering form down the hallway.

“I will bring up the Master’s breakfast immediately,” Ung rumbled. “Matron has asked me to remind you that your cousins will be arriving before lunch. She has decided to allow you to have the morning to yourself before I will fetch you to help you dress appropriately to greet them.”

“Dress appropriately?” Edmund asked. The idea sounded bizarre.

“Yes,” Ung nodded slightly. “I would not presume to dress you for breakfast, since it is obvious you would rather have your meal alone. I will convey your sympathies to Matron.”

“Is she expecting me?” Edmund felt his heart sink. He wasn’t sure he could take take another meal with Matron just yet. Ung suddenly stopped and opened the door to Edmund’s room, ushering him inside.

“Most likely Matron will be having her breakfast in her room as usual. I will convey your sympathies all the same. Matron cares very deeply about proper and polite behavior from her guests.” Ung gave a small bow, almost hitting his head on the door frame. “I will be back with your breakfast soon, young Master,” Ung said as he rose, closing the door in Edmund’s face.


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