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- "I'm going to leave."
- Maya looks up from her dishwashing, puzzled. The girl next to her is stiff, looking down at her own reflection. There's a strong determination in her face. The reflection blinks, and looks to the left.
- "I'm going to leave here. Soon. I'll be gone."
- The head maid stands up straight, rubbing stray suds off of her rubber gloves. This wasn't the first time the other girl had declared her departure, only to stand bleary-eyed in the doorframe the next morning, hair scrambled into odd shapes that seemed to be different every time. Maya was more than happy to smooth out her colleague's knots and send her off to her tasks. She had always responded to said announcements with a smile and a quiet, "I'm sure you will."
- It was no secret their mistress, a Miss Yukishiro Akira, was not exactly the kindest. Not personally, at least. She treated all of her family's servants with the same professional, yet cold demeanor. Maya saw her servile position as one of gratitude- The Tendos were once a proud warrior family, but after Maya's great-great... ancestor- she had no clue, really- was seized as a prisoner of war by the Yukishiros years ago, her family had been serving them ever since. In that time, there had been peace, as well as multiple new servants to add to Yukishiro's ranks. Kagura Hikari, however...
- Around twelve years ago, a battered and bruised four year old was abandoned at the gates of the estate. Maya, being five at the time, had no idea of what went on behind closed doors. But, eventually she saw the raven-haired child in her classes. She was quiet and kept to herself, preferring to keep her eyes down at all times. She excelled in lessons, however, and despite the jeers and remarks from their classmates, graduated alongside Maya.
- She had always kept an eye on Hikari. What else was there to do? She retained her somewhat sullen attitude, which Mistress Akira did not approve of, but she didn't... misbehave, per se. In fact, her movements were almost robotic in nature- Day in and day out she would tend to her assignments.
- And then, two years and three months ago, she confided in Maya that she would leave.
- Of course, at the time Maya was taken aback. "You're what?"
- "I'm going to leave soon. I can feel it. I won't be happy until I'm rid of this place."
- "But... Kagura-san, Yukishiro-sama won't approve. We are to stay for the remainder of our lives."
- Hikari scowls, her brows furrowing in anger. "That's exactly why. I can't-... I can't take it anymore." Her hands ball into fists, before slowly loosening. "I never wanted to be here, Tendo-san."
- "I'm sorry to hear that, however... Sometimes our fates cannot be changed." Maya replies solemnly, curling her fingers within the fabric of her dress. "It is simply how our lives play out."
- "Then maybe I'll play a different way." Hikari shoots back coldly, turning her back to the head maid. Maya watches her leave, a pang of guilt within her chest.
- At the time, neither of them knew just how badly the raven-haired girl wanted to escape this cage.
- The memory fades as Maya's eyes slide to meet the younger's. There's.... a fire in them, unseen before. Those glassy blue panes that so often showed such little emotion burned. It sent the hairs on the back of Maya's neck sticking up. Swallowing in an effort to moisten her dry mouth, her voice is shaky as she replies.
- "How soon are you expecting?"
- Hikari's frown deepens as she turns her head once again, ribbon on her cap blowing slightly. Maya follows her gaze to the window they stand in front of. The late afternoon sun blasts through the glass, bathing the other girl in her namesake light.
- And then, Hikari speaks.
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