Fern had many chores, but most of them were related to cleaning. The place was so big that it got dirty easily. Dust and dirt would seemed to appear in crevices about as often as Fern could get rid of them. It was kind of fun being able to explore the castle though. There was always one more unopened door. Sometimes those doors led to hallways and sometimes to new wings of the castle waiting to be explored. He discovered secret passageways, hidden doors, and beautiful relics. Bres liked to be noticed. His castle was impressive, but what he put inside it was breathtaking.
He had just finished dusting the shelves in what he had nicknamed the “treasure room,” due to its abundance of jewelry and adornments made of precious metals and glistening gems that sparkled all the more after he polished them. He used the cloth to pick up a jewel. It was one of the blue diamond earrings that Bres loved to wear. It seemed strange that one would be here, without the other. Although, technically he had only ever seen him wear one on his right ear. The other was covered by his white hair. Fern had always assumed that he wore the other earring on his other ear.
He had already polished the front of it and didn’t want to dirty it with his fingerprints while he finished the back of it. Apparently polishing rags can be slippery. The blue diamond fell and shattered against the ground. Fern froze, terrified of how Bres would react to this. The gem that lay in pieces on the floor was precious to him, and Fern had destroyed it. It would only be a matter of time before he found out. Tears began to well up in his eyes as his master materialized and saw the damage.
“I am so, so, sorry. It was an accident. I was just trying to polish it, like you told me, and it slipped. And then the floor-” he broke off in a sob.
“It’s okay.” Bres assured him.
“You’re not mad?”
“Come here.” Fern tentatively took a step towards Bres.
“You’re not going to hurt me, are you?”
Fern took another step. Slowly he made his way over and Bres placed a hand on his shoulder and the boy looked up at him, still very scared. Bres laughed.
“You look so adorable when you’re frightened,” Bres observed. “Don’t worry about the earring. I would much rather it crash to the floor than you. Besides, I couldn’t really wear that one anyway.”
He moved his hair to reveal his left ear. It should have been pointy like his right, but instead it was shorter and more curved. Much of it was missing, including the portion that the earring attached to.
“What happened?” the boy asked, staring in awe.
“Well, let’s just say that my father isn’t as kind-hearted as yours.” He let go of his hair and it fell back down to cover his ear.
“You can tell me,” Fern assured.
“There’s not much to tell, really. He tried to kill me. He cut my ear with a knife in bloodlust. I ran away before he could do any more damage to me.”
“But,” Fern couldn’t understand how a father could treat his son like that. “But why would he do that?”
“He was very angry with me for killing my stepmother and unwilling to forgive the mistake of a scared and angry little boy.”
Fern looked dumbfounded.
“Don’t be so shocked; I’ve already told you that I was a murderer.” Bres said, annoyed by the boy’s defective memory.
“It’s not that.”
“Well then what is it?”
“You were scared.”