The sunny days of summer had definitely helped Cashew’s garden! Where, despite all the drama which had gone on during that season, he spent a lot of work every day that he could. Now it was the start of Autumn and his work finally began to look like the finished product that he first had in mind, with working fountains, large archways and perfectly sculpted bushes (inspired by the strange and wonderful machines he had seen in London). The flowers were in full bloom, especially the young chrysanthemums, and soon enough he would be able to collect the food produce. He was just watering one of his vegetable patches when the sound of someone reading aloud broke him from his concentration. Cashew looked up to see that Monsuta was already using the Rattan hammock chair in the middle of the garden, swinging softly as he read his latest novel on something to do with water.
“An acre of corn will give off 4000 gallons, or 15,000 litres of water per day in evaporation... and did you know that most of the earth’s surface water is permanently frozen? Isn’t this book great Cashew? I might even start liking water-”
“What would be great...” Cashew grumbled as he angrily got up, “is if you disappeared out of my garden and left me in peace!”
At this, Monsuta put on a fake air of mock-hurt, “Why, that isn’t very nice!” he slowly got up with his eyes still plastered to his book, “look here, it says that a person can live about a month without food, but only about a week without water. If I didn’t just tell you that, who knows what sort of danger you’d be in?”
“Danger my foot!” Cashew yelled and he suddenly rushed up behind Monsuta in hopes of pushing him into the fountain just beyond. “By the time you leave this garden I’ll make you wish you did go a week without water!”
But little did he know, Monsuta was just as aware of his surroundings and just as nimble when reading than when he was not, and Cashew slipped past the blonde’s (easily) sidestepping body and plummeted forward with a loud splash. The water of the fountain was so cold and the impact so sudden that for a few, long moments, Cashew’s body unexpectedly shut down. Rendered motionless, even his head had a momentary freeze and he couldn’t at all figure out what was up or down. The waves on the surface stilled and it felt like his body was floating in a void- all was silent and the total sensory deprivation forced a calmness to his soul. Then, he hazily saw a shadow loom over him and a sudden tug to his shoulder pulled him back out into the world. His sight and senses returned immediately and he started to cough out the previously unnoticed water in his lungs.
“What is wrong with you?” A growl from in front made Cashew quickly snap to look up. He saw, with immense shock, that Monsuta’s eyes gleamed with true anger, something that he had never experienced during the whole time he was with him. “Weren’t you going to make me regret the water, not yourself?” The other continued to shout as his hand grew painfully tighter around Cashew’s shoulder, “Why on earth would you stay in there? Human life is so much more fragile than a vampires; What? You thought you were suddenly a fish, huh? You sure as hell are lucky that I’m next to you!” As Cashew could think of no response on time, Monsuta grudgingly let go of his shoulder and stalked out of the garden. Cashew blankly fell onto his knees and sat in the cold water for a while longer. He blankly noticed that it wasn’t actually that deep, nor was the sun that warm. He made a little thought of how the sides had already started to turn green with algae, and mentally noted to change the pump so the water moved around more. Maybe a fish or two would be nice too.
The breeze continued to blow and cool him but he continued to stare into space.
Eventually, his shivering got so wild that he forced his body to rise and step out of the fountain. He slowly made his way through the garden and as he did so, Sasha ran up and handed him a thick towel.
“Master told me to give this to you.” She handed him a thick, orange towel which was very welcoming to the touch.
“Hey Sasha, I’ve never really talked to you since I’ve come here, why is that?” Cashew took the towel and began drying him self.
“I only reply to master’s wishes” she blankly answered as she closely eyed the water droplets which fell off of Cashew’s hair. She blinked once more and as was about to turn and disappear once again, but Cashew quickly tried to take hold of such an opportunity.
“Have you ever seen him so angry before?”
She paused for a second.
“You need to leave.” Was all that she said before turning back into a cat and quickly disappearing back into the house. Cashew didn’t know if it was the sudden remark which made his body shudder or his growing cold, but he didn’t have the energy at the moment to figure it out.
He must have sneezed around 8 times on his way back to his room and at the same time he realised that Monsuta was no where in sight. He changed from his damp clothes and was about to go back to his duties when suddenly a knock was heard from the door and this time Alphy walked in.
“Master wishes for me to blow dry your hair.” He said neutrally.
“He wishes to what?”
“This is a hair dryer from England. It is quite a useful piece of technology that we lack, which allows for hair to dry quickly. Now, please sit over here.”
“What makes you think I’ll do as your master pleases? Hah, no thanks, I’ll do it myself.”
As Cashew brought back his stubbornness and tried to push past Alphy, the boy gave him a slight pull and Cashew was surprised to find that he was suddenly sitting on the bed.
“Now sir, please remain still as I blow dry your hair.”
A sudden rush of hot wind blew loudly upon Cashews hair, rendering him completely deaf to any other sounds. Alarmed, he tried to move away, but the Alphy’s small hand, which looked as though it was simply resting on his shoulder, had such an immense force behind it that for a few moments, Cashew was completely helpless. The air became hot and uncomfortable, and the dawning feeling of entrapment couldn’t be pushed away from Cashew’s thoughts. Eventually, he got more used to the feeling of his hair being blown dry and gathered his strength, finally pulling Alphy’s wrist free. The boy stared at him with glassy eyes and turned off the hairdryer.
“I said I’ll do it myself” Cashew insisted through his teeth.
Alphy only sighed and turned around.
“Your already too late”
Was that sorrow in his voice?
“What do you mean?”
“...your hair is already dry” Alphy replied as he made his exit. Cashew sat alone in the room, a slight ringing in his ears as they were once again getting used to the silence.
“Amazing...” he whispered as he headed back downstairs and felt his hair, “it’s so soft and light, but I don’t understand why that brute couldn’t just let me do it myself like Sasha did, it wasn’t all that complicated... Where is the bat anyway? Reading his book somewhere, I bet.”
Cashew tried to get back into planting his vegetable garden, but every time he picked up a new handful of seeds his eyes would suddenly wander off and he would think back to how angry Monsuta had been. (Was he angry for loosing his only company? Was it because I have special blood? Or did I accidentally splash his book or something...? I’ve done far worse things in the past, pushing him into a pit with lions and locking him up in a coffin are just a few things, but he had at most shown mild discontent, if not happiness... Or was he actually worried for...” Cashew decided that thinking too much only brought him a headache, and headed back to his gardening. Yet, when he tried to quickly stand up and get a shovel, his headache suddenly strengthened and he saw stars forming in his vision. He spiralled back down onto his hands and knees and crouched on the ground. Eventually, after taking long, raspy breaths, his head cleared up and he decided that despite the day still being young, he would go rest for a short time. He trudged back up and flopped into his bed just in-time as the headache re-surfaced.
It was dark outside when Cashew uncomfortably awoke - a cold sweat covered his whole body and made his hair stick to his forehead. His breaths came in laboured, short gasps and his body burned with muscles screaming at every move. He also couldn’t stop shivering. As he stirred, a figure in the distance jumped up and approached him. Cashew made out the curls of Monsuta’s long, blonde hair and tried to open his eyes wider, but the other simply replaced a towel on his forehead with a fresh, cold one and quietly murmured for Cashew to continue sleeping.
At his next awakening, Cashew already felt better to open his eyes, but there was still a high temperature to his body and he felt so weakened by his fever that he could only push himself up onto his elbows. Looking around, he saw no one in the room except for a cup of warmed up milk with melted butter and honey. He wasn’t convinced that it would help at first, eyeing the drink suspiciously, but as he continued to lay alone in the silence of the room, he eventually took the cup and chugged down the sweet liquid. Not only did it taste amazing, but he immediately felt it’s healing effects, allowing him to rest more comfortably.
His inability to fall back asleep, however, brought his attention once more to the lack of presence from Monsuta. The silence and the view of grey clouds outside only further forced the realisation that he missed the sound of annoying reading and continuous stupidity of the blonde vampire. Of course, Cashew got annoyed at himself for wanting the presence of his idiotic friend, but at the remembrance of how worried and angry Monsuta last looked, an unknown and strange feeling took over and quieted him. A day passed with Cashew slipping in and out of consciousness, daydreaming endlessly, coughing and sneezing, and eating mysterious meals which appeared by his bead every time he awoke.
On the second day, Cashew awoke to the sound of piano and eventually managed to push himself up into a sitting position. Steadying himself with the help of rails and walls, he made his way up the staircase, feeling better and stronger the more he exercised his numbed limbs. At the top, Cashew’s eyes settled on the swaying form of Monsuta as he nimbly tickled the ivories of the grand piano. Beautiful and sorrowful music was produced at the same time, with occasional trills and chords being added to exemplify the tune. Then, without warning, the melody stopped abruptly and Monsuta, without turning, cooly uttered “you let your guard down again.”
One blink and Cashew was suddenly pushed against the wall with Monsuta’s red eyes blazing inches away from his face. The blonde’s hair was untied and hanging in unbrushed strands of long, messy curls. His usual dark aura was heightened to an overwhelming degree, and Cashew could clearly see two thin, sharp fangs sticking out from under his lips.
“What happens if you take my blood?” Cashew unconsciously asked, taking them both by surprise.
“Well... for starters, my blood will begin to flow fast again, my skin will begin to gleam, my hair will grow more luscious, and my eyes will be brighter. My sense of smell would be able to once again reach far, even as far as your town, and my strength and speed will be back to the full health of a vampire.” The last word Monsuta whispered was so loaded with venom and menace, Cashews blood immediately turned to ice and his legs began to buckle. What was this sudden anger which surrounded Monsuta? Where had this evil come from? Then, slowly, Monsuta’s eyes dimmed and he broke into a chuckle. Cashew, astonished, watched as the other stepped away and started to out right laugh!
“That’s better,” he managed to purr out, “your smell is gone once more!”
“Are you making fun of me?!” Cashew’s annoyance bubbled up inside of him, replacing the fear instantly.
“No, my dear maid. Simply taking precautions... as well as enjoying myself whilst toying with you!” He broke into a more hysterical laughter.
“Bow dare you call me a maid?! The only reason I came up here is to tell you that no matter what you confess, I will still try to kill you! Don’t think your let off easy!” Cashew retorted as he started going back down the stairs.
“I’m glad your back to your old self.” Monsuta called from above, then he went back to the piano and continued his tune.
The sadness in the music now felt as if it didn’t belong in the mansion. It was fine before, but Cashew thought that it was a displaced song, especially after their conversation just now. He couldn’t keep an eerie feeling from rising inside of him, and Cashew couldn’t understand why his gut was filled with worry. (What is that lucky monster planning now?)