The second part of this story. Hope you enjoy!
“This is going to hurt for a bit,” said Ana Valensa, leaning over the face of young lord Neanias Maliso, one hand in a special glove and the other holding an open vial. “I’m going to rip the mole off, and then apply this serum here, which should heal the wound rather quickly. But it’s going to take a couple days to heal completely. Now, are you ready?”
“Yes. Do it!” Maliso declared stoically.
Ana pinched the mole with her gloved hand and pulled. Maliso screamed as the mole came away from his face with the glove and blood began flowering out of the wound, which was a bit bigger than the mole had been. She quickly applied the serum, which again caused the young lord to cry out in pain. The liquid bubbled black on his skin and hardened, leaving a white cast-like crust.
“There,” Ana said, drawing back.
Maliso touched his cheek and ran to a mirror, examining himself closely. “You’re absolutely sure this’ll heal in time?”
“Absolutely. Now, if you can excuse me–”
“Oh, but you must stay!” Maliso exclaimed, turning to her wildly.
Ana paused. “For what?”
“For my party – my party when my lady arrives!”
“I appreciate the offer, but I don’t do well at parties. My work here is done; I should be on my way.”
“But you’d miss out on all the fun!”
“I’m really not interested.”
“You’re so dull. I thought all girls love parties.”
“Most girls have nothing better to do than gossip and create drama among their friends. Meanwhile, I could be helping people.”
“But don’t you ever get an opportunity to relax at all? Anyway, wouldn’t you want to stay around to make sure this serum works?”
Ana frowned. She was indeed worried a little by the serum, since she had heard it to create odd side effects in some people. She sighed. “Fine, I’ll stay.”
As it turned out, Maliso healed just fine over the next week. After three days the casting fell off, revealing a red scar, which itself quickly vanished over the next four days. Her worries quickly abated, and she turned her attention toward the sick on the manor, not only for something to do, but also for an excuse to get away from Maliso with his incessant talk about the party and his coming lady and his frequent checks in the mirror to acquiesce the state of his scar. Despite her aversion, the party couldn’t come quickly enough – once it was over, she wouldn’t have to deal with Maliso again.
The lady and her party arrived in the afternoon on the appointed day. She was Lady Pelasa, and Maliso greeted her warmly at the entrance to his manor. She spoke just as animatedly as Maliso, speaking rapidly on the subject of the evening’s party and the trite events and dramas of her journey to the manor. Ana wondered how Maliso could follow her; she herself quickly tuned out Pelasa’s prattle in favor of more practical thoughts.
From there they moved into the main hall, which was quickly set to life with music and dance and food as the entire manor congregated for the party. Ana stayed on the outskirts, not desiring to dance and finding few to interact with. That’s not to say she didn’t try. In fact, early into the party she found herself in the company of Pelasa herself, surrounded by the lady’s entourage and a couple local women.
“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced,” said Pelasa upon Ana’s arrival into the circle. “Although I think I’ve seen you before.”
“Yes, you did see me,” Ana confirmed. “When you arrived. My name is Ana Valensa, daughter of the wizard Laro Valensa. How may I be of service?”
“We shall see. I am Lady Pelasa of Giarmindin. How came you to know Lord Maliso?”
“I only met him a week ago. There was a service he needed me for.”
“Oh. What kind of service?”
Ana shifted uncomfortably, unsure if this was information she had the right to divulge for Maliso. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
Pelasa frowned, but said nothing. Ana wasn’t sure what to make of the silence, or of the frown. She wondered whether her response had been appropriate. However, she didn’t have long to dwell on the thought, as Maliso suddenly appeared beside her.
“Ah, I’m glad to see you’re taking my advice at last,” he said.
“Only as a last resort against boredom,” Ana retorted.
“You’re not thinking of leaving already? Have you even danced yet?”
“Then come on!” He pulled her from the group to the center of the hall, where men and women were assembling for the next line dance.
“How is she?” he asked as the dance began.
“I’m not sure. Not much more than a typical girl of our time.”
“Do you think she likes me? Maybe we could use a love potion.”
“Absolutely not! I have yet to ascertain what she thinks about you, but don’t expect me to act as some kind of meter for her feelings – I could care less how this turns out.”
“Ah, well,” Maliso sighed. “Didn’t I hire you to make sure she liked me?”
“You hired me to fix a mole – and then you wrangled me into partaking in this party solely based on my worries about the method of treatment. Don’t distort my job out of proportion.”
The dance ended and the couples bowed to each other. Ana left the center floor immediately to sit on a chair in the corner, leaning her head against her arm propped on a nearby table. Another reason she shouldn’t have come – these parties exhausted her.
She felt a presence and looked up, only to see Pelasa standing before her.
“Come with me,” said the lady.
Pelasa lead Ana outside, to a secluded section of the manor. She then gave Ana a cold and deadly stare. “Tell me, just what is your relation to Lord Maliso.”
“A strictly professional one,” said Ana.
“Yes, but what profession? Why won’t you tell me what he needed you for?”
“Confidentiality. It’s not my business to go around telling others why people hire me.”
Pelasa pressed closer and closer toward Ana, who had now backed up against the wall of the manor. She didn’t like the deadly look in Pelasa’s eyes, though she was still trying to figure out why the woman was being so aggressive on this particular point.
“Why don’t I just make you tell me?” The lady hissed.
“How about not,” said another voice suddenly. Both women looked to the side, suddenly realizing Maliso walking toward them. “Is it really this much of an issue?”
“Well, that depends,” replied Pelasa sternly. “I mean, I’d think that, being a wizard’s daughter, she might know a few tricks to help you out, but I can think of a dozen other reasons you would hire her. So what’s the reason?”
“I just needed her to remove a mole.”
Pelasa stared at him, bewildered. She then turned to Ana, who nodded in affirmation of the young lord’s answer. Then, slowly, her frown broke into a smile, and she laughed.
She was overcome by a fit of hysterics, and clutched her stomach as she doubled over in laughter. Maliso’s face turned bright red as he stared dumbfounded at the lady’s reaction. Ana, meanwhile, moved away from Pelasa, past Maliso.
“What was that all about?” Ana asked him briefly.
“She’s jealous,” he replied vaguely. “She actually likes me.”
Ana sighed and looked back at the lady, shrugging. It appeared her work here was done.