Another short story thing I wrote. I'm really not a writer, but hopefully somebody will enjoy this. This was written within a universe a friend of mine has been writing about for years.
Whenever Junyad would conjure a spider, he would always call it Anton. He knew well it wasn't the same spider each time, but it was nice to have a name to refer to the beast as than just “dog-sized spider”. This morning, no particular Anton was present. Instead, Junyad's presence was graced by Mittens. Mittens was his father's cat, not a dog-sized spider. For one reason or another, Mittens had been spending the past few nights with Junyad. Maybe his room was warmer during the night. Junyad was making his bed, something maid would later come by and do again anyway, but Junyad liked to feel that he was a little independent. If Anton had been here, it could have helped fold the sheets or fluff out the pillows. Instead, Mittens.
Mittens was laying on Junyad's desk, not helping at all. Junyad decided that he'd want to get breakfast soon, but he would wait. Manny got up early every morning and these past few days, something about his mood made Junyad think that he'd wanted his space, and that was perfectly okay. Manny was never one for small-talk anyway. So instead, Junyad sat down at his desk and picked up a book he'd found on contemporary folk heroes in one hand, and shoved the cat out of the way with the other.
“Move, Mittens.” Junyad politely requested, but it was really more of an order. The cat responded by looking at him briefly, then rolling onto its back. “No.” Junyad said. “If I do that, you're going to reach up and bite my fingers. I know you.”
The cat rolled back over. Junyad carefully picked Mittens, who was a nibbler, up and put him on his lap and opened the book to the page he'd stopped the night before.
“Werner” the page was titled. “Werner is a werewolf, and has been since birth. He is known mostly on the outskirts of the covenic city as a man, or rather werewolf, who protects smaller villages from the monstrosities which escape the city. Mutants, wild beasts, things that the mages of the city conjure and don't send away afterwards. He is nomadic in that he does not stay in any particular place for a very long time, but still circles around the villages that he and his partner's protect outside the Covens' land. He usually lodges in the local inn of whatever village he is currently defending.”It went on. Mittens was pawing at Junyad's left leg. Junyad looked down at the cat.“Fine, let's get some breakfast.”
Junyad left the book open on his desk and picked Mittens up. He carried the cat through the door of his room, then the long hallways. Whenever a servant would see him, they would bow. His family wasn't quite nobility, but he was still greeted by every single one of them as “Master Junyad”, and only then because he would insist they greet him to prove that he's not like his brother Mannfred, willing to punish any servant who even looked at him. Junyad bowed back to each one as they stopped to greet him. Whenever he did, he could feel Mittens' claws digging into his robe. “I'm not going to drop you, butt.” Junyad said. When they came into the kitchen that Junyad and his siblings ate in, he waved to his sister Viera sitting at the table. Mannfred was just getting up from the table and began to walk out the doorway that Junyad was still standing in. He didn't bother stepping around Junyad, instead opting to shoulder check his brother and make a dramatic leave.
“Come sit.” Viera said. Junyad walked over to the table, then sat down across from his sister and let go of Mittens, who immediately hopped up onto the table. A servant came over to him. “Good morning. ” Junyad said. “Oatmeal, please. With coffee. Lots of cream. Oh, and an egg basket.” The maid smiled, then left. An egg basket was an egg fried in a slice of bread with a circle in the center cut out.
“You like cute things.” Viera said.
“Well, I like egg baskets..” Junyad replied. “I tried cooking once or twice but I couldn't do it, so I like seeing people who can do it..do it well.”
Junyad poured a little milk in Mannfred's empty bowl which hadn't been taken away yet. Mittens immediately began to lap it up.
“Did you know that there's a werewolf who protects outside villages from the things the Revenants create?”
“Is that so?” Viera asked, a little perplexed. “Where did you hear that?”
“Vincent gave me a book about people who are like folk heroes, but most of them are still alive and do the things you hear about in stories. I think it's really interesting to read about things from perspectives outside of history books.”
“Do you mean outside the city?” Viera asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yeah.” Junyad replied.
“I've also been practicing those barriers Vincent suggested that I try out.” Junyad said.
“One day, you should practice real self-defense.” Viera pointed out.
Junyad pouted. “I can stun. I just don't like to kill people unless I really really have to.”
“Still.” Viera pointed out. “I suppose there is no downside to learning more spells with which to protect yourself.” She teased. “I wouldn't want my precious little brother to get hurt. He's so fragile.”
“Hey.” Junyad said, a little defensive now. “If we arm-wrestled, I'd win.”
“No, Jun.” Viera said, shaking her head. “You wouldn't.”
He didn't. They arm-wrestled. Viera was no giant, a skinny blonde girl, but Junyad was defeated in a matter of seconds. “That wasn't my dominant hand.” He muttered.
Viera smiled. “Sure. Let's go again.”
This time, they went with their left hands. Junyad lasted for an entire four seconds before he was conquered again. He opened his mouth to say something, but decided against it.
“At least you've trivia of celebrity heroes.”
A servant arrived with Junyad's oatmeal, coffee, and egg-basket. “Thank you.” Junyad said.
The servant walked his odd, off-kilter walk back to the kitchen.
“You know,” Viera said. “it's entirely unnecessary to speak to them.”
“They're people. People like to be appreciated.”
“But they're undead, Jun. They're zombies. They aren't people.”
“Vincent is undead.”
“I suppose that's true. But Vincent is important.”
“But without these servants, who would make us breakfast? Gods-forbid we do it on our own. Chefs are just as important as tactical advising.”
Junyad sipped his coffee with 'lot's of cream', just as he'd asked. It was more beige than brown.
“Are you sure that wasn't Mittens' coffee?” Viera asked.
Junyad smiled. “It's better this way. Not as bitter.”
“What's the point if it's not bitter?”
Junyad looked down at his cup. “I..like it like this.”
“You enjoy your gross coffee then.”
He sipped a little more, then put a little sugar in his oatmeal. He mixed it around with a spoon, then took a bite. “This is amazing.” He said, mouth full.
“It's just oatmeal?” Viera asked.
“It's the only thing I've eaten since a late snack last night. I really don't enjoy eggplant very much, so I didn't have dinner.”
“You didn't ask for something else? I'm sure you could have asked for something ridiculous like pasta with tomato sauce, or other weird things you like.”
“I didn't want to be a bother” Junyad shrugged.
“Bother? Jun, these people spend their entire unlives serving us. That is the purpose of their existence.”
“But I'm eating now, so it's okay.” he insisted.
Viera sipped her own coffee, which was as black as Junyad's hair, except Junyad's hair had white highlights laced in, more resembling the cream. Mittens, finished with his milk, sniffed Junayd's egg-basket. “See?” he said. “Mittens likes it.”
“Wonderful.” Viera said, pushing Mittens off the table. “What a fantastic endorsement.” She added. “The cat likes it.”
“He obviously has good taste.” Junyad retorted, folding his arms. “You're just racist against Cats.” He picked the bread up and took a bite. “Ooh, they spiced it.” His face lit up. This was clearly the greatest thing in the world.
“It's that good?” Viera asked.
Viera sighed. “May I? You're very persuasive.”
Junyad handed her the toast with the egg in it. Viera observed it as though it were some sort of trick, like something was going to jump out at her and bite. She took a bite, chewed, swallowed, then stated a cold hard fact. “It's..toast and an egg.”
“But it looks so nice.” Junyad said. “It's more enjoyable this way than just eating a slice of toast and an egg.”
“I'm not racist.” Viera stated. She handed the toast back to Junyad. “It's certainly more interesting that what Manny eats each morning.”
“What does he eat? I've never paid any attention.”
“Toast, hot water, and some sausage.”
“Is that bad?” Junyad asked.
“I'm not sure it's good or bad.” Viera said. She tapped her fingers on the table, then sipped her coffee. “I think your meal represents you well.” Viera said, pointing to the toast. “Blatant disregard for tradition, speaking to servants as if they mattered.”
“What about Mannfred's meal, then?” Junyad asked. “What does that represent about him? Simplicity?”
Viera glared at Junyad and smacked the toast out of his hand, but then couldn't help but smile. “Rude, Jun.”
She stood up, then. “Well, I need to start my day and I certainly can't do it in a dressing gown.”
Junyad gave a little wave as she walked towards the door. “Have a good morning.” She said.
Junyad and Mittens were alone again. He looked around for a moment, then continued eating his breakfast.