Orb's Year 945
His wife, Danica Knowles, wrung her hands in consternation. "Carey has always been a top performer in his classes. He is perfect for this job."
Carey nodded his head quickly. "I am, your lordship. Thank you for the privilege."
"Don't thank me yet!" Hyun said, leading Carey into his library. "We have work to do!"
He would prove himself worthy of this apprenticeship!
Gene held on to him tightly. "I... I hadn't heard from you... Gena said you were done with me..."
Carey shook his head. "You should know better than to listen to the hurtful things Gena says! I haven't been by because I've been so busy! His Lordship relies on me!"
Carey fidgeted. "Gene, you know what a boon this position is for us! I must serve my time here! But, imagine! When I return, I will have respect, prestige, and be able to support our family well!" He clasped her hands in his own. "You won't have to labor over the stoves! You'll be like a princess!"
Gene frowned. "I'd rather have you," she argued.
"You know that I am a second son and thus I must make my own way in the world. And this is the way that I have followed. Will you support me? Will you wait for me?" he asked passionately, eager to hear her pledge.
Gene nodded. "My mother waited for years for father to come home. I can wait for you, as well."
Orb's Year 946
Carey glanced up, startled. "Of course, Lord Knowles! I am learning new things every day!"
Hyun nodded thoughtfully. "Very good. And have you given thought to what you will do in the future?"
"The future?" Carey gulped. "What do you mean?" Was Lord Knowles letting him go?
Hyun sent his scribe a kindly smile. "After your service is up, will you stay and continue on with us? I have so much more to teach you! But, perhaps you have someone waiting for you at home..."
A denial of any ties dangled on Carey's lips, but he was saved from uttering it by the young Cassandra.
Hyun set his book to the side and took his daughter's hand. "I would be honored, mi'lady," he told her as he led her up the stairs.
Carey dropped the quill and leaned back in his chair. He had been close to forsaking Gene and pledging himself to the Knowles household. What did that mean?
Orb's Year 947
Danica wiped the tears from her eyes. It hurt to think that soon her little girl would be grown and leaving. "Promise me that you will offer her the choice."
Hyun reached across the table to grasp Danica's hand. "I will offer her the choice if it is within my power, you know that I will."
Eleanor laughed, "And look at the way Callum stares at you across the room! He thinks he's Orb's gift to women!"
Alessandra scoffed, "It's the same dress I wear every day! Nothing special about it!" she said, deflecting his flirtation.
"Well, then you must have a certain glow about you today," Callum said, pressing on.
It was Callum's turn to scoff. "Please! As though you would find any finer sample of malehood in this room!"
Alessandra laughed with Eleanor. She playfully turned around, ready to point out all the boys she deemed more exemplary than him when she saw him... Spencer Langerak! "Oh!" she said with a quiet exhalation.
Eleanor loudly yawned, radiating her disinterest.
Beau sighed heavily. There was more to learn about being a knight than he had first assumed!
"Aw, they're little puppies!" Cassandra said, picking one up. "Aren't they so cute?!"
Beau made fun of his sister for cooing to the pet.
But he stopped short when his mother lifted one of the other pups into her arms. "They're so adorable!" she exclaimed.
Hyun glanced over at his son, holding in a chuckle, "Well, it appears we have a few new pets!"
Cassandra looked at her big brother, "Aren't they cute, Beau? Admit it!"
Beau shrugged. "They're dogs, Cassandra. It's not a big deal."
Orb's Year 948
Hyun nodded his understanding.
The family cheered and saluted Danica as well.
Soon Lion-Heart was dwarfed by his off-spring that the family had foolishly let Cassandra name. Duckie, Kitty, Wabbit, and Bunny. Beau had shaken his head with disgust and announced the names were absolutely ridiculous, but no one joined his protest.
The children all quieted and turned to face him.
He took a deep breath. "We have too many pups in the home and we can't keep them all - it's just too much."
"We will have to pick the favorite two pups and give up the other two..."
"I'll never forgive him, mama! Never!"