Yes, My Lady
: Butler!England x Lady!Reader :
“My lady…it has been an hour past your curfew.” I was acutely aware of the door opening to reveal my butler, holding up a lit candelabrum and giving me a dissatisfied frown.
“Leave me in peace, Arthur.” I murmured, returning my gaze to the multiple sheets of paper, quill held suspended in my grip. The candle in the oil lamp beside me flickered and cast shadows that seemed to dance and come alive about me. My butler, being the stubborn man he is, refused to heed my demands and stepped into the room to stride towards my desk. He grabbed my wrist firmly as if to stop me from writing any further.
“Please, my lady. It is inappropriate for you to be staying up this late at night; it will only deteriorate your health. As my lady’s butler, I will take the honor of finishing the paperwork for you.” His voice was soft, gentle and firm that I soon found myself feeling drowsy from staying up so late. Certainly the three cups of tea I drank to stay awake were of no help at all. Without another word Arthur slowly loosened his grip on my wrist and set the quill into the bottle of ink before helping me rise from my chair.
“Arthur,” I stated sleepily to him. “…take me to my room.” Knowing that my butler never turns down my requests, he simply let out a low chuckle and carried me to my bedroom.
The interior of the mansion I owned was wide and spacious that it was practically a labyrinth of rooms, doors and halls. Arthur, however, had no trouble walking through the empty halls to my bedroom without a light to guide him. He knew too well of the place that he could walk into each and every room with a blindfold on and still know his whereabouts. He soon walked into my bedroom and set me down upon my welcoming mattress, already fluffed and ready for me to sleep on. I snuggled against the feather pillows, smiling contently as Arthur pulled the covers close and sat beside the bed, lacing his fingers in mine.
“...Will you be able to complete the paperwork tonight, Arthur?” I murmured, closing my eyes while my mind teetered from the ledge of consciousness.
“As the butler of this household, I will do my best to complete the paperwork for you, my lady. Please, take this time to rest. I will wake you when the morrow arrives.” I felt his warm lips brush against my cheek and his sweet breath fanning my skin. The scent of fresh cherry roses intoxicated my senses and very slowly, I fell into the abyss of dreams.
Peculiar. So very peculiar. Why must you run away?
P-Please have mercy, miss!
Please silence yourself, Arthur. I mustn’t allow you to take my work for me.
…As you wish, my lady.
Now then, shall I continue where I left off?
“My lady, it is ten minutes to twelve; the Earl of Mulchshire will arrive soon.” I looked up from my book and took note of my butler’s attire for the occasion. It was as usual; he wore a classic black suit—freshly ironed, crisp, and clean— complete with a tailcoat, a chained pocket-watch plated in silver, white satin gloves, and polished black shoes that clacked pleasantly against the floor when he moved about. The only thing that was peculiar was the air around him; through his glimmering emerald eyes, there was something sinister, solemn and unwelcoming. I fought the urge to frown to keep my composure steady and setting the book aside, stood up to follow my butler out the door.
“Pardon me for the intrusion, my lady and Earl. I have prepared some afternoon tea to suit this lovely afternoon.”
“Ah yes, tea sounds pleasant right now—this aroma…could it be the famous rose tea I’ve been hearing?”
“Yes, it is only the finest tea this household has to offer,” I replied, receiving a cup from my butler and admiring the chinaware he chose for this occasion. The green ivy vines twisting around the rim of the porcelain…of course Arthur would choose Grendalin’s tea set to suit the green of the patio. Surely the Earl of Mulchshire would not notice such intricate details of the vines to know what they stand for. I took a sip of my tea and set it delicately onto the table, smiling gently towards the man. “I hope you don’t mind arousing the topic of business in this lovely weather.”
“Yes, yes.” The Earl set his cup down before he reached for his breast pocket and handed me a folded sheet of paper. I took the time to open the paper and thoroughly examined its words. “Apparently, my business has been going rather slow since the past year…I believe I will need some loans to keep the business up to date. I promise I will pay back by the end of this month.” I glanced up to meet his eyes and handed the paper over to Arthur.
“Very well,” I declared, nodding to my butler. Arthur disappeared from my side to hand the Earl a sheet of paper which he gratefully took and admired.
“Thank you, my lady!” The Earl exclaimed over and over again.
“There is something I must ask of you to bring in exchange for the loans…you do know what I’m requesting of, yes?” The Earl stopped thanking me and he suddenly stiffened.
“I-I thought…” He stopped himself and attempted to regain his composure. “Yes, my lady; anything for you.”
“Good,” I smiled, finishing the rest of my tea.
As we walked through the corridors of the second floor, the Earl’s face was drained of all color. The draperies were wide open to show the setting sun casting orange streaks across the purple and scarlet sky—a truly marvelous sight to end a lovely day. The Earl looked around, head flicking to and fro to marvel at the various paintings decorated before the walls.
“The paintings are wonderful,” he complimented, standing before a particular portrait of a lady sitting erect on a velvet cushioned chair with a white cat on her lap. My butler and I exchanged secret smiles upon the praise before I stood next to the man.
“This portrait was painted by a man ahead of his time.” I spoke softly. “He was quite the strange fellow but a genius nonetheless. My butler and I take pride in receiving the commission for his works. Some say that his paintings come alive…this woman was indeed my deceased mother; and despite the objections, she wanted to wear her favorite red dress for this particular portrait.”
“I see,” he breathed, looking up again to look at the painting again. “Indeed the red of her dress clashes directly with the white coat of the feline and its pristine blue eyes! It’s quite the unusual painting you possess!”
“Collecting Guertena’s paintings used to be a hobby for the late lady.” Arthur commented. “Now it’s best to move on while the night is young; I’ll show you to your room.” The three of us continued to walk down the hall in silence. It had begun to grow dark and my guest was starting to show signs of anxiety.
“Here we are,” Arthur said as he opened a certain door and swung it open. “This is the room my lady specifically requested for your stay tonight: the Iris Room. I hope it is to your liking, Earl of Mulchshire.” The Earl blinked as he took in his surroundings: the room was indeed much like an Iris despite the simplicity of interior decoration. There was an empty dresser, a closet, a bed, a small table with a lamp and a chair; all were in the shade of lavender and arranged like the petals of the flower. What stood out from the room was the floor work; the white tiles of the floor were merged together and arranged to form a giant blue iris.
“This is amazing!” The Earl remarked. “The way in which the furniture was carefully arranged according to the petals of the flower from the floor…no wonder this is called the Iris room! I’m almost convinced that the room smells like the flowers themselves!”
“You’re too kind,” I said bashfully. “This room is my favorite out of all the rooms we possess in this mansion; I believe that the Iris Room is the heart of this establishment. The room comes from a story my mother told me once about such irises having the ability to show the truth to those who fall under deceitful hands.”
“Is that so...” The Earl trailed off in thought and brightened up, laughing loudly in satisfaction. “Ha-ha! I love this room! It’s perfect in my eyes and what a brilliant story to tell!”
“Indeed,” Arthur agreed, grinning slightly. “It’s quite a brilliant story; all of the rooms in my lady’s mansion have a story to tell.” The Earl ceased in his laughter.
“Eh? Are you saying that there are more rooms such as the Iris Room?” He inquired, raising an eyebrow and intrigued.
“Yes. We have the Rose Room down the hall through the way we entered.” Arthur explained. “We also have the Vine Room, the late lady’s Crimson Room, the Sunflower Room, the Jasmine Room, the Mandrake Room and many rooms as such—all are named after the various plants and flowers in existence…as long as we have the rooms, my lady continues to name them.”
“I see,” he said. “Would you like to give me a tour of this establishment soon? I am very intrigued by the stories that surround this estate!”
“Of course,” I nodded. “However, I must say that this mansion may cause some…trouble to you, especially late in the night. I advise you to stay in the room I chose for you instead of wandering out alone. If you would like any assistance, please ring the bell near the door for my butler. He will tend to your needs. Please try to heed this and you will rest well for the morning. Have a good night.”
After seeing the Earl close the door of the Iris Room, Arthur led me back to my room to retire for the night. I shrugged out of my dress and changed into my nightgown—a simple flowing dress made of soft cotton and lace with sleeves puffing from my wrists and prepared to settle on my mattress. That was when an idea struck me.
“Arthur,” I began, brushing out my hair with a golden brush. “A most curious idea dawned upon me during the company with the Earl.”
“What is this idea that you possess, my lady?”
“It’s simple—the Earl of Mulchshire is not as honest as I had hoped he would be. He only acted like one to fool me; the Mulchshire’s business went bankrupt two years ago. Besides this, he is not the true Earl of Mulchshire; the note he handed to me was not his handwriting. This intruder claimed he knew what I was talking about when I asked him if he knew what I wanted in return for the loans.”
“Yes, my lady. I suspected something like this would have happened—in addition to your claims, I noticed an odd scent coming from the note and took the liberty to examine it myself. Upon closer inspection, I discovered tiny strands of hair invisible to the naked eye. This intruder is no more than a Shifter who bribed a caster into making him a transformation potion.”
“That makes more sense…I wish the Shifters would give up already, Arthur.” I sighed wearily and set my brush aside. “I am growing rather tired of finding animals to display downstairs; my collection of preserved Shifters is growing slowly every day.”
“Please do not stress yourself, my lady. I’ll be sure to take care of the situation immediately.” I shook my head.
“Just this once, I will help you.” I declared, walking up to my butler. “My powers may be rusty but I hope to enjoy this immensely.” I felt a grin spread from my lips. “Let’s have some fun for a change, Arthur?”
At my words, his emerald eyes started to glow ruby red, his lips curling up into a dark smile. “Of course, my lady. After all, you and I are forever bound together; our powers are far capable of surpassing those weak Shifters.” He pulled down the cuff of his collar to reveal the binding mark on the juncture of his neck, glowing bright green.
“Very well,” I nodded, reaching up to kiss the mark on the tender flesh. “Let’s make this fine household come alive~!”
“W-What is going on with this place?!” The intruder exclaimed as the bed started to sink within the petals of the Iris flower beneath him. “This damn flower wants me alive!”
With a growl, the intruder began to shift into a bestial creature; his arms and legs slowly morphed into clawed limbs in the color of white and black. The white tiger roared in anger and butted against the door, clawing the sealed room with all his might. Before the enormous Iris could swallow the furniture up within its petals and stretch towards the ceiling, the tiger was able to break out of the room and dash down the dark hallway. As it looked desperately for a way out of the mansion, the grandfather clock struck twelve and rang a low and hollow melody that had the tiger whine in pain.
The melody persisted until the clock rang the twelfth bell before ceasing all together. When the Shifter thought that the clock was the least of its troubles, he continued to dash towards the hall from where he came down from. As he passed the painting of the Lady in Red he saw before, he could make out a distinctive giggle of a female. Pausing, he glanced again towards the portrait to see the lady’s smile down at him.
“Why, what is the matter, dear Shifter? Are you lost in my daughter’s mansion~? Why don’t you try escaping in one of these doors? One of them can help you escape!”
With a wave of her hand, the doors of the various rooms swung right open. The intruder stood agape with shock as the rooms revealed monstrous plants that grew within each room—the rose in the Rose Room was enormous, with thorns festering around every inch of the white room; the Vine Room had vines that were held suspended on the ceiling; each room remained true to its name as it contained the plants in a monstrous, most horrifying manner.
“ Don’t you think that these rooms are lovely~?” The painting continued. “You deserve to go to one of them and remain here forever~! You tricked my daughter and you escaped the Iris Room. The Iris Room knows the truth~! ”
“Sh-Shut up!” The tiger growled as he lunged forward towards the painting to destroy it with his claws. The cat on the Lady’s lap leaped out of the painting and commenced to attack the intruder in order to protect the lady. “ARGH!!!”
With a scratch and a bite from the cat, the intruder backed away, while unknowingly entering the Crimson Room (which was located across from the portrait). It took a while for the tiger to notice his whereabouts before the door to the room swung closed and locked itself in place.
“My…that took quite a lot of power,” I panted, slumping against my butler. “But it was fun~!”
“Yes, my lady…it was.” He smiled gently as he held me against him. “The bond we have together is very powerful.”
“Indeed,” I agreed as I gazed towards the frozen figure in front of us. “A white tiger…how exotic. He will fetch a wonderful price in the market. He was foolish to think he can overpower us.”
“For centuries, the Shifters have all tried in vain to overpower my lady’s family name. For five generations, this problem persisted and for five generations, the family made a great fortune selling them. It is their greatest flaw to challenge the household.” He murmured as he scooped me in his arms and carried me to my room.
“And we shall continue to do this for all eternity…will you continue to help me fend off the Shifters once and for all, Arthur?” I asked, touching the mark on his neck and tilting my head to press my lips onto his.
“Yes, my lady.”