The plea

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A soft knock sounded on the other side of the door. Master Hooney and I were inside his office. He was busy with his mounting paperwork while I sat on the bench pressed by the wall bored out of my mind. There was nothing for me to do. There's never anything for me to do. Hours of sitting here waiting for master Hooney to get done with his work.

He'd throw me a book to read here and there and when he's being terribly annoying, he'd hand me a blank piece of canvas, ink, and quill and tell me to draw whatever. I'll then give him a nasty scowl, cursing his name.

"What do you think I am? A five-year-old?!"

"Ah, but the practice of calligraphy might suit you, darling." He'd croon, and I would shut up and begin scribbling, or rather, train in the art of tranquil calligraphy, thinking I have the talent for such a complicated art that takes years to master.

I whipped my head at the sudden sound at the door, startling me from my languid state.

Master Hooney lifted his nose from his work and glanced over at the door. "Would you be so kind as to see who it is..."

I got up from my lounge, my bones ache and my skin prickly from having been too comfortable, barely moving for a long time. I dawdled my way over to the door and slid it open to see who it was. My breath was snatched from me when I saw who it was.

"Li He!"

He leaned so close that our noses almost touched. "I need to talk to Lord Hooney." He said.

"Tell him to go away." A growl from within the room, master Hooney's voice was loud enough for Li He to know he's not welcome.

Li He swallowed and refused to sink, he held his ground and muttered. "I need to speak to you. Please, let me speak to you."

I heard some cluttering behind me, I turned over my shoulder to seek my instruction when I saw master Hooney's sharp eyes pointed directly at Li He. He donned a terrifying look that I rarely see him wear. "What's so important that you must impose yourself on me unannounced?"

Li He cleared his throat and bent his head down. "It's a personal request, my lord. I only ask for a few minutes of your time."

Master Hooney leaned back on his chair and loosened a heavy sigh. His mouth a tight line. Master Hooney has taken a great deal of dislike over Li He ever since he found out he was my former master. "This better not be a waste of my time."

I blinked and waited for his decision, master Hooney inclined his chin to me. "Let him in, Hui."

I nodded and stepped aside, allowing Li He entrance to the room, once he's inside, I let myself out of the room to give them privacy and shut the door behind me.

Hooney gave Li He a dissecting look that could peel every layer of his skin. Every muscle on his face was tense. "Speak."

Li He folded his knees to the floor and pressed his forehead on the ground, begging. This suddenness struck the lord of the manor, making him drop a canine smile.

"Please, let me buy Hui back." Li He pleaded.

Hooney's feral smile stretched further back to his ears, and the air of control and arrogance weighted heavily in the air. "Why would I do such a thing? Hui is mine and she's not for sale."

"Please, it would mean a lot to me if you let me have her back. I will pay you however much you want. I will relinquish my years' worth salary if you let me buy her back."

A deep satisfied sigh. "My, my, my Li He..." Hooney purred, leaning over his desk just so he could better witness the pathetic state of the pleading man. "I didn't know you care for her that much. The profit you offer is tempting, but I'm afraid I cannot let her go." He paused breathing the air of his dominance with gracious delight. "You see, I saved Hui from people like you and your wife. If it was to me, I would have hanged both of you to death by now. Hui was near death when I found her and I'm not so foolish to send her back to the fate I rescued her from so she could live it all over again...The answer is no."

"Please, I didn't know what was happening. I swear to god, I had never put a finger on her before."

Hooney sneered with disgust. "Yes, that's what she told me. However, my answer shall remain no."

"Hui can't be a slave forever, she needs to marry, have a man that would take care of her. I plan to find her a husband, so she can have a better life."

Surprise struck Hooney's face. He had not expected that bold statement from the other man. The entire time, he led himself to believe Li He's eagerness with Hui was purely romantic. Now, this awakened his curiosity, his interest. The secret that lies beneath the two of them.

"What do you mean, you need to find her a husband?"

"I need to find her someone, I want her to have a good life." Li He's breath remained pleading.

"Don't you think, I take care of her enough in my manor?"

"No, it's different. She needs a husband."

"...and I don't suppose you'd take her as your second wife?" Hooney pressed. 

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