> "Well, I, ah..."
> Her tail curls beneath her a moment, voice still slightly trembling.
> "...I meant what I said, Master. Just think about what you would do for another, um, another person."
> More softly, she adds:
> "When I was a filly, my mother used to reward me by setting aside a whole night to do fun things together."
"Unfortunately, I don't think of 'fun' or out at a good restaurant is going to solve this particular issue."
> Her despondent voice is accompanied by the maid almost seeming to try and shrink back into her uniform and hide herself from you.
> Sighing gently, you beckon her over.
> Mocha Cream approaches, ears flat and eyes downcast; she jumps slightly when your hand settles amid her thick mane and begins to rub.
"Don't have to be so jumpy. I may've woken up looking like hell, but that doesn't mean I'm going to bring it."
> "Thank you, Master."
> Gaze finally rising to meet yours, Mocha's cheeks tint with a touch of pink.
> Her ears flick underneath the touch of your hand, but she doesn't tense up or shy away either.
"You have any family here, Mocha? I don't ever remember you mentioning them."
> And you had spoken to her before - light chatter with breakfast, or while she laid your clothes out.
> "No, sir. I... was sold separately from them. "
"...ah. I see. Before this?"
> "Two sales ago, sir. We were... captured together, but sold apart at the first sale. You bought me from my first owner."
> Now she hunkering down again - though from your presence or against the weight of those memories, you can't tell.
> "Parents, sir."
> Then, more softly:
> "I'm only fifteen..."
> Eyes snapping down, you study her more closely.
"...and how long were you with your last owner?"
> "Three years, sir..."
> Mentally adding on the time she's been your maid, you feel your frown deepening.
"... first sold when you were ten? That's a bit young."