Note: Pity my bad French. If anyone finds a mistake, please tell me, okay? And I refuse to called this "Le Cirque De Freak" like that Darran Shan book about Vampires (which I have never read). I found the translation of "Freak Circus" on a translation site, and this is how it will remain, no matter how wrong it is.
A/N: I want to thank "Unicorn" (Kreuz Swords) for all the God Child names, as if it wasn't for her "Count Cain Christmas Song II", I wouldn't have the foggiest what the people were called!!
Summary: Delilah has been found out, and Alexis is losing his power to shock. He decides to do something new and drastic: he decides to form a Freak Circus. And just as everything was going well (well, as well as it could go), someone gets murdered...
Disclaimer: Count Cain belongs to Kaori Yuki, no money made from this, etc.
Le Cirque Anormal
Alexis Hargreaves smiled slyly, leaning his back against the cream-coloured walls. He looked at the ballroom that surrounded him: the crystal chandeliers, the little orchestra playing "Canon in D", the dancers swaying gracefully from on side to another... it was a grand and formal party. The sort of party Alexis liked to mess up.
He carefully sipped some of the cool white wine offered to him by a maid. What a pretty girl, he thought to himself. Lovely long legs and clear skin, the French maids were always better than the English ones.
Alexis was actually in the south of France, attending a party held by a distant in-law cousin: Sir Henri Thomas. It was the mistress' birthday, and everyone with relation to the family were invited. Alexis was one of those relatives, and he rather forced himself to go. After all, there must be at least 10 things he could be doing other than sipping wine and watching people dance.
For instance, he could be having fun messing up other people's lives. He could be managing Delilah, seeing to that mysterious events were happening. He could be trying to bring sadness into Cain's life (though Jezebel was usually doing that). Yes, managing Delilah. Every secret organisation needed a leader to take care of things, and Alexis was that leader.
I wonder what will happen while I am away... he mused to himself idly. Well, the newcomers will be too afraid to do anything, so I shall not worry about them. Jezebel will be doing something with his Cassian, and with some luck, they'll be entertained the whole night through. It'll be safer if Ida is around and looking after the place, but you can never be certain since she's met that 'Owl' fellow...
"Bon soir, Alexis! [Good evening, Alexis!]" bellowed a loud, French voice. Alexis' thoughts were shattered as a round, drunk man staggered forwards waving a wine glass. It was Henri Thomas. The Card Master groaned under his breath.
"Bon soir, monsieur Henri..." he muttered, shifting aside to give the man a little more room around the corner.
Henri gulped down some more wine, but the two stood there in silence. Alexis sighed and decided to start conversation, just so it would not seem rude.
"C'est une soirée superbe. [This is an outstanding party]" Alexis commented, looking around and putting on a fake smile, just to prove his point.
"Ah bon? Merci beaucoup, mon ami! Vous êtes très gentil! [Really? Thank you very much, my friend! You are very nice!]" Henri chuckled, patting Alexis on the back.
Alexis smiled oily. Aww... he was "very nice", how true indeed! Hehehe, as if...
Suddenly, another man came running up. He was tall, lanky, with sand-coloured hair and a bushy moustache. From the emblem he wore on his jacket, Alexis could tell this man was another lord.
"Good evening gentlemen," the Lord greeted, his English accent clear-cut and smooth. This lord was obviously raised in England. "Splendid party, Henri. Superb."
"Merci, Edward!" Henri grinned, nodding.
"Ah Alexis!" the lord called Edward noticed. He smiled, obviously pleased. "Dear chap, I thought you died years ago!"
"Yes... that was what the rumours said..." Alexis smirked. "Tell me, Edward, who told you that?"
"Your son, Cain. He's the heir to the Hargreaves fortune now, isn't he?"
"Yes, I'm sure he would be, the miserable little whelp..." Alexis shrugged, sipping some more wine. He was hoping his language would yearn him a few strange and disapproving looks.
Unfortunately, Edward merely shrugged. "Well, how is you son?" he asked, unaffected.
Plan two, Alexis thought. "What? Apart from being flamboyantly gay?" he asked back. This was actually what Alexis believed: the relationship between his son and the butler was far too close for comfort......
Edward laughed, so much that he had to lean on the wall to control himself. The card master stared: what was wrong with him? How could he not detect the rudeness??
"What's going on here?" it was the lady of the house, the distant cousin: Lady Catherine Thomas. As beautiful as always, she strode up to them with her long, lilac dress and greeted them all warmly.
Plan three, Alexis decided to was time to take action. So, instead of kissing Catherine on the cheek, he grabbed her by the hair and kissed her hard on the mouth. That should create those lovely gasps of horror......
But no, nothing; and to the Card Master's utter shock and horror: Catherine kissed back!! Surprised and a little disgusted, Alexis pulled away, his eyes wide.
"Still trying to scare the crowd, are you my dear?" Catherine asked, licking her lips. "It doesn't work anymore Alexis, your tricks are old. No one's going to give them a second look."
This shocked Alexis even more. He choked. W-what does that mean: "your tricks are old"?? Does that mean he no longer has the attitude to horrify and disgust? How can that be? Alexis realised he must do something drastic soon, or else his life's-work will be diminished.
Then, a thought suddenly entered his mind: DELILAH. Catherine does not know about DELILAH, and that would certainly shock her. Smirking, he opened his mouth to speak when suddenly a voice spoke up by his side.
Alexis turned, wondering who would address him by that name. It was Ida, but not the Ida he saw yesterday in London. This Ida wore a BALL GOWN and PARTY SHOES and was in PALE PINK. The only things familiar about her was her pale hair, her dark face and the patch she wore to cover her burns.
"Gods, Ida, what happened to you?!"
"They would not let me in until I wore this, sir."
"Ah, that would explain the unusual dressing," Alexis sniggered.
Ida glared at him. "I bring you news from London, sir." She told him flatly.
"Oh? What sort of news?"
"DELILAH has been found out."
"WHAT?!" Alexis exploded in disbelief. The entire room around him went silent, listening to what was going on.
Ida looked around herself, and upon seeing the staring people, she took her Master by the hand, leading him outside. "Three drunk policeman staggered into these barrels of wine, which we took back to our hideout and they found us out."
"Did you not try to bribe them?" The Card Master asked. His head felt a little woozy: this couldn't be happening.
"We did, sir. But there was nothing they wanted."
Alexis sighed and his face fell into his hands. He groaned loudly, pitifully. Straightening up, he asked:
"Where was the guards when this happened?"
"We have no guards, sir."
"Oh yes, how could I have forgotten..." Alexis muttered through gritted teeth. He thought there was no need to hire guards as the place was a maze in itself: strangers would probably die of starvation wondering around the place before they reached anywhere of some use. "Where was Jezebel then?"
"Master Jezebel was in Cassian's room, being suspiciously noisy as usual."
"And where were you, Ida m'dear?" Alexis asked oily.
"I was out to see Owl."
At least she's honest......The Card Master told himself.
"I need time to think on this......" Alexis muttered, walking into the garden.
"Oh yes!" Ida called as he walked off into the distance. "The policemen are trying to hunt you down and bring you to justice! They said that you were in charge of half the crimes in the city, they want to put you in prison, sir!"
Upon hearing that, Alexis kicked the nearest tree in anger and stormed off faster.
The night was cold and bitter, even though it was in the early summer. Alexis sighed and rubbed his arms: he wished he brought his coat before he stormed off so fast. Now he doesn't know where he is, or how he was going to get back.
Sitting himself against the wall outside a tavern, he sighed. A tramp next to him stared at the Card Master, an evil gleam in his eyes. He probably wants to steal my money... Alexis thought as he stared back, a little bored.
From inside the tavern stepped out a French entertainer, with long golden hair and dressed in robes. It was impossible to tell whether it was a man or a woman, for the entertainer wore a mask that covered half it's face, but because the person had a beard, Alexis concluded it was a man.
"Good evening, sir." The Card Master greeted dryly, just out of respect. He couldn't be bothered to translate into French.
"You look a little bored, sir," the entertainer said in English back, though his voice had a heavy French accent and exceptionally high. Suddenly, he grinned. "I know a place where we could entertain you." He hinted.
"We?" Alexis asked, raising an eyebrow. Before the young man answered, he pulled the ex-count of Hargreaves by the sleeve and down the muddy road. The tramp followed them with his hazy grey eyes, but merely grunted.
The entertainer placed a blindfold over Alexis' eyes, telling his what he was about to see would be a surprise. Then the Card Master was lead carefully down a cobbled street-way, blinded. Alexis smiled to himself in amusement, wondering what the young man would do to him.
"Where are you taking me?" Cain's father asked.
He felt the blindfold release, the entertainer put his head onto Alexis' shoulder. Alexis stared at the wonder before him. Lights, from candles, of all the colours imaginable. There was a merry-go-round, jesters with balloons, people of all height and size: small people, tall people, they performed tricks and sold food to the crowd. There was a tent, inside someone was putting on a show. There was an applause, and loud chatter in French.
Alexis' eyes widened as he stared at everything around him. He had never seen such a thing in London before, nothing with so much activities and so many... strange people. Even the three-legged dog, lead by a man who should be twice the natural size, looked bizarre.
"Where am I?" the Card Master breathed, his voice so small he thought it would be impossible to hear.
"You're in a Freak Circus, sir." The young man said beside him said, grinning a little more. Alexis turned: and realised the young man took off his mask. But the pair of big blue eyes definitely should not—did not—belong to a man.
"Y-you're a WOMAN!!"
"Yes, sir I am!"
"W-with a BEARD!!!"
The young man, who now is a woman smiled and nodded. "Yes, and I am just one of many people here!" she said.
Alexis laughed in disbelief, before suddenly turning and running away in the distance. Somehow, he could not stop his legs from sprinting as fast as possible. But inside his mind, Alexis wondered about something:
It would be rather grand to see something like that in London... something the people may enjoy behind the shock. If I should start something like that in England, I would. But I have DELILAH to take care of...
The dark-haired man came to a sudden halt. Wait, he DIDN'T have DELILAH anymore, which meant he could actually start something like that......
It was Ida, running towards him. She had changed out of her ball gown and into her usual uniform. Alexis smiled at her, and ran towards her. He had a look in his eyes, a maniacal and sinister look.
"Ida! You'd never believe what I just saw!!"
"Oh, what would that be, sir?"
"I've seen the very inspiration that will make me a living without DELILAH!!"
"Yes sir, and what would that be?"
"A FREAK CIRCUS!! Ida, I'm going to start my very own Freak Circus!!!"
To Be Continued......
A/N: yes, the real plot has not started, but it will not start until chapter two or three (don't worry, plenty of romance until then, in the likes of Riff/Cain and Jezebel/Cassian). Please review!!