Disclaimer:

I do not own any of the creative properties used in the creation of this work of fan fiction. On the other hand, any specific author created characters I created for this fic (despite how unoriginal they may be at times) are mine. So without further ado, let's get on with the show!

The Witch-General's Warning:

Read at your own risk. Suspension of Disbelief is required.


Delusion Disorder Daydream

Purgatorio Rondo:

Way of the Devil

A When They Cry fanfic by James "Ray" Edwards


Snicker-snicker.

The Kitchens (yes, plural: Kitchens) were not an environment where the voyeuristic observer would find the Master of the House, by all stretches of common sense.

Snicker-snicker.

His appearance would require special circumstances, or perhaps negative feedback, for such grandiose households usually had a Mistress or three to see to such trifles in the first place.

Snicker-snicker!

Playing host to officious delegations was a serious business in the so-called upper walks of life. In fact, one's reputation could be said to live and die by such functions, well before any words on matters of grave import are exchanged. Therefore, to discover Lord BATTLER-Goldsmith washing dishes in the Kitchens was quite the incredulous spectacle.

"You can stop holding back, Ronove," the redhead fixed his partner-in-crime, at the basins, with a profuse tic in his brow that conjured images of fangs and smiles. "You're too old to be giggling like a dirty old fart, eh~?"

Both of the fantastical beasts had shed their usual finery for plain clothes, aprons, and the sleeves of their solidarity folded up past the elbows like badges of honor. The plates and cookery piled on high, one after another, emerging as if by magic from the soapy bubbling overflow.

"My, how heartless of you, My Master," Ronove feigned hurt, as if struck straight through his heart, "I was merely bemused by your adolescence, thinking how you have become more like a true sorcerer brings me endless satisfaction, and that the sweat of my brow was naught in vain!"

"Iihihihihi, what do you mean? I haven't done anything of the sort."

"Giving out advice that you have no intention of following yourself? That is the superb way of devils and fantasy!"

"No way. I was just giving some young people a push in the right direction," Battler sighed dubiously in a middle-aged sort of way. "The last thing I wanted is for one of Beato's favorite rascals to grow bored and disillusioned. She'd harp at me nonstop for days and plot some mean prank at the same time, for mistreating her 'toys' on loan."

"And here I thought it occurred to you that you acted out of the goodness of that black hole you call a heart."

"Everyone needs love, Ronove, even Furniture. Besides, I haven't lost anything but have gained just about everything."

"Ho? And all that is missing..."

"...is Beato. When she's returned to me, I'll have rightfully succeeded to the old geezer, with no more strings attached, and I'll turn things around for good."

"Pu ku ku ku, I thought you cared not for wealth, Battler-sama?" Ronove arched an accusatory brow at his master, who carried on washing with a lazy shrug.

"Having what I need to live comfortably was good enough for me, but now that I've come this far, I've got no choice. George-aniki was right all along; being a good adult sure is tough. Too bad all the supposed adults in my family really are just kids."

"And you will rectify the mistakes of the past?"

"Count on it. Money draws all kinds of blood, good and bad. If it's just me, then I don't mind being the one to do what's necessary to protect everyone's future."

"How do you propose to accomplish such a feat?"

"By becoming a demon, of course," Battler beamed in an easy matter-of-fact fashion, handing over a pair of wet knives and forks for drying. "The old geezer only knew how to kill things. I can love you one second and kill you softly, gently with the other hand; that's the difference between me and him."

"Pu ku ku ku, I see how most frightening you are, My Master, just like a king."

"Say, just how are those two young people doing?" the sorcerer then asked of his demon butler, as if the thought just occurred to him.

Ronove, of course, knew better than to pry. After all, it was the way of devils, too, to come about face the roundabout way. "Satan of Wrath has done quite admirably to conceal her more frequent overtures to Mount Purgatory."

"Not well enough, if you've noticed."

"Oh, it was none of my own tomfoolery, Battler-sama, pu ku ku ku."

"Ah, that's right. There is a fickle someone around here who just loves that kind of gossip."

Elsewhere, a devil of questionable morals in a fashionably questionable dress sneezed, snorting a spray of black tea in decidedly undignified manner at the fuming governess across the table.

"Is she happy?" Battler reached into the soapy suds and pulled out the stopper.

The Laughing Monocle made a face, his humor souring like the groaning drainage at the loaded query. Why did his master always have to level the cruelest questions at him? He was a devil, not a love therapist!

"That is..."

"Hu~mor me~, Ronove, my head henchman."

The demon prince could not very well deny a request from the Golden Sorcerer, his fabulous master of whimsy, if it was within his power to grant it, could he? That would be a breach of his Devil's Contract. Oh, rot his luck!

"As happy as a dumbstruck puppy can be, licking at the toes of its forgone master, methinks."

"Great!" Battler beamed with a toothy grin, and totally unrepentant of the serious of unfortunate events he may have just set off, for the faithful seeking repentance on the steppes far below. "I guess, that guarantees me some chocolates for Valentine's in this Fragment's year."

To think His Lordship, BATTLER-Goldsmith, played Cupid for a box of red; what a capricious child. If he wanted some, well, Ronove would be happy to make arrangements, just like he did for the first annual Stakes' Valentine's Day. Gosh, that smashing 1986 of Oktoberfest really was an excellent year! If the Demon's Roulette rolled in his favor, he might even get some this year from-

"So, looking for~ward to something more than Duty Chocolate this year from 'Li~a? Iihihihihihi!"

Who in the HELL let that slip? Certainly, he had admitted once to his master that the elder Beatrice was a Witch (and a woman) who had tirelessly entertained him for centuries, but never had he said he expected anymore than a relationship of convenient happenstance. Such fanciful notions of wild romance, Ronove swore to take to his grave!

Imagine the scandalous tabloid headlines: "Royalty falls hard for Slave Girl! Just how low can you go?" So whodunit?! Huh? Whodunit? And howdunit!?

"Oh, wow," Battler deadpanned, staring at him with vapid duplicity.

If it were not for the infernal contract, the smoldering, red-faced butler would have set himself upon his master right now with teeth and nail.

"You just got suckered, Ro~no~ve."

...huh?


To be continued...