By Chocolate Moosey
"When first the morning light is seen
To glimmer on the dewy green,
And make the spider's filmy net
Like a bride's veil with diamonds set;
And when the sun, in royal state,
Comes where cloud-courtiers grouping wait,
His beaming smile and look of grace
Given back from each attendant's face;
All rosy morning hues are mine—
'I only count the hours that shine.' "
Helen Agusta Greggs (Inscription from the Florentine Sundial)
Even in the night the summer air was balmy and perfumed with the musk of the forest encasing the manor. Leona Fitzpatrick was seated upon a plush parlor couch of the deepest blue, arranging her luscious golden locks into a bun sensible for the task she was about to perform. The only light radiated from a pair of gas lamps flanking a Souchon print, the amber glow tainting the sleeping effigy's milky skin a garish shade of yellow. The succubus released a gentle sigh and took to her feet, taffeta skirt hushing about her heels as she moved across the room to the window. Once opened, it provided little relief from the static air within the chamber, only filling the room with the shrill symphony of a thousand crickets.
At that point, the door finally creaked open and a maid clothed in dark colours stepped in, a trembling form splayed out over her arms. A butler followed close on her heels and set a small wooden box upon the floor, then shutting the door with a click that caused the child to flinch.
"My illusive host has chosen not to be present?"
"My master sends his apologies," The butler bowed deeply, causing the succubus' lips to curl up into an unattractive sneer. "But he is not fond of…" His eyes flickered in the low light as he paused. "Bloodshed."
Leona's sneer broadened into a saccharine smile and she gave a facetious nod of her head. "Ah." Almost immediately, her green eyes fell to the form of the shivering child that the maid had sprawled out over the fainting couch opposite her.
Her eyebrows rose, duly impressed. "He's quite young."
"Only eleven." The maid said very softly; her eyes were cast down gazing at the child with something like pity as it writhed and contorted around its distended middle. Leona fought down a scoff, contorting the noise into a sigh as she rolled up her sleeves, turning to a provided washbasin of blue-and-ivory china that rested upon an oriental lacquered side table.
"It's pleasant to be dealing with sane individuals for once." She quipped airily, extending her claws and beginning to douse them in the refreshing water.
"Oh?" The butler prompted, propping himself up against the door nonchalantly. The maid was still kneeling beside the child, brushing sweat-drenched blond curls from its bloodshot eyes.
"Hn, yes." Leona reached for a towel, dabbing her hands dry. "Just this November, I had a run-in with a caulist that had managed to impregnate a human earl."
The butler sniffed, his thin lips twitching into a parody of a grin as he gazed over his shoulder, as if glaring through the mansion's walls and into the chamber of his own master. "What a revolting thought."
"Indeed." Leona commented, holding her hands out in front of her, as if they were contaminated. She glanced at the maid, who was methodically stripping the child of its clothing. The youth moaned terribly and clutched at the rise of its middle, which was slicked with sweat, much like the rest of its body. "Would you be a dear and stuff its mouth with a tea towel?"
The maid's shoulders seized for a moment, and she cast a look of contempt over her shoulder at the succubus. Leona merely smiled, challenging the deep blue eyes. Never breaking her gaze from Leona, the maid extracted a small cloth from her pocket and pressed it into the child's mouth. The blond child squealed, the sounds muffled from beneath the cotton as its tongue thrust against the towel, shoving it out. The maid pressed it deeper, looking pained, pinning the feverish child's arms above its head.
"Two months of cat-and-mouse," Leona continued her story, gazing at the thrashing child's distended belly. If she didn't intend to kill the human, she'd need to strike quickly. "I suppose the Caulist mated the human, because he seemed quite fond of the abomination. Neither would listen to reason, but in the end—."
She drove the tips of her claws into the child's middle, as if to make her point. The blond howled into the towel occupying its mouth, horrified sobs easing their way under Leona's skin, grating against her nerves. It would be so easy to just shut the human up once and for all at this very moment. Just a simple flick of the wrist could silence it forever.
The child's back arched as she extracted the bloody, dripping contents of its middle, depositing them within the washbasin with little relish. Leona flicked her claws into the tiny mass of flesh, a beadlike black eye peering back at her through the red water. The child was still howling in pain as the maid began to empty the box sitting beside her on the floor, pressing cotton and gauze into the wound Leona's precise extraction had created.
Within a moment, the basin had been emptied of its macabre inhabitant, and the butler was pouring cold water over Leona's sullied hands. Her head lulled back on her shoulders as she allowed him to scrub them clean, removing the residue that had gathered beneath her claws.
"Yes," She said, a note of exasperated exhaustion in her voice. "In the end, the damn brat took care of the abomination himself. It was quite unsatisfying to say the least."
"Forgive me from speaking out of place, but—you left them alive?" The butler inquired, his brows rising a bit.
Leona smiled, the child's shrieks accenting her sick joy. "Of course."
He grinned in understanding. "You have something planned for them, then?"
Leona removed her hands from the bowl, and the man began to gingerly pat them dry, "The best kind of punishment is the type that is exacted when one is least expecting it. No." Leona rolled her sleeves back down, turning away from the butler to place herself upon the couch once more. She gazed across the room at the display of the sobbing, bleeding child, self-satisfaction curling in her chest like a content animal. "Oh no. I'll let them go. I'll let them run and love and whip themselves into such an ecstasy, and I'll slaughter them at the pinnacle of their love."
"If it is not out of my place to ask, how do you plan to do that, my lady?" The butler asked. The child had finally stopped writhing, and had managed to push the cloth from its mouth. The human was currently drooling on itself, sobs reduced to mangled gurgles as it secured a bloody fist around a lock of the maid's pale hair.
Leona rolled her eyes. "My associate has decided to indulge herself in the first step." The succubus rotated her shoulders, releasing Cosette-induced pressure from her frame. "There was a reason that you called for Mademoiselle Brun and were rewarded with me instead."
"Though we were more than flattered to be graced by your presence, my lady, I must admit that I was curious as to where the Mademoiselle had wondered off to. She is most renowned for her abilities considering extermination and it was quite surprising to hear that she refused this."
"She obsessed," Leona drawled. "And she certainly has something in store for this Doriæn Dante."
The butler's frame quivered to attention.
"She's planning to break into the reaper's archives to change the contract." Leona explained, half-heartedly regarding her now-clean claws in the flickering amber light. "It's bound to be amusing at the very least—she's like a child that thinks it's clever."
"What of Doriæn Dante then, my lady?" The butler pressed, a bit too quickly for Leona's tastes. He was a very curious individual, to say the least. The maid stood, gathering the now-unconscious child up into her arms, the butler held the door aloft for her, a shard of cold light falling over his golden eyes.
"Why are you so interested all of the sudden?" Leona smirked, coyly brushing her fingers over her lips as her interest piqued. "Would you happen to know him?"
He merely smiled.
Author's Note: Hey remember that time I said I'd be posting this on Sunday the 17th? Neither do I BD
Anywho, since the response from the aside was so overwhelmingly positive, I decided to give you guys this little something earlier than I promised as a treat! I'm curious to know what you guys think is happening, because all is not as it seems.