"Here is your food." The waitress placed plates of food in front of Schneizel and Maes. "And here's the drinks your ordered."
"Thank you." Schneizel bowed his head. The waitress curtsied and moved to take care of customers waving her down. Schneizel and Maes prodded and picked at their food slowly, trying to make as much time pass as possible.
About 45 minutes ago, Maes and Schneizel left the St. Katherine memorial site. Alliahnna and the angel known as Angela were engaging in a heated battle. Fearing for their safety, Alliahnna told them to leave. Maes told Alliahnna they would be waiting for her at the Pub and Diner, and that she was to meet them there. Angel or not, it only takes Alliahnna five minutes – ten at most – to deal with someone. It was 6:30. The sky was darkened. She was late.
Maes wanted to burst out of the diner and go looking for her. Schneizel assured him Alliahnna was possibly talking with Sebastian about the current situation. They always spoke after tense moments, debating on the circumstances, theories, and evidence they acquired. It's how they would present efficient reports to Schneizel.
"Could they possibly be talking about Alliahnna's little secret?" Maes assumed out of the blue. "About her being a demon." Schneizel stopped his fork an inch before his mouth. Chills ran down his spine. He glanced to Maes, seeing the man staring intensely at him. "That Angela woman told me." He explained. "She said she was going to kill me for serving a demon. I merely thought she was insulting Alliahnna. But after what I witnessed, I can only theorize that the insult was meant to be as literal as it was resentful." Schneizel placed his fork down, sighing with defeat. "You knew. Didn't you, Lord?"
"I was aware for many years, and was brought into the loop several months ago." He admitted shamefully. "Phoebus and I both."
Maes was taken aback. "Why didn't you tell me? Anyone?"
"It wasn't our secret to tell. As for Alliahnna, she didn't want you brought into the nightmare she's been living."
"What nightmare is that?"
"The woman you met is related to the man who killed Alliahnna's family." Maes gaped in horror. "Alliahnna told me years ago, and Soma came to me back in Halnare."
"How does this relate to Alliahnna being a demon?"
"Sebastian is a demon himself." Maes drank his wine, wanting to suppress his shock. "He came to Alliahnna and gave her the power of a demon. Turning her into one. She desired the power to obtain her revenge for her family."
"And this Angel and her friend are responsible?"
"PFFT!" Maes scoffed. "Then I'm glad I love Alliahnna in every sense of the word." He announced happily. Schneizel sneered his nose and brow. That was his daughter he was speaking of. "Demon or not, Alliahnna has been one of the most upstanding and fantastic women I've ever met. I'd follow her all the way to Hell."
"Here-Here." Schneizel raised his glass. Maes tapped his glass to Schneizel's and they drank in cheers. "Maybe when Alliahnna gets here we can take her out to celebrate."
"Cheers to that too." Maes and Schneizel clanged their glasses and drank again.
"Excuse me." Their waitress approached them again. "Pardon the interruption, but a message arrived for you."
"Oh." Schneizel dabbed his mouth with a cloth. "From whom?"
"He didn't say." She answered in as much perplexity. "Only that a young girl wearing a hood said to get this to you right away."
"Young girl in a hood?" Maes remarked. Schneizel took the envelope. The waitress excused herself. "Could she mean Alliahnna?"
"Maybe." Schneizel opened the envelope. There was a piece of paper with a long letter written in Alliahnna's hand writing. "But why would she…" Schneizel trailed off as his eyes speed read the letter. His eyes widened in horror, glossing with tears. His fingers curled into the letter.
"What's wrong?" Maes asked. Schneizel massaged his fingers on his eyes. He set it down on the table, sucking his lips in distress. Maes started to grow worried. "What happened? Is Alliahnna alright?" Schneizel moved the letter to Maes, keeping his face down so not to let anyone see the tears gathering in his eyes. Maes's eyes ran over the letter. The air in his throat hitched into a lump. "No…" He moaned. "No…no…"
Schneizel put money on the table, not caring about the excess change. "Let's go." He commanded gruffly.
"Go where?" Maes's voice cracked.
"To the Undertaker's shop." Schneizel swallowed. "Then…we'll think of something."
The train horn whistled into the night sky, steam trailing after the train as it dashed down the tracks. The train rattled and shook as it traversed over the tracks. The night covered land passed by the windows in a blur. The moon was high in the sky, glazing the land in a bright luminescence. Sitting in the corner of a private booth, hiding her face under a black cloak – Alliahnna watched the scenery pass by her with a deadpan expression. Her once sapphire eyes trapped in their crimson glare bore holes into the seemingly peaceful countryside, wishing it would burst into flames right before her eyes.
Seeing as I'm sure Maes is already included in my little secret, feel free to share this message with him, and make sure Phoebus reads it as well.
By the time you receive this, I will be on a train returning to Paris. I'm sorry I won't be there to attend the gathering with you. Tell Elizabeth and the others I'm sorry. But I can't stay with you all any longer. Not the way things are.
Alliahnna slumped in her seat with a dismayed sigh. She could only hear Elizabeth reciting the rant she was going to give Alliahnna if she ever saw her again. But that was nothing compared to the losses of that day.
I'm sure you're curious as to why I'm leaving. It's because I have to. I won't risk the lives of those I care about any longer.
The faces of Taylor and Carmichael plagued her mind.
About an hour ago, Prescott and Jonathan were found dead in an alleyway.
Maes and Schneizel found their way to Undertaker's shop.Undertaker guided the two to the back room, showing them the bodies of Prescott and Jonathan.
Prescott had been stabbed in the heart by Angela, while Jonathan took his life after being threatened by her.
Schneizel bowed his head, clenching his fingers into tight fists.Maes dropped to his knees, weeping for his friends. Schneizel put his hands to his shoulders, trying in vain to comfort the crying man.
Esmeralda burst into the hospital in a panic. The doctors pointed in the general direction he was in and she ran after him.
Phoebus was discovered by Sebastian, bleeding and on the brink of death. A wound deep in his side, inflicted by Ash.
Esmeralda barged her way into the room. Phoebus was lying in his bed, bandages wrapped tightly around his abdomen. Phoebus smiled weakly to Esmeralda. She dove to him, hugging him.
Had Sebastian not gotten to him, Phoebus would not be present to live his life with Esmeralda and their arriving baby. How unfortunate I may not be able to witness their child's birth.
Esmeralda told Phoebus of what has happened while he was in the hospital. Phoebus gaped in despair. Alliahnna had left.
I won't prolong what will inevitably happen any longer. On its own, my humanity is coming to an end. The life I had with you, Phoebus – everyone – is coming to an end. Such is the fate of a Phantomhive.
Alliahnna ran a hand through her hair, reveling in the shortened locks. She kept forgetting she relieved herself of the portion of human vanity. She would run a hand through it, constantly reminding herself that he locks were shortened. Constantly reminding herself…that her old life, the one she desperately clutched to…was over.
The terms of my contract with Sebastian are as follows: Since I am a substitute demon, I am a stand in on the contract he formed with Ciel eight years ago.Because I had the desire for revenge against the same person who killed my parents and brother, I was allowed to continue the contract…with an addition.
I was given the strength, agility, and skills of a demon. I was gifted with a power that could bring a person's worst nightmares into view.
Sebastian watched from on high on the treetops as Alliahnna train passed by.
The terms of this contract were that I surrender my soul or humanity. I chose my humanity.
Sebastian dashed after the train, keeping to the shadows and out of sight. As per the terms of Alliahnna's orders.
I wanted to live with Sebastian. I wanted to be with him. Because...for the first time in years…I loved him. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But now, after everything that's happened, losing my soul sounds easier.
Sebastian furrowed his brow, gritting his teeth heatedly. His crimson red eyes ignited into a flaming aurora pink.
Zanosuke looked out to the wondrous city of Toulouse, relishing in the glow of the lights reflecting off the riverbank. Jasper approached Zanosuke, standing beside him. He let out a relieved sigh and asked, "Shall we take our leave?"
"Yes." He agreed solemnly, lowering his head. "I think we have lingered long enough."
For some time now – since I became a demon actually – I have slowly been turning into a full blooded demon. My humanity was being replaced little by little.
I grew stronger, aggressive, faster. I was turning into what Sebastian and his family have been for centuries. I thought nothing of it.
Zanosuke and Jasper leapt across the building with the speed of the wind. They knew not where they would go. Only that they would travel the human world for a while longer. That is until they felt they were needed to intervene.
But recently I learned that I have a time limit. The longer it takes for me to complete my contract, the farther the demon essence within me will progress, consuming my entire being. In the event that happens, I will have to offer up my soul as collateral.
"Does Elizabeth know?" Jasper asked.
"I left her a note." Zanosuke answered monotonously. "Since she does not recall any of us being demons, I explained I was forced to return home."
"A personal request from Alliahnna, was it not?"
"Yes. She did not want Elizabeth part of this any further." Jasper bobbed his head in understanding. That's the kind of girl Jasper figured Alliahnna out to be. Kind, considerate, and protective. "Do you think they will be alright?" Zanosuke asked his father, sauntering along on dirt paved pathway. "Sebastian and Alliahnna, I mean."
"I'm sure they will be fine." Jasper smirked. "This is just a lovers tiff." He reassured his son. "They will sort things out, and do what needs to be done."
"Are you sure they will be victorious?" Zanosuke worried. "Alliahnna is in a fragile state of mind, and Sebastian…" He lowered his head, not sure what to think of Sebastian.
"My, my, Zanosuke." Jasper cooed teasingly. "Concerned for the little Phantomhive, are we?" Zanosuke's cheeks flushed bright red. He turned away, clearing his throat embarrassingly. Jasper smiled to the night sky, watching as the steadily appearing stars glittered. "Those two will make it through this. I know it." He grinned proudly. "They are my son and daughter after all."
Normally, Sebastian would not be permitted to touch my soul if I became a demon. But because of our contract and the fact he made me what I am, I will be forced to give him my soul. I will fade from existence.
Soma and Agni found Elizabeth and Paula. The two explained slowly and cautiously to Elizabeth that Alliahnna had left. And from the sounds of things she had no intention of returning.
No need to worry. It won't be for nothing.
Elizabeth broke into tears, shaking her head as she buried her face into Paula's chest.
I plan to take Angela and Ash with me.
Paula caressed Elizabeth's back, trying to comfort her. Agni massaged his arm with shame. Soma bit into his lip, trying not to shed a tear. He could not prevent that lonely tear from trickling over his cheek. That one tear which held the love he felt for Alliahnna.
Bardroy, Hana, Mey-Rin, and Finnian sat in Mr. Tanaka's hotel room, gathered together as they mourned the loss of their two friends, and prayed for Alliahnna to return one day.
Mr. Tanaka stood outside the hotel room, pressing his back to the door frame with a somber sigh.
Encased is a key that I want you to give to Tanaka.
Mr. Tanaka marveled at the key, smiling as if looking at a family heirloom.
He will know what to do with it when the time is right.
I know this is heartbreaking for you. But believe me when I say it is for the best. I can't risk the lives of innocents or you lot any further.
Hearing the rumors spreading about Toulouse, The Viscount found Lao and Ran-Mao roaming the city. He told them of what had happened.
Taylor and Carmichael should not have perished. After what happened to Phoebus, I will not…no…I cannot lose anyone else.
The two Chinese diplomats gaped in surprise. Lao shouldn't be too surprised. Phantomhives were notorious for vanishing without so much as a word.
"Madam." Alliahnna twitched at the deep male voice, breaking away from her deep thoughts. Looking in the reflection of the window, Alliahnna could see the train conductor standing in the doorway of her booth. He extended a hand out. "Ticket please." Alliahnna furrowed her brow, growling at the annoyance. She shot her hand out gruffly, producing the ticket. The conductor stamped it, bowing his head in thanks. "Have a pleasant trip, madam." He took his leave, closing the door behind him.
"Pleasant." Alliahnna muttered disdainfully. She bit her teeth into her lip. "Such a vulgar word." Her fang pierced the one side of her lip.
After I killed Mooska Von Laputa, I was approached by the Angel known as Ash Landers. As the monster that killed my parents and brother, Ash made it clear that the longer our game of vengeance lasted, the more people would suffer at his hand. Taking control of Mooska and Sumano was only the tip of the iceberg. A minor warning that he could take anyone he pleased without so much as flinching.
Alliahnna glanced to her hand, seeing the blood of the two men staining the skin. As well as the blood of those who have perished because of her.
In Halnare, I engaged in a heated battle with his female counterpart Angela. She told me those who served the filthy and vile would be terminated; burned in a cleansing flame like London.
And now…for the fourth time…I have encountered the two Angels. This time…their visit came with a price. One I was not ready to pay, but naïve for not expecting it.
Sebastian touched down on the caboose of the train, nesting and crouching comfortably below the window so not to rouse curiosity.
During the Summer Festival, many people lost their lives and there were many injured. When the train was invaded, blood was shed because of two who bared a grudge against me. In Halnare, innocent people were infected and forced to turn on their family and friends. Now, here in Toulouse, two officers whom I respected and cared for were killed. The man I revered as an elder brother nearly became a casualty of a war that began with me and my family.
Sebastian sighed heavily in woe. Glancing back, he imagined Alliahnna sitting alone in her booth. Her mind wrapped in the cold grip of her sorrow.
You and Maes almost joined them. I cannot sit by and allow this to continue. Nor can I prolong what is clearly going to happen.
Daylight finally broke through the night. The dew covered trees and grass glittered in the rising sun. "NOW ENTERING PARIS STATION!" The conductor announced at the top of his lungs. "PREPARE TO DISEMBARK!"
There is a fight coming, Schneizel. A fight that will decide the fate of my family and the land I have called my home.
Alliahnna gathered herself, fixing her askew uniform.
The eventuality is that I will become a demon or I will lose my soul. I may even die in this battle I am about to enter. Even so, I want to keep this between you, Maes, and Phoebus. Do not tell Elizabeth. Do not tell Soma. Do not tell anyone.
Alliahnna opened the door of her booth, meandering into the crowd of exiting people.
If I do not return or give a clue to my whereabouts in one month's time, you are to pronounce me dead.
Alliahnna dismounted from the train, aided by a kind gentleman. She bowed her head, revealing a smile beyond her hood.
I know this is brash, I know this is irrational. But I have to do this. I can't run any longer. I can't allow these monsters to take anyone else from me. No one will ever die in my place again.
Sebastian peered from around the corner of a pillar in the train station, watching carefully as Alliahnna immersed herself within the thick crowd. Alliahnna…He called to her in his mind.
Schneizel…father…Since the day you took me in eight years ago, you and Phoebus both have filled the void left by my parents and brother.
Marques Lydia granted Schneizel to bury his two friends in the St. Katherine's Memorial Site. A testament to the service they gifted Toulouse and their great city of Paris. Schneizel and Maes thanked the Marques. But they wished to do something different.
I admit I tried to push you both away.
Undertaker closed the tops of the coffins. Grell prepared the incinerator.
I didn't want anyone in my life. I wanted to be alone.
Maes, Schneizel, and Lydia – who insisted she bear witness to the cremation – watched the coffins as they were prepared to be cremated.
But I couldn't deny the growing love I felt for you both.
Hobbling with an arm around Esmeralda, Phoebus entered into Undertaker's shop, wanting to witness the final voyage of his comrades.
Never could I imagine my life without you two.
From the moment the coffins entered, Schneizel, Phoebus, and the others watched as the coffins turned to ash right before their eyes. All but Esmeralda saluted. She lowered her head, muttering a pray for their safe voyage into the afterlife. Schneizel, Phoebus, and Maes felt tears falling down their cheeks.
Alliahnna stood in the center of the street, gazing to the sky with glossy eyes.
For everything you have done, for the life you have given me, for the love you've shared…Thank you.
Alliahnna closed her eyes, flooding her tears over her cheek.
Forever and Always
Alliahnna P. Britannia. – Your Daughter
"So…" Soma huffed, lying back on the hotel bed with his hands folded behind his head, "Alliahnna's left." He commented. "Sebastian has disappeared, as have his brother and father. Taylor and Carmichael have ascended to heaven, and Phoebus is in the hospital."
"This trip is in shambles." Elizabeth whimpered, leaning her head onto Paula's shoulder. "We were all supposed to celebrate together."
"I here ya, Ms. Elizabeth." Mey-Rin agreed. "I wanted to see Alliahnna in her dress, gliding across the dance floor."
"I wanted to see her dancing with Sebastian." Elizabeth hugged her hands to her elbows. "It would have been their first dance as a couple."
"But why did she leave?" Finnian asked, standing against the wall with Agni. "More importantly, why did Zanosuke and Jasper leave too?" Elizabeth cringed at Zanosuke's name. "Sebastian's gone because he's in service to Alliahnna. But why would Zanosuke and Jasper leave?"
"Zano said he needed to return home urgently." Elizabeth announced, showing him the letter left for her. "He and Jasper had a family matter to attend to."
"Do you get that feeling we're being kept out of the loop about something?" Bardroy grumbled.
"Sometimes." Hana agreed. "Especially lately."
"Alliahnna did say she felt like she was being followed." Soma stated out of the blue. All eyes fell onto him. Soma swallowed nervously, recalling Alliahnna wanted to keep this secret. But, now that she's left, it didn't seem like it mattered. "Back in Halnare, Alliahnna told me she believed the ones who killed her parents and Ciel were following her." Everyone gaped in horror. "After what happened to Taylor and Carmichael, Alliahnna must have blamed herself."
"She's going to confront her family's killer?" Agni gasped in horror. "I do not know if that is foolish or brave."
"I think it's noble." Elizabeth commented sternly. "For six years I've wondered what kind of person could kill Ciel. Who could do something like this to Alliahnna?" She narrowed her eyes heatedly, nearly burning a hole into everyone around. "Now that I see he's a coward, I have no doubt in my mind Alliahnna will prevail! She'll avenge her family and come back to us." Nods cascaded around the room, approving and confident smiles beaming. You'll be back, Alliahnna. Elizabeth hugged her hands to her chest. I know it.
Alliahnna wandered through the streets of Paris, keeping her head low and her eyes to the ground. The sounds of rushing footsteps vibrated the ground, traveling up her legs. Horses drawing carriages neighed as their reins were tugged, startling her from her train of thought. The voices of the large crowd echoed throughout the city, ringing in Alliahnna's ears. Her senses had grown sensitive in the last few days. This must have been what Sebastian meant. The demon within her was growing stronger. It made her wonder how much time she had left.
"So loud. OOF!" Alliahnna bounced off of someone, falling to her butt.
"HEY!" A bearded wealthy man barked, a young blond woman on his arm. "Watch where the Hell you're walking, you little bitch!"
"You could have moved yourself, you pompous bastard!" Alliahnna roared, climbing to her feet. "Unless your fat ass covers the entire street!"
"WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME?" The man raised a hand. "LEARN YOUR PLACE!" Alliahnna shot her eyes up, locking them with the man's. The man gaped in horror, his hand freezing in mid-swing. He whimpered pitifully. Alliahnna's crimson orbs seeped into him, making his mind blur in a violent haze. "GYAAAHHH!" The man screamed bloody murder, clenching his hands to his head as he dropped to his knees. Just because she was standing there, Alliahnna glanced to the young woman too. Utter despair filled her face. She pulled at her hair, falling to her knees. Alliahnna walked around them, smiling maliciously. She had to admit, it felt good bringing a pompous windbag and his lady to their knees. A shame she couldn't enjoy it for much longer. She was running out of time and needed to figure out where Ash was hiding.
Wanting to escape the crowded streets, Alliahnna retreated to the rooftops, desiring the fresh air and lack of foot traffic for her constantly wandering mind. She also found rooftops to be an excellent shield from the noise. The height always seemed to create a barrier, barring all ground level noises. It was perfect for her to pause for thought.
Since Alliahnna arrived into Paris on the train, she's been immersing herself in the last five years. The day she met Sebastian, Paris always city seemed big. Rife with danger and contained excitement around every corner she turned. She could walk out the front door of the manor and see two peddlers fighting over whose products were of higher quality. But now…the City seemed small, unimportant. The people below were nothing more than rats maneuvering through a maze created by life. Alliahnna, Sebastian, Ash, Angela, Jasper, and Zanosuke – they were the scientists watching them from on high, mocking them as they make wrong turns and get lost. And, more times than anyone could count, eliminating them if they weren't…important. Like expendable characters in a book.
"This tale began because of my family's death." Alliahnna cursed herself, hiding behind a wide sign to a floral shop. "The introduction was the death of my parents, the climax was the apparent death of Ciel, and the conclusion will be brought about by the death of Ash…or me." The thought that Alliahnna might join her family in the afterlife terrified her. That after five years of succumbing to the power given to her, it would all amount to nothing. Her parents and Ciel will have died in vain and the family name of Phantomhive would be tarnished for all of history to mock. The only reason Alliahnna made it to this point…the only way she could have made it to this point…was because Phoebus, Schneizel…and Sebastian stood by her side throughout the turmoil.
"Hmph." Alliahnna scoffed to herself, smiling derisively. "Ciel being alive, substitute demons before me, my humanity or soul, now a time limit." She was recalling secrets Sebastian revealed to her throughout their time together. "No matter how horrible the secret, he always had a justification behind it." Alliahnna glanced behind her to a chimney stock. "That justification was you were trying to protect me!" She shouted, turning completely to the chimney. "Just as you're doing now." When nothing seemed to happen, Alliahnna giggled lightly. "I forgot. I told you I didn't want to see you." She tucked her shortened hair behind her ear, cursing herself. "You can come out now Sebastian." She ordered tenderly. "I know you're there." White gloved fingers curled around the corner of the chimney. Sebastian gradually emerged from behind the chimney, a remorseful expression plastered to his face. He approached his master in slow strides, coming within five feet of her. Alliahnna removed the hood of her cloak. Sebastian gaped in awe at the shortened, groomed locks. Had he not known better, Sebastian would swear on the bible Alliahnna was Ciel. "In case you're wondering, you didn't disobey my orders." Alliahnna commented, breaking Sebastian from his daze. "I didn't see you. I just knew you'd be following me."
Sebastian smiled warmly, appreciating in her faith. "Have I truly become so predictable?"
"Just to me."
Sebastian laughed at himself. "You really are amazing, My Lady." He commended her. "Would it be too bold of me to ask for your forgiveness?"
Alliahnna shook her head. "Not at all." She reassured him. "Ever secret you've ever kept from me was to shield me. As is the task of a Butler."
Sebastian bowed at the hip, casting a hand across his chest. "If I cannot protect you from horrifying truths," Sebastian extended the hand outward, grasping Alliahnna's chin gently, "What kind of lover would I be?"
Alliahnna's cheeks flushed dreamily. The feel of his hand to her skin, the sound of his gentle yet commanding tone – chills of pleasure slithered over Alliahnna's spine. She touched the hand, caressing it lovingly. A powerful warmth filled her heart, melting the cold ice that formed. "I love you…Sebastian."
Sebastian smirked menacingly, chuckling in the back of his throat. Alliahnna's cheeks flushed a deeper shade of red. Moving in closer, Sebastian snaked a hand around her waist, bringing his face closer to hers. Alliahnna gazed deep into his eyes. Her mind blurred as she felt his hot breath tickle her ear. "I love you too…Alliahnna." Sebastian moved and brought his lips to hers, claiming her mouth in a warm kiss. Alliahnna's body melted in his embrace. Sebastian's arm tightened its grip, keeping her from slipping away. His tongue traveled to every inch of her mouth. Alliahnna's fingers curled into his shoulders. As they parted form the kiss, Alliahnna let out an audible dazed moan. "Shall we bring this tale to an end?" Sebastian teased, removing the drool from his jaw with his thumb. Alliahnna nodded her head firmly. "Good." Sebastian placed his hands to her shoulder and turned her around. He put her attention to the Notre Dame cathedral. "Because your target is in the sacred halls of the refurbished cathedral, awaiting your arrival."
"Then let's not keep them waiting any longer." Alliahnna suggested brazenly. "This story of ours has progressed for five years." She smirked, licking her lips hungrily. "It time we brought it to an end."
To be continued.