OMG. I'm UPDATING. That's next to 'hell is freezing over, flying pigs, and all that stuff'. (cyber cookie if you got the reference to the song "Look It Up" by Ashton Sheperd, who is actually my cousin)
Anyways, it's 10,189 words long, which is quite possibly the longest chapter yet.
Mainly because I want to get through the curry arc.
Go read. You can think of it as an apology gift.
I could hear rustling and cracked my eye open to see Sebastian slipping on his vest. "Eh? It's already morning?"
My demon mate looked over his shoulder at me, nodding. "Yes. Lucifer did not leave until after three."
Rolling my eyes, I sat up and stretched my arms above my head, yawning on habit. "I may as well get up then."
"Would you like me to help you dress?"
I smirked at him. "Having an Archdemon wait on me hand and foot." I laughed as he grabbed the bottom of my night gown and pulled it up over my head. "It is a rather humorous idea."
"Is that so?" Sebastian hummed, raising an eyebrow and brushing his hands against my sides. Blushing lightly, I slapped the black nailed fingers away.
"Oi, no funny business." I muttered and he wrapped the corset around me. "You have to go wake Ciel up soon."
A chuckle escaped the butler. "But I am a demon, my mistress." I frowned; he hadn't called me that in a while. "And you are as well, more or less."
Rolling my eyes, I humored him. "Uhhuh. Does that mean you can strip, have sex, and dress both of us in two minutes flat?"
My sarcasm was met with a devilish smirk and the corset suddenly disappeared as I was dropped unceremoniously on the bed. A choke sound escaped me at the sudden movement, and I felt his tongue against my neck, licking at his mating mark that set my skin ablaze, each nerve on overdrive. I could barely recognize the moment when we began to have sex, but I felt a wave of pleasure rip from my abdomen and across my body before I was suddenly lifted up and dressed.
"Holy cra-" I tilted sideways, and Sebastian grabbed me before I could fall over. Damn, was I dizzy. "What th-"
"One minute and fifty eight seconds."
My wooziness was still apparent as I tried and failed to walk, the area between my legs slightly sore. "Well, you're certainly fast." I commented, holding onto him to steady myself.
"Because you are not a full demon yet, you cannot keep up to a demons speed." Sebastian opened his door for me, which I leaned against as I walked out. "A demon can move so fast time will almost stop. For you it seemed fast. For me, it was perceived the same as humans do twenty minutes."
My brain still felt like mush, so I merely brushed it off. "Yeah..."
"Miss Constance, would you like to go lay down?"
Easing my way to the dining room, I shook my head. "Nah, I just wanna go eat..." Damnit, I wish there were cocoa puffs... "Would you consider making me toast with butter and brown sugar?"
As Sebastian held the door open for me, he raised an eyebrow. "Of course, my mistress."
Moving to using Sebastian as support again, he led me to the table where I immediately plopped down, thankful to be off my still shaking knees. "We're never doing something like that again, understand?"
As Sebastian left to prepare my breakfast, I heard a chuckle escape from him. "Of course, my mistress."
Laying my head on the smooth cloth covering the table, I only lifted my head when I heard the doors open again. Much to my dismay, it was Agni instead of Sebastian with food. "Oh, good morning Agni."
The Indian butler smiled at me before he spazzed with worry. "Oh my, Miss Tabby! Are you sick? Why are you so flushed?"
The red in my cheeks darkened. "Ah, I'm fine just...hot." Yeah, that could work.
"But it is rather chilly in the house." Damnit, don't use logic. "Do you have a fever?"
I jerked when Agni's hand reached out to take my temperature, narrowly avoiding the hand. "It's fine Agni, I was just under a lot of blankets last night." That wasn't actually a lie; before our surprise visit from the devil, I had been wrapped in a nice warm cocoon. "It was as hot as hell last night." Ah, a bad pun only Sebastian and myself would get.
Agni tilted his head slightly. "Isn't Hell a place in the Christian religion? Hinduism does not possess a place like that."
Oh. No wonder why he still looked confused. "Oh, Hell is believed to be a very hot place where you serve time for your sins you committed on earth. Some people believe that you get to go to heaven after you atone for your sins, while others believe you are trapped there for eternity."
A small smile found its way onto Agni's face. "And which do you believe, Miss Tabby?"
Opening my mouth, I froze. Which did I believe? Knowing about the souls and incarnations...
"I..." How did I put this into words? "...believe that you go to hell for your sins, and then after you serve your sentence, you are reincarnated to try again." There, that made a bit of sense.
"I hope you are right, Miss Tabby."
That overbearing guilt flooded the room.
Ciel and myself were currently being dragged around London by a certain prince.
"Ooh!" Soma pressed himself against a window that had a very elaborate teal dress in the window. "Tabby should try that on! It matches her hair!"
I deadpanned. Why the hell did he like dressing me up?! Every single dress he saw, he wanted me to put on. I already had three new dresses and it wasn't even two in the afternoon.
Ciel heaved a sigh, but motioned for me to go in. "Go ahead Tabby. We know he'll fuss should you not."
Gritting my teeth, I glared at the boy who was allowing himself to be a pushover when it came to the prince. "Oi, where'd your spine go?"
Much to my humor, it took a moment for Ciel to get it before he blushed furiously.
Throwing him a cheeky grin, I stepped into the boutique while the boys stayed outside. Immediately, I was pounced at.
"How did you get green hair?!"
I jerked back and away from the girl who sudden leapt at me before a hand swatted the back of the girl's head.
"Morgan!" The blonde whimpered slightly and stood up straighter to be level with her mother. "This is a customer. You treat customers with respect." The elder woman turned to look at me. "My apologies on my daughter's behalf. How may we help you today?"
I gave a forced smile. "My friend wants me to try on that dress you have in your window; he says it will match my hair."
The woman nodded, and left to go get it while my eyes landed on an ivory dress sitting in the corner.
"A wedding gown..." Taking off my glove, I rubbed my fingers across the smooth silk.
"Are you going to get married soon?"
My eyes snapped up to meet the girls and my hand pulled away on instinct. "No." And I never shall. "I was just...admiring."
The girl appeared to be surprised by my answer. "Eh? But how old are you? I'm seventeen and engaged to be married in two years."
I gave a tight smile. "I'm seventeen as well."
"Fiancé then?" I shook my head. "Courting?" Again, the answer was no.
"I cannot marry the person I love. That is all." Turning away, I didn't want to see the pitying glance; there was nothing to pity. Just because I couldn't marry him didn't mean I couldn't have him, as this girl thought. Hell! Just this morning we had sex!
My eyes squinted. That's right. We had sex this morning. And I couldn't walk straight for an hour.
As the woman returned with the dress, I saw Sebastian enter the store.
"Ah, how can we help you sir?" The woman asked, making a shooing motion towards us after handing her daughter the clothes. A smile lit the demon's face.
"I am only here to help my mistress dress. She has never been good at dressing herself."
I deadpanned. "Douche bag." I dressed myself perfectly well the other day.
The woman made a face at the idea of a butler dressing his mistress instead of a maid, and intervened. "It will be fine. My daughter can take care of it."
A shit eating grin slid onto his face. "But it is my responsibility, Madam. Surely you would not stop me from preforming my duties?"
"I..." After a moment's hesitation, she decided not to fight it. "Of course."
Sebastian nodded and slid past the daughter, pushing me towards the fitting rooms and holding the door open for me. "Miss Constance."
My eyes rolled. "Mister Sebastian." Entering, I set the dress I was handed on the table. "Do I really have to try another dress on? I've already put on about two dozen dresses."
"It is to amuse the Prince. Surely you do not wish for him to cry again." The demon stated sourly, turning me around to start undoing the buttons on the back of my dress.
Sighing, I stripped. "I know that, but-"
"Out of curiosity," Sebastian said, cutting me off. I frowned; it wasn't often he did that. "You seemed highly upset at the idea of not marrying." Damnit, he was listening to that?! Why can't he just- I don't know- not ease drop on my conversations?! Besides! What gave him the idea I was upset?!
"What makes you-"
"The way you spoke." He lifted the top layer of my dress up and over my head. "It appeared to be rather melancholy."
I shook my head. "It's not that. I think every girl dreams about her wedding. I hadn't even really given mine too much thought until you mentioned it yesterday. And it hit me that I'd never be able to plan it. I'd never be able to choose accenting colors, never be able to pick a dress, never have to worry about needing to pee two minutes before the wedding..." Sebastian's eyebrow rose in the mirror and I turned around to look at him. "What?! It's something that happens to all women! They're in their wedding gown, getting ready to walk down the aisle when they suddenly have to pee!"
"Nerves, I'm sure." Sebastian replied flatly. I shrugged nonetheless, turning my back towards him while he lifted up the dress.
"And I'll never be able to experience that."
He stayed quiet for a moment. "Is that truly something your heart desires? Something so dear to you, you would give up the most important thing in your life?"
Looking at the floor, I shook my head. "No. It is not." Besides, what was the most important thing in the world for me? My answer came to me exactly as I asked it. My hope; my hope to see Maverick; my parents; my friends and family. "I will never give it up."
"Good." I glanced up at the demon for an answer, who was giving me a coy smile. "If you truly wished so, I would marry you." Holy shi- "However, it is not an ordeal I would wish to go through. Bowing my head before god; it would taint my image." He looked off sideways, obviously annoyed with something. "Not that Mammon's image of me could get worse."
My eyebrows furrowed as he began to dress me. "Mammon?"
"The Archdemon of Greed." Oh. "Because Satan repented, he believes I am no longer fit for the title of Archdemon and often asks to be given Violence with his greed."
I glared a bit. "You're bullied by Greed?"
Sebastian chuckled. "If you wish to refer to it as that. Mammon would have to go through Lucifer to be given my spot, however apparently Satan was his favorite nephew."
As he pulled the dress over my head, I consider what he told me last night. "Do demons have a sense of incest?"
"I'm afraid I do not understand your question, Miss Constance."
Of course he didn't. "Humans frown upon incest. Well; not so much now as they will in the future. In my time, Ciel wouldn't be able to marry Lizzie since they're first cousins. But, do demons have any qualms with that?"
Sebastian considered it. "We have no qualms with it, but most do not have relatives to speak of. Born demons, as Charis will be," I looked to my stomach with a blush as he spoke of our child. "Often find nothing wrong with being in a sexual relationship with their parents."
The absolute disgust showed on my face.
"I beg pardon?!" I screeched, obviously not happy with such news. Sebastian chuckled, turning me back around and sweeping my hair over my shoulder. "You nor myself will participate in any sexual activities with our daughter."
A rumbling sound came from behind me, and I realized it was Sebastian chuckling. Holy crap, that was hot. "Constance," I noticed the drop on my personal title. "I did specify it is usually born demons that feel this way. Most demons were once human, and while they are not as disgusted as you are by incest, many do not care for it."
"I am neither against," I frowned heavily as he said this. "Nor for. As it stands, I've lost you six times previously." Sebastian said, turning me back around and fixing the sleeves; to be honest, I was surprised he was so easily talking about this. "I do not plan on losing you again. Incest would undoubtedly trigger your anger, and as I have a slight temper-"
"The understatement of the century."
He glowered, which I had never seen on his face; it made him adorably cute in some weird way. I couldn't conceive how though. Sebastian was sex personified; and cute did not come together with sexy unless it was about a girl in frilly lingerie, much less on the demon behind me.
"-and as I do possess a temper," Sebastian corrected, bringing me out of my thoughts. "It would likely bring your death again." Again. Wonderful. "And I plan to avoid that at all costs."
Sighing, my gaze dropped slightly, looking at the collar of his large trench coat. "You know," I stated, glancing over the double buttons. "I like that coat on you." I could see Sebastian raise an eyebrow in my peripheral. "It accents your hips and makes you look even more lean than you already do."
"I am glad it pleases you." I blushed slightly, looking away. "I find you rather appealing in this dress." He leant down, looking meeting my eyes in the mirror. "It accents your breasts."
Blushing fiercely, I resisted the urge to cover myself; after all, he had already seen them multiple times. And yet...
"How do you make that sound so dirty?! They're just breasts! Technically speaking, even men have them."
My mate gave a breathless chuckle, pulling me closer and removing the cloth I had around my neck hiding his Faustian symbol. "While that is true," I watched in the mirror as he pulled off his glove with his teeth, running his bare fingertips over the black insignia. "A woman is much softer."
As his hand slid down to my collar bone, I deadpanned. "If you grope me, I will be biting off that hand of yours. And considering you're left handed-"
"I am ambidextrous."
Of course he is. Damnit, there goes my 'then it'll be difficult for you to Jack off' threat. "Were in a clothing store, Sebastian. Besides, if you forgot, we had sex this morning."
Sebastian smirked, his eyes flashing. "It is mating season, my Mistress."
"And you've mated me!" His smirk widened. "Oh god, what is it?"
"Demons are similar to rabbits in the aspect of how often they rut."
Turning about ten different shades of red, I sputtered as he groped me, which promptly earned him an attempt at his hand with my teeth, which he pulled away in the nick of time.
"Oi! I said I'd bite your hand off!"
He chuckled, and again it rumbled through his chest. "Indeed you did. Perhaps I should take your threats more seriously." My eyes rolled. I should go find something to literally shove up his ass. "I believe you should get this dress. It suits you well."
My eyebrow rose. "Nina would be heartbroken to find out I own a dress not made by her."
Sebastian glared blankly. "That is not my problem."
I snickered, but that quickly escalated until I was laughing so hard I was silent.
"Miss Constance, what do you find so humorous?"
I clutched my ribcage; it was starting to hurt now from laughing, and I began wheezing. "She-she calls you Mr. Stiff." His unamused expression told me he didn't understand why I found such humor at that, which only made it worse.
He waited until I was done with my laughing fit-at which point I had slid to the ground-before staring me down.
"Are you quite finished?"
Nodding, I wiped my eyes, though no tears had spilled over yet. "Yes, Mr. Stiff. Come on, Sebastian. We both know you're a closet pervert; find your dirty mind filter and run it through that."
After a moment, Sebastian's eyes widened a fraction; I almost didn't notice it if I hadn't been looking at him. But he gave no other sign he understood it. "Indeed. Though, I must say you are far more perverse than myself."
"Oh, I know." He looked gobsmacked for half a second. "I've said it before multiple times-though, that was before I came to this time-that I am a pervert. I think it's decreased a bit in the last year, but here's the thing. I'm a pervert; you're a closet pervert, which makes it about ten times worse."
He closed his eyes and picked up both his glove and my choker, frowning slightly at the purple fabric. "This color does not match your new dress."
My eyebrow rose. "So were getting the dress?" Sebastian gave a curt nod. "Why exactly are we indulging Soma's every whim? For the last two days, Ciel's been avoiding him at all costs, but today-"
"There was another attack." My eyes rolled; oh yes, the pantsing. "It could be coincidences, but the two nights they stayed in, the attacks did not occur, but did the night they went out."
My eyes widened slightly as I leaned my head against the wall to look up at him from my place on the floor. "It coincides? We're following them to see what they do?"
"Yes; we shall also be tailing them in secret at night."
I nodded. "Compare how they act when with people, and how they act when not."
"Correct." He leaned down, pulling me up to change me back into my original dress. "So, will you continue to go along with whatever whim fancy's him?"
Sighing, I shrugged out of the dress. "Alright. For the sake of the epic pantsing victims." I had to admit though, the pantsing was pretty awesome.
After two hours of following our Indian friends through the cold, I finally looked up at my boys and Lau who had decided to tag along. I deadpanned as the cold was finally starting to touch me.
"They're acting like Soma and Agni; trying to find someone and getting annoyed as more people say they can't help." I stated flatly, annoyed at having been in the cold this long. "Can we go home? It's late, they'll be headed back soon, and I'm tired." Well, maybe not tired per se but I wanted to be wrapped in a cocoon and snuggling with my pillow.
"By all appearances, they really are just trying to find someone." Lau stated, and I face palmed.
"They aren't doing anything out of the ordinary." Double face palm. Both just restated what I said.
Muttering to myself about how they had to hear themselves talk, I noticed Sebastian pull out his pocket watch. "It is 1 A.M. They shall be returning to the townhouse shortly. Let us head back as well." And with that, we started on our way back home.
Seriously. Does no one listen to me?!
I sat with Ciel, who appeared to be falling asleep on his hand as he waited to see if either of our Indian guests decided to have an abrupt walk outside.
"Young Master." I looked out the window to see Sebastian hanging upside down like a bat, and had to swallow back a giggle. Glancing down at the younger male, I nudged him awake. "He is on the move."
Still watery-eyed, Ciel stumbled up out of his seat. "All right, better-"
That woke Ciel up. We all looked at Soma, who stood in the doorway. "Take me with you as well." Hey, I thought he'd gone to bed already? "I was aware that Agni would sometimes go out after I'd gone to bed. I want to know what he's up to."
I almost pitied the boy; he was aware of the incidents going on, and he would undoubtedly feel betrayed if it was Agni's doing…
Sebastian swung into the room in a spider-man like fashion, which I glared at. "Yes, Miss Constance?"
"I prefer Batman."
I think it was then the others deemed me mentally troubled.
Stalking out Agni, I felt immensely like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
So much, that I started humming the theme song.
"Miss Constance." I froze in my crouch, gazing up at the others who were all looking down at me. "May I inquire as to what you are doing?"
"Uh…" How did I get out of this? "…Practicing my Tom Cruise impersonation?"
Receiving more looks-and no doubt validating my insanity-we continued on, though I was forced to walk like a normal human being, much to my dismay.
"He went into this building." I raised my eyes to look over the eleven foot wall.
"Is he compensating for something?" That was a big wall.
Ciel frowned, his eyes narrowing. "If memory serves, this is…" A scoff then escaped the boy. "I see. Now I'm starting to get the picture."
"I'm not!" I screeched, though my mouth was promptly covered by Sebastian's gloved hand.
"What do you mean, Ciel?" Oh, I can't talk but Soma can. Not cool. "Whose house is this?"
"Now, now, your highness." Lau said, patting the Prince on the shoulder. "Patience. It will be clear once you've gone inside." His voice darkened considerably, and I frowned slightly. "And then you will be forced to face the truth, whether you like it or not. You…" I leaned forward slightly in anticipation, forgetting exactly who was talking.
"…and I both…'kay?"
If Sebastian wasn't pressing his hand against my mouth, I would have face faulted.
Ciel's eyebrow ticked in annoyance. "By the 'and I,' I take it you haven't a clue either?"
"Yes!" Lau chirped, and I face palmed over Sebastian's hand. Would that make it a double face palm?
Shaking his head, Ciel decided the best course of action would be to ignore the Chinese man, turning to look at the towering wall. "This residence belongs to Harold West Jeb, who runs an extensive import business. I had the distinct displeasure of meeting him once." I giggled. "He's an unsavory sort who loves all kind of titles."
"So, he's obsessed with being top of the social class." I concluded, looking up at the wall. "So, he is compensating."
Ciel shook his head, not degrading himself with an answer. "He mainly imports spice and tea leaves from India, and runs 'Harold Trading,' a general store, as well as 'Harold West,' a Hindustani coffeehouse." Man, he really was full of himself.
Sebastian finally removed his hand from my mouth, dropping it to his side. "Whilst investigating Miss Mina, I happened across Mister West's name in some of the documents I was reviewing. Per those papers, Bengal is indeed the main source of his wares, and he has suffered collateral damage from the hanging incidents, but…" My eyes narrowed. "It seems the company representative, Mister West himself, just happened to be away at the time of the incidents and escaped being hung."
"He attacked his own company so he wouldn't be accused, but decided to take a trip out of the country when they were attacked." Sebastian nodded, and I huffed. "Not as stupid as I thought."
"There's nothing for it then." I looked at Ciel, who was peering up at the wall. "Let's go take a look."
Sebastian gave a nod. "As you wish, Sir."
Suddenly, both Ciel and I were scooped up by the waist, and flew through the air as Sebastian jumped over the wall. It took all my will power to not let out a small screech when Sebastian landed on the ground, putting us both down.
A growl met my ears, and I took a step back from the large Dobermans that were stalking towards us when they suddenly leapt in an attack.
Before they could get very far, I felt a pure black, tainted dark energy encase the immediate area, comfortably rubbing against me. My eyes glowed, and I muttered a series of foul words as I closed my eyes, rubbing them intensely until they went back to normal.
The dogs whimpered, and I took a glance to see them backing off, whining.
Sebastian chuckled next to me, placing his hand over my still pink eyes. "What cowardly guard dogs Mister West keeps." Closing my eyes, he brushed his fingertips over the lids, and I felt them return to normal. Damnit, why couldn't I learn that trick?!
"Hoh there, Earl!" My eye twitched as I looked at Lau, who wasn't making any attempts to keep quiet, spinning a ring of keys on a foot long needle. "Over here, over here!"
My eyes fell to the bodies that lay on the ground, and my mouth fell open. "You can't kill people Lau!"
"Nooo." The Chinese man pouted. "What do you take me for? I didn't kill them. I simply put them to sleep. I think it's a four thousand year old method from ancient China."
You think? Seriously! This-
"Nevermind." I deadpanned as Ciel brushed it off, deciding it best not to get into specifics. "Let's stop dallying and find him already.
Walking into the house, I looked around to find it empty. "There do not seem to be any guards inside."
My eyes rolled at what Sebastian said. "We don't have any guards outside either. Why would someone keep guards inside to begin with?"
Sebastian raised an eyebrow as if asking if I forgot what he was; which, I had, partially. He was our guards, along with Pluto being our guard dog. Blushing slightly, I looked down up the stairs, hearing voices coming from above us. I opened my mouth to comment, but was cut off by Sebastian.
"I can hear voices coming from the second floor." Glancing at Lau and Soma, I noticed them furrow their eyebrows slightly, as if they didn't hear anything. And they probably didn't; I must have only heard it because of my improved hearing. Good thing Sebastian cut me off when he did. "What say we go upstairs and have a look?"
Sneaking our way upstairs, I was thankful the floorboards didn't give a cliché creak like in the movies and alert the people who lived here of our presence.
"You've done a splendid job." My eyebrows furrowed, hearing the voice of a man. "Don't look so tormented, old chap. Why not have a cigar and relax?" Peeking in through the crack of the open door, I saw a man holding out a box of cigars to Agni. The butler didn't move to take one; in fact, he looked rather upset.
"This is a first-class Havana cigar I bought from James Fox, the Royal Warrant holder." Turning my eyes away from, I looked at the man talking, and only one thought entered my mind.
"His hair. It defies the laws of physics."
Four pairs of eyes fell on me, each telling me to shut up. Pouting, I turned away and looked back at the man with his law of physics defying hair. "Well, in any case…" The man who could only be Harold West turned away, setting down his box of cigars. "The plan has been executed to perfection so far. Everything will be resolved in a week's time. And as long as I have this 'right hand of god'" West grabbed Agni's right hand, holding it up with a smirk. "My scheme will be realized!"
Scheme. Seriously. He's like a freaking Scooby Doo villain!
"Three long years I've waited. I'll see myself victorious in this, no matter what!"
Agni looked thoroughly troubled, and I felt the overwhelming want to hug him as guilt-which I now realized was coming from him- flooded the room. "If I carry out my mission as promised, Mina wi-"
We jerked back as Soma barged into the room, effectively giving himself away.
I face palmed. "Idiot!" I hissed, completely unbelieving in the lack of IQ this guy had. Seriously.
Both Ciel and I were pulled back by Sebastian, his gloved hands covering our mouths. "Please be quiet. He knows the young Master and I, and while Mister West has yet to meet Miss Constance, it is well known that the young Master's sister has turquoise hair." I wanted to correct him on the color when I realized he got it right, which frazzled my brain for half a second. "Let us see how things proceed before rushing in."
Giving a nod, Sebastian released us, and I peeked back into the room to see Soma gripping Agni by the collar.
"What is the meaning of this Agni?! Have you known where Mina is all along?!" Another wave of guilt hit me, to the point where I felt nauseous.
"Ah, so that's your master, is it Agni?"
Soma turned to West, pure undaunted rage in his eyes. "You…are the one who took Mina away. Agni! Defeat him!"
For the first time I'd ever seen, Agni didn't obey his master.
"Agni!" It seemed this was the first time ever Agni didn't obey ever. "What are you doing?!"
Watching West's face contort into a smirk, I felt something was dearly wrong. "Agni." Dearly, dearly wrong. "Throw his annoying highness out of here." Thankfully, Agni didn't move. "Can't you hear what I'm saying?"
"It would seem a quarrel has ensued."
My eyebrow twitched at what the demon said. "No shit, Sherlock. Way to state the obvious."
Sebastian glared at me, before continuing. "Though there's no mistaking West's involvement with the hangings based on their little chat…they no longer seem to be incidents of the underworld."
"Which means it's out of Ciel's jurisdiction." I stated, and Sebastian raised an eyebrow as I stated the obvious. "Hey, I'm a hypocrite."
"Indeed." Ciel sighed.
Lau laughed at the boy's annoyance. "But informing the yard is a pain, so what do you say we beat them silly and go home?"
"That doesn't sound half-bad, but I have another idea." I raised an eyebrow at Ciel, waiting for him to continue. "Let's leave West at large for a while longer." Well, that was a first. "Tonight, we'll be leaving here with that thick headed prince."
"But how are we going to get Soma?" I asked; after all, Sebastian had said none of us could enter.
"Please let me handle it."
We all looked at Sebastian, whose smile was positively glowing.
"Agni." I peeked into the room again, noticing we'd been out of the conversation. "Give his highness a good whack to shut him up." West chuckled. "What's wrong? I'm not ordering you to kill him." Like that helped Agni's guilt. "I'm only telling you to rough him up a bit to get him to bite his tongue. Aren't I a nice fellow?"
"Sebastian!" I hissed, watching Agni lift his hand up. "If you're going to do something, now would be the time!"
Before Agni's hand could come down on Soma, I saw a black blur rush between them, halting the attack. From my angle, I couldn't tell what he had done to hide his face. "Hey, isn't Sebastian-" I cut myself off as I saw Sebastian stand up.
I skipped the giggles and went to full blown laughing-so-hard-I-didn't-make-a-sound.
A deer! Dear God!
I froze, before continuing my silent laughing at the bad pun.
"WHO THE HELL IS THIS?! AN ENEMY SPY?!" I was wiping my eyes as West began to freak out, both Soma and Agni still in shock.
"Nothing of the sort. I am merely one hell of a deer."
My laughter started up again.
And I couldn't stop. I think I was turning purple from lack of oxygen.
"We should get going now." I felt myself get hefted up by Lau, who ran out of the house carrying both me and Ciel, jumping onto the wall and continuing his fleeing until we met up with Sebastian a few blocks away.
"Oi, you can set me down now." I pointed out, having finally gotten over my laughing fit. The Chinese man set me down, and I think he brushed his hand over my ass, but I had too many layers of skirts in the way to tell. "Sebastian, that was absolutely brilliant."
The demon's eyebrow twitched before smiling with the ferocity of a thousand suns at Lau. "Why, thank you Miss Constance. But, I must ask Mister Lau to not touch you inappropriately again."
The usually smiling Chinese man was not smiling.
"Amazing, that fellow from before." I glared at Lau; did he seriously not remember Agni's name? "It was beyond anything that could be defined as human."
"He was in the state of samadhi." Everyone turned to Soma, who sat pouting. "No one can lay a hand on him when he gets like that."
Sebastian held the answer. "It is to do with religion, yes? A kind of trance like state." How did he know that? "Humans are strange creatures that can produce a tremendous amount of power derived from intense belief that gives way to a kind of blind faith. The Norse Vikings of Yore became berserkers in the name of their war god Odin…The Paladins of the Crusades fought in the name of Yahweh by invading foreign lands time and time again." I'd never considered it, but I guess he had a point. Multiple times in history, wars were waged and won based off their faith in their god; of course, the same could be said for those who lost.
"And because Agni views Soma as his god," I stated, remembering what Agni said the other day. "He can create this power from his absolute devotion."
A smirk spread across the demon's face. "It is a power that our like cannot boast." My eyebrow rose; 'our like'? "That which is born of belief in and love for another…a power known as Faith."
"Then why…" I blinked, looking at Soma who could barely be heard. "…did he betray me?" I leant over to pat his hand in sympathy when he suddenly threw the tea set to the ground. I immediately recoiled, not wanting to cut myself and Soma took off to my room.
"Are you three all right?" Sebastian asked, glancing down at each of us in turn.
Lau gave a cheeky smile, and I found a strong urge to smack it off his face. "We ducked, so we're fine." Why would he need to duck?! He was the farthest away!
Sighing, Sebastian's gaze landed on the broken tea set covering the floor. "Oh dear…There goes the Haviland tea set I sent away from because I thought it would be perfect for young Master…" My eye twitched at the sarcasm that dripped off his tongue; he didn't give a shit about the tea set. Though, I did feel Sebastian's aura darken considerably.
"I do believe, the unruly prince needs to be retaught his manners a touch."
I snorted. "You act like he had any to begin with."
Opening my door, I stood to the side and allowed Sebastian to stalk towards the ball of covers on my bed.
"You knave!" Soma yelled, hearing the door open. "Who gave you permission to enter this-"
Not even hesitating, Sebastian gripped the sheets and pulled, causing the Indian prince to tumble out onto the floor.
"You insolent foo-"
"Which of us is being insolent?" Sebastian asked, his voice sharp with the absolute darkness in it. Turning around, he collected the sheets that had spilled out with the prince.
I sneered slightly, peering down at the prince. "It's my room Soma. I decide who enters this room, not you." Scoffing, I shook my head. "Doing as you please and leaving a mess in your wake…" I looked up, and I felt an absolute coldness in my eyes. "You've made a fine pest of yourself."
Soma looked positively angry, and appeared ready to lash out when Sebastian spoke. "You are in England, at the residence of Earl Phantomhive. This is neither your country nor you palace." The demon turned around, and I felt certain that his cold-heartedness was pulled off much better than mine. "Here, you have absolutely no right to order me of anything." His eyes narrowed slightly, but didn't flash pink.
"Here, you are nothing more than an impertinent brat."
I snickered slightly, leaning against the wall to watch how this played out. Nothing I ever said seemed to get through to the prince; I could only hope Sebastian could.
"A powerless child who cannot do anything unless Mister Agni is with you." He continued, smirking. "And now you have also been betrayed by him, your last ray of light."
Soma's face darkened as he realized it wasn't worth denying. "Yes. I haven't anything left. I've lost it all."
"Lost?" I glanced at Sebastian, who appeared to honestly be amused. "What amazing persecutory delusions you have there." My eyebrows furrowed; what was Sebastian getting at? Didn't he just say he lost his last 'ray of light'? "You have not lost anything…
"As you had nothing to lose to begin with."
My eyes widened along with Soma's; mine in surprise rather than disbelief. That was just a tad bit harsh; none the less, it seemed to get to Soma. But perhaps that was what was needed for the prince to finally understand.
"Your parents gave you your status. Your parents gave you your palace. Your parents gave you your servants." Sebastian snickered to himself, so light I almost didn't hear it. "From the very beginning, none of it was ever your own." Soma's voice appeared to have died in his throat.
"Do I not speak the truth? Even when it came to Mister Agni, you had an inkling of something being amiss there, yes?" Soma paled a few shades more than probably healthy. "But you had not the courage to ascertain the matter yourself."
"Y…" Oh, was he going to speak? "You're wrong!" Again, he swung his hand, knocking off the water jug on the table, causing it to come crashing to the ground. He must have had a fetish for breaking things.
Ah, I thought to myself, watching as he dashed for the door. He's in denial.
Sebastian beat Soma to the door-not that that itself was a feat- and slammed his hand into the door, blocking Soma's only escape route. "Ah, but I am not wrong, am I?" Amusement shined in his burgundy eyes, and I realized he enjoyed the mental fuck he was giving Soma, who couldn't speak. "I see. So now that reality is being thrust in your face, you have decided to affect the role of the tragic hero this time?"
When Soma didn't answer, a sadistic smile laid on the demon's face as he chuckled.
"You truly are a pathetic, hopeless brat."
His back shook as if he were holding back tears, and yet…
I couldn't find it in me to care. I enjoyed the mental mind fuck as much as Sebastian.
Soma finally started to break, and the corner of my lips turned up. "Bu-But!" His voice cracked as he spoke. "Everyone said they would always stay by my side-"
"Lip service, of course." Damn, talk about chilly Sebastian. I felt like I had been dumped in the northern Atlantic ocean; no doubt Soma felt like he'd been dumped in the artic. "No one serves another without a reward. Even a three year old from the slums knows that much."
If I thought what he said before was cold, then what he said next was absolute zero.
"Not one of them ever loved you."
Soma shook, murmuring incomprehensible things when I heard Ciel step into the room.
"Let's leave it at that."
Sebastian turned around, appearing perhaps a little put out at the end of his fun. "Young master."
The younger male gave a sigh, closing his only visible eye. "I might have ended up just like him…" His eye opened back up, empty and emotionless. "If not for that one long month."
I looked away; he had told me the story once. No detail had been spared as I knew exactly what species Sebastian was. And personally, I didn't wish to hear it again.
He stayed silent, much to my appreciation; though, when I looked down at him, I could see he was only silent because he was reliving that event.
Soma's voice brought the boy out of his depressed musings, and he looked back up. "My family was murdered, my home burned to ash, and I myself was subjected to humiliations unfit for even for a beast. I was a powerless…" Ciel's jaw muscles flexed as he clenched his teeth. "Child. Thus, I returned to Phantomhive, so that I might inflict the same humiliation upon those who made me and mine suffer. If Phantmohive was an obstacle to those who dispatched its previous head three years ago, they will eventually target me again if I stay on as Earl." I looked away, knowing what he was going to say next.
"I'm waiting for them to come here and make an attempt on my life."
Glancing up, I took a peek to see how Soma was reacting to this information; it looked like he couldn't understand it. "Why would you go that far...?"
Ciel didn't even hesitate; no sadness was in his voice; not a hint that he cared for his life. "Despairing, grieving, standing still…what good will they do? Even the dead can stand still. But I am here…alive and standing on my own feet with my own strength." I smiled softly, though it didn't touch my eyes; such powerful words. But he had traded his soul for that strength. "If I'm going to die at some point anyway, I'd rather do so without regrets. I won't make any lofty claims about trying to avenge the previous head." He stepped over the broken china, a piece crunching under his foot. "I'm simply doing this for my own diversion. Them or me, Earl Phantomhive. This is just a game to see who wins."
And he would win this game, like all his other games.
"Even if I'm made to stand on the edge of despair in a hellish place…" Which he had already done when abducted. "I won't give up. I'll grab the spider's thread if it'll help me crawl up out of there." Reaching out, he gripped thin air. "We humans possess that kind of strength." Sebastian smiled at the claim. "To grab that thread or not, however, is your own decision, and yours alone."
Ciel walked out of the room, waving it off. "Enough of this prattle. Sebastian, I want to talk to you about West. Tabby, you come as well."
Sniffing, I followed him out the door, tempted to hug him and keep him next to me, but thought better of it. Ciel would be very cross with me if I did. Following him, I couldn't help but notice exactly how…cold he appeared to be now.
"Ciel!" My eye twitched. Of course Soma would interrupt me. I looked behind us to see the prince standing with his hands on his knees, slightly out of breath from running down the stairs. "I-I am ashamed of myself." Oh? Well, that was interesting. "I'm seventeen, but I'm still a child compared to you. I was a spoiled child in the nest that my parents granted me…and never even once tried to understand others. I knew something was troubling Agni, but I didn't even try to talk to him about it."
My eyes narrowed at the boy. "What does it matter now? What's done is done, Soma."
"But now I want to know." Soma stood up straighter, eyes shining with determination. "I want to confront them and ask why they left my side. So please! Let me join you in-"
Soma froze as he let what Ciel said sink in, and the by turned around, continuing on his way. "I have no desire to babysit a charge as naïve as yourself." He halted, reconsidering. "That said, my parlor door has never been locked."
I gave an exasperated groan, knowing that after a few seconds what he said would be comprehended by the prince. True enough, Ciel was glomped from behind by Soma, the older male once again acting younger.
My eyebrow twitched. Or how seventeen year olds act in my time. Considering all the eighteen year olds I knew that acted like fifteen year olds…I supposed I could let Soma's action pass this time.
Leaning of Ciel, Soma stood with his hands folded. "Ciel, I apologize for breaking the cups earlier when I snapped. Please forgive me." His gaze fell on me. "You as well, Tabby. I apologize for using your room without your permission." I deadpanned, but knew it really couldn't be helped.
"I'd much rather receive an apology for completely ignoring me every time I tried to teach you a lesson."
Soma paled, but nodded all the same. "I also apologize for that. I should have listened to you and not deemed you beneath me because you were a woman." My eye twitched, and I bit my tongue to stop me from getting another apology for that. "And-" Soma's eyes landed on Sebastian, and the prince immediately used Ciel and myself as human shields from the demon who had scarred him. "I…I apologize to you too…"
The corners of the butler's lips twitched up in amusement. "Not at all."
"-Now then." I gave a huff as I plopped back into my seat. "Shall we continue where we left off before Soma's divine intervention?" Said boy flushed.
Ciel nodded, taking a sip of tea. "First, West must have put Agni up to the aforementioned incidents."
I nodded as well. "With his physical strength, it would be easy."
"West mentioned…" Sebastian set down Soma's tea. "…a 'three year plan' that 'the successful execution of that plan will take place in one week' and that 'Agni's right hand is absolutely necessary.' That was all."
"The most important factor is the 'one week later' deadline." Ciel looked up at his demon. "Sebastian, what events will be held in London one week from now?"
"One week from now?" Sebastian held his hand to his chin in thought. "Young master has received invitations to a choir concert sponsored by Saint Sophia Academy at West Minister Abbey," That wouldn't be it. "Wagner at the royal opera house in Covent Garden," No, West wouldn't have anything with an opera house; he just didn't seem like the type. "An exhibition of Indian culture and it's prosperity within the empire at the Crystal Palace, and-"
"Indian culture?" I asked, perking up. Ciel did the same.
Sebastian sighed at Ciel's lack of recognition of the event. "Young master, a gentleman must read all correspondence addressed to him, no matter what the contents." I snickered at Sebastian's scolding while Ciel scowled.
"Shut up and just give me the details."
Giving another sigh, Sebastian relayed to us the events of the exhibition. "The exhibition of Indian culture and it's prosperity in the British Empire will be held at the crystal palace in the next week. The main exhibits will feature Great Britain's achievements and industry in India. A curry fair will also be held as part of the program. Young master had received an invitation to be a special judge at that fair." My cheeks puffed at Sebastian's subtle reprimanding. "The fair will have several companies competing with their curries. Rumor has it that her majesty, who is known for her love of curry, will come visit that fair." If she did go, no doubt West would be there just to be in her presence. "Should I see which individuals are hosting their own parties as well?"
"No." Ciel shook his head, fed up with it all. "India, curry…That's quite enough."
A chuckle came from next to me, and I turned to see Lau's smirk stretching across his face. "It seems you've caught on my lord."
"Yes. Three years, a fair, and as west covets brands and titles, he would only think of one thing." My eyebrows furrowed; what was he talking about. "I can't believe how silly this case has turned out to be." Despite the fact I thought it was silly when he first told me about the pantsing…
"So you were really sent on a fool's errand." Lau laughed again.
"Hey, wait!" Everyone looked at Soma who had burst out. "I don't understand what's going on. Explain it to me!" I glared, and he whimpered slightly. "Please?"
Rolling my eyes, I turned towards Ciel sitting across from me. "I don't know what you're talking about either."
"Don't worry you two." My eyes slid over to Lau. "You'll find out in due time…from Lord Earl!"
"Once again, you were only pretending to know!"
I face palmed. Again, we were caught up in Lau's…acting. "Lau, you're a real piece of work, you know that?"
Ciel clenched his teeth before starting his explanation, deciding it best to just ignore the Chinese man from here on out. "The main dish served at West's Hindustani coffeehouse is curry. In other words, west is attempting to obtain a Royal Warrant with his curry."
"Ah, now I understand!" Lau exclaimed, but I wasn't too sure I really believed him.
Besides, I still didn't understand.
"A row y'all war rent?" My cheeks puffed as Soma sounded it out. "What's that?"
"Ah, right!" Lau brushed it off. "Your highness wouldn't know of it."
Frowning, I waved my hand in the air next to my head. "Hey, I don't know what that is either." I was given looks by both Ciel and Lau. "Hey now! Remember, I'm from Haven, Alabama in the United States from the year 2011; of course I'm not going to know what a Royal Warrant is." Though, I could at least say it right.
Ciel sighed, deciding he had to explain. "England has a curious system. Members of the royal family can grant a seal of 'approval' to merchants and artisans of whom they are fond. That seal is known as the Royal Warrant. Stores that hold the royal warrant can display that seal on their signs. A royal warrant is equivalent to quality assurance."
My eyes widened. "And if the royal family likes it, then everyone will want some, meaning their sales will sky rocket." No one understood the term 'sky rocket.' "Their sales will increase tenfold." I explained, and received a nod from the eye patched boy.
"Yes. We were considering applying for the royal warrant for our confectionery and Toy brand." No doubt Ciel would probably get that easily. "Some stores have tripled their sales as Queen Victoria sets the trends for everything from fashion to food."
"And West would want a royal warrant no matter what." I thought back to earlier. "Didn't he have cigars from a royal warrant holder?"
I, once again, received a nod from Ciel. "He is infatuated with his titles and brands, so that is more than likely. And he wants one for curry now as well; the timing is rather perfect. The rage for curry has slowed down, and winning the warrant is sure to increase his sales dramatically."
"I understand that West wants the so-called 'Royal Warrant.' But what does that have to do with the hanging incidents?"
Soma actually had a valid question, and I turned to Ciel, though it was Sebastian who answered. "There are two conditions for obtaining a Royal Warrant:" He held up one finger. "The first is to 'have the product's quality recognized at a fair,'" As he held up another, he smirked. "And the second is... 'gratuitous service to the Royal Family for three years.'"
I frowned. "But that doesn't explain what it has to do with the hangings…"
"For three years, West has been servicing the Royal Family with his imports for free." Ciel explained, and I nodded.
"Yeah, I get that. So have you, right?"
Ciel's eye widened a fraction before he smirked and continued on with his explanation. "He then caused those incidents to destroy his rivals who are participating in the fair next week." Understanding lit my eyes.
"So he's using that to scare his rival companies." That made sense. "But, why haven't the Yard connected this? No doubt they have more clues to work with."
Ciel scoffed. "Disregarding the fact the Yard consists of little more than bumbling hounds, military personnel were attacked as well, so it looked as if the culprits were Indians who held a grudge against England. West is probably using Mina to force Agni to participate in this silly plan…"
I smiled slightly. "And Agni is going to follow through to save her and his 'god'."
"What?" Soma asked, obviously getting lost. Ciel motioned for Sebastian to bring a paper forward, which was passed to Soma. I immediately recognized a letter from one of the many crime scenes.
"The letters left behind at the crime scenes held together another important clue besides camouflage." He pointed to the symbol that posed as a signature, the small drawing that resembled a tongue. "Lord Randall was ranting that the mark was an insult against England, but it's real meaning is something else entirely." Ciel then pointed to the statue that seemed to move to a different part of the house every time I saw it. "You pray to that, no?"
Looking at the statue, recognition lit my face. "Kali has her tongue sticking out."
"Correct. Agni drew this. And who is Agni's god?" Soma looked about ready to burst into tears. "He did it all for you. So both his prayers and his apology were drawn into this mark."
Sebastian smiled, looking down at the prince. "Mister Agni worships you and lives for you even after he has left your side." To be honest, Sebastian's smile looked a bit creepy. "You have been blessed with a wonderful butler."
Soma clinched the paper tightly, and I couldn't even guess what was going through his head; hopefully though, he had learnt from his impudence, and wasn't about to take anything for granted anymore.
"Then all's well that ends well, eh?" I glared at the Chinese immigrant, who was clapping. "What a heartwarming story! But, why don't we wash our hands of this affair and let the yard handle the rest?"
"Wait!" I flinched at Soma's sudden movement as he jumped out of his seat. "Then what will become of Agni and Mina?!"
"Who knows?" Lau stated, smiling as he shrugged, and I felt the overpowering urge to whack him upside the head. Not you…
Ciel yawned, no doubt because it was almost morning and we had been up all night. "We now know that this incident doesn't concern our side, the underworld." He yawned again. "And we're not running a charity."
I stared at Ciel, a little surprised. Even if this wasn't part of the Underworld, it was still a case given by the queen; didn't that mean something?
"I understand." Glancing up, I found Prince Soma clenching the note with determination. "This is indeed my problem. I will think about what I can do to solve it on my own."
Ciel smirked, stretching his shoulders and popping his knuckles. "Good attitude. Then I'll get on with my work."
This time, everyone looked at Ciel in surprise, especially since he just stated it wasn't part of the Underworld. "But-"
"I was summoned to London in winter on this worthless errand." Ah, he was still fussing about that? "Don't I deserve some reward for my troubles? A Royal Warrant is granted after three years of gratuitous service and one's showing at a fair. As Tabby pointed out, I indeed do have three years of gratuitous service, and coincidently, a fair is being held in one week." I almost face palmed. "And fortunately for us, the top competition is not participating. Therefore, if our Funtom Corporation participates and wins against West, the Royal Warrant will be ours."
I frowned. "But Ciel, Funtom is toy's and candy. Not curry."
He shrugged. "I was considering moving into the food business after we'd obtained a warrant for our confectionary and toys. If we were to get the warrant at a curry fair before this expansion, it would be the talk of the town."
"Indeed." Lau stated, leaning on his hand. "It'll be quite the trophy to mark the launch of Funtom's culinary line. But," Lau leaned back, crossing his legs. "You only have one week to set up a culinary department. Will you be able to prepare specialists in curry, cooking, equipment, stores, and such in time?"
Ciel took a sip of tea before answering.
"We won't be needing any of that." A hair popped off both mine and Soma's head. "Isn't that right, Sebastian?"
Of course, Ciel would use Sebastian; and Sebastian's pride wouldn't let him fail. "As butler to the Phantomhive family, it goes without saying that I can manage something like this." Like I said, his pride wouldn't let him fail. "The Royal Warrant will b-"
My mate froze, as if letting the fact he was interrupted set in, a hair similar to the one that popped off my head popping off his in disbelief.
"What was that, Prince Soma?" I asked, grinning slyly at Sebastian's reaction. Perhaps Soma wasn't all bad…
"There is no way you can win against West." The prince explained. "Not in a curry match!"
Ciel was obviously confused as well, if not a bit insulted. "Why not?"
"He has Agni." When Soma realized this was not enough of an explanation, he continued. "Who in turn as the right hand of god."
"…We're talking about a curry match, right?" I asked, looking between Ciel and Sebastian. "Not a fist of cuffs?" Both nodded, and I looked back at Soma. "It's a curry match not a-"
"That's it right there! It's a curry match!"
Okay. I was lost.
"Pardon me," Sebastian interrupted; apparently I wasn't the only one confused. "I do not quite follow."
A serious air settled around Soma, which only launched me further into confusion. "You do not know Agni's true power. You do not know real curry."
"…" Again, I was at a complete loss as Soma explained.
"The quality of real curry is determined by the spices in it. One must choose from hundreds of spices. The amount of each spice one uses determines the curry's taste, heat, and fragrance... The spices affect everything."
I got a slight grasp on what he was saying. "Which means there are so many combinations, making the best curry is like a needle in a haystack."
"Yes." Soma said, nodding in slight appreciation. "But Agni's right hand can do that. With only his fingertips, he selects the best spices from an innumerable selection and mixes in the optimal amounts, to create a curry that is nothing short of a miracle. His power to imagine and create a world from nothing is indeed within the realm of godliness." Wait…what he was implying was- "That is why Agni, with his 'right hand of god' is called…
"Kali's right hand!"
He wasn't serious.
"So, the 'right hand of god' doesn't refer to strength or righteousness, but curry making skills?" I asked, disbelief and delight shining in my eyes. When I received a-rather serious-nod from the prince, I almost bust a gut with my laughter.
"There you have it." Ciel glanced at Sebastian, who gave a small cough to cover his chuckles. "Sebastian?"
The demon looked up, amusement reflected in his rusted red eyes. "I seem to have found myself up against a formidable adversary."
A demon versus the right hand of god…in a curry battle.
I don't think this was what people envisioned when the spoke of a 'battle of the century'.
Which made it so much more humorous.
"Miss Constance, perhaps you should enjoy yourself, silently?"
My laughter continued.
So, yay for update~ I'm gonna try and get the next chapter out monday, but since i've been working on the titanic arc recently, i've been all...titanic arc-y, and will probably be working on that more since i'm procrastinating the curry arc, though most of both next chapter and the chapter after that is finished.
But god. This took so long. And i've noticed my writing style has changed(again). It seems more...unnecessarily wordy. Oh well.
Also...I LOVE YOU ALL FOR STILL READING AND REVIEWING~
I'm now going to go worry my little head off because my RP character is likely to die this month D: It's like knowing your child is going to die...*now has a few gray hairs added* At least I know she'll come back to life...
ANYWAYS. See you monday~ (hopefully D: )