Chapter 13- Notes

"Reveiller mon chère," a voice purred. "It is time to get up. We have many letters to write today."

Esmeralda sat upright and met the eyes of her captor: the Phantom Impersonator-

"Claude?" she whispered. "Where are we?"

"Notre Dame- beautiful cathedral. Mais regarde Mon chère, is it not a wonderful disguise?" the stage hand was clearly proud of his scheme. "I followed you down to that demon's lair, and then waited for you both to leave. I stole his clothes, his music, and then his mask."

Esmeralda was seething. "How dare you! You evil-!"

Smack!

"I am not evil." Claude spat at her. "I am the purer form. He is the evil one. The evil Satan from Hell. He has tainted you- I shall make you pure again. But we need time, yes lots of time. You'll need to write some letters Mon chère..."

To my managers,

You are very much aware that I was taken by the opera ghost. The only way to save me is to put on his production of Don Juan Triumphant. Make Christine the star, along with Piangi as Don Juan. He will return me on opening night. Please monsieurs, help me.

-Esmeralda Gringoire

Christine and Raoul,

This letter I must write in secret. The phantom plans to abduct Christine on the night of Don Juan. Please do all in your power to save her, Raoul. I hope you both have a wonderful life.

-Esmeralda Gringoire

erik.

i'm sorry it has to eNd this way. yOu were my very besT fRiEnd, but when you showeD me what you look like i wAs so scared. i didn't want you to hurt Me or kill mE like you did monsiuer joseph. you are a monster erIk, and i cannot marry a monster. Go after raouL and christine- it will be better fOr me. no longer will i feel like a VulnerablE child. hold my lullaby forever in YOUr heart. GOODBYE ERIK

-Esmeralda

Erik could see the waver of her hand as she wrote. The tear stains on the parchment. However untrue they were, these words still stung. When he had returned seething from failing to protect his love, Erik had found a piece of rolled up parchment through Esmeralda's engagement ring.

Erik read through the letter once more, this time writing down what he had thought of as a hunch. Esmeralda had a love of words. Often she would sit by the fire and read to him on cold nights.

"N...O...T...R...E...D...A...M..E...Notre Dame- the cathedral! Then what are these other letters..." Erik's heart stopped in his chest as he read it over once more. "I love you, goodbye Erik..."

"PHANTOM!" A voice called out across the lake. "COME AND FACE ME LIKE A MAN!"

Erik rolled his eyes. the Vicomte had impeccable timing. Erik heard him slosh across the water and draw a sword.

"You steal my friend then threaten my fiancée? You kill and destroy?" Raoul pointed his blade to Erik's back. "They say you are a ghost; shall we see if you bleed?"

"My quarrel is not with you, you stupid fop." Erik growled. "Take Christine, she loves you anyway. The man you saw take Esmeralda was not me. He was an imposter that stole my music.'

"Why should I believe you..."

Erik turned and looked Raoul dead in the eyes. It was a look that would have made the Devil himself wet his trousers. "My fiancée was stolen from me, as was my music. Those are the two things hold most dear in this world. I know where she is being held, and if you try and delay me from saving her-"

"You tell the truth. You love her." Raoul lowered his blade, still poised for attack.

"With all my damned soul and sinful heart."

Raoul put down his sword completely. "You sell yourself short. The damned cannot love, nor can they have it returned to them. From what I see you have both."

Erik scoffed.

"Allow me to help you." Raoul offered.

"What help could you be?"

"Esmeralda's captor seems to enjoy an audience. Why don't we give him one? Have the managers set the date for Don Juan one week from today."

"That is not enough time-"

"Exactly. The opera will be cut short, I am afraid. He says he'll return her to us during the performance. I will have police guarding the place- when he arrives we will have him arrested."

Don't do it. the Voice warned. Use your lasso to strangle the imposter. See the life drain from his eyes...

Erik eyed Raoul suspiciously. "This isn't a trick to have me arrested?"

The Vicomte shook his head. "A trick to make peace. I believe you when you say you love Esmeralda- but I expect you to leave Christine alone after this."

"Foolish boy," Erik muttered. "That is not for you to decide, it is for her. Should she want it, I will be her teacher once more. But I will no longer pursue her. I've no reason to."

"Then we are at an agreement?"

"...Yes. I will wait. But take my conditions into account."

"What are they?"

Erik grinned, the light flickering ghoulishly on his face. "All I ask is when this is over, to be able to continue to live in peace. And...to be able to kill the bastard that stole my Angel from me."