My unmasked Gentleman…
Hey there to Fanfiction! After the release of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies, many people have been requesting fanfics with the pairing of Descole x Emmy, so I decided to write one. There is also some slight hints of Layton x Emmy too concerning feelings and emotions. This is my first one-shot so I'm sorry if it isn't very good. Contains quite a few spoilers for 'Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies'- Anyway, this is dedicated to several Demmy supporters and it's totally dedicated to my friend, Anthea Frost (HAPPY BIRTHDAY! XD XD) Sorry for the length…I never change DX If you see anything that I can improve on please don't hesitate to tell me-constructive criticism is adored. Anyways, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Professor Layton or any of its characters- they are the property of Level 5.
The bitter heart-wrenching feelings of dread, terror and loneliness accompanied the never ending saturninity that grasped at the silent atmosphere around the young woman with invisible claws. The light above her glared ferociously into her wide aching pupils, setting her very soul alight with a torturous flame that only added to her determination to escape from her current location…even though she didn't know precisely where she was. Instead, she tried to pick out as many small but vital details as she could that could hint to any location of her whereabouts: the burning furnace above her, the occasional clatter of a person's hobnailed boots as they orderly proceeded down the winding corridors, the sturdy unbreakable bars that lay just a few metres in front of her and separated her from the outside world…it was apparently obvious that she was under guard in some type of prison building. If those signs weren't enough of a giveaway to her location then the cutting restraints gripping her wrists painfully certainly backed up any doubts that she had.
The woman hated the silence; it bit at her, jeered at her…reminded her of those torturous days when silence was the only friend she had. She had only recently started visiting these memories again, now that her happiness had gone. She could picture every scene clearly, not even missing out a single detail from the pattern on an oak dresser to the dull yellowing outfit that she wore during her days in the hell-like place. She'd been there since the day her parents had abandoned her to a bliss paradise of peace far beyond her reach…safe and at peace…the very opposite of their daughter. The girl had been sent to an unknown world where she had no one apart from silence and misery to call a friend, no one to love her or cherish her…as a polite young girl like herself should've been treated-but that all changed several years ago…when a man came into her lonely world. He had taken her hand and guided her away from her undying sadness…he had saved her from that devilish place…
She screwed up her eyes tightly, fighting to hold in her sorrow; thinking of her uncle only stabbed at her heart like a cruel blade, but it was hard not to when he had been the one who had saved her from being abandoned for eternity at that orphanage. It was he who had taken her in and raised her as one of his own. Her uncle had cherished her every minute of every day that had passed since then-at least, that is what she'd thought at the time. He had also educated her well, preparing her for her future life with useful skills like problem solving and defence skills. He'd taught her how to defend herself from any evil doers who dared to think of harming her when she was still at a young age and the camera that she still treasured to this day had been bought by her uncle for her eighteenth birthday. Photography and defence skills were her main hobbies…but if she had to pick a third then it would have to be puzzle solving. At least once a week her uncle would give her a challenging puzzle and she'd think for a few minutes before answering and being told that she was right almost every time. Her uncle would always congratulate her on her victories.
"Well done, Emmy! I'm extremely proud of you! I never expected you to get that one correct!"
"It's all thanks to you, Uncle Bronev! I love you so much!"
Sadly, all of that was several years ago…
Just three years ago, her uncle became the leader of the strange and shadowy government organisation called the Targent. Whilst working with them, he had discovered something big-something that would completely change their future. It was the remains of an ancient civilisation-the very same that Bronev had been searching for all of his life. He had been determined to achieve his goals-so determined that he would use others like pawns and dispose of anyone who became too close to uncovering the secrets before he did…and that was when it all changed…for both of them…
The cold and gruff voice snapped Emmy out of her thoughts as a familiar pair of grey eyes squinted through the iron bars at her. She swallowed and turned around, peering back sadly into the fiery eyes of Inspector Grosky. A clear frown was painted on his face as he shook his head viciously, letting his once flawless hair loose in a wave of dark colours across his face.
"Inspector?" Emmy asked in a surprised and relieved voice, "W…where am I…and why am I wearing these?"
The inspector's frown deepened as he folded his arms.
"Scotland Yard custody," he replied dryly, "and the reason why you're wearing those is because you attempted to steal a rare and valuable item and you tried to resist arrest…if you're bright enough to remember…"
Everything flooded back to her in a flash. Emmy's eyes widened and she peered around the room frantically before looking back at the inspector.
"I take it you've returned it back to the place where I'd stolen it from?" she asked with a sigh, "I was so close…"
"Correct-we've returned it back to its original place…safe from the likes of you…I seriously don't know what has made you change," he answered, an undeniable sadness in his voice, "Anyway, I came to tell you that you have visitors-ones that you know remarkably well…as a matter of fact—"
Emmy realised exactly who the man meant immediately.
"No! Tell them to go away! I have no desire to see them like this!"
Grosky was already calling the said visitors through, completely ignoring the woman's pleas. Echoing footsteps filled the room as the last two people the woman wanted to see shakily walked towards her, seeming a little hesitant at first.
"You've got ten minutes," Grosky announced loudly before slamming the door and locking it securely.
Emmy instantly bowed her head and focused on the ground beneath her feet as the two figures finally approached the edge of her cell, being separated only by the barriers that would forever be between them now. The first figure bowed his head also, pulling the brim of his elegant top hat over his face.
"I still can't quite believe it of you…," he stated simply, placing his hands in the deep pockets of his creased brown jacket.
The familiar sight of his brown trousers, polished black shoes and his orange jumper made him look as gentlemanly as ever, although his chestnut hair hung low with betrayal and his dark eyes were trying as hard as Emmy's to avoid eye contact. The second figure wrapped his hands around the bars, looking at her languishing form with wide eyes. The blue cap perched on top of his hazel hair was a perfect match to the shade of his jumper. A white blouse was worn underneath complete with dark shorts, black shoes and his trademark satchel which was usually filled with all of the interesting equipment needed to assist in solving puzzling cases, only it wasn't today.
"Why did you do it?" he asked, near to tears, "You aren't that type of person, Emmy!"
Emmy kept her head low, sighing deeply.
"If I cannot prove myself to be a good assistant to you, Professor, then I will not for anyone else- and if I cannot be who I once thought I was…then I shall be the opposite: what I really am," she answered flatly.
The professor shook his head roughly, a frown creasing his eyebrows.
"You can't think like that, Emmy!" he argued in a fairly sharp tone which shocked even her, "You aren't this type of person, Emmy! Did I not teach you three years ago about how to be a true lady and puzzle solver to be appreciated by friends and strangers alike? Are you just taking that information and ignoring it now? How could you have shown an interest in that sort of thing and want to help people all those years ago for you to now just leave it all behind you and turn against society?"
Emmy clenched her fists and screwed her eyelids shut as a tear ran down her cheek. She'd never heard her mentor so angry in her whole life; he had a calm face but the anger and betrayal in his tone was obvious enough to show how he felt. Had she really disappointed him that much? It made her heart ache to think she'd angered one of the people who used to be her best friend…but then she remembered that she'd put all memory of their friendship behind her; it was too painful and it wasn't as if she could magically make herself his assistant again at the click of a finger.
"There's no need at all for you to turn evil, Emmy! You're a strong willed, intelligent and polite lady-surely you don't want to sacrifice all of that over one small gem!"
Emmy sniffed and leant against the wall to her left, causing the cuffs around her wrists to squeal in protest.
"Really? Well I thought that I was that too!" she shouted before forcing herself to look into the boy's eyes, "You should know about my evil side; I mean I was the one who held a knife blade to your throat when the professor wouldn't hand over the Azran keystone-and if he hadn't have handed the keystone to Bronev then I would have killed you. That's all I've ever been- a traitor and a monster!"
A small expression of pity crossed the professor's face but it quickly vanished and he folded his arms.
"Emmy, you know better than anyone that that isn't—"
"Yes it is!" she yelled, slamming her fists into the wall and not even caring if she injured herself, "Three years ago, when I asked Dean Delmona and signed myself up to be your assistant I thought that I could do it…that I could serve you well and be forever loyal. After the first case with the spectre I thought that everything would work out…but it didn't. Bronev told me all about the Azran civilisation and of the three great legacies. He'd heard of Descole…and he'd heard of you from the newspapers. After the Misthallery case where you helped to unearth the Golden Garden, the first legacy, he decided that your attention was getting quite problematic but he saw that you were a man of powerful intellect and intelligence and decided that you could be of use to him after all. When he found out about how I'd become your assistant and had gained your trust…he decided that I could be of use to him after all…and gave me my orders. He said: Keep an eye on that Hershel Layton professor of yours…he could be of use in this investigation. Use your winning charms and your mental and physical skills…make him care for you…and that way you'll gain his trust even more. You know about the three legacies and the Azran after everything I've told you…and I want you to lead him to solve the mystery behind each of these legacies…then Targent shall claim them and we shall lay a trap…do this and ultimate power shall be ours—"
"Bronev…was desperate at the time," the professor interrupted, sighing sadly, "but he paid for it with his arrest…I just never thought you'd go down the same path, Emmy—"
"I couldn't refuse him, Professor! I didn't want to anger him…and I owed him…I did the work of my uncle to repay my debt to him…to thank him for saving me…but you were too clever and foiled his plan, as I feared that you would do. After that, I could tell that you no longer trusted me…and I couldn't stand to be around those who had suffered because of my actions," she continued as Luke blinked rapidly, "I tried to find work in a different form but…nothing seemed good enough anymore…and then my house had been trashed whilst I was away…by whom I do not know, but the only thing that I did know was that I had no other place to go. That was when…I saw what fate had decided: that I was destined to go on adventures of my own, to see the world, to experience new things…even if I did have to break the laws to do so…I felt that I had nothing to lose..."
"Except for the trust of the people dearest to you," Layton finished sadly.
Luke frowned angrily and gritted his teeth.
"Emmy, do you realise that you could spend time behind bars just because you tried to steal a stupid gem that wasn't even of a real value?!"
Layton gently touched his apprentice's shoulder.
"It wasn't any ordinary gem, my boy," he explained as he raised his head a little, "The gem that Emmy attempted to steal was the legendary moonstone crystal of Huayna Capac. It is believed to be priceless and yield many unknown powers to the holder. However, there is another story behind the crystal…concerning the Mayan cities that were almost burned to the ground. Have you ever heard of it, Luke?"
Luke nodded, a puzzled frown crossing his features.
"Um…I think so…I remember dad talking about some ancient myth related to the Mayans…and it involved something to do with the sun and the moon…but I don't remember it exactly…"
"Well, since Emmy was the one trying to steal it…she obviously knows more about it than us. Tell us then, Emmy, how is this myth related to what you tried to steal and what did you hope to achieve from it?"
The woman sighed, blinking back her tears as she faced the bars once again, this time not being afraid to expose her full eyesight to the questioning faces that surrounded her.
"V…very well," she stammered hesitantly, swallowing her anxiety, "This is the Mayan myth behind that crystal that has been passed on through generations. I was visiting the local library one day…so that I at least had a roof over my head…and I found a book called 'Mysteries of the Mayans'. I decided to read it and found the section on archaeological theories and discoveries-and it was then that I first learnt of this myth. An Incan ruler, Huayna Capac, was the eleventh Mayan Incan ruler in Cuzco in 1493. He ruled over his cities wisely but he also had strange visions in his dreams. He asked the priests what such visions meant, including one that involved placing a moonstone crystal at the highest point in the Pyramid of the Moon that lay several miles away from the city. The vision also showed an image of a sunstone crystal being placed at the highest point of the Pyramid of the Sun. The priests replied that the Gods had chosen for him to see such a vision because of his status and said that he basically had to do just as the vision had shown him. For many weeks he searched long and hard for the two stones and when he eventually found them in the temples of the Moon and Sun Goddesses he did just as the vision had shown him and placed them at the highest point of both pyramids. The light from the sun and the moon shone down on the crystals and sent two separate rays of light across the city of Cuzco- and when the light combined it pointed to a specific place. When Huayna followed the beams he eventually found himself in the legendary Valley of Light. It was said that the Gods lived here and that they were more than willing to offer any person gifted enough to find the valley anything beyond their wildest dreams including eternal youth, eternal wisdom and eternal luxury and wealth as well as lost treasures and powers. Huayna took his reward and suddenly became almost as powerful as the Gods, obsessed with these powers. Thus he sparked jealousy into the hearts of his people. One night, the crystals were removed from the pyramids and hidden at opposite ends of the Earth where they could never be discovered. Without his powers Huayna became weak, powerless and died in fever as his country fell apart. As for the Valley of Light after that day- it has been lost ever since-just waiting to be reopened by one who intends to use the powers for good only…"
Emmy bowed her head low and closed her eyes again; it was obvious that she had finished her tale. Luke's eyes remained as wide and questioning as before as he stared in disbelief at Emmy.
"S…so…that crystal that you tried to steal…was the…moonstone crystal from the myth?! Where was it? How did you find it?!"
"They had it in the local museum…under heavy protection…I managed to get past security and take the crystal…but it seems I alerted Scotland Yard...which I hadn't even thought about…and I was so close to getting it and uncovering the mystery behind that myth and the Valley of Light as well—"
"That is just a myth, Emmy," Layton interrupted, "there is no evidence to suggest that such crystals even exist—"
"The proof slipped through my fingers!" Emmy added angrily, "As for the sunstone crystal I had no clue where that was…"
She trailed off as a wisp of grey cloth flew past the nearest window behind the professor. It reminded her of…no, she was just seeing things. She rubbed her eyes with her hands, only to see nothing but grey skies in front of her. She breathed a sigh of relief, feeling that her imagination was racing ahead of her-given the previous circumstances.
"Why do you want to uncover these things?"
Emmy slouched against the wall and glared coldly at the professor.
"I told you; I want to go on my own adventures and see the world in my own eyes! I want to uncover unimaginable discoveries that have been lost beyond the grasp of mankind for millenniums…and I could've gained some profit and wealth-so that I at least had a roof over my head and somewhere to go…"
Layton shook his head furiously as Luke's jaw dropped.
"Emmy! Stop talking like this-you…you sound…sound like—"
Emmy raised her eyebrows and scowled at the professor.
"Really?! Tell me exactly who I sound like, Layton! Go on!"
"Emmy! There's no need to talk to the professor like that!" Luke scolded fiercely, instantly backing away from the bars, "He only asked you a question—"
A stab of pain bit into the professor's heart; she hadn't called him 'Professor' as she normally did-she'd called him 'Layton'. This was the name that only his enemies used to address him-and because it was Emmy that had used this name the pain caused was greater than any physical weapon could bring. It appeared that there was no hope of renewing his relationship with his assistant.
"It's quite alright, my boy," the professor answered before shooting Emmy a hurt glance, "I was about to say that you sounded like my brother…D…Descole…"
The woman blinked rapidly as images of the intelligent attractive and stealthy man who had once been the professor's enemy flashed through her mind. Dressed in his elegant velvet cloak with his smooth feather boa and his icy mask to match his once cold personality-Emmy was confident that she had never known a more attractive and intellect soul in all of her days. However, there was a hidden side to this cunning evil mind…and that often showed itself at the most unexpected time. He was a kind and caring man deep down-Emmy knew that in her heart he could be quite the gentleman when he wanted to be.
Although the professor's comment was aimed to at least make Emmy feel the tiniest amount of guilt, the statement only brought a broad smile to her face as her eyes glistened with determination.
"Oh do I, Layton? I wish I'd known…how odd that I sound like him-not!"
Luke coughed a little and peered with confused eyes at the professor.
"What is she talking about?" he hissed quietly so that she couldn't hear him, "Is she okay?"
Emmy laughed loudly and slammed her body against the wall.
"Oh, I'm more than alright!" she answered with an edge in her voice, "Tell me, Professor, why is it so bad that I sound like Descole? After all, he is your brother and you saw the good side to him in the end, did you not?"
"Yes, but…he didn't change his ways after the mystery of the Azran-he'd achieved his goals…and after that mystery I never heard from him again—"
"Maybe because he didn't feel comfortable trying to fit in with everything when he's been pretending to be someone he isn't for the past decade! Does that remind you of anyone in this room, Professor?! Plus, Descole has always had a kind and caring soul; he let you be adopted instead of him and changed both of your names so that all of that could be possible-don't tell me he has a heart of ice when he sacrificed his life for yours! As a result of this sacrifice he was abandoned and left all alone for the majority of his life! He had no one to appreciate him when he was younger…no one to love and cherish him…with only silence for a friend. He was abandoned too and no one looked out for him! Doesn't that phrase also sound familiar?!"
The professor took a step towards her, sighing deeply and tugging at his jacket as he bowed his head.
"It…it does…but I never knew—"
"Of course you didn't, but guess what-I did. I could tell from the emotions that crossed his face that he'd been abandoned for the majority of his life too…that he was sad and wanted revenge…which had turned him into the assumed villain that the world saw him as. He admitted himself that he only wanted to find the legacies before Targent in revenge for the abduction of his-and your- parents! It's not like he was going to use the Azran legacies to gain world domination and have every living soul quivering at his feet-he did it for love…and for the thrill and adventure of it all too! His calculating mind and his uncontrollable anger were the causes of him almost harming dozens of people and creatures- but everyone has reasons for their actions! I'd never destroy a town or threaten to murder people without good reason-I wouldn't dream of it-but was anyone there to try to persuade Descole otherwise when he pulled out his giant death machines and began flattening anything that got in his way? I think the answer to that puzzle is 'No'!"
She continued talking about the masked villain with confidence and admiration, her eyes sparkling in a defiant manner. In truth, she was glad to be expressing her feelings; she'd been feeling them since their first adventure and when they had come face to face with the incredibly intelligent mastermind for the first time. Even then he'd proved to be a more than worthy opponent for Layton…the two were…so similar in her eyes: how they worked with puzzles, their extremely intellectual and incredible minds, their gentlemanly manners, the skills that they possessed…the only real difference was that one had been abandoned for almost all of his life and never known what true love really felt like-the other had. It was this that sparked pity in Emmy's heart whenever she peered into his dark captivating eyes and watched as he broke several chunks of metal in half with a single swipe of his polished blade. It sparked emotions and feelings through her circulatory system, flooding her whole body and her heart with these unfelt emotions…ones that she'd never experienced before in all of her life.
"Emmy?" Layton asked again, frowning uncertainly, "Are you okay?"
The woman responded with a muffled sob as she brushed her tears away with the sleeve of her torn lemon jacket. To tell the truth…she missed him; she missed hearing his terrifying laugh and watching him in an epic sword fight against the professor...he'd never dared to harm her in any way during their adventures…but during the whole of her time as an assistant to the professor and a spy for her uncle, she'd always thought that Descole was the enemy…but after everything that had happened…she could now see that she couldn't have been more mistaken. She'd have given anything to talk to him, if only briefly, about his life and how horrible the whole ordeal must've been. She'd give anything just to catch a single glimpse of his charming face-even if it was for the last time…
"Beneath his mask he is… one of the… kindest people a…alive," she answered in between her occasional sobs, "I always thought that you were both so…a…alike…in many, many ways but now I r…realise that I am almost…identical to Descole…I…I want to…to…to be like him…explore the world at my l…leisure and…discover life changing things but…how can he do so alone? Without friends or company-without a companion?"
The professor folded his arms as Luke gasped.
"I'm…I'm not sure I follow," he stated simply, "Emmy, please tell us what you mean? Why are you suddenly so protective of Descole? You showed as much dislike towards him as Luke and myself: why has that suddenly changed?"
Emmy let her arms hang limply to her sides, biting her lip. She couldn't do it-there was no way that she could admit the truth to the professor and she felt so uneasy about the whole affair…as if some invisible being that was unknown to the inhabitants of the room was desperately trying to hear her also.
The woman let her hair hang over her exquisite face in a mess of tangled thin tree branches, which effectively succeeded in obscuring her now glistening tear filled eyes from the prying view of the two people who peered at her with great concern etched into their faces.
"I…I…I…I cannot say…but all I know is that he'd understand my reasons for attempting to steal that stupid crystal and being the person I am at the present!"
The professor tried to reach through the bars to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder but the woman immediately wriggled away, as if his arm had suddenly morphed into a rather nasty species of poisonous snake.
"Please…please tell us…what you mean—"
"I…I…," she faltered, swallowing hard as the words stuck like glue to her throat, "I feel like I've known him all of my life because of how similar we are! I admire him so much…he's more understanding about this kind of thing than you are, Layton! I…I suppose that you could even say that I…I…I love him…"
As soon as the words left her lips Emmy knew that there was no way that she could take them back. Her glistening eyes widened as she forced a look at her mentor's now appalled face. He instantly took several large paces away from her, his eyes wide with conflicting emotions of confusion, fear, hurt and betrayal. His legs shook vigorously as he hastily stumbled backwards, gripping at his top hat so tightly he could've ripped it apart if he wanted to. Layton shook his head in disbelief, closing his eyes as a single tear leaked out from under his eyelid. Emmy quickly found herself mirroring his action as the small boy in front of her gawped up in horror at her, mouth gaping.
"W…w…w…w…WHAT?!" he exclaimed loudly, his stunned tone immediately being replaced by one containing traces of betrayal and fury, "How can you love Descole in…in that type of relationship?! He tried to kill several innocent people and didn't care who suffered as long as he achieved his goals! You don't…you don't even show that you're friends!"
Emmy clenched at the bars, her nails scraping against the metal as she dug them into the cold material- it was all she could do not to lash out at the pair of clueless dullards. They had no idea at all what it had felt like to be abandoned for the majority of your life to finally find someone you cared about.
"I already told you both but...neither of you really understand about any of-Just leave me alone! I'm no longer who I thought I was- those days are over!"
"I said: Leave. Me. Alone," she hissed, finding herself shocked by how venemous her voice sounded as she uttered those words for the second time.
Luke simply stared at her, hurt reflected in his features as he acknowledged the way that she had addressed them like repulsive insects before she resolved to crush them forever. The professor quickly pulled Luke away to a safer distance, frowning.
"There is no need to speak to Luke that way," he told her calmly but in a tone that screamed anger at everyone it came into contact with, "Emmy…why are you doing this? How could you…I thought that you…I thought...Is…is this true?"
"Every word I said before," she answered in a fairly sharp tone, "Only I doubt I'll be seeing him anytime soon…"
"Perhaps it would be better if that was the case," Layton replied coolly, "Come on, Luke. Let's go back to the University; Emmy clearly doesn't want to talk to us at the present time…I just hope that in that time she finally comes to her senses and realises who her friends really are—"
"That's what you think, Hershel!"
The professor spun around in shock, his eyes expeditiously scanning the room for any sign of the owner of the cold mocking, yet somehow familiar, voice. Luke gripped the professor's sleeve as he too began swivelling his head around, praying that it didn't belong to the ghost of a long dead prisoner. Emmy on the other hand felt herself reeling back in shock as the words bounced repeatedly against the walls of her cell.
"Who…who is there?!" Layton demanded, "Show yourself!"
There was a high pitched snigger dripping with pretence before the voice sounded again.
"Certainly-if you can see me, of course!"
As the sentence filled the room dozens of wisps of caliginous smouldering gases emitted from an unknown location in the room, sending choking fumes into the surroundings as the smoke performed an energetic dance of victory whilst hanging in mid-air. Layton and Luke immediately found themselves blindfolded as their eyes failed to penetrate through the thick musty gases that blocked the unknown host from their vision. Luke fell to the floor wheezing and covering his mouth with his sleeve to avoid inhaling any of the substance; it could easily have been deadly or poisonous and Luke didn't even want to find out if that fact was true or not. It could've been a ticket to some-time in hospital, if it didn't suffocate them first. The professor ran over to his apprentice and swiftly wrapped his coat around him so that he was shielded from the clutches of the smoke. Layton himself was struggling to breathe as colours swam around his pupils. The smoke was seeping down his throat, burning and filling it with the fiery taste of ashes and debris, irritating his skin as several blisters began to erupt where the gases had brushed against him. He could just about make out Emmy's desperate and agonising coughs as she too squeezed her stinging eyes closed and tried to avoid inhaling the substance but to no avail. Her weak noises were briskly cut off by another muffled voice and the piercing screech of metal as the cell bars were wrenched from their holders and deposited in the corner of the room with an echoing crash.
"By Jove! What in the…what in the name of Scotland Yard is going on in-THE PRISONER IS ESCA-*Cough cough cough*"
Even the now livid voice of Inspector Grosky couldn't stop the professor from slipping into unconsciousness as his eyelids gradually slid down. They did not fail however to catch a final glimpse of a tall figure clad in grey garments standing victoriously over the undamaged remains of the cell, the languishing form of Emmy resting tenderly in his arms in a graceful bridal style as if she was a bride being carried to her wedding by her dashing groom…except Layton knew that this was quite the opposite. As Grosky collapsed on the floor, spluttering, coughing and trying to stop his chest hair from being affected, the professor and Luke quickly joined him, watching helplessly as the last glance of their friend's once familiar face drifted into their barely conscious minds. As Layton mouthed her name for the last time, fatigue and pain eventually overcame him.
"Sleep well, my dear," the voice whispered softly to the unresponsive woman.
Gently stroking her pale cheeks he instantly absconded away from the now tumultuous building, grinning down triumphantly at the valuable prize he had just won...which he never thought he'd have the strength or heart to win…
An endless pounding that vigorously drummed against the edges of her brain finally brought her back to her senses. She forced her eyes open with strenuous movements, blinking repeatedly as darkness enveloped her vision. Flashes and dark colours of the putrid smoke and gases from before were planted firmly into her mind, making it impossible to be rid of them. Her eyes felt sore and irritable, making it clear that the gases released weren't completely harmless and were probably responsible for her current migraine also. The air from her current surroundings tickled her spine with icy fingers, causing her to shiver with the algid gradually settling on her flesh. Emmy groaned in pain and tried to stretch her arms to relieve some of the discomfort in her muscles, only to find that no matter how hard she tried she couldn't reach her arms out. Puzzled, she twisted her body around and squinted through the darkness, just managing to make out the iron restraints holding her arms above her head. Emmy could easily predict their function: to make it impossible for her to move even a few centimetres away from the wall, lest she try to escape from wherever she currently was.
Emmy bit her lip, feeling both fearful and apprehensive, as her teeth came in contact with a soft fabric which had presumably been tied across her mouth to prevent any form of communication. Sighing indignantly at her current predicament she threw her head back against the wall, as if it would help her to recover her memory of the incidents that had occurred before her unknown abduction: the start of the memory was crisp and she could even remember the spitting comments she had greeted her previous mentor with. After that it was all a blur; there was smoke and several gases had filled the air. Emmy had tried to stop herself from inhaling them and she had faintly heard the professor trying to get Luke away from the smoke but to no avail. Then…someone had wrenched the bars off of her cell and gently lifted her up in his arms as she slumped against the wall just clinging onto her consciousness by a thread. She had seen his features through the smoke: he had seemed tall and majestic, clad in garments of grey with an air of confidence and an unimaginable tenderness about him when handling her. The voice had also seemed so…familiar. It sounded like…his voice…but no…it couldn't be. There had to be a logical explanation to the puzzle.
The hours loitered by like weary travellers climbing up a great mountain and never quite managing to reach the top due to specific circumstances and faults. By now her whole body felt as if it had been plunged into the freezing depths of the Atlantic Ocean; her teeth kept biting down on her gag as they chattered with every movement she made, her skin was whiter than white and gave off no sensation at all and her knees kept colliding together as she fought valiantly to get warm. The woman rolled her eyes and frowned furiously as her eyes expectantly wandered yet again to the locked steel door in front of her.
'Whoever you are, would you be so polite as to show your damn cursed ugly mug and tell me what it is you want? I'm turning into a freaking ice lolly down here!'
As if in answer to her silent curses echoing footsteps resounded a few metres away from the door to her dark and freezing prison (was she in a grimy cellar of some sort?!) which were closely followed by two low pitched voices both talking excitedly and confidently.
"I'd better check to see how my guest of honour is faring…I do hope that she's unharmed…"
Emmy strained her ears as the second man, presumably older judging by the way he cleared his throat and coughed whenever he talked, spoke.
"Are you prepared to offer her your proposal, Master?" he coughed in a voice as rough as sandpaper.
"Indeed I shall," the presumed master responded as he smiled widely and placed his hand on the lock, "but first…I need to talk to her…"
A shrill clang reverberating from the steel door as it was carefully forced open sent Emmy reeling back against the wall in shock. A smartly dressed guard with an unattractive scowl painted on his face quickly saluted the two figures as they gracefully glided into the room. Emmy shot them both a filthy glare and imagined herself breaking free of her restraints to torture them at her mercy. The anger bubbling up inside of her at least warmed her confidence and determination a little, but proved to be of no help concerning her physical health at the current time.
'Finally-I see that you have the decency to show your face then, coward!' Emmy thought, wanting more than ever to scream those very words at him, if she didn't feel so gelid.
Light flooded into the room, causing her to retreat further into the darkness as the two men chuckled quietly. The taller of the two smiled warmly at her as he slowly approached her. Emmy's eyes widened as she recognised the familiar grey garments and the smile on his face that offered her a sense of warmth and security that she had never felt in her life. It was the man who had rescued her and he clearly hadn't changed a bit…but why had he brought her here? These concerns had no effect on the woman's attitude, but it was when he spoke that she was truly stunned.
"Miss Altava," he addressed her gently in a soft tone as he bowed low to her, "I'm so glad that you're finally awake…I was worried then that I'd lost you for—"
He stopped abruptly in mid-sentence, staring down at her with horror in his pupils as his warm smile immediately vanished. The woman tilted her head to the side, confused as to why he was acting like this.
"Hrmmph?!" she yelled, clearly impatient for an answer.
The man who had addressed her turned towards the guard at the entrance of the cell, snarling like a savage beast as he flew at him instantaneously. The unfortunate man squealed in terror as he found himself thrown into the wall, his arms pinned to his sides by the other ravaged creature.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!" he roared vehemently, shaking the man like a rag doll.
"B…b…b…b…but...s…s…sir…you…you asked…you asked for me to m…make sure that she d…didn't e…escape!" he babbled quickly, trembling in terror at his master's powerful voice as he considered whether making a dash for the exit would get him out of the current problem.
"Yes, I know that!" the man bellowed, refusing to release his prey, "I asked for you to make sure that she didn't escape-NOT for you to restrain and gag the poor girl like some unruly beast prepared for slaughter! It's minus two degrees in here! Did you even consider making sure that she didn't catch a chill or pass out from the cold? I THINK NOT!"
The guard gulped and began grovelling to his infuriated master whilst Emmy looked on with a bewildered expression.
"I'm…I'm so…s…s…s…sorry, sir…," he stammered, "I'll…I'll see that she's released right away—"
"Forget it-I'll release my own guest, thank you very much-and see that she hasn't been harmed in any way. If I find that she has been harmed or affected because of the likes of you…it will be more than your job that you'll be losing…Do you understand?"
The guard nodded and instantly landed with a thud on the floor. He scrambled to his feet and saluted the man, bowing endlessly.
"Don't even think about grovelling," the man growled, "You're dismissed-NOW LEAVE!"
"C…certainly, Master Descole! I'm…I'm…right on it!" he stuttered as he zoomed down the corridor the second the words were out of his mouth.
Emmy simply sat there, frozen both mentally and physically, as the previous words registered in her brain; Descole. The man, whom she held so many feelings for, had rescued her from probably a few years of imprisonment and misery and had brought her to his own home in such a caring gentle manner. True, she was his hostage and had been mistreated by his pathetic excuse of a guard, but he had just raged over her treatment. Her heart hammered; did he really care about her that much?
The man himself turned around and continued towards her, crouching down so that he was the same height as her when he was just a few feet away. Emmy shook her head and shrank against the wall as he cautiously reached for the keys in his belt and held them over her chains. He continued anyway and lightly removed them from around her wrists, his lips pursed tightly as he caught sight of the red stinging cuts around them. Warily opening one eye Emmy gasped as the chains fell around her, still shivering slightly from the cold.
"Raymond, bring me some warm blankets straight away please," he ordered as his butler bowed to the floor and scuttled quickly out of the room.
Descole's expression rapidly softened as he turned back to the astounded look on Emmy's face and he soothingly placed his warm fingers on her frozen cheeks, burning them with fire and warmth.
"My dear, I in no way intend to harm you. You'll be safe and warm in just a moment."
He gingerly pulled the cloth away from her mouth, allowing her to speak again. She gasped and coughed for several minutes, craving nothing but pure air and water as she rubbed her wrists roughly to try and get even the smallest sensation of warmth in them. Seconds later Raymond returned and dashed over to his master, laden with at least a dozen warm blankets clutched to his chest.
"Master, I brought them-as requested," he panted hurriedly, watching as Descole gratefully took them out of his arms and resolved to swiftly wrap them around the shaking form of the woman, pulling them around her so tightly that he could've smothered her in them.
Raymond slumped against the wall; he wasn't as young as he once was (he had to admit it) and running around on all of these errands wasn't really doing his back any favours. Nethertheless he didn't complain; seeing his master happy, or at least satisfied, was a sight that he treasured dearly. Emmy clutched at the blankets tightly, blinking in a disbelieving manner as the man continued to rub various parts of her exposed flesh to supply her with warmth. His voice was kind and carried several emotions as he repeatedly questioned the woman.
"I trust that you are unharmed? I swear that if that worthless creature laid a finger on you—"
"N…n…no…I'm…I'm okay…," she answered, sighing with satisfaction as feeling gradually returned to her limbs, "Just…very…cold…"
"I know, you'll be okay in a moment, I promise you," he replied peering into her eyes in a dazed manner, "I must apologise for your treatment...It must have been such a shock for you, do forgive me."
Emmy closed her eyes, nodding at his comments. There was one single question burning on her lips and it wasn't due to the intense heat now flooding through her veins.
"Why…why did you save me?" she asked, "I mean…how did you even know where I was and…why did you risk all of this to get me out of that place? When I was with the professor…we used to be against each other…what's changed?"
Descole wasn't at all surprised by her questions; in fact he'd been wondering what had taken her so long to ask. He just smiled down at her in a nurturing manner and brushed the dark strands of her hair out of her face.
"Well…times change…and anything can happen," he answered after some hesitation, "and a simple answer to your first question would be…that you're always worth saving, my dear."
She felt her spirit soaring at his words, extending out to greet him and tell him the truth of how she really felt about him...but she just couldn't bring herself to admit the truth in front of him-for the time being at least. She simply smiled back at him weakly and let her imagination picture how stunningly mesmerising his eyes appeared at that very moment; being concealed by his mask it was the only available option.
"Th…thank you…," she stammered, a blush spreading across her cheeks, "but…why though? Why am I worth saving?"
"Always the persistent one-I see that that hasn't changed at all!" he laughed heartily, "Well…it would just be simpler to say that a lot of people would suffer if you became lost to the world. Plus you are a woman of many remarkable talents and qualities, Emmy; no one can resist the temptation to keep you for themselves…"
A pang of shock hit her; he'd addressed her by her first name…which was the first time he had ever done that to her.
"I…I'm not entirely sure that I understand, D…Descole…and…and besides I have no…no other track to follow in life anymore-I'm now officially wanted by Scotland Yard…there's no way that I can escape that fact—"
"Please, Emmy, call me 'Jean'," he interrupted with a smile, "That way we're better acquainted. As for you previous claim-I can tell you that that isn't necessarily true."
Emmy frowned slightly.
"W…what do you mean? Please, Desc-I mean…Jean, please tell me what is going on!" she pleaded, determination blaring inside of her.
Descole slowly rose and tenderly helped Emmy to her feet as he caressed her face in his smooth palms.
"We can talk later, Emmy," he replied as Raymond stepped forward, "but as for now it is quite late in the afternoon. I assume that you must be incredibly thirsty and hungry after the events of the last few hours."
Emmy's stomach gave a low growl to prove his assumption true. The woman's cheeks reddened and she gave a small nod as Descole looked at her with a pitied expression.
"I thought so," he laughed with a grin, "Dinner is currently being prepared and should be ready in an hour or so. I would be most honoured if you were to join me, Emmy. Besides, there are some things that I would like to discuss with you. In the meantime, here is the key to your room. You should find something more…satisfactory to wear to the dinner tonight."
He fumbled in his pockets and pulled out a glistening bronze key with a small labelled tag attached to the loop. He handed it to Emmy who took it with trembling fingers, still unable to believe the course that events had taken.
"Th…thank you," she answered, unable to find any other words to describe her feelings, "You're…you're very kind, Desc-I mean…Jean."
"It warms my heart to hear that, Emmy. Oh and I should mention that there is no point in trying to escape-since the key will only work for your door and the key to leave this place is kept in an unreachable place which only I have access to-not that you'll be wanting to leave anyway," he warned her before he replaced his serious expression with a bland smile, "I'll send Raymond for you when dinner is ready. Until then, I do hope that you'll be comfortable here."
There wasn't a single trace of mockery in his tone; he truly meant what he said. Emmy's mind whirred with all of the endless questions that she had but she felt certain that they would most likely be answered that night. Turning back to the suddenly treasuring creature she carefully removed the blankets and folded them neatly before handing them to Raymond.
"Th…thank you, Jean. I'm sure…I'm sure that I shall…and I'm looking forward to dinner; I shall gladly join you."
"Then I look forward to it also, my dear," he answered, his smile disappearing as conflicting emotions crossed his face.
Emmy frowned uncertainly at his suddenly changed behaviour before she felt the warm pressure of his smooth lips against her own and felt the protective air of his arms embracing her gently. Emmy was greatly, but pleasantly, surprised by his unpredicted action as all of her negativity and worries were drained from her mind. Instead, these were being replaced by all of the positive and emotional feelings that she felt towards this caring gentleman. He in turn felt all of the bitterness in his heart vanish momentarily when he was in her undying presence and all of his feelings exploded outwards in that single kiss. He'd never imagined it to feel so…beautiful…so…this was what it truly felt like to have someone you loved and cared about deeply…
He eventually pulled away, blushing heavily as Emmy simply stared back at him, lost for words. Descole coughed a little and pulled his flowing cloak across his shoulders, adjusting his mask and turning towards the door.
"F…forgive me," he stammered, "I…have other matters to attend to for now. Raymond will show you to your room…I guess…I guess that I shall see you at dinner, Emmy."
"Of…of course…I'll see you then, Jean," she answered, still disconcerted to the core, "See you later then…"
The woman watched him leave, feeling as if time itself had stood still during their passionate embrace. All of those feelings and emotions she had felt…they were still existent even now. Was this…was this what it truly felt like to have someone you loved and cared about deeply?
"Miss Altava, allow me to show you to your room," Raymond offered kindly, cutting her off of her current train of thought.
"Yes…yes please. Thank you, sir," she answered as Raymond began to lead her out of the door.
As she took those few steps out of her prison a single thought flashed in front of her.
'Jean Descole loves me…as…as I love him too…'
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Please enter," announced the gracious amiable voice from the other side of the ancient oaken door.
Biting her lip nervously as she took several deep breaths to calm the never ending nerves inside of her, the woman cautiously tapped the brass knob and pulled open the doors effortlessly. She gracefully glided through the doorway before turning to face the interior of the room, being met with an astonishing and unpredictable sight: the majestic royal carpets were furnished in millions of garnet fibres that stroked the heel of her shoe every time it came in contact with them. The walls gleamed in the light of the golden chandelier and the crystal lamps that were spread randomly around the room, giving the obvious impression that they had been polished not too long ago. An array of exquisite paintings and portraits decorated the majority of the walls, the most delicate of brush strokes and details being aggrandized by the simplest features of art. In the centre of the room lay an extensive grand table covered by a draping silk cloth embroidered with the finest stitches and dyed in the colour of pure amber.
Other crystal lights decorated the table, illuminating the capacious feast that had been readily prepared and perfected for the presumed 'dinner'. Several features instantly caught her eyes: the ruby glass fruit bowl spilling over the top with a variety of exotic, juicy and tempting fruits. Silver polished plates supporting huge quantities of different types of meat all stuffed with mint and fresh herbs. Bottomless dishes advertising mouth-watering vegetables, including some types that Emmy had never seen before. Seven different choices of boiling soups sending creamy, fruity and scrumptious scents wafting into her nose, accompanied by the vast selection of other delectable delicacies that were considered as 'starters' and a golden rack complete with more cakes and tempting desserts than Emmy had ever seen in her life.
Complete with shimmering silver cutlery and smooth silk napkins, the scene looked fit for a royal monarch before a banquet. Despite the enormous quantity of delicacies on offer there were only two oak chairs at the table, positioned opposite each other about half way across and being furnished with jewelled covers that shone like stars in the night. One of the chairs was already occupied whilst the other was yet to be filled. The man seated at the table truly looked like a majestic prince with a slight air of cunningness and beauty to his features. A long sapphire cape hung gracefully down his shoulders, being secured with a topaz brooch and a rippling navy ribbon that completely resembled the calming waves of the sea. He was dressed in a navy suit with matching trousers, complete with a patterned tie and polished dark shoes to complete his smart and beautiful appearance. His cheeks glowed with desire and happiness, although there could have been a sense of nervousness as well. Much to Emmy's unbeknownst surprise, the gentleman had removed his mask for the first time, exposing his kind brown eyes to the world around him. Emmy skidded to a halt, mouth open in awe and amazement; she had never known that such a once cold hearted man could appear so kind…and so…beautiful…
Upon hearing her astounded gasps of disbelief and wonder the man turned around, his glistening eyes widening as he peered at her.
"E…Emmy!" he exclaimed, too stunned for words momentarily, "Y…you came and…oh my…my dear…you look so…so…resplendent and… pulchritudinous…"
Emmy smiled shyly, peering down at the carpet as Descole rose from his chair to greet her.
"Th…thank you so much, Jean," she answered, lifting her head up so that she gazed into his commanding and radiant eyes, "Do…do I really look that…pretty? I must say you've succeeded in rendering me speechless: you look so…so…majestic and…extremely…handsome…"
Descole bowed low and gently took her hand.
"There is no need to be so modest, my dear," he answered dreamily, "If you don't believe me then see for yourself…you will find yourself speechless again!"
He took her arm and carefully led her to the nearest wall, gesturing to the extravagant silver mirror comfortably settled on it.
"Here; look into the mirror of truth and tell me what you see, my dear."
"Jean!" Emmy laughed, blushing a little at his statement, "Okay, okay. I'll have a look and see what the future holds!"
As soon as Emmy caught sight of her reflection Descole's prediction became an understatement compared to her breathless reaction: the woman who stared back at her wasn't a woman-she was a radiant and powerful goddess in the guise of a single mortal. Her hair flowed daintily down her exposed shoulders, ending in a mass of corkscrew curls woven together with ribbons of melted copper. She placed a hand to her chest, gasping as she caught sight of the citrine quartz coloured dress that she currently wore, stroking the soft smooth edges where the sleeves ended three quarters from the shoulder. Hundreds of gold and silver sequins made up the waistband of the dress, making her shine like the very sun. Sphalerite studded buttons decorated the top part of the dress whilst the sequin covered skirt stretched down to her ankles-making her the perfect picture of a light goddess. Her lips had been painted in a rosy hue to match the ruby powder making her cheeks glow like tiny furnaces and the golden eye shadow really illuminated her beautiful eyes to all who caught a glimpse of her. Emmy couldn't believe that someone with such a tomboyish nature and attitude like her could be transformed into the very picture of living beauty-she had never looked so pretty in all of her life, even when she had worn that exquisite soft pink dress at the city of Monte D'or when the professor has asked her to dance with him…
"Well?" Descole asked, gently stroking her shoulders, "Do you believe me yet or do you need further evidence?"
Emmy laughed and smiled widely at the man as she grasped his hand tightly.
"Did you choose this dress…for me?" she asked with raised eyebrows.
"Well…truth be told…yes...," he answered with a small grin, "I could just immediately picture you in that dress the moment I found it again!"
"That's right…you see…that dress belonged to our mother…she wore it to my christening…I remember the picture father took…she looked absolutely stunning. To tell you the truth, Emmy, you really resemble my mother in many ways…"
Emmy squeezed his hand in response, closing her eyes as the picture of the smiling woman with her caring heart stood and her two adorable children came back to her mind; she'd seen it in her last mystery with the professor and she'd heard all about it…and of Descole's troubled past.
"It's okay; it's over now," she whispered soothingly when Descole closed his eyes, "but…it is such a lovely dress…I imagine that she looked very beautiful in it…"
"She…she did. Thank you, Emmy," he replied before he took her arm again and tried to shake the memories away, "Shall we start dinner, then?"
The woman nodded and went with Descole over to the large table with all of its tempting delights, their fingers winding around the other's.
"Well…gentleman first, I guess!" she announced, stepping aside to allow him to take his seat, "It's the ladylike thing to do."
Descole shook his head and pulled out his chair, gesturing to it with a smile.
"Oh no, I insist, my dear," he declined politely, "You take your seat first."
Finding that Descole's kindness and her flawless appearance had drained away the majority of her nerves, she confidently sat down and straightened out her dress before laying her napkin over her skirt and pulling herself into a more comfortable, but formal, position. The gentleman opposite her followed suit, smiling adoringly at her the whole time.
"Well…it's nice that we've both made an effort," he said after a while to break the sudden hushed silence that had fallen between them.
Emmy nodded and fiddled with the golden bracelet winding around her wrist.
"Yes…I agree…you do look incredibly dashing, Jean-so dashing that I could just take a photograph of you with my-Oh damn!"
"What? What is it, Emmy?" he asked in a slightly startled tone.
Emmy buried her face in her hands and sighed.
"My camera-they confiscated it when I was arrested…I never got it back," she stated simply, sighing, "Photography was one of my favourite hobbies too!"
"Well, that shouldn't be too much of a problem, my dear. You can always buy a new one…or maybe I could see if I could make you a new type of camera: one that allows you to capture images like never before in the perspective of different creatures. It's a well-known fact that some animals can see only two colours-whilst insects only see incredibly bright colours because it attracts them for the stages of pollination."
Emmy removed her hands from her face and gazed at him, mouth open in disbelief.
"You'd…you'd do that…for me?" she gasped in a hushed voice, "but…why?"
Descole chuckled and stroked the edge of his knife.
"If that is what you wish then I shall gladly make you one-inventing is one of my hobbies after all-but as for why…I suppose I'll tell you later…but for the time being we'd better start eating. You don't want the food to go cold after all of the effort taken to make it, do you?"
"Of course not! You're right-I'm absolutely famished!" she declared with a giggle, reaching for her cutlery.
She helped herself to a generous helping of creamy chicken soup with sesame buttered slices of the freshest bread imaginable-and that was just one of the available starters.
Descole observed her movements, chuckling to himself as he chose a soup sprinkled with pumpkin seeds that gave off a sensational aroma.
"Mmm…" Emmy sighed with pleasure, making sure to eat in a polite manner despite how hungry she felt, "I must admit that your spectre-bot and the Detra-giant in our previous cases were absolutely amazing! It must have taken so long for you to make them and—Mmm! Chicken soup is my favourite! How did you know?!"
"Ha ha…well let's just say that I've done my homework," he answered cheekily, flashing a grin at her.
"So…is that why you are so brilliant at disguises-because you learn everything you can about the person you intend to impersonate before actually going on to kidnap and replace them?"
"Well…there's more to it than that. However, I take all of the information and try to learn as much as I can about certain people who I will most likely find useful impersonating. You and Triton were always top of my list, of course, so that's how I did my homework. I found…err…your diary in your bag when you left it in my sight…and you wrote an entry about how much you adored chicken soup…I believe that you had some at that restaurant in Misthallery one of the days? Anyway as well as that I take little trips to your houses when no one is around and…gather information there…"
Emmy laughed a little as she continued eating her soup.
"Well…I have one thing to say to you, Jean," she announced before she thrust her finger in his direction, "STALKER!"
"Really, Emmy?! Is that really appropriate! I do nothing of the sort!" he exclaimed, pretending to be hurt, "However…whilst we're on the subject…would you like some…um…French wine?"
The woman raised her eyebrows but eventually accepted his offer as he poured the sweet liquid into a tall crystal wine glass. He handed it to Emmy and watched her intently as she cautiously sipped the liquid. It was extremely sweet and brought a tingling sensation to her taste buds…but it was far better than most things she had tasted.
"Traditional French wine-how couldn't I have guessed?!" she stated, "Do you treat yourself to this beverage frequently, Jean…or do you stick to something cheaper."
"I'll…I'll confess the truth: without my French wine…I wouldn't have the mind I do for building my machines-and do you know why? It's because this wine contains magical dust dropped by the ancient sages of France!"
"Really? I'd love to meet them," she replied sarcastically with a smirk as she finished her soup, "That was really tasty. Who did the cooking? You really shouldn't have troubled yourself, Jean!"
"Only the best for my guest of honour-believe me when I say that nothing is too much trouble for you, my dear. As for the cooking…that would be the work of Raymond and a few of my other guards…but I made the desserts myself."
"Wow! I never knew that you were into cooking!" Emmy exclaimed happily, "I'm learning more things about you every minute that goes by! So…this is the gentleman Jean Descole…unmasked!"
Descole smiled broadly at her and gripped the side of his chair tightly to stop him from bellowing with laughter.
"Yes…this is me…you're getting all of the exclusive celebrity interviews! Tell me though, Emmy, do you enjoy cooking? You enjoy food enough!"
"Well…I do also enjoy cooking; it isn't too bad but I used to like baking cakes and making tea for…the cleaning lady at Gressenheller...and sometimes the professor too…"
She trailed off as the professor came back into her mind. She couldn't help but wonder what he was doing at that moment: was he out looking for her? Was he trying to find information to her whereabouts? Did he and Luke even care anymore, after she'd confessed her feelings for the man sitting in front of her that very moment?
"I do hope that you don't mind me asking," Descole interrupted as if reading her mind, "but what happened between you and Hershel? I thought that you were close…well…I know that he found out about d how you worked with…father… That was quite a shock…"
Emmy bowed her head low and put down her cutlery, sighing sadly. Sensing her distress, Descole quickly served up the main meal: a generous helping of lamb, pork and chicken all mixed with herbs in a glazed sauce with fresh vegetables and potatoes.
"I apologise, Emmy," he said quickly, pushing her full plate towards her, "I didn't intend to pry—"
"No, no. It's fine…it's just a bit…painful at times," she answered truthfully, "After I left him…I had nowhere to go because I found that my house had been ransacked…then I tried to get a job-any job-but…no one would accept me. I was getting desperate at that time…and I was craving adventure like in my past adventures with Layton and Luke…then I thought that if I discovered some treasure or something I'd gain some money and be able to start my life again. However…I turned to a life of crime: I was stealing things to gain money…anyway…I tried to steal this ancient stone from the local museum but…Scotland Yard police were alerted to my presence. They cornered me and I was placed under immediate arrest. I'd only been in custody for a few hours before…the professor and Luke came. I'd never seen him more ashamed in his life…they were both angry with me. I tried telling them my reasons but…they just didn't understand me! I thought though…I thought that you would…because…you know what it's like to be abandoned and have no one that you love or greatly care about—"
"I know, dear; I heard you," he replied, spearing his meat viciously, "I could see the look in his eyes when you…confessed your 'feelings' for me…he felt utterly betrayed…I don't know why…I thought he'd be happy—"
"I…I guess I did too…I was just…scared to tell him because I didn't know exactly what his reaction would be…"
A hushed silence fell between the pair after Emmy had spoken, allowing them to eat the majority of their meal in silence. The food was excellent and brought wonderful flavours to Emmy's tongue…but the bitter thoughts about the professor seemed to spoil the best of the taste. The same appeared to be true for Descole as well, for he was chewing his meat with a bitter scowl on his face.
"Forget him, Emmy," he said abruptly, "Don't let him trouble you. You're right; he doesn't entirely understand what we feel every day…he would if I hadn't have been so unselfish…but I felt lonely myself; I prayed that someone would come and join me…but when I reached a certain age I finally accepted the fact that I would be on my own…and then…that's when I knew what I wanted to do; overthrow Targent and find out the truth about the Azran civilisation. That was when I met Raymond…and we became friends...he had nowhere to go either…so I made him my butler. He…made good company and he was hardworking and incredibly loyal…but I still felt lonely-but not now. When you are in my presence…all of those feelings vanish…and that is the truth…"
The woman listened intently, finishing her meal in pitied silence.
"I…I feel the same way too, Jean," she answered quietly as she wiped her mouth with her napkin, "He's a very pleasant man…but I'd like to ask…before we start on the dessert can you…can you answer my questions, please?"
The man drummed his fingers on the table but decided that now was the best time to tell her the truth…even though he felt the words sticking to his throat.
"Very well, Emmy. I believe you do have a right to know," he answered after a few moments of silence, "I'll tell you everything."
He pulled himself into a more comfortable position and stretched his arms before looking at Emmy seriously.
"Where to start…well before you asked how I knew you were imprisoned in Scotland Yard and about what you'd done. Well…the truth is…I was also at the museum at the same time you were—"
"It's true…quite coincidental, don't you agree? Anyway…I was there…looking for an ancient stone…but I fear that I was too eager-one of the staff saw me and immediately contacted the police. That was when I dashed off to make my leave. However, before I left I heard a voice…it was so familiar and meant so much to me…I turned around to check-and I could faintly make out your face as several officers began dragging you out of the building. I could also see that one of the cases was empty…and I assumed that you had been at the museum for a similar reason to me. Anyway…it was my fault that you were arrested; I heard the staff member mention the word 'thief' but he didn't mention the gender of the thief. That was why they assumed you were the thief…I am sorry for the trouble it caused you."
Emmy stared at him for a few seconds before she shook her head and folded her arms across her lap.
"No, that's fine. After that…I swear I could sense your presence at Scotland Yard…when I was explaining about the artefact I attempted to steal…why did you go there? Was it to rescue me?"
"Well…after you were arrested I was confused; I didn't know what had happened to make you change your personality…then I remembered that you had left Layton's side. I thought that you'd have no one left on your side…that you'd be alone like…like I was. I couldn't bare it…particularly concerning my feelings for you. I knew that they'd taken you to Scotland Yard for questioning. I went home and began to plan; I thought that I'd be doing us both a favour if I helped to get you out of that place. Anyway when morning came I rushed to Scotland Yard and…spied through the windows. I could see you in your cell from the window…and then I saw Layton and Triton come in. I assumed that they were visiting. However, when I saw the looks on all of your faces and the hurt on yours…I decided that I couldn't wait a moment longer. I heard all of the tale you told about the artefact you tried to steal…not for evil purposes like some monsters on this planet...and then I heard as you…confessed your…true feelings for me…I was shocked, I must tell you…because I never knew you really felt that way about me…and then…when Layton turned to leave…I released my gas bombs and then tried to get you out of there as quickly as I could. I succeeded quite well, I believe, since no one came after us. You were still unconscious when I brought you back here so I instructed my guard to make sure that you didn't escape in the shock of the situation if you did wake up…but he took the instruction a bit too far…I do sincerely apologise for that—"
"It's…it's fine," Emmy answered, blushing a little, "So…you heard everything…that I said about you? I wish I could've told you myself but—"
"That's okay…I felt the same way as you did, Emmy…because…I…I loved you too…I knew that we had gone through similar life styles…and I could see that you had a truly decent heart in you…plus a feisty side when it came to dealing with the villains…ever since I first saw you I…felt these strange feelings that I couldn't comprehend. However, now I know what they were; love…and my desire to be with you…but before I go into more detail, I take it that you are wondering about the artefact I was attempting to steal. Any guesses?"
Emmy closed her eyes and placed a finger to her chin, racking her brain for an answer.
"Well…I'd read about the moonstone crystal in a library book and I'd thought that fate had meant for me to retrieve it…so I went to the museum and attempted to steal it…but at the same time you were there…wait a minute! Were you trying to retrieve the moonstone crystal as well?! You could've read about it in a similar book…but there was no information on the sunstone crystal…"
"Well, my dear, I admire your thoughts…but that is where you are wrong," he told her, his eyes sparkling in the candlelight.
The woman found herself reeling back in shock as Descole dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out a glistening stone, speckled in miniscule red flecks of dust and gleaming in the light like the…sun…
"You…you found the sunstone?!" she exclaimed.
"Indeed. I'd read about the sunstone in a different book. I'd heard of the legend of the Incan emperor and about the two crystals…but I thought the same as you but for the moonstone crystal instead of the sunstone. Anyway…I went and retrieved it but I hear that…urgh…that chest haired freak of an inspector declare that you were under arrest for attempting to steal the moonstone-and I knew that fate had meant for this. I knew that fate had meant for us to come together united with the two stones…and to destroy our loneliness…which is why, Emmy, I have something very important that I would like to ask you…"
Emmy found herself frozen in her seat, heart fluttering with anxiety, as Descole took her hand in his palm and squeezed it tightly.
"Emmy, I know that we have both been through similar ordeals and obstacles: loneliness, sadness and betrayal. I know what you've been through…and I know what you want. For quite some time now I have been giving this proposal an awful lot of thought…but my feelings for you…and my desire to make you happy is so strong that…I am going to ask you now…"
He drew his breath in sharply and held her hand even tighter.
"Emmy…will you…will you join me by my side…to be loved and accompanied every day that remains…to travel the world and go on adventures with me…as…as my…kind and beautiful and caring assistant? We'll do anything you desire-anything that you wish will come true. I will treasure your company every second and…we'll grow to be…the best of friends and…maybe…maybe even more than that…"
Time stood still as the words left his lips. Emmy's mouth dropped open as she gazed into his serious and pleading face in a mesmerised manner. Descole…the man she now considered equal to slightly more than a friend…was offering her the main three things that she wanted and needed: adventure, company and…love and friendship…
"W…what do you say?"
It was either this, the life that she'd always dreamed of for several months now, or spending time behind bars and having to face the hurt and betrayal from the people she used to care about every day. She shook her head to clear away the images; those days were over…it was time to start anew.
"Jean Descole," she announced in a loud and clear voice as she launched herself across the table and flung her arms around his neck, "nothing would give me greater pleasure…of course I will! Thank you, Jean! Thank you so, so, so, so much!"
Descole blinked rapidly, feeling rather startled at her sudden outburst but he smiled widely and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, clinging to her as if he would never let her go.
"Emmy…thank…thank you…thank you so, so much…," he whispered, finding himself shocked as a single tear dripped down his cheek, "You don't…you don't know how much this means to me! I refuse to believe it!"
"Me too, Jean…me too," she replied as she gently wiped away his tear with the tip of her finger, "Come on then…let's celebrate by having a victory dessert!"
Descole eventually pulled away from her and smiled, only just managing to hold in the joyful emotions that bubbled inside of his heart -this was the moment he'd always dreamed of.
"Of course, dear. However…before that…I believe…a change of outfit is in order…"
Emmy almost squealed with excitement as she clasped her hands together and peered expectantly at the man.
"Please let it be a similar outfit to your outfit-it makes you look like the Phantom of the Opera! I always used to love that movie!"
The man chuckled and pulled out a small package from underneath the chair.
"You'll have to open it and see," he told her with a mischievous grin, "I can't wait to see the look on your face!"
Tearing at the paper like an excited child on their birthday, Emmy quickly scrunched up the paper to dispose of later before pulling out the gift with wide eyes, hardly able to believe her luck. A flowing velvet cape as dark as midnight fell to her feet, accompanied by a soft amber sash decorated in jewelled precious feathers and most importantly- a mask in the exact same design as Descole's, only this mask was coloured in bright vibrant shades of orange and lemon. These were her favourite colours.
She stared, speechless, at her outfit for some time as Descole laughed and waited for her response expectantly.
"Will…will they do?"
The woman blinked back the tears that were brimming in her eyes and once again flew into Descole's arms, clutching onto her mask if it were a lifeline.
"Oh, Jean…they're…they're so…b…beautiful…I can't…I can't believe that you've done all of this for …me…," she sobbed into his cape as Descole beamed with happiness, "You're…you're one of the kindest souls on this planet that I've ever known…and will…know…"
She resolved to immediately try on the cape and gently placed the mask over her eyes whilst Descole tried to control his laughter.
"I'm glad that you like them! I honestly didn't know whether you would…but I must say…you look absolutely stunning in them! A true Phantom Lady of the opera- now we're both ready for operas and adventures to different countries and places! Name wherever you want and we shall go there-but I think our first adventure will be to the lost Incan city…we'll see if the legend of these stones is really true."
"Wow! I can't wait!" Emmy giggled excitedly as she continued eating her dessert (a beautifully iced cake with sprinkles and strawberry icing), "I think that sounds like a fantastic idea, Jean! I've always wanted to see the pyramids! Oh and the Amazon Rainforest! Oh and the ancient Tibetan mountains!"
"Wherever you want to go I'm sure we can afford a little detour," he answered, now feeling excited himself, "As for Layton and Triton…when they come trying to stop us…what do we do then?"
Emmy finished the last of her dessert before placing down her cutlery and smirking at him.
"Well…simply don't interfere with him if he doesn't with us…and if he tries to stop us then we just go explore elsewhere- we're not doing anything evil. We're exploring and going on adventures together-our favourite pastime…oh and can I ask you another question, Jean?"
"By all means," he answered as he too placed his cutlery next to his plate.
"Can you teach me proper fencing lessons? I'd like to learn how you handle that sword of yours!"
"Well!" he laughed, rising from his seat as Emmy did likewise, "Someone's eager. I'll see if we can squeeze in your first fencing lesson tomorrow morning. Does that sound fair-if you teach me how you do those super fighting moves? My jaw drops every time I see you perform a single stunt like that!"
Emmy smiled and cracked her knuckles.
"It's a deal! I'll teach you some moves that will knock the backsides off some of those bad guys!" she promised, yawning a little as she spoke.
Descole smirked as he tucked in his chair and joined her side.
"I'm looking forward to it already! However, I believe that you must be incredibly tired, my dear. It's been a long day for both of us…so I think it would do for us to retire to our rooms. I trust that yours is comfortable?"
"It couldn't be better, Jean-the view, the huge soft bed, the beautiful paintings and decorations, the orange wallpaper-it's perfect!"
"Well I'm glad to hear it!" he laughed, "Well, I hope that you have pleasant dreams tonight, Emmy dear. Sleep well."
Emmy smiled and leant towards him, once again sharing a passionate kiss with the man she now cared about the most. Once again she felt the warm feelings of love and safety take over her mind again. The door creaked open and Raymond stumbled in, his eyes immediately widening at the sight in front of him.
The two quickly pulled away from each other, blushing fiercely as Emmy giggled shyly. Descole scowled at Raymond but he couldn't find the strength to appear angry and so he instead let out a low chuckle.
"Raymond, have you heard of knocking?"
"I…I…I beg your pardon, Master…I trust that…I'm…I'm not…interrupting anything, am I? You can carry on…doing what you were doing—"
"Maybe tomorrow. We're retiring to bed now. Have a good rest, Raymond."
Raymond was greatly surprised at his master's pleasant tone but he bowed low and managed a beaming smile.
"Th…thank you, Master. You too!"
Descole grinned after him and followed Emmy out of the room. Already he felt as if the bitterness in his heart was melting away for good-his caring assistant was responsible for that…
"Well…that was embarrassing…," Descole mumbled as Emmy laughed again, "Anyway…sleep well, my dear…"
"You too, my unmasked gentleman!"
Emmy planted a final quick kiss on his cheek before she turned and began to climb the steps to her room. She had never felt so happy in her life and knew that many adventures and events lay in store for the both of them…and perhaps the future held other secrets in store for them; fate could be incredibly kind at times-and now it was time for fate to give both of them the lives and happiness that they desired together…