Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Kuroshitsuji.
This chapter is also self edited, so apologies for any glaring mistakes.
Anyway, here's another chapter. Enjoy!
"In any case, it is pretty convenient that Lord Randall is absent, is it not?" Harry commented as the trio strolled between the aisles, shelves packed full of old and new records.
"E-excuse me, Earl P-Phantomhive! But you cannot be here! I-If the commissioner finds out – " Inspector Aberlain futilely tried to stop them.
"Then make sure he doesn't," was the blunt reply.
"H-How did you three get into the locked file room on the third floor anyway?"
"Harry, Sebastian, how does it look?"
The tutor riffed through the pile in his hands, humming thoughtfully, "I think I am searching in the wrong category, little lord. There's nothing here. Maybe Sebastian has found something on his side."
"Indeed I have, young master. Here it is. Of the children we were asked to investigate, there hasn't been an increase in corpses."
"Alright. Harry, if you have finished copying those files, we will take our leave."
"May I borrow these photos?" As the inspector floundered around for an answer, the tutor pocketed the copied documents.
"W-Wait! What if Lord Randall finds out those photos are missing?"
"If you get caught, say that I took them. He shouldn't need any other explanation," Ciel waved a hand dismissively.
At the wordless gesture from his contractor, the demon butler pressed a few shillings in Aberlain's hand, "Here's a token of gratitude for your co-operation."
"I-I don't need this!" the sandy-haired man exclaimed, trying to push the coins back. However, the butler's hand didn't budge. "I know you use whatever methods necessary to solve cases as quickly as possible, but this is…"
"Whatever methods necessary, huh? That's what you are going to call it in place of flexibility?" The trio brushed pass the inspector. "Hurry up and get promoted, Aberlain."
"It appears that all the children are still unaccounted for. What do you think, little lord?" the tutor questioned the instant the carriage started moving.
"It may appear to be so, but nothing is certain when one is involved in the Underground," the boy noble pulled out the Queen's letter and flipped it open, carefully scanning it once again.
To my cute little boy, the letter read.
Did you spend Christmas in someplace enjoyable? In any case, this time I have enclosed for you tickets. Did you know that a travelling circus has come to London? They are a troupe that has visited numerous places in this country. Somehow, in each town they have performed in, there have been incidents where a number of children have disappeared.
The government is, of course, searching to the utmost of their abilities, but the children's whereabouts are of yet unknown. According to my resources, every one of the missing children vanished suddenly in the middle of the night.
It's as though they have been kidnapped by the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
The unbearable sadness of the separated families isn't something I wish for the parents and children to bear any longer than necessary. I am asking you to return them to their families as soon as possible.
For the sake of our great country -
"Young master, if this deals with the underworld and corpses, will we be visiting his place once again?"
"To be honest, I want to avoid it, but – "
"Then why make the trip when you are so clearly reluctant?"
Both earl and butler regarded the tutor curiously, "What do you mean?"
"What I am trying to say, little lord, is that you and Seb can return to the manor at once. Leave the collection of data to me," Harry's emerald eyes glinted with wry amusement. "After all, don't you need to preserve your strength? The show will go pass your bedtime tonight."
The looks turned suspicious, but the boy conceded after some time, "Very well, we'll head back first. However, if nothing informative comes from your search today, we will most likely have to find other ways to proceed."
The Quetzalcoatl demon merely gave a two-fingered salute before jumping from the moving carriage, ignoring Ciel's annoyed huff.
"For a Shinigami, you sure like your baked goods, E – ah, my bad, Undertaker."
The silver-haired male paused in the middle of chewing on a biscuit and turned towards the voice, the signature creepy smile making its way to his face.
"My, my, how long has it been since the last time you visited me for the sake of wanting my company, my Lord."
The shorter male made a small noise of disgust at the title, "I thought we had an agreement. I refrained from calling you by your name, so drop the 'Lord'. Anyway, this is not a social call."
"Of course, you haven't made a social call since I retired."
"We will not go there, Undertaker. I know your reasons and do not wish to pry into your secrets. We may have shared parts of our lives and past, but even I have skeletons in my closets you do not know of." Glowing emerald orbs seemed to pierce the dark draped man and Undertaker's shoulders slumped a little.
"What do you want, Harry?" he asked wearily, all presence of his smile and eerie cheerfulness absent. "If it has something to do with angels, Shinigami or other demons, I don't think I can be of much help."
"Well, then it's very lucky we're dealing with humans, aren't we?" the demon handed over an envelop of photos, watching as the other silently scanned each and every one. "Has any of their names appear on the list?"
"Hmm…not that I'm aware of. There's a high chance these children are still alive," the envelop was returned, and the ex-Shinigami regarded his current guest seriously. "Is this really the only reason you came here? I know for a fact that you have a whole army of Death Gods at your beck and call, not to mention you have a Death List Ledger."
"Do I really need a reason to check up on you? Besides, this was a good excuse to see how you're doing without the two tagging along."
"They don't know, do they?"
"No, and I plan to keep it that way, although there's a possibility of them finding out sooner or later."
"I'm curious. What will they do should they ever find out your biggest secret? That raven demon, especially. With all the obvious hints and clues you're dropping, the truth will be out sooner or later."
A careless shrug, "I'll see when the time comes. After all, life will be rather boring without a few unexpected turns now and then, wouldn't it? And frankly, I am half hoping they will discover my secret, actually. It's such a pain hiding something like that."
"I seem to recall the amusement you deprived from when approximately a quarter of the Shinigami discovered you had the physical body of a demon after living amongst us for centuries. And you say it's a pain to conceal something like this from humans you have only known for barely a decade?"
"That's a different matter altogether. Now, what have you been doing since your retirement? Besides the usual business and being an information broker for his cute little descendent."
Undertaker sat on his coffin, eyes glazed as he focused on something far away, "Oh, just experimenting here and there, researching from corpses. Still, I find humans quite interesting. I wonder what will happen if…"
"Don't go dabbing in what you cannot understand, you hear me?" Harry's tone was grim and serious enough to cause Undertaker to stop and look up. The Quetzalcoatl glanced meaningfully at the scars forever attached to the other's neck and face, "Remember what happened the last time."
Waiting until the taller man gave a sign of acknowledgement, the Phantomhive tutor waved goodbye and headed for the door.
As he laid a hand on the knob, he called over his shoulder, "Shinigami activities seemed to have increased quite a bit in these parts. I would be cautious if I were you. Don't worry, I'll drop by every once in a while. Can't leave you too long on your own now, can I?"
"If it's you, old friend, the door's always open…" the ex-Shinigami whispered as the click of the closed door echoed through the gloomy shop.
"So this is it," Ciel looked skeptically at the immense circus showground, littered with colourful tents and flashy streamers.
The tutor clicked his tongue in disgust, "Do I really need to be here, little lord? I know that the information we gathered is insufficient, but forcing me to attend a circus is just…"
No. The Quetzalcoatl vehemently denied in his mind as he tried to ignore his friend's snickers. I am not sulking, merely uncomfortable at the thought of the immense number of bodies going to be packed into that small space.
The noble merely smirked, and led the way to their reserved seats which, Harry was delighted to see, were hidden in the shadows, located at the far corner of the tent, where the demons could observe but not be observed.
One by one, the members of the troupe appeared on stage, wowing the audience with their vivid performance. The skillful juggling, fire breathing, tight-rope walking and knife-throwing were impressive for mere humans, and in spite of his earlier complains, Harry found himself mildly entertained. He made a mental note to visit the half-breed snake boy and the boy's pets. However, his thoughts were interrupted by Ciel.
"There has been no sign of the missing children, and nothing out of the ordinary has occurred."
"This is quite a waste of time, is it not, young master?"
"Indeed, little lord. This is the final show, and still no sign of anything unusual."
"…The rather distinguish looking man in the black tailcoat! Would you mind stepping onto the stage?" A spotlight landed on Sebastian, and the demon butler regarded the announcer curiously.
"Go," the boy whispered. "This may be a chance to discover something."
"Yes, my Lord."
The tutor discretely leaned closer to the earl, eyes fixed on the form of his friend, "Do you think that was a good idea, little lord?"
"What do you mean? Sebastian can be conspicuous when needed. He knows what to do out there."
"…The animal is a tiger, little lord." The emerald-eyed male sighed. "Meaning it is a member of the cat family."
The Phantomhive Earl hid his mortified expression in his palms as on stage, his cat-obsessed butler proceeded to stroke the tiger. On the other hand, his tutor did not even bother hiding his laughter, only to make slightly strangled noises a few minutes later. Peeking through his fingers, the noble groaned as the overgrown cat gnawed happily away at his servant's head, the circus performers desperately trying to 'rescue' Sebastian.
"DO YOU NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF CONSPICIOUS?!" Ciel snapped as the trio made their way out of the show tent.
"My apologies, young master, but I could not resist the simply gorgeous fur of that tigress, and deep amber eyes…"
"ACHOO! Dammit Sebastian! Stay further back! You know that I'm allergic to cats!"
"My, my. Look what you have done, Seb," the shorter male shook his head in mock reproach.
"Hey! Wait a moment!" the unmistakable voice of the troupe's leader called. "You in the tailcoat! Hang on for a minute!"
Harry pulled the little lord behind another tent just as Joker reached Sebastian, and listened in on the conversation.
"I apologize for the events that occurred earlier, sir," the circus leader smiled.
"No, please accept my apologies instead. It was partially my fault, after all."
"Are you certain you are alright from the bite? We have a special doctor here who can treat you, you know. Come on round the back."
There was a slight hesitation, then the butler offered a sweet, seemingly innocent smile, "In that case, I would be glad to accept."
The two made their way over to the darker parts of the showground, the tutor shadowing them as he kept the raven's contractor close.
"Sorry it's so dirty. Please watch your step, sir," Joker looked around as they walked, his eyes finally landing on the snake-hybrid. "Yo, Snake! Is the Doc in the first aid tent?"
Receiving no reply, he sighed, "Ah, that's right. Snake's on guard duty."
"Huh? Isn't that the guy who got bitten by Betty?" Sebastian's head snapped around to find two child-sized performers, one male one female, sitting on the top of a barrel, smirking mockingly.
"Why, yes it is. That's the stupid guy," the female one laughed, and the demon resisted the urge to throttle them both.
"Ah, there he is," the butler was pulled out of his thoughts by Joker's delighted exclamation. "Doc!"
A scruffy, glasses wearing middle-aged man in a wheelchair glanced over his shoulder, hands probing the prosthetic leg of the knife-thrower, "Joker! Is there something wrong with your arm again?"
"No, it's not me this ti – "
He was cut off by the other youth in the tent, "Isn't that the man whose head was bitten by Betty?"
At once, the doctor latched onto the butler's hand, his eyes wide with worry, "B-bitten? We have to get you to the medical office right away!"
"I don't think we need to go that far, good doctor," Sebastian smiled and laid a calming hand on the disabled man's shoulder.
Not bothering to reply, Doc pulled the tall man down to his height, running experienced fingers along the scalp of the other, "Hmm…well, there's no bite marks on you. Are you sure you were bitten by that tiger? Never mind. If it isn't serious, then we do not have to go there."
"Meh – it's just a relief to know that you are not injured. If that was the case, the ring leader will have my head."
The raven demon tilted his head curiously, expression devoid of everything besides polite puzzlement, "You are not the ring leader?"
"Ring leader? No, I am more like the hired manger of this circus. The ring leader is a different scary guy. Right, Dagger?" he poked the other member playfully.
"Eh…he'll be mad at you for saying something like that, boss…"
The flap of the tent was abruptly shoved aside, admitting an irate female, "Doctor! I need you to take a look at my prosthetic again!"
"Big sis!" Dagger's cheerful shout was ignored as the woman stalked past, pointing an accusing finger at the amused looking butler.
"You! The mad man from earlier! What are you doing here? All because of you the show was – "
"Beast!" the mild-looking doctor snapped. "Watch what you are saying! In this case, it was your carelessness and inability to control Betty which led to the incident! "
"But he – "
"No buts. Are you not a professional? There will be no excuses."
"Now, now, Doc. No yelling in front of the guest."
"That's right. Instead of wasting your breath yelling, use the time to take a look at Big sis' leg."
"Very well, let me see your prosthetic."
From behind the tailcoat man, Joker eyed the guest shrewdly, "Yes, there's a bit of a reason behind this circus. Folks with some sort of problem gather together here. Take me for example, I am missing an arm, but thanks to Doc over here, I have this prosthetic. Pretty cool, huh?"
Up above, Harry set the boy down among the various crates which ensured he would not be discovered, and moved forward as much as he could to take a peek at the various bone-white skeletal fake limbs scattered on a shelf behind the man in the wheelchair.
"You are the one who made all those?" Sebastian questioned.
Not looking up from where he was tinkering with Beast's fake limb, Doc nodded absently, "Yup, that's right. I carve, assemble and fix them all on my own."
"Carve? So they are made out of wood?"
"Nope, these are ceramic, or more specifically, a special mixture of materials that makes them light and durable. Ball-jointed doll parts are also incorporated in the designs at the limbs' joints."
"I see. These are truly finely made…it feels good as well…" Sebastian murmured as he touched the prosthetic leg of the rapidly reddening female animal tamer.
The demon's fingers continued its travel up the prosthetic limb, and Harry chocked in shock as his friend abruptly pushed the fake limb up, face unreasonably close to the female's thigh.
Seemingly unaware of the scandalized expressions on the troupe members' faces, the butler muttered, "Ah? And what is this hallmark?"
Instead of an answer, the tall male had to dodge a foot to the face as a furious and embarrassed Beast screamed, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING, PERVERT!"
"Ah, I'm sorry," Sebastian mocked, eyeing her outfit pointedly, "but I've never seen someone dressed so shamelessly to have such a modest reaction to my actions…"
From his hiding place, the Master of Death sighed as the hot-headed woman visibly snapped, her whip flicking out and cracked harshly against the flap of the tent when the demon absently titled his head to avoid being whipped.
"YOU BASTARD! TOUCHING BIG SIS SO CASUALLY!" An enraged knife-thrower hurled several daggers at the now smirking butler, who in turn somersaulted backwards and onto a clothesline outside.
"Dagger, stop! If you continue, the tents will – " Doc's frantic attempt to stop the fight went unheeded.
"SIS' PURITY IS - ARGHH!"
Another handful of daggers were flung at the raven demon, whose only action was the narrowing of dull red eyes. The moment before impact, he moved. In a blink, the six daggers were caught between white-gloved fingers, a mocking smile on the man's lips.
Joker whistled in admiration as the others gaped in shock. His eyes flickered over to Beast, whose whip was posed to lash out again, and deliberately clamped a firm hand on her wrist.
"Now, now, that's enough," the auburn haired juggler spoke, the subtle authority lacing the words were enough to stay Beast and Dagger. "Anyway, that's some great reflex you have. I'd like to scout you."
"Really?" the troupe leader nearly squeaked in surprise as the guest's face suddenly filled his vision.
"The truth is my current master is spoilt and rather shocking," the emerald-eyed demon smirked at Ciel's insulted growl upon hearing the words coming out of his butler's mouth.
"Master? So you are a servant. With your appearance, I thought you were a gentleman…"
"Me, a gentleman? How absurd. I am simply one hell of a butler. So, back to what we were discussing before, when you said you would like to scout me…is that true? I would certainly like to accept, but…"
"Are you serious?" Joker looked incredulously at the other man.
"I am always serious. Did you think I was joking?"
"Pfft," the juggler grinned. "I like you. So if you are fine with it, I'll gladly welcome you anytime."
"Well, there's another person I would like to introduce you to."
"Bring them," the auburn-haired man said casually. "But I cannot accept just anyone, you know. There's an entrance test you will have to take."
"Very well, I will come by again tomorrow. You don't have to see me out," Sebastian gave a sharp smile to the general audience and exited the tent.
Grabbing the earl, Harry landed behind the butler and whispered, "Don't go that way. The snake-hybrid is guarding the passage. You will be caught, demon or not."
Rolling his eyes at the look Sebastian gave him, he sighed, "Trust me, you'll need the discretion later on."
"Ciel! You're back!" A hyper Soma yelled as he flung his arms around the smaller boy.
"Get off me, Soma!" the earl snapped. "I am still busy."
The trio excused themselves, making their way to the private study.
"So, Sebastian, the other person you mentioned who will be going with you tomorrow is Harry, isn't it?"
"No, little lord," the tutor cut in before the butler could open his mouth. "I'm afraid it will have to be you."
"And why is that? Do you have somewhere else to be?"
"As a matter of fact, little lord, I do."
"And what exactly is it you need to do? Another secret business of yours?" the sharp edge of sarcasm entered the boy's tone as his lips thinned.
Emerald orbs hardened slightly in warning, "Might I remind you, Earl Phantomhive, that you have only one demon who take orders from you unconditionally. I am not it. What I do is my business, and your opinion is not wanted."
He waited for the boy to inevitably voice his opinion, but was surprised at his silence. Feeling generous, he continued, "I will be heading back to the main mansion. I do know that the servants will be able to take care of it, but something is telling me they will need help in the near future. Anyway, the both of you should be enough to investigate."
Giving a last nod and a two-fingered salute to his friend and the earl respectively, the tutor vanished, leaving the two to debate over what they were going to do the next day.
"So the division leaders voted for you to investigate, or did you volunteer?" Harry spoke from behind one of his first Shinigami student.
"You know I'm not one to leave unfinished paperwork behind in favour of an investigation, mentor."
"Ah, they reckoned you were the only one responsible enough to see what caused the numerous amount of death on the same day sometime in the future, eh?"
"And they left the running of my division to Eric and Alan…"
"Don't complain, Will. It could have been Ronald or worse. Personally, I think your division is in good hands."
The Shinigami Division leader merely grunted as he pulled out his Death List, then peering at the myriad of tents a short distance away.
"Any reason for your presence here, mentor?"
"Nothing really, I was going to head back to the main mansion of the Phantomhive when I stumbled across you."
He ignored the soft snort of disbelief and the mutters of 'stumbled across…sure, sure' from the younger Death God and continued, "But now that you are here, I guess I will be joining you on your little investigation…that's if you don't mind, of course."
William finally turned to face his teacher, glasses glinting, "Oh? No, I don't mind at all, but are you sure, mentor? That demon friend of yours might turn up."
Stepping up alongside Spears, the Quetzalcoatl tilted his head and held the gaze of the other, even as his appearance began to change. Emerald orbs shifted to poisonous yellow-green, raven locks lengthened and straightened, automatically tied up by an equally dark ribbon, and his clothes shifted to a long dark blue coat and pressed white suit, the trousers a similar shade of navy.
Pushing the elliptical, blue-framed glasses up the bridge of his nose, the Shinigami Lord smirked, "A Shinigami Division leader the friend of a notorious demon? What a thing to say, Spears."
"A pleasure to work with you once again, Senior," his student replied with an equally dark smirk.
"Well then, shall we?"
"Suit! Lance! Come down here for a second, if you would?"
The two Shinigami glanced down from where they stood casually on the highest tightrope and promptly leaped down.
"I thought I sensed an unpleasant aura," William, circus name 'Suit' muttered, straightening his pure white suit, the gardening clippers in his right hand.
"Come now, Spears. We are suppose to get along with troupe members," 'Lance' mumbled, his dark blue long coat swishing around his ankles, a double-bladed lance, carefully disguised to look relatively harmless in the eyes of normal humans, resting on his delicate shoulder.
Sebastian and Ciel, now called 'Black' and 'Smile' respectively, exchanged a quick glance. One Death God was enough of a hindrance, let alone two.
"Honestly, to think I would run into you again. What are you doing here, you filthy demon?" Spear's Death Scythe shot out, aiming to clip the demon.
There was a brief clang, and the spectators gasped as the tip collided with the length of a midnight green staff, held by none other than Suit's companion.
"Really Will, I thought that sliver of hard-headedness would disappear given time. Demon or not, he is currently collared and not a threat," yellowish-green eyes drifted lazily over to the boy behind the butler. "Unless the master makes a move, we will not."
"And watch what you say in the future. Although the audience may have no clue as to what we're talking about, there's no need to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. Understand?"
The weapon was removed, albeit reluctantly, "Perfectly, Senior."
"Well then, I believe this is the first time we have met. The name's 'Lance'," the long-haired Death God grimaced. "Not that I had a say in my circus name."
Sebastian eyed the shorter Shinigami's offered hand suspiciously, not trusting him one bit. The raven would be a fool to underestimate someone who can turn friendly in a blink of an eye when there was a dangerous glint before. Despite his thoughts, a polite smile appeared on his lips as he shook the hand of the other.
"Pleasure. I'm Black and the boy is Smile. I look forward to working with you, Lance."
Dagger finally stepped forward, beaming, "That's the spirit, Lance! Come on Suit, bond over with your fellow newbies!"
"There's no way I will willingly work together with savage beasts," William sniffed disdainfully and walked off.
His companion gave a small smile and followed, leaving Ciel and Sebastian to stare.
"What are reapers doing here, Sebastian?"
"I do not know, young master. But one thing is certain. Their presence confirms something is up with this circus. For Shinigami to infiltrate this place, and to send two, this case is not a simple one."
The disguised Harry smirked as Sebastian's hand wrapped around his wrist, the other no doubt closed around his student's.
"Pardon me, gentlemen, but could we please have a small chat outside?"
William growled low in his throat as the demon manhandled the both of them outside the training tent, wrenching himself away when the moment they stepped out.
"Honestly, even though the England divisions are understaffed due to vacancies and incompetency in the ranks. Having to send division leaders out for mere investigation…what a mess."
"Heh…it's not that bad, Death knows you need a break from all those paperwork," Lance leaned nonchalantly against a pole, eyes half opened as he fingered his weapon.
The bored gaze landed on the butler, "Whatever information you are trying to manipulate out of us on behalf of your handler, demon, you can forget about it."
Sebastian blinked innocently, "Manipulate information from you? Me? Not at all, I was simply curious as to why busy collectors like yourselves are taking the time to infiltrate a circus. Is it a special situation?"
"It's a case relating to souls. There's no way we would let you in on it. It would be like leaving trapped preys in front of a starving carnivore," William sneered.
Dull red eyes abruptly darkened, "I have no interest in souls of poor quality. That particular trait of mine has ceased to exist centuries ago. And as your companion over there stated, I am collared. Please do not let my presence distract you from your job."
There was a moment of contemplative silence, before 'Lance' spoke up, all traces of disinterest and boredom gone, "Very well, I'll give you a tidbit of information."
"Senior…" his student made to protest, but one look was enough to still further argument.
"As you know, we Shinigami oversee the collection of Cinematic Records of humans. These souls appear on the Death List, together with cause and time of death. A few days from now, a number of souls will depart. That is nothing unusual. What warrants this investigation is the startling number which will perish on the same day, around the same time. That is all you need to know."
The smaller Shinigami strolled back towards the tent's entrance, signaling the end of the conversation. Brushing pass his oblivious friend, he added lowly, "Do what you need to, but don't get in the way of this investigation."
Shinigami Dispatch Division Leader William T. Spears was not happy.
He was feeling murderous.
A certain first tier member thought it would be funny to house him together with the filthy, uncouth soul-stealing being in human guise.
Lying down on his bed at the bottom bunk, he fumed. It was quite late at night, but the Shinigami was not tired. Sure, Death Gods needed their sleep, unlike demons, but they only need a rest every now and then, maybe once per week. How else do you think a workaholic like him ever got his seemingly endless stacks of paperwork done if he needed sleep so frequently like humans?
Anyway, back to the cause of his annoyance. Now he would be required to keep an eye on the demon all by himself because his mentor was bunking with another human. He sighed soundlessly, closed his eyes, and let his mind drift down memory lane. This way, he would be able to keep his mind conscious to the outside world, allowing his body to recapitulate at the same time. There was time to kill, after all.
"Will!" a certain annoying redheaded Reaper squealed. "We are in the same division! I'm soooo happy!"
William T. Spears, newly granted his full-fledged Shinigami status, ignored the call and walked on, intent on quickly collecting his personal Death Scythe and leave.
"Mou ~ Still so cold, Will? That's alright, your icy disdain leaves goose bumps on my skin! Oh ~ the shivers you leave in your wake ~ "
"Go away, Sutcliff."
"Ne, what do you think your Scythe will be? I hope mine's not something ghastly. Imagine having to wait for two decades before being able to even apply for modifications…" Grell continued chatting away, not heeding his unwillingness to talk.
"Number 414, William T. Spears and number 415, Grell Sutcliff, please proceed to the Death Scythe Fitting Station and await further instructions."
The two made their way up and through a steel double door, stopping short at the sight of row upon row of different tools set out. A blonde man approached, wordlessly beckoning them forward.
"Close your eyes and walk along the rows. Extend your senses as you move," the blonde instructed. "One should call to you. Your Death Scythe is your partner out in the field and should be one you are most in tune with. Get started."
William did not know how long he spent searching, walking up and down aisles when suddenly, there was a faint awareness to his right. His hand slowly lifted, fingers curling gently around the slim length. Taking a steady breath, his eyes slid open, looking at the tool he would be using for the rest of his career. The first thing he noticed was the colour, entirely jet black safe the blade. It reminded him of a gardening clipper humans used to trim their plants, except the tip was deadly sharp, and it was extendable.
He nodded, satisfied, and made his way out. Off to the side, the redhead came flouncing out, a toothy grin on his face and a black chainsaw clutched protectively to his chest.
"Will! Will! Isn't my Death Scythe awesome! I can't wait to modify it!"
The Shinigami managing the Scythe Department peered at the tools closely, jolting down notes on his clipboard. Inspection over, he waved the newbies out, absently telling them to return to their division.
Their division leader was a brunette man of above than average height, with bored eyes and royal purple shears. Casually glancing around the division's main hall, Will noted the black suit and trousers each wore, the flashes of metallic glint as the now fully-fledged Death Gods inspected their tools.
The solid click signaled the entrance of the last members, and the leader straightened from his slouch. Although his voice was quiet, it was pitched so he could be heard effortlessly across the room.
"Alright, newbies. The name's Crowley Blake. You are here because you passed the test. Congratulations," he drawled. "However, this is merely the beginning. This division consists of the top scoring pairs of each class, but that does not mean you automatically acquire any privileges. Instead, any mistakes you make will be punished severely. You being in this division is not a joke, it is not to have fun. Understood?"
Pausing to allow the information to sink in, he continued, "Now, we Shinigami are tasked with the collection of departing souls of humans. Like your graduating assignment, we judge the records of humans who appear on the Death List. However, this career is not without peril. Demons are our immortal enemies. They steal the souls of humans we will eventually come to judge, thus interfering with our work. Your Death Scythes are your eternal partners and collention tools out in the field. It is your one defense from demons and Cinematic Records fighting for a final chance at life."
"Right, on to the more important stuff. As there are only ten of you, this division will be separated into two groups, one of which will be taken by me, and the other by Viper Ciaran."
Blake moved to the side, allowing another senior Death God to step through. This one was on the small side, long raven hair swept into a high ponytail and secured in place with an equally dark ribbon, a buttoned dark blue long coat ending at his ankles, stylish blue framed glasses glinting dangerously. The small silver coiled snake pin attached to the high collar of the coat gleamed darkly. A midnight green double bladed lance resting lightly on one shoulder, the introduced Viper Ciaran gave a two-fingered salute to the assembled newbies, yellow-green eyes assessing.
That was the first time the current Shinigami Dispatch Division Leader met his mentor.
His eyes snapped open, fingers immediately flicking his Scythe upwards. Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, William inwardly smirked at the demon's disgruntled expression.
"Where do you think you are going, hell spawn? I am barely tolerating your continued presence, so please limit your nocturnal wanderings when your handler is absent."
Two pairs of equally narrowed eyes met and held for a long while, before the dull red orbs rolled slightly, and silently withdrew.
"I smell an intruder…Emily, inform the human hatchling at once…that stupid demon, locking us up then releasing us…"
The Shinigami Lord was on his way to the tent he shared with another member when faint hissings reached his ears. He paused and made his way over, clicking his tongue silently at the sight of the little lord staring intently at a piece of paper.
"Stupid human, encroaching on a territory which isn't yours…"
Slipping into his Quetzalcoatl form, the demon made sure he was small enough to hide among the grass before hissing back at the hybrid's snake.
The black boa whipped his head around, forked tongue cautiously tasting the air.
"Winged Lord…by my venom, I never thought I would encounter a great one like yourself…what can this lowly serpent do for you, Lord?"
"You belong to the human hatchling who guards this entrance, do you not?"
"I do, Lord. As do some other of my nest mates…"
"This human you smell who invaded the territory of others…he is but a child and does not fully comprehend the situation he's in…"
"You wish for me to let him go, Lord?"
"I understand it is your duty to inform the human hatchling of this trespass, but consider it a favour to keep this to yourself, the other as well. Should your hatchling or any of the other humans find him instead, then it is of no matter to me."
The other snake regarded him for a few seconds, then inclined his head in reply.
"You have my thanks. Should you or any of your company encounter problems in the future, call upon me as a return of favour."
Smirking, the still disguised Harry changed his destination, heading for the main show tent. Can't say the tutor did not do his part in this investigation. He managed to buy the little lord a few minutes. It was simply up to the boy whether he knew how to make use of it or not.
Spotting his student and demon friend walking back from their performance together, the Shinigami-demon rested his lance on a shoulder, sauntering towards the pair.
"The captives you have loosen are about to pounce on your carefully crafted meal, demon. Shouldn't you be more considerate about the health of your precious soul?"
Sebastian was gone in a flash, and the Shinigami Lord murmured to his student, "This case just got more complicated. There is outside involvement, however, I cannot yet determine it."
"What about the unusual amount of souls, Senior?"
"Ah, we'll have to keep an eye out for that, although I do not think the need for lengthy judgment is necessary."
"Yes, it does feel like it would only be a mass reaping, nothing more," the taller sighed. "Honestly, to be killed on the same day, the collection of these souls will force us to pull all-nighters."
"Well, let's return to your sleeping quarters. It's high time I see what that duo is up to."
"Where do you think you are going?"
Sebastian sighed as the interfering stuck-up Shinigami had him at scythe-point, "My sincere apologies, however, my master is currently unable to perform this task himself, so it falls to me to do it."
"I'm not listening to your excuses. Now get back in the tent."
The raven's hand itched to do something permanent to the Death God. Why did he have to have this idiot as his minder? Now if it was 'Lance', Sebastian was sure this confrontation would go smoother. In fact...there was something familiar about that reaper he couldn't pin down...
"I have my duties as a butler. The master's orders are absolute."
"Until this investigation is over, I cannot allow you independent action."
"Than how about a deal, reaper?" the demon caught the clipper in his hands, smiling even as the scythe drew blood. "Let me go for an hour, and I promise never to prey on souls in your assigned area."
"I refuse. It is not in me to make deals with beasts."
The blade was retracted, and the butler pulled the ruined glove from his hand, inspecting the bloody wound, "As expected, it did not work. Well then…let's move on to the next phase, shall we?"
The blood stained glove landed on the ground, and both tensed, ready for battle, when the air turned heavy around them. Two heads snapped around simultaneously, gaze landing on the slight figure in the shadows.
"Pardon the intrusion, but I couldn't help but notice the two of you were about to engage in a fight where innocent humans are in close proximity." Under the moonlight, the glasses lens flashed dangerously, despite the calming smile on the Shinigami's face.
William bowed to the newcomer, expression as bashful as a usually expressionless person can get, "My apologies, Senior."
The shorter waved a dismissive hand, eyes locked on the demon, "Now, what was that about a deal, demon? Did you think an empty promise would allow you the time you need?"
Dull red eyes narrowed, "Empty promise? I assure you that I had full intention to stick to my end of the deal had your colleague agreed."
"You know full well what I am saying. You, who freely admitted disgust for random feeding, promising not to prey on ordinary souls is an empty promise. Had my colleague agreed to it, you would not have lost anything of relative importance," 'Lance' turned his back on the demon butler. "However, that is not the reason I am here. Do what you want, demon. Our investigation is nearing its end. We are taking our leave tonight."
"Oh? Going so soon?"
"Still trying to fish for more information, demon? Sorry to disappoint."
"Doesn't hurt to try."
The Shinigami Lord snorted in amusement, giving a parting salute before disappearing with Spears.
"Mentor, the list states that there will be another three souls to collect in another location, around the same time as the first five."
"Hmm…that makes for a tight squeeze in the time frame," Harry glanced at his student. "Are they sending any assistance?"
"Yes, two reapers are on their way right now."
"Good, then I'll leave you to direct them during the collection at the main Phantomhive manor."
"Oh? And you will personally reap the other three, mentor?"
The older gave a dark smirk, "I haven't done a reaping in such a long while. It's about time I started again, don't you think?"
Leaving the younger behind, the Master of Death made his way to the other location, the mansion of a certain deformed baron. He was not worried about the welfare of the mansion's occupants, nor the little miss who managed to sneak into her fiancé's house once more. Pluto alone would be enough to handle the would-be intruders; the other servants were each a force to reckon with, and none of their names appeared on the Death List. That alone was sufficient assurance for the tutor. In addition, his wards would warn him if any were left alive after the servants were done with them.
Regaining his usual 'tutor' appearance and shifting in mid jump, the Quetzalcoatl spread its immense wings, not bothering to be conspicuous. After all, he was sure the sight repelling charms of his was still strong. Minutes later, a small feathered serpent landed soundlessly behind two darkly dressed figures, its presence going unnoticed in favour of the giant door's opening.
"Welcome, Earl Phantomhive," Joker greeted, unnaturally serious for the first time since Harry saw him. "We've been waiting for you."
"Please, come inside."
As soon as the door closed behind a still hidden Quetzalcoatl, the candles were promptly lit, illuminating the various ceramic dolls hanging off the ceilings and walls in an eerie light.
"What the – " Ciel stumbled back, startled by the sight.
"This way, please," Joker didn't even glance at the grotesque decorations, calmly leading the way.
"Young master, should we kill him right away and rescue the children?"
"Wait, Sebastian. If the kids are still alive, it would be better to catch them red-handed. We need to know his full intentions and motives in order to present a complete report to the Queen."
The duo cut off their whispered conversation at the circus leader's low chuckle, "Hehheh…They said don't judge a book by its cover. I think you are a good example of the saying, earl. To think such a small boy hold the titles of 'the Queen's Watchdog' and the 'Demonic Nobleman'…that's some big responsibility, Smile."
The boy noble's expression hardened, "My name is Earl Ciel Phantomhive. A mere servant should not address me with such degrading nicknames."
The disabled man merely gave a shrug as they halted outside a polished white double door, "You certainly have the personality of a noble."
The doors opened, and they were greeted with the sight of an extravagantly laid out dinner table, "We have prepared dinner for you as well."
The black winged snake slithered its way up, flying to settle atop a chandelier. Glowing emerald eyes narrowed as a side door opened, revealing a large, finely dressed, heavily bandaged man in a wheelchair pushed by small, blank faced children.
"Earl Phantomhive, you came!" the cheerful tone and dry, hoarse voice made for a sickening sound. "It's a dream to have you so close to me. Although it is shameful to appear as I am in front of one such as you."
"You are Baron Kelvin," the Phantomhive Earl laced his fingers together, leaning into the high backed chair, Sebastian hovering at his side.
"Ah, you remember me! I'm so glad! For you, earl, I have prepared a feast. The wine is from 1875, the year you were born. Here, have some."
A glass of red wine was set in front of the small noble by Joker. Ciel watched as his butler tasted it.
"It does not seem to be poisoned, young master."
"Hmph…nevertheless, I do not plan on touching food served by a rat. There was no need to taste for poison."
Up above the table, emerald eyes widened as they bored into the depths of the children's heart. A furious hiss escaped the mythical serpent.
What monstrosity is this?! The souls of the children…dammit! This will cause more problems for the Shinigami Records Division.
A sickening crunch snapped Harry out of his thoughts, head whipping to the side as the smell of blood reached his nose. The tutor reacted in an instant, throwing himself from the chandelier and shifting midair. He was dimly aware of the little lord's yell for Sebastian. All he cared about was getting between the knives and the restrained child.
Sebastian's eyes widened as a blur of black and green flew down from above, inserting itself between the oncoming knives and the target. The tip of the first blade halted millimeters in front of the child's forehead, the hilt gripped in a slim hand. The second and third weapons hit the floor of the stage with a dull clang. The newcomer lifted his head, flashing emerald eyes chilly as they landed on the frozen Joker.
Taking advantage of the situation, the tutor used the dagger he caught to cut the restrains from the girl. Tossing the mask aside, he lifted the small chin, gazing into the vacant eyes. The Shinigami Lord's hands clenched.
Oh, by the hells! Whoever is responsible for this will PAY!
The small male took a shuddering breath to calm himself before looking at his demon companion, who nodded, "This is Ellen Nickons, a resident of Cornwall and one of the numerous missing children. It is as the young master suspected."
"Ah, here's all the evidence I need to present a full report to her Majesty."
"I-I'm sorry, was the side show not to your liking, earl? And that of your ser-servants'?" The baron stuttered. "Cl-clean it up this instant, Joker!"
"Cleaning it up will not help you in the slightest, Baron," Ciel stood slowly, cane tapping ominously with every deliberate step he took. "Sitting and dining with a creature more despicable than any beast turns my stomach. Ugly, vulgar, perverted, the lowest form of life…is what I, as the Queen's guard dog, will get rid of!"
The instance the barrel of the earl's gun touched Baron Kelvin's head, the other three reacted. The tip of Joker's sword rested lightly at the base of Ciel's throat, even as Sebastian's hand wrapped around the juggler's neck.
"Now, now, little lord," Harry sauntered over, breaking the tableau. "We need him alive for the time being, despite my personal opinions."
"I know," Phantomhive snapped. "Now, where are the rest of the kidnapped children?"
"You want to meet the other children, earl? They are in my basement. I can take you there! Besides, there's something I want to show you down there as well." The bulging eyes of the wheelchair-bounded man sparkled with maniacal glee at the prospect.
"Save your breath. Just lead us down there."
"Of course, of course," the party moved quietly, the silence broken by the baron's happy sigh. "I'm so glad I am able to be beside you now, earl, even if it's just a short while. I have always regretted it, that I could not be by your side that fateful day."
A feeling of dread pooled in the boy's chest, but curiosity prompted him to question, "By my side on that day…what are you talking about?"
The basement doors creaked open, and Kelvin continued, "No matter how much I regretted it, I couldn't turn back time. But I realized, if I couldn't return to that time, then I'll simply have to recreate it."
Light flooded the basement, and Ciel chocked, terrifying memories plaguing his mind. Around him, he was reliving the period of his torture all over again.
"It took me three years to prefect this," Kelvin's voice seemed so far away. "Let's redo everything again, earl. Let's reform what happened three years before!"
The little lord was trembling now, eyes wild and the beginnings of a snarl curling his lips. Exchanging a quick glance with Sebastian, the two demon moved. The raven released his hold on Joker, replaced by the threat of a sharp dagger held by the tutor.
"Let me be a part of what happened that day, earl! Actually, I wanted to invite you myself to be a part of – "
The single gunshot echoed, ending the baron's monologue. The Phantomhive earl panted harshly, the butler hovering uncertainly behind.
Taking advantage of Harry's slackened hold, Joker rushed forward, sword in hand. There was a rush of wind, a spurt of blood and the clattering of metal against the ground.
"Argh…" the Noah circus' leader groaned in agony as he clutched the bleeding stump of his forearm to his chest.
"Attacking from the back is cowardly. Not to mention, the little lord is a little derailed at the moment," the emerald-eyed male chided mildly, absently flicking blood off the blade.
With the potential threat temporarily incapacitated, he turned his attention to the pathetically crawling kidnapper.
"Ah, it hurts, earl…" Kelvin sniveled as he clutched the boy's legs. "If you are going to kill me, earl, I beg of you…please, kill me like how you killed everyone else on that day."
The earl sneered, driving the bandaged head to the floor with his foot, "The same way, huh? Then quiver down there like a worm and beg the demon to do it."
"Please don't kill him!" Joker pleaded, voice weak from pain and blood loss. "Despite his actions, he saved us! He took us from the streets and gave us a home in the country that abandoned us. There are still other brothers and sister in the warehouse. If you kill him, they cannot survive."
"Survival? Is that what you see when you knowingly take these children away from home, to make them the way they are now?" Harry spoke from behind the young man, disgust in his soft voice. "Do you have any idea what you have done, not only to the world, but to the souls of the very children themselves? You've lived through hell and therefore, will do anything to survive; I'll give you that. But to put these young ones through the same thing you experienced…"
"I-I know from the start that – that this was wrong, but…" tears of anguish ran down the painted face.
"You are not wrong."
"W-what?" Joker stared disbelievingly at the expressionless earl.
"You fought to protect the world you believed in, is that not good enough? After all, justice in this world is just a bunch of principles made by those who hold position if power in order to suit themselves. It is a selfish system, one that will consume you if you fall even the slightest bit behind. Only two kinds of humans exist in this world. Those who steal and those who are stolen from. So then, today, I just stole your future, that's all."
"Heh..haha..hahahaha…" the injured juggler threw his head back and laughed. "Well, seeing that you understand the way of this world, Smile, I'll tell you something. You will also have something important stolen from you tonight."
Forcing himself to a sitting position, Joker locked eyes with the noble, "My friends are paying a visit to your manor tonight. Do you know why we have never been caught, Smile? That's because every witness was killed. I wonder how long your servants will last against them?"
"Ah, the servants, heh…" Sebastian chuckled darkly. "And who do you think they are? Servants of the Phantomhive household do not go down that easily."
"Those guys are professionals," the youth snarled, albeit a little less confident than before. "As a team, they complement each other, leaving no weakness."
"Believe what you will, sir," the butler smiled mockingly. "But remember, they were chosen for their abnormally superb combat abilities."
The air in the basement dropped a couple of degrees, and all eyes turned to the petite man, whose eyes glowed an unnatural shade.
"Ah, it has begun. The first members have entered the grounds," as the tutor spoke, a thick cloud of mist circled him, twisting and withering until it formed five miniature misty images of the intruders. "Oh, it worked, I wasn't too sure that it will across such a long distance."
"Witch-withchcraft..." Joker breathed in disbelief.
"Harry, what's that? Is this the reason you returned to the mansion?"
"Observant as always, little lord. These are part of the wards. It shows me the identity of the intruders and…" in front of their eyes, the hulking mist figure of a bald brute of a man dispersed. "…As you can see, these lovely mist figurines disappear when an intruder dies."
"N-NO! JUMBO!" Joker's eyes were wide, silent sobs wrecking his frail frame.
One by one the five disappeared, watched by three impassive and one horrified individual.
"Ah…looks like your team encountered their first failure, little Joker," the Quetzalcoatl mocked.
"Sorry for the wait, Baron – " a side door swung inwards, revealing the circus doctor, who blinked at the sight before him.
"Eh, Black and Smile...and a stranger? Another servant of yours, earl? So I see that Joker wasn't lying after all," the bland smile was still on the man's face even as he rolled the wheelchair down the ramp.
"I knew the authorities would be onto this case, but I didn't count on the presence of the Demonic Nobleman."
"Oh my, Baron!" the doctor reached the critically wounded man's side, fingers lingering regretfully on the still body. "How awful…and just after meeting a patron who understand my ideas…"
Sebastian's eyes widened a fraction as realization dawned, "The children were not kidnapped for mere entertainment, were they, Doctor? They were resources for your creations, your prosthetic materials."
"Wow, clever one, aren't you, Black? Yes, yes, you are right. The bones of these young ones make fine materials for creating lasting and durable prosthetic limbs. They are quite a wondrous resource, you know?"
As he talked, the mild-looking doctor opened a cage and lifted a young girl up with one hand, the other steering his wheelchair carefully towards a marble table. Setting the child down, the doctor got to work. The presence of an audience did not deter him the slightest. With an efficiency that spoke of long time practice, a knife was plunged into the abdomen of the child.
A strangled noise alerted the butler to his master's discomfort. Ciel had started to choke, sapphire orb clouded with painful memories.
"N-N-No…l-leave – s-stop – "
"Young master, look at me," the raven whispered gently. "You are outside the cage, my Lord. There's nothing to be afraid of. Have you forgotten the power in your hands? Call my name, my master…"
"S-Seb-Sebastian – "
"Your orders, my Lord?"
The eye patch fluttered to the ground, and the room darkened.
"Sebastian…" the noble's voice was much firmer now. "KILL THEM ALL, SEBASTIAN!"
"Yes, my Lord."
The doctor did not even have time to blink before a hand stabbed through his chest, ripping his heart out. A boot to the head of the baron ended the man's life, and a finger rested on the base of Joker's throat before retreating.
"Don't need to waste time on him, Seb. This one's done for," the smaller demon said quietly, inclining his head at the panting boy in his friend's arms. "Best get the little lord out of here. I'll be right behind. There's something else I need to do."
Fuchsia met emerald, a silent question in the former, and a wordless promise in the latter. Nodding his head once, the demon butler adjusted his grip on his contractor and pulled off his glove, running his contract-marked hand over the candles. Fire engulfed the limb, swirling elegantly about but not touching skin.
"Then, I'll see you later, Harry."
The tutor snapped his fingers, and a section of the manor's wall crumbled, providing a direct route to the outside. As soon as the duo set foot on the cobblestones of the courtyard, orange flames engulfed the entire mansion.
Another flick of his hands had a shimmering blue shield over the cages and three bodies, protecting the inhabitants from becoming crisp. Making sure that no one else was around, the Shinigami Lord materialized his Death Ledger and Scythe, kneeling down by the doctor's side.
"Now, let's see…Marvin D'arcy, inventor and qualified doctor. Time of death: 1:26am, 2nd January 1889. Cause of death: Forceful removal of heart."
A tap from his double bladed lance had Marvin's Cinematic Records slithering upwards. His lips curled again in disgust as he watched the replay of the man's life. As the last of it was absorbed by his collection tool, Harry added a note into his Ledger.
Not worthy of any form of reincarnation or written records.
There, that was the only thing someone as sick as the doctor deserved. Next was Joker, or as the List said: Jeremy Taylor. Time of death: 1:34am, 2nd January 1889. Cause of death: Blood loss. Since the young man's soul was still fairly pure considering, the tutor decided to give his soul a second chance, leaving it in the long list of those awaiting reincarnation.
However, the one Cinematic Record that made the immortal pause was that of the baron. His eyes blazed with ill-concealed fury, the shield constructed shattering instantly as power blasted outwards from him in waves. The surrounding fire was extinguished instantly, and only the sudden cold breeze brought him to his senses. Taking a deep calming breath, the Quetzalcoatl reined in his magic and swept his gaze over the cages. The Death Scythe followed the path soon after, disintegrating everything before him. For the first time in centuries, the Shinigami Lord sighed in weariness, raking a hand through his hair.
He felt the uncertainty in William's monotone voice, but did nothing to acknowledge his student.
"The five souls have been successfully collected."
There was a moment of silence, then the older eventually spoke, "Ah, so has the three here…"
"Mentor, did something happen?" Behind his stoic façade, the Shinigami Division Leader was worried. He had only seen Harry in a similar state centuries ago, when William was still considered a newbie.
Snapping out of his thoughts when his mentor shifted, he made to open his mouth, only to be cut off.
"William, the Death List was tempered by another being."
"W-what – how – who – "
"Relax. It is not something you are capable of finding out just yet. There were supposed to be more souls to collect this day, but all traces of it has been erased from existence."
"Was it a demon, mentor?" Yellow green eyes flashed dangerously at the thought.
"No. No, this taint was not of a demon, but of one you will least expect."
The Master of Death rematerialized his midnight green lance, running a finger over the tip of the blade. Slowly but steadily, a steam of records flowed out, curling into a bright blue ball in the middle of his palm. Finally turning to face his student, Harry gestured for him to take the object.
"That is a mere copy of the late baron's Cinematic Record. Simply touch your Death Scythe to it and it will play. There's no need for finding a way to destroy it. Once it has finished playing, it will disappear," the emerald-eyed demon explained. "Come find me when you have time."
Brilliant green gaze moved to the other two Shinigami behind, a small smile making its way to his face, "Ah, Ronald, Max, good to see you are doing well."
The two addressed gave a small bow, and Ronald grinned, more at ease in the Shinigami Lord's presence than his companion.
"Well, I'll see you soon, Will. The night's not over for me yet."
The shadows withered beneath the starless sky, a petite figure stepping out of the darkness into the dim moonlight. In front, silver hair gleamed brilliantly, the owner facing her back to the new arrival.
"So you caught on, contradictory one. I knew you would."
"Then why bother going through all the trouble? I must say, this goal of yours is a tad troublesome. I would suggest setting your sights elsewhere."
"That I cannot. You have been in this world for as long as I, maybe even longer. You should know why it is my one and only ambition."
"Can't say I cannot relate to it," emerald eyes flashed coldly, "but I cannot turn a blind eye to the way you are going in order to achieve your dream."
"Ah, you mean the unfortunate souls caught up in my latest plan?"
"I have said this before: I have no care about what you are planning to do to the world, but there are lines you do not cross. The first being putting my entertainment in peril, and the other, which I regret not having said before, is the utter elimination of innocent souls. If you had simply left them for collection, I would not be here."
"Those were unfortunate but necessary sacrifices. Though I am surprised, for a being who have lived as long as yourself, why does a few insignificant loss of pure souls anger you so?"
Dark laughter sounded in the still air, "Principles, my dear, that's all I have left in my immortal life. And what about you? For one who was born of purity and holiness…to fall so far in the name of cleansing this world…"
"The punishment is bearable. As long as it brings me a step closer to my dream, I will take it, no matter the cost. That is the strength of my resolve."
"Is that so? Then I am sorry to inform you that the path you have chosen will lead to a confrontation eventually."
"If that is so, why not be rid of me now?"
"Are you so eager for death?" There was a soft scoff. "Killing you right now would be inconvenient, and I for one do not think the consequence of doing so is worth anything in the future."
The petite figure turned, and retreated slowly, his last words drifted to the other as he disappeared.
"It's a noble goal, but you are not the first to attempt it, nor will you be the last to fail."
Violet eyes closed, a weary sigh escaping, "The wheels have started to turn, there's no going back. I do not wish to face you, but…"
A sudden coldness settled in Harry's chest as he made his way back to the pile of rubble, which used to be a magnificent mansion.
"Really, that little lord. Wasn't all that killing enough for one night?"
He touched down by the cooling body of the deformed girl. The thin red line at the base of the neck was the only indication if her passing. Sighing, he collected the records and took a look at his Death List.
"Oh my, and an early death at that. I think you deserve another chance at life, don't you?"
A slight creak to his left caused him to rise from his crouch.
"That young lord…he really does not value the souls of other humans, huh?"
"It was of no matter, not this time. Only this one among the other souls collected died before the set time."
"Say what you want, but you cannot deny the amount of corpses the boy will leave behind during the period of his remaining life."
"Like father like son. And you would know all about Ciel Phantomhive, then. You were quite close to the previous head of the family, after all."
"Well, I'll reserve judgment on the boy for now. On to the matter at hand, I think some coffins are required."
The demon snorted in amusement, then grinned at the Undertaker and vanished.
"How will you explain the deaths of the children to the Queen, young master?"
"I'll find a way around that. Right now, we need to see the condition if the children in that warehouse."
"Sympathy, young master? After your firm order to end the lives of numerous children?"
The usual three were in the Phantomhive London manor, discussing the events of yesterday night.
"Sympathy? No, that's not it. You cannot run an orphanage without a patron. With the late baron gone, it will collapse. Tying up loose ends is also part of my job."
"You consider that warehouse a loose end, little lord? Then there's no need to make such a long trip for nothing."
Earl Phantomhive frowned, "What do you mean?"
A piece of paper was held out, "Renborn warehouse, wasn't it? There hasn't been a place with that name for over thirty years. The last recorded one was demolished, and it fitted the location and description in the doctor's logbook. In short, this warehouse does not exist."
The paper was tossed aside as the young noble chuckled, "…So desperate…they were so desperate to protect something that did not exist! And they died for it! Destroying other humans for their own goals, their own dreams…that's what humans are made of. The despicable lies, false hopes…"
"And is that not what make humans so interesting, young master?"
That's it for now!
I hope it lived up to your expectations. From here onwards, there will be more confrontations between the Shinigami Lord and the one who's seeking to change the world...