Chapter 1: Introducing Catherine
Before I get into this, let me explain what's going to happen here. This is going to be the second part of The Phantomhive Diaries and it takes place months after the events in The Lotus Flower. My Dark Angel takes place during the India arc where Soma and Agni are introduced.
In this fanfiction, I will introduce an OC character named Catherine Makarovna who is going to be a very interesting character. Won't give any spoilers though. I'll just give you the following details on who Catherine is going to be in the fanfiction.
Catherine Makarovna is one of the greatest detectives in Moscow. She is sent to England under recommendation from Frederick Abberline to help Scotland Yard investigate the mysterious deaths of British citizens that were murdered after returning from India due to the Yard's lack of competence. However, the commissioner of the Yard doesn't want Catherine around because she's a woman. So she is sent to the Queen's guard dog without her knowing that the Earl of Phantomhive is a 14-year-old boy or that his butler could kill her if she arrives at the mansion unannounced.
Mey-Rin and Ciel still remain as the protagonists of the story like in the first one but Sebastian will also have more screen time as well as Finnian, Baldroy and Undertaker. I'm still trying to find the perfect moment to bring back Grell to the story after being locked away by the Grim Reaper Society. It might take awhile but she will be back.
Cast (On my personal opinion):
Lin Yun as Mey-Rin Lijaun
Noah Schnapp as Ciel Phantomhive
Ben Barnes as Sebastian Michaelis
Melissa Benoist as Catherine Makarovna
Karan Brar as Soma Asman Kadar
Barun Sobti as Agni
Priyanka Chopra as Mina
Gerhard Freidl as Undertaker
Eddie Redmayne as Grell Sutcliffe
Elle Fanning as Elizabeth Midford/Lizzie
Tom Holland as Finnian Bournemann
Nick Tarabay as Baldroy Gibbons
Skandar Keynes as Tom Brown
James McAvoy as James Norrington
Hugh Dancy as Frederick Abberline
Timothy Dalton as Arthur Randall
Lena Headey as Francis Midford
Li Bingbing as Ran-Mao
Wang Kai as Lau
Chapter 2: Newcomers
Disclaimer: I do not own Black Butler, anime or manga, or its characters.
Some of the flashbacks will be written different as Ciel's memory changes like in the manga. Let me know if you like it.
3 years ago...
"Mother! Father!" Ciel cries out as he runs throughout the mansion looking for his parents and his brother. But they are nowhere to be found. Someone has broken into their home and is killing all of the servants. He even found their dog dead. "Mother! Father!"
He enters the study where they would usually be. He sees his father standing in front of his mother as he is shot in the head. Ciel's eyes widen as he sees his father's body drop to the floor. He finally screams when he sees his mother get shot as well.
The killer aims his gun at the boy but Ciel immediately runs as the trigger is pulled.
Winter has always been a grey season for England, enveloped in thick sheets of snows. After the events of Jack the Ripper, London returned to its peaceful state...for the moment.
A crowd of people gather around a scene where Scotland Yard are cutting down dead bodies of British citizens that have been stripped from their clothing and hung upside down outside of Hindustani Coffee House in Portman Square. All of them are tied and have bloody wounds on the heads. Death by a blow to the head. How savage.
"Damn it, this is the 20th one now," curses Commissioner Arthur Randall of Scotland Yard as he watches the men being placed on a cart by the Undertaker. He looks over at Abberline who returned from his search for the killer. "Have you not apprehended the killer, Abberline?"
"We've searched everywhere," he says, "Unfortunately, we found no signs of the attacker. Sorry."
"Damn it," Commissioner Randall says, "First our glory of catching Jack the Ripper was stolen from us by that Phantomhive brat and now this."
"Sorry to be such a brat then."
Ciel is standing right behind him with his butler Sebastian and a rather large wolf-like dog with white fur and blood red eyes. Ciel frowns at the commissioner and the detective.
"Wait a second, how did you get past the guards?" Detective Abberline asks but Commissioner Randall immediately brushes it off.
"Leave it be, Abberline," he says, "What are you doing here, Lord Phantomhive?"
Ciel smirks in amusement. The dog sits next to the queen's guard dog and Ciel pets its head. "Isn't it obvious? I'm here to clean up the mess made by an old pathetic hunting dog." He snatches the clipboard from Detective Abberline's hands despite the man's protests. He reads the report out loud. "A crime targeted only at people who have returned from India to England. Two dead and four injured."
Commissioner Randall snatches the clipboard back. "You can't just come here and think you can take over our case."
Ciel arches his eyebrow at the commissioner. "I can't?" He reaches into his cape and takes out an envelope. He shows it to the commissioner. The letter has the queen's seal on it. "If it was just a highwayman, I wouldn't be here right now. So, I'm sorry to disappoint you but I can take over your case if the queen is not pleased with your progress." He snatches the clipboard again from the commissioner and continues to read. "The criminals are described as chosen children of sloth and depravity which is quite accurate. I agree that England would be better off without India's wealthy upstarts. But perhaps India will be better off without us demanding so much from them."
"The British Empires Dominion of India," Sebastian says as he writes down the information. "At the present time, a lot of British settlers were living in Britain's Indian Colonies. The 3rd or 4rth child from upper class families who can't afford luxury in England live in India like aristocrats."
"Those who return from India are called Anglo Indians and those who don't leave the lazy lifestyle they developed in the luxury of India are called Indian Upstarts," Ciel says.
"They are cowards who were too busy with extravagance and indulged themselves in worthless past times," the commissioner remarks harshly, "Most of them are upper class people in this so-called Great Britain."
"Upper Class? How worthless? My maid would disagree with you if she were here," he says and his eye squints at the letter with a tongue marked on the bottom. "What is this mark?"
"He's making a fool out of us!" Commissioner Randall shouts angrily, making Ciel's eye widen in surprise. Well then. "Us British folks and the queen! Targeting those who return from Indian means that the criminal can't be anyone other than a vulgar Indian barbarian!"
The wolf-like dog lunges forward and growls at Randall angrily. Ciel immediately yanks at the leash in his hand and pulls him back. "Easy, Pluto."
"Randall, please calm down," Detective Abberline begs him. His temper has become thin. The detective is afraid he might strike the boy or that the dog might bite him. It's possible the dog might bite Randall before he can even try to strike the earl.
"So that's the reason I've been called here?" Ciel says. He clicks his tongue in disappointment. "A majority of smuggling Indians have a stronghold in East End. I can see even city yards don't know what to do with a dark street like East End. How difficult can it be for you to identify the route and exact number of smugglers?"
Commissioner Randall growls in irritation. However, he doesn't snap at the boy again because of the dog.
Ciel looks at Sebastian. "Do you have everything I need?"
Sebastian nods. "We still need the letter."
Commissioner Randall refuses to give the letter to the young boy. "The letter is Scotland Yard property," he says.
"Very well. This will have to do then," Ciel says. He looks over to where Undertaker is loading the two dead bodies of the noblemen onto his cart. He turns his gaze away when Undertaker turns to look at him. "Come, Sebastian. I wish to go home now."
Sebastian bows. "Yes, my lord."
"Come along, Pluto," Ciel tugs the wolf-like dog away from the crime scene.
As the detective and the commissioner leave the scene, a local boy comes running out of the shadows and snatches the letter from the clipboard before disappearing into another alleyway.
"Hey, you come back here with that letter!"
Randall and Abberline chase after the local boy who stole the letter down the alley. The boy slips on thin sheet of ice but quickly gets up and continues running. Randall and Abberline almost catch up to the boy when he jumps over the fence ahead and disappears completely.
Ciel and Sebastian walk further away from the crime scene. Out of the corner of Ciel's eye, he sees a local boy running up to him with the letter he clearly stole from Commissioner Randall. Pluto barks and wags his tail happily when seeing the boy. He gives the letter to Ciel.
"Here you go, master," he says and removes the pageboy hat, revealing to actually be Mey-Rin disguised as a boy. Pluto jumps at Mey-Rin's lap and starts licking her face. She giggles as a response. He's already big enough to jump up on his hind legs and reach her head. It's only been a month since he was brought to the Phantomhive Manor and now he's almost as big as Ciel. "Hello, Pluto."
"Good work, Mey-Rin," Ciel says. "You're lucky Sir Randall didn't catch you."
"He almost caught me. I slipped on thin ice," she confesses, "I had to jump over a fence just to get away from him."
"Good," he says. "It wouldn't be convenient for any of us if you get arrested for stealing a letter."
"I' guessing you wouldn't pay for my release," she says.
He smirks teasingly. "Of course not." Mey-Rin tries not to laugh as a response.
"What does the letter say, my lord?" Sebastian asks.
Ciel returns his attention to the letter. "Watch this, you wild, pathetic chosen children of sloth and depravity. England is the motherland of the devil. It steals everything and forces its worthless, rotten and decadent culture on you instead. To all bitch-dominated idiots of this land, you are the ones that deserve the vengeance of Heaven. Now the Day has come. The tongue drawn on the bottom obviously symbolizes mockery, just like Randall said."
"That's sort of cruel, attacking and hanging those men like that," Mey-Rin says. Ciel scoffs at the comment. She still remains naive even after the incident with Jack the Ripper. She still has a lot to learn. He can't expect anything else from someone with a soft heart. "You don't think it was an Indian who did this, do you?" she asks, "Sir Randall's comment was out of place. I don't like him much, to be honest."
"Indeed. However, there's only one way to find out whether it was an Indian or not," he says.
"We'll have to interrogate the inhabitants of the East End. Am I correct, young master?" Sebastian asks.
"Indeed," Ciel says, "but first, I want some tea and a hot bath. I'm tired. We shall be staying at the townhouse for the time-being. At least until we catch whoever is committing these crimes."
"Yes, master," Sebastian says, bowing his head.
Mey-Rin walks up closer to Ciel and whispers in his ear. "Was making me dress as a boy really necessary?"
The first time Ciel obligated Mey-Rin to dress as a boy, she protested. She felt uncomfortable wearing trousers and wandering the city without a corset on and still does; she used gauze to flatten her breasts instead. She also had to pin her hair up and hide it under the pageboy hat. She feels naked and exposed without proper lady's clothing.
"Listen, if I had to suffer wearing a dress, then you're going to have to suffer as well."
Lizzie arrives at Phantomhive Manor to visit Ciel and steps out of the carriage. He's probably busy but her mother insisted for her to go, stating that her company might make him feel better. She dresses up pretty as always, wearing a pink coat and a straw bonnet with a pink rose on it.
The moment she steps out of the carriage, a gust of wind suddenly sends her bonnet flying, her blonde hair being released from the bun. She gasps and runs after it. Her mother has told her to never run as it is inappropriate for a lady to do so but Nina will never forgive if she loses the bonnet she made for her.
The bonnet is caught by Finnian who jumps up and grabs the brim in mid-air. Lizzie sighs of relief. Finnian walks to her with the bonnet, his other hand dragging a large fir tree behind him. For a young boy his age, he's surprisingly strong. He's three years older than Ciel but still...
Finnian gives her back the bonnet and smiles warmly. "Here you go, Lady Elizabeth."
She smiles in return. "Thank you so much. It's Mr. Bournemann, right?"
He nods in agreement. "Everyone calls me Finnian or Finny. If you're looking for the young master, he's not here. He's in London with Sebastian."
"Oh. I did not know."
"Would you like to come inside anyways? It's quite cold out here. I don't know how to make tea but I can always ask Tanaka."
Lizzie sighs in disappointment. She didn't want to go home so early to her mother. She'll be displeased.
"Thank you but I don't think my mother would be happy with me wasting my time in Phantomhive Manor if Ciel's not here," she says as she turns to leave.
"Um, Lady Elizabeth?" Lizzie turns around to look at Finnian, wondering what he's going to tell her. She can see the pink blush on his cheek and his eyes looking down in embarrassment. "You...look very lovely today."
Lizzie looks at him for a moment before smiling. "Thank you." She then returns to her carriage with her maid Paula. She knows that her mother will be displeased with Ciel's absence. She'll have to make some sort of excuse. Yet for some reason, she can't help but smile. It's the first time she had someone tell her how lovely she looks. How pretty she is. And to be honest, she never thought she would hear it from the gardener.
The Scotland Yard police gathered around a private room to have Commissioner Arthur Randall discuss about the highwayman assaulting noble Englishmen that migrated to India for some time. Abberline finds it a little inconsiderate that Randall still believes that the highway was an Indian, mainly because they were hung in front of an Indian's coffee shop. He knows there's a lot more to it. But Randall believes the Indians to be barbaric. He also believes that Mey-Rin Lijaun could have been the one who murdered the Italian man Lord Damiano of the Poseidon Company. When Abberline asked why he suspected this, Randall replied stating "You can never trust a China girl, Abberline. That's much I know."
Now, the term China Girl (since Mey-Rin Lijaun is Chinese) doesn't really bother Abberline much. What does bother him is the way Randall said it, as if she weren't a person which is quite cruel. Despite having the right motive to kill Lord Damiano, Abberline doesn't think the girl capable of doing actual harm. She looks quite young (she says she's nineteen but looks sixteen) and inexperienced. Besides, she was the one who found the body. There was no blood on her hands or uniform. Only bruises on her neck that showed Lord Damiano tried to strangle the poor thing. However, Randall doesn't exactly see shades of grey. Only black or white.
Randal displays the picture of one of the noblemen that died in the hospital due to injuries in the head. A nobleman named Brendon Price. He got multiple blows to the head, according to the Undertaker, and the inside of his skull filled up with blood, asphyxiating the brain.
"All right, men," Commissioner Randall says to the rest of Scotland Yard. Undertaker is sitting in a corner with his back leaned against the wall and taking a bite out of a bone-shaped biscuit. He's simply waiting for Scotland Yard to return the body so he can get it ready for the funeral. But it seems that he enjoys listening to the gruesome details "We all know that the victims are nobles returning from India. We need to catch this bastard and hang him for his crimes. Now, we don't have any leads but we suspect that the man who's committing these crimes could be an Indian."
"Are we sure it was an India, Randall?" Detective Abberline questions, still opposing to the idea of the highwayman being Indian. "There could be other possibilities. Simply because the men were found hanging "
"You should listen to your partner, commissioner," the voice of a woman says, "At least he's using his brains instead of pure adrenaline like the rest of you."
Everyone in Scotland Yard turns around to see a woman standing outside the room. A woman with curly blonde hair and wearing black leather trousers and a trench coat of burgundy velvet with black cuffs on the sleeves and silver buttons. Abberline's eyes grow slightly wide. The attire is not appropriate in public company, especially the company of men. She is not wearing a skirt. But what impacts Abberline the most is the way she spoke. Her accent is Russian. Could it be...? No, it can't be.
"Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?"
The woman walks into the room with her hands in her coat's pockets.
"I received authorization to be here," she says as she walks in, "You have no leads yet you assume that the thug is Indian. You also assume it's a man. Have you ever thought that it could be Englishman, or an Englishwoman. And if it were an Indian, does it have to be a man? Or was it an Englishman blaming an Indian? There's so many possibilities. And why must you resolve everything with hanging? It's so primitive. Are you all British single-minded or is it just you, commissioner?"
"Listen, girl," one of the police say, "I don't know what sort of game you think this is but you have no right to speak to the commissioner of Scotland Yard like that -."
"Actually, I can," she takes out a letter with the queen's official seal stamped on it. It has the stamp of the Imperial Arms of House of Romanov, Russia's coat of arms. "I'm Catherine Makarovna from the Moscow City Police. Your department wrote to the Russian Empire, asking for the police force's aid to solve the case of Jack the Ripper. Since Jack the Ripper is now gone, you wrote again stating that our services were no longer required. Of course, the head of the Moscow City Police was not very pleased with your letter. He thought you were wasting his time. So he ignored your letter and sent me here to London instead, to help investigate these strange attacks on British noble returning from India."
"And you work for them?" Abberline asks.
"Let me correct myself. I am Lieutenant Catherine Makarovna. I'm sure you're familiar with my father Chief Makarovna."
The police of Scotland Yard continue to mutter with one another. Undertaker is snickering in the corner while Randall simply glares. Abberline stares in amazement. Not only is she a lieutenant of Moscow City Police but the chief's daughter.
"What are you doing here in London?"
"Isn't it obvious? I'm here to clean up the mess you Scotland Yard can't seem to clean yourselves," she says, "The queen sees you as incompetent now and feels that you can no longer handle the case yourselves, especially you, Commissioner Arthur Randall. Apparently, you have a record of immoral conduct such as discrimination towards people of different colour and prejudice against the lower and middle class. Not to mention a few innocent lives were taken because of false accusation and lack of evidence." She points at the picture of the man's cranium. "That man suffered twelve blows to the head. Not ten. There are two more between wounds 7 and 8."
"We can handle this ourselves, thank you very much," Randall protests, "There's no need for Russia to get involved."
"You do realize that if you deny the aid of the Moscow City Police, I will have to report to Queen Victoria and we both know she will not be happy with you, commissioner," she says.
"I don't care. This is my case and will not have it taken from me by no one. Not a child, or a woman!" Randall shouts, "So forgive my rudeness, Lieutenant Makarovna, but I will have to ask you to exit the station."
Abberline watches the woman's jaw clench. She then smiles and turns to leave the station. Everyone else in the station remains quiet as Randall continues to discuss about the highwayman. Abberline blames himself for this. He was the one who wrote the letter to Moscow City Police without Commissioner Randall's consent in the first place. He knows he needs to fix this soon before it gets him and Scotland Yard into even more trouble.
"Lieutenant Makarovna!" he shouts after her. When he finally catches up to her, he crouches down to gasp for air.
Lieutenant Makarovna looks at Abberline strangely. "Yes? And you are...?"
Once Abberline catches breath, he finally gets to speak. "Detective Frederick Abberline. I work with Commissioner Randall."
"He's not a very welcoming man, now is he?"
"No, he's not. I really am sorry for him treating you that way but please understand that this case -."
"I don't like people making excuses, detective," she interrupts him, "Nor do I like lies. I know a discriminator when I see one."
Abberline says. The truth cannot be hidden. But there's no need for the queen to be involved. "Please don't tell the queen, lieutenant. I have a wife and she's having a baby. If I lose my job, I don't know what I'll do."
"It's out of my hands. The commissioner should have thought of it before writing us in the first place -."
"I was the one who wrote you, not him," he confesses.
The lieutenant's eyes widen in shock. "...What?"
"I know. It was stupid. But the Jack the Ripper case was getting out of hand. There were too many dead prostitutes on the streets. Scotland Yard barely did anything to stop it from happening."
"And you wrote back refusing our help? Are you that much of an idiot, detective?" she says, "Do you realize you were wasting the city police's time -?"
"I really am sorry for wasting your time. I really am. I shouldn't have written that letter in the first place," he says and Lieutenant Makarovna frowns at him. That came out wrong. "But you're here now. You can help us catch the highwayman, even if Randall doesn't want to."
"Well, as you saw," she says, "Commissioner Randall is not interested in a Russian's help in solving their case."
"No," he says, "But I know who might be."
She folds her arms over her chest. "I'm listening."
"Have you ever met Earl Ciel Phantomhive?" he asks.
"The queen's guard dog? I've heard of him before from the Romanov family but never seen him before," she says.
Abberline takes out his notepad and pen, and writes her an address. "His townhouse is not far from here. You give him your name and tell him I sent you."
"Why should I tell him you sent me?" she asks sternly. She's stubborn, he noticed.
"Trust me, Lord Phantomhive is not very fond of surprise visits," he warns, knowing from experience, "But if anyone can help you, he can."
"Well, thank you," she says, "I will take consideration on not telling the queen. Just make sure the commissioner doesn't get in my way. Have a good day, Detective Abberline." She then walks away.
Abberline decides to head home to his wife after the meeting was over. It's getting late. She probably has dinner waiting by now.
However, he stops by an alleyway the moment his eye caught something familiar. He turns back. One of the homeless has a dirty shawl wrapped around him to keep him warm from the cold winter. Not just any shawl. The shawl has blue birds embroidered on it.
He walks over to the homeless man and asks him where he found that shawl. The man found it in an alley near Whitechapel. It was lying in a puddle.
"I'm offering you a hundred pounds for it," Abberline offers, taking out a small brown bag from his trench coat, "This might be enough for bread and a place for you to stay to keep warm."
The man accepts Abberline's offer and gives him the shawl in exchange for the money. The man walks away with the money and Abberline continuing his way home with the shawl he gave to Mary Kelly as a present with the question of whether telling his wife the truth or not lingering in his head.
Undertaker is closing up shop when he hears the door open. He sighs. Just when I was about to go to bed. When he turns around, he sees the old hag of Margaret Norrington walking into his shop. Another family member of hers has died. If the black dress and veil over her face wasn't so obvious enough. Why is he not surprised? These Norringtons are dropping like flies.
"Hello there, Mrs. Norrington, it's a pleasant to see you again," Undertaker snickers in amusement at seeing the old bitter woman walk into his shop yet again. "I have not seen you since your husband's funeral. Tell, is there another family member of yours I need to bury soon."
"Yes," she nods, looking at the mortician with those bitter grey eyes of hers. He will take great pleasure in making her coffin when she dies. "My son, Andrew. He was exposed to the cold weather a few days ago and died of a fever yesterday."
"I see," he says, "I'm sorry to hear that. But people live and die every day so forgive me if I'm not sensible enough to shed a tear."
"I don't expect anything else from an undertaker," she says bitterly before giving him a bag of coins as payment for the funerals. Undertaker doesn't usually accepts the queen's coins as payment but he does need the money to buy more wood to make coffins and they're not exactly cheap. So he accepts the money.
Aside from the Phantomhives and the Midfords, the Norringtons have always been one of his most prominent customers. They're a large family of noble folks. Undertaker has buried Margaret Norrington's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Last year, he buried her husband Frederick Norrington, a fat old man with a grey mustache. None of the Norringtons have been known to shed tears at funeral. As far as he knows, none of the family members practically like each other very much. Luckily Tom wasn't hired that year or he would have messed it up as well. He wonders whether to allow Tom help him with the Norringtons or not, seeing that he has already done plenty of damage. The Norringtons are very good clients of his and he will not have it ruined by an incompetent apprentice.
"Tell the gentlemen to bring the body out back," he says.
"Very well -."
"Mother, Marc and I are freezing outside," a young man walks into the parlour. A handsome young man in his twenties with dark shoulder-length hair and dark eyes.
Undertaker's grin falls when he sees who it is. The young man he met (and fucked) at the pub three months ago after the Ripper case. The young man who calls himself James.
"If you can't stand one minute in the cold, you shouldn't have come at all," Margaret says sternly, "Mr. Undertaker, this is my youngest son, James Norrington. He just got back from his trip in India three months ago."
The moment James turns his attention to the mortician, his eyes widen in surprise. Both of them are thinking the same thing. Ah shite.
At eleven o' clock, Mey-Rin prepares chamomile tea for the young master to help him sleep more soundly. She has noticed how he hasn't been sleeping well these days. She noticed the bags under his eye and his face becoming paler than usual. She worries for his health. This will make him feel better.
As she heads upstairs, she is immediately startled by Sebastian standing in front of her all of the sudden. "What are you doing?" he asks.
"I, um, bringing tea to the young master," she says nervously.
Sebastian sniffs at the tea in the pot and frowns. "Chamomile?"
"I thought this might help him sleep."
"I'll take it up for you," he says as he takes the tray from her. "You finish cleaning the library."
There's a knock on the front door all of the sudden, making her jump.
Sebastian sighs. "Who could be out there at this hour, especially with the weather like this." He looks at Mey-Rin sternly and gives her the tray back. "Look like you'll be taking care of the master for the moment while I answer the door."
"Yes, sir." She then heads upstairs to deliver the tea to the young master.
Sebastian walks over to the front door to see who's out there in the middle of the rain. When he opens the door, he's surprised to find a lovely woman standing in the middle of the rain with her blonde hair matted around her neck and face and her burgundy coat completely drenched and a hood unsuccessfully covering her head from the rain.
The woman gives him a friendly yet awkward smile. "Hi. Are you Earl Ciel Phantomhive?...I'm Catherine. Catherine Makarovna."
End of Chapter 1
Chapter 3: My Fancasting
After so much struggle, I'm posted up my fancasting again, this time with images. You guys let me know if you guys like it or not.
Nana Komatsu as Mey-Rin Lijaun
Noah Schnapp as Ciel Phantomhive
Ben Barnes as Sebastian Michaelis
Melissa Benoist as Catherine Makarovna
Sidharth Malhotra as Agni
Priyanka Chopra as Mina
Eddie Redmayne as Grell Sutcliffe
Elle Fanning as Elizabeth Midford/Lizzie
Tom Holland as Finnian Bournemann
Nick Tarabay as Baldroy Gibbons
Skandar Keynes as Tom Brown
Caleb Landry Jones as James Norrington
Hugh Dancy as Frederick Abberline
Timothy Dalton as Arthur Randall
Lena Headey as Francis Midford
Lin Yun as Ran-Mao
Henry Golding as Lau
Chapter 4: Chapter 2: Alliance
The second chapter to The Dark Angel
If you guys already noticed, Elizabeth Midford, in this fanfiction, is a more toned down version than the manga and anime version. A little less over-the-top and insane version of Elizabeth. I don't hate her. I think she's a badass. But I do hate her voice and over-the-topness.
And yes, we have two new OC's. Catherine Makarovna, a Russian lieutenant and potentially Sebastian's new vagina to put his dick in. And then we have James Norrington, the nobleman Undertaker met at the pub in the previous story and possibly his new fuck-buddy. How will these two characters contribute to the story? You'll just have to read and find out. Muahaha.
Again, here's the casting for these two characters (and yes, I am replacing the actor for James with another actor), and Elizabeth's maid Paula:
Melissa Benoist as Catherine Makarovna
Caleb Landry Jones as James Norrington
Mia Goth as Paula Pennington
Elizabeth Midford arrives late at home at the Midford Estate. The Midfords own of the largest estates in England with fourteen thousand acres of rural land and property. With more than 600 properties to care for, they take care of the management in farming, forestry, residential and commercial property interests and take a long-term view of good investment and building strong local relationships. The house is Elizabethan styled, one of the reasons why her mother gave her the name Elizabeth, with its semi-renaissance, many tall glass windows and green plants lining up the expensive stone bricks which are more durable than middle and lower class houses that use timber and wattle.
The carriage finally stops after making it around the circle fountain in the middle of the gravel path.
"Paula..." Elizabeth says to her maid, Paula Pennington, a small-faced and button-nosed maid with soft brown hair, brown eyes and rosy lips.
"Yes, my lady?" Elizabeth always thinks of Paula as an older sister. She's practically Mey-Rin Lijaun's age. She can be insufferable at times but knows that Paula is only trying to look after her, like today when they left Phantomhive Manor and Elizabeth decided to spend the day at the Frost Fair. She got irritated with Paula when she insisted in going home. She wasn't doing it out of spite. She was doing it to make sure Elizabeth doesn't get in trouble with her mother.
"Please do not tell Mother we weren't at the manor today," she practically begs Paula.
Paula stares at Elizabeth, hesitant, before nodding in agreement. "Yes, my lady."
They quickly enter the manor as it starts raining hard. A cold wouldn't be good for anyone. Elizabeth removes her coat and sets it hanging on the hook next to the door.
"Elizabeth!" Her mother, Francis Midford, approaches her with a stern expression on her face and her arms folded over her chest, and her heels clapping against the white marble floor. "Where have you been?"
"I was at the Phantomhive Manor all day," she lies. She left after realizing Ciel wasn't there. But she couldn't let her mother know that. "We wouldn't stop talking. I didn't realize it was late. I'm sorry, Mother."
Francis then looks at Paula. "Is it true?"
Paula, Elizabeth's valet maid, stares at Francis for a moment before nodding. "Yes, it's true. She's been in the Phantomhive Manor all day."
Francis snatches the bonnet from Elizabeth's head, "Look at your bonnet. It looks like it's been crushed. What happened to it?"
"The wind blew my bonnet away. The gardener caught it for me," she explains. That part wasn't a lie. Finnian caught her hat in mid-air when it flew away
"Finnian Bournemann." Her mother never remembers the names of people she doesn't care about. She told her that the Undertaker has a name but she doesn't recall because she never cared much for the funeral director.
"...Elizabeth, you haven't been messing around with another boy, have you?" Francis asks suddenly.
"No," she frowns. She doesn't understand why her mother would ask that.
"I swear, I haven't." She doesn't want her mother to think her as a whore who offers herself to every man who sees her. She knows herself better than that.
Francis sighs and takes the bonnet away. "You're late for your lessons again," she says, "I'll have Nina fix this tomorrow. Get upstairs and get dressed."
Elizabeth bows her head and sighs. "Yes, Mother."
She curtsies and follows Paula upstairs.
She stops in the middle of the staircase and turns to look down at her mother. "Yes?"
"You better not be lying to me. You know I don't like it when you lie to me."
Elizabeth swallows the lump that's been stuck in her throat since she entered the house. "...I know. Kiss Father goodnight for me." She then continues upstairs to her room.
When he opens the door, he's surprised to find a lovely woman standing in the middle of the rain with her blonde hair matted around her neck and face and her burgundy coat completely drenched and a hood unsuccessfully covering her head from the rain.
The woman gives him a friendly yet awkward smile. "Hi. Are you Earl Ciel Phantomhive?...I'm Catherine. Catherine Makarovna."
"I'm Sebastian Michaelis, his butler," he says.
"Oh. Sorry," she apologize, "Since I never really met the earl before, I don't know what he looks like. I assumed you were the earl. Then again, what sort of earl answers his own door?"
"Miss...Makarovna, is it? To what do I owe such a late visit?"
"Well, I would have come earlier but I had to solve an issue with the manager at a hotel," she explains, "I'm a lieutenant. I work for the Moscow City Police in Russia."
It's quite obvious that she's from Russia. Sebastian can tell from the accent. He still wants to know her purpose of arriving to the townhouse at late hours of the night. He won't just let anyone into the townhouse, even if that someone is a lieutenant from the Moscow City Police.
"Do you have any evidence of that, lieutenant?"
"I do, actually. My documents are in my coat pocket."
"Let me see them."
"Wouldn't it be easier if you let me in?" she practically pleads while shivering, "It's pouring quite badly and it's very cold."
Sebastian prefers not to since he doesn't know anything about this girl and she just appeared out of blood nowhere. Who is to say she won't pull a gun on him and the master the moment she walks into the townhouse. However, it would be rude to let this young girl outside in the middle of the rain and freeze to death. It is rather cold tonight. If she does happen to attack the master, Sebastian will give her the finest of the Phantomhive's hospitality.
"...Very well," he says and steps aside.
Lieutenant Makarovna sighs in relief and steps inside the townhouse. Sebastian leads her to the parlour, his kitchen knife hidden in his sleeve ready to strike if she tries anything against the young master. He doesn't care if she is a woman. Anyone who tries to harm or kill the master will be eliminated in seconds.
"Oh, um, here." Sebastian turns around to face her. He watches her reach for the inside of her coat. His eyes almost turn red, expecting for her to pull out a gun or a knife. Instead, she pulls out a few papers, which Sebastian assumes are the documents she's referring to. He takes the documents from her hands and read them thoroughly. It's not easy to falsify documents but it's not impossible. Sebastian would know when a document is falsified, from the grammar to the stamps. However, upon reading the documents, he sees that they're not falsified. They're legitimate. But he can never be too careful.
"Lieutenant Catherine Makarovna. Age 25. You were born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. You've worked for the Moscow City Police for five years, am I reading this correctly?"
Catherine nods. "Yes, that is correct."
"Well, Lieutenant Makarovna," he gives back the documents to her, "What brings a Russian policewoman here to England?"
"The highwayman that attacked the Englishmen earlier," she explains, "The ones that recently returned from India."
"Oh so you're here for that case?"
"Indeed. I was in Scotland Yard earlier but let's just say that their greeting wasn't very welcoming. They didn't seem to be very happy about my arrival."
"Scotland Yard aren't very welcoming people, lieutenant. As for the case of the highwayman, the master has been put in charge of the case and is currently investigating it right now -."
"Your master is the reason why I'm here," she says. Sebastian frowns at her strangely. "I, um, believe it would be best if I talk to him in person? If that's all right?"
Sebastian stares at her for awhile before smiling and bowing politely. "...Do please wait here while I get the master then. If you wish, I'll bring you a blanket and you can warm yourself by the fire."
Lieutenant Makarovna smiles at him. Sebastian can't help but admit to himself that she has a very nice smile. Very adorable and sincere. He likes it a lot.
Mey-Rin walks upstairs to Ciel's bedroom with the tray in her hand. Indeed, a cup of chamomile tea will help him sleep more soundly. What if he doesn't want the tea though? What will she do then? Go back downstairs and toss it into the sink. That's what Sebastian always does when Ciel doesn't want tea.
She quietly opens the door and enters the room. "Master..."
Ciel is already in his bed with his eyepatch on the nightstand, his eyes looking up at the ceiling above him while Pluto is curled up at the foot of the bed, already sleeping. Mey-Rin can see the purple pentagram on the one eye he always hides under the patch. She understands why he has to hide it. What she doesn't understand is why hide it from her? She already knows. The moment he sees her enter the room, he quickly takes the eyepatch and puts it over his eye.
"It's just me, my lord," she says as she makes her way around the bed and puts the tray on the nightstand, "I brought you some chamomile tea, to help you sleep through the night."
"I never sleep peacefully, unfortunately," he says.
"Perhaps the tea will help." She pours chamomile tea into the teacup and gives the cup to Ciel, "Careful, it's hot."
"Thank you," he says and sips the warm tea, not caring that it's hot.
Mey-Rin smiles feebly at him "...Master, you don't need to hide your eye from me. I've already seen it."
Ciel slowly removes the eyepatch from his eye and sets it down next to the tray, looking up at Mey-Rin, the contract in his eye glowing dully. "Doesn't it frighten you?"
Mey-Rin shakes her head. "Not really. No. Not anymore."
"You should be," he says eerily, "because you already know who I made the deal with."
"...If you wish to talk about it, I'm here to listen -."
"Listen," he snaps, pulling her close by the arm. Mey-Rin simply stares at him shocked but doesn't pull away from his hold. "Nothing happened that night. Whatever you thought was all an illusion. What I did was pure impulse. It meant nothing to me. Do you understand?"
Mey-Rin looks down sadly, ashamed of herself for even bringing up the subject. "...Yes, master."
Ciel looks down and notices how tightly his hand is grabbing her arm. Realizing that he's hurting her, he lets go. "...I-."
The door opens and Sebastian enters the bedroom. He frowns at Ciel. "Master, we have an unexpected guest and wishes to speak with you urgently."
Ciel looks at Mey-Rin for a moment before looking at Sebastian with a frown. "What guest?"
Ciel gets dressed, frustrated of having a visitor at this late hour when he really wants to sleep. He slips on a royal blue robe and ties the eyepatch over his contract eye before following Sebastian downstairs with Mey-Rin walking behind him. Pluto trots down past them while barking, almost knocking Sebastian to the side. Ciel holds back a laugh.
When they finally go downstairs to the parlour, Ciel is surprised to see a woman. She expected to see Detective Abberline or Commissioner Randall. He watches her take off her burgundy coat and gloves and kneel in front of the lit fireplace to warm herself up, putting her hands over the hot flames. Her blonde hair is still damp and curly from the rain, and the white blouse she wears is almost transparent.
"Ahem," Ciel says to catch her attention.
The woman turns her head to look at him and smiles. "Oh. Hello," she says. She's Russian, Ciel realizes. The woman stands up straight from the carpeted floor. "Are you the earl Ciel Phantomhive?"
"I am," he says, "And you are...?"
"Oh, um, I'm Catherine Makarovna," she says, "Lieutenant Makarovna, actually."
Ciel's eye widens in surprise. "A lieutenant?"
She nods. "Yes. I'm the lieutenant of Moscow City Police."
Ciel frowns. What is a Russian woman doing here in England? Why is she here? "And may I ask what brings you here to London, lieutenant?"
"I'm here to help catch the highwayman who's attacking the English noblemen who recently returned from India," she says.
"Did Commissioner Randall of Scotland Yard sent you here?" he asks, "I've already told him that the queen left me in charge of the investigation."
"I understand," she says, "But I'm here on my own account. I have no attachments to Scotland Yard."
Ciel sighs in frustration. This is going to give him a headache. First he had to deal with Commissioner Arthur Randall's incompetence and now has to deal with this Russian woman. He'll need to find a way to get rid of this girl and convince her that he doesn't need any assistance to catch the highwayman. He looks over to his maid. "Mey-Rin, have some tea ready for me and Lieutenant Makarovna."
Mey-Rin hesitates, looking at the woman suspiciously, before bowing her head obediently. "Yes, master," she says and hurries to the kitchen.
After Lady Norrington leaves the shop (finally), Undertaker gets back to work. He's always working. He never has time to rest. Always working on bodies. Always preparing funerals. People seem to die every hour of the day. It can get very irritating at times. He takes one look at the oldest of the Norrington's son and makes an expression that shows disdain and disgust. Not a single wound in sight. How pathetic.
However, Undertaker feels like he's not alone. The air feels heavier and he can hear breathing somewhere. He knows someone is here.
"She's gone, you can come out now," he says. James immediately comes out of hiding. He's been hiding in the back of the shop the entire time. Undertaker expected it. He was the first one to leave the shop but no one saw him go home.
"We spent one night together. A very nice night, to be exact. I hope you're not angry with me," he says, his voice soft and shy. He's tied his light brown hair in a ponytail.
"Not really. I don't get angry much. The only time I get angry is when Tom breaks one of my coffins or brings me one of the wrong flowers," Undertaker explains as he puts the coffin with James' brother inside, "However, I am curious. Why didn't you tell me you were a noble?"
"You never asked."
"Hmmm. That is my mistake then." He knows he should have asked first before letting the boy fuck him but he was half-drunk and lost in the moment that he didn't even bother asking. This can damage his reputation. Not only because he was fucked by a young man who is clearly 18, he was fucked by the son of one of his customers. If Lady Norrington ever finds out, everything will go to shit.
"Do you have...anything against noblemen?" James asks awkwardly.
"I'm not very fond of them, to be honest," Undertaker walks over to the bowl of water behind his counter and washes his hands, "Nothing personal though. I'm not even fond of the old hag of Queen Victoria. Don't like her much."
"So I'm guessing we're not going to be seeing each other again, now that you know that I'm the son of a nobleman," he says.
"I never planned to see you again in general, nobleman or not," Undertaker explains bluntly, giving him the usual creepy grin, "It was just one night together. Nothing more. We'll pretend we never met and continue on with our lives. You get to go fuck with whoever you want and I'll do the same. We'll probably find something better."
"You're saying you didn't like our night together?" James asks in an almost wounded tone.
"Well, I never said that."
"But it sounded like you didn't like it."
Undertaker sighs at the comment. "I did. It was good. You were good. Great, actually. All I'm saying is that you should find someone else that will enjoy your cock that's not me," he says firmly. "I rather not get myself into trouble with your family. And you shouldn't either."
"...I'm the youngest son of Frederick and Margaret Norrington," James says, "Andrew was going to inherit everything while I'd be left with nothing. I doubt my family would have cared where I put my cock in."
"They will, especially if your carelessness ends up damaging your family name," Undertaker says as he locks the front door to his shop. "I don't care much for your hag of a mother nor do I care about your bloody brother here but I do like you. You're a good man and you look like you have a bright future ahead of you. Don't waste it all away by putting your phallus in places you're not supposed to. Do you understand?"
James sighs and slips on his overcoat. "Very well. If you say so. Do you mind if I leave through the back of your shop, since you locked the front door and all."
"Sure, go ahead."
James heads for the back again but stops for a moment. "My mother is preparing a dinner party after my brother's funeral. Though it's not really a party because she's inviting her work friends and I'm only inviting you. Will you come?"
"...Who knows," he smiles a bit, "I'll think about it."
With a nod, James Norrington leaves through the back of the shop and disappears into the night fog. Undertaker smiles faintly. Maybe they will meet again. His smile then falls when he notices something odd in Andrew Norrington's lips. He parts the man's cold clay lips and notices blackish stains in the inner part of his lips. Odd.
Mey-Rin pours some hot mint tea in Catherine Makarovna's teacup and offers her some sugar cubes. The Lieutenant kindly rejects the offer.
"The moment I arrived to Scotland Yard, the commissioner wasn't very welcoming," Catherine says, "He says that Scotland Yard doesn't need help from the Russians at the moment. However, I believe he meant to say that he didn't need from a woman."
"I'm not surprised," Ciel says while Mey-Rin pours tea into his cup and puts four sugar cubes into his tea. He dismisses her and she goes to stand in a corner while Sebastian stands next to him. "Scotland Yard policemen are stubborn and misogynistic. They do not accept aid from anyone, not even from a child like you yet I held the closest connection with Queen Victoria. Commissioner Randall despises taking orders from someone he deems inferior to him."
The lieutenant sighs and fidgets her hands. "I've had my own set of problems with men at the Moscow City Police when I first started working there. But I've grown accustomed to it. It took me five years to gain the respect of my male colleagues and the commissioner who runs the station. So I wasn't surprised about Commissioner Randall's treatment towards me either. It was expected."
"What I really want to know is why should I allow you to participate in the investigation of the highwayman?" Ciel says, "As far as I can remember, the men hanging from the shop were Englishmen returning from India."
"Not all of them."
Ciel frowns at her words. "What do you mean not all of them?"
"One of the men that died. He wasn't English. He was Russian," she explains, "One of ours."
"He was a Russian police as well?"
Lieutenant Makarovna nods. "A detective, but yes. Scotland Yard found his false identification. They identified him as Oliver Emmett Inchcombe but his real name is Shinsky Christov Yakovich."
"And how would you know this?" Sebastian asks, frowning at her curiously.
"Moscow City Police sent a spy here a year ago," she explains, earning a frown from Ciel and Sebastian, "I can give you his name if you want. Greshnev Tarasovich. He's a very good friend of mine. Indians and Chinese are not the only immigrants in England, you know."
"So, he's a spy?" Sebastian asks.
"Yes. I know it was disrespectful but we don't know the time when England will become a threat to Moscow or Russia in general. It's nothing personal against you or the queen, earl. It's just the matter of protecting our country."
"But why was Yakovich here in England?"
"We sent him to Indian to investigate the same events that are happening here now," she explains. "Englishmen are being assaulted in India as well. However, not just Englishmen but other noblemen from around the world as well. Russians. Americans. Australians."
"And Englishmen are being attacked here after returning from India," Ciel says, "I'm guessing you're here to find out who's responsible for Yakovich's death."
"And how did you know the detective was attacked?"
"Detective Yakovich used to write and call every day to keep us informed of what happens in India," she explains, "He stopped writing two weeks ago and we were concerned. The we received the call from Tarasovich, informing us of his death. The moment I arrived to Scotland Yard, I knew that I'd be looking at a body and not a detective. I'm here, because I want to find out what happened to him that night."
"Well, Miss Makarovna, as much as I would love for you to join our investigation, and I'm not being sarcastic, but unfortunately, Queen Victoria assigned the case to me and me alone. I've already solved Soctland Yard's problem with Jack the Ripper. I'm sure I'll be able to catch the highwayman and provide justice to Moscow's fellow detective without anyone else's assistance. "
"I've heard of Jack the Ripper," she says and pulls out a letter from her coat, "Scotland Yard, specifically Inspector Frederick Abberline, wrote a letter to the Moscow City Police requiring our aid to capture Jack the Ripper. However, we go another letter stating that they no longer required our assistance. The commissioner in the Moscow City Police was not pleased by this. The Moscow City Police doesn't like their time being wasted."
"I see." He knew Inspector Abberline is stupid, but he really need to be that stupid? "But why send you specifically?" he asks. He doesn't mean to be offensive but he has never seen a woman work with the police, let alone a lieutenant. She must have worked hard to get where she is now.
"Because Detective Yakovich was my partner," she says. Ciel simply looks at her. So that's what it is? "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't important."
He doesn't know what to think of it. He's been able to solve his cases on his own without the aid of Scotland Yard. He shouldn't accept the aid of a Russian lieutenant either. But so far, she has proven to be useful, proving him with more thorough information Commissioner Randall refused to give him. Also, rejecting her and the aid of Moscow City Police can result in all sort of problems, especially with the queen since Victoria is allied with the Russian royal family. If he can't get rid of Catherine Makarovna, he might as well put her to good use. She seems more competent and professional than Commissioner Randall and Inspector Abberline put together.
Ciel sighs in defeat. "All right then. But you won't be very comfortable with our methods of investigation. They can be...dark."
Lieutenant Makarovna smiles. "I've been in the dark before. Believe me. I'll help you with the investigation -."
"Yes, you will. But you won't interfere when we finally confront the man responsible for the attacks. Do you understand?"
"It's your investigation. We have a deal," she says and extends her hand.
Ciel hesitates but eventually shakes it. This should be fun.
She immediately pulls her hand away, much to his surprise. He didn't expect for her to be so abrupt. "Another thing." She takes out something else from her coat. What else can she have in there? How much can she fit in that coat. She takes out a piece of white cloth and shows it to Ciel. "I took this from the station while Commissioner Randall was distracted. It was tangled in one of the victims' fingers."
Ciel's eye widens in surprise as he takes the cloth in his hand. "You stole it from Scotland Yard. Impressive."
Mey-Rin stares at the cloth carefully. "It's a gauze. They're used in hospitals."
"Yes," Ciel says, "But this gauze is thicker and rougher than the ones we have in England. Is this canvas?"
Lieutenant Makarovna nods. "Yes."
"How old is it?" Sebastian asks. Ciel frowns, not understanding why the age of a fabric matters.
"How should I know? I'm not an expert on fabrics, except that canvases originate in the Middle East and China since 3,000 B.C."
"Says the lieutenant who's not an expert on fabrics," Sebastian says while frowning at her. She simply shrugs and continues drinking her tea. "Oh look, the rain is clearing up. I guess I should head back to my hotel."
"I'll have Sebastian drive you there," he offers.
"Um, no thank you," she says as she gets up from the armchair and puts on her damp coat. She takes the documents back and puts them away in her coat"I think I can manage walking to the hotel by myself. But I appreciate the offer. I'll be seeing you all tomorrow, Lord Phantomhive and you as well, Mr. Michaelis." She smiles at the butler and bows her head. "Have a nice night."
She then leaves the townhouse and disappears into the night.
Ciel frowns and looks at Sebastian. "Is she an actual lieutenant or a muttering wise woman?"
"I made a copy of the documents while I was coming to fetch you," he says and gives the copy to Ciel, "She, indeed, is working with the Moscow City Police."
"Well, as they say, if you beat them, join them," Ciel says, "However, if we are to include her in our investigation, be sure she doesn't get in the way. The highwayman belongs to us. Not her or Scotland Yard. Are we clear? This is an order, Sebastian."
Sebastian smirks and his eyes turn red. "Yes, my lord."
"Hmm. This should be fun." Ciel inspects the cloth closer, wondering where the gauze came from.
A week before....
An astillero ship arrives at the docks in the morning, its purple sails flapping gently in the winter breezes.
An eighteen-year-old boy wearing a golden orange sherwani and white baggy trousers and a red scarf around his neck, looks down over the edge of the boat, admiring the sheets of ice forming over the surface of the water. He reaches his hand towards the water in an attempt to touch the cold water but its too far below.
"My prince," a man approaches him, wearing an emerald green sherwani, a beige turban wrapped around his head and his right hand wrapped in bandages. "We have arrived to England."
"What is all this?" he asks while looking at the pieces of ice in the water and raises his head to see white flakes lightly falling from the dark grey clouds.
"I think it is called snow, my prince," the man explains though he has never seen snow himself, "It falls during the winter in England."
The boy smiles. "It's beautiful, Agni. I should take some home to maan (mother). She would love it."
Agni puts a heavy brown coat over the young man's shoulders to keep him warm from the winter cold. "Come, Prince Soma. Let's go find a place to rest. It's getting cold out here."
Soma gives Agni a downhearted look. "I thought we were going to look for Meena."
Agni shakes his head. "It's too early, my prince. It's been a long journey. You need the rest. We'll search for Meena later on. Come."
Soma sighs. He thought of starting the search now. But he knows that Agni is right. It's been a long journey. His feet are aching and he's feeling a little nauseas from the ship rocking sideways during their journey through the Indian Ocean.
Once they have their belongings ready, Soma and Agni pay a mail coach to take them to the closest hotel they have in London and they disappear into the morning fog through the cobblestone streets.
End of Chapter 2
Chapter 5: Chapter 3: Prince of India
Soma's character will be very different from the anime and manga in many ways. For example, instead of being 17-18, he is 13 and 14 like Ciel. The rest is a mystery as well as Catherine's character.
Let me know what you think of it in the comments.
Sebastian has Ciel ready to start the investigation, having him dressed as a local boy once more with a white shirt, dark green overalls and a brown pageboy hat. He replaces his black eyepatch with a white one and sets the cane aside. No one should know that the queen's guard dog is searching for the highwayman, not even the highwayman himself. Dressing Ciel as a local boy is the only way to keep a low profile, not matter how much the brat (as Sebastian thinks of him) dislikes it.
"Now," the young lord says, tapping his pageboy hat, "Let's get Mey-Rin and be off."
Sebastian protests about Mey-Rin being involved in the investigation as he did the day before. He states Mey-Rin will not contribute to anything during the investigation. Her presence will only be a nuisance with her lack of balance and bad habit of wandering off on her own. However, the young lord insisted, stating they'll need her guns and her sniper abilities just in case they run into trouble.
He goes to Mey-Rin's room and knocks on her door.
"I'm almost done," she says from behind the door. "Give me a few more minutes."
Sebastian sighs and knocks on the door again. "We don't have a few minutes."
"Why don't you grow breasts and try flattening them? See how you like it," she says.
Sebastian's eyes turn red at her snarky comment but tries to hold the desire to kick the door down and wring her neck. "Don't make come in there and bash you in the head. Now hurry up or we're leaving without you."
"All right, all right," she says.
A few minutes later, Mey-Rin opens the door, already dressed as a boy with tweeted trousers, white shirt, wingtip shoes and a brown jacket. She ties her hair back in a bun and puts a pageboy hat similar to the young master's, tucking the bun in the process. Despite being dressed as a boy, she still looks like a girl. A child, even. Probably looking Elizabeth Midford's age and is almost the same height as the young master. It doesn't matter. She's still a nuisance. If she does anything to ruin the mission, it will be all the brat's fault and Mey-Rin will have to pay the price.
"Why must I dress as a boy again?" she asks as she steps into the corridor. "It's been uncomfortable the first time, now I must dress like this during the investigation?"
"Because the master says so," he says, "Now stop complaining and get moving."
Mey-Rin sighs and heads downstairs. Pluto runs past Sebastian and follows the maid downstairs. Sebastian's eyes glow red at the sight of the white wolf. Damn that monstrosity.
Ciel is already waiting impatiently. "What took you so long?"
"Sorry, my lord, but it seems that Mey-Rin was having women problems, you know what I am referring to," Sebastian says with a teasing smirk.
Ciel's cheeks turn pink. "We don't have time for games, Sebastian. Let's get moving."
Sebastian chuckles amusingly. "Very well, my lord."
The moment he opens the door, Catherine Makarova is already standing outside the townhouse wearing a red cloak and a warm smile on her pink lips.
Everyone stares in surprise, including Sebastian. "How long have you been waiting out here?" Ciel asks.
"Oh, I just arrived," Catherine explains.
"And you're coming with us?" Ciel asks, his eye wide.
"Yes, of course," she says, "I wouldn't want to miss an opportunity like this."
"Wearing that?" Sebastian asks, looking over her attire. A deep red cloak. For some reason, she's reminding him of the reaper Grell Sutcliff who tried to kill the young master and slaughtered the lady Angelina Bannett. Could Catherine be the next Grell Sutcliff? He needs to keep a closer eye on her. Or perhaps he shouldn't assume that every person is a Grell Sutcliffe.
"What? It's my winter outfit. You don't like it?" she asks, twirling around like a child and her skirt flying around like angel wings.
"It's red," Ciel says, "It brings too much attention."
"Even if I wanted to go back to change, I can't. My hotel is twenty minutes away and we don't have enough time. Come on, everyone. Let's get to work."
She walks ahead and Mey-Rin and Pluto follow, leaving Ciel and Sebastian dumbfounded.
"Hmm. Interesting woman," Sebastian says.
"She's going to jeopardize the mission dressed like that," Ciel says irritably, "She'll be drawing attention to us."
"Do not worry, my lord. I'll make sure the highwayman is caught. We will not fail."
"So, where are we going first?" she asks as she turns around to face them while walking backwards. Sebastian can see the spark in her eyes. She's eager to get started on the case. He admires her enthusiasm. But perhaps she's a little too eager and she's quite strange and childish. It makes him wonder how this girl is even working with the police.
"To visit a colleague," Ciel says.
They arrive at a tall brown building near the docks. Mey-Rin sees a few drunken men lying unconscious on the ground with empty bottles in their hands. Pluto walks over to one and licks his face but Ciel calls him back. Some of theses men are actually noblemen. She frowns in confusion. What is this place?
"We've arrived, my lord," Sebastian says.
"Are you sure this is the right place?" Catherine asks as they look down the steps that leads to a jade green door.
"Unfortunately yes," Sebastian says, "The master doesn't like this place very much but he has no other choice." He gives her a surgical paper mask. "I suggest you wear this."
She frowns at the surgical mask in her hands. "What for?"
"You'll see," he says and gives another mask to Ciel. However, he doesn't give one to Mey-Rin.
"Am I not going in as well?" Mey-Rin asks.
Ciel looks at her sternly. "No. You're staying right here. You'll keep an eye out for any signs of Scotland Yard trying to intervene."
"But master -."
"That's an order, Mey-Rin!" he snaps at her. "Stay here!"
She's taken aback, looking at him in complete shock but nods slightly
"Um, do you two need some time alone?" Catherine asks, "Because you two look like you need some privacy."
"Let's go. Pluto, stay with Mey-Rin," he says. Pluto whimpers but obeys and sits next to Mey-Rin. Sebastian goes down the stairs first. Ciel follows behind him.
Catherine follows them last, putting on the paper mask over her nose and mouth and shrugs at Mey-Rin. "Sorry."
Sebastian helps Ciel down the steps to the jade door waiting at the bottom.
The butler holds the young master's hand to help him down the stairs since the boy can't walk down the steps by himself. He can trip and fall and break his neck in the process. "You were quite harsh on her, you know," he says, referring to Mey-Rin.
Ciel sighs and shakes his head. "This is no place for a girl."
"Yet, you're allowing Lieutenant Makarova join us."
"...She's a lieutenant. She works for the Moscow City Police. I think she's capable of handling herself quite well."
"And Mey-Rin is not?"
Ciel remains silent upon hearing that. Sebastian smiles, knowing that he hit a nerve again.
"I'd be careful if I were you, young master. She may be a Phantomhive maid but she's an assassin. If you continue to test her, she might end up turning her gun on you."
Ciel looks at Sebastian with a frown. "You really think she would do that?"
"I know humans more than you do. I've lived long enough to know how unpredictable they can be. And women are the most unpredictable."
"And you're right, Mr. Michaelis," Catherine gets between them as she walks ahead of him. She turns around to face them while walking backwards. How is she walking backwards so skillfully without tripping? "Women are always the most unpredictable creatures in the world. You'll never know when they're going to bite."
"How long have you been listening?" Ciel asks frowning at her.
"Well, you two are very loud whisperers so, long enough," she says with a smile, "So, are we going to keep talking about women's capacity or are we going to shut up and get this over with?"
The two look at her, surprised yet again.
They make it to the end of the steps and open the door. A faint cloud of smoke escapes whatever is behind that door. Catherine frowns and presses the masks harder to her face. Ciel does the same and coughs slightly. Sebastian pinches his nose. Such a revolting smell. He doesn't need a mask since it doesn't affect him but for this reason, he has Lieutenant Makarova and the young master wear the mask.
"Disgusting," Ciel says as he enters a large room full of white smoke.
Sebastian and Catherine following behind him. Sebastian closes the door to keep more smoke from escaping.
Golden Chinese lanterns hang from the vaulted ceiling, illuminating the room. Men are sitting on cushioned seats or booths with Chinese women on their laps and smoking opium through hookahs.
"Is this an opium den?" Catherine asks.
"You are correct, lieutenant," Sebastian says.
"Why would Lord Phantomhive come to a place like this?"
"This den is owned by a colleague of my lord's. He's a trader and owner of a grand Chinese company. So I suggest you be respectful and don't touch anything...or anyone."
"If he helps us catch the highwayman, I won't try bicker with this man."
"Oh no," Ciel says, "You'll probably change your mind once you meet him."
They walk further through the smoke until they find a Chinese man sitting on a red chaise longue, wearing a green robe with golden flowers and smoking opium through a glass hookah. On his lap sits another Chinese girl with golden eyes and wearing a lavender cheongsam dress with butterflies embroidered on her skirt and a pink flower tucked in her short black hair. She gives them a warm smile and bats her eyelashes.
"I'm surprised you finally found this place," the Chinese man says, "I never thought we'd meet each other like this. But eventually, I knew this day would come."
Ciel frowns as he waves away the smoke in his face. "What the bloody hell you're talking about -?"
"Hello, Lord Phantomhive. It's been so long," Lau says with a smile. "Sorry if I missed your birthday but I did have other matters to attend to."
"Hmm, like screwing your sister-in-law," Ciel says and Lau chuckles as a response, "It doesn't matter. I could care less for birthday parties or any other party for that manner."
Ran-Mao is on his lap as usual, as well as four more girls surrounding him and dressed provocatively, having their pale breasts hanging out from their blouses. Ran Mao is the only one covered up. Sebastian would normally cover Ciel's eyes to keep him away from such perversions but this is a matter of business, despite how uncomfortable it will be for the boy.
Lau smiles and sits up from his red chaise lounge and shoos away the other four girls. "Go and entertain our other guests in the backroom, my flowers. This a matter of business. And Ran-Mao, my dear," he takes her face in his hand and kisses her cheek. "Bring us some tea afterwards."
Ran-Mao nods and slides off his lap before disappearing into the back with the other four girls.
"Judging by the way she's dressed, I'm guessing she's the only one in this den you don't allow men to touch," Ciel assumes.
"I don't like sharing her with other men," Lau chuckles, "She's too precious to me." He takes another puff from the hookah's pipes and exhales smoke from his mouth and nose. "So, what brings you here to Lóng de Cháoxué? I'm sure your aunt, Lady Midford, would be hysterical if she's ever to find out you've been wandering down here in an opium den. It's no place for a child, I can assure you."
Ciel's brow furrows, irritated of being called a child. "I'm here to ask you about the incident surrounding the attacks of British citizens that have returned from India."
"Ah. You're here for that incident. "
Catherine walks closer to Sebastian and whispers in his ear. "Who is that man?"
"That man is Lau Honghui. The president of the British branch of the Chinese trading company, Kunlun. He is also the Shanghai mafia leader and Qingbang Executive. The young girl is his sister-in-law, Ran-Mao Jingfei."
"An informant of his?"
"My lord has two informants. One informs his of incidents that happen right here in England. Mr. Honghui informs incident that arrive to England overseas."
"It would make sense why he's allied with him then. And he owns an opium den with prostitutes?"
Lau immediately interrupts them. "Actually, my dear girl, my flowers are not prostitutes. They're yiji and sing-song girls. Entertainers and women of pleasure. They entertain my clients with their bodies, arts, poems and songs while they're drifting off into a sleeping state."
Catherine frowns. "But aren't those the same thi-."
"Ignore him," Ciel says with a raised hand, "Just ignore him. And you, Lau, I didn't think you would have gotten the news so soon. Scotland Yard has been trying to keep this incident quiet, especially after the issue of Jack the Ripper sending the city into panic."
Lau chuckles. "If it involves Orientals, the only way to find out is to ask you who has the strongest influence in here -."
"Lau, this is not funny."
He shrugs. "Perhaps I don't like how you address me. Too formal. I could always leave the East End to your care if that's what you want." He takes another puff of smoke.
"The number of people who move in and out of East End are in your control, right?"
"Stop smoking and listen!" Ciel snaps at him.
Lau gives him a pointed look. "Don't interrupt me. Anyways, I've done as you asked. It's bribery that allows me to do my business in the underworld of this godforsaken country. Now..." He puts the smoking pipe down and sits up straight. "Before I can give you any information, I need to ask you one thing."
"And what's that?"
"What exactly is the incident?"
Ciel groans and smacks his own forehead with his gloved hand. Catherine simply rolls her eyes in annoyance and Sebastian sighs.
"Fucking bastard," Ciel mutters.
"All right then," Catherine steps in front of Ciel, "Can we please stop playing around? This is a serious matter and if we don't deal with it quickly, a lot of people in London are going to get hurt."
Lau looks up and down at her, eyebrow raised. "And who is this girl? I'm not sure if I've seen her around here."
"She's a lieutenant from the Moscow City Police," Ciel explains.
"My name is Catherine Makarova," she says.
"Ah, so you're Russian?" Lau says, smiling, "How interesting. And very pretty as well." He looks at Ciel. "Speaking of pretty girls, where's your maid? I missed her very much. Don't tell me you replaced her with the Russian girl."
Ciel rolls his eye. "She's outside. I asked her to wait there until I return."
Lau chuckles in amusement. "Pity. I would have enjoyed seeing her again. Tell her that if she ever considers quitting her job, she can find work here."
Ciel growls. "Not a chance."
"Mr. Honghui," Catherine interrupts them once more, "This is a matter of life and death. British citizens that recently returned from India are being brutally attacked in the streets of London and we need to find out who it is and put a stop to it before someone else gets hurt -."
Lau raises his hand to silence her which she does. "Too many words to process, my dear. Has anyone ever told you that you talk really fast?"
"...Will you help us catch the highwayman or not?" Ciel asks more impatiently.
He sighs. "Oh very well. None of you are any fun. I may have something that might give you a lead on the highwayman." He holds out a piece of paper from his green robe. "I got this from the train conductor. He came here for relaxation and a few of my girls. While he was on opium, he gave the names of the passengers who were returning from India. They first took a train to Istanbul. The Orient Express, I believe it's called." Ran-Mao returns with a tray of with five delft teacups and a bowl of dim sums which small steamed buns stuffed with meat and vegetables. "He thought I was a caterpillar sitting on a mushroom. Can you believe it?"
"This contradicts everything," Ciel, "Our victims came to London by train, not by a ship?"
"That doesn't make any sense though," Catherine says, "Shinsky said he was travelling by ship, not by train. He was in India as well investigating similar attacks and was going to England to investigate the situation even further. Why would he lie?"
"Huh, that is interesting indeed," Lau says.
Sebastian watches Ran-Mao walk up to him with a pink glass hookah in her hands and offers him to smoke opium, to which he kindly declines. "No, thank you."
She smiles and walks back to Lau where she lies her head on his lap like a kitten.
"Drink some tea and have some dim sums," Lau says, "You're probably hungry."
"We don't have time for this," Ciel says but takes one of the dim sums anyways.
"Here's the list of the passengers that arrived from India via the Orient Express. I imagine they had to take another train to Istanbul." Lau gives Ciel a sheet of coarse paper.
Ciel reads it. There are at least twenty passengers (some of them already attacked by the highwayman) that states they took the Orient Express get to England: Erastus Jehu Parker, Quinby Lucius Silver, Josiah Elijah Champ, Archer Rufus Kipps, Franklin Joel Marsh, Alfred Paul Chambers, Silas Obadiah Sawyer, Phineas Vincent Lewis, Asahel Homer Steele, Lionel Emerson Fielding, Tim Byron Sterling, Hamilton Oswald Deering, Lawrence Levi Gold, Alexander Abe Redsmith, Eli Israel Cooper, Josephus Ambrose Bacon, Richard Todd Davenport, Gander Neil Palethorpe, Shinsky Christov Yakovich (Catherine's partner) and...
Ciel frowns at one of the last names on the list. "James Barnabas Norrington?"
"Are you familiar with the name, my lord?" Lau asks.
"Yes. The Phantomhives and the Norringtons have been allies for many years. They've invested in the Funtom Company and we invested in their tea trading company. Their earl grey tea are the best in London. Also...James Norrington was a friend of my brother's."
Sebastian can't decide whether to laugh in his face or feel pity for him. With such a bratty personality, it's hard for Sebastian to believe he had any friends.
"Has James been attacked by the highwayman as well?" Ciel asks, a hint of worry is showing in his voice.
"No. The lad is fine. I heard that his older brother, Andrew Norrington, passed away not too long ago," Lau says, "The funeral is being held at the St. Margaret's Church."
Ciel sighs in relief. "Even with the investigation, it would be a sin not to pay my respects to my family's dearest allies. Also, it will give us an opportunity to ask Lord Norrington about his time in India. If this person is targeting noblemen returning from India, he could be the next target."
"Where is St. Margaret's Church?" Catherine asks.
Ciel shrugs. "I've only been to St. Margaret's Church once with my father and brother. I don't remember where it is. It's been years. Lau, you've wandered through London more than I have. Surely you must know where St. Margaret is."
"Hmm. I think I might," Lau says, "After all, the police and politicians are not the only ones that come here. Priests as wells when they need the relief."
"You shall take us to St. Margaret then. Perhaps I can talk to James Norrington about the incident. Hopefully, we can save his life before the highwayman thinks of attacking him."
"This should be fun." Lau stands up from his chaise lounge and puts on his sandals. He kisses Ran-Mao on the head. "You're in charge of the place while I'm gone, all right? I won't be long, sweet sister."
Ran-Mao nods and kisses his cheek.
Sebastian frowns at the odd gesture. It's off that Lau feels passionate for a person that's close to being a blood relative. Perhaps that is a custom for them in China.
Mey-Rin continues petting Pluto's head while waiting for Ciel, Sebastian and the lieutenant to come out of whatever that place is. She smelled opium when they opened the door so she's pretty sure they're visiting an opium den. She's sitting in on the cobblestone ground with her back against the wall and Pluto resting his head on her lap. She closes her eyes and leans her head back.
She knows that since Ciel kissed her for the first time, things have been very complicated. He's been colder and more isolated. He hasn't treated her the same way since that day. His treatment is a lot harsher and crueler than before. He grabbed her arm and pulled her when she tried to talk about the situation. She still has the bruises of his fingers marked on her upper arm. But she knows it wasn't his intention to hurt her physically. She saw the regret in his eyes. He didn't mean to hurt her.
But then, why is he so angry with her all of the sudden? Why treat her so coldly? What did she do? All she ever did was obey her orders without questioning?
Perhaps she'll never know. Perhaps, if she were inside his head, she could find out what's going on in that mind of his.
She opens her eyes again. Oh god, not again. Where am I?
For some reason, she no is longer sitting on the cobblestone ground at the docks with Pluto on her lap. In fact, Pluto is no longer here.
She is sitting in a dark corridor with white walls, golden beams, red-carpeted floor and flickering walls. She looks to her left and gasps when she sees a dead man lying next to her. His neck is torn open, looking more like a bitemark. She quickly stands from the floor, staring at the dead body in complete shock. She looks at her hands and finds blood on them. What is this?
"Ciel!?" she calls the young master but there's no response, "Ciel! Sebastian!? Pluto!?"
She feels herself swaying to the side, as if the hall were tilting, and a dreadful loud creak can be heard. She turns around and spots a man running right towards her, snarling his blood-stained mouth and a bandage covering his eyes. His bloodstained hands reach out for her, trying to grab her. Mey-Rin screams and falls back.
The moment the hand grabs her by the wrist, her mind returns to reality and she finds herself face to face with Ciel and Sebastian. Ciel has her grabbed by the right sleeve of her arm and Sebastian has his gloved hand tightly wrapped around her wrist. They're both staring in complete shock. Mey-Rin looks over her shoulder and is surprised to find herself nearly close to falling off the edge of the dock and into the water. How did she get from nearly getting bitten by a madman to almost falling off the dock?
Sebastian pulls her back up to the ground.
"Mey-Rin, what happened!?" Ciel shouts at her, his eye wide.
She tries answering him but can't find the words. They're stuck on her lips.
"Mey-Rin!" he snaps at her again.
"I...I..." She simply stands there, shaking. "M-master..."
"She's in shock," Catherine says while pushing Ciel and Sebastian aside. "Give her some space. Don't crowd her like that."
"Oh so you dressed your maid as a boy," Lau says, "Interesting."
"Shut it, Lau!" Ciel snaps at him.
"Hey," Catherine snaps her fingers in front of Mey-Rin's face. "Hey, stay with me."
Mey-Rin blinks and then looks at Catherine in confusion. She then looks Ciel and Sebastian. "What's going on? What happened?"
"You nearly fell off the docks!" Ciel snaps at her, "That's what happened! What the hell is wrong with you!?"
"All right, that's enough!" Catherine snaps and carefully helps her back on her feet. "Don't yell at her. If she doesn't know what happened, she doesn't know. Come on. We're wasting time standing around here."
Ciel stares at Catherine in astonishment but doesn't say anything. Mey-Rin watches him and Sebastian walk ahead with Lau instead. She and Catherine follow behind them. Pluto barks and chases after them. Mey-Rin can't remember much of what happened but she prefers not to remember.
Undertaker watches the Norrington family mourning for the loss of Andrew Norrington. And by mourning, he means staring coldly at the coffin as if they were happy of getting rid of the poor bastard. James Norrington, the youngest of Margaret Norrington's son, seems to be the only one mourning for the loss of his older brother with his head dropping down and his hands fidgeting. It could be that he's falling asleep. Who can blame him? The bloody priest is speaking in Latin. Of course the boy won't understand a thing he says. Undertaker is simply sitting in the corner watching with his arms folded and the usual smile on his face. He can't help but admit that James looks younger with his hair tied in a ponytail.
Getting back to the matter, he wonders if either of the Norrington family killed Andrew Norrington.
After inspecting the black smudges around the man's mouth, he confirmed it to be the effect of poisoning. Andrew Norrington didn't die of a fever. He was murdered. The question is, who killed him and why?
Undertaker scoffs to himself in amusement. Pretty much everyone in the Norrington family is a suspect. Unlike the Phantomhives, the Norringtons seem to hate each other. He remembers Margaret's marriage with her husband when he prepared the lady's mother's funeral. It was a very destructive marriage. The two always fought and yelled each other so badly that Undertaker feared they would literally wake the dead from their eternal slumber. The hag of Margaret Norrington was only able to find peace when her husband died. Andrew Norrington was the oldest of the family and would inherit his father's wealth. But he spent most of his time in opium dens and pubs, drinking ale and fucking prostitutes in the East End and Whitechapel. He was a disastrous boy as well. He wouldn't be surprised if the young man's last ale was the thing that led him to his death in the first place. If they have an addiction, it will be easier to kill them through that very addiction, knowing that they can't resist it.
However, he knows nothing about James Norrington, Margaret's youngest son. He's never heard of him nor has he ever seen him before. He just met him recently, once at the pub and second time at the parlour. He could be the murderer of his own brother. Why not? He has the right motive for it. Andrew Norrington, the oldest son and heir to the Norrington estate and everything in it. And James Norrington, the youngest son and the undesirable one. It's not being insensitive or cruel. It's just cold facts, especially when it comes to noble families. The oldest sons inherit everything while the youngest get nothing and they have to put themselves out into the world and find work to fend for themselves. Perhaps, that's what happened to James Norrington. He was the undesirable one and was sent away so that his mother could focus on Andrew Norrington. And now James returned to kill his brother so he could inherit the Norrington estate and the fortune.
"So, how did you do it?" Undertaker asks James while walking beside him after the funeral. The boy simply looks at him in confusion, his brow furrowing.
"I don't know what you mean."
"Your brother," he says, "How did you kill him?"
He snickers and continues the conversation. "While I was examining the body, I black smudges around your brother's lips and his tongue was black as well. He didn't have a fever. What did you use, eh? Whitebane berries? Arsenic?"
"Are you insane? I didn't kill my brother, Undertaker."
"Your brother inherited the Norrington estate," he points, "You were in India and now you've returned when your brother fell and now he's dead. You're the new heir."
James stares at him and sighs. "My brother and I never got along when we were young. We always fought over petty things and Andrew would put the blame on me. My mother would always believe him and whenever he started the fight and I told on him, she would blame me as well. She sent me to a boarding school in India where I was mocked for being the only English boy in school. Three months ago, Andrew wrote to me. He said he was sick and asked me to come home. And I did."
"Now why he would ask you to return home if you two never got along?"
"Just because we never got along, doesn't mean we hated each other. I loved my brother. And all the letters he wrote to me were his regrets of allowing Mother to send me to India in the first place."
Undertaker looks at him for a moment and sighs. "Do you mind if I take a look at the letters then?"
James reluctantly nods. "They're at home, in my room. Be my guest."
The mortician chuckles in amusement and pats the boy on the back. "It looks like I'll be taking your invitation to dinner after all."
James smiles slightly before going to join his haggard mother and the rest of his horrendous family.
Undertaker goes to get the coffin ready for burial, only to stop and take a look at the photograph with the supposed nuclear Norrington family. The photograph is old though. Eight years old, to be exact. Lady Norrington looks slightly younger in the photograph but still robust, broad-shouldered and looking like a younger version of that witch Queen Victoria. Lord Norrington was heavy-chested and had a black mustache above his lips. He was a very respectable noble but was also ill-tempered. The two small boys, Andrew and James, are also in the photograph, much to Undertaker's surprise. And to think Lady Norrington would hide James' existence in the pits of hell where no one can discover it. The two boys wore matching sailor suits. However, Andrew is fourteen in the photograph and slightly taller than James, with black hair and round-framed glasses. He looks more pleasant as a young boy than he did as a young man. And James, a small ten-year-old boy with red hair and freckles, was the only one smiling in the photograph. The only one happy to have his picture taken.
His smile falls again. For a moment, he wasn't seeing Andrew and James Norrington. For a moment, he was seeing Ciel Phantomhive and his brother.
"So, where's the church?" Ciel asks as Lau continues to lead them further into the empties part of the city. This idiot clearly doesn't know where he's going.
Lau looks around with his eyebrows raised. "Oh. Oooops. I got lost in the conversation that I got us lost."
"You've got to be bloody joking," Ciel growls. "You're wasting my time, Lau!"
"Are we not near the stronghold of the Indian people?" Sebastian asks.
Ciel looks around the area where they're at. Most of the streets are empty of English people. Sitting in alleyways are the poor and some of them have brown faces and tattered clothes.
"Hmm. It seems that we are in the East End," Ciel says and looks at Mey-Rin, "Stay close. Whatever you do, do not wander off. Do you understand?"
"Y-y-yes, my lord," she stutters nervously, nodding tiredly. She's still a little disoriented after the incident at the docks.
"And Sebastian." He looks over to the butler. "Make sure Lieutenant Makarova stays close as well."
The demon butler bows his head. "Yes, my lord."
The name East End has been coined by the press as the unemployment or unemployed. It's a dreadful otherworldly place of crime and immorality, a fearful place where danger lurks in every shadow and waited in every corner. The East End was the beating heart of London, full of factories, warehouses, markets, abattoirs, breweries and London docks. They serve the city, providing the necessities of life, the means of survival and the fuel where the great commercial heart depended. It's overcrowded and poverty-riven with grimy streets flanked by poorly made and decaying buildings.
The Indians were once workers, brought from the land of India with promise of work but once they fulfilled their jobs, they're dumped into the slums like garbage, as if they were worth less than bread. East End is the one of the only place they can reside since they're not welcomed in the public streets of London. The crimes spread here like the plague. Almost no one come here, only those with a death wish.
Sebastian walks behind Catherine, Ciel and Mey-Rin. He knows that he must stay ahead of them but the master gave strict orders to keep the ladies safe from any thugs.
"So, five years working with the Moscow City Police," Sebastian says while walking besides the blonde beauty. "That's impressive."
"I sometimes impress myself," she says, "To be honest, I never really thought I'd come this far."
"Women don't normally become involved with police so your reaction is understandable," he says.
She looks at Sebastian in confusion but then smiles. "Oh no, I mean England. I never thought I'd ever come to England. I spent twenty-five years in Moscow. I've never stepped foot here. I'll confess, it's not what I expected."
"What did you expect?"
"Less smell of smoke and piss water," she says with a joking smirk.
Sebastian chuckles as a response. "You're not off the mark. May I ask you a personal question?"
"If you wish."
"What was your relationship with Yakovich?"
"I thought I made it clear that Yakovich and I were work parents. Or...do you really believe that our relationship was romantic? Some people assume it was."
"I never really said."
"But you were thinking about it. Listen, my relationship with Yakovich, romantic or not, is none of anyone's business. You want to catch the highwayman? So do I. But I don't think prying into our personal lives is going to help catch him."
"All right. Calm down. It was just a question."
"You're right. Sorry," she apologizes, "I'm just tired. I've been travelling for a long time and Scotland Yard just...It's been driving me insane."
Sebastian chuckles in amusement. "Everyone in London despises Scotland Yard."
"Is everything all right, master?" Mey-Rin asks as she walks next to him. He hasn't said a word since they left the docks.
"You almost fell into the water. What do you think?" Ciel snarls.
"I'm sorry, my lord. I didn't mean to scare you all."
"What the bloody hell were you thinking?"
"Master, I swear, I don't know what happened. For a minute, I was on the docks and then, suddenly, I was standing somewhere different and someone tried to attack me. Next thing I knew, I was falling from the dock and Pluto grabbed me by the sleeve. I swear, I really don't know what happened."
"You went insane, that's what happened. This is the last time I'm leaving you alone."
Mey-Rin stops for a moment, glaring at the master in disbelief and anger. She really wishes to yell at him at this moment. He was the one who told her to wait outside. But she resists the urge of losing her temper towards him. Not because she's afraid of Sebastian snapping her neck in half if she snaps at Ciel but because she doesn't want to break the trust they're having between them, if he still trusts her.
She sighs and bows her head. "Forgive me, master. It will never happen again."
Ciel simply stares at her. She can't really tell what he's thinking. He probably thinks she's stupid.
As the continue walking down the empty roads of East End, an Indian man dressed in rags approaches the group, stopping right in front of Ciel. Mey-Rin automatically puts her arm in front of Ciel for protection and Sebastian steps in front of Mey-Rin.
The man bends over, holding his stomach and crying in out in pain. "Ahh! It hurts!"
Everyone looks in confusion.
"That little bastard broke my ribs!" he yells, pointing at Ciel.
"What? But he didn't do anything," Mey-Rin says. However, the man's yelling brings the attention of other homeless Indian men and women dressed in ragged and unpleasant expressions on their faces.
"You all saw it!" the man shouts angrily. "You all saw that fucking English boy punch me in the ribs. I only asked for a penny to eat and what do I get? A punch in the ribs!"
An entire crowd of Indians gather around, shouting angry curses at them. Either they're blind or they simply hate Englishmen and they'll believe anything the man says. Pluto growls at them, showing his sharp teeth. But that doesn't seem to stop them from surrounding them in a circle.
"Why can't you English bastards leave us alone!?…"
"They brought us all the way to England and then dumped us here like trash!..."
"This is our territory now! You have no business here!..."
"We don't no English rats here!"
The man who had been crying out in pain, grabs Ciel by the collar of his blue cape and pulls him close, making the top hat fall from his head. "You're asking for a beating by showing up here! Judging by that nice dress of yours, I'm guessing you're a noble. Pay consolation money, boy, and strip off your clothes -."
Mey-Rin pushes the man away roughly. "Oi! Back off -!"
She gets slapped in the face and gets knocked to the ground by one of the other Indian, her hat falling off her head and hair coming loose.
"Oi! Look at this! This pageboy is a girl!" He grabs her by the arm and pulls her up, "And she's pretty too! She'll do well as payment!"
Ciel growls and yells out in rage as he strikes the man in the face with the cane's golden handle, breaking the man's nose into a bloody crack and forcing him to let go of Mey-Rin.
"Fuck! The kid broke my nose!"
"Sebastian, dispose of all these idiots!" Ciel yells out.
Sebastian smirks and his eyes turn blood red. "As you wish, my young lord."
The first Indian man who started it all, pulls out a knife on them. Mey-Rin immediately gets in front of Ciel to shield him once more, her face still marked red from the blow she received.
"Our country was walked all over by your shoes and because of you, we ended up living like street rat!"
"Everyone stop!" someone shouts and just like that, everyone stops and they turn to see a young Indian boy a few years older than Ciel dressed in clean blue sherwani with a white cape draped over his shoulders and with a red dot painted on his forehead. Next to him is a man dressed in a green tunic with a turban around his head and his right hand bandaged. This boy is not part of the homeless Indians of East End. "We're looking for someone. My nurse, Meena. She looks like this."
The boy pulls out a badly drawn picture of a woman (or at least, that's what it's supposed to look like) with stumpy arms, a large nose, a spot on her forehead and only a few strands of hair. Ciel looks at the picture and then at the Indian boy. Clearly this boy must be missing parts of his brain or lost his entire brain in general. "Have any of you seen her around here?" he asks.
The man with the knife pushes the boy back roughly, nearly knocking him to the ground if the man with the bandaged hand didn't catch him. "Fuck off, you stupid boy! Don't interfere!"
"How rude!" he says, "I was only asking a simple question. No need to shove me."
"Go back to your mother! Keep your nose out of this!"
The boy starts laughing as if it was all a joke. The man has a knife ready to stab someone. Clearly, not a joke. "Entering a fight, are we? With whom?"
"That's none of your business."
The boy looks at Ciel and the rest of the gang. "Are you all Englishmen?" he asks.
"So what if we are?" Ciel says harshly
"Actually, I'm Russian, not English," Catherine Makarova says in her defence. Ciel smacks himself on the forehead as a response.
"And we're Chinese," Lau says while pointing at Mey-Rin. She looks at Lau in annoyance.
The Indian boy shakes his head. "It does not matter. If your presence is disturbing my people, then I must side with them." He looks over to the man with the bandaged hand. "Agni, dispose of these unwelcomed visitors."
The man named Agni bows his head and unwraps the bandages from his hand, clenching it into a fist. "Yes, my prince."
Ciel frowns. Did he just say prince? "Sebastian, get rid of these clowns at once."
Sebastian smirks while cracking his knuckles. "Yes, my lord -."
He gets punched hard in the left cheekbone and falls to the ground on his knees. Mey-Rin and Catherin gasp in shock while Lau curses and Ciel simply stares down at his fallen butler in shock. This has never happened before. Pluto whimpers in fear and slowly backs away with his tail between his legs.
Sebastian looks up at Agni with wide eyes and wipes off fresh blood from his mouth with the back of his gloved hand. That's blood! Actual blood, Ciel realizes. The last time Ciel saw Sebastian bleed was when he had his arm chopped off by Grell Sutcliffe's death scythe. How can a simple man cause the demon butler to bleed. Unless the man is not human either.
Sebastian's eyes glow red and punches Agni back in the face as well, making him stagger back. Agni swings another punch but Sebastian ducks his head, the man with the knife getting punched in the face instead and knocked unconscious.
"Oops, sorry, friend," Agni says.
One of the other men pulls out another knife and tries to stab Ciel from the side but Mey-Rin grabs his wrist, twisting it, and kicks him hard in the crotch. Pluto bites him on the ankle and the man screams. "Ahh! Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!"
Another man tries to grab Catherine but Lau hits him in the head with a stick. She smiles at Lau gratefully.
"Thank you," she says.
"You're welcome," he says. Another Indian man sneaks up behind her but Catherine turns around, punches him in the face and kicks him in the stomach.
Sebastian continues to block Agni's violent punches while holding Ciel close and shielding him from any harm. Ciel is still surprised how this man actually caused injury to Sebastian. Good thing it's not enough to disable his butler. This Agni man keeps striking Sebastian's arm with the tip of his fingers.
"I've been hitting your vital nerves for awhile. Your arm should be numb by now," Agni says as he readies to strike Sebastian again. "How are you still fighting?"
"Someone kill that English boy!" one of the other men says.
"What? Wait a second, who said anything about killing?" the boy says.
"We weren't doing anything but passing through!" Ciel snaps at him. "Are you nothing more than a reckless savage who attacks anyone indiscriminately for walking by."
"Huh?" The boy looks at the rest of the Indian mean around him. "Is this true? Tell me, men, did you attack this child for no good reason at all." The men simply stare at him. The boy shakes his head. "You people disappoint me. You are a disgrace to India. Agni, we are in the Englishmen side now. Take care of the situation."
"Yes, my prince." Within less than ten seconds, Agni defeats the thugs and puts their limp bodies together in a pile with their wrists tied behind their backs. The others stare in complete amazement.
"Sorry for the trouble my countrymen caused you. I hope you are not in any harm," the boy says as he picks up the top hat and gives it back to Ciel. "There's someone I need to find. If we're done talking here, Agni and I shall be off now. Goodbye."
The Indian boy and Agni leave.
Ciel sighs and puts his hat back on his head. "Well, that was a complete waste of time."
"Well, not entirely," Sebastian says while looking down at the fallen men, "We can still deliver these scoundrels to Scotland Yard. Surely one of them must be the highwayman."
"I could have used my gun," Catherine says, "But I preferred not to have any casualties during the investigation. Just in case..." She lifts up her skirt slightly and takes out her gun from her boot. Mey-Rin does the same and pulls out her own gun from the inside of her coat. Catherine nearly laughs. "Oh wow, you have a gun as well. Are you a policewoman too?"
Ciel's eye widens. Oh no. He can't let anyone know that Mey-Rin is an assassin. "No, of course she's not a policewoman. The gun is fake. She uses it to scare people away. It only shoots blanks. But since we are no longer in danger, she has no need of using it so I suggest you put it back in your coat, Mey-Rin." he says to her in a snarky tone. Mey-Rin is taken aback by this but obeys and puts the gun back in her coat.
She suddenly gasps. "Mr. Honghui has a knife on his arm."
Lau frowns in confusion before looking down at his arm. A knife is jabbed on his right arm near his elbow and the long sleeve is getting stained with blood. "Oh, no wonder it started hurting two minutes ago."
"You idiot," Ciel says, "How did you not notice a knife in your arm!?"
"Well, I'm sorry, I was too busy trying not to get myself killed by Indian thugs,"
Ciel growls in annoyance but finds it a waste of time to argue with this man. "Mey-Rin, take him back to the townhouse and get that knife out of his arm. We'll take it from here. And take Pluto with you."
Mey-Rin nods and leaves with Lau and Pluto.
Scotland Yard apprehend the Indian men that attacked Ciel, Sebastian and the others. However, Commissioner Arthur Randall is not very pleased to see Lieutenant Catherine Makarova again.
"Didn't I tell you to stay out of our business," he says, "I already told you we do not need Russia's help, especially from a woman."
"Sorry, Sir Randall," Ciel steps in to defend her, "But I'm afraid Lieutenant Makarova has proven to be more competent than all of you put together. She will be assisting me in the investigation of the highwayman whether you like it or not. And if you wish to complain to the queen, go ahead. I've already spoken to her long ago and she agreed to allow the Moscow City Police to get involved. Whether you agree or not, you no longer have a say in the manner, commissioner. Now, either you cooperate with the investigation or we're going to have a serious problem on our hands. Do you understand?"
Commissioner Randall glares at Ciel but gives in. "Fine."
"Contact us if any of those men give you any clue about the highwayman," he says.
"Sebastian, I'm tired. Let's go home," Ciel says, pressing his finger to his temple.
Sebastian bows his head. "Yes, my lord." And they continue their way back to the townhouse.
"That went well," Catherine sighs tiredly, "I guess I should be going back to the hotel. It's getting late. The streets are not safe at night."
Ciel and Sebastian stare at her and she looks at them confused.
"What?" she asks, "Was it my fault that we almost got killed? Was it the red cloak? Was the cloak too much? Did it bring too much attention -."
"Will you please shut up for a second?" Ciel says.
"Oh right, right. Sorry," she laughs nervously.
"I was thinking that, perhaps, you should stay with us at the townhouse for awhile," he suggests, "You'll be safer there."
Catherine frowns at them. "But I can take care of myself or do you not trust me?"
"Well, Miss Makarova," Sebastian says, "We do have to remind you that this not Russia. This is England. You don't know the streets of London like my master and I do. They can be quite eerie and unpredictable at night, and we wouldn't want anything happening to you."
"And it's not that we don't trust you though you have proven to be just as unpredictable as the streets of London," Ciel says, "But it's Scotland Yard I don't trust, especially Commissioner Randall. He finds it distasteful having a woman from the Moscow City Police investigating a man's case. Who knows if he'll try to get rid of you. Or send someone else to do the job. My best suggestion is to stay with us where Scotland Yard won't try to disturb you."
Catherine remains silent for a moment before sighing in defeat. "Very well then. I'll go back to the hotel and get my bag then."
Sebastian lifts up his hand and shows her a brown suitcase. Catherine's eyes widen in surprise.
"Is that my suitcase?" she asks.
"Why yes. I thought you might be needing it so I decided to fetch it for you," he says with a smile. Catherine stares in shock but takes the suitcase from him anyways.
"Um, thank you. I appreciate it very much," she says.
"All right then," Ciel says, "Let us be off."
They head off to the townhouse. They'll leave the highwayman investigation for tomorrow.
Mey-Rin takes off her coat and unbuttons her shirt, taking it off as well, now standing in only her trousers and bandages around her chest. She hisses in pain when she presses a hot wet cloth against her bruised cheek. This is the second time she's been struck in the face, the first time being hit by Alois Trancy for accidentally spilling the wine on his trousers. Why is it that every time men hit women, they have the necessity to strike her in the face? She literally felt her eye sockets nearly popping out of her skull.
She sighs and looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. The mark on her cheek has grown from red to purple. She's surprised Sebastian didn't suffer from any bruises from that Agni's constant blows. Well, he is a demon, after all. It seems that demons tend to heal quicker and grow back limbs.
"This is what I get for protecting the master," she says to her own reflection but she can't complain. Ciel did strike a man in the face with his cane for trying to touch her. She has never seen Ciel that angry before, except when his aunt died. But striking a man was definitely something new to her. She prays it doesn't happen again, especially if he does it unintentionally.
"Are you decent?" She recognizes the master's voice but he's standing outside the bathroom behind the door. He probably thinks she's naked. She didn't hear him enter the room though.
She nods her head but forgets that he's hidden behind the door and can't see her. "Almost."
"Listen, I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier," he says, "I got worried."
"I understand, master."
"Now you see why I need you dressed as a boy when we're out in the streets?" he says. She nods, recalling recent events.
"But what of the lieutenant? She's a woman as well -."
"Catherine Makarova is not my concern, Mey-Rin. It's you. First, you got shot and nearly killed. Second, you get kidnapped and nearly killed by Grell Sutcliff. Third, you nearly fell off the docks after going insane. And lastly, you almost got assaulted by those Indian men from East End. You're a valuable asset in the Phantomhive Manor but also a living target."
"I am only following orders and protecting you, my lord," she says, "Getting hurt is the price I'm willing to pay -."
"Protecting me is Sebastian's job, not yours. Your job is to obey instructions," he says sternly. "If you can't do that, then you have no business here. So either you do as you're told and stop getting yourself hurt or stay out. Do you understand me?"
Mey-Rin looks down and sighs. "Yes, my lord. I promise it won't happen again."
"Good. Attend to your bruises. They look ghastly," he says and leaves the room.
She nods and smiles to herself in the mirror before attending to the bruises on her cheek and the faint purple fingerprints on her upper arm. She prefers if the young master doesn't seem them. They'll wear off eventually.
She hears noises coming from outside and looks out the window. One of the master's carriages is stopping at the front door of the townhouse and Baldroy and Finnian jump out of the carriage excitedly.
Mey-Rin smiles and waves hello from her window.
"All right, Tanaka, might as well hold on tight," Baldroy says as he lifts the wheelchair upward and pushes it over the townhouse's doorstep. The wheelchair nearly sways sideways but Sebastian pushes it upright.
"Careful, Bard," he says, "Otherwise, you'll injure him."
Baldroy laughs nervously and scratches the back of his head. "Sorry, Sebastian. Sorry Tanaka."
Tanaka simply chuckles in response. "Hohoho."
They finally manage to get Tanaka into the townhouse. The rest of the servants continue to unload the rest of their luggage out of the carriage. Ciel watches from a window as Finnian drops his suitcase and the clothing spilling onto the gravel. Finny starts bawling but Baldroy snaps at him and tells him to just pick them up. Ciel simply rolls his eye and steps away from the window. Ciel has made himself kind enough to invite the rest of the servants to London. It would have been unfair to simply bring Mey-Rin along. Plus he doesn't want Baldroy to continue thinking he's mistreating Mey-Rin. He's already seen how Baldroy glares at him and Sebastian, continues asking questions to Mey-Rin and has confronted Sebastian more than once. If this continues any longer, Sebastian can end up tearing Baldroy in half. Ciel can't have that in his household.
He hears footsteps coming up the stairs. He sees Tanaka slowly walking up the stairs, supporting himself on a walking cane instead of sitting on the wheelchair.
"Are you insane?" Ciel snaps at him. "You'll hurt yourself."
Tanaka huffs. "I'm not invalid."
Ciel looks down the stairs and glares at Sebastian who's holding the wheelchair in his hands. Sebastian shrugs and climbs up the stairs with the wheelchair.
"You're a stubborn old man, as always," Ciel says to Tanaka sternly. "You'll end up dying because of your stubbornness."
"Hohoho," he laughs, "The only reason I'm alive is because I am so stubborn."
Sebastian sets the wheelchair on the hallway floor and Tanaka slowly sits back down. Ciel sighs in frustration. Damn you, old man.
"Take Tanaka to one of the guests room," he says, "Make sure everything is well-accommodated for him."
Sebastian bows his head. "Yes, my lord." And pushes the wheelchair (with Tanaka in it) down the hall to one of the bigger guests room. The more room, the better.
After filling the tub with hot water, Catherine ties her blonde hair in a bun, wipes the red lipstick from her lips and strips down from her clothes. Sebastian Michaelis left her some towels early so she could dry up afterwards. That was nice of him. She turns her head around, craning her neck and hearing it crack and pop. It's been an exhausting day. Her feet are sore. She curls her toes inwards, hearing them crack as well.
She gets in the bathtub and lets out a relieved breath. She finds the bathroom of the townhouse a lot nicer than the one from the hotel room she rented out.
She suddenly feels an uncomfortable sensation on the back of her shoulders. She rolls her eyes and sits up. "Not this again," she mumbles to herself and takes a back scratcher she kept in her suitcase for the journey. Her back has been suffering an unbearable itch for over a week and it's driving her insane. She scratches her back and sighs in relief. "Ah, that's better."
Ciel continues entertaining Lau downstairs in the parlour with Pluto curled up by the fireplace. It's the least he can do, despite finding the man an annoyance. He might look incompetent but the man does have his uses. Mey-Rin brings them hot chai tea and a plate of chocolate chip scones, and returns to the kitchen to attend the rest of her duties.
"I called Ran-Mao after your maid healed me," Lau says to Ciel after taking a sip of tea. "I told her I'd be staying for the night. I didn't want her to worry about me."
"It's natural for siblings to be concerned for each other," Ciel says while he sips his own tea.
"Why bring the rest of the servants to London?" Lau asks. "Aren't your butler and maid enough?"
"I can't leave them alone in the house," Ciel says, "They'll destroy the house. Baldroy has a knack of blowing up the kitchen and Finnian will kill the garden with anti-pestilence. Also, Tanaka needs special care. He was stabbed in the back the night my parents died. He can barely walk and has difficulty breathing when he stands and talks. He needs medication and only Sebastian and I know which ones to give him."
"Oh! Makes sense. So, what shall be done about the highwayman once you catch him?"
"Hmm. The most reasonable aftermath will be present him to the queen. In order to do so, he needs to be captured alive," he says as he sips his tea, "Perhaps I'll allow Scotland Yard handle it from there. Whether they'll execute him or not, it's not my problem."
They both hear a crashing noise coming from the kitchen. Ciel rolls his eye in annoyance.
"What was that?" Lau asks.
"Probably Baldroy making a mess in the kitchen again. It's becoming a habit around here lately. I'm already used to it." Ciel is about to take a bite out of a scone when Mey-Rin suddenly enters the parlour quickly, looking rather distraught. Ciel frowns, wondering what's gone into her. What gives her the right to barge in like that?
"I'm sorry for interrupting, Master," she says, agitated, "But you really must come see this."
Ciel sighs and gets up from his armchair. "What is it this time?"
"They're in the kitchen," she says, "And they're wrecking everything."
Ciel frowns. He has no idea what she's talking about. He assumes that it's probably Baldroy and Finny again. Or it could be the rats. Rats have been plaguing London for awhile. But Sebastian made sure the townhouse is clean from mice and rats. He'll just have to go to the kitchen himself and see what she's talking about.
He follows her to the kitchen and his eye nearly bursts out of his skull. He sees the Indian boy from the East End as well as the man named Agni. They're rummaging through kitchen drawers and opening cabinets.
"Have you found any cookies, Agni?"
"Sorry, my prince. No cookies."
"Urgh. But I'm starving -."
"Oi!" Ciel snaps at them and the two turn face them. The Indian boy drops one of the jars and it shatters on the floor, causing Mey-Rin to yelp. "What the bloody hell are you two doing here!?"
"Well, I saved your life, didn't I? You are in debt with me now," the boy says, "In India, it's tradition to welcome and entertain benefactors. We even have a saying. Entertain the guests even if you must sell your treasures. Where is your bed, by the way?"
"Why the bloody hell do you need a bed?"
"In my country, we sit together with the guests on a bed," he says.
Ciel's face turns red with anger and irritation. "Beds are upstairs. We don't have them down here. Now would you please get out of my house?"
"Perfect," the boy says excitedly, "I should make myself at home then. Agni, have my things brought upstairs, please."
Agni smiles and bows his head. "Yes, prince." He leaves the kitchen.
The boy runs past Ciel out the kitchen. What the bloody fuck!? Ciel quickly runs after the boy who's already running up the stairs, rambling about how narrow the staircase is and how dull the colours of the walls are. Sebastian comes out from one of the bedrooms, carrying from towels, when the boy snatches one of them. Sebastian simply stares in surprise and confusion as the boy continues opening doors and entering rooms as if it were his house.
Ciel runs upstairs, panting in exhaustion, and continues chasing the boy down the hall. "Oi! Stop right there! Sebastian!"
"Um," Sebastian says, "What do you want me to do?"
Ciel growls in irritation but he has a point. What can Sebastian do? Kill them? Toss them out the window? Bury them alive? Toss them out like trash as those other Indian men claim how the English treat them?
He sees the Indian boy open up the door to Tanaka's room and quickly runs to stop him. "Oi! Leave him alone!"
"He has the biggest guest room in the house," the boy says in astonishment.
Ciel closes the door shut. "He needs the room so don't bother him."
"All right, I'll just take the master bedroom then," he says and walks away. "That has more room than the others."
"You're not getting any room because you're not staying in this house - Oi!" He follows him into the master bedroom where the Agni man is bringing the luggage. The boy jumps onto the bed and starts feeling the sheets with glitter of excitement in his eyes as if he never touched velvet before. Ciel growls in annoyance. "Are you deaf or stupid!? Get out of my house!"
The boy smiles and laughs. "I didn't consider staying at an inn. They're dull to me. Is it common in England for people to rid benefactors out into the cold -?"
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Ciel snaps at him.
"Oh." The boy hops off the bed and walks over to Ciel with an outstretched hand. "Allow me to introduce myself. Agni usually does it but I'm guessing England does this custom differently. I am Prince Soma Asman Kadar, the 26th child to the king of the Bengal State."
Sebastian, who standing behind Ciel, frowns curiously. "A prince?"
"Yes," Agni says, "And I am Prince Soma's loyal servant, Arshad Satyendra Iyer. But I am known as Agni."
"Now that we know each other, let us celebrate our newfound friendship," Prince Soma says while hugging Ciel tightly. Ciel tenses up and tries to push him away. He does not like being hugged, especially by strangers. "Agni, prepare tea for us all."
Agni smiles and nods. "Chai tea with ginger will be good for the cold. I shall be in the kitchen."
Sebastian's eyes widen and turn red when he hears this. Ciel can tell he is not happy about this either. "Excuse me, but serving tea is sort of my job."
"Oh good! You can help me then!" he says. Before Sebastian can protest, Agni grabs him by the wrist and drags him downstairs.
Prince Soma gasps and lets go of Ciel when he sees Pluto in the room. "You have a dog! Come here, boy!" He runs over to Pluto and hugs him. Much to Ciel's surprise, Pluto doesn't bark or growl at the prince as he scratches his ears and back. "I love dogs. I've never seen one in person! He's so cute!"
Ciel sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. This is not good.
End chapter...I forgot what chapter this was
Chapter 6: NOTE
Warning: You'll probably kill me and also, I'm not historian to know if this is true.
I just noticed something interest in the manga and anime. The India Arc doesn't exactly have a theme, per say. A good point was given to me by 7th Maniac "I do wonder how you'll change this ark. While I still liked it, it's not exactly one of my favourite. I end up frequently skipping it when rereading the manga or the anime so it should be interesting to see how this will differ." That's an interesting question because the India Arc doesn't exactly have a theme except Ciel and Sebastian finding their opposites Soma and Agni, who almost reflections of them. Soma and Agni are basically reminders of what Ciel and Sebastian are not. It's a good theme but it's mainly overlooked by the Curry Contest. It's not a bad thing but it doesn't really have a point except giving us a moment to breathe from the Ripper Arc. It looked like it was mainly filler arc. So, I might make a theme in this arc that might be a little controversial.
Aside from Ciel and Sebastian finding their opposites, one of the themes I'll be talking about in the India Arc is womenhood, the dangers of women and the dangers of being a woman in the 19th century. BRING ON THE HATE! XD
Now, I'm not going to start with the whole "feminism" thing because I know that "feminism" and "feminists" have gone to extreme. And yes, I AM a woman. But I do like to address that women were treated as lesser beings in the 19th century, mostly seen as fragile creatures who obligated themselves (or were obligated by others) to live with expectations and mostly used to breed the next generation and were only allowed to work domestic jobs, and they were considered unworthy and not deemed for marriage once they reach the age of 40 or 30, though I believe this is mostly happens to the higher class rather than the middle and working class. In the Book of Circus, Baron Kelvin (an upper class bloke) called his wife "haggard" and it has also been reflective in a few nineteenth century-themed novels and series. In the season 3 of Penny Dreadful, a group of women protesting for equal rights were brutally attacked by policemen. By the way, watch Penny Dreadful. It's awesome and it helped me make my Black Butler fanfiction a little more realistic. While I've read stories of 19th century themed novels where the reality of this is trying to be thrown out the window to make it more female-powered, it's better to show the ugly truth of women from the past centuries than to hide it. I also want to show the different between "feminism" and "feminazi" as feminism has lost its meaning over the years. So that's a theme that will be shown in the changes to the India Arc and hopefully it will be interesting...Hopefully. Don't kill me.
Chapter 7: Chapter 4: Silent Night Broken
This might be a pointless chapter but I hope you enjoy it either way.
WARNING: You're getting horny Undertaker again. XD
Dinner at the Norrington Manor has always been distasteful, as long as Undertaker remembers. He has only been invited here once and that time, he was served bland turbot fish with broccoli. This is the reason why he didn't want to come but he couldn't deny such invitation from James, after everything the boy did to him at the pub. Tonight, the entrees consists of beef galantine, sauté of veal and curried veal. Spinach and eggs, and stuffed tomatoes, kidney soup, devilled kidneys, an entire hare garnished and lastly Christmas plum pudding for dessert. He feels like this is a waste of food, too much for so little people.
"Um, Mother," James speaks up after long minutes of silence. "Is it all right if I show Undertaker around the house?"
"Undertaker has already been here when he buried my mother," she says bitterly.
"Yes, but he's never had a tour through the house, now has he?" he asks, glancing awkwardly at Undertaker every now and then.
Lady Norrington sighs in defeat. "Hmm. Very well."
Once Undertaker finishes his curried veal and devilled kidneys (and James with his beef galantine and Christmas plum pudding), they excuse themselves and head out of the dining room. The walls in the house are mostly red and the wood is brown, making the house look like a sea of blood with only candelabrums on the walls illuminating the place. For some reason, the sight of the red walls are making Undertaker's stomach turn uneasily. He despises this place.
At the end of a hall, he sees one of the Phantomhive boys standing there, wearing a white shirt with his eyes black and mouth completely bloody. The boy grins and giggles, showing yellow teeth and more blood gushing out of his mouth.
"Are you all right?" James' voice brings Undertaker out of his thoughts. He turns to look at him. He returns to look at the hall. No one is there. Undertaker sighs and presses a hand to his temple.
The two enter the walk-in closet. On one of the shelves, there lies a small red wooden chest. Undertaker sits on the chaise lounge while James fetches the chest.
"Here. I keep the letters in this chest," he says, "My brother wrote to me every day. You can see I didn't kill my brother."
"Hehehehe. We'll just have to see about that."
Undertaker takes the wooden chest and puts it on his lap. He opens it, showing many yellowing envelopes crammed inside. All of them have the same lion stamp and they were all send by Andrew Norrington. "Hmm." He takes out one of the envelopes that returns to the date when James was first sent to India. It's already ripped open so it makes it easier for Undertaker to take out the letter to read it. "Dear James, I'm writing to see how you're doing? I'm sorry Mother and Father sent you away. It's my fault, really. I shouldn't have accused you for breaking the vase. I didn't think Mother and Father would go so far. I was just scared so I had to lie. I miss you. The Phantomhives miss you. Ciel, Elizabeth and Sirius miss you. I really hope you can forgive me and hopefully, we'll see each other again. With all my love, Andrew." Undertaker stares at the names of the two boys. Why must they keep mocking him? "Your brother is terrible at writing."
"Read the last letter he sent me," James says, sitting next to him.
Undertaker nods and takes out one of the other envelopes. This one dates back to the month Jack the Ripper ended. He unfolds the letter and reads it "Dear Brother, I know this is a bad time. I know that you're busy with your job. But I need you to return home. Please. I am ill and I have no one. I am trapped in a death bed with Mother waiting for me to die. I'm scared and I need to see your face before God or the Devil takes me away. You're the only family I ever truly loved. I know I apologized in many of my letters but I still wish to beg for forgiveness. I am sorry. For everything. For being a horrendous brother and friend. And for not being by your side when you needed me. If you find it in your heart to forgive me, please come back home so I may see your face before I die. If you do not wish to forgive me, then may this be my last letter. Goodbye, my brother. - Andrew."
Undertaker sighs and folds the letter once more before putting it back in the envelope and box. He looks at James. The young man's eyes are pooled with tears.
"I already forgave him the first time he apologized," James sniffles and wipes his tears away. "But he still thought I was angry with him. He sent me that box along with one of the other letters. That box had chocolates. They were stale by the time they got to India. I still ate them though. Every single one of them. Then I threw up in the washroom afterwards. How silly of me to do so."
Undertaker looks at the wooden box. A fine craftsmanship. Dark red mahogany with the carving of a vicious lion on the top lid. Andrew Norrington must have truly loved his brother if he sent James something so valuable. He lets out a deep sigh and shuts the box, locking it in place. He gives it back to James. "Sorry," he says, a genuine apology this time, not in a mocking manner as he usually does to many people.
James smiles slightly. "I mean, sure, Andrew and I weren't always thick as thieves but we never hated each other. I swear by my mother's life, Mr. Undertaker, I didn't kill my brother."
The mortician nods. "I believe you."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be crying like this. You probably think I'm pathetic," he says.
"Yes, you are, but..." Undertaker pulls James into a heated kiss. James hesitates before kissing back. "That doesn't make you any less attractive."
He knows he shouldn't messing around with this boy anymore. What they did at the pub was a one night thing. And the fact that he's the son of Lord and Lady Norrington makes it even more forbidding. But he can't seem to help it. He hates admitting it but he really does like James and the thought of seeing him alone or with someone else makes his blood boil.
James cups his face and continues kissing him softly. "I thought you said once."
"Hehehe. It seems that once is not enough for me," he says with a sly grin, "Lock the door, will you?"
James hesitates but does so and locks the door tightly. Once he does, Undertaker gestures him to come closer. He walks closer to the mortician and sits on his lap.
"I believe it's my turn to return the favour, Lord Norrington," he says and kisses James on the lips. James kisses back and then kisses his neck softly. Undertaker chuckles and slips his hand into James' trousers, grasping his arousal in a gentle squeeze. James moans softly and nuzzles his face into his neck. Undertaker removes his top hat and places it aside. James removes his jacket and unbuttons his shirt.
When he tries to push away the silver bangs from Undertaker's face, his wrist is quickly grabbed.
"I rather if you didn't do that," he says.
"Why not? What do you have to hide?"
"I just prefer to keep my personal things private for the moment. All right?"
The two continue kissing passionately. Undertaker slips off his robe and unbuttons his cassock, slipping it down to his elbows and exposing his pale scarred chest. He unbuttons the rest of James' shirt and kisses down his freckled neck and chest, causing the young man to moan softly. Undertaker gently pushes him to lie down on the chaise lounge and unbuttons his trousers while still kissing his neck and then peppers kisses down his chest and stomach while tugging down his trousers. He then nibbles his hips, making James shudder and bite his finger to silence his moaning.
"You don't want your mother to know what we're doing, do you?" Undertaker ask with a chuckle.
James chuckles as a response. "She would kill me."
"Then let us try to be quiet for awhile." Undertaker plants a kiss on his stomach and continues pleasuring him.
Words cease for the next two hours as the locked room is filled with nothing but passionate silent panting and moaning when Undertaker takes James's hardened member in his mouth and sucks gently. They're lucky the closet door is locked or Lady Norrington (or anyone in the house) would have a heart attack if they're found like this.
9: 35 p.m.
"I still can't believe those two are staying," Ciel says as he removes his eyepatch and he gets ready for bed. He puts on his light blue pajamas and Sebastian buttons the shirt before hopping into bed, "I was lucky to get my room back and offer them one of the larger guest rooms."
"You could always give me an order and I'll get rid of them for you," Sebastian says with a smirk.
Ciel glares at him. "By what? What will you do? Kill them? Toss them out into the streets? If we do, we'd be proving those Indian thugs right and they'll think we are a bunch of selfish arrogant Englishmen. I won't take the risk. As much as I do not like having strangers staying here, I have no other choice. But make sure they don't get in the way, especially that Soma boy. Do you understand me?"
Sebastian nods in agreement. "Yes, my lord. What should be done about Lieutenant Makarova? Are you not afraid that she will be in the way by allowing her into our investigation?"
Ciel has been thinking about it lately. So far, Lieutenant Makarova hasn't done anything to jeopardize the investigation. In fact, she's been quite helpful by providing information on her partner Detective Shinsky Yakovich. So he took the Orient Express to England instead of a ship. That makes Detective Shinsky a liar. Or perhaps, Scotland Yard is the one lying and is trying to mislead them. Still, they need to remain vigilant of her. They can't be sure to trust her. There's no telling what she'll do if she ever finds out their secret.
"Perhaps," he says, "But hopefully, she'll be useful to us. Still, I need you to keep an eye on her as well. I don't trust anyone."
"When I asked her about her relationship with Detective Yakovich, she became very defensive," Sebastian points out.
"Hmm. Find whatever information you can get out of her, by any means you find necessary. But I do not want her harmed. Do you understand?"
Sebastian smirks, his eyes turning red again, and he bows. "Yes, my lord. Get some rest, now. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow." He places a blanket over Ciel and turns down the oil lamp before leaving the room.
Ciel sighs and turns to side, getting into a better position to sleep. He nearly just when he comes face to face with Pluto staring at him with those crimson red eyes of his and whimpering. Ciel sighs and sits up from the bed, patting the pillow behind him. "Hé hé."
Pluto wags his tail happily and jumps into bed, curling up behind Ciel and lying down. Ciel rests his head on Pluto's ribcage area, snuggling against white fur. Pluto uses his jaw to drape the blankets over Ciel.
Ciel smiles and closes his eyes. "Thanks Pluto," he mumbles before falling asleep. Pluto closes his eyes and falls asleep as well.
Undertaker and James lie on the floor next to each other with a red throw blanket covering their lower halves, panting in exhausting. The mortician curls up close to the eighteen-year-old boy's warmth, brushing his long silver hair over his right shoulder and lying his head on the boy's heaving chest. James responds by kissing his head and chuckling, his orange-red curls splayed around his head like a fan.
"Well then," James breathes out. Undertaker chuckles and kisses his neck while his pale scarred around wraps around the boy's freckled waist.
"So, who's a better fuck? You or me?" the mortician asks with a devious grin.
"Definitely you," James says.
"Don't feel bad. I enjoy you cock still. Hehehe." Undertaker kisses him and James kisses back.
A knock on the closet door nearly startles them both. James quickly sits up and looks over his shoulder. Lucky he locked the door. Undertaker simply lies back on the floor with his hand covering his mouth, trying not to burst into laughter.
It's his mother.
"Shit," James whispers and looks at Undertaker. "What do we do?"
The mortician folds his arms behind his head and grins at him. "I'm not leaving this spot."
"She'll want me to open the door." The knocking keeps on going, more impatient than the last knock.
"Figure something out then. You're a smart boy. I'm sure you can think of something."
James rolls his eyes in annoyance and gets up, still naked. He walks to the door but doesn't open it. "Yes, mother?"
"It's time for bed," she says, "Did the undertaker leave?"
James looks over at Undertaker who bites onto the blanket hard to avoid giggling. James tries very hard not to laugh as well. "Y-yes, mother. Mr. Undertaker left about an hour ago."
"Well, good riddance," she says, "I don't want that freakish bastard in my house." Undertaker gets up from the floor and walks over to him, nuzzling his face into his neck. James shudders quietly, trying to hold back a moan as his mother continues to rant about how horrible and terrifying Undertaker is while the mortician continues to kiss, lick and nibble down his chest and stomach. "You stay away from that man from now on. No good will come from him."
James bites his lower lip, keeping himself from moaning as Undertaker takes his member into his mouth again. "Y-yes, Mother. Goodnight."
The moment her footsteps die away when she leaves the room, Undertaker pulls his member out of his mouth, stand up and pulls James into a deep kiss, pressing him against the wood of the door. "I'll sneak out the window once we're done," he says.
James chuckles in response. "I figured you'd say that."
Undertaker laughs and pulls James down to the floor where they continue their heated passion for this rest of the night.
"Come on, Finny, just drink it." Sebastian stops by the room where Baldroy and Finnian are staying at. He hears all the fussing of Baldroy trying to give Finnian lemon balm tea but he's refusing. The butler sighs. The nightmares again.
"If you don't drink, you won't be able to sleep," Baldroy tries his best to make Finnian drink. "I added honey so it would taste better so will you just drink it already."
Finnian keeps shaking his head in refusal, holding the pillow tightly.
"You're acting like a five-year-old," Baldroy says, "You're sixteen. Grow the fuck up."
"What's going on here?" Sebastian enters the room with his arms crossed.
"Finny doesn't want to drink the tea," Baldroy tells him.
Sebastian sighs. This is not the first time Finnian refused to drink the tea. "Bard, go to the kitchen for a few minutes and make sure the dishes are ready for tomorrow's breakfast."
Bard reluctantly nods and leaves the room.
Sebastian sits besides Finnian and tries to give him the tea but he keeps shaking his head. "Come now, Finnian. The tea will help you sleep. You know how you are at night."
"I don't want to sleep."
"I keep having nightmares," he says, "Every time I drink that tea, I keep having the same nightmares I can't wake up from."
"Are they same ones from Germany."
Finnian nods and closes his eyes tight. "I don't want to go back there. I don't want to see that lab ever again."
"Finny," Sebastian pats him on the head. "You're no longer in the lab. You're safe here with us, remember? Whatever you see in your dreams is not real. They're just bad memories manifesting in your mind. Nothing can hurt you there. Now..." He gives him the cup of tea. "Drink this. Lemon balm tea is excellent for sleep and reduces anxiety. If you don't sleep, you'll be disturbing everyone else's sleep. And you don't want to disturb the young master's sleep, now do you?"
Finnian shakes his head but for a different reason and takes the teacup in his hands. Sebastian refuses to leave his side until he drinks the entire cup which he does. Once Finnian is done with the cup of teeth, he sets it down on the nightstand and lies on the bed, the tea having an immediate effect. Sebastian smiles slightly and puts blankets over him, tucking him in.
"Now, you just rest. Do you understand?"
"Yes. Goodnight, Sebastian," Finnian says before closing his eyes and falling deep asleep.
Sebastian quietly walks out of the bedroom and quietly shuts the door behind him. Baldroy returns upstairs, yawning and stretching his arms over his back. Sebastian simply glares at him.
"How long has he been having nightmares?" he asks.
"Over a week. Honestly, I thought he'd be over it after three years."
"And you didn't even bother to tell me? Honestly, Bard, even Mey-Rin isn't this neglectful and careless."
"Hey, hey, hey. Since you're always busy tending to the master and doing everything around the house, I didn't think of wanting to bother you."
Sebastian sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. He's really tempted into ripping Baldroy tongue out but he resists. It wouldn't be of good use to do so. "Listen, if this happens again, just inform me no matter what. Right now, try to get some sleep. If he starts screaming, call me."
"Yes, sir," he nods and returns to his room, shutting the door.
Sebastian sighs once more before retiring to his room now that he has everything done for the night. Tanaka has already taken his medication and is now asleep. He made sure of it. The young master would be displeased if Tanaka wakes up in the middle of the night and starts wandering around the townhouse by himself with the risk of falling. The servants are asleep. The guests are well accommodated and asleep as well. He made sure Lieutenant Makarova has enough clean towels and sheets and placed her clothing in the wardrobe. However, she refused to have him fold her undergarments in the drawers. It would have been interesting to see her reaction if he takes a gander at her bodice and bloomers. The same thing happened with Prince Soma when he offered to put away his clothes. That butler Agni said he would put Prince Soma's clothing away himself since that bratty prince trusts no one else. Sebastian doesn't see the purpose of the prince being so private. They're male. Sebastian swears that if the prince proves to be as difficult as earlier, there will be dire consequences. The master is asleep as well, which is good. As long as he doesn't have another nightmare like Finnian, everything will be fine. The only thing he dreads is having to allow him to sleep with that disgusting monster of hell he has for a dog. He still can't believe Mey-Rin brought it into the house. No, he can't believe the young master decided to keep it in the first place. There's nothing else for it though. Might as well leave it be.
Sebastian gets ready for bed. Demons hardly need any sleep. They find it unnecessary. They only sleep for recreational purposes. Sebastian hasn't slept in weeks because he has a lot of work around the house. Now that all the work is done for the day, he might as well try to get some sleep.
He removes his black tailcoat and unbuttons his dark grey vest and white shirt, and pulls down his black trousers. Since he doesn't have actual nightwear, he managed to snatch one of Baldroy's clothes. Being taller than Baldroy, the trousers' legs feel a little short. He gets into bed and lies straight as a board, not used to sleeping on a bed as humans do.
Mey-Rin wakes up startled after having another nightmare. She was in those corridors again with the torn up body and her hands covered in blood. Again, the other man was trying to grab her. Trying to bite her. This time he brought friends. They all had their eyes bandaged and their mouths snarling. She wakes up shaking and breathing heavily, her body burning up. It was just another dream. It's not real. She takes a deep shaky breath and lies back down on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. It's just a nightmare. She closes her eyes and tries to go back to sleep.
That's when a piercing scream makes her sit up from her bed, almost making her scream herself.
A shrill piercing scream of a woman fills the house, startling Sebastian from his sleep. He quickly sits up from the bed, swinging his legs over the edge and grabbing the lantern, before running out of his room. He sees Mey-Rin bursting out of her room agitated and eyes wide.
"What happened this time?" he asks Mey-Rin irritably, assuming that it was her screams.
"I don't know," she says, looking shaken. "I was asleep when I heard the screams. I was so scared, I thought my heart would climb out of my throat."
"So it wasn't you who screamed?" he asks and she shakes her head. Odd. He then sees Lieutenant Catherine walk down the hall towards them wearing a satin blue robe over her nightgown and looking just as alarmed as Mey-Rin. Perhaps Catherine was the one who screamed.
"Who the bloody hell screamed?" she asks and Sebastian frowns at her in surprise.
"It wasn't you then?" he asks.
Catherine shakes her head, her eyes wide. "Of course not! I was asleep when it happened. I almost fell off the bed." She then turns to Mey-Rin. "You didn't scream?"
"No, I was awoken by it like you," Mey-Rin says.
"If it wasn't neither of the two, then who was it?"
Baldroy suddenly appears holding a rifle in his hands. "I heard someone screaming. Did someone break into the house?"
"Not that we know of," Sebastian says, "Apparently, none of the girls were responsible for the screaming. Did you check if it was Finnian?"
Baldroy nods. "I checked. He's still sleeping. It wasn't him -."
"Who screamed?" Ciel appears in the hallway as well, along with Lau and the disgusting mutt.
"It wasn't me or Lady Catherine, my lord," Mey-Rin says. "We heard it as well."
"Well, someone screamed and it was a woman," Lau says, "What a frightful scream it was. It sounded like someone was being murdered."
"Maybe it was a ghost," Mey-Rin says.
"Honestly, Mey-Rin, this is not one of those ghost stories you read," Ciel says sternly.
"Well, it's possible."
"Where are Prince Soma and Agni?" Sebastian asks, noticing that neither of them are around. Tanaka is not here either but that's for an entirely different reasons.
"Here." Agni suddenly appears along with Prince Soma. The little Indian prince seems just as startled as everyone else, his chest heaving and his breath heavy. "What happened?"
"Did you hear the screams?" Ciel asks.
"Y-yes," Agni stutters, "It startled my young prince from his slumber. What was that?"
"I don't know," Ciel says, "I'm going to check on Tanaka. He must be awake as well. Sebastian, search the house. If neither of the girls were responsible for the screaming, then someone broke into the house. Everyone else, return to your rooms. Immediately."
"Yes, my lord," Sebastian bows his head and goes to search the house. Ciel goes to check on Tanaka and the rest head for bed.
The moment Ciel enters Tanaka's room, he is immediately aimed at with a gun. Ciel gets flashbacks of his parents getting shot, forcing him to freeze on the spot with his hands raised in the air and shaking.
"Tanaka, it's...it's me," he stutters nervously. Tanaka lowers his handgun and puts it away in the nightstand's drawer. "You heard the screams as well?"
He nods silently. Ciel sighs, his heart still pounding hard in his chest from seeing the gun. He walks over to Tanaka and helps him get back into bed.
"I'm sorry about the noise. No one broke in so far," he says, "You can rest easy."
Tanaka stares at Ciel without saying a word. He places a blanket over the old man but he still hasn't said a word. "What?" he asks.
The long silence makes Ciel sigh. "Try to get some rest. All right?...Goodnight, Tanaka."
He leaves the room and shuts the door behind him, tears filling his eye.
"Are you all right, Soma?" Agni asks while tucking the prince back into bed. Soma nods though he still looks shaken up, his face practically draining from colour. "I'm sorry if you were frightening. Do not worry. You're safe now."
Soma gulps and looks under the bed. "Are there any rats under here?"
"Don't worry," Agni straightens him up and tucks him back into bed. "There are no rats under the bed. I checked."
"Could you at least sleep next to me for the night?" Soma asks, almost beggingly. Agni looks at him, frowning. Soma pouts and gives him pleading eyes. "Please?"
Agni sighs but nods in defeat. "Very well, my pri-prince. Just give me a few moments." Agni goes to the other side of the room and grabs a few pillows from the chaise lounge. He returns to the bed and lies down next to Soma but without going under the covers. He then puts the pillows between him and the prince. "There we go. Now go back to sleep. We have a long day tomorrow."
"Thank you, Agni," he yawns. "Goodnight"
Soma closes his closes his eyes and quickly falls asleep. Agni smiles softly and brushes the boy's short black hair away from his face. He vowed himself to protect the prince no matter what happens and no matter how extreme his methods are. Soma will always be his top priority.
With the oil lamp glowing brightly, Sebastian searches the guests rooms, the bathrooms, the closets, under the beds, outside the balconies. There doesn't seem to be anyone upstairs. So, he checks downstairs. He checks the parlour, the drawing room, the kitchen, every nook and cranny of the house. No one seems to be down here on the main floor either. He then goes downstairs to the wine cellar below the house. He looks behind the shelves, between every crack and every hole. Just like the rest of the house, there is no one to be found. No signs of any girl or woman wandering the house and no signs of a break-in. Perhaps Mey-Rin is right and it was some sort of ghost. There have been history of deaths in the townhouse. Sebastian chuckles to himself. What nonsense.
He returns upstairs to the main floor. That's when he notices a presence lurking around on the main floor.
His eyes turn blood red and his pupils turn slit as he heads his way to the kitchen as he hears the clattering noise of dishes. He steps into the kitchen with the kitchen knife slipping from the inside of his sleeve to his hand, ready to stab the intruder. However, his eyes turn brown again when he finds Lieutenant Catherine in the kitchen instead.
Catherine immediately turns around at the sound of his footsteps and yelps at the sight of Sebastian entering the kitchen.
Sebastian chuckles in amusement. "Am I really that repulsive to look at?"
"It's only you. Good. For a moment, I thought you were a ghost," she says.
If only she knew that he's much worse. "I'm guessing you're just as superstitious as Mey-Rin."
"Well, you'll never know what really lurks around this house," she says, "I'm guessing it's old enough to hold up a few past spirits that could not find their way to heaven."
Or hell, he thinks. "This house is only forty-five years old. The Phantomhives had this house built in London whenever they needed to take their time away from the mansion."
"Oh, so I'm guessing no ghosts then," she says, "My mistake."
"What are you doing down here? If I dare ask. Are you not supposed to be sleeping like the others?"
"Aren't you supposed to be asleep as well." She comes back strong. "I came here to make some tea. I know Lord Phantomhive strictly told us to stay in our rooms but I honestly can't sleep after all that. I thought drinking hot tea might help me."
"Would you like me to make it for you?"
"That would be nice thank you."
Sebastian makes the same tea he made for Finnian to help him sleep through the night. Lemon palm tea. Good for the stress and the anxiety and helps with sleep deprivation. However, he uses less of the tea leaves so that Miss Makarova doesn't oversleep.
He suddenly remembers what the young master told him. Find whatever information you can get out of her. His eyes almost turn red again and a smirk softly displays on his face. He knows exactly how to extract information out of her. It always works with every woman he meets. The nun at the church. The librarian. One of the maids at the Midford Estate. He's glad he didn't get in trouble with Lady Midford.
The smirk is replaced by his usual soft smile as he pours the tea into the cup and places it on the table in front of her. She smiles kindly at him. Her face looks pale and fresh with excess colour on her lips a lot of women wear on their faces. Well, it is three o' clock in the morning. Who is going to be wearing make-up at this hour?
"So, lieutenant, how long will you be staying here in England?" he asks as he sits down across her with his own cup of tea.
"Hmm." She purses her lips tightly. "Until the investigation is done, which I will admit it could take a while. Afterwards, I will be taking Shinsky's body back to Russia and give him a proper funeral. His family will be mourning. But at least, he's at peace."
"I can never understand the obsession of heaven and peace," he says while stirring his tea, "In history, religion has always been used to keep the people in control. Did you know that the Bible was mistranslated when printed in different language yet they never bother to fix the problem? Not to mention that priests and nuns only read the verses that were convenient to them in order to force their control on the believers and non-believers."
"Hmm. And only the priests were allowed to read the Bible," she says, "The locals were only allowed to listen and obey the Bible's words even if the texts are manipulated to the convenience of the authorities. Are you an atheist?"
"Something like that. And you?" he asks. "You seem to be a free thinker as well. You don't seem to follow expectations of other people and I can't seem to imagine someone like you following the rules of an ancient book written by men who claimed to have seen God and were instructed to write the testaments for him."
Catherine smiles slightly and puts two cubes of sugar into the lemon palm tea. "I'm a Catholic. I'm simply not an extremist fanatic like many. I don't condemn others for having different beliefs. Like you. I'm guessing you believe in logic as well as I do."
Sebastian chuckles in amusement. "I'll believe in anything that doesn't involve God or other holy religions."
"I believe in God. I also believe he loves us all equally. White. Black. Chinese. Indian. Jewish. Muslim."
"I supposed that's true. I guess he seems to love the evil as well."
Catherine stares at Sebastian, her brow furrowing a little. "What do you mean?"
"Well, don't take offense but God seems to be the fault of not taking responsibility for what happens to the people he created."
"It is said that only God is perfect. He created us humans. I also believe that he answers our prayers daily even if the answers are done by action instead of actual words. However, it is said that God has no control in the human's decision to commit inhumane acts. It's like…Adam and Eve. He could have made Eve not eat the fruit from the tree, which by the way is a pomegranate and not an apple like a lot of people thought. But it was her decision to make to whether fall into temptation or not. She made her choice and decided to fall into the snake's trap."
Sebastian nods in agreement but he can't help but find it amusing contradicting her. "Yes but men and women around the world are tempted into corruption and they commit unspeakable acts because God doesn't take his time to correct them. If he had, there wouldn't be so many deaths around the world. The Black Plague. The War of the Roses. The wars in Rome. The female infanticides in China. Jack the Ripper. Detective Yakovich. A lot of deaths could have been prevented if God would step in and put a stop to it. But it seems he enjoys sitting in his throne, watching the world fall apart. Again, no offense. I am only expressing a fact."
"But your fact can't be proven valid if you haven't heard his side of the story," she says.
"And I probably never will."
Catherine starts laughing, more like a giggle. "When did a pleasant late-night tea become a debate on religion?"
"Perhaps I wanted to start a conversation with you," he says with a warm smile.
"You could have chosen a topic that is less…controversial."
"And what would you like to talk about?"
"Hmm. I can't really come up with a topic at the moment."
"How about we talk about Detective Yakovich?" he asks and that pretty smile of hers disappears. "Is it the first time someone has claimed for you to be having an affair with him?"
She sighs and shakes her head. "Not really no...A few colleagues at the Moscow City Police assumed the same thing since Shinsky and I were always working together in private. One day, the rumours spread to his wife's ears. Guess how that turned out?"
"Do I really wish to know?" he asks with a playful chuckle.
"She came to our station and slapped me in the face. She then demanded a divorce from Shinsky to which he refused. He kept telling her there was nothing going on between me and him. I don't think she believed him. And I still don't think she believes. Before I came here to England, she accused me of hiding him. She said we were planning on running away together."
"Oh how disappointing she will be when her husband's body is brought back to Russia," he chuckles, imagining a haggard wife weeping over the rotting corpse of her husband.
"You're grotesque," she says.
"Am I? How so?" Sebastian asks with an intrigued smile.
"You seem to find amusement in the misery of others. You seem to laugh at the thought of Mrs. Yakovich weeping for her husband's death. It makes you look cruel and grotesque."
"Hmm…Perhaps I enjoy being grotesque. It's better than being boring."
She smiles and finishes drinking her tea. "This was delicious. Thank you, Mr. Michaelis."
Sebastian smiles, pleased that he was actually to get some information out of her even if it wasn't very helpful. There's still much he needs to get out of her. Coaxing her will be the best method. He watches her get up from the chair and put the teacup in the sink.
"I should get to bed. It's late. I have work to do tomorrow," she says.
"Are you sure you don't wish to stay a little longer?" he asks as he stands close behind her, his eyes turning red with desire, "Perhaps we can talk in my room in private. It's such a beautiful night. And letting it waste away would be such a pity, don't you agree?"
"Mr. Michaelis, are you trying to seduce me?" she asks coolly. Sebastian snakes his arms around her waist. He senses her tense up in his arms. They all become tense in his arms. It takes time for them to relax and give in to his embrace. Eventually, they always give in to their carnal desires.
Sebastian suddenly has his arms slowly pushed away from Catherine's waist. He frowns in confusion. Catherine turns to face him and smiles. The red in his eyes die back to brown.
"…Goodnight, Mr. Michaelis," she says before exiting the kitchen, leaving him standing there dumbfounded and his red eyes wide in shock.
What just happened?
Lol. As I said before, this chapter is pretty much pointless but I'm glad I wrote it. It was writing Sebastian getting cockblocked for the first time. I hope you enjoyed.
Chapter 8: Chapter 5: Little Brat
I'm terrible at writing fighting scenes so writing the dual between Sebastian and Agni was horrible. I still hope you enjoy the rest of the chapter. Sorry it took longer than I thought.
Also, I'll be introducing another character to the story who may not be special to many but will be special to Ciel.
Ciel stirs from his sleep as he hears the window curtains being drawn open, the bright morning light hitting his face. He makes a face and hides his face in the pillow. Darn it, Sebastian. Can't you wake for me to actually wake up?
"It's time to wake up, Lord Phantomhive."
Ciel jumps and quickly sits up when he recognizes that the voice doesn't belong to Sebastian, but to that darn Indian butler Agni. He bows his head in greeting with that darn smile on his face. "Namaste ji. Good morning."
Ciel quickly puts his eyepatch over his eye to cover his contract and jumps out of his bed. "Why on earth are you in my room!?" he snaps demandingly. Pluto wakes up and jumps out of bed as well.
Soma suddenly enters the room, already dressed in a white shirt, khaki trousers and an orange-red sash draped over his shoulders with his short black hair neatly brushed. He giggles as he scratches Pluto behind the ears before letting him go. "Because we're going out. You must show us around," he says.
"And why should I do that!?"
"Because I saved your life so you owe me," he says and grabs Ciel's wrist, dragging him out of the room. "I command you to show us around London."
"Oi!" Ciel tugs his wrist from his grasp. "You really expect me to go out into the streets dressed like this?"
"Then go change-."
"Ahem." Sebastian suddenly enters the room, interrupting the ruckus. "Pardon, prince. I am terribly sorry, but my master's day is full. I'm afraid there's a great deal of work and studies he must attend to. So, if you wish, feel free to have breakfast in the dining room."
"Awww," Soma sighs in disappointment.
Sebastian goes to check on Finnian, already finding him awake and sitting on the bed. He's sort of glad Finnian was asleep for the entire night, especially after that dreadful scream from last night. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to get to fall asleep again.
"Let me see," he says while pressing his hand against the lad's forehead, checking his temperature. He's a little warm but he's not burning up like last time. "Better than last time."
"Last time, he was burning up like a stove," Baldroy says while observing from the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest.
"Well, it seems that he's feeling better now," he says and looks at Finnian. "You think you can work today without collapsing?"
Finnian nods vigorously. "Yes, sir."
"Very well," Sebastian stands up, "The two of you get dressed and take charge of today's breakfast while I take charge of the master's lessons today. Remember, do this quietly and don't make a mess of things. Bard, make sure you give him a cup of coffee so he remains awake" He gives Baldroy the menu for today's breakfast before leaving the room.
He then attends to Tanaka who is as stubborn as always. It doesn't take much effort for him to put the old man on the wheelchair though. He's a heavy old man but not that heavy. He wonders why did the young master made him do all these tasks: wake Tanaka up, get him cleaned, get him dressed, give him his medication, bring his breakfast; etc. Sebastian already finds it aggravating enough to take care of a bratty thirteen-year-old boy, now he has to take care of an old stubborn man.
Despite trying to stop him to get out of the chair, Tanaka grabs his walking cane and struggles to get back on his two feet until he's finally standing straight.
"You shouldn't be standing like this," Sebastian says, "The young master is worried you'll fall down the stairs. At least, let me help you -."
"No, I can do it myself, thank you," Tanaka says gruffly. "How is the young lord, by the way?"
"Why don't you ask him yourself?" Sebastian says.
"Urgh. I'm not in the mood for his games today."
"You say that almost every day of the week. I don't understand what's gotten you in a bad mood these days. You've never shown any harsh behaviour towards the young master."
"That's my business to take care of, not yours," he says. Sebastian rolls his eyes. He's just as stubborn as the young master.
Soma and Agni sit around the table by themselves while Sebastian helps Ciel get dressed for his lessons. Soma sits there, tapping on the white-clothed table and sighing in boredom.
"Chinta mat karo (Do not worry, Soma)," Agni says. "Ek baar Lord Phaintomiv apane sabak khatm kar lete hain, to ham shahar ke chaaron or dikhae jaenge. Aap dekhenge (Once Lord Phantomhive finishes his lessons, we'll be shown around the city. You shall see)."
"Main bas meena dhoondhana chaahata hoon (I simply wish to find Meena)," he says, "Kya yah poochhane ke lie bahut kuchh hai? Jaahir hai, ham ise apane aap nahin kar sakate hain. Yahaan sadakon bhoolabhulaiya kee tarah hain. Yahee kaaran hai ki hamen hamen dikhaane ke lie Siel Phaintomiv kee aavashyakata hai (Is it that too much to ask? Obviously, we can't do it by ourselves. The streets here are like labyrinths. That's why we need the Ciel Phantomhive to show us around)."
"Mujhe pata hai. Lekin hamen dheeraj rakhana chaahie. Kya aap samajhe? (I know. But we must be patient. Do you understand?)"
Soma sighs once more but nods in agreement. The growling in his stomach is annoying him. "Naukaron ko itanee der kyon le raha hai? (What is taking the servants so long?)"
"Ladake ke batalar, Sebestiyan ne mujhe chetaavanee dee thee ki yahaan ke naukar thoda dheeme hain isalie hamen dheeraj rakhana chaahie chaahe koee phark nahin padata (The boy's butler, Sebastian, did warn me that the servants here are a little slow so we must be patient no matter what)," he says and sees Mey-Rin enter the dining room with two plates. "Oh dekho, hamaara khaana bhojan hai (Oh look, there's our food)." He stands up and walks over to Mey-Rin. "I'll take them off your hands, my lady."
"Yes, please take them," she says, "I am most likely to drop them before they can make it to the table."
Agni nods and takes the plates from her.
Soma frowns at the plate after it was placed in front of him. "What is this phallic-looking food?" he asks while poking at the sausage with a fork.
"Um," Mey-Rin tries to explain, ignoring the fact that he compared the sausage with a phallus. Clearly, he's never had them back in India, "The dish is called Bangers and Mash, my prince. It's a common dish here in England. What you have there is sausage with mash potatoes served with onion gravy. And on the side, you have Brie cheese from France."
"This is not a cow, is it?" Soma asks while stabbing the sausage with a fork. "The cows are very sacred in my country. We cannot eat them."
"Oh no, my prince," she says, "It's made of lamb. Don't worry."
"Pray that your word is true, Miss," he says, "Or I would have to spend my years praying to Kali for forgiveness." He takes a bite of the Brie cheese. His eyes widen and he hums. "Hmm. It's really good."
Mey-Rin frowns in confusion. Cheese is made from cows. "Didn't he just say that cow is sacred in your country?" she asks Agni.
"We do not eat their meat," he explains, "But we drink their milk. They're gifts from the gods."
"I see. I hope you don't mind me asking, Prince Soma, but what is India like?" she asks, "I've never been here before."
"I live in Bengal. It's a holy country blessed by our goddess Kali and the Ganges River," he explains while chewing on the piece of cheese.
Agni clears his throat. "Prince Soma, remember what we said about talking with your mouth full."
Soma swallows hard and nods. "Sorry."
Mey-Rin frowns while watching Soma unfold the napkin in his hands and gently place it on his lap. He's supposed to tuck it in the collar of his shirt like a gentleman, not place it on his lap.
"Well, if you'll excuse me, I shall bring your tea and be on my way," she says, "You don't mind if I clean the prince's clothes, do you?"
Agni turns to look at Soma and then looks at Mey-Rin. "Actually, Miss, I think I'll be taking care of that. It's nothing personal. It's just the fabrics in India are different from yours."
"Oh. Um, no. I understand. Of course. I'll bring your tea then." Mey-Rin bows her head and leaves the dining room.
Soma remains staring at Agni with an expressionless face and then continues to eat silently. Agni sighs and sits next to him. "I know, Soma, I know," he says as he pats his head and continues to eat his breakfast.
Lieutenant Catherine Makarova suddenly appears in the dining room dressed in a bathrobe and drying her blonde hair with a towel. "Oh." She smiles at the two men. "Good morning."
Ciel finds violin lessons to be too complicated. He prefers playing the piano. But it seems that the violin is more appropriate for high-class society so it's his obligation as a Phantomhive to learn these lessons no matter how much he dislikes it.
"You will need a tutor while we're in London," Sebastian says, "I shall fill that role."
Ciel frowns at the sheet of paper with numerous music notes scattered over it like raging ants.
"Bach's Chaconne in D minor? I can't play something this complex," Ciel says.
Sebastian lifts up Ciel's chin with the violin's bow. "As your tutor, I make the rules. Surely you have no objections to my teaching methods, master."
Ciel pushes the bow away from his chin in annoyance. Oh, fuck off. How many times must he tell him that he doesn't like being touched like that? Many times. But it seems that this demon doesn't care. Ciel then sighs in defeat. There is no point arguing with him. He might as well do as told and get the lessons over with. He starts playing Bach's Chaconne. He realizes that he's getting better at the violin. Before this, he was terrible at the violin, making the instrument sound like someone was dying. Even Baldroy asked if there was a pig being pulled by the tail in the manor.
However, his lessons are interrupted by muttering and chanting coming from the other room. What the hell is going on in there? Growling in irritation, Ciel puts the violin and bow down. He and Sebastian walk into the room, finding Prince Soma and the butler Agni kneeled in front of a large bronze statue standing on the piano. It's the statue of a woman having four arms and sticking her tongue out. Two of her hands are holding two blades while the other two hands carried a trident spear and a severed head. She's also wearing a necklace of severed heads and seems to be standing on a man's chest. The man is holding a cup in one hand and has a snake around his body. Ciel frowns at it curiously. Who is that? And how and when did they get a statue into the house...and on the piano!?
"Oi! Put that thing down. You'll break the piano." However, they're too busy mumbling and chanting to listen to them. He sees Lau enter the room. Perhaps he knows what is going on. "What are they doing?"
"If I had to guess, I'd say they're praying," he says, "Quite an odd idol, is it?"
"Looks to me like the statue of a woman carrying a severed head. She's wearing a necklace of severed heads as well and standing on a man's stomach," Sebastian says.
Agni stops praying to look at Sebastian with his usual smile. "It depicts one of the sacred beings of Hinduism. She is the goddess, Kali."
Ciel looks at the statue, irritation replaced with curiosity. "A goddess of India?"
Agni nods. "Yes. Kali is the wife of the god Shiva. She is also the goddess of power. According to our faith, a demon foolishly challenged her. Naturally, she was victorious. However, her destructive urges were not quelled. She gave herself to destruction and carnage. But then, in order to protect the earth, her husband Shiva threw himself at his wife's feet. Treading upon her husband brought Kali back to her senses and peace was restored to the world. The statue shows her story, the goddess Kali walking upon her husband and in her hand, the vile demon she slew."
"And there you have it," Ciel looks at Sebastian, whose eyes are wide in surprise.
"I've never heard of a goddess with such power," he says, "I shall keep that in mind if I ever go back to India."
Mey-Rin enters the room, already dressed in her tweed coat. "Master, I must be going. I have my classes today."
"Oh yes, I almost forgot about that," Ciel nods, "Be back here by six o' clock. Don't stay out too late. Understand?"
Mey-Rin nods before leaving the room.
Soma stops praying and hops to his feet. "We couldn't find an altar to place the statue on, so we had to use this piano. Now that I'm done praying, let us go out." He grabs Ciel by the wrist and starts dragging him across the room."
Ciel pulls away from his grip. "I'm too busy to go out! I already told you that!"
Mey-Rin hurries into the theatre, already fifteen minutes late for class. She would have been faster if a cart full of apples hadn't gone in her way. She nearly trips on her way up the stairs to the stage. The other girls see her and whisper to each other, giggling. The instructor, however, isn't laughing. She glares at Mey-Rin with her arms folded.
"You're late," the dancing instructor says, "I honestly don't care if Lord Phantomhive is paying, I will not tolerate tardiness."
Mey-Rin bows her head. "Forgive me, it won't happen again."
"It better not. Go and get changed. The class is about to start."
Mey-Rin nods and runs to the backstage to get changed. She removes her coat and glasses, setting them aside. She changes into her pink dancing uniform Miss Nina provided for her after having her fitting. She then puts on her dancing flats. The instructor said that pointe shoes are only used by professional dancers. Mey-Rin is only allowed to wear flats since it's her first time.
Once she is dressed, she runs to the stage to meet with the instructor and the other dancers. She's surprised to see Lady Elizabeth standing on the stage along with the other dancers. Mey-Rin did not notice her presence when she entered the theatre. Perhaps she did see Lady Elizabeth but didn't recognize her. Instead of wearing those frilling and glamorous dress, she's wearing one of those pink uniforms. Her blonde hair is tied back in a bun instead of curly pigtails. Unlike Mey-Rin, Elizabeth is wearing pointe shoes instead of flats. It seems that she has more experience in ballet.
The instructor claps to get everyone's attention. "All right girls," she says, "Since the art director as passed away a week age, the owner of the theatre decided to hire a new one. This man will also be your dancing instructor so you will be following his orders for now on. Ladies, meet your new art director, Lord Aleister Chambers."
Mey-Rin frowns, knowing she's heard of that name before. Then her eyes widen when a familiar man with golden blonde hair and dressed in white climb up the stage and bows politely before the dancers. Viscount Druitt? But he was just arrested a few months ago for human trafficking. How is he free right now?
"I look forward to meeting each and every one of you," he says with a smile. "Please, for the sake of the company, do not treat me like a lord. Treat me like your teacher. I will be guiding you to be the greatest dancers England will ever see. This month, you will be performing a more risque type of dance. Some will praise it and some will find it too daring and repulsive. All of you will be exposing the story of Pamela by Samuel Richardson. Just in case you have not heard of it, Pamela is the story of poor housemaid being constantly pursued by the rich aristocrat Mr B. She is constantly thwarting his aggressive sexual advances. Mr B, however, will not accept her resistance and remains undeterred in making her his mistress. So much so, in fact, that he disguises himself as a female servant and enters Pamela's bed to seduce her but he is unsuccessful. In the end, Pamela is convinced of Mr B's genuine attachment to her and yields to him, but on her terms. Mr B. satisfies his obsession with Pamela as his wife, not as his mistress. What I want to see is your darker side. Do not be afraid of making provocative movements. Pamela may be an innocent housemaid but this is eroticism. I want to see the sensual side in all of you."
Mey-Rin can see the uncomfortable expressions on the other girls' face, including Lady Elizabeth's. Even the dancing instructor looks uncomfortable allowing Viscount Druitt to direct this sort of performance. What will the English society think of this? He is the new art director though. They must obey whatever he instructs them to do.
"First, you will stretch before dancing," he says, "I wouldn't want to see you girls injuring yourselves by pulling a muscle. Chop-chop."
As the music starts, the dancers begin to stretch. Something is not right. Mey-Rin can feel it. Ciel is not going to like this.
Soma sighs while sitting upside down on the armchair, watching Ciel and Sebastian spar with two thing swords while wearing white jackets and mesh masks. Agni is on the floor pouring tea. "Honestly, when are you going to be done with this? I'm bored. Urgh, and what are you even doing? You look like an idiot."
"Be quiet!" Ciel snaps at him. "You're distracting me!"
"Are all Englishmen this short-tempered?"
Ciel growls angrily and snatches Sebastian's sword when he aims for the ribs. He turns to face Soma and abruptly removes his mask, strands of hair already damp with sweat. "You're never going to shut up, are you!? If you need attention so badly, why not give fencing a try!?"
Soma grins and flips off the armchair. Ciel tosses the fencing sword at him. However, Soma misses and the sword falls to the floor which he immediately picks up. "And if I win, you will go out into the town with me."
"If you can beat me."
Soma laughs and stands in front of Ciel with the sword in hand, ready to fight him. This should be fun, Ciel thinks as he places the mask over his head once more.
Ciel is ready to wipe the grin off that stupid obnoxious prince. Perhaps this will teach him a lesson. Sebastian is between them. Only he can say when they can go.
"Now, let the fight begin!" Sebastian shouts.
Soma charges at Ciel with the sword. Ciel's eye widens. He's faster than he thought. When the Indian prince aims to strike his ankle, the blade bends. Soma stares in complete surprise. "What the hell?"
Taking advantage of Soma's bewilderment, Ciel makes his move and charges at the young prince.
When Soma sees this, he gasps and jumps back to avoid getting struck by the blade. "Hey, wait a second, I don't know the rules of fencing!"
"Heh. A fight is a fight. It's not my fault that you don't know." He aims to strike Soma once more, only to have the tip of his blade blocked by a teacup and feels his arm go numb after a sharp jab at the crook of his elbow. Ciel cries out and falls onto his knees, holding his arm. He can't move it.
He looks up, his face full of pain, and sees Soma standing over him.
"Sir, are you all right? I'm so sorry. When I saw the prince losing, my reflexes took over."
"Are you all right?" Soma asks.
"My arm is fucking numb, what do you think!?" Ciel snaps angrily at the young prince.
Soma chuckles in amusement. "Agni does well to protect me. He is my servant and an extension of myself, which means this fight goes to me."
"Wait, that's not fair!" Ciel shouts at him angrily as he ripped off the mask from his head. That's cheating, you stupid brat!
Lau picks up the blade from the floor and gives it to Sebastian. "Here you go. It looks like you'll have to avenge your master."
Sebastian sighs, shaking his head in disappointment. "For goodness' sake, master, why did you have to provoke the bratty little prince?" Ciel simply glares at him. "However, as the Phantomhive butler, I cannot sit idly by while my young master is being harmed. It would be a disgrace to my position. Besides, we're already behind schedule."
Ciel scoffs irritably. "That's the only thing you care about."
Catherine enters the room silently with a hot cup of tea in her hands and watches the events from the doorframe, interested of what will happen next. Sebastian spots her and bows his head in greeting. Catherine does the same.
"I am curious about how your butler fights." Soma gives the sword to Agni. "Fight him and in the name of Kali, make sure you win."
"Sebastian, I order you to win this match!" Ciel snaps. "Shut the brat's mouth now."
The two servants stand facing each other and with a smirk displayed on their faces.
Sebastian bows his head. "As you wish, my lord."
"Haan, raajakumaaree," Agni says and he charges.
Sebastian charges as well and the fight begins. The two servants move gracefully and clash sword against sword. To Sebastian's surprise, Agni is an excellent fighter. Very skilled, cautious, fast and strong. Agni thrusts the sword, aiming for Sebastian's chest but the demon butler immediately blocks it. No matter how many times he tries to strike Agni, the Indian butler seems to be a lot faster than he anticipated, blocking and dodging every strike, and nearly striking him more than twice. He's not a demon but he is no ordinary human, Sebastian can tell. Demon strength and speed are almost impossible to conceal. Not to mention the red eyes. Demons find it hard to conceal their blood red eyes. That's why they change their eye colour to brown rather than any other colour like blue, green or hazel. Agni's eyes are more hazel than brown. He is no demon.
The two aim the swords to their face but they both lean back at the same time. Everyone gasps in amazement. However, this seems to irritate Sebastian even more. He promised the young master that he would win this fight but has proven to be difficult. If Sebastian had a real sword right now, he would stab Agni bloody. But there's no doubt in his mind that the young master will be furious if he loses this match.
They continue to fight until the tips of the blades connect together. With such great force, the two blades suddenly snap in half like a twig, and the two pieces fall to the floor with a clattering sound. Sebastian simply stares in complete shock. How one earth can this be happening?
Everyone stares in complete shock upon seeing the two swords break in half. Even Sebastian is surprised by this. Sebastian takes the broken half in his hand and gulps a little before speaking in his usual calm tone. "Well, how lovely. The swords have broken."
"It's a draw then," Lau says.
"Wow!" Soma exclaims in amazement. "Agni is the best fighter in my palace. I have never seen anyone keep up with him before. Your butler really is impressive."
Ciel's heart races rapidly. How is it a draw? He was fighting Sebastian. He was a match for a demon. What the bloody hell is going on?
Once Agni returns to his master, Ciel immediately walks over to Sebastian. Something is clearly wrong.
"What happened?" Ciel asks in a whisper to avoid prying ears, "Agni is no ordinary human, is he? Don't tell me he's another grim reaper like that bloody Grell Sutcliffe."
Sebastian shakes his head. "No, my lord. He's deadly but he's human enough. However, with a superior strength like his, he can effortlessly hang me upside down. It will be an easy task for him."
"It's best if you keep an eye on him then. Both of them."
"And have you noticed something odd about the prince?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't tell me you haven't noticed it. That smell. The smell that the young prince is carrying. A sickly sweet but rotten smell."
Ciel looks over at Soma. Come to think of it, he has noticed something strange about Soma. He did notice the smell coming from the young prince since this morning. It's a strong scent. But he tried to not pay attention to it. He didn't want to think much of it. He thought that it was his own imagination. But now that Sebastian can also smell it, he realizes it's not in his head. "Like I said, keep an eye on both of them."
Baldroy rummages through the cupboards, tossing out pots, spoons and cauldrons until he finds the frying pan. There we go.
"All right, tonight I'm going to make something really special," Baldroy says but the frying pan is immediately snatched from his hand by Sebastian. "Hey, what the fuck?"
Sebastian aims the frying pan at the cook, giving him a stern look as if threatening to hit him with it. "Watch your language, Bard. There are children here. Dealing with the master's foul tongue is tiring enough. We do not need foul language coming out of the bratty prince as well," Sebastian says, "Besides, I'm taking care of the cooking tonight. You just stay out of the way."
"But I was planning on making something tasty for our guests." Sebastian never lets him cook. It makes him wonder why Sebastian hired him in the first place if he won't even let him near the stove or the oven.
"Like you did on the day we were receiving Lord Damiano when the rest of the food was burned to a crisp? I don't think so."
"Oi, that only happened once!...Twice!...Okay, maybe three times." Come to think about it, he burned the food many times before. He even blew up the kitchen at one time. But still, he's trying his best to be a good cook, if only Sebastian lets him.
"Sebastian," Agni walks into the kitchen and bows his head. "I was wondering if I could be of any assistance."
"I have it under control, thank you," he says.
"Four hands can work much more quickly than two. Please feel free to ask me for anything."
The butler sighs. "Well, in that case, I wouldn't mind a bit of help. A cottage pie and some gooseberry sauce are needed for tonight's dinner."
"Oh sure, let him help. It's not like I'm the cook here or anything." Baldroy huffs in annoyance. Sebastian ignores him and walks out of the kitchen. Rolling his eyes, Baldroy sits in the corner of the kitchen with a lit cigarette between his teeth and his arms folded behind his head.
Agni approaches Baldroy with a kind smile on his face. "Excuse me. Are you the chef?"
Baldroy looks up and takes out the cigarette from his mouth. "Well, I'm supposed to be."
"Could I ask for your assistance? I'm afraid I am not accustomed to English cooking."
Baldroy frowns, surprised. "You really want my help?" he asks and Agni nods. Baldroy smiles and stands up from his chair and puts on his goggles. "It's about time. I'm Baldroy Gibbons, by the way."
"My name is Agni," he says and the two shake hands.
Finnian watches shyly through the crack of the door as Baldroy and Agni are cooking tonight's dinner. It smells delicious. He would like to help but is afraid they won't let him. Sebastian doesn't let him, afraid that he might break something.
He quickly hides behind the door when Agni spots him.
"Young man, you're just in time. Perhaps you can help us in preparing the evening meal," he says. Finnian doesn't respond though.
"Finny is a little shy around strangers. That's why you don't see him much," Baldroy says, "Oi, Finny, come out of there and get in here. He's not going to bite."
Finnian nods and enters the kitchen. "Sebastian says I still don't know my own strength, so I'm not allowed to touch anything in the kitchen because I'll break them."
"You're strong. That's good." He puts a bowl of peeled potatoes in front of him. "We need these potatoes mashed and pureed but that will require a lot of manual labour. Do you think you can handle it?"
Finnian nods and takes the bowl of potatoes in his hands.
Sebastian is about to enter the kitchen but stops when he hears Agni and Baldroy talking in the kitchen. He can smell the food cooking and is surprised that it's not burning.
"By the way, where is the maid?" Agni asks Baldroy, "I'm sure she would be of great help."
"Mey-Rin is at some theatre, taking a few dancing lessons to help her stop tripping all over the place," Baldroy explains, "I, for one, think it's a waste of time. Mey-Rin doesn't need to dance to stay in balance. She needs to change her glasses."
"And perhaps a doctor?" Agni says and Baldroy frowns at him strangely. "For her feet, I mean. Last night, I noticed her bare feet. They're rather crooked, are they not? If I must guess, it was due to foot binding."
"I don't know really. Yeah, I've seen her feet before. They're in a bad shape but I never bothered asking her. I honestly don't think she likes talking about it. But no, I don't know anything about foot binding."
"Well, it's a common practice in China. They call it lotus feet. It's apparently a symbol of beauty –."
"What's beautiful about deforming and incapacitating a woman?"
"I honestly don't find it beautiful. As I said before, it's a common practice in China. But it is not something I would find appealing. In fact, it is rather repulsing. Like you said, it incapacitates a woman from walking and deforms the feet. However, I see that your maid's feet are not completely crooked. She must have stopped when she came here to England."
"Heh, Prince Soma must be lucky he is not a girl," Baldroy finishes chopping the peppers and continues chopping the onions.
Agni remains silent for a few seconds before responding. "Indeed. He is a lucky young boy."
"Oi, question, how did you know she was Chinese?"
"Her name says it all. The eyes can be a deceiving thing. The eyes of the Chinese, Japanese and other Asian countries look too similar. I once saw a woman and thought she was Korean but she was actually Vietnamese. Her name is Mey-Rin, is it not? What's her last name?"
"Lijaun," Baldroy says, "Mey-Rin Lijaun."
"She seems like a good girl."
Baldroy smiles a little. "She is. Which is why I get upset when Sebastian and the young master put her life at risk by making her do dangerous tasks. She may be...talented, in many ways. But she's still a young girl. And girls these days are more vulnerable than men. I'm not saying that Sebastian doesn't care what happens to her. Well, maybe he doesn't. But I'm saying that he should at least consider that she's not as replaceable as he thinks. A girl like Mey-Rin shouldn't be placed into danger like that."
"She's must be very special to all of you."
Baldroy nods and continues chopping the onions. "Maybe not to Mr Sebastian but to us, she is one of a kind."
Sebastian's eyes turn red slightly upon hearing this. It seems that Ciel is not the only one being influenced by Mey-Rin's presence. He fears that this might be a problem. He enters the kitchen and is a little surprised how well the cooking is doing. This is the first time he's seen Baldroy not set the food on fire. And Finnian is mashing potatoes with his hands without breaking anything.
"Bard, don't worry about Mey-Rin," Sebastian, causing Baldroy to gulp nervously. He smirks at the reaction. He likes having his presence known. "She'll be back before six o'clock."
On his way to Lieutenant Catherine Makarova's room, Sebastian can hear some distant chatter. It was the lieutenant talking to herself which he finds a little odd. On the other hand, everything else she does is odd. She walked downstairs to the opium backwards. Who on earth does that without falling? She is a strange woman but he can't help but admire her.
He then notices something that's beyond off. She's not speaking Russian or English. She's speaking another language, one that he finds eerily familiar. It was Latin. "Quod homo post multa pati cerebrum damnum ictu ad caput. Ordinarius nulla humana vi ius tale. Tantum homo cuius fortitudo similis est creare non potest ferre damnum ut (The man suffered brain damage after multiple blows to the head. No ordinary human can possess such strength. Only a man with the strength of a bear can create such damage)."
Sebastian frowns upon hearing her. How can she speak Latin so fluently?
He knocks on the door and the talking ceases. A minute passes and the door soon opens. She has been in her nightgown and satin robe all day instead of wearing proper attire out of consideration for the people of the house. It seems that she has no consideration. But he will not let that bother him.
She smiles and steps aside, allowing him to enter the room. Sebastian bows his head and enters the bedroom. He's about to shut the door but the lieutenant immediately grabs the edge of the door, stopping the door from closing, much to Sebastian's surprise.
"Tonight's dinner we'll be having scallops au gratin as well as curried veal, stuffed tomatoes, spinach tortellini, chicken curry, champagne and for dessert, we'll be having gooseberry pie," Sebastian informs, "Will you be joining us for this evening's dinner?"
Catherine nods. "Of course. I'm just trying to finish work up here. Finding clues on the highwayman has proven to be rather difficult, especially with very little resource that I have."
"You know, if you wish, I'd be happy to help you with the investigation. If you don't remember, we did agree to work together and it seems that we're not actually working -."
"Together, I know. I'm sorry. It's just that when there's a crime that needs to be solved, I become buried in work and I'm incapable of stopping unless someone pulls me out of it. But I do appreciate your assistance. Yours and Lord Phantomhive's."
"May I ask a question?"
Catherine's smile falls a little. "Of course."
"I know that this is rather invasive and would be considered as a eavesdropping but I overheard you speaking Latin. And I find it odd, considering that you're Russian."
She stares at him. Her eyes blink a little faster than usual and she looks like she gulped. Is she nervous? "O-Oh. Um, I took Latin course at the university and I've been a little rusty on it lately so I'm trying to keep practicing before become awful at it again."
"Of course. I understand," he says though he is not entirely convinced. He can tell that she's lying but he will not persist for the time-being. "Spero video vidi te nocte."
"Tum Latine loqueris? (You speak Latin?)" she asks, surprised.
"Sane (Of course). I also speak French, German, Russian. Chinese and Japanese."
"That's good to know," she says, "Well, I should probably finish here and get ready for dinner. I shall see you soon, Mr Michaelis."
Once he's gone, Catherine sighs in frustration and pinches the bridge of her nose, mumbling to herself. "Fortuna (Fuck)."
Before dinner is prepared, Ciel decides to do his own clean-up. It's been years since he's done anything aside paperwork and investigating murders. For once, he wants to do something for himself. After having his bath and getting dressed, he sits on the bed with Pluto curled up next to him.
"Do you want to see what I used to do when I was younger, Pluto?" he asks. Pluto simply stares at him, tilting his head. "When I couldn't go outside, all I did was take photographs around the house and pasted them in this book."
Ciel leaves through the pages, showing pictures of all the people lived in the manor, including the servants of the house. "Back then, we used to have a lot of servants in the manor. They were friends of mine. Well, mine and my brother's." She points at the photograph of a man wearing a tuxedo and having black slick hair. "This is Roderick Chambers. He used to be my father's valet. And his wife Edna Chambers used to be my mother's lady's maid," he says while pointing at a woman with a thin body and grey braid. He then points at a few young maids that are posing in the kitchen where Baldroy is working, wearing the same style of uniform Mey-Rin now wears. "These are Rosanna, Naomi, Georgia, Gwendolyn, Audrey and Betsy. Rosanna was the main housemaid. She made sure everything was nice and tidy around the house. Tanaka double-checked everything to make sure Rosanna didn't make any mistakes. Georgia was the under-housemaid. Always following Rosanna around. Always. Audrey was the kitchen maid and she and Verne used to make the best cookies in the manor. Now, Naomi was the dairymaid. She oversaw milking the cow and making the cheese. The cheese she made were always soft and salty, but they were still good. Gwendolyn was the laundry maid and Betsy was the scullery maid. I always called Gwendolyn by Gwen because I could barely remember her name."
Pluto starts sniffing a photograph of Tanaka looking healthy and not sitting in a wheelchair like he is now. Next to him stands a lovely elderly woman in her late fifties with thin eyes, and wearing a glamorous dress made of silk and her hair tied in a bun. In the photograph, her hair looks black, but she used to have mousy brown hair and the dress was pink. Ciel's smile slowly fades away and his thumb gently brushes over the woman's face, trying to take in every moment of it.
He looks at Pluto who stares back. Ciel sighs and pets his head. "Her name is Harumi Shino. She was Tanaka's wife," he smiles softly at her photograph. "She was also my nurse. She was lucky enough to not have been killed in the fire. She died two years before that day. You could say she was my second mother..."
7 years ago....
"Oh look, Undertaker is here," Madam Red pointed as Ciel and his brother were playing in the garden.
Ciel looked in the direction she was pointing at and smiled before getting up from the grass and running across the garden where the mortician is waiting. Ciel jumped into the mortician's arms, embracing him. He used to be afraid of him...very much afraid. But now, he just found him silly.
"Hello there, Lord Phantomhive," he said joyfully, "Has your aunt been taking good care of you?"
"Yes, she is a good aunt," Ciel said.
"And I'm not a good nurse?" A Japanese woman appeared in the garden, dressed in the pretty blue-and-white dress and her mousy brown hair stylized in a lovely chignon bun. "Give him here, Mr Undertaker. He's mine."
Undertaker simply chuckled in amusement. "Jealous now, are you?"
She smiled. "Well, of course, I'm jealous. I've been taking care of him since he was a new-born. Now give him to me, Mr. Undertaker."
"Hehehe. Oh well, little one, I was going to keep holding onto you until the cows come home but it seems that the cow came home too early," he laughed before giving Ciel to the nurse, Harumi Shino.
"Nana!" Ciel exclaimed, putting his arms around her neck and hugging her tightly. Harumi gave Undertaker a stern look, feeling insulted by the mortician's comment.
"And you're an insufferable goat, Mr Undertaker." She said and Ciel laughed. Undertaker simply grinned before picking up Ciel's brother who ran up to him as well and wouldn't stop tugging on his robe. Harumi returned her attention to Ciel. "Did you almost get an asthma attack again?"
"I'm all right. I promise."
"All right, if you say so," she said before putting him down. Undertaker put Ciel's brother down as well. "Come along, you two, you have to clean up your room. You left your toys on the floor again and your aunt is not happy about it."
Ciel's brother huffs in annoyance. "Aunt Francis is always unhappy."
"Well, if you two kept your rooms clean, she wouldn't be unhappy. But that's why you have me," Harumi said, "Now, tell me, who does Nana love more?"
"Me," Ciel said.
"No, me!" His brother shouted.
Harumi chuckles in amusement. "All right, all right. You two are right. Because Nana loves the both of you."
Ciel immediately slams the book shut, startling Pluto and causing him to yelp. Ciel embraces the dog and pets his head in comfort. "Oh, Pluto, I'm so sorry," he says as he kisses the dog's furry head. "I didn't mean to scare you like that. Did I hurt you, boy? I'm sorry." Pluto responds by whimpering and licking the boy's tear-stained cheeks.
Michelle Yeoh as Harumi Shino
Chapter 9: Feeling Trapped.
Next chapter was supposed to be part of the previous chapter but was too long so I had to divided in two parts. I'll be soon getting back to Mey-Rin since she's supposed to be the main character of the story. I simply wanted to give the other characters more screentime.
Baldroy continues peeling the carrots while Finnian is mashing the potatoes with his gloved hands. Sebastian cuts the bloody raw lamb meat into square cubes with a butcher's knife. Agni cuts the onions and coriander leaves to small pieces.
"I'm surprised you were able to have them help making dinner without breaking or setting things on fire," Sebastian says.
"Every one of us has a set of skill," Agni explains. "We all have our own paths and duties set by the gods. As children of the Divine Mother, we only listen and perform our tasks."
"You seem to be a man of impeccable character."
Agni simply shook his head. "No, I am not. Before I met the prince, I was a foolish and hopeless man. What I owe him can never be repaid in this lifetime."
"How so?" Sebastian asks, looking at him curiously.
"My family were Brahmans, and in the caste system, we belonged to the highest possible caste that is said to serve God. However, seeing my father swarmed by material goods and carnal desires, I lost my faith to the gods. I took advantage of my social status and committed sins everyday. I kept hurting people, killing them even. All to appease my anger and hatred against the gods. I even killed one of my father's wives out of rage, one that I couldn't control."
"So you're saying is that you killed one of your father's wives by accident?"
"It is hard to believe but yes. I had no intentions of killing her."
Baldroy looks at Agni pitifully and shrugs his shoulders. "We've all done bad things in our time. I know from experience. Before I was a cook, I was in a war and I killed a few people myself. I wasn't too proud of it though. I was half dead when Sebastian and the young master found me. So you're not the only one with a past."
"I was going to be hanged for my crimes," Agni points out. Baldroy's eyes widen.
"Okay, well that sucks."
"When I was about to pay for my crimes, I was called the Son of Arshad. The no longer cared for my name. I was dead to my father and he was dead to me. That's when I saw my prince. My saviour...
..."Ruken! Main use aapase khareedana chaahata hoon! (Stop! I want to buy him from you!)" Soma shouted while waving around a bag of golden coins in his hand. He was disguised as a peasant. He was small but he had a lot of courage and surprisingly, a big heart. He climbed down the roof and crowd carried him over to the gallows with care, as if they already knew he was a prince."This should be enough for the deaths of your people."
He gave the bag of coins to the executioner who took it without question. Being a small child, Soma had to use the stool I was meant to stand on to cut the rope from around my neck. He cut away half of my hair away but I did not care. It felt like all the weight fell from my shoulders. I was surprised how a small boy would care so much for the life of a criminal. His actions brought tears to my eyes and his smile brought me joy.
"Vah aadamee jo aap the ab mar chuka hai (The man you were is dead now)," he said, "Aapako Agni kaha jaega (You shall be called Agni and you shall serve and protect me until the day I die)."...
"That day I saw a god emitting holy light inside the prince's body," Agni says, finishing the story of how he met the prince who saved him. Sebastian always thought that the gods are a bunch of good for nothing that should be left behind. It's sort of the same way he feels about Ciel but he makes no comment about it. He is a little surprised on how the boy who saved Agni's life is the same boy who won't stop bothering the young master. He's more hyperactive than a hopping rabbit.
"A little bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?" Baldroy asks but soon runs over to the stove when he hears bubbles. "Shit! The pot is boiling! It's going to blow up."
"Wow, that's some story," Finnian says, his eyes glimmering with intrigue upon hearing the fascinating story.
Sebastian frowns. "It doesn't sound like the same boy interacting with my young master."
Agni sighs and nods in agreement. "He's never been around other children before, Sebastian. He doesn't know how to behave around people outside the palace. He assumes that many will obey him because he is a prince and he becomes confused and shocked when things don't go his way."
"How long has he been trapped in that palace of his?"
"Since his birth. Exactly fourteen years. He has never been allowed to leave the palace. When he returned home with me as his new servant, his parents were furious and forbade him to leave the palace on his own ever again. He spends most of his time shut in his room and is barely allowed to be outside in the gardens."
"Hmm. Now I see why he behaves the way he does now."
"Indeed. He may be a bit difficult but he has is a good boy. He really is. He came here to England with the best intentions and I've noticed that he might be causing you and Lord Phantomhive some grief."
"The young master has never socialized with other children his age before," Sebastian explains, "So being around someone as energetic as Prince Soma is unusual and aggravating for him. And yes, it has proven to be difficult for me as well since I am not used to seeing another boy with such hyperactive energy. He is the complete opposite of my young master."
"I promise that my prince will not be any trouble for you or your master. We will only be here for a few weeks and then we shall be on our way."
"I'm sure Prince Soma will be delighted to return to India."
"Actually, we won't be going back to India."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, since this is the first time my prince has ever been allowed to leave the palace, he wants to explore other places before returning home. After we're done with our search, the prince and I will be going to the American land. I think we will be going to the city called New York."
For some reason, Sebastian finds this a little suspicious. The young bratty prince never mentioned anything about going to New York. Did Agni suddenly make last-minute plans with the prince?
Many dancers are allowed to dance freely to show the viscount what they're capable of in hopes one of them will be picked for the role of Pamela. With all honesty, Mey-Rin has no desires to play Pamela to be touched by another man. But she supposes she should put her best efforts. She watches the other girls twirl, arabesque, croise devant, sissonne attitude, grand jete and other graceful movements. But it seems that none of these movements are satisfying the Viscount Druitt. He remains staring at the girls while his thumb touches his lower lip, his eyes showing disappointment. Mey-Rin watches Lady Elizabeth trying to dance freely, twirling around fast with her arms flailing and contorting her torso around. However, she looks too terrified to go even further. Mey-Rin, for one, tries her best to dance freely even though she barely knows how to dance.
Mey-Rin twirls as fast as Lady Elizabeth did but she then stops and swings her arms in front of her, moving them back and forth while leaning her head as if she were a bird flapping its wings. For some reason, Mey-Rin feels like she's being possessed while dancing. In this version of the story, Pamela is supposed to express suffering and fear as she avoids the lord trying to seduce her. For some reason, she feels the same way. But not because she's being seduced but because she's watching a young boy being seduced by the darkness and she's unable to do anything to stop it. Now that she knows his secret, she may end up watching him die.
"Remember, students," Viscount Druitt says, "Dancing is not just about being visually appealing to the audience. It's not about following the music or coordination. It's about letting go of everything and giving in to your passions. You must not only give in your body, but you must also give in your heart and mind. You must give in your soul."
Soul. The moment he says that, the only thing Mey-Rin can see Sebastian's blood red eyes and malicious smirk while laying his hands on Ciel's shoulders. Ciel's contract eye bleeds down his pale cheek.
Mey-Rin falls to the ground, banging her right knee against the wooden board. The music stops playing and the dancers look at her in shock. Mey-Rin looks down and finds her knee scraped and red. It's not bleeding, however. Just like the time she cut her hand.
She looks up and notices everyone staring in complete shock, including the Viscount Druitt.
"I'm sorry," she says before getting up and limping to the backstage where no one else can see her cry. Tears fall down her cheeks as she removes her stockings and cleans the raw wound with cold water. Even if it's not bleeding, it can still get infected.
She turns around and sees Elizabeth Midford standing behind her, looking worried. Mey-Rin immediately bows her head in greeting. It's something she does as a habit now with every noble she meets. She didn't have intentions to bow to Elizabeth in class but it's something she can't control.
"Hello, my lady."
"Mey-Rin, please, it's Lizzie. You don't have to call me Lady Midford here," she insists.
"Sorry, my lad...I mean, Lizzie."
"...Are you all right? That was quite a fall."
"I'm...fine. I'm fine," I lie to her. And she can clearly see through that lie.
"No. You're not. Do you want to talk about it?"
She can't know. If I tell her, there's no telling what Sebastian will do. "Sorry, my lady. Good day." Mey-Rin collects her bag and puts on her coat before hurrying out of the theatre.
She makes her way to the cemetery. Mey-Rin wanted to go to the park but it's too crowded with bystanders and their stupid smiling faces. She wants to be alone and not look at them right now. She cannot tolerate their faces full of ignorance while a little boy she cares for is being devoured by a demon little by little.
She walks down the gravel pathways with her hands in her coat's pockets, feeling the icy cold air kissing her cheeks and white mist coming out of her nose and mouth as she breathes. Mey-Rin stop in front of Mary Jane Kelly's grave after searching for it for almost an hour. Snow is already covering the ground and stone cross.
She still recalls sitting there on the chair and watching Grell run his death scythe through her heart, splattering blood everywhere. It's an image that still marks her brain today. She'll probably never forget nor will she forget the look on Ciel's face when Madam Red was murdered. The look of anger, terror and despair. Despite everything she did, Madam Red was still Ciel's aunt. Mey-Rin thinks to herself, if she wasn't so weak, she would have stopped Grell from killing them both. If she had untied herself quickly enough, she would have saved Mary.
"What am I doing wrong?" she asks the gravestone with Mary's name engraved on it, "Why couldn't I have saved you? Why did I let him kill you?"
"Hehehe. You're giving yourself too much credit." Mey-Rin jumps and turns around to see the Undertaker digging a grave behind her. She didn't even hear him. I was probably too lost in thought to even notice him. "We all know who was responsible for her death, dearie."
She frowns at him. "You want me to blame Lord Phantomhive for her death?"
"Well," Undertaker puts down his shovel and climbs out of the freshly dug grave, his robes already covered in damp dirt. "His job was to assure the safety of the other women in Whitechapel. But instead, he was obsessed with catching him rather than saving the poor girl from getting slaughtered."
"Don't say that!" she snaps at him and marches off angrily. How dare he speaks about the master that way?
His hand grips her arm tightly, stopping her from moving any further. Okay, ow ow ow. He grins at her and tightens his grip on her arm, his nails digging into her skin. "You know that I'm right, girl."
"No, you're wrong," she says as she tries to tug her arm away, "It's not his fault. It's mine. It was my idea to use myself as bait for Jack the Ripper. I was the one who warned Mary Kelly about Jack the Ripper. I was the one who had to watch the poor woman get slaughtered by a madman while tied to a chair even though I knew how to get out of those ropes."
"Why didn't you then? You could have saved her life if you broke free earlier," he says. Is he playing with me right now?
"Because I was waiting for Sebastian and the master to save us," she confesses. He lets go of her arm with an annoyed scoff.
"And that's where everything went to hell," he sneers, "You rely on Lord Phantomhive too much. He can't even save himself. You allow yourself to be dependent on him, you'll end up in a grave, right next to Miss Kelly. You wouldn't have been able to save that girl either way. Even if you did free yourself, Madam Red and his butler would have cut you to pieces. So don't be a fucking idiot."
Mey-Rin looks over at Mary Kelly's grave. Maybe he's right. She probably couldn't have saved Mary Kelly even if she tried. Grell would have probably gutted her as well if she broke free to save her.
"Now, come to my shop," Undertaker puts his arm around her shoulders. She tries pushing his arm away but he holds her tightly. "You've been out here long enough."
"I've only been here for an hour."
"Exactly. You've already been exposed to the cold long enough. Now come, this is no place for a young lady, especially a girl with a vulnerable mind such as yours. Some tea will warm you up before you head home."
Mey-Rin hesitates but she eventually follows him back to his shop. Once there, he serves her a beaker full of tea. Will he ever buy proper chinaware?
"You should try to forget that Mary Kelly girl," he tells her as he puts two sugar cubes in her beaker. He puts more than five in his. "She's dead. You're not. It will do you no good thinking about a body that's been buried for three months. She is nothing but bones now."
"I feel like it's been yesterday though," she says as she sips her hot tea, "I still have nightmares of her being slaughtered. Gutted like a pig."
He sighs and sips his own tea. "You're letting your guilt get the best of you. If you continue this, you'll probably end up like Lord Phantomhive."
"Why must you criticize him?" I ask. "He did everything he could to stop the killings and yet everyone seems to treat him like dirt."
"I have no intentions of being cruel. I'm just being honest. If I tell you that it wasn't the lord's fault that he failed to save the girl, I would be lying. And I am never a liar."
Mey-Rin shakes her head. "You weren't there. You weren't there to see the look on his face when...Jack...killed his aunt right in front of him. He was horrified."
"Indeed. But as always, he tries to put on a mask and push people away, pretending like nothing can affect him while we all know that they are all lies. He's been making you wear a mask as well and makes you pretend that nothing happened. You have nightmares. You're letting it consume you like a termite eating wood."
"I don't know what to do though," she says, "I'm terrified."
"I failed to save Miss Kelly. What if I fail to save my master as well?"
He remains staring at her, his mouth a straight line instead of a smile. "So that's what this is all about. You're worried about Lord Phantomhive's life."
"He..." Tears fall down her cheeks. "He can die at any moment now and I can't do anything to stop it. I'll fail just like I failed Miss Kelly."
Undertaker sighs and sits next to her, giving her a tissue. "Oh, I can't stand woman crying. It's annoying. But I'm surprised. You're the first person I met that actually cares for the young lord in years."
She sniffles and wipes her tears. "What are you talking about? His family loved him."
"No. Not really. You shouldn't be fooled by what those upper class folks tell you. They're compulsive liars, just like the young lord. The only people that loved him were Madam Red and his nurse Harumi."
She's confused. "W-why?"
She flinches when his thumb brushes against her cheek, wiping her tears away.
"They loved his brother more." She looks at him in surprise. That can't be true. Can it? How can Ciel's family prefer one over the other? "Listen, if you really think that the young lord can be saved from the clutches of evil, start by not being an idiot. You're smart but not wise. If you jump in too soon, there will be no third chance this time." He says this while brushing his finger against the scar on her neck where the bullet nearly killed her.
Mey-Rin arrives at the townhouse at eight after having a long conversation with Undertaker. She thought his way of conversation was somewhat strange. He kept asking for a lock of her hair (to which she refused to give him) and he even took her pulse at one point as if he were examining her. He even asked if she was having urges after her recovery at the hospital three months ago. She told him no. She found it strange. The last time the doctor had Mey-Rin checked, she was completely fine and she's still fine now. At least, I think I am.
When she enters the house's foyer, she finds the young master glaring down at her from the top of the staircase. She gulps nervously and shuts the door behind her. I'm dead.
"Mey-Rin," he says as he climbs down the stairs to meet with her. "Where the hell have you been? I told you to be here at 6pm. It's 8pm. You're two hours late."
Mey-Rin bows her head and apologizes. "Forgive me, my lord. I wasn't feeling well so I went for a walk."
"If you weren't feeling well, you were supposed to come here. Not wander off on your own," he says sternly.
"I'm sorry, my lord. I won't happen again," she says, even though she has a very strong desire to slap or punch him in the face right now.
"Pray that it doesn't," he says. He then sighs tiredly. "Go and get cleaned up. It's almost time for dinner and I need you to set the plate and silverware. Go now."
She bows her head again. "Yes, my lord." She then returns upstairs to her bedroom where she shuts the door and starts removing her coat and ballet uniform, tears falling down her cheeks. She places her hand over her mouth, stifling her tearful cries. Mother of God, help me. Please, God and Jesus, save me.
Sebastian serves him a plate of what looks like orange soup. Today's special is mutton curry from Oriya, one of the areas of India. Also known as lamb curry, made with lamb meat, turmeric powder, salt, ginger garlic paste, onion, coriander leaves, chili and dahi. According to Agni, dahi is fermented yoghurt, which to Ciel sounds revolting. However, he can't help but admit that the smell is delightful.
Soma has his plate served as well. He smiles and claps his hands, eager as a puppy. "Thank you, Agni, mutton is my favourite. It smells delicious."
Agni smiles and bows his head before departing from the dining room.
Ciel looks at his own plate. He's never eaten much Indian food before. He doesn't care much for spicy food but it does taste very good. Ciel watches Lieutenant Catherine unfold her napkin and place it on her lap so she doesn't get her red gown dirty with curry. Ciel is actually glad she decided to wear a more proper attire for dinner. He was already getting irritated seeing her wander around the townhouse in her bathrobe without proper underclothing. It's like she thinks no man is watching her while she has her back turned. However, seeing the lieutenant in a red gown makes him feel a little uneasy. The scarlet red silk with black veiling and white pearls decorating the black veil sleeves makes him think of Madam Red and the lavish clothing she used to wear.
To Ciel's surprise, Prince Soma does the same thing. He unfolds his napkin and places it on his lap. Ciel frowns. Only women were allowed to do that. Men usually tuck their napkins in the collars of their shirts. It seems that the prince doesn't know much about table etiquette in England either.
"It certainly does taste wonderful," Lau says before eating. Ciel almost forgot he's still here. Shouldn't he be going home to Ran-Mao? She must be worried sick about him.
"I thought you'd be going home, Lau," Ciel says.
Lau simply chuckles. "Getting rid of me so soon, eh? I called Ran-Mao and told her I'll be returning home once I finish helping you with the investigation."
Ciel scoffs. "You're going to help us?"
"Of course, that's what friends are for."
"We're acquaintances, Lau, not friends," Ciel always reminds him. Just because he helped him and Ran-Mao out of their situation, that doesn't make them friends but Lau keeps insisting that they are.
"So you two work together?" Catherine asks.
"Indeed," Lau says, "I mostly Lord Phantomhive's informant though."
"Shut it you," Ciel says in irritation before looking at Soma, "And you. How long do you two plan to stay here?"
"As soon as we're finished with our search," Soma says after swallowing a bite of curried lamb.
"I think I remember these two were looking for someone important," Lau says, "A woman, believe."
"A woman?" Ciel asks.
"My nursemaid, Meena Chawla. This is her." Soma shows him the same poorly drawn image of a woman he showed to the thugs in East End earlier. The more Ciel looks at it, the more it looks like a ragdoll. "She was a maidservant before my parents put her in charge of me. I drew her. Isn't she a lovely thing?"
"Well, Sebastian, do you think you can find her?" Ciel asks while giving him the image.
"Even I can't do much with that but I will try," Sebastian says as he takes the drawing in his hand.
"I can tell by your faces that you do not like my drawing," Soma says. "I'm still learning how to draw. I don't have many teachers at the palace to help me. Agni is the only one who's ever taught me how to draw."
"And I'm not exactly an artist myself," Agni confesses.
"Well, at least you are honest," Ciel says, "So, tell me, what is this Meena doing in England and why are you causing so much trouble over a servant?"
Soma frowns as if insulted. "Meena isn't just a servant. She's like my second mother. My father had no real interest in me since I'm the youngest. My real mother was too busy trying to get the attention of my father. I don't blame her. Father has ten wives, after all, and Mother isn't exactly his favourite. But she barely pays any attention to me so I was left in the care of Meena. She breastfed me as a baby when my mother refused to do so. Meena was the only one who ever trully loved me. We've been together for many years and never left my side. I was never allowed outside with my siblings. I was always in my room, learning domestic tasks from her." Ciel simply stares at him as if he were getting bored by him, as if he already heard this sort of story before. "But then, one day, an Englishman came. He was a noble."
"And what exactly happened, if I dare ask?" Ciel says.
Soma simply sighs. "Queen Victoria knows that Bengal enjoys political autonomy. But political matters are actually managed by consultants from England. To her, we're just another colony ruled by the British. Apparently, the Englishman was a political consultant. He showed interest in Meena upon seeing her in the caste. My parents took advantage of my absence and sold Meena to the Englishman. I know she's here in England being held against her will."
"So you're here to get her back?" Ciel asks and Soma nods. Ciel sighs and dabs his mouth with a napkin passively. "And you think I can help you?"
"I am told you are the queen's guard dog and you have solved many mysteries, including the case of Jack the Ripper," Soma says, "If anyone can help me and Agni find Meena, it's you."
"Sorry. But I can't help you." If she's still alive, she's probably being used as a plaything for men to do as they please. Ciel has met noblemen and many of their secret desires of having a foreign woman in their beds, either from India, China or Africa. If she's still alive and is being held against her will as Soma said, she's probably a slave with her mind too far gone to even recognize the prince's face. If she's been abused for months now, she's probably nothing more than a mangled up body beneath the sheets. It's probably too late for her which is why Ciel prefers not to waste his time looking for her. Being a woman can be a curse for many.
"What? Why not?"
Ciel considers telling him the harsh truth of what happens to slave women once they are taken from their own country against their will but he can tell that Soma's mind and soul is too childish to handle such things. "If you haven't noticed, and clearly you haven't, I'm in the middle of an investigation. English noblemen returning from India are being assaulted and hung upside down by a highwayman and Scotland Yard suspects that it's one of your kind. I'm not going to put the investigation to a halt just to find a mere servant of yours."
Soma slams his fist against the table, his face turning red with anger. "You do not understand! Meena is the only real family I have! I cannot live in that palace without her! I have no one else!"
"No, I don't understand," Ciel says as he stands from the table, "And I don't plan to understand...Unfortunately, there are some things you can never get back no matter how much you try. You're just going to have to accept it. So do yourself a favour. Stop wasting your time looking for a woman you'll never find and go home." With that, Ciel stands up and exits the dining hall, leaving everyone shocked and confused, minus Sebastian.
Prince Soma pushes the chair back and storms out of the dining hall with Agni going after him.
Ciel continues to work in his study, writing down notes involving the highwayman; Pluto is curled up at his feet. He considers going to visit James Norrington and ask him if he knows anything about the incident. Then he'll visit the Undertaker and ask if he has anything from one of the bodies that can lead them to the criminal. He hates having to visit that madman all the time but it is necessary.
He looks over at the picture of his family. His father, mother, brother and him. Tanaka and Harumi stand behind the four. All of them with smiling faces. Ciel smiles a little. He wishes he can have those happy faces back. But he can't. No matter how much he tries.
He hears a creaking sound and immediately turns his head to see Catherine at the door. His instincts immediately tell him to grab a gun and shoot her in the face but he remains still in his seat, his heart racing slightly.
"What do you want?" he asks.
Catherine frowns at him slightly, confused. "Are you all right?"
"Um, y-yes. Forgive me, lieutenant, for the scandal that occurred earlier," he says.
"I've seen worse scandals, trust me. But I am curious to what was all that about."
"You heard it all."
"Yes, but I heard it from a professional standpoint. But I prefer to hear it from a personal standpoint. Why are you refusing to help Prince Soma recover his nurse."
He sighs. "None of you would understand, especially Prince Soma. He is just a bratty child."
"May I offer you a word of advice without you giving me murderous glance?" she asks as she sits down next to him.
He sighs and puts down his pen, looking at her. "What?"
"...Try taking it easy with Prince Soma. I will admit that he can be a little intolerant sometimes. But is still a child, just like you. And not all children think the same way. If Meena Chawla is alive, I think it wouldn't hurt trying to find her to give the prince some closure, whether she's alive or not." With that, she leaves the room just as Sebastian enters.
"Did I miss anything?" he asks while watching the lady disappear into her guest room.
"...No." Ciel sighs. Catherine is right though. He's being a selfish idiot. He hasn't even tried to find out whether this Meena is still alive or not. Whether alive or dead, it's better to give the prince some closure.
"Will you be needing anything else, sir?" Sebastian asks.
"The deck of cards in the library and a big-ass piece of cake," he says with a sigh.
"Main jaana chaahata hoon (I want to leave now!)" Soma snaps angrily at Agni while treading back and forth impatiently across the room.
"Lekin mere raajakumaar, ham pahale se hee aa chuke hain (But my prince, we've already come so far)," Agni says, "Aap ab sambhavatah haar nahin sakate hain (You can't possibly give up now)."
"Main is ghar mein nahin rahana chaahata hoon. Aapane kaha ki yah ladaka meena khojane mein hamaaree madad kar sakata hai. Vah yojana thee. Lekin ab, mujhe lagata hai ki use hamaaree madad karane mein koee roochi nahin hai. Vah keval haeevemain kamabakht chaahata hai (I don't want to stay in this house. You said that this boy could help us find Meena. That was the plan. But now, I see he has no interest in helping us. He only wants that fucking highwayman)."
"Main dar gaya hoon, Agni. Mujhe dar hai ki usake saath kuchh bura hua. (I'm scared, Agni. I'm scared that something bad happened to her. And he doesn't care).
"But I care. If he doesn't want to help, I will. I promised to be your servant to the very end. You're the reason why I came to England."
Some sighs and nods. "Yes. I know. Thank you, Agni. You are the only one who understands my desperation."
He hears a knock on the door and Ciel enters the room.
"Leave us," he says. Agni bows his head and exits the room, shutting the door behind him and leaving Ciel alone with Soma.
Ciel sits at the opposite side of the table. He takes out a deck of cards and sets them down on the table. "I assume you don't know how to play chess but you can play poker, right?"
Soma stares at him for a few moments before shaking his head. "I don't want to play games right now. I'm tired. Besides, I don't think I want to play with you anymore."
Ciel sighs and stops mixing the cards. All right. No bullshit then. "We're going to make a deal and you will listen. If your answer is no, this will be the end of your search, do you understand?" Soma nods. "If you help me find the highwayman, I'll help you find Meena."
"You mean that?"
"I'm not doing this for you though. I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do," he says, "But heed my warning, if you interfere in the investigation. If you do anything to prioritize your search for Meena, the deal is off. Understood?"
Soma nods in agreement. "Yes. Yes, it's a deal."
"We'll start tomorrow," Ciel says, "Lieutenant will accompany me and Sebastian to visit the Undertaker. He's going to show me one of the bodies. If you wish, you can come with us but you will not touch anything there. Do you understand? Your job there will be to shut up and not move. Are we clear?"
Some nods. "Yes. I'm sorry if I've annoyed you today. I never been around other children before so I got a little too excited."
"You have your siblings back at the palace," Ciel says, frowning.
"Yes, but my parents almost never let me play with them," Soma says with a sigh, "I spent most of my life shut in my room, looking at the outside world through a window. I watched my siblings running around the gardens, chasing each other and laughing. The only time I was able to leave the palace was when I met Agni and even then, my parents were angry that I did so."
Ciel somewhat feels pity for the bratty little prince. Being kept in isolation half your life certainly sounds dreadful. It makes Ciel the times he spent in the Phantomhive Manor and not being able to go outside because he was always sick and had to watch his family play in the gardens. Of course, he had Harumi, Tanaka and the other servants to hang around but it was never the same. Despite not wanting to hang around this bratty child, it would be rude to deny his desire for fun while he's in England.
"There will come a time when the investigation ends and when that time comes, perhaps I will consider showing you around London. Does that sound all right to you?" Ciel asks.
Soma smiles a little and nods.
"All right then. So the game here is simple. You just have to -."
"SNOOOW!" Soma suddenly shouts, making Ciel jump in his seat and drop the deck of cards. What the fuck!? He watches Soma run to the window. "It's snowing!" He then bolts out of the room in the blink of an eye, leaving Ciel dumbfounded. Once Ciel's brains connects knowledge to what just happened, he gets up and runs after Soma. "Agni, it's snowing!"
"Prince Soma, wait! Your coat!" Agni shouts while running after him with a white coat in his arms.
Soma runs outside and starts jumping up and down and the snowy ground while spinning around with his head tilted upwards. Ciel stands in the middle of the doorstep, watching Soma giggling like a small child. He has never seen snow before. I'm guessing they don't have snow in India. Agni squeezes past Ciel and makes Soma put on his coat.
"You'll catch cold, my prince," he says.
Snowflakes fall into the young prince's long eyelashes and he blinks them away, giggling. He reaches out his hands to catch the white flakes gently falling from the night sky. He catches a flake in his hand, like capturing a firefly. Ciel almost laughs, remembering how he and his brother used to try to catch fireflies but they always escaped from our grasp.
The moment Soma catches the snowflake, it melts in his palm, leaving him confused and shocked. "It's gone! It just disappeared! I swear, I had it right in my hand."
Ciel tries not to burst out laughing. Sebastian stands behind him and whispers in his ear. "Should we tell him?"
He simply chuckles. "He'll figure it out eventually."
Ciel somewhats envy Prince Soma. Not knowing the horrors of the real world, he gets to be happy in his own little world. Ciel sometimes wishes he had that. He used to be in his own little world but he was everything but happy. The prince is everything Ciel and Sirius used to be and everything that Ciel is not.
Sebastian finds Catherine in the back of the garden, lying on the snow without a coat to keep her warm. She can get sick like this, exposed to the chilly air. But she doesn't look like she care. I walk up to her and check if she's still alive. She's simply lying there with her arms extended to the side and her leg folded over the other, looking like the crucified Messiah.
"Are you all right?" he asks.
She opens her eyes and looks at me. "I'm just enjoying the snow. I sometimes forget that this has been one of the most beautiful creations ever done."
Sebastian chuckles in amusement. "Beautiful and deadly." He then extends his hand. "Come, you'll catch cold."
She smiles slightly. "I don't get cold."
She grabs his hand. To Sebastian's surprise, her hand is not cold. It's as warm as the summer days. He doesn't understand this. She should be chilled to the bone, not warm. It's like she's been near the fire and the heat permanently implanted into her skin.
"What is it?" she asks, tilting her head while staring at him with those blue-green eyes of hers.
"...Nothing," he smiles. It's probably nothing. "Nothing at all. Come, I'll make you some hot tea."
"Can you make some hot chocolate instead?" she asks while pouting. "I get tired of tea."
"As you wish," he says before leading her back inside the house. He tries to ignore this strange new discovery but even so, he knows that something is not right about their new ally. She's not human. He needs to find out what she is, even if he has to pry the information out of her through seduction.