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The Mating Rite

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One would think that being alive for several millennia and being around other people for so long would increase one’s fondness for them, but in truth, that presumption couldn’t be more wrong. What actually happened was that one saw everything there was to see in the world, met all the different types of people there are and then there were only millions of repetitions of those same things. The wanderlust died, and one was left with the rude realization that nothing ever really changed. With that knowledge, one grew to feel either extreme frustration or outright apathy to most things and people, and the will to tolerate them died. Why put up with something that’s bothering you when you can just kill it? logic said. It’s not like you’re stealing anything from the world. There are dozens more out there just like it, there have been hundreds in the past, and thousands more are still to come. The only difference is that now you’re spared that irritation, at least for a while, until the next one comes along. That kind of logic made it difficult to control oneself at all, but then, for most who lived for thousands of years, patience came in abundance.

 

But still, no matter how long one lived, patience still had limits.

 

“(Y/N),” Lady Eckstein called, interrupting the instructions you were giving the gardener. The sound of your name reached your ears even across the distance between yourself and your Lady, though she didn’t raise her volume at all, her voice unheard by anyone but yourself. Dutifully, you quickly excused yourself to the gardener and hurried back inside the manor, traversing the halls to the study. Knocking firmly three times on the door, you waited until you heard an order to enter before you pushed open the door and closed it behind yourself. Lady Seraphina Eckstein, your mistress until the contract was completed, sat behind her desk, her usual unpleasant expression on her aging features.

 

“Ja, meine Dame?” you asked. Yes, my Lady?

 

She responded in her nasally tone, “Haben Sie die Vorbereitungen für unsere Reise abgeschlossen?” Have you finished the preparations for our trip?

 

If you hadn’t interrupted, I would have , you allowed yourself to think. Aloud, you answered, “Fast, meine Dame. Ich werde der Belegeschaft den Befehl erteilen und dann werden wir aufbruchsbereit sein.” Almost, my Lady. I will give the staff their orders, and then we will be ready to go.

 

She waved a dismissive hand. “Pressieren Sie. Ich möchte das hinter mich bringen.” Hurry. I want to get this over with.

 

“Natürlich, meine Dame.” Of course, my Lady. You turned on your heel, your combat boots making a satisfying clomping sound as you walked away. You quickly made rounds, giving each member of your hand-picked staff their directions for your pending absence. Shortly thereafter, you returned to the study to inform the Lady of the household.

 

You had previously packed your luggage into the carriage, so as soon as the two of you were inside, the driver got the horses going, the other servants waving you off from the yard.

 

It took several days to get from Hamburg to London. After riding to the dock, you rented a hotel room for the night. Your ship set sail the next day, and once you reached England, you took a train to London. When you arrived there, you rented a driver to take you to the Phantomhive Estate.

 

In the carriage, you sat across from your Lady. Her shoulder-length platinum blonde hair was as straight as a board in a no-nonsense style. Her frosty blue eyes glared out from her ever-frowning face where lines of age were beginning to show around her eyes and mouth. "How long until we reach the manor, (Y/N)?" she asked in English, her language switching to match the country.

 

"Not long, now, Mistress. A half hour, perhaps?" you replied.

 

As you got closer to your destination, you felt the aura of another demon nearby, dark and foreboding, staking out the territory as its, clearly an alpha as you were. You waited until you knew for sure that it was coming from the Phantomhive residence before you spoke up. "My Lady," you began, "there seems to be a demon contracted at the estate. It could consider me a threat and attack if we approach without warning."

 

Seraphina looked at you and said, "Handle it however you must, but do not resort to violence. Yet, at least."

 

With a nod, you closed your eyes and reached out to touch your aura with the foreign one, alerting it to your presence. You felt it stir, and you pushed the power of your contract through the link to prove that you weren't there to steal the demon's meal. Just in case, you also sent your feelings of boredom and indifference down the line. The other demon sent back the same feelings along with a touch of curiosity but no aggression, so you took that as a welcome before withdrawing your aura and wrapping it around you like a blanket.

 

You reopened your eyes and said, "We should be fine, now, my Lady."

 

"Good," was all she said.

 

In no time at all, the carriage pulled up in front of the manor. After tipping the driver, you trailed behind your Lady up the steps of the household. The door was opened by the demon you had felt earlier. His current form had longish black hair, pale skin, and russet colored eyes framed by long lashes. He wore a traditional butler's uniform and a sickeningly sweet, close-eyed smile that was more fake than the jewels in a slattern's necklace.

 

"Hello," he greeted cordially. "I am Sebastian Michaelis, head butler of this estate. You are Lady Eckstein, I presume?"

 

"Yes," the Lady replied, seeming not the least bit captured by his charms.

 

Sebastian walked you into the foyer where a young boy was descending the stairs. "Welcome," he said as he approached. "I am Ciel, Earl Phantomhive. It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Eckstein." He took her hand and kissed it.

 

"And to you as well, Earl."

 

"Is this your maid?" he asked.

 

Begrudgingly, she gestured to you and said, "Yes, this is (Y/N) (Y/L/N)."

 

You gave a respectful nod with your eyes downcast. "It's an honor, Earl Phantomhive."

 

He nodded back to you before stating to the Lady, "Surely, you must be tired from your travels. I will have Sebastian take you to your rooms where you may wash up and rest."

 

"Thank you Earl," your mistress said.

 

Sebastian bowed. "Right this way, please."

 

You picked up your luggage and followed the butler down a few halls until he paused to open one door. "This is to be your room during your stay with us, Lady Eckstein. I hope it is to your liking. Your room is directly across from here, Ms. (Y/N)."

 

Lady Eckstein nodded stiffly, and you said, "Thank you, Mr. Sebastian.”

 

"Of course," he replied. "I'll leave you to settle, then, and will fetch you for dinner in a few hours."

 

After he left, Lady Eckstein said to you, "(Y/N), I wish to rest."

 

"Ja, meine Dame," you said. You helped her out of her clothes and into a sleeping gown. After you had her tucked into bed, you packed her things away in the dresser and left to do the same to your own. Your room was decently but modestly sized with a bed, dresser, end table, and a few paintings. You freshened up slightly and changed into a clean greyish-silver uniform. It was ankle-length and had red lace along the hemline, sleeves, and neckline. You put on gloves and boots, as well as a clean white apron before you left the room.

 

Following the feel of his aura, you sought out Sebastian. You found him in the kitchen, scolding a blonde man with goggles and a chef's uniform. The man was holding what seemed to be a flamethrower, and there was burnt meat on the table.

 

As you walked into the room, the men turned to look at you in unison. "Ah, Ms. (Y/N)," Sebastian said, "this is our chef, Bard. Bard, this is Lady Eckstein's maid, (Y/N). "

 

You nodded politely, and Bard gave a wave.

 

"How may I help you, Ms. (Y/N)?" Sebastian inquired.

 

"I simply came to see if there was anything with which I could assist," you stated.

 

"If you don't mind, I could use some help with dinner." Sebastian gave a pointed glare towards Bard.

 

"Certainly. What are we making?" You began rolling up your sleeves.

 

Sebastian explained the meal to you and ordered Bard, "Go help Finnian in the garden."

 

With a grumble, Bard left Sebastian and you to your own devices.