Mystery and Discovery
"Objects being stolen, Master?" Sebastian raised an eyebrow as he poured the afternoon tea—Earl Grey. "Hardly seems like something the Queen's Guard dog should be exploring."
"I don't question the Queen's decisions," Ciel snapped, "There will undoubtedly be something connecting these stolen antiquities that requires our expertise."
Deflated, Sebastian finished laying out the afternoon tea.
"Yes, my lord. Would you care to share with me just what these objects are?"
"They don't seem to be connected in the slightest," Ciel mused, frustrated. "All of them are from different houses of wealthy beaurocrats, but aside from that, the thefts seem to be completely random. They are all simple objects. The thief passes up all the valuables, takes one object, and leaves. It's very peculiar, really."
"Well, Master, it is convenient, then, that we specialize in peculiarities," Sebastian smirked, "I will look into it."
Night had fallen long before on Britain, and all was still in the Phantomhive estate. Sebastian, not needing sleep, studied the pictures his master had given him of the objects. So far, his research was coming up empty. Why would the Queen want Ciel to find a petty thief, and an incompetent one, at that? These objects were old, and probably worth a good amount of money…but so was the original DaVinci painting on the wall in the picture behind the object, yet the painting was left untouched.
Suddenly, a distantly familiar sound hit Sebastian's keen ears. He stood and moved stealthily out into the hallway. It was well after three in the morning. The house should have been in its normally silent state, and yet, echoing quietly through the halls, was the most eerily beautiful music Sebastian had ever heard.
It seemed as though a multitude of voices was singing all at once, but at the same time, it was apparent that only one voice was responsible for the mystical sound. The effect was one of ultimate peace, and though Sebastian felt as though he should be on guard against this possible threat, the voice told him he had nothing to fear.
He made his way through the corridors, the music becoming louder, but no more invasive as he went. If he hadn't been awake already, Sebastian knew that the creature responsible could have been singing in his ear and he would not have stirred.
The song was one Sebastian felt he had heard before…millennia before…but he couldn't place where that might have been.
Following the sound, Sebastian was heading toward one of the many sitting rooms. This one was rarely used. It faced the west, and was mostly empty save two couches and a large harp over by the windows that reached from ceiling to floor.
When he turned the corner through the door, the sight that met the butler took the breath from his lungs.
Seated in front of the harp, nimble fingers racing across the strings, was Aria. She was silhouetted perfectly in the center of the setting full moon, not in her usual casual teaching attire, but in a flowing, silky gown that looked as though starlight had been woven into the very fabric, which was as blue as the night sky. The dress hung daintily to her slender form, exposing her shoulders and back, and pooled in the floor surrounding her feet and the chair in which she sat. Her golden, pixie cut hair was now silver in the moonlight, and the smell of freesia poured through the room.
Completely intoxicated with the sight, smell, and sound of the woman at the window, Sebastian leaned heavily on the frame of the door. He now knew exactly what she was, and why he was unable to identify her energy before, but somehow, at this moment, it didn't matter. Demon though he was, Sebastian was completely savoring this time, allowing every care to be lifted from his shoulders by Aria's song.
Aria and creatures like her were the embodiment of peace and serenity. Their presence meant safety and security. No creature of good intent need feel any fear of them. Only under specific circumstances would one like Aria attack…and under those circumstances, they were the single most deadly race in creation. Otherwise, like this night, they would provide comfort and unimaginable peace to those around them…even to a demon.
When Aria's song ended, she seemed to come out of a trance, allowing her hands to fold in her lap. By the door, Sebastian stirred. In an instant, Aria was on her feet, then bowing respectfully once she recognized the butler. Even more beautiful was she when she stood, the slinky gown accenting her gentle curves and her eyes glittering like the stars out the window behind her.
"My apologies, Sir," she said in her timid voice. So different was it from the hauntingly strong voice he'd heard only seconds before that Sebastian was caught off guard. "I hope I didn't wake you."
Gathering his nerve, Sebastian left his place in the doorway and advanced to the center of the room.
"You know that isn't possible," he locked his ruby eyes with her emerald ones. "You know what I am…and now I know what you are."
Aria opened her mouth as if to speak, but found that no words would emerge. She was frightened as the demon slowly stepped closer and closer. Taking a step back, she stumbled into the harp.
"What I don't know," Sebastian's tone was calm, "is why you have graced us with your presence."
"Would you believe me if I told you I don't know that either?" Aria was now behind the massive harp, peering around it at the tall demon as the space between them grew smaller and smaller. When Aria was backed against the massive picture window, Sebastian placed a hand firmly next to her head, stepping in close and pinning her there.
"Of course I would," he whispered. "The vow to never lie is a choice we demons can take or leave. I have taken it and am a rare case for it. I happen to have the knowledge though, that beings such as yourself are incapable of lying."
Sebastian dropped his hand and stepped back.
"As long as your mission here has nothing to do with harming or inhibiting my master, we will have no problems with one another."
"My people are never sent out on such missions," Aria stared at the ground.
"Indeed," Sebastian's voice was soothing now. "The angels are the ones sent out with the violent orders."
Aria continued to stare at the ground, but felt her hand being pulled out before her. She flicked her eyes up when the sensation of a pair of soft lips pressed to its back. Her gaze was met by Sebastian's. Without releasing her hand, he lifted his lips only enough to speak, allowing them to graze her hand with each word.
"And because of that," he whispered, "I will thank you for your presence and bid you good night."
With that, he was gone, and Aria was left alone in the large sitting room. She sank onto one of the couches, allowing her heart to stop fluttering.
What AM I doing here?
The next day dawned to rainy skies. Just after breakfast, Ciel and Sebastian departed to gather information. This visit was one Ciel detested to be making, but necessity dictated they go. Having exhausted all other possible options, the demon and his master went to London to see the Undertaker.
"How kind of you to visit, young lord," Ciel rolled his eyes at the raspy voice emanating from the coffin behind him.
"This isn't a social call, Undertaker," Ciel didn't bother hiding his irritation.
"Oh, touchy touchy," Undertaker frowned as he stepped from his hiding place. "But then, it's never a social visit with you, is it, lord?"
"What do you know about the objects that are going missing?" Ciel plodded on, hoping to end this conversation quickly.
"By…'objects'…you mean the mantle clock, the dove's feather encased in glass, and the statuette of the woman in white?" Undertaker rummaged around in his pile of books.
"Correct," Ciel placed himself impatiently in the seat Sebastian pulled up for him.
"Legend has it," finding the one he was looking for, Undertaker dropped a large book on his desk and began flipping through the pages, "there is an ancient spell that can be used only once every millennium. This spell was said to have been cast over four trinkets the last time it was available."
"What does this spell do, exactly?" Ciel questioned.
"I'm coming to that," Undertaker huffed. "Each one of these items has been tied to a type of divine being. In the presence of this spelled object, the divine being is rendered powerless. If one were to possess all of the spelled trinkets, they are, by default, the most powerful creature alive."
"So," Ciel mused once he and Sebastian were alone in the carriage, "someone is trying to collect all four objects. For what purpose, I wonder? It isn't as though divine beings are roaming the streets attacking people at random."
"No," Sebastian frowned deeply, "perhaps the motive is not defensive in nature."
"What do you mean?" Ciel questioned.
"Perhaps someone is collecting the items so that they can overpower and even manipulate divine beings to their purposes. Think of the possibilities. If someone had a reaper at their disposal, they would be able to take souls at will."
Ciel nodded. He didn't like where this train of thought was taking them. If someone had that sort of power, they could potentially take down the throne…even the world.
The carriage bumped slightly as it turned into the driveway of the Phantomhive estate, but the carriage was not even halfway up the winding road when they were met by Pluto and a breathless Finny.
"SEBASTIAN!" he screamed, running at the carriage. "Sebastian they've taken her!"
"What are you on about?" Sebastian exited the coach in annoyance.
"Miss Aria! They've taken her!" Finny gasped. "Some men came with a funny figurine. When they held it close to her, she fainted, and they just took her!"
Sebastian's eyes widened. He looked desperately to Ciel.
"Sebastian, can you follow her?" Ciel's voice was full of cold intensity.
Sebastian only nodded. His body shook with a rage he couldn't explain. He fought to hold his true self in his body. Aria was a creature solely designed to bring serenity, happiness, and comfort. The very idea of someone harming her or using her for unsavory purposes caused a fiery hatred to fill Sebastian's entire being. Lifting his master gently, the demon took off, following the steadily cooling trail that smelled of freesia.
Someone would die for this.
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