Ciel watched as Haku returned with an old notebook, the covers bound in leather with a matching strap wrapped around it. It looked as if it had survived since the creation of the world, the material dark with age and handling while small cracks could be seen on the surface. Seth carefully took it from the little demon, offering him a gentle smile and small brush of his hair which seemed to please him, before leaning back in his chair again. Haku then returned to his spot on the floor, continuing his careful work.
Seth gently unwrapped and opened the old object, Ciel noticing how yellow the pages were and how the ink was beginning to lighten a bit. It was clearly ancient but just how old he couldn't say. He watched as the older noble browsed through the book to the information he needed, reading over the old words carefully. [+red "Lucifer's is the one in France, they focus on dismemberment sacrifices,"] Seth explained softly. [+red "I'm told they focus more on the younger and prettier looking people, so be extra careful. Satan's practices in Greece, they burn sacrifices alive. Belial is further east, possibly China or Japan. They bury their sacrifices alive."]
This would be enough to scare most people away, but it didn't for Ciel. It didn't sound easy but it was his duty to finish his work. Besides, he had Sebastian with him to help and protect him. [+blue "How do we find them?"] he asked quietly. That would certainly be the tricky part.
[+red "I don't have locations of where they gather and practice, but I do have moon phases they work under,"] Seth offered gently, carefully setting the book down in order to pick up his tea. [+red "I would suggest doing your investigating during these times, even a couple of days before each moon phase as they'll be gathering their materials. Most operate underground as its easier to stay hidden that way."]
Sebastian shook his head, muttering a soft "No, thank you." to be polite. He was surprised to have been offered anything at all. Though, not all demons held an aversion to what humans called food as he did. He listened to Seth closely. He never really paid much attention to WHERE the cults were located- it was never any of his concern. However, he did sort of know what to expect if each demons personality was considered. Leviathan hated humans but always loved cute or pretty things. His human form was rather youthful- childlike even. His preference for a child's soul made sense, at least to another demon. "I never deemed to important to know- do you know who their associated with?" If not he could find out easily enough, but why do the workforce it wasn't needed? Satan would possibly be the next easiest. He was stuck in the Lake of Fire, cursed to never leave. He would rely on the cult for food as he literally could not form a contract. Lucifer, well he was fully expecting to get battered around like a cat's toy. He had led the armies against the shifters that had lived there first. He was, in human terms, the General to the Kings military. Then Belial, well he was unchallenged as King for a reason.
Ciel slowly sat in a chair near Seth, leaning back into it and glancing down at the child on the floor between them. He had met a few demons from his contract with Sebastian, some decent and some absolutely abhorrent but this little demon was much different than them all. Most demons had an air of arrogance when around strangers or at least confidence. They were certain of their abilities and weren't afraid to use them. But Haku was different. He didn't seem to exude anything like that but had quite a bit of childlike curiosity despite his old age. It didn't seem like Fredrick had started the process of squashing his confidence in himself but he certainly helped it along. Ciel imagined he didn't have much long before entering his house.
Jeremy returned minutes later with a pot of tea and some cups on a tray, accompanied by small and delicate fruit tarts. Carefully the male poured the tea and handed each lord a cup before setting down a tart near them as well. There were plenty for each one in the room but he didn't imagine Sebastian would want any as his tastes were vastly different than the human's that he cared for. [+green "Is there anything I can bring you, Sebastian?"] he asked softly.
[+blue "Thank you for seeing me,"] Ciel responded to Seth, taking a sip of the tea before setting it down in front of him. It was a good blend, on par with Sebastian's choices. [+blue "We wanted to speak with you about the other branches of the cult. Now that this one is taken care of, I'd like to do the same with the others."]
Seth leaned back into the chair a bit more, crossing his legs as he watched the small earl in front of him. [+red "Even though this faction dealt in child sacrifice, it was known to be the most laid back of the four."] His voice was soft, showing a bit of concern. [+blue "I hope you realize what you'll be in for."]
[+blue "That doesn't matter,"] he answered, keeping his eyes on him. [+blue "My job is to stop them. Either you can help me or I can go after them blindly."]
Seth's heterochromic eyes flickered down to Haku, instructing the small demon to venture to the vault with Akira and retrieve some information. Once the boy had left, he lifted his gaze to the two of them. [+red "They operate in different areas in order to prevent being caught or linked to one another. The closest one is in France."]
Sebastian followed closely. He inclined his head in silent greeting to the other butler, but otherwise remained silent. He also noticed the change in the air. The atmosphere being much calmer. He found it a bit unsettling, but he had grown use to the everyday caos of the Phantomhive manor. Such calmness was usually enough to make the demon hunt down the other servants- as they were normally on some mission to try to impress him with their 'work'.
He kept an eye on Ciel as he moved to accept the invitation to sit. He took his place standing just behind the chair his master now occupied. He let Ciel direct the conversation, as he was only a servant. He let his eyes go over to the small demon who was writing on the floor. Haku was a strange little demon, to be happy to see others in his home. He supposed being around humans so young would do that, though. He listened, ready to ask any questions that might be relevant.
Ciel quietly shut the book and set it down when Sebastian returned, announcing they were ready to leave. He slowly pushed himself up, closing his eyes afterwards and standing still. It hurt quite a bit but not enough that he was willing to have Sebastian carry him as he didn't want to hear any comments from the staff. If the others had been asleep, it would have been much different. Once the pain subsided a bit and he began to feel better, bright eyes slowly opened and he made his way across the room to get his coat. Once he was ready, he exited the manor and headed up to the carriage. It was a bit of a challenge to get inside due to the steps but he pushed himself to do so. At least he could relax a bit during the ride.
The small earl moved to lay down a bit once the carriage began to move, finding the flat position much easier on his sore back than sitting had been. He was a bit upset at himself for working so hard for so long, he was the only one to blame for this step backwards in his recovery. At least Fredrick wasn't around anymore to bother him. He would never be heard from again and would rot somewhere in the ground, if that was what Sebastian chose to do with him.
Once they arrived closer to the Whitehill manor, Ciel sat up again and watched the scenery out the window. It didn't take them long from that point to arrive, allowing Sebastian to help him out and slowly making his way up the steps. Jeremy answered the door, the male bowing a bit and causing the long black braid to fall over his shoulder.
[+green "It's good to see you again, Lord Phantomhive,"] he greeted them softly, standing up straight again and fixing the glasses that had slipped down the bridge of his nose. After allowing them inside, he gathered their coats and carefully hung them on the nearby coat tree before leading them further into the manor. Ciel could feel the change in the atmosphere almost immediately now that the previous head of the house was gone, it seemed so much lighter. He imagined they were all fairing better now that they didn't have to hide and cower from such an angry man.
Jeremy led them into the parlor where Seth was sitting in a warm chair near the fire while Haku sat on the floor nearby with a brushl, a pot of ink, and some paper. Delicate kanji had been written on part of the surface already, the small demon currently working on finishing the row. He picked his head up as he saw them enter the room, smiling happily at them which caught the attention of Seth. The redhead rose from his seat and smiled, giving a small motion to Jeremy which caused the butler to exit the room.
[+red "I'm pleased to see that you made it,"] he stated softly, heterochromic eyes dancing between the two. The right eye had changed since Ciel last saw him, no longer a bright red but a vivid blue. [+red "Please, have a seat. Jeremy will return shortly with some refreshments."]
"Please, entertain yourself a moment more. I will return after I have pulled the carriagearound front." He said, bowing. He took his leave, passing off the cleaning up to the others. He went outside to the stables where Finny was very carefully brushing down one of the horses. The gardener looked like he was extremely focused on his task. Likely trying to not hurt the creature. Finny was almost done, so the demon silently took a horse that had just been brushed and attached it to the two- horse carriage they normally used. Then he waited patiently for Finny to finish- startling the boy would cause his master to replace an animal . He attached he second horse and got into the drivers seat to take it around the manor.
Soon he was once again outside the parlour, opening the door. "Young master, the carriage is ready he said. He walked up t Ciel, watching him closely should he need help. He was tempted to pick him up, but there was a high chance of running into one of the other servants. It was not a big deal to him, but they ALWAYS voiced how adorable their master was being carried around. Which always agitated his master.
Ciel quietly took the tea from Sebastian once it was offered, leaning back more into the chair as he sipped it quietly. He was a bit surprised that his butler was suggesting such plans so early as they had quite a bit of time to worry about them. He usually left it until the last minute, throwing something together or having Sebastian do so simply to get it out of the way and finished. Now that he was having back trouble, it seemed the demon wanted to give his charge something to think about.
[+blue "Maybe I'll start tomorrow, depending on how I feel in the morning,"] Ciel responded quietly, finishing the tea and setting the cup down. Due to his refusal to take a break when dealing with Fredrick, his back was quite sore. Moreso than it was the day before. He didn't think he did more damage to it but he was certain he strained the muscles some. Ciel refused to allow his prey to see him as weak which led to this small setback. [+blue "There's many other things to do before I even begin to think about holiday parties."]
He drank another cup before handing the china back to Sebastian to take care of. Now that he had properly rested for a bit and had some refreshing tea, it was time to deal with their final meeting for the night. Luckily this one wouldn't cause him any pain.
Sebastian returned quickly, a pot of his masters favorite brand of Earl Grey ready for consumption. He entered the parlour after a quick anouncement that he was entering. "I have tour tea, sir. Jacksons Earl Grey." He said, putting the boys prefered amount of sugar into the fragile cup one he stepped up close. He gripped the saucer it sat on and turned to offer it to the boy. His eyes glanced over to the book to see what his master had chosen to occupy himself with. "If I may, the holiday season will be arriving quickly. As the young master hates the crowds I suggest you consider start thinking about getting it out of the way sooner than later." His master complained about it every year, "as well as the farmers you govern will likly be eagerly awaiting your annual halloween party you put together for them." As an Earl, he did govern the nearby territory. Since his master lived in the quiet countryside, the populace was mainly farming families. It was his masters duty to collect taxes and keep things running smoothly for her magesty. The party was really for good publicity. Last year the theme had been different customs around the world. The children had loved the American tradition of dressing up for free candy, and he fully expected them to want to do that again. He had never met a child that didn't like free candy.
It was still early to direct his masters thoughts there, but his master had a tendancy to put it on the back burner and the demon really hated putting everything together last second. He could, but it was highly annoying. With the boys back being out of commission for the moment such things could replace the time he would have spent doing physical excersise the demon forced him to do.
Ciel closed his eyes as he was picked up, resting comfortably against Sebastian. He moved his arms to rest around the demon's neck, holding onto him loosely as the two made their way out of the ruins and back to the manor. It was comforting being in the arms of Sebastian, reassuring even, and he wished he could remain there for the rest of the evening. If it weren't for their meeting with Seth, the demon would most likely have no qualms with it. He was infatuated with his charge, after all. Ciel was beginning to realize that he enjoyed being around Sebastian, especially after something like this, and found it easier to relax when he was around. Some days he found himself seeking the man's company but would never voice it aloud, and would find ways in order to do so. Sure, he enjoyed time alone but found time with his butler so much better.
Well, most of the time.
Ciel lightly rubbed his stitches once he was set down in the manor, Sebastian excusing himself before disappearing to make the promised tea. This left the small earl alone to do as he wished; normally he would dive into some work and try to get a form or two finished. That would require him to tackle the staircase, something he wasn't fit to do at the moment, so he was forced to find some other way to relax. He chose to head to the parlor where he knew he had left a couple of books for such a purpose, thinking some reading would do until his butler returned. Quietly he moved into the room, slowly sitting down in a large chair with a hard wince. No matter what he did, it hurt. He imagined he would have to have a long and hot bath tonight as well in order to help loosen the muscles again. He sighed quietly, reaching over and picking up a book from the nearby table. Small hands opened it to the bookmark, reading until Sebastian returned with the promised tea.
Sebastian frowned slightly at the comment of skippng the meal altogether. However, he had expected it. "Very well, I will bring you a pot of tea before I prepare the carriage for departure." He said, walking up to the boy. He picked him up, knowing he was brushing off the pain in his back. He asked only to be polite, he could feel the pain from the mark on the back of his left hand. He took him up the stairs, and back outside. This time he didn't put Ciel down. He didn't want his master humiliating himself in front of Master Seth, all because his back gave out. He carefully supported Ciel with one arm, holding the dark umbrella with the other. While the rain had slowed, his didn't want Ciel to get chilled. He made sure the door was locked behind him, as they didn't want any squatters to find it while they were not home.
He finally put Ciel down when they were inside the mansion. He promised the boy he would find him with some tea, and left him to his own devices as he went to the kitchen. He knew Ciel would likely say on the first floor, being too injured for the stairs yet. He could have taken Ciel at least up the stairs so he could go to his study but he wanted Ciel to relax. If he took him upstairs he would probably do some form of work. He passed Finny in the hall, and requested the boy to quickly-and carefully- brush the horses that were normally used to drive the carriage. The blonde nodded, and took off to the task. Finny had better luck controling his strength when dealing with animals or other humans. It had taken a long time to get the boy to understand that plants were living as well, and they still had problems with a destroyed courtyard.
Ciel closed his eyes and stood still as Sebastian approached and began to fix his appearance. He could feel his gentle hands on his form, scrubbing off blood while adjusting his clothes. It didn't take him long to finish his current work, the small earl perfect in minutes. The exposed eye opened again, flickering past Sebastian to the male's lifeless and mutilated form. Ciel had done his best to give Fredrick the same feelings of horror that he himself once experienced, taking care to cause the most injury in the areas that Fredrick had once injured on Ciel those years ago. He didn't feel bad, doing what he did, and doubted he would repeat these vicious acts on another. Sure, the rest of the cults would be eradicated and deserved to be but this wasn't the way he would do it.
[+blue "It's sore,"] Ciel answered after a while, moving his gaze back to Sebastian. It was actually rather painful as he had pushed it to its limit, refusing to rest until his work was complete. He wasn't about to let his prey know that he had injured the earl so badly. [+blue "And I'm not hungry, I can skip dinner. Maybe I'll eat something later tonight. I do want to rest a bit before we leave, though."]
Sebastian bowed low, "as you wish, sir." He said, straightening again. The boy had made quite the mess out of the man. Blood flowed off the table, the man was now very very dead. Not even the mark would reanimate the human, with his brain being damaged beyond repair. He stepped up to Ciels side, removing a hankercheif from one of his many pockets withing his coat. He began to fix his masters apperance. Cleaning the blood that had splattered across his face and clothes effortlessly. He smiled once Ciel once again looked the part of the refined nobleman he was born to be. "How is your back, sir? You hardly stopped for a break." He pulled out the silver pocket watch his master had given to him 3 years ago. He didn't actually need the watch, but he used it because it was given to him.
"It is now 4pm, would you like some dinner before we go to investigate?" He peered at Ciel, still smiling his usual devilish smirk. He was proud of the boy for not losing his nerve. Or stomach for that matter. His master had seen many horrifying scenes. However witnessing and participateing were very different. Already he could smell a dsrk bitterness coming from the boys soul from the act of putting another human through such horrors.
Ciel accepted this answer, looking back at Sebastian momentarily before allowing his eyes to flicker over the many items that were placed neatly on tables against the walls. There were much larger and more painful items that could be used and he knew it would be no problem for the demon to throw the worthless human into them, but he preferred not to untie Fredrick. He didn't want him to have any sliver of hope that he could escape. He wanted the male to know that his life was ending and that Ciel would be the one to do it. It seemed that he was already getting a good picture of that.
The small earl continued his revenge, occasionally asking Sebastian to perform small services to further his work, until he felt he was finished. A couple hours they had spent in the dark cellar, filling it with screams of pain and shouts of anger. Ciel had gotten a little messy, blood having spattered across his clothes and his boots during some of his work. There didn't seem to be many spots left on Fredrick that the boy hadn't exacted revenge out on yet he still lived, breathing heavily with his eyes closed. He was beginning to realize that his time was coming to a close, death would arrive any minute now. Ciel's small form rested a bit heavily against the table, using it to take some of the strain from his back. He refused to allow Sebastian to help him, not wanting to appear weak and damaged in front of his prey, and chose to stick it out until the moment Fredrick stopped breathing.
After a couple of silent minutes, Ciel pushed himself to stand up straight and untucked the revolver from the back of his pants. He almost always kept it on him or nearby, not liking to be left without it. Quietly he checked the chamber before removing the safety, then lifted his gaze to Fredrick. The once proud Lord was reduced to a sniveling heap just as Ciel had once been. Fredrick now knew what real humiliation was as well as the pain that went with it. He had made his enemy feel emotions similar to what Ciel had experienced, if not worse ones. This chapter of his life was almost complete.
He moved closer to the still male, resting the barrel of the weapon under his chin. Ciel watched him for a moment, waiting to see if he would react to it. Green eyes slowly opened and looked up at him, the proud beast seemed to be defeated. Now it was time to put it out of its existence. Without a word, he pulled the trigger.
[+blue "You can take care of this later,"] Ciel told Sebastian quietly after a long while. He carefully returned the weapon to its temporary home so the boy wouldn't forget it. [+blue "He deserves to rot."]
The demon obeyed, removing a glove to summon a small but hot flame in his palm. He was showing off really, to the one he had asked permission to court. Ciel knew he could spontaneously summon fire, but he usually just used an already exsisting one from a candle whenever he was asked to burn anything. He doubted Ciel would actually be impressed. He had outgrown the wonder of the demons powers in their first year together. At least from what Sebastian could tell. He passed the fork back when it was hot, careful not to brush it on his masters sensitive skin. He bowed again, wondering if his behavior would annoy Ciel. It would be an added bonus if it did. He then stood aside, watching the man squirm. He was a bit jealous, the man had not let him hear any of those delicious shrieks. It only confirmed that the man had not expected Ciel to be able to harm him. That, or he had not expected the demon to let the childs soul get so dark. He perked up a bit when Ciel asked his question.
"However long you desire, sir. I marked his heart, so it will continue to pump until I release his physical form."
Ciel looked over at Sebastian for a moment while his victim gasped for air under him. He seemed strangely complacent; when others were around the demon typically fell into his subservient role but this one seemed a lot more purposeful. He wasn't sure what it was about or why it was happening in the first place but he decided not to question it now. Perhaps he was simply allowing Ciel to express his grief and suffering in any way he chose or maybe he was observing to see how dark the boy's soul could really become. The latter didn't bother Ciel in the least, he had done some pretty dark and questionable things in his past and Sebastian was the one that would have to choke down his soul anyway.
He carefully climbed over to the edge of the table, sliding down back to the floor while the man's coughing began to cease. [+blue "Most people in your situation ask what they've done to deserve such treatment,"] Ciel commented quietly, moving back around to his other side. A small hand reached out and gripped the fork, pulling it out in one swift movement. This caused another shriek to emit from his victim, blood beginning to spurt and flow from the two small holes. [+blue "You haven't; I'm sure you're aware of the sins that brought you to this place."]
Fredrick glared faintly at his tormentor. [+darkred "I have continued my family's work that has been passed down for generations,"] he hissed painfully. It was difficult for him to get full sentences out at once due to the choke hold Ciel had previously had his throat in. [+darkred "We answer the call of the great Leviathan. You were a perfect sacrifice, every criteria was met perfectly. You could have been part of something much larger than this."]
Ciel passed the bloodied fork to Sebastian, instructing him to heat the metal prongs as hot as he could make them. He then picked up a rather sharp knife from a nearby table and returned to Fredrick's side. [+blue "I'm no one's pawn,"] he spat back, still a bit quiet. [+blue "I never will be. You took my life from me, now I'm going to do the same to you. The only difference is that there's no one to save [i you."]] Ciel jammed the knife into the male's inner thigh, watching as blood began to seep around the blade and to the table. His scream of pain was the weakest yet, the previous act with the rope clearly having taken its toll on him. Once the fork was hot, the metal a bright orange, he carefully took it from Sebastian and thrust it into his lower torso, around where his bladder would be, and watched unfeeling as he writhed and screamed from pain. Any lower of a placement and Ciel would have hit quite a painful area.
He did it for a reason.
[+blue "How much longer can he survive, Sebastian?"] Ciel asked coldly, continuing to watch the male as he twisted on the table.
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