“…stian…bastian…SEBASTIAN!” The demon popped his red eyes open in the pouring sunlight. He didn’t even remember closing them. He looked up to see Angel shaking his shoulder. “You awake?”
“Awake?” he asked as he stood. “I was never asleep. Demons don’t require sleep.”
The dog demon tilted her head in confusion before shaking it off. “Sebastian, what time is it? You have the only clock in this cabin.”
He looked down at his pocket watch and jumped out of his skin. “10:14!” he shouted. “We only have 1 hour 46 minutes left!” He quickly rushed to the record player and snatched his makeshift web. “Let’s get back to practice.”
They practiced until the very last second before Sebastian took in a deep breath and Angel’s blood ran cold as Justine widened her eyes and hid under Finnie’s shirt, who gulped loud and clear.
The whole walk to the Trancy’s, Sebastian quizzed Angel. “If he shoots webs at you?”
“I jump out of the way and confuse him with dummies.”
“And if he changes the scenery of the ground you’re standing on?”
“I move to a better place to dance with as much grace and speed as possible.”
Claude looked down at Angel with a grin as he stood high and proud, beaming with confidence. From an elevated balcony, Alois sat with his legs crossed, arms leaned on the cushioned armrests, a smug look on his round face and devilishly furrowed blond brows. The Trancy Earl was a fourteen-year-old boy with fluffy light blond hair to complement his rain blue eyes as he smiled widely with his purple jacket open to reveal his white shirt, green vest, and short black shorts that led to his boots that were tied up to his mid-thigh. Next to him was Ciel sitting straight and looking forward in his neutral, serious expression in his deep ocean blue eye. Standing next to each were their maids with tea and sweets on trays in their arms.
“How did Ciel even know about this dance competition?” Angel asked, gazing at the masters in anxiety.
Finnie bit his lip before he shrugged in consideration, almost in guilt. “Well…”
Justine looked over at her best friend sleeping on the bench and her father sitting limply against the wall with his eyes shut. She turned her eyes to Finnie and flicked her tail across his nose, effectively waking him. “Wha-!”
“Shh!” she shushed him with her pointed ears folded back as she looked around at the undisturbed demons. “I think the master should know about this.” she whispered.
The gardener looked down at her with confused turquoise eyes before carefully slipping Sebastian’s watch from his hand. “It’s 3:35 in the morning. I think everyone would be asleep.” he stated, placing the watch in Sebastian’s open palm and scooting away from the demon butler.
“If we tell Meyrin, she’ll tell the master first thing in the morning for sure.” she stated as she leapt to the door and scratched at it lightly. “Come on!”
“It’s pitch black out there!” he reasoned.
Justine simply looked up at him before pointing to herself. “One of the best things about being a cat, night vision. Now, come on!”
Justine instructed Finnie which way to go, avoiding him from knocking into a tree or stumbling over the bones until they finally made it to the Phantomhive manner, quickly walking down to the maid’s room. The cat leapt on the bed and started to pull on the servant’s night shirt and tug her out of the small bed with the cloth in her teeth. “Come on, come on, come ON!” she grumbled to herself before she lost her grip and flew across the room, crashing into the shelf and causing everything to fall on the floor with a hard thud.
Meyrin jumped awake and quickly lit a candle to see what happened. When she looked, she saw Justine dizzily swaying from side to side and trying to recapture her balance with the stars circling her head. The maid looked at her in curiosity. “Why is a cat in here?” she thought aloud.
Justine shook her head straight and looked up at her. “No time to explain.” she stated.
Meyrin jumped upon hearing the feline speak as she screamed, “A CAT THAT TALKS! Are you that kind of cat that Tanaka always talks about from Japan?! THAT’S SCARY! DON’T KILL ME!” The cat face planted her paw before leaping on her shoulders and shutting her mouth with her tail.
“Meyrin! It’s me, Justine!” she stated. When the woman calmed a little in recognition, she opened her mouth to ask questions but was cut off by the feline. “I don’t have forever to explain. Tomorrow at noon, there will be a dance-off at the Trancy manner between Claude and Angel Faustus. Sebastian is training Angel right now as we speak (or at least, should be). This dance off determines if I can come back at all after tonight. The master must know that there is a high chance I might never leave the Trancy’s again.”
Meyrin nodded in determination. “I’ll be sure to pass on the message.”
The cat smiled before coming as close to a hug as she could to her. “I’d really miss you.” she stated before she leapt out of her arms and out the cracked door to return to the woods with the young gardener.
Finnie opened his mouth to say something before he shrugged overly dramatic. “I have no idea how the master would know.”
Angel broke a slight sweat when she looked back the audience of the masters until Sebastian noticed this and leaned down to breath in her ear, “Just remember what we’ve worked on.” She nodded shakily and the butler and gardener left to join their master, the cat coming out from under the tacky, tan gardening shirt when they made it, but still never left Finnie’s shoulders.
Alois smiled wider as the two Faustus demons stood on the outside dance floor. “Let the dance begin!” he laughed as Canterbury played the record player and the dance had begun.
It was a smooth start, the taps, and clicks of their heels harmonized rhythmically with each other until Angel concentrated too much on her feet. Claude took advantage of this and shot sticky webs at each foot. “Angel! Look out!” Sebastian warned.
The dog demon simply leapt in the air, avoiding the webs and landed on the tip of the stone fountain on one foot while spinning on that single toe, pausing her dance for a mere second before leaping back to the ground to continue her dance.
I need to fight back. she thought to herself as she shut her eyes and concentrated hard. With a spin, flip, and flick of the wrist, the whole courtyard was filled with hundreds of her identical dummies, all dancing exactly the same way with her leading the motions a millisecond before the clones.
Claude spent what felt like hours attacking each clone and dummy, watching them disappear into brown and gold dust. Soon, he was down to two left. One of them was the real Angel, the other was a dummy. The question was, which one was which. As Claude began to attack one of them, he didn’t appear to have any doubts, but in his mind, he silently begged, Please don’t be Angel.
With a hop, skip, and leap, he kicked one of them down square on the head, relieved of the dust that coated his shoes as he danced on the remains of the clone, almost mocking the teen’s attempt to attack. Angel looked down, nearly petrified of what she just saw her father do as they continued recycling steps. …Thank you for knowing that I wasn’t that one…or did you know that at all? she had to wonder as her feet tapped away the time. …He wouldn’t have done that if he thought that it was me…right?
The spider demon decided to mix things up and make it snow on her alone. It took only seconds for her taps to be inaudible, which might have her lose because of lack of sounds from her feet. She didn’t know if it would or not, but she didn’t want to take any chances, so she spread her wings and zoomed from the snowy square and on the roof, where she continued gracefully.
Come on, what else could I do? she asked herself before it struck her and she waved her hand to the ground. Right in front of Claude, black and red dust started to swirl and take the form of Sebastian.
With a smile, the Phantomhive butler watched the spider dodge Clone Sebastian’s punches, kicks, and silverware. “That’s new.” he stated with a smile. “I didn’t think she’d include me in this dance in that way…is that really what my hair looks like from the back?”
Ciel smiled with a small huff of laughter. “That girl is quite smart. I take it that you taught her this, Sebastian.”
“Not this directly, my Lord.” he answered with his right hand reaching across his chest. “I simply taught her the basics of the tap dance.”
“Sebastian,” Meyrin caught his attention. “When this dance is over, are you going to take your position back?”
“Most likely.” he answered. “If you recall, the master ordered me to be excused from my butler duties until I recover my daughter, and this dance confirms if she will be restored to her human form or left to remain as a cat. If Angel wins, she will be restored. If Claude wins, she will remain.”
“Your butler’s right, Ciel Phantomhive.” Alois stated cruelly as he looked at the maid, butler, and master. “When Claude wins, not only will your butler’s daughter stay as a cat for the rest of her pathetic nine lives, but she will also stay here with no hope of escape. It’s Claude’s brilliant idea. What do you think?”
“I don’t care much for that plan.” the Earl answered as he kept his blue eye on Claude, Angel, and the Clone Sebastian, sitting straight and placing his hands on his knees. “It leaves my butler depending on your butler’s daughter.”
“I know!” the Trancy boy giggled before turning to his maid. “Hannah! More tea!”
Things were going well in Angel’s favor with the Clone Sebastian fighting Claude with all the accuracy of the real Sebastian until Claude took the clone and threw it at her while freezing the roof she danced on. She flicked her wrist to destroy the clone, but the lingering dust caught in her face, distracting her just long enough for her to slip from the roof and face plant the hard concrete of the sidewalk below her. As she fell, Claude made his last steps of his dance before stopping. He danced a whole three minutes longer than her. The rules were clear when the challenge was accepted.
Sebastian widened his eyes and the other Phantomhive servants, including their master, leaned forward in their seats with shocked, wide eyes. Alois simply smiled as he turned to his maid. “Hannah! Get the cat!”
With much struggle, Justine clung to Finnie for dear life until their grips slipped and the cat was being taken inside, screaming, struggling, and squirming out of the demon maid’s grip as she cried. “No! Let me go! That was rigged! REMATCH! REMATCH! DADDY! HELP ME!”
Angel looked up with tear filled eyes as Claude towered over her with a grinning mask. Leaning over her and adjusting his glasses as she just laid there with shock dripping from her expression, the spider demon simply said two words that made the teen wish she never suggested this competition. These two words were the words she feared would escape the spider’s lips and would destroy her hope of, not only saving her friend, but learning about her mother; a woman she wondered about her whole life. “I win.”