It was small, dark, and cold where Hannah tossed Justine. The cat looked around in fright as she backed in the corner with her ears pointed down and tail curled around her as meek protection. “Please.” Justine begged through her sobs. “Don’t do this. What did I ever do to you or your master?”
Hannah looked at her with a cold blue eye and answered, “You were born a Michaelis.” With that, she shut the heavy door and turned the lock, leaving the room only lit by a small barred window in the top with only the sound of heavy cries and water droplets. Justine curled in herself and hid under her paws.
Angel again locked herself in her room. This time, instead of saying anything at all when Claude came by to talk her out; she just lay on her bed and cried. Finnie did the same when he returned to the manner.
Sebastian however, didn’t do any of that, still being in exile until the task of saving his daughter was complete. He still had a backup plan, but it still depended on another Trancy servant’s support. He came up to one of the three triplets (he couldn’t tell which one) and sighed. “I know you and your brothers have helped my daughter in the past. Can you do it again?”
The triplet averted his red eyes and scratched his chin before he shrugged. “…Can’t you talk?” the demon asked as the triplet only shook his head. “Did your master order you to not talk?” He was answered with a nod.
“Alright, will you help Justine escape?” The purple haired demon gave a small smile as he pulled out a key. Sebastian smiled back as he exchanged his plan, telling him step by step what to do before the triplet nodded. “Excellent. What’s your name again?” When the triplet knocked on a tree, the crow demon smiled wide. “I am now twice in your debt Timber.” The triplet smiled and left as Sebastian returned to the woods to watch from the tree line. He has done all he could do for now.
Timber casually walked inside, passing his brothers. “Sebastian just asked if I can let Justine out.” he whispered to them soft enough so only they could hear.
“Is Justine the cat that Angel and Claude were fighting over earlier today?” Thompson asked.
“Well, either way, we can’t do it.” Canterbury huffed. “We don’t even have the right key.”
“Hannah, Claude, and Alois are the only ones with the keys to that room.” Thompson agreed.
“I know, but I couldn’t tell Sebastian ‘no’, I mean, we have helped him quite a lot in the past few days.” Timber reasoned.
“You couldn’t tell him ‘no’ because the master ordered us to not talk to others at all, that’s why we have to whisper, remember?” Canterbury reminded.
“But Timber’s right.” Thompson stated. “We might as well finish what we started.”
With a deep breath, Timber and Thompson walked up to Angel’s room. Each one knocked at the same time, telling her who it was. “Come in.” she called as Thompson and Timber came in. “Where’s Canterbury?” she asked before she got whispers in her ears.
“Canterbury had other things to do.”
“Listen carefully if you want your friend back.”
“I’m going to take the key to the room from Hannah.”
“After that, I’m going to unlock the room and let her out.”
“All we need you to do is distract your dad.”
Angel furrowed her brows as she froze in slight shock at the impossible request. “…W-what?” she asked.
“I know it’s a lot to ask.”
“Especially after this afternoon.”
“But we can’t distract him.”
“Otherwise, he’d know something was wrong.”
The dog demon returned to her bed and sighed as she plopped on the mattress and clutched a large, soft pillow in her arms, using it to hide her face in shame. “He’d know something was up the moment he sees me out of this room.”
“If you talk to him,”
“Act like you want him to tutor you in dancing,”
“Then he might just be happy that you want to improve.”
“And he’d happily help you for the only purpose of fun.”
Angel sighed before she put on a brave face and sat up. “If it’ll help…then I’ll do it.”
The triplets smiled and bowed slightly before they left, one going down the hall to follow Hannah, the other going in a random room to pretend to do chores while Angel left her room to search for Claude. “This’ll work. This’ll work. This’ll work.” she repeated to herself as she marched down the hall. When she found Claude mixing a batter in the kitchen, she took in a deep breath and came up to him with a smile. “Hey dad!” she stated as happily as she could muster.
The sound of her voice caused him to freeze and flick his head to face her before he sighed and returned to his mixing. “I thought you were upset.” he stated. “You seemed depressed after the dancing contest this afternoon.”
“Well, I got over it.” she stated as convincing as she could. “I actually kinda wanted you to teach me those awesome moves you did when you were dancing AND fighting that clone I threw at you at the same time.”
“You faired pretty well yourself in that dance.” he complimented, cracking eggs in the flowery batter before he sprinkled sugar in the bowl and whisked the mixture. “I didn’t expect you to last so long. What exactly happened to you in those woods yesterday?”
Angel shrugged. “Sebastian only taught me the basics.” she stated, leaning on the counter as she watched him mix the ingredients in the bowl. “Apparently, it wasn’t enough against your awesome skills. I want to learn how to dance from a master like you!”
Hearing this, Claude smiled warmly, much like he did when she was a little girl. “Alright.” he answered. “In the meantime,” he sighed, gesturing to the bowl of the golden batter that was powdered lightly with sugar. “do you want to help me make the master’s sweets? It could use some more milk and sugar.”
The dog demon beamed a smile. “Sure~!”
With Claude distracted and blinded by fatherhood, Thompson came up to Hannah, causing her to jump when she turned around before huffing out the breath she held back for the brief moment. “You scared me.” she breathed before she returned to her dusting. “What is it that you need?” she asked as she kept her hand busy with the stick of black feathers.
Thompson grabbed the maid’s shoulder and slowly turned her around to face him. He gently tucked her silvery white hair behind her ear and stroked her tanned cheek lightly. As he slowly and gently placed his other hand on her other cheek, he gently pulled her lips into his own. At first, Hannah tensed from the action, but as Thompson deepened the kiss and made it more lustrous, she melted and shut her eyes, kissing him back and wrapping her arms around his neck to deepen it further.
When Hannah was distracted, Thompson reached inside the back of her corset and slipped out the key he needed before hiding it in his own pocket and breaking from the kiss. Hannah smiled when she looked at Thompson’s lips and used her thumb to wipe it clean of the purple stain her lipstick left. The dark haired demon’s face turned bright red and he sprinted out the room, leaving Hannah giggling at his childish act.
Thompson rejoined Timber, who saw the kiss through the crack in the door and snatched the key from his brother’s love sick limp hand. Shaking his head in annoyance, Timber continued down the hall and down the steps. He continued on until he reached a large thick door with a seemingly complicated lock.
The triplet scratched his head as he looked down at the key in his hand, shifting his eyes between the key and the lock. It seemed like the lock had three keyholes instead of just one, which confused him. Shrugging, Timber preceded to unlock the bolt with the key he had.
At the sound of one lock click, Justine looked up in wonder. “H-hello?” she called as she sniffled and wiped away tears with her little paws, though she was sure whoever on the other side couldn’t hear her. “Who’s there?”
The purple haired demon knocked three times to try to tell her his identity. The cat tilted her head in confusion. “…Three identical knocks…triplets?” Timber nodded though she couldn’t see him. “One knock ‘yes’, two knocks ‘no’?” she offered as the demon knocked once.
Hearing the ‘yes’ knock, Justine sat on the stone ground. “Why are you here? Did Claude order you to take me to him or something?” Two knocks. “Alois?” Two knocks. “Hannah?” Two knocks.
Justine thought hard before she muttered, “I would say my dad, but as far as I know, you guys and my dad aren’t on the same side.” One knock. The cat perked up. “’Yes’, you guys aren’t on the same side?” Two knocks. “’Yes’, it was my dad who sent you?” One knock.
The cat demon smiled as Timber worked on the other locks with the key he had. “What’s taking so long?” she asked impatiently. “Don’t you have the right key?” Timber hesitated but knocked once. “How many keys do you have?” she asked as he knocked once to represent the one key he had. “How many keyholes are there?” she asked. Timber knocked once for each keyhole.
He smacked his head hard on the door as the answer hit him. Three keyholes, three people with the keys, three keys. While one in his hand was in the previous possession of Hannah Annafellows, there were still two more keys he needed. One from his master, Earl Alois Trancy, and one from the mastermind butler, Claude Faustus.