Posted in Friends For Life, Stories

Chapter 15; Secret Help

Angel smiled as she and Claude put the pastries in the oven. “I’ll be right back.” he stated, ruffling her hair a little as he passed her.

The dog demon smiled as he left, but the smile faded when she saw Timber in the doorway without Justine. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “What happened?”

“There are three locks on the door.” he whispered. “I have the one Thompson got from Hannah, and I got the other from the master’s jacket pocket.”

“How’d you get close enough?”

“The jacket was hanging on the coat hanger, and the key was slipping out of the pocket as is.” he shrugged. “I still need one key.”

“Where is it?” she asked, truly confused and not understanding what he was hinting at.

“Three guesses.”

Angel slumped when it pieced together in her mind. “My dad has it, doesn’t he?” Timber could only nod. The teen sighed and smacked her head. “Right when I thought things couldn’t get any harder!”

The purple haired demon looked over on the counter and nudged the dog demon. “What?” Angel barked before her attention was brought to the golden shine in the light. She slowly walked over and removed the towel that covered the object. Her eyes widened when she saw the golden key on the counter just waiting to be reunited with its matching keyhole. The teen hesitantly took it in her hand and furrowed her brows. “…That was surprisingly easy.”

“What was easy?” came the voice of the butler in the doorway. Angel quickly hid the metal behind her back and smiled as Claude looked over at the triplet. “Get back to work.” he ordered as the demon left the room, leaving Angel alone with Claude. The teen smiled nervously as Claude smiled deceptively kind at her. “Whatever is the matter?” he asked. “Did you already forget that you wanted me to teach you how to dance like a true Trancy Butler?”

“No.” she scoffed, shaking her head a little too intensely.

He smiled wider as he adjusted his glasses and turned back to the door, strolling out of the room to a new location. “Then I suggest we start quickly while the master is occupied.”

With Angel left alone in the kitchen, needing to follow her father, she slipped the key in her coat pocket before she left.

When the two made it to a large, bare room, possibly the ballroom (but Angel made an effort to stay out of those types of girly-girl rooms, so she wouldn’t know for sure what the room was meant to be), for them to practice in, Claude looked over at his daughter. “I just remembered I need to finish something really quickly.” he stated as he started to leave the room. “Don’t do too much while I’m gone.” With that, he left.

The second he was out of sight, Timber came in the room as Angel just stared at the door her father left in wonder. She gave him the key absent-mindedly as she thought aloud, “…Something’s not right.” The triplet looked at her oddly before following her gaze to the door the butler marched trough. “…My dad’s up to something…” As the purple haired demon put the remaining key in his pocket, Angel drifted to the door. “…I’m going to…follow him.” Timber nodded and left for the door to complete his own task.

Angel curiously followed her father as he weaved through the halls with purpose. Watching him completely pass by the study, master’s bedroom, library, office, etc. she only grew more curious of his destination as she tried to fit the miss matching pieces in her head. He helps me find Justine, only to kidnap her. He allows me to keep her as a pet cat, only to take her away and lock her up in an easily escapable shed. He keeps an essential key to her current prison for himself, only to leave it laying around for anyone to pick it up. Even the way he worded his riddle when I first asked him to turn Justine human back when I called her Luna, ‘English into Purrs, Fingers into Paws’. If he really wanted it to stay over my head, he’d just keep his riddle out of it. It’s like he was trying to give me a clue as to what happened, only to put in such an effort to hide it all from me… What the heck is he up to?

She tried to remember what was happening in each instant. He probably only helped look for Justine so he could kidnap her. she concluded. As for the pet cat thing, he most likely only did that to keep his cover. At that time, I didn’t know that was Justine, but once I did know, that’s when he locked her up.

But, if he could lock her in a sealed vault, why’d he lock her in an old shed that she was easily able to dig herself out? That question still stumped her as she wracked her brain and followed him through the red and golden halls as quietly and unnoticeably as she could. She soon saw him march around the outside of the house around the basement area.

She watched carefully as Claude disappeared behind a door after looking around to be sure he wasn’t followed, at which time Angel hid behind the corner. Once the door closed, she tried to follow him, but she was greeted with two opposing hallways, both of which didn’t have Claude as she sighed and returned to the room he left her in.

What her eyes missed completely, same as most other eyes, was the slightly bouncing string of an invisible web, its eight-legged creator gliding down its path. When Claude was completely positive that he lost any nosey followers, he returned to his human form and continued to follow the web.

He nervously approached his destination, a hole in the ground shielded by bars in a barren, concrete part of the garden. His golden eyes looked down at the cat that lay in the room below him, finally asleep from crying consistently. With a deep breath, he looked around once again before sprinkling his hand over the hole. When the cat started to groan and stir, he made a hasty retreat until he heard the groans die down, allowing him to peek in once again. He couldn’t help but smile when he saw the whole form itself growing larger to its former size.

Straining his eyes to look at the now furless face, he wracked his brain on what was missing. Soon, it hit him and he pulled out the purple square glasses from his breast pocket and attached it to the end of a slowly extending web as he carefully lowered the spectacles. When they tapped the ground, he cut off the web from his hand and watched as the string fell on the glasses weightlessly.

With a smile, he turned back and walked away, adjusting his glasses once more. “Salt into Sugar, Kitten into Human, Tears into Smiles. That’s what makes a good father.”

He briskly returned to his daughter in the dancing room, where he gave off a polite, small smile. “Now, shall we begin your dancing lessons?”

.   .   .

Timber scrambled the third key in its lock and pulled the large heavy door open, awakening the room’s inhabitant. His red eyes widened as he saw the form push herself from the ground, her black sweater slipping a little from her shoulder. She looked around in a haze, seeing everything blurred together. Squinting her eyes at the door, she asked, “Who’s there?” as she backed away.

The triplet looked down at the purple glasses on the floor and picked them up from the stone, ripping away the odd sticky string on it before opening them and slipping them in front of her eyes. Justine readjusted her glasses before she looked down at her hand. It was then when she looked at herself more closely. Though it’s been weeks possibly, she recognized the red blouse and black pants anywhere.

To be sure it was true, she reached her hands to the top of her head and felt around. There was no point on her head, which indicated that the, pointed ears she’d grown tired of were finally gone. She bit her pink lip and smiled. “…Is it true?” she asked as she looked at her hands again. “Am I really back?”

The demon in front of her pulled out a hand mirror and showed her the reflection. With widened, interested blue hued green eyes, she had to touch every facial feature she saw, from her lips to her nose to her cheeks to her eyes to her eyebrows to her forehead before she grabbed chunks of her hair and just squeezed it in spasms. With a growing smile, Justine giggled, “I can’t believe it! I’m human!”

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