Posted in Friends For Life, Stories

Chapter 20; Come Together

Justine went on with her substitute butler duties, her mind wandering back to the facility. Ronald sounded so out of sorts and panicked on the phone. She only hoped he was handling things alright; he was always like a brother to her.

Ciel noticed her nervousness and uneasiness. “You are worried about your family.” he read her mind. “Since you are here on a week when you are scheduled to be in reaper training, I’m guessing something horrid happened with the reapers as well instead of just Sebastian.”

The demon reaper looked over at the young master, straightening her face. “It’s alright, my Lord. I am your loyal servant, nothing more, nothing less. That is the first thing my father taught me.” she stated with a slight bow of her head.

“You are a young woman, loyal to your father alone.” he pointed out, taking his tea from her black gloved hand. “That much is clear. You are only here because Sebastian is my butler.”

“My father and I share a seal, his master is my master.” she answered not rising from her bow.

“And you are just as loyal to your master; in this case, me, as Sebastian is?”

“If not as loyal, then more so, my Lord.”

To this, the boy Earl grinned and flipped up his eye patch as his eye glowed lavender. “In that case, Justine, I order you to bring your father back here.” he commanded. “Being my butler is his job, not yours. Your job is to simply learn to be a servant.”

Taking the left middle finger of her glove in her teeth, Justine’s eyes glowed pink as she took her glove from her teeth and moved her left hand over her right eye. The pentagram on the back of her hand glowed the same purple as Ciel’s eye. “Yes, my Lord.” And with that, she was gone.

“Wait!” Rachel shouted, running after the teen. “I have a feeling my brother is with Sebastian. Take me with you!”

The teen demon thought for a moment before nodding. “Very well.”

The two of them left the mansion and started to head to the Trancy manner. “If we’re going to find my dad and your brother, we’ll need help from Angel, she’s a great tracker.” Justine stated as she knocked on the door. “Just let me do the talking.” she continued as the door opened.

Instead of Claude, who she thought would answer, it was Angel. “…Justine?” she asked. “What are you doing here?”

“Angel?” the reaper asked, just as surprised. “What are you doing answering the door? Where’s your dad?”

The dog demon shrugged. “He just up and left.” she answered.

“And Alois still never ordered you to find him?” she asked.

The Trancy substitute butler shrugged. “Alois still doesn’t know.” she stated. “In fact, he’s still asleep! I get a day off from that little brat!”

The Michaelis demon sighed. “Angel, can you please just help us find my dad and her brother? You’re the best tracker I know.”

“I’m the ONLY tracker you know.” she snorted, crossing her arms before shrugging again. “But, for old times’ sake, I’ll help you out.” The three started down the road before Angel stated, “I just need to grab something from Undertaker’s, I left my gloves there, and my dad’s gloves are slipping off.”

The trio walked off to Undertaker’s, where it was dark and ominous. “…Uncle…” Justine called. “…It’s just me, your favorite niece, and my friends.”

“He’s not here.” A bored voice stated from behind the counter. Paul stood there, bouncing a ball on the counter top while resting his head in the palm of his hand. “My dad just left.”

Justine looked at the boy oddly. “…Your dad?” she asked.

To this, Paul just looked up at her. “Hey cuz.” he sighed. “What brings you and your friends here?”

“My dad’s missing, and so is Rachel’s brother.”

“My dad too.” Angel added. “But, that doesn’t matter, because we only came here for the gloves I left.”

Hearing this, Paul looked up and smiled much like his father. “You know, my dad told me a story that started a lot like this.” he stated. “A couple of seemingly random kids, who had no ties to each other, their entire families just, poof! Gone.” he stated in a low, mysterious tone, creeping around from girl to girl, as he ran his long, rough fingernails on their tense shoulders.

“The kids searched for years. Though they all became good friends, their families were never found. Then, right when they came close to finding them, POOF! They disappeared into thin air.”

The three girls felt uneasy, to say the least, about the story the boy told them. “Scotland Yard searched for the kids, but when they found them one by one, they were already in the clutches of my dad, so to speak.”

Rachel took in a deep breath. “Y-you mean-”

“Yes.” Paul answered before the question was asked. “They weren’t found until they were nothing but rotting meat, stale blood, and some bone. Somehow, my dad made them pretty again in time for the most important day in their whole existence, their funerals.”

Angel gulped. “Where were their families?”

“To this day,” the teen stated, returning to his place behind the counter. “Not a single soul knows. They never came here, but their faces were never seen again, except for the toys that were made in their likeness.”

Justine took in a deep breath before she looked at her friends with determination. “Then, I guess we should get started.” she sighed as she started to leave. “The sooner we find our parents, the sooner we can move on.” Quickly, she remembered Ronald and the situation at the facility. “But, we need to stop by the Reaper Training Facility. Ronald is in huge trouble with the new recruits.”

Angel perked up at the sound of her boyfriend’s name and rushed out the door. “Well, what are we waiting for?! Let’s MOVE!”

The four rushed to the facility and saw exactly what Justine imagined from the phone call. All the new recruits seemed to be revolting against the whole reaper system. Ronald, Jeremy, and a few others were trying to keep them in order, but between Ronald’s lawn mower running, Jeremy’s ax swinging, and several other scythes going, it was hard.

The dog demon looked around and simply shouted in a scary booming voice, “STOP!” and all the reapers (except Justine and Paul) froze in the exact position they were in. All the reapers in the room looked over to Angel (unless their heads were turned away from her) and had questioning looks in their green eyes.

Jeremy glimpsed over and saw Justine before he scowled. “I had a feeling you did this.” he stated. “Unfreeze me, Scaredy Cat!”

“It’s not me, genius, it’s Angel!” the demon reaper shouted at her brother.

“Who?” he asked.

Justine groaned. “Angel, this is my long lost half-brother, Jeremy, Ax Brain, Angel.” she introduced hurriedly.

“Great, you two know each other.” Ronald called from across the room. “Angel, pup, I think these recruits are calm now. Can you please unfreeze everything?”

Angel looked around, tapping her chin as she studied the reaper’s faces. “…I don’t know…are you sure these new recruits aren’t going to continue their riot?”

“Oh, no!”

“We’ll be good!”

“Promise!”

The recruits shouted encouraging things to convince her to revive their free will. She hummed a little more in thought, taunting them with the time ticking by before she waved her hand and everyone was free from the illusion’s grasp.

They smiled as Justine approached Ronald. “Did you ever find my mom or Uncle Will?”

“Sorry, Justine.” he apologized. “I couldn’t find them anywhere.”

The teen crossed her arms and bit her lip in thought. “Alright…you keep an eye on these new recruits, I’ll go out and search for them while I’m looking for my dad, Angel’s dad, Uncle Undertaker, and Rachel’s brother.”

“Uh, hello!” Jeremy called. “Remember me? Yeah, this is MY parents you’re talking about! MY dad in this mix, MY problem, I’m coming with you guys!”

Justine smacked her head and pushed him out of the way, following her friends out the door and dragging Angel from her make-out session with Ronald. “Thanks, but no thanks Ax Brain; you’ll just get in the way.”

The reaper threw his ax so it blocked her path to the door. “Rule number one in the Spears family,” he stated as he grabbed his scythe and continued outside with everyone else. “…never trust a demon to do a reaper’s job. I’m going, and you can’t stop me!”

The half-sister sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose as they walked past the courtyard and into the woods. “Fine, but no one else is coming! Our group is already too big as is!”

“Arf! Arf!”

“WREAW!” The sound of barking caused Justine to leap up and hang on a tree branch for dear life as her cat ears, tail, and claws popped out. She looked down the tree trunk as she hung upside down on the long, thick, high branch and her green eyes widened in surprise and slight fear at the barker. “PLUTO?!”

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