The Jester hummed as he sat on the ledge of the balcony of the mansion that he and Ace decided to be at. He had wanted to show her something that would cheer her up, even though it was more towards trying to cheer himself up as well as his mood had plummeted to down right gloomy for the past couple of days.
The outside and inner workings of the mansion was sort of what he wanted to show her, but what he really wanted to show his dear little Ace was what happened at the end of the day. When the sun takes their rest and the moon rises up to shine against the world. Blossoming the night sky with stars that lit everything up next to the moon that shinned down against the abandoned mansion.
What he wanted to show her was the ghosts that came out in the ball room. He didn’t want to scare her, so the clown decided to place music in the empty hall as the old fashioned dressed guests would dance around the tiled floor, and some even in the air. Twirling and drifting along with their own music all lost in the time where everything seemed to be perfect.
Now he couldn’t say what happened to cause such a event. But Jester had heard of the place through legends and his own travels. Heavens, this was one of his favorite places to be at! Despite the dreary tones and colors of everything, he loved how the ghosts would dance in the ball room and their blissful faces as they went along till the sun rose back up.
Trick of the moonlight? Haunting? Maybe. But it was something that he wished for Ace to see, even though she did give a few yelps and a scream at seeing it first before he calmed her down and urged her to continue watch them dance. As the ballroom held, some how a warm glow to it with the ghost dancing. All the grays and gloom seeped away with warm colors as they danced with the moon high lighting everything that happened in the ghost filled room.
He even got Ace to dance with him a little while among them! Holding her hands with his own as he lead her along the song that he had echoing in the room. Courtesy of his rather odd powers. If it weren’t for the fact that everyone, except for Ace, was dead in the ball room. Then the two would of been easily mistaken with the drifting crowd of phantoms. That, and if it weren’t for the light of the moon light pouring in through the dusty windows, then Ace would of been lighting everything up for the Clown. She was, anyways, his light in a very dark world.
“You didn’t have to say my name
Ignite my circuits and start a flame
But you did”
The clown continued to sing into the night air. Lyrics to the song pouring from his lips as he stayed in his formal clothes for the ball that he and Ace had attended to a few hours ago. It was a melody that he couldn’t get out of his head, and couldn’t help but to think that the song was meant for Ace after hearing it on his travels. Him and Ace. Now that left a small smile on his pale face as he sang the words. One would of thought that he would of been some cat sitting on the railing calling out to a lover.
" Oh, Turpentine erase me whole
(Cause I) don’t want to live my life alone
(Well I) was waiting for you all my life
Set me free, my..honey-
Ace fell asleep a few hours ago, being tired out from the dance and the fun time she had with him and, as far as the clown new, was sleeping in one of the cleared out rooms of the mansion he pointed out to for her. Going so far as to fluff the pillows, dusting everything that had dust on it so she wouldn’t be sneezing and the like. Couldn’t have her sneeze or catch something while they were here now could he?
"Jester…? What are you doing out here all alone?" A small voice called up to him as a familiar little mop head of brown hair appeared near the entrance of the balcony. Sleeping hazel eyes, barely open, stared back towards the white haired clown as she yawned. Hearing his voice drift through the mansion to wake her up far enough for her to drag her little feet over towards where she was hearing it come from.
" Oh, nothing love~ Just humming a tune to the moon. Need a audience for it " He answered softly back towards her as his crimson eye laid against her fragile looking form. Ending it with a chuckle as he saw more of her messy bed head as Ace puckered her lips towards the clown. She was with him more times then not and was starting to see the small lies he would some times tell her.
" Your lying… " She mutters, walking over towards him and pulling his sleeve back from over the ledge to get over here onto the ground. One ivory colored eyebrow rose up to this in question as he hoped over the railings. Without another word from her, she tugs a little at him(enough to tell him that he should bend down) as he sat on the ground. Still looking at her curiously before seeing that she wanted him to sit down so that she could use him as a pillow.
Leaning her small frame against him with a sigh leaving those lovely lips. “Don’t mind me” She yawned “continue, I won’t bother you. I want to still… listen. You sound nice…. I like it” And then she fell asleep against the clown.
He stared back down to her a moment before letting out a small chuckle. Petting down her tangled chocolate colored hair before continuing.
“You didn’t have to smile at me
Your grin’s the sweetest that I’ve ever seen
But you did. Yes you did”
Grell looked at her for a long moment. Eyes searching for something, flitting about her face, down her petite body, and back again.
Special…? Unique? Not that he could see, but then, only a mortals record could truly tell you their worth.
"I’m afraid darling, those are more than likely the words of a creature set on luring you in. Not to say each individual isn’t special in their own right, and I might be wrong, but I can’t say there’s anything truly obviously unique about you. I’ve seen a lot of mortals in my time, and many of them fall into the same pitfalls as you seem to have." He didn’t want to upset her particularly, but he wasn’t going to feed her lies. It would make him not better than those vicious demons.
"Though…as for what a soul looks like…Have you seen any of those modern moving pictures? They play images which move about on a screen…" Seems humans had finally learnt a thing or two.
"We call it a film strip. A record to be precise. And as a soul is gathered it plays along just like one of those moving pictures. Shows us everything an individual has done and experienced in their life time, and allows us to judge whether they should move on, or not."
"That’s okay actually. It’s— kind of a relief, that there’s nothing weird about me. I was just a little worried, since I keep running into demons, and other supernatural things. Heck I’m talking to a reaper right now. And then there’s my mom… she uhm… kept calling me an abomination, demon, and something like me should have never been born. I s’pose she was just really angry then." Despite remembering what her own mother told her, Ace did seem relieved to hear from this reaper that she was normal. It had been on her mind a lot.
The explanation about the film strips, or records, certainly drew her attention, and she listened closely, eyes not fixated on his bright ones rather than her fork or empty plate. Admittedly she hadn’t really seen the modern moving pictures on screens yet, but that didn’t make it any less interesting, so she still nodded as he carried on explaining further.
"So basically… you see everything that happened in their life? Gosh that must be a lot of work to judge then. Well unless someone dies really young…” Made her wonder where she stood currently. Would they judge her soul to move on? And in what direction would it be sent? What would happen if that demon didn’t consume it? She was tempted to ask, although at the same time she was worried. Right now was not the right time, so instead she opted for an other question:
"What kind of things would make you decide someone should not move on yet then?"
Blue seemed to physically relax at hearing this. His pulled up shoulders, sagging back down as a small sigh left his chapped scared lips at the news. Good. That was good. No need to go back towards the horrendous nightmare circus then.
At returning back home, he immediately perked up. A small and happy sound left the cannibal at the mention of home. Granted, he hasn’t been at Ace’s little shack for to long, but he considers it to be home. One that held no pain or problems for the cannibal. A place where he was safe.
Seeing his nerves visible sink away again, she smiled at Blue. It was understandable he didn’t want to have anything to do with that circus anymore. She herself witnessed what those people did to him, poor guy.
This time she was the one to give him a nudge, to start heading back home.
The necklace was still on her mind, but she’d try to drop it. Maybe, just maybe, if it was still there after a few days and no one came to pick it up, she’d bring it home after all. But for now, she’d wait it out. If nothing else, she could ask Jester what it was. Apparently the guy knew more about the circus, so he was likely to know about this strange necklace as well. Should she… pick it up after all and take it to him tomorrow?
"Hold on Blue…" was muttered, and she turned around to pick it up from the sand once more. With a sigh she stuck it into her pocket, then walked back. "I’ll have Jester look at it, he might be able to tell us more. For now, let’s head home."
"It wouldn’t surprise me, if she thought you to be dead." He answered her, his tone becoming harder. He truly hated this subject more than anything. He’d always been so close to his mother growing up. She taught him to read, she taught him his manners, she let him help her cook, she raised him and Eli practically on her own. He never saw his father, almost always it was his mother. And to know that he must’ve broken her heart when he was taken…it killed him.
"I’m sure my family thinks I’m dead too. I’ve been gone for four years. But it wasn’t my fault…I didn’t want to leave them." Ah, he was saying too much now. He knew he had an image to keep up. Him and Terrance pretended to be uncle and nephew, after all. His past and their story didn’t go together at all. "I’m sure he’ll just have you clean some dishes or something menial like that. He’s a bit soft, Terrance is. Ridiculous, if you ask me."
"I’m… sorry to hear. Atleast I can say I kind of know what it is to lose your family. Just… just stay strong alright? It’s hard, but it’d be a shame to see another kid lose his hope. I’ve seen too many already." She had been teetering on that edge herself, before mustering up the strength and courage to take a big step away from that edge and fight back against anyone pushing her. Maybe now she felt it was her duty to grab others by the hand and pull them away from it as well. As much as she could with what little strength she possessed. Theo really wasn’t a bad kid, she was sure of that. He was just affected by his situation.
But for now she left that subject, as it clearly was making both of them moody. Instead she smiled a little when the boy mentioned that Terrance was soft. Alma had said the same thing, so then it must be true. “Really? I don’t find it ridiculous if someone is soft. In a sense it actually takes a lot of courage to be soft in a world like this. They’re the bravest people, those who let others get close to them…”
Or so she had been told atleast. She rather doubted that she herself was all that brave, or had any courage at all. Maybe that was something one shouldn’t think too much about.
"Anyway, dishes— or cleaning other stuff. I think I can do that, shouldn’t be too hard. Wouldn’t be my first time cleaning things. But we’ll see tomorrow what needs to be done and what I can actually help with, right?"
“Take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don’t know who you are
But I, I’m with you, oh
I’m with you”
Short people are closer to the ground and closer to satan
Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
—- ▌♛ ❞▐ Generosity was a rarity when it came to the man so much like his sire but not something to be considered impossible by any means ; in that tar black soul of his there existed a kindness, it was not in his very core for little existed there, but layered on top surely something similar to a jaded light flickered still. He felt humored previously to top it all off and would have very well released her after ensuring that she kept her mouth shut about what it is she had seen — with precautions measures taken that if she blabbed, it very well be the last thing she’d end up saying ( a tongue was such an easy muscle to twist and pull free he’s come to learn ).
But now she had truly irked him, marred the very flesh that he had taken such pride in. From such a thing there was seldom a recovery from, sadly ; unless she begun to beg twice, if not thrice, as much. Alas, such a thing hadn’t seemed likely, and just oh, humans - especially children, just had such a habit of being less than fortunate when it came to such situations. He would know.
“You think I fear demons?”
He thought back to the fledgling whom had done harm to his now immortally bonded sister and couldn’t help but full lips up to once more showcase those matured fangs he housed so proudly in that pretty mouth of his. He thought back to all demons whom he had encountered in his long life and those whom he had found an equal lusting for only to devour so greedily ; for his gluttony outweighed his lust, by far, and his hunger for blood could surely rival their own for souls. A pity that his own was so disgusting and rotten to the core.
“What will a demon do to me?” Asked as he gave her wrist another sharp pull, daring to laugh without care - unphased and unthreatened by the petty girl before him ( wasn’t his arrogance and pride merely a sight to behold? ). Tear me to pieces? Devour a soul that will make him sick to his very core?”
But antics grew repetitive and boring, and so once her attempt at begging had once more reached his ears, the vampire came to a still and then shoved the girl back by her arm - releasing her from his hold all the same ( though it would not come to surprise him if her wrist was already sporting the beginning shades of what would likely be nasty bruising ). “Go on.” Was said as nails pried and pulled free the corroded and burnt skin of his cheek to discard it onto the ground without so much an ounce of further care, “If you run your mouth I will come to know of it in mere days, of course, and I am much better at bribery and persuading than you are, I am sure.” Plucking off a few more pieces of damaged skin which would simply not do, he cast an almost angelic smile her way, without a doubt making a mockery of her.
“Tell your demon I said hello~.”
She bit back a yelp when he yanked her arm once again. Maybe she should have remained quiet, not trying to throw more threats or spew other words at him, but her fear had increased tenfold when even burning his cheek had done nothing to help her escape him. Not to mention the complete lack of fear coming from him when she mentioned the demon who owned her soul. What indeed would a demon do to him?
Well, based on the damage coming from just that seal on her chest reacting to their second-long contact when she slapped him, maybe it was safe to assume Dove could in fact pose a threat to him. She knew that demon was not a pushover, but then again she knew nothing of a vampire’s actual strength. More than likely he was atleast holding back while gripping her wrist, and already it was getting close to a breaking point. Quite terrifying, and all the more reason for her not to draw out a fight. So she didn’t talk back to him anymore, except for requesting him to finally let go.
And let go he did, even going as far as to literally push her away from him. After the initial surprise had settled down and she managed to keep a balance despite the rough shove, a hand of hers went to the wrist of the other, carefully rubbing over the sore skin and wincing. She bruised very easily, her body oh so small and frail. And already the first marks would be visible, probably to only worsen as time progressed. Not that that made too much of a difference; her body was covered in them, most of them well-hidden underneath her clothes. Whether she could hide these suspicious new ones from her demonic guardian however?
Oh she’d have a lot of explaining to do…
She was about ready to make a run for it once more, yet (stupidly) halted once more to heed his words. And oh that mocking face of his didn’t go unnoticed at all. You’d think she’d be wise enough to keep her mouth shut and finally run, however first she decided to retort back:
"I already told you, I’m not telling anyone anything! I have my own reasons to avoid talking to authorities. Probably I won’t even have to tell my demon anything either, for him to figure out about you.
Also… sorry ‘bout your face… really.” It was perhaps more than a little strange for her to apologize so suddenly, but she did feel a little guilty about causing that burn.
Well, off she ran, with those words her final ones to him. Whether for just this encounter, or forever, was up to Judit. If it were up to her, oh she’d ensure another encounter never happened. By now as much as she wanted to see him locked away, she hoped no one would snitch on him. Something told her that she would be the first person he’d visit then, and whether she had done anything or not, he wouldn’t be as merciful that next time.
His eyes grow wide a little, quickly shaking his head no. He nudges her a little making a whining noise that he wasn’t going to let her go back there. At lest, not alone.
Despite being down right terrified of the circus that he was held in for countless years, he didn’t want her to go there alone. Who knows what they would do to her?!
"Blue…" was uttered softly. She understood, she understood him far too well. He came from that horrible place, and it had taken Jester so much effort to protect her and Blue when they escaped… If they found the two of them now, they were in big trouble. No, she couldn’t afford to have that happen.
"You know what, I can’t risk going there, you’re right. If they want that necklace back, they can just come and get it themselves. Here look, I’ll just put it back where we found it and then hopefully the owner will just pick it up and leave it again."
With those words she dropped the object back in the sand where it had been dug up. Something about it did not sit well with her, and she felt it was best to leave it behind for their safety.
"There, let’s leave it and go back home, no worries~"
"Things I enjoy…?" Grell pondered, taking a sip of his wine. "Well, I have a love for the arts. Theater is a favorite of mine. There’s something delightful about going out for an evening, dressed up in all your finery and getting to watch players act out tales. But I suppose if I were to choose something closer to home…"
He sat back, relaxing, enjoying the conversation.
"I love to read. I have stacks of books at home. Poetry, sonnets, plays, wondrous works of fiction by some of the biggest names of the day. Of course I’ve read most of the classics as well," he smiled smugly. "Aside from that, I have this darling little music box, plays the prettiest tunes. Hmm…other than that…I enjoy my field work, I really do. Most hate their jobs, but being out on collections…its great fun."
He could go on all night…
She could feel the tension sink away, listening to Grell’s interests, and that was nice. In the meantime she could peacefully drink her water and learn more about him; because he was so much more than just ‘a reaper’. He may not be human, but he was a person, with his own personality, interests, hobbies, quirks and mannerisms…
Interests she could get into. She may not be as well-versed as Grell in reading, plays and theater pieces, but she did love listening to and learning stories.
And that was probably also the reason she had so much difficulty letting go of the demon who currently owned her soul. Dove was a living being with his own unique traits as well. And once you got to know him better, he really was far from a cruel monster only out to feed on your despair. It could all be a facade, but something made her believe he was genuine. Grell would never believe that though, and just laugh at her for being so naive.
"What do souls look like even?"
With those words she broke the short silence that had fallen from Grell pausing his story. “I mean, since you guys collect them and send them on the right way… and demons hunt for and eat them… What are souls like, what do you see? And what’s so special about mine that they are so interested in it? I was told it’s unique for a human’s, but nothing more than that…”
Winnyao watched with great interest closely to how the pan would appear. She gasped and leaned back a little with an amazed expression. Applauding Ace with an sounding tone of voice, “Oh wow!” Even if Ace did not think there anything amazing about summoning her weapon, Winnyao surely did.
"Amazing! No wear or tear over the time of using the pan. Nor are you ever without a means to defend yourself." Winnyao spoke in praising tones. To Win, this was completely new so she rather enjoyed being able to see, what she considered, something rare.
Glancing over at the stove top, a bright red medium sized circle appeared on the cook top. “Oh! The cooking range is ready.” she smiled to her friend before an idea occurred to her. “Ah! Perhaps, is your frying pan…okay to use for cooking?” she asked gently. Win did not want to accidentally offend Ace.
"I know right? This is my most trusted weapon, and it’s always ready to be used ehehe! Although it couldn’t quite stop my dad from trying to eat me… There are some people it just doesn’t work on." Although maybe it had worked? From what she could remember, back then he had picked her up and she managed to chuck the utensil right at his nose. After that, he suddenly placed her down on the ground and let her go again, not a single hint of an intent to eat her left. Had she actually whacked some sense into him, or did he change his mind because she had behaved so fussy? Maybe in the end, it had been her puppy eyes which had saved her.
Being carefully asked about using the weapon for what frying pans usually were made for, Ace giggled and nodded. With a grin she reached out the pan to Winnyao and spoke: “Sure, go ahead. Like I said, I can re-summon it good as new the next time I use it again. So do whatever you want with it. Besides, I’m curious to see how you cook things with them, so show me please!”
"Tsk, you sound totally opposite to me and Elle." The elder giggled, trying to soothe the awkward expression that had suddenly emerged across the younger girl’s face. True, Christine did believe to follow doctor’s orders as they seemed more qualified than her in judging what would be best to treat whatever ails her. But she was not here to chide her little friend, if that was how Ace felt in reference to doctors, then that was her opinion and it was not the elder girl’s place to correct her; that was something her father had to deal with in the long run. "We would sometimes fake illnesses to get ourselves out of school work, our tutor used to be a very strict and dull man… So on occasion, we would both be terribly naughty and fake stomach bugs. Then we’d practically relish in being able to sleep all day, have warm baths, get cuddled by our mother… But if someone caught on we were faking it then we’d be told off thoroughly and not allowed to play with any toys for the following day."
Oh how she missed such simple days… Though the topic of art caught Christine’s attention once again, the plate being carefully placed on top of her own before she rose from her seat. “Have you seen any of the Italian Renaissance paintings? They’re the most beautiful in my opinion, the symbolism and attention to detail in them is truly breathtaking.” A delicate hand gently brushed away any remaining crumbs from the elder girl’s skirts, a soft chortle escaping her as she addressed Anne again “I’m afraid that I shan’t be as amazing as some other painters, I only paint as a hobby…” But even though Christine seemed reluctant, she offered a hand to the younger girl, quite willing to lead her away into the house to view her work.
Ace couldn’t help but giggle at Christine’s story about how naughty she and her sister were. She herself didn’t often fake being sick, in fact it was bad enough if she really was ill. On the streets no one was going to take care of you, it was a handicap preventing you from succesfully making it through the days. And unfortunately, with her frail body and weak immune system, it wasn’t that unusual for her to end up sick. Especially open wounds had a high risk of infection in those dirty places she visited; it was truly a miracle she survived that long.
"You’re not the only ones though. Sometimes when my father was really busy for a really long time, I’d fake being sick as well… I noticed that during those days I was sick, rather than telling the servants to take care of me, he himself would come check on me often to make sure I was okay. He’d stay by my side… I liked it when he actually noticed me, so when I really felt lonely I uhm… I faked it sometimes." She had done it both at the Featherstone manor, and after Dove had picked her up. Actually the demon was quick to see through her lying, but he pretended to not notice. The fact she went through such lengths for attention from a creature not exactly known for its loving and affectionate side… Well it moved him. And in a way she still needed him.
Moving on to the topic of art though, the girl couldn’t help but furrow her brows a little. Sure, she loved art and seeing all the different styles, but Hell would freeze over before she learned and remembered all the names for these styles. She nodded at Christine’s words of excitement, although couldn’t really confirm the beauty of Italian Renaissance paintings for herself. Frankly Ace couldn’t care less about which style was considered the most beautiful; to her everything was equally wonderful.
Grabbing her friend’s hand gently in the meantime so Christine could lead her to the paintings, she smiled in a friendly manner and spoke: “It’s all fine. You don’t have to be like other painters, you should find a way of painting that you like best and you feel happy with. Especially if it’s a hobby to you. Hobbies are supposed to be for enjoyment. Besides, I bet the other painters started out like that too. You’re not suddenly this really great painter, you have to practise lots.”