The Return of the Order: Act 21
Act 21: The Reaper's Library
The open country passed by in a blur as Louisa, Grell, and Raven ran through the night. As London approached, they took to the rooftops, avoiding those that frequented the streets late at night. Arriving at Undertaker's shop, they leapt down and entered. The shop was quiet, light as usual by a single candle sitting on the table at the back of the main room.
“Ah dearies, there you are, what took you so long?” Undertaker appeared from an open coffin propped against the far wall.
“Undertaker, you already know why we are here, and time is of the essence.”
“Yes, dearie, it is, and they know that too. The library is in quite the commotion tonight. Set aside my warning and be ready.”
Louisa looked at Raven, "This is what you have trained for my son, take your true form." Black fog engulfed Raven, his eyes flashed pink as he focused on his transformation. Grell gasped, his eyes growing wide as he Raven's feathered wings took form, his body took on the scaled skin of his mother, complete with tail and horns, but his face, that remained true to his father's demon form.
"Beautiful, a true chimaera," breathed Grell.
Louisa took advantage of the distraction to slip out of her dress and corset unnoticed and take on her own demon form. She looked from her son to the two reapers. Undertaker nodded, his scythe appearing in his right hand. Grell readied his own unique scythe, his attention still distracted by the vision before him. Undertaker's voice cut through his thoughts.
“Grell, my little rule breaker, if you join us, you will have broken the only rule that really matters, you will have moved against your own. You do not have to come.”
“Oh, I’m coming, I’m not letting that beauty out of my sight.”
Louisa growled, looking to her son she noted his complete indifference to the red reaper, his focus instead on the sword that he had fashioned. He was so like his father, she had little to worry about.
Undertaker opened the portal to the library, bringing them out just outside the main doors. He fished in his many pockets for the key. “Hehehe, it is a good job they cannot change the lock.”
They entered the library, the echoing of their footsteps on the stone floor was the only sound they could hear. Candles light the main hall, casting eerie shadows as the small group moved further into the building. Louisa could smell other presences in the room, she formed an ice shard ready. Her unease was shared by the others. Raven stayed close by her side, a low growl rising in his throat as a solitary figure appeared in the shadows. As the figure came out into the light, his features became clearer, only the expression on his face stopped any sense of relief from flooding through the group. Ronald's eyes cautioned that he was not alone; before he could utter any further warning, several figures appeared, surrounding the group.
"Bringing demons into the library, whatever next Undertaker?"
The speaker’s eye glowed bright green in the dim light, his thin lips curled into a cruel smile as he surveyed the sight in front of him. “And Grell, the red reaper, you are ready to betray your own for a demon who will not even give you the time of day. How pitiful you all are.”
Grell went to move forward the need to defend his Bassy always upmost in his mind. A cautioning hand on his arm stopped him, his eyes widened in surprise as he saw it was Louisa holding him back.
"We have come for William, nothing else, give him to us, and we will leave," her voice echoed throughout the room.
“Well, you will leave, but you are too late to save William, he has shared the fate of the one he condemned.”
Tension ran through the room as the speaker moved further forward. His face now clear. Louisa could not believe that it was Peter that now faced them. The gaping wound that should have been visible in his shoulder was gone, the hand that Lilith had shattered was also once again present. It seemed that reapers shared more of the regenerative abilities of the other older races than she had realised. Her thoughts were interrupted by Peter addressing the reapers that stood with her.
“Undertaker, Grell, you have one chance not to share William’s fate. Hand the demons over to us now.”
"Come now, Peter; this has gone far enough, if you are leading this revolt, then you have blood enough on your hands." Undertaker continued, "I have no interest in fighting my own, but I cannot allow this to continue, and you shall not lay a finger on any of Typhon's blood."
Peter laughed, “I am but soldier playing my part in putting the demons back where they belong.” He turned his attention to Louisa, “you could have avoided all this when you escaped the Order. All you needed to do was remain human. You had everything; Ciel gave you the Phantomhive name, even named you as his heir, but you had to fall for the disgusting demon and bear his spawn. Now I will finish what the Order was too weak to complete. Typhon’s line will be purged from the human realm forever.”
He raised his hand calling for his scythe and motioned for the other reapers to move in on the group. Ronald readied his weapon and moved forward, standing in front of Louisa, next to Undertaker.
"You to Ronald, what a shame, you could have taken William's place."
“The balance must be preserved, what you offer is not balance, it is annihilation, and I cannot side with that.”
“Then you will die for your heartfelt beliefs.”
The attack came from all sides. Grell’s chainsaw roared into life as scythes clashed on either side of them. Undertaker laughed maniacally as he blocked a lunge from one of the unknown reapers. Ronald swung a sword in place of his usual modified scythe, slicing into his opponent's ribs and causing another rumbling laugh to escape from Undertaker. Louisa's focus remained Peter.
As the group spread out pushing the reapers back, she uncased her wings and lifted above and out of the protective circle the other three had formed around her and Raven. Raven took the opportunity to move forward and join the fight, his own sword slashing through flesh and relieving one arm from its owner. He quickly dispatched a second his claws digging deep into the flesh of its chest and pushing it back onto the rotating teeth of Grell’s weapon. Raven met Grell’s gaze as the bloodied remains fell to the floor, as Grell’s grin widened, Raven’s breathing hitched. The brief moment was curtailed by the onslaught from yet another reaper.
Louisa stalked Peter as he moved back into the shadows. Unphased by the darkness, she could smell the reaper as he sort to separate her from the rest. She glimpsed the light glinting from his scythe and leapt, ice shard outstretched, aiming for the space between his shoulder blades, Peter turned at the last moment, using the shaft of his weapon he knocked the shard from her hand. Swinging back around with the blade level with her neck, Louisa hissed, ducking and swinging her tail around, catching him off guard. Losing his balance, Peter landed hard on his backside on the floor, his scythe falling from his grasp. Grinning, Louisa impaled the point of her tail through his shoulder.
“How did you escape from the demon realm?”
“I have friends in high places. Did you think getting rid of me would be that easy?” Peter sneered.
“I am told that killing a reaper is a difficult, if not impossible task only accomplished with his own death scythe. Shall we see if there is any truth in that rumour?”
She pressed the point of her tail deeper into his shoulder and formed an ice shard, aimed and released it at his right hand, Peter fought through the pain that coursed through his shoulder and called his weapon. Grasping it and blocking the shard before it could pin his hand, he swung around, sweeping the scythe across in front of her. Waiting to the last possible moment, Louisa ripped her tail from his shoulder, lifting it clear from the path of the blade. Peter grinned as he leapt back to his feet before Louisa could bring her tail back around.
“First you need to separate the reaper from his weapon and wield it, which a disgusting demon like you will never do.”
Louisa grinned, "Then I'll settle for merely slowing you down." She raised a wind around her, pressing Peter backwards. She directed the force of the wind at the high shelves on either side. Peter's eyes grew wide as the shelves began to topple, he struggled to move away from the falling weight, crying out as it landed across him. Louisa resisted the temptation set fire to the mass that held him down. There were somethings William would not forgive. Confident that he could not easily escape, Louisa lifted and flew back to the group.
As they came into sight, one of the unknown reapers found an opening. He raised his scythe aiming directly for Raven’s chest, she cried out to warn him, Grell saw the movement at the same time pushing Raven to the side he took the full blow of the scythe. Raven recovered from the shove, grabbed Grell’s weapon and finished the attacker, separating his head from his body. Grell lay prone on the floor, blood oozed from the deep wound to his chest and side. Raven stood over him, protecting him from further assaults as Undertaker and Ronald held back the few remaining reapers.
"Undertaker, we need to leave, we have the information we need, and Grell is injured. Open the portal, take us directly to the manor.”
Undertaker and Ronald moved over to where Grell lay. Louisa formed a wall of ice between the group and the reapers allowing Undertaker to focus on the portal. A crash deeper in the hall informed them that Peter was now free. He leapt out of the shadows just as Raven lifted Grell into his arms and disappeared, leaving blood and body parts to mix with the melting ice.