The Scourge of the Demon Hunters—Act 3
Act Three: Wounds Old, New, and Healing
As first light approached, Sebastian checked, cleaned, and redressed the girl’s wounds. She was healing at a remarkable rate; however, her continued lack of consciousness worried him. He was unsure if he had reached her, and if there was damage to her mind she may never wake up.
Placing the cover back over her, he moved to brush a single strand of hair that had fallen across her face. As he did, there was a change in her breathing and a slight flicker of her eyelids. A faint smile crossed his lips. He gently brushed her cheek, and again her eyelids flickered. His smile grew wider before he composed himself and set off to complete his daily chores.
“Good morning, young master. Along with your breakfast choices I bring good news.”
“Well spit it out, why must everything be riddles with you.”
“The girl’s wounds are healing exceptionally well, and she showed the first signs of returning to consciousness this morning.”
“Excellent, I will go to see her after breakfast.”
“You may wish to dress first, my Lord,” Sebastian responded with a smirk.
Ciel looked at him, his expression one of complete contempt. Ignoring the look, Sebastian continued:
“And, on today’s agenda, along with your usual lessons, you have luncheon with Miss Elizabeth.”
Ciel rolled his eyes. “I don’t suppose there is any polite way to cancel?”
“Not without upsetting the young lady, and that would be bad for everybody.” Sebastian almost added ‘particularly their eardrums,’ but decorum stopped him just in time.
Resigning himself to his fate, Ciel considered the potential consequences of Elizabeth discovering a naked and badly injured girl in his guest room. None of the outcomes were pleasant ones. Sensing his master’s concerns Sebastian, as ever, had an answer.
“May I suggest that you explain away our mystery guest as a distant relative who has been involved in a terrible accident and has no one else to care for her while she recovers.”
“Yes,” replied Ciel. “That should be enough to tug at Elizabeth’s heartstrings without raising too many questions. After all, there are distant and unknown elements in every family.”
“Yes, my Lord, there are.”
“What is wrong with you Sebastian? You are not yourself. And don’t lie to me.”
“My Lord, the whole thing just has me completely perplexed.”
“You mean why would a not-entirely young, human girl be part of an Order whose only mission is to kill demons?”
“Yes, my Lord,” Sebastian replied, keeping his other thoughts about the girl to himself. Omitting details was not the same as lying, after all.
Back in the guest room, the young girl opened her eyes, shadows filled her world. She blinked, trying to clear her vision. The shadows blurred and moved as her eyes worked hard to focus. Slowly, her vision cleared and light and colour began to enter her world once more. As the room around her came into focus, she could see that she was alone. She knew she hadn’t been alone earlier, and it was that presence that had brought her back this far. She tried to move, but even the slightest movement brought with it excruciating pain.
She heard voices approaching and fear began to rise, she tried again to move, but her body would not respond. Exhaustion took over and she closed her eyes once more. Sometime later, she sensed the presence again and forced her eyes open. Two shapes stood before her, as they came into focus, she could see that one was little, no more than a child. The other was much taller and stood to his side, like a shadow, engulfing him.
It was the child that spoke first. “Welcome back, we were not sure that you were going to make it.”
She tried to move, to pull herself up to see better, but the pain was still too intense. “Do not try to move. You were in very bad shape when we found you. It took all of my skill to piece you back together.” The voice belonged to the taller, shadowy figure. It held the same self-assurance as the first, but there was something else hidden behind the clipped tones and formal words. Just thinking about it sapped the last of her strength and she felt her eyes begin to close.
As she drifted away, she heard the two talking.
“My Lord, I believe we should leave her to rest. I fear we will get no answers yet.”
“Yes, you are right.” Said the younger one. “I will return to check on her later after I have suffered luncheon with Elizabeth.”
“As you wish, my Lord.”
Their fading footsteps were the last thing she heard before darkness engulfed her once more.
She faded in and out of consciousness, losing all track of time. She could have been there for days, weeks even. The only constant was the feeling of the presence close to her. The whispered words and movement around her wounds. Pain seeped through every transition from sleeping to waking, yet the presence soothed and encouraged her, wanting her to heal, willing her to wake.
Sunlight streamed into the room as she opened her eyes and saw him fully for the first time. He stood at the side of the bed. His striking features framed by raven black hair that fell perfectly across his face. He smiled as he saw her watching him.
“Good morning, you are back with us at last, excellent. I will fetch the young master and have the kitchens prepare you something light to eat.”
She tried to speak, but the words would not come. Her throat was raw and just the effort caused new pains to spread through her body.
“Don’t try to speak yet, you are still healing. That particular wound itself would have been enough to kill a mere mortal.” He said, gesturing to her neck.
Fear rose at those words and she tried again to speak, to plead her case. He simply smiled, raised his hand, and said, “I knew as soon as I found you, you have nothing to fear, my master has given you his protection, and I always carry out my master’s orders.”
And with that, he turned and left the room.
Moving as little and as gently as she could, she tried to take in her surroundings. The room was enormous, like nothing she had seen before. Everything in it was old like it had been designed to capture a moment in history and hadn’t moved forward since.
She should have been terrified waking up in a strange place, but she wasn’t. There was something that made her believe him when he said that she was safe, at least for now. Once the truth came to light, well that might be a different matter, her true nature could be her undoing. She slightly laughed at the whole idea of truth, what a god forsaken concept.