cue the carousel [malice + the glass angel]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by malice, Aug 27, 2016.

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  1. [​IMG]
    Raindrops ran down the window pane, creating streaks of water on the glass. A lightning bolt struck lazily, and a quiet roll of thunder followed. Fragile clouds let loose a few rays of sun, illuminating small parts of the city. The woman lounging in the window seat languidly drew a few finishing strokes on a piece of paper, then set the sketch aside, allowing her eyes to roam to the outside. She rubbed them gently, blinking out the dreariness that came with stormy days. No balloons today, she thought with disappointment. They were beautiful with their bright colors and elaborate designs.

    Her bare feet slipped onto the ground, finding her shoes and sliding in. She stood and stretched her arms upwards, bending slightly backwards then rolling her shoulders. Light brown hair fell in a loose braid down her back, and she reached back to undo it, running her fingers through the unwashed disaster. Grabbing a dark robe, then the drawing she had been working, she made her way out of the day room.

    While walking, she slipped into the robe and hugged it around her delicate frame. The hall had finally been stripped of all paintings, she noted with some frustration. Along with the rest of the paintings in the house, any object of value had gone missing. When confronted, her father had mumbled a lie about charities then waved her away. Even the good silver was gone, and most of their servants as well. All that remained was the cook, two house girls and the gardener, Pierre. He had been with them since her mother passed, and though he was well past working age, he seemed to have no desire to leave.

    She slowed before reaching her father’s office. Creeping along the wall, she stopped by his door and slowed her breathing to hear the quiet voices drifting towards her.

    “No, quite frankly that will not do. I have already sold all that is – if you are suggesting – absolutely not.”

    The second voice was much softer, gentle and almost incoherent.

    “My life would be on the line if… my daughter’s life,” there was a breathless pause, and she could feel his frown deepening, “He is to be here today, is he not? Three o’clock? Can I be assured that he will be more reasonable this time?”

    “If you would allow...”

    “No, I’m afraid he cannot meet her. There is absolutely no cause for her to be drawn into this catastrophe. You can tell him that I will see him today and if he thinks-”

    There was a brief shuffling and their words became heated. She slid into the room across the hall and waited until the visitor had left, and her father had settled. Of course it had all been sold; there was no charitable donation, no kindhearted acts of service. He was protecting himself, as usual. From what, was the question. He was the king’s favored inventor, adored by all royalty and invited to court more often than not.

    Cautiously, she entered the room.

    “Ah, Bellatrix,” he beamed, genuinely enough that she briefly forgot the encounter she had witnessed, “Dismal morning, is it not? However,” he drew back the blinds, allowing the lazy sunlight to come through the window, “It looks as if it will be clear by noon, and from what I’ve heard, the fair will go on unhindered.”

    Bellatrix approached his desk, still holding the sketch lightly in her hands, “Oh, I don’t know if I’ll be attending today,” a sly smile crept onto her lips and lingered, “I think I’ll stay home and continue the book you bought me. It’s thrilling thus far.”

    Concern shot through his eyes, then a stern looked settled in, “No doubt it is excellent, why don’t you bring it with you? You’ve stayed in the past two days, it’s time to get out. Vivienne and Colette are surely worried sick about you.”

    “Having another secret meeting today, are we, father?”

    His eyebrows arched into his receding hairline, “How did-what are you implying?”

    “You shoo me out constantly, and besides, I’m no fool. I assume he’s coming to buy our last paintings? Maybe our chandelier? May as well be out with it, it looks dreadfully out of place now that our home is practically empty.”

    Stammering and reddening, he slammed his fist on the desk, crushing a few important looking papers, “Enough of this! Whatever you believe to be happening is not, and I would advise you to keep your nose out of affairs that do not concern you!”

    “Why don’t you sell the house and be done? That ought to be enough to pay off whatever horrible debt you’ve managed to get yourself into,” she paused, tilting her head, sucking down anger. She was no longer a child and expected to be treated appropriately, but his sudden look of despair softened her.

    “I would never… your mother...” his shoulders slouched, and he gazed down at his hands.

    Bellatrix, feeling pain radiating from him like a beacon, went around the desk and hugged his neck, “Forgive me father, I was out of line. You are right, your business is your own, and I know you would never sell our home. I will stay out of it from now on,” she lied sweetly, kissing his cheek then withdrawing.

    “Thank you, my sweet Belle,” he relaxed considerably and waved towards her paper, “Now, show me what you’ve got there.”

    “Only a fair ride design, for children, nothing complicated,” she handed him the sketch.

    “Ah yes, a carousel...quite nice, these elaborate horses, very beautiful. But there are a few technical flaws...” He studied it for a moment, took a pencil and drew a couple additions, then smiled and handed it back, “Now shouldn’t you be getting ready for the fair?”

    “I suppose I should. Vivienne will be by to see if I’ll be going, I’m sure, I will have her take me.”

    He nodded, and Bellatrix left.

    Sure enough, after she had bathed and while assessing the clothing laid out on her bed, a short, energetic female burst into her room. Bellatrix laughed, grabbing a dress and covering herself, “Viv! I thought I taught you how to knock.”

    “Oh put it down, you prude! Besides you won’t be wearing that-” Vivienne snapped her fingers impatiently and a young girl brought in several boxes, “Now I know it’s a bit late, but don’t think I forgot about your present.”

    “Late? I turned twenty-two last month!”

    “Well. Yes. There’s that, but-” she opened the first box and pulled out a gorgeous dress and corset. The skirt fell long in the back, only to shorten slightly in the front. It was a dusty green, lined with brown and full enough to use as a pillow. Vivienne held it up against her body and twirled, “-you can’t tell me it wasn’t worth the wait. And there’s more!” The two of them dug through the boxes, pulling out a pair of tall boots and patterned stockings, along with an assortment of gadgets and trinkets.

    As predicted, the weather was clearing by noon, and come one o’clock, they were finally ready. Vivienne attended to the finishing touches while Bellatrix pulled on multiple heavy bracelets and set the gear decorated top hat on her head. She gently attached the detailed eyeglass, her favorite accessory, and played with the lenses until Vivienne slapped her hand, “Be careful with those!”

    Armed with her best parasol, she left the house after briefly saying goodbye to her extremely distraught father. Their carriage made it’s way to the fair and dropped them at the front, but after less than two hours perusing the grounds, another storm rolled in. The rain came fast and hard, drenching the pair within minutes. They huddled under the scant protection their umbrellas offered while waiting for the coach. Once inside, they giggled and began peeling off their more delicate accessories, gently laying them out while assuring each other the wet would not harm their clothes.

    On the way, Bellatrix had been too tired to remember why she had been told to go the fair in the first place, but by the time she reached home, the fog had cleared. She entered the house softly, setting down her trinkets by the front door and holding a finger to her lips to warn the staff to stay quiet. Before inching down the hall, she slid her boots off. The damp stockings made her unsteady, though she had almost made her way to her father’s office without a sound.

    While she was priding herself on her stealth, her foot slid. She tried desperately to regain balance, but her heavy clothes brought her crashing to the ground with a loud curse.

    “That must be one the girls, such klutzes they are,” she heard her father saying adamantly, but his voice was growing closer, “Let us continue-no, let’s not...oh, why hello Bellatrix. I see the fair was rained out,” he forced a smile and reached out a hand to help her up, but she rose on her own, straightening her shoulders and facing the stranger who she assumed, perhaps wrongfully, was the one causing the unknown disaster.

    Bellatrix smiled with all the charm in the world, held out her hand, then opened her mouth, “You, sir, can go straight to hell, but before you do, be sure to return our paintings. I was quite fond of them.”
  2. [​IMG]

    The Beast, they called him.

    Antoine le Berre sat back and watched the rain. The monotony of the clocks around the hallway ticked back and forth. They came in all shapes and sizes with varying types of gear and magic within them. Though, he was nowhere near them. Instead, the blonde blocked out most of the noises with his own bedroom door. His bedroom was simple, beige walls and a large queen-sized bed alongside a single wardrobe and coat rack.

    There was one large window, half his size and twice his width was fully open with only white curtains to block out the wind. With a puff of smoke from his cigar, he stayed a respectable distance away from the rain. However, most raindrops did stain his clothing and wet the wooden floors.

    Staring blankly at nothing but the city framed by the glass panes, the man bitterly held his cigar out in the rain. The water put it out as he threw it down many floors below him and onto the gritty sidewalk. Some of the rain had gotten on his hair, brushing the long, blonde tresses aside until he heard a knock on the door. Without waiting for the door to open, it did.

    An arrogant young man with short, brown hair and a forest green cloak welcomed him. Green eyes shone eagerly at the sight of his comrade. He leaned against the doorframe with his arms crossed, almost waiting for Antoine to face him.

    “Etienne. How are the horses? The equipment?”

    “They’re alright, Beast. We’ve got enough for the ride there. Tarboy can’t be far off from the latest mission.”

    Antione towered over the man, as he stood at around 6’4. Stroking the stubble he possessed on his chin, he gave him a focused gaze. “We need more than that. The King’s men are after us, Lumiere. Tarboy’s been fending them off while the rest of the Empire’s been standing guard. How can we possibly let our fighters practice magic?” Flashing him an exasperated sigh, he threw a punch at a nearby wall. Etienne, or Lumiere, seemed unfazed by this, patiently waiting until the leader had calmed down.

    The Empire consisted of the King’s yesmen, the devoted citizens, usually other noblemen that kept the “peace” of Paris. They were ruthless, protests and buying machinery was too risky. Magic was an inherent talent of each citizen, though only the skilled were able to master it and truly bring forth danger. However, this was forbidden. Just like everything else in this damn world. But they were so close… Antoine’s resistance was so close...

    “There is hope for us, yet, monsieur. Anger doesn’t look very good on you.”

    Everything looks good on me, Etienne.” He growled in a low tone, though his icy blue eyes expressed a snarkiness to him. “You’re making me impatient. What of Maurice? Has he paid off his debts to the Ferals?” The Ferals, being the large underground resistance was named after what the Empire called lowly peasants like themselves. And they wore the name with love.

    The brunette snorted in response. “I’ve tried to be kind… but I’ll bet he’s making more money with the King. No wonder the Broomsticks questioned his loyalty to our group, and the debt he’s gotten himself into, malheureusement.” Lumiere tipped his hat mockingly. “What of the paintings? We’ve amassed quite a collection.”

    Antoine looked confused. “What of the paintings? I’ve no use for useless pieces of art. Keep some in case, but we’ll let the Broomsticks trade away the others. We need his daughter to ensure our connections to royalty… as well as his own devotion. If I could, I’d have ‘em all hang.”

    The man in front of him laughed. “Best be careful, Antoine, your Feral accent is showing. Monsieur Maurice is expected to meet you at precisely 3 on the dot.” Raising an eyebrow, the Beast gently pushed him aside and grabbed a brown, leather trenchcoat. “Have some fighters outside in case.” Was the last thing he said before heading towards the clock-filled hallway.


    Antoine’s visit to their home was still uneventful. He was ready to remain his jaded, cynical self as soon as he walked in. Beast noted the lack of paintings and general decoration in his home, but formed no opinion of it just yet. Nonchalantly, he drank the cup of whiskey that had been offered to him upon entrance. For the whole ordeal, he listened silently as Maurice began to pour out all his troubles. Again, he showed no visible emotion or even the slightest sympathy and looked onwards to the office.

    He raised a brow at a crashing sound and eyed a woman, rather drenched, walking into the officer. His daughter, his mind presumed. Antoine always thought royalty, or those close to royalty were refined in their language. “Must’ve missed the fair.” He shrugged dismissively to no one in particular.

    Bellatrix. Your only daughter?” Antoine asked, tersely.

    “Ah yes, Monsieur.” Maurice nodded, wiping some sweat off his brow after offering his daughter his hand. Bellatrix appeared to be of age for a fighter in his group. Did he plan to spoil her before we collected our debt? He asked himself.

    Crossing his arms, he watched her carefully rise with a cautious gaze. The woman appeared to be harmless, but Antoine didn’t like showing even the slightest of vulnerabilities. From the smile, to the hand held before him to her rather rude statement, Antoine merely shot her a silent half smile.

    “The Mademoiselle is rather clueless, no? I’m certain she takes after you.” Dismissing Maurice, he looked at him with his blue. “Your cheque will be delivered in a few evenings time. As for our little princess here...” Antoine scoffed, waving his hand and putting the other to rest on his chin. After pondering it over for a bit, he returned the handshake with a casual bow. “Believe me, the only hell we live in is here, mademoiselle.” Kissing her hand obnoxiously, the tall man began to abruptly walk away.

    “The coach is waiting outside for you. Cannot do much with the paintings sadly. They’ve gone to much more useful uses than hanging them up in your wall. We’re all fond of many things, though, not all of us can have them.” Beast waited near the door for Bella to catch up. Looking outside for the group of assorted men and women walking around, disguised as regular citizens, he spoke again.

    “Give your daughter two hours to pack her things.”
    #2 Ace of Angels, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  3. “Clueless? Why...I-” Becoming increasingly flustered, she yanked her hand away and turned to watch him walk away, “Trust me, monsieur, the hell you will be in after I-”

    Maurice clasped a hand around her wrist and pulled her into his office, abruptly cutting off the slew of insults she had mentally prepared, “Bellatrix, my sweet, listen to me.”

    “You should have told me! Whatever nonsense you’ve fallen into, you should have told me. I could have helped. Now I’m supposed to be, what, packing my things? To go where? With him?”

    He sighed, deeply resigned, and wandered to his desk, sinking into the chair, “I am sorry, but there is nothing more I can do… I have put it off for far too long, and if it were up to him, I would be hanging already.”

    Bellatrix paled and rushed to the desk, wishing beyond hope he would explain this catastrophe. She grasped his hands, cold and clammy as they were, and pressed her lips against them, “I will not let any harm come to you, father, you know this to be true, but there must be another way. We can slip out the window and-”

    “Hide? Forever? No,” his voice broke, “You must go. It is the only way to ensure our safety.”

    Bellatrix straightened and look down on him, a frown lingering on her soft lips. Before he said another word, she left in a hurry, rushing to her room and slamming a trunk down on top of her bed. A hundred equally disastrous options rushed through her mind – fighting was obviously out of the question. Naturally, she had been trained in swords and guns when she was younger, but since the staff had diminished, she was out of practice. Furthermore, she had no skill in magic. Being the daughter of an inventor meant that engineering came before voodoo. Running did in fact seem foolish; even though the anger towards her father was steadily rising, her love for him was much stronger. She would not stand by and let him be killed.

    Quickly, she peeled off her sopping clothes and slipped on a dry, simple dress, corset and stockings. Then she furiously began throwing clothes and books into her large traveling bag, and when she had finished, she sat on the edge of the bed until the full two hours had passed.

    After dragging her trunk through hallways and down the stairs, she found her father standing by the large front door, which stood wide open. She gave him an obedient kiss on the cheek, then proceeded outside. Her hair fell in loose, sloppy curls over her shoulders, but her chin was raised as she stopped next to Antoine.

    “It appears I am to come with you, monsieur,” Bellatrix began, petulantly, drawing on all her latent rottenness, “But don’t expect me to be pleasant about it. You will burn eventually, as monsters do, and I will simply wait for the day to come. Now, is someone going to get my luggage or must we stand around gawking at each other all evening?”
    #3 malice, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  4. [BCOLOR=transparent]Didn’t this woman understand that this was something urgent? Each second she was wasting was expending every resource and risk Antoine was taking. This bi-- The Beast grit his teeth in impatient anger, but was cut off by the driver of the coach. The woman offered a cigar, which Antoine grabbed equally, blowing the smoke as if it could calm him down. She pat him reassuringly on the shoulder. “Merci, Sabine. She’s taking her sweet time while the rest of us are--”[/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]I know. Sympathize with her, Beast. Her situation hasn’t been the most ideal… give her time.” Her brown eyes looked to the staircase. ‘Sabine’ was wearing a men’s shirt with a flowing skirt underneath. A knife was tucked in between her petticoat while her brown hair was braided loosely. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“We don’t have time.” He retorted angrily. “Every second we wait for this bitch is a second we could be doing something else.” Antoine sighed, taking another huff. Sabine appeared to resign whatever she was going to say next. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“The others… have found spare parts in the junkyard.” Sabine’s statement caused Antoine’s ears to perk up. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“What?” [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Oui, remember to treat Tarboy to some drinks. Lumiere, too. Don’t forget to bring back scotch back at base.” Sabine smirked mischievously. For the first time in this house, Antoine had to control a grin spreading over his face. “Of course, Sabine. She’s here.” He nodded. Women weren’t allowed to go to taverns, deemed selfish and unsuitable for the grace of the feminine form. That thought that they weren’t allowed to drink made him sick. Just like everything the Empire and their King did. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Taking another puff, he rolled his icy eyes at the sight of the woman. “What made you think otherwise?” He asked half-heartedly, a hint of nonchalant sarcasm in his voice. “No, mademoiselle, I don’t care if you’re pleasant. As I said, if you think I’m the worst monster in existence, I must have underestimated your ignorance.” [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Opening the door, he raised an eyebrow. “If anyone is gawking, it is[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] you[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent], mademoiselle. You’re a woman of age who is capable of carrying her own bag. We’re wasting time.” Impatiently, he grabbed her wrist and Sabine helped her with the woman’s things. Antoine leaned against the vehicle to look around. The fighters were all gone. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Good, they were following orders. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The woman gave Bellatrix a sympathetic look, and got into the driver’s seat of the coach vehicle. Like everything around Paris, it ran on steam, magic and horses. Except the horses, obviously. Antoine sat on the front seat across from Bellatrix while her and her luggage were beside each other. This was going to be a long ride. Antoine looked to her, thinking of what his friend Sabine had said, feeling pity for the woman. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“My name is Beast. Quite[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] fitting [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]for your opinion of me. Bellatrix, was it? Might as well explain your situation now that we've already wasted enough of my time, no?” [/BCOLOR]
  5. Bellatrix waved the thin smoke away from her, then put her hand over her mouth and let out a quiet, albeit exaggerated cough, before narrowing her eyes. His manner was infuriating. All must revolve around him, she believed, and if anyone were to impede that, well - she could see the lingering anger in his face. Despite herself, she smirked, knowing that the excruciating hour and a half she spent twiddling her thumbs had been well wasted.

    “Clueless and ignorant, my, am I in for a treat. What elegant company I am about to keep,” flashing a gregarious smile, she swept into a low, mocking curtsy, slowly bringing her gaze back up to meet his. Her jeering was cut short, and her hands flew to her waist before he could grasp her wrist, “Carry my own bags? Why, I already lugged them through the house! No thanks to you, all of our staff has vanished. I assume we can’t afford to-” she jerked away from him when she noticed Sabine reaching for her things, “-oh no, ma chérie, I cannot allow you to be humiliated for me.”

    Sabine stepped away from the trunk, unsure, while Bellatrix hauled her bag and hat box into the carriage. She noted that the woman was driving, and it unnerved her. What kind of hodgepodge organization was he involved in where the women carried suitcases and drove coaches? Being raised in her household meant abiding by every social form, no matter how petty. Never leave the house without a parasol, always let the man walk by the street, never slouch, always say please, thank you and you’re welcome. Good behavior was ingrained into her being, though now, she was struggling to keep her composure.

    Leaning back in her seat, she set a shaky hand on her bag, trying to calm her suddenly furious nerves. The adrenaline was wearing off, and now she had reality to deal with. As it happened, Bellatrix was not the best when it came with coping. Her life had been simple and laid out before her. She was never unkind, but was never faced with anyone who would require her to act out. When her mother had died, she had spent nearly two years in silence, and after that, the world had taken on a dream like state.

    “Beast?” her laugh was loud and brusque, “You’re correct, it is indeed appropriate-” except for the fact he did not look quite like a beast. She appraised him carefully, noting the hair, clothes, height and hard, yet somehow appealing, eyes, “-but yes, that would be appreciated. If you are able to come off your high horse for one moment and give an explanation to this lowly, unenlightened new captive of yours.”
    #5 malice, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  6. [BCOLOR=transparent]He rolled his eyes, almost mockingly. The woman probably never had to deal with the things his sister, Sabine, and the rest of the Ferals had to. Most lived middle class lives and lived in secrecy but there was a much higher factor of fear that came to it. To him, she was ungrateful, undeserving of the chance to change the life Bella was already comfortable with. In his world, women were treated the same way, and they deserved to be reprimanded all the same. Especially this new… guest of his. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Bellatrix… to at least start off things, there are people in the world worse than I.” This speech again. What he gave new members and the reluctant to join. Despite his generally abrasive demeanour, Antoine could be charming… if he wanted to. Which was never. “Have you ever heard the term Feral? Used on peasants and prisoners alike?” Another puff. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Our organization deemed it rather fitting to give it such a name, mademoiselle. Women and men alike should be treated the same, while the Empire rules us all. Ferals and non-Ferals alike. Control us like they are Gods, or better yet, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]monsters.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]” He scoffed, imitating her angry voice. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I’m far from a high horse compared to them, really. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Pourquoi? [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]We fight for justice, and so did your father, apparently. I’m surprised he hasn’t told you. He’s gotten a bit too close with the King, so we brought you captive to ensure his loyalty. The man is a vital part of our organization, you see.”[/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]That wasn’t all to his story, but it was enough to suffice. “Sabine planned on training you to fight for the same cause later on, but we can’t have unwilling members, can we, mademoiselle?” [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
  7. The truth was, Bella was unaware of how others lived. The Empire had never caused her any direct trouble, as far as she could tell, thus she could not understand the rebellions that cropped up all over the country. They were relatively easy to squash, and without giving them a second thought, she carried on with her luxurious lifestyle. That was not to say she was heartless, in fact, she had quite an empathetic one, it had simply happened she was never in need of it. Maurice had kept her tucked away from the real world, allowing her to live peacefully ignorant.

    Up until now, she had never thought anything of it. In the Beast’s presence, her ideals were crumbling beneath her, though she couldn’t afford to show it. So she nodded at the correct times, but only half of it soaked in, particularly when she heard her father was a pivotal part of their group. Anger surged inside of her, turning her pale face a bright red, “He would never – he is loyal to the King, not to a ragtag underground rebel group,” she spat out the words and leaned forward, laying a heavy slap across the man’s face. Good judgment was lost amidst her sudden, overwhelming rage. Her palm stung, “How dare you speak such vile lies about my father. How dare you say you fight for justice. You may keep me captive, but I will not conform to your...treachery.”

    She sat back in her seat, shaking with fury and clenching her hands together. With her head turned to the window, she kept her lips pursed while her mind wandered. It must be a lie, of course it was – if it was not, her father would have told her. He would have taught her about the life outside her own, shown her the cruelty of the Empire, instead of keeping her entirely in the dark. All he taught her was that the king was the ultimate authority and should never be questioned, no matter what.

    However, in the dark corners of her memory, she could recall her mother’s strange behavior when she was a child. She remembered how some evenings, there would be peasants huddled around their fire, eating soup she had helped prepare. She remembered her mother’s figure in her doorway, in the middle of the night, saying that she would be right back, and that she loved her dearly. It was a night like that when she left and didn’t return. Maurice had always opposed, but her mother was persuasive. They bickered constantly, but it was too long ago. She had no recollection of their exact arguments.

    For a terrifying moment, she realized that she may be in the wrong, but it would never do to admit to it.
    #7 malice, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  8. Antoine hated people that were... so blatantly ignorant. The kinds of people that knew nothing but never bothered to change that fact. His blood boiled with every single act of defiance. Sabine looked over at the carriage door, urging him not to lose his temper. No, they had gotten so far, sacrificed so much. This brat wasn't going to ruin things for them. Not now, and not ever. Did she think that those failed attempts at rebellions had happened because of love for the King and the Empire?

    A nearly invisible vein was bulging through his long blonde hair. Luckily, it wasn't the shaved side. He wasn't about to let a spoiled little princess get him angry. So once he accepted the slap, he took it rather graciously. No, 'graciously'. In fact, if looks could kill, the glare that Antoine sent Bella was enough. His icy eyes stared her down in stoic shock. The Beast grit his teeth and begun to raise his voice. It almost amazed himself how cold, yet angry he could sound at someone. They tried to be kind towards her, but what was done had to be done. However, this was completely uncalled for, both Bella and Beast's behaviours.

    "So I had been correct all along. You are ignorant, as well as clueless. Only someone as ignorant as you would prefer to be treated like a captive than learn the truth. Don't you see what is happening around you? Just because it isn't happening to you does not mean that it is not happening to people with much less fortune than you. It doesn't take much to just look or ask questions. Why do you think that guards are everywhere around the city? Why do you think we are not allowed to go to certain places? Why do certain people live in riches while others are forced to a life of labour for no good reason than being born in the wrong family? Why are we not allowed the same technologies that the Empire does? And what of magic, the fuel of all our technologies, why are Ferals not allowed to practice such when they are the ones to maintain it?" Antoine erupted in front of her.

    "And why are protests being started left and right? For the love of the Empire and its people? You honestly have the gall to think they happen without a good enough reason other than being poor?! The Empire keeps us unaware and ignorant just like you. They call us Ferals to cause fear and a divide among people when behind closed doors they beat and imprison us. I'm glad that you've been living such a good life, but not everyone does and not everyone can. Not everyone has wealthy fathers or even fathers at all! The Empire publicly lynches women just for loving ot--"

    "ANTOINE! ARRET!" Sabine yelled out.

    With another glare, the Beast silently refused to meet Bellatrix's eyes once again after knowing that she had knowledge of his real name. The woman's scream at him went unheard as they approached a seedier area of town, a half hour away from the underground den. A blue flame barely passed by their fields of vision. With widened eyes, Sabine immediately stopped the coach. "Beast! They're here!"

    A look of realization hit Antoine's face. If Bellatrix hadn't wasted his time... looking at the woman once again with spite, he simply leapt out of the carriage with ease. A band of small children in rags had been practicing with earth magic. It was harmless, turning a square gritty pavement into a light trail of tulips. The guards would soon be on their way. "Do you have food with you, Sabine?" He asked, his focus and drive to battle kicking in.

    "No... I did not think to bring some. What of the guards?"

    "The guards can hang. Take the children with us." He looked pitifully at the plants and picked one for himself as a keepsake. "But... leave the flowers be."

    As one of the faceless men launched towards him, his magic allowed him to be faster than the bullets shot at him. In flashes of bright light, he appeared behind a guard. With the butt of a revolver, Antoine quickly knocked out the man. Sabine did the same, but with fiery flames, she sent a kick down his neck. With a gear decorated dart gun, Sabine shot at each guard as Antoine ushered the children into the carriage with the extra time. Sabine proved herself to be fast and agile, landing kicks and knives into the man's chest. This was why every Feral wore gloves.

    Sabine hopped back onto the driving seat. Antoine spitefully glanced at the path ahead. "That's only a fraction of what us vile liars do everyday. If you're not satisfied, we can leave you among the mass of guards and frame you for treason against the very Empire you care so much about." He spoke with venom as the carriage began to gain momentum. The children looked on, confused. Sabine cocked her head to the side. "Here." She said, passing Antoine the flowers to give to the children.
  9. His eyes were burning a hole in her skin. She tentatively turned her face towards him, watching as his face transformed with rage. In any other case, she would have felt satisfied, but this… this was something different. Swallowing her anxiety, she pushed herself back in the seat, creating as much distance between them as she could while he began to raise his voice.

    Her heart rate rose interminably, threatening to beat out of her body, as the truth of his words bore down on her spirit. The passion flying from him was a force to be reckoned with, and suddenly, the ideals that were tempted to crumble, collapsed all at once. There was no anger left in her, only an overwhelming confusion, otherwise she might be yelling back. Everything he was saying made sense, in a way she could not understand. She pressed a hand against her chest, unable to handle the unchecked fury. Tears stung her eyes – as willful as she made herself seem, she was pitifully tone sensitive. She blinked them back and made a futile attempt to harden her expression.

    Sabine’s cry added to the hysteria. Antoine, she noted, storing the name in the back of her mind. For now, she could not dwell on it, or the rant she had witnessed – the coach had come to a sudden halt. When the Beast carelessly leapt from the door, she poked her head around, taking in the scene. What were these children doing? Practicing magic in the middle of street? In broad daylight? But the flowers… an awkward smile twisted on her lips. The beauty of it tore through her; it was an act that would have delighted her mother, but Bellatrix had become too jaded to see it anymore.

    With furrowed brows, she began to take a step outside, feeling drawn to the tulips, and oddly enough, to the children. Before her foot reached the ground, a gunshot rang out. She cried out in shock, staring desperately as the Beast dodged the bullet. A tremor ripped through her body, but she helped the children climb into the carriage, throwing her trunk to the ground so they could all fit. One small girl latched her arms around Bellatrix’s waist, but the rest seemed relatively calm. Calmer than she was, that much was obvious. Wide eyed, she watched as Sabine took down guard after guard.

    Once the carriage began to move again, she allowed herself to breath. She shook violently, clutching the young girl urgently. Her cheeks felt wet, but she hardly noticed and made no move to wipe them. From everyone’s reaction, it must have been a small encounter. How could it be that they were so at ease? Her stomach rolled and vision blurred; never before had she seen any violence. Even public executions had been kept from her, where as most children in high society had been forced to attend. She was slowly beginning to see that she had been stored in a small bubble for her entire life, and that bubble had burst abruptly.

    “I-this cannot be-” she tried, but the words were lost somewhere along the way. The girl at her side received a flower, then in turn handed it up to Bellatrix.

    “Here, mademoiselle, it’d look pretty in your hair.”

    Bella took it gently, slipping it behind her ear, then moved her gaze to the Beast. An apology was on her lips, but she was still shaken, not only by the fight, but by his previous anger that she herself had provoked. Instead, she opened up her hat box, which was not filled with a hat, but with sweets – a habit her father had tried to break, but Bella’s notorious sweet tooth proved impossible to fix. She handed them each a handful, then, somewhat unsteadily, held one out to the Beast.
    #9 malice, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  10. Antoine avoided her gaze. Never in his 24 years of life had he felt someone react this intensely towards the violence he had been desensitized. The emotion he felt was guilt and a bit of pity. Was the Beast too harsh this time? There had been a reason that became his name after so many years. He sighed quietly to himself. The Beast needed to learn how to be kind.

    Still, he said nothing. Whenever Antoine spoke, it was almost as if something cynical or venomous was about to escape. It was much better to just not speak at all. Sabine was much better at handling emotions than he was. Perhaps she had learned from the Beast's sister. He watched the children from a small mirror attached to the front of the coach. Antoine the Beast was only good at leading and fighting. Absentmindedly, he pushed back his long blonde tresses haphazardly.

    The display that the child had showed Bella was heartwarming at the least, with the flower in her hair. He touched the flower inside his shirt pocket. It was just another symbol of hope. Most children never showed that level of proficiency in elemental magic. Not even Antoine could summon anything from his hands or legs. That type of talent just couldn't be ignored. The beauty of the flower in the woman's hair was also to be noted, the colours standing out nicely.

    Watching the state of the children, he looked from the corner of his eye at his new captive of sorts. Carrying a top hat full of sweets. Not sure what to do, he looked nervously to his friend. Sabine only responded with a shrug and a smile, savouring the candy in her mouth. "Come on, Beast. We don't get sweets everyday. Or at all." She smiled, her grip tightly on the reins of each black horse.

    Antoine decided that at this point, he was done arguing. He was even done just having her to prove her father's loyalty. Antoine was sick of it all. Luckily for the children, his resting glare had faded into something softer, as if he was merely resting. The man raised an eyebrow suspiciously and took a pink wrapped candy. Only seeing the treats did it remind Antoine of the entitled citizens of the Empire.

    Looking at it for a solid second, he just bit the bullet and ate it. The sweet taste bombarded his senses in an unfamiliar way. It wasn't a bad feeling, it was strange. Like having someone melt past your own barriers through a piece of candy. I should have given it to Etienne. Or Tarboy. He thought, regretfully. "Bienvenue, mademoiselle." Sabine said cheerfully. The kids immediately ran out of the vehicle to play with the others.

    What Bellatrix would see was an abandoned high rise building surrounded by many of the fighters dressed in fake rags. Though, there was much more to it. Underneath the building were complete underground bunkers and different rooms full of rebels and people from high places while the rest of the rooms in the building were meant for higher ranking members of the group. However, there was something more in the making. Steam powered mech machines were a work in progress, being built by many engineers underground. Thanks to Maurice, progress sped up and life had become much easier.

    "Get your things, I'll show you to your room and all the other important places. It won't be long, as it's almost dinner, luckily for you, mademoiselle." Looking around, he was a bit inwardly disappointed. Everyone else was up to useful things and preoccupied with a mission of some sort while he was left alone to deal with Bellatrix the Brat. "Does the Princess want me to carry her bags and coddle her to the top floor?" He was still rather bitter about their heated exchange, refusing to let her forget.
  11. Bellatrix kept a careful eye on the Beast, watching his face shift through emotions, or perhaps lack thereof, that he was most likely making an attempt to control. Once he took the candy, upon the insistence of Sabine, she tried not to frown at his obvious distaste. There was a lingering bitterness in his eyes, and she realized that he must think she was showing off her luxury. That was not the case, it was simply another matter of her carelessness, her ignorance, that was becoming increasingly apparent. She assumed sweets were readily available, regardless of status.

    Instead of watching him, as she felt so inclined to do, she moved her gaze over the children once more. She had a soft spot for little ones, though her interaction with them had always been rare. In fact, her interaction with anyone other than her designated friends was rare. Looking back on her life, she began to see just how privileged she really was. Well, she thought haughtily, it’s certainly not my fault that I was born into it.

    When they slowed to a halt, she was surprised to see the children scamper off quickly to play, probably without a second thought as to what happened earlier. Taking in the sights, she hauled her trunk out of the coach and tucked her hat box awkwardly under her arm. Curious as to what her father’s part had been in this, but hesitant to ask, she stayed silent, assessing her surroundings quietly.

    The adrenaline of the encounter was wearing thin, and her mind wandered back to the dealing between her and the Beast. She bristled at the memory once he began to speak, but turned to face him, looking up at him for a few beats before answering, “Why thank you, Antoine, I am thrilled you have enough courtesy left in you to show me around,” she drawled with a bitter smile. Though the memory of his anger was still fresh in her mind, it did little to prevent her from being openly resentful. She had shown weakness in the carriage while he yelled at her in his self-righteous rage and all her courage had failed her, when she needed it most. She had no intention of doing so again, “Once I have a tour, I will keep to myself. Since it offends you so, you’ll never have to look upon my ignorant, privileged face again,” as if reading his thoughts, she continued, “There’s no need to coddle me, I’m already a hostage, may as well treat me as such. I will happily stay out of your way.”

    Though she had been shown a small portion of the injustice running rampant in the street, she was thoroughly unsure of what to do with the information. Of course, she couldn’t help but consider what it would be like to join this...rebellion of sorts. However, not only was she an utterly useless fighter, she had become painfully aware of her hyper sensitivity to violence. The Beast would find her an incompetent rebel, and that would likely frustrate him. It was not her job to please him, however, and if he would like to remain arrogant and cynical, so be it.

    She straightened her shoulders, her hat and her face, and locked her gaze with his.
    #11 malice, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  12. [BCOLOR=transparent]The Beast looked at her rather blankly. It would take her a while to finally understand things. He remembered his past, with Etienne and his sister and how he never seemed to understand much either. Who was Antoine to blame? He had no father to teach him how to be a man but the kindness of the old leader to get him accustomed to the everyday roughness on the street. Sabine said he should at least attempt kindness, which was much easier said than done. Especially since she was so[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] infuriating…[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Etienne mentioned something about being professional above all else. The Beast looked down upon her. He raised a brow at any mention of his name and sighed. “Putting our bitter meeting aside, mademoiselle, I would much prefer that for the safety of others as well as myself that we must go by codenames.”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I am the [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Beast[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent], and I shall avoid calling you anything but mademoiselle until the Ferals find something proper to call you.” Most of the bitterness had left his tone now just for this. The truth was, he knew they never kept records of Ferals, especially orphaned Ferals, so chances of finding him by the name of Antoine was very unlikely. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“This building is dangerous and long-winded and most rebels also don't take too kindly to wealthier members that have not yet proved their loyalties. With the way you’ve been acting, I don’t necessarily blame them. I might not be the friendliest man you've met, I promise that I will [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]not [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]lie to you, even about my feelings.” He tersely stated. His leadership instincts were quickly taking over his anger, luckily for him. [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR] [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR] [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Beast opened the door to the abandoned apartment, letting her in. “However, being true to my word, your [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]privilege[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] does not offend me, it's your unwillingness to accept reality as it is. Yet, not everyone gets to have things catered to them, I suppose you know that already, mademoiselle.” Once again, no expression. They reached an elevator right in the middle. Pressing his thumb against a series of buttons, the rusty door opened as he let her in. Inwardly, he simply wished that a large crate would fall on top of them and kill them both.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I am not in charge of what your fate happens to be here. In fact, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]I don’t care[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] if the machines cut your hand off or a Feral kills you out of anger, but your [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]father [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]seems to and I will respect his wishes.” Antoine knew that besides fighting, some Ferals that were with the Empire. They were used as charmers and information collecting, which could be just as useful if applied the right way.[/BCOLOR]
  13. As the bitterness slowly evaporated from his tone, she remained unaware if she had pushed him over the point of caring, or if some instinct was taking over. Assuming it was the latter, she listened carefully while he spoke, keeping her mouth tightly shut – for once. He did make a point of not lying to her, that much she had seen distinctly in the carriage. Such a seemingly simple act meant more to her than she realized. She entered through the apartment door, keeping her head down, struggling against sudden fatigue.

    Through his entire speech, she only nodded. Her head was spinning. Eventually, maybe, she would become accustomed to life as he saw it, but she doubted it. However, a small piece of her mind urged her to try. Realizing that she was beyond question not safe here – if she continued to act the way she was, as the Beast so delicately pointed out – had put a reasonable dose of fear into her bloodstream. She had thought she would be free to roam and not partake, without any danger to her immediate person, but his words were making her believe otherwise.

    What rebel would want the spoiled daughter of a well-known aristocrat wandering their halls? She represented all they were fighting against. Again, she tried to imagine herself being useful in this company, but ideas slipped away from her. Sure, she was talented in engineering, but her father had refused to teach her how to lace magic into her work. Though now she saw he kept much and more out of her reach. Regardless of her blatant inabilities, the urge to try was growing stronger.

    Bellatrix stepped into the elevator, words still stuck in her throat, threatening to choke her. She chewed violently on her lower lip, setting her trunk down next to her while they moved. Finally, she turned her gaze upwards, to look at him, willing herself not to glower, or worse, appear as the child she felt like.

    “I do not wish to push reality away, monsieur...Understand this, I have not lived your life, I do not hold your grudges, I have not felt your pain,” she eyed him carefully, “For I know that there is pain, deep rooted, gut wrenching hurting, that I am sure you keep hidden in the very core of your soul – but along with that, you are clearly adamant about your cause. Imagine, for a moment, our roles were reversed, and you were brought into luxury and told rebels were killing mercilessly in the street-” she waved her hand dismissively, “-would you not be stumbling over your own two feet? Everything you’d known would be wrenched out from beneath you. I appreciate your honesty with me, and I do hope you continue, but all I ask for is time to adjust. I see reality now, even though the filter over my eyes may be different from yours. I saw those children, I saw the violence, I saw how you and Sabine responded. Do not think your justice went unnoticed. Do not be so quick to underestimate me.”

    Her eyes shone passionately, underlined with anger and fright, and she trembled suddenly, “If you would be so kind, let Sabine know I would like to train with her, if the offer still stands.”
  14. Antoine's face kept at a perpetual scowl. That, coupled with his height and the unwillingness to rid the stubble from his sharp jawline and icy, intimidating eyes made him really hard to like. The man slouched over the wall and kept a closed posture, with crossed arms. The Beast was so unaware of others' feelings, especially fear. It was almost like he understood anger the most. With a place like Paris, it was hard to remain happy.

    When Bellatrix spoke, he raised a brow but stared intently as if he was attempting to burn a hole trying to focus. Antoine disguised his surprise at her attempting to connect or even calm the waters with him by adding in his own cynical remarks. No matter how kind the man would try to be, the cynicism would never leave. "Oh no, I understand. I heard it in your voice and in your looks of fear at what peasants go through everyday. That doesn't mean I can't be upset about it."

    "Mademoiselle, I don't need to hide pain, I simply see it everyday." Antoine responded casually, as if it didn't bother him at all. "We don't have time. If we did, do you think we would have taken you? People have lived in these conditions for years without adjusting. If they haven't adjusted, what makes you think you will? Believe me, mademoiselle, it's much easier to remain uncomfortable and alert as much as possible. Though, whether you do is beyond my control. You don't need my sympathy, or for you to notice my justice, nor do I need yours. We've been doing just fine saving children on our own." Antoine dismissed her comment of her own struggles and confusion and faced her fully.

    "However, if you do decide to contribute, I don't imagine there wouldn't be a way. True to my promise of honesty, I see... potential." Antoine nodded, nearly swallowing his pride. "With everyone that wants to be a part of our organization, you must prove your talents in one way or another. Whether you would be best suited for stealth training with Sabine is another manner entirely." The elevator let out a squeaking sound, similar to a steam train coming to a stop.

    "Follow me." He stated, walking past a hallway. Clocks fueled by magic ticked on at the same time, creating a loud boom every second. Antoine stopped exactly 3 doors down and opened the door. A single white bed, laid in front of them with a small dresser and a window. This was what every bedroom looked like in the apartment and underground. The walls were not painted while there was no headboard against the wall of the room. The dresser was made of a rough, unpolished wood. "Your room, mademoiselle."
  15. Allowing his cynicism to roll over her without effect made him much easier to deal with, but it was still difficult to keep from pointing it out. Instinctively, she felt someone could quickly knock him down a notch by simply pointing a few key characteristics out – his arrogance would not last long among her group of people, but she had to remember that she was no longer around them. She pursed her full lips and took in his reaction, from his stoic face to his crossed arms, to his handsome eyes and – she shook her head quickly.

    It was her turn to fold her arms over her chest, looking away from him, “I do not ask for your sympathy,” she spat, “Nor do I think you want mine – only understanding between two adults. But I see perhaps I ask too much,” the last remark she added under her breath, though his next words threw her. Blinking slowly, she turned her head so she could watch him from the corner of her eye as he spoke of potential. Despite herself, pride swelled up in her chest. Angry pride or satisfied pride, she could not tell. Half of her felt he was complimenting a child on a drawing, and the other half felt maybe he was acknowledging her as a human being.

    Proving herself would be a different matter, considering she wasn’t sure about the cause to begin with, but she was also intelligent enough to know she could not remain undecided and alive. Stealth training did not sound like her strong suit, to be sure, though starting somewhere, and with Sabine, seemed to be her safest route. Finally the elevator stopped, and so did her thoughts, for the time being.

    She lugged her trunk behind her and listened to the ringing of the clocks as they made their short way down the corridor, stopping at the third door. The room was more than she had expected, though not by much. After tossing her bag on the bed, she sat down on the edge, consumed by exhaustion and hunger, and the occasional prick of fear, “Thank you, monsieur Beast,” she spoke slowly, knowing full well that she was still Bellatrix the Ungrateful, Bellatrix the Spoiled Brat, so on and so forth. She wanted to be angry at him, to yell and scream, to throw a royal fit, but she deprived herself of the fury.

    Instead she stood and reached her arms over her head, arched her back and stretched, as she had done that very morning. It felt like years ago, and she pushed aside a growing sadness, pressing an unusual smile on her face, “Let us continue then?” She drawled, trying to put the casual haughtiness back in her tone, “I would like to see the rest of your castle.”
  16. Like any other cynical asshole, with the comment of mutual understanding, he brushed off almost instantly. He was used to people in general being rude or hostile towards the Beast. It was something you got used to in a world like this. People in Paris either looked down on you or away from you. With Bellatrix, he just wasn't sure which of the two it happened to be.

    Antoine wasn't really good at many things either. By many things meaning many social interactions, from someone being grateful to someone being upset, it was all the same to him. He chose instead to not respond to her expression of thankfulness. Though, his actions spoke more than enough. Antoine took a rather deep breath in and averted looking directly into her eyes. Speaking of eyes, the Beast's icy blue almost seemed to thaw softly. He sighed, in a much different tone.

    Maybe Bellatrix was asking too much, but she didn't know him well enough to know that it was. Antoine never considered himself arrogant, only unapproachable and a bit too determined for his own good. Still looking away from her, the Beast leaned against the unpainted walls. Though, something strange happened. As soon as Bella arched her back to stretch, Antoine found himself absentmindedly glancing upon her body, immediately flinching as she smiled.

    "Oui." He awkwardly nodded. "I wouldn't call it a castle, mademoiselle." Antoine snorted. Castles were things people only saw in stories or in the town center, where the King and his Empire laid around and complained. He also imagined there being cake involved in some form or another. Antoine would have to ask Tarboy or former royal Etienne about that later. In a much lower, but more light-hearted tone, he raised a brow. "That scared me for a second. If you had smiled without giving me any sort of sarcastic comment, I'd have died from shock."

    Beckoning her to follow, they took the trip back to the elevator. "Careful. We're going underground. I figured if I was going to keep this honesty vow of ours, mademoiselle, your father has provided us materials and sketches of machines that he wishes I show you." The magical aspect of how Antoine kept the building away from guards and policemen wasn't something the Beast was about to give out just yet.
  17. Bellatrix struggled between looking down on or away from him. The idea of a rebel immediately made her want to run in the opposite direction, but due to her high standard of living, she couldn’t help but find herself viewing him with disdain. However...the memory of the children, how he and Sabine had rushed in and saved them, created a rift in her scorn. Passion, no matter how well placed, often brought out the worst in people. She saw that to be true in the Beast.

    Noticing the shift in his eyes, she arched her brow, but disregarded the softening look on his face. This man was no friend of hers, nor would he be, though it did not escape her that he could – possibly – have a real emotion other than anger. Bellatrix was, technically, a people person. She was, however, much more curious about them than anything. She watched others in a careful, detached manner, taking note of their movement, tone and ticks. It rarely took her long to uncover what disturbed them, but she still hardly managed to find what made them happy.

    With a petulant shrug, she said, “Lair, then, whatever you would like to call it. There are more sweets and singing and dancing in castles, anyway,” not that she missed it much. The frivolities of the royal life were too much, even for her, to bear. She preferred her own form of luxury, which meant wanting for nothing, but there was a point where court became excessive. Perhaps she wouldn’t mind seeing the King fall as much she thought… she pushed the idea out of her head with a violent shove, and knew that kind of thinking would get her nowhere.

    Back home, it would get her nowhere, but here, it seemed all the rage.

    Her eyes narrowed at his almost lighthearted voice, “Well, that would make you relatively easy to kill then, wouldn’t it?” she resisted a smile, but the small dimples in her cheeks deepened somewhat.

    Delicately adjusting her hat, she stepped back inside the elevator, twitching at the thought of going underground. Seeing her father’s work filled her with mixed emotions. This overwhelming bitterness towards him was new – he had done near nothing to keep her from being taken. Or at least, from what she had seen. The secrecy and lies may have been in an attempt to hide the rebellion from her, but he was a smart man. He should have known she wouldn’t stay blind forever.

    “Does he incorporate magic?” she asked suddenly, “He taught me all he could about engineering, though I was supposed to keep my talent hidden – apparently, it’s not a woman’s profession,” Bellatrix scoffed, the rambling words falling out of her mouth, “But never magic. He always said it was irrelevant when steam could power practically anything.”
  18. "I think I'm quite hard to kill, mademoiselle." He responded curtly, referring to the magic he used to dodge the bullet. It wasn't anything he had to earn, but from a young age, he had realized that he had a certain advantage when it came to movement. Antoine could move faster than most people. Fast enough to nearly be two places at once or even teleport. Around Paris, magic came in many forms. It was dangerous, but Antoine deemed it more dangerous to not train your powers well enough.

    The Beast didn't flinch as soon as she rambled on about magic. Magic was something most people liked to talk about when they didn't know or harness too much of it. Usually, the glitz and intrigue of magic faded away once you gained control of your energy. Sabine always told him that magic was like an energy of some sort. Easy for her to say, with her manipulation of fire. To be quite honest, the Beast wouldn't be all too surprised if they had thought fire would be his magical ability.

    Antoine let the atmosphere get a little awkward with Bella rambling on and on until she decided it would be a good time to stop talking. Then after she stopped, the man began to stare absentmindedly. Looking up at the ceiling, he leaned over to the wall. With his hands in his pockets, he then decided to slowly face her. "No." Antoine shook his head. "He doesn't use magic, but we get our magic from somewhere else."

    He didn't state from what sources, though it was evident in his troubled stare that he didn't want to talk about it. "I think that's stupid." The Beast rudely chuckled. "When you're poor, women do everything a man can and the other way around. Men make clothes and look after children while women can fight and work. It's more useful that way, mademoiselle, because everyone knows how to do everything."

    "As for magic, steam can power many things but there are certain things steam cannot accomplish." Antoine gave her an unusually intense look with an almost ominous tone to his voice. Another screeching sound came from the elevator as they stopped to an underground floor. The door opened, with many rebels dressed in their regular clothing. It did look like a lair of sorts, but with certain metal doors signalling different rooms and metal floorings with matching ceilings.

    Each Feral seemed to glance Antoine's way, but then went on with their duties. This was where they ate, slept, trained, planned and even invented on special cases. On very, very, special cases. Many a source of magic could be found here, but hidden away in secret pockets. These were separated by different halls to indicate which room they were in. Dinner would start soon, which operated more like a soup kitchen more than anything. Gardens from earth magic were outside while most meat were from the rich or rebels with connections to the marketplace and the city.
  19. Nodding imperceptibly, she inwardly acknowledged the fact he seemed difficult to kill. But dodging a bullet did not make one indestructible, simply quick. How quick he really was, she would probably never know. She wondered if she would be able to master any form of magic, and grimaced at the idea of trying. Undoubtedly, she would make a fool of herself, but as with anything, she assumed it took practice. She made a mental note to ask Sabine more about it.

    Despite her aversion to the general situation, she could not help being drawn to magic. Maybe it was the mystery of it, or the idea that she would be able to defend herself – not that she had ever needed to, though she had a sinking feeling that she might need to sooner than later. Or maybe, being put around people that did not immediately accept her created a desire to prove herself, whether she was for their cause or not.

    Awkwardness settled into the air while he seemingly ignored her. Instead of anger, her cheeks reddened slightly with embarrassment. It was against her nature to prattle on pointlessly, but curiosity had taken hold. “Oh...” she tried to hold back the disappointment when she found her father was being honest on his views of magic. Perhaps she was hoping for more lies to direct her frustration towards.

    Magic from another source? He seemed distraught about this. Another question for Sabine. She was going to have quite a list. The woman seemed reliable, easy going and lighthearted. The opposite side of the spectrum from the Beast. It would be pleasant to sit in her company, but she would have to remind herself not to overstep and ruin her only possible friendship.

    “Everyone does everything?” Ignoring his comment about stupidity, she could not have kept he shock out of her voice if she tried. The gender roles in her world were set in stone. She shouldn’t have been so surprised. In the past few hours, almost everything she’d known had been stuck into a barrel, tossed around and thrown back out. Fortunately his tone darkened and shifted her mind back to magic. The intensity of his gaze took her by surprise, but before she could question him, the elevator came to an abrupt stop; so she added yet another item to her list for Sabine. Exactly what could magic accomplish?

    Taking in her surroundings, and the stares from the rebels, she exited cautiously, fidgeting uncontrollably. Her hands went to hair, pulling it over one shoulder, then over the other, and shortly after, she began picking at her nails. She noted the floors, ceilings, doors and people, forcing an uncomfortable smile on her face before looking at the Beast. Without an understanding of the underground, terror began creeping up her spine. “What happens if it caves in?” she asked desperately, in a low voice laced with urgency.
  20. Antoine dryly raised an eyebrow at her worry. "Then that means we die." He shrugged. It was unlikely that the building would ever actually crash or cave in on them. Though, not everything could be powered by steam. Around the metal plates, he realized her fear. People of the Empire never go underground, to his knowledge. But if they did have the knowledge, the Beast wouldn't be so surprised. Sighing, it was probably best if he went for a different response.

    "That's what the magic is here for. To keep us from dying." He explained away dismissively. Beckoning her to follow, he pointed to each hallway. Looking down at his watch, he looked around impatient. He got antsy talking to people in general. If it was anything other than debriefing missions or throwing insults, Antoine always felt the desire to leave. Leave, and do more productive things with his time like monitoring machines or going on solo missions by himself. A leader never rested or took breaks. A leader wasn't even allowed to be indulgent of things that didn't involve his cause.

    Searching the people around that had much better social skills than he did, he spotted Sabine again. She walked out of the hallways as the Beast waved her down. With his power, he sped his way to her side, taking less than a second but leaving her a few meters away. "Sabine. Give her a tour of the underground." Giving him an odd look, her gaze shifted to the worried Bellatrix. Knowing her friend's social ineptness, Sabine pat his shoulder reassuringly. "I'm just training the magicians..."

    "It'll be fine. I'll train with the other weapons." Antoine waved away. Even quicker, he appeared by Bellatrix's side again. "Sabine will be giving you a tour. I've... gotten busy with a few matters, mademoiselle." Antoine hurriedly came up with an excuse and sped off. Sabine looked at him with concern and walked over to her. "Mademoiselle. Nice to see you again." Her hair looked disheveled from the last time they had met. It was up in a ribbon now with extra strands falling out. "Where would you like to start?" She asked, with a hint of caution in her tone.
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