XVIII

Aaahhhhhh
Well
I have returned
Maybe
Since lectures for uni and... shit fam

Anyway, time for a vote!
Who do you guys want to see Ronnie end up with? (This may or may not effect the actual storyline btw)

Also
Anyone in the D.Gray-man fandom?
If so
Fuckin' Kanda, man (Reminds me of how I imagine Pierce to be bahaha)

PS I gave the Queen's niece a name. She called Isobel mmkay

- - - - - - - -

I approached Salvatore warily, signalling that my Master should stay back. "Are you...?"

Sal spat once more into the grass outside, then turned around, a grimace on his face. His irises slowly faded from black back to their usual colour, showing he'd retained his sense of self. The last thing I needed was him going mad with bloodlust at that moment.

"Yeah. I'm fine." His eyes slid from me to the Earl behind me, and he pouted, "S'not really me you're worried 'bout though, is it?"

I glared at him, annoyed, "I'm sure I don't know what you mean!"

I went to grab him as he suddenly skipped by me, but he was too fast. Much too fast for human eyes. Ciel jumped as Sal ruffled his hair, grinning and then using the boy's head as an armrest. "Don't worry, I ain't gonna harm this here brat, Ronnie. Brat blood's too sweet for me."

"Just who are you calling a brat?!" Ciel snapped, indignant. He batted at Sal's arm, unsuccessful in removing his grip. The vampire wound an arm round his neck and smooshed his cheeks together.

"The twelve year old ultra brat with the squishy cheeks." Salvatore answered, expression blank. I sighed.

"Sal, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't wind up the Master." Salvatore just grinned at me again, but let go of Ciel.

The boy straightened his tie, and sat down on the chair at the end of the room. "We need to pay attention to the girl, in case she moves. Stop lollygagging and watch her."

Just as he said that, the young woman let out a shallow groan, arms sliding up the sheets to rub at her eyes. One hand touched at the wound Sal had left then flinched away, accompanied by a yelp of pain.

All grogginess had been flung away by the stinging awareness of intense burning, I think. At least, as Isobel sat up her eyes were sharp- if bloodshot. I'd seen others like her, though. Having bloodshot eyes was probably the least of her troubles from the evident substance abuse.

She watched us, surprisingly keen for someone who'd only just awoken from being comatose. I supposed she'd probably been in this situation before.

"Who are you?" She asked, wary. I could see the tension in her body, ready to flee. I wondered briefly if I should warn the Master against speaking brashly to her, but decided to let it be. It wasn't like she'd be able to escape him.

"We're here by Order of her Majesty," Ciel said, "It seems you've caused her quite a bit of trouble."

"Auntie..." the girl looked down a moment, then up, expression one of alarm, "She doesn't... know, does she? About..." she glanced to her arms, then lightly tugged at the sleeves of her nightdress.

"About your substance abuse?" She jumped at the words, visibly shaking.

"It... I..-"

"Don't worry, I have no plans to inform Her Majesty of this unless I absolutely have to. It is of no matter to me." My Master approached the bedside, a stern look on his face. I'm more interested in what happened to make you pass out like this."

"I... what..?" She furrowed her eyebrows, thumbs curling together, round and round. The motion seemed mesmerizing to her- or at the very least, it was keeping her calm. "That's right... I passed out... but then... how did I get here?" She stared at Ciel as though his face would give her the answers she needed, though at the same time, didn't seem to really see him.

"You mean to say you didn't pass out within Palace grounds?" He asked her, unperturbed, and she jumped. I noticed the soft tremors that rolled through her body. She'd definitely been abusing for a long time... long enough to become addicted. She was clearly experiencing withdrawal.

I frowned. Her not having passed out here was one tiny detail Her Majesty had left out. Helpful, as always...

"No, no. It was... where, exactly?" pieces of her mind were visibly falling away. Her thumbs circled each other quicker than before. "I don't know! I was never together enough while travelling there to know!"

"Well try and remember." Ciel said, somewhat impatient, but otherwise ignoring the slightly childish outburst. I crossed my arms behind my back and stepped slightly closer to the door. Sending a subtle glance to Sal, he moved to block her route to the window. She was very obviously on edge, and I did not like the way she kept eyeing the two exits.

The Noble gritted her teeth, face screwing up. "I said I don't know! Now let me alone please!"

"I cannot do that." My Master said without hesitation. Isobel seemed astounded that someone would defy her- clearly she was no stranger to giving orders. "It would be better for you if you just tell me what little you do know so I can be on with the investigation. We are wasting precious time-"

"Investigation?!" Ciel's eyebrow twitched minutely at being interrupted, "Investigation into what?! What for?!"

"But of course, a Drug Den can't be left to run amuck in the city..." I quickly spoke up, seeing that my Master was stumped. We couldn't very well explain we were looking into a Vampire's whereabouts...

She seemed to think deeply about it for a moment, conflicted, until Ciel said, contrived, "Of course, if you are unwilling, we could always ask Her Majesty... though she would likely wish to know why we were asking of such things."

Isobel stared at him, horrified, "Fibne, fine! I'll tell you whatever I can... please don't tell Auntie!"

"Salvatore, there is a quill and notepaper on that desk over there, write down everything she says. Don't miss any detail."

"Ay, I'm not your servant yaknow!" Sal snapped, and I rose my hands,

"I can do it, Master Ciel-"

"No. Frankly, Veronica, your penmanship is awful. Salvatore, it is of utmost importance that this matter is resolved... I'm sure that is in your best interest, too." I looked down at the wound to my pride (he was right, but I didn't want him of all people to realise how bad my handwriting is) and then up again at the meaningful words he sent to the vampire. Sal growled lowly, not a noise that Ciel could probably hear, but did as he was told. "And..." I looked back to my Master, who once again had his back to me, "call me by my name, Veronica. It is not a request."

"It... it is not my place, Sir-"

"It is not a request." I stuttered to a halt, then bowed my head, closing my mouth.

"As you wish... Ciel." I was about as embarrassed as if I'd said a dirty word. It was so unnatural for me... but, it was orders. What could I do?

"Veronica, I need you to stand by the girl and ensure she's telling me the whole truth. You can do that, correct?" My eyes flared slightly, before I nodded my head and moved to stand by Isobel. He'd been no doubt doing some reading into my species...

"May I take your hand, my Lady?" I asked, politely, in a soothing voice. She blinked at me, thrice, then nodded slowly, moving her frail palm into mine. Everything she did seemed dumbfounded.

"Okay, now tell us everything. How did you get there? Who was there? What was it like in this place?" Ciel fired questions at her with no reservations; people skills had never been his strong point. Isobel looked overwhelmed for a second, her pulse skyrocketing, but then she calmed, taking a deep breath.

"It was always dark, this place. I can't remember a lot, but... the lights were always out, really dim maybe... same in the carriage that got me there. A guy... no, maybe a woman?- was there too- the... the provider." Her face was screwed up with the effort of remembering. "Him and one... maybe two... some other people? The provider wore some weird black cloak.... and Andrew! I remember the name Andrew!" Her breath came in gasps, "Andrew and... and an axe!" She finally stopped with a heavy cry, collapsing back into the bedframe.

"No more? You must remember more!" Ciel was quite clearly getting frustrated. The little information she gave didn't narrow down much of London. But the girl was obviously exhausted.

"Master- Ciel. She's exhausted, I don't think we'll get much else out of her." I said, mellowly, resting a hand on his shoulder since I now stood beside him. He sighed.

"Alright. We'll let her rest, and see what we can get from this."

"Maybe we can try again tomorrow." Sal suggested, folding up the paper he'd written on- in neat cursive- and tucking it in his pocket. "Then I can finally get outta this'n, too." He complained, tugging on his waistcoat. I smiled a little.

"We're returning for now, Miss Isobel. We may be back for more information tomorrow. Thank you for your time." Ciel finally said.

"Ta-ta for now!" Sal grinned. I bowed, and we left.

Once on the way back to the Inn, I broke the unsteady silence that had settled over our trio. "C-...Ciel, do you really not think she gave us anything of value?"

"A man named Andrew in black, cloak like garbs..." Ciel frowned at Sal's written notes, finger clicking agitatedly against his cane. "That'd be like looking for a needle in a haystack... especially if this man is one of his kind. Elusive, right?" Ciel ignored Sal's glare at having been thrown in with this no good beatnick (his mutterings were an indicator). "I don't think we're going to get far with this investigation anytime soon."