~"Strike! The Mysterious Wanderer"~
"Really now, Sebastian
.why are you wearing a tailcoat
.?" Cadencia asked, after looking up from her book.
"It is the proper attire for a butler, is it not, Milady?"
"I don't like that! Don't restrict yourself to a uniform, Sebastian. Wear whatever you want! I already said I hate the idea of servitude, anyways. In fact, I'm sure I've said it many times
Sebastian gave an amused chuckle. "I suppose I should have expected your usual level of resistance
She shrugged. "It couldn't have hurt."
"That reminds me, Milady
"Are you really not curious as to how my wounds have already healed? I was certain you would have said something about it
"Why? You were healed the next day after I first met you, too. This isn't any different. Besides, you are a demon. It figures you would heal faster than a human would."
"It doesn't bother you?"
She thought he was trying to provoke her in some way, but his tone wasn't malicious. Although she thought it impossible, or at least, quite bizarre, his tone sounded rather self-conscious.
"Of course not. I'm glad you heal quickly. I don't like it when people are in pain for a long time."
"I see." He didn't say it to simply end the conversation. He was avidly taking her words in and appreciating them.
A brief moment of silence passed between the two of them.
"You won't take the tailcoat off, will you, Sebastian?"
did you not say that I could wear whatever I wished?"
.you really want to wear that of all things?"
"I do. It is visual proof that I am useful to you."
She rolled her eyes and sighed. "Do as you wish."
Cadencia groaned. "Don't thank me for letting me do as you please; it's a given right!"
Sebastian simply smiled; amused, but nonetheless grateful.
Things had been different between the two of them. It seemed like they were actually connected on some deeper, personal plane. She couldn't really explain it vocally, so she simply went along with it, and allowed the feeling to do the explaining. Things felt different, that's all she could figure.
"Milady, I do believe we are running low on cinnamon. Seeing as though it is your favorite sweetener, I will go and procure more. Please excuse me."
"Ah, no! I'll go get it."
"It is the butler whom should be doing the errands, Milady."
"How many times do I have to say it? I don't want servants, damn it all!"
" Sebastian mused. "There is a bit of a ruffian in you, isn't there, Milady?"
"Perhaps a little
." She said, pouting. "I find it strange you haven't realized it yet."
"Who ever said that I hadn't?" He paused. "Well, I suppose if it is truly your desire, then you should do it, Milady, even though it is unfitting."
"Yay!" She exclaimed, throwing her arms skyward.
"A truly rousing level of maturity
." Sebastian remarked, usual smirk firmly in place.
"You'll never enjoy yourself if you're always a stick in the mud! As long as you're mature when it counts, I don't see the problem."
"Hm, it's not as though you're incorrect, Milady
.." Sebastian conceded. "Either way, if you're so insistent, you should hurry. It is seven 'o' clock. The shop will be closing soon."
"Ah~!" Cadencia exclaimed.
She quickly rose to her feet, and, ever the graceful one, promptly tripped over the table on her way to the door. Stumbling a bit, she grasped the doorknob and gave a salute.
"I'm going now!" She smiled. "And that little incident from just now is our secret!"
"But of course." Sebastian returned her smile.
She pulled the door open. "All right. I'll be back soon."
The oak door closed behind the Marchioness with a soft click, and Sebastian couldn't help but chuckle. What am I to do with you, Milady?
Cadencia took a step down from the front entryway, and stared up at the moon, risen high above. It was a crisp night. She couldn't recall the last time she'd been on a late night errand. It must have been before she met Sebastian, which she could hardly believe was over a whole month ago. Dogged in direction, she took a short cut down a small street, enclosed on either side by the walls of buildings; homes and businesses alike.
-"Oh! Look at this! The pretty little Miss is out for a late night stroll!"
Cadencia whipped around quickly, and immediately came face to face with several men. They weren't ordinary street thugs, she could tell that much. Ordinary street thugs don't carry swords around.
One of them gave a chopping laugh. "She's here. Just like he said she would be."
Cadencia frowned. "What
.do you want?"
Truth be told, she thought they were dressed strangely. Their clothing looked rather like robes, and they wore cloth masks to conceal their faces. She hadn't ever seen outfits like theirs. Cadencia was absolutely certain they were foreigners.
"Ah, we're just hired mercenaries, Missie." Another man spoke, presumably the leader, given that he headed the group and that he was the only thug without a mask.
"You want to kill me?" She asked, unbothered.
"Of course not! We've simply been paid to bring you to our client. You'll be completely unharmed. Your butler, on the other hand, I can't say the same for."
Eyes widening, she blurted, "What are you going on about?! Whatever this is, leave Sebastian out of it!"
"Sorry, Missie. We've already dispatched our gunman. The kill order can't be cancelled now." He was apologizing, but smiling regardless.
She knew that a bullet couldn't kill Sebastian; he had been shot in the head by Andromalius, and had survived, but the idea of it still mortified her to no end. She clasped a hand to her mouth, disbelieving.
"Why? I don't understand this
"Introductions always come first. Missie, the name's Wado. We are members of the Yakuza. I can't tell you who, but someone has had their eye on you for quite awhile. They paid us quite a hefty sum to kidnap you and kill off your butler."
Cadencia took a step back. Who could have possibly
"Now, come with us quietly, Missie." Wado grinned.
. Cadencia took another step back. I've got to get home and save Sebastian
She turned about on her heel and bolted as fast as she could away from the group. Panting, she ran down the street, mercenaries hot on her tail. Taking an unfortunate right turn, Cadencia found herself head on with a dead end.
"Really now, Missie. You're not being very cooperative
"Excuse me, I'm not just going to let myself be kidnapped!" Cadencia retorted.
"So, we'll have to use force
.it's a shame because you've got such a pretty face, and it's gonna get cut up."
Cadencia gritted her teeth, knowing she was completely unarmed and against several mercenaries wielding swords
well, that's a fair enough reason to be afraid, right? Nevertheless, Cadencia kept her composure.
"Go right ahead! If you've killed Sebastian, you might as well kill me too!"
"Any other time if you kept talking like that, we'd be all too happy to oblige, but we were asked to bring you back alive." Wado nodded to his group. "Go on and rough her up a little, though!"
A few of the masked thugs advanced at Cadencia, who braced herself for some serious man-handling.
-"Just a moment!"
Right then, Cadencia heard a voice she didn't recognize. Even odder still, it had come from above her. She turned about and craned her neck upwards, with the mercenary group doing the same in tandem. The collective gaze came to a young man, who had taken a stand upon the rooftop of the building behind the young Marchioness.
His very appearance captivated Cadencia. The grandiose full-moon at his back illuminated his figure, and seemed to cast a soft glow about him. It was the first time she'd ever seen a man with such long hair, and of such a vibrant crimson color.
"I'm going to have to ask you to leave that girl be, that I am." He said, never breaking his eye contact with the group.
Wado's gaze fell to the side of the young man's waist, at which was also a sword.
"What does a mere street swordsman think he can do against members of the Yakuza?" Wado asked, taking a stab at some provocation.
Without a word, the young man drew his sword from it's sheathe, as if the look in his eyes wasn't frightening enough.
." One of the other men began.
"What is it, Shido?"
..surely you recognize him, boss
..he ain't no simple street swordsman
Wado narrowed his eyes, and slowly, slowly the realization dawned on him. "Red hair
..and that X-shaped scar
Cadencia could only stare. What are these weirdoes talking about
Dissent streaked through the mercenary group quite quickly.
no freaking way
"I'm not fighting with him
"Yeah, really! I didn't take this job to die!"
The miserable lot turned tail and fled. The whole scene very much reminded Cadencia of a dog running away with its tail between its legs in complete submission. Wado raised his fist; the entire arm trembling furiously.
"Don't get too comfortable, Missie! Our clients always get what they pay for. Rest assured, there are members of the Yakuza who are far stronger than us!" He exclaimed his warning before also turning on heel and fleeing shamelessly.
Cadencia let out a huff. "Don't try to sound threatening while running away!"
Tongue in cheek, she turned around and went to focus her gaze upwards, but even though it had been such a small span of time, the swordsman was now on the actual ground, only a few feet from her.
.thank you for helping me." She said, appreciatively.
"I wasn't expecting a confrontation since I was simply passing through, but I'm glad I could help, that I am." He smiled.
Cadencia frowned. His eyes were different. When he was talking with the mercenaries, his eyes were
.they were cold and menacing, but, now
..they were completely different. They were warm and inviting.
.And the most lovely shade of violet I've ever seen
. Cadencia's face went red. She was rather embarrassed she'd just had such a thought about the eyes of someone whose name didn't even know.
"Ahaaahhh!" She laughed nervously. "So! Where are you staying tonight?"
"Like I said, I was just passing through-"
"-Then come stay at my house!" Her face went red again. "At least for tonight. You shouldn't sleep outside. You'll get a stiff neck."
"I'm grateful for the offer, that I am, but I really don't want to impose
" He gave an awkward smile. "Besides, it wouldn't be the first time I've slept outside, Miss."
" She began softly. "I feel badly, since you went out of your way to help me. Won't you let me at least try to make it up to you?"
He gave her a gentle look. "Miss
.you don't even know my name, that you don't."
"Well, then let's start simple~!" She held out her hand. "My name is Cadencia. Cadencia Winfield. And you are?"
The crimson haired swordsman took her hand gingerly, the proper way to take a lady's hand, but she huffed.
"Shake my hand. I'm not a dainty little primrose, you know." She gave an energetic grin.
The swordsman blinked, but quickly found a smile. "So I've noticed." As asked, he shook her hand. "Kenshin Himura."
"What a name!" She remarked. "Err
.forgive my asking, but
from around here?"
Kenshin shook his head. "No, Miss Cadencia. Like those mercenaries, I also came from a place, far in the east, that I did."
"Where might that be?"
"Kyoto, it is."
..some sort of travelling hero?"
He smiled. "No, nothing of the sort. I'm just a wanderer, that I am."
"Really? And here you looked so noble atop that building too
"You think too much of me, that you do." Kenshin gave a small laugh.
"I'm not so sure about that
.who are the Yakuza, anyway?"
..well, I suppose you could think of them as a mafia. I had no idea some of their organization had also come here until now, though, that I did not."
"Ah, I see."
"By the way, Miss Cadencia
"What is it?"
"Aren't you curious as to what a simple wanderer is doing in Paris?"
Cadencia shrugged. "You must have your reasons. Whatever it is, I don't see a need to pry at it. You seem like a person whose word I can trust, Kenshin."
He stared at her for a moment before smiling. "Thank you."
"Huh? Don't mention it." She gave a little yawn, and politely brought her hand to her mouth. "We should head back to my house. I'll make some tea."
"Tea sounds quite pleasant, that it does." He admitted.
"All right, then! Let's go."
About a moment after she'd resumed her walk, she came to a grinding halt without warning, and Kenshin almost plowed right into her.
.? Is something the matter, Miss Cadencia?"
" She had just remembered about her Demon.
..my friend! Those thugs hired a gunman to kill him, I've got to-"
She went to run, but Kenshin quickly grasped her wrist. His touch was firm, but gentle.
"What are you doing, Kenshin? I have to-"
"Someone is approaching, that they are." He let go of Cadencia's wrist, and took a protective step in front of her. She watched with intrigue as his hand went to his sword, ready to draw.
.so there you are."
Cadencia felt relief wash over her. This voice
Kenshin was certain his eyes must have been playing tricks on him; he could have sworn he saw some sort of tall, feathery looking thing, donned in black leather and elevated heels.
"Sebastian!" Cadencia exclaimed, dashing forward.
Kenshin blinked, trying to re-focus his eyes, and it was gone. The feathery thing had disappeared completely, leaving in it's place, a butler in a tailcoat.
"I finally found you, Milady, I'm relieved you are unharmed."
"Did a gunman try to attack you?!"
"Why, yes. He was but a small trifle, however. He was even kind enough to tell me that you were being targeted. I began to search for you as soon as I finished with him." The gaze of auburn eyes shifted towards Kenshin. "Who might this be
She swallowed nervously. "This is Kenshin Himura
..he saved me from the Yakuza thugs, Sebastian. Um
.please don't eat him."
Sebastian and Kenshin kept their eyes locked together, unblinking.
"Why, Milady, I assure you I thought nothing of the sort."
Cadencia felt her whole body go rigid.
I forgot that Sebastian has possession issues