The Queen's Snake- The House of Envy

Envy is a strong sin. It's not the gateway to all sins, but Ivory Addams KNOWS envy. And Ciel is about to discover it's motivation.

Created by Solanum13 on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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The butler and his master arrived home, where Ciel proceeded to bathe, relax and have a cup of tea. “Sebastian, call Elizabeth and let her know that I’m safe.”

“…. Of course, sir.”

Ciel leaned back in the water, trying to let his trouble melt into the water. Frowning slightly, he squinted at the gilded ceiling. That was two criminals now that had claimed to work for his Queen. He would have to check with Earl Grey before he could arrest either of them. The tailor was most definitively guilty, as were the two servants and Miss Rose were also guilty. But he KNEW her father most certainly signed the bill that gave him his money. But Ciel sincerely doubted the existence of the Queen’s Kitten. He had never heard of such a person in his life. For a moment, he considered reading his father’s journals, but the idea depressed him. He allowed his thoughts to lapse into silence once more. Allowing himself to soak, the tension eased from him before Sebastian returned.

“…Young Master, Miss Elizabeth is gone.”

“…Gone as in?”

He was familiar with the phrase, as Elizabeth was always running away to come see him or someone else. “As in missing completely.”

Ciel sat up. “You mean…”

“Paula took her to Miss Ivory Addam’s home and then, later in the day, Miss Elizabeth went into the garden, and disappeared.”

“….Have they searched the grounds?”

“Completely.”
“The manor?”

“Yes.”

“…The grounds surrounding the property?”

“All of it checked thoroughly.”

Ciel nodded quietly. “…Then we’ll go to Ms. Addam’s…”

“Are you sure this is a wise idea… People will talk, young master.”

“…I’m sure a widow like Ms. Addam’s is capable of dealing with talk.”

“…of course, sir.”

Sebastian washed his charge down before removing him from the tub. They dressed, and, for the second time that day, were in the carriage. “You remember where she lives?”

“Of course sir, it has been less than a year since Master Addam’s funeral.”

Ciel nodded shortly and let the carriage take off. The ride would take at least an hour to an hour and a half. In that time, Ciel dozed off and let the rattling of the carriage wake him as they came to the estate. It was smaller than theirs, but Ciel understood. They were a lesser noble family under the queen. From what he understood, the late Lord Addams was one of the best fencers in the country, second to Elizabeth and her father, the Marquis de Midford. At just eighteen, Ivory Addams, one of Ciel’s childhood friends, was a widow. Ciel didn’t know the entire story, but he understood that it had come as a shock to the wife of he former fencing champion. He distinctly remembered seeing her break down into tears before him in an unusual fit of passion and sadness. But, not expectedly, she didn’t fall into despair. Rather, he noted that she had been massively envious of Elizabeth and her happy life. Not that she had ever been affectionate towards Ciel, but that she was simply angry that her chance at having children and a life of happiness.

“She’s been doing well for herself, I see,” Ciel stated.

“…It’s been noted, sir,” Sebstian concurred as he helped his master from the carriage. Sitting at the door, waiting to greet them sat the elderly gardener, Ivy. She sat there, glasses covering her face, turning her wheelchair to them.

“AH! Lord Earl, it’s been some time now.”

“Only a year, Ivy,” Ciel smiled. The elderly lady had been plenty kind to him on all previous occasions. The lady had seen much in her forty-some years, and was an amputee… And still managed to take care of her garden as if she still had both legs.

“OHHH, time is so slow for us elders. I’m sure you understand that with Tanaka,” she smiled again, turning, leading him into the door and to the main room.

“Where is Miss Ivory?”

“In her study, fretting over Elizabeth.”

“Did you search the garden?”

“Thoroughly, I never miss a thing.”

“I doubt you do.” Ciel studied her and sighed. “You may leave us. I’ll wait here.”

She feigned a bow. “Alright.” Wheeling out, Ciel sat down on one of Ivory’s small, white chairs. Sebastian looked about.

“It seems deserted here.”

“….I noticed.”

They sat for a bit before Ivory appeared. Her long brown hair was braided, held down her back, a black veil cascading down it. Her mourning dress was of a newer style. It seemed that she too was visiting the murderous tailor. Sitting across from Ciel, her face was solemn. “Good morning, Ciel.”

“Good morning, Ms. Ivory.”

“…You don’t NEED to be so formal.”

Ciel frowned slightly. “Oh…” Ivory gave a tiny smile. “Have you seen Elizabeth?”

Ivory lowered her head. “I thought you might ask about her.”

“I know Lizzie was here before she disappeared.”

Ivory nodded and shifted a bit. “I’ve had all the servants go look. I promise.”

“Do you mind if I question them?”

“When you’re finished with me…not at all.” She sat quietly for a moment. “Invidia is bringing me tea.”

“…what kind?”

She stayed silent. “Chamomile for my nerves.” Her hands shook as she sipped, but her demeanor seemed just a tad off.

“I suppose that would work. Having Elizabeth go missing on the property cannot be good for your health.”

“It isn’t.”

Ciel didn’t smile, and the pair sat in silence. She looked up as her butler entered the room. He was a rather thin man, or what Ciel assumed was a man, with rather thin features and long, indigo colored hair, and was clad in black, as a butler should be. Bowing, he presented a white-china tea set accented in silver. She took no sugar in her tea and sipped it delicately. “Invi…sugar for the young man.” She stated this quietly, sipping the chamomile. Ciel took the cup and sipped it gently.

“May I take a look around the grounds?” Ciel looked at her over his teacup, a small, evil smirk coloring his face. Ivory ignored it and leaned back in her chair.

“Not at all. I’ll even ask Arthur or Alice to show you around.”

The boy gave a small smirk and nodded. “That will be all, then, Ms. Addams.” Ivory nodded and smiled politely. “…is your health still as poor…?” he asked. She had lived through a rough bout of pneumonia, something that would normally kill any person. Sniffing, she smiled and whistled before a pair of light-haired children walked through the door. Their eyes, a blue they were almost violent, shone as they gripped one another’s hands. They were apprentice servants, and very good at their jobs.

“Hello Master Phantomhive,” Arthur, standing on the right said. He bowed and she curtsied. He kneeled down and rustled their hair.

“Do you mind showing me the garden?” he asked. Alice’s face lit with a smile and Arthur shook his head.

“Not at all, Master Phantomhive.” Arthur offered his hand to Ciel as he stood. The small boy, at about six or seven, was unafraid of Ciel. While most adults were capable of sensing his….off….aura. But children trusted him. Perhaps it was because Ciel was trapped in a child’s body himself? No matter, though, if it helped him achieve his goals, then it didn’t bother him. Ciel took his hand and walked with the duo, the inseparable twins. Something about this tugged at his heart, but he pushed it away, ignoring it. The garden was as lovely as the one he used to entertain and his gaze once again softened. Ivy was doing her job very well, from his standpoint. Nodding, Arthur let go of his hand, and Ciel wandered out into the labyrinth of lilies, roses and columbine. Following behind him was Sebastian, staying at a safe distance. The twins walked by him, waving at him slightly.

Ciel glanced back at him. “Are you coming?”

“Of course, sir.” There was silence as they wandered into the garden. Ciel sniffed the air.

“Sebastian…what is that smell?”

“…Roses?” he stated. Ciel shot him a glare.

“Don’t patronize me, demon.” Sebastian smirked a little.

“Of course not my lord. …But I don’t know what you smell.”

Ciel sighed and looked back at him. “It smells…. Damp and stale…” Sebs stood where Ciel did, and frowned. He nodded and kneeled. “Is there something-”

Sebastian pulled him out of the way, staggering slightly, a square dropping out of the ground, dirt dripping into what looked like a metal slide. “Shall we investigate?”

Ciel looked at him, and then back at the slide. “Yes.”

Sebastian went down first, landing on stone floor after a short chute ride. He caught Ciel before he hit the ground, holding him up. “…Underground caves?”

“It’s to be expected. The Addams’ were very prominent and very high on many hit-lists.”

“…But to keep it in use now? The family head is already gone.”

“Not so. Ms. Addams is still a target.” Sebastian nodded, walking down the stone corridor. He paused, looking down. Kneeling, he examines the disturbed dirt.

“Someone has been here recently.”

Ciel looked up. “Ivory didn’t mention a recent calling.”

“Should we go question her about it?”

Ciel remained silent for a moment. “No. It’s best we conduct this part of the investigation unnoticed.” Sebastian nodded again, looking downward, following the disturbed earth. Suddenly he stood, pulling Ciel back against the wall as they came to an intersection. Crossing it, came a man with a silver platter under his arm, one who Ciel recognized as Alice and Arthur’s father. He watched him and then waited until he was out of hearing distance. “If the manor is that direction…” Ciel gestured to the direction the man walked, “then there is something over this way.” He looked into the other end. “It’s rather dark…”

“Then allow me to lead you, young master,” Sebastian said, taking his hand. Ciel stared momentarily, before his face turned pink.

“Alright.”

Walking into the dark, he heard a small voice. “Hello? I..is someone there?”

Ciel froze. “E..Elizabeth?!”

There was silence. “Hello?! W..Who is that?”

“LIZZIE!” Ciel let go of Sebastian’s hand and the boy went to move forward. Sebastian pulled him back, covering his mouth.

“..Don’t rush.” There were footsteps.

“O..Oh god! I..Ivory! T..Thank god you’ve found me… Y..Your chef..he..he locked me up here… a..and your butler..”

“I know, Lizzie…. Don’t worry…”

Ciel watched from the corner, shrouded in the dark, covered by Sebastian’s dark frame.

“T…Then let me down… Please Ivory…. Please, I’m so scared…”

“I know.. You should be.” The girl’s mourning dress was dusted lightly. She had been wandering in the dark for a while, and her expression seemed less somber than it had been when Ciel had seen them not an hour hence.

He then caught sight of the barely-dressed Elizabeth. Her corset and undergarments were showing in a pathetic way. Her arms were chained up above her head, held in shackles. Ivory caressed her jaw with one slim hand. “I..Ivory..w..why are you looking at me that way?”

“Why shouldn’t I?” her eyes narrowed and Ciel recognized the same look as the tailor.

“B…Because we’re friends?”

Ivory giggled a little. “Of course, we’re friends…” She frowned suddenly, pulling a blade from her sleeve. “But for now… For now we can’t be.”
“Y..Yes we can! Please Ivory, let me down!”

“Oh, if only it were that easy.” She shifts a bit and sits down in a chair that appeared, seemingly from nowhere. “How rude. You didn’t let dear Ahvel feed you.” She nudged a silver tray with her foot. In the dark, Ivory’s butler Invidia showed himself, presenting her with tea. She waved it away and he set it down by the other tray. Picking up a nice china plate, she slips over to her. “Now eat.”

Lizzie glared at her before turning away. “I won’t eat until you let me down.”

Ivory giggled slightly. “Oh.. Is that your game? Well I suppose starving to death is better than bleeding to death. More fun to watch.”

“Y…You- Why are you doing this?!”

“…….. For a simple enough reason.”

Lizzie stared at Ivory in horror, looking up, seeing if there were any way to be released from her shackles. After a moment of brief struggle, Ivory snickered. “You won’t be escaping those, Lizzie.”

The blonde girl ignored her, concentrating. But nothing gave. No matter which way she turned her wrists, there wasn’t a single crack that she could attempt to pry open.

“….You never WERE good at listening.” Playing with the blade in her fingers and setting down her tea cup onto the tray, she stood. Leaning disturbingly close, she grinned wider. Lizzie flinched back, narrowing her eyes.

“You WILL let me down from here, Ivory. My fiance won’t be happy if he finds out.”

“He’d be glad to know that you fought valiantly to save your life. Too bad that Invi had to break that sword of yours.”

“What is all this?’

Ivory stepped back, shifting a bit, turning back to her. “…… My absolution.”

“What did I do to you?!”

“It isn’t precisely something YOU did…” Here Ivory paused, and looked at Invidia. “Scout for intruders. Please.”

The man bowed and left, passing Sebastian and Ciel, pretending not to take notice of them. Ivory, seeming pacified that there was no one there, yet, turned back to Lizzie, drawing the flat side of the blade over Lizzie’s cheek. The girl whimpered, understanding that the elder would not hesitate to cut her open. Satisfied with the silence of Invidia, she shifted, turning her attention back to Elizabeth.

“As I said. It wasn’t precisely something YOU did….More like something you have…”

“W..what do I have that you don’t?!” the girl wined. Ivory restrained herself from stabbing her. Instead she sighed and took a seat.

“…A future.”

Elizabeth frowned and then her eyes widened. “I..Ivory! I..I’m sorry about what happened, but…i..i..it isn’t my fault!”

“I know it isn’t….But…I still want to hurt you for it… You know your Auntie Ann suffered the same sadness.”

“………..” Lizzie understood Ivory’s troubles. In Victorian England, a lady was considered unclean. She would be a widow and her status would remain branded on her forever. If she didn’t have children already, she wouldn’t be likely to have one. She was already impure from another man’s touch.

“….You see now? Do you see why I have to do this?”

Lizzie shook her head and Ivory narrowed her eyes. Looking up, her eyes followed the corridor and Invidia turned their corner. Sebastian pulled him aside, covering his mouth. “Make a move, and I’ll hurt you, Leviathan.” The butler glared, his eyes suddenly resembling the slitted eyes of a serpent. He let out a hiss before flipping Sebastian over his shoulder. He hissed and Ciel backed away, understanding this was a battle he could NOT get into. Ivory looked up and Lizzie stared.

“SEBASTIAN! CIEL!” she shouted. Ivory slapped her.

“Shut up. Invidia.” She raised the veil that rested on her head over her shoulders and back, exposing a darkened covenant, the leviathan cross. “Remove our…Meddlesome guests.”

“…Aye, my lady.” The demon’s eyes flickered pink before his body lengthened. The hair on his head left a deep blue pattern on what became a giant serpent’s back. The horned snake’s tongue flickered impressively, before he reared his head back and struck at Ciel. The demon’s mouth never met with him, and instead, found itself caught by the butler Sebastian. Hissing, he lashed his tail, sending him into one of the walls. The tunnels shook and Ivory looked up. Dirt fell down and there was the sound of rocks collapsing somewhere else, but they were untouched. Invidia, at a disadvantage due to the short height of the tunnels, had to lay close to the ground. He struck at Sebastian this time, nose hitting hard against the wall. There was a hiss of rage. The demon butler snickered.

“You’ve gotten weaker in your old age!” He leapt onto his back, avoiding the deadly coils of the snake’s body, dancing lightly on constantly constricting and contracting muscle. The leviathan beast turned it’s head, snapping at the intrusion upon it’s personal space, flaring, hissing, trying to get rid of the nuisance. The tunnel size only continued to restrict his size further, not allowing him any room to maneuver. This didn’t help Sebastian once that both demons realized the obvious fact. Lifting his body up closer to the ceiling, Sebastian had to crouch down, lest his body be crushed. He squirmed away on the back of the serpent as it used it’s size to it’s advantage. The top of the tunnel shook with each hard impact of the leviathan’s back and dirt and rocks fell.

Sebastian finally reached the end of his tail, clinging to the end, being swung around like a rock in a sling. He was fairly sure that if he were human, the impacts from the walls would have killed him by now. Through all the impacts and screams and hisses not far away, Ivory kept her cold expression locked on Lizzie.

“Perhaps this is more just of a punishment for you. Lose your fiance too. That would be satisfying…. But it wouldn’t be the same.”

Lizzie wimpered. “P..Please Ivory! I..I know he wouldn’t want you to do this!”

“….You don’t know. If I killed them, then you could still remarry.” She remained silent. “The only way to take everything from you, to do it now… I would have to kill you.”

Elizabeth screamed. Thrashing wildly, Ivory went for her chest and arms, intent on only slashing her open, not killing her. She smiled with satisfaction at watching her bleed. The younger lady kicked and cried, struggling more. Ivory stomped on her foot. She glanced over. “You should hurry, Invidia.”

The snake hissed in response, trying to extricate Sebastian from his tail end. Pulling with immense strength, Sebastian managed to uncoil the snake and drag it backwards, out of the tunnels. Ciel came out of his stunned stupor, tackling Ivory down. Kneeling on her back, she let out a shout before turning under him and going for his face. Ciel’s eyes flickered before he turned himself down and pinning her to the ground. “IVORY ADDAMS!” She stared up at him in stunned silence. Ciel stood. “You are a disgrace to your family. Call off your demon.” Ivory shivered and sat up a little.

“Invidia….Back down.” The snake tilted it’s head to her and coiled, taking up room in the tunnels. Ivory held herself, scooting back. “I..I….”

“You’re only remorseful because you’ve been caught. No other reasoning.”

“….That is all. Back away from me.”

Ciel narrowed his eyes. “Why should I?”

She let out a low hiss of disdain. “Because we can deal with this rationally.”

“Not if you’re going to nearly kill my fiance.’

There was silence and two strong hands lifted Ciel easily. “Young master, it is rude to sit on a lady in such a fashion. Ciel hissed slightly, but allowed himself to be moved.

“…….. I won’t hurt Miss Elizabeth…but you know that you cannot hurt me…”

“Not as of yet, Ms. Addams.” Ciel’s formal tone struck a chord in the woman’s heart, but she remained dead silent.

“Dogs and snakes don’t always get along. That is the natural order.”

“And the snake can be eaten by the dog if it so chooses.”

There was longer silence. Ciel knew that if he touched Ivory, his house did anything to upset her too much, that the queen would hear quick, fast and in a hurry. The house of the Addam’s was the home of the Queen’s snake, her very best pet, good for reporting incidents. The family were notorious in the underworld as spies…but only to the Phantomhives and other families that would be related to these incidents. The secret was well kept and so most of what people knew about the Addam’s was heard by rumor. Ivory, now the head of such a family, was dangerous. Removing the snake’s head killed it, but the snake was still venomous.

“Only if the dog wants the master of the house to punish him.”

The conversation ended there and Ciel turned, looking to Sebastian. “Grab Elizabeth, we’re going home. None of us are to speak about the incident. Is this clear?”

Ivory smiled. “Of course. And Ciel…”

He looked back, noting the small smirk on his face. “…What?”

“You are free to return at any time.”


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