A little girl ran down the corridor of the beautiful chateau her family lived in.
The silk lavender fabric of her skirts sparkled from the warm glow of candles adorning the hallways.
She finally found the room she wanted to be in the most.
Cold wind gently caressed the girl’s face from the opened window in his study.
“Papa!” She squealed in delight, burying her face into his expensive black suit.
The blue rose attached to his breast pocket seemed to have an unnatural glow.
It belonged to her mother, but she gave it to father when he went away for a long time on business. She could smell the intoxicating scent of roses, vanilla, and cinnamon on him.
No doubt back from overseeing the preparations in the kitchen.
Her father was a well-respected Noble among society and had many friends as well as enemies. In the dark depths of his mansion, he ruled the underworld of Estelle slaughtering anyone who threatened the crown, and all who dare set their sights on his family.
Innocent and pure, his daughter didn’t know her papa’s hands were stained with blood.
Tonight was a special night for the prestigious Crimson family for they were hosting a masked ball. The ballroom was already lit up with a dozen chandeliers and many candles that lined the walls. Violinists and the rest of the orchestra were at their posts ready to enchant the guests with exquisite melodies.
Lord Eugene Crimson smiled down at his only daughter.
His black gloved fingers caressed her silky locks.
The sapphire red ring glowed brightly on his thumb.
It was the symbol to the Crimson family’s name and held many dark secrets.
Each tale was whispered by a selected few from one generation to the next.
His darling daughter giggled eyes gleaming with happiness; her father was so amazing!
The rubies on his black mask gave him a mysterious look.
“Mummy is almost ready for the ball! She’s so pretty in her new dress!”
A low chuckle rumbled from his throat.
“That she is my chère, but you are just as beautiful.”
His eyes were the color of amethyst gemstones that shined brighter than any sapphire.
Her own amethyst eyes stared back into his handsome face as soft dark blue bangs from his short hairstyle, fell covering his left eye. He was very handsome and her mother was an ethereal deity sent from heaven or so her father told her, and she was the princess of this castle.
Lady Odette descended the marble staircase and soon appeared in front of her husband’s study. "Vous êtes là, mon petit pétale de rose!"
A woman dressed in a cream colored ball gown wearing a white mask with small diamonds scooped up the little girl in her arms and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Shall we?” Eugene held his arm out to his wife and she accepted it with grace.
The sparkling flowers on Odette’s long skirts trailed the floor while the little girl gently touched one of her soft red curls that were bound in a loose bun.
"Ce soir va être fantastique ma belle chérie! Alors demain, nous allons jeter un voyage dans la ville. "
Her mother gushed with pride and happiness for her beloved family.
The little girl felt such excitement then something caught her eye within the shadows.
Within the shadows, something sharp glinted in a person’s gloved hand.
That person would cause a living hell within the walls of the Crimson mansion.
The sound of someone entering her room, awoke the twenty year old woman from her reverie.
Long shiny red hair lay sprawled out on the velvety soft sheets of a queen size bed.
“Good morning Lady Crimson. Ready to greet another day?”
Her head maid smiled opening the blasted curtains that rudely welcomed the sunlight into the room.
“Wake me up in another hour.” Her mistress, dressed in a long white nightgown, grumbled pulling the dark blue sheets over her head and snuggled into her pillows underneath.
“Now, now my lady it’s time to rise and shine you have many meetings to go to today.”
The other woman chided dressed in maid attire.
With a swift pull, the sheets flew off with quick haste.
“Screw the day. It can go to hell!”
Her lady whined slowly opening an amethyst colored eye and glared about the room through long bangs. Feeling defeated, Lady Vanille sat up and allowed her maid to wheel the breakfast cart inside.
“Where is today’s paper?” Vanille stifled a yawn as more sunlight flooded the room.
Cassandra handed the requested item to her as she flipped through its contents.
Vanille’s long curly hair shone brightly in the sunlight and people from all over always admired its rich silkiness.
“Her crimson hair is red as the brightest rose and her personality is sharp like the thorns. The darkness wraps itself tightly and the beautiful rose slaughters anyone in her path no matter who the person might be. No wonder the Estelle royal family favors her.”
They would say, but she knew these business men were only throwing her compliments just to get on her good side. It was all a game and she knew how to play it very well.
She nibbled at her eggs, poached salmon, and toast while Cassandra droned on about what today’s events held.
“Oh, Lord Ashe requested to see you today. He wishes to take a stroll through the gardens.” Cassandra beamed happily at the very thought of her lady and the handsome man finally going out on a date. She clearly saw they were simply perfect for each other.
Two people with differing personalities connecting with each other was simply too beautiful for words to describe . . .
His charming personality could one day melt her heart.
Judging by the ticked off look on her mistress’s face, she wasn’t too pleased with his forwardness.
“Please my lady, it’s rude to keep turning down invitations. He means well.”
“I know that. . . .What the hell is this flavor?”
Vanille swatted the teacup away from Cassandra’s hand.
The porcelain cup shattered to the floor.
Cassandra sighed keeping her own temper in check and picked up the pieces.
She then took a minute to compose herself, and hid her frown by bowing her head low.
The woman ran a hand through her parted wide-swept bangs then a smile graced her shiny pink lips once again.
“Earl Grey with a hint of honey . . . That’s the newest tea every noble lady in the land prefers.”
`I worked hard preparing that tea, you little- `
The maid growled on the inside, her mistress was very bitter at times and ungrateful.
“See to it that you get me better tasting tea than that poison at once!”
Vanille’s eyes sparked with flames as she watched Cassandra leave the room preparing to do just that.
“Erm, Lady Vanille do you wish for me to dress you?” Sara, the youngest of the maids asked peeking out from behind the hiding spot near the doorway. Vanille sighed, “How many times must we go over this Sara? I can dress myself and choose to do so. Now get out!”
An ominous glare left the girl with the blue laced choker in a state of fear.
Sara’s short pink hair flew behind her as the twelve year old girl ran down the hall.
The gold bells from her lavender flower bonnet jingled as she fled.
Her large brown eyes filled with tears, oh her mistress was so scary in the mornings!
The blue rose upon Vanille’s chest sparkled and filled her senses with its sweet flowery scent. She sat on her bed touching the soft blue petals and found comfort with them.
This rose once belonged to her mother and it was one of her most prized possessions.
Images of that night broke into shattered glass pieces and sliced at her heart a little deeper.
Her mother’s long red curls and warm smile was still fresh, her father’s kind yet withdrawn nature had left an imprint on her life.
She once again found herself in the grand ballroom surrounded by the display of sparkling swishing skirts and handsome masked partners spinning across the dance floor.
Her father taking her mother’s hand as they too descended into the throng of dancers.
Those memories that flashed through her dream happened ten years ago.
Remembering the past sometimes held her back from what needed to be done.
To move forward one must bury such trivial emotions.
There was no point on dwelling upon such a pitiful dream and the vision of what could have been. The lady sighed unbuttoning her nightgown then got dressed in black pants that had dark purple ribbons prettily arranged over her upper thighs and a long puffy sleeved black shirt with an elegant dark purple corset tightly clasped around her waist.
A string of pearls hung down the corset along with pink and blue ribbons decorated the beautiful corset. Pink frilly lace lined the edges of the corset from top to bottom. It looked a bit too girlish for Vanille's liking.
The woman attached the blossomed blue rose whose petals were as blue as sapphire and wore it over the blue bow laced against her dark purple corset which displayed far too much cleavage for her tastes, honestly did today's fashion have to be run by perverts?
`It could be worse.` Vanille thought trying to hide the oncoming blush from her maid.
She laced up her black heeled high top boots and applied her usual rosy pink lipstick and blush in the vanity. “You look nice as always.” Cassandra appeared in her reflection then got the silver shell brush and combed the mistress’s hair.
A pair of amethyst eyes stared back at Vanille.
He appeared in her mind again like a thief in the night. His long hair tied into a ponytail and well hidden in the shadows. That same black feathered mask hiding his sapphire blue eyes and that same leering smirk had haunted her for many years.
She would find him, the man who had. . .
“My lady it is the anniversary isn’t it?”
Vanille shook the thoughts from her mind and looked back at Cassandra’s solemn face.
She wordlessly slipped on her black silken gloves.
“Place the usual bouquet of flowers on their graves. I shall see them later.”
Vanille clenched her teeth together, no she stopped crying a long time ago.
She was no longer a weakling who dare showed anyone tears.
The last time she cried was years ago, then she forced herself to move forward and accept the responsibilities as the next heir to the Crimson fortune. It was what her father would have wanted. Swallowing the bitter tears, Vanille grabbed a black coat from her walk in closet.
Her long black coat also had ribbons tied into elegant bows around the elbows except these were snowy white with diamonds in the center. She walked deeper into her closet and selected two strips of bright pink cloth that had dark pink rose petals scattered across the soft fabric and intersected them around her waist.
Her maid scrunched up her nose, "My lady won't wear skirts, but strips of cloth are acceptable?" Vanille turned with a smile swishing the two draping cloths that softly brushed against her legs, "It's not a skirt technically speaking, and I certainly do have exquisite taste when the time calls for it."
Cassandra rolled her eyes, her mistress could be so troublesome.
Vanille walked to the door and held out her left hand.
Cassandra bowed her head and then placed the family’s sapphire ring on her lady’s middle finger. The red sapphire glowed brightly against the sun’s light, but the anger within her heart burned much brighter.
“Let us depart. . .”
Lady Vanille, the sole heiress to the Crimson mansion, turned around long black coat flowing out like a whirlwind of black rose petals.
The sky had grown much darker once Vanille had reached her destination.
"The royal rose garden of all places." Vanille looked around for the lieutenant then handed her black coat to Cassandra, saying, "This shouldn't take too long go wait for me inside." Being obedient, her servant obeyed. Vanille sighed wondering what Jack wanted with her now. He was top notch when it came to delivering orders, but his greatest flaw was being painfully clumsy.
"Great." Vanille glared at the colorful scented roses as it began to rain.
An umbrella shielded her from the rain; "Sorry that I kept you waiting." that voice was the last one she wanted to hear. Her amethyst eyes turned a surprised look at none other than, Lord Ashe himself. Ashe smiled back, his hazel brown eyes lit up at the sight of her. The rain drenched them both and Vanille couldn't stop herself from staring at the raindrops that glistened against his black hair that went passed his shoulders, and those long bangs that nearly touched his eyelashes.
A raindrop dripped off his handsome face.
Vanille averted her eyes, "I didn't expect to see you so soon." and continued to pretend to admire the roses and the other various flowers. "W-What the hell is your idea of bringing me out here anyway?" She glowered at his shocked face then balled her hands into fists when he dare laugh at the Crimson heiress!
Ashe finally relaxed then elegantly bowed, "Please accept my deepest apologies, my lady. I had to bring you under false pretenses, because I saw no other way to get your attention." Vanille rolled her eyes, "Well then you have it now, so what was so important that you had to ruin my plans?" Vanille folded her arms across her chest.
Ashe tilted his head cutely and placed a thinking finger on his face.
"Stop staring at me!" Vanille nearly screeched in an unladylike fashion, she swore he had been staring at her for more than a few minutes and it drove her crazy.
He always found a way to drive her insane.
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself. . . .You look cuter today, not that you usually do, but I really like those strips of cloth around your waist."
Vanille blushed again and looked down at the said pink cloths that sparkled against the rain. "Thank you." Vanille huffed and turned away. "Cute? I am no such thing. Cute things are weak, and I will be damned if I'm ever considered as such!" Vanille threw a punch Ashe's way, who in turn nearly dodged it. He caught her next attack and stealthily moved behind her, locking the woman against him in a tight embrace.
Vanille froze feeling his hot breath against her ear.
"This is certainly going as planned." Cassandra smiled at the two of them from a distance. "Mm-hmm." Sara smiled too sitting near the section of hydrangeas.
"If they start peeling off their clothes, I want you to immediately leave."
Sara widened her eyes at Cassandra's dirty mind work at play, "What?" she screamed.
"I have a reason that I brought you here."
The woman against him growled in protest at being detained so easily.
"Let me guess, you're angry because I haven't accepted your art collection ideas? As I've told you before I have no desire to partake in your company's love of art. Your paintings give me headaches." Vanille tried wriggling free and failed.
A gloved hand picked up something shiny from the ground and a smile spread across their face. It was the item that they had desired these passed few weeks.
"That's not what I wanted to discuss, my dear Vanille-chan."
Vanille fumed stamping her foot onto his and broke free.
"Stop it with the nicknames! I don't care if we've become friends over the years! It's. . .It's unprofessional and makes my face do weird things!"
Vanille's face grew hot again still feeling the warmth of being in his embrace just moments ago. Why the hell did he make her feel this way? It wasn't right!
She was no fool, and her feelings were the same, but it was too dangerous for them to have that sort of relationship. Yes, this fiery woman had led a path of loneliness and bloodshed up to this point in time, and no one was going to change that.
"Vanille." Ashe's voice, so warm and gentle that it melted her heart, reached her through the wind and the scattering flower petals.
She looked at him and slowly came back to his side choked with a loss for words.
"While you love birds flirt, I'll just take this and be on my way."
Vanille and Ashe saw a man not much older than they, standing a few feet away.
Gold swirls curled across the back and along the arms of a dark purple coat that was draped over a white shirt and dark purple trousers. A light pink scarf was tied like a tie around his neck with a yellow butterfly stitched into the fabric.
A black hat covered most of the spiky purple locks of hair from the rain.
His startling bright chocolate brown eyes stared back at them with a hint of hazel around the irises which seemed to sparkle as he titled his head at them.
Ashe gasped at the object in his hand, "That's-"
"A beautiful red rose coated in shining crystal." The stranger finished holding it to his porcelain lips. "Give it back, it's for. . ." Ashe felt his face burn hotly as Vanille raised a confused eyebrow, then it made sense. Stepping forward she shouted, "Unhand that priceless item, it's for the Royal Art Collection run by the queen!"
Ashe felt like smacking himself as he lowered his head. She was dead wrong.
"Huh, this piece of cheap art is worth something after all. An amateur must have put a lot of work into it, eh?"
The person examined the delicately arranged red petals as Ashe angrily glared at him for the insult. "Who are you exactly?" He was about ready to do some serious damage.
Their moment was ruined because of this clown!
"Me?" The man made an innocent gesture at himself then smirked, "My name's Boris.
I have to take this little trinket off yer hands, because a patron already claimed it."
"Patron?" Vanille folded her arms across her chest wondering what this character was.
He had to be some sort of dealer, but judging by his clothes she'd say he had to come from middle class and lived in a decent house than the majority of Seraph.
"In other words you're stealing my gift!" Ashe got into his battle stance and summoned his blue dragon eye bracers in an array of magical sparkles.
Vanille outstretched her hand in front of Ashe, "Wait." She looked at him then back at the stranger. "What exactly do you do?" She inquired, "You're not exactly a Noble like us and unwittingly testing my patience. So I suggest you come out with it already."
The rain seemed to grow colder around him, or maybe it was the woman's cold smile that gave Boris the chills. "Ehehe, well I am just doing my job miss. For you see, I'm a simple mercenary. My job varies and that includes getting rare items and selling them to the highest bidder."
Vanille nodded, "I see. Name your price for that crystal rose. If it's important to Ashe then it's important to me." Ashe stared at Vanille and felt his heart skipped a beat.
Vanille's boldness was one among the many reasons why he fell for the quick tempered beauty. Boris chuckled, "Sorry, bids are closed and I can't give out patron information. I have my own business that to run you know."
" Hahaha! Well that's a shame!" Vanille cracked a false smile then her weapon appeared in her hands with fire blazing along the entire sword. "I really wanted negotiate a price, but you're being so stubborn. . . .Maybe we can come to some sort of arrangement?"
And there were some traits like Vanille's heavily sadistic nature that Ashe was too scared to find appealing. "Oh, Vanille." He said with a smile.
Boris felt sweat trickle down the side of his cheek with a closed eye smile.
"Erm, I think I'll pass." Boris inched away then proceeded to skip backwards heading towards the black gate. His dark brown boots stopped when a wave of fire raced across behind him in a circular motion. His eyes were wide with fear as he gulped.
"Maybe we can work something out." Boris smiled darkly, eyes hidden beneath purple bangs, "Or maybe my patience is starting to get tested too. I seriously don't have time for this." In electrical sparks a gun appeared in his hand then a sword in the other.
"On second thought I only need this." Boris casted the sword away making it vanish.
He placed the crystal rose in his coat pocket, and sent an onslaught of bullets at his enemies which exploded in a thunderous display. The bullets exploded like lightning striking the earth. "Vanille!" Ashe grabbed her waist and pulled her away from the shockwaves that erupted all around them.
Vanille slowly opened her eyes finding the little nuisance had escaped.
"I'm sorry." She said taking Ashe's hand and getting up to her feet.
Ashe's black vest and long sleeved white shirt blew in the wind.
He smiled, "That's okay, I'll make you another one."
"Don't bother. I can't accept your gifts." Vanille didn't turn to face him.
Ashe didn't hide the hurt look on his face and his lovely brown eyes glistened.
The woman's long crimson hair flew in the wind and gently brushed against her angelic face her vibrant amethyst eyes searched the many flowers dripping with watery diamonds in search of words that would further distance him from her.
Boris shoved his hands deep into his pockets walking across the slippery cobblestones while carriages and the townspeople passed him by the street.
The rain seemed to be letting up a little. The crafty gentleman slipped down a corridor and hid in the dark shadows of an alleyway that stunk of rainwater and someone's laundry.
"He went this way!" An officer shouted signaling his men to follow him down the street.
Boris took a chunk out of the bread he'd slipped off of one of the food vendors and must have gotten spotted, "Just my luck, these idiots don't know when to quite."
He sighed irritated with his carelessness and tossed the hat against a dumpster.
Now he was sure, they had the whole city on the lookout for him.
Seraph was huge and well it did hold the beautiful castle of Estelle after all.
He casually jumped roof from roof, a smart plan if he did say so himself.
"Please wait for me, my love. I know it's been too long, but my next delivery resides in Starlight Town. Within that city surrounded by the same ocean as this one, I know you are waiting for me. . .From there we will be reunited at last."
The pink scarf around his neck fluttered in the icy rain while he overlooked the many people down below.
The roses in the garden gave off their intoxicating scents mixing with the rain as Ashe stared at Vanille with sad eyes. Vanille bit her lip trying appear cold in front of him.
Her shiny pink lips finally formed the words in Japanese knowing Ashe struggled with that language than he did with French.
"I must distance myself from you. It is my choice to be your shield from the darkness that clings to my soul. My life has led me down a blood soaked path, and someone like you is better off avoiding my blood stained hands. I don't want you involved. I have far too many enemies in the shadows of this kingdom that would leap at the chance of taking someone that I care too deeply about. Ashe, my love for you won't allow us to have a future." Vanille finished as a raindrop glided down her porcelain skin like a tear.
"I don't care how dangerous or how long your personal mission lasts. Vanille, I'll stay by your side always! So don't you dare think I will leave you so easily. I knew there was a reason why you always pushed me away, but no matter what, I will always smile for the seemingly cold woman who stole my heart. I've seen your warm and cute side and that's what made me fall in the first place besides your strong will and determination."
Vanille widened her eyes feeling tears prick at her eyes.
She gritted her teeth as they flowed freely, "Idiot, how can you fall for a monster like me? I've taken many lives and broken many bonds."
Ashe's eyes softened slowly approaching her in the storm of flower petals and rain.
"You're not a monster-"
Vanille sliced through his words crawling back into the barrier that surrounded her heart. "I don't expect anyone to understand, you and I have different paths to walk.
I'm sorry I can't be with you. Please pursue someone else."
Ashe responded back, they had stopped talking in Japanese moments ago, not backing down. She needed him more than ever. "I won't give up on you, Vanille Crimson."
"It's a pointless battle." Vanille answered coldly masking her pain very well.
The beautiful warrior walked away head held high, as the red rose petals passed her in the wind and flew by Ashe. A fragile rose petal brushed softly against his face.
A small smile curved the corners of his mouth, "I'll just have to keep smiling and be your light that shines brightly within the depths of your heart."
The sun burst from the clouds creating a pretty sunrise.
It shone brightly in the pink skies while the lavender and yellow clouds sailed away.
Vanille walked away from the royal castle and strangely felt a smile on her face.
The woman's heart swelled with thoughts of Ashe.
Her sapphire ring served as a reminder that their love could never be.
"Vanille!" Sara tackled the woman into a tight hug, "Did it go great?"
"Yes, did you have fun?" Cassandra appeared on the other side of their mistress.
"Why does it not surprise me, that you two were behind this little plan?"
Vanille pried Sara's claws off of her person.
The little girl pouted, then smiled when the woman's black gloved hand patted her head affectionately. The bells on Sara's bonnet, chimed joyously matching the girl's spirits.
"Yes I did."
Vanille answered, walking ahead of them through Seraph's crowded streets.
"Let's get food!" Sara cried, "Please feed me, Lady Vanille!"
"Didn't you eat half an hour ago?" Vanille sighed deeply annoyed.
"We hardly eat out, mistress. Why not tonight?" Cassandra clapped her hands happily thinking of all the hot spots of great restaurants they could choose from.
"If it will get you guys to stop your nonsense." Vanille nodded then blinked when Sara slipped her hand in her mistress's, hardly appropriate for a mistress and her servant, but Sara was too cute to not humor. Blushing Vanille held the little girl's hand walking hand-in-hand through the sunlight with Cassandra following close behind.
Sara's chocolate brown eyes shined looking up at the woman she adored and admired.
Vanille looked down at her and smiled back closing her purple eyes.
Dark brown boots clicked against the stoned path walking pass a couple of horse-drawn carriages. The back of Boris's jacket glowed brightly, a gun in his holster against his hip winked back at the sun, and the salty smell of the ocean put him in a positive mood.
Seagulls squawked in the sky leaving a trail of feathers to float to the ground.
"No matter the distance, I will always find my way back to you. Remember that promise I made before I took this job? Well I intend to keep my word. That's something I can't lie about." Boris murmured softly, the pink scarf fluttered in the wind; the gold butterfly sparkled in the sunshine as if she was right here with him.
Boris checked his silver compass, and smiled back at her cheerful smile.