Beauty and the Beast

Chapter Seven – Light

After their breathtaking dance, Casimir bade Odette goodnight. She curtsied deeply and wished him the same.

But then she followed.

As she did, she heard Skyler’s voice in her head. The rooftop…master’s quarters.

Odette slipped off her heels and padded along the cool tiles, careful not to make a single sound. Each stepped marked one breath closer to escape.

To home.

Casimir and Odette passed her own chambers and ascended yet another set of stairs. On the fourth floor, a large set of glass doors swept open to reveal a dark room within. Odette rushed to the nearby hallway and peaked out as Casimir entered. On the same level, two doors led to her own loft in her chambers. She couldn’t have planned a better layout.

Odette knew dancing with the Master would pay off. Lull him into a false sense of security that she truly wouldn’t attempt an escape. As soon as Skyler mentioned an open rooftop, Odette knew she had a chance of going back home. After all, how hard could it be to retrace her steps home?

~***~

The next night, Odette shooed Jacqueline away once she had helped Odette out of her dress. She kept her slip on, for it was light and flowy, offering the movement Odette would surely need to scuttle down five floors to the ground. She pulled her hair back into a tight ponytail and scrubbed all the makeup off of her face in preparation. After Odette was sure Jacqueline had left, she took cover in her loft to wait for Casimir to enter his room. It would be easier to get up to the roof with the door unlocked – not to mention she would know exactly where the Master would be. Thankfully, he had worn huge boots that echoed off the walls as he walked, so she should be covered from a soundproofing perspective.

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As soon as Casimir disappeared from her side, Odette slipped out of her room and rushed to Casimir’s door. Before it could slam shut, she ripped a pin out of her hair and slid it softly between the door and the frame. Odette cringed as the door opened slightly again from the momentum of hitting the pin. She knelt on the ground and placed her ear up to the door, listening as Casimir’s booming footsteps faded.

Once Odette decided that Casimir had gone deep enough into his room, she lightly pushed the door open more and peaked in. The room curved around to the left and disappeared – no Master in sight. Odette crept low to the ground as she peaked around the corner and stifled a curse. Casimir had emerged from his closet, barefoot and bare chested. However, what shocked her most was the perfection of his features that the mask hid. A straight nose, sharp jaw, and wicked cheekbones were only a few of the prominent features upon his face.

“Focus, Odette!” She whispered to herself.

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As soon as Casimir walked the other way, Odette scrambled up the stairs as quickly and quietly as she could. She hugged the wall as she went, searching for something to balance on. Eventually she reached the rooftop and almost started to cry in relief. Odette took a deep breath of fresh air, the freshest air she had ever tasted. It was like heaven on earth, a sweet candy after a lifetime of starvation.

A cough startled Odette, placing her back into reality. She had to work quickly – there was a glass floor off to her side that looked straight into the Master’s bedroom, so she gave it a wide berth as she scoured the edge of the castle. Steep slopes or stomach-clenching drops were everywhere. Odette’s only hope was the huge, towering pillars that decorated the edges. Over one of the edges, a balcony protruded from the Master’s suite. Odette cursed herself. That would have been a much easier way to get out.

With a small prayer to the stars, Odette wrapped her arms and legs around a pillar and slid down to the balcony. She clenched her eyes shut as her legs slammed against the floor – surely someone had heard that.

But no one came.

Odette took a steadying breath as she looked over the parapet. The hardest part was done. Tiny balconies pockmarked the edges of the castle – all she had to do was slide down a pillar to each balcony.

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This time, Odette kept her eyes wide open as she stealthily crawled and leaped to each balcony. Her legs burned with exertion and her breathing was laboured as she went. For the first time ever, Odette was grateful the windows were all covered.

And after one last leap, she was out.

Odette began to sprint out into the forest. It no longer mattered to her where she was going, as long as she was heading in the opposite direction of her prison. Up ahead, a cave covered with hanging plants and moss seemed to materialize from thin air. Having seen some strange things in the past few days, Odette headed full force into it.

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Before she could push aside the vines, a howl erupted from beside her and she was knocked to the ground.

Odette flipped onto her back to find a skeleton screeching at her. It dropped to it’s bony knees and pressed a scrawny hand against her neck. Odette kicked her legs and squirmed from side to side, trying to throw the creature off of her. Despite it’s small size, it seemed to weigh a thousand pounds. She managed to get an arm out from under it’s body and punched the thing’s thick nose. It reared back and howled as black ink trailed from it’s nostrils. Still, it persisted in choking her. Black spots danced in Odette’s vision as the skeleton pressed down on her throat harder.

“Enough!” A voice called. From the corner of her eye, Odette saw a blurry figure rushing towards her.

With one last surge of adrenaline, Odette slammed a fist into the skeleton’s temple, knocking it off of her. It scrambled away on it’s spidery legs and cowered behind the figure. Odette sputtered and coughed as she rolled over and shakily brought herself to her knees.

Moon!” The voice chastised. A jolt of shock went through Odette at the voice – it was feminine.

The two continued to speak in another language as Odette finally pressed herself upwards to stand on her legs. Her vision slowly returned to normal, bring the two figures into focus. A woman with a flashing green arm was standing next to what Odette still thought was a skeleton.

“Well, what do we have here?” The woman said.

Odette was still heaving as she threw her arms up in the air. “I don’t want any trouble. Just let me go,” she wheezed.

“I can’t,” the woman said, pouting.

“I won’t say anything,” Odette promised. “I swear.”

The woman shrugged. “I can’t argue with you, child. You are not what I seek, so put your mind at ease.”

Odette let out a relieved sigh.

“But that doesn’t mean I can let you walk free.”

“What-”

Before Odette could finish, the woman pulled out a gun of some sort. It gleamed green just like her arm, making the two seem much more sinister when paired together. The last thing Odette saw was rings of green light blinding her.

 

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