Now don't worry, I haven't given up on my other Black Butler fic, Tradition is Absolute. I'm just taking a break, because a) I'm currently writing a novel and b) I haven't given as much time to work on my other stories as I should. So I may not be as quick at updating my other stories, but I won't leave them to rust. When I was describing Belle's show outfit, I kept thinking of Olivia's from Fire Emblem Awakening, except in different colors, and more of a dress/skirt than trousers. I own nothing, but Belle and her horses.
Fun fact: The stories Tradition is Absolute and this one will be connected. But only with hints. If you read both, you may be able to see them ;)
A young woman stood behind the curtain, nerves racking her small body. It was near showtime for the Noah's Ark Circus, staring in London. 'Why did I agree to this?! I wonder if I can fake a cold and stop last minute...Yes! That's it!' The nervous girl walked away to the stables. She made to unsaddle the horses, before she felt a hand on her shoulder.
'Now what do you're think you're doing, Belle~?'
Belle jumped away from the perpetrator. It was only Joker, with a mischievous grin on his face, 'You're not thinking of backing out now, are you? It would be a real shame if you did.'
Belle was struggling to form words, 'O-o-of c-course not, Joker! I...have a cold.' She tried to cough into her hand. Joker wasn't convinced, but he played along anyway,
'Oh, you have a cold? Well then, we can't have you giving anyone else the cold. It would be a nuisance to everyone, and probably Doc as well.' Joker feigned thoughtfulness, then pretended as if he came to a saddening conclusion. 'I suppose we'll just have to cut you off; leave you here, etc, etc-'
'NO! No wait! I don't have a cold!
'Really? I thought you just coughed just there now, it sounded like a cold to me.' Joker teased.
'I...I'm just really nervous...' Belle played with her burgundy hair and the skirt of her dancer outfit. It was similar to the dancer's outfits from Arabia, in a midnight blue and silvers. It was decorated with little jewels, and the designs of the threading making it seem like Belle was wearing a clear night sky with tiny stars. The skirt split up the sides of her dark stocking covered legs. Her top was showing off her abdomen behind a veil, but covered what needed to be, especially her...mark. Her ballet like shoes shifted from on to the other, jingling the silver anklets 'I look, well a little ridiculous. And what if I make a fool of myself-'
Joker tried to reassure, apart from Snake, the newest member to the First String group, 'Now you're talking nonsense! I've seen you practice, you're really amazing! And you look, well, all kinds of beautiful!' Belle shook her head, her eyes closed. He grabbed her by the shoulders, 'Belle. Listen to me.'
Belle reluctantly obeyed, and stared into the 25 year old's purple eyes with her own green ones.
'You are going to be fantastic.' Belle looked away again, 'Everyone else thinks so to, so wipe that frown of your face.' He lifted a gloved finger under her chin 'Come one, gives us a smile, eh?'
Belle couldn't help but laugh at his attempts to cheer her up, 'Fine.' But her frown returned, 'Just...don't leave me behind, okay.' She was surprised when she was suddenly enveloped into a bear-like hug, but was gentle at the same time.
'I would never dream of it.'
'Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls of all ages! Welcome! Welcome one and all! To the greatest show on this Earth! To the Noah's Ark Circus!'
'My name is Joker,' The ring announcer introduced himself whilst juggling colorful balls, 'If you look here-whoops!' Joker accidentally on purpose dropped the balls to let them fall on his head, getting a chuckle from the audience. On cue, the main stars of the show stood behind the Ringleader except Peter and Wendy, who sat on the ropes above. All stayed within the shadows, 'Ahem, the whole circus is jostling for a chance to give you a fun show!'
Belle was standing right behind Joker. She was still shaking. Oh, why did she agree to this?!
'Here we go! With one shot from the fire-eating man,' Jumbo on cue blew the flame heavenward, lighting the fabric ceiling in reds and golds, 'The show of the century...begins!'
'Now, introducing the queen of the dance, a secret treasure of the Noah's Ark circus!'
Right, this is it. Besides, Beast is after me, so I won't be the last act that stays in people's mind.
'Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you, Belle of the Arabian Nights!'
I can do this.
No you can't
Shut up, no one asked for your opinion
Joker left the arena, stopping at the newest First String. He stared at her for a bit, before he gave his signature smile and grasped Belle's hand for a reassuring squeeze, 'There's no need me me to say good luck,' Joker lifted Belle, kissing the knuckles, 'Because you'll be grand.'
Belle was praying to whatever God that existed that he didn't see her blush, 'Maybe I'll get beginner's luck.'
Joker let go of her hand to let Belle give a gentle nudge in her star horse Midnight's side, into the arena. A couple of Second String members held the curtains, another began the music. She and Midnight were followed by 4 other horses, each with their own color of coat, but wearing uniform tassels and ribbons in their manes and tails, with matching saddles, wearing the emblem of a crescent moon on them.
Belle trotted into the middle of the arena. The moment the music played, all nerves dispersed. She nudged Midnight into a Passage trot remaining in the spot, in the middle of the arena. As Midnight continued the routine the mare had learned to do automatically after months of practice, Belle brought herself into a crouched position on the horse's back, then raised her body into a standing position. All whilst keeping in time with the music. The other 4 horses made a circle around her and Midnight.
Let's do this!
It went by so quickly, that Belle was almost surprised when they were reaching the final movement. She did acrobatics and dance moves, from on horse to another, and danced in time with the music. It was by the beats of the music, and the subtle clucking of her tongue at certain points, that her horses knew what to do, where to go, and when.
There it was: the final act of the dance. Belle knew what she had to do.
On Quicksilver's silvery back, Belle gathered speed by doing a pirouette with adrenaline backing it up. And on the third spin of the pirouette, back-flipped landing on a twirl onto the piebald Black Jack's back, responded by the audience gasping and out of the corner of Belle's eye, she saw some members of the audience cover their eyes with their hands. Each time she back flipped Rinse and repeat, until Belle reached Midnight. As she did, the music was reaching a climax. Belle clucked her tongue once more, and one by one, the 4 horses in single file exited, leaving only Belle and Midnight. Just like at the start, Belle nudged with her ankles for Midnight to go into passage trot. As the music was on it's last beats, Belle front-flipped into a crouched position in front of the trotting horse.
Belle gave a triumphant pirouette with her left foot lifting her on each spin en pointe, like the ballet dancers she had see all those years ago as a child. The music ended with the last twirl, and Midnight rearing up. All was still.
The next thing Belle heard, was roaring applauds and whistles, and shouts and cheers.
She did it.
Belle gave a bow, and returned to the side of Midnight, and both bowed to each other in sync. The audience clapped even harder at the horse bowing with one hoof in front of the other, and the dancer doing the same with her feet. Afterwards, Belle gracefully leaped onto her loyal steed's back to trot out of the arena, when Joker came out once again before she could. He held his hand out towards her, and in slight confusion, Belle took it, letting her dismount Midnight.
Joker lead Belle out to where she stood with Midnight just seconds before, 'I would like to thank our delightful dancer for giving us that beautiful performance, especially as it is her first time, ladies and gentlemen.' Belle looked at him in shock and a little mix of horror,
'SO ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I implore you,' Joker raise the hand he had his grip on skyward, 'To give our Belle another round of applause!' And just like that, the audience obliged Joker, with Belle blushing, but smiling brightly at the thrill of it all, sweat running across her brow, under her silver circlet.
The next time Belle saw Joker that night, he was after a man clad in black, asking him to see Doc. Curiosity getting the better of her, Belle made her way to the pair, when she accidentally bumped into another, sending both to the ground.
'Oh, my gosh! I'm so so sorry!'
'It's nothing to worry about, I didn't look where I was going.' Belle saw a hand near her face, 'Do you need help getting up?' Thinking it would be rude to say no to the girl, Belle obliged. The girl had a surprising amount of strength, tugging her arm only a little bit towards herself.
'Thanks, ma'am- oof!' Another force collied with Belle. It was a large silver furred wolfhound.
The dog, ceased licking Belle's face, thought she didn't really mind it. Once more, the girl helped her up, 'Thanks...Again, really sorry about that! I should be more careful!' That was when Belle got a good look at the kind stranger. She was about the same height as Belle, but she wore a dress that suggested that she was an aristocrat. Her hair was long and wavy, and the color of a raven's wing, with piercing green eyes. Belle couldn't help but stare at the beauty.
'And again, it's nothing to lose sleep over.' The stranger chuckled, 'Oh how rude of me, I haven't even introduced myself!' The girl curtsied, 'My name is Countess Ravenne. But please, call me Evie. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Belle. And this is Wolfie.'
A Countess?! WHAT?!
'Y-y-you're a...Countess?' Belle stuttered as Wolfie wagged his tail eagerly at her.
'Quite right. But don't shake so around me, it makes me nervous, like they have something to hide.' Ravennne gave a beaming smile, 'Besides, you should be proud of yourself, doing all those jumps and flips! And your outfit is so...daring! I must get my tailor to make something like that for me!'
'Oh! Well you see, I dance myself, and my family and I often travel to foreign countries like Arabia. When I've stayed there, I was taught some of their customary dances. If I wore something like that dress the next time, it would be sure to better relations with the people I meet. Of course, I would pay you greatly for the idea and design of it, did you make it yourself?'
Belle's mouth opened and closed soundlessly, before she started again, 'Ummm, yeah, I did. But you don't need to get your tailor to do all of that! See, I make spares of my costumes, just in case, so I could give you the spare for this one! B-but don't worry, this was made recently, so the other one hasn't been worn yet!'
'Are you sure? I'm certain that must have cost you quite a lot for the materials, and all that time spent...'
'Like I said, don't worry. Come follow me to my tent, then I'll give you the dress there. If it's too big, then you can get your tailor to fix it, I'll even give you the spare materials for it! Consider it my token of apology for walking into you.' Whatever it was, be it adrenaline or Ravenne's nature, but it was so easy for Belle to talk to her.
'Well, if you're sure.'
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