Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’ll make this intro short and sweet since my SOTD one was a little lengthy (I think).
I told you that I’m finally making waves with the “Nails For Breakfast Tacks For Snacks” chapter, so I’m gonna share a bit of what I wrote. This scene isn’t exactly where we left off last week. I’m jumping a little ahead here, which means there might be missed information from the prior scene where they’re in Château Rochefort.
In this scene, they’re back at Chãteau Molyneux and some…discoveries have been made. One of them concerns that all-important Panic! At The Disco vinyl Élodie kept insisting wasn’t a “regular P!ATD record.”
Hope you enjoy this scene, and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve read so far. It’s definitely a stretch from what I’m used to writing. I’ll see you next week!
Freddie and Élodie transport back to château Molyneux’s library, where Jean-Claude is already waiting for them with tea, sandwiches, and pastries. Freddie glances from the vinyl to Élodie with his mouth agape. She shrugs and heads straight for the table of food, still hungry despite already eating at Madeline’s.
“When you told me not to let go,” Freddie starts, holding the vinyl that’s still in his hands. “Was it because we needed it t—”
“To teleport? Basically. I can’t risk apparating with you when M. Barbeman’s around because he this crazy sixth sense where he can sniff out magic. Teleportation is one of the many features of this record besides playing music, of course,” Élodie explains. “Told you it’s n—”
“Not an average record. Right.”
Freddie sets the tea cup on the crowded table ans walks over to the gramophone. He inspects the vinyl, finding nothing peculiar about it; he has the exact same one at home and sees no difference between the copy in his hand and his own. He flips it around twice in search of anything that can indicate magical embedding, but finds nothing. It’s just a Panic! At The Disco record—or so it appears to the naked eye.
“Just play some music and stop trying to find peculiarities!” Élodie scorns. “I wanna know what your mutterings of fluids and zinc was about. You looked like Raven when she has visions.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t see the future. I’m no psychic. You’re the one with magical powers, O Great Gypsy Spawn.”
Élodie shoots him a black look and balls up her fists. “Where did you hear that f—”
Jean-Claude clears his throat just as “Nails For Breakfast Tacks For Snacks” commences. She stuffs her mouth with a sandwich and grumpily sits back, placing her feet on the edge of the table. Jean-Claude sternly regards her. One by one, each kitten-heeled foot plops to the floor.
“Serves you right for nearly losing your temper,” Freddie teases, sticking his tongue out.
Jean’Claude shoots Freddie the same look, and the boy’s arrogance vanishes. Freddie slumps over to the nearest chair and sits, opting not to join Élodie on the sofa. He doesn’t dare to question the older man, so he picks up a little cake and pops it in his mouth.
While the kids consume the sweets, Jean-Claude grabs the tea cup Freddie brought. Te tea is cool, but steam still rises. Intrigued, Jean-Claude raises the porcelain cup to eye level for inspection. He takes a sip of the tea and coughs. Élodie and Freddie chuckle, but immediately fall silent once he looks their way.
“This tea is horrid!” Jean-Claude spits. “The Rocheforts think they serve the best of everything to their guests, but they don’t.”
“The tea I had was fine,” Freddie comments. “I don’t know where that came from. Élodie poured it into my cup a—”
“Because it was steaming and you were raving about fluids!” she harshly voices in defense, offended. “Speaking of which, what’s with the enchanted tea cup? It was empty. It was also too hot for me to touch. More than a second, and I would have burned myself!”
“You saw something, didn’t you?” Jean-Claude asks. “What did you see?”
“How do you know he saw something in the steam?” Élodie wonders. She scrunches her nose and pouts. “He couldn’t have. No tea leaves—just tea.”
“But I did see something in the tea,” Freddie timidly confesses. He runs a hand through his hair and looks directly into Jean-Claude’s eyes. “I saw a tall man with a beard. He was talking to some short guy named—I don’t remember his name. But they were talking about my parents. My mom wasn’t supposed to die.”
“What was the height difference?” Jean-Claude inquires. “What color was his hair?” How long was his beard?”
Freddie stands and grips the tufts of his hair. “Uh…really significant? Like, three of the short guy equals the tall guy. He had dark brown hair and his beard went down to his chest. Why?”
Élodie rushes to the gramophone and stops the music. She runs back to the boys, record in hand, and holds it before Freddie.
“Montrez-moi M. Barbeman!” she orders (Show me Mr. Barbeman!)
Freddie snorts. “What’s with the Beauty and the Beast stunt you’re trying to p—
The record glows a vibrant scarlet. The shiny, black ethylene turns to glass and shows a man similar to the one Freddie described, but with a more kempt beard. He walks down a corridor seeming proud and boastful, carrying his head high. Four significantly shorter men trail behind—Freddie recognizes one of them from the cup.
“That’s him!” Freddie gasps, clutching onto the record with a firmer grip. “I saw him in the tea cup with that guy on the front left.
“M. Barbeman,” Jean-Claude utters in disgust. “And his right-hand man, Monsieur Petit.”
“Their names suit them,” Freddie comments. “He wouldn’t have had to kill me if I wasn’t cured. That ‘vision’ I had back there, Élodie? I saw a ten-year-old me in bed, sick with cholera. That’s why I mentioned fluids and zinc—they’re used to treat cholera. The doctor blamed you for it. He called you a ‘gypsy spawn’ a—”
“That makes so much sense now,” she interrupts. “Damn Joubert would blame the halfie.”
“Anyways..I knew it wasn’t you. I drank contaminated water. That’s how I contracted it. How did I drink bad water? Surely I’d get purified water since I’m apparently a noble. I don’t understand.”
“M. Barbeman,” Jean-Claude concludes through gritted teeth. “He did that to you so you could die, but you managed to fight it out. You were supped to die—you and your dad were supposed to be gone for good, not your mom.”
“I’m sensing a Harry Potter-Voldemort scenario here. I’m literally The Boy Who Lived!”
“Hate to burst your bubble, but you’re no wizard, Freddie,” Élodie points out. “As far as I can tell, you have no magical powers—not even a scant hundredth of a chance.”
“Damn, there’s that dream down the drain! How do you explain the magic tea cup?”
“I-I can’t,” she sighs in defeat. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“But I have,” Jean-Claude says. “Come, children. We have a friend of mine to see. I can’t say they’ll be happy to see you, Élodie, but I think you’ll be fine.”
“What about me?’ Freddie wonders as concern knits his brows. “Should I go if I’m supposed to be dead? Maybe I’ll just stay and man the château.”
“Monsieur, ce n’est pas nécessaire,” Jean-Claude notes. “You’ll be just what the doctor ordered.” (Sir, it’s not necessary)