The first act of the performance had gone by smoothly, Lady Dawn's every movement making Kit feel like an awkward, bumbling bear watching a swan dance. Stupid swan. But the performance was beautiful, and there was much applause all around, epically from Mora, who had been transfixed by the wiry high-wire lass. Kit had felt better knowing that her sister was no longer shivering in fear, and when the second act started up, she made a mistake. She got comfortable.
No sooner had she done so then the snake charmer waltzed out into the ring, his Boa wrapped around his body again, staring at the crowd intensely. Mora stiffened and grasped onto Kit's arm, looking pale and ready to run out of the tent. Kit almost growled. Why was the snake charmer in the main tent?
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you a special act, put on only for opening night of the week. Each act is different, and each one performed by a particular 'master' of our performance arts. I give you King Jaeger, Lord of the Serpents."
Mora's spine seemed to stiffen even more, if that was even possible, and she looked at Kit with pleading eyes. She didn't want to see the rest of the show. Nodding quietly, and grateful that they had chosen the first two seats in the back row, Kit motioned to the door, but before Mora could get up, the snake charmer -or rather, 'King Jaeger'- spoke.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, and Mora, I ask that you not leave your seats. Don't move, don't scream. I will show you a spectacular sight, a feat beyond all believing."
At the first whisper of his voice over the crowd, and the way he said her sisters name -how did he know her name?- the way he rolled it around his tongue like candy. Mora didn't seem able to move, and she looked at Kit with fear. What was she going to do? That was a good question, one that Kit didn't have an answer for, especially since the serpentine ushers were standing in the back, watching the audience quietly. Kit didn't like it, and she was getting more and more frustrated with each passing second. This wasn't good.
"From the audience, someone will disappear. You won't notice, you won't be able to tell, it could happen to anyone, at any time. It might even be you."
He continued, a smile twisting his cod face. Kit felt her stomach shrink, and she caught an infuriated look from the ringmaster. He obviously hadn't okay-ed what ever King Jaeger was doing. A covered rectangular box was rolled out from the back, a deep hissing sound following it. Kit's stomach dropped and she reached over to grab onto Mora's hand, but her own passed through thin air. Her heart sinking in realization, Kit glanced to the empty seat next to her and slowly took a deep breath. This. Was. Not. Good.
"And now I present to you, our lovely hostage!"
Her head snapped back towards the ring, and her breath froze in her lungs. The rectangular box that had been covered was really a large, glass fish tank, and inside sat a confused, helpless looking Mora. When she spotted Jaeger, her eyes filled with fear and anger, and she started yelling something at him, though no one could quiet make out what she was saying. Jaeger chuckled before he turned back to the crowd, his frame leaning against the glass nonchalantly.
"We're going to play a little game. There are two boxes on either side of the tank. One of them is full of fake, silk snakes. The other is full of real snakes. While the Trappist above put on a little show, I will ask one question of not only the audience, but of our little hostage as well. For every question answered correctly, a fake snake will be thrown in the tank. For every wrong answer, a real one will be released. Here's the catch; if you know the answer, but give a fake one, you will be punished."
Kit felt her anger growing with each word, but before she could stand and charge down to the ring, several of the ushers behind her grabbed her and swiftly and silently drug her from the area. One of them threw a blanket over her, so she had no idea where they were going, but by the time they stopped, she did know this; several of the people around them were very angry.
"Hey, what in the hell does Jeager think he's doing?"
Someone demanded angrily. Kit had been wondering the same thing. She kicked out effectively nailing someone in the chest, and growled angrily. The speaker sputtered for several seconds before another voice rang out, this one more familiar to her.
"What is going on here?"
She raked her brain in an attempt to remember who that voice belonged to, then gave up and viciously kicked out again, this time getting someone standing to her left. Her arm was released and the rolled to the ground, cursing the entire time. She could hear the crowd erupt into cheers and felt herself panic. When the blanket was suddenly pulled off her, she actually tumbled some more and spent several minutes holding her head and trying to make her world stop spinning.
"Well hell! What in the world were you guys doing with this little thing?"
The first voice asked impolitely, and a warm hand settled on her back.
"You alright love?"
A female voice asked. Kit glanced to her with narrowed eyes then spun around to where the serpentine ushers stood, glaring at...Dracula-meets-Phantom of the opera man. Unable to fully comprehend the situation, she started at them blankly until the crowd erupted again and she felt her anger return full force.
"You! You slimy, toad-scum sucking eel's!"
She shouted, charging forward and grabbing onto the nearest usher, the boy looked truly panicked and attempted to remove her hands. She tightened her grip and shook him, her eyes spiting fire. The only good thing about her curse was that it left her stringer then most normal people. She growled at him dangerously and he stopped moving, recognition and fear distinct in his eyes. Recognition? Ignoring that emotion, she played on the fear.
"You had better go out there and release my sister, and I mean now, or so help me, I'll make you regret ever breathing."
A familiar voice -again- sounded behind her.
"Is there really a call for violence?"
When she glanced over her shoulder, the ringmaster and Lady Dawn stood in the opening to where-ever it was they were, and her anger only intensified. In reply, she grabbed onto another usher that tried to slip away and continued glaring at all of them. The crowd -where was the ring anyway?- erupted into boo's, and a clown suddenly peeked in, looking nervous.
"The fifth snake was just released into the tank, and the girl is now crying."
His thick accent made it hard for her to understand him, and when she did, her anger disappeared before she dashed past everyone and up st stairs that the clown had come from. When she emerged, it was from underneath the raised stage that served as the floor of the main tent, and several performers looked at her in shock. Ignoring them, she pushed past several that seemed to be watching the ring and again felt her heart stop. There were indeed five real snakes in the tank, and Mora was curled up in the corner, crying, her eyes squeezed shut and her hands over her ears.
"While I am sympathetic to you situation, non-performers aren't allowed back here. I will escort you to the opening, and we will handle this situation ourselves."
Kit glanced to the caped figure and couldn't control what she did. She slapped him, hard, her eyes narrowed.
"Oh yes, you're doing a fine job of handling the situation."
With that, her anger morphed from a simmering heat to an uncontrollable inferno, and her curse took control.