Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 15 of 38

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Paris, France

"For the love of God, will somebody get me a cigarette!" Amanda's voice resonated off of the oak trimmed walls of the well appointed dinning room. A small serving boy ran up to her with the demanded object, which she snatched away and lit in one fluid motion. Not even bothering to put it in a holder, she inhaled the soothing smoke and visibly let her shoulders relax.

"A bit on edge, aren't we, my dear?" Laurent Brette smiled at his fiery little seductress. She had proven extremely useful to his cause. At the age of only 27, he was leader of the revolutionaries, but had been decidedly low on revenues. Amanda's..."work"...had brought them millions upon millions of francs.

"On edge!" She took another breath of the cigarette and chased it down with a fast swallow of the brandy before her. "Dragged from my bed in the middle of the night! Ordered to dress within five bloody minutes! Brilliant deduction, Laurent, yes, I would say I'm a bit on edge!"

Across the table, seated with about seven of the other top party members, her father's face twisted. "Watch your tongue, Amanda!"

Amanda scowled, but shut her mouth. Laurent only smiled. She certainly was an entertaining wench.

"Enough, Edward. Yelling at her will gain you nothing but a sore throat." Laurent turned his attention from father to daughter. "It was your father, Amanda, that called this meeting."

She rolled her eyes and mumbled something about the idiocy of meeting in the middle of the night when they were just as safe in the middle of the day.

Laurent continued. "He tells us that we may have a reason to overlook your failure with de Chagny and Von Alsing."

Amanda sat bolt upright. "Failure? My failure!" She quieted instantly as Laurent calmly raised his finger to his lips.

"Tell us what you saw at Von Alsing's estate."

She laughed as she looked at the faces of the men before her, some young, some old, all dangerous."

"Now tell me, Sir, exactly why would I do that? Von Alsing has made me a very rich woman."

Laurent smiled. She certainly had a nerve of steel. "Your life, if you value it."

Amanda waved her hand. "You should know me better than that. Women die for far less than diamonds. Plus, I know you better than that. If you kill me, you not only lose whatever information you think I have, but future revenues." She took another gleeful puff of smoke. "And while we are on the subject, Laurent...dearest, I'd suggest that you stop calling me a failure. You didn't seem so disappointed last Tuesday."

Edward Morrigan shot the young man to his left a look of pure hellfire, and Laurent coughed uncomfortably.

"The jewels of the Viscountess de Chagny, seized when we overtook the chateau, have yet to be liquidated. Tell us what you know and we will give you..." he paused for a moment, "thirty percent."

Amanda let out a rush of breath and extinguished her cigarette in a crystal tray. "I know nothing."

Edward stood. "Damn it, Amanda."

"Sit down, Edward," Laurent spat, pulling the man down by his coat. "Amanda, I could just ask your father what you told him and be done with you. You'd get nothing. I suggest you take my generous offer."

Amanda almost laughed. "You don't honestly think that I would be stupid enough to tell my father everything, do you?

Edward made a move to rise, but Laurent stopped him. "Your daughter was never a fool, Edward. Sit, I haven't the patience to hear you and the girl squabble." He turned back to her. "Make it fifty does that sound, Amanda? Fifty percent of one of the largest jewelry hordes in Paris."

She lit another cigarette. "It's rather amusing, my mind is starting to clear, but I still can't remember a thing."

Another one of the senior leaders, Damien Lenne', spoke up. "This is ridiculous, Laurent! You are handing her millions of francs! For what!"

Laurent's voice was low and feral. "For much more Damien...much more." All of the humor was gone from his lips. "Sixty percent, Amanda."

She lowered hers to match. "Seventy five, Laurent."

Edward groaned. For a moment he actually thought that Laurent Brette's jaw would hit the table.

"Seventy five!" Laurent's well-hewn control was all but gone.

Amanda ran a slim finger through her hair, idly twirling it. "Yes, seventy five. I think that it would be rather amusing to sport the jewels of a woman who was once the most powerful in Paris."

From the far end of the table came a snort of laughter. All heads turned.

Laurent raised an eyebrow. "Dr. Starre?"

Henri Starre shook his head. "Powerful is the last word that I would use to describe the unfortunate Viscountess. Christine de Chagny was insane. She spent the last few months of her life before returning to Paris in a Sanitarium. She was so ill that she miscarried a child not long after conceiving. Her body could barely support one life, let alone two."

Damien laughed. "That was just a rumor, meant to keep the tongues of society matrons wagging. I suggest that you not speak unless it has to do with real business, doctor."

Laurent was not convinced. "How do you know this, Starre?"

Henri smiled. "I am in the confidence of a former friend of the Viscountess. A Mademoiselle Marguerite Giry. Trust me, it is no rumor. She was insane. Even back at the opera, you all remember that ridiculous business with the "opera ghost." He took a sip of wine. "Now I suggest you give Mademoiselle Morrigan whatever she demands...because I also suspect a connection between Von Alsing and Christine."

Laurent's face fell.

Amanda finished her cigarette in triumph. "One hundred percent, Laurent. All of her get all the rest."


"Good man." Amanda stood. It was lovely to have men beneath her. "Von Alsing had a servant. At least, she appeared to be a servant. Her name was Christine de Chagny. Small woman, long brown hair, thick curls, pale skin, and a ghastly scar on her right cheek. What's more ... I believe that the Baron was quite taken with her. I got into a small spat with her..."

Laurent rolled his eyes. "How surprising."

"Do you want the rest of de Chagny's money or not!" She hissed. When quiet resumed, she continued. "The same day that the rather annoying girl and I fought, Von Alsing dismissed me. If this is the same Christine, then I suggest you move quickly. Not only will you get de Chagny's money, but I dare say you'll be able to blackmail a large amount out of Von Alsing as well."

Silence filled the room.

Dr. Starre stood. He liked when someone like Amanda could triumph over Commune members. He hadn't wanted to become a member of their party, but he hadn't wanted to lose his vast fortune either. They had spared him with his acquiescence of fifty percent of his holdings and membership within their ranks.

"Mademoiselle Morrigan is right. Get the girl, and you'll get the Baron. The young woman whom I spoke of, Marguerite Giry, brought Von Alsing's valet to me. He was desperately seeking medication on behalf of his Master, expensive medication, meant to treat an infection and a scar."

Laurent felt as if he could have danced upon the tabletop. Not only would they get the girl...they would get the Baron. "Starre, find Marguerite Giry. I want to see exactly how much she knows about Von Alsing. The rest of you, be prepared to lose some sleep. We have a lot of planning to do in a short time. We need a way to get the Viscountess to Paris."

Damien's eyes widened. "How the hell do you propose that? I hardly think after escaping she would be overjoyed to return."

Laurent leaned back in his chair. Suddenly, life seemed much sweeter. "But my dear, dear Damien, you forget...we have the one thing that will bring the girl back in a heartbeat."

"And that would be...?"

Laurent's smile took up the whole of his dangerously handsome face.

"The Viscount, of course."


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Wandering Child

Part 15 of 38

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