✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 101 - 110 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Savouring the drops- Part 1

Madeline wanted to glare at him, but at the same, she didn't want to be put under another so-called punishment on her by Calhoun. The man was a master when it came to twisting and turning things that would turn in his own favour and somewhere Madeline wished she had the art to do it too. That way, she would be able to go head-on with this man rather than being caught and stuck in these kinds of circumstances. 

He hadn't moved his hands away from the wall, trapping her just where he wanted while not caring one bit if any of the servants would find him and her like this. And one of the maids did step out of the kitchen, and though Madeline wished to move away from him, Calhoun was having none of it. He then moved his hands closer to her, as if closing the space that she had in a way where he invaded all her space. 

"What shall I do with you now?" hummed Calhoun, "You said I could do anything I please. It is not every day that I get to hear you say something like that in my favour." 

"You know I didn't mean it in that way…" 

"Are you sure about it? Because with what I see and hear the words which leave from your delicate lips, you want me to do things," said Calhoun, the wicked smile playing on his lips, "I confessed to you that I am thirsty and you said to do what I please. How kind of you," he whispered to her. 

Madeline who had seen Sophie leave this place a few minutes ago now wished Sophie to enter back to walk through the very same corridor. Hoping that would get Calhoun to give her space. The man had conveniently skipped some words and had iterated only the words that worked for him. 

"I am not ready for it!" she said when his face moved away from the front of her face and went to the side, his lips falling right next to her ear. 

"Are you saying one day you will be? Shall I look forward to it?" came the question that Calhoun spoke into the shell of her ear. His words raised goosebumps on her neck, and when Calhoun's eyes fell on her pale skin, the smile increased to bring out the fangs in view. He could hear her heart beating in her chest, skipping beats in a rhythm which was music to his ears. The sweetest melody with every breath she took in and out. He noticed them all as he had never seen in any other woman before. 

Madeline bit her tongue. Every word she spoke, turned not in her favour. At this rate, she considered to be mum and not speak another word to him.

But Calhoun was not having any of it. He wanted to poke her, wanting to commit mistakes so that he could use those mistakes to his own advantage. He was no saint but a person who was made out of cunningness, and he used it like no one else in the Kingdom of Devon or any other lands. Pulling away from her, he caught hold of her wrist. 

She didn't know what Calhoun wanted, or maybe she knew, but she was not ready to acknowledge because it scared her. She felt herself being dragged away from the corridor. Calhoun's hold on her wrist was firm but not tight enough to bruise her skin as he tugged her through the corridors and Madeline followed him. 

They crossed the corridors one after another, and she didn't know where they were going. The castle was a maze itself that would take a lot of time for a person to know where one was going without having to end up back in the same spot. Some of the servants who were walking had stopped to bow their heads, letting the King pass while not looking at him. 

"Where are we going?" asked Madeline, her heart starting to thud because this was a place which she didn't know or hadn't been here before. 

"You will see," came Calhoun's words which were calm and collected, a hint of mischief in there that turned her worried. Whilst she followed the King, her head moved left and right to notice the paintings that hung on the walls and the statues that were holding vases in their hands. 

When they came to stand in front of the two large doors, Calhoun pushed it open and stepped inside. Madeline noticed the room was a large one and at the centre, there was a lonely bed which was draped with silk-like curtains around the bedposts. Her legs turned nervous by the thought of what he might do. Because one slip of line from her which was purely innocent, Calhoun would turn it against her. 

"Would you prefer bed or do you prefer the couch?" Calhoun's question was enough to let one single drop of sweat slide down from Madeline's back. 

"W-why?" she asked him. 

"Why do you think?" he asked, his head tilting to the side and the smile that was wide before appeared to be tame, but it didn't look any less daunting. Not when they were the only ones in the room, "Pick one," he ordered, his voice sharp and demanding. 

Madeline wondered if she cried right now it would get Calhoun off her back but bringing out tears was hard in the stressful situation she was in now. She wanted to glare at the man. Her expressions were nothing but a mix of emotions. She didn't know what he wanted from her. 

Calhoun's expression changed and he raised his brow as he took a couple of steps away from her, giving the space she wanted before he would take it away from her.

"Do you think it is right to keep your King waiting?" he asked her. Madeline's hand clenched together, and her eyes moved to look at the bed, and then it shifted to look at the couch."I am thirsty," he added and Madeline realised why he brought her here. 

"Y-you are going to take blood from me?" she asked him. Her head felt light as if she was ready to faint and she wondered if fainting was a good option, but he would know if she faked it. Doing something stupid was equal to asking for more punishment and obliging with the absurd ideas which he had in his head. 

As much as she had heard scary stories about the night creatures who drank blood from the humans until they died, Madeline had to remind herself it was going to be okay. It was barely seven days since they first met each other. 

Seven days, which was one week and that was all that had taken to lead them up where they were now. 

When Calhoun didn't respond to her obvious question, she grew even more nervous and because of the nervousness, she blurted,

"I said I was okay with you to drink from others. You can drink from them as much as you want and I wouldn't mind," she closed her eyes, hoping he would listen to her plea. This felt like a nightmare. Which sane person courted a girl they liked in this fashion?! The next time she opened her eyes, Calhoun stood right in front of her. Not in the same distance before she had closed her eyes. 

Madeline's heart almost slipped from her ribcage. She wondered if it was another ability of the King to be able to move this fast without a single sound. But then that's how all predators were. They first prowled towards their prey and then pounced on them. 

"I won't take it as cheating if you drink from other women," she whispered, but Calhoun just stared at her. 

Calhoun then said, "Are you going to pick one or shall I pick one for you because you are torn between which one to pick right now?" 

It looked like there was no way out of this, "Take my blood after a few days. A month later?" she asked him while trying to wiggle out of this situation. Who knew maybe things would change where he would not want to drink from her at that time. 

"Do you like the bed?" he asked her, ignoring her previous words and Madeline's eyes widened. 


Savouring the drops- Part 2

Calhoun raised his hand and waved it for her to walk towards the dark hue cushioned couch. Madeline bit the inside of her cheek. A week ago, she was happily getting dressed with her sister to attend the Hallow at this time, but not once had it crossed her mind that she would be in the castle after a week. 

It was because Madeline had never craved for a life in the castle and maybe it was because she was happy with what she had. She was the person who was happy wherever she was and somewhere between the stealing glances between her and James Heathcliff in the past, she had thought maybe it would lead to something more in the future. Everything had been in if and maybe but she was content. But here she was given a life that was more than what she had. It didn't come with just the status of the luxury in the castle with posh clothes and jewels. She wasn't naive that there was more to the castle in here. Even the walls held secrets. 

Her feet made themselves towards the couch, but she didn't sit. Her eyes fell on the number of cushions placed at the sides, and when her eyes shifted to her left, she noticed the fireplace that was burning with logs of woods in it. 

Hearing the sound of Calhoun's shoes against the floor, she turned to see him walk to where she was, and he sat down comfortably on the couch. The coat he had been wearing around his body had been discarded and that only raised bells in her head. 

She wanted to ask why he was torturing her with actions like these, but at the same time, she knew that his answer to her question would only bring words of his satisfaction. She gulped when he made eye contact. 

He then raised his hand for her to take. Her hand moved gingerly towards him, slightly shaky as she placed it on his hand to feel him clasp it in his large hand, "Sit," he said, and Madeline could feel her head spinning even though nothing had happened. The tension she felt was enough to make her faint, and she prayed to be alive once this was done. 

She was about to take a seat, but out of nowhere, Calhoun tugged her hand to have her sit with her body facing him. 

"Are you waiting for me to jump on you, which is why you are slow? Don't keep me waiting," he said to her, his voice deep and his eyes staring into hers was enough to make her freeze, "I would have picked bed because it is much more comfortable, but you were the one to pick the couch," he brought his hand forward to place it on the side of her face.

Madeline's eyes widened at his gesture towards her. It seemed like many horror stories which she had heard from the fellow villagers, she would be the meal of the King. Was she supposed to be happy that her life was being offered to the King? The cruel, cruel man who had her where he wanted. 

"I didn't want either of them," she answered, being aware of his touch on her cold skin. 

"We could have discarded both the options then," he responded to her, and she wondered if he would do it, to hear him say, "There are things that don't need a couch or the bed. You will learn it soon," his lips twitched at the end, and Madeline continued to stare at him by being wary of him.

Madeline wondered if Calhoun had fallen in love before. She was curious, wondering if this was his first time and the thought made her purse her lips. 

"Today I will show you that it is not necessary to die when the night creature takes blood from the humans," Calhoun's words were meant to ease Madeline, but she was a person who had never been bit before. "Relax," he passed the order, and she tried to listen to him. 

"Does the blood of humans vary?" she asked him wearily. 

"It does. Some are good, some aren't," he answered her, running his hand over her hair to smoothen them down and tucking some of her hair behind her ear. Seeing Madeline part her lips and close them, he said, "What is it?" The girl looked nothing less than a skittish kitten that was ready to sprint out of the room at any moment, but Madeline knew better than to do it. 

Madeline had already spoken about it, she had told him before, but she didn't know if he needed to be reminded again by her or if he had brushed away her words, "This is not the way how you court the person you love…"

"Tell me how do you think a woman wants to be courted?" he humoured her, giving her nerves the time it needed to settle so that her body would not be stiff. Madeline didn't respond to this. She didn't want him to court her, "So stubborn," he murmured, looking at her. 

She then said, "Drinking blood is not one way to court a person."

"Did you know drinking blood is a very intimate act in the culture of vampires? And I know we have the habit of taking blood from what we feel tastes good, but that is only until we find the right one," said Calhoun, bringing her hand which he hadn't let go. He brought it on his lap, running his thumb over her wrist. 

The strokes on her skin were slow that held enough pressure to keep her aware of his touch on her, "You think I am cruel and pushy, don't you?" Calhoun's eyes were on her wrist, looking at the veins and the pale skin. 

"You didn't give me a reason not to think any other way." The King didn't mind her words. He instead savoured her words where she tried to contain her emotions and tried to be precise. 

"I cannot help but be me around you," he chuckled, the smile appeared only to leave when his eyes shifted back to look at her. 

The way he said those words, something struck, and she accepted that he was accepting who he was, without hiding it from her. 

"I am a ruthless man," he repeated, "If I don't get things on my terms, I have the habit of taking it by force. Sometimes a little push on external factors works too but don't worry. I will be patient with you on certain things, so you will not fear me the way I want you to."

"But you want me to fear you," she whispered when he pulled her hand up in the air with his hand. 

"It is what you believe, but that is not how I perceive it to be, sweet girl," and saying this, his face leaned forward towards her wrist. He sank his fangs that felt like a pinprick. The pain was very faint as she saw Calhoun suck her blood out of her wrist. She had been surprised he had chosen to take blood from her hand and not from her neck as she had heard how the night creatures found it to be easier to drink. Calhoun's lips were on her skin, his eyes closed as it felt like he was savouring the taste of every single drop of blood that fell on his tongue. 

The worry, nervousness and the fear that she had been carrying since the time she had entered this room, appeared to evaporate as it didn't feel as scary as she had imagined it to be. Like many people in the village, Madeline had never come across a night creature, a vampire and Calhoun was the first one she had ever met because of the ball. 

Calhoun finally opened his eyes that fell directly at her, he used his tongue to lick where he had bit. Her face turned red at this action, and she quickly pulled her hand towards her which he let go. 

The blood had trickled down by the side of his mouth, and he used his thumb to wipe and lick it clean by running his tongue over it, "Was it as horrifying as you thought it would be?" he chuckled because of the build-up that had taken place earlier.

Savouring the drops- Part 3

Madeline looked flustered. Not because Calhoun had taken blood from her, but he had used his coarse tongue on her skin and then on his thumb, deliberately trying to entice her with a seductive look on his face. 

The room they were in had the curtains draped over the windows, leaving only a few that cracked open to view the world that was outside. The candles were burning in the chandelier that was pulled up towards the ceiling and the fireplace where they sat let out a glow, the flames moving and crackling in the silent room. 

"You are not a meal, Madeline," stated Calhoun, "You are that dessert one looks forward to eating even before the first and second course of the meal is served. And I would like to be the only person who has the privilege to do it. Be careful in the castle," he warned to gain her attention as he leaned his back against the cushions of the couch they were sitting on. 

She didn't have to be careful if she wasn't living in the castle, and she gave him a look as the thought crossed her mind. 

"Danger is everywhere, not just here," he rolled his eyes as if he read what passed through her mind, "It is never bad to be careful."

Madeline wondered why he said it, and she asked, "I thought the castle was the safest place."

"It is, and isn't at the same time. Did you forget about the poisoning?" he reminded her and she shook her head, "If it weren't for me, you would have been dead by now," there was a smile on his lips, staring at her. 

"If you wouldn't have made me stay here, we both wouldn't be talking about it."

"Touche! We would have lost so much time if that were so. Look at us now, sitting next to the fireplace," stated Calhoun, his eyes not leaving her, "I might be the villain in your book now, but I cannot wait for the time when that changes."

"Worse than a villain?" 

Her words came quietly instead of being strong, and Calhoun chuckled. His tongue ran across his teeth to settle on one of the fangs. He then leaned forward towards her, bringing himself closer to her, "I was going to say the protagonist, but if that is what you want, we can do that too."

Madeline pulled her hands closer to herself, "I don't think I have ever heard a protagonist to be..."

"Someone like me?" he completed her words, "Who were you planning to make the hero then? The tailorman?" he mocked.

Madeline didn't know if it was alright to speak because Calhoun was a skilled person when it came to flipping situations and he was the King, which was why she had to be careful with her words but no matter how careful she was, she tripped in front of him. 

"I didn't say anything."

"But you want him to be your saviour from the big bad wolf, don't you?" taunted Calhoun to lean back again. 

Softly gulping she said, "Would it be bad when he possesses the good qualities?" 

"I think you got the definition wrong there, sweetheart," came Calhoun's words, "The good qualities that you mentioned of are good only in the books."

"They are good in my books," she confirmed, and he gave her a nod. 

"But you live in my world, and those qualities won't help all the time," stated Calhoun, tipping his chin slightly up as he looked at her, "Let me tell you this, you might be the protagonist, and I might be the antagonist that you view me as, but those are the only main characters that are going to be there. There's no space for side characters like the tailorman who is unwanted. An unnecessary person," he said thoughtfully. 

Madeline stared back at Calhoun, keeping eye contact. As much as she hated the fact that he had forced her to stay in the castle, she couldn't' deny that the words he spoke were rather intriguing. 

"In time you will find that I am not someone who wishes bad for you and I am not the villain," Calhoun said to her. 

Said the man who drank her blood, thought Madeline to herself not to forget how he liked to intimidate her. It was evident that Calhoun didn't care about people with whom he was not interested in and maybe it was a good thing because if he felt James was a threat, she didn't have to know what fate would await him. 

Madeline then looked at her wrist that looked normal except for the two dots because of Calhoun's fangs. She wanted to leave this room, go back to see if she could find the actual culprit who had tried to poison the King but at the same time she had some questions for which she was curious to get answers. She told herself it wasn't because she was interested in the King, but just because it had occurred to her during her time here. 

Something made her believe that he knew the servant was not the real culprit. It was because the other prisoners who were left inside the cage who had rods pierced into their skin. And the servant she met was put in the cell room. 

"Who do you think wants to kill you?" she asked him.

Calhoun who had placed one hand of his on the top of the couch was tracing random lines with his fingers as he stared at her with his intelligent eyes, "There are many. The person who carries the crown is always under the possibility of being killed."

To think about how everyone thought it was a shiny object without realizing when the head would fall that was holding it, thought Madeline to herself, "Why are you keeping the man there then? Is it because no one proved his innocence?" she asked him. 

"Why do you want to meddle into something that doesn't concern you?" he questioned her back. Women were usually creatures who liked to keep themselves low unless they were like his cousin Sophie who was eyeing the throne. 

"Is it wrong to worry about someone when it concerns their life?" 

"Never said it is," replied Calhoun, "You claim to want a simple life yet here you are trying to bring justice to the man by trying to find out who did it," he brought his hand up to his face and ran his fingers through his hair.

Madeline didn't know what was going on in Calhoun's mind. He knew it, and she knew it too, but he had still continued to keep the man in the cell.

"I would like to be excused," said Madeline, and he gave her a nod. Standing up, she bowed her head to see that smile on his lips to which she didn't react and left the room without Calhoun, who didn't bother to move from where he was sitting. 

After a while, Theodore entered the room looking for the King, and he bowed his head before entering the room, "How is your day going, Theo?" asked Calhoun.

"Good so far," answered Theodore, noticing the smile that was on Calhoun's face, "You appear to be in a good mood."

"How's the hunt going so far?"

"We are looking at the maids. There's one who has been a little more nervous than others," answered Theodore.

"Find out who went to Yorkshire out of my kind and generous relatives," the smile on the King's lips broadened. Calhoun had been waiting for one of them to trip, and they happened to take the bait. 

Theodore obliged, "I will do that. But why Yorkshire? We thought it was from Somerset," asked the man. 

"Do you remember the container with the bulbous end which was delivered to Duke Caxton long ago. A very strange one that was told the maker had died, and someone else tried to replicate it, but it wasn't done because they didn't know the technique of how to make it. It was from Yorkshire, the same place where the current one is from," explained Calhoun, "A servant cannot do it alone and is possibly being ordered by someone wealthier." 

"What do you propose?"

Calhoun finally stood up, meeting Theodore's eyes and said, "Drag the maid who is involved and cough up the information on who gave her the orders before tomorrow morning."
Gossips- Part 1

When Madeline had left the room, she walked as far away as she could from where Calhoun so that she wouldn't end up running into him again. But then it was a hard thing to do when it wasn't her but him who came looking for her. 

Bringing her hand forward, she took a look at her wrist where the vampire had bit into her. She blushed by thinking how his tongue had run on her skin. She had to get some water to wash her skin! How shameful and embarrassing! If someone in the village heard about a man sucking on a girl's wrist, it would have turned into a full-blown scandal, and she doubted if it was any less with the people who belonged to the high status. Pulling out her handkerchief, she started to rub the area where his mouth had been that now turned red. 

"He's nothing but a crude man acting like a cave person," Madeline muttered under her breath while fuming quietly by herself as she walked alone in the lonely corridor. 

God only knew what other things she would have to experience during her stay in the castle. It had been only a week since Calhoun had found out about her existence and Madeline had come close to the King, dancing with him and here he was already claiming her wrists! 

"What is with the atrocious behaviour! Is that how a King behaves?" she took the liberty to talk to herself as it was safe with no one near her to listen to what she was saying but more importantly, Calhoun wasn't here to listen to her complaint. Therefore it was much easier to speak where her words would not be twisted against her. 

Taking a right turn, Madeline continued to walk, mumbling words to stop when she noticed two maids who were cleaning the window pane speaking in a low voice to themselves. 

" it true?" asked one of the maids, her hand moving against the surface of the outer window. 

"Isn't that why Lady Sophie is here?" whispered the other maid, "Lady Rosamund told it in one of the soirees, but then we have the new human in the castle. What do you think is going on?" 

"The King said not to talk to her. She must be one of his mistresses," the maids had their back facing Madeline due to which they had not noticed the presence of Madeline as they whispered like squirrels. 

"But he has never let anyone stay in his quarters. Do you think he has done her yet? Yesterday, I saw her walking with just a coat that belonged to the King."

"How was she walking? I heard the King is quite a person in the bed." And as much as the maid had lowered her voice, thinking there was no one listening Madeline had entered right on time to hear them speak. 

Madeline's jaws clenched together after she found out that the maids were talking about her. She was the human mistress! 

"She walked fine," answered the other maid who was questioned if the King had bedded Madeline yet, "It must be because she is used to being taken? Why else would a King bring an average human to stay in the castle?"

"Shh, someone will hear you," said the maid next to her before chuckling, "There's no one here so it should be okay."

"I heard her parents sold her off. It isn't the first time it has happened. Only a whore gets treatment like that," the maid who was wiping the glass paused to say, "It is Lady Sophie who is going to be crowned as queen and not some human who was picked on a whim."

Madeline ground her teeth, her eyes narrowing further and she took a step forward where her shoe clicked loud on the floor. The two maids whipped their heads around to see who was here and their eyes widened. As rude as they were speaking earlier behind her back, they now looked pale for being caught by the lady. Not once had Madeline been called with demeaning words and to hear it now, it hurt her as what the maids spoke about her was untrue. 


The maids bowed their head, showing the respect which they obviously didn't mean to give. A vampiress would have received better treatment as well as reverence because of the status they held. But when it came to Madeline, it was apparent by her looks when she had entered the castle with her parents for lunch that she came from a poor background.

"Lovely day, isn't it?" asked Madeline with a smile upon her face that left the maids questioning themselves if the lady had heard what they were speaking or if she had only arrived now as they didn't hear her footsteps earlier. 

The maids couldn't do anything but oblige with the lady's opinion to nod their head, "Very beautiful day indeed, milady," said the maid who had labelled Madeline as a 'whore'. 

"If you want it to continue as a peaceful day, I would ask you not to speak nonsensical things that you aren't aware of, and that has nothing to do with you. Unless you aren't fond of yourself." The smile on Madeline's lips was sweet and polite, but her words had delivered the point of what she meant. 

"Yes, milady!" came the chorus reply, and they bowed their head at her. 

Madeline had no interest in staying with the company of the maids who were bad-mouthing her, and she walked away from there. She knew this was going to happen, after all, it was bizarre that the King had decided to keep a human near him, giving her the attention when he could have any other woman who belonged to his status. People were going to speak, and she would have to digest it. 

The rest of the day passed by, in her trying to find out who had tried to poison the King. After taking some rest, Madeline continued walking in the castle when a maid appeared in front of her. 

"Milady," bowed the maid, "Lady Sophie had requested for you to come and join her for evening tea in her room."

Madeline was not looking for company, "Tell Lady Sophie that I am unwell and will be going to my room to rest," the maid bowed her head again to oblige. When the news was returned to Lady Sophie, the vampiress narrowed her eyes at the maid. 

"She said what?" asked Sophie. 

"Lady Madeline said she wanted to rest as she was tired," answered the maid under the glare of the vampiress.

Sophie knew Madeline was doing perfectly alright. She had been roaming in the castle since the time of the morning. She wanted to strike a deal with the human. If the girl was not willing to come to where she was, Sophie would go to her, and with that thought, the vampiress left her room and entered the King's quarters. When she was about to enter, she was stopped by the guards who stood there. 

"The King is not here, Lady Sophie," said one of the guards who had placed the staff to block her way. 

"I am here to speak to Lady Madeline," said Sophie looking down at the two guards who had dared to stop her. 

She didn't like being treated like this. She deserved to be treated with the utmost respect and never to be stopped. Once she would be the queen this would never happen. The truth was if Calhoun didn't exist, the crown would have gone to her brother Markus. She would have been closer to the crown as the King's sister, but the current situation was not bad either. 

If her brother Markus has turned out to be the King, she wouldn't have a full rule in the castle or on the lands as she would be betrothed to another family. If she got married to Calhoun for political reasons, it would mean direct reign, everything would be hers to keep and throw. 

The guards on hearing whom she had come to meet, pulled their staffs back and Sophie made her way into the King's beautiful and extravagant quarters, to head to the human's room.

Gossips- Part 2

When Sophie arrived in front of Madeline's room, she found a maid standing next to the closed door so that the servant could be of use if the lady inside needed help in anything. On seeing Sophie's arrival, the maid bowed her head. 

Sophie was looking on the other side of the corridor, trying to get a glimpse of the King's room, when she said, "Tell the lady I am here," with an air of superiority she often carried with herself that had ingrained into her since she was young.

"Milady, Lady Madeline is not here," answered the maid and Sophie's jaw clicked against each other. She knew it. The human had blatantly avoided spending time with her. 

On the other side of the castle, Madeline had not been to the quarters since the time of the morning as she was still trying to find out who the servant might be who had tried to poison the King. And to think that she had the meal the same night the poison was mixed, she sighed. The evening had arrived, and the sky had slowly started to change colour. She could hear the birds chirping as they were flying back to their nests, and it made her smile. She wished she was a bird so that she could fly away. 

"There are birds in the shed," came a voice not too far away from her and Madeline who was looking up at the sky, turned to look at the man who wore clothes that suited the castle. Not knowing who the person was, she stayed quiet to hear him introduce, "I am Samuel Grivelle. I work for the King," he bowed his head. 

She bowed her head, "Madeline Harris."

"If you enjoy the sight of birds, the King has his own collection of them in the castle. I have some of them back at my mansion too," he was of average height who had blonde hair with one ear pierced to have a silver ring. 

"I will keep that in mind," she replied. He was another vampire with red eyes, who looked at her curiously, and before he had more time to stare at the girl, Theodore arrived at the corridor to steal the man's attention. 

"You are late with your report," informed Theodore in a voice that lacked energy and was as dull as the weather that one was bored with. 

Samuel smiled, "I was speaking to this lovely lady here about the birds," the man's eyes shifted back to look at Madeline. 

"She's the King's woman," Theodore broke the news like it was nothing big, but a warning towards the man named Samuel that raised his eyebrows.

"What kind?" chuckled Samuel and Madeline felt her mood dampen more than the time she had caught the maids gossiping about her.

And though no words passed through Madeline's lips, it didn't stop her from glaring at the man for the way he questioned about who she was. It seemed like people who worked in and around the castle didn't know how to be polite. 

"The kind where he wouldn't want you asking any questions related to her," came the answer from Theodore and Samuel's gaze finally left Madeline's, "The King is waiting for you in the court."

Samuel nodded his head and started to head to where Theodore stood, but on the way as he was walking past Madeline, the man's eyes darted back to look at the girl who Theodore had warned to stay away but this only made the man curious. After all, she was a mere human. 

But before the men left the corridor, Theodore informed her, "Lady Madeline, the King wishes to see you," and Madeline nodded her head. She didn't know what Calhoun wanted to do with her, but she followed them to the courtroom. Walking through the corridor, Madeline noticed how quickly the sky had started to change colour where it started to turn dark. 

When they reached the court, the man named Samuel got down on his knee and bowed his head to greet the King, "Long live the King of Devon," he said, "My apologies for returning late as I had an issue with the carriage's wheel that took time to repair. I have brought the signed parchment from the Flemings' house," the man stood up and pulled out a scroll from his vest. 

Calhoun was sitting on the throne with his leg placed one over the other. He took hold of the parchment, "Three days is too long to fix a carriage unless you dismantled the carriage and decided to rebuild it," he said, his red eyes staring down at Samuel. 

Samuel who had walked back to his earlier standing place, said, "We were stuck in the middle of the forest that had no civilization-"

"What a pity that even being a vampire one can end up helpless," commented Calhoun to pull up the parchment and see the black seal on it, "Looks like they have complied sooner than the last time without any demands. Beheading the relatives turned in our favour. Everyone needs the right push to be motivated, isn't it," he hummed, letting the parchment roll back and handed it to Theodore, "Though I must say I was waiting for you to return back nearly a week ago. The scroll needs to be handed to the next Kingdom." 

"The carriage-" Samuel began only to be interrupted by the King.

"Yes, the broken carriage. Three days to fix it," stated Calhoun, "I wonder what you did the other days. Hopefully been a good man and not having fun there. But then I am sure you know how important the work you had been assigned with was," his lips twisted in amusement. 

Madeline, who stood in the courtroom, looked back and forth between the King and the vampire named Samuel. 

"I went for work, my King. I wouldn't betray my wife," replied Samuel. 

"That is good to hear. I wouldn't want to hear complaints from Lucy on how her dear husband is fucking another woman. Because I for sure would not be pleased if you broke her heart," said Calhoun, as one side of his lips pulled up, "Well, good job on getting it signed. I will see you tomorrow." Madeline could feel the tension in the air. She wondered who Lucy was as it appeared that the King cared about someone. 

"I won't disappoint you, my King," said Samuel.

Calhoun replied, "Let's hope for both our sakes you don't," his dark red eyes then leisurely shifted to Madeline who had been standing quietly, "What are you doing there, my sweet, come here," Madeline's cheeks turned red on his words of endearment, and she walked towards him. 

He noticed how Samuel's eyes fell on Madeline, staring at her with intrigue. When both the men's eyes met, Calhoun smiled. A smile that was empty. "If that is all that was there to speak, you can take your leave," Calhoun dismissed the man, and Samuel bowed his head again. 

Once the man left, Madeline heard Calhoun said to Theodore, "Traceback on what he was doing during the last two weeks. I want every single detail about where he was, who he met, what he spoke."

"Yes, milord," obliged Theodore.

Calhoun sighed, "His character is questionable that makes one doubt if he has anything to do with the recent poisoning," and he chuckled at the end.

Only Calhoun could laugh at these kinds of matters, thought Madeline to herself. With the man gone, the King's attention fell on her.

"How was your day? Found anything interesting?" asked Calhoun, giving her all the attention, "Theodore said you were in the dungeon. If you are interested, we can make a room for you there."

Madeline's eyes glanced to look at the man who worked for the King before it went back to look at Calhoun. It looked like Theodore was no less than a tattle tale, and everything that fell under his gaze was reported to the King. 

"I didn't," she frowned. 

"Tomorrow will be an exciting day. You know why?" 

When he didn't continue, Madeline asked, "Why?"

"Because someone is going to pay for their actions but that isn't all. I have asked Theodore to get the scaffold ready in your village. Are you excited?" asked Calhoun, his eyes shining with mirth and his lips pulled up in a wide smile.
Time on scaffold- Part 1

When morning arrived, Madeline was filled with nothing but the angst of what was going to happen in the next couple of hours. She was worried for the servant man who had not been released because of the lack of evidence they had in favour of him when it came to his innocence, he would be made to walk up the scaffold. She was unhappy with the unfairness and even though she had known the servant for just a day, she had tried to do her best in finding out the culprit, but for a person who had been in the castle barely for five days, this was all she could do. 

She had fallen asleep late in the night, which had resulted in her waking up late. Right now, she stood with her hands, holding one of the bedposts tightly as her corset was being pulled with the laces by the head maid. 

Madeline flinched because of the tightness, and she wondered if the maid was trying to suffocate her to death, "I need to breathe," she reminded the maid because it looked like the head maid, Nicola, was trying to fit her into the corset.

"We need to get you fit into the dress, milady. As you will be going out with the King, it is only right that you look presentable," by choking her? Asked Madeline to herself on the head maid's words, "Please hold in your breath."

"The village we are going to is my hometown. I don't think they would think any less of me if I don't shape well with the dress," Madeline said, her head turning to the side to find the shadow of the girl on the ground without looking right at her face. 

The head maid was a brunette. A lady who was lean with less womanly curves than what Madeline had. Her hands were thin and so were her eyebrows that were arched up, "It is not about you but about the reputation of the King. Every lady who accompanies the King needs to follow protocols on how to behave and how to appear next to him. Anything less would be nothing but demeaning. It would help if you remembered that you are not a village girl anymore." So stop acting like one, thought the maid to herself, rolling her eyes. 

"Where are you from?" asked Madeline when the maid again asked to hold in her breath.

"I am from Beriweness," answered Nicola. 

Madeline flinched when the maid pulled one last time before tying the strings of the corset. She finally turned to look at the maid who had a lighter shade of red eyes compared to the King, "You are from the village too. By your words, I thought you were from the town."

Nicola stared at the human who had subtly taunted her. Madeline didn't realise that there were times when she quietly spoke words that had the ability to turn a person stunned, "I might have come from the village, but I have lived here for years now. I have been serving the King for some time, and as the head maid, I know what he prefers. It is my duty to follow what stays in the King's interest, and I hope you can do it too," came the clipped voice of the head maid. 

The girls and women who the King brought to the castle to entertain himself always tended to be sweet and polite with their words. Even Lady Sophie, who was the King's cousin, was polite when it came to speaking to her as she wasn't a lowly servant but someone who had been promoted to the position of a head maid. 

"Don't let the favour of power get into your head, milady. It hurts quite a lot when you realise you don't have the favour of the King," advised Nicola, her eyes looking at the girl's neck that was slender. It would take less than one second to snap the human's neck or to break it by falling from the stairs. 

Madeline turned herself to look at the head maid who now picked up the skirt and helped her to wear it, "Are you speaking by experience?" she asked Nicola who stared back into her brown eyes. 

The head maid smiled, a smile of pity on her lips as she said, "You can say that," she didn't hide the fact that long ago she had the favour of the King and it took Madeline by surprise. She didn't expect the person to admit it openly, but it was only both of them in the room and no one else to hear which was why, Nicola didn't see the point to hide it, "The King has bedded many women. Not only the girls and women of high status but even the servants in the castle. He has a large appetite, and you are just another person. So don't think too highly of yourself. As fast as you entered this castle, you will be thrown that much quicker," saying this, the head maid smiled to step back. 

When Madeline heard this, she frowned. She didn't have to know about the King's debauchery. He was the King and somewhere she had figured it out, especially when the man was that shameless around her. She wasn't here to receive the King's favour nor was she interested in it. 

She found it to be rather interesting that Nicola had mentioned about how she could easily be thrown out of the castle. Maybe that is what she has to pin on as her chance to leave the castle? Thought Madeline to herself. 

When Madeline was finally dressed, her hair combed and tied, she left the room to make way down near the halls where she was led by the maid who had been helping her. She noticed that Sophie was already there, standing and waiting for the King. 

"Lady Madeline! Good morning to you," Lady Sophie greeted and even though Madeline was not fond of the vampiress, she bowed her head.

"Good morning, Lady Sophie. How was your sleep?" asked Madeline, her tone polite and a small smile on her face. 

Sophie smiled back like she was Madeline's well-wisher, "I had a wonderful sleep. Also dreamt of how I was crowned as the queen and you were there congratulating me," Madeline smiled hearing this. 

"What a wonderful dream. I am sure dreams like that breaks your sleep faster as they are not real," came the words from Madeline's lips and the smile that was there on Sophie's lips faltered.

"How is your health? I heard you were unwell last evening and I didn't see you at dinner. I missed you there," Sophie said, placing her hand on Madeline's arm and Madeline couldn't help but wonder why Sophie was this sweet early in the morning. Every time the vampiress was kind, Madeline remembered the time when she was kicked out of the carriage. 

"I feel much better now. Thank you for your concern," answered Madeline, not knowing that Sophie had come to visit her at her room when she wasn't there. 

"That's good to hear. It would be worrisome if something happened to you. You should be careful," Sophie's words came out deliberately slow that had the human's attention. 

Madeline was indeed careful with Sophie. It was because she didn't know what the vampiress was up to and after finding out about her interest in the crown and the King, she knew that Sophie took her to be a potential threat when in truth she wasn't. 

"Good morning, ladies," came the King's voice and the people who were in the hall bowed their head including Madeline and Sophie, "A wonderful day to see the punishment handed down to the culprit."

At first, Madeline was not looking forward to it. But since last night, when Calhoun had spoken about the scaffold being set up in her village, she couldn't help but think that maybe she would be able to reunite with her family. 

"Good morning, brother Calhoun! I hope you had a goodnight," greeted Sophie, her eyes gleaming in the excitement of having to see someone being beheaded today. 

"I did, but I think I would have a better night with the woman in my bed," saying this, Calhoun's eyes fell on Madeline. His words openly directed to the human girl to have Madeline's narrow her eyes.

Time on scaffold- Part 2

Calhoun's lips twisted in delight, "How did you ladies sleep?" asked the King, his interest more on Madeline than Sophie as they started to walk on the King's cue of footsteps. 

Sophie was the first one to answer, "I had a good sleep myself too. Brother Calhoun, are we making use of your personal carriage or the one that is for the family? Because Lady Madeline would have to use another one if she's coming along with us too."

"Why? Did she say she's not coming?" asked Calhoun, his eyes falling on the human girl who was quietly walking next to him with one step behind. He slowed down to match his feet with hers that left Sophie to walk two steps ahead before she realised and corrected herself as it was considered to be rude to walk in front of the King. 

Madeline wished she could walk slower than the pace she was walking right now, but if she did walk anymore slower, she would have to stop walking as this was the maximum she could do. That way she wouldn't have to stay on the same line of sight as Calhoun. But Calhoun was smart enough to have her where he wanted her, and instead of walking at his own pace, he matched his footsteps with her. 

"I didn't say that," said Madeline when her eyes met his red ones that stared right into her eyes as if he was peering into her soul. 

"Then that shouldn't be an issue that Madeline rides the same carriage. But now that you mention about it," he turned his head to look at his cousin sister, "Space is definitely an issue. You can ride with Theodore."

Sophie's mouth opened in shock. Was Calhoun sending her with his servant and not letting her ride in the same carriage with him while choosing this poor girl to ride with him?! 

"Of course, brother Calhoun," Sophie obliged without a word of complaint as she told herself to be patient. She couldn't go mouthing her opinions as it was something Calhoun didn't take lightly and would immediately make her stay back in the castle instead of tagging along. Theodore on the other hand who was walking behind the three of them couldn't stop himself from closing his eyes at the plight that he would have to ride with the vampiress, knowing what was going to happen. 

Getting down the stairs, that led outside the castle where the carriage had been parked in front of the castle, the coachman pulled open the door for them to step in. Sophie had slowed down her footsteps, and she couldn't stop but glare at the human. She wanted to take her out of the picture as soon as she could, but for that, she would need an elaborate plan. She didn't know if Calhoun was having a fleeting attraction with the human which was why he was humouring her right now. 

"Lady Sophie," Theodore stood outside the second carriage, waiting for the vampiress and when she finally got in, the man too got inside before closing the door of the carriage. 

Madeline and Calhoun who stood in front of the other carriage were yet to get in. The coachman had bowed his head, waiting for them but Madeline instead of getting in, turned around to face Calhoun,

"Will I get to see my parents? My sister?" she asked him, her voice anxious as it had been some days since she had last exchanged any words with her family. 

Calhoun had a calm expression on his face, but his eyes were bright as he looked at her. 

Since he had mentioned it, she had been craving to see them. Why else would he pick her village's scaffold? Her innocent eyes looked up at him, pleading. 

"We can speak about it in the carriage. Get in," was the only reply that came from him and Madeline's heart sank slightly at the possibility of what was going to happen, "Go on," he said, raising his hand for her to use. Madeline didn't refuse because she wanted something from him and for that, she would have to be obedient. 

Getting inside the carriage, Madeline took her seat, and she noticed how there was only one seat in here instead of the double seat that she had used when she came to the castle with her parents. Calhoun took the space next to her, and the door of the carriage was closed by the coachman. 

Madeline didn't bring up the topic again. The carriage had started to move and they reached until the gates of the castle. Watching outside, she remembered the time she had runaway and the excitement and happiness she felt for leaving the castle that had ended too soon. 

She then asked him, "Why did you pick my village to behead the man?" she had asked the same question last night before she had gone to her room, but Calhoun had not answered her. He had done nothing but smile as if he were scheming something in his head and she couldn't figure it out. 

"Your village is part of Devon. I thought it would be great to have the execution there for everyone to see what happens when someone goes against the King," he responded to her question, his head relaxing on his hand which he had brought up to place at the side of the window. 

She didn't believe that was all the reason, but that there was more to what he just said, "Is it for me, for my parents or for James to fear you?"

"Why do you think it to be so?" came the calm reply from the King like his hand were clean. "But then it isn't a bad idea for everyone to know. The tailorman appeared to be very brave and courageous despite you shaking your head so that he stayed quiet. Before he digs his grave, let me give him a warning. It will save your heart from breaking and his life from being dead." 

Madeline was only finding out how petty Calhoun was. James had done nothing but Calhoun was going to the length of leaving a message to any and everyone who would ever think of trying to help her in the future. 

"I gave my word to your father to have his shop and men to help. Once we are done with our merriment, we can visit. So that you know I have upheld the deal." 

Now that he mentioned about it, Madeline was curious to see the shop which Calhoun had promised to her father before her family had left her behind in the castle. Her eyes made contact with Calhoun and her lips pursed. 

"What? Did you think I wouldn't uphold my deal?" asked Calhoun, a whisper of chuckle leaving his wicked lips.

"Does that mean I get to see my family?" she asked to see him give it a thought.

"Sure. You will see your family," he replied, but there was another motive behind his words.

Giving her a little freedom to ease in before he would take her back with him. He noticed how a spark appeared in her eyes and her shoulders relaxed at the thought that she was meeting them, "You didn't sleep last night too," he noted, looking under her eyes. 

"I couldn't." Not when she knew an innocent man was going to be put under the axe and the execution was taking place in the village where she had grown up. 

"You can come to my room if you find it hard to fall asleep," he stated, and Madeline turned her face away to look outside the window where the trees were passing one after another.

"I don't want people to get the wrong idea," she said under her breath. She had already been called a whore, and she didn't know what else others thought about her. Maybe it didn't matter to Calhoun, but it mattered to Madeline on what people thought about her. 

"They will get the idea with you having black circles around your eyes thinking I am keeping you up all night. After all, we do share the same quarters," reminded Calhoun and Madeline sighed. There was no winning against him. 

"I will sleep better once I meet my family and know they are doing well," she stated, and Calhoun only smirked at her words.

Time on scaffold- Part 3

Calhoun stared at Madeline, admiring her when she looked away from him to look at what was outside the carriage. The way she held her hands on her lap, he didn't have to know that she was aware of his eyes on her. And though she knew it, she tried not to look back until she finally spoke, 

"There are other things to look at. Stop looking at me," her words came out tired and this only brought smile on Calhoun's lips. Unable to resist the man, Madeline finally turned her head to look at him. 

"I was looking at your dress. It fits too perfectly," he complimented her, his line of sight moving down from her neck to her bossom and then to her waist before he looked down at the flowing skirt.

"I was made to fit into it," replied Madeline. It was hard to breathe in the dress that she wore. The head maid had tightened the corset to such and extent that she was sure she was going to faint if she didn't change her clothes to a much freer one soon where she would be able to breathe. 

"Come here," said Calhoun, moving around to face her and Madeline gave him a look of surprise. 

"No, I am fine," she didn't want his help. 

"Stop being stubborn," rolled Calhoun eyes, "I don't want you passing out. If you pass out before going to visit your father's shop don't expect I will wait for you to return to your consciousness because I will bring you back to the castle right away," he said in a serious tone. 

Madeline stared at Calhoun whilst he waited, and she then asked, "What are you going to do?" The corset was inside the dress she wore.

"I have experience in it," saying this, Calhoun pulled Madeline closer to him as she was taking her own sweet time questioning him with a dubious look in her eyes. Placing both his hands on her lean waist, he pulled her even close before leaning forward. 

Why did it feel like he was taking advantage of the situation? Asked Madeline to herself, her heart beating in her chest at the closeness that they shared in the closed space of the carriage. 

"Is it because you have been with many women?" she asked, trying to distract herself and let him know she knew about his debauchery. 

"You are right," he admitted like it was nothing great, "Your words sound jealous," he whispered next to her ear as his head was next to hers, leaning forward as his hands moved upwards and when Madeline placed her hand on his chest, wanting to push him, his grip on her waist tightened. 

"W-what are you doing? You said you would help," her voice sounded alarmed because of his hands that were above her waist right now. 

"Relax. I don't plan to do anything to you yet," he chuckled, his words were relaxed compared to hers, "Though there are a lot of things I would love to do to you in the carriage, I don't think its the right time, but I wonder if there's a time which is not right," Madeline was barely listening to him because of his hand that moved behind her back, and she felt him slip his hands beneath the dress that she wore. 

Madeline felt nervous with his arms around her and she was ready to jump out of the carriage, but Calhoun had placed one hand on her lower back so that she wouldn't move. And the other hand moved behind her back Madeline felt his lips close to her ears, his nose near her hair. 

She didn't know if she was going to faint because of the corset, or because of him. 

"Did I mention you smell like a flower?" he asked her. Yes, he had before, thought Madeline to herself. She wished he could help her quickly but knowing Calhoun he would take his own time. 

And it was true.

The truth was that Calhoun didn't need her this close, to help her with the corset. He now had his hands on her back and one hand running on her back. How could he lose an opportunity of staying close to her when it presented to him like a favourite meal placed on his plate to grab and devour. 

With every trace of his fingers over her back, Madeline felt her breath hitch and then suddenly she felt the corset loosen so that she could finally able to breathe some more air into her lungs. Calhoun pulled his hand and head away to look at her. 

"Better?" he asked, and Madeline who had first doubted his ability nodded her head, speechless that he had not pulled out any strings to loosen them. 

She couldn't stop staring at Calhoun, a faint satisfied smile playing on his lips, "How did you do that?" 

"Tricks of the fingers I guess?" he answered being vague about it and pleased to see the curiosity that continued to lurk in her eyes. Calhoun didn't even need to touch her to loosen the strings of her corset, but he wanted to have her in his arms. His lips twisted, and he moved back to his original place he had been sitting with his back against the seat of the carriage, "What did you do with the rose?" 

He was asking about the rose he had plucked out in the garden last morning. "I placed it in a glass of water."

"Interesting. I was expecting you to throw it away," he said to have her frown. 

"Why would I do that? The flower didn't do anything to me."

"But I have," came the quick words from Calhoun. 

Both of them knew what Madeline's incomplete words meant where she didn't continue with it at the thought that it would come out to be rude, and she didn't want to test her luck with him. 

Instead of speaking about her thoughts and feelings, Madeline decided to shift the conversation, "You can keep a flower fresh by changing the water every day. It will let the flower live and keep its freshness for a longer time."

"Once the flower starts losing its freshness, you can keep it between the pages of parchments," added Calhoun, "Something to remember as the first present which is not materialistic. Something of your kind," he hummed before looking ahead of him, his eyes shifting to look outside. 

Madeline didn't fuel the conversation and decided to keep her thoughts to herself. She looked forward to seeing her family, but before that she would have to witness the execution. When they finally reached her village, which took thirty more minutes before the carriage came to a halt.

The door of the carriage was opened by the coachman, and Calhoun was the first one to step out. And as much as she was eager to visit her village, somewhere Madeline's hands turned clammy with sweat by the thought that there were people who knew her and they would see her like this. 

Noticing Madeline hesitate, Calhoun, raised his hand forward for her, 

"Don't be scared. I am here with you." 

His words didn't ease her nerves. She told herself that there was nothing to fear about. She finally placed her hand in his, stepping out of the carriage to place her foot down on the ground. She took a deep breath as her eyes moved across the crowd that had gathered today around the scaffold. 

The weather today was gloomy with the clouds that hovered up in the sky, unlike yesterday, where the sun was bright. The villagers didn't have to wait for the King to step down as the carriage was enough to let a person know that someone significant was here. 

The villagers couldn't stop looking at the King as they had not seen him before. Their curiosity piqued further when they saw a human who stood behind him, and to some, she looked familiar. It was because they couldn't point out on who she was as she wore highly refined clothes and jewels on her that increased her existing beauty. 

"Bow down to the King!" said a man and everyone who had gathered near the scaffold and including the ones who were far away, bowed their head to pay respect to the King of Devon.

Please- Part 1

She looked at the people who had bowed their head by uttering one sentence on the King's arrival in the village. Everyone had a look of surprise and shock on their face as they stared at the King without being too evident as it would only award them with punishment for showing disrespect to the King. Madeline knew where she stood, and she couldn't help but let her eyes wander in the direction where her home was located before it moved back to look at the King who was listening to something that the minister was telling him in whispers. 

"We have got your seat ready, milord. Please, let me take you there so that you will be able to witness the execution," said the minister who had his head bowed and didn't raise until the King spoke,

"Has the culprit been brought here?"

"Yes, my King. Just as you have commanded," replied the minister whose eyes fell on Madeline who stood behind the King. The minister couldn't hide the look of curiosity he had in his eyes which was similar to the other people who had been working for the King. 

Madeline had turned her gaze away, to look at the crowd that had gathered, and she tried to see if she found someone she knew, and she did. There were some young and older people she had conversed with in the past, but she felt as if, the same people didn't recognize her. Did she look that different? Asked Madeline to herself. 

The friendly eyes which she was used to in the past now looked at her like she was an outsider in this village and it was strange, "Let me lead the way," requested the minister and they followed the person. Sophie and Theodore came two minutes later, and they were soon to follow the King, who now sat down on the raised platform. The chair was placed just for him to sit while the other three stood, watching what was going to happen. 

The minister who had earlier spoken to the King got on the scaffold where the axeman stood with a mask on the upper part of his face, 

"Men and women, children! We are here today to execute the person who tried to harm our King. The person brought a bottle of poison and tried to mix it with the food for our King to eat," shouted the minister and the people who stood below murmured amongst themselves, "The culprit needs to be executed! What do you think?" he asked the crowd which had formed around the scaffold. 

"Burn the person!" 


"Cut his head off!" came the angry shouts from the crowd and it wasn't just men but also women who screamed, waiting for the culprit to be brought up on the scaffold. 

Sophie, who stood next to Madeline couldn't stop the smile that was on her lips, "I always enjoy these. There's nothing more satisfying than handing down justice and punishment, is it not?" Madeline's eyes moved to Sophie before looking back at the minister who spoke,

"You need to remember people! No one harms our King! The person who brings justice and who wants nothing but peace!" 

Obviously, the people had never seen the King before, not even during the time of Hallow when they were invited to join for the celebration in the castle. And now that they saw the King in flesh and sight, the people looked at him in awe for the presence he carried. The women could barely keep their eyes to themselves, and they appeared to be scared yet enchanted by the devil-like handsomeness that he possessed. 

Madeline then saw from the corner of her eyes where a man was pulled through the throngs of the crowd, which was filled with whispers. Her hands clenched that the servant Oswyn was being brought here to be executed for something which he hadn't done. Tearing her eyes away, she looked at Calhoun who was looking at the people with a smile. 

With Oswyn standing on top of the scaffold, the minister said, "This man here was the one who was caught with the poison!" Hearing this was enough to have people rage. Madeline noticed, people were easily fuelled with words and her eyes glanced in the direction of the shop that was located far away from where she stood. Her heart started to thud for different reasons, "But he was not the person who tried to poison the King. The actual culprit is right here. Bring her!" shouted the minister and at the same time a guard dragged a female who was brought up through the two stairs of the scaffold.

"Who is this person?" questioned Sophie surprised, "I thought it was the man there who tried to poison brother Calhoun." 

"The man was only framed for what the girl did, Lady Sophie," Theodore filled in who stood on the other side of Sophie, "It was the girl who was caught with one more bottle of poison which she tried to slip into another maid's belongings when the servant's rooms were being checked." 

"Why did she do that?" asked Sophie.

A gunny bag had been placed over the maid's head. Both Sophie, as well as Madeline, noticed it was the servant who had been appointed to serve Madeline.

"How strange that the maid decides to poison, the same time Lady Madeline enters the castle," taunted Sophie, "I guess we should all be careful of each other." 

Madeline had an inkling since the head cook of the castle had spoken about how the maid who worked under Nicola was from Yorkshire, she had tried to get more information. It appeared that she was a nice girl because she was one of the maids who didn't look at Madeline as if she was an odd one in the castle. 

When the gunny bag was removed from maid's head, Madeline noticed how the maid's mouth was right now tied around with a cloth to stop her from moving her mouth to speak. 

"This is the person who tried to kill the King! Our King!" shouted the minister and the people around looked at the girl with disapproving eyes. Though the people in the village here were mostly humans, who had not seen the King and only heard of his reign, at any day, they would always side with him as the Crown was the absolute law. 

"Kill the witch!" screamed one of the people in the crowd. 

Madeline noticed fear in the maid's eyes. There were apparent tears that fell down from her eyes that streaked down on her cheeks. The village guard pushed the girl on her knees, and she tried to keep herself still, but her eyes kept moving back and forth before it fell on the King. She appeared to cry more, but Calhoun's expression didn't change even for a fraction of second. 

The maid's cries and muffled sounds were drowned by the crowd's voices that didn't reach where Madeline and the other's were. The girl continued to cry, her eyes begging Calhoun to save her while also asking for mercy, but the King didn't care about her. 

When the minister turned to the King, Calhoun raised his hand as if in a sign and the maid suddenly started to shake her head in fear and panic. The guardsman who had accompanied her kept her still. The maid was then pushed to place her head on the wooden piece of slab-like structure. Madeline, who was shielded by sight like this by her parents in the past, now stood there, watching the maid who continued to cry.

Her own hands trembled when the axeman raised his hand, everyone holding their breath before the sharp axe was dropped right down on the girl's neck for the head to roll and fall away from the scaffold while leaving blood gushing out of the dead body. The crowd cheered at the death of the traitor. 

This was the second time Madeline had witnessed a person being beheaded, and this one felt more sick than the previous one.

It was a warning for everyone to know what could happen to them if they were to go against the King. Madeline's eyes moved away from the dead person, and as she looked at the crowd, she noticed Mr. Heathcliff, who stood behind the crowd, looking at her.
Please- Part 2

Seeing James Heathcliff standing not too far away from where she was, she found it hard to tear her gaze away from him. She was back in the village, and he was here. She softly gulped when James' eyes moved to look at the King along with whom she had come. The last time they had met, she had lied only to protect him, hoping he would step out of the castle in one piece instead of two. 

When James turned his eyes to look at the maid's body who had been beheaded a few seconds ago, Madeline's own eyes moved back to look at the scaffold. The surface of it looked nothing less than a blood splatter where the maid's dead body continued to stay there. The cruel punishment had turned Madeline's stomach sick and made her head heavy. 

But Calhoun was not done with the little show for the villagers. He, who was sitting stood up from the seat that was arranged for him and walked up to the scaffold to gain everyone's attention. A lot more people had now gathered that even Beth, who had gone out to the market, came to see what was going on until her eyes fell on King Calhoun. 

"What happened today was another demonstration of what can happen to people who will go against the crown. Treason shall not be taken lightly and will not be tolerated. Brave men and women, your loyalty to the King shall not go unnoticed," Calhoun smiled looking down at the crowd whilst he enjoyed the attention, "This man has been brave enough to take the place when we asked to catch the real culprit."

Madeline's eyebrows furrowed at Calhoun's words. Surely the servant didn't know it was a setup because he was in fear of the death approaching him yesterday. The servant man, Oswyn turned his head, a look of shock on his face. 

"This was not a setup," murmured Madeline under her breath. 

Theodore, who was standing on the other side, said, "It wasn't, milady, but it is only right, he is showered with gifts."

She didn't know why but something didn't feel right in here. She then heard Calhoun say, "For the loyalty, he has shown towards the King, I have asked the magistrate to gift him a house and increase his position in the castle."

The men and women around couldn't be any happier and clapped their hands before praising the King. 

When Calhoun returned to where Madeline was, he saw the look she had in her eyes, and he said, "You look surprised."

"I thought you would be executing the man," Madeline responded.

"Thanks to you, my men spent less time in finding the maid who was involved in the matter. I am sure the man will be very thankful," stated Calhoun before asking, "What?" when he saw Madeline quiet. 

"Lady Madeline, is it the first time for you to witness the execution? You poor thing must be shocked," Sophie placed her hand on Madeline's shoulder in comfort, "A human-like you must have been shielded."

Madeline felt the tight grip of Sophie's hands on her shoulder and arm, which felt as tight as the corset before she had stepped in the carriage. Bringing up her hand, she pushed Sophie's hand, politely, "No. The first one I saw was in the court of the castle," she didn't want to come off to be a weak person, not in front of this vampiress who never lost an opportunity to remind her that she came from the village with a poor background. 

Sophie had a look of surprise on her face, "Oh? When was that?" she asked curiously. 

Calhoun obsered how Madeline looked composed compared to the first time he had beheaded his minister himself, "It was a welcoming act so that the court knew who was in the castle," he said, his lips twisted into a smile while Madeline stared back at him. 

Sophie didn't like the way Calhoun phrased it, and it seemed like as time was passing, the King was only giving this human more attention than she deserved, "I wish I were there," Sophie smiled.

Madeline wanted to point out that the King could have let go of the servant when he was found to be not guilty and rewarded him in the court. But Calhoun had made it a point to bring him here, showing his subjects of the generosity he bestowed on the man. It was an act that was put up for the people to think how kind their King was. 

"Are you not satisfied with the way she was executed?" asked Calhoun to Madeline, his red eyes gazing down at her. 

"I never said anything," she answered. 

"How did you like it?" he asked her. Madeline pursed her lips. What kind of strange question was that to ask if she liked the way the person died, "If you tell what you like to be done next time, maybe we can reserve it for the special someone who crosses lines and attempts for treason. What do you say, Sophie?" his eyes didn't move away from Madeline. 

"I think it's a good idea. But I don't think Lady Madeline is up for it. I mean she's such a sweet girl, she would not be able to do that," Sophie pointed subtly that Madeline was an unfit person to deliver punishment. It was like sending a rabbit for a hunt that knew nothing. 

"Just because she doesn't know now doesn't mean she can't learn them," Calhoun stated, his tongue running across his teeth before turning his gaze to look at his cousin sister, "Weren't you telling how you wanted to walk through the villages shops and see what's in there?"

Sophie's eyes lit up at the question, "We will?" 

"Well if we includes you and Theodore then yes, it's a we. Theodore will tour you around. I have something to do with Madeline," he said, ready to leave and Sophie couldn't stop but look like a frog with her mouth wide open.

"You won't be coming? That's alright. I don't want to go today. I can go some other day when you are free," replied Sophie, who didn't want to spend more minutes away from Calhoun while leaving the human with him. 

"I don't know if we'll be coming here again. I am the King. I am a busy man," said Calhoun to see the worried lines on Sophie's forehead. 

"It can wait. We have come here now, so let us go together-"

"Sophie," Calhoun called her name, his voice low, which had the vampiress stop talking. He had a sweet yet deadly smile on his lips, "Theodore will be with you. I have something more important to do, and it doesn't concern you. Theodore," on the word, his right-hand man was quick to come to stand beside the vampiress. 

"Lady Sophie, shall we?" 

Sophie's hands had turned to tight fists. She couldn't speak back because she knew relative or not, Calhoun wouldn't mind putting the person who crossed him on the scaffold without a thought. She bowed her head before leaving with Theodore. 

Madeline, who saw Sophie walking next to Theodore, turned to look at Calhoun who was already looking at her, "Shall we?" She gave him a nod, but before leaving the place, her eyes moved, searching for James in the crowd where he had earlier stood, but the man was not there. She wondered if he was mad at her, for not supporting his words in the courtroom. 

She would have thought that Calhoun didn't know the way, but it seemed like he knew where he was going.

They finally reached the place where the shop was built. At the sight of her father in the shop, who was sorting the woods, she felt happy. There had been times in the past where she had wished her father would not have to sit in an open place under the hot sun during the time of noon. She had hoped that one day she or Beth would get to help him so that he wouldn't have to work so hard. 

Calhoun's footsteps stopped, but Madeline continued to walk forward.

"You can stop there."

Hearing Calhoun's words, Madeline turned around to look at him, "What?"

"There are somethings that you can only see from afar but not touch," said Calhoun, turning to walk towards her.