✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 191 - 200 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Hunting- Part 1

Any and every thought that she was formulating in her mind washed away when Calhoun kissed her. It wasn't a peck as he pulled her by her waist, almost having her where he wanted by pulling her to his front and stepping forward. Both his hands moved to hold the sides of her face, kissing her as he pressed his lips on hers. 

When Calhoun pulled away from kissing her, Madeline's clouded eyes came to meet his where he stared at her, 

"You are mine, right?" it wasn't a question, but the words of confirmation and Madeline's lips moved to reply,

"I am my own person," the grip of his hands tightened on her face and Calhoun's eyes looked at her fiercely. He wanted to hear she was his and no one else', not even her own. His fingertips moved to the side of her face, feeling her skin heat up at his touch and the rate of her heart beat increased. 

"Are you sure about that?" he asked. His hand moved towards her neck and then slowly down her chest. Madeline's breath hitched when Calhoun's hand didn't move away but continued to trace down to her chest as if brushing the edge with the back of his fingers where her tips were, "Why do you make it difficult for yourself?" he whispered on her lips. 

Madeline stared back into his red eyes, not backing away from the intimidating gaze that was dark because of the time in the night, "What do you want me to say?" she asked him. 

"Tell me that you are mine," a smile stretched on his lips, wickedness coating it and Calhoun then moved to pat her head, "It isn't that hard." 

Calhoun was a smart man who knew exactly what he wanted. Without waiting for the time, he made sure the time turned in his favour. A King who was handsome, smart and pushy but Madeline hadn't given him her heart. Feelings were to be earned and not forced. It wasn't that Madeline was not aware of his tricks. She often found out about it when time had passed, and she had fallen into his traps. 

He had tried seducing her, his words and touch was nothing less when it came to intoxicate her like the liquor she had drank in one of the soirees. 

The worst part was that Madeline remembered every second she had spent with him. The movements of his hands and his lips on her, somewhere it bothered her and her legs squeezed themselves at the thought of it. 

"You might have got me to accept the marriage, milord, but the feelings are something that will take time," she answered truthfully.

"I am fine with that. We have all the time you need in this world. Take all your time to catch those feelings. In the meantime we can work with your needs," Calhoun said, his hand pulled Madeline to have her front pressed on his, "I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you are not fighting yourself with what you have," if she hadn't listened to him by now, Calhoun would have picked up another path to get her to agree, and it wouldn't be pretty. Thankfully for Madeline's own sake, she had stopped resisting, and she was accepting what he was giving her. 

It was only a matter of time that the intoxicating poison of Calhoun would spread in her body and mind until she would have nothing but him to belong to, to depend on. He leaned towards her shoulder, bending down while one of his hands that was on her shoulder pushed the fabric of her dress so that he could kiss her. Madeline's body froze for a second, breath escaping from her lips. His nose moved up to the column of her neck.

"I cannot help but wonder why you smell this sweet to me," Calhoun said this in the shell of her ear. Madeline closed her eyes, feeling his soft breath on her ear and the cold air hitting the skin on her shoulder which he had exposed for him to take. Taking a whiff from her, Calhoun finally pulled away from her.

Madeline went to pull the sleeve off her shoulder back to the position when Calhoun caught her wrist in his hand, "Was there something you wanted to say?" his calculative eyes looked at her. 

The current situation only made her aware of how powerless she would be if Calhoun were to decide that he wanted to see more of her. Touch her more, and Madeline would not be in the position to refuse it. But he wasn't doing it so. Instead, the man was moving slow and steadily, subtly getting her used to things while heading towards the goal of what he wanted. 

"I am feeling cold," she said, and she wasn't lying. Goosebumps started to raise on her skin because of the night wind. Calhoun's eyes moved to look at her slender shoulder, which was exposed to his eyes. 

"Shall I warm you up?" he suggested, his words were more than suggestive that didn't hold back in what he wanted from her, "Let me bite you."

"You took blood from me a few days ago," she reminded him. At this rate, she would have no more blood and would die in his hands.

"Do you know how many hours and minutes and seconds are present in those few days?" asked Calhoun. He smiled when Madeline tried to get her hand out of his grip, but he didn't let it go. He enjoyed seeing her struggle; maybe that is what kept him excited, the chase. Madeline had not made another run until now, not since the time when he had asked her to step into the maze. Like a predator, he was waiting for her to make a run. 

"I don't have unlimited blood like the water in the sea," said Madeline to hear him chuckle. His chest reverberated with the laugh as he looked at her before the smile died down from his face. 

"We won't know until we try to find out." Pushing her hand down and out of the way, Calhoun's lips made its way to her shoulder. Kissing the top again and he heard the sharp intake of breath when he bit her playfully without drawing any blood out, "Are you going to say you don't feel anything?" as his leg moved to press closer to her, Madeline quickly said,


"Why? Are you scared?"

Yes, she was scared! Madeline yelled in her mind without telling it out vocally to Calhoun. The feeling that returned from that day somewhere made her queasy, and she felt somewhere frustrated with it. 

"Please keep it for the wedding night," she whispered. 

Calhoun's lips twisted into a villainous smile, "What do you think I was going to do right now?" he asked, one of his eyebrows raised in question, "Hm?"

Was he expecting her to explain what he was doing? She quietly glared at him before schooling down her expression. Her glare only spurred his desire to torture her more. What kind of man did she get stuck with? Asked Madeline to herself. There were only a few moments where he had been gentle with her, but the other times, he took the payment of him being kind to her in worse ways which she wasn't able to repay back to him. 

"You have got me intrigued, Maddie," chimed Calhoun, "We are not having sex. So what else are you speaking about?" 

Madeline let her body relax, "I want to sleep," she said to him. 

"All in good time when you tell what you meant. I wouldn't want to leave things hanging in between when we have unresolved work between us," Calhoun cocked his head to the side, his smile still there with his teeth visible, "Tell me quickly. I have other things to do."

Her eyes darted away from him. She didn't know what she felt, it was an unexplainable feeling, and she had experienced it the last time he had kissed her. The feeling scared her, and it made her toes curl just by the thought of it, the pit of her stomach feeling like it hadn't before. 

"I...I don't," she answered. It was the best answer when one didn't want to address a topic, "I don't know."

"You don't know?" he asked her as if he was confirming her words, "Is it because you are not able to describe it or you have forgotten it?"

Would there ever be a day of peace in the future where Calhoun was not going invading her space to tease and torture her? Calhoun was the opposite of what she had hoped and tried to see in a man. Before she met and knew the existence of Calhoun Hawthrone, Madeline wished for a decent, a good and humble man. But the King was shameless when it came to his questions and demands, being forceful. She felt bad for what happened to him in the past, and somewhere she tried to understand that it was the reason why he was the way he was right now. But at the same time, it didn't justify his actions towards her. Her emotions were all over the place. 

She wanted to help the King to see a different path filled with light than the darkness he enjoyed. Instead, what was happening was that she was being drawn into the world of darkness from light.

"Can I ask you something instead?" asked Madeline and Calhoun looked at her curiously. 


Coming back to something that was weighing in her mind, Madeline asked, "Until now, what you told me so far...Has there been something you have hidden or lied to me?"

She tried to find something or anything on his face. Even if it was a subtle change, but there was none. His eyes continued to look back at her, "No," came his answer, "I have told you the truth, haven't I?" his words came much softer to fall on her ears, "Why did you get that question?" 

Madeline shook her head, "It was just something I had on my mind." She was mastering how to keep her heart still, without letting Calhoun pick on the possible fluctuation. She didn't know the dynamics between him and his other family members properly, knowing Calhoun didn't have a family and maybe the only family he considered was Lady Lucy. 

She noticed how Calhoun gauged her expression and then asked, "Do you not believe me?" 

"I never said that I didn't," she frowned. Calhoun had joked and lied, but he had been truthful about it later, regarding the rabbits in the forest and about his parent's death, "I didn't say you lied to me."

He pulled away from her, letting her hand go and put the sleeve back in place. Was Calhoun upset? Asked Madeline to herself. She hadn't meant to upset him. 

Calhoun then said, "You should go get some sleep," he offered her a smile, waiting to see her get inside her room. 

Madeline bowed her head and then slowly made her way towards the room and before she could get inside, she heard him say, 

"You will always be on my side, right?"

Hearing those words, Madeline turned around to meet his eyes. Calhoun stood with his hands in his pocket with a blank expression on his face. She nodded her head, and a small smile appeared on his face before he finally left the front of her room. 

Calhoun started to walk away from the corridor where Madeline's room was located. His footsteps slowed down, and the expression on his face changed. The smile that was there before was wiped out, and his red eyes looked ahead of him intensely. When he reached the courtroom, he noticed Theodore, who was helping the minister to carry the parchments that had been stacked and tied. 

Theodore noticed Calhoun walk towards the throne, and he bowed his head. 

"Have Heckles handle the duties in here tomorrow morning," said Calhoun to Theodore, "You can come with us to hunt."

Theodore pushed the old glasses that kept sliding down his nose which he hadn't bothered to fix, "I thought it was only the Wilmots, Gerville and you with the lady." 

"I will need more ears than just mine for tomorrow," this caught Theodore's attention, "Madeline asked an interesting question today. It makes me wonder who placed doubt in her mind that made her question today." 

"I will ask the stableman to get an extra horse readied for tomorrow," obliged Theodore before he asked, "Was it something bad?"

Calhoun's eyes had narrowed, "It would be bad if Madeline found out."
Hunting- Part 2

The next day, the sun rose high in the sky; the bright light fell on the lands of Devon including the old castle that stood tall. As planned the previous day, everyone got ready to hunt in the forest, a recreational activity where the vampires often took part in. Before Madeline had even woken up, clothes had been arranged for her to wear for the day, which would make it easier for hunting. Having been used to long dresses and skirts with layers, she now stood wearing a pant-like skirt which was frilly enough to make it look like a skirt, but there were fewer layers. 

The maids helped her in getting ready. Tying her golden blonde hair with small braids at the side which was later tied together to form a bigger braid which now rested on her shoulder. 

Madeline stepped out of the room and towards the outside where most of them were standing next to the horses. As she walked down the stairs, Sophie whispered,

"What is she wearing?!" asked the young vampiress to her mother as it didn't look like regular clothes she normally wore. 

Calhoun, who overheard the little whisper, answered, "Those, my dear, are hunting clothes. The last time when my personalized tailor arrived, I asked him to stitch a prototype that a woman could wear during hunting and also other activities."

"How thoughtful of you, brother Calhoun," Sophie praised with a smile before it was replaced with a glare towards Madeline. Lady Rosamund noticed her daughter's eyes, and she nudged her daughter by widening her eyes as a warning to not say anything more. Sophie was miffed with the attention that the human was receiving, but this was not the time to sulk, thought Lady Rosamund to herself. 

When the matter concerned the throne, nobody stopped working their ways on trying to get hold of it. Not even when the throne was taken by someone. The pursuit of getting the throne never stopped. Even when her son, Markus, was not crowned to be the King, Rosamund had not given up hope on the chance of taking the rule of this kingdom. She had made sure to raise her daughter to be a suitable queen, keeping her in the castle enough for the servants and ministers to suggest, for the King to take as a wife. 

"You look lovely today, Lady Madeline," Lady Rosamund praised the human who stepped down the stairs. The girl offered a bow and a smile which the older vampiress returned. 

"She looks like a doll!" Lady Lucy, who stood next to them, went to meet Madeline, "I must say, the King has a good eye." 

Madeline's cheeks turned pink by the compliments she received. She didn't know if it was the hairstyle or the dress that she wore that was garnering her with compliments this early in the morning. 

Her eyes met Calhoun's, who had a proud smile on his lips. When Madeline was on her way here, she had been worried about the thought that Calhoun might be upset over the question she had asked. It wasn't Madeline's intention, and she had asked it out of curiosity but to see him smile now, she felt somewhat relieved now. 

Calhoun mounted on his stallion. As others started to mount on the horses they were riding today, Samuel who looked at the number of horses, said, 

"It seems like we are short of one horse," and the vampire's eyes fell on Theodore who had come to join them unexpectedly as he was not invited before. 

"Madeline will be riding with me," replied Calhoun looking at her. He offered Madeline his hand. Madeline didn't hesitate in placing her hand in his to have him pull and help her sit in front of him. 

Lucy smiled, looking at the couple, her eyes when met Theodore's who was looking at her, the smile on her face faltered. When he went to bow, Lucy turned her head to look away from him. 

"Comfortable?" Calhoun asked Madeline, who gave him a nod. Madeline noticed that they were the only one's who was riding together while the rest had their own horses. She saw Calhoun pick up the reins of his stallion with both his hands on either side of her and moved his leg to have the horse start to move. 

She was surrounded by the sound of hooves on the ground as the horses started to move, "Hold tight," and Madeline held on tightly as she could when the horse began to gallop through the path from the castle to the gates before they reached the forest. 

Calhoun's stallion moved faster than others which gave them some time alone where the others were still far behind them. The air rushed through Madeline's face, with her hair tied, there was nothing to block or hinder her view. Every time she made her way through the forest, it reminded her of the time when she had tried to escape. The failed attempt, said Madeline in her mind. 

The horse continued to gallop, and Madeline enjoyed it even though she was worried about falling off the horse. The only assurance was Calhoun's hands on either side of her, which she believed would keep her safe from falling. He finally pulled the reins of the horse to slow down. 

"This feels nice, isn't it," murmured Calhoun who placed his chin on her shoulder, "Do you want to try holding the reins?" he asked. 

"He's your horse," replied Madeline and Calhoun smiled. 

"What's mine is yours."

When she had met Calhoun's stallion for the first time, she had seen how he adored it. People were often possessive of things, and she was aware of how people like Calhoun didn't like to share. She wondered if it was a form of trust that Calhoun was offering her to ride his horse, not to forget he was willing for her to take charge. Madeline came to notice how Calhoun had different shades to him.

There were some bad, but then there were some good too. But the scale of bad was m-

"Ouch!" Madeline winced when Calhoun bit the side of her ear. 
Hunting- Part 3

Calhoun's teeth bit Madeline's ear, bringing a sharp pain that made her flinch. As if he was not done with it, the teeth sunk further and Madeline leaned her back towards Calhoun for him to hold her still. 

"Why would you do that?!" she asked when he finally let go of her ear. 

She turned around her head to look at Calhoun, who stared back at her with mischief in his eyes, "Don't let your mind wander around when I am here with you. I need your attention on me."

Madeline exhaled air out of her lips, "I was thinking only for a second."

"About the time you escaped?" came the quick question from him. She gulped, hearing him reveal her thoughts out. Calhoun was too in tune with her surroundings and emotions that she felt worried. It was like he knew everything about her, from the tip of her hair to her toe, "Relax. You act as if you have plans of running away from here and I just caught you," he grinned when the look of uncomfortableness passed through her face. 

That would be something, thought Madeline to herself. Was that why he had offered her to ride with him and not have her own horse when she knew how to handle horses except for mounting the horse which she needed help for.

With her head still turned, she watched Calhoun's expression turn to a smirk that she finally was figuring it out. 

Madeline didn't have such a thought, at least not today. When Lady Lucy and the others had proposed the idea to go on hunting, Madeline had agreed only with the thought that it would be different. Somewhere out of the castle and Lady Lucy was a good company. She didn't have the heart to refuse the offer of Calhoun's half-sister. 

"You look upset," stated Calhoun when he noticed the glum look on her face. Madeline turned her head back to look at her front. 

She was trying, wasn't she? Did he have to imply that she was upset because she was not able to escape now? But now that Calhoun put a thought in her mind, she wondered how feasible it would be to run away with the horse. To have a transport that would help her to leave the forest. But then, Madeline also doubted if she would be able to get too far. Calhoun was not an amateur when it came to riding horses, and it would barely take a few minutes for him to catch up before dragging her back to the castle. 

Madeline didn't want to cause or create a scene in front of people. 

Her hand raised itself to rub the ear, which felt tender under her touch. With his hands still holding the reins for her to take, Madeline finally decided to hold it. But the moment she held the reins, Calhoun let it go and he moved both his heels against the horse's side to have the horse start to gallop.

For a moment, Madeline didn't know what to do, and her hands fell slack, "Why is he galloping?!" she asked stressed, not knowing that Calhoun was the one who got the horse galloping. Madeline believed that it was probably because the horse knew it was not its master who was holding the reins. 

"Hold on the reins," directed Calhoun who was amused and entertained at the same time, "Tighter," he said moving closer to her and instructing the word in the shell of her ear. At the same time, Calhoun decided to place both his hands on the sides of her waist.

Instead of concentrating on the reins, Madeline's attention went back to Calhoun's hands that held her waist, "Concentrate," he said in a calm voice. Madeline was sure that they both were going to fall off the horse at any moment. Trying to ignore him, she steadied her hands. Twisting the reins to wrap it around her hands, "That's right," came the praise from him, and he placed his chin on her shoulder. His eyes moved to take in her expression. 

Madeline was glad that the black stallion stopped galloping and she tried to figure out what had made it gallop suddenly as if they had a lion chasing behind them. Her heart turned back to a steady rhythm and felt Calhoun's weight on her shoulder. 

"You don't have to freak out just because you are not sure," Calhoun said next to her head. The horse started to trot inside the forest, it's hooves clip-clopping against the ground, "If you don't know what to do, you grasp the first thing you see. The only worst thing would be you not doing anything about it."

Not sure what Calhoun was talking about, Madeline's hand tightly gripped on the reins that she held and asked him, "Are we still speaking about riding a horse?" 

"I am sure that is what I was speaking about. What did you think I was speaking?" a whisper of a chuckle escaped his lips and Calhoun pulled away from her, "Your wedding dress would be arriving tomorrow to the castle."

"So soon?" Madeline asked slightly surprised because wedding gowns often took a lot of time. 

Calhoun gauged on her answer, "The full dress hasn't been stitched yet, but they have prepared the insides of it. Mr. Heathcliff said that they had to make sure the measurements were right so that they wouldn't need to do too much adjustments once the dress has been finished." 


Even if part of her wedding dress was made, that would mean the main tailor would be arriving to check the fittings right? Asked Madeline to herself. Would that mean she would be meeting James tomorrow? 

A certain anxious feeling started to build in her chest, but she tried not to let it appear on her face. She had to behave normal. James was going to get married to Lady Catherine Barnes. She was the daughter of a reputed Duke. Madeline could only tell that it was possibly a suitable match for him. Somewhere there was an ache in her heart. Not seeing him had made it easier, but the thought of having to meet him tomorrow brought an uneasiness in her chest. 

"You okay?" asked Calhoun, his words testing her and Madeline nodded her head.

"I was thinking when my family would be here," Madeline deviated the subject subtly away from her wedding gown and the unspoken tailorman. Were her parents caught up with something that was holding them back from visiting the castle?

"I sent out a letter to your father through one of my men," answered Calhoun, "You don't have to worry about that. I know how much your family matters to you."

"Thank you," she murmured her thanks for his thoughtfulness. 

When the others caught with them after a few minutes, Lucy appeared to be in a bad mood and next to her was Theodore. They were behind while Lady Rosamund, Samuel and Sophie were riding at the front. Even Calhoun noticed how his half-sister looked like she wanted to leave the party to which she had just arrived, but she didn't say anything, and neither did Calhoun go to question. 

Though Lucy was related by blood and Theodore was someone who he knew for a very long time before he even entered the castle, he didn't bother to get in between them on what was going on. They were both adults, and he was sure they knew how to sort out things if something was going on.

"The King's stallion is truly impressive," praised Samuel eyeing the black horse and then at the couple who sat on the horse, "We thought we lost you."

"I have had him for years," Calhoun moved forward, the front of his body pressing Madeline's back so that he could reach out to pat the side of the horse, "It is how you love and take care of the things around you. If you show them enough love and care, they will be the most loyal beings." 

"The King is right," agreed Lady Rosamund, "My father once had this horse who he had for years. It was a pity that the horse's eyes were shot with arrows." The story that appeared to be a good one turned bad quickly, thought Madeline to herself. 

"Who shot him?" asked Sophie, who appeared to not know about the story. 

"Your grandfather was the one who shot it," chuckled Lady Rosamund with a calm voice, "It had turned to a useless thing. There was no point in watching the horse writhe in old age. Anyways, what are we going to hunt today?" asked the lady with a broad smile, excitement evident on her face. 

Considering everyone was a vampire in here Madeline noticed how everyone looked excited with the idea to hunt the animal, which would be turning to a feast of meat for dinner tonight.

Lady Rosamund and Samuel had spears hauled on their saddle's of the horses while Lady Lucy and Sophie carried the bows. 

Madeline looked around the horse, wondering what Calhoun had brought along with him because there were no spheres or arrows that stuck out of the saddlebags.

"I believe you haven't hunted before," stated Calhoun, his hand leaving her sides to reach out to get something from his back. Madeline noticed he had a different kind of bow and arrow. It was entirely made of metal that gave a feeling that it was heavier than the average bow. 

"No, I haven't," answered Madeline and she didn't hear any comment from Calhoun on it. Humans didn't go hunting as the vampires did, "When did you learn to hunt?" she asked him, her voice low just for him to hear. 

"Probably a few days before I learned to hunt people," his answer was blunt, a smile that came up quickly on his face when he watched the blank expression on Madeline's face. 

Was it a joke? Asked Madeline to herself. No, it didn't appear to be a joke. This had her give him a curious look, wanting to know his time before and in the castle. 

"What animal would you like to eat today?" he asked her, as a cook would. 

"Anything you and the others would like to eat, milord," her back suddenly straightened when he squeezed the side of her waist.

"I would like to hunt you down and eat. I am sure you are the tastiest one I could ever taste," said Calhoun, not losing an opportunity to let his intentions known by her. 

Madeline smiled back at Calhoun, "Would you like me to get down and run?"

Calhoun smirked at the effort of her sarcasm. What a cute little thing she was, "Hmm, there are many people in here. It will only end up in them taking a part in hunting you. Maybe we can change the location. Like my bedroom."

The King had jokes, thought Madeline to herself.

She turned back to look at others who were speaking about the possible animal they would find in the forest today. When Calhoun was getting his arrow from his back, Madeline felt someone's eyes on her from her left where Sophie and Samuel were, but neither of them were looking at her. Why did it feel like someone was looking at her? 
Hunting- Part 4

Sophie, who was moving in the front held tight on to the reins of her horse in her hand. In the past, whenever they went out to hunt, Sophie was the one who stuck along with Calhoun on her own horse. And right now, the blood in her veins boiled. Not only was the human accompanying to ride with him but she was sitting on the same horse with the King. 

How shameful, thought Sophie to herself. 

If Calhoun wasn't here, Sophie would have pushed Madeline herself into one of the mouths of a wild animal so that there would be nothing left of her. She had no qualities of a queen. Like a disabled person, she was sitting with the King because it was obvious that she didn't know how to ride a horse. 

She continued to glare at her front when she heard Lady Lucy speak to her, 

"Lady Sophie, come ride along with me. Lady Madeline is with brother Calhoun," smiled Lady Lucy unknowingly throwing more salt in Sophie's wound. Sophie put up a smile and got her horse to trot next to the vampiress who was only three years older to her. 

"I would love to. I heard someone say that there has been quite some nuisance when it came to the bears and stags in there. If we are lucky we'll be able to catch them today," said Sophie while trying to ignore the King and the human who were behind them. 

"You are right, Lady Sophie," came Theodore's voice, "There have been recent sightings of the stags. But I doubt we will be able to hunt them. Many early hunters took part in hunting them down so that they could get the stags heads."

"It would be sad if it is true. I was hoping to get a fresh stag's head with antlers to put in my room. The one I have right now is old and looks like it was pulled out from dust," answered Sophie. 

"There must be at least one stag left," Lucy said to Sophie, assuring her cousin without looking at Theodore. 

The others who were there were trying to keep their horses moving without leaving the grounds and making circles around them, "Why to go for a stag when we can hunt something new?" asked Samuel, Lucy's husband who tipped his chin up, "Word is that there is another animal that has showed up in the forest. Somewhere deep inside the forest which is difficult to be caught." 

"Where did you hear about it?" asked Lady Rosamund, intrigue in her voice. 

"I heard some of the men in the town speak about it. If there's a possibility why not hunt it?" asked Samuel, a smirk on his lips. 

Calhoun looked pleased with this information and said, "We should go and find this new thing then."

"But I want to hunt the stag," frowned Sophie. She had come here to get the human away from the King but Madeline was sitting with Calhoun. At least she wanted the head of the stag. 

Lady Lucy noticed how everyone were interested in finding this new animal that had made its way into the forest and Sophie was turning upset, "I will go along with her to hunt a stag."

"Going to hunt the same old thing?" asked Samuel. Madeline noticed the way Samuel's voice changed when he said these words that were directed to Lucy. Somewhere annoyance laid underneath his words and she frowned.

If Madeline was on her very own horse, she would have accompanied the two girls but Calhoun had shown his interest to go along with Lady Rosamund and Samuel. Calhoun looked at others, hearing their opinions on what they wanted to do and then he said,

"Theodore, accompany Lucy and Sophie in their hunt."

Madeline's eyes were quick to move to look at Lucy who didn't look pleased but she bowed her head at the order anyways. When her eyes went to see Samuel, the man didn't bother, and this made Madeline question if things were well inside the walls of the Gerville's mansion as Lucy had said. 

Theodore, being Calhoun's trusted man, went along with the two young vampiress as ordered by the King. Madeline turned her head again to look at Calhoun to find a saint-like smile on his lips. 

Before Madeline could ask anything to Calhoun, Lady Rosamund and Samuel had started to trot their horses and Calhoun asked her,

"Do you think you will be able to handle Robin?" he was speaking about his stallion. 

"I can do that," she answered his question. 

"Sweet," he smiled and then said, "Let's not follow the crowd and make the way of our own." Madeline who already knew how to ride a horse, pulled the reins, moving her legs on the horse to get it to trot faster. 

Madeline had never stepped inside this forest, therefore she didn't know the route where they were going but seeing Calhoun not question or stop her, she felt that she was going in the right direction. 

The forest was thick with lush looking trees that was abundant in its greenery. She could hear birds chirping around the forest, leaves rustling because of the gentle breeze and somewhere far away, she could hear water flowing down. It was a calm and serene scenery that was in front of her, making her relax.

"You asked me a question last night," Calhoun looked at the trees, his eyes sharp and searching for this mysterious animal Samuel had mentioned, "What was that about?" he asked her. 

Madeline only moved her eyes to the corner feeling Calhoun's presence behind her, "I was just curious...because you lied about the rabbits."

Calhoun hummed hearing this. Madeline remembered how he had asked her if she would be by his side, meaning to believe him always no matter what. She was curious to know about his mother's death. By what Lady Rosamund said, Calhoun had killed his mother. 

"And?" asked Calhoun and Madeline turned back to meet his eyes.

"That was all, milord," said Madeline, her voice sounding much lighter as if she was breathing and basking in the soft sunlight. How would she know which one was a lie or truth? Madeline wanted to know more about his mother, wondering how their relationship was.

By the portraits that were painted, she found the previous King who had a look of frown on his face and he was decent to look at. But the way Calhoun looked, she would have to guess that his mother was a beautiful woman. Someone who had caught the King's eyes and had been pulled into the castle life. But wouldn't his mother have relatives? 

She was looking around when Calhoun decided to put his hands around her, positioning the bow close enough for her to see it. Her gaze went to move in the direction where he was aiming and she found a deer that was eating the grass. She pulled the reins of the horse to stop trotting. 

Calhoun released the arrow, Madeline felt her hand clench and her heartbeat increased at the sound of the arrow that swooshed to pass-through in the air. When the arrow moved over the head of the young deer, she felt a sigh of relief. 
Word is out- Part 1

Madeline felt relieved that the arrow missed, but she wondered how Calhoun had missed his aim. She noticed him picking another arrow before positioning it against the bow. The fawn had moved from the spot it had been eating the plants, unruffled as it hadn't felt the graze of the edge of the arrow. 

Feeling Calhoun move his hand, Madeline felt her body go still along with her breathing as she watched him draw the arrow. She was sure Calhoun was going to kill the fawn this time, but the arrow moved through the trees to get stuck in the bark of the tree. 

"Looks like today's aim is not good," she heard him mutter and her eyebrows drew together. Was there finally something Calhoun was not good at? She had heard of how Sophie's brother was bad at aiming, but she doubted the King was bad when it came to his aims. 

When he pulled the third arrow, Madeline heard Calhoun ask her in a low tone, "Where do you want me to aim? Neck? Its beating heart?" It seemed like the last two times he was only playing with her. 

They had spent more than a few minutes staring at the fawn and aiming at it from a distance while making sure not to let it off from their sight. Madeline who had been looking at the fawn felt terrible that it was going to die, "What if I said nowhere?" Hearing this, Calhoun, who was behind her, smiled.

"I thought you came here to hunt. What happened? Change of heart?" Calhoun asked, who didn't lower the bow or the arrow. 

Indeed, she had come here to hunt but looking at the fawn closer now. She noticed it was a young one that might have only learned to walk recently. She didn't want to see it dead, "I thought I did, but…" her voice trailed, and she watched his hands lower down. With his hands moving away from her on either side, she saw Calhoun jump down from the horse. 

Madeline looked confused as to why he had dismounted from the horse. He walked to the right side of the horse and raised both his hands. She bit her lip before turning around for him to help her get down from the horse. 

"Why did we get down?" she asked him curiously. Calhoun moved the bow up with his hand to place it on his shoulder.

"So that we can go and take a closer look at the animal and save it for some other day," answered Calhoun who started to walk forward. Madeline blinked before she quickly followed him, walking next to him carefully so as to not surprise the animal in front of them. 

"The bow is for other animals?" she asked him carefully. Calhoun turned his head with a devious smile on his lips and he gave her nod. 

"That's right. How can I kill something when you don't have the heart to kill it," he replied to her as if it was the obvious thing to do and a faint smile came to appear on her lips. The intention of coming out here was to hunt the animals. As the others were vampires, they were used to the kill. But then it was also because they belonged to the high-status family. For Calhoun not to kill and spare the fawn, it meant a lot. 

They continued to walk, their footsteps slowed down when they came to stand close to the fawn. Calhoun didn't move, but Madeline walked forward, her heart beating loudly as she tried to inch herself closer. One step after another, but before her hand could reach out to touch the fawn. The fawn looked up startled and ready to bolt. 

Calhoun, who stood from a little distance away, watched both the fawn and Madeline. Young fawns were often skittish, and this one looked as if it was about to bolt. But something odd happened, the fawn didn't run away. With Madeline's hand that was outstretched, the fawn looked up at her hand. 

She got closer to it, to finally touch its head. Calhoun had heard the fawn's heartbeat spike up a few seconds ago because of surprise that now suddenly turned calm. Madeline bent down, using both her hands, she gently ran her hands across its head, and then he saw something he hadn't got to see before. 

A radiant smile spread across her lips, staring at the fawn as she continued to pet it. Unlike the girl, Calhoun was interested in looking at her. The first and the second time when they had met each other, she had looked anxious. He had also noticed her after she had stepped down from the dance floor. She looked restive, and he accepted the fact that it was partly his fault, but he couldn't help himself but tease her. 

Her very presence entranced him, and he continued to stare at her as everything else dissolved to nothingness. 

Madeline felt happy petting the animal, and after a few seconds, she looked up to see Calhoun who had a faint smile on his face, "Enjoying yourself there, are we?" he asked her. While touching the fawn's head, she had forgotten where they were and saw Calhoun making his way to where she was. 

"Do you want to touch it?" she asked him. 

Calhoun's eyes slightly narrowed, but his hands reached down to pat the head of the small animal that they were going to hunt a few minutes ago. 

Madeline watched Calhoun's gentle hand movements, just like when he touched his favourite wolf, Maddox. Her cheeks turned pink, blood rushing up to her face when she took note of his fingers and how large his hands were when compared to hers. 

She remembered the conversation they had when they were on the horse. The last few days, Calhoun used to call James 'tailorman', but today he addressed him as 'Mr. Heathcliff'. 

Continuing to look back at Calhoun again who was patting the fawn's head, Madeline's lips pursed together. For a man who could stop himself from hunting down the animal in front of him, Madeline came to believe that Lady Rosamund was only trying to feed her with lies. Lies that were baseless. 

After a while, even the fawn rubbed its head against Calhoun's hand, and this had her lips twitch. It seemed like the big bad wolf was liked by the baby deer. 

When he finally let go of the fawn, the animal walked away from them, leaving them both standing there alone. 

"Let's go find that animal that Samuel was talking about," suggested Calhoun and Madeline nodded her head. The clothes that she wore made it easier to walk and she liked it. 

In comfortable silence, they continued to stroll through the woods. At a far distance, they could hear the galloping of the horses, and it seemed like the other vampires were actively taking part in the hunting, unlike them who were walking. 

Madeline followed Calhoun, walking towards a small stream of water that was passing through the path. She wondered if it was the right time to ask. Just when she was about to turn to ask him, Madeline heard a faint whistling sound of the wind approaching them.

Suddenly Calhoun pushed her behind him while one of his hand caught hold of an arrow which had aimed at her. 

Word is out- Part 2

Calhoun moved so fast that Madeline didn't have the time to grasp what happened until she saw him holding an arrow in front of him. The sharp edge of the metal was directed towards them, and her eyes fell on Calhoun whose features turned red with anger. Bringing the arrow close to him, he ran his fingers over the metal which burned the skin on his fingers. 

Madeline turned instantly worried, "Y-your hand!" he was getting hurt, and she heard the sizzling sound of the heat. She saw him break the arrow into two pieces before throwing them on the ground. 

He stared in the direction from where the arrow had come towards them or her.

If Calhoun had not been quick enough, the arrow would have hit her for sure, "Are you alright?" he asked her, his eyes moving across her face and her body.

Madeline nodded her head, her eyes falling back to look at his fingers that looked still raw and red. From where did the arrow even come from? Asked Madeline to herself. Her eyes shifted to look in the direction again. The only people in the group that had arrows were Lady Sophie, Lady Lucy and Theodore, who had gone to accompany the ladies. 

"Let's get back on the horse," Calhoun proposed to her, his hand catching hold of hers while his eyes moved left and right, looking for even the slighted movement that was taking place in the forest. He should have known, bringing her out in the open was not safe. 

"But your hand," said Madeline because she had seen the skin burn and the vapours coming off it. She stopped him from walking further, and Calhoun looked more than annoyed right now. 

"I won't die with the little burn on my hand," he stated. 

Madeline didn't know how the vampire's body worked. Unaware of his ability to heal himself in a matter of a minute or two, she pulled out the handkerchief she had brought along with her. Calhoun watched her, taking his hand to tie it with the handkerchief. When she was finally done, she let his hand go.

Walking back to the horse, Calhoun helped her to sit before he got on the horse himself. 

Calhoun took hold of the reins of the horse, and with one kick of the heel, the stallion started to gallop. It didn't look like they were going back to the castle as the horse started to move further into the forest. He didn't stop when they came to pass by Samuel and Lady Rosamund.

Seeing the speed, they were moving in, Lady Rosamund pulled the reins of the horse to have it follow the King. Once they reached where Lady Sophie and the others were, Calhoun jumped down from the horse to walk to where they were. 

Before Madeline could get down from the horse, Calhoun had already made his way towards Sophie and Lucy who had dismounted from the horses, holding the bows and arrows in their hands. Madeline turned herself to the side, getting down on the ground. Lady Rosamund and Samuel had reached there too. 

"I think I saw the stag run over there," said Sophie to Theodore and Lucy, with her back turned in the direction where Calhoun was walking. By the time she noticed Calhoun, her smile ready to greet him, Calhoun's hand made its way to her throat. 

Everyone looked alarmed, "My King!" Lady Rosamund exclaimed out in alarm, running quickly to the place where Calhoun had pushed Sophie against the tree. 

"B-brother C-Calhoun," Sophie stuttered. 

"What's going on?! What happened?!" questioned Lady Rosamund, "Whatever it is, let us talk about it calmly." 

Even Madeline walked forward, her heartbeat increased by Calhoun's anger that broke right through him, that was now directed at Sophie. The young vampiress struggled to get her neck free, but Calhoun held her in such a way where his nails dug into her neck. 

"Were you the one who shot the arrow now?" Calhoun's hand pushed the girl into the tree. Dry leaves that were loosely hanging on the branches of the trees shook themselves to fall from the top on the ground. 

"I-I, we were only hunting the s-stag," Sophie struggled to speak because Calhoun's hand on her neck was not gentle but tight. 

"Brother Calhoun, I don't think that Sophie mea-" Lucy had stepped in, trying to defend but one glare from Calhoun had resulted in stopping her from speaking any more than she already had. 

Calhoun stepped closer, "If I wasn't with her, you would have turned dead today. I don't care if it was by mistake, but I would rather have you to stay aware of where the Queen walks and is present. Do you understand that?" his voice dropped low to a threat, "I will rip every single part of your body. Limb to limb," and he pushed the girl away from his sight. 

Lady Rosamund quickly went near her daughter. The older vampiress took a look at her daughter's neck that was now marked with imprints of nail marks, "Milord, Sophie would never try to harm her. They were standing at this distance; it was a mistake," Lady Rosamund tried to fix the mistake that might or might not have been caused by her daughter. 

Calhoun turned around, his eyes sharply looking at Lady Rosamund, "I don't fucking care if it was done by mistake. I don't think you would call it a mistake if I tried to snap her head off right now," the smile that was usually present had now turned to a scowl, his eyes seething in anger, "She is lucky that nothing happened to Madeline. Count your stars to be lucky enough that you are alive," he said, his words directed to Sophie. 

Lady Sophie looked shaken as she had only been aiming around to hunt the stag, which she thought she had noticed. 

"I apologise, my King," Lady Rosamund bowed her head, and Sophie was pushed to the side for her mother to catch her, "Please forgive Sophie this time. She would never cause any harm to you or to the future queen."

Calhoun didn't bother to wait and instead said, "The hunting session has been dismissed. Madeline and I will be heading back to the castle," and he started to walk away from them. 

Madeline didn't stay long there. 

Before leaving she passed a look at Sophie, who appeared to be in shock. By Sophie's movements and behaviour, Madeline doubted it was her who had drawn the arrow to shoot it at her. Her eyes met Lady Lucy's, who looked troubled just like her. Bowing and turning around, she made her way to where Calhoun was, who had got on the horse. With one pull, Madeline sat in front of Calhoun on the stallion. 

On their way back to the castle, the horse didn't stop for once but continued to gallop on the ground, it's hooves making sound and the wind breezing against them. Even though Madeline had done nothing, she could feel Calhoun's anger that was steaming behind her. Reaching the castle, the horse was given to the servant to take it back to the horse shed while they made their way up the stairs of the castle. 

Madeline who was following Calhoun saw him take long strides, making his way towards his room and her footsteps stopped. 

He was angry that something could have happened to her. Madeline clenched her hands together on her sides. She stayed outside without going to her room for some time before her feet continued to walk. Standing in front of the door where two servants stood on either side of the door, one of them pushed it open for her to step in. 

This wasn't her room but the King's. People didn't often get to step in here, but with the word out about her marriage to him that was going to take place in a few days, the servants in the castle were quick to learn on how to treat her right.

Madeline took a step into his room and then another. The room was dark because of the curtain that had been pulled over the windows. But with the movements of the curtains, it looked like the windows were left open. The door behind her closed and Madeline turned to look at the closed room. 

The next time she turned around, Calhoun stood right in front of her. 

Calhoun said, "The one time when I give you time for yourself, you come to me."
Word is out- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Satie: Enfantillages pittoresques - 2. Berceuse


When the arrow had come towards Madeline, Calhoun had turned furious by the thought that someone wanted to harm her. Now that word had spread about his wedding with her, there would be many who would like to befriend and poison her mind, wanting to harm her physically. But he hadn't expected it to happen this fast. 

"You left abruptly," Madeline replied to what he said. 

With her eyes adjusted to the light in the room, Madeline heard the dripping sound of water on the floor. Her eyes moved to look down to realise his slacks were wet. Did he get into the water with his clothes on?

"Was there something you needed?" asked Calhoun. For the very first time, he wasn't teasing her and was directly asking her the question. Seeing Madeline's hesitation, he said, "You don't have to worry about getting killed. I won't let anything happen to you."

Madeline knew that. His reflex had been so fast that she didn't even know what happened until she saw him holding the arrow. She herself didn't understand why she had come here without having an actual reason. 

"I don't think she did it," Madeline said to him.

"She didn't," he answered, his body turning around and he sauntered away from her. She followed him with her eyebrows drawn together in a frown. 

He knew Sophie didn't do it? "Why did you hurt her then?" Madeline questioned him not knowing what Calhoun was thinking by taking his anger on an innocent person. 

Calhoun entered the bathroom and Madeline continued to follow him, "It is because someone who is acquainted with her was the one who shot the arrow. I wouldn't say I am a hundred percent sure but I am sure it is someone whom both she and I know. To look for enemies, one doesn't have to look too far because they are often found standing close by."

"Are you speaking about the Wilmots?"

On Madeline's question, Calhoun smiled, "Yes. But it doesn't have to be concentrated only on them. My father had other relatives, and so did Lucy's mother. It is only obvious that they would like to rule and take the throne for themselves. The easiest way would be to not let an heir be produced which thereby makes the woman who stands next to me as an appropriate target."

She watched him step down the stairs that led to the pool of water. He turned around to say, "Take off your shoes. Take a seat," jerking his head to a spot where one of the statues of the lions was built at the corner of the bath. 

"I can come back later to talk," she offered. If Calhoun was going to take a bath now, Madeline decided that it was wise for her to step out and give him time, without disturbing him. 

"Sit," his words were firm, and he turned away with his back against her, and she saw him step down further where his body immersed itself in water. 

Madeline removed her shoes, placing it in the corner before she walked to where the statue of the lion was. Unlike last time, the water was not flowing from the mouth of the lions. This kept the water mostly still except for Calhoun's movements that created a light wave on the surface of the water. Sitting down on the ground, Madeline wondered why Calhoun was taking a bath with his clothes on. The weather felt fairly tolerable today. 

She saw Calhoun dip into the water, immersing himself. The floor beneath the bath was painted black. Madeline saw the blurry image of him below the water. When he got his upper body out of the water, she couldn't look away from him. 

Like in a daze, she saw Calhoun use both his hands to push back his wet hair. Moving in the water, he made his way to where she sat. Water dripped down from the top of his head. While she sat with her legs folded, water spilt out to reach where she was as the water was filled until the brim, but Madeline didn't move away. She stared back at Calhoun, who was looking at her. 

"Doesn't your hand need to be tended?" asked Madeline to him. It was because it looked like someone had dipped the ends of the arrow in poison. 

A sinful smile spread on his lips, "Did you come here to treat my wound?" Without her asking him, Calhoun brought his hand forward and placed his elbow on the surface of the ground she sat on with his hand up that was wrapped with her handkerchief that was now wet. 

Madeline's eyes moved from his red eyes to his hand. As if he had given his permission for her to see, she moved her hands, unwrap the handkerchief to be greeted with nothing but smooth fingertips. Gone was the wound that she had seen and she lifted her gaze to meet his eyes. 

"I-it got healed," she said, astonishment in her voice. 

Calhoun chuckled, "I told you I won't die. Even if people want to kill me, they can't do that."

"And the poison?" asked Madeline. 

"They don't know," his lips twisted in amusement, "Let the people do what they want, and I will do what I want without their knowledge." 

Calhoun appeared much calmer than the time they had spent in the forest after the arrow was shot. When she had entered his room, the lower part of his slacks were wet that meant he had already stepped in the water but on her presence in his room, he had stepped out of it. 

Now that she was going to be a queen, that only meant she would be facing many more arrows in her way and poison that would be made just for her to consume. 

"The wings...were they from your mother?" Madeline asked him. On her question, Calhoun stared at her with a curious look in his eyes.

"Something like that," he said, retrieving his hand from the ground and taking a step back. His tongue played with the edge and tip of his teeth before he asked,

"What are you doing here, Madeline? Are you feeling lonely and coming here for my comfort...or yours?" 
What you wish for- Part 1

Madeline didn't have an answer to his question. Now that she pondered over it while staring into Calhoun's red eyes that were looking at her with a curious look. Madeline questioned herself why she had followed him so willingly. Into his room and the bath, while obediently taking a seat when he had asked her to sit. 

She had come here because she didn't want to go to her room. After what happened back in the forest with Calhoun's skin burnt, somewhere she was worried she would be attacked, and the only place she knew she would be safe was where Calhoun was. Somewhere amidst the shock and worry, Madeline looked at Calhoun in awe. 

Today might have been one of those days where things between them were filled with peace. Calhoun had listened to her, sparing the fawn's life on just one word of hers and he had protected her. Given that if she was not going to be a queen, she would have never have gone through such circumstances. But now that she was in it, there was no going back. The more Madeline thought about it, the more she came to realise that her fate and destiny had changed since the moment she had seen Calhoun making his way past the crowd, walking towards her to only pass and then hand her the handkerchief. 

"I want to know more…" her soft voice trailed. 

Calhoun had stepped away from her by two steps, looking at Madeline who sat in front of him, above the bath to look at him. His eyes continued to look at her, and he asked, 

"And what is it that you want to know?" Calhoun's hands moved at the surface of the water, playing with both his hands. 

Madeline looked down at her hands that she had placed on her lap, "About you." It took a lot of courage to speak directly to Calhoun. 

If Madeline was doing this, she would need to know about him, from him without any trickery of his or mischief in his words.

Madeline did feel bad about some things that had happened, but she also came to accept those things so that it would hurt less so that everyone could move on with their lives in peace. It was the most sensible thing to do. And for that, she would need to know more about the man who she was going to marry in a matter of a few days. 

"What is it that you want to know?" questioned Calhoun, his eyes gauging the expression on her face, and he tilted his head to the side. 

"Everything," answered Madeline. She raised her head and her eyes looking back at Calhoun, "What happened here in the castle...What happened before you entered the castle. About your mother."

Calhoun's hands didn't stop moving back and forth as if he was trying to move forward, but his feet continued to stay still under the water. Most of the droplets of water on his body slid down as he stood there. 

The King knew exactly what Madeline wanted to know. It reminded him of the hour he had seen her last night when she had asked the question. He didn't mind that she was hesitating to ask whatever was there on her mind. And as he doubted, someone did fill her up with a distrust thought in her mind. 

"After my dearest grandmother along with the other family members got my mother kicked out from the castle, my mother went to Oakley, and it is where I was born," Calhoun started to answer the burning question, "You won't find the village now. It was a small village that went down under riot and destruction. There was fire everywhere. After some years, I found out that it was my grandmother who ordered the fire and riot. Hoping to kill the bastard heir so that my father would not come to know about my existence and take my mother and me back."

Madeline remembered Calhoun had previously told her that his father didn't care when his mother was kicked out of the castle. The existence of heirs for the throne seemed to be very important to the royal families, especially the King.

Calhoun then continued, "My mother moved to another village with me. Somewhere were we wouldn't be found out. I believe it was the time when my father had only married Samara Sotton. He was too occupied with his wife who was the Queen, to be bothered with a woman who he had slept with in the past." 

She didn't have to meet the previous King to know that she would have not liked him. Kings were usually used to the lifestyle where it was filled with luxury. Things held little to no value as there was nothing to lose because it could be easily be replaced. Madeline stared at Calhoun, wondering if after she turned to a queen and his wife, would he ever think of replacing her? 

"I won't."

"What?" whispered Madeline, not realising that her expressions were readable to Calhoun's eyes. 

Calhoun stared into Madeline's eyes, "I might be cruel, crude and everything vile, but I am not like my father who doesn't know how to take responsibility."

Madeline's lips pressed against each other, and she said, "That's like telling you have never bedded a woman before." At her words, Calhoun chuckled. 

"That's right. I have bedded many women. Maybe more than my father could ever have, but I made sure not to impregnate a lady. You see, Maddie, I didn't want children from them, but I look forward to having many with you," he offered his infamous smile to her, "Even if you don't produce an heir, I will continue to have you by my side."

Children with Calhoun, thought Madeline to herself. They would be pretty, she agreed to herself. 

"When did you meet Theodore?" came the next question from Madeline. 

Calhoun looked at the lion statue that was on the side as if in thought and said, "He was getting beaten up by someone in the alley." 

"Why was he getting beaten?" asked Madeline, her eyebrows drawing together in curiosity. 

Calhoun sighed, his lips twisting as he thought about it, "He slept with a person's wife and was caught red-handed."

"Really?" this time Madeline raised her brows. 

"Yes," replied Calhoun to her. He watched the different burst of emotions on Madeline's face, moving from surprise to a thoughtful one as she tried to grasp his words. 

"W-what about you?"

"What about me?" he asked her, behaving oblivion to her question. And he chuckled, "I didn't learn the art of seduction back then. My mother's health was deteriorating when I was of that age. She needed tending and being taken care of."

"I didn't know vampires could fall sick," said Madeline, as she had never heard of such things, were the night creatures falling sick. Before she came to meet Calhoun, she heard a lot about vampires, but she hadn't got to speak to them as closely as she did with him. All this while, she believed that the existence of a vampire was forever as they lived an immortal life. 

Calhoun's lips set itself in a thin straight line in thought, "Her condition and situation was different." 


Madeline took the liberty to ask him questions because she wanted answers. Even though she believed what Lady Rosamund had told her was a lie, she still wanted to clarify it with him, without wanting to have a doubt in her mind. 

"When the vampires came into existence, along with them there were different creatures who stepped on the human grounds. As you have guessed previously, I acquired the wings from my mother. She didn't have them though," upon receiving a questionable look from Madeline, Calhoun said, "Have you heard about generation skip?"

She shook her head at this. 

"A generation skip is usually spoken in terms of having features or abilities that you receive from your ancestors not from the parents," he explained to her before his eyes fell on her crossed legs, "Put your feet down here, sweet."

Startled by the sudden change in conversation, Madeline stared at him, "But I am wearing clothes."

"You are free to take them off if you want to or you can dip them just like that. Like me," said Calhoun to her, pausing his explanation on the abilities and waiting for her to do as she was told. 
What you wish for- Part 2

The front side of Madeline's legs were already wet with water because of the wavering water that was produced by the hand movements of Calhoun in the bath. The water spilt out that was filled until the brim of the bath. She saw him wait for her to move. She finally uncrossed her legs to place her legs in the water that was quick to soak. 

Calhoun was pleased and satisfied with Madeline's compliance. He didn't need her words to know that she was slowly accepting him. Her actions spoke louder than anything and Calhoun didn't miss any of it. 

He continued with what he was speaking, "It doesn't hold just for the night creatures but also others. Sometimes visible to the naked eye while sometimes you get it through internal physical features. My mother's father has wings like mine."

"Has?" asked Madeline. Did that mean he was still alive? 

"Did you think I didn't have any close relatives? That Lucy was the only one and then the Wilmots?" laughed Calhoun looking at the startled look on her face.

"Why isn't he living here with you then?" It was a normalcy to have family members live together. At least that is what Madeline liked to believe. 

Calhoun who had kept some distance between them so that he could have a better look at her, now stepped forward. One-step and then the next. 

"I haven't met him until now. My mother told he was hibernating, somewhere alone in the cold caves of the coffin rooms," replied Calhoun. He stepped even more closer, his head tilted up to look at her, "I don't know where he is."

"Have you never thought about looking for him?" 

Calhoun shook his head, "No."

When he didn't say anything, Madeline wondered why not, "You said...she killed herself."

Calhoun's eyes narrowed at her words. There were the words he had been waiting for her to tell. Having lived in the village and having met people from the bottom to end up at the top, Calhoun had the ability to make use of his gut feeling. 

"What did you hear?" Calhoun asked her directly. 

Madeline felt her heart flip at his question where he didn't bother to beat around the bush. As if he already knew what she wanted to ask, "D-did you kill your mother?" she held her breath waiting for him to answer and heard, 


Though her hands were not dipped in the water, she felt it turn colder than her feet, "Why?" her question came out in a whisper, "Why did you lie to me."

"I don't think you would take it kindly if I said I killed her myself," came the unfiltered words from him and she gulped, "Do you want to go back to your room?" 

Madeline tried to understand him; it was why she was here with him. She wouldn't be here, dipping her legs in the water until her knee in the past. She shook her head, "I will listen to your reason." She hoped there was a reason behind his action. Madeline doubted if she would be able to live with a man who had killed his mother mercilessly for no reason. 

Calhoun wondered which one of his relatives was the one who mentioned about his mother with Madeline. 

"My mother's health was deteriorating, and later it only turned worse in time. There was too much pain. She tried meeting my father, but she wasn't the same person by appearance, and it had been years since she had visited the castle, for people to remember her. It is usually the Queen who is remembered and not the mistresses that the King had. Unless the mistress kills the Queen or replaces her position by some means," Calhoun broke his gaze from her to look behind her with a distant look on his face. 

"I don't know what happened to her exactly, but it seems like someone fed her with something. During her last days and hours of her death, she looked nothing less to a corpse. Just bones as she stopped eating or drinking," and Calhoun's gaze returned to fall on Madeline, "Sometimes quick death is easier than seeing them suffer. In the future, as days pass by, you will need to know that there's something more than just court duties or the annoying pests who hover around the castle."

Madeline was left speechless, and her hands that were on top of her knees caught hold of the dress. She wondered if it was because of the pain, that had Calhoun's mother's health start to deteriorate. 

"In those terms, yes, I killed her," concluded Calhoun. Though he stared at her right now, Madeline could not keep up with his gaze, and she looked at the water. 

"D-do you have any portrait of her painted in the gallery?" inquired Madeline as the walls didn't hold any reference to Calhoun's mother. She searched for possible portraits displayed on the walls of the castle, but she had found none. 

"Hm," he nodded his head, "There are a few of them."

Madeline's eyes brightened at his words, curious to see his mother. 

At the same time, she frowned at the thought that the royal family had not bothered to come to see the woman, but they had made sure to keep tabs on what she and her son were doing. She wondered if that was how life in the castle was, where once you stepped in here, it was hard to get away from it. 

"What else did you receive in this generation skip ability?" she asked him. 

He said, "Some of the rare abilities. The place from where my mother came, it is different compared to what you will find here, or you have found so far. Somewhere far and behind the secluded mountains. You can see that my eyes are darker than the rest. Some of us are different."

Madeline noticed how his words were subtle, but he was telling the truth, "Is there something else you have tried to hide?" she asked him, "You cannot lie to me."

"What a demanding wife I am going to have," Calhoun teased her, "I will try not to." It wasn't a promise, but it was something, and Madeline was willing to take it for now. 

Calhoun himself realised something about Madeline. A generation skip. It was possible that her parents knew nothing about it neither did her elder sister, Elizabeth. The only person who would have received the curse or gift was Madeline. 

"Are your grandparents still alive?" asked Calhoun and Madeline frowned. 

"They are not dead," not yet at least. Madeline loved them and didn't want anything bad happen to them. 

He nodded his head and said, "I will have Theodore send out some extra invitation cards so that your parents can make use of it. For the people whom they want to invite."

With the pace everything was going around her, Madeline thought that Calhoun was taking charge of what to be done and what not to be done—not involving her family with anything related to their wedding that was going to take place soon. But hearing this from him, Madeline gave him a nod. 

"Thank you," she thanked him and noticed he got closer to her. 

"Do you have any wishes?" asked Calhoun. Madeline didn't know if it was due to the water around them, but his eyes looked much more alive and red. 

"Wishes?" she repeated back his words. 

"Yes, wishes," his voice lowered down, like a whisper of a secret which he would make it come true if she were to tell him right now. 

Calhoun asked her because he remembered when Lucy was getting married, her mother didn't ask her but went ahead with the preparation. Of course, Lucy never told him. He had found out about it through Theodore, who had stepped down and hid his feelings for the princess. Back then, Calhoun had not bothered himself with little details like that because there were other important things he was focused on. 

Madeline wondered what she wished to do at her wedding. Like many other young girls, she had wanted to find someone who loved her, and she would love back. It didn't matter to her if she wore a cheap wedding dress that wasn't made of silk. 

"Don't kill anyone on that day or before it," Madeline said, and Calhoun nodded. He had expected her to say something related to her clothes or wanting to have jewels or the place where she dreamt of having her wedding. 

"I didn't think if I will be killing someone, but interesting that you wish for something so odd. Let's hope no one does something stupid."
What you wish for- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Fracture by Stephan Moccio


Calhoun didn't ask her further on what her other wishes were. He then said, "Would you like to get down in the water?" 

Madeline looked flustered by his question. It was a simple one, but she doubted things would be as simple as his question when she would step in the bath. Calhoun didn't break his gaze from her and put his hands on her waist, helping her get down as it was comfortable with her legs already in the water. 

Madeline felt the water was less cold when Calhoun got her into the bath. With Calhoun who was a tall man, Madeline had not realised the depth of the water in here, but now that she stood on her feet on the surface of the bottom of the bath, she felt the water reach up to her neck. She tilted her head up, looking at him. She didn't have any plans of getting in the water, but Calhoun did what he wanted. 

By nature and character that Madeline possessed, she tried not to resist what was happening.

Calhoun questioned her, "How's the water?" 

"It's cold but bearable," she answered. The bath was built in a slope that turned deeper as one moved from the direction of the stairs. 

"How are you doing?" he continued to ask. 

Madeline stared into Calhoun's red eyes that looked calm and collected like most of the times. Even though it was strange to be in here with him right now, in a bath with their clothes still on them, Madeline didn't stress out like she used to do it in the past. The odd thing was that they were having a calmer conversation as the time passed between them. It made her feel that she wasn't losing her mind and was not alone in the castle. 

Not knowing what to answer, she asked him instead, "Do you often get into the bath? With your clothes on?" 

Calhoun looked at her with great interest and intrigue. Since the time she had stepped into the bath, he had been closely listening to the rise and fall of her heartbeat. He didn't detect the nervousness in there, "Very often," he replied to her, "I like the water in here. I don't think you would be standing here with me if I had removed my clothes," he added. 

Madeline's cheeks turned red at his words. Even with his clothes on his body, she could see the ridges and curves, the planes on his chest. She tried to keep her eyes on him without lowering it down, "Do you know how to swim, Madeline?" 

She gave him a nod, "I do."

Calhoun looked content with her answer. Though she came from the village, she knew things most of the girls wouldn't know, and he took pride in it, "That's good to know," he then stepped forward towards her which had Madeline tilt her head further. 

Madeline didn't know why Calhoun had got her in the water, and she continued to stare at him keeping her head up to look at him while also not wanting to have the wavering water get into her ears or eyes. 

She wondered how difficult it would have been for him to kill his mother to end her suffering. In this world, everyone had different pains which was unexplainable. Her heart ached for the young Calhoun who had to finish the suffering. 

To have no one to support or be there, Madeline now understood that Calhoun and Theodore's bond was much stronger and more profound than a King and the right-hand man of the King. They were friends who probably had each other's back. She remembered how Theodore had once spoken in favour of Calhoun, to accept things as Calhoun was not a bad man. 

Madeline couldn't believe that she was feeling bad for this big bad wolf who had kept her here. When he leaned his head towards her, Madeline felt her heart flip at the closeness that they shared again. Unconsciously, her tongue went to wet her lips. Calhoun moved more closer where their lips were separated two inches away from each other. 

"I will be taking a shower now, Maddie," whispered Calhoun, "You are welcome to stay and watch if you want."

Her eyes widened by his words and her cheeks burned further. She swallowed down the nervousness. She wondered why she had thought that he was going to kiss her. When he pulled his head back, she looked at the expanse of his chest which was covered with the wet shirt that he wore, sticking on to his skin. 

"I will leave," Madeline said, bowing her head a little.

He moved farther away from her, Madeline looked at him before she started moving towards the stairs of the bath. By the time she reached the start of the stairs, water slid back from her drenched clothes. 

"Take the towel that is there," she heard Calhoun say and Madeline's wet feet padded across the bath room to get hold of the white towel that had been folded and placed on the stand. 

She heard the splashes of water, and she turned her head to see Calhoun had got the fountain of the lion to pour water out of its mouth. Calhoun had taken his shirt off and she saw his bare skin that was inked with black markings on his back. She had not seen them before and wondered how she had missed them. Did she forget? Maybe she hadn't been paying attention earlier, and it was only now that she was looking at Calhoun. 

The black ink-like markings on his back was beautiful and fascinating to look at, making her wonder what it was. She had seen a few men having it in the village, but she had never questioned it before. Markings on the skin had never been accepted because most of the humans believed it was unethical. 

Even with the markings that stood out on his pale skin, Madeline noticed Calhoun's body from behind. Broad shoulders started to taper down and into the water. When her eyes moved to the place where his shirt had been thrown, Madeline saw even his slacks had been discarded. She quickly looked away from the clothes and the man in the bath. 

"I will be taking my leave," she informed, bowing her head once again she left the place. This was the second time she was leaving Calhoun's room with her clothes wholly drenched in the water. 

Reaching her room, Madeline was about to step in when she heard a voice from behind,

"Lady Madeline," the voice was crisp and sharp, firm and old that came from Lady Rosamund. The woman took note of Madeline's drenched self, "Are you doing alright?" she asked with concern.

Madeline had hoped no one would catch sight of her like this, but Lady Rosamund seemed like she was waiting for her to arrive at her room, "I am fine, Lady Rosamund. How is Lady Sophie doing?" 

An upsetting look crossed Lady Rosamund's expression, "She's not doing well. You saw what happened," the vampiress shook her head, "Calhoun and Sophie have known each other for such long time now. After all, we are family. He should know that little Sophie would never do anything like that. I mean only an idiot would so blatantly shoot an arrow at you when the King is standing right next to you. They were standing so far away from you."

Somewhere even Madeline felt bad that Calhoun had shown his anger out on Sophie, when she was not the person who was responsible for the arrow that was shot at her. 

Madeline had seen the fear and shock in Sophie's eyes that she had never seen before. She had never seen Calhoun this angry. When his hand had left Sophie's neck, it had left nail marks on the young vampiress which only told that he wasn't playing around and was serious about Madeline. 

Madeline bowed her head, "I am sorry that something like that happened."

They didn't know who the real culprit was, but Calhoun told her that it was someone who was acquainted with Sophie. With just them in the forest, she wondered who had shot the arrow and if it was someone else who had not joined the hunting this morning.