✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 271 - 280 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Tip toes- Part 5

Madeline chose not to answer him, knowing he could decipher her lies through her words. The more she would speak, the more she would dig a grave for herself. When Calhoun stepped closer, she turned her face away from him and his words vibrated on the skin of her neck,

"Did you go to meet sweet girl?"

He knew.

Calhoun's hand moved to pet her head, waiting for her reply. When he didn't receive one, the same hand that had been weaving through her hair, gently tugged her hair from behind, "Are you not going to speak?" 

"I-I didn't know if h-he was there," Madeline blurted when she felt Calhoun's bite of jealousy through his hand. Seeing him look at her like this, she felt her mouth turn dry, and she gulped.

"But you had a doubt. Did he call for you?" While one hand of his was on her hair, another snaked around her waist, pulling her towards him. "I thought you finally forgot about him and started to accept me. Why did you go to him?" Every word that came from Calhoun's lips was filled with jealousy and his hold around her body alerted Madeline when it tightened,

"Am I never going to have your heart?" his eyes glared down at her. 

"I heard his voice when I was walking by. I just wanted to see," Madeline had never been on the receiving end of Calhoun's ire, "I didn't mean to upset you," she whispered. 

Calhoun leaned forward, taking a sniff, and he gritted his teeth with his eyes flaring like flames that would burn anything, "Did he touch you?" 

It was not intentional! She was even about to move when it happened! Madeline screamed it in her head, knowing her reasoning would not be accepted by Calhoun. "I can explain what happened there, Cal-" Her words were cut short as Calhoun tugged her hair down to have her head pulled back.

Calhoun covered her lips with his. His lips moved roughly against hers, biting and sucking it every now and then. His hand let go of her hair, and both his hands came to settle on the sides of her neck, holding her face as his thumb lifting her chin. 

"I won't give you to him," growled Calhoun between the kiss, biting into her lip and making her wince as the bite was not gentle, "You are mine."

Madeline wanted to explain to him that nothing happened, but it looked like he didn't want to hear anything about it. 

Calhoun's hands that were on the sides of her neck moved towards her shoulders and then down towards her waist. But before reaching there, his hands stopped midway, and he used his fingers to brush her breasts, eliciting muffled moans from her covered lips as he

continued to kiss her. His tongue pushed and rubbed her tongue, his teeth nipping her lips. 

Madeline couldn't fight it. Not because Calhoun was stronger than her, but because of his jealousy and his behaviour where he slipped out of control, it did something to her. 

"Tell me you won't meet him again. Not without letting me know," Calhoun's eyes continued to glare down at her. 

"Did you know James is-" As it wasn't the answer Calhoun wanted to hear from Madeline, he cut in her words, interrupting her, 

"Looks like you haven't understood my question, Maddie," Calhoun asked through his gritted teeth. This is what love did. Intoxicating a person like there was nothing better than it. Calhoun was not willing to give her heart to anyone, "You're going to meet him again?" he pushed his leg between her legs, pressing it. 

"Let me explain!" Madeline didn't do anything. Huffing for air with the sensation which she tried to resist, it only urged Calhoun to punish her more.

"Okay, let's do this," Calhoun said, "You said you went to walk."

"I did! I didn't say I didn't visit the dungeon!" Madeline spoke quickly, "I told you I would explain. Let me step away. I cannot talk like this." With all the things that were going on, Madeline didn't know if it was because of her age, but her body was too swift to obey Calhoun's words and actions. 

"No," Calhoun refused, "Tell me why you reek of him. Why see him? Do you still like him?"

Madeline shook her head.

How did Calhoun expect her to answer when he was trying to rile her body? This was not fair! The fire in the fireplace burned brighter, and the candles that she had blown, started to light up, turning the room bright once again. Meeting his eyes, Madeline noticed something dark and dangerous lurking in his eyes. 

"I want words, Madeline," Calhoun demanded from her.

"No, I don't," she replied, a small moan escaping from her lips when he rubbed her sensitive part, "I don't like him like that. I don't see him that way, Calhoun. I only went there because I was curious. H-he placed his hand on my chee-AHH!" Madeline had placed her hands on Calhoun's thigh, her body feeling weak with desire, "You cannot do this to get answers from me," she glared back at Calhoun. 

"I will see what punishment gets the best results," he replied, and one of his hands tipped her chin up. His finger slowly ran across her lips. Feeling her words were sincere, Calhoun finally let go of Madeline and stepped away from her. 

"What has James turned into?" asked Madeline, "Did you do something to him?"

"The thing I would love to do is kill him off right now for touching you. No, I didn't," said Calhoun turning away from her, "For some odd reason he has turned to a werewolf. A feral creature that will kill anything. He came looking for me, and we found him to be in the shape he is in right now."

Madeline continued to press her body against the wall, and she asked, "Why?" 

"To kill me." 
With you- Part 1

James came here to kill him? That was ridiculous, thought Madeline. James wouldn't be able to last for more than five seconds in front of the King. But now, he had turned to something else. 

"How does one turn to a werewolf?" Madeline asked Calhoun. He turned around to meet her eyes, not replying to her question immediately. 

"He got bitten," Calhoun moved from his place, and walked towards the sink. Pulling out his handkerchief, he soaked it in water, "Change your clothes," he ordered. With Madeline smelling like the dungeon and reeking like a werewolf, it irritated him. It annoyed him that James had dared to touch what was his. The only reason he wasn't on his way to the dungeon to break the man's limbs was that he wanted to hear what Madeline wanted to say. 

His anger had not simmered down, and it was still at the top of the roof. 

Madeline was surprised as to why Calhoun was asking her to change her clothes when she had already changed thrice today, and this was her fourth dress, "Why?" she questioned him. 

When Calhoun turned to face her, his eyes and the expression on his face had hardened. "Would you prefer I unbutton it for you or will you do it yourself?" His words didn't leave room for discussion, and Madeline sighed. It was just changing clothes, thought Madeline to herself, and she took herself to walk towards the closet and pull out the dress. 

Calhoun had turned back again towards the sink and Madeline decided to change her clothes where she stood right now rather than going behind the room divider where Calhoun stood. Keeping the door of the closet open, half of her body was covered. But the closet wasn't enough to hide her as Calhoun didn't stay where he was and he came towards her. 

Madeline was still unbuttoning her dress when Calhoun stepped in front of her. His expression hadn't changed much, and he still had a slight look of disappointment in his eyes as she had gone to meet James Heathcliff in the dungeon. 

To her surprise, Calhoun raised his hand that held the handkerchief, and he used it on her face to wipe her skin to remove the trace of James. 

"I can go and wash my face," she protested, but this only resulted in Calhoun wiping her lips so that she would stop talking. 

While Calhoun's hand worked on her face by wiping her skin at the possible places James had touched her, so that he could get rid of the man's scent that was irking him, his eyes were set on Madeline's brown eyes. 

"Werewolves are not creatures who walk with the rest of us on this land, not with humans or vampires. Years ago, they said that the vampires were cursed by the sun, and the werewolves were cursed by the moon. And as years passed, the curse of the vampires had been lifted while leaving the werewolves who are still affected by the moon. It doesn't matter if the moon is full or half, or if it's in a crescent shape. Until it is present up in the sky without being hovered by the clouds, it causes the werewolves who turn from humans to feral animals who will kill anything and everything in their way. There are some people who train these werewolves to do their bidding."

"But James was never a werewolf. Was he?" Madeline asked with a deep frown on her face. James and his father had shown no such signs, and the family had been normal. 

Calhoun's eyes trailed down to see the front buttons of Madeline's dress to be open. Her smooth pale skin letting his eyes to devour it, "He was bitten yesterday. He is a recently turned werewolf. The cemetery caretaker told me that a bunch of werewolves arrived out of nowhere and one of them bit him."

"Are you going to kill him?" Madeline didn't know what was going on in Calhoun's mind, not realizing that the more curious she was about another man, the more jealous Calhoun turned out to be. 

The handkerchief that was on her cheek where Calhoun had been wiping her skin, it trailed down to her neck and then between the valley of her breasts. She shivered feeling the wet and cold cloth.

"Let me be kind enough to tell you that I don't like the tailorman. Every time you speak about him, it makes me want to torture him," Calhoun's eyes flared. 

Madeline softly gulped, "How will I know if you won't tell me," the last two words turned to whisper when he slid the handkerchief further down that took time to slip past her breasts. 

"If I wanted to kill him, I would have done it to him a long time ago, Madeline. You should know that, tch," Calhoun could see her shiver, subtle goosebumps forming on her skin under the glow of the candlelights in the room, "I am keeping him alive, but he came here in the intention to kill me. What do you expect me to do, my sweet girl?" 

"Did you ask him why?" she asked, her mind and body trying to concentrate on his words but they were drifting back to his touch. 

"Why? I think we both know the answer to it now, don't we?" Calhoun tilted his head to the side and then pulled the handkerchief to drop it on the floor. "There's this sweet girl who everyone wants. James wants her too, but I have no plans to give her to anyone. She's mine. Mine to love, to care, to touch and to breathe," he said to her. 

Staring into Calhoun's eyes felt like she was drowning in them, "But he's marrying Catherine."

"I know, darling. The man appears to be quite an indecisive one," Calhoun shook his head, "Though I doubt there will be a wedding."

"Because he's a werewolf," Madeline whispered to hear Calhoun hum. 

Without warning, Calhoun pulled her towards him. Leaning down, his lips went straight to the side of her breasts near the valley, and he bit into her skin. Madeline's skin was soft and tender. This part of her was covered in her fragrance.

"Calhoun!" Madeline's hand went on his shoulders, her nails digging in there while he sucked her skin. Calhoun had not bitten her with his fangs, but the movement of his teeth and lips were enough to stir her, "We need to talk," came her shuddered words. 

Calhoun wanted to wait, but his control was slipping through his fingers like sand being held in a tight grip. He had been holding himself back over and over again, but he didn't know for how long he would be able to keep up with it. 

Madeline had too many questions and things to discuss, but Calhoun was always ready to catch and hold her in his arms. Her knees felt weak, and she didn't know for how long she would be able to stand. His tongue trailed where he had been sucking on her breast before blowing air that felt colder than the wet handkerchief he had used on her. 

Who knew that jealousy could turn to something like this, thought Madeline to herself. The pleasure felt sinful and torturously sweet on her body. 

Calhoun had not let go of her, and he went back to sucking the skin on her breast, which was not exposed completely as only the middle buttons at the front of her dress had been opened. He brought in feelings she had never felt before. Each experience she felt was given by Calhoun, who was her first and possibly the last with the way he was possessive about her. When he sucked harder, it brought out a moan. Madeline was sure that it was going to leave a bruise on her chest. 

"Something happened to my back," she quickly said, and this was enough to catch Calhoun's attention. 

His head moved near-up from the valley of her breasts, up her neck and to hover in front of her face, "What happened?" he questioned. 

"There are bruises on my back," Madeline was still trying to catch her breath, and her breath fell on Calhoun's lips, and he resisted from kissing her. His eyes suddenly narrowed.

"Was it the werewolf? What did he do?" Calhoun asked before saying, "I need to see it," and he quickly turned her around.

"No! It wasn't James. Wait, let me wear another dress!" came Madeline's startled voice, but Calhoun lacked patience when it came to knowing what was going on with her and in his absence. 

"That won't be necessary," and Calhoun ran his finger that had a sharp nail on the back of her dress. In an instant, the fabric tore, and the sleeves fell off her shoulders. Madeline's eyes turned wide, and she used both her hands to stop the dress from falling in the front as if Calhoun had not sucked her breast a few seconds ago. 

Calhoun brought the candles closer to her back, taking note of the bruises that were on her skin, "When did this happen?" he demanded. 

"It was somewhere in the noon I think when I was in the high tower of the castle," answered Madeline. Her hair had been pushed to one side over her shoulder by Calhoun so that he could have a better look. Then she felt Calhoun's finger touch her bareback, possibly tracing the discoloured skin, "I felt pain, and I came back to the room, to see what happened when I noticed it in the mirror."

"Does it hurt?" Calhoun asked, pressing the skin, and she shook her head.

With you- Part 2

Madeline felt half-naked in the presence of Calhoun, but it didn't feel uncomfortable. He enjoyed seeing her cry and moan, she noticed it in his eyes, the desire of fire only increasing, and there were times when she got worried about it. Could someone love so intensely, so ardently that their very life revolved around yours? 

Calhoun's hand had not left her back, and his fingers continued to trace every inch and corner of her back, looking at the bruises that had formed. 

"Let me go and get something for it," he offered, and Madeline was quick to refuse. 

"It will go away in a few days. I get bruises sometimes. It goes by itself," she said to him. 

Calhoun didn't listen to her, and instead, he took her to the bed.

"Lay down on the bed. You have been tending it by yourself, but I am here now," he said, walking away somewhere in the room while Madeline decided to listen to him. As she looked back at the way things were, it had changed. She would have never guessed that Calhoun could be this gentle and caring. Maybe he was always like this, but at the same time, it didn't mean he had changed in his overbearing manner. There were now things that she could only share with him, trust to share without being lied to too much. 

"Did you ever have bruises like this before?" she heard Calhoun ask her from across the room. 

"I don't remember if it happened before. I would have remembered," Madeline replied to his question while laying down on the bed with her head on the pillow, "What do you think is wrong with me?" she asked. 

With every day that was going by, she felt less and less normal. It made her feel alone. 

"Nothing," Calhoun responded to her, who had arrived at the side of the bed. He sat down, "Nothing is wrong with you. Maybe you are just trying to be you."

"It is hard," she whispered with a tinge of sadness in her voice, "To come to realize that you are not you but someone else."

Madeline was a sheltered girl. Maybe more sheltered than her sister, Elizabeth was the one who was outgoing while she had stayed back in the shadows. She was used to having her family supporting her, loving her and being there but now...she didn't know if she could rely on them anymore. 

Some part of her was scared, scared about the future that was approaching in her direction. 

"You can change to whatever you want, Maddie. If you want to stay the way you are, no one would question you," said Calhoun behind her. 

"Is it that simple?"

"No," came Calhoun's straight answer, "Nothing is simple in life. But somewhere along the line you will learn to ignore and pick things that only matter. What is it that worries you?" he asked her. 

"Everything." It felt like every day was bringing a new problem, and there was no solution. One thing over another, toppling like binds of parchments on the desk. 

"If you think about everything at a time, it would be hard to fix or find a solution," Calhoun had poured something on his hand, and he placed both his hands on Madeline's back. He moved his hands, starting from the top of her shoulders while moving his fingers across her skin. He pressed his fingertips so that it would relieve the tension in her muscles, which would have caused because of the pain. 

He had never seen a condition like this before which was why he had no answer to what was happening with Madeline. "If you go through it one by one, it will not only help solve things but also ease your mind."

"Is that what you are doing now?" she asked him. 

"It is what I have always done. However, there have been times when I have sticked my hand in different situations, but I have always pulled through it. Don't worry about yourself, I have your back," said Calhoun and Madeline couldn't help but turn her head around to look at him. 

She didn't know if she should feel bad or sad, or maybe happy that there was still one person who she could rely on. When did her life turn upside down? Madeline asked herself. Turning her head back, she let her chin rest on the pillow so that she could stare at the headboard while Calhoun's hand moved across her back. 

"How did you get into the dungeon?" asked Calhoun in a curious tone. The guards near the castle and the gates were much more diligent when it came to work. It seemed like he would need to replace the entire staff.

"I threw stones. At the bushes," Madeline replied to him, sincerely. She doubted she would be able to do it one more time. Therefore, she didn't see a point to hide what she did. 

"All you could have done was ask the guards," Calhoun stated casually. 

"They would let me in?" She was surprised hearing this. Would it have worked? 

Calhoun said, "They would bring you to Theodore or me." So it wouldn't. She shook her head. Somewhere between Calhoun rubbing her back, Madeline realized he hadn't stopped, and continued doing it. When his hands slipped to the corners of her dress, moving near her waist, Madeline's hands turned to fist, and she lowered her eyes from the headboard. 

Madeline wanted to ask about James, but she didn't want to upset Calhoun again. But with him here, she didn't see why she should not ask. 

"He lost his father."

"Who?" Madeline asked, wondering who Calhoun was speaking about. 

"James. I heard from the caretaker who helped him to bury his father yesterday. It was a natural death," hearing this news from Calhoun, Madeline didn't know what to say. "He blamed me. That I was the reason why his father died and how he is being forced to marry Catherine." 

Why was James putting the blame on Calhoun?

Wasn't it him, who had agreed to marry Lady Catherine? 

"Is it okay for me to speak to him tomorrow?" Madeline asked, wanting to meet James when he was back to his human form. With the presence of the sun, James would not turn to a werewolf, and it would be safe to talk. 

"What do you want to speak to him about?" She could sense the apprehensive tone in Calhoun's words. Even the pressure of his fingers increased before it turned gentle. He moved his hand from below the nape of her neck to run straight down until her lower back. 

The first time when she had entered the room where James was tied, she had questioned why Calhoun had gone so far as to tie James' hands and legs with shackles that was connected to the walls. Now she understood it was because James was a werewolf.

"He lost his father...I would like to…" Madeline didn't know how to continue her words with Calhoun's fingers that pressed her skin.

"I will be paying him a visit tomorrow. You can accompany me there," Calhoun didn't want to leave both of them alone. It was a mystery how Madeline had even opened the lock to James' room in the dungeon. 

Madeline felt bad for James. He had lost his mother long ago, and now he lost his father. She remembered James telling her he was going to die. If Calhoun was not going to kill him, was it because he was a werewolf and the transformation would kill him? It was possible, thought Madeline to herself. 

"Did you find what happened in the village? Who killed the person?" Madeline inquired. 

"Yes, I did. But I am still trying to get some more proof," replied Calhoun, "James' name will be cleared." To Calhoun, James was an obstacle that had been hard to remove because Madeline had been too stuck with the idea that James was the man for her. But the game had changed. James might not die due to execution because of the murder, but he couldn't guarantee James would be alive because of the werewolf blood coursing through his veins that could affect his life. 

"I see," murmured Madeline.

"You said you wanted to say something to me," Calhoun recollected, and Madeline pursed her lips. 

"Do you remember the girl we went to meet? My friend Jennine," Madeline asked him.

"What about her?"

"I think something bad happened to her. I don't think it was a vampire who killed her." When Madeline uttered those words, Calhoun's hand stopped and rested on her skin, making her feel his touch as he placed both his palms, "I dreamt of something this morning. I don't know if it was just my mind that made up the story or if it is true."

Calhoun questioned, "What makes you feel it is real?" 

"I don't know...Some things were disturbing," Madeline found it hard to speak because her memory of her dream wasn't as fresh as it was when she woke up. There were parts of it which she remembered, like figments that she was holding tight on to so that they wouldn't disappear. "My family was there, back in the village where my grandparents live. Do you parents don't visit the village often. It is usually Beth and me who go there. Not that my parents have a bad relationship with my paternal grandparents." 

"So I have gathered. Did you find out why they don't visit the village anymore?" Calhoun inquired. 

"I don't think my parents will answer my questions." 

"I have a better way to get answers, of course not the method I use on you but the one I use on others. It is very effective." Hearing this, Madeline immediately turned and got up, her hands holding the front of her dress. 

"You said you wouldn't harm my parents. You promised," she looked at him anxiously. 

Calhoun smiled. His hand moved to push the piece of her hair behind her ear, tucking it to say, "Which is why we still have no answers to it." Torture would be the easiest way to get answers, but Calhoun was well aware of how much Madeline loved and cared for her family. 

"What if I say that there might be a possibility that I have killed someone in the past?" Madeline questioned him, keeping her eyes on him. 

"Then I would say it is a wonderful news," one side of his lips pulled up, and he leaned over to drop a kiss on her bare shoulder. He then said,

"I have had a fair share of kills which you are already aware of. Who am I to judge you over it? I would still look at you the same way I am looking at you right now." 
Black sheep- Part 1

Madeline who was lying on her front with her head being supported by the pillow, her eyes were closed as Calhoun had continued to massage her back after speaking too kindly to her. In a time like this where she felt lost, he stood next to her, and she was grateful to it. With a light pink splashed on her cheeks, she let Calhoun move his hands back and forth like a cat kneading with its paws. 

She didn't know what hour of the night it was and if they were in the hour of midnight. 

"Tell me about your dream," Calhoun coaxed her, his fingers trailed on her back where the bruises had formed. He had taken the liberty to move his hands where the bruises were not formed, touching and tracing her soft skin 

In the morning after breakfast, Calhoun had asked her about it, but she had told him that she would tell to him once he returned to the castle. 

"I was in the village. The one where my grandparents live right now. I visited one of the graveyards that are present in there," started Madeline, placing one side of her cheek on the surface of the pillow while looking at the fireplace, "I don't know if it happened in the past. I am unsure, but…" she paused for a moment before continuing, "I saw a grave there which had my name on it."

Calhoun's eyes narrowed, and he asked, "Did you see what was in there?" He got up from the bed and picked out the dress which she had earlier taken from the closet. 

"It was empty. I thought I wouldn't be able to open the coffin lid, but I did, and there was nothing in there. I don't know if it was real or not," she replied. Thinking about the grave that was awaiting her, Madeline didn't know how to feel about it. Her loving family had a grave prepared in her name, ready to make use of it. "There was another coffin next to mine, one that belonged to a girl. And the way they spoke, it made it feel like I was responsible for her death."

Calhoun was more than intrigued by Madeline's words. A dream was the depiction of what one worried and felt about. Figment of imagination mixing with reality to bring in dreams that weighed on one's mind. But this was a strange one. 

"Have you ever been to that grave before?" inquired Calhoun, walking back to her holding the dress in his hand. 

"I think when I was small, Beth and I entered it. It must be several years ago." 

Hearing Calhoun return near the bed, Madeline sat up again while having her hand hold the front of her dress. He had torn the back of her dress effortlessly, and she had earlier opened some of the buttons in the front, leaving most of her skin exposed on her upper body. 

Calhoun then said, "Stand on the ground, sweet girl."

Was he planning to help her to wear it? She had gone to stand behind the closet door to change her clothes, but that hadn't stopped him from coming there and touching her. Madeline asked, "Will you close your eyes?" She had never been naked in front of him. Scarce clothes, yes, but not bare. 

"Okay," he took a step away, giving her space to stand in front of him. Calhoun didn't see the point of it because he would still be able to see her. But if it was going to make her less shy, then so be it. 

Madeline waited for Calhoun to close his eyes and she wondered how he would help her to wear the dress. She was capable of wearing it herself. 

Calhoun bent down near the hem of her dress, bunching it, he said, "Raise your hands." He pushed the dress she was wearing upwards with his eyes closed. Madeline did what he asked, and the dress quickly came off because of the lack of resistance. Having her this close and in this vulnerable state, all he wanted was to keep skin contact with her. He had been counting the days to the wedding while trying to keep his enemies at bay, "Continue with your dream."

Madeline didn't know how well she would be able to concentrate on what she was supposed to say because right now, she stood there wearing only her undergarment. Her eyes didn't leave Calhoun's face, making sure he had his eyes closed. Her hands had moved to cover her breasts.

"In the dream, my grandfather said to my father to move out and away from the village. To start a fresh life and I didn't see Beth." There was a sliver of nervousness in Madeline's voice as she spoke. 

Deciding to wear the dress herself, she turned, and her hand went to reach out for the dress which Calhoun had placed earlier on the bed. But Calhoun's hand was the one to shoot from behind and grab it before her. 

Her eyes snapped to look at Calhoun, who had opened his eyes. Madeline's face turned bright red, and she quickly tried to grab something to cover her body with her back facing him. But at the same time, Calhoun's hands moved on either side of her body to pull and hold her in his arms. 

"Y-you lied!" Madeline complained, "Let me go."

"If I do now, I will see more than what you want me to. Consider it me keeping you safe," Calhoun whispered the words next to her ear. Madeline didn't know how it was safe! He never missed an opportunity to touch her and having her in his arms. She couldn't move her hands because she was covering her chest while Calhoun's hands were still around her. "My apologies, sweet. It is hard to keep my head straight when I haven't had you. Stay like this for some time. I promise not to look more than what I have now."

Madeline turned her face to take a look at him and noticed he had indeed closed his eyes. 

"Would you like to go and visit your grandparents tonight?" he asked her. 

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head. She wasn't sure she would be able to look at them without having doubt that they would do something to her, that they were hiding something. 

"No," Madeline replied.

"How about the infamous grave from your dream?" Calhoun's hands tightened around her waist, but the hold didn't hurt her. He placed his chin on her bare shoulder. 

"Okay," replied Madeline, her face still holding embarrassment. Before she could ask him to release her, Calhoun said,

"I will let you wear your dress," and he pressed his lips on her neck before letting her go. 

Madeline didn't wait for a second, and she started to wear the dress which she took from Calhoun. Buttoning her dress and making it proper, she finally felt relieved that she was covered. She closed her eyes at the thought that Calhoun had seen her from behind. Though he had caught and seen most of her, he had not commented on what he saw, and she was glad. 

Turning around in her pale beige looking dress that wasn't heavy without having too many layers, she stood in front of Calhoun who looked straight into her eyes. Madeline waited for him to comment on something, but the comment never came. The way he looked at her, it wasn't as daunting as the first time her eyes had met his eyes.

She would have never thought that the silver masked man who was walking past her would be this kind of person. Madeline had never aspired for things that were out of her reach because it looked impractical. She had never imagined having someone as handsome as Calhoun standing next to her. 

"We can go tomorrow morning if you want," Calhoun offered as it was late. He didn't want her staying up without having the needed sleep. The bruises were fresh, which was why the colour wasn't dark yet. But if it had formed, it meant it had hurt Madeline when she received it. 

"Now is fine. Someone might let them know we were there if we go in the morning," Madeline knew Calhoun didn't fear anyone. But at the same time, she didn't know what she was or what her grandparents were. 

Madeline watched Calhoun saunter his way to the stand in the room and pick up a coat. Helping her into it, he asked, 

"What did you mean when you said you didn't see your sister? Did something happen to her?" 

"I don't think she was born at that time." Hearing Madeline's words, Calhoun raised one of his eyebrows. 

"I thought the tales of the royal families were interesting, but compared to them, yours is turning to be the most intriguing one," stated Calhoun. Hearing the words 'Royal Families', she remembered something, and she quickly picked the dress from the ground and started to look for the pockets before pulling the folded parchment out of it. "What is that?" he asked curiously. 

Madeline stretched her hand towards him, "It is from your cousin." 

"And which one is that? I didn't know you were close to them," joked Calhoun to take the parchment from her hand to read what was in there. 

Madeline watched the expression on Calhoun's face that didn't change until he finished reading it. A smile spread across his lips, 

"Where did you find this?" he questioned, his eyes looking at her with an amused expression. 

"In the dungeon, when I went to see James," replied Madeline. Calhoun went through the letter one more time, "The girl that is mentioned in there. Is that me?"

Calhoun gave her a nod, "Yes. A rumour was spilt from the castle into the towns and villages. Of how I am torturing and keeping you like an animal. Of how I am abusing the power that has driven your sanity to kill yourself. This is a very useful parchment."

He wondered how Markus had been reckless enough to leave the parchment back in the dungeon. There was a saying in the village from where he came from before coming to stay in the castle: When a person's luck ran out, that person did foolish things only to bring more trouble to his life. It was a sign. Calhoun had already laid traps, and if the Wilmot's were trying to frame him, he would flip the blame back to them. He folded the parchment and put it in his pocket. 

Just like he thought, Markus was snooping along with the others where their noses didn't belong. 

"They are using me to bring you down," Madeline stated in realization, "What will happen if Beth marries him?"

"I think you already know the answer to it."

A sigh escaped her lips. She didn't want Beth to be brainwashed by the sight of the money. 
Black sheep- Part 2

Calhoun said, "Miss Elizabeth might be your sister, but I don't see her making a turn in her character. Most of us are driven by something in our lives. And most of the time it involves power and money, the status that comes with it," explained Calhoun to her, "But do not worry about your sister. Before they can marry, Markus and Miss Elizabeth won't be together."

Madeline hoped her sister would change her attitude. The last thing she needed was Beth listening to what Markus would say. 

"Come with me, darling," Calhoun gave his hand, and Madeline placed her hand in his, following him outside. His black feathered wings didn't waste time in spreading themselves out. 

This was maybe the fourth or fifth time Madeline was seeing Calhoun's black wings, and she continued to stay entranced by its appearance. The night was much calmer and quieter as they travelled from the castle to where her grandparents lived. It was the fastest transport, and maybe one of her favourites thought Madeline to herself. 

Reaching the village, Calhoun let Madeline down on the ground for her to stand while retreating his wings back like they were never there. From where they stood in the forest, the village looked deserted, and no lanterns were burning outside the houses.

"How many graveyards are there here?" Calhoun questioned, his red eyes moving to look in the dark, making sure no one was around, and it was just them. 

"I think three of them, but there's one more which has been closed for years. I don't remember when it was last opened," replied Madeline, listening to the crickets chirp in the bushes and trees. 

"Lead the way to the cemetery that is closed," said Calhoun, placing his hand on Madeline's back before they started to walk out of the forest. The night right now felt nothing less to the dream she had dreamt about. It felt like it was only yesterday that she was here, following to find her family. 

Her memory over the old cemetery was very faint, but there were figments in her mind that she still remembered. After Beth mentioned their time where they had stepped in the cemetery, it felt like some parts of her memory had come alive, which had been forgotten. 

Reaching the front of the old graveyard, Madeline looked up to see the arch that connected the two pillars of the gates to hold the name of the graveyard. Carnival's local cemetery.

"This is the one," Madeline let Calhoun know. She felt her feet turn cold, her body not ready to step inside at the possibility of what she might see. 

Noticing Madeline's hesitation, Calhoun walked forward and touched the lock that was tied around the gates with chains. Normal graveyards were often left unattended and open, but this one seemed unique, thought Calhoun in his mind. Seeing how the lock didn't open upon his touch or sight, he turned back to Madeline. 

"The gates are locked so that no one enters. We'll need to use the old style," he said. At the same time, Madeline heard a faint echo like a voice that came from the inside of the graveyard. A fog-like smoke had started to appear and spread all over the place, including where they stood.

"Do you believe in ghosts, Calhoun?" asked Madeline in a whisper. 

"If there's death, then there's a ghost," he answered unfazed by the sound that was coming from the graveyard. 

Madeline had hoped that Calhoun would say no, but he said he believed in them. "A ghost doesn't have to be about a dead person coming to haunt. A ghost is a memory that haunts a person, that lives within people and objects. Come," he said.

In her dream, this place was less eerie, unlike how it felt right now. With the gates locked, Calhoun pushed Madeline to climb up the gates, and she got down on the other side before Calhoun joined her too, his jump smoother than hers. Madeline didn't remember where the little girl or her grave was present. Therefore, both she and Calhoun went in search of it. The fog on the ground continued to stay while they parted ways to find the grave. 

The sound that came from the cemetery continued to stay eerie. Some of the tombstones looked broken, and some continued to stay strong. The odd thing was that even though this place was closed and no one came here, there were some graves that looked new and unbroken. She wondered why it was so. 

Madeline wondered where it was. Stopping her feet, she made a turn from where she stood, trying to recollect what she saw in her dream. After some time, she started to head in a certain direction before stopping in front of a grave that had plants and dried creepers covering the grave from top to bottom. 

Calhoun followed Madeline and noticed how she stood right in front of a grave, staring at it. Coming to stand next to her, he found the grave to be hidden because of the dried plants. He placed one hand in front of her, pushing her behind so that she would take a step away from it. Bringing his other hand up to his side, he snapped his fingers. In an instant, the dried leaves and creepers caught fire. All the plants that were around the grave burned to add smoke to the already present fog. 

Within a minute, the grave was cleared, and Madeline took a deep breath as her eyes went to read the name on it. 

"Looks like your family likes to plan beforehand," Calhoun commented, his words sarcastic and he went to the upper side of the coffin. Pushing the lid aside, he noticed it was empty. Madeline continued to stare at the name, as reality slowly started to sink in her mind.

She came to realize that what she dreamt was indeed true. 

Calhoun then bent down, sticking his head inside the coffin for a few seconds before pulling away, "Looks like you have slept here."

"What do you mean?" questioned Madeline. 

"The inside of the coffin has a faint scent of you," responded Calhoun, who next put his hand inside the coffin to touch the surface of the cemented coffin, "When dead bodies are buried, they leave a foul smell. And these coffins that are built in here, they have the ability to enclose and keep the smell of the dead inside them even if many years come to pass by. You said your parents left the village?"

Madeline nodded her head, "It is what I heard grandpa say to father. To leave and start afresh." 

Calhoun gave some thought over what Madeline said before his eyes fell on her. Her eyebrows had drawn together, and she had a look of worry maring her face. Madeline was not a vampire to be residing in the coffin. He heard her speak,

"I killed the girl who rests in this one," she said walking to the next coffin. "I was small, but I had blood on my hands. I saw the blood, and it belonged to someone. I am not sure if it is her or someone else. I don't know how many times I have killed people." 

Calhoun left the coffin to stand near her, "You might have lost control. If your family thought you were bad, they would have killed you." 

Madeline shook her head, "I heard them propose to kill me. The only reason they didn't kill me was to not to attract any attention," her voice broke in the end, "Also...I think they were scared that I would do something."

Calhoun's eyes narrowed, hearing this. The grandparent's he had met were willing to kill her? By Madeline's words, it appeared that she was destructive, but he needed to know why she would have killed someone for no reason. Every action had a motive, a reason. 

By the scent that came from inside the coffin, it was apparent that Madeline had rested in the coffin for at least a minimum of one year in the past. 

"And," she continued, "I think they know because of the glass breaking in front of them."

"I believe something like this has happened in the past?" Madeline nodded to Calhoun's question. "That doesn't look like good news. I would like to have some water. Come, let's go and quench our thirst in your grandparent's house." 
Black sheep- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Mysterious Sighting · Halloween Music 


"I don't think it's a good idea," Madeline responded to Calhoun's suggestion on going to visit her grandparents at this hour of the night. They had appeared to be far from wanting a vampire in the village, much less in their house. They wouldn't take it too kindly, and Madeline was worried for herself also because she didn't know what she was or what they were. 

"Nothing will happen. I won't let them put you in the coffin box again," Calhoun promised her. 

The thought itself terrified her. In her dream, her grandfather said he would be taking care of the situation and her, sleeping in the coffin was the last thing that had crossed her mind. A shiver ran down her spine by thinking she once slept in here. 

Madeline could only decipher that maybe this was why her sister Beth didn't remember about their childhood together. How long had she slept in the coffin, locked and alone, leaving her with the dead? She gulped. 

"I am confused, Calhoun. Beth told me that a vampire killed our friend. The one we last visited when we were here, and the girl in my dream was the same girl," she said to Calhoun. 

Madeline knelt in front of the grave which didn't belong to her but the person's grave which her family had opened in her dream. Pulling out her handkerchief, she wiped the mud which was on the name. The name on the grave read 'In loving memory of Anne Jane. Beloved daughter and sister'. 

"Her name is not Jennine. Do you think it is possible for two people to share the same face?" questioned Madeline to Calhoun who stood behind her. 

"Possible. Most of the people have the same build with minor changes. To have the same features of those who exist or who have passed away. The probability is higher if it is in the same family," Calhoun answered her, "Your grandparents have the answers. It would only make it easy to go and ask them instead of spending our time in here."

Madeline turned her head from where she was sitting, "But they hate vampires. And maybe me too. I am the black sheep in the family, possibly in their kind," she sighed. Thinking about going back to the coffin increased her anxiousness, and she shuddered. How could they put her there?

Getting up, Madeline decided to walk with Calhoun to her grandparent's house. When they reached the house, Madeline wondered how her grandparents would react to them, who were standing in front of their porch in the middle of the night. As much as her grandparents looked like they wanted to get rid of her in her dream, in reality, they had always been kind to her. She bit her bottom lip to see Calhoun raise his hand and knock on the door. 

On the third knock, where the door didn't open, both Madeline and Calhoun shared looks with each other. 

"They must be in a deep sleep," said Madeline, rubbing the palms of her hands together as the night here was cold.

"Rubbish. Older people sleep even less than a vampire. Either they don't want to invite us in or," Calhoun paused, placing his hand on the knob of the door and turning it around to open the lock. Madeline's eyes widened. "Have I mentioned before how much I enjoy stepping into houses and rooms."

"You mean breaking into the house like a thief?" Madeline raised her eyebrows to receive a chuckle from Calhoun. 

"What a crude way to put it. We are only making sure your grandparents are doing alright. I am sure you wouldn't like any ill harm to befall upon them now, would you?" Calhoun whispered to Madeline while making their way inside the quiet and dark house. The fireplace looked like it had exhausted itself, and Madeline wondered if her grandparents were fast asleep.

If there was something she believed in right now, it was that Calhoun didn't want her dead or in the coffin and she was well aware where he wanted her. 

Going to the kitchen and looking around, Madeline returned to meet Calhoun who was sitting in front of the fireplace which was cold, "They aren't here," she whispered. The house felt deserted because her grandparents weren't there. 

"I am aware of that. It looks like the woods in here haven't been lit for almost two days now," stated Calhoun who held the dusty ashes to let them fall from his hand which for a second turned red before joining back with the rest of the ashes. "I wonder if they decided to come to visit the castle. But then both you and I are aware that it doesn't take two days to travel. Unless now they were eaten by a werewolf or decided to take a detour." 

"A possible detour," murmured Madeline. Turning away, she looked at the objects in the living room. She doubted her grandparents were dead. Only if she knew what they were, she would know what she was. Wondering if she could find something in the house, she started to go through various things by pulling out drawers and cupboards. 

When Madeline came to stand in the room which was locked in her dream, she couldn't make herself move from there. The scene repeated in front of her eyes where her father left the house, and her grandmother locked the door. 

Calhoun touched her arm, bringing her back to the present and to the darkness of the room, "Do you think you will be able to recollect anything of the time before you were put in the coffin?"

Madeline had tried it yesterday, but she couldn't recollect any of her memories. Lately, after the suspicious behaviour of her parents, she came to wonder if her family had suppressed her memories and thoughts. 

"I think there's a way to remember it," Madeline proposed to have Calhoun tilt his head. 

 "I am listening," Calhoun's eyes didn't look away from Madeline.

"Long time ago, during one of Beth and my stay here with my grandparents, my grandmother used to tell us a few things. Beth called it to be a madwoman's words."

"Your sister doesn't like them?" questioned Calhoun. He gave her a look before going to take a look at the plates that had been placed out as if to decorate the upper side of the fireplace. 

"I think it is because my grandparents showered more attention on me than her. I thought it was because I was more polite," she gave him an awkward smile, "But now that I think about it, it must be because of what I am. Grandmother used to say these strangest things. Sometimes they were things that was nothing less than a night of Hallow. She spoke about fairies and witches. Claudron."

Madeline remembered Beth's words about how she was stealing things away from her. 

She also questioned if Beth knew what she was. It had turned out so hard to trust anybody now. Coming back to the present, she said, "One of the things grandma said was to walk over the memory if you felt you lost something and you were looking for it. Do you think if I go back in the coffin, I would remember things?" 

"Would you be able to handle it?" questioned Calhoun.

It wasn't that he hadn't thought about it, but not having any light of who she was, he didn't know what kind of reaction the coffin would produce. Her grandparents had gone far enough to place her in there, and it was possible that Madeline's very soul was volatile. 

"I think it's an easier way to get an answer from than torturing and threatening people," she replied, giving Calhoun a look because she knew it was possible that he would do anything to get to the bottom of it. Even if they did something to her, her grandparents and her parents were still her family. 

"Alright. Let's see if you get an answer. If you don't, we take my way. Deal?" Calhoun asked her. 

Madeline pursed her lips. Not that she wasn't scared, but it was still worth giving it a shot. Looking at the house one more time, they stepped out and went back to the graveyard where her grave waited for her. 

Calhoun pushed the lid of the cemented grave so that Madeline would be able to get inside there and lay down. She had never thought to lie in a coffin, not at least before the time of her death, and it felt strange. Taking a deep breath, she removed her shoes and got inside it. Adjusting herself and laying down where the open coffin was able to accommodate her. 

Madeline heard Calhoun say, "I will give you ten minutes, but that is all. We don't know what's happening with you, as you still appear to be a human. The lack of air might suffocate and kill you. Ten minutes, Madeline," he warned her, and she gave him a nod.

She didn't know if she would be able to last more than two minutes in there. She was nervous, and her palms felt clammy, "I am ready," she said, and Calhoun gave a look before pushing the lid back to its place. 

The light reduced as the lid was pushed back until Madeline could not see anything. Surrounded by darkness, she could hear her breathing, and the closed space made her anxious. 

Calhoun pulled out the pocket watch from his vest, looking at the time and waiting for Madeline to find out what she could.
Black sheep- Part 4

Madeline stayed still in the coffin. According to Calhoun, she had slept here years ago, and even though it was still able to accommodate her, it wasn't enough for her to comfortably move her hands and legs. She stared into the darkness that had not a single sign of light. It was her idea to walk through the same path when she was a little girl, but she couldn't stop her heart beating loudly in her chest. 

Her ability of sight had been taken away, and she was all alone in here. Placing her hand on the ceiling of the coffin she was in, Madeline huffed for air to breathe when she heard voices in her head that were mixed along with screams that belonged to a small girl. 

Madeline didn't know what happened next as she felt fog filling up in the coffin where she was lying down. The darkness had started to disappear, which was why she was able to see the fog. One moment she was in the coffin and the next, she stood back in her grandparent's house. 

Looking back and forth, she saw her grandfather standing next to her, holding her wrist, "Did they leave?" he asked her grandmother, who just entered the room. 

"Yes, they left. I gave them a gold coin and told them to meet Mary. The last time she was here, she said she has a house to spare. They can use the same house, and we'll know about their whereabouts," answered her grandmother. 

For a while, Madeline thought her grandfather was holding her hand, but when she took a step away did she realise, he was holding the little girl's hand and not hers. Taking a few more steps away from them, she saw her younger self. 

"What are we going to do, Eugene?" asked her grandmother, "We cannot keep something so vile in here. It will only attract unnecessary troubles for us." 

 "I tried to put her to sleep so that we could ask someone else's help, but she woke up." The man looked tired as he took the little girl to the bed and made her sit down. The couple moved away from the child, going to the corner whilst looking at the child.

Madeline noticed the way the couple treated the small girl who had a blank look on her face. Her hands weren't cleaned, and the blood was still there on her little hands. 

"Who would have thought that we would end up with such bad luck. The High House, the vampires, or the other people aren't aware of this thing we have in here, Eugene. It would be better to get rid of it," said her grandmother. 

Madeline could hardly believe that this was the same woman who had been doting her all these years along with her sister Beth. She could sense the hatred and displeasure in the atmosphere coming from the room. Knowing this was not a dream anymore, but she was looking at things with her eyes open, it hurt knowing this was real. 

"Killing our own granddaughter, Gemma," her grandfather shook his head, "I want to spare her, but I know it's not going to help us. It will only bring more death, and maybe they will also kill our son and his wife."

"Then this is not the time to wait," came the hushed whisper from her grandmother, "Let's do this quickly. We have the grave ready. With her parents gone, we can just make a lie." 

Madeline's eyes widened hearing this, and she snapped to look at her grandparents, who had decided that killing her was the right thing to do. Gone was the compassionate look in their eyes as they looked determined to kill her. Her eyes moved back and forth between them and at her little self who was sitting on the bed, not knowing what was about to come. She tried understanding them by step into their shoes, seeing how they were looking at her younger self as she had killed a girl of her own age. 

She could tell that they looked at her as if she was a monster. But Madeline was very much alive, and she was breathing. 

"Get me the knife. Let's make it quick and dispose the body before people start to wake up," her grandfather ordered, and her grandmother quickly complied by bringing not any knife but a butcher's knife. 

Watching them without batting her lashes, Madeline saw her grandfather take hold of the knife and walk towards the little girl who had not moved. They didn't offer a word of goodbye as her grandfather brought the knife towards the girl's neck, but before he could slit the girl's throat, the little girl caught hold of his hand. 

"AHHH!" her grandfather screamed that made Madeline frown and walk to where they were. 

"What happened?!" her grandmother asked distressed, coming to stand right behind her husband, "Your hand! It's bleeding! Give me the knife, let me do it." 

But before they could bring harm to the small girl, she raised both her hands that sent the couple flying across the room to hit against the wall. Her grandfather coughed blood, "She's too powerful to kill. She will kill us, Gemma, don't go near her!" warned her grandfather.

"Madeline, our dear child," her grandfather coaxed, "We are not here to harm you. We only want to protect you," he spoke to the little girl who stood up and had gone to the corner of the room, "Come here to grandpa." But Madeline's small self didn't listen to him. 

When her grandfather went near her again, the little girl used her hands again, and he coughed more blood on the ground. 

"What are we going to do?!" her grandmother panicked, "At this rate, we will end up dead in her hands. How do we stop her?" 

"Most of them who turned out like this were forced to sleep because of the inability to kill them." He then dropped the knife down on the ground, while keeping his eyes on his granddaughter. "Madeline, look at this. I dropped the knife. No one is going to harm you. No one." 

Her grandparents moved near her younger self, moving one step at a time, before hugging the girl. It was evident that the little girl had sensed the threat, and she clawed her grandfather, wanting to escape, but he didn't let go of her. 

The man whispered something incoherent in the girl's ears, and it took a while before she finally fell asleep, "She won't be asleep for long. Quick!" 

And the couple left the house in the middle of the night, making their way to the 'Carnival's Local Cemetery.' Madeline followed them in the dark and saw them push the coffin lid without touching it. Placing the little girl inside it, both her grandparents started to close the coffin lid. But as they had expected, the girl had woken up. 

"Grandpa?! Grandma?!!!" the little girls' voice echoed through the gap of the lid which hadn't closed the cemented coffin entirely, "Help!!!" The little girl cried, but her grandparents turned a deaf ear over it. 

"People are going to question us. What if someone opens it?" asked her grandmother, standing beside her husband where both of them stared at the cemented coffin from where screams continued to erupt. 

Her grandfather had a severe expression on his face. "I will do something to get this place closed so that no one enters in here. Or maybe cover this grave so that no one finds out about it."

Her grandmother nodded, exhaling air out of her mouth.

"Rest in peace, Madeline. With all that screaming, she will be tired soon, and slowly die," stated her grandmother with lack of emotion in her voice.

One minute Madeline was standing next to the coffin, and the next minute she was inside it. Even though it was supposed to be dark, she was still able to see the insides of the coffin. 

She noticed the little scratches on the ceiling of the coffin. Her fingertips trailed on it, bringing out memories of the screams that continued to ring in her head. Loneliness and pain consumed her. With darkness surrounding her once again, Madeline felt the air in the coffin deplete, and she screamed. Her hands banged the ceiling and it was immediately pushed open.

Calhoun pulled Madeline out of the coffin, bringing her down when he heard her hands banging on the wall of the coffin. The poor thing was shivering like a kitten, and he continued to hold her, gently rocking her. 

"Sshh," Calhoun hushed her as she clung to him, "There's no one to hurt you," he whispered, running his hand over the back of her head to calm her racing heart. 

"It's okay," he said to her, "I won't let anyone put you back in there." 

Madeline held on to Calhoun as she felt the darkness continue to linger in her heart. She parted her lips to speak, "They put me there in the intention to kill me so that I would never come back," and she continued, "I couldn't find the answer of what I am." 

"That's alright. Even a piece of information to the past is useful," Calhoun brushed her hair with his hand, "You are more aware of the people around you. That counts for something."

"I hurt them too," whispered Madeline, pulling away from his embrace to meet his eyes. 

"They must have deserved it," he replied, and without letting her out of his arms, he stood up with his wings spreading out. 

Calhoun had agreed to go through her approach of finding the truth, but she appeared to be rattled. It was time he used his own methods, even if it meant that Madeline wouldn't like it. 
An old tale- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Reflections by Eamonn Watt


When morning arrived, Madeline woke up by the sound of the birds chirping outside the window of her room. Her head felt slightly heavy because of the lack of sleep she had. 

"Sleep some more," she heard Calhoun's voice beside her, and she turned her head to see him lying on one side of his body, watching her. 

The previous night, after both of them, had visited the Carnival's village and the cemetery, they had returned to the castle. Madeline couldn't remember when they reached the room or when she fell asleep on the bed. The last thing she witnessed and experienced had left her mind shaken. 

Madeline felt Calhoun place his hand on her cheek, caressing it, "Close your eyes, Madeline," he whispered the words to her, and like magic, her eyes turned heavy to shut close again. 

Calhoun watched her drift to sleep, her body lulling and sinking into the mattress beneath her, while he laid next to her. Since the time they had returned, he hadn't left the room. His eyes slowly trailed down to their interlocked fingers and he didn't move it, not wanting to wake her up. Madeline had not noticed that she was holding his hand as if not wanting him to leave her alone. 

When he had heard her screaming in the coffin, he had pushed the lid as fast he could. But her scream somewhere still haunted at the back of his mind. The thought about her being in trouble kept Calhoun alert. 

He wanted to go and confront her parents, to get answers from them even if it meant torturing them right now. 

It didn't matter to him if she killed people, he had done it too, and it thrilled him knowing there was something within her. Whatever she was, the old couple were scared and worried about her—worried that she would kill someone else again. 

After a few minutes, her hold on him turned loose, and Calhoun got out of the bed. Pulling the blanket to cover her, he tucked her carefully before leaning forward and kissing the side of her head without waking her up. 

Hearing footsteps outside the room, Calhoun went to the door and opened it to find Elizabeth Harris standing outside the door. 

"Madel-Oh!" Beth quickly bowed her head and greeted the King, "Good morning, my King." Her eyes slightly widened at the fact that Calhoun had come out of her sister's room with messy hair and his shirt hanging loose as the strings on the front of his shirt had not been tied, allowing one to see the taut muscles. 

"Morning to you, Miss Elizabeth," he greeted the human before pulling the doors that belonged to Madeline's room, "What brings you here this early in the morning?" he questioned. 

Beth smiled at the King, "I came here to meet my sister, my Lord. I was going to help her to wear clothes and to get ready." She looked at the King with her green eyes which were even greener because of the envy she carried that she tried to hide. Her curiosity peaked high at the sight that the King just stepped out of Madeline's room. "You are here early yourself." She tried to fish for some information about what was going on. 

Calhoun, who was staring at Beth with his red eyes, said, "I never left the room to come here early." He offered the girl a smile of his own and didn't stop there, "Madeline had a very busy night, until the time of past midnight. Let her sleep." 

The King's words insinuated another meaning and Beth blushed at his words. For a few seconds, she couldn't meet his eyes, but at the same time, Beth couldn't believe that her innocent sister was drawing the King with methods like these.

"Of course, my Lord!" she obliged to his words while wondering if she should leave right now.

Calhoun asked, "Where are your parents, Miss Harris?" 

Beth raised her brows slightly, "I saw them in the parlour room. They must be having early tea." 

"Would you be kind enough to accompany me there?" came the sugar-coated words from the King, and it brightened Beth's mood. The King knew the way to the parlour, after all, this was his castle, but he was asking for her company.

"I would gladly," she obliged, bowing her head one more time with a smile, she started to walk with Calhoun next to her. 

Beth had taken extra care to look and make herself pretty. Having enough sleep and then wearing the dress which she had taken from her sister's closet. Her hair was prettily done, and she dabbed rose water on her neck, to make her smell good. Did the King perhaps take note of her improvised version? Beth asked herself. She possessed the ability to adapt to any place. 

"Miss Harris, the dress you are wearing…" Calhoun paused for a second, "Is it Madeline's dress?" 

Beth had not expected such a direct question, "Um, yes, milord."

"Hm," was his only response. Considering the number of dresses that were stacked in the closet of Madeline's room, Beth had thought no one would notice it. "If you want to have new clothes, I can tell the tailor to get your measurements than you wearing clothes that belong to Madeline. I touched her in one of the rooms when she was wearing this dress." 

The girl's eyes turned wide, and she didn't dare to look at Calhoun. This dress? Was that why he remembered? Suddenly Beth started to feel uncomfortable. 

"Else I will drop a word to Markus. I am sure he would love to dress you up. Especially taking in how much he is smitten by your presence. Hm?" Calhoun turned to look at Beth, and the girl couldn't refuse to meet his gaze, giving him an awkward smile while the King gave a broad smile.

Was the King displeased that she had borrowed Madeline's clothes and was indirectly telling her to change? But her sister had so many of them, and Beth didn't think it would matter. Right now, all she wanted to do was go back to her room and change her dress.

Beth was ready to leave when she heard the King indulge her with another question, "You should take care of your hand, Miss Harris." She noticed how he didn't address her as 'Lady Elizabeth' right now as if she didn't belong here in the castle but in the village.

"It is healing quickly now. And Madeline is more important than the little wound," laughed Beth, "Back when Madeline was home, I used to be the one to comb and tie her hair. Even dress her up as we don't have maids," and it was true. To think that there was a time when Beth liked Madeline but didn't now as much as before, she could only blame Madeline for that. 

"What a wonderful sisterhood you both share," complimented Calhoun and Beth took the compliment, "My wolf must have playfully bitten you without meaning any ill."

Beth found it hard to accept when she remembered the pain of her muscle being pulled and pushed in her hand. "They are lovely wolves," they were the worst, thought Beth in her mind. 

"Indeed, they are. If they were not playful, they would have torn a person's wrist off the person's hand. That is if they find the person to be disrespecting the people who the wolves care," Calhoun chimed with the smile that didn't fall from his lips. "As you are going to be my sister-in-law, I would be sad if something like that happens to you. How would you write letters to your sister or others? I must say, you have beautiful handwriting," he added. 

Beth had not expected the conversation to steer in this direction. She felt nervous about where the King was getting at, "Madeline and I learned to write at our aunt Mary's house. She was the one to educate us." 

"So I have heard. Is this aunt of yours going to attend the wedding?" questioned Calhoun. 

"Yes, I heard mother speak about it. Aunt Mary has been invited," she quickly answered the King. 

Calhoun gave her a small nod and then said, "I would like you to write another letter and invite her to come to join your family. It would be a shame to miss family members during this good time. I miss my family members. Only if they were alive, but then I tell myself they are always in here," he placed his hand on his heart. 

Both of them had stepped out of the King's quarters, and Calhoun halted his footsteps. Beth stopped walking too, and she heard the King say,

"You can go write the letter and give it to Theodore, who will send it out."

"I think Aunt Mary would pack her trunks sooner if she received it from Madeline," Beth joked. She was too lazy to write a letter right now when she could use the same time in looking for Markus and try to wrap him around her finger. 

"Does your aunt favour Madeline more than you?" Calhoun gave a look of pity to her, "I believe your words can be convincing just the way you wrote the letter and handed it to Mr. Heathcliff. I will leave it in your capable hands," saying this, he went on his way to hear Beth's heart rate increase out of fear. 

Beth's face turned pale over Calhoun's words as she stared at his back walking away from her. 
An old tale- Part 2

Calhoun's shoes clicked sharply against the white marble floor of the corridor as he made his way towards the parlour room. Without announcing himself, he pushed the door open to see the Harris' and the Wilmot's who sat at the table having tea. 

On his arrival in the room, everyone stood up to bow, "Good morning to the King," Lady Rosamund greeted.

"Morning. It is good to see everyone up and early today," he offered everyone a smile that turned the humans nervous as they were not used to seeing a person smile like the way the King did. 

Lady Rosamund replied to this, "Markus arranged a hunting session for everyone's amusement today. It took a lot of time to make Mr. and Mrs. Harris agree to join us as they are new to it."

Calhoun's gaze shifted to his in-laws, and they bowed their heads, "Lady Rosamund said it would be more recreational than sitting in the castle," said Mr. Harris. 

"Yes, it is one form of recreation for us. Have you ever gone on hunting before, Mr. Harris?" questioned Calhoun. 

"No, my Lord. My wife and my family members never have," answered the human. 

"Not even your parents?" Calhoun continued to inquire. Though the man's heart didn't skip or change its beat, Calhoun saw Mr. Harris' eyes subtly widened before the man offered a smile and shook his head. "What a shame. I am sure you will enjoy your time. Hopefully, we don't have arrows flying like last time." His eyes then went to meet Sophie, who didn't utter a word.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Harris appeared worried over Calhoun's words. Not hunting but about Mr. Harris' parents interest in hunting. They brushed it away, thinking it was nothing of grave importance and the King was only asking to elicit a response out of them. 

"Do not worry, I will be with Sophie this time to make sure nothing like that happens," Lady Rosamund assured, and Calhoun gave them a nod.

"I hope everyone enjoys it and bring me back some good meat." 

"Will you not be joining us?" Lady Rosamund raised her eyebrow. 

"Madeline and I will be here in the castle. There are some dresses that need to be stitched for her and I wouldn't like to delay it," Calhoun offered them a charming smile. Calhoun would have accompanied them, but with the grandparents who might be on their way, Calhoun wanted to have a word with them while Madeline's parents could breathe some fresh air. He would have cared enough to join them, but with them hiding Madeline's past and what was going on, he believed they deserved a little bit of time with his aunt. 

When the time arrived, the Wilmot's and the Harris' family left for hunting while Madeline, Calhoun, and Lucy stayed back. The vampiress had not joined them because she lacked the mood and zeal for it. 

"What do you think happened to Lady Lucy?" asked Madeline to Calhoun. They now sat in one of the cosiest rooms of the castle which was where Calhoun had once drank blood from her. Lucy hadn't spoken much, and she had been reticent. 

Calhoun, who sat next to Madeline on the couch, said, "She caught her husband cheating on her. With the maid." Madeline instantly frowned. 

"Why not send him away from here?" The man didn't deserve Lucy, "The maid knows they are married." 

"Hm, she did. It is why her body will be left to rot in the dungeon for indulging with someone she was not supposed to," Calhoun answered with not a drop of emotion in his voice, "It is Lucy's decision. If she wants to stay with him or not. Since the time she was small, she never got a chance to choose and do things according to her wishes. She's still trying to wrap her mind and come in terms with the shock." 

"When did this happen?" Madeline asked in a whisper. 

"Since the time she went quiet. The day before she skipped breakfast with everyone," Calhoun took a sip from the crystal glass he held in his hand, "The man is a swine, but I have left it to Lucy on what she wants to do."

Madeline wondered how it felt, to see the man around who you believed, only to break the heart and trust. People often let others down when it came to the minimum expectations, thought Madeline to herself, just like her grandparents and her family. 

"What about Theodore?" asked Madeline, and this had Calhoun turn his head to look at her. 

"What about him?" Calhoun asked as if he had no idea what Madeline meant before a smile cracked on his lips, "Who knows what's going on. Lucy is still upset with him, and I think she has the right to be."

"You don't think Theodore is right for her?" 

"It is hard to say who is right or wrong for someone, sweet," he turned towards her, bringing one leg up to rest on the couch while the other stayed on the ground. "When Theodore and I entered the castle, people didn't take our presence too kindly. I was someone important but not at the same time. Theodore was a nobody. Lucy might be the only one apart from my father, who welcomed us in here. If Lucy and I shared the relation we now have, maybe I would not have let Theodore mingle with her. But we both came here for our own benefit." 

Calhoun continued, "We never know who is right and who is wrong. Once upon a time, you couldn't bear my presence around you. Your family believed that I was not suitable but as things changed, so did the thoughts. Don't you agree?"

He did have a point, thought Madeline to herself. 

"Everything changes with circumstances," said Calhoun, "I can tell by the look in your eyes."

Madeline stared back into his red eyes and asked, "And what look is that?" 

A smile broke on his lips, "I would like to hear that from you." Calhoun was waiting for her to utter those words of confirmation that she solely belonged to him, and it was he who held her heart. He took another sip from his glass whilst his eyes didn't break away from her. Giving her something to think and bite into, he said, "I can hear your heart race when we are alone as if you remember the things we did on the bed and behind the closed doors. I can see the hint of blush even in the darkness as your cheeks turn warm under my slightest touch and words. I can hear the hitch in your heart. The trust you are building with me, and it makes me extremely pleased."

Madeline parted her lips, her lips trembling over the words that filled her ears before she said, "I have no one to trust and believe. As much as I love my parents, I am still hurt that they tried to hide and left me behind." 

"I can tell," replied Calhoun, "I asked your sister to drop a letter to your dear Aunt Mary. I thought it would be a good family reunion." 

"She's innocent," Madeline voiced her opinion. 

"I will decide that when I am done interrogating," Calhoun responded, his hand gently swirling the last two sips of the wine in the glass. He wanted answers, but at the same time he didn't want to rush things. It was possible that Madeline's parents only knew what she did and not what happened. For now, he was going to keep Madeline close to him so that there wouldn't be an opportunity for anyone to hurt her. 

At the same time, he wanted to make sure nothing bad would happen by her hands. If Madeline was truly destructive, he would need to prevent it.

Calhoun liked spending time with Madeline. He loved every second of it, and it felt nice to have both his and her family out of the castle while they could spend time with each other like this. Thanks to her family who had been lying to her and also her grandparents, who tried to kill her, it had brought Madeline closer to him. She trusted him, and Calhoun basked in it. 

"I want to show you something," she said to him, her hand reaching for his glass and he handed it to her. Curious as to what she wanted to show him. 

Madeline took a deep breath, and when she exhaled, the glass started to form cracks within itself, spreading around and ready to break into pieces. But suddenly the lines disappeared, leaving the crystal as it was before she touched it. 

"What an interesting ability you have in there. And here I was worried that I would have to replace all the glasses and plates to make sure you wouldn't hurt yourself," commented Calhoun, "Do you remember the card reader?" he asked. 

Madeline nodded her head, "Raphael." The man she thought to be Calhoun's brother but only to find out it was just by words.

"Yes him. He told me something interesting that day. That you were the opposite of what we are. Or I would like to think of what I am as you are paired with me," stated Calhoun taking the glass from her hand and placing it on the side table, "Do you know the answer to it?" 

"A witch?" asked Madeline. Though witches were not well known and she had never met one, she had heard rumours about them, "A werewolf?" 

"It would be a problem if you are a werewolf, but you aren't one," replied Calhoun, "You said your grandmother told stories about fairies and witches, and I think she wasn't too far away from the line of truth. Do you know how vampires came into existence?" 

Madeline shook her head. 

"My mother once told me this story. A story about demons who came from under the ground and turned to vampires to sustain their lives. The humans already existed on the land but there was another set of creatures who fell from the sky." While lying next to Madeline, Calhoun had spent his time thinking about the possibilities when he remembered this story. "Not fairies but some angels who were cursed to lead lives like the humans." 

Madeline frowned, "Angels are supposed to be in heavens. It cannot be true."

Calhoun let his head be supported by his hand, "Your back says another story. The way your bruises are formed, it looks like arched curves. I found it rather strange the way the bruises were spread. Of course, this can be confirmed only through your grandparents." 

Calhoun then turned to look at the door, staring at it and Madeline followed his line of sight when they heard a knock on the door. 

"My King, there are guests awaiting you in the front room of the entrance," came the servant's voice.

"Who is it?" questioned Calhoun. 

"They said they are Lady Madeline's relatives." 

Calhoun stood up and turned to Madeline who stared back at him, "The culprits are here who put you in the coffin," he said, and for the first time, Madeline felt nervous to meet her grandparents. 

Leaving the room, they made their way to where Madeline's grandparents were. Before they could enter the room, Calhoun's hand slipped into Madeline's hand, holding it. It made her wonder if he could hear her beating heart that was ready to explode. 

When Madeline entered the room, it wasn't Calhoun but her who squeezed his hand on seeing her grandparents sitting in the room. The memories of what she saw came rushing back to her. Noticing the door open, her grandparents' attention fell on them, and they stood. 

"Madeline," her grandmother greeted, and Madeline tried to muster a smile. Both her grandparents looked at the King before their eyes fell on their granddaughter's hand that was being held by the vampire. 
Consequences- Part 1

Madeline didn't miss the way her grandmother looked down at Calhoun and her hands holding each other. The smile on her grandmother's face faltered. When her grandmother opened her arms, waiting for Madeline to step forward and hug, Calhoun pulled Madeline behind to receive a narrow-eyed look from the old couple. 

"Is there a reason why you are keeping our granddaughter away from us, my Lord," Madeline's grandfather questioned Calhoun, who was not pleased with the little action that took place in front of them. 

"There's more than one, but I don't think I have to explain it when you are already aware of it," Calhoun offered them a smile, "You should be careful of what you speak."

"We don't know what you are speaking about. You should already know we are not someone who welcome vampires with open arms. King or not, we can still take our granddaughter away from you," said Madeline's grandfather. 

"And I am guessing that you would be achieving it by putting her in the coffin? Or is it me?" Calhoun retorted back. 

Noticing how her grandparents looked startled and taken aback that the King knew. Madeline didn't forget the way her grandfather held the knife against her throat, ready to slit it. When she and Calhoun were making their way down here, she hadn't guessed that Calhoun would be diving right at the start to get to the bottom of the situation without waiting for an opportunity. 

"I don't know what you are speaking about," her grandmother tilted her head to the side and raised her eyebrows. She then shifted her gaze to look at Madeline, "Do you know what he is saying?" Her grandmother then turned to Calhoun, "If this is one of your ploys to tear away our granddaughter from our family, you are sorely mistaken that we will allow it."

"That's right. We have already heard about what you did to her. Forcing her to stay away from her family and us. It doesn't look good on the King's part," stated her grandfather who raised his hand as if quietly asking Calhoun to release Madeline's hand so that she could greet them, "We thought this was the time to spend time with the family."

Calhoun's smile broadened on his lips, "I would very much like to think so, but I doubt that is why you are here." 

"Why do y-" her grandmother started only to be interrupted by Madeline. 

"Why did you do that?" she asked her grandparents. 

Now that she was aware of what took place years ago, she wanted to know what exactly was going on and what they were hiding from her. Her grandparents looked more shocked, their eyes narrowing down as her grandmother asked,

"What are you talking about, dearie?" her grandmother's voice was sweet and kind, the one she was used to and not the one which she had witnessed last night. 

Calhoun finally released her hand which was around his, giving her the space she needed.

"I am asking why did you put me into the coffin. Why did you leave me there?" Madeline questioned.

"It's rubbish! I don't know what has gotten to you and what you are saying now. Do you hear yourself speak?" her grandmother laughed. 

Calhoun rolled his eyes at the woman, "Why don't we all sit down unless you have the plan to stand the entire time?" he proposed and without waiting for anyone, Calhoun took a seat on the plush couch who was followed by the others. 

"Has this vampire brainwashed you? This is why we don't allow the filthy vampires to mix with our family and people-"

"That's enough, grandma," Madeline's voice came out to be distant, "I saw what you did to me. I saw what grandpa did to me. Why did you put me in the coffin?" She repeated her question, "Do mama and papa know what you did?" 

Before her grandmother could utter another word, her grandfather raised his hand, "Gemma."

"It must be very convenient to push the blame on vampires for the deeds and actions which are accountable for. Are you feeling ashamed that the truth is finally out?" Calhoun questioned without filtering his words which he didn't see the need to do as he lacked any empathy for the family who had left Madeline in the coffin. 

The only reason he hadn't dragged them to the dungeon was because he wanted to hear what they knew about Madeline. 

"We did it because we had to. We were only protecting our families," the truth came out from her grandfather's mouth and Madeline who had taken a seat next to Calhoun felt her hands hold each other tightly. 

Now that she had the confirmation of what had happened, she didn't know how to react to it. Her grandfather didn't appear to be guilty for what he did. There was not a hint of regret in his voice, and it broke Madeline's heart. 

"Are you descendant of the angels?" Calhoun hit straight at the nail making her grandmother looked extremely uncomfortable. 

"Yes, we are. It seems like you know about our existence. If you do, then you should also know that Madeline cannot stay here," said her grandfather, "Our apologies but you cannot marry her as she needs to return to the coffin."

"Tough luck with that," Calhoun commented, "Why? Because she killed a girl?"

Senior Mr. and Mrs. Harris' face hardened by Calhoun's words, "You don't understand what she is capable of. It will benefit all of us if she dies because her body is turning back to its previous form and soon there will be nothing but blood." 

A shuddered breath escaped from Madeline's lips. She was glad that she was sitting and not standing right now, "Why would you do that. I am like all of you," said Madeline to her grandfather, "I am your granddaughter." 

"That's why I took the responsibility to put you in your grave. I would prefer you in the coffin than go rampant and destroy everything which will cause our kind's destruction," the tone her grandfather used had changed and so did the look in his eyes. He looked at her similar to how he did when he looked at vampires. Her grandfather then said, "Many years ago, our ancestors fell from the sky, losing many of their abilities and only a few were able to retain it. Because of one angel's fault, they were punished. We have been living like the humans, but some go bad, just like the one who caused disruption, turning to the dark side."

"What does that have anything to do with me?" Madeline asked, "I was a child when you put me in the coffin to sleep." 

"Sleep?" her grandfather turned his gaze away, "We hoped it would put you to rest for good. Because it worked for other's, but we didn't expect you to wake up." 

Calhoun murmured, "Wake up?" 

"Our methods might be harsh, but we did what we thought was right. You killed not one but an entire family," her grandfather gritted his teeth as he said this, "Do you know what you are capable of? You are just like a walking destructive weapon." 

"There must have been a reason why that happened," Madeline tried to reason, her eyebrows furrowing. She refused to believe that she had hurt someone. "I saw what you did to the girl. Jennine. How can she die twice? I saw it in my eyes and Beth remembers it too-"

"Beth knows nothing about it," her grandmother cut in, "And we would prefer that you don't taint her with the darkness that resides in your heart." All these years, Madeline believed that she was a dotted granddaughter, but the truth finally came out that it was because she held volatile abilities.

Her grandmother continued, "We wanted to kill you for what you did. Once an angel turns to the dark side, they never returns to their normal self. It is an irreversible process." 

"Madeline was small that time. How can someone so small turn to the dark side?" Calhoun was trying to understand and get answers from the old couple because they were the ones who held the key of answers and not Madeline's parents. 

Even Madeline was curious to know about it. For someone who was scared of lizards and spiders, it was hard for her to believe that she had killed people before. 

Her grandfather then started, "When an angel falls and turns to a human, there's a possibility for their heart to change and let darkness enter them. The village we live in, there are a few of them, the angels. We do not associate with the vampires and other creatures who have their hands and mouth covered in blood." 

"I must say that being an angel doesn't look good. It makes you angels look like a weakling," Calhoun commented without holding back, and Madeline's grandparents glared at him.

"How dare you talk in such tone!" Madeline saw her grandfather stand up from his seat, raising his hand, he directed it to where Calhoun was. But the King raised his fingers and waved it to the side. Whatever her grandfather had tried to use on Calhoun, to attack him was directed to the wall. A loud sound was heard, and the wall cracked. 

"You should be careful while using those hands of yours. In this old age, it is easy to break your bones," Calhoun's eyes brightened while the older couple looked at him in shock at how he deflected the attack.

"Y-you are not a vampire!" exclaimed the older man, the hate brewing further in his eyes, "You are a demon." 

"No offence, but we all are demons in this room: some who killed, some who want to kill. So tell me what happened to Madeline that she caught the darkness," hummed Calhoun, "As angels, I would think that you have the ability to heal people. Ah, I forgot. You are the fallen one." 

"We don't know what happened to her! Everything was alright, but one day she went missing for a few hours," Madeline's grandfather answered, "Me, my wife, and my son and his wife went looking for her only to find her standing in front of the dead bodies. We couldn't hide the death that took place, therefore we took the little girl to another grave to create an alibi, to make it look like vampires attacked them."

"Why?" Calhoun asked, still not understanding the motive, "To save your own ass?" He was pouring oil to the fire, and Madeline's grandparents continued to glare at the vampire who was impudently rude. 

Madeline was in shock that her grandparents possessed some abilities. She now understood how her grandmother was able to keep the room soundproof. An angel's whispered spell. 

"I chose to protect the others while sacrificing my granddaughter before your so-called High House comes to know about us. They have been tailing for generations, trying to find out more about our kind and use it for their own knowledge." 

"How did I come out of the grave?" Madeline asked her grandparents, her eyebrows furrowing. The last thing she remembered was being suffocated in the coffin and not being helped to get out of it. How long was she in there?" 

Her grandfather pursed his lips, "We hoped you wouldn't return. At least that is the notion we had when we placed you in there. We don't know how you came to turn to a dark angel. Because we have been protecting you since you were a baby. When Elizabeth was born, we had to take extra precaution to check and make sure that she hadn't turned to a dark angel. Your parents even thought to return to live in the village, telling Elizabeth was their only child. It was during the same time you decided to show up, covered in dirt that was accumulated over the years."

"How old was Beth then?" Madeline asked, holding her breath.