✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 301 - 310 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Decision- Part 1

When the sun rose in the sky, light passed through the gaps of the curtains that were drawn over the window, Madeline started to wake up from her sleep. Her eyes tried to adjust to the sudden change from darkness to light in the room, the blurriness disappeared, and she found Calhoun who was lying next to her. 

It seemed like in sleep, Calhoun had let go of her waist, giving her space just like he had done last night by offering her a choice to refuse. He slept with his back against the surface of the bed and his body facing the ceiling of the bed. Madeline started to move, ready to wake up and tiptoe out of the room so that she could get ready when her right hand touched something wet. 

Her eyebrows furrowed and Madeline pushed herself up, sat on the bed, to bring her hand forward only to see her hand that was covered in blood. The shock of the sight was enough to throw her sleep out of her body, giving her body a sharp wake. She gasped when she caught sight of the blood that had drenched the white sheet of the bed, and the metallic smell of the blood hung around the bed. 

Madeline's eyes were quick to turn towards Calhoun, and she noticed him staring at the ceiling, with his expression frozen. A wide hole had formed on his chest, and she gasped. Her breathing started to change with her heart beating loudly in her chest as shock sank in her body. 

W-what happened here? She asked herself in panic. She looked around back and forth, and checked the windows and the doors to see them closed. 

"C-Calhoun?" she called his name, but there was no response from him. The next moment, she found her hands on his chest. More blood started to come out from his body.

The room started to stifle, and her anxiety started to have her heart go into overdrive, waking her up from the nightmare she was having until now. Quickly waking up, she looked at the bedsheet to notice it was clean white and to see Calhoun was not lying there with his eyes open. 

Madeline was looking around the room, and at the same time, the door opened, and she saw Calhoun standing there at the door, staring at Madeline with a frown on his face. He walked to where she sat, placing a hand on her forehead. He had gone out of the room ten minutes ago and was only returning when his ears picked up her heart, beating loudly like she was in a state of panic. 

"What's the matter, Madeline?" Calhoun asked her, his eyes staring into her brown eyes that looked slightly dilated out of fear. He caught sight of her watching him, her eyes moving across his chest, and he tilted his head. 

Calhoun sat on the edge of the bed, letting one leg rest down on the ground while the other that was folded on the bed.

"Where did you go?" Madeline asked, her eyes staring into his. 

"I went to speak to Theodore," he answered, without bringing the smile forward that was pushing through his lips because of her words. Brushing it away for the time being, he apologised, "I am sorry that I wasn't here when you woke up. Did you have a bad dream?" 

Madeline, stared at Calhoun making sure she wasn't dreaming again, finally dropped her gaze from him and gave him a nod. It was a disturbing dream, a dream that was vivid, and she could still smell the blood in the air, and the wetness in her hands because of his blood that was cold. Though Madeline had seen part of her grandfather's neck being ripped out, what she saw in her dream felt worse. She didn't know if it was because it was her own hands that had killed him in her dream, or if it was because it was Calhoun. 

She felt Calhoun place his hand below her chin, raising it so that she would lift her gaze, 

"Tell me about your dream," he coaxed her, wanting to know what had shaken her this early in the morning. 

Madeline parted her lips, "It was just something," and this made Calhoun even more curious. 

"No matter how little or stupid your dreams might be, I would like to hear every one of them," said Calhoun to her. 

"Even the bad ones?" 

"Even the ones that are ugly and something you cannot digest," he dropped his hand from her chin, letting her hold her gaze where her brown eyes had traces of doubt and worry in them. "You should know by now that I can handle anything. Even the worst." 

Madeline took a moment for herself, gathering words to speak, "What if my grandparents are right? What if I am the person who will kill people? What will you do if I kill you one day?" she questioned him. 

"Then I will die by your hands," he responded with a straight face before saying, "What exactly did you see in your dream?" 

"Blood and you," said Madeline, "You were on the bed, with your heart missing in your chest, and I had blood on my hands." 

"Dreams don't have to come true every time," Calhoun patted her head, "It is very rare that something ever coincides with reality. And the dream is not wrong. You do have my heart," he offered her a smile, his eyes softening as she took his pats without any complaints. 

Madeline didn't know about it. Though it was true that her dreams had often been bizarre, there were still chances of something happening, or a premonition for the future. Calhoun appeared like he didn't care if he died by her hands, but she didn't want to cause any deaths by her hands or by her actions. 

And even though Calhoun had a different outlook about the same thing, and he enjoyed ripping people's heads off like a farmer who cut pumpkins from the ground, Madeline didn't wish death upon anyone because every life was precious, and it had to be valued. 

"I should have been by your side when you woke up," he apologized to her. Calhoun wondered if it was because of the conversation they had last night before she slept. "If you worry about the future, you will fail to see the things that are passing by." 

"What if there's no future?" asked Madeline, her eyes intently looking at him. Until now, she didn't know she possessed the quality when it came to killing someone, but if she did, it was possible that she could kill Calhoun one day. They were opposites, an angel and a demon which was good to say that she could turn to his equal. 

Calhoun's lips finally twisted into a smile, "Once upon a time, you believed there was no future to us. That we didn't match, sometimes all you need to do is to believe that everything will be okay. That is how I sleep soundly at night even after I behead a good number of people." 

"Must be nice to have a peaceful sleep," Madeline commented, and the grin on Calhoun's lips broadened, allowing her to see his sharp fangs.

"A man needs his sleep," he joked. Calhoun leaned towards her face, pausing for a second so that Madeline could take in every second of his action and he tilted his head to the side to kiss her on her cheek. "Good morning. You should get ready now." 

When Madeline left his room, Calhoun stared at the open door before his eyes fell on the bed that looked unkempt, unlike all this time as he barely slept in it. After returning to the room from the dungeon, Calhoun had stayed in bed, not sleeping but watching over Madeline who slept soundly with her face turned towards his side. 

Breakfast in the dining room was extremely quiet because of the absence of the Wilmot's at the table. Though Beth and her parents had questions on their mind, they didn't dare to question the King about it. When Lucy didn't arrive at the table, Calhoun passed a silent look at Theodore, who bowed his head and left the room. 

Madeline took note of this little action, and she looked at Calhoun, who offered her a smile as if nothing was wrong.

"The room is quieter than usual, isn't it?" Calhoun chimed in the awkward silence of the room, "Feels like people died already." 

A clatter was heard at the table as Beth had unintentionally dropped her knife right on her plate upon the King's words. Beth quickly apologized for the disturbance she had caused, bowing her head. She appeared like she didn't get a wink of sleep last night and had stayed up worried. She had started to build a castle with Markus in it, but that was pulled away from her. 

"Would you like some butter, Lady Elizabeth?" asked the homeless-looking man, who had picked to sit right in front of her. She didn't even know what the man was doing in here. 

She shook her head and turned back to look at her food. 

Even though Beth was worried about where Markus was and how he was doing right now, her thoughts were being distracted because of the man who was sitting and staring at her. The man was rude to keep staring at her, and maybe she would question him if he wanted something, but the atmosphere around the table wasn't right. 

When breakfast was done, Beth pulled Madeline away from the rest, going to another corridor and she asked,

"Did they find Markus?" Beth had a look of anxiousness on her face which was marred with worry. 

Madeline knew her sister was going to ask her questions about the vampire, and even though Madeline knew Calhoun had found Markus, she shook her head. 

"No, they are still trying to find him," answered Madeline to her sister. Lying was not what she had planned to do, but she wanted to be the responsible sister. Markus Wilmot was only using Beth for his own benefit.

"Do something about it, Maddie. Help Markus," blurted Beth before Madeline could say something, "The King will listen to your words. Ask him to spare Markus' life!" Beth had given a lot of thoughts, and she knew Markus was going to be executed if he would be found guilty. 

Madeline pursed her lips, "Mr. Wilmot won't be in trouble if he hasn't done anything and has only escaped from the castle in the spur of the moment." She placed her hand on Beth's arm, "He will be fine if he hasn't done anything. I am sure everything will be alright." 

She noticed how Beth looked conflicted by her words like she wanted to comment something about it, but she tried to hold it in. "But if something happens, you will stop him, right? You promise me?" Beth pressed for an answer. 

Seeing Madeline's hesitance, Beth's eyebrows furrowed as she came to realize that Madeline was not going to do anything like that and would instead follow the King's words. To save Madeline, Raphael arrived at the corridor.

"Lady Madeline and Lady Elizabeth. Greetings to you both," Raphael bowed his head. 

Though Madeline bowed her head, Beth looked annoyed by Raphael's presence.

"I was wondering if you ladies would like to play cards?" 

"I don't think this is the time to play cards. We have something important to discuss," replied Beth. Raphael noticed Beth's eyes that were green and had more colour to it where her black hair accentuated her features. 

"Allow me to help then," said Raphael, ready to take part in it with a polite smile on his face. 

Beth gritted her teeth, "I will talk to you later, Maddie. Let me see if Lady Rosamund is doing alright," and she sent a small glare to Raphael, turning on her heel and walking away from them. 

"Your sister doesn't look like she likes me much, does she?" Raphael asked, seeing Elizabeth disappear from the corridor. 

Madeline was worried about what Beth would do. She only hoped that her sister wouldn't do anything stupid that would push Calhoun to add her sister in the same scale as the Wilmot's family. 
Decision- Part 2

In the dungeon of the castle, Lucy Gerville stood in front of her cousin's cell room. When she had woken up, the first thing she had done was get dressed and walk down here so that she could check if the Wilmot's were doing alright, while also wanting to get an insight about what happened last night. 

"I don't know why I am even here!" Sophie had come to stand right in front of the grills. "I was minding my work in my room when the guards dragged me out! Where is Markus?!" she demanded. 

Lucy shook her head, "There has been no news about him. They are still searching for him." 

Sophie was fuming as if smoke was coming from her ears. She had kept all her plans to be lowkey, and it was her family who now had got her in this situation! "Where is brother Calhoun? I will speak to him and plead not guilty in front of him."

"He should be here at any moment. Once I find more information, I will let you know about it," assured Lucy. She then walked towards the other cell room which was placed away from Sophie, where her aunt was imprisoned. 

"Aunt Rosamund, do you know why Markus tried to set brother Calhoun up like that?" asked Lucy, trying to understand the situation that was going on. 

Rosamund had a sullen and sad look on her face. She shook her head, "I don't know, dear. I frankly don't know why I am here. And Markus must have been just scared, especially considering how things went in the past." 

"In the past?" Lucy furrowed her eyebrows, "What do you mean?" 

"I mean, we all know the unspoken truth of what happened to your parents. Of how they died. It is just that no one speaks about it," said Rosamund, letting her words carefully sink in Lucy's mind. 

Lucy's expression only turned more confused at her aunt's words, "I don't think I am following what you are saying." 

Rosamund who was looking at the rods of the cell shifted her gaze to look at her niece. "How long are you going to turn a blind eye to what happened in the past, Lucy? Even the walls whisper about the murder that took place, of how the King killed his very own father and mother, and then even your mother." 

A smile came up to muster on her face, and Lucy shook her head, "No, that's not true. It was the minister who killed mama and papa. I saw the minister there at the scene, holding a knife and his hands covered in blood. You know that already." 

"Pray tell me, why is the King trying to set up Markus for a murder, then?" asked Rosamund. She slowly moved away from the shadows, coming to light where the light from the torches fell. "I was there yesterday when the proceeding was taking place. Markus mentioned that he meant no harm and was only doing his duty to the family and to the people. You know how much he cares about people. He would do nothing to harm or bring a bad name to the family." 

Lucy's eyebrows furrowed as she heard her aunt's words. Rosamund continue to speak,

"There was someone who spoke against the King about the murder that took place here in the castle, but Calhoun killed the man. Why don't you ask him? On why he killed your parents."

"Why didn't you bring this up in the past? Why now?" Lucy found it hard to believe that Calhoun had killed her parents. She had seen him follow every word that was given by her parents. He had always been diligent about it. "I think you are wrong, Aunt Rosamund." 

The older vampiress turned her gaze away and whispered, "Speaking against the King will only lead to execution. If something happens to me, I want you to know. It is why I letting you know about it now." 

Lucy was there the day her parents had been murdered. It was the day when she had visited her parents after many days of her marriage, and she was still trying to cope with the changes that had taken place in her life. She had seen the minister, and she had seen Calhoun. It couldn't be Calhoun, why was Aunt Rosamund blaming him blatantly, thought Lucy in her mind.

She shook her head, "No," she whispered, "Brother Calhoun was with me when we arrived at the scene. The minister didn't work for brother Calhoun but he was father's man, who worked in the court. There had been a misunderstanding between father and the minsiter a week before their murder. Whoever told you about it, they are wrong." 

"If I am executed with Markus, promise me you will find the truth, Lucy," Lady Rosamund looked at Lucy.

"Brother Calhoun won't allow any injustice happen to you or Sophie. I don't know what made Markus escape, but I hope it can be sorted without any need for anyone to be executed," said Lucy. Family mattered a lot to her, and she didn't want anyone dying. But with the ways things appeared right now, uncertainty hung in the air. 

The sound of shoes was heard and both the vampiress turned to see Theodore who had arrived there. He bowed his head, 

"Lady Lucy, the King, has summoned you."

Lucy's lips twitched every time Theodore addressed her as 'Lady Lucy'. Pursing her lips further, she glimpsed at her aunt, "I will visit soon," and the older vampiress nodded her head. 

Lucy was the first one to leave, and Theodore followed her after taking a glance at the older vampiress who was standing behind the rusted iron bars. He silently followed Lucy, and she didn't utter a word. Just as they reached the corridors, Lucy suddenly turned and questioned Theodore, 

"Is it true?" 

Theodore paused his footsteps and stared back at Lucy, giving her a questioning look even though he knew exactly what she was asking. 

"Milady?" he asked her, his face continuing to hold a passive expression. 

"What Aunt Rosamund said...Is it true?" asked Lucy, looking straight in his eyes.

She knew that Theodore knew most of the things that concerned Calhoun, and she wanted to know if what she heard was true. But at the same time, she realised it was wrong to doubt. Calhoun had done nothing but shelter her and looked after her. Doubting him like this was wrong. 

But before Theodore could say something or Lucy could stop him from answering her question, they heard the sound of the carriages coming in the direction of the castle and it stopped with the neighing of the horses. The High House members had arrived as Calhoun and he expected,

"Would you like to stay in the company of the High House?" asked Theodore. 

"Yes," replied Lucy, wanting to be part of the trial and discussion that was going to take place today. 

With the High House members who were yet to enter the castle, Theodore turned to look at the vampiress who didn't look at him and instead looked ahead at the empty corridor. Her features were mild as it was in the past. Her skin pale and her lips pink while she avoided his gaze purposely.

"Where did Mr. Gerville go?" questioned Theodore as he had not seen her husband.

"Why don't you ask him yourself," came Lucy's clipped answer. 

"If there's anything I could help you with, please do let me know," came Theodore's solemn answer, and he bowed his head.

Lucy finally turned her eyes to look at Theodore, "Why?" her expression had turned cold.

Why was he offering his help to her, after all these years? Seeing Theodore not answer her questions like many other times before, she asked him, 

"What happened to that maid? The one who was w-with Samuel that night?" Lucy saw Theodore push his glasses up the bridge of his nose. She had tried to look for the maid so that she could have some talk, but the maid had disappeared from the castle. 

For a few seconds, Theodore didn't reply to her and Lucy was about to leave his side, when she heard him say,

"I thought her presence would bother you, so I took her to the forest." 
Decision- Part 3

Music Recommendation: The Crawling by Kensuke Ushio


Lucy was taken aback, and she stared at Theodore. She didn't get enough time to question him as she heard the sharp clicking sounds of shoes coming from the other side of the corridors, and soon the members of the High House arrived but not with four people. This time, there were six of them, and next to Dimitri, a blonde woman walked as if she owned the castle. 

The woman had dark red eyes, and she wore a monocle on her right eye that had a chain that disappeared behind her long blonde hair which was parted from the centre of her head. The sound of the footsteps was sharp and loud enough to get everyone's attention, and even Madeline who was with Calhoun stepped out of the room to see who had arrived. 

The vampiress continued to walk, her face serious and behind her and Dimitri, the other four members walked. Calhoun left Madeline's side, and walked in the front to stop and stand in front of them in the middle of the corridor and the High House members finally stopped. 

The members of the High House bowed their head, and Calhoun returned the gesture. He was joined by Theodore who stood right behind the King. 

"King Calhoun Hawthrone, it has been a while since we last met," spoke the woman, her voice strong and her features looked mature. Madeline who stood farther away from them could tell that the woman was somewhere in her thirties in appearance-wise, but as she was a vampiress, she couldn't tell how old the woman was. The woman appeared wise, and her eyes were sharp. 

"Helena Shawe," Calhoun greeted the woman, "It has indeed been quite long. I was hoping to see you today as the other members weren't able to catch hold of my cousin who ran away in the middle of the discussion." 

The vampiress named Helena, stared at Calhoun, her monocle delicately balanced on her strong face, "I heard about it. I also heard that your guards aren't up to the par. Seems like you will need to change the men here." 

"It was already done this morning, milady," Calhoun smiled, his eyes on the woman with a polite smile on his face, "Why don't we continue the discussion in the courtroom, unless you haven't had your breakfast and would care for it in the dining room," he suggested. 

"We can start with the proceedings," stated Helena and everyone walked towards the courtroom. Chairs were placed for everyone to sit in a semi-circle so that they could start with the court trial. Madeline and the other family members arrived in the room. Lady Rosamund, and Sophie were brought into the room from the dungeon cells. 

When Rosamund's eyes met Madeline's, the woman didn't look happy and she looked like she was ready to throw the human to the dungeon for the issues that had been caused due to her. Nor would Madeline have appeared in front of the King, nor would anything like this happen right now. 

With people who took their seats and stood near the walls so that they could listen and view what was going to happen, Helena was the one to speak from the centre of the semi-circle seatings,

"We are here for the official trial that is going to take place in the presence of the High House members, the King and his family members along with the concerned people over the matter of the recent deaths' that was caused by one of the family members. As the matter has not been judged to its fullest potential, we will be giving everyone turns and opportunity to speak," said the woman, giving a look at everyone that included the people who stood near the walls and also at the members of the High House. The clothes that she wore looked nothing less to the one that was worn by a sister in the church, which was the colour of her eyes. 

If Madeline met the woman outside, she was sure to mistake the woman to be a sister of the high standing church. 

"Bring the accused family forward," ordered the woman, and Lady Rosamund was the first one to be brought at the centre. It was the first time for her to go through something so disgraceful where both her hands were bound by shackles. Even her legs were bound, making it that much worse. Every step she took, it made her angry. 

Beth, who was standing with her parents, watched what was going to happen, looked at Lady Rosamund with an anxious look on her face. She had gone to meet Lady Rosamund, to make sure her possible future mother-in-law was alright and nothing bad had happened. But when she did turn up in front of the dungeon, the guards didn't let her in. 

To the servants of the castle, Beth was nothing but a guest, and she was of no importance. Her eyes moved towards the King, who was seated on the other side, ready to listen to the trial. 

"Lady Rosamund Wilmot, do you know for what you have been charged today?" questioned Helena. 

"For a crime that I did not commit," answered Lady Rosamund, her stance prideful even though she had been chained like a criminal. 

"Milady," Dimitri was the one to speak as he was present during last night's event, "Your son put false accusations against the King, that the King has killed many people while framing someone else who are innocent. Even though what the King's do in all the lands aren't of our concern, the conflict here rises because the girl who died was the duchess's daughter, and when people like those die, it creates a strain in the system." 

Helena spoke next, "It doesn't mean that the others' lives don't matter. Usually, death's like those don't come to our notice, and we are most likely to find the ones that are evident to us. Your son killed the girl and blamed it on the King. Have I got the fact, right?" she asked the vampiress. 

Lady Rosamund sighed, "Why would Markus self-report for what he is suspicious about? He was only doing his duty, of letting the High House know what was going on. Markus has always looked up to Calhoun, and he followed every word of command that has been given by the King, taking it to be absolute. He would never put his family in trouble. We the Wilmot's and the Hawthrone, have always been close, especially after we lost some of our family members." 

"Why do you think he ran away from the scene? You do understand that it was a basic trial that could be resolved, but Markus Wilmot ran away like a felon," Weasely questioned the vampiress who belonged to the royal family. 

Rosamund tipped her chin slightly up.

"He must have been worried."

"About what?" asked Dimitri. 

"About being framed by someone, that the information that Markus relayed to you would come to put him in trouble. Something like this has happened in the past too," said Lady Rosamund. Helena, who was sitting with her back leaning against the chair, leaned forward—placing both her elbows on the table. 

"And what is that?" questioned Helena, her words firm. "It would be best for you to speak clearly about it so that it can help you clear your name. Were you aware that your son wrote letters to us?" 

"No, I didn't know about it." 

Sophie, who was standing not too far away from her mother, alone on one side of the wall of the court with only guards next to her, looked at her mother. 

Lady Rosamund continued to say, "As far as my knowledge allows me, Markus never mentioned anything about him sending letters to the High House, nor did he speak about the King's deeds. He probably didn't want to worry me or the others."

"So that would mean he did everything on his own accord. Is that what you are telling, Lady Rosamund?" Helena tried to confirm, and the vampiress nodded her head. 

Sophie's eyes widened at her mother's words. Now as Markus was going to be caught and he was in deep trouble, was her mother letting go of Markus by saying she didn't know anything? 

"Yes," agreed Lady Rosamund, "But I don't think Markus meant anything ill, and he was only doing it possibly because he felt it was wrong." 

On the vampiress' words, Helena turned her head to the side, speaking in a low voice in Dimitri's ear who nodded his head. 

"Milady, you can step away so that we can speak to your daughter Sophie," informed Dimitri and Lady Rosamund stepped back to let Sophie come and stand where she previously stood. Before the High House people could say something, Sophie said, 

"I am being held as a prisoner for something I didn't do. I don't even know what is going on." 

"We will be the judge of it, miss," said another man who hadn't visited yesterday with the four High House members. He had long silver hair which was tied into a pony with a red ribbon. "Did you hear anything from your brother or mother speaking against the King? Or about the body that was found in the backyard of a human's house."

Sophie shook her head, "I don't know anything about it." Her family had stopped speaking about their plans with her, "I think it's just a big misunderstanding."

"Do you agree with what your brother said? That the King is the one who killed the girl and the maid, who tried to frame it back on your brother?" asked Lilith. 

Sophie rolled her eyes, "I said it's all a misunderstanding. Neither of them would kill that whatever-her-name-is. We don't even know about that girl, and I don't know about the maid."

"But that makes it easier to murder the maid, isn't it?" Lilith continued to interrogate, "That she was someone no one would be aware of."

Seeing the prideful personality of the vampiress, Helena said, "You should know that if you don't answer the questions and if we don't find you to be innocent, you will be set to execution as you are one of the suspicious people right now in this room."

"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed Sophie. 

Sophie turned to look at Calhoun and then her mother before turning back to look at the High House members who had serious expressions on their face. She wasn't even part of it, then why was her neck supposed to be in line, under the axe?!

Soon the sound of footsteps was heard with the clanking of the shackles, and in came the guards, dragging Markus into the courtroom. Commotion started to fill in by Markus' presence in the room and people began to whisper to each other. Madeline's eyebrows furrowed by noticing this, as she didn't know what was going to happen next. 

Markus was being dragged by two guards, and his hands and legs were bound similar to his mother and sister. 

"Where did you find him?" Helena had a look of surprise on her face, and she turned to look in the direction of Calhoun. It was because her people had told her that they weren't able to find him yesterday even after searching for some time after he had escaped from the castle. 

"My men found him," answered Calhoun, "The men in the castle aren't as useless as the others who hold powers." The little jab was picked by every High House member, and their eyes narrowed at the King of Devon. 

Helena's eyes stayed on Calhoun for a long time while the others were inspecting Markus who appeared to be in a decent shape. The woman knew that the King had a hand in the matter but with the lack of proof, similar to what happened in the past, it was hard to catch hold of him. The first time when she had met Calhoun, he was still the illegitimate son of the previous King from a mistress, someone who was working for the late King. There was something in his eyes that had caught her attention. 

Shifting her gaze from Calhoun, Helena turned to look at Markus and Sophie. "Lady Sophie can take a step back as we have the main person who is of interest now," announced Dimitri, "Sir Markus Wilmot, do you agree that you went against the King. That you killed the maid before accusing him of murder?" The question echoed the walls of the silent courtroom.

"I do not," Markus replied to the question, his answer firm and loud. 

"Was there a reason why you ran away last night?" asked Dimitri, "You grabbed one of the village men who was your witness as your shield. You not only lost your witness but also ended up to be the reason for his death." 

Markus who had been tied and hadn't slept for hours since he had regained his consciousness, now stared at Dimitri. He knew how the trials worked, and what happened. Treason meant a direct execution after the verdict. 

"It wasn't me but one of your people who killed the village man. I only held the man in front of me while doing nothing to him," replied Markus, "You cannot charge me for someone's death that I have not caused." 

He was right, thought Madeline to herself. It was Lilith who had killed the village man and not Markus. Her eyes went to fall on the High House people who were staring at Markus. 

Markus was asked to reiterate what he spoke yesterday and what he had found about Calhoun's misdeeds, repeating the same spoken things all over again. 

"Mr. Wilmot, you must know that your reason for why you escaped last night does not make any sense, except for the fact that you knew you did something wrong and yielded to it," spoke Helena when no one responded to Markus' words. "Right now both the King as well as you appear to be guilty. So the decision comes to who has the maximum evidence and how much it weighs in both your cases. It is not forgotten that you bribed the maid to tarnish the King's image, trying to bring him down. Therefore, I would say your condition isn't looking so good right now, Mr. Wilmot," said Helena. 

"You didn't ask the King about his deeds? On how he orchestrated the murder and how he has set me up?" asked Markus, slightly agitated because it looked like the blame was falling back on him. "How does a person get a free pass when the person killed the previous King and Queen?" he demanded an answer. 

Helena's expression turned severe, "The issue was submitted in the past, time and time again by various people, but there has been no evidence that it was King Calhoun who did it. The blame goes back to the man who has already been executed."

"Maybe the High House has not been efficient in finding the truth. I mean considering that one person in there likes the King," Markus uttered the words to receive a glare from Lilith. "I told you, I wasn't the one who killed the dutchess' daughter. I barely even knew her that she existed. I have nothing to do with the murder and the witnesses already said what they saw last night that I have no hand in the death of the maid either."

"People say anything, Sir Markus," Helena leaned back against the chair she sat in. 

Helena fell silent for some time, while people in the courtroom looked back and forth between the persons who were involved in today's matter. Madeline couldn't help but wonder if that was all the questions that were going to be asked before the High House would come to a conclusion. 

A whole minute passed by, and after some more discussions with the fellow members of the High House, Helena asked, 

"King Calhoun, is there something you would like to say to clear your name from the accusations of what your cousin is pressing on you?" 

Right now, everyone's eyes fell on Calhoun, who slowly walked to the front so that he could speak to the High House members. Every person in the room stood there holding their breath, thinking what was going to happen, and this included Madeline who bit her lip in worry. 

"I have already given my defence yesterday. I don't know why my cousin would go so far as to make the maid spread things about Lady Madeline, which are purely untrue. Like my aunt mentioned, Markus and I, we have a great relationship," agreed Calhoun, "We are cousins of course, but I don't know what went wrong that he went as far as to fabricate accusations and lies on me," he turned to look at Markus. 

"You have been torturing Lady Madeline. That is why she even tried to run away from the castle," stated Markus. This raised eyebrows of the members of the High House. 

"Is this true?" asked Helena, turning to Calhoun. 

"If it was true, she wouldn't be here today," smiled Calhoun, "As bad as everyone wants to portray our relationship, we actually have a good one, and I am sure it was already displayed in front of the four High House members yesterday," he said looking at each one of them. 

Markus huffed, "He has kept a werewolf hidden in the castle. And he was torturing Mr. Heathcliff in here! The werewolf must have eaten Mr. Heathcliff as they were both put in the same room." 

Calhoun chuckled, "The only werewolves that roam in these grounds are my pet wolves, cousin. If I did have one, the High House would have found out about it by now as none of us were informed about their possible visit. I don't know what you have against me. First, the ill rumour, the werewolf and then the murder of the girl? Why would you do that, Markus?" he asked in a disappointed tone. 

"You are blaming me for your actions!" said Markus who then turned to look at Helena, "Mr. Heathcliff has gone missing because the King knows how much threat Mr. Heathcliff is when it comes between the King and Lady Madeline. Why place the body in Mr. Heathcliff's house when it could be done anywhere else? Isn't it a little too convenient?!" 

"It is also very convenient that you put the blame on me, isn't it?" Calhoun responded to Markus' claim.

Helena stared at both the men who were part of the royal family. Though Markus looked like he didn't kill the girl, he was found guilty by making an escape in the middle of the trial. Markus did create treason by blaming the King, against whom there wasn't enough accountable evidence. 

This was the second time Calhoun was giving an explanation in front of the High House, and he hadn't changed. His composure was the same, relaxed and calm expression on his face. Though the death of the previous King and the Queen was suspicious, no evidence could be gathered against him, and the case was closed. 

Calhoun Hawthrone. Helena had not met a man like him before. Apart from being handsome, he appeared smart and sharp, possibly cunning. She had heard plenty of stories regarding the last King's affairs when it came to the number of mistresses he had. Somewhere, it was obvious to her that Calhoun had a hand in the late King and Queen's death. She doubted the motive was to take the throne, and that it was for another reason. Helena had stepped into the position of the head of the High House to remove the injustice that took place, to be fair in the judgment, but to do so, one needed enough facts. 

After some more thinking, Helena said, "Due to the lack of information against Rosamund Wilmot and Sophie Wilmot where they do not show any signs of involvement in the subject of the case today, where even Markus Wilmot didn't bring forth their names. Taking all of those into account, they shall be released." 

A sigh of relief escaped from Sophie's lips. But Lady Rosamund was not relieved yet as Markus' verdict had not been announced. 

"The King shall face another trial because of his ties with Mr. Heathcliff and with the body found."

Murmurs started to fill in the room with the unexpected words from Helena, "Also, Lilith has found some information about the case and what happened there. The King will go through another trial in the presence of the duchess' family member. But we will still be going through one of the hearings today." 

Madeline looked utterly confused as to why Calhoun had to go through another trial when it wasn't him but someone else who had killed the girl and buried the body in James' backyard. 

"It seems very convenient that the body was placed in Mr. Heathcliff's home, where there must be a possible link to the relationship with Lady Madeline," said Helena and Madeline frowned, "But in the meantime, the verdict-"

"WAIT!" came the voice of a person. 

Madeline who stood on the other side, craned her neck like the rest of them to see who had paused the head of the High House, and Helena had a look of annoyance. Madeline then saw a familiar face who stepped into the courtroom, gasping for air. 

It was Lady Catherine Barnes who had a look of lividness in her eyes, and she shouted,

"Please don't execute him!" 
Decision- Part 4

Music Recommendation: Anxiety by Kensuke Ushio


It was the time of the morning, where in the Barnes' mansion, Catherine Barnes was not pleased with her family that they couldn't find James yet. It had been some days since Miss Layla was killed and from that day, James had gone missing. She missed him terribly. The most she had spent without meeting him was three days, but this was more than that, and her heart continued to pace back and forth in worry. 

Getting herself out of the bed, she got ready. She doubted James had left the land. There was no way he would do it, especially with his shop in the village that was flourishing. He should have come to her by now, but he didn't, and this bothered her immensely. The charges that were put up against him was not small and with the name of murderer on James' head, Catherine worried if she had not calculated the outcome of her plan carefully as she had considered it to be easy. Though her father said he was using all his source in tracking down where James was, she didn't understand why James was not found yet!

Catherine had done all this by thinking that James would forever be indebted to her. And he would never think about leaving her or having a change of mind about them getting married.

But her plan had backfired. With his father, who had passed away from this world, there was no reason for him to stay here except for the sake of his shop. James Heathcliff's shop was not only guarded by her father's men but also by the official magistrate's men.

When she stepped out of her room, a maid arrived bringing her a glass of blood, bowing her head, "Good morning, Lady Catherine," greeted the maid. 

"Hm," Catherine responded with uninterest, "Where is father?" 

"Milady, Mr. Barnes has gone to attend some important work. He said there was a man from the foreign land who wanted to talk about work. He informed me that he would be back in the evening," answered the maid. When Catherine finished taking two sips of the blood from the glass, and placed it back on the tray with force. 

"What is with this blood? It tastes like mud," Catherine's mood only turned bad, and the maid bowed her head deeper without meeting the vampiress' eyes. 

"Please allow me to bring you another glass-"

"Why don't you give it from your hand?" Catherine folded both her arms across her chest. She was the princess of this mansion, and she was brought up to have everything she wanted. There was nothing she couldn't have. "I always have fresh blood. Have you forgotten that?"

The maid looked distressed, and she didn't know what to do but stare at the young vampiress with her eyes wide, "M-my blood?"

Catherine looked annoyed because of the delay. "Yes." She then looked around and then at the tray. Picking up the glass, she broke it against the wall and picked up the piece of glass in her hand, "Here. Take this." 

Blood was splattered on the white wall, dripping down furiously to reach the ground. When Catherine was still holding the piece of glass in her hand, waiting for the maid to take it, her butler arrived. 

"Miss Catherine, there is a letter that came early this morning for you," informed the butler to her. 

"From who is it?" Catherine asked and then turned to the maid, "Are you going to take it or shall I help you myself?" she demanded.

To the people outside this mansion, Catherine Barnes was a lovely and dainty woman, her voice sweet and her behaviour always composed. As if she was someone who couldn't hurt a fly nor raise her voice. But those were only things that she wanted others to perceive about her. It was only the people who lived inside these walls of the mansion knew who the real Catherine was. She had a child-like temper and threw tantrums when her parents failed to oblige to her wishes. The vampiress always had a notion that she would marry the man with whom she would fall in love. Though she never intended the person to be a human as they were nothing but lower beings, she had not expected to fall in love with James Heathcliff. 

The butler who watched the lady force the maid to hold the piece of glass, decided to interrupt so that there wouldn't be any more deaths by the hands of the young miss.

"Milady Catherine," the butler interrupted again, and Catherine turned to look at the butler with annoyance in her eyes, "The letter."

"I asked you from whom it is," Catherine snatched the letter from the butler's hand and went to read the name of the sender to notice a seal which she had never seen before. At the same time, the butler quietly had the maid to leave so that she could get back to work and live another day in this mansion. 

Catherine frowned, wondering from where the letter had come from. "Do you know whose seal it is?" she questioned the butler. 

The butler promptly replied, "No, milady. I have never seen this one before." Instead of standing idly, he bent and started to pick up the shards of the glass. 

The lady tore the envelope, and she read,

'Lady Catherine Barnes,

We would like to inform you that, due to the unfortunate events, Mr. James Heathcliff has been taken under custody by the High House. He will be executed for the charges that are against him with respect to the Murder of Lady Layla as well as the murder of Miss Hilda. The execution will be taking place in the courtroom of the Hawthrone's castle. It will be taking place early at the noon after the trial and procedures are completed.'

Catherine's face turned pale, and she quickly looked down to see who had sent it, but there was no name. She looked back and forth at the envelope to look at the seal that had disappeared as if she had imagined it. Was James caught and going to be executed today?!

"Pull out the carriage immediately!" Catherine ordered her butler, who looked startled with the sudden order. 

"Where are you going, milady?" asked the butler, whose job was on line thanks to this young vampiress who had killed many people in the last three months. Mr. Barnes had specifically asked him to watch over his daughter and keep an eye. 

"I need to go to the castle. James has been found, and I need to be there!" 

"Let us wait for Mr. Barnes to return, milady," the butler tried to convince, but Catherine was in no mood to stay here for not even one second. Someone had finally found James, and he was going to be set to execution!

Catherine quickly started to head out of the house, getting the carriage ready and got inside it while leaving the butler to inform her parents of her absence and where she was going. On her way, she couldn't believe that James was actually going to be beheaded. When she reached the castle, the guards let her in on seeing her face as she had visited the castle in the past with her father. 

She ran towards the courtroom as fast as she could. Holding the front of her dress while some strands of her hair came out loose. She then heard someone from the court say,

"But in the meantime, the verdict-"

"WAIT!" Catherine shouted, believing it was James who was getting sentenced to death. She gasped for air as she had walked and run to the courtroom. Her eyes had turned wide, and without seeing who all were in there, she exclaimed,

"Please don't execute him!"

Now that she had stepped into the room, her eyes frantically searched for James. Her red eyes moved from one person to another, but she couldn't find James in here. There were six unknown people who were seated in a semicircle, who now stared at her. 

"Is there something you want to tell, Miss….?" Wesley questioned the vampiress who had interrupted Helena, the head of the High House. 

"Yes!" replied Catherine immediately. Though she was not able to see James, the letter had clearly mentioned about him going to be executed today, and the verdict was about to take place when she had neared the courtroom, "Please do not execute Mr. Heathcliff! He didn't commit the murder!" 

Helena looked more annoyed than anyone in the room for interrupting the proceedings. 

"And you are?" inquired Helena. 

Madeline saw Catherine bow her head, "I am Catherine Barnes. The accused James Heathcliff's future wife, and I can vouch for it." 

Helena furrowed her eyebrows. The last she heard Markus Wilmot was with a human, where did this one come from? But the vampiress spoke about Mr. Heathcliff. 

"The accused here is Markus Wilmot, Miss Barnes. Not Mr. Heathcliff," Helena cleared her throat, "Unless you are Mr. Wilmot's future wife, please stand aside," she sent a small glare towards Catherine who had a look of confusion on her face. 

"But James?" whispered Catherine to herself. 

Dimitri took it to say, "We are here for the trails of Mr. Wilmot, who accused the King and Mr. Heathcliff before, in the involvement of Lady Layla's murder." 

"Unless you have something to speak about the case, please step aside with the rest," stated Dimitri.

And Catherine would have done it if Calhoun didn't speak out loud about her, in front of everyone, "Lady Catherine was a dear friend of Lady Layla. I am sure she has some insights on what happened," he said, with his head tilting subtly. 

Catherine's mouth fell open by this revelation. Her eyes then went to meet King Calhoun's who had a look of menace in his eyes and she turned worried. He looked at her as if he knew that it was she who had killed the girl. 

Every person's eyes immediately fell on Catherine, and she felt as if she was put in a tight spot. Why did the King tell she had an insight? 

"Is that true, Miss Barnes?" inquired Helena. 

"Lady Catherine was devastated when she found out that Mr. Heathcliff was accused of her friend's murder. As she was mourning for the loss, she wasn't able to make it to the burial or viewing of Lady Layla," Calhoun continued to speak and the young vampiress looked paler than the time she had entered the room. 

With everyone's eyes on Catherine, she felt pressured. Pressured because it was true that Lady Layla was an acquaintance whom she knew closely. It was why her father had been crossed with her actions of killing the girl. It was done in a spur of the moment, and before she knew it, the girl was dead. Now, Catherine was not only worried about James, but she also feared that someone would find out that it was she who had killed Layla. 

"Miss Barnes, if you may," Helena straightened her back, her hand pointing towards the centre front so that Catherine would come to stand there. The girl apprehensively took steps to where she was asked. "The interrogation has been going on concerning the King and Mr. Wilmot's involvement in the recent death. Did Miss Layla ever mention any of them or Mr. Heathcliff?"

Catherine, who had been as eager as a beaver to put James in trouble a few days ago, now realized she shouldn't have done it, "Lady Layla didn't know Mr. Heathcliff. They weren't acquainted with each other."

"Even though you were closely acquainted with him and you were going to be married to him?" questioned Helena before continuing, "What about the King and Mr. Wilmot?" 

Catherine's father was well acquainted with the King as he worked for him. Her eyes wandered towards Calhoun who was standing there, staring at her, and she then said, "The King knew Lady Layla as she was the dutchess' daughter." This caused another round of murmur in the room.

Madeline didn't have a good feeling about this. Calhoun was standing there quietly without raising any concern for what Catherine was speaking right now. Madeline still found it hard to believe that Catherine was someone who could kill people.

Catherine then did something which Madeline had never thought about, "Miss Layla...she used to like Mr. Wilmot."

When Lady Catherine had entered, Madeline was sure she was here in search of James, but this took a sharp turn. 

Was it true? Madeline asked herself on what Catherine just said. 

People in the courtroom couldn't help but gawk at this little information. The High House members looked intrigued by this sudden development. So far the way things were going, it seemed like Calhoun was the one responsible for it, but now the needle had gone back to point at Markus. 

Calhoun took this opportunity to compel Catherine to speak more by saying, "Lady Catherine, can you tell the people in here that a day before the body was found in the backyard of Mr. Heathcliff's house, Lady Layla had visited your house." 

"Looks like we have one more person added into the line of suspects," commented the silver-haired man who sat with the rest of the High House members. His words put Catherine under an alert. She had come here to save James, but here she was now trying to save her own neck. 

"Was this filed by the magistrate?" asked Dimitri to Lilith, who the previous day before coming to the castle had tried to gather information regarding the case. 

"No, this was not registered," replied Lilith and Helena gave a look at her for her tardiness as not all the information had been gathered. 

Catherine felt her palms turn cold. She had to do something about this quickly and get her out of this little situation that she had dug for herself. Knowing how difficult it was to frame the King for her deeds, she decided to make up a lie, 

"She looked very distressed that day. Miss Layla, I mean. She wanted to speak something about Mr. Wilmot, but she didn't tell what it was and left the mansion right away." 

"Mr. Wilmot, you said you have never met or spoken to Miss Layla, but Miss Barnes says otherwise," stated Dimitri. 

Markus looked angry at the confusing predicament he was being put in, "I have never spoken to the deceased person! I told you already that it is the King and not me!" 

Calhoun said, "I told you I had nothing to do with it. My cousin just found it easy to blame me by connecting the dots around. I mean why would I sloppily place the body in the backyard when I could do other things?" 

"My King, we hope you use your words carefully," Helena frowned upon seeing Calhoun smile. 

"I said I could, but I didn't. Not that I did," said the King. 

With pursed lips, Helena turned back to look at Catherine, "What do you think Miss Layla wanted to say? You must have some idea if she came to you."

Catherine had made up the lie in the spur of the moment, something she was used to doing but the High House members preferred more details, which she didn't know how to spin. Instead of giving her neck, or giving James' neck, she decided to go with the obvious suspect like the rest of them, which was Markus Wilmot. And no one could go and question the dead, which made it easier to lie. 

"She didn't give me any more details than that. She was agitated," said Catherine, remembering the face of the girl when she had killed her, "I don't know anything more than that. The King is completely innocent as his name never came up during our conversation." 

Helena's eyes narrowed, and it didn't leave the young vampiress who was standing in front of her. She stared at each one of them, who were the suspects in the murder of the maid which Markus had brought up along with Miss Layla's murder. At first, it seemed like the compass was pointing at the King as he was the one who was related, which was why she had placed Calhoun on another trial. 

But with this girl who pointed her finger at Markus Wilmot, to say that Lady Layla was upset about something with him, it raised eyebrows. Not to forget, it now did look like Markus was trying to frame the King, blaming him. It was tricky, thought the woman in her mind. 

Helena then spoke, "Let us go with the majority of the vote from the High House to decide, who is guilty and who is not guilty. Even though Miss Barnes only arrived now, we will be putting her on trial." 

Madeline didn't know what that meant, and she asked Lucy who stood next to her, "What does that mean?" 

Lucy who had a frown on her face turned to look at Madeline, to whisper, "The majority of votes is something where each member in the seating will give their opinion on who is guilty and who is not. If the number of guilty is more," Lucy paused and then said, "That person will be set to execution."

  Hearing this, Madeline didn't know how far it was good. If the members of the High House didn't like the person, it would mean they could vote a person to be guilty, and that person would end up with a beheaded head. 

"Lady Catherine Barnes, you will be the first one to go through the judgement of votes," announced Dimitri. Catherine was unhappy with this sudden turn of events. She had come here to save and not to end up in trouble. Her lips pressed against each other, and unwillingly she came to stand next to Markus, without looking at him. 

"Weasley," Helena addressed the High House member who sat on the far corner.

The man said, "Not guilty." The person who sat next to him continued, 

"Not guilty." 

"Not guilty." 

"Guilty," came the words from the silver-haired man. Hearing this, Catherine's stomach dropped. 

"Not guilty." 

"Not guilty," said the last person sitting on the right side. Even Helena didn't find the girl to be guilty, but she had still put Catherine under trial for a fair judgement. 

Lucy whispered to Madeline, "Lady Catherine has been spared." 

"Miss Barnes, you can join the others," informed Dimitri and Catherine was more than happy to do that, "We will next have Markus Wilmot. Starting from the left." 

Madeline looked at the person named Weasley, who took more time to decide compared to the time he took to decide if Lady Catherine was guilty or not guilty. Murmuring went around the room, and with one word of Weasley, the courtroom fell silent again. 


The next person was Lilith, and she said, "Not Guilty." 

"Not guilty." 


That was two people on each side, thought Madeline to herself. Her eyes fell on Helena, who stared at Markus. In those spare seconds, Madeline turned her gaze towards Lady Rosamund who had mentioned not knowing about what Markus was doing, and even though her words were diplomatic, worry hung over the older vampiress' face. 

"Guilty," said Helena and even Markus who was holding his brave, prideful face until now, turned pale. 

"Guilty," Dimitri was the last one, and Markus staggered back from where he stood. 

"I wasn't the one to kill any of them!" Markus didn't give up, staring at the members of the High House with his eyes turning wider than usual. "This is not justice! You cannot execute me just because of this girl's lie!"

Even the little hope of him having an escape from this situation slipped through his fingers because of Lady Catherine who entered a few minutes ago. 

"The letter is enough to show the lies you have created with the maid by bribing her and trying to defame an innocent woman. You mentioned about the werewolf that the King kept in the dungeon but upon verification, nothing was found. Taking into consideration of what you said, and each members judgment, Markus Wilmot you are found to be guilty by the High House," Helena responded to Markus, who looked at her disbelief. 

All these years Markus had planned carefully, and today because of one mistake and Calhoun being one step ahead of him, it had thrown him to this situation. The throne had been stolen and he was now being charged for actions he wasn't responsible for. Anger consumed his thoughts, and he turned to look at Lady Catherine before jumping right at her. 

Markus caught hold of Catherine's neck, ready to tear it apart for the lies she spoke, "How dare you lie?! Tell them the truth! You are only saving the King!" he shouted, losing his temper. 

"Mr. Wilmot, let the lady go!" Helena ordered, but Markus was not ready to free Catherine's neck until she would tell the truth. Seeing Markus' unwillingness with the commotion that was taking place, Helena looked at one of her men, "Weasely." 

Just one word and Weasely had left from where he was standing to pull Markus away from Catherine. Both of Markus' arms were twisted, and he screamed in pain just by the mere touch of the High House member. With the verdict presented by the High House, Markus couldn't do anything but oblige. Weasley appeared to have some sort of hidden ability in him, which was inducing pain. 

Everyone looked at the scene shocked.

"Take him to the dungeon," ordered Helena, displeased by Markus' behaviour. Catherine had a look of shock on her face, and she held her neck with both her hands. 

With Markus who was taken away from the courtroom by force, people's eyes fell on the Catherine who broke down in confused tears. But the people's attention on her was short-lived as Dimitri cleared his throat for the final trial of the day. It was King Calhoun Hawthrone's turn now, and everyone couldn't help but wait in anticipation to hear what the High House members were going to say. 

Calhoun didn't have to be told to come to stand in the front as he was already there. 

"We will now be going through the proceedings of the King's trial if he was involved," announced Dimitri. One would have guessed that with Markus guilty and charged, Calhoun was free to go, but the High House members had other plans on their mind. 

This made Madeline worry if they somewhere suspected the King for today's issue or the one in the past. Markus was charged for the unethical behaviour of conjuring lies through with the maid and also disappearing her. 

Would Calhoun be held guilty? Especially with the way Dimitri told last night that they had their eyes were on him, anything could happen.

"Guilty," Lilith was the first one to start. Madeline also realized that the members were calling out their opinion randomly similar to Markus' trial. 

"Not Guilty," said Weasley. 

"Guilty," Dimitri stated. 

"Guilty," came the next opinion from the woman named Daphne. Madeline was sure that Daphne would have picked in favour of the King, but she was wrong. Four people and so far there were three against one. Her eyes moved to the next two people who were yet to give out their decision against the King. Madeline could tell by the look in Helena's eyes that she didn't believe Calhoun.

The woman looked wiser than the rest of the members, but with the previously past case which was reopened regarding the previous King and Queen's murder, was there a possibility for them to evict the King? 

"Not guilty," said the silver-haired man. 

The last decision was saved for Helena, who stared at Calhoun unblinkingly with her keen red eyes.

Helen then finally parted her lips to say, "...

Execution- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Anxiety by Kensuke Ushio


When Helena parted her lips to speak, everyone in the room had their eyes on her, and she said, "Not guilty." The people in the room cheered for the King and murmurs continued to go around the courtroom. 

"That is three guilty and three not guilty," stated Madeline, seeing Calhoun who hadn't lost his composure until the very end. 

"We don't know what is going to happen," answered Lucy, who looked genuinely worried for her family members. Markus had been put up for execution and she didn't want Calhoun to go through it too. Even though he was the King, the judgement of the High House was mostly absolute, and no one had ever gone against them until now. 

"It is a tie in the decision," said Helena loud enough for everyone to hear, "Because of this…" her words hung in the air to let the murmuring chatter die down and bring everyone's attention back to her. 

Madeline wondered if they would be holding another trial for another day. 

"We shall be dismissing the allegations against the King as he has proved to be worthy of his title. Announcing him to be not guilty as the accusations that were put by the guilty to be not true," on Helena's words, a faint smile appeared on Calhoun's lips. "Mr. Wilmot shall be executed tomorrow early in the morning in front of the public. The court is now dismissed." 

Madeline felt a sigh escape from her lips, and she couldn't tell how relieved she was. With the opinions turning out to be equal, the verdict could have turned to either guilty or not guilty. It seemed like in the end, the final decision was in Helena's hand. And as happy Madeline was with the turn of events, the same couldn't be told when it came to the Wilmot's and Beth who had a look of shock on her face. 

"The people can now leave from here, while we wrap things up here," Dimitri informed everyone and the ministers who had arrived at the scene along with the rest of the people of the castle started to head out of the room. 

Lady Rosamund and Sophie were the first one's to leave as Markus was going to be executed tomorrow and he needed to be saved! Lady Rosamund decided to bring her husband to speak to the King so that Calhoun would spare Markus' life. The High House might have delivered their verdicts, but what they had done was only give permission to execute the person. In the end, it was in the King's hands to go ahead with the execution. 

"Beth," Mrs. Harris called her daughter's name who appeared to be in far worse shock than anyone else in the room. Mrs. Harris placed her hand on her daughter's arm, "Beth, dear? Let's get back to our rooms." 

"No," whispered Beth, and she pushed her mother's hand away from her arm, "They cannot execute him just like that." 

Mrs. Harris' eyebrows had turned into a frown. She was aware of her daughter's fondness towards Markus, but the man was going to be beheaded because of treason. "You cannot go meet him now, Beth. There will be guards and other people-"

"I don't care!" Beth exclaimed and it gained Madeline and Lucy's attention who had been standing a few steps away from them. 

Madeline quickly left the place where she was standing until now to go and meet her sister. Though Markus was not the right man, Beth had taken a liking towards him, and her sister was breaking down now. 

"Beth?" Madeline spoke to her sister, "Let's go take a walk outside." 

But Beth was not interested in it. "Do something! Help him!" there were tears in her green eyes, "You cannot do this to me. Fix it. Please fix it!" 

Lucy, who had followed Madeline, said, "Lady Elizabeth, you should go to your room and rest." Lucy loved her relatives dearly but the treason that was designed against the King was done by Markus, who was the one to inform the High House. If he hadn't done it, this would have never happened. He could have spoken to brother Calhoun and resolved the matter, but instead of doing so, he had dragged the High House in it. She wasn't naive to not understand why something like this happened. 

"I-I need some time for myself," said Beth, tearing herself away from her family and people whom she knew to step out of the court. 

Madeline was about to follow her when Raphael stepped in front of her with a bow, "Allow me to handle it." 

"Okay," Madeline whispered, and Raphael took his leave to follow Beth. Her parents were the next to take their leave as this was a little too much to take in. Lucy placed an encouraging hand on Madeline's shoulder, and she walked away from there too. Everyone in the family were trying to digest the fact of what happened here, in the courtroom. 

When her eyes met Calhoun's, he offered her a smile. 

The people in the courtroom had started to disperse, and Calhoun walked to where she was, his strides long and proud.

"You should go take rest too," he suggested, but she shook her head. 

"I am fine," she replied, taking a look at the High House members. Madeline had been worried when the last members of the High House were supposed to give their word from their side. Calhoun raised his hand, tucking her hair behind her ear while openly displaying his affections in front of everyone. 

"King Calhoun," came the stern voice from Helena who walked towards him along with Dimtri who walked next to her. 

Calhoun gave a charming smile to the woman who didn't have a hint of a smile on her face. "Lady Helena. The last bit of the judgement was tricky," he said, his intelligent red eyes meeting the woman's eyes. He knew Helena for some time now, before he even took the position as the King of Devon, and with her body language, he was sure she was going to hold him to be guilty. 

"What changed your mind?" he asked her without holding back his thoughts. 

Helena's eyes didn't deter, "Don't think you are off the hook," she said, skipping his question to earn a smile from Calhoun. "This matter is not over." 

Madeline who had been relieved with the outcome now had a frown on her face. "It is only for today that I am letting you off with the current circumstances." The woman's eyes fell on Madeline, "Congratulations on the wedding that will be taking place in the next few days," she wished. 

"Thank you," Madeline replied. She then looked at Dimitri, who had outright called Calhoun to be guilty. With no facts, and with the number of years that had gone by, there was no concrete proof against Calhoun. The murder was something that had been closed, and there was no point in opening it as it would lead to nothing. 

"Are you staying back?" asked Calhoun politely as if Helena had not mentioned about her eyes still on Calhoun's actions. 

"I don't think there's any necessity of me to be here to witness your cousin's execution," stated Helena. 

"How unfortunate," Calhoun clicked his tongue, "I thought I could treat you to the castle's finest food. Also, with fine wine." 

Helena's eyes took in Calhoun's face. The young man she had met at first and the man he had grown into, the King had turned more handsome. The little residues of innocence had been discarded, and the smile he possessed right now was somewhere between charming and malicious. 

"I will take the whole bottle home with me. I like only my company," Helena responded to earn a chuckle from the King. 

"Theodore," Calhoun raised his hand, and the right-hand man of the King stepped forward, "Pick up one of the finest wines from the cellar and make sure it leaves with the Lady." 

Dimitri, who stood there, commented, "We should be careful of what we drink." 

"True," Calhoun agreed, "You never know if there's poison in something that you are consuming. Especially when you call someone to be guilty, the probability turns high. It must be hard for you when it comes to receiving gifts from others." 

Dimitri's eyes hardened at the King's words, "Are you trying to imply something, King Calhoun?" 

"I am?" Calhoun had an oblivious look on his face with his eyebrows raised before he cracked a smile. "I was speaking about gifts. Unfortunately today, Lady Helena is the only one who will be taking it home."

"You should be careful with your words, my King. You never know when they can be used against you," Dimitri warned Calhoun. 

"You don't have to feel bad about not receiving the bottle of wine, Dimitri. If you want, we can arrange one for you," Dimitri frowned at Calhoun. 

Dimitri knew Calhoun was in the wrong and he had something to do with the murder. Today was the day where he could have been put the King under further trial, but because of the opinions turning to a tie, his effort had turned back to square one. The King screamed danger, someone who wouldn't hold back in doing things his way and it was because when Calhoun had ascended the throne, he had changed every structure in the village and in the towns, replacing everything in the land the way he wanted it, to get the land under his own control. 

There was something very off about him too, thought Dimitri in his mind because no matter what status a vampire belonged to, they had come to fear the members of the High House, but Calhoun Hawthrone liked to do the opposite. 

When the time came to leave, Theodore brought the bottle of wine to the carriage where Helena stood next to the carriage door. The other High House members had already stepped into their carriage, and the one's at the front had left. 

"What changed your mind?" asked Calhoun, his eyes curiously looking at her. He was well aware that Helena wanted to call him guilty just like Dimitri and the others. 

"I thought it should be a fair trial," replied Helena, "I know Lilith called you guilty because of her feelings towards you. And I prefer people don't bring up their emotions when it comes to judgement." 

Calhoun nodded. Helena was balancing the unfairness that took place during his trial. 

There weren't many people in this world like her, someone who tried to be fair and honest. People like those often hit the dust sooner than the rest because of the low chance of survival amid the cunning men and women, thought Calhoun to himself. 

Helena was ready to get into the carriage when Calhoun said, "Your judgement was fair today, but you let one of the culprits free." The woman's eyebrows furrowed on his words, wondering if he was speaking about himself until she saw him look in the direction where Catherine Barnes stood. 

"Would you care to elaborate?" asked Helena, raising her eyebrows. 

"If I did all the work, people in the High House will be jobless. Have a safe journey," wished Calhoun before turning around and walking up the stairs, where Madeline was waiting for him. 

Madeline saw the carriages leave one after another, the last one being Helena Shawe's carriage. Her eyes then shifted to see Calhoun walking up the stairs. 

"Everything alright?" she asked him.

"Everything is perfect," Calhoun gave her a crooked smile. It seemed like in the entire castle, he was the only person who was in a good mood while everyone else was worried about what was going to happen tomorrow. 

Madeline wondered what else was going to take place today as the day was not over yet, and there was still time for Markus' execution. 

"Did you know, you would be spared today?" Madeline asked him. 

Calhoun didn't answer her, but his smile did broaden on his face, and she wondered what that meant. 
Execution- Part 2

When the guards had dragged Markus, it was the most humiliating thing he had ever experienced. To be pulled and dragged out of the court like he was the criminal when in truth, he wasn't the one who was responsible for both the maid as well as Lady Layla's death. His hands had not been freed nor were his legs. He now stood in the cell that was surrounded by iron bars. 


"Mother!" exclaimed Markus upon seeing his mother, who came to stand in front of the cell room, "You need to speak with the members of the High House again! You and I both know that it wasn't me who did it." 

Rosamund's eyebrows furrowed as she said, "Sophie has gone to inform your father so that he can go and speak to Dimitri and Hudson to request for another trial." 

Markus shook his head, "Nothing is going to happen. You need to expose Calhoun, this very instant!" He had attended enough trials that were conducted by the High House to know what was going to happen to him, that there was no hope. 

"Don't give up hope, Markus. We still have time until tomorrow morning," Rosamund then continued, "If they cannot do anything, I have another way for it." Rosamund also had the key which could open the dungeon locks. She could get rid of the guards and then free Markus by putting the blame on the guards. That way, her son would still be alive. 

"Where is the werewolf?!" demanded Markus. He had seen it right in here! The werewolf was there with the tailorman, but they said they never found anything in here. That was not possible!

"I don't know. Calhoun must have hidden the werewolf somewhere," whispered Rosamund. She had got her own people to snoop around, but none of them had found anything, "Someone is coming. I will come back later," she quickly said before leaving Markus behind in the cell. 

To Rosamund her children were important, and at the same time, they were also a way to get to the throne. She had done everything one could do in her position to make her way towards the throne. She was the daughter of the previous to the former King of Devon! If only Markus had not run away yesterday in between the trial! But the error had already been made, and the only way to fix this was sending a request for another trial or helping Markus escape from the dungeon. 

On her way, she saw Beth near the gate of the dungeon, ready to make her way inside to meet her son. Not sparing another glance over the human, she walked past her. 

Beth was hurt when Lady Rosamund didn't look at her. The guards didn't stop her seeing how Lady Rosamund didn't question her presence in front of the dungeon. Her eyes anxiously searched for Markus until she caught sight of him standing in the corner of the cell. Her footsteps increased its pace, and she went around to stand near him. 

"Are you doing, okay? What is going to happen?" Beth asked, her voice anxious. 

Markus was in no mood to have Beth around him, and he looked irritated by her presence. There were other things that were occupying his mind right now, and he didn't have the time to deal with her, especially not with someone who was of no help.

"What are you doing here?" Markus asked in a cold tone which he had never used on Beth until now. She was slightly taken aback by his tone, but she brushed it away, believing it was because of his current condition. 

"I came here to see if you were doing alright," came Beth's innocent words, "I have asked Madeline to help."

"Your sister won't do anything, Elizabeth," said Markus, "She will do what the King says. The King wants me dead. I didn't even kill those people. It was the King who trapped me." 

Beth, who was unaware of the details between the King and Markus, asked, "Why would he do that? Do you think if I asked him, he would let you free? Tell me what I can do, to get you out of here." 

Markus stared at Beth's face, calculating if she could be of any use. Would she kill herself for his sake? Would that have her sister to coax Calhoun to stop the execution? But he knew what kind of person Beth was. He had moulded her carefully, making her dance to his tunes, and it was time to take advantage of it. 

"Do you remember what I said in the carriage last time?" Markus questioned Beth, and she nodded. "The King won't stop my execution, the only other way is to tumble the crown. Bring it down." Seeing how Beth was still trying to follow what he meant, he whispered, "There's a little bottle in the second room of the West Wing, a black bottle that is hidden in between the books. I need you to serve it to the King, through your sister's hands." 

"What does the bottle contain?" questioned Beth. 

Markus looked around to make sure no one was near to eavesdrop on their conversation, "It is a poison that can freeze a vampire's heart and put them into a frozen state of sleep. If your sister gives it, the King will surely drink it."

"But how is that going to be of any use?" It wasn't like it was going to kill the King. 

"When a vampire consumes that liquid, they go into sleep, and it takes days for them to get out of sleep. All you have to do is, get the King to drink it and then let people know that the crown has fallen. This way, my execution will be put on hold." And even if someone found it, the blame would fall on Madeline or on Beth, which Markus didn't go to explain to her. 

Beth wanted to help Markus to come out of this situation, but she didn't know if she was brave enough to go and poison the King. She saw Markus look at her with hope and Beth bit her lip. 

"What if the situation can be fixed by talking to the King?" asked Beth and Markus let out a dry laugh.

"If the King wanted to save me, he would have done it by now by coming down here. He is not here, Elizabeth. We have only a few hours, and you need to do it quickly," Markus stepped closer to her and placed his hand on hers that was holding the iron rods, "You are the only person I can trust and believe in. No one else." 

Beth finally gave him a nod, and left the cell. When she stepped out of the dungeon, she took a turn away from there to hear,

"Don't do it." 

Her head snapped around to see the shabby-looking man standing near a tree as if he was waiting for her to come out. 

"What?" asked Beth.

"Whatever Mr. Wilmot asked you to do, don't do it," said Raphael. 

"He didn't ask me anything," Beth's face turned hard. She doubted this man had heard anything Markus said and was only making it look like he had heard them speak, when in truth he had not even entered the dungeon. 

Raphael responded to this, "I once had a neighbour who wanted to jump down from the cliff as it was his last dying wish. But then he died before he even reached the cliff," he gave her a kind smile and then said, "I know dying people often have ridiculous wishes. Which is why I said not to heed to it."

Beth wanted to tell that Markus was not going to die, but instead of wasting her time by arguing with this man, she bowed her head and went back inside the castle. 

Seeing Beth leave, Raphael's eyes moved back to the dungeon, and he made his way through the dark passage after letting the guards know that he was here on the King's word. 

"Good evening, Sir Markus," Raphael greeted Markus who looked annoyed with his next visitor. He wanted to get out of this place and save his life, but instead, he was being humiliated.

Raphael pulled out the cards from his pocket, spreading it out in his hand and bringing it forward so that Markus would pick one of it.

"I thought you would be bored and would like to play." 
Execution- Part 3


Elizabeth didn't reside in the castle, but with the little number of days she had spent in here, she had tried to cover as many places as she could with Markus, and sometimes without his company. Living in a place like this was what she had dreamt about in the past and now in the present, but she would have never guessed that there would be these many conspiracies placed against each other. 

For as long as Beth remembered, she was ambitious, and she didn't see it to be a bad thing. Unlike Madeline, who was shy, she had always been open with her thoughts of what and how she wanted, and she didn't see it to be a terrible attitude. Everyone had goals and motives in their lives, and hers was to have a comfortable and generous lifestyle. 

Raphael had not heard anything, said Beth to herself. If he did, he would have gone to the King by now. All she had to do was follow what Markus had told her to do. Calhoun was a smart King, and if she tried to offer him the drink, the man would positively make her drink the poison. The best option was to have Madeline do it. 

Reaching the room in the West Wing of the castle without anyone's notice, she started to look for the bottle in the room. Finding it, she quickly put it in her skirt pocket and left the room. 

"Where is Beth?" asked Madeline who was on the other side of the castle in the guest room where her parents were in. After speaking to Calhoun, she had decided to check on her sister Beth in her room, only to find it to be empty. 

"Is she not in her room?" asked her mother. Madeline frowned, wondering if Beth went to meet Markus in the dungeon. "Is he really going to be executed tomorrow?" questioned her mother in a worried tone. 

"That's what the High House has decided. That Mr. Wilmot will be beheaded not only for killing the maid but also for trying to conspire against the King," answered Madeline. 

"What is going to happen to Beth? She must be feeling devastated right now with the news," her mother let out an exhaustive sigh from her lips. This was something even Madeline was worried about, which was why she had come looking for Beth. 

"Coming here to the castle was not a good idea," whispered her father, shaking his head in the process, "This place is not for people like us. We don't belong here. And that man, I knew something was not right," said her father, speaking about Markus, "You should not have coaxed Beth." 

"Me?" her mother looked taken aback, "I didn't do anything. I was only trying to comply with her wishes and see what was best for her."

Her father rubbed his forehead, "No, this entire thing. Nor would we have attended the ball, nor would Madeline or Beth have witnessed something like this situation and gore that is going to take place tomorrow. Beth will be shattered tomorrow when Markus dies." 

"I was doing what was best for our daughters. I am their mother, and I wanted them to live a better and peaceful life-"

"That's enough," interrupted Madeline, and both her parents stopped arguing. "I just wanted to know if you knew where Beth is." 

Her father looked at her with a passive expression on his face. All these years, Madeline had been closer to her father than her mother because they somewhat shared similar interests in things around them, while Beth shared a lot of similar qualities with her mother. But since Madeline had found out about who she was, and about her grandparents, an invisible wall had appeared between her and her father. The people whom she loved had turned to strangers because of the untold secrets. 

"I will go find her," said Madeline, taking her leave from her parent's room. 

Mrs. Harris saw the door shut, and she said, "You cannot speak to her like that anymore. She favours the King." 

"He is a bad influence on her," replied Mr. Harris, "There is a reason why our kind doesn't get too close to other creatures, especially the vampires who have no moral values. You said she broke something."

"That's what she said. It was supposed to rest, wasn't it?" asked Mrs. Harris. 

Mr. Harris knew this was a bad omen. Something terrible was going to happen again just like many other times in the past. "Should we request the King to give his permission to take her back home for two days?"

"And do what?" 

"I can ask my parents to come and take a look at her. To see if there's any need to do something." The King had mentioned that Madeline and Beth's grandparents would arrive here at the castle, but so far, there was no news about them visiting the castle. 

Mrs. Harris walked to her husband and asked, "Do you think it might trigger Beth too?" 

"It should have happened years ago. But Beth has turned normal like us," answered Mr. Harris.

"Everything will be alright," Mrs. Harris assured her husband, even though deep down she knew there was no way to fix something that was broken years ago. 

Madeline, who was looking for Beth, finally found her sitting in the inside gardens of the castle, all alone by herself. Beth appeared to be staring at nothing in particular and with a sad expression on her face. 

Walking to where Beth was sitting, Madeline took a seat next to her sister. 

"What am I going to do, Maddie?" questioned Beth to her, "I came so close to getting married to someone I like, and look what happened. Why is this happening to me? Why is he being executed." She turned to place her hands on Madeline's hands, "He didn't do it, Maddie. He didn't kill those women. Please believe me," she said in an anxious tone. 

Madeline knew it wasn't done by Markus, and Calhoun had framed his cousin because the man had gone to accuse and tried to trap the King. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she was aware of the fact that she was staying silent and helping someone who had actually killed people. But Calhoun was not the one who killed Lady Layla. 

"It was the High House members decision. They gave their verdict," Madeline tried to make Beth understand as she doubted her sister would listen if she said that Markus was not a good man. 

"He is the King. The King can do anything. Markus is his cousin, and if you tell him, he will listen to you and stop the execution. Because of the sisterhood we share, ask him!" Beth cried in frustration. 

"I am so sorry, Beth," Madeline didn't know what to do right now because this was what she wanted, for Beth to stay away from Markus. Was it wrong that she didn't feel any remorse? She didn't know what would happen tomorrow, but today, she was glad that it wasn't Calhoun who was framed and Beth's feelings that was not going to be hurt by the Wilmot's. 

Sitting closer, Madeline put her hands around Beth's shoulders for a hug and patted her back. 

"Will you make that drink for me? The one you used to make back in our house," Beth asked Madeline. 

Pulling away, Madeline nodded her head, "Let me go get it right away." 

"Let me come with you," offered Beth, who had sadness in her eyes. 

Madeline didn't refuse, and both the sisters went to the kitchen of the castle. Though there were servants to do the work, Beth insisted on drinking the juice which was made only by Madeline. Madeline made four glasses out of which one she drank, and the other two was gulped down by Beth, leaving one lone glass that was untouched. When Madeline was speaking to one of the servants in the kitchen, Beth took the opportunity to slip in the liquid to the glass. 

By the time Madeline turned around, Beth said, "I should go back to my room and rest. My head has been hurting," and before leaving, she said, "You should offer it to the King. I know he will like it, like the rest." 

Madeline nodded her head, and she was about to pick up the glass from the slab when Raphael entered the kitchen, "What is that you have in there in your hand, Lady Madeline?" Beth gritted her teeth, seeing who it was. Was he following her?!

"This is an orange juice that has spices added to it," answered Madeline with a small smile. She offered, "Do you want to drink it?" 

Beth's eyes widened, and she quickly said, "He can have another drink made by the servant's. Things that are made by your hands should be given only to close people." To Beth, Raphael was nothing less to an annoying fly that kept hovering around her. 

"Beth!" Madeline went to scold her because of her impolite words to Mr. Sparrow. 

"What?" Beth asked. 

Raphael's eyes crinkled as he smiled, "How can I refuse when you are the one who is asking me," and he took the glass offered by Madeline in his hand. Beth's expression fell from her face, and before she could pull herself up, Raphael drank every single drop of the juice and placed the glass back on the slab. "It was a wonderful drink," he complimented and stepped out of the kitchen. 

Beth wanted to harm the King only because he was the reason why Markus was going to be beheaded tomorrow. But that didn't mean she wanted to hurt someone innocent, but what if it was an idiot?

There was only one bottle of poison, and that was consumed by the homeless-looking man! What was she supposed to do now?! Leaving Madeline behind, she quickly tailed Raphael, Beth didn't know what she should do. The poison was meant to freeze a vampire's body and put them to sleep, but Raphael was not a vampire. At least that is what she gathered by his eyes as they were black. 

Raphael had moved to another corridor and Beth followed him, her hands wringing each other. Should she perhaps go back to her room and behave like she knew nothing? But before she could decide, Raphael fell on the ground, and she cursed herself while walking up to where he was. 

"Mr. Sparrow?" called Beth. There were other things she had to do than babysit this grown man. 

With her finger, she pushed the man's arm but he didn't react. Did he die? Beth turned behind her to see if she could see someone and get help. It wasn't like anyone would suspect she did anything to him. But when she turned around, her eyes came to look at the empty corridor. 

Beth looked around and she then heard, "You passed the test." And she turned back to see Raphael standing right in front of her. He placed his finger on her forehead. Within a second, Beth fell unconscious. 

Madeline had followed Beth when her sister had dashed out of the kitchen, wondering where Beth was going, and in time, she caught Mr. Sparrow carrying Beth in his arms. 

"What happened to her?" asked Madeline in deep concern. 


Madeline looked down at Beth's face and then back at Raphael. He said, "The process of going to read through her memories will take time, and this seemed like the perfect time to do it." 

"How long does it take?" asked Madeline. 

"Nearly thirty hours is needed for her to slip into her deep subconscious state and it will also give her mind the time to calm," replied Raphael, "Once she's reached that state, going through her memories will be easy." 

This meant it would take the same amount of time for her to check her own memories, thought Madeline to herself. 

"I will take her to her room," and Raphael left the corridor with Beth. 
Execution- Part 4

Music Recommendation: The Execution by Paul Cantelon


Upon the night's arrival, Calhoun walked through the passage of the dungeon as he made his way to where Markus was held in the cell room. It had been barely a few hours since Markus was kept in here, and he already looked like his soul had left his body. 

"Did you come here to mock me?" questioned Markus.

"About what?" Calhoun feigned ignorance with a straight expression on his face until it finally cracked into a grin. "You are right, I did come to mock you. But more importantly, I thought I should return this to you." He put his hand in his trouser pocket to pull out a small bottle and threw it at Markus, who caught it. 

Markus gritted his teeth upon seeing the same bottle which he had asked Beth to use on the King. By its weight in his hand, he could tell it was empty. 

"I thought you were smarter than this, Markus. You disappoint me in so many ways. All you had to do is ask," said Calhoun, putting both his hands back in his trouser pockets. 

"Would you have left the throne if I did?" 

Calhoun tsked, "I would have told you to move on from the feelings that you and your family have had over the throne for so many years. How does it feel? To be stuck in your trap that you thoughtfully placed it for me?" 

"You might kill me tomorrow, but that doesn't mean things will sail smoothly from now on," Markus threw the bottle down on the ground. He walked towards one side of the iron rods where he could look at Calhoun closely. "My family is going to make sure you will not rest in peace until they are done with you." 

"That's alright. I don't sail in the sea but walk on the land. Thanks for the caution though," the smile on Calhoun's lips broadened, "You should have thought twice before conspiring against me. Treason never sits well with anyone. If your family does anything, they will receive the same end as our dear grandmother did and you know how she died. Poor little thing." 

"You bastard!" Markus tried to push both the iron rods away from each other so that he could step out of this cell and kill Calhoun. "You were never meant to be the King. A son of a whore who slept with half of the village and nearby town, for money."

The smile on Calhoun's face didn't fade, "If you think that is going to make me angry and want to kill you, it doesn't. I have heard it so many times that I have turned deaf to it. Maybe you didn't know who my mother was, but I do. I wonder how grandmother would feel now that her beloved grandson is going to hit the dust next. Your father went to speak to the High House, but what do you think is going to happen?" he gave a pause and said, "Nothing."

Markus knew it, and that is what frustrated him. He had hoped at least the human would be of any use, but she had failed.

"How sly of you to ask Elizabeth to do your dirty work, instead of your mother," Calhoun clicked his tongue, "Is there anything you would like to say before you die?" 

"When did Catherine decide to go along with your lie?" demanded Markus. He still had hope until the very last thread, but Catherine had taken that away too. 

"I didn't tell her anything. But I hoped she would," smiled Calhoun. He then yawned, "I had a very long day and tomorrow is something I have been looking forward to. Have some good sleep, Markus. I will be right outside so that you uon't feel lonely." 

Markus glared at Calhoun, but the King didn't bother to look back, and he walked away from there. 

Late at night, Rosamund came to the dungeon gate, trying to get it open which was closed and there were no guards around. She pushed the key that she had with her into the lock, trying to turn it around, but it didn't work. The last time Rosamund had used it with ease. Realizing she couldn't open it, she decided to break the gates open.

"It won't work." 

Rosamund was quick to turn to see Calhoun, who was standing not too far away from where she stood. She hid the key she was holding. 

"I got the locks changed to a newer one after I realized one of the keys went missing from the set of keys I found in the East Wing that comes after the cellar room. Did you perhaps steal from it? You should throw that key of yours as it's of no use," informed Calhoun to see Rosamund's face harden at his words, "If you wanted to visit Markus, all you had to do was let me know. I am not so cruel to stop a mother from seeing her son, who is going to die in a few hours." 

"You are cruel enough to let him die," said Rosamund, her eyes staring at Calhoun.

"One or two mistakes can be forgiven, but when they are repeated, it is necessary to draw a line. Even if it means putting an end to a person's life," replied Calhoun, "We could have lived peacefully, but bloody ambitious people never let us live in peace. Do they?" he shook his head in disappointment. 

"How dare you try to frame him when he is innocent-" 

"Rude," Calhoun cut Rosamund's words, "You should be glad that you aren't in there with him. Or is it your wish to join him in tomorrow's execution? It will be an easy run if I say that you tried to help Markus escape from the dungeon. Going against the High House, I wonder."

Calhoun's expression then turned serious, the smile on his lips falling. 

"I don't like repeating myself, but hopefully this little act of yours wanting to get back at me will stop. Unless you don't care about yourself or your family, let's consider it to be even. For what you did to my mother and what she had to go through. If you try to pull something again, you will not even have a trial to save yourself," warned Calhoun, his eyes darkening as he spoke every word clear enough for her to hear. 

Calhoun knew what happened in the castle during the time his mother was living as his father's mistress, and how Rosamund and her mother got his mother kicked from the castle. He liked keeping account of every action and detail, making sure to return it in twice the amount. Markus would have been an easy kill because of his stupidity, but the pleasure he found in seeing Rosamund anxious and desperate now, it soothed his soul. 

When the rays of the sun touched the ground, bringing light to the land of Devon, carriages left from many houses and from the castle to witness the execution that was going to take place today in the nearby town. To a lot of ordinary people, the execution gave a sense of excitement and fear as it wasn't often a royal family member to be beheaded. To the family members, their hearts were filled with dread because of the loss that was going to take place in an hour. 

The scaffold was ready, and so were the spectators, waiting for the imprisoner who was guilty to be brought on the platform. 

Madeline stood next to Calhoun, her eyes followed the carriage that now arrived not too far away from the scaffold, where everyone were waiting. The guards got down, and Markus was pulled by them. The chains around his hands and legs made noise with every step he took, and for a moment, Madeline felt her heart go still by the scene in front of her. 

The Wilmot's put on a brave face, standing at the side and watching Markus being dragged up the stairs of the scaffold. He had been reduced from a nobleman to a criminal. Mr. Wilmot had tried to get a hold of the High House members last night, in the hope that they could reconsider their verdict but the people had already left, and no attempt could be made to change their mind. 

"Execution of Markus Wilmot for the treason he committed against our King and for the involvement of murdering two young women," announced a man who stood on the scaffold. 

When it came to greeting death, many brave people shook in front of it. Especially people with ambition, who came to realize their dreams shattered and Markus was no different from them. 

Markus was made to sit on his knees, and his eyes moved in the direction where the royal family stood. His eyes met his mother's. Madeline saw the executioner pull out a sword, it's color different from the normal ones. The blade was made of silver, something that was often used to harm the vampires. 

The executioner pulled his hands far away from Markus before driving it back towards Markus' neck. Madeline didn't wait to see the beheading as she turned her eyes away from Markus. She and the others didn't stand too far away from the scaffold, which was why she heard the sound of the head first fall on the platform before the body fell slack. 

Some people stayed behind, while some left. Calhoun placed a hand on Madeline's back as if an indication that they were leaving. 

"H-how could you do it to him," asked Lady Rosamund seeing Calhoun and Madeline starting to leave. Her eyes held unshed tears, "Have you no heart," she spoke the words through gritted teeth. 

Calhoun paused his footsteps, looking at Rosamund who looked devasted, "I don't. I forgot to give you this," he said taking a scroll from Theodore and handing it to Rosamund.

"What is this?" she asked, a confused glare passing through her expression and she opened it to read. "You cannot do this!" she exclaimed after reading the first two lines. 

"You will no longer be allowed to enter the castle, nor speak to any of the family members. And the name that you have been so proud about, I strip it away today and turn you to nothing less to common people," stated Calhoun. 

Lady Rosamund's eyes turned wide, and she said, "I will reclaim it ba-" 

Calhoun took a step forward towards her, "Don't forget who you are speaking to, Rosamund," his threat was clear in his voice, "Your family has caused enough trouble. Unless you want to join your son right this instant, refrain from acting rashly."

Rosamund shook in anger along with her husband next to her. They had not only lost their son moments ago, but Calhoun was even taking their status and reducing them to an average family. She wanted to speak, but she knew what consequences her words would bring to her. In hate, Rosamund turned her eyes to Madeline. 

Before Rosamund's hand could get to Madeline, Calhoun had stepped in the front, and he held the woman's neck. 

"Don't. Even. Think. About it," warned Calhoun, glaring down at Rosamund. 
The walk- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Friedrich Dances with Jo by Alexandre Desplat

(Happy Thanksgiving!)


Madeline had not expected Rosamund to try to get to her. She stood behind Calhoun, who held the woman's neck in his hand. 

Calhoun hadn't stopped glaring at Rosamund. "I have given you enough warnings to stay away from me and from the people I care for. And as much as I want to see you die, I can't think of a better punishment for you, than you living a life of poverty like the people you so much looked down upon."

"Kill me then," Rosamund spoke through gritted teeth, "Kill me the way you have killed your mother, your father, the Queen mother and also Lucy's mother. It doesn't matter how many times you kill someone, because the thirst that you feel from what you are, it will never end." 

Calhoun pushed Lady Rosamund's neck to have her stagger back, and her husband caught her. 

"We are your family, my Lord," said Mr. Wilmot, and even though he addressed Calhoun using his title, one could tell that Mr. Wilmot struggled to address Calhoun as the Lord.

"Families don't hurt or wish ill towards each other, uncle. Markus was sentenced to his death only because of his treason. At the same time, I am sparing your lives not because it means something to me," Calhoun stopped speaking, turning to look at Lucy who stood not too behind.

With everything that was going on, Lucy was left behind to see the family she thought that was together which was breaking right in front of her now. She stood there shocked, unable to move or react as she had never imagined she would be seeing something like this one day. The young vampiress had never expected her parents to be murdered, nor did she expect Markus to be beheaded one day. 

"You should practice what you preach," said Lady Rosamund, her eyes filled with nothing but hate towards Calhoun and the girl who stood next to him. Turning to Lucy, she said, "One day he will also kill you in the name of treason. Mark my words."

Rosamund and her family left to walk towards the front of the scaffold where Markus's body laid cold and unmoving. 

Madeline could see the torn expression that Lucy held on her face. She heard Samuel ask,

"Do you want to stay back, Lucy?" He came near her as if he was the most concerned person around her—the perfect husband in public. At the same time, Madeline's eyes fell on Theodore, who held a passive expression on his face, no emotion passing through his features. 

"Madeline and I will be going back home," Calhoun announced, giving Lucy a choice to stay if she wanted so that she could mourn her cousin's death. 

Sitting in the carriage, on their way back to the castle, after some time, Madeline asked Calhoun, "What if they try, to tell the truth to Lucy? About her parent's death."

"Truth can be hidden only until a certain point of time. So far, we have been carefully watching what reaches her ears, and most of them were always brushed away by her because of the love she has for me. But one day she will find out," replied Calhoun, "It is an inevitable truth. Hopefully, when time comes, she will have the heart to forgive me. What would you do?" 

"About what?" Madeline frowned in question. 

Calhoun moved to a much more comfortable seating position, and he said, "If you were to one day find out that I slaughtered your family, whom you believe to be loving and innocent. How would you feel about it?" 

Her eyes wandered at the front of the carriage before it went back to Calhoun, "I would be shattered. That someone whom I trusted all these years was the one to betray me. To steal my family and once peaceful life." 

Hearing her reply, Calhoun hummed, "That is what will happen then. Who knows, Lucy might cut ties and prefer to have my dear aunt next to her." 

"But they are not the right people to stay around her." She was no one to decide it, but Madeline somewhere felt close to Lucy for who she was, and the way she lived. It was like they were almost sisters, sharing most of the common things while enjoying each other's company. Lucy was already hurt by her husband's action. 

"Lucy is old enough, she should know and understand what is right or what is wrong for her," stated Calhoun, he turned his head to look at the passing scenery of trees. "And if someone feels like she needs to be sheltered, they can go ahead to do it." 

The frown on Madeline's forehead deepened by these words. 

"The only person I need to protect is you, Madeline," said Calhoun, his hand reaching out to hers that was on the seat. "In the past, I couldn't save or help my mother, but I can do that to you."

Calhoun had wished many times of how he could fix certain things, things that could have reduce the burden on his mother, and he felt—wondering if his mother would still be alive if she was well taken care of. The men who often showed up to use her, those men were nowhere near her when she was sick and lying in her bed. 

When the time had arrived, his mother had turned dull. Her eyes had lost the spark, and she could barely get out the bed. It was like she caught a disease that had started to spread throughout her body. At that time, they were still living a life of poverty and barely surviving to keep a roof over their head. The men who used her had suddenly stopped coming after hearing about her condition, not even one person came forth to provide any comfort. Instead, people prayed for the woman to die. 

Calhoun could still hear the painful groans coming from his mother's lips as the pain was wrecking her body. It was the longest time where he hadn't stepped out of the house because he was making sure his mother was well-tended. So that she wouldn't feel alone, like the time when his father had abandoned her like a broken doll. 

His thoughts went to the last few days when his mother was still alive, writhing in pain and not eating anything that was given to her. It was more like she couldn't digest what she was eating as she threw up blood. In the end, he had decided to let his mother pass away in peace without going through more pain as it didn't seem like she would get any better. 

"I won't let any harm befall on you," he promised Madeline, his eyes met her brown ones. 

"I know you won't," she whispered. At least, she had understood so much about Calhoun. The chill that had run down her body hadn't left, and she remembered the last expression that Markus held on his face. 

"And this holds even to your sister, Madeline. I might look over certain things, but if she tries to do anything to you, I will be merciless to her and this includes your parents," Calhoun's words were firm, and they left no room for any argument. 

"Beth is still sleeping," replied Madeline. Her sister had been asleep since yesterday, and she was glad that Beth missed Markus' execution. 

"I know," responded Calhoun, "Raphael told me what happened. For some reason, he's taken a liking towards her." 

Madeline did sense that, but her sister didn't take too kindly of Raphael's presence around her. She knew it was because of the way Raphael looked and compared to Markus, he looked homeless.

"Your sister was following Markus' instruction on wanting to poison me," came the nonchalant words from Calhoun and this had Madeline instantly worried. Beth was lucky that she was sleeping right now, and if Madeline had not spoken about wanting to see her sister's memories, she didn't know what Calhoun would do to her, "I would have considered her to be smart, but your sister is as stupid as my cousin. One sheep following another sheep to jump into the well." 

Thinking back on what happened last evening, Madeline remembered Beth asking her to make the juice and then telling her to give it to Calhoun. Her lips pursed at the thought of Beth having mixed poison in the glass of juice, which was later drunk by Raphael. 

"Markus didn't know that I am different from him and not a regular vampire. Poison meant for vampires, they have little to no effect on us demons," explained Calhoun. 

"I will talk to her," Madeline decided it was high time for Beth to fix her ways, instead of staying in bad company and perception of life. 

"Don't." Madeline didn't understand why she shouldn't. "I will talk to her. You are too soft on her. I will tell it to her nicely," Calhoun offered Madeline an assuring smile, but Madeline hoped Beth wouldn't cause any more damage than what she had done so far. When they reached the castle, she met her parents, who had a look of worry on their face. 

"Did it get over?" asked her mother in worry. 

Madeline gave her a nod, "Lucy will be returning later, I think."

"What about the Wilmot's?" her mother asked as Calhoun had taken his leave to attend the court.

"They won't be visiting the castle anymore," replied Madeline to see her mother release a shuddered breath.

Her father had a constant look of worry since Markus had escaped and had been caught. "Beth is still asleep," he said to have Madeline nod her head. 

With Beth sleeping, Madeline was sure that her parents would ask her about her sister. Therefore, she had made up a lie about Beth being sick and wanting to rest where she would be tended by the maids. But she could see the look of doubt in her parent's eyes, that they knew something was up. 

"I will go check on her now," said Madeline before leaving for her sister's room. 

Reaching the room, Madeline stepped inside and then locked the door behind her. Beth was sleeping on the bed peacefully, and it made Madeline wonder how much Beth would have despised her for not stopping Calhoun to lift the death sentence that was given to Markus. She walked towards her sister, taking a seat next to her on the bed. 

Madeline placed her hand on Beth's hand to feel the coldness of her skin. If she didn't see her sister's chest moving gently, she would have been worried.

While pulling the blanket to cover her sister so that she wouldn't catch a cold, she felt static form on the tips of her fingers. 

What was that? Madeline asked herself.
The walk- Part 2

Getting up from the bed, Madeline stared at her hand. When she went to touch Beth's hand again, a cut formed on Beth's skin and she quickly retracted her hand to her side. 

A drop of blood seeped out from Beth's hand to trail down and soak itself on the white blanket which Madeline was trying to pull and adjust. Madeline, who was stunned didn't move an inch for five seconds, before she took one step back at a time, before darting out of the room. 

Her feet were quick that ran through the corridors before making its way to the courtroom as she knew where Calhoun was. Looking at Madeline's anxious look, Calhoun handed the file which he was holding to the minster and walked to where she was. 

"Is everything alright?" asked Calhoun, seeing her standing at the entrance stiffly. 

"B-Beth. I-I think I think something is happening," she confessed to him, "To me." 

Calhoun went to place a hand on Madeline's shoulder, but she took a step away so that his hand would not reach her. The little action had his eyes narrowed, but he kept his patience, wanting to know what had turned her jittery at the moment. 

"Beth's room," informed Madeline. 

Calhoun gave her a nod. Turning around, he said to the minister, "We will continue the discussion later." 

"Yes, milord!" 

Calhoun followed Madeline to the guest room where Beth was sleeping, and when he stepped inside, he saw Madeline's sister sleeping on the bed with her eyes closed. 

"Her hand," Madeline informed him, and Calhoun walked around the bed to examine Beth's hand. On one of her hands, a thick red line had formed that accumulated blood, "I was making her blanket proper for her when it happened."

He left Beth's side and turned to Madeline who looked scared, "It is just a line, Maddie." But Madeline shook her head.

"I think it's happening," she whispered to him, "What my grandparents were speaking about. It's going to happen, and I am going to end up killing someone." 

Calhoun wanted to comment something on it, but he refrained from saying something that would upset her now. "Stop," he said, noticing how she was about to take a step back when he took one towards her, "Give me your hand," he said, stretching it out for her to take. 

Madeline stared into his eyes with doubt in her eyes. Somewhere it warmed Calhoun to know that she had come so far with her feelings for him, "I am a demon. Nothing will happen," he assured her. 

Her hand clenched tightly before she lifted it to place it on his hand. She could feel the heat between their touch and her eyes furrowed, "Your palm is burning!" She went to pull it away, but Calhoun only held it tighter. 

It was as if his palm was on fire, leaving burns which he didn't mind. It was similar to the time when he had gone to inspect the high tower of the castle where Madeline had fallen. The contact with the glass had left a similar effect on his hand. 

Madeline could feel her heart pounding when she saw drops of blood fall on the ground. Until now, she had hoped nothing would happen, that her grandparent's assumption was wrong, but all along they were right. 

"What do you feel?" Calhoun questioned her without a hint of pain crossing through his handsome face, "I want you to concentrate on what you are feeling."

Madeline didn't know how Calhoun could be calm and patient with her right now. She could see the steam escaping from their hands, like a rejection because of them being near to each other. Like a clock's hand moving from one second to the next, blood fell down from their hands drop by drop. 

Listening to him, Madeline closed her eyes, concentrating on how she felt right now, "I fear that something bad is going to happen to people around me."

"Why?" questioned Calhoun. 

Madeline shook her head, "It is like there's a part of me that wants to harm."

"I feel that too," answered Calhoun and Madeline opened her eyes to see Calhoun had taken another step forward, "It depends on if you want to act on it or turn a blind eye to it. I know you didn't mean to hurt your sister."

"What if I lose my consciousness and hurt?" asked Madeline, her eyes moving back and forth between his eyes. 

Calhoun pulled her to him, his eyes intensely looking at her, "I wasn't joking when I said I would help you to hide the body." 

"And what if the body turns out to be you?" she asked in a heartbeat. 

The dream, her ability and what happened in the past, Madeline wasn't too sure of what was going to happen. Calhoun didn't answer her question, but he brought her hand that he was holding near his mouth and his tongue came out to lick the blood clean. She noticed that the steam had stopped and so did the blood. 

He then said, "That won't happen. I won't allow it," he licked every corner of her finger until it was clean. His hand that had burned itself had healed now. "We are meant to be together." Calhoun pulled her closer, putting his arms around her to hug her. 

As the time of night arrived, where everyone had gone back to their rooms after dinner, Madeline stood next to Raphael, who had brought a bowl of holy water from the church to start with the viewing of the memories. Calhoun had taken himself to lean against the wall while watching over Madeline.

"Doesn't holy water affect the demons?" Madeline asked Raphael.

"They do, milady. Holy water affects the children of the demons as well as the vampires," answered Raphael, and when he dipped his hand into the bowl, Madeline noticed how his hand made a sizzling sound as if someone had poured water on a hot utensil. "There are some who can handle the temperament of holy water, not for too long but enough to live like any other people who walk on these lands." 

That meant even demons couldn't step into the church, thought Madeline to herself.

The room had been lit with candles, and Raphael sprinkled water on Beth. Left, right, top, and near her legs. 

"How long will I be able to be there?" Madeline had decided to take a look into her sister's memories herself, to walk through it. She wanted to make sure she knew what to do and what not to do. 

"As long as you want to," answered Raphael, "But don't wander away too long, if your body turns cold and your soul drifts away, it will be a little hard for us to get you back to the present," he advised, and she gave him a nod. 

"My ability is to look into memories, and I will be giving it to you but make sure you don't speak anything about the present," warned Raphael. Madeline wondered if the people would be able to see and hear her once she would get to take a glimpse from Beth's memories. 

She walked to the other side and laid next to Beth, who continued to sleep. Calhoun had left the wall to come to stand next to her. 

"We'll be right here," said Calhoun to her. Not bothered with Raphael's presence in the room, he leaned forward and pressed his lips on her forehead. Madeline felt her cheeks heat up, and for a moment, the nervousness of what she was going to do had disappeared to leave her thoughts occupied by Calhoun.

He offered her a sweet smile, "Remember to come back." Calhoun said it because there were some cases in the past where people didn't return back to the real time and continued to live in other's memories. 

"On your word, I will even let you open your own memories to see if you can find anything important. Are you ready, milady?" asked Raphael. 

Raphael went to place his hand back into the bowl, and the candles in the room started to flicker when the man whispered something that she couldn't hear. Madeline had closed her eyes, and her heart that had been racing had finally turned calm. When Raphael was done muttering, he looked at the two girls who appeared to be in deep sleep. 

Now it was waiting time, thought Calhoun to himself.