✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 351 - 360 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Eyes everywhere- Part 2

The sound of the gunshot echoed in the surrounding empty houses where Madeline stood in. Looking down at the demon with her eyes that were slightly wide, she caught sight of the hole that had formed on the back of his head, which was done by Calhoun.

"We need to put him in a coffin," suggested Calhoun and Madeline who was still in shock with the sudden attack that took place. She followed Calhoun, who dragged the demon's body to the forest. 

She looked down at the dead demon. She had never heard about a demon being buried in the coffin. She wondered if it was the same like vampires who died, and was left to rest in the coffin box. Madeline, who was walking behind them, curiously eyed the demon before asking,

"Why did you kill his wife?" 

Calhoun knew this question was going to come up since Holden had mentioned about his wife's death a few minutes ago, "She killed people. So I killed her," was his simple answer. 

"Why did she kill people?" asked Madeline, "Did you know there are other demons in here?" 

"Not many," answered Calhoun, "Theodore might be the first one I met and befriended. A lot of them stay disguised, blending with the humans so that no one will ever come to suspect and they can continue to live their lives. I found killing humans, some of my potential blood givers. Using them as a sacrifice. Demons like to play innocent here." 

Madeline's eyes moved around them as they walked past one tree after another, heading towards the inner heart of the jungle. In the past, it must have been convenient to have a nearby graveyard, thought Madeline to herself.

"What did you mean by sacrifice?" 

"In the realm of demons, the more you kill, the higher position you achieve in the underworld," explained Calhoun, "People enjoy doing bad things, to achieve higher power. At least that is what I heard. Theodore also came up with the theory that it was because of the past deeds that I have my wings. But we know it's not true." 

Madeline questioned in her mind if his grandfather, who was now awake, would come to find out that his daughter was dead and also find out that he had a grandson. Looking at Calhoun, she couldn't believe she was following him to the graveyard to bury a demon. Her eyes kept darting left and right. While Calhoun was dragging the demon's leg, on the way, the demon's head clunked with a stone on the ground, and she noticed the demon groan. 

Her eyes widened, and she said, "He's alive!" 

"That's what he said, darling. I cannot kill him," said Calhoun before going to explain, "He's a level three demon, and we will need more than holy water and silver bullets to send him back underground."

"Keeping him in the coffin will be enough?" It was because she wasn't able to stay in the coffin forever. 

"Yes. A little trick of spell and he will happily continue to sleep in the coffin." After pushing the demon into one of the cemented graves along with another old body as company, Calhoun pushed the lid while murmuring something under his breath, "There. All better. It's time to return," said Calhoun, his wings spreading wide open to show the pitch-black feathers that were attached to it, and the two of them returned to the castle. 

At one part of the borders of the land of Devon, stood a tower with walls surrounding it. It was the place of the High House, where people worked in the name of providing justice and help to the public. But in truth, it was used only for their benefits so that they could hold most of the control and power on the lands of the humans, vampires, and some of the werewolves. But there were also other creatures like the fallen angels and demons existed in this very earthly realm. 

A carriage entered the large gates of the High House, moving towards the entrance before it stopped and a lean man stepped out of the carriage. He made his way through the entrance and the dark walls that stood on either side where he walked, which was lit by torches of fire. His eyes were black in colour and his hair brown. 

He continued to walk until he reached the large double doors, pushing them open to see the members of High House sitting with Helena who sat at the centre as she was the head of this place. 

"You seem to have returned here sooner than we expected. Did you finish the job that was given, Luther?" asked Lilith, who stood next to Dimitri, holding a set of parchments in her hands. 

The man named Luther, bowed his head, offering his greetings before he stood up, "Lady Helena, I have some important news to share. There has been one more murder, actually three murders in the house that was part of the latest closed case." 

The blonde woman who sat at the tallest seating chair in this vast room had a look of displeasure on her face. Something she often wore when she was in this room because of the news and information that was delivered to her. 

Helena inquired, "Which one are you speaking about, Luther?" 

"Madame, it is the body that was found in Mr. Heatcliff's residence in the village of East Carswell," answered Luther, "The case that involved the King." 

"You mean the King's cousin," corrected the silver-haired man who was seated on Helena's left side. 

Luther's eyes fell on the person who corrected him.. "The King's cousin was found to be guilty, but the King had also gone through the trial. We cannot forget that," smiled the man, and the silver-haired man returned the smile.

Just when Luther turned to look at Helena, the silver-haired man spoke again, "Is the King involved in the current case?" 

"He might be, which is why I am here," Luther replied before looking back at Helena, "The bodies that were retrieved from there belonged to the daughter of Issac Barnes, Lady Catherine and there were two other men who were found dead along with her. The bodies were found inside the house. Lady Catherine was the one who spoke in favour of the King." 

Lady Helena was barely amused, "And you believe that it is enough to judge that the King of Devon is guilty? You need to remember that just because we are called the High House, it still doesn't mean you can call the King to be guilty without any solid evidence. Following just upon instinct and listening to words from others is foolish enough to earn you an execution." She stared at the man in front of her through her monocle. 

"But isn't that why the High House came into existence to provide a fair judgement?" questioned Lilith. 

"I think it would be best for people to not speak about fairness when they let their emotions cloud their judgement," Helena didn't have to look at Lilith to let the demoness know that her words were for Lilith. Weasley, who stood on the other side smiled, clearing his throat when Lilith looked at him. 

"What more information did you find there? What happened to the man whom the house belongs to?" questioned Helena. 

"James Heathcliff? There has been no information about the man. He has been missing since he had been accused," answered Luther and Helena frowned. 

"Find him," ordered the woman. 
Eyes everywhere- Part 3

The next day, Calhoun went to visit the prison of East Carswell. He made his way there with Theodore who walked behind him, and upon seeing the two familiar faces, the guards bowed, stepping back to make way for them. 

"Milord!" came Charmire's excited voice, who was on his way to step outside the prison building. As the King was going in, Charmire turned around and followed the King, "I got Doughlas arrested right away and have him in the prison." 

Reaching the cell room, Calhoun saw a man with a potbelly who was sitting on the ground with a worried expression on his face. On hearing the footsteps, the man stood up quickly, "My King!" he bowed his head, "Please help me! They have imprisoned me for no reason!" 

Calhoun faintly remembered the face of this man, having probably met through someone. "The arrows made in your shop has been found stuck in the vampiress' body. Did you identify the arrow to be one that you made?" 

"Yes, they are made in my shop, milord. But that doesn't mean I killed her. It must be one of my customers!" 

"Ah, is that so?" drawled Calhoun, "And who are these customers? Have you given the responsible Charmire the list of these customers whom you dealt in the past?" 

Hearing the King's words, the magistrate's chest puffed forward, "My King, I have them all written in here." Charmire pulled out the scroll in which he had got the names. 

"Don't worry, Mr. Douglas, you will be out in no time once we find the actual culprit," assured Calhoun, "If we were to let you go, we don't know when the murderer might come for your neck, and we don't want that now, do we?" he smiled brightly. 

When he turned to the magistrate, the man quickly left to get the real culprit while Calhoun stayed with Theodore, "Mr. Douglas, I was wondering what other elements you make use of while making the weapons in your shop? There are only a few people who have access to silver." 

"Yes, milord. My father's father was the one to start the shop, and he used to make them before, to hunt the...vampires who caused trouble in the villages as they picked up humans and left the bodies behind."

"Sounds like the previous King didn't do a decent job when it came to protecting his subjects, isn't it?" chuckled Calhoun and Mr. Douglas didn't know if he was supposed to join the King with a laugh or refuse the claims, "Knowing you aren't someone who is involved in the deaths, I have something to ask from you." 

"Anything, milord!" came the quick words from Mr. Douglas. 

When Calhoun was done speaking with the man, he and Theodore left the cell, this time making their way out, "Do you think we are going to have many visitors in the castle?" asked Theodore, his face passive without any expression. 

"A lot more, if word spreads out which I can say is already spreading," said Calhoun. Reaching the entrance of the building, they exited, and he saw the bustling people walking on the streets. "There is an increase in number of people visiting the nearby towns and villages. And it's not because of the season of holidays." 

It was difficult to pinpoint who was a demon or a fallen angel because they all took over the appearance of humans, blending into the background seamlessly without standing out. 

"The water," said Calhoun and Theodore, who was looking at the villagers, turned his gaze back at the King, "Get the water connected to the church that is here. The most obvious ones will cough up turning allergic, and have the men deal with them." 

"Yes, milord," Theodore obliged to Calhoun's words, "Allow me to go take a look at the church," and he left Calhoun's side. 

Calhoun saw Theodore leave, and as he stood there watching people pass by, he heard a calm and steady footsteps approach behind him. A smile spread on his face, and he turned around.

"I wasn't expecting you here," commented Calhoun, seeing who it was.

"Tell me why I expected you to be here?" asked Helena, who wore clothes that helped her blend in with the other villagers and townspeople who had stepped into the village. 

"Because you wanted to meet me?" Calhoun tilted his head, "What are you doing here?" 

"One of my men, Luther said he finds your involvement in the current case. I wanted to see it for myself if it was true because sometimes people miss out details while relaying the information." Helena's eyes fell on the entrance of the prison, and it then fell back on Calhoun, "Did you come here to meet someone whom you know?" 

"I heard about what happened in the tailorman's house, and I decided to take a look. Just like you," chimed Calhoun. This way, Helena couldn't tell Calhoun was suspicious because that would mean, she calling herself to be suspicious too. 

"You said the girl was the one who killed the dutchess' daughter. Yet, here she was found dead. Was it the tailor who killed her?" asked Helena, her eyes sharp, and her lips set in a thin line.

Calhoun knew Helena for some years now, and she was possibly one of the smartest women he had met. But not sharp enough to know who or what he was.

"When did I tell you that Catherine killed Miss Layla?" asked Calhoun quizzically. 

Helena's eyes narrowed, "Didn't you tell about the culprit not being caught? Or were you speaking about yourself?"

"I tell a lot of things, Lady Helena. It needn't be all true," he chuckled. Oh James, thought Calhoun to himself. Helena was intelligent enough to question James' involvement in recent death directly. "Mr. Heathcliff has not visited the village, and how can a human kill a vampire? He doesn't seem like the type to kill people," stated Calhoun calmly. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if you had a hand in it," Helena's words were direct. 

A broad smile came to spread on Calhoun's lips, and he said, "I am not the killer always. You should keep your options open."
Sinned blood- Part 1

Helena watched Calhoun looking at her, his words resonating in her mind. Even without any solid evidence, she knew that the current King of Devon had killed the previous King and Queen to attain the throne. But, there was always more to what met the eye when it came to Calhoun Hawthrone. 

"Who do you think killed the girl?" she questioned Calhoun, "I heard that you were close to Issac Barnes. You should have been quite familiar with his daughter Catherine."

"Catherina, yes," agreed Calhoun, "I even made sure to convince her father with whom she wanted to marry. James Heathcliff." 

"I would have never pegged you to be the helping kind," commented Helena and Calhoun's lips twitched. 

"You would be rather surprised that I am a giver," replied Calhoun. A giver of death, he thought to himself. 

"I wouldn't doubt," said Helena, looking at Calhoun through her monocle and picking up his expressions, "It looks more than coincidence to find people dead in the same house. Not to forget, Lady Catherine was going to get married to Mr. Heathcliff, wasn't she?"

Calhoun nodded his head, "It is unfortunate, that Catherine died before she could get married. Dying at a young age is a pity," he responded before looking at the direction where Theodore had gone. 

"Do you know who might have killed her?" It would be strange if Calhoun wasn't aware of who killed the girl and the other two people, thought Helena in her mind.

"If I told you wouldn't you doubt me more, which you already do," hummed Calhoun, a crinkle of smile appeared on his lips, "Mr. Douglas who is now imprisoned, he has listed out some names of his customers. One among them is Mr. Barnes himself, who purchases weapons from this person." 

"You are telling me Mr. Barnes orchestrated his daughter's death? Was it to frame Mr. Heathcliff?" a frown came to settle on Helena's face, "Here I thought he loved his daughter." 

"Oh, he does. So much that he didn't want her getting married into a family who was poor in stature compared to his own family," Calhoun's voice was nonchalant, and it barely raised or fell in its tone, "Charmire is already working on it, so why don't you let him do his job?" 

"If I believed people would do their job, I wouldn't be here. People are as corrupt as one can find," she looked at Calhoun, "Why don't we take a visit to the place where the deaths took place?" she proposed, and Calhoun happily obliged without having an issue with it. 

Helena ran her hands across the walls of the house when they reached Heathcliff's residence, "It reeks of blood here," she muttered under her breath. Looking around, she bent down to pick something from the corner of the kitchen, "Did the magistrate or someone in the neighbourhood confirm if Mr. Heathcliff owns a pet?"

"Why do you ask?" inquired Calhoun, walking towards the woman to see her holding a piece of bristle which was grey and green that looked like it belonged to a dog or a wolf. Calhoun didn't have to question as he already knew that it belonged to James, which he had possibly shedded during his transformation. 

"I will take this with with me to see what information I can get. Didn't you tell that there have been werewolves? If they are there, I will need to talk to Sebastian about it. The Warring's have not been controlling the werewolves. Some rogue werewolves must have escaped," said Helena, "I have arranged a meeting with the Kings and some other men so that some of the issues can be discussed to avoid conflicts."

"Sounds good to me," chimed Calhoun, "I guess that is all that is there in here? I believe that you know your way out from here, Lady Helena." The lady was smart enough to not need any assistance, and he was about to leave when Helena said,

"I know something is going on in here. It would be best if you don't take part in it and stay clear."

Calhoun turned his head to meet Helena's red eyes, "And what is going on in here?" The woman stared at Calhoun. He had the habit of behaving ignorant when in truth, he knew far more things than she or others did. But it was Helena who was in charge of things, not just the High House but through the order which was given in the past. 

"I know that you are aware of the existence of the demons. Don't get involved in it," her face held the severe expression that she always wore, and one would always question if the woman ever smiled. 

Calhoun only smiled at the woman's naive words, "I will try not to," and he left the house, making his way to the place where Theodore was waiting for him, "Is it done?" 

"Yes, milord. There's a water channel that connects the other houses and the well in the village. The water only needs to be blessed, and we will find out. I will go to the other towns and villages nearby," informed Theodore and Calhoun gave a satisfied nod, "I saw her," he was speaking about the High House lady, "What is she doing here?" 

"Trying to see for herself if I had any involvement in the recent murders," replied Calhoun with a smile and his fangs peeked out, "I told her to check with Mr. Barnes." They started to head in the direction where the carriage stood.

Calhoun would have loved to play a little longer but unlike Mr. Barnes daughter's wedding which was not going to take place as she was dead, and with James who had disappeared from everyone's sight, Calhoun had no interest in changing the dates of his own wedding with Madeline. There were also other things that were hanging in the air. It would be better to get unnecessary things out of his way so that his time could be utilized where it was important. He was waiting for other demons or fallen angels to show up so that he could send them back underground. 

Demons, in general, were supposed to live underground, while the angels were supposed to live in heavens, while the humans, fallen angels, and the vampires were led to live on this earthly land. The issue here was that, with some demons who turned to vampires, some demons started to enter the realm of the living. 

"Leave the evidence in his mansion," ordered Calhoun. Before Helena would come to the conclusion that the murder was done by James or a possible werewolf, it was better to have concrete evidence against Mr. Barnes, after all, he was the one who was responsible for his daughter. 

In this place, if one knew how to escape and not get caught, killing people was not a big deal. They were vampires who craved and enjoyed blood. Calhoun had killed people for his own amusement and gains. He was aware that he wasn't a good person. His hands were not clean, which was why Helena had come here to check. 

As they made their way through the busy street, a woman who was coming in the other direction crashed against Calhoun, and she quickly bowed in apology, "Forgive me, milord!" He looked down at her expressionlessly and walked away, while the woman continued to stand there looking at the King for a few seconds more before she was joined by a man. 

"I smell the girl on him," said the woman to the man, both their eyes black in colour. 

"The King?" asked the man.

The woman who stood there nodded her head. Her hair red in colour. "I thought I smelt wrong, but I was right. Her scent is strong. She must be spending a lot of time with him, which is why the smell is so potent. Rich in taste."

"We should go get her then-"

"Not now! We are waiting for the word. All of us are waiting for the right time. It has been so many years," the woman's eyes turned pitch black for the kind of creature she belonged to and with another blink of her eyes, it turned back to the human eyes, "The first time I didn't know. But the second time, I wanted to kill her," there was a look of longing in the woman's eyes. 

"Let us go let others know, Jennine," the man said before both of them disappeared in the crowd. 
Sinned blood- Part 2

Music Recommendation: Gasoline by Halsey


Madeline had locked herself in the room, sitting on the floor and in front of the glass pieces which she had broken out of purpose. Since the time she had seen the glass pieces raise, she was trying to see if she could fix something after breaking it. Using both her hands, she now controlled them in midair. 

By what she had heard so far, she was not a human nor was she a fallen angel. She didn't know what powers a dark angel held apart from killing people mercilessly for their deeds. But she wanted to know if she could do something useful, something that didn't lead to destruction. The glass pieces started to move closer to each other, moving to settle one after another, and after a few more seconds, she saw the glass return to its previous state. A smile grew on her lips, and Madeline couldn't tell how happy she was, to see she had done something with her ability. 

Picking up the glass in her hand, she stood up, taking two steps towards the table so that she could keep it when she felt a pain shoot down her back. Her feet stopped when the pain grew more, her grip in her hands tightened to break the glass that she had been holding. 

"AH!" she gasped for air, her face contouring itself in pain. 

Madeline fell on the floor. Her body coiled closer, and she gasped for more air. Her hand started to bleed because of the glass pieces that had pierced through her skin, and two pieces of glass continued to stick out in her hand. But that wasn't all where she was bleeding. 

Two red lines formed on the back of her beige dress before it started to spread on the fabric. She could feel the burn on her back. The pain on her palm felt to be nothing compared to what she felt on her back like her very soul was being sucked out of her body. To handle the pain, her hands turned to fists, but that only pushed the glass pieces further into her palms. 

Tears spilt out of her eyes because the pain felt worse than the last time she had experienced. Was her wings coming out? She didn't know, and she wished there was someone whom she could speak to, someone who knew what was going on with her. 

Hearing her groan, the head maid of the castle who was walking past the room quickly went to knock on the door. 

"Milady, is everything alright?" asked the maid, but Madeline could hardly hear the words over her pain. She didn't hear anything, and she started to lose consciousness. The maid pushed the door and saw the lady on the ground. 

The person who had entered the room was none other than Nicola. Her eyes quickly fell on the blood on the floor which was around the lady. 

"Milady?!" exclaimed Nicola, nudging Madeline's arm as she was not responding. Was the girl dying? 

Nicola stood in front of unconscious Madeline, staring at the human wondering if the lady had tried to kill herself again for the second time, as the first time, the girl had failed in killing herself by falling from the tower. Instead of helping the lady, the maid continued to watch the blood inch out as Madeline continued to bleed. 

Like some of the maids, and women outside this castle, Nicola disliked Madeline because of the closeness the girl shared with the King along with his interest that was fixed on the human. Nicola didn't see why she should not grant the wish of the girl wanted to die. The maid knew the King had his own quirks, and a simple human who was fragile like this one didn't deserve to stay beside the King. 

Nicola turned around, pushing the doors to lock them and decided to ease the girl's death from the loss of blood. 

Turning back, she watched Madeline who appeared to be unconscious now groan in pain. "If you wanted to die so much, you should have asked me. I would have helped you with it," said Nicola, "I knew you were trouble since the first day when the King decided to keep you in this castle. Someone like you, you wouldn't understand how the King lives and what he wants. I know what he wants."

It wasn't anything new as vampires were sexually active creatures, and the King now as well as the previous King's had always been serviced by the maids or other women.

"You are like a newborn, what would you know?" chuckled Nicola, "Don't worry. I will make sure that you die, just as you want and you can live in peace." She wondered if it was the stress of the wedding that was approaching near, that had got to the human. 

Nicola decided, once the human would reach the brink of her death, she would leave the room like she wasn't here. And if someone did catch sight of her, she would make it look like she was the one to discover the body. After another minute passed, Nicola decided to recheck the girl. Her hand reached out to touch the girl's arm, but suddenly the girl caught hold of the maid's hand. 

Startled, Nicola looked up at Madeline's face, who appeared to be still unconscious. Was she playing with her?! She tried to free her hand from the human's hold, but she couldn't pull away from the grip. 

"Are you fucking joking with me? Leave my hand?!" shouted the maid when she saw Madeline sit up.

The lady's eyes looked clean white with her brown eyes missing and seeing this, the maid grew nervous. Why did the girl look like this?! The maid panicked and continued to pull her hand as hard as she could, "Let go of my hand!" she cried, which was when Madeline's lips parted, 

"You have sinned..." came the whisper that stopped Nicola from moving, "You need to be punished." 
Sinned blood- Part 3

The maid had no clue about what in God's name was going on. She had a look of pure shock on her face. Somewhere it shook her heart at the unexpectedness as one moment the girl was on the verge to die, and here she was awake and holding her hand tightly. 

"Bitch! What are you saying!?" Nicola spoke the words through her gritted teeth. She stood up from her crouching position. She didn't know what this girl was playing at and if it was a ploy to get her in trouble. 

Madeline stood up along with Nicola, her expression void of any emotion who continued to look at the maid, "AHHH!" Nicola cried when Madeline's hand put more pressure on her wrist, and a crack was heard in the room that was from breaking the bone, "What the hell is wrong with you?!" Nicola didn't care if she was cursing the future Queen to be as she was in miserable pain. 

But Madeline didn't let go of the maid's wrist. She looked as if she was in a trance and not in her conscious state. 

"I know what you did a few weeks ago," Madeline whispered, "You were the one who tried to poison the King. You sent the poison that was meant for him which ended up in the hands of the other maid."

Nicola's eyes widened, "I don't know what you are speaking about! You have no proof that I did it! Stop blaming me and let go of me. I will scream that you are hurting me!" She didn't know how a human could turn this strong! Seeing Madeline not release her hand, Nicola parted her lips, ready to scream. But instead of a scream, a silent cry escaped her lips as she felt pain in her chest, and she coughed blood out of her mouth.

She staggered back when Madeline released her hand. 

The maid looked scared at the sight of blood that was spewed out of her very own mouth. W-what just happened? She felt the pain return, making her chest squeeze excruciatingly, "W-what, are you doing to me, you crazy bitch!" 

Madeline stood there unflinchingly at what she did, and she replied, "Cleansing you." 

The maid was concentrating on the pain that she felt in her chest when she saw the room turn darker than before. It was then, did the maid's mouth open wide in shock as she noticed the girl in front of her whom she had called weak started to glow in the room.

This girl was not human but something more which she had been hiding from everyone! Thought Nicola to herself. 

Nicola was confused, and she slowly inched towards the door that she had locked previously, cursing herself on why she had even entered the room. But just when her hand reached the bolt of the door, she was thrown away from it to fall on the floor and she groaned in pain. 

Worried about her life, she pleaded, "Please let me out of the room." 

"You can leave this castle and the world," came the calm voice of Madeline that scared the maid. 

"NO!" shouted the maid only to throw up more blood. 

"S-stop," Nicola cried. With the amount of loss of blood and pain she felt, she doubted she would be able to survive, "Who are y-you?" and she heard Madeline speak,

"I heard you wish death. Selfish, greed, untrusty to be serving people here. I hope God can forgive you." Madeline raised her hand to twist, and the maid in time saw something glow behind the lady's back. She couldn't keep her gaze long because more blood filled her mouth and in no time, the maid fell down and so did Madeline as if she had spent all her energy. 

Hearing screams, the guards in the King's quarters quickly ran up, making their way to the lady's room. Kicking the door open, they found two people lying on the ground with blood spilt on the floor. 

Their eyes turned wide in fear, wondering what happened. Dread filled their mind by thinking on what they were going to say to the King. The light in the room had turned back to normal with other things. One of the guards made his way to call the highest authorized person in the castle as the King was yet to return to the castle. 

The guard was making his way towards the court to inform on what happened as the other people in the castle were guests and servants. On the way he met the shabby-looking man who was often found near the King. 

"What's got you in a twist?" asked Raphael, seeing the guard's eyes that looked livid. 

"The lady, she looks like she is dead!" answered the guard. 

Hearing this, a frown appeared on the demon's face, "Don't break the news to anyone until the King says so. Where is she?" and Raphael walked with the guard to where Madeline laid along with a familiar faced maid on the room's floor. 

The guards stood outside the room without taking a step inside the lady's room, watching the odd-looking man step in and crouch next to the two bodies. At first, the man checked the pulse of the lady and then the maid whose eyes were wide open. 

Raphael turned to look at the guard, "Count yourself to be lucky that the King wasn't here when you were going to inform him about the lady being dead. The maid is dead, but the lady is alive." The maid had a petrified look on her face. The floor around him was covered in blood.

Did Madeline kill her...?

"Take this one to the dungeon," he ordered to get the dead maid out of the room. Noticing something sticking in Madeline's palm, he went to touch her palm, but sensing the high energy that was still radiating from her, he took his hand back. 

It was only yesterday did he speak about death and it had already started.
Wounds on back

Music Recommendation: Clocks by Luke Faulkner


When Calhoun and Theodore returned to the castle, the guard who had informed Raphael saw the carriage and quickly ran towards the King so that he could inform him. 

"My King!" the guard bowed deep. He fidgeted, "M-milord, the lady…" 

Calhoun raised his eyebrows on which lady the guard was speaking about, "Speak more clearly," he ordered the guard and the guard gulped the ball of nervousness knowing the King might chop his head for the sole reason of informing him the bad news. But he was glad that Mr. Sparrow had checked the lady to make sure she was still breathing. 

"Milord, Lady Madeline-" and the guard couldn't complete his sentence as Calhoun dashed right past him to see what happened to her. And even Theodore didn't wait for the guard, instead followed Calhoun. 

When the door to the room flew open, Calhoun caught sight of Madeline who was lying on the ground with a pool of blood around her, and his eyes narrowed in anger. "What happened here!" he demanded from Raphael, who had taken to lean against the wall and was waiting for Calhoun's return. 

"The guards were the ones who found her with the head maid's body in this state," explained Raphael, and when Calhoun made his way near Madeline, ready to pick her up and place her on the bed, the card reader warned him, "Don't. Something is going on with her. She seems to be radiating."

Calhoun didn't care about it. He didn't care what was going on or if Madeline was destructive right now because he couldn't stand at the side and watch her continue to lie on the floor of the room like some dead person. Bending down, Calhoun put his arms around Madeline and he felt similar pain that he felt yesterday when he had touched her hand. Despite the pain, he carried her to the bed to lay her down. 

Raphael stared at the King, who had been adamant enough to touch Madeline. 

He noticed the slight change in Calhoun's expression, and the King made his way to the basin before spitting out blood from his mouth. Raphael's eyes widened at this, and it shifted to look at the girl who looked harmless by appearance, but only a few people knew how powerful she was. 

Calhoun's mood had turned foul, not because of the physical pain he felt but by seeing Madeline who looked hurt, "Tell me in detail what happened," he said, meeting Raphael's eyes, "I want to know everything." 

"The guards heard screams coming from this room and thought something happened. They found Lady Madeline and the head maid lying on the floor. The head maid is dead," informed Raphael so that Calhoun would not ask where she was, "The lady was found in the same state as you saw her. I didn't let anyone enter the room. I thought it would be best if you see her first." 

What Raphael couldn't comprehend was how Calhoun could touch her without getting injured completely. It was evident by the looks that Madeline was not in her normal state and had stepped into a place where touching her was not safe. He could sense the danger radiating from her even from this distance. It was like a fire, waiting to turn any and everything to ash. 

The guards were dismissed from the entrance of the room, and hearing light footsteps approach the room from the ends of the corridor, Calhoun looked at Theodore, "I don't want anyone near Madeline right now. Nor see her."

Theodore bowed his head, stepping out of the room, he saw Lucy making her way towards the room. Before she could reach, he met her halfway, "Lady Madeline is resting."

"Is she not well?" asked Lucy with concern in her voice. She was ready to go past Theodore, but he came to stand right in front of her, "Calhoun wants her to take some rest."

Lucy pursed her lips, "Okay. I will come back later when she's awake."

Theodore nodded his head. He watched Lucy's eyes dart left and right, and he said, "Don't let anyone know she's sick. I don't think her family members would like to hear that she's fallen sick right at the time when the wedding is around the corner." 

Lucy nodded her head, "Okay," and she left the corridor while Theodore continued to stand there watching her walk away. 

Back in the room, Calhoun wiped the blood from his lips, that left a slight amount of red tint. He walked back to where Madeline was. Holding her two minutes ago in his arms had been nothing less to burning under the sun. His skin sizzled, leaving smoke-like vapours because of holding Madeline in his arms. 

"Did you find anything from her card?" questioned Calhoun, his eyes not leaving Madeline. There was blood on the back of her dress, but they appeared to be slightly dry as if the bleeding had stopped. 

"She might be the angel of death," answered Raphael, "You said she was the child of the angel who fell in love with a human. She might be that angel's child who has skipped generations before taking birth, and she has a dark ability to kill. It looks like she killed the maid, though the reason is unknown and we will find out about it, only when she wakes up. You need to be careful around her." 

"Because I am the demon's child?" asked Calhoun, moving closer to Madeline. 

"Yes. It is very rare for an angel and demon to be paired together. I don't think she was in her conscious state when she killed the maid." 

Raphael warned Calhoun subtly because sometimes no matter how much love one had for the other, there were limits and boundaries that were hard to push. Unlike Calhoun, who was much stronger than anyone he knew, Raphael had not dared to touch the girl, knowing what harm it would cause him. If Madeline had unconsciously hurt the maid, that could mean she could do the same to anyone. The question here was if she would hurt anyone or if it was only with specific people. 

"It's too late to turn back," stated Calhoun with no regret in his voice. He didn't care about him being hurt because he knew even though Madeline was going to turn to a destructive creature in the future, it would have less effect on who he was and his lineage. The blood that ran down in his veins was thicker and stronger compared to the rest of the vampires or demons. "How often do people like us find things that we feel the need to protect?" It wasn't a question but more on a thought from him. 

Raphael's eyes lowered to look back at Madeline. He understood what Calhoun meant. People were often divided into light and dark creatures. And people who belonged to the dark, they were often lost cause.

"I think she has hurt her hand," informed Raphael. He gave them the needed privacy by stepping out and closing the door behind him. 

Needn't be told, Calhoun turned the locks of the door so that no one would come to disturb him or Madeline. He could hear her soft breathing, her heart not as calm as it usually did, but he was glad to listen to the beat follow one after another without stopping. When the guard had mentioned, he arrived at the room as quick as he could, and he felt the coldness that was part of him surface up his heart and mind on seeing Madeline on the ground. 

Calhoun raised his hand up to his side, snapping his fingers for the light in the room to increase, which was emitted by the candles. The curtains were closed to stop the light of the sun from entering the room, which was brighter compared to the soft tone of candle lights. 

Getting closer to Madeline, he caught sight of her hand that was held in a loose fist and there was dried blood. When he pried her fingers open and inspected her hand, he frowned on seeing the glass pieces sticking in the palm of her hand. Getting a vessel of water and cloth, he started to clean her hand gently and then pulled out the two glass pieces that woke her up. She flinched in pain, her eyebrows furrowed deeply, and Calhoun was glad that she was unconscious as it would have hurt only that much more while pulling them out while she was fully awake. 

"I am almost done," informed Calhoun, dropping the second piece of glass on the table which was coated in her blood. 

Madeline's consciousness was returning, and her eyes took a while to adjust to the light in the room. She could feel pain rushing up from her palm, and she hissed. She took a deep breath because of the pain before she felt the cold cloth on her hand. The last thing she remembered was the pain on her back, and after that, she felt like she had blacked out. 

"What time did you come back?" whispered Madeline, her words softer than usual. 

"A while ago. How are you feeling?" asked Calhoun, "What were you doing holding glass pieces in your hand?" he asked her testingly without being obvious about what happened. 

"I was practising with the glass...when I felt pain on my back. I don't remember what happened after that. I must have fainted due to pain," came her small voice. For now, Calhoun decided to keep the part of her killing the maid away from her, "Did something happen?" Madeline asked carefully. She had felt as if something was trying to come out from her back, but she doubted anything came, like her wings. 

Calhoun leaned forward to press his lips on her forehead, letting it linger until he pulled away.

"We can discuss that later. Your back is covered in blood. Let me help you clean it." 

Madeline met Calhoun's eyes, and she gave him a small nod. 

Her back was still hurting and the pain even though it had considerably reduced compared to the time before she fainted, she didn't want any maids or her family members helping her. Not because she didn't believe they wouldn't, but because of who she was or turning to be, she doubted it would be the right thing to do. 

And it was easier to rely on Calhoun.

She turned around to lay on her front, and Calhoun unbuttoned her dress from the back where some part of the fabric had slightly turned stiff and some still wet with blood. 

Calhoun's eyes hardened by looking at the amount of blood that belonged to Madeline, "You lost too much blood," he murmured. Dipping the cloth in the vessel of water that had turned red as he had used it earlier, he brought it to her back and slowly started to clean, removing the traces of blood on her pale skin. With every swipe of the cloth on her skin, Madeline shivered because of the wet cloth. 

Seeing her blood like this didn't sit well with Calhoun. All he wanted to do was protect and help her. But the help Madeline needed was beyond his or anyone's limit as she was changing. When her back was clean, he noticed the wound, understanding why she thought she had fainted because they weren't thin lines, but there were two visible wounds on her back. 

"It looks like where your wings once used to be," commented Calhoun, his finger tracing on the skin next to the wound. 

"Do you think they will come back?" Madeline had turned her head to face Calhoun to get a glimpse of him. 

A faint frown stayed on his face. Calhoun said, "Your back looks very similar to one when a person's wings are forcibly torn out from the back. Maybe one day they will. And if they don't, you can always count on me. Tell me where you want to go, and I will take you there." 

"Calhoun," she whispered his name, "My heart feels heavy...Like I did something bad."

Calhoun placed his hand on the side of her head, gently caressing it to say, "I doubt you would ever do anything bad. Being bad is my role. Did you forget that?" he chuckled. 

Nailed picture- Part 1

Calhoun continued to clean the two wounds on her back with careful movements of his hand without trying to irk the skin that had turned red. She continued to lay down quietly on the bed, clutching the bed with her good hand when she felt a slight pain on her back. 

"It would be best you don't dip yourself in the bath and have your body cleansed with only a wet cloth until the wound has healed," said Calhoun. He had brought fresh water in the vessel to remove the last traces of blood.

It wasn't the time to feel embarrassed, but to clean herself with only a wet cloth, that would mean she would need Calhoun's assistance as she didn't want any maid or any of her family members to see her back. Not just her back, but anywhere else. She heard him speak, 

"Maybe you can dip your lower half in the water unless it's too painful while I can take care of your back," offered Calhoun. He heard the little hitch in her heart, and he didn't have to look at her face to know it. "It would also do both of us good if you practiced in my presence next time. This is the second time, and it seems like every time when you try to tap into your ability, you have experienced the pain. This time it was too much." 

If Madeline lost the same amount of blood every day, it would weaken her body, and she was still a human, thought Calhoun to himself. It would kill her.

"I didn't know it would happen," came the response from Madeline. If she knew that her attempting to fix the broken glass would harm her, she wouldn't have tried it, "But…" she paused, gaining his attention, "I fixed the glass."

Calhoun took note of the hint of excitement in her voice. 

Madeline looked young for her age because of her time that had frozen during the time she was put in the coffin, and even though she was older than how she looked, she still had a young heart, who was trying to discover things around her. 

"What is the point of fixing something when it might break you?" questioned Calhoun without increasing his voice. 

"Are we still speaking about the glass?" asked Madeline whose eyebrows drew in together, and she earned a chuckle from Calhoun. 

"Do you know what your ability can do? You can break things, but you can also fix it. The question is to know how much you can handle and how much you can fix which is broken," stated Calhoun, "Right now, you are still harnessing your powers which is why your body is trying to adapt and keep the power. Your body is learning to contain it, but when you cannot contain and control it, it leads to destruction." 

Madeline placed her good hand below her chin, and she looked at Calhoun's face that was calm while his hands tended to her, "How do I do that?" 

"Do what you are doing, but in my presence," replied Calhoun. He didn't want to see her lying on the ground as if she was dead. He gritted his teeth at that thought. 

Calhoun was carefully cleaning the inside of the wound to take out any possible fabric that was stuck when he noticed something. Bringing the candle close to her back, he saw the wound was trying to heal itself from inside. And apart from it, he saw there were two bones on either side of her back that were bloody, yet the structure of the bones were different. It looked like a tree's branches that were going to grow out from the bone to form the basic structure on which the wings might one day come to grow. 

Now that he was done with tending to her wounds, Calhoun noticed Madeline's back that was bare.

Raising his hand, he let his finger trail down from below her nape down to the curve of her back to see her shiver, "There is something I want to try," he said. 

Madeline wondered what it was, and the next second, she felt Calhoun's lips touch the wound. She gasped, her hands clutching onto the pillow that was beneath her, "W-what are you trying?" she asked, feeling his breath on her back. 

"I want to see if it works," she heard Calhoun murmur. If it was about raising goosebumps on her body and having her heart flip, then it was working, thought Madeline to herself. She felt the kisses drop on her wound. 

"You are using the opportunity," Madeline's words came muffled. She felt slight pain when his lips touched her wound, but at the same time because of the gentleness it carried, she tried not to sigh. 

"It wouldn't be me if I didn't take an opportunity in the situation now, would it?" asked Calhoun, his eyes trailing on the wounds and he saw the open wounds starting to close. It was usually vampires who healed quickly from their injuries and then it was the demons before the rest of the creatures. It was an element in the vampire's body that increased the rate of healing, and he wanted to see if it would help Madeline. 

Pulling away from her back, Calhoun saw the wounds had not disappeared, but they did get better. Madeline looked nothing less to a cute little animal that was waiting for his next move, "Time to change your clothes," announced Calhoun and Madeline got up.

The entire time, when Calhouns was helping Madeline change her dress, she wondered why he hadn't used his ability to turn her dress to feathers. Instead, he took his time to remove her clothes one after another, making her lift her arms to remove her dress and helped her into a dress that wasn't too tight around her waist or back. Her eyes fell on the ealier dress that she wore to notice one part of it covered in blood. 

"How did it go in the village?" asked Madeline, knowing Calhoun had gone to check with the recent murder of Lady Catherine. It was still hard to digest that the vampiress had been killed and she was no more in this world. 

People whom she knew were dying or changing quickly. 

"It went well. Mr. Barnes will be executed for his involvement in killing his daughter, though there is a slight complication," mentioned Calhoun, "James might not be safe if he doesn't turn back to his whole human self which is possible only if he gets the antidote." 

Madeline sat down on the bed in deep thought. She knew Calhoun was busy with other things, one of them that included her in his top priority, and she didn't know if they would be able to find a cure for James. With hours and days that were passing by, James was shifting to the side of the werewolf, and if it was too late, it would be hard to return to his normal life or self. 

"Helena came to visit the prison." Hearing Calhoun's words, her eyes snapped back to look at him.

"Why is she here?" Madeline had met Helena during Markus' trial, and the woman carried a hostile atmosphere around her. 

"Someone blamed me for Catherine's murder. She just came to check and ended up finding James' fur in his house," and Madeline felt her heart sink. Was James a lost cause now because he hadn't returned to the castle? How was one supposed to find werewolves? 
Nailed picture- Part 2

"Sir? Are you awake?" 

James felt the harsh light fall on his face, and he flinched. When his eyes adjusted to the brightness, he saw it was a girl whose face was close to him. Out of shock, when he tried to get up, his head bumped on the girl's head. 

The girl quickly turned around in an effort not to see him. James realised he was naked, and he picked up a coat that had fallen on his lap, "Where is this place?" asked James as he wore the coat that reached up to his knees. He was surrounded by trees, but if there was a girl walking past here, it meant there was a village or town nearby. He looked back at the girl, his eyes falling on her clothes. There was a village nearby!

"Where is this forest?" questioned James, "Was it you who placed the coat?" he asked her. 

The girl had out of pity covered the stranger with the coat she had been wearing, that belonged to her father, not to mention, he was a good looking stranger, but at the same time, it was rude and improper to be sleeping naked in the forest. 

"Yes, I did. You are in the Break Point forest," as she thought, this man wasn't from here, "What are you doing sleeping naked?" 

James had no idea how he came to be here. He could barely remember anything that had happened, but the memories that had blanked out before was slowly returning to him. 

"Where is the nearby village?" James asked without answering her question. 

The girl peeked behind to see the man had worn the coat. She lifted her hand to point behind her, "There. The village of Lockwill. It is where I live. Are you lost?" she asked, confused. The girl was fifteen years old, and she had come to the forest to pick the wild mushrooms when she caught sight of the naked man lying on the ground. 

Seeing the man look back and forth, and then at himself, she said, "My parents are good people. If you are lost, they will help you return to the place where you belong to." 

James' attention fell on the girl. It was embarrassing to be standing just in a coat with nothing underneath, but he was grateful that there was at least the coat to cover his modesty. He must have turned to a werewolf and torn the clothes that he had been wearing.

He was worried where he would suddenly turn to a werewolf in front of everyone. It had happened before. It could happen now too, thought James in his mind. The girl was young and small in stature. Wanting to thank her, he bowed his head, and said, 

"Thank you for being generous enough to get me a coat."

A bright smile appeared on the girl's lips, "I am Piper."

"James." He saw the girl continue to stare at him, and he asked, "Your parents wouldn't mind?"

"Not even a little bit," assured Piper. James had no money with him, and he was lost. He hadn't travelled far to know every name of a village in the land, "Follow me," and they started to head in the direction of the village. 

James looked left and right, making sure to keep his eyes wide open while also keeping his emotions in check. He remembered entering his shop and speaking to the assistants. After that, he had gone to visit Catherine. Catherine…His blood ran cold when he remembered what happened after that. Two vampires had entered his house to kill him, and at the same time, Catherine had come to visit him. He didn't remember in detail, but he remembered seeing her lying cold on the floor. 

The scene in his mind was unclear, and James felt his mind was playing games because he didn't have an exact recollection of what happened, and it felt more like a dream. But at the same time, he remembered Catherine knocking on his door. 

'I, can I come in?' He heard her voice and his jaws clenched together at the probability of what happened. 

Piper turned back to ask, "Pardon me for being intrusive, but where do you come from?" She had a look of curiosity filled in her eyes. 

"From East Carswell," came the honest answer from James. 

"I don't think I have been there," Piper wondered where East Carswell was, "Did you get robbed?" came her next question. 

James wasn't ready to tell people around him that he was changing back and forth between a human and a werewolf, "Yes," he kept the answer short, and turned his head to look in other direction. If he had money, he would have thought about what to do, but right now, he was hungry with no money or proper clothes on him. He thought he had the worst luck when it came to marrying Catherine Barnes, but his current situation proved him wrong. From the time he had been bitten by the werewolf, since then his luck had started to move downhill. 

Pulling the collar up as he was too embarrassed to be walking in a state where his legs were bare below his knee with no shoe or sock, James entered the village with the girl. He received odd looks from people. 

"Are you sure your family wouldn't mind?" James tried to be sure because he was only a random stranger. 

"It will be fine," and she led him towards her house. On the way, James caught sight of something he would never have imagined. 

His eyes grew wide on seeing the picture of his face that was nailed on the nearest tree. The picture had been placed the same time when the girl had found him in the forest. The girl who was in the front noticed him not following her and she turned, wondering why he had stopped. 

H-how did he end up in a wanted poster?! James questioned himself in shock. It was not only a wanted poster, but there was also a reason written down at the bottom: 

'Killed people and need to be captured unharmed.'

When one of the High House members, Luther had mentioned about James Heathcliff missing from the village, Helena, the head of the High House had passed an order to fetch James from wherever he was. And this had led to his face being drawn and nailed in the nearest villages and towns that was near the High House. James didn't know he had come as close as to where the High House was located. 

James didn't know what to assume by this. It was as if a cold bucket of water had been poured on him. Killed...he killed Catherine...and the realization sunk deeper and deeper. 

"Are you alright?" asked the girl, walking back towards him, but James didn't continue to stand there. He quickly started to run away from there, making his way out of the village. Piper wondered what happened to him suddenly, and her eyes fell on the picture that was nailed to the bark of the tree. 

The girl had a look of shock when she read the word 'Killed'. Her eyes snapped back and forth between the drawn picture and at the direction where the man ran.

"What's the matter, Piper? What are you doing by standing at the tree?" asked one of the fellow village man who she was acquainted with. Piper's mouth opened and closed. The man saw the poster and then said, "The killers are everywhere. All of us should all be careful. Why do you look like a fish?" 

Piper stammered, "I-I...H-he was right here."

"What? Are you sure?" Piper nodded her head.
Nailed picture- Part 3

Music Recommendation for 2nd half of chapter: Last Dance by Scratch Massive


Back in the Hawethrone castle, Mary walked with her sister-in-law Frances taking rounds in the garden. The weather had turned colder as the dark clouds came to hover in front of the sun that slowly started to spread to create a gloomy atmosphere. 

"Have you thought about with whom you would be getting Elizabeth married to?" asked Mary to Frances, who was looking at the flowers. 

"Beth is still getting over the shock of what took place," replied Frances, "She cared for Mr. Wilmot, and it might not be fair to push her." 

"Hmph, if I am not wrong, didn't he create treason? It would be best to get her engaged before the news spreads about her involvement with the treason that took place. And with the way I see it, she keeps dilly-dallying, waiting for the next best and she might never get married in time," said Mary. 

With her second niece who was normal, Mary thought it was only right for her niece to get married than waste her time on useless people who had already passed, "Didn't you mention about that person who was going to visit the house? Dan something was it?" asked Mary. 

"Mr. Danvers?" 

"Yes! That man" affirmed Mary. 

"He did visit the house, but things didn't go well," Mrs. Harris murmured at the end. It was because of the whole confusion and they trying to push Beth and not Madeline for the wedding with the King. "Let's give her some time before dropping anything." 

"How are things at home? I thought your family would be visiting the castle. I mean as the wedding is around the corner," asked Mrs Harris, trying to deviate the topic from her own family. 

"Oh, they will be here for the wedding. They won't miss something like this," Mary offered a warm smile, and Mrs. Harris returned it. The woman then shifted back the conversation, "I find it rather strange that mother and father still haven't arrived here. I was hoping to meet them." 

Mrs. Harris' smile faltered, "Yes. They haven't arrived yet." Killing people was not something she or her husband were part of. When Madeline was put in the coffin, it had broken her heart. 

When Mary stopped walking, Mrs. Harris stopped too. Mary placed a hand on Mrs. Harris arm, "Frances, you know we are family, right? And you can tell me anything, and I would do anything for you, my brother and the girls." Mrs. Harris nodded her head, "My parents, they have always protected us. I know something is strange with Madeline." 

Mrs. Harris felt herself stop breathing, but she tried to keep a calm face, "Strange?" she asked. 

"Like how she was a few years ago. I can see it in her eyes and the way she moves. I saw her break a glass," stated Mary, looking straight into Mrs. Harris' eyes. 

"Glass? It must be out of coincidence. How many times have I dropped glasses or broken them in the house," laughed Mrs. Harris in response, "I broke one in the castle too, and so did Beth. You shouldn't take minute things like these into consideration. And you are right, Mary. Madeline is showing so much strength when she speaks. It is good to see that." 

Mary had lied about Madeline breaking the glass to test if Frances would give in the truth, but there was nothing, and she was filled with disappointment. Madeline had stayed with her parents since the second time she had returned, and Mary had kept a close eye to see if there would be a sign, but she had found nothing. 

"Are you sure about it?" Mary pressed for an answer.

"Yes, Mary. You worry for no reason. Madeline is not like that anymore. Whatever was in the past, it is long gone, and we are just humans," Mrs. Harris assured the woman with an encouraging smile, "Madeline is just like Beth. A human." Mrs. Harris didn't want Madeline getting hurt, and the truth still held, that she hadn't seen her daughter hurting anyone. 

Mary felt discontent. She couldn't believe she had missed her chance as her niece had turned to a human. Maybe she was wrong, and the King had indeed drank blood from Madeline, which had turned her unconscious. Her lips were set in a thin line, broke into a smile. 

She let out a small laugh. "I just worry about our family. I would never want anything bad happening to any of us. Even Madeline." 

"I know, Mary," Mrs. Harris said. After a few seconds, she said, "The King got our clothes stitched for the wedding. Come, let me show it to you." On their way back, Mary wondered where both of her nieces were as she hadn't seen either of them after breakfast. 

Back in Madeline's room, Calhoun and Madeline laid on the bed, facing each other. 

Madeline was worried that she would end up opening the wounds on her back which was still healing because of Calhoun. She had heard about the story of a kiss from the prince that woke up the princess, but she had never heard about a kiss that could heal a wound. 

"Can you heal anyone?" questioned Madeline in curiosity. 

"Just humans I think. It only closes the wound while it still needs time to heal," Calhoun answered her question as he stared at her. He hadn't left the room and had decided to spend his time with Madeline, which was far better than anything else, "I never healed anyone until now except for myself. You are my first." 

"That's interesting," she whispered and mindlessly, her hand had moved closer to him to play with one of the buttons of his shirt, "You haven't told me what happened," she said looking into his eyes. 

Calhoun's lips twisted, and he said, "I don't know what happened before the guards or I found you in the room, which is why I don't want to give you wrong details because of false assumptions. If you remember it by yourself, you will remember every detail." He doubted Madeline would be able to handle the truth that she had killed a maid without any reason, and he would like to believe it was because there was a reason. Not for his sake, but for hers, "Okay?" 

Madeline wanted to know, but seeing the serious expression on his face, she gave him a nod, "Okay." 

"Let me show you something," said Calhoun before putting his hand in his pocket to pull out a pocket watch. Madeline's eyes fell on the watch that looked old and rusted, "This one was gifted by my mother. To tell me the importance of time." 

Madeline didn't have to meet the lady to know that she was a good mother to Calhoun despite what she had gone through in her life. His mother loved Calhoun, and she taught him certain things, while most were picked by himself. 

She saw Calhoun press the top of the pocket watch, and it opened to show the dial. Trying to have a better look, she carefully tried to raise her upper body. He tapped on the pocket watch for the dial to come out, and he gently picked something out of it. 

He said, "There might be a time where you may doubt or question, but remember you brought me luck," and Madeline saw a dried four cloverleaf on Calhoun's palm.
Irk- Part 1

"I thought you returned it to me," Madeline whispered, leaning closer to him to have a closer look at the four cloverleaf. She remembered him taking her handkerchief, but as she remembered the events that took place, she remembered her mother asking where she had left the four cloverleaf. 

When her eyes looked up to meet Calhoun's eyes, he said, "The cloverleaf that you took back with you was nothing but just an illusion. Just like how you believed when I threw your mother's note the time we visited your house." 

This was news to Madeline as she had come to believe that Calhoun had heartlessly thrown the note that was written by her mother to her, "Why didn't you tell me you didn't throw it before?" 

"Because you would have wanted to take a look at what was written inside," replied Calhoun. One side of his lips had been pulled up to a smile at the thought, "I like to torment people, especially the one whom I am in love with." 

It would have scared and worried Madeline earlier, maybe even suffocated her just by the thought of how Calhoun felt towards her but she wondered since when did the feelings slowly start to slide and shift in a way where now Calhoun appeared to be normal like others. Was it he, who had changed or was it her? Madeline asked herself, maybe it was both. 

She picked up the dried leaf from his palm, looking at its faded colour. She twirled it around, and asked him, "Why did you keep it with you?" Not to forget, Calhoun had kept it in his pocket as if it was something precious without throwing it away. 

"Haven't you heard there is much more to what you see at the surface?" questioned Calhoun, his tone was light and playful, "I might appear shallow and someone who doesn't care, but that is because I care for only certain things. I don't know what made me decide to keep it in here." He didn't have romantic feelings towards Madeline until he met her again at the ball. One look and that was all it took for her to seize his heart, "I guess it might be because of the day I was having, where I met this little girl who naively came to help me. You were supposed to be my meal." 

Madeline's eyes moved from the leaf to look at Calhoun, "What changed?" 

"The gesture," replied Calhoun thoughtfully, "It is not every day a person is offered with kindness and compassion without expecting anything in return." After knowing what his mother had to go through because of his father's family, he had little to no expectation from people. Vampires were already a lost cause, and humans had shown their nature when they violated his mother. "You have a kind heart, Madeline. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise." 

"You have too much trust on me," whispered Madeline. Though Calhoun had not told her what happened a few hours ago, she could sense the ominous feeling that was hovering in her mind like dark clouds in the sky. Her very own grandparents had put her in the coffin before nailing it and her parents had not objected to it in the past. 

"If you compare me with you, you are the light. How can I not?" asked Calhoun, and hearing this a small smile graced on her lips. 

"I have some good things about you." Her words brought a hint of curiosity in Calhoun's eyes.

"And what might those things be?" 

"You might be an exclusive person. Someone who helps only certain people whom you care about and it's not just about me," stated Madeline looking in his red eyes. "You have protected Lucy by keeping the truth hidden all these years so that she doesn't get hurt. Not because you would get caught, but because I know if you don't want to get caught, you will find a way out of it. I am sure that is why no matter what and how things went down in the past, Lucy will slowly come to forgive and continue to stand next to you. I was angry with you, and disliked you in the beginning." 

"That's one way to open your side of the story," chimed Calhoun and he leaned on the bed by using his hand to support his head, "I love to hear you speak," he murmured. 

Madeline continued, "I know it is not uncommon to get married to someone against one's own wishes. And as much as I despised and wanted to escape from here, I am thankful to you, that if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be breathing right now." She didn't want to die. She had always hoped to grow old with a family of her own, to have children next to her husband, waiting for her hair to turn grey and wanted to live a full life.

"I know you do and I apologise for being harsh at times, but at the same time I doubt I would change any of it," came his thoughtful words. "Things that we sometimes dislike turns to something, to remember in the future. Don't you agree? We will have wonderful stories to tell our children and tourhe grandchildren." 

Madeline was surprised that Calhoun had already visualized about their future. With the faint smile still on her lips, she looked down at the dried cloverleaf. She brought it up to her lips as if breathing life into it and she pulled back to see the leaf start to get its colour back to a light shade of green like it was plucked away a few seconds ago. 

"Breath of life," whispered Madeline before handing the cloverleaf back to him. 

"I have something to propose," said Calhoun, gaining her attention and Madeline nodded her head for him to go ahead, "Move into my room." Her eyes widened hearing this. 

"B-but...we are not married yet." 

Calhoun said, "Even without marriage, I already see you as my wife in every sense. I don't want to leave you alone by yourself," he didn't want another episode like today happen again, and he didn't see why they had to wait. He caressed her cheek, "Move in with me, Madeline."