✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsessions Chapter 341 - 350 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


A good distance- Part 1

Charmire, the magistrate of East Carswell village had hoped to celebrate a peaceful Christmas. But with the number of dead bodies that were piling up just not in the village, but also kills in the woods where the bodies were found scattered around, he doubted he would be able to get a day off from work. 

The man had a stressful look on his face, his eyebrows drawn together in worry, "We are yet to inform Mr. Barnes about his daughter's body being found there." 

"Why haven't you done it?" asked Calhoun, his eyes calmly looking at the magistrate. With Theodore who had already informed him last night on his findings in Heathcliff's residence, Calhoun was barely shocked with the news that came from Charmire, who looked like he didn't know what to do. 

"My King. Mr. Barnes is a well-renowned man-"

"I don't think death comes knocking on people's door by seeing their status, Charmire," stated Calhoun, his eyebrows raised. He was waiting for Barnes to come breaking through the gates of the castle to meet him so he could help Mr. Barnes find the killer of Catherine.

Mr. Barnes had shown no mercy or thrown pity at the girl whose head was ripped apart from her body. Calhoun could barely wait to see what Barnes had to express. 

"The problem is for the second time, the body was found in Heathcliff's residence. It's like people go there to die," frowned Charmire in thought, "And we still have no information about Mr. Heathcliff. Someone said they saw him leaving his shop, but when we went and spoke to the workers there, they said he hadn't visited the shop since many days. 

"Maybe he didn't visit then. It has been quite some time since he went missing. Especially with the last case of Miss Layla's death, I doubt he's even heard about his charges being dropped. This is why I said, you should have a thorough check done before claiming someone as guilty," Calhoun chided the man, and the magistrate bowed his head. 

"It is why I came here to see you, milord," came the solemn response from Charmire, "But last time, we found the body in Mr. Heathcliff's backyard, and he turned out to be the first suspect."

"More like your people were lazy to find the actual culprit," Calhoun gave a look. 

So what Madeline said was true. James had indeed returned to his human self. It was possible that James went to see what state his shop was in and then had gone home. And even though the assistants told Chamire and his men that they hadn't seen James for many days now, Calhoun knew that James had visited. Not because there was an outbreak in James' house last night, but because Calhoun had spoken to Emilio to follow his words. His thoughts went on what he had told to Emilio, who had worked the longest in James' shop,

'If Mr. Heathcliff comes to your shop and someone comes looking for him, make sure that the people whom you work with tell, they didn't see him.'

'Is Mr. Heathcliff in trouble, my Lord?' the assistant had asked, his hands folded together in the front. 

'There are some people who want to put Mr. Heathcliff in trouble. And we don't want him being framed for something he didn't do. Do we?' Calhoun had questioned the young man back. It was the time when James was caught as a werewolf, and Calhoun had taken necessary measures with the plan of 'ifs'. 

He had given his word to Madeline about protecting James, but if things continued like this, where bodies were found in his house, Calhoun doubted he would be able to keep the werewolf's neck safe. 

"You said there were other men's bodies that were found in the house? Did you try to find who they are?" questioned Calhoun. 

Charmire's hand reached to the back of his neck, scratching it, "I did, my King. After tracing where the arrows are being made, I found out that it is from Mr. Douglas' shop, one of the men whom Mr. Barnes is acquainted with." Charmire would have suspected James Heathcliff again, but with the false accusation he put on James last time, he decided to come straight to the King. 

"Get Mr. Douglas and place him in the prison of the village until the High House comes and question him about why he killed Catherine Barnes. You should be able to cough up something from him," said Calhoun, dismissing the magistrate. He turned around to see Madeline who stood not too far away from him.

"What are you doing standing there all by yourself?" asked Calhou while making his way to her and Madeline met him halfway. 

"I didn't want to disturb you as you seemed busy. Why did the village magistrate come to visit you?" Madeline looked at the retrieving figure of the magistrate, who disappeared from the corridor. 

"It was about Catherine Barnes," Madeline looked back at Calhoun, her eyebrows furrowed when she heard about the vampiress, "She was found dead in James' house."

"What?" came the shocked response from Madeline, "H-how did that happen? Was it James?" He did leave the forest yesterday and it was possible that he went to meet her. And Calhoun said she was found dead in the Heathcliff's residence. 

"No, it wasn't James. Though I do suspect that he was there when the murder took place. Theodore mentioned earlier that there were light colored marks on her neck," he informed her.

Of course, Theodore was the eyes and ears of the King. 

"It might be Mr. Barnes' men who must have come to kill James. He didn't want his daughter marrying a human, especially one that belonged to a low class." 

"James doesn't belong to the low class," corrected Madeline, "You knew the vampire didn't want to get Catherine married to James," her eyes narrowed.

Ah, how he missed that look in her eyes, thought Calhoun in his mind. It had been quite some days since they had bickered with each other.

"Right now, James' name is clear," Calhoun replied, a charming smile formed on his face, "It was Catherine's father's men who killed her. Silver mixed with certain components can harm both werewolves as well as vampires. Though not much to us demons as we are a mixture of both. A hybrid."
A good distance- Part 2

Madeline took a deep breath and let it out through her lips. "This wouldn't have happened if you didn't know about James' existence. We shouldn't have mentioned him during lunch with you that day." James would have been living a normal life right now. 

"Oh, please," Calhoun rolled his eyes, "I saw him kissing your," he paused to bring his hand up, wiggling his fingers, "In the ball. And in my defence, I didn't know Catherine would kill people and put one of the dead bodies in his backyard. I mean, I kill people but I definitely don't let it be a compost fertilizer in other houses. Who does that?" he asked with a fake shock on his face. 

"You shouldn't have pushed him to get married to Catherine." She wondered how they would be able to get hold of James. Even if they did find a cure, how were they going to find a werewolf who was on the run?

She didn't know what happened in Heathcliff's residence. Maybe James had called Catherine to call off their wedding. Madeline was a person who never wished any harm to any people. People whom she knew were dying left and right, and she stood there, hearing the news one after another. 

She felt her head hurt, buzzing loudly. Before she could fall, Calhoun caught hold of her in his arms, "Maddie?" he called her name and saw her unconscious. 

He carried her in his arms, heading to his quarters. But on the way, he met Madeline's aunt, Mary. "Oh dear! Is she alright?" asked the woman, worry splattered on her face. When the woman went to touch Madeline's hand, Calhoun took a step backwards so that the woman wouldn't get to touch the girl who was in his arms. 

Calhoun had met enough people like her who wore the mask on their face. The cracks on the mask that Mary wore were too many which he could look through. He was more careful because the woman was related to Madeline. Anyone related to his love would be put under dire test before he would approve them to be near Madeline. 

Mary looked up at Calhoun, a questionable look appeared on her face at his action. She had stepped out of her room, walking in the halls when she noticed the King carrying her niece. Did something happen that made Madeline faint right now? Or was it because the dark angel's ability was kicking in her body again, which her brother and his wife failed to see. 

"My King?" came the question from Mary, a polite smile on her face. 

"Yes, milady?" Calhoun played the ignorant fool, "Oh! I am a little possessive about her. You might have heard about it from her parents." 

Mary had heard a lot of things about the King, but she didn't expect him to claim Madeline in front of her, shamelessly. All she wanted to do now, was to touch those girl's hands to know if it would harm her. She noticed how his red eyes stared at her, taking in every single detail and movement of hers like he was sharply watching her. 

She disliked vampires, and this one seemed to have his own quirk. As much as Mary had blamed her brother for letting Madeline marry this vampire, she was still glad to know that there was a possibility of her niece turning to a dark angel. She did love her niece, but she loved the power more that would come from sacrificing the dark angel. 

Not wanting to be suspicious, Mary asked, "What happened to her? Was it the harsh sun?" she left a trap, waiting for the King to step on to it. 

"It was the blood," said Calhoun, noticing how the woman's eyebrows rose. 

"Blood…? Is she hurt?" Mary asked in a tone of worry. 

Calhoun smiled, not because he wanted to assure the woman, but for the woman's facade, "She's not hurt. I must have sucked more blood from her than I intended," he grinned brazenly while tiptoeing around the trap without stepping on it. 

"Oh," came the disappointed response. The woman looked a little uncomfortable that he was openly speaking about feeding from Madeline. 

"I didn't get to speak to you earlier, but I am so thankful to you," Calhoun thanked the woman that left her confused. 

"I didn't do anything," she replied to see Calhoun shake his head.

"You did! And I think you should take every single credit for it," Mary didn't know what the King was speaking about as she had arrived at the castle only this morning. "You taught Madeline how to read and write. Actually both the girls. Taught them how to ride horses, though I would say that would need some work. Not many offer that kind of kindness," he stressed on the word kindness, the smile still on his lips. 

Mary laughed, "I am their aunt. I did the best I could." 

"I am glad to hear that Madeline has such a supportive family. She speaks a lot about all of you," Calhoun chimed, "I should put her to bed." And he left the woman standing there in the halls without turning back, while still sensing her presence. 

Calhoun kicked the door of his room, carrying Madeline to his bed to place her down with a pillow under her head. He could hear her heart beating steadily in her chest without any skip or hitch. Pulling the blanket, he put it until her chest to tuck her safely. A frown came to settle on his face, questioning what caused Madeline to faint in the middle of the day. 

He went to keep her hands in a much more comfortable position, when his hand made contact with her fingers, he stopped. 

He felt pain struck his chest, and he coughed. Walking to the sink, he bent down to spit the red liquid out of his mouth. He turned to look at Madeline, who continued to lay there on the bed unconscious. 

It seemed like Madeline's body was in kill mode. 
A good distance- Part 3

One moment Madeline was standing and talking to Calhoun, and the next moment, she was somewhere in an unknown place, not in the castle. The village she was standing in was empty with no one around. The sky looked almost pink and red with traces of purple filling in it. 

Was she dreaming? She was, thought Madeline to herself. Moving her hand forward, she called, "Calhoun?" But it didn't seem like he was here. 

Madeline felt something tickle the side of her feet, and she looked down to see soft grass on the ground. This was not right. She wanted to get back to the castle right this instant! But how was she supposed to go back? She closed her eyes, hoping to return to the castle, but when she opened, she saw the same empty streets and houses in front of her. 

Standing here was not going to help, and Madeline decided to take a look around. As the wind blew, the longer blades of the grasses moved in the direction of the wind. While she was still walking, she saw someone passing by the alley, and Madeline quickly tried to follow the person. Maybe she could catch hold of that person and ask how she could get back.

Her feet quickly pressed against the ground to catch up with the man who was in his white robes, "Excuse me!" She called the person.

But when she came near the man, he didn't respond. It was like he didn't hear her. For some odd reason, it felt like she had seen this person before, but she able to pinpoint where. 

"Hello, Sir?" she called again but nothing. The man continued to walk, and Madeline stretched her hand to stop him, but her hand only passed through the person's back. 

"Oh no," said Madeline. Was she in someone's memory lane? 

Turning around, she found no one. Seeing the man making his way out of the village and towards the forest, Madeline followed him. From a distance, she could hear the glugging sound of the water and when they reached a stream of water, it was then that she caught sight of a woman who appeared to be waiting by the stream. 

Madeline had stopped walking, and she watched the man go and hug the woman, who returned his hug. She could hear the continuous flow of the water, and even though their lips moved, not a single exchange of word was heard by Madeline. Then something happened, the white wings appeared from the man's back while the woman stared at him and tried to say something.

Suddenly he caught hold of the woman's neck. 

"NO!" Madeline screamed when the woman burst into ashes. 

Madeline woke up. Sweat covering her body, and she saw herself sit upright on the bed, "Nightmare?" asked Calhoun. Her head snapped to see Calhoun, who placed a book on the table as if he was reading it. He walked to come and sit on the bed near her. 

"What time is it?" asked Madeline as the curtains had been drawn over the window.

"It is past eleven. How do you feel? You had a small nap," said Calhoun, snapping his fingers for the fire in the fireplace to increase. 

Madeline caught sight of the blood on the corner of Calhoun's mouth, "What happened to you?" she asked him in return, a frown on her face. 

"I was having a ball in the room, and thought I would have some blood while waiting for you to wake up," he gave her a bright smile. Madeline stared at him, gauging Calhoun's face. 

"Did I hurt you?" she asked because his answer had not been direct. 

"Not that I can recall," hummed Calhoun, and he ran his tongue over the corner of his lips, "What did you dream about?" 

"A man turning a woman into ashes," came the unenthusiastic reply from Madeline. 

"Well, that doesn't sound fun," commented Calhoun and Madeline couldn't agree less. 

Madeline had no idea what was spoken, or whom she saw in her dream. It wasn't something to brush away, as while she was still speaking she had turned unconscious and pushed into dreamland, "It looked like he was an angel."

Calhoun stared at her, "Do you think it is Paschar?"

"Possible," she whispered. 

Calhoun was glad that Madeline was alright. And testingly, he took hold of her hand that didn't give out any harmful energy now. He rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. "Do you know what he looked like?" If they knew how Paschar looked, it wouldn't be too difficult to narrow down where this man was. 

Madeline tried to remember, but for some odd reason, she couldn't recollect. It was as if her dream was evaporating from her mind. She pursed her lips before shaking her head, "I don't remember anymore."

"That's absolutely fine," replied Calhoun, and he leaned forward, "I missed you," his nose touched hers. 

"Me too," she replied because she had felt lost in her dream and she wished Calhoun was there with her. Knowing he would have a solution for a problem. 

"Please keep speaking," Calhoun's face was full of interest, where he shifted the mood and Madeline smiled, "What else?" 

Calhoun must have been here in the room the entire time, waiting for her to wake up while also making sure nothing would go wrong, thought Madeline in her mind. It was always the little things that affected them. 

Madeline brought her left hand to her lips, licking her thumb that got Calhoun intrigued with what she was going to do. She then brought her thumb towards his face to rub below the corner of his lips where he had missed a spot earlier. 

"Did it hurt?" she asked him, and Calhoun knew she was speaking about the blood he spat. 

He shrugged his shoulder, "It was tolerable." 

She tried to remember the person in her dream, trying to recollect the man who was possibly Paschar, the angel. Would she remember when she would come face to face with him? But she felt she had met him in the past. 
Keys and cards- part 1

Music Recommended: Alice by Martin Phipps


Madeline sat next to her mother and other women in the room having afternoon tea, listening to her mother and her aunt catch up like they hadn't met for months, "Madeline had not been doing so well today. How are you feeling now, dear?" questioned her aunt who sat next to Lucy. The vampiress had been polite enough to not refuse the invitation for tea. 

Mrs. Harris looked slightly worried, a small frown coming to settle on her forehead, which she tried not to show as her eyes darted from her daughter to her sister-in-law. 

"What happened, Maddie?" asked Mrs. Harris, but before Madeline could answer the question, her aunt went to speak on behalf of her. 

"Poor Maddie turned unconscious because of lack of blood in her body," said Aunt Mary, shaking her head with a hint of disappointment, "I thought you would have discussed with him on how much blood he should take from you. I understand that vampires feed and depend on blood, but you are going to be his wife."

Lucy, who heard this turned to look at Madeline, "I think your aunt is right, Lady Madeline. Brother Calhoun can sometimes get carried away. Your health is important," said the vampiress. 

Madeline smiled at Lucy's kind words, her smile a little tight as that wasn't the reason why she had fainted in the first place, "I am fine now, Lady Lucy. I don't think the King expected me to faint."

"It must be because of him feeding blood from you continuously," Aunt Mary looked upset, her lips set in a thin line. Madeline shook her head, but the woman went on to say, "You should let the King feed on someone else so that you don't end up with lack of blood in your body. What do you think, Frances?" her aunt questioned her mother. 

Mrs. Harris wasn't comfortable in discussing about her daughter being sucked by a vampire, "I am sure Maddie will take care of it."

"You should put on more weight, dear. Look at your sister Elizabeth. It looks like she turned more healthy since I last saw her. Is it because you have been eating well?" asked Aunt Mary, turning to Beth. Beth didn't know if she should take it as a compliment or a taunt by her aunt, "The food must be really good in here and I would not doubt if you were eating more. But, Maddie, you should fatten up a little."

"I think I am fine," Madeline offered her aunt a polite smile. 

Aunt Mary was one of the closest relatives of the Harris' family, and even though she often liked to be opinionated about people, she was the person who had taught Madeline and Elizabeth everything an elite woman would learn. Though Mr. Harris was poor, his sister, Mary had been married to a decently wealthy family, giving her the privilege and access to what the people of the high society did and indulged themselves in. 

But the woman hadn't done helped the girls because she was kind.

She had done it to keep a close eye on both Madeline and Elizabeth, to see which one had the potential ability of being a dark angel. Mary had believed that as Madeline had once demonstrated the abilities of a dark angel, her sister, Elizabeth would show it too, and she waited for the opportunity, which never came. 

The first time, when the incident took place, Mary was unaware about dark angels. The second time, she had been too intrigued with what was going on. It was then, did she try to learn about dark angels and came to know what Madeline could be. The only disappointment was, Madeline didn't show any signs after she returned to her brother's house the second time. She had gone so far as to make Madeline clean all the glasses and handle the delicate objects in her house so that she would know, while making Beth clean other things like the floor when the girls came to spend time in her house. 

"I will still insist that you find someone, maybe someone whom the King used to drink blood from in the past?" suggested Aunt Mary with a nonchalant tone. 

Madeline didn't know why her aunt was pushing her to pick someone for Calhoun to drink from. Calhoun had mentioned that when he was carrying her to the room, he had met her aunt, and they had a brief conversation with each other. 

"I will think about it," Madeline believed that just because she said she would, she didn't have to do it. 

"Where is the wedding going to take place? I mean we all know that the night creatures cannot step into holy places," stated Aunt Mary in a thoughtful question. 

Her aunt was the daughter of her grandparents, someone who was intolerant towards vampires. Madeline could tell by the look on her aunt's face, that her aunt wasn't happy that she was getting married to a vampire. 

"We have a chapel built in the castle, Lady Mary," replied Lucy, placing the teacup on the saucer with a gentle click. Mary raised her brows in astonishment. "Brother Calhoun got the chapel built, and he modified it enough to resemble a church, only that you won't find sculptures in there and it's feasible for the royal family."

"That's interesting," responded Aunt Mary , impressed. "I would have never thought that there is a chapel here. Would someone be kind enough to show me the way there so that I could take a look at it?" 

"I wouldn't mind taking you there," offered Lady Lucy, and Madeline was touched by the vampiress gesture. Even though she could tell that Lucy sensed the wall of dislike from Aunt Mary, the vampiress was still willing to tour her aunt. 

Before leaving Calhoun's room and joining the others in this room, Calhoun had spared a few words regarding her aunt. She decided to stay cautious and not leave Lucy alone with Aunt Mary. "I think we all can go there once we are done with tea?" Madeline suggested, and everyone nodded their head in agreement. 

When everyone finished drinking tea, the women got up, and Madeline was the last one to leave the table. While she was keeping the saucer on the table, the ceramic plate cracked, and her eyes widened. She quickly left the room with others so that no one would notice the broken saucer. On their way to the chapel, Madeline could feel her head turning dizzy out of nervousness, and she held her hands together while also maintaining distance with the others. 

It was only a while ago, did she fall unconscious, and she didn't want to faint again because this would only bring everyone's attention on her. 

Beth who knew the way, walked in the front with their mother and aunt, while Madeline walked behind with Lucy, who now turned to whisper, 

"Are you alright, Lady Madeline?"

Madeline's head snapped to look at Lucy with a cautious expression on her face, "Yes," she nodded, "Why do you ask, Lady Lucy?"

A smile broke on Lucy's face, and she tapped her index finger on her chest, "It is your heart." The vampiress spoke softly so that the other three ladies wouldn't turn to listen or eavesdrop on their conversation, "It beats differently. I am very good at keeping secrets." 
Keys and cards- Part 2

Madeline was grateful that Lucy was offering to listen to her, "I am okay."

She didn't want Lucy to be worried as she knew that the vampiress had her own problems right now. Lucy was trying to keep her head up, and preparing herself for the words that would come to reach her once the news would spread about her dissolving her marriage with Samuel. Not to forget, Calhoun had broken the news to Lucy about her parents death. 

She would have spoken to Lucy on how she was doing, but with her family here, she decided to bring up the matter later. 

Lucy, who had no idea of what was going on with Madeline, said, "I can speak to brother Calhoun if you want," leaning closer as they walked, she said, "I know he has killed people before while drinking their blood." 

Madeline stared at Lucy for the words she whispered, "I know some things, so I can help if you want." Madeline shook her head. 

"That's okay, Lady Lucy," replied Madeline and Lucy didn't insist further. 

"You know whom to seek if you need help, right?" and Madeline smiled. Lucy was genuinely tremendous in offering her kindness, something that even humans didn't do. 

When they entered the chapel, Madeline couldn't help but remember what had happened the last time she was here with Calhoun. Her eyes darted to the pipe organ that stood at the front attached to the wall. This place still looked beautiful, light passed through the blue tinted window leaving the shadow of the window on the floor. 

"It is indeed stunning," praised Aunt Mary, and Madeline's mother nodded her head in agreement. 

"There's so much detail on the walls and the ceiling. The King did a good job," commended her mother. 

Lucy smiled hearing the women praise, "There are a lot of other places in the castle that have been remodelled. Though most of the changes have been done at the backside of the castle, which often goes unexplored as not many pass by there," she explained, walking further inside the room, "Do you know how to play the instrument?" asked Lucy, her eyes falling on Madeline and Elizabeth. 

"I know how to play it," came Beth's reply. There were some things she was extremely good at, and though she wanted to boast about it, she decided to keep her words to a minimum. She had dragged her feet earlier to have tea with the ladies as she was still not ready to face them. In the corner of her eyes, she felt people looking at her, and in the back of her mind, she could feel herself sinking in embarrassment. 

"Would you like to play, Lady Elizabeth?" Lucy asked with a kind smile on her face. 

After having a little stroll in the corridors with Lady Lucy, Beth was sure that the vampiress despised her. But here she was, asking her to play. Walking towards the pipe organ, she sat down on the bench before opening the lid, to look down at the black and white keys. 

Beth squeezed her fingers before she started to play the keys, the music filling the room. It was a music which she had learned to play in the beginning, and Lady Lucy smiled hearing it, "I remember playing this one," said the vampiress. 

Madeline looked at Beth's frame from behind, wondering if things could return to the way they were before. The relationship she had with her sister in the past was a precious one and she didn't want to lose it. There were already enough people who were hard to trust, and she didn't want Beth to be in that list. While she looked at Beth, Madeline felt her aunt's gaze on her. Not shying away, she met her aunt's eyes who offered her a smile.

Beth continued to play when she heard a voice in the room, "What a beautiful piece!" It dropped her concentration where she ended up pressing the keys haphazardly, that left a blurring sound. 

"Mr. Sparrow," Lucy greeted the man, who was acquainted with Calhoun, "Were you taking a walk around here?"

"Indeed," replied Raphael, "I was walking by when I heard the sound of the pipe organ and thought to come and see who is playing." His eyes fell on the girl who sat in front of the instrument, not turning back to look at him. 

Beth cursed under her breath. She felt like she was being followed by a fly that kept returning every time she thought she had shooed it away. Lady Lucy's warning had been delivered lightly, and it had left her alerted, but this man! He had poked his nose, and after he had left, she had burst into tears. 

"Who is this?" asked Aunt Mary to Mrs. Harris, looking at the shabby man in the room. 

Madeline was the one to introduce him, "This is Raphael Sparrow. He is a close acquaintance of the King." Raphael bowed his head, and so did Aunt Mary, her eyes on the man who looked out of place. Not because of his clothes, but there was something odd about him which she couldn't point her finger on. "This is my Aunt Mary, my father's sister." 

"A pleasure to be acquainted," said Raphael, a smile on his lips and the woman gave him a nod. 

"We were here to see the chapel so that Lady Mary and Lady Frances knew where the wedding would be held," informed Lucy, "There are only ten more days left and so much has to be done. I believe they will start decorating this place and get the chairs sorted in here on the last two days before the wedding." Even though Lucy's tone was calm, one could sense the hint of excitement in her voice. 

"A lot of us are looking forward to it," Raphael looked at Madeline. 

"What do you do for a living, Mr. Sparrow?" asked Aunt Mary, her eyes continuing to look at the man, wondering how the King was acquainted with him. 

"I read cards, milady," came the quick response from Raphael. 

"Cards? You mean reading to say what luck and bad luck is approaching a person? How interesting," murmured Aunt Mary, "I knew a person who once used to read cards. He went by the name Walter."

Madeline's eyebrows raised subtly. She had heard this name when she had visited her's and Beth's memory. She doubted it was another Walter, and this was the same person whom her grandparents had taken her to, to burn her wings. 

"Walter?" asked Raphael, "I am not sure if I know a person who goes by that name and reads cards."

"Of course, he doesn't live here. He used to live somewhere near Carnival's village. He is an excellent card reader. It has been a while since I last got my cards read. Do you have your cards with you?" asked Aunt Mary and Raphael offered the woman a polite smile. 

Unable to keep the words to herself, Beth turned to say, "I thought you didn't believe in card reading, Aunt Mary."

Madeline remembered how their aunt used to call it rubbish and waste of time, every time they attended the village fair. "There's no harm in a reading. It's just for entertainment," Aunt Mary laughed heartily. After many hours of not seeing each other in the eyes, Beth and Madeline's eyes met in a silent exchange of thoughts. 

Keys and cards- Part 3

Everyone moved to a room so that Raphael could give a reading to Madeline's aunt. The most eager one was her Aunt Mary, and Madeline saw her aunt take a seat opposite to the card reader at the table while the rest sat not too far away looking at them. 

Mary stared at the man, who shuffled the cards in his hands seamlessly before spreading it on the surface of the table. She pulled out three cards from the lot after which Raphael cleared the rest of the cards. This wasn't her first time getting her cards read, and she had done it before by another person, someone who her parents were familiar with. 

Most of the card readers were nothing but faux who didn't know what they were doing, but some of them who knew how to read the cards, they were mostly demons. The reason she had asked this man for a reading was not because she was enthusiastic to learn about her present or future, but because she wanted to know who this man was. 

Raphael turned one card after another for the lady to see. His eyebrows raised itself as he stared at the sequence of the cards, and he looked fascinated. 

"What does it say?" demanded Aunt Mary, and Madeline who was sitting near to the table, noticed Raphael's expression. 

"I think you are one of the very few who has ever had this sequence. The first card here shows what you are destined to do. There is abundant wealth that is coming on your way," he said, placing his finger on the card, "The second card, it tells how important this phase of your life is, which is ongoing. Hmm, there are creepers on the stick," Raphael rubbed his jaw, "It usually is connected to card one. The third one here, the upright sword. You shall reap the benefits for what you have worked. It looks neat," he smiled looking up at the woman. 

Mary, who was staring at the cards, told herself that this man didn't know how to read them. He only saw the pictures and made all that up because this was not how the cards were supposed to be read. Nonetheless, she smiled, 

"Thank you for the wonderful reading. It was fun," and Mary got up from the chair, "Frances, would you like to take a reading too?"

"I am fine without it. I will take a walk-"

"Let me join you," said Aunt Mary, and the two women left. 

"How about you, Lady Lucy? Care for a card reading?" asked Raphael, seeing the vampiress get up. 

Lucy smiled, "Maybe some other time. Thank you for your time, Mr. Sparrow," and she too left the room with a bow. 

Madeline wondered if Calhoun or Theodore had warned Lucy in the past to not pick the card. Seeing her disappear behind the door, Madeline saw next was her sister who started to make her way towards the door, when Raphael said,

"What about you, Lady Elizabeth? I am sure you haven't got a reading done before," he said, looking at the girl who wanted to glare at him but was trying not to. 

"I am not interested to know," came her quick answer, "You can take Madeline's reading if she's interested," her eyes darted to look at Madeline and then at the man. 

"How about we both take our readings," said Madeline, "It doesn't take too long." 

Beth had been quiet since they had last spoken, and Madeline hoped that her sister was reflecting on her actions. Even if it meant the change was small, she wished to help Beth, change the way she looked at things. That there were other important things apart from position and wealth.

This was her trying to give Beth a window to change.

Beth pursed her lips, before making her way towards the table, and Madeline couldn't help but smile. She pulled the chair, and Beth murmured a thank you. Both the girls sat in front of Raphael and the man shuffled the cards. Spreading the cards again, he said, "Take two cards. One for the present, and one for the future."

"Not three?" asked Beth as Aunt Mary had picked up three of them. 

"If you want," Raphael drawled looking at Beth's green eyes. He had spoken enough in the morning. Therefore, he doubted she would like to hear about her past actions. And even though Beth had questioned about picking three cards, she ended up choosing two of them. 

Madeline was glad to have Beth sitting next to her, willing to take a reading. Though she didn't know what was going on in her sister's mind, Madeline had learned to read Beth's behaviour, and she knew somewhere, her sister was feeling remorseful with shame even though she wouldn't openly express it even to herself. 

After Beth's cards were read to her, Raphael read Madeline's. Once they were done, Beth who still felt awkward with everything going around and with Raphael staring at her, she excused herself out of the room. Madeline had stayed back and she asked,

"Was it the truth? The reading you gave today?"

Raphael was putting the cards back in his trouser pocket, and he faintly smiled, "As your aunt said, I said those things for entertainment. But the cards pulled, they had their meaning." 

Madeline softly gulped, "What readings did you find?"

"Your sister, she needs to make a choice. To her, it's like walking on the edge of the sword where she can fall either on the good or on the bad side. You are doing a good job handling her. Must be years of experience?" Raphael's tone was friendly. 

Madeline smiled without commenting on it, "What about my aunt?" The way Raphael read Aunt Mary's cards, it was as if she was going to turn to a wealthy woman.

Raphael's face turned serious, and his voice lowered, "Stay wary of her. She seems to have come here with ill intentions," and he said, "The treasure is you, Lady Madeline." 
Old house- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Palimpsest by Will Bates


Madeline stared at the table where the cards had been spread earlier. It came less as a shock that her aunt had come here with ill intentions of using her, unlike her grandparents, who had come to the castle to bury her back in the coffin. Raphael spoke about her being the treasure which Aunt Mary had been looking for.

"What if there is no treasure?" questioned Madeline. Because according to Lady Ruth's ghost in the closed cemetery, what her grandparents knew was nothing but a false rumour. 

Raphael walked around the table to come and stand in front of her, "Treasure has many meanings, milady. Something that is of great value, can be nothing to another person. While something dull might be of importance to someone else. Your cards show great potential," he said to her. 

Madeline's lips were set in a thin line, when she asked, "The cards I chose were different compared to what I picked last time when I met you." 

The man nodded his head, "Indeed, they were different. It only shows how quickly things are changing around you. I can tell that you worry that if you close your eyes, you will miss things, but that's okay. This is the time to keep your eyes open and believe in what you see."

"Will you tell me what you read today when it came to me? The truth" said Madeline and Raphael's black eyes stared at her brown ones. The demon wondered if he should tell her the truth because of how sensitive the matter was. Having the gift of sight, he could tell what was going to happen in the coming future, "I want to know," persisted the girl. 

"Death," said Raphael, his voice low, "Too many deaths surrounds you. Do not feel burdened over it. Things happen because they need to happen. There are sometimes when certain courses of events need to run in its own time. You have the answers, and all you need to do is to bring the puzzles together. Things may seem scattered, but that is only so that you can take in the information you are receiving." 

Madeline wasn't sure if she should tell what happened, but knowing how Calhoun trusted Raphael, she decided to reveal to him, "I see dreams that are not something I would like to see. I think they are premonitions of what happened or what is going to happen in the future. I saw Calhoun's dead body in the dream."

Raphael's expression stayed the same, without having a hint of indifference on his face, "Was it you?" he asked. 

Madeline nodded her head, "There was blood on my hands, and that was his," the words came out slowly out of her mouth. 

It was one of the most vivid dreams she had, and she still remembered it, as if it was taking place in front of her right now. Calhoun's cold body next to her, his eyes closed as if he was sleeping, and the blood continued to spread on the bedsheet of the bed, inch by inch. She snapped out of her thoughts, looking back at Raphael. 

"I know I am capable of hurting people," confessed Madeline, "But I don't want to hurt people who are innocent."

Was she calling the King to be innocent? Asked Raphael in his mind, "Maybe he isn't, and that is why you killed him in your dream?" 

Raphael's words were not helpful as it only had Madeline worried more, but the man internally smiled. It seemed like the King of Devon had someone who cared for him. 

Madeline looked left and right, her eyes falling on the window. "Let me show you," she said, walking towards the window and standing next to it. Raphael looked slightly perplexed as he didn't know what the lady wanted to show him. Taking a deep breath, she placed her hand on the window, and within a second, the glass shattered to fall on the ground. 

The demon looked astonished seeing what happened, "As I said, you have great potential. All you need to do now is to harness it and keep it under control, making use of it only when it is needed," advised Raphael. 

If only she knew how to do it, thought Madeline to herself. 

"You know," drawled Raphael, "When I first took your reading, I had come to know that you were something different, a stark contrast compared to Calhoun. He is as different as you, though I was never able to find more about him, apart from him being a demon. I think you both suit each other. Not just by nature, but also the abilities."

Madeline's eyes fell on the pieces of glasses that were on the ground. At this rate, every relative of hers would turn vile with the intention of wanting to have a dark angel to sacrifice for powers.

"Thank you," she thanked him for telling the truth about what he read. 

"I just read cards," he shrugged. 

"Can I say something?" asked Madeline and the man nodded his head for her to go on, "I know it isn't nice to say, but Elizabeth has always looked at the outer appearance of things and then liked it." She could see his interest in her sister, and she also knew the kind of men her sister always looked up to. 

Raphael smiled, "I know what you mean. I will see you later, milady," he bowed his head, taking a step outside the room. He knew what Beth's eyes pursued, but this time, he wanted her to look deeper than outer appearances. With a small smile on his face, he went on his way. 

Madeline stayed in the room alone next to the window as air passed through it that moved the strands of her hair gently. 

Nobody liked to hear that they were going to be the reason for people's death. She pursed her lips, only if she could remember the face of the angel in her dream. Looking down at the ground, she turned herself and brought her hand up to see the glass pieces shake on the floor as if they were trying to move. 
Old house- Part 2

Madeline took a step back from the window. When she dropped her hand, the pieces stopped trying to lift themselves from the floor of the room, and it got her intrigued. Bringing her hand up again, this time she tried to put some force as if she was trying to pick them up by her hands and she saw the glass pieces finally rise in the air and surprise-filled her eyes. She had never done anything like this before. 

Putting more strength and focus, Madeline continued to stare at the glass pieces until they started to rise further and further up in the air. As she twisted her hand, the shards of glasses began to move towards the open window. She could feel the resistance from them because of the air that moved against them. 

"I was worried where you went," came the voice behind her. Madeline realizing she was doing something which no one knew about, she lost her focus and the glass pieces that were up in the air until now dropped fast on the floor, breaking into many more pieces than before. 

Her head snapped around to see Calhoun leaning against the wall, staring at her. "When did you come here?" she asked, as she had not heard the door open or close after Raphael left the room. 

Calhoun pushed himself from the wall, standing straight before he sauntered towards her with his long legs. His eyes fell on the floor where the pieces of glass laid, and he said, "Maybe a minute or two. I didn't know you were practising by yourself." 

"I didn't want the maids to have more work because of me," replied Madeline. Calhoun stepped closer to her, leaning forward and his lips brushed against the side of her head. 

"What a thoughtful Queen the land of Devon is going to have. My beautiful rose." When he inhaled, he smelt the fragrance of rose wafting up his nose. He didn't know how heaven smelt like, where everyone wanted to go, but he believed that if it truly existed, then it would smell just like this. 

Calhoun was the King of Devon, but things didn't change much from what or who he was. After his mother's death, he had come to the castle intending to bring people down, worse than where his mother was pushed into. To remind them what it felt like, to be on the other side. And though he had everything he could have right now, the one thing he wanted to secure and keep was this one person who was in the room with him. Right now, she looked up at him with her brown eyes.

"Can I ask you something?" asked Madeline and Calhoun nodded his head, "Did you sense my aunt's intentions?" 

A grin broke through Calhoun's lips, "It isn't hard to figure out why she's here. She reeks of suspicion."

"And you haven't thrown her out of the castle or in the dungeon yet because…" It wasn't that Madeline was sure that her Aunt Mary had come here in the intent to kill her like her grandparents, but it was questionable on why Calhoun was holding back himself if her aunt was going to pose as a threat. 

"Curious little rose of mine," whispered Calhoun, "Do you know, sometimes we drop a piece of sweet in the room, waiting for the ants to come out from their hiding and the cracks of the walls. So that we know where the ants are hiding, and how many ants might come out from those cracks."

Madeline furrowed her eyebrows. "You are waiting for others to show up who might want me?"

Calhoun nodded his head, "Yes. One of my very reliable sources in the castle said that your aunt had gone to meet your grandparents, on their request. I believe your grandparents planned to put you in the coffin and then return to meet her, but that obviously didn't happen as they are the one's resting now. As the meeting didn't take place, she must have decided to come here. Your aunt might not be a fallen angel because of the generation skip, but greed and the need for power doesn't skip out of genes. If there are other's, they will come out."

"Why not stop the trail of the first ant?" asked Madeline. 

"Because one will never stop seeking out that one dark angel. The chase won't stop, and I rather have you living in peace than worry of what the future might bring. Just finish it in one go and then live with the bad wolf happily ever after," smiled Calhoun broadly. "Don't worry. I got it." 

But Madeline was not happy with it. She worried that somewhere in the future, there might come a time where she would be the cause of his pain and hurt, for his death, "Things shouldn't be this way." 

Despite how things had started with Calhoun and her, it was different now. It meant a lot to her that he was here listening to her. Remembering living in the coffin for all those years, that night where her small hands banged the lid of the coffin from inside where no one was there. She felt suffocated. But having Calhoun next to her now, she knew there were some things he would protect her from, where she could rely on him. Seeing him give a questioning look, she said, "You shouldn't have to protect me always. I should do it too." 

"From whom do you want to protect me?" chuckled Calhoun, amusement filling up his eyes. 

"From me." 

Calhoun stared at her, "In the game of chess, though it is important to have the King on the board, it is the Queen who is considered to be the most powerful piece—having abilities and skills like no other. Even more than the King. You want to feel useful?" He got his cheek forward, "I would like a kiss," he said. 

Madeline sighed. She was speaking something serious, and he had changed the conversation. Was he hiding or evading something from her? It only worried her further. When she went to lean over to kiss his cheek, Calhoun turned around such that her lips met his and she felt him snake his hand around her waist. 

He kissed her before letting go of her waist, "There. All worries have now disappeared," he murmured to see her cheeks turn red, "I have done far better things than a kiss, and you are shy." Madeline coughed, her eyes darting to look behind at the door that had opened. It was a maid who had stepped in and was quick to bolt out of there after seeing the King. 

"Pardon me, my King!" The maid bowed her head as deep as she could, holding a broom and a bucket in her hand, "Mr. Sparrow said that the room needed some cleaning." 

Calhoun's eyes narrowed at the maid in annoyance for interrupting his time with Madeline, and the maid shook in evident fear. Calhoun felt Madeline place her hand on his arm and his eyes softened. He said, 

"There's someplace I want to take you." 

Madeline wondered where Calhoun planned to take her, but when they arrived at the place, she looked at the same alley, which wasn't as empty as it was in the past. Things that were there right now dissolved and things that weren't there appeared in front of her eyes just like how it was in the past. 

Calhoun had brought her to the same place which she had recently visited in her dream.
 Old house- Part 3

Though Madeline had started to look into her past from in between where her mother met her in the alley, she saw the time where she walked towards Calhoun who looked wounded, and he left the alley. The memory turned even fresher than before, something she wasn't able to recollect and wanted to remember. 

"What are we doing here?" asked Madeline, turning around she met Calhoun's eyes which were calm. 

Madeline doubted that Calhoun had brought her just to look at the alley and like always there was something more than what met the eyes. "Not too far away from here, there's a village. It is where my mother and I used to live in the past. Will you accompany me there?" he asked, stretching his hand towards her and Madeline took it without any hesitance. 

Calhoun didn't use his wings, and instead, they walked to the next village. She couldn't believe that the previous place where he used to live wasn't too far away from her grandparent's house. On the way, he said,

"My mother thought it would be safe for her and me to live away from the castle and the people." 

"But that didn't work," whispered Madeline, remembering what he said, 

"It didn't. In the beginning, she moved to a village not too far away from the castle because she was still too attached to my father," chuckled Calhoun, a dry laugh escaping his lips, "Seeing her, I believed how foolish one could turn when they were in love," saying this, he turned to look at her. Was Calhoun accepting he was foolish to be in love? Thought Madeline to herself. 

"Even after I was born, she yearned for the man. She didn't move on until my dear grandmother, and Rosamund gave her the push she needed by sending men to take advantage of her. Sullying her name." 

Madeline didn't know what she should ask or what she shouldn't so that it doesn't offend him, though she doubted if there was anything that could cause an offence to the King unless he decided to call it one and have the person executed. 

"How did your mother come here to Devon? I mean before she met the last King," she asked Calhoun. 

Calhoun twisted his lips, "I asked her several times about it. When she was in a better mood," he replied, "But she often stayed quiet about it. I could see regret in her eyes, but they disappeared when she looked at me." 

"She must have loved and held you very dear to her heart," stated Madeline and she saw him smile. 

Remembering some of their conversations, she recollected on how Calhoun sounded like he didn't pity his mother for allowing the previous King into her heart like she was truly a fool in love, an idiot who lost everything because of the man. But at the same time, she could tell Calhoun cared for his mother. It was because he treasured the person enough to give her a coffin while throwing the other resident of the coffin out to be left to be decomposed. 

"She did," Calhoun continued to walk, holding her hand. He had left his coat back in the castle, wearing just a shirt and a trouser, his hair ruffled because of the wind. "I did think about going to visit this other relative of mine. My mother's father, but then I thought, if he cared he would have visited. And years just passed by."

"Don't people recognize you here?" She looked around at people who didn't bother to bow or greet him. Not a word, except for some side glance at Calhoun. She found it to be rather odd that people here didn't know who the King was. It must be because they had never seen him before. 

"It has been more than two decades since I openly walked on the road. Some have forgotten, but there are old people who still recognize me." So it was only the younger ones. She still remembered the time when she and Beth were talking about Calhoun where they hadn't had a glimpse of him before the ball. 

When they entered the village, Madeline immediately recognized the market which they were walking by. It was the same market which she had seen in the painting that was in the castle. The place was busy and bustling, and Madeline stuck close to Calhoun, who was more than happy to put his arm around her. 

Madeline saw a couple of people who stared at them as they passed by them.

They finally stopped when they reached almost the end of the other side of the village, "Here is the house," announced Calhoun, looking at a black, abandoned house which looked like lightning had struck it. "Not too far away from here, there is a graveyard, because of which it turned this house to be the cheapest back in that time. It was something my mother could afford through the money that was given by other men," his voice turned cold as he said the last words. 

Looking around, she noticed how the other houses near to this house were deserted. Stepping inside, she noticed how there wasn't enough space. It was a place of two rooms, and some things were left as it is, untouched. Like the bed that was broken, the window that had no glass, and there were some utensils in the first room. 

There were cobwebs in every corner of the house, and she heard Calhoun say,

"I made sure that the magistrate wouldn't give the house to anyone. So a rumour was spread about ghosts haunting in the other two houses next to this one," that explained empty houses, thought Madeline to herself. "This house, I didn't want to let it go. Not because my mother and I lived here. But because it holds bitter memories." 

Madeline noticed an envelope in the corner of the room that looked out of place, as it looked new. Moving towards it, she picked it up from the ground. 

"What did you find?" asked Calhoun.

"It looks like a letter." 
Eyes everywhere- Part 1

Madeline ran her fingers across the envelope that looked new, yet she noticed the speck of dust that had come to settle on top of it. She turned the envelope around to see no name of the sender written on it. She handed it to Calhoun, and he tore the envelope before taking the letter out. 

'Dear Lady Constance, 

It has been a while since we last spoke. I write this letter to you in the hope that you are doing well and as requested by you, I wanted to inform you that the bat is now awake. Please do write to me to the same address we first spoke about. The place that comes after the water and the trees.'

Madeline, who was reading the letter standing next to Calhoun craned her neck. she looked up to see him, "The letter is addressed to your mother."

Calhoun didn't reply. He stared at the letter, his face serious, "Looks like there was someone who cared about my mother. Unfortunately, the letter came too late." Years had passed by since his mother's death, "She never spoke about anyone. From where she came." 

"Not even your grandfather?" questioned Madeline. 

He shook his head, "Especially not him. It made the man look like he was a control freak, and wanted things to go the way he wanted." He looked at the word before his mother's name. Lady. People didn't often address a woman with status unless they were of high importance. Until now, all Calhoun knew was that his grandfather was sleeping, hibernating, "He's awake." 

Madeline frowned, wondering who Calhoun was speaking about. 

"The bat. It refers to my grandfather. He's awake from his hibernation," stated Calhoun.

Calhoun's grandfather?

Madeline wondered why the person had left a letter to his mother, like the person had sent out a warning to be aware and cautious, "Did your mother ever speak to anyone else?" she asked him. She didn't know if Calhoun was interested in finding the person who had written the letter to his mother? Looking at him right now, it didn't seem like he was interested. His face was calm, just like before the storm.

"Apart from the men who fucked her? No," came the words from Calhoun who didn't mince his words. In the next second, the letter caught fire and disappeared from his hand. They heard some clatter come from outside, and both of them turned to look at the door. "Shall we return?" he asked with a smile back upon his lips. 

Madeline wondered what Calhoun was thinking right now, which he concealed with a smile on his lips. All these years, she believed she had a perfect family. Grandparents who doted on her and her sister Beth as they always invited them over to their house. An aunt who liked to teach them the life of the high society which somewhere every one of them secretly craved for. Parents who were kind and generous and a sister, even though Beth was self-centred, she was still someone whom Madeline had relied on. 

Though her family didn't have a lot of money, it was sufficient, and she was happy with it. Madeline knew only a few things which Calhoun had lived through, and she wondered if there were other dark things which he hadn't shared with her for her own sake. 

There must have been somethings in his past that had scarred and carved him to be the person he was. 

When Madeline stepped out of the house, she took note of a man who stood in front of the house holding a rod in his hand. Calhoun, who stepped out of the house noticed the man, and he greeted, 


"I thought I would not see you here, Calhoun. You have the nerve to show up here," said the man, whose clothes were shabby and his face holding patches of mud on it. "Came here to reminisce about the past," he said, hitting the end of the rod on his palm. 

Madeline looked back and forth between the two men, wondering if the man named Holden was a friend or a foe of Calhoun. It looked like he didn't care about Calhoun's status. When Holden's eyes fell on Madeline, her back straightened, and she could feel a magnetic pull towards Calhoun for safety. But at the same time, she felt her hands starting to sizzle. 

"I see your speech has not been fixed even after years. No wonder you are still in this hellhole," chuckled Calhoun. 

Holden's face hardened in scorn, "What can I say, I am not someone to kill my own parent's to climb on the social ladder. And who is this lady? Come here to shack, is it?" 

One would wonder if the King would be angered by the rude words spoken towards Madeline, but instead, Calhoun responded with, "Unfortunately, the bed is broken. Maybe if you could fix the bed and add a new mattress we could do it," he taunted. Calhoun suddenly push her away as Holden came right at him with the rod up in his hand. 

The rod came to crash straight at the wall, breaking the already fragile wall as bricks fell on the ground while leaving a cloud of dust in the air. Madeline stepped away from the house, to see the man with the rod look around for Calhoun. 

"What are you doing by dodging my attack?" asked Holden. 

"I don't want to commit a murder today," said Calhoun, who had quickly come to stand behind him. But suddenly two wings erupted out of the villager's back. Seeing this Madeline frowned. When the cloud of dust settled down on the ground, she saw the wings were not similar to Calhoun's wings, but they were bat-like wings. 

The man quickly turned around, he swiped his hand in front of Calhoun in an effort to get a hold of him. Calhoun pulled another rod from the wall of the house that seemed to be sticking out, to block Holden. The villager laughed, "I was hoping you would come here so that I could get even with you for what you did last time."

"It is unfortunate that I do not remember what happened," replied Calhoun while taking a step back and swinging his arm to have the rod hit the villager's face. Madeline flinched when she heard the crack sound that came when the metal touched the demon's head. 

The person stopped moving, his body leaning forward with his head that looked like it had moved to the side along with his jaw. He wasn't a human but a demon and she saw him twist his jaw back to its position. 

"How would you like to die today?" asked Holden, "You know you cannot kill me, don't you?" he grinned, and Madeline noticed the jagged teeth of the man, reminding her of a fish that was caught by one of the fishermen, "You might not remember what happened, but you killed my wife. Ripped her apart in two pieces. How could you do it?"

"Haven't you heard that demons don't fall in love unless they are destined to be together? And I already told you, she wasn't someone who wanted to live with you. She preferred me, which was why she came to me that night," came the casual words from Calhoun before the demon went to attack him again. Since this was a secluded place where they stood away from the main village and market area, no one was around to see Calhoun or the man fight with each other. 

What did the man mean Calhoun couldn't kill him? Questioned Madeline in her mind. It seemed like both of them had a feud years ago because Calhoun had killed the man's wife and the demon wanted to get even. 

The other houses that were around them started to collapse as the rods came in contact with the walls, one hit after another. Madeline had never seen a pure demon, who at first glance looked like a human. As more clouds of dust appeared in the air, Holden turned his head to look at her. 

"What do you think about tit for tat, huh Calhoun?" asked Holden, making his way quickly like an arrow dashing towards Madeline. But before the demon could harm her, a gunshot was heard, and she saw a red round mark form on the demon's forehead. And he fell on the ground.