✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 521 - 530 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Compassion- Part 4

She heard Calhoun question Odin, "Do you know how to open the portal to the living world?" 

"I do, Master Calhoun. But I think you need to wait for Master Vladimir to finish his nap. We are trying to withhold the demons from passing in and out from Hell," informed Odin. 

"Hell is not a feasible place for both the ladies right now and as you can see," said Calhoun, glancing at Beth who was quiet, "I would prefer to have them in a place where there's less threat. We'll pass through quickly, and you can close the portal as tight as you can," his red eyes peered down at the servant. 

Odin tapped his hand on his leg before nodding his head, without knowing that Vladimir wanted to keep the portals closed so that Calhoun and the others wouldn't leave Hell until what he wanted was achieved. 

"As you say, Master Calhoun," obliged the servant by bowing his head, and he moved his hand from top to bottom in front of him for a black hole to appear. 

"Thank you for your help, Mr. Odin," Madeline bowed at Odin who looked at the girl with the utmost respect. 

"I only opened the portal," Odin didn't know what was so big about this. He had opened and closed the portal many times in the past. Madeline was the first one to step inside the portal. 

When it was Beth's turn to step inside the portal, she placed her hand to the side of the portal, and she turned back to look at the demoness who was on the ground. As Jennine was dead, her body started to dissipate up in the air into fragments, and Odin looked at Beth with a curious expression. 

Beth bowed her head before stepping inside the portal and stepping out of Hell.

Calhoun came to stand next to Odin, and he said, "You are a brave man, Odin." 

Patting Odin's back, Calhoun stepped into the black portal. A few seconds later, the portal closed behind him. They were back in the castle without needing to travel from the graveyard to here. 

Calhoun hugged Madeline, keeping her close before pulling away from her to make sure she was alright. Madeline let a sigh of relief out of her lips, glad that they were all back in the living world without being harmed or held back by the Devil. 

"Do you think Odin will be alright?" asked Madeline in slight worry as they had sneaked out from Hell. Who knew how angry Vladimir would be when he woke up from his mini nap to find them missing from the underworld. 

"He will be alright. Vlad seems to like to keep him around and likes him. I doubt he would be tortured too much," replied Calhoun, and he leaned forward to kiss her forehead. 

Madeline smiled at this, and she looked at Beth, who had entered the castle. When her eyes met Calhoun's again, he nodded his head, "I will go and check to see if everything is fairing well in the castle," and he left Madeline with Beth. 

Madeline knew that Beth had entered Hell with the thought to see Raphael and talk to him, but instead of meeting him, she ended up meeting the one person who believed Beth to be her friend. Walking to where her sister was, Madeline placed her hand on Beth's arm to gain her attention. 

"I was thinking of having some tea, do you want to join me? Or do you want me to walk you back to your room?" asked Madeline.

For two seconds when Beth didn't respond, Madeline turned worried if something happened as her sister didn't reply. When Beth's bright green eyes did meet Madeline's brown ones, tears started to brim up her eyes. 

"Oh, Beth," said Madeline, opening her arms, and hugging Beth while rubbing her back. 

"I didn't mean to hurt anyone," whispered Beth. 

"And you didn't," said Madeline, sensing the heaviness in her sister's heart. "You didn't do anything, Beth. She depended too much on you, and maybe it was not wrong, but you need to remember that she killed people. She killed Johnathan with whom we were friends with, and she tried to kill me…" but the dark angel in Madeline had come out and sent the demoness back to Hell. 

It made Madeline wonder if Jennine was a demon child, who grew up like any other creature in the living world. It was probably why Jennine didn't remember Madeline killing her the first time, until the second time Jennine came back to the living world with her memories intact. 

"You did what best you could do, Beth," said Madeline and Beth held on to her sister. 

After a while, when Beth had gathered herself, she pulled back to say, "I am sorry for causing trouble earlier today." 

"That's okay," replied Madeline. "I am just happy that we are all okay."

Even though Beth almost got into trouble, they didn't have to worry about Jennine trying to take Beth's life again. It was a strange feeling, and it was hard to hate on the demoness because it felt like she was lonely, and the only person who must have shown compassion to her was Beth. But at the same time, a friend had to know where to stop and not step on boundaries. 

Back in Hell, Odin hummed something under his breath and made his way towards his Master's quarters. He saw his Master was already out of the bath and wearing his clothes now. 

"Master, an outbreak took place in the Tower of Chains because of a demoness. But Master Calhoun killed her, and all the creatures are back in their cages," reported Odin dutifully. 

"And where are Calhoun and the others?" questioned Vladimir. 

To this question, Odin replied, "They must have reached the castle, Master-"

"What?" frowned Vladimir. "How did that happen?" and his eyes narrowed at Odin, making the servant wonder if he did something that he was not supposed to do. 
The muse- Part 1

"AHHH! MASTER HELP!!" Odin cried, flailing his hands in the air as he was being stirred in the hot pot of liquidated iron in it. "MASTER!" The servant didn't know what to do but pleaded with his Master who had put him in the pot, after finding out what he had done. 

A demon stood behind the pot, who looked like a troll. The troll was tall with a deformed face, smiling down at Odin who looked like a fragile vegetable thrown into a cooking pot to add flavour into it. It was rare to have Odin being punished as he was the favourite out of all demons and vampires who were in Hell, and it was pleasant to have Odin being punished.

Vladimir stood not too far away from the place where Odin was turning part of the iron soup's prominent ingredient. 

"Odin, who told you to open the portal for Calhoun and the others?" asked Vladimir in a calm voice, staring at his fingernails that needed to be sharpened. 

"Master! You never told me that they were not supposed to leave Hell!" screamed Odin in pain. With Odin being part of Hell's resident, the hot boiling iron wouldn't disappear him. Still, it made a point on how upset Vladimir was after knowing his grandson and Madeline along with the werewolf-demon had disappeared from Hell. 

Vladimir's neck snapped in Odin's direction. His eyes blazed in uncontained anger, "What part of close all the portals and the exits did you not get?" Vladimir asked in a low and threatening tone. 

Odin wanted to snap the troll's head for swirling him, and he felt his legs turning jelly as his body started to sink in the pot of hot iron. It had been a while since his Master had got angry, but then it wasn't his fault that his Master forgot to mention that his grandson was not just taking a stroll in Hell, but that he was held as a prisoner. 

"But Master-"

"Shut up, you fool!" Vladimir raged in anger, his eyes flaming in fire and soon his entire face looked as if it had caught fire, leaving his skin and flesh melted and only bones to be seen. The voice of the Devil changed to something deeper and darker, "Do you know how difficult it was to get him to the underworld?" 

Vladimir took a few steps away from the pot, his hands holding each other behind his back in deep thought. "My grandson, as proud as I am of him, it is hard to trick him because it's like talking to myself in the mirror."

"He takes after you, Master!" Odin replied as he moved round and round, his head had started to spin. 

"That he does, which is why it makes it difficult for me to trick him," answered Vladimir, "He thinks the angels are not going to take her away, but they are only waiting for the right opportunity. Paschar might not do anything, but Michael, he's too righteous, and too much righteous is what will turn as a thorn in our paths. Keeping Madeline here in the underworld would guarantee her a residence, of course, she would have had to drink the potion, but nothing happened," the Devil sighed loudly. 

Vladimir then raised his hand, and the troll looked sad as he had to stop swirling Odin in the pot. Odin's screaming stopped, and he felt as if someone had placed a bell on his head and then striking it hard to have his head ring and twirl. When Vladimir was not watching, Odin sent a glare at the troll, and he got out of the large pot before taking a step outside it. 

"What do you think the angels will do, Master?" asked Odin, and the Devil turned to look at his faithful, yet dumb servant. 

"Something so bad, in the name of right decisions taken by Heaven and in the name of the welfare of people," stated Vladimir. "All they care for is Madeline coming to Heaven. They are so scared that one day I will make use of her."

Odin blinked at his Master, "Are we going to make use of the lady?" Madeline had been too nice to him, and no one in this world had showered him with such niceness. 

Vladimir chuckled, "Maybe one day. When the time is right, we can fight against Heaven and its white-winged creatures, the place that was once rightfully ours." The fire in his eyes extinguished and turned pitch black. "Madeline might be a demon, but there is only a speck of it, while the rest is all angel. But even a speck of dust can stain a soul. You know that," a slow smile graced upon his lips. The Devil was once an angel too, but all it took was one speck of doubt and one speck of emotion that changed the entire universe upside down. 

He understood the angel's worry and concern, but it brought a great joy to the Devil. To make things worse for the angels, Madeline was married to Calhoun, his very own blood and she was Calhoun's beloved. 

The Devil started to walk away from the place. Odin who had regenerated his skin back on his body, he quickly caught up to his Master and asked in an apprehensive tone, "What will happen now, Master?" 

"I have sent the Salvette Mortem to the castle. It will guard the girl. If something does happen, the creature of death would take her soul away from the living world and bring her directly to Hell. This way, there will less inconvenience, and our problem will be solved," remarked Vladimir with a smirk on his face. 

The Devil never interfered when souls were taken to Heaven or Hell, but Madeline was special, and if she were to die, he would personally make sure that her soul was brought to the underworld. 

As they left the torture room, Odin dutifully followed Vladimir, clearing his throat, he said, "Are we going to the living world now?" 

"No. I missed Hell and wanted to spend some time here. There's a foolish demon who dared to speak and raise his voice against me when I was in Hawthrone's castle. Bring him to me," said Vladimir in a calm voice, and Odin bowed his head, disappearing from there as a bat.
The muse- Part 2

Music Recommendation: Julia by Reeder


"Wow," said Lucy, listening to what Calhoun said about his visit to Hell. She looked in awe as well as in shock, "I would have never thought that a place like Hell exists." 

"If Heaven exists so does Hell," said Theodore who stood against the wall while Calhoun and Lucy were sitting down and speaking. When Calhoun looked at him, Theodore pushed his glasses up his nose. 

"I thought you were going to acquire the signatures from Duke Arlington," Calhoun gave a pointed look at Theodore who bowed his head. 

"The ministers were still working on the drafts when I last checked," replied Theodore. 

"They finished it before the gathering was complete. I have put my seal on the papers so that you can fasten the process," stated Calhoun. He noticed the way Theodore looked reluctant to leave the room. It made his lips twist into a smile, but he hid it, keeping his facial expression to be passive. It seemed like Theodore was guarding Lucy's room like a hawk in the thought that someone would come and steal her away. It didn't need a genius to know that, that someone was his cousin Ethan. "Go on," he nudged Theodore through his words, who couldn't refuse but bow his head. 

Calhoun noticed the little glance that Theodore passed at Lucy before he left the room. Lucy stared at Theodore's back, a look of longing filling her eyes, and it vanished quickly when Calhoun turned back to look at her. 

"What?" asked Lucy with an innocent expression on her face. 

Calhoun lightly rolled his eyes, "I never said anything," he shrugged his shoulders. "I spoke to the physician, and he said you should drink only fresh blood. It will help in recovering your lost strength much more quickly."

Lucy pursed her lips, and she then smiled, "I am all better now. My wounds are all healed too." 

"So I have heard, but it would be better if you follow what the physician prescribed," replied Calhoun. His hand reached out for the jug of blood that was placed on the table to refill Lucy's glass. "He is someone who specializes with the injuries received by demons." And he raised the jug to take a sip from it, and said, "Stale already."

The vampiress smiled further at Calhoun's words and gesture. 

There was a time in the past when Calhoun walked past her as if she didn't exist, but then he behaved like that with everyone. People were automatically ignored by him. In the past, after speaking his mind out, he often breezed from there, that ended up with her grandmother or mother having their blood pressure increase in anger and annoyance. 

Lucy couldn't help but think how time had changed. If someone had questioned her about Calhoun in the past, she would have never believed that he and she would be sitting in the room with him worrying about her health. 

"You can have my rabbits until you feel better," offered Calhoun and Lucy blinked twice. 

"I am fine, brother Calhoun. Do you think Mr. Vladimir will show up in the castle soon?" questioned Lucy, slightly worried. 

"Hopefully not, I see the damn Salvette Mortem lurking in and around the castle. At this rate, I might as well make it clean the floors and dust the walls, so that I make use of its extra presence in the castle," murmured Calhoun, and this had Lucy chuckle. 

Lucy wasn't able to see the creature before, but after she had died and returned to life thanks to Madeline's healing abilities, she couldn't unsee the creature of death. She had come across it yesterday, and oddly, it didn't scare her. Instead, she found it interesting and had gone following it last night until it finally disappeared from her sight. 

Calhoun reminded himself to let Madeline run her spells and try to put an invisible wall to prevent demons and angels, but then who knew how reliable Paschar's book was, he thought to himself. 

When Lucy placed her hand on his hand, she said, "Thank you, brother Calhoun. If it weren't for you, I doubt I would be standing here where I am today. If you didn't exist, my life would have turned worse than any place in Hell."

Calhoun gave her a nod, and before they could exchange any more words, both Calhoun and Lucy's ears picked on the footsteps that approached the door, and their cousin Ethan appeared. 

"My King," bowed Ethan and then at Lucy. 

"Well, I am glad that you are here, Ethan. I am sure you wouldn't mind giving my sister company," stated Calhoun, getting up from the chair.

Without a second of hesitation Ethan bowed his head, "Of course, milord. It would be my pleasure." 

Calhoun smiled brightly at Ethan and he then turned to Lucy. "I will see you at dinner," Lucy offered her respect to Calhoun by bowing her head. He stepped out of the room with the smile still stuck on his face. It seemed like some people in the castle needed a push and Ethan seemed to be the right kind of push one required. 

He made his way to the gallery where he had stacked some of his mother's books. Reaching the place, he opened the cupboard and pulled the parchments that had drawings and wordings written in there. His mother was not a full-fledged demon like him or her father Vladimir, but she still had taken a keen interest in the demon world. 

Madeline saw Beth off to her room, where Beth had decided to pack her clothes and other belongings. She had left her sister's room with a heavy heart and went in search of Calhoun. Though Madeline wanted Beth to be safe and happy, where no harm would come to befall on her, she also had to do the right thing for her sister. 

None of them knew what Vladimir or the angels had in their minds. But if there was one thing she was sure about, it was that neither would harm her or the people whom she cared for directly. 

The angels were supposed to be fair and not hurt anyone in the living world unless the person turned to a direct threat. And the Devil, he was Calhoun's grandfather. Anything that would upset Madeline would upset Calhoun, and he wouldn't be happy about it. 

'At first, I thought I would go to the North, but I don't think how good of an idea it is when I have demon blood now running in my veins,' said Beth to Madeline, back in the guest room. 'I need some time for myself, and maybe before I leave, I will see mama and papa.'

'Are you sure about it?' asked Madeline, and Beth nodded her head. 

'I think so…' Beth had then smiled, 'The moment I reach there, I will write to you and let you know that I am safe.' 

After recollecting their conversations, Madeline believed it was probably for the best. As much as she loved and cared for Beth, it wasn't safe for Beth to be more involved in what was going around her. 

Searching for Calhoun through the castle, she found him in the gallery room, standing there with parchments that were spread on the table with candles lit brightly on the stand. 
The muse- Part 3

Hearing footsteps enter the gallery room, Calhoun heard Madeline speak, "I was looking for you. I thought you would be in Lucy's room, but you weren't there." 

Calhoun turned around with one hand of his that rested on the table, "But you finally found me," he said, looking at the dainty creature who made her way to where he stood. 

"I did," she agreed, and her eyes fell on the parchments that were spread on the table. "What are you reading?" she asked in curiosity.

"I was looking for spells if my mother left it behind. There are some writings that are written in the demon language. Hopefully, we can make use of the spells if we ever need it," answered Calhoun. "I would have asked Vladimir, but seeing how cunning he gets with the give and takes, I thought it was better to rely on these." 

"Your mother seemed like someone who was very passionate about life," whispered Madeline when she caught sight of some of the drawings and the details that Lady Constance made. 

Calhoun pulled out a worn-out book from the edge of the table, and he placed it in front of Madeline, "This book was a gift to me. It has almost every creature's drawing that exists on these lands," said Calhoun to her. These were beautiful, thought Madeline in her mind. "If you look closer, you will find wordings in there." And he was right. The drawings did have intricate writings in there. Calhoun tore one of the pages and held it above the candle. Instead of it burning slowly by catching fire, it turned to specks of sparks within a second and Madeline looked fascinated by it. 

"Don't you need it?" questioned Madeline. 

"There is no need for it to exist as I have memorized them all," and within a few seconds, the book was utterly gone, leaving not a spec of dust behind. "Let me show you something," and Calhoun pulled Madeline in front of him and he placed a lone candle on the table. 

Madeline wondered what Calhoun had on his mind as he put his hands around her, holding both her hands before bringing them up and near the flame of the candle. The gallery room was moderately lit, and they were alone and away from their troubles that stood outside the room, leaving them be for now. 

She felt his chest press on her back, and his head coming to settle on one side of her shoulder, "An angel is the representation of ice, and the demon is represented as the fire," whispered Calhoun softly next to her ear shell. She felt a shiver run down her body as his breath felt warm. "There's a veil of difference between the two and the kind we belong to because they aren't far apart the way people believe it to be. In fact, they are the light and dark that balance the entire world."

Saying this, Calhoun's hand that was supporting the back of Madeline's hand, he guided her near the flame and scooped it in their right hands as if it was a drop of water. 

"You have aced your natural ability, and I think it is time for you to learn how to control your other gifts," Calhoun's voice was calm and steady like the fire they had picked up in their hand while leaving the candle cold and the wax to dry. 

When Calhoun tried to wrap her fingers, the flame slowly dimmed down as if she was hiding the flame, and when she opened her fingers, the flame flickered. It startled to crackle and manifested into a little bird. 

Madeline didn't know what Calhoun did, but whatever he did, the flame of the bird started to fly away from the palm of her hand, and it started to flutter itself in the room, moving from one place to another without burning anything. 

Her brown eyes keenly watched the bird hovering in front of a canvas that was covered in thin cloth. As she took a step forward, the bird went to sit on one of the bottom edges of the canvas, burning the thin cloth that had hidden the painting underneath it. The bird had turned to fire as it spread itself from the corner to the very end of the material. The fire had left her startled, but when it had exhausted itself, she caught sight of the painting, and her eyes turned wide. For a moment, it was as if she had stopped breathing and everything around her stopped. 

"This…" she whispered, looking at her being painted on the canvas. It was her sleeping on the couch, and she remembered the day it was painted. 

Madeline had believed it would be the most atrocious painting anyone would ever lay their eyes upon, but instead, it was nothing close to it. Her eyes were closed, and it was apparent that she had fallen sound asleep. A coat was draped on to cover her, and Madeline wondered why she didn't remember that coat being there on her. 

Calhoun stood behind with his back leaning against the table, watching Madeline's awestruck expression, which was mixed with a hint of confusion in it. He then slowly pushed himself, walking towards her. 

"This was what you painted that day?" came the surprised question from Madeline. Calhoun chuckled. She remembered when she had turned tired after holding herself in one pose, that had led her to fall asleep. 

Calhoun came to stand behind her, putting his hands around her waist, and letting his chin rest on her shoulder without putting his weight on her. 

"Beautiful, isn't she?" said Calhoun with a faint smile on his lips as he looked at the painting along with her. Madeline couldn't help but agree to his words, not because it was her, but the way Calhoun had captured her in the painting. "I couldn't help but hide it. I didn't want others to see what I saw, my sweet innocent rose." 
Gatherings- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Arthur's Theme by Marco Beltrami


Looking at her portrait, Madeline smiled, her heart turned warm by seeing the way Calhoun captured her so delicately through his eyes and hands. "Why didn't you show this to me that time?" asked Madeline because it would have saved so much time and she wouldn't have misunderstood him. 

"I like seeing your various expressions, it is fascinating, and I was only feeding my curiosity," murmured Calhoun as he held her in both his arms whilst they stared at the painted canvas. 

"More like feeding your sadistic self in teasing and torturing me," said Madeline and Calhoun chuckled. 

"That might be true too, but now if you look back, you have a memory that is way different compared to the reality," remarked Calhoun. He looked at the colours that he had used which were all soft texture-wise and it brought out Madeline's personality. He remembered how Madeline's eyes flared in anger that was completely vexed with him, and the sweetness that only he could see. 

On the other hand, Madeline couldn't believe that Calhoun had tried to scare her using this portrait. She smiled now. Knowing how Calhoun was now, she doubted he would ever bring this out in the open for people to see. He was a possessive man, and Calhoun didn't like showing things that belonged to him to others, even though he initially made it look like he enjoyed it. 

"We should get a painting done with us together in it," she heard Calhoun say, while swaying her gently in his arms. 

"What do you have on your mind?" asked Madeline.

"There's a family painter, we can get one with just us and then have another with Lucy and others like your family in it," replied Calhoun. "It is time to throw all the old ones and replace them with the ones I like. The old ones, they are not worth hanging in the castle, and they are quite an eyesore. We can have Vladimir in it too, it would be more of a peace offering."

"Hopefully he will take it that way," replied Madeline with a soft sigh escaping her lips. It had been only a few hours since they left Hell and God only knew what was happening in there. "I think he will like the idea about it."

"Hm," hummed Calhoun. 

They then put the parchments back in the lower cupboard while the ones that Calhoun thought were useful, he lit them up by holding each page above the candle. It was only so that no one would ever come to use the inscription in it. Few things were better not to exist but only know. They then left the gallery room while walking in the corridors. 

"I heard from the maids that you were helping Elizabeth in packing her things. Are you sure that is what you want?" asked Calhoun to her. 

A small smile appeared on Madeline's lips, but it didn't reach upto her eyes. "I don't think it matters what I think, but what Beth wants. I think she's in that phase where everything is thrown at her one after another and I don't want her to break." 

"Maybe it is for the best," responded Calhoun. 

Though he knew that Madeline would feel lonely by the absence of her sister, it was good to have Beth continue searching for the peace she was looking for. With the Devil's blood that was in her body, the little faith he had gained when it came to her had diminished because the Devil could whisper into her ears. And if ever that time came, Calhoun hoped Beth would use her conscience, instead of giving in to the darkness the demon blood brought along with it. 

"Do you think we can accompany her? She's going to meet mama and papa," asked Madeline, her eyes looking at Calhoun. It had been a long time since she had seen her parents, and she missed them. 

"I don't see why not," replied Calhoun in a casual tone and Madeline beamed with a smile. Calhoun knew that Madeline was close to her parents of the living world, and she cared dearly about them as she was attached to them. "We can stay there for a day or two before returning."

The next morning, Beth had packed her trunks and so did Madeline with just one trunk as she and Calhoun planned to stay there only for a day at her parents' place. A few more trunks were added with the luggage in the back of the carriage as gifts to the Harris' family. 

At the side of the carriages, Lucy hugged Elizabeth, "Please do come and revisit the castle," said the vampiress to Beth.

Beth smiled at Lady Lucy's words, "Thank you for your company, Lady Lucy. I hope you feel better soon," she said, and Lady Lucy nodded her head. 

The short duration of time Beth had spent here in this castle, she didn't have many fond memories, and the good one's were scarce. And she might have been solely responsible for it because of her poor decisions she had taken until a few days ago. Jennine had shown the kindness that once belonged to her and had then forgotten. She was trying to fix her ways, and that little walk in the memory lane showed her the person she once was and the person she had turned into. Even though she was trying to mend her way back to her previous good self, she could barely recognize the little girl to be her. That amount of goodness only Madeline could possess and not her. 

Before Calhoun could head inside the carriage, he looked at Theodore who bowed his head along with the others. 

"We'll be back in two days," informed Calhoun. 

"Please have a wonderful time. We'll look after things here," said Theodore. Of course, thought Calhoun to himself before eyeing Lucy. 

The coachman took his seat, his hands holding the horses' reins, and when it was time to leave, he pulled the reins. The carriage was pulled by four brown horses.

Madeline, who sat next to Calhoun, looked outside the window when they passed through the castle gates and entered the forest area where the trees passed one after another without a pause. Before leaving, Calhoun had told her that he had sent her parents to the town Bassorian, it was a town that had a mixture of vampires and humans living in peace. It was considered to be the second capital of Devon, whilst the first being where the Hawthrone castle was situated. 

"I wonder how mama and papa are doing," whispered Madeline, who gained Calhoun's attention. Beth, who had turned tired, she had fallen fast asleep with her head leaning against the side of the carriage. 

"I have told the magistrate to look after them, and aid them if they ever need any help," responded Calhoun, his thumb brushing the tips of her fingers as he had not let go of her hand since they had left the castle behind. 

Madeline smiled, "Thank you for looking after them." 

She knew Calhoun did everything in his power so that her parents wouldn't face any problem. She knew he did it because he loved her and didn't want her to be worried about her parents, and things like these warmed her heart immensely. The love that had grown between them was different from the rest of the couples in the world. 

The way Madeline's feelings had grown for Calhoun it was nothing less to the cold charcoal, but when the spark had been ignited in it, the coal had slowly and steadily started to burn brighter with every spark, and it would stop only when it would turn to ash. 

"The previous shop was demolished by Markus. Therefore this time I got a proper place for your father. A shop that won't be destroyed and no one will ever come to harm him or your mother. If they do, the magistrate knows he will be the first one to lose his head," Calhoun offered Madeline a smile, and he tucked the piece of hair behind her ear that was flying because of the wind that entered through the open window. 

Madeline was aware that if people knew who her parents were and how they were related to the King, people would swarm around her parents. But that would also end up drawing unnecessary attention from the demons as well as from the fallen angels. After many days, they finally got to experience some peace, and it felt nice to stay undisturbed and without having anything to worry about. 

Her eyes then fell on Beth, who was fast asleep, noticing her sister snore softly out of exhaustion. 

"How is she doing?" asked Calhoun when he noticed Madeline's gaze shift towards her sister. 

"She's okay. There are many things going on in her head, and she wants some space for herself where she can think," replied Madeline, her voice carrying a hint of worry in there. "Do you think Vladimir will come for her?" 

Since the Devil had mentioned his blood running in Beth's veins, Madeline couldn't help but worry where Vladimir would drag Beth to Hell and turn her to one of his minions. Her sister was trying to get back on the right path, but the Devil could put her back to the dark place she had just got out from. 

"His eyes are on you and not on her now, but it is good that she decided to stay away from you because we never know who will make use of her," Calhoun's words were blunt, and he didn't hide the uncertainty when it came to Beth's character. He had given the girl a chance because it meant a lot to Madeline, but that didn't mean he let his guard down. When it came to Madeline, every person was a suspect, and his eyes were always on the people who came close to her. 

"Do you think Vladimir will try to provoke me through her?" questioned Madeline. 

"There is a high possibility," answered Calhoun. His lips set themselves in a thin line of displeasure, and he hoped his grandfather would not make use of underhanded methods in trying to persuade him or Madeline. "It is good that so far, you haven't committed any sin. If you did, Vladimir wouldn't blink his eyes in sending the Salvette Mortem at you to take your soul to Hell."

Madeline turned her head behind to look at the small window that let a person see the snow-covered path that they had left a few seconds ago. But along with the luggage tied to the back of the carriage, Madeline caught sight of the black figure that was sitting on the luggage with its head that swayed left and right because of the movements of the carriage. The Salvette Mortem assigned by Vladimir had decided to ride along with them in the carriage. 

"What about the angels? Can't they do the same and take me to Heaven?" Madeline's eyebrows furrowed in question. 

"An angel cannot kill a soul in the living world unless the person tries to commit harm to the others. There are codes and rules to be followed in every realm, and the living world might be the only place where rules are broken," said Calhoun, "But seriously, your sister doesn't know when to stop following trouble, does she?" 

It annoyed Calhoun that Beth was reckless and she didn't think before doing something. Vladimir could have played dirty by trapping Beth and keeping her in Hell until Madeline would drink the potion to convert herself to a full demon. His eyes narrowed, and he felt Madeline squeeze his hand. 

"She feels guilty for what happened to Raphael. She was only looking for him," whispered Madeline so that she wouldn't wake Beth up from her sleep. 

Calhoun exhaled and shook his head, "I would like to go and find him in Hell, but we don't know if we'll find him there."

"Why do you say that?" Madeline turned her body so that she could face Calhoun.

Calhoun had a grim expression on his face, and he said, "There are some demons who end up in the tower of torture so that they can repent for their actions, while there are some demons who stay in the river of the dead like your mother. But there are also some demons who end up nowhere. They just disappear in thin air. Of course, this is just an assumption, and we cannot be certain until Vladimir speaks the truth."

"Is it possible to find an innocent soul to sacrifice it to the Devil without causing any sin?" Madeline wanted to bring Raphael back, but making a contract with the Devil was risky. 

"It isn't that hard," and on Calhoun's words, Madeline's eyes looked at him with intrigue, "There are many lost innocent souls who want to kill themselves, but the question is if they are willing to spend the rest of their eternity in more pain and torture. There are demons whom you will find lurking in the shadows, demons who make contracts with the living creatures so that the fools can live their life in ease in the living world. But that is only trickery, and we know no matter how good a deal is, one will have to pay the price by giving up their soul." 

Madeline dropped her gaze and looked at their interlinked fingers. 

When they finally reached the town where Madeline's parents lived, the carriage finally pulled over in front of the Harris' residence. The coachman pulled open the carriage door, and as Beth stepped down from the carriage, she looked up at the mansion that stood tall. Just when she turned around to speak to Madeline, she caught sight of something that was sitting at the back of the carriage. 

Beth placed her hand on her chest as if to settle her heart, "What is that thing doing here?" she asked Madeline. 

Madeline looked at the Salvette Mortem, who now jumped down to stand on the ground, "It decided to tag along with us. Courtesy of Vladimir. Don't worry about it," she placed her hand on Beth's back. They started to make their way towards the entrance of the mansion. 

Calhoun walked in front of them, and before they could reach the door, Madeline's parents who had heard the sound of the carriage and neiging of the horses, stepped out to receive them. 

"My King," both Mr. and Mrs. Harris bowed their heads to greet him, "We received your letter a few hours ago about you visiting us today. Please come in," said Mr. Harris, stepping to the side to give way for Calhoun. 

"I am glad to hear that you received the letter on time. I thought it would be better to keep you informed about our visit so that we aren't intruding your time," as Calhoun said this, he stepped inside the mansion. 

Beth was the next person to be greeted, and her parents hugged her, "How have you been doing, Beth?" asked Mrs. Harris, "Hopefully, not giving your sister any trouble." Beth didn't know what to tell because she still felt guilty for soiling the family name by helping Markus. 

"She's been wonderful, mama," Madeline came to the rescue, "It was good to have Beth in the castle." 

"And how are you doing, Maddie?" asked her mother. Madeline hugged her mother, her eyes closing for a second before they opened and she pulled back.

"Just the same, mama. I hope you are doing well, papa too," said Madeline, her eyes moved from her mother to look at her father. 

"The King has been extremely generous in bestowing us with a mansion and a shop for your father's work which is way more than we could have ever dreamed about," replied Mrs. Harris. Madeline was happy hearing this, knowing her parents were comfortable in their lives without a shadow of a demon or angel or fallen angel's around them.

When everyone settled in the living room, the two servants who worked in the mansion took the luggage and placed it in the respective rooms. 

"We were worried that we didn't receive any letter from you Maddie, and we thought to come and visit you in the castle," said Mrs. Harris. "Has everything been well?" 

Madeline nodded her head, "Yes, mama, everything has been well and good," and Beth nodded her head in agreement. Both the Harris' sisters had decided that they wouldn't let their parents know about Beth turning to a werewolf or about the Devil being Madeline's relative. At least not now. 

"How is your work going on, Mr. Harris? I hope the magistrate is treating you well," remarked Calhoun and Mr. Harris nodded his head. 

"He has been generous just like you, my lord. It was only yesterday our carriage wheel had broken, and he got it replaced as quickly as he could," answered Mr. Harris before silence filled the room. "Why don't you have something to drink and then rest? The journey must have been long and tiresome."

Calhoun looked at Madeline, and then at her parents, "I have somewhere to go. The High House has decided to keep a meeting, and I would like to check if everything is on schedule." When he stood up, everyone stood up too, and without blinking his eyes, Calhoun made his way to where Madeline stood. He kissed her forehead that turned her red as he kissed her in front of her family. "I will be back soon." 

"I will wait," murmured Madeline, her cheeks turning warm and he left the room. 

Hearing the front door click from where they were, Madeline felt her mother's gaze on her, "Is he treating you well, Maddie?" 

"What kind of question is that? He must be treating her well," retorted Mr. Harris at his wife's words. 

"He is now, but don't you remember how things were in the beginning?" asked Mrs. Harris with a slight worry in her voice. The King's behaviour had surely softened towards her daughter, but that didn't mean he wasn't intimidating anymore. 

"Don't worry, mama. He is treating me right," Madeline offered her mother a smile to ease her mother's tension. "I don't think any other person would have stood next to me compared to the way he supports me." 

Her mother had a small frown on her face, but she nodded her head, "If you say so," she whispered before offering her daughters a warm smile.

Madeline and Beth went to the rooms to rest, but something bothered Madeline, and she stepped out of the room to find her mother in the kitchen. Seeing her mother busy in cutting the vegetables, Madeline asked, 

"What are you preparing, mama?"

Mrs. Harris turned to look at her daughter, "It is for dinner," she said, cutting the vegetables. Since her mother had mentioned Calhoun's initial behaviour, Madeline didn't know why, but it felt as if her mother wanted to say something.

"Let me help," offered Madeline and she took some of the potatoes and started dicing them. "Is everything alright, mama?" 

Her mother looked startled and nodded her head, "Yes, why do you ask?" 

Madeline didn't know how to put her thoughts in words, "You don't like Calhoun?" 

Mrs. Harris gave out a nervous laugh, "He's your husband, he has been looking after you well, what more can a mother ask for?"

Madeline went to stand near her mother, and she placed her hand on her mother's hand, "You don't have to fear him, mama. Calhoun will never hurt you." 

Mrs. Harris sighed, "I am sorry, Maddie. Sometimes, I just worry about you and him. It would have been easier if he was just the vampire King, but knowing he's the Devil's grandson, it is intimidating..."

Madeline furrowed her eyebrows, "How do you know that? That Calhoun is the Devil's grandson?" It was because neither she or Calhoun had ever found the opportunity to mention it to her parents. Her mother pursed her lips. 

"It doesn't matter how I know about it, Maddie. Have you thought about what it might bring to the world? An angel and a demon's union has only been condemned and shunned," said her mother in a soft tone as if she didn't want Mr. Harris to hear about it. 

"Where is this talk coming from?" Madeline laughed, trying to lighten the mood, but her mother looked tense. "Mama, it doesn't matter who Calhoun is or his origin, he is who he is, and I am who I am. And what is wrong if an angel and a demon fall in love? Doesn't that mean there's hope for peace between the two kinds?"

Mrs. Harris nodded her head before letting a sigh, "I just want you to be safe."

"I know, mama," Madeline put her hands around her mother, hugging her, "Even though Calhoun is the Devil's grandson, he has done nothing but protect me from harm. He would never do anything to hurt me," she said in a soft tone. 

If there was something to be worried about, it was about her giving her judgement on Calhoun, thought Madeline in her mind. It was a thought that lurked in the shadow. 

After speaking some more with her mother, Madeline had successfully calmed her mind, but she wondered who her mother found out about Calhoun being the Devil's grandson. How did she find out? Or did someone tell her?
Gatherings- Part 2

Calhoun, who had left Harris' residence, walked in the town's streets with his hood on his head covering most of his face that left a shadow that hid his face. The time of dusk was near, and the streets had turned busy as people were hustling back to their respective homes. 

The town wasn't too far away from where the High House was, and this town was where one of the headquarters was located to hold meetings. He had moved Madeline's parents here not because there was a harmony between the vampires and humans, but also because this was where the head of the High House, Helena lived. 

He continued to walk until he came to stand in front of an old building made of square red bricks. As he walked towards the door where two men stood guarding it, a small black card slid into his hand, and he raised it in front of him. One of the guards hand reached out to open the door, but Calhoun didn't need it as he walked past the door. He entered a dark walled room that was lit with torches of fire on the walls. 

A man with two horns on his head appeared from the corner of the room. An average person wouldn't be able to see the horns, but Calhoun had been able to see it since the very first time he had been here. The demon had droopy eyes, and his expression looked bored. 

"King Calhoun, shall I take your coat?" requested the demon, his head in a deep bow while he waited for Calhoun to speak. 

Calhoun only raised his hands, and the demon stepped behind him to remove the coat off his shoulders. 

"Who has arrived, Miser?" asked Calhoun

The demon folded the coat, placing it on his arm, "The ministers, some of the magistrates, the usual High House members, and some of the Kings, King Calhoun." The demon kept his head bowed without raising it. 

"Hm," responded Calhoun. Without sparing more words, he made his way through the passage between the brick walls, his footsteps quiet on the floor. 

When he finally reached the double doors, this time he waited for it to be opened by the men who stood outside, and once the doors were opened, he was welcomed by the chatter of men and women. He caught sight of people whom he already knew and had met in the past. 

"King Calhoun, it is good to see you here," greeted Helena, her voice held little to no enthusiasm in it. 

"I was hoping you would be," replied Calhoun with a broad smile, and he walked around the table, hearing the people who were sitting at the round table while most of them had decided to stay quiet and watch him. "How is everyone doing?" he questioned them.

One of the women in the room said, "We are doing well, King Calhoun. We heard the news about your father and grandmother returning from the dead. Is that true?" 

"I heard those rumours too," said another person who was in the room, "How strange to be hearing that people are coming back from the dead. Do you think it is a witch's work?"

"One of my men was in the village, and said he saw them," said the woman who had raised the question, "It seems the two people looked just like King Laurence and the previous Queen Morganna, did you perhaps find a body double to humiliate them in public?" 

Calhoun looked at the woman who had dark eyebrows, and her black hair had been tied at the back of her head. A human who always had too much curiosity, and if she weren't the Queen of the neighbouring land, it would have been easier to snap her head. 

"What do you think, Lady Amoura? You were thick as thieves, you should know the answer to it, unless you are someone who likes to gossip," stated Calhoun with a smile on his face. In the High House, some members were once loyal to his grandmother, and those same people had tried to throw him off the throne. 

The woman named Amoura was in her late forties, and she stared at the vampire, "Are you trying to imply something, King Calhoun?" 

"I don't know about me, but I would like to ask you the same question," the smile on Calhoun's lips broadened. 

"Gallahanger," Helena called the man who was standing near the wall. She had raised her hand, and she said, "Get everyone something to eat and drink so that their mouths can be quiet for some time." 

Hearing this, Lady Amoura turned offended, and even though she was the Queen, she couldn't retort back to Helena as Helena was not any person but the Head of the High House, someone with immense authority as Amoura herself. 

Calhoun lightly chuckled, and he made himself comfortable on the cushioned chair at the table. Helena's hand reached out for her pocket watch, and she flipped it open to see the time. 

"It seems like there are some people who aren't here in the room-" started Helena and at the same time, the doors of the room opened, and in entered a man who had ruffled brown hair and his gaze narrowed on seeing the people in the room. He offered a small bow to Helena, 

"My apologies for being late. I was held back with an urgent matter," said the man. 

One of the men at the table, remarked, "Was it the herd of sheep that had blocked your path?"

"He must have been distracted with the amount of food in front of him," snickered another person. 

The man's eyes turned golden yellow as he stared at the two people. The room suddenly turned hostile, and the two people who had commented turned alert as if they were readying to fight the man who had entered the room. 

"I don't bother with the food on my path when I know there are full-grown people here who can be eaten," answered the man, his eyes continuing to glow. 

"Lady Helena, this man is threatening to kill us! I don't even know how he can even hold the title with such brazen behaviour," said the man who had commented about the sheep. 

Helena rubbed her forehead, trying to keep her patience that was running thin because of the people in the room. She had tried to postpone this meeting with everyone in one room because she knew how people behaved with one another. Most of them didn't get along, and they were usually set on throwing mud on each other. 

"And who do you think instigated it?" Amoura questioned back, crossing her hands across her chest. 

"At least it is confirmed that every person in this room has brains," murmured Calhoun and the woman's eyes flared. 

"How dare you disrespect-"

Helena finally snapped, "That's enough! This is not the way the leaders of the lands behave with one another. And Mr. Turner, refrain from using degrading remarks, else I will personally offer you as food to someone," her red eyes brightened, and Mr. Turner, who had opened his mouth to speak back, closed his mouth immediately. 

"My apologies," Mr. Turner bowed his head and felt the humiliation as people stared at him. When Helena turned her eyes away, Mr. Turner glared at the person.

Calhoun, who sat with his back leaning against the chair, observed what just happened, and the smile continued to stay on his face in amusement. 

"King Sebastian," Helena addressed the man who had walked through the doors a while ago. "If you would please join us," she had lifted her hand towards the empty seat at the table. Though Mr. Turner had apologized, everyone knew how insincere his apology was, and Sebastian took one step towards Mr. Turner making him gulp in his seat before he walked to the other side and sat down. 

Helena tapped the quil's tipl on the table, "Everyone must be wondering why all of you have been called here today. We have some critical issues that need to be discussed. There are some known matters in the room, but we believe it would be good to be transparent now, considering the situation that happened recently," Helena's red eyes looked at the people who were seated at the table. "I would like to start with the werewolves' situation, King Sebastian," she addressed the man. 

The High House head continued, "There have been recent sightings of werewolves who roam out of your land, and they roam upon the other lands killing people, especially the ones in Devon."

The man named Sebastian stared at the blonde vampiress, "I handle and take care of what happens in my land, Lady Helena, not the ones that walk in the other lands. You should know how infectious the werewolf bites are. There are too many rogues that hide and don't get caught until the very end."

Helena watched Sebastian through her monocle, "I thought when we signed the treaty, it meant you would regulate the existence of werewolves in all the lands." 

"That would be possible only if I had the authority, Lady Helena. You should speak to the Queen of the damned, maybe she will give you the insights of how she didn't want me or any of my men stepping on her land," responded Sebastian, and he received a glare from Amoura.

"Do not call me the Queen of damned, unless you want to die," threatened Amoura.

"What's the meaning of this?" questioned Helena, and Amoura rolled her eyes slightly before raising both her eyebrows. 

Amoura clicked her tongue, "The man who comes from the land of Warrings was causing an unnecessary ruckus. Therefore, I did what I thought to be fit. He killed my men!" 

"She sent them after me. What did you expect?" replied Sebastian, "I was only returning her the favour. There were rogue werewolves on her land, and she refused to have me or my men there as if she was protecting them." 

The Queen's eyes flared, and she glared, "How dare you accuse me about it!" 

Calhoun chuckled. "Seems like no one here gets along, not that I have any issue, but if we could continue than waste time on bickering," remarked Calhoun. 

Looking at Helena, Calhoun said, "If I may speak. There have been a few problematic situations because of the rogue werewolves, and their numbers have been increasing. And I do agree with King Sebastian. He is not some type of angel to appear everywhere and kill the rogues. The situation can be handled only by the respective rulers of the land."

Hearing the word angel, Helena narrowed her eyes. "And what do you propose?" questioned Helena. 

"Let the Kings and the Queen handle it. We are after all responsible for the safety of our lands. Last time, there was a slip, but we did capture the rogue werewolves. It has been a while since that outbreak," stated Calhoun in a calm tone, "I think there are other pressing matters apart from the werewolves." His eyes went back to look at Helena whose lips were set in a thin line. 

The last time when they had met, Helena wasn't pleased to speak about angels and demons' existence, and Calhoun was aware that the vampiress believed in keeping it as a secret. But it was high time people were aware of other creatures' existence and to know where to draw a line between the lower and the higher beings. 

Every person's eyes fell on the head of the High House who was quiet for a few seconds before she said, "There is some things that many are not aware, and we would like everyone to know about the existence of some creatures, who live among us like any other creatures be it humans, vampires or werewolves," Helena's words were enough to catch the attention of the people in the room. "There are demons and angels who walk in the living world."

Suddenly, the quiet room broke into a chatter with people questioning it with a look of disbelief on their faces.
Gatherings- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Into the fire by Marco Beltrami


Back in the Harris' mansion, Madeline had finished helping her mother, and she found out from her mother that Calhoun had appointed maids in the mansion. But her parents found it to be too much and they had asked most of the maids to return to the magistrate, who was the one who had arranged the maids for them. 

Madeline heard Beth and her father's voice coming from the other end of the corridor, and she walked in the opposite direction, wondering where the Salvette Mortem had disappeared to, unless it had gone hiding and would appear in time if she were to die. As sweet as the thought was, where Vladimir wanted her soul for his grandson's sake, Madeline wasn't sure if she liked the thought about the creature of death hanging around her, waiting for the time she would die. 

She was making her way towards the hall when she heard a sudden rush of wind blowing from the above floor. Wondering if a window was open, Madeline climbed up the stairs, and she heard a window hit against the wall because of the air. Stepping into the room, she reached for the window when she heard something creak behind her, and suddenly the air that was blowing inside the room had quietened. 

Madeline noticed this and her eyes moved to the right corner, and she turned around to meet the blonde angel, Michael. 

"Good afternoon, Madeline," Michael greeted her politely. 

"Afternoon," replied Madeline softly and when she took a step back, she heard the door lock behind her. "What are you doing here?" 

How did he know she was here? A faint smile appeared on the angel's lips. "I only want to talk to you." 

"I can listen with the door open," Madeline spoke apprehensively.

"I doubted that you would be willing to talk to me with the Devil's grandson not here," replied Michael, his voice calm and the expression on his face serene. "I am here only to talk to you." 

All these years, even though she didn't know if angels and demons existed, she always believed that angels were pure and right, but for once she felt she was wrong. Their intentions were pure, but the methods weren't as pure as they thought it to be. Michael had chosen to come to speak to her in the absence of Calhoun because he knew Calhoun would not allow him anywhere near her. 

Staring at the angel, Madeline asked, "What did you want to speak about?" 

"Before I speak anything, I need you to know that I or any other angel is not your enemy but your aid. We are only doing what is best not just for you, but also to others around you," explained Michael. "Don't let the demon and his words taint your heart. You staying here will only bring pain, and you will witness people die whom you care about."

"You want me to come to Heaven, it is why you are telling this to me," said Madeline, and Michael shook his head. 

"Watch it for yourself," said Michael, stretching his hand in front of her as if he was offering her something, but Madeline didn't trust the angel nor the devil. Noticing the girl's resistance, Michael said, "I know you have dreams, Madeline, dreams that worry you because your conscience is warning you it might happen. You should know better that a demon and an angel cannot live together-"

"You spoke to my mother," whispered Madeline in realization, and her eyes turned wide, "You were the one who told her about who Calhoun is." 

Michael didn't refuse her accusation, and he said, "Your parents are good people. They have sheltered you, and believe in the goodness of people. I believed they should know what is going on with their daughter. I have been mindful by not mentioning what your sister has become." 

Madeline felt anger rising in her because this person had intruded and done things he was not supposed to do. "I don't know if you know it, but my mother was a demon." 

Michael smiled, "Your mother is not a demon, but a human from the fallen-" and he stopped mid-sentence, "Was?" his eyes slowly narrowed, "That is impossible." 

"It is the truth that even my father is unaware of," replied Madeline.

"Paschar would have known if that woman was a demon-"

"You fail to see, don't you? When you fall in love, you don't notice where the person comes from and ignore everything else. My parents were deeply in love, and I am that mark that they left," said Madeline to him. "If I am an angel, I also have demon blood coursing through my veins." 

Michael didn't speak for several seconds and stared at Madeline, weighing the words she spoke. 

"This only makes it worse. A soul if once tainted, is tainted for life and there's no going back. It is only a matter of time when darkness seizes your heart," a faint frown had appeared on Michael's forehead. 

He noticed how stubborn Madeline was, he had hoped to sway her through her mother's words, but that hadn't worked. "Why do you insist not to come with me?" 

"I never did. All I want is to live here peacefully without taking any sides." 

Michael dropped his hand, and he was about to say something when the creature of death appeared in the room. The Salvette Mortem who had nothing in its hands, suddenly an axe appeared in its hand that was bloody and it stared at the angel. The room turned hostile as if the creature didn't like the angel in the room or next to Madeline. 

"Seems like you have company. I will return later, and I hope you would have changed your answer," and in a blink of an eye, the angel disappeared from the room as if he was never here and the door unlocked itself. 

If Michael could find her, she wondered how long it would be before Vladimir would find her and Calhoun too. 
Archangels- Part 1

Music Recommendaion: Epilogue by Dario Marianelli


Madeline stared at the empty room where she stood along with the Salvette Moretm that didn't move from its place. It hadn't let go of the bloody axe that it held in its hand for many seconds, and when it did, Madeline came to know that Michael had disappeared from this mansion. 

She found it rather strange that an angel would use underhand methods when it came to taking her to Heaven, and this persistently. Something felt very off and odd about it. Since she was a child, she had heard nothing but good things about angels of how one had to only pray and the angels would look after the person, but the current situation was far from it. 

The Salvette Mortem walked towards the room's balcony, its boney hands pushing the door and it stepped outside, while not bothering to interact with her, not that she would understand a word if it would speak to her. 

When the door knob turned, Madeline's head snapped around, and she saw Beth push the door open, 

"What are you doing here?" questioned Beth, taking a step inside the room. In time she caught sight of the black robes of the Salvette Mortem that had stepped into the balcony. 

"Michael was here," informed Madeline and Beth frowned. 

"Did he come here to persuade you?" asked Beth and Madeline nodded her head. "How did he even know? He must have been following us during the entire journey."

Madeline pursed her lips, "I don't know. He told mama about Calhoun being the Devil's grandson. He must have tried to get into her head about how Calhoun and I should not be together and must separate."

Hearing this, Beth frowned, "That doesn't sound like an angel's work."

Madeline's brown eyes looked at Beth's green eyes, "It doesn't, does it. It feels more like a demon's work," she whispered. 

It was because an angel never whispered things into the ears of the living creatures. Things like those were a demon's work, to sway and convince the naive people of the living world. She could sense something was amiss, but she couldn't point out what it was. 

"What did mama say?" inquired Beth. 

"I tried to convince and tell her that Calhoun would never harm her or anyone whom I care for. She seems to be behaving normally, but I hope the angel would not come and meddle with her thoughts again," stated Madeline before something dawned on her, "Beth, do you know how an angel and a demon's relationship work? I mean there are protocols. But are angels allowed to indulge themselves with demons? No matter how good natured they are?" 

"Why do you ask that?" asked Beth, wondering if Madeline was speaking about her and Calhoun. 

"I need to speak to Paschar," informed Madeline to Beth.


Madeline nodded her head, "There is something we have been overlooking, and we didn't notice it."

"But how are you going to contact Paschar? Through spells?" asked Beth, and Madeline took two steps away from her sister in deep thought. Her sister was right, how was she going to contact him when she had never summoned a demon nor an angel in the past. Even the black book of spells didn't have any information about it. 

"The church," whispered Madeline and she turned to Beth, "I will go to the church. It is the place where God resides where you will find the angels."

"Let me come with you," Beth offered, but Madeline was quick to refuse her sister's offer.

"No, I will be fine by myself. I will also feel better knowing there's someone to take care of mama and papa," said Madeline. It was only a few minutes ago since Michael had disappeared from here. She didn't want him to influence her parents by feeding more things into their ears. Not to forget, the last time when Beth had come out with Madeline for her work, things had taken a bad turn. "If Calhoun returns, let him know that I have gone to visit the church." 

"Are you sure you don't want me to come with you?" asked Beth, understanding Madeline's reasoning even though it wasn't spoken out loud. Both Heaven and Hell wanted Madeline's soul, which only put Madeline as a target. 

"I will be okay. I will be back soon. I just need to contact Paschar," replied Madeline, and she quickly left the room. 

Madeline took the carriage, asking the coachman to take her to the nearest church. When they reached the place, the coachman opened the carriage door for her, and Madeline stepped down and saw a whitewashed church that had turned dull. On one side of the church stood the bell, and on the either sides of the church at the top, she caught sight of the statues of archangels sitting with their wings. The door to the church was open.

"Stay here. I will return soon," Madeline informed the coachman who was from the royal palace, and he bowed his head. 

Just as she entered the church, she heard the church bells ring loudly, and it brought peace to her mind. 

For a moment, Madeline closed her eyes, feeling a wave of tranquillity pass through her body when she heard the sound of the bell resonate throughout the nearby houses and buildings. She wondered how something so simple could have such a profound effect. 

Her eyes took in the church's architecture, noticing the ceilings that were tall with paintings that covered it. The benches had been pushed to the sides as if people barely visited this place. Noticing the lit candles that were placed at the front, Madeline walked down and found a woman, who just stepped out of the confession box. From the other side of the confession box came the priest of the church. 

Placing both her hands together, she prayed in hope that she could see Paschar right now. She wanted to speak to him. After seconds passed, she opened her eyes, but he didn't arrive. 

"I don't think I have ever seen you here, milady. You must be new to the town," said the priest. 

Madeline turned her head to meet the priest's eyes, bowing her head in greeting, "I am, father. I thought I would speak to an angel."
Archangels- Part 2

The priest of the church looked at her curiously, "Not to God? All you need to do is speak to Heaven with a clear mind. If your request is pure and true, your prayers shall be answered," he responded to her. "Which angel are you looking for?" 

Madeline didn't know if she should answer his question. Noticing her reluctance in telling the angel's name, the priest offered her a kind smile.

"It is alright if you want to keep it as a secret. What is your name, my child?" 

"Madeline Hawthrone," introduced Madeline to the priest. 

"I am Gabriel Quintin." When the priest said this, Madeline stared at the priest. Since the time she had come to know about Paschar, and then Michael, Madeline had followed the angel's names much more closely, and she noticed him smiling at her. "Is something wrong?" 

"Are you-are you the archangel Gabriel?" She slowly took a step back to maintain a distance between them. The priest blinked his eyes as if not understanding what she just said. 

Madeline had not waited to confirm and had dived right into the question. She had noticed the pattern in the past, and she didn't doubt her gut feeling. 

"I think you are mistaking who I am, young lady," the priest had a perplexed look on his face, and his eyes looked at her curiously. 

"I am the daughter of the angel Paschar, and I came here looking for him," said Madeline to the priest named Gabriel and suddenly the expression on his face changed. "Are you still going to deny that you aren't the archangel?"

Gabriel's expression turned calm, and he stared at Madeline with a faint smile on his face, "So it's Paschar who you are looking for." 

Madeline nodded her head, "I wanted to talk to him, but if you are an angel, you should be helpful." Her words intrigued Gabriel. 

"I have heard many rumours about you Madeline, but it is a pleasure to meet you," said Gabriel, looking into the brown-eyed girl. "You are the child Heaven has been curious and wary about. A dark angel with unexplored power and potential. I don't think you will be able to see Paschar as he has been ordered to not step out of Heaven and work there instead."

 "Why?" frowned Madeline. 

Initially Madeline was angry at Paschar, but after meeting her mother and seeing some of the memories that belonged to him and her mother, Marina, she had decided to speak to Paschar. 

"He has broken quite some rules by coming and meeting you when he was ordered to stay away from you or anything related to you. This is Heaven's one way of keeping him safe, until he will come to know the difference between the people in the living and the angels," answered Gabriel in a calm voice. "I thought he would have understood when his powers had been stripped away from him, but his feelings from the living world must have come back to him after discovering you." 

"Does it matter who it is when love is involved? I thought that is what Heaven preaches, to love people and live in harmony," remarked Madeline and Gabriel smiled. 

"Please take a seat," he said, stretching his hand towards the bench at the front. 

Passing an apprehensive look at the archangel, Madeline carefully took herself near the bench and sat down at one corner and on the other side, Gabriel sat down. 

"Your words are true, but there are rules that Paschar didn't follow. If he continued this, he might be thrown into the living world and go through the punishment like the rest of the fallen angels. But as he is an archangel like some of us, angels of high rank, it isn't easy to do it. Heaven is merciful about him, believing he won't turn his back." 

"What about the archangels who had relationships with the living in the name of work assigned to them?" 

"Work is work. Unless the person is hurt by the angel, which I doubt has ever happened, then it should be alright," Gabriel replied to Madeline's question. "We do things to maintain balance and keep the living world in peace, while letting as many people as possible to enter Heaven so that they can spend the rest of their eternity in peace." 

Did that mean it was alright for Michael to have a relationship with Helena in the past? Asked Madeline in her mind. 

"Was this what you wanted to speak to Paschar about?" asked Gabriel and Madeline shook her head. 

"No. There are other important things that I wanted to directly speak to him. It is something between us, and no one else." Madeline replied to the archangel who didn't press her for an answer. He seemed more like a genuine angel, unlike Michael, who seemed off. "How does one know when an angel is turning to the dark side?" 

"When that happens, the tainted angel will show his or her true nature in front of other angels, by letting their thoughts known to others. Only one such angel has done it, and I believe you have already met him. How is he?" inquired Gabriel. He was asking about the Devil.

For some reason, Madeline smiled at this, and she said, "He's his usual self. Trying to bring me to Hell, the same as how Paschar and Michael want me to end up in Heaven."

Gabriel stared at Madeline, her words sinking in his mind, "I see. Why don't you want to come to Heaven?"

"I am not eager and ready to step into the afterlife. I still want to live long with Calhoun next to me and have children," confessed Madeline and Gabriel nodded his head. 

"If I am not wrong, I heard it from the whisperers that the angels have been asked to drop the matter for now. I mean having you in Heaven, because it does sound unfair when you haven't done anything. But then that doesn't mean there won't be eyes on you," informed Gabriel. 

Madeline frowned, "Does that mean I won't be forced and am allowed to stay here?" there was a hint of confusion in her voice. 
Archangels- Part 3

"I believe you are," remarked Gabriel, "Not many archangels have the ability, but I can tell that you are not just an angel, but more than it. Yet, you can enter the church without a problem, it only tells how pure your heart is, Madeline."

Madeline wondered why Michael was still intent on having her in Heaven when Gabriel said there were whispers about her being free, which meant Heaven didn't think she was a threat anymore. 

It was funny how what people thought to be true was untrue, and Madeline was told to be free like any other person in the living world. 

"What if I want to speak to Michael? Can you call him here?" requested Madeline. 

"Unfortunately Michael is busy in Heaven. It was only a few minutes before you entered the church did we receive news about people now finding out about the existence of demons and angels. Apparently, your husband has something to do with it," Gabriel looked at her with his brown and orange eyes. 

"Calhoun seems to have acquired all the qualities of the Devil. Causing unnecessary troubles. He must be angry about what happened to Raphael." 

Madeline's eyes slightly widened at the mention of Raphael, and she stared at Gabriel, who seemed to know about a lot of things while he stayed in the shadows without meddling in things, unlike the other angels. 

"You know Raphael," murmured Madeline.

"Let me tell you a story, Madeline, only if you have the time of course," said Gabriel, his tone polite and Madeline nodded for him to go on while wondering if he was changing the subject. "This is the story of Heaven where many archangels live together along with the other angels. When one of angel's heart tainted with darkness, he left Heaven and made the dark underworld into his home, the same place that had been trying to go against Heaven from the very beginning of the time. But the angel was tainted when another angel fell in love with the living soul from the living world. Sometimes all it takes is a spark in the forest to burn most of the trees and the land."

The angel, Gabriel didn't have to explicitly mention whom he was speaking about because she already knew it was about her father Paschar, and Vladimir. 

"After these two, there was another angel who stood to balance the other two which our father didn't like. As merciful and gracious he is, there are-"

"Rules to be followed," Madeline completed the sentence, and Gabriel gave her a nod. 

"That's right. The third angel, he wanted to be the balance to both the living and Heaven, beliving the ones who went against Heaven had to be given chance. He was after all the angel of guidance," explained Gabriel, "But Heaven wasn't happy and to test, he was sent to the land of the living to live like other creatures with his memory erased until he would be taught how the living creatures were. To die in the hands of the people there before he would be reunited back to Heaven as his term of punishment."

Madeline's mouth turned dry hearing this. There was no way! Thought Madeline to herself. Gabriel had not made use of any names in his storytelling, but she had placed the story perfectly in their places. 

Before she could speak or tell anything, Gabriel's eyes shifted to look at the uninvited creature that had entered the church. It was the Salvette Mortem. 

"This one isn't here for me so I believe it is here for you?" Gabriel's gaze shifted from the Salvette Mortem to her. Unlike Michael, who had disappeared in a matter of seconds in the presence of the creature of death, Gabriel didn't move but had only stared at it calmly.

"It is a gift from Vladimir," murmured Madeline.

"Must be a wedding gift," Gabriel hummed, his eyes going back to look at the Salvette Mortem who continued to move towards where they sat. 

In curiosity, Madeline asked, "Are you not scared about the creature?" 

Gabriel turned perplexed, "Why would I be? The Salvette Mortems are the ones to pass by the souls from one realm to another. It must be worried where I was trying to convince you to go to Heaven," he chuckled softly. 

When the angel stood up, Madeline stood up from the bench too. "It was good talking to you, Madeline Hawthrone," said Gabriel and Madeline bowed her head.

"Thank you for talking to me," Madeline replied and Gabriel gave her a nod. She wasn't able to meet Paschar, but Gabriel had been insightful, and her suspicion about a few things only deepened. When she started to leave the church, the Salvette Mortem started to follow her footsteps right behind her. 

The ride back to her parent's home was quiet even though the Salvette Moretm had decided to sit on the opposite side of the seat in the carriage. The guardian angel of death was prompt when it came to following her, and it only made Madeline realize that Vladimir already knew where she and Calhoun was, after all this creature was sent by him. 

Reaching the house, she made her way to the room. Calhoun wasn't back yet, and the sky had turned dark. Walking towards the sink, she spalshed water on her face and she looked at her reflection on the mirror. Droplets of water slid down from her face, and she reached for the towel before dabbing her face. 

Stepping outside the room, Madeline walked towards the room that had a rack of books on one side of the wall, and her finger stopped when she found the book she was looking for. Pulling it out, she went through the book of Heavens. When she felt a hand on her head, Madeline turned startled and she saw it was Calhoun who had returned. 

"Welcome back home," greeted Madeline. "How did the meeting go with the High House?" 

Closing the book, she let it go before standing up from the chair. Calhoun leaned forward, kissing Madeline's lips while basking in her rosy smell. 

"It went excellent. How was your day here? You smell like church," he murmured, snuggling into the crook of her neck before he pulled away. 

As Calhoun's red eyes looked at Madeline, she said, "I did visit a church."

"Everything okay? If you wanted to go, I would have taken you there myself," stated Calhoun and Madeline smiled, knowing it was true. 

"It was on the spur," replied Madeline. She didn't know that she was going to visit the church herself. "I had a visitor. Michael." 

Hearing the angel's name, Calhoun's eyes narrowed, "Surely he didn't come here to ask how you were doing." 

Madeline shook her head, "I don't think the angel who came here was the archangel Michael."

"What do you mean?" 

"Michael seemed slightly scared about the Salvette Mortem, and the person even spoke to mama about you being related to Devil," said Madeline, "I wanted to speak to Paschar, but he is not to step out of Heaven because of his interactions with me. Whoever it was, who came here today, the person seemed to be like an imposter, posing himself to be the angel."