✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 531 - 540 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Family time- Part 1

The archangel Michael, who had appeared today in the mansion and in front of Madeline, he wasn't who he posed to be, and if the Salvette Mortem had not appeared, Madeline would not have realized it. She had met Michael many times before, but today, there was something very odd about his behaviour. Not to forget, when she compared Michael to Paschar and Gabriel, the other two archangels were milder by nature. 

"Looks like Vladimir did a good thing by leaving the Salvette Mortem around you even if I don't like the idea of you being dead," said Calhoun. His eyes looked around the room before they settled on the book that Madeline was reading when he had arrived. 

"Who do you think would be scared of the creature of death? The archangel Gabriel seemed barely fazed by its presence," and the more she thought about it, the more she couldn't believe how someone had impersonated the archangel Michael and arrived here to meet her. 

Who could it be?

Madeline bit her lip in thought before letting it go. 

"If angels are not scared of the creatures of death, it leaves only two kinds. One who must be part of the living world, or two, a person from the underworld," stated Calhoun and his eyes slowly narrowed. "Do you remember what you saw in the memories that you glimpsed through your mother? There must have been something?"

Madeline pursed her lips, trying to recollect what she had seen. "There was the demoness named Astrate, but she was killed by Paschar the same day my mother was sent to Hell. Do you think she will be found in Hell?" If her memory served her right, she had met this demoness the day Raphael had died. 

"It is a possibility," replied Calhoun. 

"Do you think she's the one who came to meet me today?" Madeline found it to be rather strange that the demoness wanted her to go to Heaven. She was the woman who had killed her mother and separated her family—one in Hell, the other in Heaven, and she was in the living world. 

"We won't know until we find out from her," responded Calhoun. But then to affirm it, they would have to go to Hell where Vladimir would gladly welcome them with open arms, but he wouldn't let them out. "What did Michael say to you?" 

"He wanted me to go with him. He said Heaven, but I doubt that is where he wanted me to come with him," answered Madeline, remembering the way Michael had tried to sway her decision. 

"Wonder where the person wanted to take you, if it is not Heaven or Hell. Must be for his own use," murmured Calhoun.

"Wait, I remember the woman named Astrate had mentioned about a demon for whom they were working. He went by the name Darian. That's the name!" The conversation between Astrate and her mother Marina didn't seem hostile. "It felt like Astrate had done a favour on my mother by killing her."

"He must be aware of your powers and the powerhouse you are. He probably has been waiting in shadows for the right opportunity," said Calhoun, and his eyes then went back to look at her brown ones. "He must be a demon before Vladimir took control of Hell and the demons in there."

"I thought the demons came into existence by following Vladimir." Madeline's eyebrows furrowed. This was something she didn't understand even when Gabriel was telling the story. 

"There were a few demons who existed even before Vladimir took reign of Hell. They were called the Fiends, and they had tried to revolt against Heaven and tried to use the living world to their advantage. I believe your mother was part of it too, it was how she came in contact with Paschar," explained Calhoun. 

That would only mean that the demon who was truly responsible for her mother's death wanted her. 

"Do you think we can enter Hell by placing conditions so that Vladimir cannot make us stay there through any trickery?" inquired Madeline. 

Calhoun stared at Madeline, and he gave her a nod, "Where's the Salvette Mortem?" 

"Must be lurking somewhere in the mansion. Earlier, it was standing in one of the room's balconies," Madeline answered his question. Calhoun left her side, going in search of it, and she followed him. Walking through the corridors and mansion's halls for a while before they finally found the Salvette Mortem who had apparently been trailing right behind them. 

"Did you see who the person was who had come to meet Madeline?" Calhoun questioned the Salvette Mortem. Being the Devil's descendant, he had the ability to speak and understand the Salvette Mortems. 

The creature with the stag like boney head, it opened its mouth, making a creaking sound as it's jaw moved up and down. 

'It was a demon, Master Calhoun,' answered the creature. 

"Who was it?" demanded Calhoun.

'Never sensed this person before. I thought there was something very strange about him as he didn't seem the same as the last time,' replied the creature. 

A few seconds passed before Calhoun said, "Tell Vladimir I want to speak to him. Right this instance." The creature looked apprehensive, throwing a look at Madeline and Calhoun assured it, "I will be right here with Madeline." 

The Salvette Mortem disappeared in a blink of an eye, leaving Calhoun and Madeline alone in the corridor. A fire appeared on the ground within the next few seconds, and Vladimir arrived in the Harris' residence. 

"Hello, my dear children. I was waiting for you to invite me," remarked Vladimir, his eyes looking around the walls that surrounded him, and his eyes fell on the couple. "Lovely evening, isn't it? If you wanted to have dinner with me, I could have arranged it in my quarters of Hell."

Vladimir had a wide grin on his face, and he looked at Calhoun with a proud look on his face. Before any of them could say anything more, Mrs. Harris arrived on the other end of the corridor, and without noticing Vladimir, she said, 

"Supper has been prepared." 
Family time- Part 2

When Mrs. Harris' eyes fell on Vladimir, she quickly looked at Madeline, "I didn't know we are having a guest."

Vladimir tilted his head, and he prompted the word, "Guest? I am the relative, milady." 

For a moment, Mrs. Harris was left confused, and her eyes then suddenly widened, "Y-you are the King's grandfather?" 

"So you have heard about me," Vladimir offered Madeline's mother a smile, and with his eyes that were wide, it only turned the woman frightened in his presence. The Devil started to walk straight towards Mrs. Harris, and he said, "We didn't get to meet each other officially. I am Vladimir Lazarus, Calhoun's beloved grandfather," he stressed on the word beloved. 

If her mother hadn't heard about who Vladimir was, maybe it would have been easier to ease her into the situation, but Madeline could tell her mother's nerves were wrecked in worry in the presence of the Devil. 

"Mama," Madeline tried to get her mother's attention, "Let us go to the kitchen to see if the dessert you made is done. Vladimir is here to join us for dinner." If it was possible, her mother turned shocked. Walking towards her mother, Madeline smiled and took mother's hand to lead her down the stairs. 

When they entered the kitchen, Mrs. Harris turned sharply on her heel, "What is the Devil doing here?!" The horror that Mrs. Harris felt was now apparent on her face. In the past, she thought if there was one person whose presence was intimidating, it was her son-in-law Calhoun Hawthrone, but this was something she had never foreseen. 

Beth, who was in the kitchen, turned around to ask Madeline, "Vladimir is here?" 

"You know him too?" whispered Mrs. Harris with a shocked expression on her face. 

With the way her mother was behaving, Madeline questioned what the demon had said to her mother that had her terrified. Madeline placed a hand on her mother's shoulder, "Mama, breathe. Vladimir is here because we have some questions to ask. The person who came to talk to you, he wasn't an angel." 

"What?" frowned Beth. 

Mrs. Harris placed a hand on her temple, pressing it, "Oh, dear God. Please be merciful on my family and me," she muttered under her breath.

"What is going on?" questioned Beth, placing the pot on the table that she had earlier carried in her hands. 

Madeline turned to Beth, "We had an unknown demon in the house who impersonated the archangel's form to persuade mama and me." 

"The Devil is here! This is not good," whispered Mrs. Harris under her breath, going to one of the racks, she pulled out the garlic from there, and Madeline sighed. "One should not associate with the Devil! One should not invite him as he shall bring nothing but destruction and misery. Have we all not read it?" 

Madeline and Beth shared looks, while their mother continued to whisper so that the Devil who was here would not hear her. "This is the reason why we tried to hide you, Maddie. Your grandparents knew this was going to happen, and they were trying to prevent it."

"Mama, grandma and grandpa wanted to kill me," Madeline responded. She understood that her mother was scared and worried, but this was not how to go about it. "Vladimir is here to help us! You need to believe my words, instead of listening to a stranger, okay?" 

She stared at her mother, waiting until her mother finally nodded her head. 

"How do I act?" asked Mrs. Harris. 

Madeline squeezed her mother's shoulders and said, "Like any other person. I know he is the Devil and the thought is daunting, but he is Calhoun's only family. There is goodness and badness in every person. We have all had it," she said looking straight into her mother's worrisome eyes. "It might be wrong of me to tell this, but he is better than grandma and grandpa. He helped Beth."

Mrs. Harris's gaze shifted to her younger daughter, and Beth nodded her head. 

"Madeline is right, mama," said Beth, before someone would drop the news to her mother she decided to say, "Something happened in Cossington, and I fell very, very sick. It was Vladimir who helped me get better."

"Why didn't you tell us anything about it?" Mrs. Harris's eyebrows had deeply furrowed, "Are you alright now?" 

"We didn't want you to worry about it," replied Beth. 

"Let's get the table ready to serve the food," suggested Madeline, and Beth nodded her head, "Mama?" 

"Yes, let's get it ready," agreed Mrs. Harris. 

On the above floor, Vladimir and Calhoun heard every word spoken by the women of the house. While the Devil smiled, there was a questioning look in his eyes, "Seems like I missed something." 

"Do you know a demon named Darian? Madeline and I suspect that he was here," informed Calhoun. 

"I don't think I do, but what business did he have here?" questioned the Devil, his eyes holding curiosity in them. 

"He came here impersonating the archangel Michael, tattling to Madeline's mother on how I am related to the Devil and he tried to sway Madeline's decision to leave the living world. He came to Madeline when I wasn't here," hearing the words from Calhoun, Vladimir's eyes narrowed. "Madeline heard from the angel Gabriel that Heaven has decided to stop from persuading her."

"The bastard sure has some nerve trying to pull something like that," commented Vladimir. He snapped his fingers, and within five seconds, four demons appeared in front of them. "Find the demon named Darian. You can let the others know about it too, and the one who gets him in front of me will be rewarded handsomely," and he waved his fingers for the demons to disappear. 

"We want to enter, Hell," stated Calhoun and Vladimir's eyes lit up like a child's eyes. 

"You know Hell is your home, and you are always welcome Calhoun," replied Vladimir, excited to have his grandson and the angel back in Hell. 

"But I have conditions before I step back there," said Calhoun and the smile on Vladimir's face faltered.

"I am listening." 

"You shall not try to keep us in Hell, and you won't threaten or kill Madeline or me, forcing us in any direct or indirect way to live in Hell. Nor try to turn Madeline into a demon," Calhoun was specific about his deal with the Devil, and Vladimir nodded his head.


"And I get to ask you for a wish," said Calhoun, but this was something that didn't sit well with the Devil. "Consider it to be a backup plan if you ever try to flip and go back on your word. The wish can be from either me or Madeline." 

Vladimir placed his hand on his chest and said, "My heart bleeds that you don't trust your very own grandfather."

Calhoun rolled his eyes. After the stunt Vladimir pulled at them when they were in Hell, Calhoun would not let the Devil trick them again. And he also doubted Odin would be able to help.

"Alright, consider it to be done," Vladimir agreed to the conditions. "We can leave whenever you want-"

"After supper," Calhoun had already decided not to wait. He would have gone to Hell alone, but he didn't want to leave Madeline behind. Both of them then headed down the stairs, making their way to the dining room. 
Family time- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Jingle Punks - Path To Follow


Supper at the table was odd because nobody spoke except for asking each other to pass something while they continued to eat in absolute silence. Mr. and Mrs. Harris didn't look up from their plate, and Beth quietly continued to eat her food while occasionally raising her gaze to look at every one. 

Madeline sat next to Calhoun and on his other side sat Vladimir, who had a bright smile that made Madeline's parents queasy. After all, it wasn't every day the Devil came to join to have food with them. 

"What a delicious cooked duck this is," complimented Vladimir. 

"Mama cooks the best roasted duck. She always has," Madeline chimed so that her parents could ease into the current situation. Her parents were nothing less to a pair of scared bunnies in front of Vladimir who knew he was intimidating them. But asking him not to would only provoke him to do it further. 

"It must have been wonderful growing up in a loving family of yours," hummed Vladimir. Calhoun looked barely bothered by Vladimir's presence next to him, and he had a bored expression on his face. "They did look after you even though your parents are Paschar and Marina. I forgot to mention this earlier when you visited Hell, but I met your grandparents," Vladimir's eyes had moved to Mr. Harris. "They are quite some people. I made sure they were well taken care of." 

Everyone around the table knew that people didn't go to Hell to walk in the gardens but to be tortured on the burning coals. And by Vladimir's words of 'well taken care of' it translated to him torturing them to his heart's content. 

When the front door of the mansion was knocked, Vladimir's head snapped in its direction. He smelt something in the air, and his eyes narrowed. Just when Mrs. Harris stood up from her chair, Vladimir said in a polite tone, 

"Why don't you sit and continue your meal. Let me go and see who it is." 

Apart from Calhoun, the people at the table were shocked that the Devil had offered to do something. Seeing the back of Vladimir as he left the room, Calhoun slowly chewed his food. 

"See, mama. He isn't that bad," Madeline whispered to her mother, and Mrs. Harris nodded her head. 

As Vladimir walked towards the front door which was closed, he caught sight of a maid who was making her way towards the door. When their gazes met, Vladimir dismissed her such that the maid turned around and went back inside in the direction she had come from. Bringing his hands towards his shirt's collar, he straightened it. Cracking his neck, while running his tongue across the front of his teeth, he opened the door. 

The person who stood outside and in front of the door was Dimitri from the High House, but this wasn't for whom Vladimir had opened the door for. His eyes shifted to the woman who stood with her back facing them as if she was looking at the mansion's garden. The Devil's red eyes caught sight of the woman's long blonde hair that had curled at the ends. 

Dimitri cleared his throat as it seemed like the man who had opened the door, his concentration was somewhere behind him. Vladimir's gaze shifted to look at the unattractive man who stood in front of him. 

"We would like to speak to King Calhoun," informed Dimitri. 

Vladimir stared at the man, his eyes slightly narrowed, remembering he had met this one the night he had met the lady who stood outside. It looked like this one was a demon too, what did he want with Calhoun? 

On the other hand, Dimitri wondered if the man didn't understand what he said because he continued to stare at him. Perhaps he was deaf? Believing he didn't hear it the first time, Dimitri went to repeat his question, 

"Is King Ca-"

"He is. What business do you have with him?" questioned Vladimir, his eyes going back to admire the woman's back.

"It is something we would like to discuss with his majesty. Could you please notify him that the High House members have arrived to meet him and that it is urgent," Dimitri continued to be polite with his words. He slowly turned behind him to see Helena who was facing their carriage that stood outside the mansion.

"He's having supper with his family. Do you know how important it is to spend time with your family?" came the bored reply of Vladimir, whilst trying to ignore the man who talked to him. "Is that your wife?" he jerked his head at the woman, and Dimitri's eyes widened. 

Helena, who was looking at her pocket watch, her ears picked up the question, and her eyebrows drew in together with a slight annoyance. Today's meeting at this town's headquarters had consumed all her energy and patience, and all she wanted to do was to get back to the inn and rest. 

She turned around to come face to face with the man at the door, and her eyes narrowed. 


"Good evening, milady. How have you been?" asked Vladimir, taking a step down and towards Helena. 

Helena didn't take a step back and only stared at the man she had met where the demons' mass massacre had taken place. "All you had to do is call my name, and I would be there next to you." 

"What?" Helena's expression turned into a scowl for the man's audacity. 

"I mean, you did come to meet me."

Helena looked at Vladimir through her monocle. "I don't think you heard what Dimitri said, but we are here for the King of Devon."

"So cold. I was joking. Are you always like this? Or do I bring out this trait in you?" Vladimir asked with a charming smile on his face. Helena looked at the man as if he had left his brain somewhere behind and had forgotten to pick it up. 

Right on time, Calhoun who had heard the interaction walked through the door. "King Calhoun," Helena greeted and walked past the crazy man.
The night to let go- Part 1

Music recommendation: Day one by Hans Zimmer 


Helena along with Dimitri spoke to Calhoun, discussing what happened after he had left the High House quarters. While on the other side, Vladimir had not left the place and watched them from a little distance away while hearing their conversation very clearly. 

"The magistrates want a full sweep of the lands so that they are assured that no harm will ever come to bestow on them," stated Helena with a serious voice. "They are now scared and want re-election to the committee of the High House by dissolving the current one." 

Calhoun, who heard what Helena had to say, nodded his head.

"They are scared about what might happen to them if we demons and angels rose in power." A small chuckle escaped Calhoun's lips. It was funny how the vampires who previously looked down upon the humans and other lower creatures now couldn't stand the thought of another creature being above them. "They feel as if they are losing control. We have a majority of demons who are of higher rankings working in the High House. There is no way the judgment can move in their favour."

Helena let out a tired sigh from her lips.

She said, "Things like these need proper planning, King Calhoun."

"And when did you plan to reveal it to the public and to the officials?" Calhoun questioned with his eyebrows raised at Helena. "The land doesn't hold only humans, vampires or the weres anymore. There are many demons and fallen angels, and we don't know when the ratio will increase. It is only right that we regulate the situation to avoid any possible uneventful events in the future."

Dimitri, who was standing next to Helena, spoke, "My King, if I may. Demons are of different levels. At least that is what I heard. How do we send back the ones who came from Hell?"

"You cannot send them back that easily," chimed Vladimir, "The world belongs to every creature, but most of them want to dominate it, and that is what is causing an issue here." 

Vladimir, who had not been introduced to the High House members, Dimitri looked at Calhoun, and asked, "Who is this man?" 

Calhoun's red eyes shifted to look at Vladimir, wondering if his grandfather wanted to reveal his identity.

The Devil smiled as if his grandson read his mind. 

"I am the King's very close relative. I go by the name, Vladimir Lazarus," the Devil introduced himself.

Neither Helena nor Dimitri had ever heard about this man, nor did they know that the King of Devon had a relative like this one. 

"Pardon me," Dimitri said to Vladimir, "Are you from the maternal side?" When both King Laurence and his wife were murdered, Calhoun had been the main suspect involved in the murder. It was during that same time when everyone related to Calhoun was questioned. They had found nothing from his mother's side except for the villagers' rude assumptions, where the King once lived before coming to the castle. 

Vladimir's lazy red eyes moved to look at Dimitri, wondering who this person was to question him. 

"He is," said Calhoun, not wanting Vladimir to go all dramatic as he didn't bother to answer the High House member's question. 

Helena's eyes narrowed, and she observed Vladimir. There was something very peculiar about this person, and she wondered what it was. If Calhoun was a demon, it meant even this man was a demon and maybe a powerful one at that. Because not everyone had the ability to notice who was a demon in this world, it was a rare gift. 

Vladimir's eyes went back to look at the woman's eyes that were bright red. He could sense her character's strength just by the way she looked at him with hidden annoyance in her eyes, and it put a brighter smile on Vladimir's face. It was their second meeting, and he enjoyed it with amusement. 

In the world that they lived, there were different kinds of demons. The level one demons who existed before the Devil claimed Hell, the level two demons were the ones created by him, the level three demons were born in the living world, while the rest of the demons were creatures who the Devil didn't pay heed to. 

"The demons who came from the underground world, some are under contracts with the Devil while there are other superior level demons who need to be dealt carefully, else you might end up burning yourself," said Vladimir to Helena when his words were for everyone. 

"I don't think it's a problem to have demons in the living world unless they try to cause unwanted problems to the living creatures of this world," Helena turned to Calhoun, "Anyways, we came here to inform you about the dissolving moment that has started in the High House."

Calhoun gave her a nod, "That is very much appreciated. I will have some of my men placed in the main tower of the High House so that they can guard." 

Helena bowed her head in acknowledgement. 

"Why don't we have dinner together? We have one spare seat at the table," chimed Vladimir and Calhoun felt the urge to roll his eyes. If he was not wrong, the Devil was trying to get under Helena's skin. 

"Dimitri," called Helena, "Ask the coachman to get the carriage ready."

Dimitri offered Calhoun a bow and then at Vladimir before leaving the front of the mansion's entrance. 

"Aren't you worried that the vampires and the humans will try to revolt?" Vladimir tilted his head in question. "Maybe we should have someone guard you. It would be saddening if something happened to you." 

The frown on Helena's forehead didn't leave, and she said, "I can take care of myself, but thank you for your concern." She turned to look at Calhoun, and said, "Thank you for your assistance, King Calhoun," and she turned her back to make her way towards the carriage.
The night to let go- Part 2

Calhoun didn't want to ask Vladimir on what he just saw and heard. Turning his back, he started to make his way inside the mansion. Vladimir, who spared a few more seconds to look at the lady, turned around to follow his grandson. 

"What do you know about that woman?" questioned Vladimir, and Calhoun's eyes that were set ahead moved to the corner, giving Vladimir a look. 

"That she is the head of the High House," came the bland reply from Calhoun before a small smile appeared on his lips. "She's staying in the Cruciferian inn. You can directly ask her." 

Vladimir hummed, "That I will, but she appears to be a little strong headed. Very hard to charm." 

Calhoun shook his head, "When did you both meet?" By the look Helena was giving towards Vladimir, it looked as if she was ready to bury him in a coffin and leave him there for the rest of his life with mud over the coffin. 

"When I was enjoying my midnight walk," responded Vladimir and they entered the dining room. Madeline had barely touched her food since Calhoun had left the table, and on seeing him, she asked, 

"Who was it?" 

"Our possible relative," answered Vladimir with a lopsided grin on his face. 

When Madeline gave Calhoun a confused look, he shook his head as if to ignore the Devil's words, and he sat down next to Madeline. 

Calhoun then said, "It seems some of the people from the other lands as well as some of the High House members want to dissolve the High House because they are scared of what might happen to them after finding the existence of demons and angels, including the demons in the High House."

"Won't that cause complications?" asked Madeline with a small frown coming to settle on her face. 

Calhoun picked up the knife and fork in his hands. "It will but only for a while. I believe it is the damned Queen, Amoura who has tried to instigate the doubt. They have possibly picked about how the High House favoured me during the many circumstances and for the death of the previous King and the Queen."

"What scared little creatures they are, to fear a demon," chuckled Vladimir before his face turned serious, his eyes darkening. "And they should. Every change causes complications, but it is important for the people to adjust, else they will forever be lost in chaos. They are only a bunch of scared people. There is barely anything to worry about. And if you need any help-"

"That won't be necessary," replied Calhoun, cutting the meat on his plate that had been reheated and he put it in his mouth, chewing before he swallowed it. "I have already prepared the men to kill the ones who tried to cause trouble today." His voice was calm as he took another bite. 

This was something he had foreseen, and he had taken proper measures to stop any possible problems.

Away from the Harris' residence, somewhere far away in an isolated building, a demon had killed a human and placed the person on the table for sacrifice. The demon had a deep scar that ran from the top right side of his face to the bottom of his left side. His eyes were pitch black as if he had sucked many souls. The man's face looked pale and dead, small blue nerves popping up beneath the surface of his skin.

"Master Darian," a demon appeared behind him, kneeling on the ground with his head bowed. 

Darian turned his head to the side to listen to his servant. "What news have you brought Ammon?" 

"The trap has been placed as you ordered," the servant demon relayed the message. 

Hearing this, Darian smiled. His eyes went back to look at the dead person who had been sacrificed a few moments ago. Blood dripped down from the sides of the table and the edges, some blood dripping down from the person's hand that travelled to the tip of the fingers before it fell on the ground. 

"I also heard something while passing by the mansion," informed the servant. "I think I heard the Devil in the mansion, and he was speaking to the King of Devon." 

Dairan looked displeased by this news, "What is he doing here? I thought he disappeared or was killed by the angels." 

The Devil had been away from the face of the living as well as from the underworld. This had led many superior level demons who wanted to claim the throne of Hell. Their desire had rekindled in time, especially, when they heard about the rumours of the existence of the dark angel, from whom powers could be drawn for their own use. 

The servant shook his head, "Master the news is already old as the Devil reclaimed the throne of Hell a few days ago. It happened when we were here, which is why we didn't get to hear about it."

Darian looked enraged, and when he moved his hand, many bricks of the wall broke and fell down, leaving dust in the air. "This cannot be happening! Funny how a fallen angel comes to the underworld and claims the throne to be his. Hell is mine, and for so many years I have been working for it. But it doesn't matter," hummed Darian, moving away from the table where the dead laid. 

"Once the dark angel falls into our trap, the devil or no angel can do anything about it. We just need to wait for tomorrow, and you will lead the way, Ammon," ordered Darian. "I don't want any mishaps else you will turn in far worse condition than this human here."

Once upon a time, he had demons who worked for him, in the promise that they all get equal standings in Hell. But because of that one single bitch, his whole plan had been screwed up, and his ambition had slipped through his fingers right in front of his eyes. But this time he wouldn't let it happen. This time Hell would be his, and so would be the world. 

"Clean this place and throw the body in the forest. I have something else to do," said the demon before he stepped out of the room. 
The night to let go- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Sweet Brutal Suite by Jeff Russo


The night wrapped up in a tense state for Mr. and Mrs. Harris as they had barely been able to chew any of their food without being wary of the Devil, who sat at the table along with the rest of the family. Mrs. Harris tried to behave naturally and tried her best to not to show that she was not intimidated by her son-in-law's grandfather. 

"Will you be staying here for the night, Vlad?" inquired Madeline and Vladimir, who was having his dessert, shook his head while waving his hand. 

"I have other plans, and I don't think your parents would be able to rest well by having me under the same roof," Vladimir grinned wide, making the Harris couple uneasy by his words. "I need to check who this person is, who is trying to disrupt my children's lives. Once I find him, I will make sure he receives the first-class treatment in Hell. How are you doing, Elizabeth? Staying out of trouble?" and his eyes fell on Beth. 

Beth had stayed quiet the entire time, keeping her thoughts to herself and her actions to the minimum without drawing any attention to herself. She nodded her head, "I have been doing well, Mr. Lazarus."

Mrs. Harris looked slightly worried, "What exactly happened in Cossington? How did you fall sick? Was it the weather?"

Madeline held her fork tighter, and she slowly lifted her gaze to look at Beth. 

Beth offered her worried mother a smile, trying to brush it away as if it was nothing. "I am perfectly alright now, mama. I fell sick for a brief time. Three-four days."

"If Mr. Lazarus had to intervene, it must have been something big," stated Mrs. Harris. 

Vladimir ignored the conversation while he made scraping noises by using the spoon against the little glass bowl where the dessert had been earlier been filled as if he was enjoying it immensely. 

Beth had a guilty look on her face, and Mrs. Harris' lips set itself in a thin line of disappointment. "Always getting into trouble, Elizabeth. It is good that you will be spending your time here, and wouldn't be causing your sister Madeline any trouble."

"Mama, it wasn't Beth's fault," intervened Madeline. 

"Then why are you both hiding it?" demanded Mrs. Harris. There was a time when her two lovely daughters shared everything with her, but the number of secrets only increased as they grew up. 

"Because they believe you wouldn't be able to take the truth," Calhoun spoke to Madeline's mother, and the woman bowed her head before looking back at her daughters. "Your daughters are trying to protect you, and you should allow them. They have grown up and have come to the age of understanding things around them," he offered his mother-in-law a smile. 

"Children grow up so fast, don't they?" chimed Vladimir, without lifting his head as he continued to scrape at the empty bowl. The tone that the Devil used, it wasn't provoking or arrogant. Instead, one could sense the deep sadness in his words. 

When he finally looked up, an instant smile appeared on his lips, and he said, "Thank you for having me for dinner. We should do this every day," he suggested before getting up from his chair and making his way out of the room.

Calhoun stared at Vladimir's back that looked lonely and at the same time, he felt Madeline place her hand on his leg under the table, gaining his attention. 

"I will see you in the room," Calhoun said to Madeline, and she smiled, nodding her head. Excusing himself, he stepped out of the room. 

Calhoun walked in the corridors until he sensed the Devil was not inside the house, but standing on the mansion's roof top's edge. Going to the top, he felt the cold wind blow at where he stood, and Calhoun put his hands in his trouser pockets, noticing Vladimir standing at the edge. 

"You miss her," said Calhoun. Vladimir who had his back facing his grandson, his face continued to stay expressionless. 

Calhoun didn't close the distance between them, and he paused his feet, feeling the wind ruffle his hair. 

Vladimir said, "I still remember the day she was born. So small that I knew if I used a little more pressure, I could kill her. I knew she was delicate, maybe the most delicate, and I made it worse. We think we are doing the right thing by sheltering and not letting the rays of the sun touch them in worry that it might burn them, but it only makes it worse. Would it be strange if I said that Constance was someone who brought me joy, the existence of my little daughter."

"Sometimes I wonder if I should have appointed another caretaker and not Odin. He was too soft on her," Vladimir tched. "But then she liked his company and spoke mostly only to him. Her loss is something that has left the heart Hollower than before, but then I remember she left you behind." 

"Do you regret not taking up the offer of trading Madeline with her soul?" questioned Calhoun, his voice quiet.

Vladimir looked up at the sky, his hand stretching forward when he caught sight of the snowflake making its way down before it settled on his hand and disappeared. 

"Sometimes, no matter how much you want something, it is hard to get it. It is vexing to think that I wasn't there when she needed me, and it is something that will forever weigh in my heart" murmured Vladimir, "And yes, I do miss her." 

Staring at the Devil for a few seconds, Calhoun made his way towards Vladimir and said, "You don't have to feel that way. It was a choice she made for herself, and something she made her peace with. She is now in peace, and that is all that matters." 

Calhoun understood how Vladimir felt because by the time Calhoun had attained power his mother was gone, but nonetheless, he had killed the people who had hurt her. He then sat down on the cold mud tiles belonging to the roof, placing his hands behind him to support his body. Vladimir decided to join Calhoun by sitting next to him. 

The cold breeze continued to blow, where the snowflakes started to fall down from the sky. The two men sat quietly, reminiscing the good things of the past. 

More than the eye- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Giverny by Remo Anzovino


Madeline helped clean the table, while Beth helped their mother in the kitchen. Once they finished cleaning, she ensured that her mother wasn't as jittery as she was when she saw the Devil for the first time, standing in the house. Leaving her mother in Beth's company, Madeline made her way out of there and she started to climb up the stairs, making her way to the room. 

Calhoun wasn't in the room, and she only assumed that he was still talking to Vladimir about the words his grandfather uttered during the time of supper. It was hard to understand the Devil because of the amount of cunningness the person possessed, his words laced and wrapped in sweet lies so that the other person would do his biddings. People forgot that the Devil that they feared was once loved. That he was an angel with all the good qualities and dear to God.

It put the question on one's mind on how an angel had tainted himself. 

Hearing a rustle behind her, Madeline turned around and saw it was Calhoun who had returned to the room. 

Calhoun didn't say anything, but he made his way towards her, his long legs quickly catching up to where she stood. And in one single movement, Calhoun's one hand went to curl around her waist while the other went to hold her chin. 

Madeline felt Calhoun's cold lips press against hers and she closed her eyes as he kissed her tenderly, cherishing her in his arms. Madeline kissed him back with the same vigour. When they pulled back, her brown eyes lost itself in his red eyes. 

"Are you okay?" asked Madeline, her hand moving up to place on both sides of his face, and she tried to look into his soul through his eyes that looked slightly lost. 

"I am always wonderful around you," replied Calhoun, pushing the small baby hairs that was on the sides of her temples. "I just felt the sudden rush to see and hug you." And he took her in his arms. 

"I am right here," responded Madeline, her hands going around to hold Calhoun and it made her feel as if she was holding a giant bear that was warm despite its unnerving appearance. They had been away from each other only for a few minutes, and she could feel Calhoun's longing for her through his actions. "You will always find me near you, Cal." 

Calhoun hummed in response, holding her close and dear to his heart, "Like always. You are the anchor to my ship, Madeline. The light that I have been looking for in the darkness, and I don't know what I would do without you." 

Madeline snuggled closer to Calhoun, "And I don't know what I would have done without you with just me alone in this world," and it was the truth. She would have been in far worse condition than she could ever imagine and maybe even dead. Their relationship had started rocky, and if she could fix things, she would try to go back in time and save both their time. 

Pulling away from Calhoun, Madeline confessed her feelings for him, "I love you. Everything else before you has turned pale in comparison to what I feel for you. And I promise to stay right next to you and continue to love you." 

Calhoun leaned forward and kissed Madeline's soft lips that were of the same texture as the rose petals, and when she parted her lips, he could taste the rich scent of a rose that enticed him like a bee to never leave the flower alone ever again. 

Taking hold of Madeline's hand, Calhoun brought it up to his lips before kissing them as if she was the most precious thing he could ever have in his life. When he had first seen her, he had been obsessed with Madeline, wanting to have her and not wanting anyone to see what he saw. He wanted to monopolize her, and somewhere he was torn with his emotions of how this one woman had the ability to seize his heart. 

But somewhere in the middle, he had learned to understand what she wanted, and he did it without letting her go. He knew if he had let Madeline go in the past, he wouldn't be who he was today, and instead, he would be consumed by utter darkness with no way to come out of it. 

"I would like to apologize to you, my sweet rose," whispered Calhoun to her. Madeline had a confused expression as she didn't know what he was going to apologize about. "For hurting you in the beginning. I was crazy about you, still am, but in a more rational way." 

"I do not hold a grudge over it, Cal. You don't have to feel burdened for that," Madeline traced his jaw with affection. "Whatever happened in the past, it is what has made us today. Every action that was taken and words that were spoken." 

Madeline didn't know what Calhoun and Vladimir spoke when they left the dining room, that now had left Calhoun wanting to apologize to her. It wasn't that he hadn't expressed his feelings in the past, but they were usually subtle. 

"I know, darling," Calhoun murmured, and before they could spend more time talking to each other, Calhoun turned his head to look at the closed door. 

Vladimir walked straight into the room, a smile on his lips, "While both of you make me teary-eyed, I believe you wanted to visit Hell?" 

Madeline blushed, wondering how much Vladimir had heard from her and Calhoun's conversation. The next second, Vladimir snapped his fingers, and a black portal appeared in the room. 

"Do you promise to keep your word?" questioned Calhoun to the Devil so that the Devil wouldn't feign his memory being lost over what they spoke earlier. 

Vladimir raised his hand, "Aye. Both of you will be able to return here whenever you want." 

Calhoun was the first one to enter the portal to step into Hell while being followed by Madeline and the last to enter was the Devil. 
More than the eye- Part 2

Music Recommendation: The Bends by Marco Beltrami


When Madeline stepped into Hell, this time they didn't arrive in the desert like the last time, but instead near the damaged buildings where the towers of Hell were. In the pits, fire blazed making the place hot, and dry wind blew around the place. Compared to the current weather in Devon, Hell was the stark opposite. 

"Welcome back, Master!" Odin appeared in thin air as a bat and he flew towards them. He transformed into his human form, bowing his head, "Master Calhoun and Lady Madeline." 

Madeline was glad to see that Odin continued to exist and as Calhoun said, the Devil liked to keep Odin around him and he wouldn't kill him. She offered Odin a smile.

"Good evening, Mr. Odin," Madeline greeted the servant, and Odin forgot what happened the last time she had addressed him as Mr. Odin, and he returned the smile.

"Odin, bring out the registers that have the details of the death regarding the level one demons, the day Miss Elizabeth had been abducted," ordered Vladimir and Odin was quick to pull out the registers from thin air, making Madeline wonder how he did that. 

"These are the registers, Master," informed Odin carrying more than four registers in his hands that had parchments in them. "Who are we looking for?" 

"There's a demoness named Astrate. I want to know if she's here," stated Vladimir and Odin started to look for the name. In the meantime, Calhoun questioned Vladimir.

"Where do the level one demons end up if they are dead?" 

"Either they turn to dust or end up in the river of the dead. If they are the demons who were created by me, they would end up in the Tower of Sins, Torcher or Chains," replied Vladimir, looking at his servant's hands going through the parchments. It looked like many demons had died on that day. "I wonder if it is the angels or the level three demons who are sending my demons back to Hell." 

"It is the demons who belong to the living world," answered Calhoun. There was a difference when it came to the three levels of the demons, where the demons who belonged to the living didn't hold any powers. They were considered as good as to be humans unless they were turned into vampires. 

"That is not good," hummed Vladimir, "How are my demons going to make deals and bring the souls into Hell?" 

"Why do you need more souls? You already have enough of them floating in the river," stated Madeline, slightly confused. 

"The souls are nothing less to the energy source, to keep Hell functioning. But there are some souls that can be turned into demons," Vladimir's voice then turned to a whisper as if it was a secret. He said, "There are some souls that are qualitative and can be used to channel abilities and powers that were previously not discovered as the people in the living world didn't care about it." 

"Found it, Master!" Odin pulled out a dull-looking parchment and handed it over to Vladimir. 

"Astrate Joslin," Vladimir read the name, "Looks like she was indeed born before I ascended the throne of Hell. But now she sleeps in the river of the dead souls."

"The same place where my mother is?" questioned Madeline and Vladimir nodded his head. 

"Seems like it. Shall we go there?" suggested the Devil.

Reaching the river where the souls floated, Madeline walked near the edge of the water, hoping to see her mother but she didn't come across her mother and instead saw other souls that were floating in there. She felt a hand being placed on her shoulder, and she turned to see it was Calhoun. He squeezed her shoulder in encouragement, and she smiled. 

Vladimir walked in the front before sitting down and dipped his hand in the river. 

With one dip of hand, the souls opened their eyes as if awakening from their sleep and they quickly started to swim towards him like fish when a crumb of food was dropped into the river. And it was then Madeline saw the woman named Astrate make her way, but she didn't get close to Vladimir. Instead, the woman's soul moved near where Madeline sat. 

Even though Astrate was dead, Madeline caught the menace in the woman's eyes. The soul moved closer to her while still being on the surface of the water. 

"Is there no way to torture souls that are in here?" questioned Calhoun who could feel the distress in Madeline's mind. 

Vladimir pulled out his hand from the river, and he got up to stand next to Calhoun. As Hell solely belonged to the Devil, Vladimir didn't have to open his mouth to speak, but he spoke in a way where only Calhoun could hear. 

"The souls that you see in here are nothing but figments of memories that are left behind," Vladimir stared at the demoness who was staring back at Madeline. "They are people who have ceased to exist. What we have in here is nothing but remnants of the dead."

Calhoun turned to Vladimir with his eyebrows furrowed. 

"Doesn't this mean that the souls that are in here are not real?" asked Calhoun before his eyes fell on the floating souls that continued to spread out. 

Vladimir smiled, "Indeed, you are right, Calhoun. What you see here is not real, but every demon in here has some important information to share, and I thought it would be quite wasteful just to destroy them. You never know when one of them will come in use."

Madeline, who was sitting near the edge of the river, her hand stretched to reach towards the surface of the water, and the woman named Astrate moved her hand too.

When their hands touched each other, Madeline felt as if she was sinking in the water, and the things around her started to dissolve until she came to stand in the vast desert. She was surrounded by screams as if the people were in pain, but she couldn't see from where it was coming. 

"Do you believe we will be able to pull it off?" came a voice from behind her, and Madeline's head snapped around to see two demonesses standing there- her mother and Astrate.

Marina looked down at her fingertips of her hand, running her thumb over it with a sullen look on her face. "It is our only hope here, Astrate. I am too tired of living in the dark and want to see how the living world works."

"Don't let Darian hear you say that," chuckled Astrate, "He wouldn't be happy if he came to know about you being enthusiastic about it." 

Madeline's eyes that looked at her mother's hand, she caught sight of the light frost coming to appear on her mother's fingertips. When Marina spread her fingers out, there was a snowflake in her hand, and a dry smile appeared on Marina's lips. 

"Then let's keep it between us, Astrate," said Marina, playing with the lone snowflake. 

"You are my friend, Marina, so don't try to betray us. If you cannot do it, I am more than glad to do it. I know how you have spent time lurking in the shadows of the living world," said Astrate, staring at the other demoness before continuing to say, "I have known you for many years, and I know how you care about things and forgive unlike the other demons. If I didn't know you better, I would have told you were born on the wrong side," said Astrate in a low voice. 

"What's the talk about?" came a man's voice, and a demon appeared out of nowhere. Astrate looked at Marina, a coy smile appearing on her lips. 
More than the eye- Part 3

The demon walked towards Marina, and he pulled Marina close to him, waiting for one of the demonesses to speak. The man was as tall as Calhoun, and he had brown straight hair with a small patch of beard on his chin.

"I was telling how much you love Marina and how much you are going to miss her," said Astrate before opening the portal to the living world.

"That I will," agreed the man. "It is why she's the person I trust to do the job, isn't that right, Marina?" 

"Yes, Darian," and Dairan hugged Marina, while her eyes met Astrate's who only stared back at her. 

The demon instructed, "I heard that the angel is currently trying to hunt down the demons, and this is the right time. All you need to do is lie and make him believe that you are a human. Make him fall in love with you so that he falls from his position in Heaven. Once that happens, he will help us to rise against the angels." 

Marina nodded her head, and she stepped into the portal. 

Seeing Marina disappeared in the portal, Astrate asked, "Not that it means anything, but do you think she will succeed? A demon making an angel fall in love? What if it goes the other way?" 

Darian's expression turned sour for a second, and he turned to meet Astrate's eyes, "That won't happen. Marina is loyal to me, and if it were to happen, I will kill her with my own hands in a way where no one can ever find her." 

Madeline took her hand away from the surface of the water, which was helping her to interface with the demoness who had killed her mother. Astrate continued to stare at her with curiosity in her eyes. From what Madeline saw, her mother was with the demon named Darian, but she had fallen in love with Paschar. It also seemed that Marina didn't enjoy Hell and wanted to live in the living world. 

"Found anything of any importance in there, dear?" questioned Vladimir and Madeline stood up from the spot she had earlier been sitting. 

"Is it possible to know how long has Astrate been here?" asked Madeline. 

Vladimir tilted his head, looking at the soul that swam away and he said, "Years. Probably around the time when Pashchar decided to return to Heaven." 

Calhoun frowned hearing this, "That only means the woman who attacked Madeline in the abandoned village was not Astrate," Vladimir nodded his head. 

"True, it might be a false projection. Seems like Darian has been following you for quite some time now," Vladimir raised his eyebrow while looking at Madeline. 

"I don't think Astrate holds anything important more than what we already are aware about," explained Madeline to them. "The only information is that...I think before my mother entered the living world to meet Paschar, she and Darian were together." 

"My my, that is some whirlwind romance," commented Vladimir.

"You said it was Astrate who killed Marina, and if Astrate didn't mean any harm, it only means that she didn't want your mother to end up in Darian's hands," concluded Calhoun and Madeline nodded her head. "All we need to do is find and kill this demon," saying this, Calhoun looked at Vladimir. 

"What? I don't deal with pesky demons who want to steal my throne here," responded Vladimir in a dramatic tone. 

"How do we find him then?" demanded Calhoun. 

"I can find out through my demons on where to find him, but if he's changing his appearance to his advantage, that would be slightly problematic," Vladimir rubbed his chin. "But let's see what my demons come up with. There should be at least a hint to track him down."

When the time came to take leave from Hell, Vladimir opened the portal for the couple, and he said, "You don't have to ask for anyone's permission or wait for me, Calhoun. Feel free to walk in and out of Hell whenever you please. I gave some thought and then realized I am too attached to the throne of Hell to pass it to you. You can live your life in the living world."

Calhoun stared at Vladimir before saying, "Thank you for the help." 

The next day, both Madeline and Calhoun stepped out of the mansion. Calhoun had work in the quarters of the High House, and Madeline needed some air, which was why she had tagged along with him. 

"Lady Madeline, would you like to have some tea?" asked a man who worked for the High House. It had been fifteen minutes since Calhoun had gone to speak with the members of the High House, while she had decided to wait not too far away from where the meeting was taking place. 

"I am fine thank you," Madeline offered the person a smile whilst she waited for Calhoun. 

When the man left, Madeline faced her palm upwards, and a snowflake appeared in her hand. She realized how she had taken after her mother's ability, and it made her happy to think that there was something that belonged to her mother, that was with her now. It was unnerving to think that the demon named Darian had followed them until here and by coming to where her parents were, she had possibly exposed them to danger. 

The double doors of the room opened, and Madeline saw Calhoun step out of the room while he spoke to Helena in a low tone. The head of the High house listened to him with a grim expression on her face. With a nod, the woman stepped back inside while Calhoun made his way to where Madeline was. 

"Are they still trying to dissolve the High House?" asked Madeline softly. 

"The people who tried to oppose are now dead and cannot be found anywhere. It has instilled a sense of fear in others' minds so that no one rebels against the current system of the High House," replied Calhoun. Noticing the frown on Madeline's forehead, he said, "The ones who were killed were the ones who had caused many other troubles in the past. They would have been executed in the future." 

When the door opened again, some of the men and women walked out of the room with murmurs and whispers of disagreement. 

"You don't have to worry about it," assured Calhoun. "Matters like these are trivial. I need to go and collect a parchment from the magistrate that was sent out by Theodore two days ago. I will be back in a minute, and we can leave from here," said Calhoun and Madeline nodded her head. 

Seeing Calhoun's back as he went to another room, Madeline turned to look outside the window from where she could hear the sound of the carriages passing on the road. 

The High House meeting quarters was quiet, and the place felt almost empty and isolated. Madeline continued to stare outside until she heard the footsteps approach towards her, and she turned to find Calhoun making his way to her. 

"Where do you want to go?" asked Calhoun, and Madeline smiled. 

"I have never been to this town before. Why don't you suggest and I will tell you," stated Madeline. 

He stretched his hand forward, and Madeline placed her hand in his, "Let me take you to this beautiful place that I know of," and they stepped out of the quarters of the High House. The coachman opened the door to the carriage, and Calhoun and Madeline got inside before leaving from there. 

Back inside the quarters, Helena signed the papers that held the information about the demons and the fallen angels to come forth, while they would be given protection like the rest of the creatures who were part of the living world. It had to be sent to the concerned authorities, who were in charge of all the towns and villages. It also had the details of the meeting that took place last evening. 

Handing it to the young man who was an associate of the High House, she said, 

"Make sure to see that they are delivered to the right people. We don't want people coming back to us that they weren't informed about it." 

The young man bowed his head, and when he stepped out of the room, he caught sight of the King of Devon, who walked in the direction of where he stood. 

When Calhoun's eyes looked towards the window where he had left Madeline not more than five minutes ago, his eyes narrowed. 
Snow forest- Part 1

Madeline, who was sitting in the carriage, looked outside the window where the buildings passed one after another as the carriage pulled through. She saw the people walk up and down the streets while some of the carriages moved past them. 

"The town seems so peaceful," murmured Madeline under her breath, her brown eyes leaving the sight of the outside world and looked at Calhoun who was looking at her with a faint smile on his lips. "What was the paper that you wanted to collect?" she asked curiously.

"It was regarding the land dispute that was taking place not too far away from the castle. Were you bored while waiting for me?" asked Calhoun, his eyes slightly lighter than the usual dark red she was used to. She wondered if it was because they were out now. 

Madeline shook her head, "I would have been bored by sitting in the mansion too. For a change it is good to be out here with you." 

Calhoun nodded his head, "True. We barely stepped out of the castle together since our marriage. The place where I am taking you, you will love it. It will be the most memorable place you have ever stepped into," he said to her and Madeline wondered what surprise he had in store for her. 

"I hope it isn't anything like the cliff you took me to in the past ," her lips stretched on both the ends. She wondered how one could consider jumping down the cliff as an adventurous sport. Maybe only Calhoun because he had wings, while the rest would be squashed like melons thrown on the ground.

Madeline still remembered the time she had with him there near the edge of the cliff. In the past, she had concluded that Calhoun was a mad King and she had consoled herself that it was alright to die than being caged by a man she didn't love. How strange the events and their lives had changed in a way where now Madeline sought for Calhoun's hand. 

"Do you want to go to the cliff? I doubt there's one in the vicinity, but I heard from the people that there's a beautiful forest where many stag's come to drink water from the stream," proposed Calhoun, his eyes looking at her calculatingly. 

"Maybe if we have time. Are we leaving from here to go back to the castle tomorrow morning?" she inquired. 

"You are in a hurry to go there," commented Calhoun with a calm expression in his eyes, and Madeline blinked at him. 

"It is our home, isn't it?" questioned Madeline, but then she thought wherever Calhoun was, that was where her home was, and she knew it was the same for him. "I don't want to burden mama and papa with our presence, not to forget how nervous mama is by the mention of the Devil under the same roof."

This caught Calhoun's attention, and his eyes subtly narrowed which Madeline missed as she had turned her face to the front, looking at the road ahead of them. 

"What do you think about him staying in the mansion? The Devil," he questioned, and Madeline wondered if Calhoun was asking about Vladimir's presence in their lives. 

"If he wants to be part of our lives, I don't think that is a problem. He is after all family, and I know he would like to be involved. It would be rather sad to deprive him from the joy of knowing and feeling how a family is," said Madeline with a thoughtful look on her face. "He didn't appear today. Do you know where he is?" 

When both their eyes met, Calhoun shook his head, "I wish I knew it. He didn't say anything." 

Madeline nodded her head, "It is good that he's given you access to Hell. At least now we know he won't try to hold either of us back in there." 

Calhoun only nodded his head, and when Madeline looked away again, her eyes briefly moved towards the window, the smile on his lips fell, and the light in his eyes turned dull and dead. 

The coachman continued to ride the carriage until they were away from the town and entered the deserted forest. The carriage came to a halt and the horses' hooves stopped. Madeline looked around and noticed trees surrounding them. The coachman got down, and he opened the carriage door for them. 

Calhoun was the first one to get down, and Madeline followed him next with his hand holding hers firmly without letting her go. 

"You can leave," said Calhoun to the coachman and Madeline didn't question it because they often flew back, and this time, she had wings too. The coachman bowed his head to Calhoun and Madeline before getting on the front seat and riding the carriage away. "Let's walk," Calhoun tugged her hand and Madeline followed him. 

"Where is this place?" questioned Madeline, her eyes taking in the number of tall and wide trees that surrounded them. Snow covered the leaves of almost all the trees and the ground as it had snowed last night. 

"It is a place which is precious to me," answered Calhoun without looking back at her. His red eyes fluctuated between red and black before it went back to look bright red colour. "I hold very dear memories in here." 

"Did you come here with your mother?" asked Madeline. Most of Calhoun's memories held dear to his heart were of his mother and him, and it made her smile internally. "It's so quiet here."

Calhoun who heard her question muttered under his breath, "Your mother," in a low tone that Madeline didn't quite catch.

"Hm?" asked Madeline, and Calhoun offered her a smile. 

"This is an important place in my life, Madeline. It is a special place because of what happened and took place that I cannot forget," explained Calhoun as they made their way inside the heart of the forest. "I have been coming here for some time." 

"What happened here?" Calhoun had told her that they were going to some nice place, but it seemed like this place held some sort of painful memories. She stopped walking further, and Calhoun stopped too, "Cal?"