✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 561 - 570 ✍️✍️✍️✍️



The Bond

Around two decades ago in Devon...

In the land of Devon, rain continuously poured down from the sky, and the people who were out a few minutes ago had either gone back to their houses or had taken shelter under trees. But the leaves of the trees weren't strong enough to hold back the water, and people were forced to go to another place to protect them from the rain. The rain had turned the ground wet and muddy, water slipping down the slope like areas to create puddles on the ground. 

And in the middle of the rain, a young man walked, not bothered with the force of the rain that fell on him. His clothes had turned wet, and his shoes filled themselves with water. His dark hair stuck on his forehead and on the sides of his temples. Water dripped down from his face, and his dark red eyes stared ahead of him without blinking. 

The villagers who were in their homes noticed the person walking in the rain and couldn't help themselves from gossiping with each other. The shopkeepers who were closing the shops, looked at the young man and one of them said, 

"Isn't he that whore's son?"

"It's best we don't talk about him or even look at him," said another man. 

"I wonder how he even walks in here as if nothing like that has happened," came another's words. 

The first one who spoke asked, "Do you think she's still available for a-" he stopped talking right away when the young man turned his head in the person's direction. "I am going to close my shop. My wife is waiting for me!" said the person hurriedly before closing the door of his shop. 

Calhoun didn't care about the comments that were passed by the idle villagers whom he didn't know personally and cared to know about. The villagers who had spoken ill about him and his mother believed their words had gone unheard because of the heavy rain, but he heard every word that came out from their mouths. For some reason, compared to the other vampires, he had a better hearing ability than the rest. 

The only reason he wasn't plummeting his fists through the men's faces was because he had agreed with his mother to maintain peace where they lived. 

He made his way through the streets, the rain trying to camouflage him as if it was trying to save a life. Not Calhoun's but the villagers so that they wouldn't utter more words about him or his mother. Because even though he looked tamed in his outward appearance, internally, he was waiting for the right opportunity to drag each and every one of them to their graves. 

Reaching the end of the village near the edge of the forest, Calhoun pushed the door of the house that was isolated from the rest of them. 

"Mother, I am home," announced Calhoun. 

His eyes fell on the bed on which his mother laid as she was sick. It seemed that she was sleeping. The rainy weather was worsening his mother's condition. It had been days since she had caught a fever. He had hoped it was just another fever that would pass, but this one seemed to persist.

He put his hand in his trouser pocket, pulling out the medicine he had safely kept. He had travelled through three villages away from here, speaking to one of the physicians who was a renowned one in the town, who had given him the medicine. 

Going to the kitchen, which was right in front of him, Calhoun looked for the logs of woods and saw they had been exhausted. With a few sticks still in the house, he broke them into pieces before putting them in the fire and heating the water. Pouring the water in the glass, he went to the room where his mother laid. The house they lived in was small.

Bending down, he placed his hand on his mother's shoulder, gently trying to wake her up. 

"Mother?" Calhoun called, and his mother slowly woke up from her sleep. 

"Cal," his mother whispered because of the lack of energy in her body. "You are back," she said, trying to get up, and Calhoun helped her sit on the bed. 

So far, he had brought three physicians so that they could take a look at her, but none of them knew what was wrong with her. Though he didn't show it outwardly, he was worried about her. She was the only family he had.

"Of course, I will always come back," replied Calhoun with a smile on his face. "I brought some medicines for you. The physician said he would come and take a look at you, but for now, this should help in making you feel better."

Calhoun helped her in holding the glass, supporting the bottom of the glass and handing her the white tablet. He waited for her to swallow it, seeing her gulp down the water and then let out a tired sigh. 

Constance stared into her son's eyes that were dark red. It seemed like her son had acquired it from her father and not from Calhoun's father. It was because Laurence's eyes weren't dark red. 

When his mother started to cough, Calhoun patted his mother's back to ease the uneasiness she felt. "I will make something hot for you to eat. You will feel much better after eating."

His mother later ate the porridge he had prepared and went back to rest again. She shivered as if she couldn't handle the weather, and Calhoun pulled another blanket from under the cot, that was his. He spread it on her while sitting next to her until she fell asleep. 

The next day, Calhoun had stepped out of the house as he needed to find a job, but most importantly, something that was nearby the house so that he could check on his mother. But with the nearby villagers who were not willing to offer him work, making the situation hard. 

While he was passing through one of the streets, Calhoun could hear someone getting thrashed. Following the sound, he came to stand in an alley to notice a person around his age being beaten by an older man. 

"How dare you?!" the older man shouted before punching the young man's face, who didn't bother to defend. "I will fucking kill you for sleeping with her!" threatened the man. 

Calhoun noticed it was one of the men, who in the past had commented on his mother. Calhoun had been noticing something for a few years, that there was something more than humans, vampires and weres in this world. It was because some of the people had different appearances, like the two people who were in the alley right now. 

The older man continued to beat the young man, and when the young man noticed someone standing in the alley watching them, the older man followed his gaze, seeing it was the whore's son, Calhoun. 

"What do you think you are doing here? Trying to find customers?" taunted the older man, but Calhoun didn't react. Instead, he walked forward, and the older man glared. 

"Are you?" Calhoun questioned back, stopping his feet from walking further. 

The man looked enraged, and he said, "I heard the whore has fallen sick. It would be good  riddance to have her de-" before more words could come out from the man, Calhoun had raised his hand and punched the man squarely at his jaw to have the older man fall on the ground, hearing something crack. 

Calhoun looked at the older man with his cold eyes while the older man groaned in pain, not understanding how Calhoun, who was younger than him had been able to punch him hard. When Calhoun turned back, ready to walk, he heard the person who was earlier being beaten say,

"You are strong," said the young man, who hadn't stood up from where he had been sitting. He had pulled out his glasses from his pocket that had broken. "I can tell you are like me. Thank you for your help."

Calhoun stared at the person, and he said, "I didn't do it for you." 
Need for work- Part 1

Calhoun didn't care about both the people who were in the alley, and if the older man hadn't spoken about his mother, he wouldn't have involved himself. He could hear the man groan, and when he turned to look at the older person, he noticed the person's mouth was bleeding. 

Without sparing another word, he left the alley as if he wasn't there. 

The older man continued to groan, not understanding how a young man's punch could be this hurtful. He had fought with many people, but he hadn't expected Calhoun's punch to hold this much strength. When he spat the blood, a tooth fell on the ground along with the blood, and he cursed Calhoun. 

"The bastard! I will fucking kill him!"

The younger man stood up, dusting his trousers before he wore the glass back on his face that had broken because of this shopkeeper who appeared to be in pain now. "Who is he?" asked the younger man. 

The shopkeeper glared at the person with glasses for even thinking he could speak to him after he had not only slept with his wife, but he had also gotten beaten by the wretched woman's son!

"As if you don't know," spat the shopkeeper, "He's the whore's son, Calhoun. The whore who was kicked out from the castle by King Laurence. If I see you near my wife again, I will slit your throat!" he threatened. 

The young man chuckled as if mocking the shopkeeper, "Don't worry, I don't get into bed with an unwilling woman," and when he pushed the cracked glass frame up to the bridge of his nose, it automatically fixed itself, looking brand new again.

Before the shopkeeper could get up and try to beat the young man again, the man who wore glasses had already left the alley. 

The next few days, Calhoun continued to make rounds in the nearby villages, searching for jobs that would pay the expenses of the house, take care of the medicines and the physician's fees. For some strange reason, the physicians had started to charge more, making it difficult to get them to see his mother's condition. 

The pouring of the rain had reduced, and all Calhoun could hope was for his mother to get better like the weather. He made sure to sit next to her and take care of her, and even though he didn't want to believe it, he knew his mother's health was deteriorating. It was because she was losing weight, and her body was turning fragile. 

"I will be fine," said his mother, assuring not only him but also herself. 

"I know you will. You need to eat," advised Calhoun holding a bowl of porridge in his hand while sitting next to her bed. He had smashed the vegetables so that his mother wouldn't have to put too much effort when it came to eating the food, but she had lost her appetite. 

When he brought his hand up to feed her, Constance placed her hand on her son's hand, "I will eat it. Come sit here, Cal," she patted the space on the small bed by making room for him to sit. 

Calhoun obliged by sitting next to her, placing the bowl at the side and taking one of her hands to enclasp it in his hands. 

Her complexion had turned paler, and the colour that she had possessed a month ago on her face had reduced. Dark circles had appeared on her skin, and day by day, Calhoun noticed it turn darker and her cheeks hollower. 

"Where did you go and catch the fever?" questioned Calhoun, his eyes passive in expression as he rubbed his mother's hand that had turned slightly cold. "I told you, you should stop working. I have grown up, and you don't have to do it."

A smile appeared on his mother's lips, it was a faint one, and she sighed, "You did." After a few seconds of silence passed between them, she asked, "Does it bother you, the things I have done…"

"I know you don't do it because you enjoy it," came the frank answer from Calhoun, his answer direct, and he continued, "There is no need to do it anymore. We can move to another village. Away from this place, and start afresh. You just have to say the word." 

His mother looked up at him from where she laid, trying to read his expression, "It's been a while since I last saw you smile."

On his mother's words, one side of his lips pulled up, and he then smiled, "I will when you get completely better, and when we move from here." 

His mother lowered her eyes, not to hide her gaze away from him, but because it strained her from looking up for long. "Forgive me for troubling you. It isn't my intention to make you feel this way, but life has turned in such a way that it's hard to retrace the steps I took in the past." Calhoun didn't interrupt his mother because of the energy that her body took up when it came to speaking now. "I feel like I have come so far that I cannot see things. This is all I know and this is what life has turned into."

"Did you send the letter to him?" asked Calhoun, and he heard his mother's heart skip a beat. "I read the letter when it was on the table." It was a letter that was addressed to the King of Devon, Laurence Hawthrone. 

"I sent it some time ago," whispered Constance. Calhoun could sense her heart break as there had been no reply from the King, her eyes holding sorrow in them. He gritted his teeth, thinking about what the King had done to his mother. "The letter must have got lost."

Calhoun didn't respond to this, and he gently patted her head, "Your fever has reduced. All you need is more food in your body, and you will feel better."

Constance smiled at her son's words. The world where she had brought him in, it was cruel and unforgiving. She had hoped to give him a better life, but some things of the past were hard to get rid of. Things that she once cherished and had made her happy, the same things had turned painful. 

"How is it going with the hunt for work?" she asked, worry coming to settle in her eyes. She was aware that Calhoun was not able to get any work here in the village because of her. Her reputation and her past relationship with the King of Devon, someone she had given her heart to, had cost her heavily. The royal family had not left her or her son alone, by giving the villagers orders to not help them.

"I heard there's an opening near the port. One of the men who works there said the main person is going to give me the work," replied Calhoun. He didn't want to lie to her, but if it was a lie that kept his mother's worry at bay without troubling her in her sick state, he didn't mind telling the little white lie. 
Need for work- Part 2

Constance nodded her head. If one took the carriage to travel, the port wasn't too far, and the pay was decent. "That's good news. I hope they are good to you," she stretched her hand towards Calhoun, and he leaned forward. She placed her hand on the side of his face. "Your troubles will soon disappear, Cal. One day there will be nothing to worry about, and you will be saved."

Calhoun smiled, "From what do I need saving?"

His mother offered him a warm smile, "I can see the emptiness in your eyes. I worry about you, Cal." She knew the fights that Calhoun got himself into, and she had often tried to appease him, asking him to let it go. 

"You worry for nothing," responded Calhoun, holding her hand and helping her sit up on the bed again as she found it hard. "Time for your meal, mother." She ate the food that Calhoun had prepared before getting back into bed and fell asleep. 

Calhoun stepped out of the house, and he made his way to the next village when he caught sight of the man in the glasses who was speaking to a woman. The woman looked older than the man, and she stood way too close to the person. Though Calhoun didn't converse with anyone in the village, he knew every single person in the village. 

For most of his life, Calhoun had grown up in this village. Learning and understanding who he was and what the names people called him and his mother meant. When he was around eight, he had brought so many bodies back home for insulting his mother, that his mother had run out of places to hide the body. 

It was hard to hide the bodies with everyone's eyes on them, but they had done well so far. The worthless King had given his mother nothing but misery and pain that continued to haunt even her shadow. Calhoun didn't want his mother to suffer more, and he did things that made her happy, complying with most of her wishes, while some of them were not known to her. 

As Calhoun continued to walk, he heard the footsteps that followed him, and he turned his head to his right side to notice it was the person he had met in the alley. Four eyes, thought Calhoun in his mind. 

Before the person could speak, Calhoun said, "You are going to get killed one day."

The person smiled, "Why do you say that?"

"The woman with whom you were speaking to right now, she's Mr. Chapman's wife. He's the magistrate of the town Le Bone. Considering he's in his late forties, and the woman is in her early twenties, here in this place, I would say she's come here for a favour. It might not go down well because he's like us," explained Calhoun as he continued to walk, and the person followed him, intrigued that Calhoun knew about the woman. 

"You seem to be a knowledgeable person. If you are warning me, I believe you already know my line of work," the young man smiled. 

"I have been noticing you, hearing that you have been looking for work, but people haven't been offering you any even though there are plenty of jobs that need people," said the man. 

"If you don't want your line of work to disappear, it would be better if you don't talk to me. Especially not where people can see," Calhoun warned, his voice nonchalant.

The man chuckled, "If you ever need help with work, you can always join my work. There are always free spots."

Calhoun's feet finally came to a halt, and he stared at the person. The young man said, "I am Theodore. I am aware of your situation and thought you could earn some money."

"Let me give you some advice, Theodore, in exchange for the help that none has offered me until now," said Calhoun, his dark red eyes staring at the person in front of him. "It would be best for you not to entertain Mr. Chapman's wife unless you want to die. The shopkeeper in the alley is nothing compared to Mr. Chapman. He is a powerful man who has connections."

Theodore gave out a pleasant smile at Calhoun's words, "And I thought you didn't have a heart...Thanks for your advice. You know how things like these pay you well, other jobs aren't rich with gifts and gold coins." Compared to how Calhoun had dressed, Theodore was better dressed because of the money he had made by satisfying the women who craved for company. 

"It is your life. Do what you please," came Calhoun's uninterested tone in the conversation he was having. 

He was ready to walk away from there, when Theodore said, "I heard your mother is sick. What happened to her?"

"I don't know," replied Calhoun, his eyes slightly narrowed as the topic about his mother had been brought into the conversation. "No one knows." 

Theodore nodded his head, "I know a physician who might take a look at her," and he pulled out a folded note to pass it to Calhoun. "It might help. It's a repayment for the last time."

Calhoun found it hard to refuse, and gingerly he took the folded note from Theodore's hand. 

"Is it true? That the King of Devon is your father?" asked Theodore, his eyes curiously looking at Calhoun. Lies and rumours often circulated, and it was hard to decipher what the real truth was. Loose women liked to call themselves to be the King's lovers while some claimed themselves to be the King's children which only turned out to be false. 

When Calhoun smiled, Theodore looked slightly taken aback by Calhoun's expression that had changed smoothly. He was probably two or three years younger to him, he thought to himself. And even though there was a smile, Theodore could see the emptiness in those dark red eyes, that more than intrigued him. 

Need for work- Part 3

Calhoun had gone to the address written in the note that was given by Theodore, where he had spoken to the physician, who had agreed to come and take a look at his mother. The physician held his mother's hand, feeling her pulse before he placed it back on the bed. 

Stepping outside the house, the physician said, "She doesn't have a cold, nor does she have a raging fever. How long has it been since she has been like this?" 

"Weeks," replied Calhoun, "What do you think is wrong? The other physicians said it might be the flu, and the medicines they wrote, none of them worked."

The physician pursed his lips, "Frankly, I am not able to place my finger on what is wrong. I can give you the medicines, but for that, she would need to eat. I don't think she has been eating well. If this continues, the medicines that she takes will only break her body down. If I may ask, she's a human, and you are a vampire…"

"She is my mother," Calhoun clarified the physician's doubt, "My father is a vampire." The person nodded his head, and it seemed that he had no clue about Calhoun's origins. 

"There's a well-renowned physician who goes by the name Atticus. Some of his medicines are said to do wonders. It is expensive because the man makes the medicines only for the royal family and some of the elite families. They cost more than two gold coins," explained the physician. "Forgive me for my lack of knowledge."

"I am grateful that you took the time to come here. It was more than I could ask," said Calhoun because the previous physicians who had come to look at his mother had spared no more than two minutes before writing the medication and leaving the house. 

"I pray to God that your mother gets better," and the physician bowed his head, and Calhoun returned the gesture, seeing the person walk away from there. 

When Calhoun returned inside the home, within the next ten minutes, he saw his mother coughing with her hand covering her mouth. 

"Mother?" Calhoun went to his mother's side. Her body shook continuously as she coughed. Every cough wrecked her body a little more than it already had. He placed his hand on his mother's back, gently rubbing it and said, "Let me heat the water. Maybe you can inhale the steam."

But his mother shook her head while still lying on the bed. "Cal...Can you bring some logs of wood?" she requested with a feeble voice. 

"I have already stocked the logs in the back that should suffice for the next four days. Do you want me to light the fireplace?" He couldn't see his mother's face as she had her back facing him. He had altered the room, by building a fireplace that could keep his mother warm. 

Slowly the faint smell of blood started to diffuse in the room and Calhoun's eyes narrowed. When she slowly turned around and pulled her hand away from her mouth, he caught sight of the blood she had spewed from her mouth. 

"I am sorry," she whispered.

"That's alright, mother. Let me help you in cleaning that," said Calhoun dutifully and he went to get a wet cloth before cleaning her hand and mouth. 

At the time of dusk, Calhoun sat on the chair, watching his mother sleep. The food his mother had eaten, she had thrown up as if her stomach was not letting her keep the food in her body. The only thing she could swallow was water. The time he had with his mother was slipping through his fingers, and he desperately wanted to fix it. Getting up from the chair, he went to his mother's bed and slowly pulled the blanket upward to tuck his mother. His eyes fell on the chain that she wore, and he pursed his lips. 

Leaving the house, he made his way to the place where the man named Theodore was often found hanging around, which was in one of the Taverns. 

The Tavern was an open inn for people who wanted to drink and eat, filled with men inside. His eyes swept across the place, but the man named Theodore was nowhere to be seen. Calhoun's eyes then fell on the woman who was serving the food. 

Walking straight up to her, he demanded, "Do you know where I can find Theodore?" 

"Theodore?" the woman looked puzzled. 

"The one with the four eyes," said Calhoun and the woman quickly gave him a nod. 

"He hasn't come here since last evening. I heard he was going to the town as he had work there-"

"Le Bone?" questioned Calhoun, cutting their conversation short and the woman nodded her head. 

The woman stared at Calhoun, and offered him a coy smile, "Yes." When she saw him leave the Tavern, she muttered, "What a rude man, not even a thank you," and she went back to work. 

As Calhoun stepped out of the Tavern, he wondered if he should go and find Theodore or leave him be, because if Theodore's luck was worse, there was no telling if he would live long. But at the same time, Calhoun was in need of work, and that work was something Theodore was well versed with. 

Reaching the town of Le Bone, Calhoun came to stand near the mansion that stood out from the rest of the buildings. It belonged to the wealthy magistrate Jasper Chapman. The man wasn't a human or a vampire, but a demon. With Calhoun's hands disappearing inside his pockets, he decided to wait outside. Pulling out the berries from his pocket, Calhoun threw one of it in his mouth. Minutes passed and a carriage finally arrived at the front and when the door of the carriage was pulled open, Mr. Chapman stepped down and went inside the mansion. 

But Calhoun didn't move from his place. With his back leaning against the tree, he continued to throw the berries in his mouth, chewing it slowly while waiting for the commotion to take place.
Whirlwind- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Bad Intentions by Digital Daggers


A few minutes passed, before a commotion was heard from the residence of Mr. Chapman. Calhoun picked up on Mrs. Chapman's scream and Mr. Chapman shouting on top of his lungs. What a classic, thought Calhoun to himself. The berries that were in his hand had disappeared as he had eaten all of them, and he looked at the walls of the mansion that stood cold from where he heard the screaming and shouting of the people who were inside. 

He gave it a minute, but just as he had expected, Theodore didn't step out of the mansion. 

Calhoun was not just a vampire, but he was also a demon who was able to assess the other demons' strength. Compared to Mr. Chapman, the man named Theodore was less powerful, which would only make it difficult for Theodore to break free from Mr. Chapman's clutches tonight. 

Calhoun wanted to get the job so that he could buy medicine for his mother, and with that thought in mind, he exhaled the cold air through his lips. 

Making his way towards the mansion's entrance, he didn't bother to knock. He touched the knob of the door and heard the door unlock itself. Hearing the sounds coming from the fighting place, he continued to walk in that direction. One of the maids of the mansion caught sight of the stranger, and her eyes widened,

"Who are you? Please sit in the drawing-room. Mr. Chapman is busy at the moment. Hello?" the maid tried to gain his attention. 

"I haven't come here to see Mr. Chapman," replied Calhoun, making his way towards the stairs and climbed up. 

When he reached the room from where the commotion was taking place,he noticed the door to be half-closed. Through the gap, he caught sight of a person's hand on the ground. Someone was getting beaten up, and he didn't have to guess who it was. Pushing the door open, he caught sight of Mrs. Chapman lying dead on the ground. On the other side, two demons had Theodore on his knees with his face covered in blood. 

With Calhoun's entrance, the four men's attention fell on him. The two demons who worked for Mr. Chapman pushed Theodore down, standing on his legs while having a knife over his neck so that he wouldn't be able to move. 

"Never thought you'd be coming here," said Theodore with a smirk on his face. 

"You took longer than I expected and I need to get back. I wanted to ask you about the job," responded Calhoun, staring at Theodore, who seemed unaffected even after badly being beaten. He gave Calhoun the impression that he enjoyed getting into trouble.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Mr. Chapman looked enraged, "Are you one more playthings of my wife?" 

Calhoun didn't bother to answer Mr. Chapman's question, ignoring him as if he didn't exist, and he asked Theodore, "When do you think I can start?" 

Theodore laughed, enjoying Calhoun's character as he seemed to be unusual. Mr. Chapman, on the other hand, looked bewildered by Calhoun's question and for his audacity for not answering him.

Mr. Chapman didn't order his two men to deal with Calhoun, but instead, decided to show the person his place. Pulling out a knife that was made of silver, he went straight to attack Calhoun, swinging his hands and Calhoun dodged it.

"How dare you two try to sleep with my wife!" Mr. Chapman demanded furiously, while misunderstanding Calhoun had come here to offer an indecent favour to his wife. He had gone out of town for some work and had told his wife he would return after two days, but he had completed the work sooner than expected. Returning home, he caught his wife red-handed in the bed with another man. 

Calhoun moved his hands to stop the magistrate's attacks that were faster than the other people's attack, who he had met back in the village, who were sloppier. 

When the magistrate raised his leg, Calhoun caught hold of it and threw him against one of the furniture. This only angered the magistrate more, and he ordered his men by looking at Theodore, "Kill him!" At the same moment, Mr. Chapman held the dagger tightly in his hand, ready to stab Calhoun for his arm to only be twisted and pushed against the wall. 

Before one of the demons could slit Theodore's neck, Theodore twisted his body, dodging the knife. He fought back the two demon servants who had earlier stood on his legs. 

Mr. Chapman pulled out another dagger, but Calhoun snatched it, using it to stab the man's hand and pinning it to the wall, having Mr. Chapman scream in pain. 

"Did you kill her?" asked Calhoun in a bored tone, his eyes watching the demon who breathed heavily in anger. Mr. Chapman tried to free himself, but with Calhoun, who didn't budge away from his spot, it was hard to do it. 

  Within a blink of an eye, Calhoun took the other dagger and pushed it behind the man's back.

Mr. Chapman heard a thud on the floor as one of his men. The other person who had tried to go and help his master, Theodore caught the demon, and used the same knife that was previously held in front of his throat to drag it across the person's neck and blood spluttered on the fancy carpet of the room. 

"W-why do you care?! She is my wife! I will do what I want with her! How dare she betray me-"

"I am not interested in it," Calhoun deadpanned. "I don't think it's good to keep you alive because of the damage that can be caused in the future," he murmured to himself and the magistrate's eyes widened. 

"No! No! Tell me what you want! I will give you anything! If you need money-Ah!" Mr. Chapman winced when Calhoun pulled out the dagger, relaxing with the thought that Calhoun was going to negotiate with him. 

But Calhoun stabbed Mr.Chapman and the man yelled, "AH!" 

Calhoun had pushed the dagger right through the magistrate's chest.

Stepping back, he let the body fall on the ground, joining the other three dead bodies that were already lying there. 

Calhoun turned around and saw Theodore licking his hand that was covered in blood. He saw how Theodore was clearly capable of handling himself in the fight, yet it somewhere looked as if the man enjoyed the pain or was it the blood? 

Theodore offered Calhoun a polite smile. 

"Tomorrow morning, come near Huntingon tower bell. I will help you," said Theodore when Calhoun started to walk away, and Calhoun raised his hand as if in agreement. 

The next day Calhoun met up with Theodore, who had an eventful night as he had to move the bodies elsewhere so that the officials would not find out what or who had caused their murder. Thankfully, Le Bone's town was far away from the villages where Theodore or Calhoun came from, making it easier to cover their tracks. 

"Where are we going?" questioned Calhoun as they walked. 

"To Madame Fraunces' house. She's the one who arranges the customers, and we get to fix the rates," replied Theodore. 
Whirlwind- Part 2

"How much does it pay?" to Calhoun, it wasn't about turning rich but to survive and keep his mother alive. He needed quick money, and it didn't matter if he had to kill someone right now to earn some money. 

"A silver coin, sometimes gold if the customers are satisfied," said Theodore as they continued to walk. "Even though the pay from the younger girls are good, it is easier to handle an older woman than the young ones. They get very clingy, and it's hard to get rid of them because they are either mama or papa's princess."

When they reached the house, Theodore pushed the creaking gates, and they stepped inside the moderately sized house. A woman came into view who was on the more healthy side, and her curled blonde hair was up to the length of her shoulder, that was placed on either side of her shoulders. 

The woman was a vampiress, and she had a displeased look on her face. Looking at Theodore, she said, "You caused me quite some trouble last night, Theodore. What is it that I hear from people? That there was a massacre in Chapman's house? I thought our deal was clear that you wouldn't involve yourself in any killing or deaths."

Theodore bowed his head, "Good morning Madame Fraunces. It was an unfortunate night, Mr. Chapman killed his wife. And the rest was in self-defence."

Madame Fraunces lips were set in a thin line, "I shouldn't even let you in here. If the word is out, it won't be just you who will be climbing up for execution. Any witness?"

"All clean," Theodore again bowed his head. At the same time, Madame Fraunces' eyes fell on the young man, who stood next to Theodore. "This is Calhoun. He's the person I mentioned you about." 

Calhoun didn't bow or greet the woman. The woman, after staring at him for a few seconds, Madame Fraunces commented, 

"You have a handsome face."

"I know," answered Calhoun, and this had the woman smirked at the young man's cheekiness.

"Come inside," she said, turning back and stepping inside her house. Theodore followed her, and Calhoun was the last to get in. Inside the house, Calhoun noticed the woodwork on the dull looking wall. The house had another floor above where he stood that consisted of rooms. 

Madame Fraunces, who was walking at the front, said, "I don't know if Theodore has mentioned it to you, but the work we do, we don't speak about it to anyone. People who are involved like to keep it confidential and so do we." Walking towards the table, she picked up the teapot. 

"Don't people get caught like last night?" questioned Calhoun. 

"Usually no, even if you do get caught with a married woman, you will be the one to take the responsibility. After all, you are the one making money, most of it at least," replied Madame Fraunces, "Of course, it is not ethical, but we all do things we have to do to survive. Don't you agree?" she asked him. 

"The man who died yesterday was a magistrate. You think the King wouldn't send his men to look for answers?" questioned Calhoun, his eyes curiously looked at the woman who was now preparing tea. 

It was one thing killing the worthless people who lived in the village, but it was entirely different when it came to killing a person like the magistrate, who was an influential figure in the town. 

"I have some people who work for me—best friends with the caretakers of the cemetery. Just because we aren't part of the elite families doesn't mean we cannot get help," Madame Fraunces picked up the teacup along with the saucer and offered it to Calhoun.

"Anyways, you don't have to worry about those things. Most of the women who come to me are widows or women who don't get attention from their partners. I would like to call the person as an escort. I have some of them alrea-"

"I will pick the one that pays the highest," Calhoun said confidently. 

Madame Fraunces tapped her nail against the surface of the table.

"Alright. Annabelle is the daughter of Mr. Martin Roper who belongs to an elite family. She's been asking me, and I think you might be perfect for it. Make sure you don't kill her," warned the woman, "Let me give you the details," she went to the cupboard and pulled out a drawer, returning with a folded note in her hand and placing it on the table. "You will be paid after finishing the job." 

Calhoun stepped out of Madame Fraunces house, leaving Theodore behind. He could finally feel things turning to the brighter side. No job in the village could give him a silver coin even after two weeks. 

He returned home with less worries, but he was greeted with the smell of blood as his mother had thrown up blood again. 

That day, his mother barely spoke a few words, not because she didn't want to, but because she didn't have the energy for it. 

The first three times, spending time with Lady Annabelle had gone well, and the young girl, who was not more than eighteen, was smitten by Calhoun's charm and presence, which was nothing but a pretence. On the fourth meet, the girl had turned clingy. Right now they were in Madame Fraunces' home, making use of one of the spare rooms. 

"Stay! You don't have to go back," said the girl, a coy smile on her lips and her hands on his arms so that he wouldn't leave the room. 

"I have something to attend to, Annabelle," informed Calhoun. 

By her insistence, he had stayed for another five minutes, but he doubted he would be able to keep his patience. The time to spend with her was up, and Madame Fraunces had given him permission to terminate the contract at any time with the customer. She sat next to him on the bed with her dishevelled clothes along with her hair.
Whirlwind- Part 3

Calhoun had finished wearing his socks, and he was now wearing his shoes. 

Annabelle laughed, hearing his words, "What more important work do you have other than attending to me? Do you have other customers to please?" she asked with narrowed eyes. "I can pay you more than them."

A small chuckle escaped Calhoun's lips, "And when is that, milady?" 

Though she was young, she was smart. Annabelle had arranged it in a way where Calhoun had to spend a month's time with her, and she would pay him fifty gold coins at the end of the period. 

"In just a few days," she smiled, and before she could put her arms around his neck, he got up from the bed, making her stumble forward. 

Before Calhoun could reach the door, the girl quickly moved to the front of the door, blocking his way. "I am serious. Drop everything and stay here with me today. We are having such a good time. Why do you want to leave? I am not going to let you leave." 

Calhoun now understood what Theodore meant when he said how young girls were crazy. But then...he was crazier than them.

Calhoun offered the young lady a polite smile that didn't reach his eyes. "I will see you tomorrow. There's something important that needs my attention." 

"Is it another woman?" asked Annabel, stretching her hands on either side of the door while smiling at Calhoun, believing she could seduce him. 

"It is," replied Calhoun. 

"Stop seeing her. If you don't, I will make you regret it. All I will have to do is inform my servants about it. They will make sure you never see her ever again. I have a better idea, let's get married-" Calhoun started to laugh hearing this and Annabelle, who had been smiling until now, frowned. "I am serious. If I don't have you-"

"Or what?" the smile dropped from Calhoun's lips. "The little girl who secretly comes to have pleasure." 

"Is that woman worth it? I will get her kille-"

Annabelle couldn't speak another word as Calhoun caught hold of her lower face, "Don't test me. It would take less than a second to snap your pretty little neck." The girl gulped, feeling fear creep up in her eyes as Calhoun had never before spoken to her this harshly. 

Annabelle pushed Calhoun's hand away from her face. She quickly made her clothes proper, dashing out of the room. When Calhoun was making his way down the stairs, he met Theodore who stood with a cigar in his hand, blowing the smoke up in the air.

"You made the little girl cry," stated Theodore. 

"She is lucky I didn't snap her neck," muttered Calhoun under his breath. 

 Theodore smiled, finding it to be funny. "This Friday, there is a soiree that's taking place in Wilmot's mansion. Do you want to go?" 

"I am busy," responded Calhoun, dismissing the idea of going to meet people he didn't care about. He walked past Theodore when he heard the man say,

"Lady Wilmot is King Laurence's sister." 

Calhoun turned around, his eyes meeting Theodore's eyes, "How did you get an invitation to attend there?" 

"Lady Christine was kind enough to invite me there," Theodore smiled, and Calhoun stared at him. "I don't think she would mind your company. Unlike the little girl who ran away just now, she's quite generous." 

"Why are you doing this?" questioned Calhoun. There was nothing he could offer this man, yet Theodore was helping him. He tilted his head to the side, "I don't think you got the news, but I am not the prince." The few people who had come near Calhoun had always disappeared after realizing how the royal family wanted nothing to do with him.

Theodore noticed the look of distrust in Calhoun's eyes. Before the day of the fight that had taken place in the alley, he hadn't seen Calhoun or heard about him, which was quite strange considering how they lived around the same vicinity. After meeting Calhoun, Theodore did find more about who he was and about his mother who was currently sick. 

Coming from a poor background himself, he could somewhere relate to the place where Calhoun came from. 

"I know that. I think the people around the village and some other places are aware about it," answered Theodore, leaning against the wall. "I thought you might be interested. If you don't want it's perfectly alright. I enjoy good food and wine." 

"I will take it," said Calhoun. The gears in his mind quickly started to move.

When Calhoun left Madame Fraunces' house, Theodore finished smoking the cigar that was in his hand and he went inside the kitchen to see Madame Fraunces in there. "For a moment I was worried that he would snap her neck," she commented while cutting the cucumber and placing them on the plate. 

"I will be going. I need to collect the clothes from the tailor," informed Theodore. 

Picking up the coat from the stand, he wore it before heading out and into the market area of the town where shops were built and arranged in a more proper manner unlike the ones in the village. He was only walking when a whirlwind came and hit straight behind his back. 

"I am so sorry!" It was a young girl's voice that was sweet and calm compared to the busy street. 

Theodore turned around to catch sight of a girl who turned her head to look behind her. And when she turned back to look at him, he took note that it was a vampiress. She was dressed in clothes that were made of silk.

When she was ready to step away from him like a rabbit that was going to make a run from being caught, he stepped right in front of her. 

"What?" she asked in a hurry, her eyes turned slightly wide. To his surprise, she asked, "Which side of the market do you think is good to hide?"

Theodore noticed two guards who were coming from the opposite direction, and he could tell they were from the castle because of their clothes. 

"Do you know?" asked the girl impatiently, and he pointed his hand to the right. She quickly bowed her head. "Thank you!" and she darted from there. 

The two guards looked around for the princess who had disappeared from their sight, when they had entered the town. 
Red line- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Come Crashing by Digital Daggers


The young girl held the front part of her dress, making sure she wouldn't trip and fall, quickly walking through the narrow alley, which was darker compared to the place she had just stepped out of. She could feel her heart pounding. Her red eyes carefully looked behind her, making sure she wasn't being followed by the guards right now. 

Lucy Hawthrone was in her teens, a vampiress who was the only daughter of Laurence Hawthrone, king of Devon. She had come out of the castle in the carriage, wanting to get some fresh air, but she hadn't been able to do it with the two guards who had followed her, drawing unnecessary attention to herself from the people. 

Now away from the crowd and standing in a deserted place, she felt she could finally breathe. There was no one to hover over her, nor was there anyone to tattle what she did to her mother or grandmother. 

What Lucy didn't realize was that when she had stepped into the alley, she had walked far enough that had led her away from the town's market, and the place was much shadier that she was not supposed to be at. 

"Are you lost, beautiful?" asked a person from behind her, and Lucy quickly snapped her head around and saw a man standing in the narrowed alley. The man wore tattered clothes, and his hair looked like he hadn't washed it in a long time. 

Not having spent a lot of time alone by herself, especially outside the castle, her red eyes looked at the person with keen interest. People around Lucy were often well dressed in silk fabrics and were always in a presentable state. 

"Do you know which way from here leads to the outside part of the market?" asked Lucy, but at the same time, she heard something snap behind her. Turning her head, she caught sight of two more men standing on the other end. 

"Where do you want to go?" asked one of the men, "We can help you by taking you to your destination."

Lucy could sense that she had gotten herself into trouble. She bowed her head, "That won't be necessary. I think I changed my mind. I will go back to the market."

She quickly started to walk, turning her head back to see the two men who stood in their places, without moving from there and somewhere it worried her that the man she walked past would stop her, but when he didn't, she let out a sigh of relief which was short-lived.

"You look like you come from a wealthy family. How much do you think they would pay us if we kidnapped you?" asked the man she had passed by, and she soon came to see one more man, who blocked her way. 

Lucy smiled, laughing a little, "You have got it wrong. I am one of the maids who works in the castle. You have got the wrong person," she said, her feet coming to a halt. She could sense the other three men at the back, making their way towards her, and her hand clenched the side of her dress.

"I don't remember when was the last time I saw a maid as pretty as yourself, wearing clothes made of silk. Especially being followed by the two royal guards," said the person in front of her who had a bald head and who continued to block her way. 

"My mistress likes to give me clothes when she is pleased with my service. I think it would be wise if you get her, rather than me who has nothing to offer," stated Lucy, her hand slipped into her dress pocket and clutching on to the dagger that was in there. 

"You are princess Lucy, aren't you? The royal guards don't follow anyone or anything in this part of the town," chuckled the bald man. 

Lucy quickly pulled out the dagger from her dress pocket that she often carried with herself. It was a gift from one of her relatives, and she treasured it. No one ever knew when or who would come to attack her, and she carried it with her so that she could protect herself when she stepped out of the castle.

"Don't come near me, or I will kill you," she threatened them, turning front and back with her hand raised and pointing the sharp dagger at them. They were humans, and she was a vampiress. She could handle them by using her vampire strength, thought the princess to herself.

The men around her chuckled, "A weapon like a dagger doesn't suit you, princess. You should throw it away unless you want to get hurt." The bald man was quick to catch hold of her hand that was idle, believing she was just an innocent flower in the wildness of the world. 

But Lucy surprised him by stabbing the man's other hand that had tried to snatch the dagger, "Argh!" he groaned in pain, not expecting her to attack him. She quickly raised her leg to kick him, and it would have worked, but with the number of layers that her dress consisted of, her leg barely made a hit as the dress cushioned the man from being hurt from her kick. She used the dagger again to stab his shoulder before pulling out the dagger. "Catch hold of her!" yelled the man in pain. 

Lucy had started to run through the narrow alley, trying to find her way back, and she finally realized how far she had come from the marketplace. The people who were at the back suddenly appeared in front of her, making her stop her heels. 

How did they get there so quickly?! They were mere humans!

"This is going to cost you, princess," said the bald man right behind her, and before she knew it, he snatched the dagger that she had in her hand and placed it against the front of her neck. 
Red line- Part 2

Lucy's eyes widened, feeling the cold metal that touched her skin. 

"You dare try to kill me. I will make sure the royal highness knows how it feels to have his daughter torn into little pieces," threatened the man, and Lucy couldn't help but curse herself for her bad luck. 

"You were the one who started by telling you were going to kidnap me," Lucy muttered under her breath. "You think you will be left alive if you kill me? My father will kill you." 

Lucy had grown up with too much love and care, because of which she wasn't aware of the danger that lurked outside the castle. 

Lucy's hair was pulled back by the man, and she felt the slight pinch on her neck because the sharp edge of the knife had grazed against her soft skin. 

"She's right. You should let her go," came a voice from above them.

Lucy wondered if it was God who had come to help her. Her caretaker, Nana had always told her that God would always protect his children in one way or another. Though she was a vampire, Lucy was brought up by the human maid whom she called Nana. She had turned more humane than the other vampiresses and her family members.

With the sun that had moved high in the sky, the men found it hard to see who had disturbed them. 

"Who is there! If you have the guts come down here," said one of the thugs who was in the front. 

"The royal guards aren't far from here. You should let the princess go unless you aren't keen on keeping your neck," said the man, and Lucy noticed a silhouette that stood on the roof of the nearby building. The person started to walk on the roof's edge before he finally jumped down on the ground.

"Are you from the royal castle?" asked one of the men.

"Not by his clothes," said another one, looking up at the man who interrupted them, "Why don't you move aside and let the elders do the job?" 

Lucy realized this was the same man she had crashed earlier in the market. Previously, in a hurry, she hadn't looked at him clearly, but now as she was in a sticky situation unable to move, she finally looked at his face. His red eyes were hidden behind a pair of plain glasses. A polite smile settled on his lips that looked gentle and harmless. He was tall and his blonde hair gently moved because of the wind. 

"I would have let it be, but…" Theodore drawled his words, making others wait on what he was going to say, before he said, "I don't happen to be in the mood today. And it's quite rude to hurt a girl."

"Get him shorty!' shouted the bald man, and the henchman attacked Theodore. 

Theodore caught the man's arm and twisted it behind his back. These men only looked like humans, but they were demons in disguise, thought Theodore in his mind. 

Finding the opportunity, Lucy bit into the man's arm and freed herself from his hold. 

"I will make you wish you were-" said the bald man, ready to step towards Lucy, but his words were interrupted half-way as one of Theodore's long legs kicked his head, making the man stumble away. The bald man looked furious as he was being made a fool of. 

Lucy backed away from the other men who tried to get to her. Before they could grab hold of her, the stranger who had interrupted the thugs plan came in between her and them. She witnessed the stranger twist and pushed the men against the wall, reminding her of the time she had seen the maids wash clothes near the river. Lucy flinched hearing something crack, and she couldn't help but believe that the sound came from the men's bones. 

Within four minutes, the three men were on the ground lying dead, and Lucy looked more than impressed by her saviour, who had beaten the men. 

But there was still one more person left, the main one. The bald man came straight at Lucy, holding his knife in his hand. Before he could hurt her, Lucy used both her hands to stop him from hurting her. When another hand appeared, both the bald man and Lucy looked surprised because neither of them had a third hand. 

"This is not how you do it," said Theodore, who was the one to interrupt them. He helped Lucy by twisting the demon's hand in a way where the knife now pointed at the bald man and not her. 

"I will give you half of the share!" the demon said through his gritted teeth. "We are one kind! Are you betraying us!" 

Hearing this, Lucy frowned, not understanding what it meant. Was he perhaps telling that the stranger was also involved in kidnapping her? But then this person wouldn't be helping her…

Theodore looked at Lucy, "Princess," and Lucy's eyes snapped to look at him, "Let me show you how to attack when you are in this kind of situation."

Theodore pulled the dagger out of the demon's hand, pushing him against the wall and the demon's eyes widened. Theodore held Lucy's hand and he slit the demon's throat. Lucy was the next one to widen her eyes. 

"W-what did you do?" Lucy whispered in shock. 

Her mouth was left hung open because even though she carried the dagger, she had never meant to kill anyone. 

Blood started to drip from the demon's neck profusely, and Theodore had let go of the girl's hand. Some drops of blood dripped down from the dagger that Lucy continued to hold, and she stepped back in horror. She had killed someone! 

While Lucy panicked, Theodore's eyes fell on the princess, who looked as if she had seen a ghost. After the royal guards had moved in the opposite direction, Theodore had climbed up on the roofs of the buildings to have a better look, and he noticed the girl holding the dagger, her eyes fierce.
Red line- Part 3

"Thank you for helping me today. I didn't expect something like this to happen," Lucy pursed her lips. "Is there anything you want that I can help you with? It is only right that I return your kindness."

Theodore's red eyes looked into the young girl's eyes who stared back at him, her eyes were calmer than most of the people he had met. It made him wonder if it was how people from the royal family were. Away from troubles and pain, not knowing the darkness that was outside the beautiful castle. 

She looked innocent, her features soft. Girls like her wouldn't be able to survive in his world because people with wolf-like nature would tear her, thought Theodore whilst she continued to wait for him to speak.

"Hello?" Lucy called him as it seemed like he had zoned out. Realizing she hadn't asked the person's name, she was about to-

"Princess Lucy!" came the gruff voice of the royal guards who quickly made their way to where she was. 

Theodore didn't turn as it would only put him on the map by showing his face and getting himself to trouble. He said in a low voice, "If it is possible, don't mention anything about me." Offering her a bow, he left the alley. 

Lucy stood there, surrounded by men who laid dead on the ground while she stared at the stranger's back, who disappeared like a mist in the air. 

"Princess! Are you alright?" asked one of the guards, looking at Lucy, who had a dazed look on her face. 

"You are hurt!" said another, looking at Lucy's neck that had a thin red line. 

Lucy finally snapped from her thoughts, and she touched her neck. Bringing her hand forward, she noticed the spots of blood on her fingers. "I am fine," she whispered. 

"Was it that man who hurt you? I will go and capture him!" said the guard immediately, who had seen a person standing in front of the princess. He took two steps, and Lucy raised her hand. 

"Leave him be. He had nothing to do with the fight," stated Lucy. She then looked down at the men on the ground, "These are the ones who tried to hurt me," pursing her lips, she said, "Do not mention what happened today to anyone," she looked at the two bulky guards from the royal castle. 

The guards looked surprised. They had been worried about the princess when she had gone missing as they were entrusted to protect and watch over her. But with this mishap and her neck that had the clear red line, they were sure that they wouldn't have their heads on their body anymore for losing sight of the princess. 

Seeing the guards blink at her in puzzlement, Lucy ordered, "You shall not speak a word about what happened in here." While Lucy said it only because she didn't want her family to come to know, but the guards mistook her words, believing Lucy was saving their lives. "Did you hear me?" 

"Yes, milady!" the guards immediately obliged to her words. 

One of the guards then said, "We should head back to the castle, milady," and Lucy nodded her head. One of the guards stayed back to hide the dead men's bodies, while the other escorted Lucy back to the carriage that was waiting for her. 

Sitting in the carriage, Lucy couldn't help but wonder about who the man was, who had helped her. He hadn't asked her for any favour and instead asked her not to mention him. She couldn't help but think how selfless he was. Though Lucy was not scared, she was still thankful for his help. 

Lucy leaned her head against the side of the carriage, while she looked outside the carriage. She had been happy when she had stepped out of the castle, but when the gates of the castle came into view, she couldn't help but worry. Quickly pulling the white handkerchief from her other pocket, Lucy brought it to her mouth, wetting it and she dabbed it against the red line on her neck. She could only hope that her family wouldn't notice the red mark, and that she would get the opportunity to change herself into a high collared dress.

When the carriage came to a halt in front of the castle, the door was opened by the guard, who had accompanied her, and she stepped down. Climbing the flight of stairs of the castle, she made her way through the long hall. The guard left her side, and her personal maid, Amice, came to stand next to her. 

"Milady," Amice bowed her head, who was of the same age as the princess. The maid whispered, "Queen Morganna was asking for you, and she didn't seem happy that you stepped out of the castle."

"Where is she?" asked Lucy as they walked through the corridor. 

"Right now in the court room. She's been there for nearly half an hour. I thought you were going to return sooner," Amice had a worried look on her face, and she coughed when another servant came to walk past from the opposite side. 

Lucy knew if there was someone she could rely on in this castle, she could count on Amice and Nana when it came to getting some air outside the castle. 

When her maid looked at the front, she coughed. Lucy looked ahead of her and saw it was her aunt Rosamund coming from the opposite direction. Lucy smiled at her aunt, but at the same time she whispered to her maid, 

"Get my clothes ready in the room. The one with the high collar." 

Her aunt watched her maid leave before offering Lucy a full-blown smile. 

"Good afternoon, Lucy, dear. Did you go out?" came Aunt Rosamund's question. 

Lucy smiled, "Yes, for a small ride in the carriage." 

"Hm," responded her aunt, and the woman's eyes fell on Lucy's pale neck that held the red mark. Lucy turned tense, worried that her aunt would question about her day. 

To shift the subject, Lucy asked, "Did Sophie come with you?" 

Rosamund's sharp eyes moved from Lucy's neck to look into the young girl's eyes, "She's still learning etiquettes from the governess. I wished she would learn something from you than waste her time." 

"I think she's doing great so far, Aunt Rosamund," Lucy spoke well about her cousin. 

Her aunt smiled, "Sophie is very grateful to have a supportive sister like you. Hopefully, she will get better. Sometimes she truly worries me." And before they knew it, Lucy heard people coming out from the court room as it looked like her father and grandmother had finished the meeting with the people. "Come, let us meet your grandmother. Since I arrived, she's been too occupied with the court work." 

"I feel like I have turned sweaty because of the heat outside. Let me go and change into another dress," said Lucy, ready to bolt from there, but Rosamund had other plans. Her niece had been acting stranger than usual, and it made her question what her niece was up to. 

Rosamund placed her hand on her niece's arm, "I don't plan to stay long, I would be sad to not be able to spend enough time with my beautiful niece. Come."