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✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 621 - 630 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

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Start of the suitors- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Julia by Reeder

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Days passed, and the day for the ball in the Barnes' mansion was hosted during the time of evening for only people who were close to Mr. Barnes. Lucy had dressed herself up along with her other family members who attended the ball. 

When they reached the large mansion, Ethan Moryett, who had arrived early, greeted everyone before greeting the princess, "Lady Lucy, you look lovely."

"You look handsome as well, Ethan," Lucy was polite to compliment the man whose hope only rose by her words. He had been waiting for this day and hour of the evening eagerly, hoping to finally let Lucy know his feelings for her. 

"You seem to be having quite some spare time in your hands, Ethan," spoke Lady Samara, noticing the little extra attention the man was giving to her daughter. Given that they were far relatives, Lady Samara wasn't kind with her words when it came to him. 

Ethan didn't offence to the lady's words, and he answered, "I finished the documents earlier than expected and thought it would do me good to come here."

Lady Samara didn't respond back and only stared before shifting her gaze elsewhere. "Oh look, Lucy dear. I wanted you to meet Mr. Vinter," said the woman, placing her hand on her daughter's back and driving her to walk towards a young gentleman. 

"Lady Samara," Mr. Vinter bowed his head. The person was in his late twenties, and he came from a strong political background being the neighbouring King's nephew. "You look beautiful, just as a Queen should be," he complimented the woman. 

"You are very generous," Lady Samara laughed softly. Her expression had completely changed compared to the way she had spoken to Ethan Moryett. "You must have seen my daughter Lucy before," she introduced and looked at Lucy, "This is Jensen Vinter, Lucy. King Stephen's nephew."

Lucy felt her hand being picked up, and the man leaned forward to kiss the back of her gloved hand. 

"It is good to finally be meeting you, Lady Lucy. I have heard a lot about you and have been eager to meet you," Mr. Vinter was not short when it came to compliments, and Lucy wished she could do the same, but she didn't even know he existed. 

"What an opportune time that you have come to attend Mr. Barnes ball. I am sure you would be a wonderful partner to Lucy this evening," said Lady Samara. 

Hearing this, Lucy's eyes snapped to look at her mother. Was she trying to set her up with this man? She didn't come to attend the ball for this! Thought Lucy in her mind. 

"I wouldn't want to impose on Mr. Vinter. I am sure there are plenty of people that I can dance with and not occupy all his time," stated Lucy, trying to get out of this situation, but her mother didn't let go of her back. 

"I am sure Mr. Vinter wouldn't mind, would you?" asked Lady Samara to the man who smiled. 

"Of course not. It would be my great pleasure to accompany you in today's ball," the man looked into Lucy's eyes, and it made her unable to refuse, and she offered the man a tight smile. 

"How wonderful!" exclaimed Lady Samara before leaving Lucy's side, and Lucy watched her mother walk back to her father. 

The entire time, Lucy had Mr. Vinter next to her side, and even though the man was not bad, this was not where she wanted to be right now. Her eyes kept wandering around the room, looking for brother Calhoun, knowing that was where she would find Theodore. And like others who were attending the ball, even if he was dressed, he looked as if he was always part of high society. 

Her eyes followed him, stealing glances when Mr. Vinter wasn't looking or talking to her. 

She felt her heart squeeze during the rare times his gaze moved to where she stood but not looking at her. 

"Lady Lucy?" 

"Huh?" Lucy snapped out from her thoughts and saw Mr. Vinter waiting for her. 

The man was polite enough to repeat his question by asking Lucy, "I was wondering if you give me the chance to dance with you."

Not having anything else to do, Lucy nodded her head in politeness. 

When they were on the dance floor with the other couples who were dancing, Mr. Vinter who held Lucy's hand, said, "Lady Lucy, I hope I am not being too forward, but I find you to be a beautiful woman and I think you will be wonderful wife."

"Thanks," Lucy nodded her head, and Mr. Vinter corrected his sentence. 

"I mean my wife."

Lucy, who was looking around, searching for that one person, her eyes turned wide, and she looked up to meet Mr. Vinter gaze. 


"I am flattered by your words, Mr. Vinter, but…" she didn't know how to refuse politely, and she hoped her mother or her grandmother were not listening in on her conversation with him. 

Mr. Vinter said, "You don't have to feel it right away, we can give it time. You can get to know me and you can then decide."

  If her family heard about this, Lucy doubted there would be less knowing and more about preparing for their wedding. To be firm, she said, "Pardon me, but I don't think it would work well."

"Why?" he asked, both their voices hush so that the others wouldn't be able to hear. "Unless you have already chosen someone," and the man noticed the change in Lucy's expression as if he had got it right. 

Lucy didn't confirm it through words. The music came to a stop on time, and she was glad. With a small frown, she bowed her head, and he did the same. 

"Thank you for the dance, Mr. Vinter," and Lucy started to make her way away from there when her eyes caught Theodore's who was watching her. 
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Stealing glances- Part 1

Music . Recommendation: Clarence by S.T.R.S.G.N

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When Lucy met Theodore's eyes, the vampiress felt an evident magnetic pull towards the handsome vampire. There were other men in the room, who were much more handsome than how Theodore looked, but her eyes couldn't leave him alone. Even after she joined her family and her mother's side, they tried to introduce her to other eligible men, her eyes would slowly try to look for him, and when his eyes met hers, she would look away quickly with a blush on her face. 

The only downside of this blush was that the men who came to talk to Lucy thought she was blushing over their words, not realizing it was for someone else. 

Lucy had sneaked several glances at Theodore, and after repeatedly being caught, she decided to not look at him for the remainder of the evening. She could feel her heart beating loudly in her chest, and she tried to keep it calm. 

"Lady Lucy, I heard that you are learning to play cello, have you learned all the strings or are you still in the process of learning it?" questioned Mr. Parrett, who was an elderly gentleman and he had brought his son along with him, who was slightly older than Lucy. 

Lucy tried to concentrate on the conversation that was taking place, and she politely smiled, "I have been trying to learn to play like the musicians in the ball and the theater, Mr. Parrett."

Mr. Parrett's son let out a small laugh and asked, "Are you planning to join the theater or play in balls? I think spending time on such unimportant things is not worth it."

"What do you suggest then?" questioned Lucy, her eyes falling on the younger Mr. Parrett, who was already looking down at her even though she wasn't related to him. 

Since Lucy had left Mr. Vinter's side from the dance floor, her mother had introduced her to other suitors whom she considered to be worth having an alliance with. While some were decent, some were nothing but idiots in Lucy's eyes. 

"Do you suggest that I sit in the room with a ball of yarn in my hand so that I can stitch sweaters, or do you prefer I know how to make the bed at night?" Lucy's words were sharp, and it had Lady Samara's eyes widen. Her mother caught hold of her arm in a tight grip with an awkward smile on her face. 


"I don't think Lucy meant it in that way," Lady Samara tried to rectify the situation. "We already have enough maids and other servants to take care of it. Music is an important part of our lives, and it is pleasing, especially Lucy's. My daughter was not born to do minimalistic tasks."

Senior Mr. Parrett nodded his head in agreement, "The princess should do what she feels like. It is good that she's taking interest in it."

The younger man stared at Lucy, who stared right back into him. 

"Forgive me for my impudence," said the young man, "Maybe one day you can invite me to listen to your wonderful music and enjoy it. Or I could invite you to our mansion."

Lucy had no interest to invite him to the castle, at least not a person like him. But her mother, Lady Samara, was the one to answer it, "Maybe we could arrange something in the near future."

"That would be wonderful," replied Senior Mr. Parrett. 

For most of the people in the room, Lucy was not a person but a thing that everyone wanted to have next to them as their wife. She was no ordinary girl, but the King's very own daughter and the person who would marry her would have wealth and connection to fulfil their dreams. 

When the Parrett's left their side, Lady Samara murmured, "I hope he will be someone we will not be associating ourselves with."

"Is it necessary to speak to every man right now, mother? I came here to enjoy the ball, to listen to the music and have a good time," whispered Lucy while smiling at the other people who walked past them after bowing their heads. 

"My naive and innocent daughter," Lady Samara turned to look at Lucy, "You are mistaken if you think balls and other parties are held for solely merriment purposes. This is the time where people try to widen their social network so that someone can turn out to be of good use in the future. Don't you see the crowd? It is of people who belong to high status and influence."

Lucy quietly shook her head, not commenting on her mother's words, and she continued to look through the crowd of people in the room. Her grandmother and father were flocked around by people who were flattering them to gain their favour. Even Calhoun was being spoken to, and her eyes then fell on Theodore, who wasn't with them but at the dance floor with a woman in his hand. 


The woman was red-headed, and she was beautiful. The woman wasn't demure, and she spoke to Theodore about something, making him smile, and when he said something, the woman laughed. 

Lucy could feel the emptiness in her heart, and her lips were set in a thin line, wondering if this was how it felt when a person turned jealous. 

"Good evening, milady," came a man to stand in front of her and Lucy's attention broke away from the dance floor to look at the man with a polite smile on his lips. He was a fairly handsome man. 

Then came another man, who was older to look at, "My humble greetings to Queen Lady Samara and our princess Lucy."

"Mr. Gerville." Her grandmother had left the other guests and had come to see what her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter were up to. "I didn't think I would be seeing you here. I heard you were away and had been on a voyage."

The man bowed his head and then said, "I was my Queen, but I decided it was time to come back. I don't think you have met my son before."
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Stealing glances- Part 2

The man who was with the older man bowed at the three ladies, and he introduced himself, "Samuel Gerville."

"Aren't you a handsome young man. Where have you been hiding him?" joked Queen Morganna. 

"He has been away, learning about the ministry work as one day in the near future he wants to work in the royal court, my Queen," answered Senior Mr. Gerville. 

"What an ambitious man," hummed Queen Morganna, and she looked at Lady Samara, "King Laurence has been looking for you. And Mr. Gerville, I have something to talk to you."

Lucy didn't know how many times she was left alone with a man before trying to go back to where her family, who only pushed her again to stand and provide her company to eligible suitors. 

"Is there something you would like me to get you to drink, Lady Lucy?" asked the man named Samuel. 

Since she had arrived here, it was the first time someone had offered her to get something to drink, and Lucy shook her head, "No, I am fine. But if you want to get something for yourself, please don't worry about me," said Lucy. She was more than glad to be left alone. She hoped that her time here in the ball would be good, but now that she was here, all Lucy wanted to do was get back to the castle and her room. 

"Pardon me for my forthcoming words," Samuel apologized to her and said, "I feel if I would leave you alone, you would be surrounded again with a bunch of people with whom you don't want to be surrounded with. I have been noticing you, Lady Lucy."

Lucy felt like she was caught, and her eyes looked into his red ones. Most of the people who had come to attend the ball were vampires, and there were only a few people who were humans. 

"It's nothing new to me," said Lucy, keeping her calm demeanour intact. "Please do not hold back on my accord. I will be perfectly fine here."

But the man didn't leave her side, instead, he turned around and raised his hand forward, "Would you be kind enough to dance with me, milady."

Lucy had danced enough for the day, and the person with whom she actually wanted to dance was dancing with another vampiress. She felt agitated, and she wanted to push the woman away from Theodore, but that was out of character even for Lucy. 


"I promise to keep you company and make sure that you are not bothered by anyone else for the rest of the evening," he gave his word, and for the first time since Lucy came here, she felt like her prayers were finally being answered. 

"Okay," replied Lucy, placing her hand on Samuel's hand, and the man's smile widened as if he was happy to have her dance with him. 

When she was pulled to the dance floor, Theodore was still there dancing. She thought being near him would help diminish the raging feelings in her chest, but instead, it only felt like oil was added to set it ablaze. 

"I have never been on the village side, though I think it is quite lovely on what they do during the fairs." Lucy overheard the woman speaking to Theodore, and when her eyes met Theodore's again, she had to tear away her gaze from him. This was torture, thought Lucy to herself. 

But then it wasn't just Lucy who was being tortured. Ethan Moryett, who had feelings for Lucy for a long time, had hoped he would get his opportunity to speak and ask her for a dance. But before he could ask her, someone else would come and occupy her time. 

Lucy heard Theodore say something, "...I would love to show it to you. Maybe we can meet…"

The young vampiress's mood had gone downhill, and Samuel, who noticed this, asked, "Are you alright, Lady Lucy?"

Lucy offered him a polite smile, "I am feeling a little unwell. I should go and rest."

"Of course. Please allow me to get you a glass of water, or perhaps blood?" asked Samuel. 

Before Lucy could say anything, her eyes fell behind Samuel to see Theodore looking at her with a concentrated expression on his face. 

Feeling her heart skip a beat, she replied, "Water will be fine. Thank you," and both of them stepped away from the dance floor. 

When it was time to leave, Lucy was more than happy to leave the place, and she quickly went to her carriage and had it ride back to the castle. She wondered if anything could be done, considering their status and not knowing what Theodore's thought about her. 


As expected, her parents or other family members didn't bother to come and check on how she was feeling, deciding things about her on their own. When it was midnight, Lucy was still unable to fall asleep. She twisted and turned in her bed, a certain anxiousness filling up in her mind and her chest, not letting her sleep. 

At past two in the morning, Lucy finally got up from her bed and stepped out of her room. Unlike the previous time, she didn't walk in the usual corridors, and she decided to go to the other side of the castle where her family would not come to find her. Away from the madding crowd, she walked in the narrow passage of the tower. 

The night sky was clear, and as Lucy headed the stairs upwards, she caught sight of the stars and moon in the sky. By the time she entered the deserted room, knowing no one ever came here, she was mistaken when she caught sight of a silhouette who stood at the window. 

As if sensing her, the man with the glasses turned around, slightly taken aback by her presence here at this hour of the night. 

Seeing Theodore, Lucy turned around to go back to her room, but he stopped her,

"Lady Lucy," Theodore called her.
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Stealing glances- Part 3

It was hard for Lucy to ignore his words and behave as if she didn't hear him. Lucy slowly turned around, and she met his red eyes. He wasn't wearing his glasses again.

"Would you like to watch the stars?"

"No," Lucy's response was quick, and she looked as if she was in haste to leave the tower and not be anywhere near Theodore. 

Theodore would have let her go, but he had caught her looking at him more than he could count. If she continued to look at him, that would have been a different matter, but the princess had been stealing glances at him. 

Lucy was sure he would let her go without any question, and when she was ready to turn, he asked, "Why not?"

What kind of question was that? Asked Lucy in her mind. 

"I realized it is rather late and I should get back to my room," said Lucy half-heartedly. Part of her wanted to run away from here, but the other part of her, she wanted to stand next to Theodore and talk to him. The emotions inside her slowly teared her up, and she wished she knew what to do with it. 

"You came all the way up here to decide it?" Theodore's head tilted to the side, and he said, "Looking right, my smile smiles with my thoughts of you, countless and endless."

Lucy's eyes widened hearing Theodore recite the poem that she had written, "Y-you read what was written in the paper."

Theodore didn't move from his place, and he placed both his elbows behind him to rest on the edge of the open windowpane. Lucy noticed how his demeanour appeared similar to when she had first met him in the alley of the market. There was something daunting in his eyes, and as curious as she was, Lucy doubted she should wander to see what those eyes held. 

"I couldn't resist my curiosity, milady," confessed Theodore while watching the young vampiress in her white nightgown. "At first, I thought to not read what it was, but curiosity got the best out of me. For whom did you write it?" he questioned, and Lucy felt her heart stutter. 

It took her a few seconds to calm herself, and she ended up shaking her head, "I am not sure," she breathed the words, too shy to confess that she had written it with him in her thoughts. 


But the man who was in front of Lucy right now was not one of her suitors to flatter her, or behave politely on her face because she was King Laurence's daughter. Theodore said, "Are you not sure, or you don't want to share?"

"Why does it matter?" asked Lucy, her cheeks holding a faint flustered blush. 

  Theodore, who was staring at Lucy, a small smile tugged on the corners of his lips. 

"I was merely being curious, milady. There's no reason for you to be defensive about it," Theodore pushed himself away from the wall as if he was about to leave the room for Lucy to stay until she wanted. 

"And what about you?" asked Lucy, remembering the woman with whom Theodore was humouring during the entire time of the ball. 

Theodore raised his eyebrows, "Me? What did I do?"

Lucy didn't know if she should tell now or maybe in the morning, but the question was when was the right time? She then shook her head, "It's nothing."

Theodore then asked, "How was your time in the ball, Lady Lucy? Did you enjoy anyone's company?" 

None, thought Lucy. 

"Yes," Lucy surprised him with her answer. "They were all polite and rather kind to me."

"Is that so," responded Theodore, his eyes keenly continuing to watch her. "One of them must have made quite some impression on you. I am sure the King would be very pleased to hear the news."

Brushing away his words, Lucy said, "I think compared to anyone, you are the one who enjoyed the ball the most. You barely left the dance floor."

Theodore nodded his head, "It was thanks to Lady Adrienne. She was too kind to keep me in her company."

"She seemed wonderful," agreed Lucy. Her heart squeezed as she said this, and she wondered if she should go back to her room and get some sleep. While she was contemplating about it, she heard Theodore say,

"You had some of your dance steps wrong."

Lucy frowned, hearing this, "That's not possible," she said, "I was taught by Madame Georgiana. She's one of the best teachers. Not that I am telling I am perfect," she added in the end. 

  A chuckle escaped Theodore's lips, "They weren't all wrong, just two or three of them. And the partners you danced with happened to make the mistakes too."

"You speak as if you know everything about dance," then, in doubt, Lucy asked, "Do you?"


Theodore left his place and walked to where Lucy was standing, "I know some, maybe not everything," and he stretched his hand forward and towards Lucy. 

Lucy was slightly startled, and she could feel the blood in her heart, pumping fast. Though Theodore didn't ask her like the other gentleman for a dance, Lucy's hand moved up, and she placed it in Theodore's hand. When he clasped his fingers around her hand, she felt the air leave her lungs for a moment. 

Theodore didn't wait for her to walk forward, and instead, he tugged her hand for her to come near him quickly. 

"Let me show you." 

A gasp escaped Lucy's lips when Theodore placed his other hand behind her back. Unlike others in the ball, who had placed their hand directly and some apprehensively on her back, Theodore placed his hand at the top of her back, and it slowly slid down to its actual position. 

The wind rustled the leaves on the trees, and Lucy, who stood in front of Theodore, looked into his eyes, standing near to him as she had never done before. 
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Trouble- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Memento by Keith Merrill

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For a moment, Lucy felt like her head was about to spin because of the sudden closeness she shared with Theodore, not expecting him to pull her the way he did just now. She could feel her heart beating quickly as she stared into his red eyes that peered down at her.

The men she had danced with were all tame in their movements, not that Theodore wasn't with the way he held her back and hand. But there was something very dangerous and daunting that she could now see very clearly in his eyes. Because of standing in the tower, his hair from neatly combed had turned dishevelled. 

When Theodore stepped back, Lucy followed him closely as if her body was glued to his. Lucy was slightly nervous as they moved back and forth, occupying the tower's entire open space. 

"How come you didn't dance like this with Lady Adrienne?" inquired Lucy, noticing how smooth his movements were.

Theodore released his hand from Lucy'sher waist, and she felt him jerk her away from him, "I thought it would be impolite to correct her or bring attention to myself, Lady Lucy. You must know how it feels to have too much attention?" and he tugged her back towards him. She swirled right into his arms, and she was back to looking up at him. 

"I thought you were enjoying the attention that you received this evening. It seemed like you were having a lot of fun," said Lucy, a hint of jealousy escaped her mouth, and she tried to hide it. 

"That is a very strong opinion of how I felt. If I may ask, how did you know I was having fun?" Theodore asked her, his voice was ever so polite. 

Lucy didn't want to confess that she had been looking at him almost all the time when they were in the Barnes' mansion. Truthfully, she didn't know how much Theodore had deciphered her poem. It would have been easy to brush it away by telling it wasn't for him, but her actions and gestures this evening told everything that needed to be conveyed by words. 

"I just thought you did. You seemed happy," Lucy breathed the words as she felt Theodore slide his hand away from her back to place it on the curve of her waist. She was nervous, but not the wrong kind. 


"You seem to be an expert when it comes to reading people's emotions. What do you think I feel right now?" he questioned her, the pressure of his hand increasing on her waist. 

Lucy, who was unknown to a man's touch, quickly jumped away from Theodore and stared back at him. Her breathing turned heavy. 

He slightly tilted his head as if questioning her silently if she was scared of him. 

"I don't know," she whispered, not knowing what was going in Theodore's mind. When Lucy was about to turn and ready to tell she was going to leave, Theodore caught hold of her hand and pulled her back to him and said,

"Didn't you know that leaving a person half-way while dancing makes it impossible for them to dance again?" he asked her. 

Lucy doubted she could resist not telling or letting him know how she felt for him. She felt like her heart would burst at any moment. "Wasn't aware of it."

"You didn't tell how your suitors were. You seemed to have spent a lot of time with the last one. Mr. Gerville was it?" questioned Theodore. 

Somehow Lucy's hand had ended up on Theodore's chest, and she could feel his taut muscles underneath his nightshirt. How strange, thought Lucy to herself, that they both were wearing nightclothes and dancing under the moonlight. 

"Why did you find someone to be interesting?" Lucy raised her brows, wanting to know what his thoughts were about them. 

At Lucy's words, Theodore cracked a smile on his lips, "I don't swing that way, milady. But then truth to be told, I don't think any of them is worth to be your husband."

Her eyes slightly widened, and she tried to fish for more meaning behind his words. "W-why do you say that?" 

They were swaying, moving from one place to another, and Theodore didn't answer her question. Instead, he twirled her out of his hold and brought her back with her back, this time facing his front. 

Lucy didn't know how she ended up having her back facing Theodore's front, but when she was about to turn around, she felt both his hands on her waist. 

"It isn't hard to know what a man wants from you. If he really wants you for you, his hands and his breath will move fervently," whispered Theodore next to her ear. 


Lucy was sure she was going to combust into flames before being reduced into ashes. This feeling that she had and felt, it was something incomparable and she could feel it coursing through her veins. 

"Like the way you danced with the lady?" asked Lucy, feeling his hands on her waist and his breath not too far away from her neck. 

A chuckle escaped Theodore's lips, "It seems like your eyes were not where it was supposed to be. Have you been watching me, princess?" 

Blood suddenly rushed up Lucy's face and she turned around to once again meet Theodore's gaze. She knew he knew, yet he wanted her to confess. The question was what after she confessed. As eager as she had been to convey her feelings, there was a sliver of nervousness that was filled with uncertainty of what might happen. 

"Hasn't everyone?" Lucy questioned back, and she finally looked away. Pushing one piece of her hair that had moved to the front of her face because of the wind. 

Theodore watched Lucy who looked out of breath and too shy to meet his gaze right now. 

"I don't know about others because I couldn't shake off the feeling of someone looking at me with every opportunity," said Theodore. 
__________
Trouble- Part 2

Lucy felt like a thief who had been caught red-handed. 

"Did you find out who it was?" asked Lucy, and Theodore nodded his head. 

"I did. Plenty times," Theodore noticed how Lucy gulped down the nervousness that had bubbled up her throat. Her face looked anxious. "Was the poem for me, Lady Lucy?"

Hearing this, Lucy cleared her throat, "Why do you ask the question if you already know the answer to it?"

"Because it would be troublesome if I assumed something to be something else," said Theodore, not moving front or back from where he stood. 

It was clear as the sky in the night that Theodore was speaking about her, and Lucy said, "I should probably go back to my room."

Before she could leave, Theodore stopped her, "Wait." And she turned around, wondering what he wanted to tell her. 

Lucy saw Theodore making his way to her, and he caught hold of her hand. Bending down, he dropped a kiss on her hand in the same way as the other gentlemen in the ball, and he said, "It was an utter pleasure to dance with you. Thank you, Lady Lucy." 

She wore no gloves like she had worn while attending the ball, and her heart trembled, feeling Theodore's lips on her skin. There was a softness in there, but there was also a certain firmness that could steal anyone's heart, and if Lucy's heart hadn't stolen yet, it did now. 

"Same here. Goodnight, Theodore," she wished him, and like the girl who ran at the strike of the clock in a storybook, Lucy was quick to run down the stairs and the corridors to go back to her room. 

When Lucy had exited through the door to go to her room, Theodore looked down at his hand that had held her a few minutes ago. As if he could still feel the softness, his thumb rubbed against his fingers, and he looked back at the entrance of the door. 

While Lucy was hurrying to her room with her beating heart, her mother, Lady Samara, had woken up and had stepped out of the room, and she saw Lucy roaming outside her room in the middle of the night. She followed her daughter to her room, and when Lucy stepped inside, she barged in. 

"Mother?" Lucy was surprised that her mother was awake at this hour of the night. 

Lady Samara furrowed her eyebrows, and she questioned her daughter, "Where were you?!" 

"I was out walking in the corridors. Why?" 


"At this hour of the night!?!" her mother looked suspiciously and then crossed her arms. "Haven't we already spoken about this that you shall not roam outside your room in the middle of the night." 

"I wasn't able to fall asleep, mother. I thought if I took a walk it would help me-"

"Enough with the reasons!" Lady Samara was not pleased with her daughter's behaviour, and it wasn't because it was Lucy's fault. It was Rosamund who had put those doubts in her head, and she was not able to sit still. Taking a deep breath, she smiled at her daughter, turning Lucy confused. "Come let's sit and talk, Lucy."

Lady Samara caught hold of Lucy's hand and pulled her to sit on the edge of the bed.

"Are you not able to fall asleep too, mother?" Lucy asked her mother and her mother offered her a warm smile. 

"I just have a lot of things to worry about, dear. Your father is not listening to your grandmother or to my words. I worry something bad is going to happen," confessed Lady Samara. 

Lucy turned her body, and she placed her hand on her mother's hand, "Don't worry, mother. Nothing bad will ever happen." She knew her mother didn't like Calhoun for her own reasons, but in her opinion, he was a good person, and Lucy decided to keep that bit in her mind. "Father must be feeling pressured because of the letters he has been receiving from different Kings and Queens."

Lady Samara nodded her head, "Yes, that's true. Very true indeed," the woman muttered under her breath. "It's come to a state where your father wants to continue his rule because it is rightfully his to begin with. But with everything going on, your grandmother wants to place your cousin Markus on the throne as he is blood."

Her mother continued to speak, but Lucy's thoughts went to what her grandmother had spoken about Calhoun's mother. With how her mother addressed Calhoun's mother, Lucy could only believe that her mother knew nothing about it. 

"You will help me and your father with it, won't you dear?" asked her mother, and Lucy broke out of her thought.

Lucy furrowed her eyebrows, "Help?"


"Yes," her mother nodded her head. This time Lady Samara placed her hand on her daughter's hand, and she offered Lucy the warmest smile she could muster before saying, "This is why it is important that you marry one of the suitors. Once you are married and give birth to a male child, everything will come back to the way it is supposed to be." 

Hearing this, Lucy's heart stumbled down, and she stared at her mother. 

"I did not like any of the suitors, mother," confessed Lucy. She didn't like any of them because she was falling in love with someone she was not supposed to be falling for and didn't know what other obstacles she would have to face in the future. 

"What do you mean by that? They were all excellent men who are not only capable but also influential," her mother frowned, not understanding what happened to her daughter. "Tell me the truth, Lucy. Whom did you write that poem for? Is there something I should know?"

The way her mother looked at her right now, Lucy was quick to shake her head, "No, mother."

"That's good," Lady Samara placed her hand on Lucy's head. "You should know how important you are to us and to this land. You will help your father and me, isn't that wonderful?" 

When her mother stood up, Lucy hoped her mother would kiss her forehead or hug her, but her mother did nothing as such. 
_________
Trouble- Part 3

As the days continued, so did Lucy's feelings increase towards Theodore even though both of them didn't interact with each other as much as they did before. But the memories were fresh, and even though her feelings towards Theodore increased, it didn't matter to others as the suitors continued to come and meet her. 

Lucy wasn't naive to not know how her royal family wanted her to marry someone of their own stature, someone whose alliance would benefit them and less to her. 

Right now, she was in the garden, taking a walk with one of the suitors with whom her parents wanted her to spend her time. 

"I have met your father before, but I don't think I ever saw you with him," said Lucy to the man.

The young man offered her a polite smile, "I don't want to hide things from you, Lady Lucy, but I spent most of my time away from home. In the sea. You know how people can get when they start to overwhelm you with how you should and shouldn't be." 

Somewhere, Lucy understood where this person came from, and she nodded her head. "The sea must be wonderful. I have only gone and stood near the ports but never stepped into an actually sailing boat," she responded to his words. 

"Maybe one day I can take you there?" he offered, "Of course it need not be that we have to be married. Even if you decline, I can fulfill that dream of yours."

With the number of people she had met, Mr. Gerville seemed to be the kindest of them all when it came to considering her feelings. "Thank you, Mr. Gerville. I will look forward to it. Is it true that there are pirates in the sea who sabotage the ships? There are so many stories that I hear, even one that included a ship that is owned by a ghosts."

"Is that so?" Samuel let out a small laugh. 

Lucy wasn't able to answer Samuel's question as her eyes caught sight of Calhoun as well as Theodore, who stepped out of the carriage, returning from somewhere. Her heartstrings tugged when Theodore's eyes fell on her, and their eyes met for a brief moment. 

"Isn't that the King's son born from the infamous woman?" questioned Samuel, and Lucy frowned, "The woman who has-"


"She's not infamous," Lucy corrected him right away. "Brother Calhoun's mother was a respectable woman. She was a good person and mother. I would prefer that you do not sing along with the rest and learn first before you speak about her."

Samuel deeply bowed, "My apologies, milady. I should have been more careful with my words. Forgive me for upsetting you."

Lucy wasn't upset just because of Samuel's words but also for being unable to stay near Theodore. She wanted to speak, to spend time with him, but the time never felt right as people were always there around both of them. She had tried to sneak back into the tower, but Theodore wasn't there, and it only ached her heart. 

"It's okay," murmured Lucy and said, "It was good talking to you, Mr. Gerville. I shall take my leave now." Without waiting for him to tell his goodbye for the day, Lucy quickly returned inside the castle. 

The suitor looked at the young vampiress who left his side. The polite smile that had accompanied him all this time slipped away, and his eyes turned dull. 

"This seems more difficult than I expected it to be," muttered Samuel under his breath with no one to hear him. "It's okay. I will wait, Lady Lucy."

Lucy's feet were quick, and as she walked, she caught up with Theodore, seeing both he and Calhoun were interrupted by a minister to speak to each other. 

Her heart couldn't stop pounding, and she left the place to go to the music room. Ms. Lewis wasn't aware that Lucy had finished speaking to her suitor, and Lucy took this opportunity to play the music by herself in the room. 

Picking her cello and positioning it as she sat down on the stool with the bow in her hand, she started to play the music to divert her mind. Lucy didn't know what she was going to do. She wondered if she could run away from here if possible to live away from the castle life and the rules. Music started to fill up the room, with her emotions being poured out of her soul. While she was still playing, she put more force, and some of the strings broke from her bow, and she stopped, silence starting to swallow the room. 

"You should be careful with the pressure." 

Lucy jumped in her seat. Her eyes snapped to find Theodore, who was in the room. When did he come here? 


"You shouldn't be here," said Lucy, looking away from him and giving her attention to the bow. 

"You seemed upset about something," stated Theodore. "Are you alright, Lady Lucy?"

"What if I said, I am not?" asked Lucy, her eyes challenging him. 

Theodore walked to where Lucy was, and he took hold of the bow from her, inspecting it with his eyes and fingers. 

"When there's something troubling you, you should either speak out and try to resolve it or ignore it and start fresh," his eyes then shifted from the bow to look at Lucy, who was looking at him. "You put too much pressure, did the governess teach you to play in this way?" he asked her. 

He looked around the room to find another spare bow, and he went to fetch it. 

Bringing it back to where Lucy was, he walked behind her and handed it to her, "Why don't you play from the beginning again. Go on," he urged her. 

When Lucy placed the bow on the cello's strings, a pair of hands came to place on top of her hand. "Here," he spoke to her softly, and she felt his breath reverberate against her neck, raising goosebumps on her skin. 

While Lucy moved her hand under the guidance of Theodore's hand, he said, "You should stop looking at things that are going to cause trouble. Trouble attracts only more trouble."

"Are you addressing me as trouble?" asked Lucy. 

"No. I was speaking about myself." 
_________

Sound of pearls- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Silent Turmoil by Myuu

.

"It isn't going to be easy to pull it off," said Theodore, looking at Calhoun, who sat on the opposite side of the carriage. After meeting the ministers of the town, they were on their way back to the castle. "You think King Laurence won't find out about it?"

Calhoun had placed his elbow on the hand rest that was next to the window while supporting the side of his head.

"It's a long shot but if everything goes right, then it will be done quickly," replied Calhoun, watching the things that moved past the carriage. "If it is done without any mistakes, we'll be resolving the matter sooner than the expected time."

Theodore nodded his head, "She won't rest until you are out. I heard her speaking to her loyal minister who had gone to speak to the woman who is forming the establishment of vampires and humans for higher justice. Morganna plans to infiltrate and control the establishment if it is to form."

"She must be scared with the number of people who are poking and trying to take her power away," said Calhoun, his gaze leaving the outside world and shifted to look at Theodore. "Queen Morganna has tried to attack the woman who is forming the organization, but Helena is strong. Not just physically but also mentally. A demoness."

"Demoness?" Theodore raised his eyebrows in question. It wasn't often a demon or demoness came forward in the limelight as they preferred to stay out of focus from being found who they truly were. "Isn't it possible to bring her to our side?"

A small smile tugged on one side of Calhoun's lips, "If I approach her now, she will suspect something is up. Let's give it some time, eventually she will side with us."

When they reached the castle, both of them got down from the carriage and started to make their way towards the castle's entrance. Before Theodore could step inside, his eyes fell on the vampiress who was standing in the garden with a familiar-looking man who had attended the ball that Mr. Barnes hosted. His eyes slightly narrowed, and when his eyes met Lucy's, he looked ahead of him. 


Last evening, it wasn't just Lucy looking at Theodore, but even Theodore had looked at her, noticing her stealing glances at him. She looked beautiful like a porcelain doll, dressed in a dark blue gown, and her hairs were curled and let down. 

Theodore had received plenty of attention from girls and women before, but the way Lucy looked at him was different. She was a beautiful girl, and now as she had come to an age to marry, her mother and grandmother didn't leave any stone unturned by making her meet one suitor after another.

"They treat her like a high bidding lamb," Calhoun muttered under his breath without looking at Lucy and continuing to walk in the corridor. "Minister Fitzwilliam," he greeted when one of the ministers stepped into the corridor from the other side. 

"Advisor Calhoun!" the man deeply bowed his head, "It is good that I was able to catch up with you before I left the castle. I was hoping you could take a look through the documents that I have prepared for the town of Boardex. The plague has destroyed the crops around and the water has been stopped."

While Calhoun spoke to the minister, Theodore heard the quick footsteps from behind him. When he turned around, he noticed it was Lucy. She looked slightly irritated and anxious, not sparing a word. She disappeared from the corridor. 

Theodore would have let it be, but he didn't forget the moments that had transpired last night between him and her. He didn't know why, but he felt the urge to follow her. And he did just that when Calhoun got busy with another work. 

Reaching the music room, he could hear the cello's sound escaping through the closed windows and doors. Lucy's fingers moved in quick movements as if the vampiress was trying to get away from something, and when she put more pressure, the strings of the bow snapped, making her stop playing the instrument. 

Unable to resist himself from talking to her, Theodore stepped inside and said, "You should be careful with the amount of pressure you put." He saw her snap around to look at him, her eyes looking even more lost than usual. 

She looked troubled. Looking back at her instrument, she said, "You shouldn't be here."


He knew that. Theodore knew he wasn't supposed to be here because he didn't hold a status that allowed him to be near the princess. But here he was, standing in the same room as Lucy. At first, it was just a fleeting curiosity where he wanted to read and observe the princess, but then it turned to intrigue where he could not turn his head away in the other direction. 

"You seemed upset about something. Are you alright, Lady Lucy?" he asked, looking at her hand that was tracing the broken strings. She looked somewhere sad, as if she had lost everything around her, and she was sinking in the depth of the dark sea. 

When she looked back at him, her eyes held a glint that came and went quickly, "What if I said, I am not?" 

What a troublesome girl, thought Theodore to himself. Until now, he had not ventured through what was going on, and he had let it be. He had shown kindness to Lucy as she seemed lonely and stuck with her family. He walked to where she was sitting, took hold of the bow, and ran his finger on the still attached strings. 

"When there's something troubling you, you should either speak out and try to resolve it or ignore it and start fresh," said Theodore, noting how speaking to her family would do no good. He could tell she felt trapped in here. "You put too much force, did the governess teach you to play in this way?"

Lucy didn't reply to it and stayed quiet. She looked down, feeling slightly hurt. Looking at her, his eyes softened, and he fetched another spare bow. He was used to seeing her smile and talk, running in the corridor with her bare feet when she thought no one was looking at her. 

Coming to stand behind her, he handed the bow to her. 

"Why don't you play from the beginning again. Go on."

He saw her tuck a piece of her hair behind her ear, her fingers hovering above her skin, and his eyes fell on her slender pale neck. 

When she was about to play, he leaned forward and placed his hand on hers, hearing her heart skip a beat. Lucy was too pure and innocent, and Theodore was aware of it. Unlike the other women, her thoughts were innocent, and there was just something about it that drew him to her. 

"Here," he said, and her breath hitched. 


In the imperfect universe that they lived in, he wasn't someone who deserved Lucy, thought Theodore to himself. It wasn't just their status, but their nature and thoughts were poles apart. Yet here he was, giving in to the sweet temptation of the forbidden fruit. 

"You should stop looking at things that are going to cause trouble. Trouble attracts only more trouble."
________
Sound of pearls- Part 2

Lucy's heart was beating loudly in her ears, and she could have only hoped that Theodore wasn't able to notice it over the music that came from the cello. Hearing his words, she frowned and asked, 

"Are you addressing me as trouble?" 

Had she done something, she was not supposed to do? Did she perhaps trouble him by making him bring the blood to her patio all those times when she was locked in her room? Asked Lucy to herself. 

She then heard Theodore reply, "No. I was speaking about myself." Every word that left Theodore's lips fell right on Lucy's skin on her neck like a pearl that broke free and bounced on the floor. 

Lucy stopped playing the cello, and she slowly turned to face him, "You didn't do anything. I want to know how you feel towards me."

"You don't understand the consequences, do you, princess," he stressed on the word princess, and she shook her head. 

"I want an answer for my question," she stared into his eyes, where she saw her own reflection. 

"Does it matter how I feel, Lady Lucy," he whispered the words that sent a shiver down her body. "Few things are meant to be and some are not."

"Yet, you followed me to check on me if I am doing fine. Why?" she demanded an answer. 

Theodore stared into the anxious looking eyes, and a faint smile appeared on his lips, "If I do, it would be a sad thing to admit as those feelings would not be used in this lifetime. You are a beautiful girl, princess. I am sure any man would love to have you next to his side."

Lucy got up from her seat, turning to look straight into his eyes. 

"What if I said I want to have you next to me," Lucy didn't want to beat around the bush and wait for the right time. 

Before Theodore could reply to her, both of them heard some noise right outside the room. Lucy turned gravely worried, and they both stepped outside to see who was listening to them. 

"This is why it is troublesome," said Theodore, "The fear that you feel right now is because you know things won't be easy."

"When it's something good, nothing ever is easy," whispered Lucy, watching one of her former maids quickly hurrying down the stairs which was visible to her. Ruby had heard them. Lucy wanted to talk to Theodore, but this was not the time, and she had to speak to Ruby.


"Would you want me to talk to her?" inquired Theodore, and Lucy quickly shook her head. 

"No, I will," she replied. Lucy learned that Theodore was remotely attracted to her with what happened today, and he liked her. She didn't want him to talk to Ruby because somewhere, she was worried that he would scare Ruby for no reason. 

Quickly running, she followed the elderly maid. Before the governess could arrive in front of the music room, even Theodore had disappeared from there. 

By the time Lucy had caught up with Ruby, the woman looked flustered and worried. She didn't turn to look at the young vampiress, but she did bow her head in greeting. 

"Nana!" Lucy called Ruby by the nickname she had given to her maid. "Wait, I need to talk to you!" 

The elderly maid stopped her feet and met the young vampiress' eyes, "It is not good for me to speak, milady. Your mother has given strict orders to not interact with you and keep my distance."

"It is just for a moment. You can blame it on me. Come!" Lucy caught hold of the woman's hand and tugged her to a room where people didn't often wander upon.

"Lady Lucy," Ruby tried to resist, but Lucy didn't listen. Finally, when they were in the room, Lucy closed the doors, and she turned to face the older woman. 

"Please talk to me, Nana," Lucy pleaded with the woman, who appeared to be in shock and unable to meet Lucy's eyes. 

The woman bowed her head, "Forgive me for wandering in the corridor. I didn't know what I was doing there," Ruby shook her head. "Maybe I wanted to know how you were doing with the suitors."

Lucy stepped in front of Ruby, catching hold of both her hands, and she looked at the woman's face, "I am not upset that you saw or heard what was spoken."

"I know, dear," whispered the woman, and she then shook her head. "I would have never guessed. I don't think anybody does, but what you both spoke...you I mean...do you like him, Lady Lucy?"

For a moment, Ruby was surprised, and she could only believe that she heard it wrong, but she didn't. The way Lucy looked at the man, it was apparent that she was head over heels when it came to him. And even though now no one knew, eventually people would find out about it, and it would turn ugly. Ugly because Ruby knew the royal family members, their intentions and aspirations. 


Lucy knew if someone could understand her, it was this person, and she slowly nodded her head. 

"No, milady," whispered Ruby. "Your parents, the Queen, they would never allow it."

Lucy's eyebrows knit together, knowing what Ruby meant, but her heart tugged in pain at the thought of not being able to stand next to Theodore. 

"If they were to hear even a word about it, it will not only cause harm to you but also the young man," stated Ruby. "Your mother, she's hoping you will choose the right prospect as quickly as possible to save your father's throne."

Lucy was aware of it. Her eyes closed, and she let out a tired sigh through her lips. 

"I have fallen in love with a person with whom I cannot live with," said Lucy softly and her shoulders drooped. 

"I am sorry, my dear," and Ruby opened her arms to give Lucy a warm hug. The woman patted her back, "Nothing should ever be like this, but the place we live...it doesn't work on our terms."
__________
Sound of pearls- Part 3

Lucy continued to hug Ruby because she missed the warmth and love from this woman as her own mother had failed to provide her with the assurance and safety that she wanted to feel. Even though she lived in the castle that provided her delicious food, beautiful view and abundant wealth, it continued to feel hollow. 

"I wish things were different," responded Lucy, and the woman patted the back of Lucy's head. 

"I know. It will get better," the woman pacified Lucy's mind, and after a while, they finally pulled away from each other. "How about I make your favourite dessert today. I will have it sent to your room, and once you eat it, you feel better. Yes?" the woman placed her hand on Lucy's cheek.

Lucy nodded her head, "I know I shouldn't say this, but...sometimes I wished you were my mother." 

The elderly woman offered Lucy a warm smile, "Take care now. I will see you later."

Lucy was the first one to leave the room, and when Ruby had left the room and had continued to do her task that she had been given with, one of the servants appeared near her, "Ruby, Queen Morganna has summoned you right now."

The woman furrowed her eyebrows, not knowing what the Queen wanted from her. Leaving her work unfinished, she went to meet the Queen. Ruby had worked here in the castle for several years, and until now, she had never been summoned by Queen Morganna, at least not since the time she had been assigned to look after Lucy. 

The other servant knocked on the door, and then they entered the room where Queen Morganna sat down on one of the plush couches and another side, Lady Samara was seated, delicately holding the teacup while sipping the tea. 

"Good evening, my Queen! Good evening, Lady Samara," Ruby offered them a deep bow before raising her head. "I was told you wanted to see me?"

"Yes, Ruby," said Queen Morganna. The older vampiress gauged the woman from head to toe, while Lady Samara didn't look at the servant who had just entered the room. "An important matter has reached my ears, and I thought it was better that we resolve it today."


Ruby held both her hands together in front of her, waiting for the Queen to speak. "I heard that Samara has reassigned you to work for her, while appointing the governess to handle my granddaughter Lucy. But for some reason, you are having trouble following it. Is that right, Ruby?" questioned Morganna.

"My Queen?" Ruby looked slightly perplexed, "I do not understand-"

"There is nothing to understand here," said Morganna, "Just because Lucy is attached to you, have you forgotten your place and decided to think that you are her mother and not Samara?"

The maid quickly shook her head, "I would never make that mistake, my Queen. Lady Samara is the princess' mother. I am just a maid here."

"And a lowly one," commented Lady Samara, placing her teacup on the saucer that was on the table. 

Ruby didn't reply to the comment and instead accepted what the lady said to her. 

Lady Samara said, "I told you to stay away from Lucy, but you don't listen do you? I know that you both meet each other in secret. She prefers to spend more time with you than with me."

The maid shook her head once again, "That's not true, milady." She offered a polite smile and said, "Lady Lucy loves you very much and she-"

"Shut up. I didn't ask you to give your explanation," news had reached Lady Samara's ears that Lucy had been visiting this lowly maid's room in the servant's quarters. She had ordered both her daughter as well as this maid, but it seemed like both had chosen to ignore her orders. "Lucy is still a child, but you Ruby. You could have that you wouldn't meet her anymore. How hard is it to follow the orders?"

The maid didn't know how to answer Lady Samara's questions. It was only today that she had gone looking for Lucy as she was worried about how the princess was doing. If she told it wasn't her, the blame would fall upon the young vampiress, and Ruby didn't want Lucy to get into trouble. 

Seeing the unwillingness of the maid to answer the question, Morganna said, 

"As you are one of the oldest maids in the castle, we have tried to overlook the amount of work you have done here, but an attitude like this," Morganna clicked her tongue in distaste. "It is not only going to set a bad example to the other servants, but Lucy's mother worries where you will brainwash her daughter into doing something she is not supposed to do."

Ruby could already see where this was going, and she quickly knelt on the ground on her knees and she pressed her forehead on the cold floor. 

"My Queen, forgive me, but I haven't done anything that would cause Lady Lucy to misstep and not know what is right or wrong," apologized the elderly maid. 

"Your right and wrong is different from what we think is right or wrong," came the sharp tone of Lady Samara, looking down at the maid who was trying to replace her motherly position in her daughter's life. 

"Lady Lucy is your daughter, milady. I would never dare to do anything-" Ruby's words were interrupted by Morganna, who said, 

"Lucy listens to you. All you had to do was not to cross your lines, but you took advantage of it. Ruby. It is something that cannot be allowed and Lucy's mother is not happy with you or your work. Not to forget, you have turned quite old…" Morganna let out a loud sigh, "Guards!"

The maid looked alarmed, and she looked behind her to see two guards come to stand on either side of her. 

"My Queen, please. I have done nothing, I swear to God. I have not sullied Lady Lucy's mind," beseeched Ruby in panic.

Morganna didn't want to waste her time on the lowly human, and she waved her hand at the guards, "Take her to the village and have her executed."
__________

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