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✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 631 - 640 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

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Dark hour- Part 1

Music Recommendation: The Intensity of Resonances by Matt Wilier

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The guards dragged the elderly maid out of the room as she begged for forgiveness for a mistake she didn't commit. But the royal families often did what they thought to be right, suppressing others' lives while fulfilling their own wishes. 

"Let this be an example," stated Morganna with little to no sympathy for the maid, who could be heard begging for her life that was going to end, where she would not be able to see the sunrise again.

Lady Samara looked extremely pleased with Queen Morganna's order, and she held her head higher in arrogance. She had given enough chances to the maid, but the woman continued to cross the line. 

"And Samara," Morganna called her daughter-in-law, "This time make sure to spend enough time with Lucy before blaming it on someone else. Just because you are the King's wife doesn't mean you forget to control your child. Look at me, Laurence loves me dearly and you should work on creating the same rapport with Lucy. She's a good child, she will listen to you."

"Of course, my Queen," Lady Samara bowed her head in acknowledgement. 

"How are things going on with the suitors? Any news from them or from Lucy?" questioned Morganna before picking up the teacup that was filled with a mixture of blood and milk in it. They were vampires and not humans to drink the normal stale tea, instead, they preferred blood in their cups.

Lady Samara replied to the Queen's question, "So far Lucy has met six of them, and I think only two of them caught hold of her interest, talking to her. Mr. Vinter and Mr. Gerville."

"Hm," responded Morganna. "I like Mr. Vinter. He seems to be a suitable man, doesn't he? Did Lucy mention anything about them?"

"I haven't asked her yet, my Queen. I wanted her to feel comfortable with them before I asked her," and on Lady Samara's words, Morganna shook her head. 

"This is the season of weddings and you have decided to leave the matters in Lucy's hands. Forget it, I will ask her myself. She's turned to a fine young lady with the assistance of the governess, we should arrange the wedding in a month or two's time," said Morganna, taking a sip from her teacup before swallowing the liquid down her throat. 


Lady Samara didn't say anything but only bowed her head as if she obliged every word that the Queen said. Now that she had gotten rid of the maid from the castle, Samara believed her daughter would turn to her for comfort or any advice instead of going to the lowly maid who knew nothing about how one should live in high society. 

Outside, the clouds had turned thick and dark in the sky, but it still didn't start to rain. The movement of the wind had turned fast, and when Lucy came to know about Ruby being taken away from the castle, she didn't go to see her mother or her grandmother. 

Lucy went to the shed where the royal carriages were stationed. 

"Do you know where Ruby was taken? The elderly maid? Take me to the place where she is now," said Lucy in a hurried tone to the coachman. 

Her maid, Amice, was the one who had informed her about what just happened, and without any delay, Lucy had decided to find Ruby and bring her back. They couldn't exile Ruby out of the castle without proper reason! She would not allow it, thought Lucy to herself. 

"They went to the Broadeux town, milady," informed one of the coachmen while the others looked sceptical to answer her questions.

"Take me there right this instance," commanded Lucy, but when Lucy went to one of the carriage doors, the coachmen didn't make an effort to move. "What is it?" she asked in question. 

The coachman who had answered her earlier deeply bowed his head and said, "Princess, Queen Morganna has ordered us to not allow you to use the carriage unless the word personally comes from her or King Laurence permits it."

"What?" Lucy questioned, even though she heard his words quite clearly. "But this is an emergency. Please Fredrick," she pleaded. 

The coachman continued to bow his head, not meeting her eyes to let her know that it was the Queen's word against hers. 

Lucy looked away, exhaling out, and she then looked back at Fredrick, "Broadeux is the town that is deserted from the others, right?"

"Yes, milady. That is the one," he dutifully answered her question. 


"Okay," she nodded her head and left the shed. Even though it wasn't the time of the evening, the atmosphere had turned dark. But that didn't matter to Lucy. If her grandmother and parents were trying to restrict her movements from using the coach, it didn't matter. She would go there by herself without anyone's help. 

Using her vampire abilities, she ran away from the castle by using secret passages that she knew of. She made her way to the town, clutching the front of her dress so that she wouldn't trip by stepping on her dress. When she reached the road, she caught sight of a local carriage and offered the person a coin when she got down and caught another moving carriage. 

While Lucy was making her way through the castle's hidden passages, Calhoun, who had stepped outside the castle, had caught sight of Lucy. It made him wonder where she was going. He went back inside to hear the maids working in the corners whispering to each other while thinking no one was eavesdropping on them. 

"I cannot believe she would be executed," whispered one of the maids in the softest way possible. 

"What did she do?" asked another one, "I don't think she would ever do anything wrong. She might have been framed."

"You think so?" asked the first one. "Poor thing, this is what happens when you get too close to any of the royal family members. Though I do wonder what she did to receive the Queen's ire."
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Dark hour- Part 2

Another young maid, who was a vampiress, arrived at the scene and glared at them, "What are you both whispering about? Do you want to be thrown out of the castle too?" 

The maids quickly dispersed from the spot, leaving the young maid staring at them. The girl started to walk away from there, and in time, she caught sight of Calhoun, who stood in the corridor. 

She bowed at him with a pleasing smile on her face. 

"Was there something you needed, Advisor Calhoun?" she asked, looking at the handsome vampire who was going to be the future King of Devon. It was only right that she build a good impression for her future, and she asked further, "How can Nicola be of your help?"

Calhoun looked disinterested in her antics, and he asked, "What were those two talking about?"

"The maids?" asked Nicola, turning back to look at the place where the two maids were earlier standing, and she turned around again to look at Calhoun, "The maids are always talking unnecessary things. You do not-"

"Answer my question," his words were stern, and the maid bowed her head again. 

"Lady Lucy's former maid, Ruby has been taken out to be executed for crossing Lady Samara. The Queen doesn't like to have any gossip circling in the castle as it will create an unhealthy atmosphere in here," informed Nicola.

Calhoun rolled his eyes. The castle was already unhealthy because of Morganna's presence in the castle, but it would turn healthy once he would get rid of the woman. 

The maid hoped that Calhoun would stay there and talk to her, but instead, he turned around and left the corridor. 

Outside the castle, Lucy continued to travel in the second carriage, not caring about the scoldings she would receive when her family would come to find out that she was outside and not inside the castle. Right now, she was worried about Ruby and the way Amice had told her that she had seen guards dragging her Nana out of the castle. It broke Lucy's heart. 

Lucy held both her hands tightly together on her lap as worry continued to mar her face. 

"I am not going to the town, but will be passing near Broadeux," informed the woman who had given Lucy a ride. 


"I will get down on the way. That will be sufficient, thank you," Lucy thanked the woman who didn't seem like she knew who Lucy was, and Lucy decided to stay quiet. 

Lucy prayed to God, hoping nothing would happen to Ruby. Her mind filled itself with anxiety and nervousness, not knowing what had triggered her family to punish Ruby. The town of Broadeux had long ago been plagued, and now no one lived there except for the crows and vultures that scavenged in hope for food. 

The carriage stopped, and the door opened for Lucy to get down. 

"If you take the small path from here, you will reach the heart of the town faster than the main road," advised the woman and Lucy was grateful for the ride. "Wait! Take this!" the woman offered an umbrella to her. "It might rain and you might need it."

Lucy looked at the black umbrella that the woman offered her. Bowing her head, Lucy took the umbrella and thanked the woman again. The carriage went on its way, leaving Lucy standing in the deserted path near the town she intended to go. 

She could only hope that Ruby was alright, and she took the path that the owner of the carriage had suggested to her. She didn't walk but ran as fast she could, almost tripping twice on her way. When she discovered Ruby being taken away from the castle, more than half an hour had passed, and she prayed with all her might. 

When Lucy entered the town, she frantically searched around the place before her eyes fell on the scaffold and air knocked out of her body. She stood still as her eyes looked at the woman whose body was hanging on the gallow with a rope. 

"No," in shock, the whisper left Lucy's mouth as she didn't want to believe what she saw. 

Lucy's feet that had stopped earlier slowly moved forward towards the scaffold. Her lips trembled in disbelief, and her eyes started to well up with tears that slowly slipped down to fall on her cheeks. 

Ruby was hanging in midair, the noose tight around her neck. The wind's force in the town increased, and the dark clouds got even darker as if it was hovered by a shadow of death. Because of the wind, the maid's body swayed, and it only put Lucy in further shock. Her knees gave away, and she screamed,

"NO! Bring her back!" 


More tears fell from her eyes, and even though she screamed, there was no one to hear as the guards who had come to execute the maid had already left the town, leaving the place only with Lucy and Ruby. 

"Bring her back," screamed Lucy. "You cannot die!" she whispered before sobbing back again. "Don't leave me here! Please, come back!"

Soon the clouds started to drizzle, and the sobs that escaped from Lucy's lips were hidden by the sound of thunder that struck above in the sky. When it started to rain, Lucy didn't get up from where she sat, staring at Ruby's body that gently continued to sway in the direction of the wind while getting drenched because of the drops of water that fell on the woman's body. 

How could they do it?! Questioned Lucy in shock. 

Ruby had never done anything wrong!

She was there when Lucy needed her, and her grandmother had decided to take the one person who cared about her. Just like that, Ruby, her Nana, was gone. The woman who had listened to her worries, the pain and loneliness that she felt in the castle, all the memories came back, which made Lucy feel empty. 
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Dark hour- Part 3

Lucy slowly stood up from her place, and she walked closer to where Ruby continued to hang on the gallows. The intensity of the rain increased, but it didn't deter her intention. She climbed up the wooden stairs and then came to stand next to Ruby's body. 

What she saw right now felt unreal. It was only two or three hours ago since she had last spoken and hugged Ruby. Her hands shook with fear by the turns of the events, and she noticed Ruby's shoes peeking beneath her dress, suspending along with her body. 

Bringing her hands forward, she touched Ruby's legs, it felt like she was in a bad dream that she just wanted to wake up from, but every drop of rain that fell on Lucy was a reminder of her being part of the real world. 

Unable to control her tears, she cried even more that were camouflaged by the thunder and the rain. Not able to stand her ground anymore, Lucy's knees gave away, and she sat on the scaffold next to Ruby's body. 

Lucy then felt someone's hand on top of her head, and startled, she looked to her side to find Calhoun, who stood next to her. 

The heavy rain seemed to have stopped, or so she thought because Calhoun was holding an open umbrella above her. Seeing Calhoun here, Lucy's eyes welled up, and she broke down to more tears.

"She's gone...Nana's gone," she said to him while looking back at the maid.

Calhoun had a grim expression on his face. 

It wasn't too hard for him to track down where Lucy was even though it had been hard to fly in the rain. The world was a cruel place for the weak and innocent. Only the strongest, cunning or the wisest could survive here while pushing the weaker ones to the corner. When Calhoun had arrived at the Hawthrone castle, in the beginning, he had assumed Lucy was similar to the rest of the royal family members. But now that he closely looked at her, the girl had been born in the wrong place. Maybe it was best for her to get married and stay away from her family. 

"Why?" he heard her question, and that single word held a lot of questions from Lucy. 

"It's the world that we live in...that is faulty," replied Calhoun. 

Unlike him, where he had grown with people's hate towards him and his mother, Lucy had never experienced such things. At least not one that was as painful as seeing a woman she cared about hanging in front of her now. 

"She didn't do anything wrong," said Lucy, her eyebrows drawing in together, and she looked at Ruby through her glassy eyes. "Not even once. Why was she punished? What warranted her to this?"

It was easy to tell Lucy about what was going on, but then he doubted a girl like her would be able to digest her family's true nature. Right now, she looked broken. Her eyes had turned empty, just like how his eyes had turned empty when he was a young boy—how strange, thought Calhoun to himself. That he was here, holding an umbrella over the girl's head, whose mother was the reason why his very own mother had been thrown out of the castle. 

"This is something you will need to ask them. The ones who have put her in this situation and condition," answered Calhoun. When the rain stopped, he put the umbrella aside and said, "Your family will be looking for you." 

Lucy shook her head. She didn't want to go back, not like this. 

"Pain isn't forever. It will fade one day. All you need to do is to believe that she is in a better place now than she was before," stated Calhoun, offering comforting words to the girl whom he was now accepting as his sister. "That is what I believe when it comes to my mother."

"Like Heaven?" asked Lucy, looking away from Ruby to look at Calhoun before she stood up. 

"Yes, Heaven," agreed Calhoun. 

Lucy wiped the tears from her face, and she nodded her head. "Because that is where all good people go and are safer than here," she whispered. "Do you think...we can bury her?" She knew if she were to ask anyone else in the castle, not only her request would be denied, but she would also be reprimanded for it. 

"Let's have her buried somewhere safe, and where you can visit her," said Calhoun, and he walked towards Ruby and brought the body on the ground. 

Lucy stepped backwards, and even though it had been only a little while, she could smell the stench of death that surrounded the maid. 


Calhoun was the one to carry the dead maid, and Lucy walked beside him, following him. They walked away from the town and entered the road in time to find the royal carriage that Calhoun had arranged to arrive here so that they could get back to the castle. The carriage moved towards the Hawthrone's castle, but before it could reach the place, they took a detour inside the forest, and the coachman pulled the carriage on Calhoun's order.

When they came to stand in front of the cemetery, Lucy looked perplexed and asked, "T-this is the cemetery of the royal family. Is it alright to bury her here?" 

If her family ever came to find out about this, they would be furious at both her and Calhoun. "It is fine. You just have to make sure not to mention her resting in here. Can you do that?" he questioned her. 

Lucy tore her eyes from Ruby to look at Calhoun, who looked back at her with a calm expression. "Okay," she whispered. "It will be a secret between us. But all the graves are occupied."

To prepare another grave would take time, and right now, they didn't have time. As rebellious as Lucy wanted to behave with her family, she didn't forget the consequences. By sentencing Ruby to her death, her family members were making a statement of what could happen if she were to cross another line that they had drawn. 

"That isn't an issue," murmured Calhoun before he looked around and said, "Do you know where your relative Silvanus Grost's grave here?"

"Silvanus?" asked Lucy, and she raised her hand in the direction of where his grave was. The cemetery was built for the use of the royal family members and people who were related to them. 

Calhoun had heard from one of the ministers of how he had mistreated his mother when she was alive. He walked to the grave, and he then pushed open the coffin lid before throwing the man out of his grave and on the ground to be replaced by Ruby.

Seeing this, Lucy's eyes widened. Calhoun said, "He needs to get some fresh air. I will go put him somewhere else," and he dragged the body while leaving Lucy to stand in front of the grave. 

Taking a step forward, she touched the grave and a tear slipped her eyes. 

Things would not be the same without Ruby's existence. 
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Seed of doubt- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Love lost by Mattia Cupellia

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With Calhoun, who had gone to put the man's body somewhere else out of sight, Lucy stood in front of the cemented grave that now Ruby laid in. Calhoun had not closed the lid, and it allowed her to look at the older woman's face whose eyes were closed. One would peg that the woman was asleep, but by the discolouration of the maid's skin, it was evident, and it was only a matter of days before her body would reduce itself to bones and dust. 

Not in her wildest dreams, Lucy had imagined that Ruby would die this way. 

She remembered the time in her past that she shared with the woman. It was when she was around ten years old and had been hurt. 

'Again?' questioned her mother, vexed with Lucy's actions. 'Can't you ever learn to take care of yourself? At this rate it is better you don't step out of your room. Every time I see you roaming in the garden and wasting your time.'

'Forgive me mother,' Lucy bowed her head. Her elbow burned because she had fallen on the ground and had scraped her skin. 'I didn't know I would fall.'

'Look at your clothes,' her mother let out a frustrated sigh. 'I brought this for you a week ago and you have already ruined it. Go ask the maids to change it now.'

Lucy had hoped that after being scolded by her mother, she would be comforted by her mother. But instead, her mother left the room as she had to speak to some of the guests. 

The maid who had been appointed to look after her entered her room and asked, 'Are you alright, Lady Lucy? Oh my! Your hand,' the maid, Ruby, exclaimed upon seeing the bruises on her hand. 'Why haven't you cleaned it? Come dear, let's get it cleaned,' ushered the lady. 

After her elbow was cleaned, she asked the maid, 'Does mother not love me enough as father?'

The words had caught the maid by surprise, and she shook her head, 'I don't think it's true, milady. Your mother loves you very dearly. It is hard to not love you.'

Now that she remembered the time, a small smile came to form on her lips. Ruby had told her what she wanted to hear at that age. Her Nana had done everything Lucy had expected from her mother, showering her with love, kindness and warmth. 

Praying for Ruby's soul, Lucy turned to look at Calhoun, who returned empty-handed without the body. 


"Did you place him in another grave?" questioned Lucy, not knowing why Calhoun had picked this particular grave to be used for a maid. Her eyes tried to read into what Calhoun was thinking, but it was hard to do with his passive looking expression. 

"I did," answered Calhoun, making his way to where Lucy stood before he asked, "Did you pray for her?" When Lucy nodded, Calhoun placed his hands on the cemented lid, and he pushed it back to close it. "We should get back to the castle."

Lucy was apprehensive about going back. She feared facing her family, and when her eyes met Calhoun, she said, "If they find out why I was outside they will be angry."

Calhoun offered her a smile, one side of his lips pulling up more, "Leave it to me. I will make sure you won't be reprimanded for it."

She could only hope and believe in Calhoun's words, her brother. 

They got back in the carriage to return to the castle. As expected, Queen Morganna and Lady Samara were more than displeased to find Lucy not anywhere in the castle. When the carriage stopped in front of the castle, Calhoun and Lucy got down with their clothes drenched in rainwater. 

Just when both of them stepped into the corridors, the servants informed Queen Morganna about seeing the princess with the whore's son. 

Lucy's footsteps were slow, and her heart was thudding in her chest out of nervousness. When she caught sight of her parents, grandmother standing on the other side of the corridor, she couldn't help but take a step behind Calhoun to take shelter. 

"Where do you think you have been, young lady?" demanded Lady Samara, her eyes raging. 

Lucy was overwhelmed with emotions of pain and loss that she couldn't form a proper sentence in her mind. 

"Lucy? Didn't you hear your mother asking you something or have you turned deaf?" Queen Morganna questioned her granddaughter. "Answer her."

"She was with me," said Calhoun, bringing all the attention to him. 

"Who do you think you are to take my daughter, the princess of Devon outside the castle?" asked Lady Samara while glaring at Calhoun for his audacity. 


Calhoun offered Lady Samara a polite smile, "I am King Laurence's son, so that rightfully makes me Lucy's brother. And as a brother, I believe I have the right to spend time with my sister, unless you are trying to imply something else?"

"How dare you!" Lady Samara wasn't fond of Calhoun because he was another woman's son, who was once King Laurence's lover. 

"Samara," King Laurence stopped her by raising his hand from saying something more and turned to Calhoun, "Lucy's mother is upset because you didn't inform her about taking Lucy out of the castle. You should know things like these are not permitted. Lucy is a young girl and we wouldn't want people seeing things in the wrong way."

Calhoun bowed his head and then said, "Isn't that equal to telling a brother and a sister are not supposed to spend time with each other, how foul can one's thoughts be."

"You aren't my son. You share only half blood with Lucy. It would be better if you stay away from her. What are you doing standing there next to him, Lucy?" questioned Lucy's mother. 

Lucy turned her head to look at Calhoun, who gave her a nod, and she finally moved forward to go and stand next to her mother with her eyes not able to meet the others eyes. Not because she was ashamed of herself, but about them. They behaved normally as if Ruby didn't matter, and it hurt her. 

"My apologies if my actions hurt anyone, but we were merely bonding with each other as sister and brother would. I didn't know Lucy was under restrictions of leaving the castle with family members," said Calhoun to King Laurence, who stared back at him. 

With implying the word of restriction with family members, Calhoun had thrown the question at the King, who held a grim expression on his face. 

Lady Samara began, "You are not allowed to take Lucy anywhere, not you-" 

"It should be alright if it is Calhoun," said King Laurence, slowly changing his words, having everyone turn to look at him in shock. "Calhoun is not some stranger but one of the Hawthrone's  family member. If he wants to spend some time with Lucy to bond as siblings, there should be nothing wrong with it."

"King Laurence, you forget that-" the King, cut off Queen Morganna's words


"As much as Lucy is important and part of the family, Calhoun holds the same value. But Calhoun," King Laurence turned to look at him, "It would be much appreciated if you let the family member know about it so that we don't have to worry if Lucy has been kidnapped."
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Seed of doubt- Part 2

"Of course, milord. I will keep that in mind. Thank you for being so kind," and Calhoun deeply bowed his head again.

King Laurence left the spot with his ministers, and Queen Morganna, who still stood there, glared down at Calhoun's facade that he had on his face. Maybe her son couldn't see it, but she saw it well. This scheming little brat was intent on trying to change things in the castle. 

Lady Samara caught hold of Lucy's arm, and she dragged her back to her room. Lucy didn't complain and followed her mother before they came to stand in the room, and her mother glared at her. 

"Where were you, Lucy?" demanded Lady Samara, "Did you go to see Ruby?"

On hearing the maid's name, Lucy, who was looking at the ground, looked up to meet her mother's questioning eyes, "I need to take a bath. I might catch a cold, Ruby would always send me to take a bath when I got drenched in the rain." 

Lady Samara's mouth fell on seeing her daughter turn her back to her. "I am still talking to you, Lucy. And vampires don't catch cold because of some drops of rain." 

"Maybe not," whispered Lucy, "But vampires do have feelings, don't they mother?"

"What are you talking about? Look at me and talk to me," Lady Samara shook her head in frustration. 

Lucy turned around to meet her mother's gaze, her eyes filled in tears, and she asked, "Why did you do that?"

"Do what?" Lady Samara didn't know what her daughter was talking about. 

"Ruby. You ordered for her death," as she mentioned Ruby's name, a tear slipped past Lucy's eye, and it rolled down her cheek to fall on the cold floor. 

"You know I would never do that, dear. It wasn't me but your grandmother who was the one to order it," Lady Samara was not going to take the blame, and she wanted to mend her relationship with her daughter. 

Lucy shook her head, "I know you were there when grandmother ordered her to be taken away from the castle to be executed. Are you telling you weren't there?" 

"I am telling you the truth, Lucy. Why would I ever do something like that, the most I would do is tell her to not speak to you-"

"You killed her. All of you," Lucy closed her eyes as more tears splashed on her cheeks. "Why? Because she cared for me?"


"Now you are speaking rubbish that doesn't even make sense. I know you are sad about her death, but I would like you to take a moment and think about what you just said," her mother frowned, looking down at her. "You are calling your family to be inconsiderate and cruel."

But it was the truth, thought Lucy in her mind. 

"You took away the person whom I cared about, who was kind. Are you going to steal everyone that will show even a little amount of kindness?" questioned Lucy to her mother like she had never done before. This turned Lady Samara angry, and she walked forward and slapped Lucy across her face. 

"This shows the poison the woman has been filling your head with against your own family," Lady Samara's hand trembled in anger. "You were such a good girl."

"I am bad now because I sympathize with the woman who showed me how I could be loved?" 

Lady Samara couldn't bear the thought that her daughter was still under the spell of the lowly maid. She knew her daughter had gone to see the woman who had been executed, only that she didn't understand how Calhoun had ended up in her daughter's company. 

"We are not your enemies, Lucy. I have done everything for your own good and you are blaming me now for looking after you! Stop being an ungrateful child and see things from my perspective. It should be others you should be wary about. Do you ever consider what I feel or think?" asked Lady Samara, "I asked you to keep a distance from Calhoun yet look what I had to hear?"

Lucy said, "Ruby did no wrong, mother. I don't understand how you or grandmother could kill someone without any good reason. You are calling her to be the poison, but I feel we are the poison who killed her. You, grandmother, me, we are responsible for killing an innocent person-"

SLAP!

This time the slap on Lucy's face was harder than the previous one. Lady Samara had slapped Lucy with the back of her hand that held a ring in one of her fingers. A thin red line appeared on Lucy's cheek, turning it darker by every second.


"Now you make me think what your grandmother did was right," Lady Samara turned away and stepped out of the room before saying to the maid outside, "Have this room locked and no one shall enter or leave. I hope you can reflect on what you just said and come to realize that I am your mother and want nothing but the best for you." 

The doors to Lucy's room were immediately locked, and a warm drop of blood slid down from the young vampiress' face that went unattended. 

Outside the castle, King Laurence had summoned Calhoun to join him to give company for a walk, when in truth, it was to speak to him about what occurred this evening. 

"My King," Calhoun bowed his head at the man who had broken his mother. 

"Calhoun, my son. I am glad to see that you have come to join me. Let's take a stroll in the garden," suggested King Laurence. 

"Yes, please," replied Calhoun. 

It took a lot of effort to bow his head for someone who was not even worth the dust that was on his shoes. He loathed this person's very existence, and it didn't matter that it was because of the King's existence that Calhoun was now alive. But every time he felt his control and patience running thin by the people around him, he remembered his mother's words. 

'Don't react too fast as it will only hurt you back. When you feel you are losing control, take a step back from your place and step into their own to know what they think and feel.'
_________
Seed of doubt- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Promise (Reprise) [Silent Hill 2] by Jack Naylor

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Before Calhoun and Lucy had returned to the castle, the rain had already stopped, and it left a cold wind in the atmosphere. The ground was wet in the garden, and both the King as well as Calhoun took a stroll in there, listening to the crickets chirp and the frogs softly croak behind the bushes. 

"Do you see these flowers on my right? These were the ones that your mother loved and enjoyed looking at it. The azaleas, alstroemeria, bluebells, all of them were planted for your mother's viewing," stated King Laurence while looking at the flowers.

Calhoun's eyes shifted to the corner to see King Laurence, who was walking next to him. He wondered why the man was bringing up his mother, and he couldn't help but be wary about it. 

"It is a pity how things went between us," King Laurence sighed, behaving as if he wasn't there the day when his mother had been kicked out of this very castle. Calhoun didn't comment on it and instead listened to what the useless King was saying. "Anyways those are in the past, and that is not the reason why I asked you to come and take a walk with me." 

As if he knew nothing, Calhoun asked, "Was there something weighing on your mind, my King?" his voice was gentle and polite as if he meant no harm. 

King Laurence didn't care about Constance. He had used her, and she had later been deemed unfit to stay next to him, though there were a few times when his mind wandered to think about the woman whom he had fallen head over heels for in the past and tried to keep her next to him. 

"Do you believe we have all done our fair share of mistakes, Calhoun?" asked Laurence. 

"I am not sure I understand what you mean. I don't think you would ever make any mistake, you are the King of course," Calhoun praised Laurence. 

King Laurence stopped walking, and Calhoun stopped his footsteps too. Laurence turned to look at Calhoun more closely, noticing subtle similarities between the boy and Constance. 

"I am so glad you have taken up to be like your mother. So forgiving and such a polite boy," said Laurence. "I can only tell that you would be a wonderful possession of mine, Calhoun."


Calhoun bowed his head, and when he raised his head, he said, "I wish I can be of great use to you, my great King, father," he paused for a moment and then said, "But sometimes I worry, wondering if I should go back to the place where I came from. Believing this place is not for me, after all, I am not a royal member."

"You have already been declared as my only son, Calhoun. You are no more a person from the streets and you have no connection with your mother. People won't identify you as the whore's son, but as King Laurence's heir, Calhoun Hawthrone," said King Laurence with a deep frown on his face. Laurence didn't want to do anything with Calhoun's mother, and he preferred that people didn't attach the whore's name to his son as it would only damage their family names in return. 

If it was someone from the street, Calhoun would have ripped the man's throat by now, but now, he wanted to plan the King's death well while not getting caught. He wanted to build a bond with his dear father because it would bring him that much satisfaction when he would break his father.

In the next two seconds, Calhoun's face turned dull and downcasted. 

"I don't think Queen Morganna wants me here in the castle, my King. She prefers I leave this castle," Calhoun instigated a spark in King Laurence's mind. "Even though I work hard and she isn't happy about it. She doesn't approach me for any advisory duties and prefers to keep a gap. It deeply saddens me to see the hate in her eyes."

King Laurence chuckled, "If she gets a chance, she would happily replace me to have Rosamund's son Markus on the throne so that she can continue to be the Queen."

"That must be hard," Calhoun said, looking at King Laurence with a sympathetic eye. 

"Not really," scoffed King Laurence, "I am not the King for no reason. It is something that need not to be worried, and now with you here with me, son, no one can shake my position." The King placed his hand on Calhoun's back. "We will both rule together, with you next to me."

Calhoun offered his father a smile, "Anything to achieve your dreams. I have already drawn up the plans to conquer the neighbouring land that is on the left side. The plans and how to execute it are all in there and have been placed in your study room. I will be at your service." 


Laurence, who had turned blind in wanting to hold on to the throne, didn't notice the intention behind Calhoun's smile, and he smiled along with his son, not knowing the grave that Calhoun was digging for the royal family members. 

"What a wonderful son I have," Laurence looked at Calhoun with a proud look on his face. "Even my experienced advisors were unable to get me these strategies, yet here you are already working day and night for Devon and Hawthrone's prosperity." 

"I am forever grateful that you took me in and have provided a life people can only dream about. I can only hope that one day I can be part of the Hawthrone's family. That Lady Samara and Queen Morganna will accept me with open arms," came Calhoun's polite words. 

"You have my support, Calhoun. One day they will appreciate you just like I do," King Laurence patted Calhoun's back, and he then left the garden. 

Now alone in the garden where the torches light didn't reach enough, Calhoun walked towards the flowers that the King had earlier mentioned his mother loved. 

"It is time for one of you to die," whispered Calhoun, and when he touched the flowers near him, they started to wilt.
_________

Deep water- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Unbroken by Max Herman

.

Even though she was a vampiress, Lucy felt the burn on the skin of her cheek where she had been struck by her mother's hand. She didn't cry over the action as she had cried enough before coming to the castle with Calhoun. The emptiness that she felt in her heart was creating a deeper void she couldn't explain. 

Lucy didn't know if she should feel hurt over the slap that she felt or if she was supposed to feel hurt that her mother didn't care about her. Feeling more than one drop of blood appear on her cheek and start to slide down while her clothes were wet, she stood there in the big room that was lonely. 

The water didn't seep down from her clothes but it hadn't dry, leaving Lucy's body colder than usual. Lucy looked at the locked door that her mother had ordered for the other servants to not open as if she was an animal that needed to be trained, but she wasn't one. Going to the door, she didn't knock on it and instead locked it from inside as she didn't want to speak to anyone. 

How strange, thought Lucy to herself, that her mother didn't realize her patio was open and she could always step out from there. 

The blood dripped down from her cheek and fell on the ground. 

When she turned around, Lucy was planning to go to her bed and lay down in her wet clothes as she didn't care about it. But then she saw him standing there at the entrance of the patio, his glasses on his face and his eyes on hers. 

"It's too early for you to be here," said Lucy, her heart softly beating. 

Until now, Theodore had entered her room only when it was midnight, a time where most of the servants were asleep and it was only the guards who roamed outside the castle's vicinity. 

"Would you prefer me to come back later?" questioned Theodore, his eyes calmly looking at the red line that had formed on one side of her cheek. 

Theodore had been busy with work, not realizing Lucy's absence nor Calhoun's until his ears had come to pick up the little comotion when Lady Samara had gone to King Laurence. He had seen Lucy being dragged by the woman who disliked Calhoun as much as Queen Morganna did. 

Lucy didn't know what to say and she could feel something bubble up her throat but she tried to push it back down, something she was used to doing. 


"If a servant finds you climbing in and out of my patio, they won't stay quiet and they would instead go and inform the King or the Queen about it. It would put you and brother Calhoun both in trouble." 

"They never found out about it until now, I don't think they would find out now. Everyone is busy and the sky has already turned dark enough for no people to not notice," stated Theodore. "Your cheek, it's bleeding."

Lucy lowered her gaze, looking at the floor near Theodore's legs and a smile coming to form on her lips that didn't quite reach her lips. She didn't understand why it was often the stranger, people who weren't her family who noticed things like this, while her very own family turned a blind eye over it. 

"I know," whispered Lucy. She could feel the sting on her cheek as she moved her lips to speak and smile. It was like the wound was there to restrict her from showing emotions and to behave docile like a doll. "I know there's a mark on my face and if I touch it," she raised her hands up to cheek and when she pulled the lower skin, more blood appeared to seep out to show that the line was deeper than it actually looked. 

Seeing this Theodore frowned and he came to stand in front of her to catch hold of her hand to stop her from pulling her skin. 

"Don't. It's going to leave a mark," Theodore could feel Lucy's slender wrist that he caught in his hand. 

Lucy couldn't help but stare into Theodore's eyes. They were back to standing next to each other, and she could feel her heart tugging. 

"I believe you have a first aid box in here?" asked Theodore and Lucy turned her eyes in the direction of the cupboard where the first aid box was in. "Please take a seat on the chair. It would be uncomfortable for you to sleep later if the bed is wet."

Lucy was too tired to ask him to leave and somewhere she craved for company. Not arguing about it, she went to the chair and sat down, turning the wooden chair wet as it tried to absorb water. 

Theodore took hold of the first aid box and he brought it to where she was seated. He placed the box down, while kneeling down as he tried to pull out the cotton and a bottle that held the antiseptic lotion. Lucy didn't stay on the chair and she slid to sit in front of Theodore, on the floor. 


"A vampire has the ability to heal quickly, but with what I noticed, when you get hurt, your wounds take time to heal," said Theodore as he dabbed the cotton with the antiseptic liquid. 

Lucy watched Theodore's hands that moved elegantly around the first aid box. "I was born with a weaker immune system compared to the other vampires or my family members. My body is similar to a human's body...I catch fever, I fall sick and I take time to recover back to my health. My wounds, they take their time unlike our kind."

"And your mother doesn't know it, does she?" questioned Theodore, bringing his hand forward and near Lucy's face. Lucy only shook her head.

Theodore then placed the bud of cotton on Lucy's cheek for her to close her eyes as if the liquid in the cotton stung her skin. 
__________
Deep water- Part 2

Lucy had immediately closed her eyes, feeling the burn on her skin for a moment before her eyes opened. They fell right back at Theodore who was watching her closely. 

"Have you ever lost someone in your life before, Theodore?" 

"I wish I had someone for that to happen, but unfortunately I haven't," replied Theodore, his words sincere for the young vampiress, who looked a little confused by his answer. "Did you see her rest?" he asked her. 

Lucy nodded her head, "I did. But I cannot tell you where she is. It is supposed to be a secret between us siblings." 

Theodore wished Lucy was much stronger and not this sheltered by her family. Not because he had an issue with her calling Calhoun as her sibling, but the girl was nothing less to an innocent lamb who believed every person was good. Unlike her mother, Lucy had accepted Calhoun as her brother without a single doubt in her mind. 

"It's okay, milady. Secrets are to be preserved," he gently glided the cotton to the other side of the cut that had formed. Theodore didn't have to ask to know that the body was replaced with another person in the royal cemetery. 

"To think Nana is no more anymore, it is so strange," whispered Lucy, her eyes looking slightly lost. "She was here a few hours ago, and I had spoken to her. She told me everything would get better, but it only turned worse." Her eyes started to water and when the tear touched the wound, it stung her skin again. 

"Humans leave this world faster than the vampires, milady. If it makes your heart lighter and calm, you can believe that her time had come to leave this place," said Theodore, catching one of her tears so that it wouldn't touch the wound. The cut didn't seem like it was from fingernail, thought Theodore to himself. 

"It would have been easier to digest her death if my family had faked it, that Ruby died in an accident or from some disease. But they didn't because they wanted to set an example for me and the rest of the people," Lucy didn't understand why Ruby had to be caught in the crossfire and be punished. "I shouldn't have met her today."

Lucy moved her body away from Theodore's hand. She shook her head in guilt. Maybe her mother or some maid had mentioned about her meeting Ruby. 

"It shouldn't have been Nana but me to be punished," said Lucy to Theodore. 


Theodore dropped the hand that had the cotton, and he raised his other hand to place it on the side of her face. Her eyes widened over Theodore's action. 

"It wasn't yours or Ruby's fault. "Sometimes in this world, people don't receive things where they are supposed to get. Therefore, people often look for those things in other places. If it isn't going to cause harm to anyone, I don't think there's anything wrong. Do not blame yourself for the woman's death, because it was not your fault," said Theodore. 

Lucy knew how her family was, but with the way things were going on, she didn't know why but it seemed like her grandmother was different to what she had grown up with. 

"You should go get yourself changed. The weather is colder than yesterday and you might catch cold," advised Theodore, putting away the cotton and the antiseptic bottle back in the first aid box. 

"Theodore," Lucy called him when he was about to stand up. Having Theodore turn to look at her, she asked, "Don't get caught." 

Theodore offered her a smile and bowed his head. She saw him leave the room through the patio and when he was gone, she closed the doors of the patio. If it was another time, Lucy would have been overjoyed and would have danced around her room that Theodore had touched her cheek, but Lucy was not in mood. 

She leaned her back against the closed doors and her head leaned back to look at ceilings as the tear started to spill all over again. 

Seeing Ruby handing on the gallows was a nightmare that would be hard to erase from her memories. The cruelty of the Hawthrone's, something she had not expected to come. 

Lucy stripped down from the wet clothes that she was wearing and she got behind the wooden compartment of the room where the bathing tub was placed. The water was cold and had not been given the opportunity to be replaced with the hot water, but Lucy barely noticed it. She was consumed with her emotions. 

Stepping into the water filled tub, Lucy sat down before she slowly submerged herself under the water to shut down the minute noises that reached her ears. It felt quieter in here as if she was safe from everyone and everything. Her eyes were wide open as they looked at the surface of the water from below. 


After supper was served, Theodore returned back to his room while sitting on the bed and wondering who had tattled against Ruby and Lucy. It was one of the servants of the castle. 

When Calhoun entered the room, Theodore asked, "Where did you throw the other body?" 

"I didn't throw the body away," replied Calhoun, closing the door with his leg that moved from behind. "The man was the reason for sparking differences with the King and my mother. For putting seeds in my brainless father's head. I thought he deserved a better place than just being washed away in rain or wind. I am sure the Queen will enjoy its warmth in her room tonight," he chuckled.

Theodore didn't go to question him further as it seemed like his suspicion was right. He could already see in the future the royal cemetery having non-royal family members because of the number of people being replaced from there by Calhoun. 

"I will be taking a walk outside," informed Theodore, and Calhoun looked unbothered. With Lucy who was locked in her room, Calhoun was already aware of where Theodore was going. 
________
Deep water- Part 3

With his hands in his pockets, Theodore walked in the shadows without anyone's notice. He was curious as to who would have informed Queen Morganna about Lucy and the elderly maid's frequent visits to each other. 

Instead of using the corridors, Theodore walked on the top of the roofs of the castle, jumping from one place to another without moving a single plate of brick from its place. He then came to stand in the patio of the Queen's room who seemed to have someone in her room. 

"You did a wonderful job today. I am sure Lady Samara is more than pleased that you have been watching over her daughter this closely," stated Queen Morganna. "Truly my granddaughter had turned her worried with the way she has been behaving."

"It is my duty to protect the princess, milady," the maid's voice sounded familiar and Theodore, who was hiding behind the large wall wondered why.

"It is good to see that I assigned at least one decent maid to her. As promised, you shall be rewarded for this. Doesn't it feel wonderful?" Queen Morganna chuckled. 

"Yes, my Queen," the maid deeply bowed. 

"You can leave now and make sure Lucy doesn't do anything she is not supposed to do. At least until she gets married," the Queen dismissed the maid by waving her hand before turning to look at the fireplace that crackled unusually louder than usual. 

The maid left the Queen's room with a satisfied smile on her lips, heading towards the servants quarters so that she could now have a sound sleep. But before the maid could reach her room, someone placed their hand on her mouth and pulled her to another isolated place of the castle. 

The maid turned alarmed, trying to flail her arms and trying to get away from the stranger who had dragged her before releasing her into a dark corner of the castle. She turned around to face the person, ready to shout for help before her eyes fell on Theodore. 

"Y-you? What do you think you are doing?"  It was one of Lucy's favourite maid Amice. 

Theodore offered the maid a smile, "My apologies if I startled you. I wanted to talk."

Talk? The maid looked confused at Theodore while her heart continued to beat quickly. "You could have just asked me. What is it that you want to speak about?" 


Theodore should have known this was from where the information was leaking into the Queen's ears. "I was wondering how you were doing because of what happened to Ruby."

A flash of guilt crossed the maid's face and she pursed her lips. "We are all trying to cope with it as best as we can."

"I feel terrible for you and the others. She was a good woman, someone who was not only dear to Lady Lucy but also you, wasn't she?" questioned Theodore. 

The maid couldn't meet Theodore's eyes and she looked away, nodding her head in agreement to Theodore's words. 

"You must be very sad. You should make sure to drink water to replace the lost ones," Theodore advised her. "Poor Ruby. I was hoping to chat with her about something today, but it seems like I was short on luck. To think that we are one day alive and the next day we aren't," he shook his head while clicking his tongue. 

"Yes, that is right. I have a lot of work tomorrow and should sleep early," said Amice, ready to take her leave as she started to feel uncomfortable. 

"Oh yes," Theodore nodded his head. "I was hoping I could mourn the woman's death along with you. She was after all, close to you and the princess, wasn't she? How long has it been since you started working in the castle."

Amice gave him a tight smile, "Must be since the princess was small. I must really go," she said, noticing the daunting way Theodore watched her. When she was about to leave, Theodore asked,

"How much money did Queen Morganna offer you to tail and report what Lucy and Ruby does together? Or was it Lady Samara?" 

The maid turned worried by Theodore's words and feeling the fear crawl up her spine. She turned around, ready to run back to the servant's quarters when Theodore pulled her arm and pushed her against the cold wall. When she opened her mouth, ready to scream, Theodore said,

"Scream and you will not have a tongue to talk with." 

Amice looked at Theodore in fear and her heart started to pound against her chest, almost as if it would jump out of her throat with the way Theodore's smile and sympathy had fallen down from his face. 

"W-what do you want from him?" asked Amice and Theodore's hold on the maid's neck tightened. 


"What I want? There are a lot of things that I want," replied Theodore before taking a step closer to the girl and smelling fear radiating from her. "I am surprised you would sell out your fellow maid whom you grew up under for a mere number of coins."

"I-It was m-my intention. I d-didn't mean to do it," she tried to shake her head. 

"You do understand that it is because of you that an innocent soul was sacrificed today. You were such a good friend and person, what happened to you?" questioned Theodore, his eyes watching the girl who looked frightened. 

"It was L-Lady Samara who wanted to keep an eye. I didn't know she would kill Ruby for it," blurted the maid and Theodore only clicked his teeth. 

"I don't know why, but I find it hard to believe. Greed changes everyone doesn't it?" Theodore asked her. 

"Let's take that quality that you have been infected with. It wouldn't be good to have you infect the princess."

Amice's eyes widened and she pleaded, "Please, please! I didn't mean to hurt anyone, I was doing what the lady said was good for Lady Lucy."

Theodore nodded his head before letting go of the maid's neck from his hold. The maid was about to release a sigh of relief when Theodore said, 

"Tell me how the after life is," and he snapped her head. 
_________
Underwater- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Suicide Note by Jurrivh

.

Lucy stayed in the bathtub for several minutes, submerged herself under the water while she stared at the tiny bubbles that escaped from her nose. Being a vampiress, it didn't harm her staying in this position for a long time. Still, when the memory of what she had seen at the gallows came to flash in front of her eyes, she gasped for air—pushing herself up from the water and breaking the surface so that she could breathe normally again. 

She wondered if the pain would reduce tomorrow. Once she would sleep and wake up in the morning as if everything was just a dream and nothing more than that. 

When she sucked the inside of her cheek, she felt the pain that had not reduced, and she got up from the bathtub, stepping out with water that dripped down from her body. Walking towards the nearby mirror, she looked at her reflection, where her body was covered with a towel. 

Her face looked paler than the usual days, half because of staying in the water for so long, and another part of the reason was because of her mood. The girl who reflected in the mirror didn't smile. Eyes slightly red and hair wet with water, her red eyes caught sight of the deep cut her mother's ring had caused on her cheek. 

After drying herself with a towel, she wore a dried dress from the cupboard. Before she could sit on the bed, the door of the patio knocked and in came Theodore. 

"You are on time," whispered Lucy to him, and Theodore, who entered the room, handed her the bottle that contained the blood. 

"I was here a few minutes ago, but noticed you were still yet to dry yourself and wear clothes. So I decided to stay out here and wait for you," stated Theodore without changing his expression and Lucy, who was about to take the bottle from his hand, a blush coated her cheeks. Did he see her when she was getting out of the bathing tub?

Taking the bottle from Theodore, she looked at it before her eyes moved to look into his eyes, "Whose blood is this?" Lucy asked this because she could feel the warmth of the blood that touched the bottle's outer surface. It only meant that the blood had been freshly drawn out from someone's body. 


"Someone who was worthy to offer their blood to you. You will find it to your liking," informed Theodore and Lucy's heart that still ached, she asked, 

"Not an innocent person's blood, right?" it mattered to Lucy from whom she was going to drink blood. Even though her parents had made the habit of providing her with unlimited glasses of blood, she had no idea where the blood came from and from whom. There was a difference in both the tastes, in what she drank from the glasses and the blood that she drank that was offered by Theodore. 

Theodore bowed his head, "You have my word. It doesn't belong to the person who is innocent. Don't feel burdened by your thoughts and drink the blood without any doubt, milady," he said to her. 

Lucy was thirsty, and she pulled open the cap of the bottle before her delicate lips connected to the opening of the bottle so that she could gulp down the blood. The blood was indeed tasty, like a delicacy, and she finished until the very last drops while some of them escaped from the corner of her lips. 

Satisfied with what she drank, she returned the bottle to Theodore. 

But Theodore didn't stop there. He stepped in front of her and raised his hand towards Lucy's face. Lucy wondered if the wound that she had received had started to bleed again, but instead of touching her cheeks, he used his thumb to rub on the skin at the corner of her lips. 

"You had blood there," informed Theodore and Lucy, who had been spacing since the time of evening didn't know what to say, and she stared at him. "I can get you more if you want."

Lucy shook her head, "No, I am fine. I don't think I have an appetite for one more bottle of blood." She took a step back, her heart thumping in her chest at Theodore's action. "Thank you for the blood, but I think you should go."

Because of her, Ruby was no more alive. She doubted if she would be able to see another death because of her. 

Theodore was not going to push her for an explanation, and he turned his head away, ready to leave when he heard her ask,


"I don't understand your actions, Theodore. Why do you risk your life for me?" Lucy looked at Theodore's back that faced her. "Nobody has ever broken rules in this castle, even though I am a princess, I have been subjected to punishments and people who help me will receive worse punishments than what I have for going against the King or Queen's words. So tell me why….why do you come here."

Theodore turned around to see Lucy, who looked at him anxiously, "People are punished for things they have done and not done, and I think we all can agree that you haven't done anything wrong. Moreover, a princess shouldn't be punished and no one should ever stay hungry."

"You know this is not my question and your answer is not what I am looking for," Lucy might be innocent, but she wasn't stupid. 

"What is it that you would like to hear, milady? Tell me and if I can, I shall fulfill it," said Theodore, his words polite and his eyes looking at her through his round-framed glasses. 

Lucy stared at Theodore, their eyes not breaking away from each other, "Do you kill people often to offer blood to someone? Do you sneak into other girls rooms at night?"

Theodore's lips quirked, and a soft sigh escaped his lips. 

"I am not the person who you see me to be, Lady Lucy."

"That doesn't answer my questions," said Lucy before looking away from him. "Okay. You can go back and rest. I wouldn't want to burden you with anything. Thank you for the blood again."
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