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✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 651 ➡️ 660 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

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Hidden angels- Part 3

When the day of the soiree arrived, Calhoun arrived at the mansion that belonged to one of the minsters to keep an eye on Helena—sitting in the room and conversing with the people while watching the familiar faces of the people who worked for his father. 

"I was hoping to see you here," came the woman's voice, and Calhoun turned around to find Helena standing in front of him. 

"Was there something you needed to speak to me, Lady Helena?" he inquired.

"I was wondering what you think about joining the High House. You aren't the King yet and it would be valuable to have a smart man like yourself with us," stated Helena. 

Calhoun offered the woman a smile, "I don't think my father would be pleased if he heard you offering me a position at something that he is against," a small chuckle escaped his lips. 

"Do think about it. I am sure with the unfairness you have faced in your very own life, you will be able to make proper decisions in the organization," said Helena. 

The smile on his lips, only broadened. He wondered what was proper and improper. He had no interest in protecting anything because his mother, who was worth protecting, was no more, and the only thing his mind was consumed with was revenge. A sweet revenge that he wanted to witness and that was all he cared about. 

"Are you here scouting people to join the High House?" questioned Calhoun. 

The woman stared at him, "We have one more spot open in the higher position and I thought I would appoint the right person. Because who knows how many men and women have joined hands only to keep an eye on what we do, or what I do."

As he thought, Helena was a smart woman, and he smiled, "If you ever need my support, I will be here to offer it, but I would rather prefer not to join the High House. I like to run things in a certain way. Excuse me," and he stepped away from her with a glass of wine in his hand. 

Helena knew it would be hard to convince Calhoun to join the High House, but it was worth a shot. When a servant came towards her with a tray holding a wine glass, she was about to pick it up,  but before that, someone else grabbed the glass sooner than she did. The maid looked slightly worried as the glass was meant for the woman and not the man. 


When the maid stepped out of the room, a man who stood outside demanded, "Did you give it to her?" 

The maid shook her head, "Some other man picked up the glass before she could take it." 

"What?!" the man glared at the maid, who looked down at the ground, "You fucking couldn't do one job? Get out of here," and the maid quickly scurried away. He muttered, "I guess I will have to do this myself."

Helena, who was inside the room, trailed her eyes to look at the person who had taken the glass of wine, catching sight of blonde hair and blue eyes. She was no petty woman to bother herself with why the man had picked up her glass when she was about to take it. She was ready to leave the spot when the man introduced himself,

"Good afternoon, Lady Helena. I couldn't help but overhear what you were speaking with the young man over there about the free spot in the High House," said the man, his voice smooth and his demeanour calm like a still water. 

Helena asked, "You seem to have very good ears to be eavesdropping."

"My apologies," the man didn't hesitate to bow his head, and when he looked back up at her, Helena could only agree with herself that she had never come across such blue eyes before. "I didn't mean to intrude."

"I don't know who you are. It would be troublesome if you are one of my many enemies," Helena didn't beat around the bush, and her thoughts were direct, catching some of the people off guard, who  were secretly listening to her. 

"I do not have a status, if that is what you are asking. I came here in the hope to speak to you, in the hope to have fairness in this world and for innocents to be protected," informed the man, "My name is Michael Reeves."

The man spoke as if he had full faith that the High House could change the world, making things a little better than the current state. He seemed like a genuine person, and she gave him a nod. 

"It is good to see that you support the same thoughts as I do," responded Helena. 

Michael smiled, and as he looked around the room, his eyes fell on a person sitting at the table who had long black hair, wearing shabby clothes compared to the rest of the others in the room. Two women sat in front of him, giggling amongst themselves over something he said. 


"Everything alright?" asked Helena, her eyes following Michael's line of sight to look at the table, noticing the cards spread out in front of the woman. 

Michael looked back at her and offered her a smile, "Yes. Everything is alright," he replied to her and said, "Now that I have spoken to you, I should leave. It would be wonderful if you could try to give me a chance to work in the High House."

"I will think about it," she responded. 

Michael placed the glass on the surface of the table without taking a sip from it. 

But before he could leave her side, he whispered, "You should be careful with what you pick to drink and eat in here, things are not what they appear to be," and offering her a smile, he left the room. 

For a second, Helena frowned, not knowing why he said it, and her eyes then widened in realization. She quickly tried to follow the man she had been speaking to, but when she stepped out of the room, he had already disappeared. 

A man appeared at Helena's side and said, "Milady, would you like to have a glass of wine?"

Helena stared at the wine and then at the man and said, "You can drink it in my name."
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Resolve- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Franziska & Magnus by Ben Frost 

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Lucy walked in the corridor, her fingers twiddling in a circular way while wondering why her grandmother had summoned her to her room. When she arrived in front of the doors, the guards who stood on either side of the doors pushed it open so that she could enter. 

Stepping inside, Lucy caught sight of her grandmother sitting on the couch and she bowed. 

"Did you want to see me, my Queen?" asked Lucy, her tone polite. 

"Yes, Lucy. Come sit with your grandmother," offered Queen Morganna, patting the empty seat next to her with a smile on her face. There was only one maid in the room to serve tea and to help the Queen while the rest of them had been dismissed. "Come," said her grandmother when Lucy hadn't made an effort to move from where she stood. 

Apprehensively, Lucy walked to where her grandmother was sitting, and she took a seat next to her. Her governess was teaching her, when a servant who had been sent by the Queen appeared in the study room, asking her to meet the Queen. 

"What would you like to drink? There's different flavours of tea powder that has been brought from the other lands. Or would you prefer to have blood?" asked Queen Morganna, being hospitable and too sweet to her granddaughter. 

Refusing to drink with the Queen was nothing less to being disrespectful, and Lucy replied, "I will have the blood."

The Queen didn't have to order the maid for it as the maid stepped forward to the side table, bending down, she started to pour the blood from the teapot into the cup and offered it to Lucy. 

"Go on, drink it," advised Queen Morganna, and Lucy smiled before bringing the cup to her lips and taking a sip of the blood. "It has been long since we sat together by ourselves and drank tea, isn't it? How are your classes going on with Ms. Lewis?"

Lucy nodded her head, "It is going well, my Queen. Ms. Lewis said she is almost done teaching me everything I would need."

"Things that will come in use after the marriage I believe?" asked Queen Morganna, and Lucy slowly nodded her head.

"Queen Morganna, there was something I would like to ask from you."

Morganna raised her eyebrows in question, "What is it?"


"Do you think it is possible for me to take part in the discussions that take place in the royal court? I tried to learn and understand everything, I was hoping I could be useful-"

Her grandmother clicked her tongue, "My dear granddaughter. We already have men and women to work for such things. Too many people will only crowd the court. I thought your mother made it quite clear the last time when she spoke to you about this. Leave the court matters to us while you can concentrate on getting married to a valuable husband and have children with him," the woman's tone then turned serious, "Don't concern yourself with things that are going to be of no use to you."

"But I know I can-"

"Didn't you hear what I just said?" Queen Morganna offered Lucy a smile that was not warm but chilling. "Samuel is a good man, what do you think of him? Isn't he wonderful?"

Lucy pursed her lips, a small frown coming to form on her forehead. "I don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know? Silly girl, you have been spending time with him every day. You don't have to be shy about it," said Morganna.

Lucy wanted to tell her grandmother that she didn't want to meet any of the suitors as her heart had already decided whom she wanted to be with. But at the same time, she was scared of her grandmother's reaction. The Queen had opposed the idea of her being present in the royal court room. It was obvious she would never come to accept her love for Theodore. 

Queen Morganna then came to the topic, "I wanted to know you if you met your maid Amice before she left the castle."

Lucy shook her head, "I haven't spoken to her since mother had her shifted to another work."

"Is that so," said Morganna, taking a sip from her cup and then placing it on the saucer with a little clink sound. "You have been meeting the other maid and look what you did to her?"

Ruby, thought Lucy and her heart ached for the deceased woman. "I didn't do anything to her," she firmly stood her ground, and Queen Morganna raised her eyebrows.


"If it weren't for you who had decided to go against your mother's and my words, the maid would have still been alive, but look at what you did. We have been teaching you to follow the rules of the castle, but it seems like you have always preferred to break the rules," Morganna looked down at her teacup with a displeased look on her face. 

Now that the subject had been brought up, Lucy clenched her hands, and she asked, "Why did you do it? Ruby did nothing wrong." 

"You both broke the rules, Lucy. Considering you are my granddaughter, there is only little that can be done here. But she deserved it for going against our words," stated Morganna with not a hint of remorse in her voice. "She was leading you on the wrong path."

"Like what?" questioned Lucy, placing her teacup on the table. "Ruby never taught or led me on the wrong path. She was there when I needed her, beside me-"

"That's absurd," Morganna interrupted Lucy, rolling her eyes, she said, "You have us. Your mother, your father, me. You don't have to rely on a servant."

Lucy looked at her grandmother in disbelief, shaking her head, she got up, "I don't know why it took me so long, but you are not what I thought you are," she whispered, and Morganna narrowed her eyes, getting up to stand in front of Lucy. 

Ruby had died because her grandmother had ordered the guards to kill her, and Lucy could only imagine the pain Ruby went through with the noose around her neck until she died. 

"Careful with what you speak, Lucy. Just because you are my granddaughter doesn't mean I will take your accusations kindly," warned Queen Morganna. "Sit down now so that we can finish our talk."
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Resolve- Part 2

Lucy couldn't believe her grandmother was blaming her for Ruby's death. Given that it was she who had gone to meet Ruby, but it didn't mean the maid warranted death. 

"No," responded Lucy, and she noticed the way her grandmother's eyes subtly widened at her rebellious nature. "You cannot force me to quietly sit down and make me believe that I was the one who was responsible for Ruby's death. You had something to do with brother Calhoun's mother too, didn't you?"

"That is a very wild accusation that you are throwing at me, Lucy. Do you know the consequences of doing so?" asked Morganna with a calm voice. 

Lucy didn't claim openly that she had heard those things from the Queen's very own mouth, and it wasn't a rumour she had picked up. 

"God will keep an account of everything you have done. Be it in heaven...or in hell-"

SLAP!

Lucy could feel the stinging sensation on her cheek, and the force of the slap was twice as hard as what her mother had delivered to her three days ago. 

"How dare you to speak back and insinuate what I did was wrong," Morganna glared at Lucy. "I guess having a governess was of no use as she couldn't teach you the basics of how to speak with your elders or the Queen. You can take your leave from the room now. When you feel you are ready to speak and in a much sane mind, you can come talk to me." 

Lucy's jaw clenched together, and she left the room without exchanging another word with the Queen. When Lucy left, Queen Morganna called the maid to her side and said, "Bring the governess and tell Samara come visit me." It seemed like she should get her granddaughter married quickly before Lucy turned completely rebellious, thought Morganna to herself. 

Queen Morganna had made sure to tame the people around, making sure no one would ever stand up against her. It was a surprise that her son Laurence was recently not listening to her, but the whore's son was the one to be blamed. Since he had stepped into the castle, the people who listened to her were slowly not taking her orders and instead behaved how they felt like. Laurence was the King therefore, she had to stay on his good side, but Lucy...Lucy seemed to be growing up too fast. She wondered if Calhoun had mentioned something to her granddaughter. 


Lucy had tears filled in her eyes once she stepped away from the room where Queen Morganna was in. She knew what it meant when it came to standing one's own ground in front of Queen Morganna, but Ruby's loss was the breaking point for Lucy. 

"Lady Lucy?" she heard Theodore's voice in the corridor, who stood not too far away from where she was. Lucy didn't know when she had stopped walking, but it seemed like her feet were glued to the ground now. 

Theodore frowned and walked towards her, looking left and right to make sure no one was there. He caught hold of her wrist and pulled her to a nearby empty room. 

"What happened to your cheek?" questioned Theodore, his eyes zeroing on the redness that was turning more visible. 

Lucy didn't answer his question, but stared into Theodore's eyes. He was someone she felt close to her, and her emotions started to well up, and a tear came to roll down her cheek. 

"Hey, don't cry," said Theodore, pulling Lucy to him, who looked broken, and he hugged her. One of his arms came around her . One of his arms came around her waist while the other patted the back of her head. 

With Lucy, who was not too far away from the Queen's quarters, he could only guess that Morganna had done something to Lucy and his eyes narrowed. Both Morganna and Samara had no concern regarding what Lucy wanted, and they treated her like a doll that had to listen to what they said.

"Shh," Theodore whispered. 

Lucy started to sob, her hands clutching on to the front of his shirt, and he could feel the fabric turning wet. He heard someone walking outside the room in the corridor. He had locked the door earlier, and when he hugged the young vampiress, he realized how delicate and petite she was. 

She stayed there in his arms until she had calmed down, and she realized her head was buried in his chest, and she pulled away from him. She wiped her eyes with the back of her sleeves. 

Theodore raised his hand, using his finger to wipe one drop of her tear from her cheek, and he noticed the way her heart skipped a beat. He wondered if it was a curse for breaking many women and girl's hearts before meeting Lucy, that he couldn't cherish the girl the way he wanted to. 

Her eyelashes held sprinkles of tears, turning her eyes darker than the normal time as they peered up at him right now. 


"Things will get better," he assured her, and Lucy believed him. It was only a matter of time before Morganna would be dethroned from her position, and Lucy would be able to be free once Calhoun would take his position as the King of Devon. 

There was still time for Lucy's marriage, and that gave him time. "But don't run away," he advised. He knew Lucy craved freedom, but the path she thought to be easy wasn't as easy as she would think it to be. Being born in the royal family was a boon as well as a curse at the same time. 

Lucy nodded her head, feeling Theodore trace his finger over her cheek, "Does it hurt?" he asked her. 

"No, it doesn't," she replied. Theodore offered her an encouraging smile. 

Calhoun had gone out to attend the soiree, giving Theodore no work to do but to watch people and make sure the ministers or the servants were not setting up any traps for him or Calhoun. 

After some time, in Queen Morganna's room, Lady Samara appeared at the door. 

"My Queen, you wanted to see me?" asked Lady Samara.

"Yes," answered Morganna, "I wanted to speak about Lucy's marriage to Samuel Greville. They have been spending time with each other for a few weeks now, and I think it is a perfect match, especially with what the Duke has agreed to give us."
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Resolve- Part 3

While both Calhoun and Theodore were readying their plans on what to do, they hadn't expected the other external factors that would come to interrupt their game plan. The next day the two young men made their way to Madame Frances house. Reaching the place, Theodore knocked on the front door to receive no response.

"She must not be home and maybe is outside," said Calhoun, noticing no sound coming from the inside of the house. The windows and the doors were closed. He stood against the wall with his arms crossed. 

Theodore moved the iron ring that was affixed to the door once more. "She didn't give a specific day and just told to come over. I doubt she was planning to go out somewhere," he said, waiting for several seconds before stepping away from the door.

Calhoun took a walk near the windows, and when he was going to turn back, he smelt the familiar scent of blood and death that came from the inside of the house. His eyes immediately narrowed, and he said, 

"Something is wrong."

At first, Theodore didn't notice it even though he had stood in front of the door for several minutes, but after Calhoun pointed it out, he stepped back towards the door and took a deep breath and smelled the faint smell of death. His eyes widened, and without waiting for another second more, he broke the door open to step inside. 

The air inside the house was filled with the stench of death, and Theodore rummaged through the rooms one by one until he finally found Madame Fraunces, who laid motionless on the ground. On seeing this, Theodore's jaw clenched together. The blood that was on the wooden floor near her body had dried, turning it dark in colour, and the woman's eyes were left open while her complexion turned pale and she looked like a ghost. 

Theodore was in shock, and Calhoun walked forward to check the woman, placing his hand on her neck and then looking into her eyes. 

"She's been dead for quite some time now," informed Calhoun. 

Theodore clenched his hands into fists before freeing them. Walking to where Calhoun was, he asked, "She dealt with women and girls who belonged to wealthy families, but I don't think they had anything to do with it."

"Morganna," Calhoun's eyes narrowed.


He should have known something like this would happen. Calhoun had been pushing the Queen, testing and taunting her time after time. He should have known that she would strike back by playing dirty. When Theodore had decided to help Calhoun, he had taken things like these into consideration, but the impact that he felt right now...it was something hard to fathom. 

Theodore knelt next to Madame Fraunces body. "Do you know how many days have passed?" he asked Calhoun while his eyes were on the woman. 

"Possibly more than three days," replied Calhoun.

"Someone must have followed me that night...when I came here," he hadn't expected the Queen to kill Madame Fraunces as she was nowhere related to the matters that were going on. "How could she kill her," Theodore gritted his teeth. 

She must have been murdered the next day after he had visited her at night. Anger filled his mind, and he brought his hand up towards her face to close her eyes. For more than three days, her body had been lying here cold on the floor, and no one even knew about it. 

"You should go back to the castle," informed Theodore, "I will stay here and have her buried." He doubted people would look at them kindly if they were to bring out  a dead body from the house. 

Queen Morganna was eagerly waiting to frame them. She couldn't shake Calhoun's will therefore, she tried to separate Theodore from Calhoun to weaken Calhoun. 

"We are in this together," said Calhoun, looking up to see Theodore. "She helped me, even if it was for a short period. Get a carriage to the back of the house, it wouldn't be right to keep her body out in the open. It is only some time before someone finds out that she is dead."

Madame Fraunces body had started to decay, and the rotten body's stench had filled up the entire house. Standing up, he started to make his way out to bring a carriage. On his way, Theodore couldn't help but remember the time he had spent with Madame Fraunces, who was always kind to him, who had taught him everything he needed to know, providing him food and shelter. 

After getting the carriage to the back of the house, he noticed Calhoun had wrapped and covered Madame Fraunces' body in a thick blanket so that the coachman wouldn't be surprised on whose body they were carrying. Getting inside the carriage, the coachman asked, 


"Where would you like me to take you?"

Theodore was going to say the forest, but before that, Calhoun said, "To the royal castle of Devon."

The coachman raised his eyebrows, wondering if the two young men were going to sell the blanket to the royal family. When they were still riding on the way in the forest, and away from the castle, Calhoun knocked on the window to have the coachman stop the carriage. 

"The castle is far from here," said the man, confused as they had asked him to stop in the middle of the forest. 

"I realized we are short of coins. Here they are," said Calhoun, passing the nickels to the man while Theodore got down, carrying the body on his shoulder. "Thanks for the ride," he said to the coachman. 

The coachman was more than happy to receive an extra coin, and he rode away from there. The two young men headed towards the royal cemetery to have Madame Fraunces's body buried there. 

After placing Madame Fraunces's body in one of the graves that was cleared a minute ago as another Hawthrone relatives body had been removed from their resting place. Theodore's face stayed calm. 

The Queen had crossed her limits, and she had to die, thought Theodore to himself. And this meant he couldn't have any distractions. 
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Collapse- Part 1

Even though Calhoun left the cemetery after having Madame Fraunces' body placed in the grave, Theodore continued to stand in front of the grave that had its lid closed. Death wasn't unknown to him, but he hadn't expected Madame Fraunces to bite the dust this soon. 

They weren't related to each other by blood, but the woman was no less to a motherly figure to him. 

Back in the castle, when Calhoun arrived, one of the guards walked to him and informed, "Advisor Calhoun, the King has asked you to present yourself in the royal court."

Calhoun went straight to the royal court room to find King Laurence, who was talking to one of the ministers, and on his left side sat Queen Morganna; her eyes fell on him the moment he had stepped into the room. 

"Good that you are here, Calhoun," said King Laurence. "We have an important matter to be relayed." 

Calhoun offered the King his deepest bow, a pleasant smile coming to form on his lips, "I hope it is a wonderful news for Devon." 

King Laurence gave him a nod, "Indeed it is. We have some of our men, to keep an eye on the members who agree to be part of the High House. Some of them have changed their decision about their interest in it. This has put a doubt on the minds of the Kings of the other lands on the unnecessary unneeded  existence of such a thing. It is only a matter of time before it comes to an end. Good job at the soiree, Calhoun."

Calhoun smiled at the King's words, "You praise me for nothing, my King. It was a small job that I did." 

King Laurence shook his head, "It wasn't an easy job, to have people step down from their planned positions. This has even other men we have to step away as it isn't necessary anymore."

"Are you sure they are not going to change their mind to go back to the High House?" questioned Morganna. 

"Not after what Calhoun did. Him attending the soiree seems to be a success and we don't have to worry about that wretched woman Helena," stated King Laurence. 

According to the King, Calhoun had spoken and convinced the people why they shouldn't work towards the High House formation, and the people who had joined had stepped back. 


But Calhoun had his motives. The High House could be infiltrated by the King's and Queen's men, who could still hold control by either Morganna or Laurence. But what Calhoun wanted was to run the entire thing in his hand movements like a puppeteer. He was having his own chosen people join the High House. This was so that there wouldn't be any influence against him in the future. 

"I still think it is right that we get rid of that woman. We wouldn't want her to strike back," said Morganna, her eyes falling on Calhoun, and she then asked, "Where is your bodyguard?"

Calhoun's eyes shifted from his father to look at his grandmother, "He is taking a stroll, was there something that you needed from him, grandmother?" he questioned her. 

Morganna's eyes twitched, and the others in the court room took a deep breath, hearing Calhoun addressing the Queen informally. 

All these years since Morganna Hawthrone had turned to a Queen by the help of her deceased husband, and now next to her son Laurence, she had compelled people to treat her with the utmost respect while keeping the title of Queen with her, without handing it over to her son's wife. She demanded the people address her as the Queen, which included the royal family members. 

And then comes this whore's son who dares to disrupt her title. 

The ministers and the others remembered the time when one of her very own relatives forgot to address her as the Queen had spent a week in the dungeon before being released to never return to the castle ever again. 

Disregarding Calhoun's question, Queen Morganna said,

"Did you forget to address me as the Queen or are you doing it on purpose?" 

King Laurence's eyes fell on his mother, who had a look of displeasure on her face.

Calhoun's expression didn't change, and instead, it stayed calm before he spoke, "Grandmother," he addressed her one more time, and one could only tell that the young man was taunting the Queen once again, "I use that word so that I can become close to you my Queen. I have spent my years without an actual family, and now that I have one with you, my father, a sister, a mother, I would like to have a better relationship with all of you."

Queen Morganna was well aware Calhoun was always up to no good, and she said, 


"If you aren't aware, the tradition in the Hawthrone's castle has always been where you address the royal members who is in higher position with utmost respect. Haven't you seen your cousins and your sister do it?" Morganna played nice as she didn't want to throw mud at Calhoun in front of her son. Doing that would only result in spoiling her own image, it had happened before, and she wasn't going to fall for that one more time. 

The ministers and others in the room couldn't help but internally smirk at the Queen's words, and they then looked at Calhoun. He was a young man who was trying to change things, but he should know better than that, thought many of them in their heads, when Calhoun hadn't responded to the Queen. 

King Laurence was more than amused by watching the small discussion, and he didn't bother to get in the middle and instead watched his son and mother. 

Calhoun smiled, "I was finished reading the book that was written by the previous Queen of Devon. By what I read, she liked to be addressed as mother, grandmother, sister."

"Are you trying to insinuate on something by mentioning this?" Morganna was quick to comment, and her eyes narrowed at Calhoun. 

"I would never dare," Calhoun bowed his head and then continued. "I was only thinking by addressing a person on their relation, the family often bonds in a better way. What do you think about it, my King?" he turned to look at Laurence. "Forgive me if it is something unacceptable."
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Collapse- Part 2

By bringing this question up, Calhoun was changing the way he would address Morganna and, more importantly, checking the leverage he had when it came to King Laurence. 

King Laurence stared at Calhoun as well as his mother. Silence filled the room once again, and the King finally spoke, 

"Even though all of us are aware of your relationship with the Queen, addressing her as your grandmother in here isn't right." Hearing his words, Queen Morganna smirked at Calhoun. "The royal court room is a place where important discussions and decisions are taken. But," he paused, gaining everyone's attention, "You can call her grandmother when you aren't in this room."

Morganna gritted her teeth as she couldn't go against the King's words, but it didn't mean she wouldn't bring this matter up when it was just her and her son alone. 

Calhoun's smile widened, and he bowed once more, "I cannot tell how grateful I am to have a family here, my King."

"You didn't answer where your guard is," Morganna went back to her previous question again. "It isn't good to have your guard away from you, unless you want to be suspected of doing something you are not supposed to do."

At the same time, Theodore stepped inside the royal court room, offering his greetings. He came to stand behind Calhoun. 

"I do not understand what you mean, my Queen," Calhoun feigned ignorance. 

"There have been people, who have gone missing since you arrived at the castle-"

"Mother," warned King Laurence. "Aren't you placing a baseless accusation here."

Morganna responded to this, "My two maids, Lucy's two maids, and some others have gone missing. I am not accusing my dear grandson, but I am suspicious of his guard. I wouldn't trust people that easily."

Calhoun could see what Morganna was trying to do here. She had first attacked Theodore by having Madame Fraunces killed, and now she was slowly trying to frame Theodore. 

"Why has there been no mention about the people going missing until now?" demanded King Laurence with a frown on his face. 

"People go missing in the castle and it wasn't brought to my notice even once?"


As it was Queen Morganna who had brought the matter up, she answered him, "We didn't want to bring such miniscule things when you have other important work on your hand, my King. At first I thought people were just leaving the castle, but now that I think about it, they have gone missing."

King Laurence frowned further, "Let there be a search in the castle and people be interrogated."

"Of course, milord. It is the right way to deal with such things, and I was only bringing up my concern. I wouldn't want someone else going missing," replied Morganna. 

Though it was true that Calhoun and Theodore were involved in some of the people going missing from the castle, they weren't responsible for all of it. As Theodore had entered the castle being Calhoun's guard, he didn't hold the authority to speak to the King, and Calhoun was the one to speak. 

"I would like to mention that I doubt it is Theodore who is responsible for it. Considering how we share the same room, I have never seen him leave my sight," said Calhoun to the King. "I would like to request for the other guards to make a through check before accusing my man here to be the culprit for something he hasn't done."

King Laurence nodded his head and then looked at the guards who stood near the back of the room, "I want to have the castle checked in and out, including the castle grounds to see if you find something," he ordered them. "Also mother," he turned to look at Morganna, "I would appreciate that when it comes to things like these, you inform me sooner than wait until the tipping point."

Queen Morganna bowed her head.

Soon King Laurence got up from his throne, and he stepped down before leaving the room with the other ministers following him. 

Queen Morganna didn't stay back, and she left the room along with the others until it was just Calhoun and Theodore in there. 

"Where did you put the maid's body?" asked Calhoun, staring at the entrance of the royal court room. 

"Away from the grounds and the forest. They wouldn't be able to find the bodies," replied Theodore. Calhoun's eyes fell on Theodore, and he said, 

"You should go and rest. I will handle things here."

Calhoun wasn't unaware of Theodore's mood with what happened today. Though he didn't show his emotions, Calhoun could tell it still affected his mood. 


"I am going outside to finish something, I will see you later," informed Calhoun. He left the castle knowing that even if Morganna planned to trap Theodore, she couldn't do it in the next hour. 

Seeing Calhoun leave, Theodore started to make his way to his room. His mind was filled with Madame Fraunces' death, and while he continued to walk, he caught sight of Lucy, who was walking from one end of the corridor to another, not noticing him, which allowed him to look at her. 

When Madame Fraunces told him that it was possible to have both things, he was coming to believe it. That he could help Calhoun while letting things grow between him and Lucy. But right now...

Not staying there for one more second, Theodore continued to make his way to his room, and he laid on the bed. But this didn't prevent Lucy from trying to find where he was, and she knocked on the door, not knowing what had happened. 

Lucy stood outside the room, looking left and right to make sure no servant had seen her yet. Her eyes looked slightly anxious and excited at the same time. 

Theodore didn't have to open the door to know who it was. Not wanting to draw the inevitable time with what he had on his mind, he walked to the closed doors of the room and opened it to see the young vampiress, whose smile appeared on seeing him.
___________
Collapse- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Enter one- Sol Seppy

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Since Lucy had woken up, she had decided to speak to Theodore, but both he and Calhoun were not there in the castle. She had waited for them to return, but it took longer than the time she had expected them to return. 

She had been walking from one corridor to another corridor when she sensed someone behind. When she turned, she saw Theodore's back disappeared from the other side of the castle, and she had quickly tried to follow him. 

"Theodore," Lucy's lips pulled up just by seeing him. With all the things going on around her, the only hope she could rely on was Theodore's existence and kindness, including her newfound brother, Calhoun. "Mm, were you resting?" she asked, her eyes darting inside the room and then at him. 

Theodore shook his head, "No." He then stepped outside his room, taking a look around before he asked her, "Would you like to come in?"

Lucy's heart fluttered at Theodore's offer, and she felt giddy about it. 

She didn't come here to spend time with him, but to speak about something important. It was only this morning, did her mother mention her marriage to her father. Samuel and his family had been invited to have dinner with the royal family so that her father could speak about moving things forward. 

Nodding her head, she stepped inside his room, and Theodore pushed the door to close it. She looked around the room, noticing two beds that were far apart and behind the beds were windows to let sunlight inside the room. The room was not luxurious or like the guest rooms but rather like the servants' ones. 

Lucy asked, "Where did you and brother Calhoun go this morning? I didn't see you both during breakfast either."

Theodore watched Lucy, who was still looking around the room, "We were invited to have breakfast at an acquaintance's house. Someone we both know."

Lucy nodded her head, "I see. I thought father sent you both on some work," and she smiled in the end. 

Noticing Theodore watching her, she said, "I wanted to talk to you about something," and Theodore nodded his head for her to go on. "It is actually about us, I mean about what's going on. You said not to run, but I don't know what plan you have on your mind." 


Saying this, Lucy turned shy, and she looked at the window, "Mother and father have invited Samuel's parents tonight for dinner...to speak. I do not want to go ahead with-"

"You should get married to him." 

For a moment, Lucy didn't grasp what Theodore said, and she looked back at him. Her eyebrows furrowed in question. 

"I don't understand," she replied with a confused expression. 

Theodore was used to breaking news about ending his relationship with the ladies, but doing it with Lucy seemed like a hard one. It was because of the look her eyes held now as if something she had believed in had started to crumble. 

With a straight face, Theodore said, "I don't think it is right for us anymore to meet or spend time together closely with each other. We have a wide difference between us and it because of this it would never work. I would never be able to keep you the way you have been brought up."

Lucy could feel her heart shattering, and she tried to keep herself calm, "Why?" she whispered. "I thought we already went through which was why I offered to run away...Did someone say something?" Was it her grandmother who had found out about it? But then she doubted it was so. 

Theodore offered Lucy a polite smile, "No one said anything, milady. I think it would be better for both of us to know where both our status stands. I am your half brother's guard, a servant while you are the princess. Duke Greville's son seems like he has taken quite an interest in you, and he will keep you happy. It would be best and safer to stay away from the castle."

Lucy couldn't believe Theodore was telling her to marry Samuel when he clearly knew she had feelings for him and not for the Duke's son.

She had believed that Theodore had feelings for her. No, she was sure about it, but he denied it. She could sense the distance he was putting between them, and it ached her heart. Did she perhaps do something wrong?

"You're joking, aren't you?" Lucy tried to identify Theodore's intentions, but the man barely allowed any emotions to be displayed on his face. He had a serious look on his face. "W-why did you kiss me then?"

When Theodore didn't respond, Lucy's hand that was clenched into fists released itself, and she demanded an answer,

"I want to know why?"


Theodore knew Lucy might have appeared weak, but if she put her heart into something, she would not let it go. Having her around would not only affect him but also her. And he did the best to create a wall between them. Even if it meant she would hate him, it would still allow her to have a peaceful life, away from a cunning family. This way, it would stop Lucy from getting involved in family politics, and she would remain safe. 

He then said, "You once asked what my job was before coming to the castle. I will answer it today," he said, meeting her eyes. "I used to satisfy women by sleeping with them. That is how I earned my money. I thought you are a beautiful lady, a princess and wanted to bed you in the same way, but-"

"Stop it," whispered Lucy, unable to believe it to be the truth.

"I don't think it is right to deceive you-"

A sharp sound was heard in the room, and it had left Lucy's hand burning as she had slapped Theodore so that he wouldn't speak more than what he had. Her hands and her lips trembled. 

"Why are you doing this?" asked Lucy, tears in her eyes. 

Theodore didn't react to the slap, and instead, he bowed his head, "Forgive me for my misbehaviour, milady. I hope you will find your happiness once you are married," and this was enough to leave Lucy's heart broken into pieces. 
_________
His scent- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Wishing well (feat. Lucy Tops) - Stomper

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On hearing Theodore's words, Lucy felt her heart shatter into little pieces. When she had come knocking on the door of his room, she had hoped to move their relationship forward and not cease it instead. 

The hand that she had used to slap Theodore to stop him from speaking more turned into fists on seeing him offer her a smile of indifference compared to how she felt. Was that it? She refused to believe that he held no feelings for her when he had kissed her cheek or when he had consoled her after seeing the bruise on her face that had been inflicted by her grandmother and mother. 

"Please take back your words," she said to him. 

Theodore didn't change his words nor his expression for the young vampiress, "What I said, every single word is true and if you want to punish me, I shall take it without any complaint."

Tears finally rolled down her cheeks, but Theodore made no effort to move from his place and console her. Instead, he bowed his head as if he was ashamed, and it only broke Lucy's already broken heart. 

"Complaint…" Lucy whispered the word looking away from him. "How would you have any complaint when you are the one to step back, telling me you don't like me and wish to see me with another man," her voice cracked in the end. 

"I heard from some of the ministers that your parents are speaking about your marriage to the Duke's son. You have been having pleasant conversations with him. You-"

"Stop it," ordered Lucy immediately, and she looked back at him. "I thought you were different, not like the other men. That you understood, but you don't…" he was hurting her by speaking such things, and it only ached her heart that much more. "You don't have to explain anymore."

And Lucy turned away, walking towards the door, and her hand reached for the door, but she paused to turn back and look at Theodore, who had the same expression on his face. She felt as if his hand had reached out for her heart, and though initially she had been happy, and she now felt as if he was squeezing it. Lowering her gaze, Lucy finally pulled open the door and ran towards her room.


When Lucy had stepped outside, and in the corridor, Theodore could hear the sob that escaped Lucy's lips, and he felt his heart shake. The smile on his face fell, and his eyes that looked bright in front of the princess turned dull. 

Theodore knew Lucy would never forgive him, he believed what he did was for the best. 

In the princess' eyes, what he did was the cruellest thing she had ever been through, but the pain was inevitable when revenge came into the picture. Madame Fraunces had died because of him, and he wouldn't be able to forgive himself. 

Right now, he had to prioritise, and if he was going to focus on building a relationship, either he, Calhoun or worse, Lucy would die under the instructions of Queen Morganna, and he wouldn't let that happen. 

"Forgive me, Lucy," he said when she was long gone, where she wouldn't be able to hear him. 

When Lucy reached her room, she closed and locked the doors. The sobs didn't stop escaping from her lips, and with every passing second what Theodore said only sunk in her mind. She brought her hand to cover her mouth so that the people who would walk outside her room would not be able to hear her. 

Her body slid down against the door, and she finally sat down on the floor. After a while, the sobs stopped, and Lucy stared into space in front of her, unable to think more. Pulling her knees closer to her chest, she hugged them to keep herself calm. 

As the evening approached, Lady Samara appeared at Lucy's door, knocking on the door, "Lucy? Open the door, the maids need to get you ready. The Greville's are joining us for dinner. Did you forget it? Lucy?"

Lucy could feel the vibration of the knocks as she was sitting with her back against the door. She felt numb, like the emptiness she had been trying to escape from had opened wide and was now swallowing her up. 

People around her...they lied, they were cruel, and they did what they pleased without considering her feelings. 

"Lucy! Open the door, right now. I know you are in there!" Lady Samara's voice lost its cool, and a smile appeared on Lucy's lips, that didn't reach her eyes. 

She got up from the floor and wiped the remnants of possible tears on her cheeks that had already dried. She finally opened the door. 

"What were you doing?!" demanded her mother. 


"Nothing," came the bland answer from Lucy/

"Get her ready and make sure she looks presentable. Your future in-laws are coming to meet you along with Samuel. Isn't that wonderful? I cannot believe you will be getting married soon. I will miss you dearly," said her mother, making her sit in front of the mirror, and the maids started to swarm around Lucy. 

"If you are going to miss me, why are you even trying to send me away from here?" whispered Lucy. Hearing this, Lady Samara rolled her eyes. 

"Have you forgotten all your learning given by Ms. Lewis?" asked the woman before turning to look at the dresses that were being taken out from Lucy's closet that were now neatly being placed on the bed. 

"I don't understand how a woman who has not been married can explain the importance of marriage to me," Lucy was in an irritable mood with her heart and mind troubled. 

Lady Samara turned to look at her daughter with a frown, "What is with these absurd questions? For once, can you not listen to me?"

Lucy's hand gripped on the long petticoat that she wore, "I have been doing that since I learned to speak," she muttered under her breath. 

Lady Samara let out a tired sigh, and she asked, "What are you trying to do, Lucy? Don't try to push me by thinking I won't reprimand you for your behaviour just because the Greville's are coming to see you."

Lucy's eyes lowered down to look at her hand, before she let go of the white petticoat she had been clutching.

During the time of dinner, everyone was seated at the table. The royal family members as well as the Greville's. The Duke was busy speaking to Lucy's father about his trade and how he could help Devon in its progress. 

Lucy, who now sat next to Samuel hadn't touched her food and his mother questioned her, 

"You haven't touched your food nor your drink, dear. Is everything alright?" On the woman's question, everyone's eyes fell on her immediately and Lucy put up a smile on her lips. 

"Yes, Mrs. Greville," replied Lucy. 

"You're such a beautiful girl. Because of my sickness, I barely step out of the mansion and prefer to spend my time in my room, which is why I wasn't able to attend the soiree. But I am glad to finally met you," said Mrs. Greville, her tone polite. 


"I hope you are doing better now, Lady Delilah," said Lady Samara, trying to be a good hostess and making the woman feel comfortable and welcomed as she was soon going to be Lucy's mother-in-law. 
__________
His scent- Part 2

"Oh, much better," Mrs. Greville responded. "I couldn't believe that the princess decided to choose our son, choosing him to get married to."

Lucy had never said anything like that, and her eyes fell on her mother, who looked back at her with a smile as if it was true. 

"Samuel and Lucy have been spending quite some time together here in the castle, they seem comfortable around each other, it was only a matter of time this was going to happen," laughed Lady Samara. 

While the people at the table continued to talk, Lucy felt like she was sitting with strangers. Everyone was busy talking to each other, and it left Lucy alone. Her eyes slowly moved to look at Theodore, who was not looking at her. Since she had arrived in the dining room, Theodore had not made an effort to meet her eyes even once. Her silence only continued to allow the people who wanted to see her marriage complete for their benefit. 

Her family and Samuel's family had started to discuss the date of the wedding that would take place soon. Lucy was too hurt with everything going on around her, and she had shut herself down from the world. 

But Calhoun was at the table. He looked at Lucy, who stared at her plate as if the discussion at the table didn't involve her. 

When the dinner was finished, and the guests had left, Calhoun and Lucy were crossing paths in the corridor, and he asked, 

"You barely spoke at the table tonight."

Lucy smiled at his words, glad to know someone had noticed, "Is that so brother Calhoun. I must have been too tired to interact. Speaking to strangers all the time is exhausting."

Calhoun didn't know what was going on between her and Theodore, but he doubted something brewing between them. But now, it seemed like it had disappeared as both of them didn't look each other in the eye. 

"Can I ask you something, brother Calhoun?" he nodded at her question. "Did the Queen or my mother speak anything with you about my marriage?" 

"No," he answered, and she gave him a nod. 

Lucy replied, "I see. I should go now. It's been a tiring day."

Calhoun didn't stop her, "Have a good sleep, Lucy."

"You too. Goodnight," and she continued to go on her way to her room.


Calhoun was about to leave when he sensed Theodore's presence behind the wall, who had not come forward in front of Lucy. But with her gone, he appeared and informed, "I heard the High House has fully formed and they plan to start working in two weeks."

"Good. It will be easier to get the castle investigated with what Morganna is hiding in here," replied Calhoun. 

The next few days, Lucy continued to either stay in the study room or her very own room unless Samuel came to meet her, where they either took a walk in the corridors of the castle or outside the garden. Like many other mornings, the sun was bright, and the atmosphere was light compared to how Lucy's mind was. Though she was with Samuel, she spaced out, and the man noticed it. Unable to keep it to himself, he said, 

"Are you not happy with our marriage that is going to take place in a few days?"

Lucy snapped out of her thoughts, and she pursed her lips. She looked into Samuel's eyes that looked at her with patience and politeness. 

Samuel continued to say, "Lady Lucy, we have been spending a lot of time with each other. I finish my work as soon as I can so that I can spend time with you. But I feel you don't feel the same way. It's like your heart and mind isn't here."

"Pardon me for my inattentiveness, Mr. Greville," Lucy apologized. 

"Is there something you would want me to change in my behaviour or something that you would want to see in me? I will make sure to make an effort to change myself into the person you want me to be," said Samuel and Lucy's thoughts started to drift again. 

Could the man wear glasses that were round in frame? Could he look more mature as if nothing bothered him? 

"Do you smoke, Mr. Greville?" 

"Sorry?" Samuel was taken aback by the princess' question.

"Do you smoke cigars to blow smoke from your mouth?" Lucy explained to him as if he didn't know what smoke meant. "Do you have it with you now?"

A startled Samuel put his hand in his pocket before bringing out a small metal box that held cigars, "I don't smoke often, Lady Lucy. It is only on rare occasions. During the gatherings."

Lucy didn't care if Samuel smoked or not, "Do you think I could borrow one from you?" 


Samuel would have never pegged that the princess had the habit of smoking, but he shared one of the cigars with her in an attempt to get closer to her. 

"Would you want me to light it for you?" he asked politely. "Maybe away from the prying eyes."

"No, that is fine. I just wanted to have one. Thank you," Lucy offered him a smile. 

"I don't smoke," she clarified, waving her hand. There was another reason why she had borrowed a cigar from him. 

Samuel chuckled, his eyes twinkling as they looked at her, "I never thought you did. You don't seem like you enjoy the smell of the cigar. Not that there's anything wrong in smoking because it doesn't affect vampires' health."

Compared to the many suitor's Lucy had met in the past few days, Samuel was the only person who was easy going and he didn't impose things on her, and that was before their parents met for dinner. He was still the same, and somewhere, Lucy felt guilty. 

Whenever she and Theodore met, he looked at her as if she didn't exist, and it hurt her, pushing her away and to Samuel's arms. She wondered why life was this difficult. Was love supposed to be this hard? 

She had dodged Samuel's question for now, and she was glad he didn't press her for an answer. When the time came for Samuel to leave the castle, he picked up her hand and gently kissed the back of it. 

"I was thinking if we could go and visit the town tomorrow. Away from the castle to get some fresh air," proposed Samuel. "I heard you haven't left the castle for some time. Is there any place you would like to go?" 

Lucy pursed her lips and then said, "The royal cemetery."

"Of course," he nodded his head while looking at the girl, "I had a lovely time with you, Lady Lucy. I will see you tomorrow," said Samuel. 

Lucy bowed her head along with him, "Me too, Mr. Greville. Thank you for visiting me." She didn't see why she should be rude to someone who wasn't aware of her broken heart or wasn't the person to break her. 

Samuel bowed his head, and as he turned towards the carriage, making his way there, his expression changed like a chameleon. The polite and kind nature he appeared in front of people with a gentle smile on his lips, especially for Lucy, turned to one of menace.
__________
His scent- Part 3

Entering back inside the castle, Lucy was making her way when she caught sight of Theodore, who talked to a woman she had never seen here before—how strange, thought Lucy to herself. In the past, her eyes would seek for him, wanting to catch a glimpse of him, and it would take a long time. But now, when she tried to hide from him, it seemed like he was everywhere. 

"I used to live right there, four streets away from the center place of the town," responded the woman to something he said. "How strange that we have never crossed paths before."

"Indeed, the world is small and vast at the same time," replied Theodore. 

As Lucy was approaching the place where they stood in the corridor, she heard their conversation and her gaze hardened. "Lady Lucy," the woman bowed her head, who was probably as old as Theodore. "Good afternoon."

But Lucy's attention was on Theodore, who looked at her hand that held the cigar and noticing this, she was quick to hide her hand between her flowy dress. 

"Afternoon," Lucy greeted the woman, but she didn't stay there to watch them chatter or to speak to Theodore. 

"Doesn't she behave as if she has everything and is proud about it to not spare another word?" commented the woman when Lucy had disappeared from their sight. "I know these princesses, little girls like those, they can be quite a hassle to deal with-"

"Are you done with your work here, Lady Selina?" Theodore cut in her words. 

The woman looked taken aback, and she stared at Theodore, "Yes, but I am in no hurry." 

"I think you should. Queen Morganna isn't fond of people who don't deliver their work in time," Theodore then stepped forward, placing his hand on her shoulder. "I heard that you have been working for her for so long and responsible for taking care of her treasury. I am surprised a woman like you, who is efficient, has not been promoted in her work or in status," he praised the woman. 

She smiled at Theodore by the position of his hand, "What can I tell, the Queen is peculiar in a few things."

"Mm," responded Theodore, and he slowly brought his hand to her face. "I was wondering if we could meet to have supper together. You wouldn't mind would you?"

"Of course not," answered the woman with a coy smile. "Let me see what I can cook for you tonight."


Lucy turned sad when she found out from Calhoun that Theodore had gone out on personal work, and he had given him the day off until tomorrow morning. At the time of night and after dinner, where no one was there to talk or interrupt her, she was back in her room. 

She pulled out the cigar that she had hidden in her room, and she looked at it before bringing it up to her nose. The smell was similar to when Theodore came to visit her at night when her mother would punish her by locking the room. Though Theodore didn't openly smoke in front of everyone, making himself appear to be a gentleman, Lucy came to realize he was far from it. 

The smell was heavy at the time of night, and in the morning, it would disappear like it was never part of it. 

The log of woods in front of her softly crackled in the fireplace, and Lucy brought the tip of the cigar near the fire and lit it up. Getting up from there, she came to sit on her patio's floor. Bringing the cigar near her nose, she smelt the smoke while closing her eyes and remembering the times Theodore sat next to her, right here in the middle of the night. 

As painful as it was to part away and make her heart understand what had happened, why was it that she still wanted to stay in his company, in the company of Theodore's memories, who had broken her heart. 

Lucy couldn't forget what he said to her about earning money by selling his body to offer sexual favours to please women. When he had kissed her wound, there was a certain tenderness in them that she doubted she would ever be able to erase the memory from her mind. The memory had rooted in her mind. 

She took a deep breath of the smoke, and she put her head back to look at the sky.

"So ironic," whispered Lucy. "It's always the good memories that haunts us in the end."

The excitement and happiness was slowly turning into vines of thorns around her...and it hurt. 

On the other side of the castle, Morganna was waiting for her man to frame Calhoun's bodyguard. Hearing the footsteps, she turned around in the deserted corridor where no one was there except for her, and now the man. 

"Is it done?" demanded Queen Morganna.

"My Queen, there seems to be a problem," answered the man as he bowed his head. 


"Is there any time that you do not bring problems along with you? What is it?" snapped Morganna in slight anger. 

"The three people we spoke to, two of them have left town and we don't know when they will be returning to speak against Theodore. There's only one woman, Lady Christine, who is still in the town who is there to speak against him," informed the servant. 

"That is fine. What about the house?" questioned Morganna. 

"The bloodstain on the floor is still there along with his clothes in the house," Morganna smiled at this. "Well the news isn't as bad as I thought. Now make yourself useful by going and informing the magistrate of the town about it."

The servant bowed and quickly left the corridor to relay the message even though it was the time of night. 

Morganna couldn't wait to frame Theodore so that Calhoun would be alone without any support. 

But when the servant went to the magistrate's office, the place was already closed, and he decided to wait until the time of the morning to deliver the news of Madame Fraunces' murder. 
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