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✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 661 ➡️670 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

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Pivoting of control- Part 1

The night was quiet in the town, and Theodore looked outside the window with his shirt unbuttoned and his finger holding a cigar between his fingers. It seemed like most of the townspeople had already returned to their houses, leaving the streets and the alleys deserted except for the homeless ones. 

A pair of hands came to circle around his waist that belonged to the woman Lady Selena. 

"What are you doing here, instead of lying in the bed with me?" she questioned, placing one side of her cheek against his back while continuing to hug him. 

"I wanted to smoke," replied Theodore, stepping forward so that the woman would release her thin hands away from him. "This is the time I usually smoke and I was missing it." 

When he turned around, the woman smiled, looking at him, "I thought you were a mere guard of Advisor Calhoun. I would have never pegged you like the rest of the vampires," she chuckled, bringing a cigar from the table before lighting it using Theodore's already lit cigar. 

"What did you think?" questioned Theodore, his eyes calm like still water. 

The woman chuckled, "I am not sure if I should say this, but then we have done the dirty deed. I guess it can stay as our little secret."

A smirk appeared on Theodore's lips, and he responded with, "I love secrets. It has a certain thrill in it, doesn't it?" Without pushing the woman, he waited for her to start speaking. 

"You know how people don't look at Advisor Calhoun favourably. He is an illegitimate son, someone who clearly doesn't have the right to hold the status in the castle or in Devon. It makes me wonder why you still work for him," stated the woman in wonderment, her eyes meeting his gaze. 

"We all work for our own benefits, don't we, Selena," he took a drag from the cigar before his lips allowed the smoke to be ejected straight into the air. "We all want to climb the status ladder. To improve our status or our wealth. Which one is yours?"

Selena wore only a black robe on her body, where she had not bothered to tie it, to entice Theodore back to her bed. 

"Aren't you too eager to know about me?" asked Selena, a coy smile on her lips as she threw the cigar out of the window. 


Theodore tapped the cigar and then said with a straight face, "What can I say, you must have bewitched me tonight. I just want to know more about you."

The woman chuckled, walking towards the bed. She laid down before tapping on the surface of the bed as if inviting Theodore to join her. 

"The Queen pays a good wager because I do more than handle Devon's treasury records," proudly said Selena. When Theodore extinguished his cigar and came towards the bed, she said, "Just because I know your motive and how you are not actually too attached towards Calhoun, I suggest that it would be better for you to work for the Queen than for him, it will also increase your reputation." 

"I will think about it," answered Theodore. "Why did you tell, that you work more than handling the treasury?" 

The woman pulled him towards her, kissing him, and she said, "You seem to be asking a lot of questions."

"I would like to know who I am with if we are going to spend more time together," whispered Theodore, running his hand from her shoulder to caress her hand.

Theodore had not come here to warm the woman's bed, nor was he even remotely interested in this person. He had something to ask and speak to her, and for that, he had used the method which he was good at. 

And it seemed to be more challenging than what he initially thought it to be. When he started to wear his clothes and his shoes, the woman spoke,

"Make sure you never let this information be known to others. The Queen has been trying to divert the funds to her own vault for a while now and I have been working on keeping quiet."

Theodore looked up at the woman who stood in front of him, and when he stood up from the bed, he laughed as if the matter was of no importance to him, "Does the Queen believe that one day she will be cut out from the family one day?"

The woman shook her head, "I don't think King Laurence would ever cut his mother out from the royal family. I mean he loves her dearly."

"Of course," Theodore nodded his head. "People are truly strange, aren't they?" 

Selena then placed her hand on his arm and said, "Will you be coming tomorrow?"


"I would not miss it, but as you said, let's keep what you and I spoke as a secret. I don't think either Calhoun or the Queen would be happy that we have shared such information," said Theodore to have the woman nod and beam in a smile. 

While Theodore was making his way to the castle, he made sure no one was following him this time, and he made use of the alleys before reaching the town where he had grown around. His feet made way to Madame Fraunces' house, which was now empty as a shell with no life in it. 

Entering the house, he walked to the place where both he and Calhoun had seen her body on the ground. His eyes fell on the wooden floor that had patches of darkness on it.

After spending some more time, Theodore started to make his way out of the house when he caught sight of a person who served the Queen. The servant was sitting near the stairs and in front of a building, and on hearing someone's footsteps, the person woke up to only have his eyes widen. 

"What are you doing here, Ulric?" asked Theodore. 

"I-I was doing nothing at all," stuttered the man and Theodore looked at the door behind the man which led to the magistrate's office. 

Theodore offered him a smile, "Waiting for the magistrate, is it?" and the servant gulped in fear. 
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Pivoting of control- Part 2

Music Recommendation: The Confession by Danny Bensi

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Theodore dragged the servant by one of his legs as the dead person was used to sweep the ground. Once he had brought the body in the forest, he left it near the den of wolves so that they could use him as their meal for the night. If there was no trace of the body to be found, there was no way to find the crime that had taken place. 

'W-who said I am waiting for the magistrate?' the servant had nervously looked at him while standing up and his eyes darting left and right. 

'Did you perhaps switch your work from serving the Queen to guarding the door of the magistrate until he returns?' asked Theodore, taking a step towards the man, and the servant was quick to start running towards the castle. 

It was the servant's bad luck that he had decided to wait for the magistrate and at the same time when Theodore had decided to pay a visit to the town. Theodore, who was already well aware of the town's streets and alleys. It took less than two minutes to catch the servant and drag him into the alley so that no one would catch sight of them. 

'You seem to be in quite a hurry there. Something that you need to tell me?' questioned Theodore. 

The man shook his head, 'T-There is nothing I need to say to y-you. I only answer to the Queen! Let me go or I yell for help,' he threatened. 

'Really now, I wonder how you would yell if you don't have a voice to scream,' came the low voice of Theodore. His hand was still around the man's neck, and using his other hand, he pulled his glasses and slipped it into his pocket. 'Now tell me why the Queen sent you here.'

When the man refused, Theodore started to squeeze his neck, and the man flailed his hands. He didn't give the person a chance to speak, and soon the man's body turned slack.

Leaving his body in the forest, Theodore made his way to the castle, and he met Calhoun. 

"Did you find anything important from the woman?" questioned Calhoun. 

"An important detail that might be of great use," replied Theodore with a smile, and Calhoun listened to what Theodore had found out from the woman who was in charge of handling the treasury. 


After hearing the information that was relayed, Calhoun said, "I think you found the perfect way to have the King doubt her. But like the woman said, Laurence is still under Morganna's spell and to fix it, something big needs to be done. Frame her for the King's possible assasination."

Theodore raised his eyebrows, impressed with the plan, "But how are we going to do that?" he asked. 

"Increase the existing rift between them and then keep adding oil to the fire until it would set everything ablaze. The High House is still taking time, and in its initial stage. It needs a push," explained Calhoun. "Morganna is bent on having you executed, it would be better to have her focus back on the King than on you. This way her attention will be divided and you won't be her top priority."

Theodore informed, "She wants to lead the magistrate to know about Madame Fraunces' death and our involvement in it. I might have silenced the matter for one or two days, but Morganna will pin it back at us again."

"Don't worry about that. What we are doing is trying to buy some time, and even if the magistrate finds out, we have taken proper precautions in covering our tracks," replied Calhoun. Morganna had gone all out when it came to setting traps for both him and Theodore while they were setting their own traps for her. "Are you sure we can trust Selena's information?"

"I will find out to make sure she wasn't making it up," said Theodore and Calhoun nodded his head. 

Two days passed, and Morganna, who had been waiting for the magistrate to come along with the other guards to the castle to question Calhoun and Theodore, noticed how nothing like that didn't happen. She narrowed her eyes, sending another servant to tip the magistrate as the previous one had gone missing. 

And finally, the next day, the magistrate arrived at the castle and made an appearance in the royal court room. 

"Greetings to King Laurence and Queen Morganna," the magistrate bowed his head. 

"What brings you here, Maki? Good news I believe?" said the King looking at the magistrate, who lifted his head after deeply bowing and standing straight. 


"My apologies beforehand but there has been a murder of a woman in the town and the person who last visited her was Advisor Calhoun's bodyguard," informed the magistrate named Maki. "Theodore used to live there and there are people who believe they saw them together, while also informing that he had threatened the woman because he wanted the house in his name."

Theodore stood there along with Calhoun, listening to the lies that were being spouted now. 

When King Laurence looked at Theodore with a look of suspicion, Calhoun spoke to the magistrate, "Can you tell who said that he was there at the person's house? Because if I am not wrong, Theodore has been with me all the time."

"Are you sure about it, Calhoun?" questioned Morganna, who looked at them from her seat. "What makes you so sure that he has nothing to do with it?"

Theodore bowed his head, "My King, I would never do something so uncouth. The woman they speak of, she was like my mother." 

But King Laurence had no regard for a lowly servant like Theodore. "Take him to the town's dungeon and you can interrogate him there."

Calhoun frowned, "Without an investigation?" He had hoped the King would change his ways, but Laurence's eyes and ears were blinded by power. 

"It is necessary that you stay safe, Calhoun. He might be innocent, or maybe not. But if he isn't, I wouldn't want him to harm you," stated King Laurence. 

Morganna chimed in to say, "The King is right. I wouldn't want anything happening to my dear grandson," and she smiled.

The magistrate ordered his guards to get hold of Theodore. 
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Pivoting of control- Part 3

"Mr. Maki," Calhoun addressed the magistrate before he could take Theodore away from the castle, "I would prefer that you don't lay your hand on my man unless you find solid evidence against him and don't want to face the repercussions of your actions."

Theodore's hands were being tied in chains, and it was when his eyes met Calhoun's, both the men shared a faint smile before he was dragged away by the guards from there. 

The royal court room filled itself with murmur and chatter when Calhoun's bodyguard was taken away from the room. With the discussion that was going on before the magistrate had interrupted, Calhoun waited for it to get over. 

"What a pity to find out that your man is not only a jewel thief but also kills people," said Morganna when the King left the room with others. Calhoun turned around to see Morganna, who had a smug smile on her lips. "Laurence has already been filled up with the possible murderer that has taken place in the castle and I must say, your guard did quite a sloppy job by killing my servants and my informer." 

With the people who had dispersed from the room, Morganna had taken the opportunity to taunt Calhoun. 

"The investigation still needs to be done before he is convicted to be the murderer," replied Calhoun, and he heard Morganna laugh. 

"So naive, you think they haven't been investigating until now? They got all the proof they needed and people have testified to Theodore's involvement. You should have bade your guard goodbye, you might not see him again," there was a satisfied smile on Morganna's lips. 

Calhoun's expression didn't change, and he said, "I wonder if it is me or if it is you, who is naive. Do you think I am like you to allow the person to be killed, who has been standing next to me?" his lips tugged on both the side to show his fangs.

Morganna stared at Calhoun. This young boy could blabber things, but he couldn't fool her with his boastful words. 

"Laurnece is not going to be one bit happy if he finds out that you are trying to break the laws that he set. He is my son and at the end of the day, he will listen to me and not you," Morganna looked up and down at Calhoun. 


Calhoun nodded his head, "You are right. It is why you should remember even though he is your son, he loves the throne. More than you and I am the only option he has," he whispered before taking his leave from the room. 

Morganna gritted her teeth in anger before making her way out of there. 

When Calhoun left the castle, he didn't meet the magistrate or see where they kept Theodore. He was quick to reach a building where the new organization had been formed. 

Having taken notes of who did what and where Calhoun pushed the doors open, he made his way towards the room. The guards who stood on either side bowed their head. 

"Is she in there?" questioned Calhoun. 

"Yes, Advisor Calhoun," answered the guard and pushed the door for Calhoun to step in. 

Helena sat behind a desk with a stack of parchments to her right. Her shrewd eyes looked up to see Calhoun entering the room. 

"You are late," said Helena. "The spot I offered you has been filled by one of the men who had attended the soiree." 

  "I didn't come here for it," replied Calhoun. "There's a case I would like to put forward to be considered by you, where you can start your work." 

Helena didn't move from her chair and instead stared at Calhoun, "Can you see these piles of parchments? These are the records that belonged to one single town that has been borrowed from the magistrate."

"As busy as your schedule is, a man has been wrongly put behind the town's prison and is going to be executed. I thought this was what the High House did, saving innocent lives," Calhoun raised his eyebrows. "He is a friend of mine. The magistrate jumped into conclusion without proper evidence that it was my friend who killed the woman named Madame Fraunces. You can have your men investigate the case and in the meantime let the man free on my guarantee. I will keep an eye on him."

More than a couple of minutes passed, and Helena sighed before putting her quill down. She stood up from her chair. 

"Seems like you will be my first case. Dimitri!" Helena called someone, and a man appeared at the door. "Get your coat. We are going out. Have others deal with these and finish it by the end of the day," she ordered. 


The man bowed his head before disappearing from there. Both Calhoun and Helena stepped out of the building, and soon Dimitri joined them in the carriage. When the carriage left the front of the building, one of the members of the High House organization had come to speak to Helena, to only be informed that she had gone out. 

He stepped out of the building as it didn't seem like right now he was needed here. After the soiree, Michael had stuck around Helena as it seemed like there were people who wanted to bring harm to her in the soiree. 

While he was going to disappear from there, his eyes fell on a couple of long black feathers on the ground. When he went to pick it up, he sensed something dark and evil that sent a jolt like shock up his arm. 

Michael frowned, and he stood up. Why did it seem like the Devil was here? 

The carriage in which Calhoun, Helena, and Dimitri were travelling finally stopped when they reached the town and in front of the magistrate's office. 

When the magistrate's office doors were pushed open in force, the magistrate saw Calhoun walk in there along with a man who was older than him, and he saw a familiar face, the woman who was the talk of every land. 

"Advisor Calhoun, Lady Helena," the magistrate greeted them. "Would you like some tea-"

"On what basis have you put Theodore behind the bars, Mr. Maki?" Helena didn't bother to greet and instead directly asked the question. 

The magistrate chuckled at the woman's words, "I cannot do that." 

Helena didn't bother to smile and instead stared at the magistrate, "If you have forgotten, Mr. Maki, the magistrates and other people come under the control of the High House now. I will personally be taking care of the case and I demand you release the man."

"But he is the murderer, Lady Helena. He has more than one charge on him. The Queen-" he cleared his throat. "There have been many deaths in the castle."

"Did you find the bodies?" questioned Calhoun. 

"No, but-" 

"Get the bodies and we can then speak. Until then, you shall not touch my man," stated Calhoun.

The magistrate looked troubled, and he said, "Lady Helena, you see, the man has been sent for execution for his deeds." He didn't even know why he had to listen to a woman who had no background. 


"Aren't you in a hurry to silence him," Helena narrowed her eyes, "Stop the execution. Unless you prefer to be the next person to be executed for your half-assed work and for punishing an innocent person."
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Hangman- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Through the trees - BPMoore

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Helena was not like the other women who looked delicate and docile. She had no interest to play coy Her glare was enough to have the magistrate gulp down in nervousness. 

The vampiress ordered, "Get your carriage to the place where the execution is going to take place. I will make sure to see why a person has been taken to the execution when he was blamed only yesterday."

"But what if he's already been executed?" asked the magistrate, his eyebrows furrowed in question. According to Queen Morganna's orders, they were told to put the man under immediate execution.

"Do you love your life?" asked Calhoun, taking a step forward. It seemed like Morganna had taken precautions to eliminate Theodore from this world. 

"Y-you cannot threaten me, Advisor Calhoun. You might be the King's son, but we received our orders from the Queen," informed the magistrate without backing down. 

Calhoun's eyes twinkled, "So the order came from the Queen Morganna. I am sure the High House would be more than willing to investigate the matter."

"Magistrate Maki," addressed Helena, "Unless you want to go against the will of every other land's King and Queen and don't want to be blamed for the disruption in Devon, I would ask you to lead us to where Theodore is being held to be executed."

Magistrate Maki bowed his head, scurrying away from the table, and they followed him out of the building. 

Away from the town, Theodore was held in an isolated dungeon in the forest. His hands were tied in ropes, and his legs were connected by shackles that connected both his ankles. The guards who had brought him here hadn't bothered to give him food, but they had not missed the opportunity to beat him up on the Queen's orders. 

One of the guards arrived in front of his cell, making a sound using the rod that hit every single rusted iron bar. The guard unlocked the gate and then pulled up Theodore, dragging him out of place before being brought outside where the gallows stood. 

Theodore didn't resist one bit and instead kept quiet while the guard continued to drag him towards the gallows. 


"What are you doing bringing him here now?!" shouted a buff man, who was the hangman, who wore a black cloth-like mask that covered the upper part of his face. "There's already another prisoner whose time is due to be executed."

"This one is from the Queen's direct orders," spat the guard, who continued to pull Theodore until they finally came to stand next to the gallows. The guard then looked at Theodore before asking, "What did you do that's got the Queen in a hurry to kill you?"

Theodore's face that was smeared in dirt and blood, looked up to meet the guard's eyes. He shrugged his shoulders, and the guard didn't bother to question more as to him Theodore was only more prisoner here to be executed. 

"Someone get the skinny one here while I get the silver bullet for the vampire. This one is a vampire," said the head guard.

"NO! Don't kill me! I want to live!" screamed a lean man who was being dragged forcefully towards the gallows by the guards. 

Theodore's lazy eyes moved to his side, noticing the man and the two guards who walked past him. By the man's appearance, it seemed like the person had stayed here for quite some time, and the guards took him up to the gallows before forcibly putting the noose around his neck while the man kicked and shouted for help.

"Don't kill me!!! NO!" the man continued to scream. With his hands bound, there was no way for him to escape or pull out the noose that was now around his neck. 

The hangman went to stand next to the long bar like a lever, and he pushed it to one side so that the floor on which the man was standing opened itself. The person struggled until his body turned still, hanging by the rope. 

"Bring the next one in!" ordered another guard, and soon Theodore was forced to walk up the wooden stairs and to take the position next to the person's body, who continued to hang. 

Theodore looked at the trees that stood in front of him. He wondered if Calhoun would be able to make it on time to stop the execution. He wasn't scared of death as he had come to face death many times in the past. He wondered if today was the day where the edge that he enjoyed would be met to the point where there would be no return. 

The noose was soon adjusted around his neck to make sure it wasn't loose but tight enough. 


He caught sight of one of the guards who came to stand right in front of him with a gun in the hand that would be used to shoot him as a vampire wouldn't die by merely hanging by the rope. 

Before he knew it, the guard who stood on the scaffold pulled the other lever, and soon Theodore's body was let to suspend on the gallows through a rope. His body started to move back and forth as if he was struggling because of his air passage being blocked. 

He caught sight of the man who stood in front of him, raising his hand to point the pistol at him, trying to aim at his heart or his head. 

But before the guard could pull the gun's trigger to shoot at Theodore, another sound of the gunshot was heard, and the head guard dropped the gun down. 

Calhoun was the one who had pulled the trigger from his own gun to stop the guard from shooting Theodore. 

"What the fuck do you think you are doing?!" demanded the head guard in anger, not knowing who had entered the scene. "Guards! Get them to the prison-Magistrate Maki?" he looked behind the three people at the magistrate who was huffing and making his way there. 

As magistrate Maki was a human, he didn't have the energy and speed to reach the place this quickly like the other three people. He stopped walking and bent down to place both his hands on his knees as he huffed. He then raised his hand. 
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Hangman- Part 2

Magistrate Maki didn't know how long it had been since he had run at this speed in such a short amount of time. He waved his hand while he tried to catch his breath. 

In the meantime, Calhoun shot for the second time to break the rope through which Theodore was hanging on, to have him fall on the ground. He walked to the gallows. 

"Let...let...him…" magistrate Maki breathed the words in great difficulty. 

The head guard looked slightly confused, and he looked back to find the man who shot, help the prisoner to stand up. "Keep him right there. He's a prisoner and you dare interrupt the execution. Keep him right there!" ordered the man by pointing the gun at Calhoun, not knowing who he was. 

But at the same time, another gun came to point at the back of the guard's head. 

It was Helena who had pointed her gun at the guard, "Drop it now or I will blow your head," she said in a calm voice. The man's eyes widened in fear of what exactly was going on in here. 

"Magistrate Maki, what's the meaning of this?" questioned the person, who was the head guard of this place. 

The magistrate had finally stood straight, and he turned alarmed at the scenario in front of him. He said, "Lady Helena, please put your gun down. Mario, you too! The man cannot be executed." Looking at the other guards, he ordered, "Get the keys to open the shackled around the man's hands and legs."

"The order that was given to us is clear that we should to execute the man today. The Queen's words are finally and what is valued," informed the head guard. 

Magistrate Maki pursed his lips and then said, "The High House members want to conduct the investigation one more time before putting the man under the noose."

Helena dropped her gun when the guard dropped his own gun and placed the gun back in his belt. 

"I would like to discuss something with you, magistrate Maki. If you don't mind," said Helena, waving her hand to the side, and the man nodded his head. 

While Helena spoke to the man in the presence of another fellow High House member, Dimitri, Calhoun waited for Theodore to be released from the shackles of chains. Theodore looked beat, but his eyes were bright as the first time he had met him for the first time. There was blood and obvious wounds on him. 


"Are you alright?" asked Calhoun, and for a moment, Theodore didn't answer. 

In a serious tone, Theodore said, "I think they broke my glasses," and a faint smile appeared on his face. 

One corner of Calhoun's lips pulled upward. He was glad that no serious damage had been done to Theodore. "I will get you a new one."

After Helena finished speaking and questioning the magistrate, she saw Calhoun and Theodore make their way to where she stood. 

"Thank you for coming to my aid," thanked Calhoun, offering the woman a bow. 

Helena looked at Calhoun before her eyes shifted to look at Theodore. "You might be free now, but that doesn't mean you won't be under the eyes of the High House. At least until we find out who killed Madame Fraunces."

Theodore bowed at Helena, "I would be grateful if you were to catch hold of the person who was the one to kill her," came his polite words. 

"Magistrate Maki," said Helena, turning her head to look at the human. "I hope you won't forget what we just discussed. Every case of death from now on shall  be reported to the High House. And any irregularity in it...you will be held accountable for it."

The magistrate felt like he was stuck between a rock and a wall, especially with the two women, the Queen and this High House lady. 

The magistrate made use of the same carriage that he had come in, giving a ride to the High House members before he dropped Calhoun and Theodore at the castle. 

"It seems like our plan worked as we thought," commented Theodore, his lips quirked up. 

"Hm," responded Calhoun while he looked at the walls and pillars of the castle. "With the High House's involvement, there's very little Queen Morganna will be able to do."

If Morganna thought she was smart, Calhoun was her grandson, and he was ten steps ahead of her. And in those ten steps, he had already planned how Queen Morganna would trip over her own steps and fall into the death trap that was waiting for her. 

He knew Morganna wouldn't stop attacking Theodore or him until she sent them away from the castle. But Calhoun didn't come here to sightsee or to be a guest in the castle for a few days. He was going to claim the throne for himself. With the High House in the picture, the Queen would have to watch her steps, not that she had time to do it. 


As they entered the castle and started to walk in the corridor, they came to see Queen Morganna, who stood with the ministers crowded around her. On hearing the footsteps coming from the other side of the corridor, her gaze moved to follow it and her eyes narrowed. 

"What do you think you are doing with the murderer here?" demanded Morganna while trying to keep her calm. 

"Me?" asked Calhoun in an oblivious tone. He then looked at Theodore before raising his eyebrows, "Oh you mean Theodore? The magistrate said he would investigate the case properly as he wasn't satisfied with his last visit."

Morganna looked at the ministers with a dismissive look, and the people left the corridor so that she could talk to him. "How dare you try to stop a Queen's order? Do you think Laurence won't come to hear about what you did?"

"Please do, grandmother. I am too tired and would like to rest in my room. I am sure you will be kind enough to deliver this news to him," Calhoun offered her a broad smile, showing his fangs with his eyes twinkling at her. 

Morganna glared at Calhoun for his audacity. 

She didn't wait there, instead, she went to speak to the King. 

"What do you think is going to happen?" asked Theodore, watching the woman disappear behind one of the walls. 

"The time of her death has started to tick," replied Calhoun.
________


Hangman- Part 3

Music Recommendation: Demons by Jacob Lee

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When news reached Lucy's ears about Theodore being thrown into one of the dungeons, she had tried to look for Calhoun to ask what happened. Even though he had broken her heart, she still loved and cared for him. 

"Do you know which town's dungeon he has been placed in?" asked Lucy in a nonchalant tone to one of the maids who was combing her hair. 

"I heard it was the town near Neulle. But it can be the nearby dungeons too, milady. I cannot believe he could kill someone. He even killed people in the castle, how shocking is that," whispered maid. 

The more Lucy thought about it, the more sense it made. Amice...she didn't run away from the castle, but she was killed by Theodore. But why? Did something transpire in her absence that she wasn't aware of? 

"That will be enough, I will do the rest," said Lucy, taking the comb from the maid to brush her hair. 

Hearing a commotion that was taking place in the castle, Lucy wondered what it was, and the maid was the first one to go and take a look before she came back inside. 

"Oh, milady! It is the murderer!" informed the maid. 

Lucy felt her heart skip a beat, and she ordered, "Tie my hair."

Once her hair had been braided from behind, she quickly made her way to look where Theodore was. She walked in her bare feet. When she saw him, she waited until there was no one to catch sight of her or him. She followed him, watching him from afar. He looked worn out. When she took a second to look away from him, Theodore had disappeared from the front, and Lucy frowned. 

Stepping away from the shadows that the evening sky had created, she wondered where he went when suddenly someone spoke behind her.

"What are you doing?" came Theodore's question, and Lucy was quick to turn around, and she took two steps away from him. 

"You startled me," complained Lucy, feeling her heart skip a couple of beats as she looked at him. He was standing right in front of her. How did he come to stand behind her? "I was walking in the corridor, am I not supposed to do that?" she demanded, her tone defensive. 


It felt like years had passed since they had last spoken to each other. The strings of her heart pulled towards him. His eyes stared back at her, his face cleaner than how the maids had described. The windows were casting a shadow on the walls and the floors of the castle, and the corridor that they were in, was a quieter one. 

"I never said you shouldn't walk, milady," he offered a bow to her before raising his head. 

Theodore knew someone was following him for some time now, and he had decided to walk in the deserted corridors where no one would come to stumble in the evening. He was surprised to find it was Lucy. 

He could sense the pain in her eyes, and he said, "I hope you enjoy your stroll. I shall take my leave." 

Unable to contain herself, Lucy asked, "Do you like that woman? Lady Selena?" 

Theodore, who was about to start walking, turned his head to the side, "You should concentrate on Mr. Greville and not who I speak to."

Lucy gritted her teeth at the hostility she received from Theodore. "You shouldn't worry how much concentration I put on Mr. Greville."

Theodore's lips curled before it went back to set itself in a thin line. He enjoyed the spark in Lucy's words, and right now, it was filled with fire that could burn him too. 

"You are brother Calhoun's guard. Don't waste your time on unimportant things when there are things to do," stated Lucy, not happy by finding out somehow that he had spent his time with that woman yesterday. 

Theodore gave her a nod, "Of course, milady. Is there anything else you would like to ask from me?" 

Lucy could sense the way he was putting space between them and reminding her who they were and the gap between them. Her eyes then fell on his neck to catch sight of a red line that she had missed earlier. From what she had heard, Theodore had visited the dungeon for the murder, and she gulped. 

"I do," said Lucy. "Did you have anything to do with Amice's disappearance?" 

Her eyes didn't leave his even for a moment, and she wondered what torture he had been put through in the dungeon. Theodore didn't seem like he wanted to answer her question right away, and it only weighed her mind with the questions of why, wondering if she were to ask, she would receive the answer to it. 


"Why do you ask that, Lady Lucy?" asked Theodore, his expression calm and unwavering. 

"Isn't that why you were taken away by the guards today? Because they claimed you to be the murderer," said Lucy, wanting an actual answer than being stalled by him. 

"It was told that I killed the woman named Madame Fraunces, and the servants of this castle. Do you think I killed them?" questioned Theodore and Lucy didn't know. She didn't know what to think and what to not. If Theodore was back in the castle, it meant he was still innocent. 

"Forget it," whispered Lucy. Questions like these were pointless, and Theodore would only question her back. 

Lucy was ready to leave when she heard him ask her, "Did you get your wedding gown prepared?"

Her hand clenched together, and her head snapped around. "Not yet. But I am sure it will be a beautiful one."

"I am sure it will be," he was standing next to the window and looking outside, he said, "It seems like your future husband is here for you."

Lucy looked mad at him, gritting her teeth. She turned on her heel and left. The smile on Theodore's lips fell, and he placed one hand on the window sill before clutching on it. 

He watched Lucy meet Samuel outside. "Somethings are hard to let go," he murmured to himself. 
_________
Poisoning minds- Part 1

Music Recommendation: O falling snow- Johann Johannsson

.

Before Theodore was found by Madame Fraunces in the muddy wet street caused by the heavy rain poured from the previous night, he was a nobody. Someone who had no parents, no relatives, no people who were ready to take care of him or wanted to be acquainted with him. And there was no reason for any person to be acquainted with a young boy who wore torn shoes, shabby clothes that had holes in them and a face that had bruises that looked like it was beaten up. 

He was used to staying alone without any company, and the only person he had got used to was the woman who had taken him in and sheltered him. 

Though Theodore had learned the art to seduce women or girls for his own benefit, he had never come to love anyone. The vampire had been detached with no feelings and a constant hollowness in his heart that he continued to carry along with him. 

Meeting Calhoun had given him a purpose to something he believed would bring in great change in the world. Though people had labelled Calhoun to be the whore's son, Theodore knew there was something more to the surface, and he had seen it himself when the bat-like wings had received feathers all around it. 

And after coming to the castle, he met her. 

She was everything he wasn't. She was the light like the bright sun that could shine despite the heavy clouds that often came to hover in her life. He was the dark sky, but unlike them, even night and day tried to meet each other during dawn or dusk.

Lucy Hawthrone was beautiful and dainty, her expressions polite, and her words could never hurt anyone as they were always thoughtful. Unknowingly, his gaze had come to follow her, and his feelings towards her had only turned profound. 

Though Theodore stood in the same place as before, he could see and hear what Lucy and Samuel were speaking. 

"I thought you wouldn't be coming today," said Lucy to Samuel while they stood in the middle of the garden. 


"I was caught up with work. I was supposed to meet a person today but the person took quite some time to reach the place so that we could discuss our ongoing work. It's good that he did turn up before it was not too late, else I would have not been able to meet you today," replied Samuel, staring at Lucy as if she was the most beautiful thing in the garden. "How was your day, Lady Lucy?" 

How was her day? The man she was in love with was pushing her away from him, worse rubbing salts over her wound. Others had declared the same man as a murderer, and somewhere Lucy was shaken by the thought of it.

Lucy smiled at him, "It was fine. How was your day? You must be tired after working for such long hours and making time to come and meet me."

"It is the least I can do for you, Lady Lucy," Samuel smiled back at her. "I promise that I will spare more time for you once we are married. It is just this period of time that is very crucial." 

She felt sad thinking she was going to get married, but at the same time, she remembered the way Theodore was behaving with her like he had nothing to do with her. It was as if he had decided to cut off every single tie with her, along with erasing the memories they shared. Samuel Greville seemed to be a good man who had not hurt her, and he was an understanding man. 

She heard Samuel laugh, and he said, "I am sorry for getting ahead of myself. I guess, it is a dream come true that I am here standing next to you and talking with you now."

Lucy was talking to Samuel, but when she looked a little far behind him, she noticed the person who stood near one of the castle's windows. Even after everything that had happened, she felt her heart skip a beat. 

Samuel caught hold of her hands, taking it in his. He said, "I am very much in love with you, Lady Lucy. Since the first time I saw you, you have taken my breath away. I am grateful to be in your presence, and if you allow me, I want to spend my life with you and will never hurt you. I will love and cherish you just as you deserve."

Lucy was taken aback by the sudden confession given by Samuel. While the man continued to speak, her eyes had shifted slightly to look at the calm expression that Theodore carried on his face. 


Even though Theodore stood far away from where she was, she knew he could hear every word they were speaking. He hadn't moved away from the place where she had left him before coming to meet Samuel, and now that she had noticed him, she wished for a change of expression on his face. 

Lucy didn't love Samuel, but Theodore. And she knew in some corner of his heart, Theodore felt the same way as she did, but with every passing day, her feelings of hurt only increased. 

With the words that transpired between Theodore and her, out of anger, Lucy smiled at Samuel. 

"You're a kind man, Samuel. I am sure in time I will be able to return your feelings," and her words brought an instant smile on Samuel's lips. 

"I cannot wait for that day, Lady Lucy," responded Samuel. But he didn't stop there. 

Samuel took a step forward towards Lucy, and he brought his hand to hold her chin. He didn't wait but bent down to place his lips on hers. Lucy's eyes widened, and at the same time, when she was being kissed, she noticed Theodore's features looked unruffled. The little feelings that she had been holding on to shattered further in the realization of his uninterest. 

When Samuel pulled away, he patted Lucy's head with a gentleman-like smile. 

Days continued to pass by, and the day of the wedding for the princess and the Duke's son finally arrived. 
___________
Poisoning minds- Part 2

The wedding ceremony between princess Lucy and Duke Samuel was a short yet a private one where only the bride and groom's close relatives came to attend it. The castle was filled with merriment, and the relatives who came to attend, couldn't stop gossiping. Happiness seemed to fill the place, but it was only an outward show as the bride was not truly happy with the marriage. 

Away from the castle, in the forest which had grown behind the castle abundantly, Theodore sat near the rocks. He had stayed in the castle to help Calhoun, but he didn't stay there to watch the wedding ceremony proceedings. 

Theodore heard the footsteps behind him. 

"I thought I would find you here," said Calhoun, walking to where Theodore sat on one of the large rocks. "Morganna was looking for you, wondering if you went off to kill another maid of hers." 

When Calhoun came to stand next to Theodore, he noticed the empty bottle next to Theodore's leg. 

Theodore had purposely skipped attending the wedding as he didn't want to see Lucy getting married, even though he had pushed her to get married to Samuel. There was a prick and an uncomfortableness that he felt in his chest when he saw her with that man.

"Did she leave the castle?" asked Theodore, his words blunt without hiding his emotions. 

"She will in the next twenty minutes," replied Calhoun. "I thought you would like to see her off."

Both the men stared at each other before Theodore sighed. "I think it would be best to not do that…"

Listening to Theodore's decision, Calhoun went to walk around, and he came to sit next to Theodore. "You could have asked her to not agree to the marriage if you didn't want her to go."

Theodore didn't respond to it, and he stared at the trees that were ahead of him. "Did you hear anything from Helena?" questioned Theodore. With Lucy away from the castle, she wouldn't end up on the kill list, and now he could concentrate on the rest of the Hawthrone family. He wanted her alive and to live her life without being under her grandmother or mother's control. 

It had been quite some days since they had heard anything from the High House members. 


"Morganna has created many other cases to divert their attention from you and her," said Calhoun. "I heard from Dimitri that the King of Warring has asked Helena to meet him. It might be why it's taking longer than expected. I will need you to do something tomorrow, Theo." 

"What is it?" asked Theodore, turning his face to meet Calhoun's eyes. 

"Speak to the Queen and tell her that I know about her shifting the money to her own vault from the treasury." Hearing this, Theodore frowned, wondering if it was a good idea. 

"Why not expose her deeds to the King of how she's stealing the wealth that belongs to him and Devon?" asked Theodore with a small frown. 

Calhoun stood up from where he had taken a seat. He said, "Laurence is the same as Morganna. A little slip like this isn't enough to spark a fight between them. He might take it back and not do anything about it. I will be going back to the castle," he walked away from there. 

When the next day arrived, Theodore did just as Calhoun had asked him to do, and the Queen, after hearing it, turned outrageously furious. 

"Get Calhoun to my room," Morganna glared at Theodore. "Right now," came her low, threatening voice. 

Theodore bowed his head and went to fetch Calhoun. 

Morganna paced back and forth in anger, while a slight hint of nervousness filled her chest, thinking the woman who was responsible for handling the treasury had given out this detail. She would have the woman executed! At the same time, she thought, if this news hadn't reached Laurence yet, it meant Calhoun wanted something from her, and she wanted to hear it. 

The room's door was knocked, and in came to Calhoun while Theodore stood outside the room, waiting for him. 

"Grandmother you wanted to see me?" inquired Calhoun in a sweet voice that irked Morganna. 

"Take a seat, Calhoun," ordered Morganna, and she saw the boy make his way across the room to sit in the plush chair which she always sat in. "I underestimated you. I should have known better that people from the streets are often smarter than what they show."

Calhoun offered her a kind smile, "I am flattered by your praise, grandma. If I didn't know better, I would tell I am your favourite grandchild. Aren't I?"


Morganna stared at Calhoun, making her way to the chair next to him, and she asked, "Tea?" 

Calhoun bent forward, reaching for the pot. He said, "Allow me to do it."

"Hmph, it's good to know that you at least have some basic manners to not allow the Queen to make tea for you," commented Morganna. 

"Don't misunderstand my words, grandmother. I prefer to make the tea myself because who knows if you try to poison me," he gave her his charming smile. 

Morganna's glare only increased, but she tried to calm herself, "I heard that you know about the treasury and my involvement in it. What is it that you want? I believe there's some motive behind your actions of not informing the King." 

"Motive?" Calhoun chuckled, "Why would I have a motive, grandmother. I love you to pieces," he stressed the word on pieces as he poured the tea in two cups. "I thought it was better to let you know that it would be quite shameful if people came to find out that their beloved Queen is stealing their hard earned money."

Morganna's eyes narrowed, "Don't look triumphant just because you have the useless High House who haven't been able to solve one case in days."

Calhoun nodded his head, "I will have to blame it on you, considering you don't let them inside the castle so that they can investigate. How many cubes of sugar would you like me to add?"

"None," answered Morganna and Calhoun's smile broadened. "What?" she asked, annoyed. 

"Don't mind me," said Calhoun before adding two cubes of sugar. "With the amount of bitterness that you are made of, one or two cubes of sugar might help in sweetening you up."
_____________
Poisoning minds- Part 3

Calhoun picked up the teacup in his hand, and he leaned back, placing one leg of his over the other. Bringing the teacup to his lips, he took a long sip before humming in approval. 

"How does it feel, grandmother? To be drinking tea that is made by your dearest grandson?" 

Morganna had called Calhoun to interrogate him, but instead, the boy continued to get on her nerves. Pursing her lips, she said, 

"This is never going to end, you know that, right? This cat and mouse game where we both are trying to make the other fall."

Calhoun took another sip from his cup until the teacup was empty, and he placed it back on the table with a clink. "You are right, but then you are wrong at the same time. To think we are equal, when you clearly know who has the upperhand," the corner of his lips pulled up.

"My son is blinded with the need to hold on to the throne like a child, and I don't care who holds the throne-"

"Until the power and control stays in your hands, you don't care no matter what thoughtless person comes to take the place of the King," Calhoun completed her words.

"You do know if I wish, I can have you dead in less than an hour," came the low warning from Morganna. 

"Yet, we are sitting in this room and having tea," replied Calhoun. "I know you have been trying to instigate the King against me, but the question is until when? Do you really think you will win this fight that is going on between us?" 

Morganna laughed at Calhoun's words. "A childish fight, that you think you are wiser than a person who is older and far more experienced than you." 

Calhoun tilted his head, "What if I said I slipped something in the teacup. Do you think you will escape from death?"

Morganna clicked her tongue, "You think you will stay in this castle unscathed when everyone knows you are here with me, having tea. What a short lived victory that would be. Killing the Queen is one of the highest forms of treason and even Laurence will not believe a word that comes from your mouth." 

He nodded his head, the smile not leaving his lips, "I don't think you have been carefully listening to what I have been speaking, grandmother." Morganna's eyes narrowed as she stared at Calhoun and saw him cough. He brought his hand to his mouth, and when he coughed, he spat blood. "Who spoke about poisoning you?"


The Queen had been looking at Calhoun's hands and the teacup that he had offered her closely so that he wouldn't slip in something that would be harmful for a vampire-like her, but she wouldn't have thought he would inflict harm upon own self. This bastard!

"Maybe it is better if you die here," whispered Morganna, but Calhoun had no plans to stay quiet. 

He got up from where he was sitting, and he picked up the glass top of the small table to throw it down on the floor. It shattered into pieces, and Calhoun fell on top of it as he coughed more blood and yelled,

"Help me!" 

Morganna turned alarmed, and before the suspicion would fall on her, she shouted, "Guards!" 

Calhoun continued to cough more blood as the floor around him started to splatter with his blood, and he fell unconscious. He was immediately taken to his room, and a physician was called upon to check on what happened to him. King Laurence, who was in the court hearing about Calhoun, left the discussion in the court midway and went straight to see what happened to his heir. 

"What happened to him?!" demanded King Laurence from the few people, who had gathered themselves in and outside the room. 

"King Laurence," the physician bowed his head, "It seems like someone tried to poison the prince."

"Poison?! Who dares to poison my son!" King's Laurence's question thundered in the room in anger. As Theodore was the one who was usually around Calhoun, King Laurence's eyes snapped at him. "What happened to Calhoun?"

Theodore bowed his head, "My King, I am not sure what exactly happened. Master Calhoun was with Queen Morganna when this happened." 

Everyone's eyes fell on Morganna, and the King's eyes narrowed. Morganna knew that if she said Calhoun had poisoned himself, it would only make things look bad for her. She shook her head in disappointment. 

"I wish I knew who did this to my dear grandson, but I don't know. One moment we were having tea and the next moment, he started to cough blood," explained Morganna. She added, "Someone must have tried to poison him when he had his breakfast or lunch."

Theodore chimed in to say, "Forgive me for interrupting, but Master Calhoun didn't eat anything during breakfast or for lunch. He seemed to be busy working on the files today before he was called."


"Called?" King Laurence raised his eyebrow in question. 

"...to have tea with the Queen," Theodore had his head bent down, and Morganna's temper only rose. 

"Are you trying to insinuate that I was the one who tried to poison him?!" demanded Morganna. 

King Laurence looked conflicted with the news, and he turned to the physician, "How long will it take for him to recover?" 

"He might need at least a day's rest, my King, and a lot of blood to compensate for the loss of blood from his body," informed the physician. Before the man could leave, he said, "If the King can allow me to have some words with him in private." 

King Laurence dismissed everyone from the room, including the servants, his mother and the guards. "What is it?" 

"I wanted to let you know that the poison he consumed today was something that affects the body quickly, within a matter of a few minutes," informed the physician in a hush whisper, and King Laurence's eyes considerably narrowed. King Laurence stepped out of the room with a grave expression on his face, and he then looked at his mother. 
__________
Wooden planks- Part 1

Music Recommendation: No need to come back- Hans Zimmer

.

King Laurence was not least bit happy with what the physician said to him, and he stared at his mother, Queen Morganna, who looked back at him. It would be difficult to find the truth, and jumping to the conclusion was not good here.

Looking at the physician, he said, "The guards will show you to your room. You shall stay here until I am sure that my son is no more danger and in good health."

The physician bowed his head, "Yes, my King. I will do my best that nothing happens to him."

King Laurence then looked at his mother once again, "I would like to have a word with you," and he walked away from there while Queen Morganna followed him. 

Morganna and Laurence moved to another side of the castle where no one were present before the King questioned her, "What do you think you are doing, mother?" 

"Like I said before, I don't know what happened. One minute we were sitting and talking to each other, the next minute he looked as if he was choking with blood," explained Morganna. "Do you really think it is me who poisoned him?"

King Laurence pursed his lips. He didn't like the fact that someone was trying to threaten his rule by trying to kill Calhoun. If something were to happen to his son, he would lose his hold on the throne, and he would be pushed to give up his throne to his nephew, which he wasn't willing to do at all. 

"I don't know, why don't you tell me what happened. Considering how you were the last person who was with him before he was poisoned," accused Laurence. 

"This is ridiculous," stated Morganna, looking away from Laurence, who had gone astray from her since Calhoun had arrived at the castle. "If I wanted to kill him, I would have tried to do it when he was out of the castle or in another way. You should know better that I don't attack people in such a sloppy way." 

"Who knows," Laurence spoke in a low tone. He was still angry at his mother because, without a second thought, she had decided to offer his throne to another person when he was still alive. "Maybe you knew I would not suspect you for the sloppiness in the way Calhoun was poisoned."

Morganna rolled her eyes, her aged face turning back to look at her son, who failed to see sense, "Do you hear yourself talking about it? Why would I ever do something like that? You are my son, Laurence, you or anyone in the place, I would still have the same position. Someone is trying to cause a rift between us two."

The Queen was clever to figure out if she tried to blame Calhoun, it would only make her appear to be suspicious, and her son would only suspect her of being guilty. After all, no person in their sane mind tried to poison themselves, but she should have known...Calhoun was no sane person. 

"Who do you think would have the nerve to do something like this?" asked Laurence, a frown coming to appear on his face. "The relatives who came to attend Lucy's wedding have already left and it is just us."

Morganna shook her head, "I don't know… We should have the servants interrogated to make sure that there won't be another repetition like this."

Laurence was still not convinced that his mother had nothing to do with Calhoun's poisoning, and he said, "Let me warn you right here, mother. If you have a hand in this and something like this happens to Calhoun again, I won't take it lightly. Forget about the servants, you will be the first one to go through the trial," and saying this, he walked away from the corridor, leaving his mother alone. 

When the next day arrived, the King was already there in Calhoun's room, waiting for his son to wake up. It took another hour before Calhoun finally regained his consciousness. 

"Get him food and blood! " ordered King Laurence, and the servants were quick to move near the table while one servant left the room to get fresh blood from the kitchen. 

Calhoun sat up on his bed while being helped by Theodore, who placed pillows behind his back. He looked slightly confused by seeing the people who were in the room, and he asked, "What's going on?"

King Laurence frowned before taking a seat next to Calhoun, "You don't remember what happened?" 

"The last thing I remember was having tea with grandmother and then there was this sudden pain in my chest after drinking the tea. I remember blood surrounding me," replied Calhoun, his eyebrows knitting together in concentration. "I was poisoned…"


The physician who stood in the room said, "It seems like someone did poison you, prince Calhoun. It is a poison that affects the vampire and makes a person lose blood from the body by coughing. It is good that we treated you with an antidote right away."

"Did you consume anything before you went to meet the Queen?" questioned Laurence, his eyes holding a glare. 

Calhoun gave it some thought, and he then shook his head, "Nothing. Something must have been mixed with the tea," and a sigh escaped his lips. "I thought things were getting better between us when grandmother invited me to have tea with her."

Hearing this, King Laurence's face turned hard, and his hands clenched into fists. His mother was playing an underhanded game. 

The physician examined Calhoun and took a sample of his blood which was put in a glass vial, "I will run some tests in my laboratory and I will know what poison this is."

Laurence then said to Calhoun, "I will try to find out who tried to poison you. I doubt Queen Morganna would have gone as far as trying to kill you." 

Calhoun nodded his head, a glum expression on his face as he stared at the space in front of his bed. "I don't think it is grandmother too," he agreed. "We were only making progress and she is trying to be nice to me. I wouldn't want it sabotaged."

"Take some more rest, Calhoun. I will see you later in the royal court room," said the King before leaving the room along with the others from there. 
_________


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