Please read the book 'Valerian Empire' and 'Heidi and the Lord' before you read this one. As they are the first books that come in the series. 'Bambi and the Duke' is a prequel where the information of other characters are provided in the other two books. Not reading them will make you miss a lot of things.
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Not knowing how to react Sister Isabelle's light laugh like a young girl who had been caught to a lie that was told, Vivian smiled back unsurely.
Being her curious self, she asked the white witch, "Why aren't you with your family?"
The smile on Sister Isabelle's face didn't die down but the light in her green eyes turned dull with darkness. As if pondering on how to answer her, she said, "You're a curious child. As the last test of the physic ability, I will let you read me but let me warn you, it won't be easy. If you're able to pick my memories I will conclude that you're ready to hone your skill by yourself where you won't need my assistance."
This made Vivian wonder what secrets might the white witch have that she didn't want anyone to know. Previously, when she was asking about the work that was required to be part of the Church Sister Isabelle had enlightened her to tell that her work mostly involved in healing people and whispering words of encouragement for a person to live through the days. Also that the council sent her with some needed information which she provided in the period of weeks.
Sister Isabelle had spoken about matching her with her son but where was he? She had never heard of Sisters or Father's of the church involve themselves in a relationship.
"With the pace, you're picking up, it shouldn't be hard for you to touch and learn, though I would advise you to wear your gloves at all time. Some memories aren't the kind you would want to know or indulge in. That's why in the past, the ones who possess physic abilities never touched a thing. They preferred to ignore the knowledge that came by their way at the fear of knowing somethings that weren't meant for them. Too much knowledge will turn the person insane as the view of the world in his eyes would be different from one who is ignorant."
This made Vivian wonder if the white witch was warning her about the council.
When she got back to the Carmichael mansion, she took sight of the carriage that had arrived and stationed itself in the shed. Picking up her dress, she bent down to place one foot on the pedestal before dropping the other on the ground.
Just as she wondered who the visitor was as the carriage looked old, the continuous exposure of rain on the iron had turned the wheels rusty. In time she came to see a middle-aged man step out with the Duke where they both shook hands, exchanging words and the man stepped down the three steps. Seeing Vivian the man bowed and so did she.
Before the middle-aged man stepped into the carriage, he turned over his shoulder to say, "I hope to see you there on the coming Friday," Leonard tipped his chin up with a polite smile where the smile drew down when the carriage exited out of the mansion.
Vivian wondered as to why the man had come and what was on Friday. Was there a soiree that was set up that the man had personally come to invite him?
Vivian who was still not speaking to Leonard, looked at him to see him continue to look in the direction of the carriage which the middle-aged man had got into. His blonde hair was dishevelled, a mess that looked as if it weren't tamed since she had left this morning to the Church. The coachman who was holding the umbrella for her due to the drops of rain that were being graced from the heaven folded it when she stepped inside the wide ceiling, protecting the lady from the raindrops.
Leo's loose beige like shirt stood in contrast to his handsome face, the neck which was shaped in V that crisscrossed with the lace-like ties which hadn't been tied and was let to hand one being short and the other a little longer than the other. The shirt was paired with tight fitted slacks and shoes that he wore in the mansion. With what she had known, the man enjoyed having as many pair of shoes as possible in his cupboard that made Vivian doubt that he could wear the shoe straight for three weeks before he would have to repeat any of them.
Before she could look away from him, their eyes met like fate that had designed to meet each other even if they took different paths like they were meant to be each other in happiness or disaster.
His red eyes held grave intensity in them as they stared at each other but their eye contact didn't go far long when one of the maids had stepped out to pick the leaves she was asked which she had forgotten to do on the housekeeper's order. Seeing the couple who stood out there in silence, who stood apart in distance staring at each other, the maid made a one-eighty degree turn before heading back inside. Leonard was the first one to break away his gaze. Turning his head along with his body while putting his hands in his trousers pocket, he got inside to leave her alone.
Seeing him finally out of sight, she let out the air she had been holding. Her eyes slowly falling down from where he had stood, she heard the loud thunder that came in the direction of the land that was in the far South. The rain was only going to pour heavily, thought Vivian to herself.
She wondered how long both Leo and she would be like this, not talking to each other with each other holding their ground with what they felt was right and wrong. It wasn't that she didn't see where Leonard was coming from. For someone whose family had been killed out of pure betrayal and his cousin sister and brother getting caught in the crossfire, the man had lost his reasoning that if he found the plant to be decaying, he wouldn't just cut that part of but would pull the entire plant out and throw it away.
With both the housekeeper and Sister Isabelle having words to speak about Leonard by taking his side, it made her wonder if it was the way that she thought was at wrong. All she had to do was ask Leonard on what happened to get the answer but she was upset, upset with the fact he had killed a man when he appeared to be innocent and harmless. Though people claimed to do a lot of things, it wasn't necessary that they would. They could always be reasoned with the truth to show them why something had to be done.
After leaving the basement two days ago, she had gone back there to see an empty chair lying in the corner of the cold room. The housekeeper being one of the most trusted servants here, the body must have been disposed of by him where no one could find.
Stepping inside the warmer space of the mansion, Vivian pulled her gloves from her hand.
The night wasn't a pleasant one.
The rain poured more than anytime before, clouds rumbling, water streams filling up to the brim that it spilt out from the space it was given. The current was too strong as it pulled out the silt and mud of the ground as the water gushed down. Lightning struck repeatedly, the thunder so loud that the glasses and objects around shook an vibrated.
Far from the Carmichael mansion in one of the ends of the towns, a few cloaked figures stood as rain pelted on them. They were a number of four of them where three were women and one was a man. They were a flock of beautiful people. Every feature that was attractive in their own until a woman with blue eyes opened her mouth for the long snake-like a tongue to slither out and in. One of the women stood under a wide tree, a large leaf placed so that the smoke she had been preparing wouldn't be extinguished. She murmured words that none could have heard of, only her lips moving as the rain numbed any other sound except for what the weather had to present in the land of Bonelake.
"Jamien," the woman with blue eyes spoke to the man who stood little behind her where they looked at the village in front of them. Looking up at the sky where the raindrops fell, she said, "It is time to mark. Take Lairona with you," some drops of water dropped on her face before she dropped down her head. Looking over her shoulder behind she saw the woman take with a log of wood in her hand.
The man named Jamien and Lairona walked passed her with a wooden log in their hand. The wooden log had been chiselled to a fine point so that it could be used for markings on the ground. With the villagers asleep inside their little houses, there was little to no possibility of being caught around by anyone. The rain dulled everything around them.
The woman continued to look ahead of her. They hadn't expected it to rain this heavily, not so much that the ground couldn't be rinsed with the way the rain was pouring down. Her skin started to turn dark in colouration, the pigmentation very much different to her beautiful pale skin that had little freckles at the sides of her nose. Scales began to appear to replace the smooth skin until the person looked like a hideous creature. Though the colour of the eyes remained blue with hints of black specs in it, the woman's feature had changed. Her nose was long and pointed. When she opened her mouth it wasn't just the slither of the long but also the decayed teeth which were extremely ugly looking.
A black witch's face couldn't hold on to the human form for too long and they had to get back to their natural form for a few hours before they could switch back. But the mask always cracked during their stressful times.
The black witch looked at the two witches who had gone to mark around the village to create the necessary steps before they could begin with the massacre. Though she didn't need people to work along with, there had been a few things in which she needed the other witches to help her with. Another reason apart from help being that she didn't want to dirty her hands. Since the decades had passed by she had kept herself hidden from any and everything, away from the eyes of people and lived like a shadow. The amount of blood her hands had shed were countless and this night would be added to the number. She was working on mastering the massacre but the massacre never took place correctly. There was always something that stopped it from successfully working through.
It took more than half an hour for the land to be marked sharply with the log of woods. The rain slowed subsided, the depth in which the logs had been pushed and pulled, water came to settle, connecting and interconnecting the many lines and circle which was drawn in and around the small village. Drops of water which had come to fall on the roofs plopped drop by drop, merging back into the ground where the ground had come to turn muddy.
The black witch who had been with the pot of smoke walked around the village, continuing her murmurs of curse words to make one round around the village with the pot which emitted smoke out of it.
When the rest of the witches finished doing the last parts that were necessary for human sacrifice, the man named Jamien asked, "Is it time?"
"Not yet," murmured the woman with blue eyes, with the rain that had stopped there was nothing but silence filling up their eyes. Though there were families who were in the houses, the land looked deserted. A few more minutes passed when the clouds that were heavy slowly began to move away in the sky, bringing out the moon behind it as the light spilt on the ground with its reflection that was mirrored in the water that had come to accumulate on the patchy ground, "Now," and upon her word, the black witches scattered to step inside the circle. The pulled out the knives that were hidden in their clothes, opening the door of the houses in the village for men and women to scream as their throats were slit one by one while the woman who had ordered stood outside the circle. As the number of death slowly came to an end, the woman glanced at the moon.
She didn't dare to step inside the circle and whispered words of curses which began to illuminate the lines and the wide circle that was drawn around the village. The man named Jamien was quick to jump out of the circle leaving the other two black witches trapped inside.
When they tried to get out, something unseen stopped them as if there was a wall while they banged their hands on it.
"You need to stop playing with human women's so long. The next time I won't be nice enough to delay it," upon hearing the black witch speak, the man responded back with,
"What can I say, I enjoy their screams," he laughed licking the blood from his scythe, "Doesn't it entice you, Ester?"
"They are lovely," she responded to see the other two witches begin to dissipate in thin air, "Take half of the bodies and scatter them near the lake."
"The lake?" the man looked intrigued by her choice of leaving the dead bodies.
"You should know well why, Jamien. I thought you would be smarter to figure out after passing the exam," there was a sickly sweet smile on her lips. The man didn't look pleased with her words. Coming from the pureblooded vampires and also being older than the black witch who looked barely sixteen to seventeen, he didn't like the way she spoke to him yet he put up a smile on his face, "Did you get anything about the second exam? The insolent fool who got into the council doesn't know what to do," she said walking towards the dust of the dead black witches that was smudging with the muddy ground.
"I heard he almost exposed himself in the meeting," sniggered the man for the error that would have costed the plan. He saw her pick the dust and collect it in a flask to only close it up.
She stood back up, "If he continues it I will have to ask one of them to discard him," commented the black witch her bright blue eyes staring into his red ones, "I will see you soon."
"Of course," answered Jamien to see her walked towards the forest and disappearing in the dark woods.
Turning to look back at the houses, he walked along to see the sight of bodies that were either lying on the bed or on the ground with blood splattered all across the houses. It was the perfect massacre and he enjoyed it. Being the pureblooded vampire he couldn't kill as he pleased, going to one of the women whom he found to be pretty he picked her up to drink blood from her. Just as his lips touched the blood, he spat it out immediately and threw the body back on the ground.
"It tastes like piss! Damn that witch," he muttered wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve before getting to work.
When the morning arrived, sunlight hitting the land after long hours of rain which wasn't enough to dry the water that was on the ground but enough to warm a person's body but with one of the villages being ambushed, there was nothing to warm as the bodies laid cold.
Soon the news spread across the land about another village being attacked by the witches which alerted the council on the matter. The council meeting was immediately held by the head council Rueben, calling out the four Lords of the Bonelake and the four Dukes from each of the land of West, East, South and North.
Leonard who was called out suddenly had left early in the morning with Vivian who had woken up and stepped into the dining room with him being absent.
Picking up the newsletter of the land that had arrived after Leonard had left, she went to read the words 'Mass Murder!' in big words. Scrunching her brows she sat down at the table to find out that the people of a certain village in Bonelake had been killed overnight yesterday and that the council was yet to find on who and what happened.
"Master Leonard was summoned to discuss on it," the housekeeper said as he poured tea for her.
"Did you hear anything more?" she asked to see him shake his head.
"Master asked you to get the bandage fixed. He told to inform you that he might arrive back home a little late tonight and to not go to the Church for today. He also told to ask me anything so that I can be of full use to you," informed Jan while placing the bread to the side of her plate, "Would you like the butter, Ms?"
"Yes, please," she responded not touching her bread yet with deep thought before asking the housekeeper, "How far is the village that was massacred?"
"Not far. If you take the carriage it would hardly take one less than forty minutes by road," he answered her politely before realizing what her intention might be. Dread filled his face, with a furrow forming between his brows when Vivian turned completely to look at him to ask something the Duke wouldn't be happy to hear about.