24 Coach Class Catastrophe

"I wasn't aware that the king has turned into a fellow admirer of mine," Hadeon wore a smile that was ready to blind Royce, considering how the latter squinted with a suspicious look. The pureblooded vampire looked barely bothered and stated, "Amusing, as we have never crossed paths and you make it seem he is smitten by my tales."

Mallory's eyebrows shot up in surprise, not because there was a king—she knew about him already—but because Hadeon, of all people, was going to work for someone.

"Since King Maximilian Grimaldi has taken rein, the pureblooded vampires are bound to serve him and so will you," Royce informed with an air of arrogance, as if he couldn't wait to see Hadeon bow down to someone. 

Hadeon turned to look at Lady Rose Chevalier, who lightly shrugged her shoulders and commented, "Things have changed since you were last out in the open."

"Clearly, it has. What a dreadfully dull name for a king," Hadeon observed with a dismissive flick, as though the very name bored him, and he asked, "Do you know what would be a more fitting name for a king?"

"Hadeon Van Doren?" Royce couldn't help but grimace, his suggestion dripping with sarcasm, yet Mallory could only assume that Hadeon's reputation for self-importance preceded him.

Hadeon laughed, his laughter a mix of delight and conceit. He stated, "Only one Hadeon exists, unless, of course, you're subtly suggesting me for the throne, you sly fox. I'm almost flattered. Perhaps it's time to alert His Dullness that his court is infested with a rat," he added, his tongue clicking in feigned concern and amusement.

Royce's irritation flared, and he declared, "Enough with the chit chat. We will be leaving for the North immediately."

"Someone seems allergic to good manners? Lady Chevalier went through the trouble of preparing blood tea for us. It's rather impolite to dismiss a lady's plans so hastily. You will die a virgin with your ways, and what a shame would that be," Hadeon waved his hand nonchalantly. "We shall leave in the carriage or have a vacation after it. Although I must warn you, I'm avoiding the beach. Can't risk a blemish on this flawless complexion."

"I'll be compelled to drag you to the North if you're unwilling," Royce retorted, pulling out an amulet.

Hadeon's eyebrows arched in mock horror, his voice smooth as silk, "Let's not descend to barbarism, shall we? Manhandling is so cavemanish."

"Prepare the carriage. We will leave now," Royce stood his ground, as if wanting to impose his new position in the living world which he hadn't been granted the last time Hadeon and he had met. 

The carriage, belonging to Royce, soon arrived at the manor's entrance, its door swinging open.

"Well, it appears our time together has come to an end, Rose. A most tragic parting, to be sure," Hadeon dramatically declared, while Lady Rose Chevalier remained as unmoved as a statue, accustomed to his theatrics.

Mallory felt a glimmer of hope, perhaps it was finally time to bid farewell to Hadeon and embrace her newfound freedom, she thought, tears of relief welling in her eyes. She was envisioning a life without the chaos that seemed to follow Hadeon everywhere—

"No need to shed tears, my dear monkey. You're coming with me," Hadeon's declaration shattered Mallory's hopes, leaving her staring at him in disbelief.

How could she forget he had her sign the contract last night? Mallory asked herself. She gingerly climbed inside the carriage, and soon Hadeon followed in with Royce at last. And off they went, the carriage rolling away from the manor.

"You didn't tell me about this king, errand boy," Hadeon remarked with an amused expression, as if trying to provoke the vampire. "Is he another one of those blue-bloods that managed to charm the Devil into generosity?"

Mallory noticed how Royce's jaw tightened, the muscles in his face working overtime to contain his irritation. "You really thought you were the Devil's only favourite?"

"I thought it was obvious," Hadeon replied, his face deadpan before a sly grin spread across his lips.

"King Maximilian has a weapon that keeps all the vampires in line. It doesn't matter if it is regular vampire or pureblooded vampire, one will succumb and fall on their knees," Royce huffed before adding, "It is time for you to get down off your high horse, Hadeon. Especially with your current state."

Current state? Mallory asked, wondering what this man meant. She still hadn't found out what happened—that Hadeon had ended up in the coffin. Remembering their conversations, she pondered if it was possible that he had gone to sleep on a whim, after all, even his servants had gone to rest in their respective coffins. 

"Even if I were to get off my high horse, I would still be higher than you. You know why? Because you are a short man, Royce," Hadeon continued to taunt and play with Royce. 

"Say what you want, but soon word will spread about how Hadeon the Great has fallen since his return," Royce commented, and his eyes moved to look at the woman sitting next to the pureblooded vampire. 

"I must admit, I'm tickled by your newfound bravery in the presence of vampire nobility. Could it be the king's shadow you mistake for your spine?" Hadeon retorted, easing back into his seat, his eyes momentarily locking on the amulet clutched in Royce's grasp.

"Even though the king is a human, he has power, and you would be surprised how much he favours me. I am one of his trusted people, before the purebloods," Royce said in arrogance. After a few minutes, he then looked at Mallory and announced, "I will be taking a sip."

A sip?! She was hardly a beverage to be sampled! Mallory thought in her growing panic. She looked to Hadeon for some sign of intervention, only to find him stifling a yawn.

As Royce's fangs gleamed menacingly in anticipation, Mallory instinctively raised her hands in a futile gesture of defence. However, just as the vampire moved closer, Hadeon's hand shot out, and flicked Royce's fangs so hard they flew right out of his mouth.

"Seems I neglected to mention that this lady is strictly off the menu," Hadeon remarked in a nonchalant tone, while Royce's eyes widened in shock at his fangs missing from his mouth. The look in the pureblooded vampire's eyes then changed to a menacing one, and he stated, "Serve a human? Your humour is as appalling as your manners."

As the shock wore off, Royce's expression morphed into anger, and he threatened, "You fucker! I am going to rip your head off!!" 

As Royce lunged at Hadeon, Mallory, eager to avoid the scuffle in the carriage, sidestepped to make some space. But in a twist of fate, just as the vampire recoiled, Mallory's hand accidentally bumped against the door handle, flinging it open and sending the vampire flying out of the carriage!

Mallory's eyes widened in horror at the unintended consequence of her clumsy manoeuvre. The carriage came to a stop, while she quickly climbed out and walked two steps before freezing in her tracks. 

Royce's body was stuck to a tree, with a branch sticking right through his head. He was dead. She hadn't meant to do that!

Hadeon remarked right behind her, "Well, well, it looks like someone took inspiration from me in flying people. The next lesson will be on how to throw with finesse."

"It was an accident…" Mallory whispered, half trying to convince herself from the horror that had taken place. 

"Good luck explaining that to the coachman," Hadeon's calm demeanour offered no solace as he pointed out the approaching consequences. Mallory's heart sank even further as she followed his gaze to where the coachman was hurrying back towards the carriage, undoubtedly to report the unfortunate incident!

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