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You had no idea why you agreed to this stupid idea of traveling through Europe. It had been five years since the accident and yet you felt like you had a hole so big in your chest that it felt like nothing would ever fill it. Some people you knew who were still close to you will insist that it was a good idea to get out of that damn country and air out, meet new places "It will help you forget this accident a little." "It’s been so many years. You staying like this won’t make him come back." Those among other unpleasant phrases you were bound to hear

Like it’s easy to keep a good relationship with the people who grew up with you other than Téo. It was a total of five people counting on you, and none of your real friends had agreed to think this trip was crazy.

"Maybe they were right," you thought as you looked out the window giving a frustrated snort through your nose and lightly tapping your back on the seat of the bus you were sitting on. While Natasha and Igor hung themselves on their knees on their benches with an old, crumpled leaflet next to a photo.

"Look, it’s this place here the next destination, but the bus doesn’t go there I don’t know why." Igor said pointing a photo of what appeared to be a small village to the sandwich that was forming in the back seat Giovana, Caio and you in the window bothered by physical contact. They looked at the picture with equally curious and intrigued eyes.

"Shit!" Giovana replied as you looked at the photo trying to understand what could be attractive in a place like that. For you all it showed there was a common village in the midst of a harsh winter in Romania. All you wanted was to see something exciting, maybe a huge castle, some vampire legend? As a lover of terror and suspense, a village would bring nothing special to you.

"Can I have the photo?" Your eyes found the eyes of the boy who had long black hair and wore leather bracelets. His eyes rolled in disgust as he handed you the photo and grumbled.

"You can’t even see what it’s like." Typical common offensive comment you’ve always heard from him at least. Igor seemed to be at least for you an unloved boy and it turns out he had a different family than you. He always made a point of emphasizing how you were "different" from the others by being achromatic, not being able to see the colors and by your degree of autism.

"No complaints. It must be a restricted area, I find it exciting." The discussion continued among the others while you could catch Natasha who was the kindest with you from the group giving you a comforting look. Usually she would take some time off to help you if she realized you were uncomfortable with any situation. Being autistic even though at the first level it wasn’t something you were proud of, it was actually the reason most people walked away and you knew it.

"Don’t worry, Lucia. I’m sure you’ll find very good things there." Most of the time Natasha said things that seemed not to come from herself. That phrase was one of them. Leaving you with a thoughtful look while slightly frowning and trying to direct your attention from the discussion of your other companions.

It was not long before the bus finally stopped at the nearest place to this village where everyone went down, including you following a little behind the group at your own speed mainly to avoid the chatter. A lot of voices in your mind all at once got in your way like an ambulance siren ringing in the ear of a person who didn’t have your condition. Your thoughts shuffle from where they should be and you get lost in your own chaos while no one seems to notice.

It was the height of winter and the ground was covered in snow and you loved it. In your home country there was no snow and although you had already seen at the beginning of the trip when you went through other countries it was still exciting the feeling even if it was much colder than you expected. You smiled as everyone continued through a dense forest until it seemed to be the beginning of that village.

Wooden houses began to appear gradually in the midst of the forest that were decreasing significantly. A huge castle on top of a hill, plus a very close church to greet the newcomers. You couldn’t stop looking in awe at the huge building on the mountain, it was beautiful, it looked like it came out of one of the horror books you liked so much. Your mouth opened a "O" of admiration, you wanted more than anything to get in there and began to ask others if they agreed to go to such a castle with you. To your total disappointment, none of them seemed interested in the castle being too concerned about the sullen people who looked at them with poison as their footsteps lead them further into the village.

"Why is everyone here so strange?" Caio asked Igor who looked around looking for some kind of inn.

"I don’t know..." He responded somewhat indifferently as he continued to lead the group away from the commotion of sullen people back to the grass so they could discuss where to go.

You distanced yourself from the group once again while admiring the construction and keeping every detail in your mind. For sure, once you stopped somewhere safe you would draw the castle or maybe even paint it if you could buy some paint and a canvas since your materials were not with you. Running a little to reach the group that wandered aimlessly through the forest complaining to each other about the cold and not getting anywhere.

"I think we should go back and ask for information." Natasha said as always the voice of reason getting another roll of eyes from Igor who had already named himself the leader of the group. Distracted Giovana lifted her phone while walking through the snow passing through the trees in search of any cell phone signal.

The village itself looked like a black hole lost in time by the little they had been able to realize that people seemed to be trapped a few years ago than the rest of the world which was at least strange and began to explain why the bus didn’t pass there. You as always kept your eyes on other things, but listening to the discussion clearly as much as you didn’t want to most of the time.

"All right then go ask Giovana and we’ll stay here while we keep an eye on the baby back there." The long-haired black boy snorted frustrated pointing his thumb back where you were looking at a pine tree a little far away. Natasha only gave him a stern look for referring to you thus that reciprocated the gesture by showing the middle finger to the boy. Caio fall laughing in the face of his friend for the gesture he received.

After what seemed like hours when the discussion was already starting to get too hot, the two girls left. You didn’t like having to be alone with both of them, she knew how to defend yourself even though you didn’t think needed to, but they always treated you with disgust as if you didn’t understand simple things or had some contagious problem. They didn’t even look more than 20 with such childish attitudes. Laughing at yourself with the thought as you lay back in the tree pulling your purse in front of you.

Probably an hour had passed since the two girls had distanced themselves from the group and neither had returned. Both three were tired of waiting, the phones didn’t work and Igor had already insulted Caio and you so many times that you couldn’t count. Your head throbbed to hear his annoying voice for so long.

At a certain moment the sun began to set and the discussion between the two boys under one of them returned to the middle of the village in search of the girls began to warm up again. You would never understand how they had the talent to start an argument so easily.

The screams began to get louder as you listened to the voices at twice their normal volume. Your head was pounding at the rhythm of your heart and you felt it was going to explode. Crouching in the snow until you got your knees under your chest, you posed both hands to the sides of your ears trying to muffle the sound.

"Stop! Enough!" Caio’s voice retorted against Igor as they both rolled through the snow-covered grass. None of them had stopped to hear the sound of cautious steps approaching and even if they had they would not stop. You couldn’t take it anymore so you got up with everything and went after Igor who was on top of Caio at the time trying to strangle him. The punch you threw caught the nose of the boy who came up to hit you back with your fists ready.

"You guys are idiots!" Caio screamed once more as he coughed by grabbing his own throat.

The long-haired black boy approached you with flames that seemed to dance in his eyes, but you didn’t intimidate yourself trying to kick right between his legs. Being surprised when the boy grabbed your leg and even after you managed to get rid of your grip ended up slipping in the snow and falling with your body on the left side hitting your forehead on a small stone that cut you over the left eyebrow. You felt your vision blurred as you tried to get up and failed miserably falling into the snow again with a thump.

The sound of footsteps in the snow has reached your ears and can you spot a figure with a skirt? Or a dress? It was very difficult to distinguish when you couldn’t focus on anything but the deaf pain in your head and the feeling of something wet dripping down your face.

"W-Who are you? My God you’re too tall!"

"Please!" It was Igor, but he was begging for what? Who?

"Lucia! Lucia! Please get up!" Now it was Caio’s voice and your eyebrows frown as you swallowed the saliva looking up at the veiled sky a thin snow began to fall as you tried to fight the weight of your body.

The voices then ceased suddenly as the place where before it was clear by the snow became a dark spot when you finally managed to lift the trunk and was resting on your elbows in front of what you now saw to be a very tall woman, so high that you had to lean your face up just to get a blurry glimpse of her face.

Her dress seemed to be infinite while a very large hat covered her face by hiding it in the shadows, however you could see even blurry that her eyes glowed in a shade as light as a cat in the dark.

You looked away as you moaned with a headache and you can pick up with the corner of your vision that the giant woman carried with her something large on her shoulders like a sack of potatoes. The pain was so strong that you could not say anything, but something in that figure brought an inexplicable chill of terror.

You felt your conscience slipping away as the woman grew closer and closer. Your body already practically lying in the snow again when an almost sensual soft, velvety voice came to your ears like a warm blanket. Was she calling you beautiful? Your vision darkened when you fainted completely.

 

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Alcina hated those meetings that Miranda insisted so much on doing. It was exhausting and as long as it was over and she was already in her carriage driving to the peace of her castle her mind kept repeating all the horrible moments that she could have done several other much better things. The innumerable taunts of that bastard son who was Heisenberg, the petty laments of Salvatore and that insufferable doll screaming the whole meeting, disgusted her.

Her hand covered in leather gloves rested under her temple while she massaged. A sigh followed as she tried to think of other less annoying things. Choosing to focus on the sounds around her, she leaned on the seat of the carriage and briefly closed her eyes attentive to the sounds around her. The hooves of the horses under the snow-covered road were most of what she could distinguish. It was when a noise of loud voices caught her attention; there seemed to be some kind of discussion.

Her heightened senses allowed her to distinguish that she was a little off the road, but not far enough for her not to hear. A sudden and unusual curiosity crossed her mind beyond a desire to go see what it was about. Giving the driver a warning to stop at that location and wait for her. The lady descended bowing down the small door of the carriage and followed the sound of commotion through the snow entering the forest.

Lucky for her, she was wearing boots and a not-so-long dress that almost didn’t drag in the snow. A brown fur coat adorned her shoulders and ran down the length of her trunk. In addition to her classic signature hat.

It was already very close to dusk and she found strange fighting villagers, everyone in the village knew that it was reckless to wander around so close to dusk. Not that she cared about any of those petty villagers, in fact she never cared about anyone other than her circle of trust that only covered her three daughters, to the point of stopping her journey to see a fight. "What’s happening to you Alcina" she thought to herself by mentally berating herself for her actions when she can pick up a scream from a seemingly male voice.

"You guys are idiots!" A smile adorned the lady’s features when she realized she was only a few metres away and could see that it really was a small group of two men and a woman. One of the men was powerless leaning on a tree sitting under the snow with his face down while the other who had long black hair tried to fight the girl.

"Please!" Tired of his useless supplications, Alcina was quick to extend her claws and strike him in the neck. She walked away so that blood wouldn’t stain her dress or her long fur coat as the boy fell into the snow forming a red puddle the other who screamed and tried to get up to run just to trip over her own feet would win a different fate when she preferred to takeIt’s for your beloved daughters. Smiling at the despair and fear of the boy who seemed to look back over and over again and call out for someone

"Lucia! Lucia!" He screamed his lungs deflecting his gaze from Alcina while she just raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. The lady was too tired to play and struck the stupid man-thing unconscious and easily lifted him over her shoulder as she approached the girl.

Her feet were a few meters from where the woman was still lightly conscious, even if the wound on her forehead ran vigorously, she would soon faint. Her face was so delicate, adorned with long red hair like those of her youngest Daniela, but much larger and slightly curly at the tips. She was undoubtedly a delicate little thing that Alcina could not resist her weakness for such delicate and attractive women was too much even for herself.

"Such a beautiful little thing you are dear." The woman she learned her name was Lucia struggled to stay under her elbows as she stared at the lady. Even bordering on unconsciousness his eyes did not seem to contain fear and this also caused an Alcina eyebrow to rise. She clearly wasn’t processing things properly so she wasn’t afraid, that’s all. The smell of her blood was beginning to tempt Alcina and as one leaves the girl’s green eyepieces did not bear the weight of her body and she gave in. Lifting her body very gently the lady returned to her carriage with a triumphant smile. "Perhaps I should stop more often." She thought as she boasted of her new conquests.

The remainder of her journey went smoothly as she took one of the handkerchiefs she always carried with her and cleaned the wound of the girl trying to resist the urge to simply lick it. My God smelled so good, maybe if she just... not now.

Arriving at the castle the lady carefully descended from the carriage and a loving smile painted her countenance as she passed through the great front door her daughters eagerly awaited her arrival near a fireplace to warm themselves from the harsh winter.

"Mother! You’ve arrived!" Both three girls swarmed to close to their mother, but stopped their hug attack when they noticed that their mother was carrying someone in her arms.

"Oh, what is that?"

"Is it a gift?" Cassandra was the first to ask while trying to see the girl’s face without her arms and Daniela followed suit almost climbing on top of her mother, while Bela even intrigued looked a little distant.

"Now now daughters, why don't you check out the carriage, hmm?" Lady Dimitrescu gave a stern look and all three girls agreed as they gave quick kisses to the matriarch and went after what their mother had brought for them.

Giving off a breath she didn’t even know she was holding, she decided to follow up to a suitable guest room for her new gift. She ignored the eyes of the maids, even the boldest ones who tried to find out what had happened and then pretend to be innocent. There was no point in wasting time on such futile things

Arriving at the doors of a guest room, the lady lowered herself gracefully by the doorstep taking care of the girl still in her arms and entered placing her on a newly arranged canopy bed. Alcina sat at the end of the bed looking at the tranquility with which the girl slept it seemed that nothing disturbed her ever. The lady caught herself wondering what dreams the girl was having to be so quiet and somehow envied her a little for it.

That’s when distracted golden eyes saw the girl carrying a mailbag "How did I not notice that!?" She exclaimed to herself unbelieving with her inattention. Taking the bag without thinking twice and removing the girl carefully she opened it looking for any useful information. And what she found was a treasure mine. There was a wallet with documents "Lucia Olsen" she repeated the name to herself as she returned it to the place and continued her search. A notebook with a leather cover caught her attention and she opened only the first page before discovering that it was a diary, quickly she closed it even if her curiosity was big.

Alcina Dimitrescu, a countess of the highest class, would not read the diary as much as she was very curious, after all she also owned one and if anyone read it she would be very angry. "Maybe just the front page." Thought out loud her voice no more than a whisper for fear of waking the redhead. She had complete control over herself as she opened the diary again.

What she saw surprised her, the woman was a handful artist. A very well done drawing all in black of a stained glass window that appeared to be from some church filled the whole page while Alcina admired the details. "A religious one?" thought to herself once again as she ran the pages quickly seeing countless other drawings ignoring the writings, her handwriting was admirable and all her drawings were made in black and white often depicting castles, churches, figures like dark knights adorned the pages of the diary.

A loud noise followed by screams and laughter caused Alcina to once again close the leather notebook and sighed heavily. Apparently the gift she brought to her daughters was not enough for peace for the rest of the night. She got up taking what she thought was relevant so the girl wouldn’t try to escape or call someone and left her for now.

 

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Bela had already taken advantage of the man-thing with her sisters in the dungeons and at the time was leaving the place trying to find out where her mother was. She had arranged with Donna last night that she would call again around that time just before everyone went to her quarters. Swarming through the corridors she sneakily sent a single fly into her mother’s office which apart from her quarters was one of the few places that contained a telephone.

As soon as her envoy landed in a corner on the ceiling of the room away from any danger she snitched displeased outside the hall. Your mother was sitting there still working.

"Ugh, still working?" thought out loud even though his voice was low enough so his mother wouldn’t pick up his option now was maybe to head to his quarters and try his luck. Not that her mother didn’t suspect her relationship with Donna, but she always preferred her actions to be as discreet as possible. It was a perfect day so she could talk for hours on the phone because her sisters were already very busy and this would avoid a possible catch and together teases every day for maybe a week or two.

The blonde then chose to wait for her mother to leave the office, which she deduced would soon be due to the time and use her phone. Sitting in one of the armchairs in a small living room that was in the hall next to the office she began to feel her body tired. Struggling to keep her eyes open, the minutes seemed like hours when she tried to think of various things to keep her mind active "I shouldn’t have overreacted" she thought to herself. Her eyelids seemed to weigh a ton when she closed her eyes just for a minute.

A gentle touch to her face awakened her when she found her mother’s golden eyes caressing her in an attempt to wake you up without scaring you.

"Oh my little bug, why don’t you go lie down in the bedroom, hmm?"

"I... was going, Mother"

"Sure, then go, good night, love."

"Good night."

Bela vanished in a cloud of insects towards her room, but hid and waited for her mother to pass by to slip under the doorframe and enter her office. Dropping a gasp that even she didn’t know was holding fast she leaned under the table and dialed Donna’s number. While waiting for the line to be picked up, she slapped her forehead for napping on the couch.

As soon as Donna’s voice reached her ears all the sleep and laziness went instantly and a loving smile painted her features. The conversation did not last long due to the time and Bela promised that when she could call again. Closing the office door, she walked up to her smiling, bouncing room. Everyone was already in her quarters and she could smile passionately at herself by shaking her arms beside her body thinking of Donna. When she went to bed that night, she was sure she’d dream dollmaker all night.

Chapter Text

When you woke up it seemed as if you had slept for two years. Your vision took a while to stabilize and when it did your eyes widened in complete amazement. "Where am I?" was the first thing that crossed your mind as you looked around the room.

A canopy bed was where you lay, luxurious sheets covered your body, pillows so good they would explain why you had slept so long and so peacefully. In front of the bed was a door that you deduced was a bathroom. A few meters away to your left, a fireplace crackled. To your right, next to the bed was a small bedside table where on top, next to your purse, rested a glass of water that looked as if it had just been placed there. Turning to the other side once again, a noise of cloth being dragged caught her attention along with the movement of the curtain that swayed slightly with the wind. Instantly holding her in its back and forth dance for long minutes.

You didn't even notice when a maiden entered the room because she was completely turned around with her back to the door still wrapped in her sheets staring at the window.

"Ma'am? It's... I brought you new clothes."

You finally managed to move and sat up again on the bed, leaning back under the pillows while not meeting the maid's gaze and keeping it down. The maiden left her clothes perfectly folded on her bed next to her feet and her eyes met them even though her countenance still remained serious you were happy with the clothes. Before the maiden could leave you decided to make a request.

"Please! The curtain...could you close the window?"

Your eyes still did not meet the maiden's face while you could see the hem of her dress and apron as she moved toward the window and closed it ceasing the repetitive movement of the curtain. It was only then that you met the maiden's eyes to see the confused face of a brunette girl who was apparently much younger than you.

"Thank you."

You said as the shy girl quickly left the room. Sighing as soon as the door closed you looked again at the clothes at the foot of the bed and the bathroom door "Maybe a shower would look good." You spoke to yourself as you made your way to the bathroom still wrapped in one of the sheets fearing another sudden invasion.

To your total surprise the bathroom was much more luxurious than you had seen in much of your life even if it was "vintage" it wouldn't matter. Turning on the water mixer you waited patiently for all the water to fill it without doing anything else during this process. Indeed the bathroom had everything stored in small cabinets and baskets. Methodically you put everything you needed close to you and got into the bathtub, staying there and enjoying it without a hint of hurry or worry.

When you came out and the clothes you were given were placed on your body the feeling was like no other-it was much better than anything you had ever worn and you wished you could see if the blouse and pants contained any color. Anyway although the pants fit you very well the blouse was still very baggy, but that didn't shake you and you took the opportunity that it was decent enough to peek outside your room.

The dark wooden door to your dormitory opened slowly as you stuck your head out, peeking in only to see a long hallway lit by a few candles. Deciding to leave completely when no footsteps could be heard you followed the hallway paying attention to everything several works of art ranging from sculptures to paintings met your eyes and many of the times you stopped your cautious steps to admire them.

A thought crossed your mind as you could see armor resting just a few feet away from one of the hallways in which you had stopped. "Am I in that castle?" The mere mention of it left you with butterflies in your stomach, it was everything you had hoped for. From such a realization your steps were quickened as you came to a place where a beautiful huge chandelier caught your attention. You ignored everything else as your green eyes sparkled in conjunction with the chandelier's crystals.

A loud buzzing noise cut you off from your gaze as a cloud of insects passed by you and took the form of a much taller woman cloaked in a dark hooded cloak, her face and part of her neck had something in an equally dark hue draped over them. She smiled darkly at you as she approached you almost invading your personal space which made you instantly step back fleeing the sudden physical contact while your neutral face was not concerned with her dark appearance but rather with the fact that for some reason this strange woman made a noise you didn't like.

"So you're mother's new pet?"

You couldn't answer as your gaze turned behind that figure repeating the same loud humming in your mind, once, twice, three ... so many times in sequence that you couldn't manage the words to answer anything.

"Hey! Human I'm talking to you!"

The sudden snap of fingers in your ear snapped you out of your trance as you met clear irritated eyes. Only now did you notice that she was carrying a scythe and that it was very close to your face causing you to take another step back. A smile came across her face in front of you who seemed to be enjoying the more you stepped back from her.

"What's your name?"

You asked, thinking it was the least bit of decency you could have since she looked like a giant cat playing with you and making you feel like a little mouse.

"Do you want to know my name? Why?"

The dark haired woman retorted almost angrily at your question and you couldn't understand why as you nodded in response.

“Cassandra Dimitrescu.”

She growled as she answered and you just gave a slight smile as your eyes met hers for a brief moment before turning back to anywhere else in the hallway other than her. An embarrassed silence took over the room as the woman you now knew as Cassandra seemed to have completely missed the point of whatever it is she was trying to do to you, and so it wasn't long before she dissolved into flies and disappeared.

Walking through the door and down another hallway to another door that you also walked through easily. "I wonder if she is the one who brought me here?" the questions kept coming back to your mind. The pieces didn't fit together and seemed to make no sense at all. "Why hasn't anyone come to talk to me yet?" you thought out loud once again when you realized that you had arrived at a sort of entrance hall. A double metal door that looked extremely heavy to her right while to her left a huge painting of three women caught her attention more than the door itself.

Moving closer your eyes sparkled at the details, it was beautiful, so well done and the models were also very pretty. A small metal plaque rested below the artwork and you read to yourself "Three daughters: Bela, Daniela and Cassandra." Ah yes, Cassandra...so she was one of the ladies of the castle. Interesting, but what a strange kind of welcome, anyway you would waste no more time there when an entrance to a small place that looked more like a storage room caught your attention again.

"More and more curious." You laughed as you said that out loud even if it was no more than a whisper. Entering the little room you actually came across something that looked a lot like a storage room. It was filled with stacked boxes and snow supplies in addition to an open elevator that invited you in.

"I wouldn't go in there if I were you, little mouse."

A soft, husky voice called out behind you, causing you to turn around immediately. Your eyes went to a long dress and up until you tilted your head up to see the same figure in a hat that you had seen before. It was a stunningly beautiful woman. Her eyes were shining in a light shade that you wished you could know what color they were, her skin was a shade lighter than you had ever seen, her perfectly wavy dark hair was so beautiful and seemed perfect for her.

You stood like a fool stupefied by the magnitude of the woman in front of you, and she seemed to appreciate it as she gave you a brief smile and gestured for you to follow her. Her height was such that she had to duck through every doorway you crossed while you followed her like a lovesick puppy without question.

When she stopped in a completely different area from the previous one you had started to venture through and opened a door decorated with a hum of approval at your obedience, you could notice that you were now inside a huge office that made you feel comically small. A wooden table with an equally large chair was where the woman sat down crossing one give legs and gesturing for you to follow her example by taking a seat in front of her.

"Now, I suppose you have a lot of questions to ask me, don't you?"

A nod in response was all the tall woman got from you as your gaze didn't meet hers, remaining locked on the glass doors just behind her that led to a balcony.

"You were such an obedient girl don't make the mistake of not responding when people talk to you."

You could feel her gaze growing more intense as you summoned up all your strength and replied.

"I'm sorry."

"Well, I am Lady Dimitrescu. Matriarch of this castle."

"It's a pleasure ma'am."

The intensity of his gaze seemed to lessen, which made you less apprehensive about getting something right.

"Don't be shy, ask anything you want."

Her voice seemed a little lower and you deduced that she had leaned back in her chair as the feeling of being stared at returned even if less intense.

"Did you bring me here?"

The answer took much longer than you expected when she just gave a slight hum in agreement.

"Why?"

You met the clear gaze of the lady who didn't seem too surprised by your question although her eyebrows frowned slightly as if she didn't quite know how to answer it.

"What exactly do you remember about that late afternoon?"

"Not much."

You looked away again now to the papers resting under the table.

"I found you attractive and you will stay here now under my dominion."

The answer was so unexpected that you didn't know what to say. "She was arresting you? Who was she to do that?" Anger began to take over your thoughts even though your expression was one of complete indifference.

"You...You can't do this!"

Rising abruptly from the table as your hands closed into fists trying to understand what this woman wanted with you. Your heart raced as the woman seemed very amused by your sudden attack.

"Who are you to do that?! It's wrong!"

Now this seemed to have touched some nerve in the lady as she stood up to her full height while you looked at the ground and turned around walking two steps forward and turning on your own axis only to take two more steps forward and turning around again as if walking in circles.

Two firm steps were enough for you to deduce that something not so good was about to happen. The sound of heels on wooden planks and the firm touch of leather reached your arms and wrists like iron handcuffs. She was behind you, holding you tightly so that you would stop pacing. You struggled, but her grip wouldn't budge and you began to hurt yourself as you struggled, stopping only when you could feel the Lady's warm breath on your face near your ear.

"You were doing so well Lucia..." Her tone was low and husky and you were carried away by her voice "That's it." She encouraged as you calmed down. There was something in her voice that seemed to keep your mind from falling into the prison you were living tormented by. "This is how things are now... Accept it. You are mine."

Her words seemed to carry an enormous weight for you when they were spoken into your ear, and you felt that this was a huge truth that you would now have to bear. Your heart slowed as you could feel her walking away. You just wanted to leave, and as soon as she let go completely you ran out of there as fast as you could, a dark chuckle could be heard in the background, but you didn't give a damn, hoping to remember the way back to your room by sheer luck. 

 

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The middle daughter Dimitrescu was now wandering angrily in one of her favorite places in the castle, the dungeons. Of all the places to be she preferred to be in the comfort of cold stone next to thousands of instruments of torture, weapons and different methods of pain. The place smelled of death, pain and suffering, being responsible for pulling out many screams and last breaths from countless poor souls who ended up condemned to wander around the place like the familiar Moraica.

At that moment Cassandra could not enjoy her favorite place and appreciate his morbid beauties after the events of earlier today. That human her mother had brought was strange to say the least and she couldn't understand why.... "Why didn't she run like all the others?" she growled in frustration as she kicked a small stone on the ground that flew away and shattered into thousands of other smaller stones on the other side of the tunnel.

Being the most wary of the three daughters she swore to herself that she would keep an eye on her mother's new acquisition. "She smelled human.... had to be human," but her behavior so different from anyone else she had seen. Her brow furrowed in disgust as she swarmed from side to side looking for something to kick or punch. Having her anger directed at a rotten wooden board for being too long stuck in a puddle of water. She wished it was some stupid man's torso instead and as soon as the sensation subsided she leaned back against the cold stone wall behind her.

The cold was getting hard for her to bear even though she didn't want to talk to anyone now she needed to get out of there and so she did by setting off in her swarm to another place in the house more comfortable. When she reached one of the rooms she knew her sisters would probably be near the fireplace her suspicions confirmed and taking a blanket for herself she sat down a little away from the other two still wrapped up in her thoughts.

"You seem worried..."

The soft tone of Bela's voice caught her attention as the brunette mumbled her reply still with her low face hidden between the blankets.

"It's just that new pet from mother...I don't trust her."

"You never trust anyone Cass."

Daniela retorted before the blonde could say anything, causing her to open and close her mouth, but not make a sound. Cassandra knew that this indicated that she had actually agreed with her younger sister and frowned at the two sisters.

"You don't understand! It's not in that sense. She is different I could see with my own eyes."

This had certainly aroused something in both women who quickly turned their postures to the middle sister who realized that she would need to start elaborating her suspicions.

"Earlier today I was walking down the second floor hallway near the main hall and saw mother's new pet walking around. She was quite distracted and I tried to scare her, but it wasn't like it usually is.... She wasn't afraid of me and I didn't even run out I just felt her a little uncomfortable and even then it it was weird."

Cassandra was greeted with equally confused golden eyes the sisters were accustomed to people running in fear of any witchy movement they made and not with someone so "calm".

"The worst part was that instead of her running or whatever other stupid thing humans do. She asked my name."

This made the redhead laugh and the middle sister couldn't understand what was so funny about her problem. Growling at the angry redhead for her disregard only made her laugh even harder.

"Ugh, how immature you two are. Why don't you tell mother if you are so angry about it?"

"Maybe I'll tell."

The brunette's response was low as Daniela calmed down. Shifting her gaze to the closed window she looked at the overcast winter sky as she evaluated her options taking into account her older sister's suggestion.

 

===========

 

Alcina sighed in her chair as her head seemed unable to process even one more line of the documents she was struggling to concentrate on. Leaning back in her chair she dropped the papers and allowed herself a few minutes to clear her mind and see if this would help her concentrate again. At that moment what came to her mind was Lucia, the girl she had brought to the castle and had not even had time to introduce herself or enjoy her company.

She chuckled to herself at the thought, her intentions were as dirty as possible with the girl. Just like any other toy she had ever brought into her claws. Planning to destroy her when the glint of hope and fascination in her eyes no longer caused them the same thrill. As if she herself had drawn the sound of a commotion in the distance could be picked up by the matriarch's sharp hearing. It sounded like Cassandra's voice with someone else.... "She didn't..." Alcina thought as she listened more intently and felt the possessive dragon within her beginning to grow restless.

Rising with knitted eyebrows ready to catch her daughter in the act, she made her way to where she heard her coming. However she had arrived late there was no one else upstairs in the main hall, yet a continuous and repetitive noise still resounded faintly in the air. The heartbeat of her little gift, she concluded as she silently followed the redhead through the halls. "What a curious little mouse you are." Alcina thought as she peered from the shadows at Lucia's every little movement.

The lady was indeed surprised that the redhead was in such a serene state after an encounter with one of her daughters. She was fully aware of how her little ones could be, after all she had been the one who had taught them proudly. For more than a moment the matriarch caught herself equally serene as Lucia's quiet heartbeat brought her a peace she hadn't felt in a long time.

The woman's steps began to take her in dangerous places, and Alcina was forced to interfere when she noticed that Lucia was about to enter the elevator. Although part of her wanted her to go up just to see that serenity go downhill with what dwelled up there, something in her stopped her.

"I wouldn't go in there if I were you, little mouse."

The lady dictated positioning herself behind the girl hoping she would meet her gaze and so her little mouse did. Like most people who saw her she heard total and complete disbelief in her eyes combined with admiration. It was perfect, everything was going the way she wished, all she needed now was to attract the girl even more as a moth flies to a flame the redhead followed her steps without even questioning while the matriarch could not help but smile maliciously.

As soon as they arrived at the office Alcina began to notice that there was something unusual about the girl her eyes did not meet hers as the girl maintained a regular breathing and heartbeat and a cold and indifferent countenance. That certainty began to give way to doubt as the lady felt herself talking to someone extremely cold as she used to be with those who bothered her. 

Trying her best to hide her questions and observations while the matriarch noticed that the girl didn't make much progress in the conversation and seemed to be lost somewhere other than at that moment. Why couldn't the girl meet her eyes if all the senses of her body that the lady could pick up didn't indicate nervousness or shame. She was completely calm and yet her attention seemed to be elsewhere, it was annoying.

Alcina realized she was owed an answer so this would be the real test of whether the girl was immune to emotions in some way or if the lady would need to push the right buttons to get her long awaited reactions. Pushing all doubts and questioning to the back of her mind while gathering the most cool yet commanding tone she could she responded attentively to the girl's reactions.

"I found you attractive and you will stay here now under my dominion."

It was the fuse her little mouse had lost its way when Alcina began to hear her heart race and her hormones change to clear anger and dissatisfaction. Golden eyes glittered with anxiety and pleasure that they had gotten what they were looking for. She approached the table giving a smile that exposed her fangs as she saw the girl completely lose her composure her behavior, however was somehow different she didn't seem to be afraid of the matriarch as she fought with her as if she were an common person.

When Alcina felt the need to stop her she was even more surprised to see that the girl was fighting fiercely against her grip. As much as the lady held her without much effort the girl didn't seem to care as she hurt herself trying to force herself free... she had no sense of how dangerous this was to herself, of self-preservation, and Alcina's doubts began to reappear in her mind.

She felt she needed to calm the redhead down somehow, and so she chose the way she felt would be attended to. Whispering in Lucia's ear and letting her breathing and her closeness do the work. It was exactly as expected, her struggle had ceased as the girl took a deep breath calming herself and absorbing every word the matriarch whispered to her. Taking advantage that her little mouse had let down her guard in such a way to make it clear how things would be from now on.

"That's how things are now."

This seemed to have done something to Lucia as the girl went slightly limp in her grip just before Alcina let go of her completely and watched her run down the halls. She couldn't help but laugh at the situation as she felt refreshed to begin her work again.

 

==================

 

You returned to your room right after all that interaction with your head so full of thoughts and confusion that you didn't even feel like writing in your diary at that moment. Climbing back into the bed that was magically made up you allowed yourself to stay there for hours on end just lying there holding your knees close to your body while there was no sound or call in the room to get you out of the prison that was your mind replaying every moment of that interaction over and over again.

An endless loop and a reminder that you now had no choice at all. Maybe the castle and the fantasies you wanted so much were not even close to what you expected. Ignoring the pain and burning on your skin that formed dark bruises from your fight with the lady. Besides the hunger that made your stomach rumble, after all, you hadn't eaten anything since you woke up.

"What time is it?" you didn't care as your head continued on a loop. Hours passed without you moving when finally a noise in the hallway caught your attention snapping you out of your crisis. When you managed to regain consciousness and look out the window that was now always closed at your request, you noticed that it was starting to get dark once again. You had spent from lunchtime until dusk having a crisis without anyone noticing your absence.

Not that you were anything much more important than a "little mouse" as the lady had named you. Pulling yourself together and getting out of bed you decided that you needed to eat and that unfortunately included another exploration of the castle in search of the maiden who had closed the window on you and who until then had been the least strange person you had come across.

Sneaking out into the silent corridors you chose to take a different route to avoid meeting Cassandra again or worse her mother. Avoiding as much as possible the side of the castle you had saved as her office. Absorbing paths, places, or even information itself was not difficult for you, in fact you were very good at it.

Your steps soon took you to the "chandelier hall" again, but this time you came from below, passing through a different place where there were pillars of masks that you made a mental note to look at in more detail later. There was not a sound to your total relief, and a double door was right in front of you, closed, so you decided to go through it. Your eyes were greeted with the sight of a dining room, a table set with a large chair in front of three smaller chairs "Three daughters: Bela, Daniela and Cassandra." your mind repeated as you looked at the empty seats.

"Hey! W-what are you doing come here!"

You found yourself being pulled by a middle-aged woman who wore an apron and seemed to treat you like a naughty child pulling you by the collar of your shirt to a door on the left side of the dining room.

"Ouch! Calm down!"

You retorted as the older woman looked at you, placing a hand on her forehead in disapproval.

"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"

You just shook your head in disagreement as your stomach rumbled, earning another sigh from the older woman who led you by the shoulders to a place you recognized as the kitchen. Several other women of different ages looked at you as you entered the room, all employees of the castle apparently.

"What you are looking at you can go back to your tasks."

The woman said again, her voice always in a high and irritated tone as they all obeyed and returned to their tasks. The woman disappeared from your sight returning a few minutes later after you felt curious eyes on your bruises even though they weren't very apparent on your blouse. Finally she returned with a plate of something close to pot roast that you began to eat without even questioning.

"I am Constance, head maid of the castle."

“Lucia.”

You grumbled as you ate not meeting the eyes of the older woman in front of you, but understanding that if something goes very wrong you could perhaps ask her for help.

"Did the lady give you a timetable?"

"Nope."

Your answers were short and to the point, not that you wanted to be rude to the one person who was giving up a little kindness to you, but it was just that you couldn't do any better than that.

" Hm, I believe she will be doing it soon. Anyway, I have here the times when you can come here to eat and the time when everyone should go to bed. Never wander the halls at night, you understand?"

A nod in agreement as you met her eyes with the dark eyes of Constance who seemed to firm her point by gesturing with her hand. After a few long minutes when you finished her promised that if the lady didn't give you a tour of the castle she would when she had some time. Halfway to your dormitory she stopped near a dark staircase and said it was one of the off-limits places besides the rooftop you almost climbed up the other day. All along the way her eyes were wandering in different places and sometimes you could feel Constance annoyed by this and asked more than once if you were listening to her.

Once the doors to your room arrived once more and she said goodbye to you it was already dark and there wasn't much time for you to explore the castle no matter how much you wanted to so you went into your room. Opting to take another shower just to make sure you were okay with yourself and write in your diary later.

During the bath as you held your knees close to your chest in the tub listening to the drip of the faucet behind you your mind wandered once again, but this time you held back before it got stuck on the task of actually washing. As you dried yourself off and looked in the mirror on the bathroom wall you looked at the dark marks mainly around your wrists and ignored them, wearing only the shirt you were wearing before since it was the only clothing you received.

When you came out of the bathroom the fireplace was lit something you hadn't done and it made your eyes widen. "Could she get in here?" you thought as you tried to identify whatever signs the Lady was entering your room. "Maybe it was some Maiden." Putting the worry out of your mind and sitting down at a small corner table that was near the closet you looked at your purse everything was exactly as it was before except for your cell phone that was gone.

Not that you could do anything about it, if that giant woman had brought you here unconscious it was likely that she had looked through your things. "This is how things are now...you will stay here under my domain." Her words haunted your dreams and nightmares, asleep or awake. At that moment you decided to count everything under your day and the pages were adorned with drawings of the flies you saw in addition to a depiction of the lady's hand trying to cover a flame of light.

Chapter Text

That night the Lady couldn't concentrate on anything else, not having control of a certain situation made her angry and her little mouse was something she couldn't decipher or understand, much less control... at least not until now.

Alcina was extremely explicit to her daughters and to Constance that she didn't want to be disturbed in any way that she would need the castle library all to herself that night, and even with prying eyes one arched eyebrow from the lady was enough for no one to dare ask any questions.

As soon as everyone went to bed she locked herself in her library with a few bottles of her beloved Sanguis Virgins for it would be a long night. Sitting down in one of the armchairs and pouring herself a glass of wine, she began the long list of books she had made about mental disorders and illnesses.

The only logical explanation for Lucia's behavior would be if she had some psychological illness and this did not go unnoticed by the matriarch who decided to investigate for herself. Occasionally taking a sip of her wine while the first book was already discarded to the side containing nothing useful to her and starting the second.

Hours and hours had passed while the lady opened the second bottle of her wine without getting anywhere. Countless mental disorders and illnesses Lucia didn't fit into any of them. She sighed heavily leaning further back in her seat and looking at the opposite wall where a clock was ticking marking approximately 1:30 Am. "What is happening to you Alcina." She repeated the question to herself that she had asked the day she had brought that girl to her castle.

There was something deep inside her, a flame of light so weak she could barely feel it, but it drove her to commit crazy things outside of her routine like this. Feelings like these were easily pushed out of her mind when she preferred to indulge in other pleasures. Her dragon had a great collaboration in this being the voice in her mind that told her to forget all these futile things and devour the maiden in front of her, however her dragon and like her did not wish this of Lucia. Somehow he too had become enchanted by the little flame.

The Lady's eyes lowered as she allowed herself to argue with her own under this new sensation, seeing a blue-covered book a little further away from the others. Her eyebrows raised in curiosity as that book seemed to be "right" somehow. She then leaned back in her armchair taking her large hands, which were now free of the typical leather gloves, and opened it.

"Autism Spectrum Disorder."

It was the title of the first article and she became interested as she crossed one leg covered by a long sweater and a fuzzy robe that protected her from the cold.

"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by atypical development, behavioral manifestations, deficits in communication and social interaction, repetitive and stereotyped behavior patterns, and may present with a restricted repertoire of interests and activities."

Her eyes widened in mild surprise that now made a little more sense she continued with a new wave of enthusiasm.

"Main symptoms."

Emotional coldness

No eye gaze

Few displays of pain

Fixation to certain objects

Tendency to isolation

Apparently not afraid of dangerous situations

Not responding when called

Anger attacks

Difficulty expressing feelings with speech or gestures

As it turned out, she had discovered Lucia had autism even though the matriarch had spent little time with her, their interaction was enough for some of these symptoms to appear. Even so she still spent a few more hours reading about other types of disorders just to be absolutely sure of her diagnosis.

Around 3:00 Am when all the wine bottles were already empty she satisfied herself with autism. Taking the book with her she left the library and stopped in her office halfway taking a piece of paper and a pen where she wrote a little note. As soon as she finished she left in light steps to Lucia's room, she had the key since she had chosen the room herself and had already entered the room a few moments before to light the fireplace in her room.

Wherever Lucia came from she certainly had no experience with the Romanian cold, perhaps her home country was warm. Alcina made a mental note to ask the girl about this later that day. When she finally stopped in front of Lucia's bedroom door in the hallway the lady allowed herself to hear the sounds from inside the room, being sure that the redhead was in a deep sleep. She was afraid she might even startle the girl "What a ridiculous thing to do" she snorted to herself still angry at her suddenly amorous behavior.

The comforting sounds of Lucia's soft breathing and her heartbeat were the only things the lady could hear coming from inside the room and then she very carefully opened the door and entered placing the note on her bedside table. Golden eyes did not restrain themselves from wandering under the relaxed face of the woman who was sleeping peacefully in bed, as her chest went down and up in deep breaths. The matriarch caught herself wondering what dreams she was having at that moment and held her brows together when a sudden urge to caress her face arose, she had drunk too much wine and needed to lie down was it. Getting up carefully, she closed the bedroom door and left with a strange feeling that the flame in her chest seemed to have grown in size.

 

====================

 

You awoke when a single intruding ray of light managed to sneak perfectly through the gap in the curtains to your face, bringing a sudden burst of clarity. Feeling like a vampire burning in the sun you groaned as you slid back under the covers. You had managed to sleep after much struggle that night for only a few hours-not nearly enough that you would need to function properly at this time in the morning.

However, you remembered the time table Constance had given you and thought it prudent of you to get up so as not to miss breakfast. Dragging yourself out of the covers you were greeted with a fresh pile of folded clothes at the foot of your bed which made you smile as you reached up and pulled the clothes in front of you, finding a long dress suitable for winter that was probably of some dark shade that fit you perfectly.

That morning you followed the routine you had established for yourself since you arrived methodically and when you put on your dress you felt as good as last time or even better, letting your smile return to your features once again.

Just before you left you checked the time on the clock on one of the dormitory walls when something white in your peripheral vision caught your eye. On your bedside table was something out of place that you hadn't put a small piece of paper carefully folded and placed in a way that you were sure you would see.

Your heart pounded hard in your chest when the mention that perhaps the lady really did have access to your room haunted your mind. Taking the paper in cold, anxious hands you opened it and came across impeccable calligraphy that told you:

"Meet me at tea time.

A.Dimistrescu."

"A?" So her name started with A how interesting...you thought as you tried to fit all the possible names with A into your mind to see if you could figure out the lady's name. While the thought that she did in fact have access to your room and was entering it without your permission was lost amidst the other millions.

Leaving the room and walking through the alternative path that passed the masquerade hall you still avoided as much as possible the place where you met Cassandra not wanting to hear that noise again. It was early and for the first time in your short stay in the castle you could see some maidens starting their cleaning tasks, this made you feel strange, often you felt their gaze burning under your skin besides whispers as you sped into the dining room and consequently the kitchen.

You will never forget that moment when you opened the dining room door and three heads turned toward you in unison. Three women who were practically identical to you stared into your eyes, and you looked away immediately as you started scratching the sides of your arms unconsciously.

"Oh, so that's the woman?"

The woman who was sitting at the left end said to the one sitting in the middle that you remembered as Cassandra.

"Yes."

"What are you doing here?"

The woman at the other end near the door on the right asked. Her tone of voice firm and even authoritative like the lady.

"I was going to the kitchen."

There was no response for a while as you looked away now to another point in the room and crossed your hands behind your back holding your own still-marked wrists.

"There is another path that servants follow"

"But she's not a maid she's mother's pet."

The authoritative voice came once again accompanied by the excited girl on the left end as you clenched your wrists behind you wanting to just get out of there, but holding back as long as you could. You could feel a look of contempt coming from the middle child while the one on the far left that you didn't know threw you a look that you could only describe as curiosity, while she seemed to be always arguing in your favor.

Before you could excuse yourself and leave the door behind you opened and you turned to see the lady ducking through the door frame and entering as she walked past and back to her full height watching the commotion in the room.

"Good morning mother!"

The three women greeted the matriarch who smiled at the girls while turning her gaze to you.

"So we meet again. I thought I would see you only later my little mouse, are we excited?"

She teased as you changed the positioning of your arms to scratch your sides again and could feel the slight giggles in the air from the four women.

"I wanted to go to the kitchen and that was the only way I knew. I apologize if I got in the way."

You raised your head as you spoke, looking at the doorframe just behind the lady, but without looking directly at her. You were apparently calm although your head was screaming in several different directions.

"Oh, Lucia... Wha... my apologies ma'am I don't think I explained the ways of the castle well enough."

Your guardian angel, Constance entered the room accompanied by two more maidens laden with silver plates and trays that you assumed were the ladies' breakfast. However, before Constance could save you from the uncomfortable moment and pull you into the comfort and solitude of the kitchen, the lady raised a gloved hand as a gesture that she didn't care about the older woman's apology.

"Don't worry, I want her to stay and eat breakfast with us at the table. What do you think, Lucia?"

You were surprised by the invitation and that she used your name while nodding slightly. A frustrated snort was heard from the middle daughter who sank back in her seat a little, but was soon rebuked with a cold look from her mother.

Quickly a chair was placed for you awkwardly on the same side as the lady since she did not sit at the end of the table as would normally be the case. A gesture that you thought was kind of her to eat next to her daughters. Sitting down as comfortably as the moment allowed, you let your gaze wander to one of the closed windows. The cold wind and snow remained outside in a garden that you would explore later.

An awkward silence filled the room as the girl on the left wiggled her feet excitedly under the table, seeming to want to talk about 500 subjects at once. While the other two older ones just occasionally looked at you clearly uncomfortable as well as you.

The food was served and you began to eat slowly while swinging your foot from under the table without noticing. Only noticing when the lady looked at you giving you a slight smile after looking at your leg that was constantly moving as if it had a life of its own. It made you blush while you just wanted to tuck yourself into the plate however your features didn't change just the blush appearing. The same giggles were heard and you mostly ignored them when a quiet family conversation started.

For the most part the subjects amounted to a great deal of violence that you just chose to ignore. The suspicions that something was terribly wrong with this family were somewhat obvious, and you had already noticed numerous indications that it was being hidden even if the effort to do so was very small.

Not that you cared, in fact you weren't too concerned about it. In the middle of the conversation you can learn that the lady owned a vineyard that you would very much like to visit one day. Apparently it was the family business and she ran it with pride.

You couldn't stop yourself from looking at the ladies' plates and a question arose in your mind as you stared curiously at a piece of meat floating in some dark liquid. When the silence filled the room once again, broken only by the sound of silverware, you decided to satisfy your curiosity.

"Why is your food floating?"

Your question was totally innocent; after all, all you could see was a piece of something dark gray floating in a liquid of the same tone. As soon as your question was asked of the girl you knew as the youngest daughter, Daniela began to laugh heartily while Cassandra raised her eyebrows and looked at you as if to say "What's the matter with you? The older daughter, Bela, was very worried, trying to help her mother who had choked on her tea.

"You really want to know?"

A dark smile from Cassandra to you as if it was the perfect opening for something she very much wanted to do, however it had been cut off immediately by a harsh, husky tone from her mother.

"Cassandra..."

"It's meat only."

Answered the younger daughter giving you a smile covered in the dark liquid as the lady diverted her attention by clearing her throat.

"Why the question?"

Daniela's voice came again as you could feel glances burning over you. Clearly it was something that should have been obvious to anyone who wasn't color-blind, and so it generated a lot of curiosity and even suspicion that you might be making fools of them. The last thing you wanted was to have to explain about it, and you quickly thought of a way to dodge the situation.

"It's just that I can't see...clearly we can say so."

You noted that your explanation was so bad that it seemed only to generate several even bigger question marks in the heads of the ladies at the table. Sighing heavily you decided to hand over "the cards on the table" once and for all.

"I can't see colors. I have a rare type of color blindness called achromatic that causes my vision to be reduced to different shades of black and white."

An awkward silence filled the table as you began to jerk your leg a little harder under the table. To you utter amazement a large gloved hand rested on your knee under the table and gently stopped your movement.

"So, you've never seen any color?"

You nodded in response to the lady's sudden curiosity, meeting her gaze briefly before turning back to the window.

"How do you deal with that?"

Now this question caught you off guard, especially since it was asked by Cassandra, who usually preferred to make clear her displeasure with your presence there.

"When I want to find out what some color is like I usually ask people I consider close to me how they feel about a certain color. Like, how do you feel about yellow or red...what reminds you of those colors some moment in your life that reminded you of that color."

Your answer was given as you met Cassandra's eyes briefly also as if to pass your point to her. Such a gesture was appreciated when you could see her give a very slight hint of a smile as she nodded in appreciation as if she had taken your every word into consideration.

"Oh that's very interesting."

The eldest daughter said leaning back in her chair as she seemed to put puzzle pieces together in her mind with the lady who took a similar posture to her daughter.

As soon as breakfast was over without many more questions you decided to leave with the lady's daughters, but towards the garden outside the dining room that had caught your eye. The same gloved hand as before grabbed your wrist before you left, leading you to instinctively pull back.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you..."

The softness in the lady's voice caught you off guard as your gaze turned to the still set table.

"Have you seen my note?"

A nod in response as you elaborately played with the lace of your new dress.

"I'll be there."

You met the lady's eyes to see that she gave you a satisfied smile as she headed off in the opposite direction from you.

 

=========================

 

The youngest Dimitrescus daughter had left the dining room about an hour ago and by now she was half way through the book she had started yesterday. Sitting in one of the armchairs in the library wrapped in a heavy blanket she was trying to concentrate as much as possible on her reading while her head kept coming back under the girl her mother had brought home whom she now knew as Lucia.

"I can't see colors. I have a rare type of color blindness called achromatic which causes my vision to be reduced to different shades of black and white." The girl's words came back to her mind several times while the words of the book were not absorbed.

Daniela put the book aside as she sighed in frustration she wanted to just sit down and talk to the girl about it, she wanted to understand but something inside her said that would be terribly wrong even if it was just a whisper in her mind that she could barely hear. "But, she was so kind explaining herself why wouldn't she talk to me?" She retorted to the voice in her mind getting no answer. Well, Lucia was not afraid of Cassandra and Bela was too busy in her perfect world with Donna so she would have a space if she wanted.

Buzzing with excitement she decided to set off through the castle in search of the girl if she managed to scare her it would only be a bonus to brag about in the future to her older sisters. At the moment her goal was to find her. Daniela passed through several corridors and the cold breeze made her shiver a little in some places in the castle that were a little colder, but it wasn't enough to stop her.

After long minutes of searching she could finally see the girl who had long red hair similar to hers was sitting in the courtyard in the cold. The dress her mother had chosen for her and had Constance deliver was suitable for the cold, yet Daniela could not understand how she was so calm writing something on a stool with mounds of snow beside her. She envied the humans for their resistance to the cold and wished she could go outside and talk.

It seemed to be a mutually strange feeling to want to approach the girl with no ulterior motives now looking at her like this the younger daughter could understand Cassandra's anguish. It was almost a crime to be thrown out of her nature so suddenly...that's when she remembered that her mother had requested the library for her in the early hours of today and the redhead looked away from the window to think that maybe her mother was trying to find out something about Lucia's behavior.

"Why didn't she tell us anything?!" She huffed in frustration as she stepped on a wave of the carpet that was annoyingly getting in her way. It was almost lunchtime when Daniela was cut off from her thoughts by a maiden who entered the hallway and quickly turned around and went back where she came from. With a giggle she was totally distracted from her previous objective and decided to find something else to distract herself.

 

========================

 

Lunchtime had arrived and the four women were gathered around the table once again. Bela, however did not know whether to be relieved or worried that the extra seat that had been placed in the morning was no longer there and consequently the woman who sat in it was no longer there either, probably having taken the other route that Bela had told her about.

Everyone was silent as the maidens served probably too wrapped up in their own thoughts and doubts and the eldest daughter enjoyed this for a brief moment until Daniela as always cut the silence.

"Mother..."

Her tone was whiny as if she knew that her question was of general consent and that her mother would not be too inclined to answer, not as everyone expected at least.

"Yes my little bug?"

The matriarch met her younger sister's eyes as Bela kept looking indifferent, but actually attentive to the unfolding situation.

"What do you think of Lucia?"

Bela snorted softly, great, a question that could have been much better constructed to leave no loopholes done in the most idiotic way possible while her mother would surely get away with it with grace as usual.

The matriarch seemed to check the question before answering, which took me long minutes.

"I think she eccentric girl. Why the curiosity?"

"No-no, I'm just a little confused."

" Hmm, I understand, however don't worry I am in control of what I am doing. If all goes well I will explain the situation later."

"Yes mother."

Of course, she would not answer or explain her motives as usual. Everyone was annoyed by the sudden upheaval in the castle's routine that came along with the red-haired woman's peculiar actions. And perhaps even her mother didn't understand or have as much control as she wanted to believe she did. Her eyebrows drew together in displeasure as she ignored Cassandra's malicious look.

"I ask that you wait until the end of today so that I can clarify some things with more...certainty."

Now this had caught the attention of all the sisters who silently agreed finishing their meal and then leaving for distant directions.

 

======================

 

It was only a few minutes before the tea party the lady had invited you to, and anxious was a kind word for what you were feeling behind the neutral exterior. The dress you were wearing, although still impeccable, had been checked by you at least 30 times to make sure that it was still impeccable. Your feet covered with the boots you had been wearing since you arrived at the castle while sitting on the edge of the bed you stared at the clock. Every tick of the clock was an eternity in which you couldn't look away from the apparently still hand.

Your mind began to wander past the moments and glances you managed to catch from the lady to you for a few minutes and just the thought made you need to breathe more deeply as the air didn't seem to be enough. You had only felt something like this once before and even then it went terribly wrong. Having a condition like yours was embarrassing and although you really wanted to understand what other people thought about it it was never something you could even come close to.

You got into a relationship that for you was one of the worst experiences of your life, although in the beginning you had the same feeling that you are starting to have now, and in a way it was scaring you a lot. The other dates that you had were lighter, but quicker too... it was enough to make your virginity disappear and that was all.

You were not like someone who needed constant care and in your younger days when they decided to put you in therapies you could see people far worse than you. Even so, having a relationship with you would imply a relatively greater counterpart from your partner in accepting that you had points that were impossible for you to reach and that you respected your limitations which did not happen and you believed that you never would.

Your gaze had not moved from the clock and a soft knock on your door broke you from your reverie. On the spot you stood up fixing your dress twice with the same equal motion as Constance opened the door giving you a slight smile.

"Ready?"

"Ready."

You met her eyes and smiled back which generated a stunned look from the older woman after you turned away again and left the room positioning yourself slightly behind her with your arms crossed behind you once more.

The path had been silent as you mentally memorized the way to wherever it was that she was taking you. Several flights of stairs and small, beautifully decorated living rooms passed your eyes as you realized that wherever this tea was was somewhere high up in the castle.

When Constance finally stopped at the door before it even slammed the lady called out from inside her voice muffled by the distance. When she opened the door and let you in your eyes sparkled as you looked at the room the lady had chosen. It was beautiful, not unlike the previous ones with a few bookshelves on the sides, carpets, and sofas and armchairs decorated more luxuriously with the wing you used to roam. However, none of this was compared to the huge glass windows that covered almost the entire wall in front of you.

You really were high up in some tower, or nearly so, because the view was breathtaking and you loved it so much. Your mouth dropped open while your heart raced as you approached the window looking out with nothing but admiration. You didn't even realize that Constance had already left the room until you heard a giggle and felt a comforting touch on your shoulder.

"I figured you would appreciate it if we had tea here. Although I admit I haven't used this room in a long time."

"I... I really appreciate your gesture."

The answer was spoken as you took a deep breath trying to find the best way to show your gratitude and failing miserably. Just when the lady had asked you to sit down you noticed that both chairs were not facing each other but facing the window, which didn't oblige you to make eye contact.

Your heart kept racing as pure happiness and gratitude coursed through you in a way that you wished you could thank them for, but the words didn't form in your mind. The tea was served and you held the cup gently as you took a small sip and looked out the window.

"You get my attention my little mouse...and I end up doing something I haven't been used to for a long time."

She looked strangely uncomfortable as she fought an internal battle to say every word that came from her lips, and you waited patiently between small sips of your tea. You didn't even care that there was a pot of tea just for her, it was irrelevant now.

"You made me look beyond myself Lucia. You drew my attention to something different and that I had to look at and understand."

A blue-covered book was placed in your lap as you listened to the lady's words your gaze met hers for a brief moment and then you turned back to the book as she asked you to open it at the marked page.

"Autistic Spectrum Disorder."

You read the title of the page as you gave a chuckle and closed it without reading the rest.

"I know the topic well ma'am."

A smile did not close from your face being the only way you could show that you greatly appreciated her gesture as you handed the book back to her. You wanted to say that you admired her effort in taking the time to understand you, but you didn't know how, and she seemed to notice your discomfort as she diverted the conversation to your relief.

"Well, you're clearly not local. Where did you come from?"

"Brazil, ma'am."

A hush took over the room for a few minutes.

"Brazil? Where is that?"

Now you laughed heartily as you earned an arched eyebrow from the lady who couldn't resist cracking a smile at you being infected by your laughter.

"Pardon me, not many people stop to look over there anyway and I figured you would be no different."

A hum in agreement as you elaborated

"It's in South America. I used to live in the city of São Paulo."

"And what did you come here to do so far away?"

You didn't want to get into a mental loop right now and yet your gaze lowered from the window to your lap as your right leg began to tap lightly against the floor in a repetitive motion that caught the lady's attention.

"I... I've been invited to travel with some people."

"I see."

You could feel that the lady had turned her gaze to the window and taken a sip of her tea.

"Were these people who came with you important to you?"

"No."

The quickness of her response seemed to surprise the lady as she gave another hum in agreement.

"I would like you to enjoy your time here more so I will leave this room open for you to visit whenever you need to."

You turned your eyes once again with hers as you tried to understand why she was doing this. Her clear eyes no longer had that strange glow and you could see deep inside that little flame slowly growing.

"Thank you."

Once again a hush fell over the room as they both turned their gazes to the snow that had started to fall again.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course dear."

"What color are your eyes?"

Your eyes met the lady's wishing you could see them for what they really were. You noticed that her mouth opened slightly as if breathing through her mouth, her lips almost always painted in some dark, strong shade that you also wished to see in their true hue.

"Golden, they are golden."

"And what does gold look like to you?"

She laughed as she seemed to try to arrange some way to elaborate her answer.

"Gold is a color that to me conjures up luxury and even dare I say danger, even if for you it is not in a bad way."

You can see her give you a mischievous smile while clearly the last part was meant to tease you and you looked away as your heart skipped a beat and you felt yourself blush.

She said nothing, but you could feel a comfortable silence fall over the room as the tea finished. As soon as she stood up saying she had business to attend to and thanked you for the company you repeated her gesture, but before she left it was your turn to pull her arm with some effort making her come back and feel her eyes under you.

"Do you mind if we repeat that again milady?"

You didn't meet her eyes as the words had come out strangely paused from her lips in great difficulty and the response was enough to bring a slight smile back to your lips.

"Of course not dear."

 

====================

 

Night had already fallen while Alcina thought about her day and that tea. She had no idea why she had done half of what she had done, simply that a sort of instinct was growing inside her in conjunction with the little flame in her chest. Leaning back elegantly on the sofa in the main hall she allowed herself to assess the situation; after all she had to give her daughters an explanation as promised.

His lit cigarette in his right hand helped him organize the words as best he could. "Am I in love?" No. In fact, it wasn't too early for that, but maybe she was staying? No she would not allow herself that was much more complex than it seemed.

A drag of the cigarette as she exhaled the condensed smoke through her mouth trying to understand the situation. She could count on the fingers of one hand the people who had managed to " control" her in this way.

The characteristic buzzing sound filled Alcina's ears when she could see the swarm of flies take the form of her three daughters. She smiled urging the girls to sit down next to her, curious and excited looks stared at her.

The lady took her time putting out her cigarette in an ashtray on the coffee table leaning forward a bit and then when she returned to her recumbent position she tucked her daughters close to her. Bela on her right side leaning on her body while Cassandra followed suit on her left side, the younger Daniela had her head on her mother's lap and the rest of her body on top of Cassandra.

"My little insects, I had a meeting with Lucia this afternoon to get to know her better. In the early hours of today when I asked that the library be kept to myself I was actually taking some of my time to find out what our visitor was hiding from us."

Equally intrigued and attentive golden eyes caught every word she said, and then she continued.

"She has a mental disorder called autism the book is in the library on the table in case some of you are interested in reading."

Cassandra lowered her gaze seemingly processing the new information while Bela had raised both eyebrows in surprise and Daniela just remained equally curious.

"That woman pleases me. In a way that I had not felt for a long time, I confess that I am apprehensive, but I am willing to give a chance to this flame that grows in my heart."

The naturalness with which the lady spoke the words surprised even herself. Obviously the girl had already caught her eye before, as soon as she saw her in the woods and as today’s meeting she took as a test to herself.

Bela had not said anything at first just lowering her face with an illegible expression that Alcina was proud to see her daughter boasting because it was very similar to her own. Daniela smiled cheerfully which made Alcina raise an eyebrow for her animated youngest. Cassandra as always displayed a furrow of eyebrows which only softened when Bela finally said something.

"If you’re happy, I’m happy."

"That's so lovely."

"Just make sure now."

Each of her daughters simply said and the matriarch couldn’t resist pulling her daughters closer to her by giving them a comforting caress on her back as they all settled in a comfortable purr. At that moment she was sure she would give herself a chance to see what the winds of change could do to her. Alcina had control and that’s what mattered to her.

Chapter Text

You were in your room, the curtains were closed and there was no indication of clarity coming or from the outside, which made you deduce that it should be at night yet. Looking from side to side you noticed that the candles in the room were lit and the fireplace was out, which was unusual since before you lay down you had left it lit.

Prying eyes have continued to scan every nook and cranny of the room when you can see a figure more like a slack-backed figure next to the table you used to write on in your diary. It was common to see this kind of thing even if it was in rare moments and you didn’t share that kind of thing with anyone.

The mysterious figure had no face and looked more like a shadow that approached you gradually as if to sit on the edge of your bed as a friend to tell you some story. You can feel your blood frozen with fear as your breath accelerated thinking of calling anyone, even if the first person your mind threw at you for help was the lady.

You couldn’t move, scream, run... any movement had been broken by the mere presence of the figure. Sweat began to accumulate on your clothes as the faceless figure leaned under the edge of the bed just an inch away from her face. You screamed inside your head for someone, but nothing came out.

"You mustn't fear me, Lucia." The voice was female and gave you a certain peace of mind, maybe it was a spirit, but because it invaded you like that. You’ve had previous experiences especially with Téo that always encouraged you not to hide this side as you used to.

"What do you want?" You took a deep breath as you gathered all the courage you could to stand upright in the face of the situation.

"Help you..." A pause while the figure seemed to take the form of a woman. "You are in great danger here Lucia." Her body began to assume more and more the bodily form of a young woman. Clothes similar to those of the maidens you had seen in your days in the castle now covered her skin. Dark eyes found your own before your attention turned to another corner of the room and your eyebrows united in discontent.

"I do not care." You really hadn’t thought about it and didn’t really want your real danger now was understanding how to get rid of that spirit.

"How do you not care about your own safety?!" It was said in a louder tone and you wished that someone other than you could hear the voice. Your eyes have turned to the figure once again and you can contemplate what now presented itself in the exact form of a seemingly 30-year-old woman with long curly light hair, although the big point was his face that contained a deep scratch as if made by an animal with long claws that cut his face from the earring of his right ear to the top tip of her forehead on the left side passing through his eye that was divided by the accuracy of the cutting.

"Do you want to know who did it?" She smiled at you as she caught you looking at your cut and looking down.

"Go away." You staggered to expect her to go. However, nothing happened and you could still feel her presence there.

"If you don’t believe me I’ll show you." She clapped her fist on the mattress of your bed while you could feel her steady look burn under you. A wet feeling took hold of her hand when you can see that she cried copiously. You said nothing and before she could say anything else you threw yourself back on your pillows and closed your eyes tightly ignoring your cries and moans of pain.

Jumping out of bed with a breathless breath you now found yourself in your room once again. Your clothes were glued to your body due to sweat while you recovered your breath in breathless breaths. The morning light even if covered by the winter clouds shone in a crack through the windows as usual and you relaxed to notice that it was just one of those horrible nightmares that you had a few times.

Even so, that day when you did your whole routine copiously by wearing the same pants and blouse from the first day since they were clean, you decided to take your diary with you for breakfast.

You left your room following the alternate route ignoring most of the maids who crossed your path with frightened or curious looks. As soon as you arrived at the kitchen carrying the diary as if you had just stolen you found Constance who gave you an interrogative look.

"What’s the matter with you today, girl?" She crossed her arms under her chest as she looked down on you.

"Wrong? Nothing. Nothing’s wrong." You looked everywhere like you expected the blonde woman to jump in your face like a monster in a horror movie any minute.

"Um, I know." Constance replied by not believing anything you said, but passing her a tray of breads and eggs. You sat in a corner isolated from the other maids who were already at their posts. You weren’t allowed to eat with the ladies or the other maidens so your meals were usually delivered by Constance herself and you ate them in the kitchen anyway.

Sometimes the thought of not belonging anywhere passed through your mind not that you were no longer accustomed to feeling, no matter how dramatic. But here it seemed not to be very different despite the lady’s kind gift at her meeting yesterday afternoon.
You caught yourself during breakfast thinking about that moment, the care that the lady had with you, the little feeling that went up in your heart every time you thought about her and that made you need to take a deep breath to control your breathing. A silly smile adorned your lips while at that moment you forgot about the strange woman.

Ignoring the whispers and gossip of the women while they worked you’d finish your meal and go out the back way choosing to go aimlessly through the corridors that were cleared for you that were missing from being exploited.

Walking slowly and absently you enjoyed the stroll looking around you while making mental notes of things that caught your attention that you could draw later. Soon you were standing at a door unknown to you until then gently tilting your head to the side you may notice that it was just leaning against you and curiosity took hold of you as you slowly opened it.

You have been greeted with the vision of a round room filled with shelves full of the most varied books. "So here is a library." You thought to yourself as you pulled the door back exactly as you were before. The center of the room is of course illuminated by a huge very beautiful skylight that you also noted mentally to draw.

"So you finally came to see me!" A chuckle next to the loud noise of buzz made you instinctively look down and frown at the noise endlessly wishing it to cease as suddenly as it began.

As soon as the noise ceased and you can see the bar of a dark flowing dress in front of your gaze rose as you met the same meat girl from the previous day. Her dark smile showed her that apparently she was happy to have you there.

"I didn’t know you were here... Miss Daniela." You replied by remembering the name of the young lady’s daughter while holding the diary a little tighter next to you.

"Oh don’t worry. I’m not mad that you came here..." A chuckle again as she walked away a little while passing the widowed fingers under the spine of the books until she found her look that was on her again. "As long as you don’t take my books away, of course."

There was a clear threat to this that you quickly dismissed as you shook your head negatively and looked around the room looking for a place to sit. "I have no such intention."

"Great! What’s your name again? Isn’t Lucia?" She exclaimed and soon asked following closer to you.

"It’s Lucia..." You replied as you walked to an empty table a little isolated from the center and placed the diary on top next to a pen. Only to be followed.

"I understand." Daniela replied as she seemed to have been distracted in her own head by disappearing back between the shelves. Such a sudden action gave you a smile, she could easily be distracted and your interactions were not so long and it reminded you yourself bringing you a strange comfort.

As soon as your attention turned once again to your goal you opened your diary on a new page and started a sketch of the blonde woman you had seen earlier. Even though Daniela had apparently gone away you could feel yourself being continually watched by her.

"If you’re curious just sit here I can show you." A strange courage from that sense of comfort that Daniela had given you took hold of you while you seemed not to notice that you had made the invitation until you heard a snitch and felt the closeness of the woman who was now standing behind you.

"How did you know I was looking at you?" She seemed almost annoyed as she questioned and it just broadened your smile hidden in the paper.

"I only knew." You replied simply by winning another mad rat. Only the pen scratches on the sheet of paper were heard in the room as the two women fell into comfortable silence. Little by little, when the figure was taking hold, a certain restlessness took hold of Daniela. Like she was nervous about what you were portraying.

"Don’t you like strong images?" You asked while accentuating the large cut the woman had on her face.

"That’s not quite it." She responded in a serious tone by giving a drastic contrast to the playful tone she had previously. "Where did you see this?"

"I had a dream..." Before you could continue your eyes could see across the room on the other wall the figure of the woman once more. She would look at you lightly nodding in denial, seeming to ask you not to elaborate on your answer. You were clearly in conflict and Daniela seemed to notice as she turned to follow her eyes clearly growling at the figure she could not see.

"Hey! Look we can go somewhere else I really enjoyed your company, but the sound of the wind in the skylight is distracting me..." You lied to her hoping she’d believe you and only walk away with you from there. Your look has met once again and you can see a surprise beyond a certain joy shining in them before deviating.

"All right, I know another place." She responded by smiling and completely distracting herself as she led you out to another room not far away.

A small room that contained a fireplace was where she had taken you. As soon as you entered your eyes you were greeted with the sight of one of the Dimitrescu sisters, the oldest you remembered to call Bela. Her face frowned on doubt and curiosity when she saw Daniela entering the room with you next door.

"What's she doing here?" The light-haired woman was quick to ask while you preferred to look at the fire starting a repetitive movement with her hands opening and closing them.

"Oh don’t be like that Bela. She was drawing and I was very curious just that." This seemed to catch the attention of the older sister who turned her gaze to you. "Do you draw?" She asked in a less authoritative but still firm voice.

"Yes, most of my time." You still hadn’t found her eyes while you were looking for a place to sit and see that Daniela had already done it for you and smiled cheerfully as she waited for you to return to your work.

You proceeded to sit next to the fireplace next to the younger sister who by her much taller could easily look at what you were doing. Bela remained aloof most of the time feigning indifference.

"Do you have other drawings?" Daniela asked while looking at you with curiosity. You did not find her look but gave a slight nod in agreement as she stopped what she was doing and put the diary on her other leg so that she could see better and began to pass the pages slowly.

"Oh! Is that us?" She asked while pulling the diary out of her lap to take a closer look at the drawing of the flies you had made when you met Cassandra.

"Yes, it was the day I met Miss Cassandra." You replied as Belle finally left her place to huddle next to her little sister and see the drawing. Your look showed the same surprise that was in Daniela’s eyes when you said you had enjoyed her company and it made you wonder if people other than her mother treated them well.

"You’re not afraid of us, why?" Bela simply said as she returned the diary. Daniela however seemed to share the same questioning of her sister even if she had not asked you this directly.

"Why should I be?" You really didn’t understand what was the fixation that these girls had with the dread if there was something about them that caused something close to that were the bugs noises that they had and that was it. An awkward silence took over the room while none of the three of them seemed to continue the conversation.

Soon you decided to resume your drawing leaving your question/answer open while continuing the drawing of the woman who had stayed in the library for your relief. It was already clearly descriptive on paper the portrait of the woman sitting under the sheets her morbid gaze finding your own by the paper.

Bela and Daniela were attentive to her work, but you could feel a clear discomfort with her drawing which in a way caused you relief because it was not with her presence.

Soon a maid knocked on the door announcing her entry and warning the ladies to come down to lunch where the lady was already waiting for them. With a slight wave of hand, Daniela was the first to dematerialize followed by Bela who did not do or said anything just disappearing.

 

==================

 

Alcina tapped her gloved fingers on the wood of the already set table impatiently. Cassandra had been the first of her daughters to arrive in the dining room, which already made the matriarch suspect something was wrong, and the middle sister used to be one of the last to arrive.

"Where are your sisters?" She asked her brunette daughter who only shrugged with indifference and turned her gaze to one of the shy maidens shrunk in a corner of the room. Soon as if by pure coincidence a swarm of flies appeared in the room taking the form of Bela and Daniela who settled in their places not finding the look of their mother.

Alcina gave an order in Romanian for the maidens to start serving their lunch while a perfectly arched eyebrow was still trying to figure out what their daughters were up to. Although she was in the habit of keeping an eye on the sounds and conversations of the castle, today had been an exception where she caught herself concentrating on her vineyard paperwork.

The meal had begun and the maidens had already retired leaving only those responsible for the wine who remained practically invisible in the room.

"Have you nothing to tell me?" The tone of her voice was firm, leaving no room for escape. She knew her girls very well and knew that even Daniela could easily avoid her question if she wanted, but Bela would feel intimidated and end up giving up her sisters and herself.

"We were with Lucia." Bela replied between bites of her food finding her mother’s eyes and then veering off to the younger sister who eagerly waved her sister’s lines.

Alcina smiled when she realized that her deductions were not wrong and that she was in control of pushing her eldest daughter harder and getting the answers she wanted.

"That’s great! And what did you do together?" Her voice softened in a tone just as she took a sip of her wine.

"She came to see me in the library and ..." Daniela interrupted herself for a moment when she remembered Lucia’s sweet words and her lost and uncomfortable look in the room so suddenly. Your eyebrows frown while your family awaits an elaboration. "She brought a notebook and was drawing, I was curious and decided to go see what it was."

The lady returned to arch an eyebrow as she watched her youngest daughter fight with words. Only at that moment had she ever thought of all the worst chances Lucia could have made to leave her little girl so upset.

"She was doing a portrait of Nora." Bela interrupted by turning her gaze to the dish as Daniela watched her older sister with betrayal.

"Nora? That blonde maiden who made all the fuss?" Cassandra finally entered the conversation by stopping her movements to find the older sister’s gaze.

"Yeah, I don’t know how she knows about Nora, but she’s doing a portrait of her right before her death." The eldest continued as Alcina tried to concentrate on a feeling she knew very well coming from the room they were in. One of the maidens had significantly increased her heartbeat with the mention of the deceased woman.

Golden eyes turned to the girl trembling in one of the corners of the dining room her glance swiftly toward the floor when she noticed that she was being watched. Her breath picked up and Alcina could not help but feel a certain pleasure in it, but her focus was to know which mouse was leaking information that her little gift should not yet know.

"Lucia told me when I asked about the portrait that she had a dream... and then she became strangely uncomfortable." The youngest found Alcina’s eyes while elaborating and she continued to follow the movements of the little maiden with her peripheral vision even attentive to what Daniela told.

"It looks like I’m going to have to have some conversations this afternoon..." the lady continued as she mounted in her mind some things she would need to do. Shortly before dismissing her girls she gave some orders in Romanian for Cassandra to stay alert the dungeons and Daniela or Bela tell her if there was any sudden change in Lucia.

As soon as they all settled down and headed off in different directions. The matriarch leaned on her chair with a slight smile pulling the corner of her lips painted an intense red. She dismissed all the maidens but the one who was nervous and that only made the girl worse.

"Now, tell me, dear what made you so distressed at the mention of Nora?" Her malicious smile was hidden behind her glass of wine where she took a last sip.

 

"No- Nothing, my lady." The trembling maiden replied while still turning her gaze to the ground. Alcina did not need to find her eyes to know that the girl was hiding something so she gestured with her index finger in a movement calling the maiden closer.

The girl came extremely slowly and even checked her sides to make sure that the lady actually spoke to you and Alcina held a snort in discontent while waiting for the maiden to get exactly where she wanted.

"My- Ah!" Before the maiden could think of saying anything, the lady pulled her face between her enlivened hand with strength to hurt. She loved the terror in the maiden’s eyes and knew she had it in her claws as she wanted to answer her questions.

"Don’t you dare lie to me... I can see. Tell me, have any of you spoken to the new castle dweller under anything that happened in the past?" The woman trembled with fear, but was smart enough not to fight in her grip.

"No, ma'am, I swear!" The tears started rolling freely on her face as Alcina kept her eyes cold. "The only one who talks to her is Constance." Her grip loosened with this, she could see that the maiden was not lying and then dismissed her as soon as she saw that she could get nothing useful out of her.

 

The matriarch stood up from her seat heading to her office while thinking of all the possibilities that Lucia was able to find out about Nora. She had been taken care of many years ago when she mounted that ridiculous frame with three more maidens. A pathetic attempt to intimidate the matriarch for her "crimes" the lady laughed alone as she remembered.

While sitting in her office she was able to identify what she really felt, she was afraid that Lucia had found out in the worst way what she actually was. But since she could fight something that wasn’t here, she needed to get the redhead’s attention long enough to distract her from what she was trying to damage what the lady was starting to build.

 

===============

 

You were now sitting comfortably in front of the large stained glass window in the room of the tower wrapped in comfortable blankets you were looking distractedly at the falling snowflakes and accumulating in the small gaps between the glass and the wood. You did not hear the footsteps of the Lady who had resolved to stop some of her work to see you enter the room.

"I see that you really liked this room, didn’t you?" You could feel the smile in her voice and you knew exactly who it was when your heart decided to take a leap of happiness making you breathe deeply as it always did when she approached you.

"In my country it doesn’t snow and I’ve always been curious to know what it’s like. I guess that’s why I can’t look away now that I can see." You didn’t find her eyes, but you felt the warmth of her closeness when she sat next to you.

"Would you like to go see more closely at some point?" The voice was in a tone as soft as the first time you had tea together and soon the smell of nicotine took hold of her nostrils she was smoking and for some reason your heart sped up with knowledge something she strangely seemed to notice giving a hum with air of mockery.

"Maybe." You didn’t know how to express yourself and you didn’t want your brain shorting out now. A soft, tender touch caught your attention and automatically you turned around and found her face. The lady looked at you with the same look that day and you could say that what you had there was affection? Maybe. It was the first thing you deduced even if there was a voice inside you that didn’t feel worthy of it.

This time it was the lady’s gaze that swerved into your lap where you were firmly holding your diary shut.

"The girls commented at lunch that you were with them. I’m glad you’re feeling more comfortable in our presence." The lady looked at you again as you looked back at the window again.

"Actually, I didn’t mean to, but it was nice having company anyway." You answered truthfully while you could feel the matriarch staring at your diary fixed.

"They also commented that you’re an artist. Could I take a look?" She pointed to the diary on your lap and you were insecure for a moment. You knew she was going to ask ever since you caught her staring at him and it caused you some discomfort, but you were too bewitched in her intoxicating presence to deny the request and delivered the diary.

The lady smiled as you felt a leather-covered hand snaking on your back in a slight caress. Your breathing engaged when she deduced that this was something of a compliment for having been a good girl and given what her mistress had asked for. You wished you were alone to slap yourself in the face for thinking of something like this and while your brain was shorting out completely a laugh from the lady called you reality once again when she was leafing through her drawings.

Her light eyes circled between the drawings without showing any indication of any emotion you want and you caught yourself looking at them for a while. When she arrived on the page that was filled with drawings of Cassandra’s flies, a smile opened in her features as one of the enlivened hands came out of your back to gently pass the forefinger under the engraving.

She seemed almost happy at the time, but her face closed completely when she turned the page and the portrait of the woman you had seen in your dream was seen by the lady. You could watch your breath go faster as your chest went up and down.

"Where did you see this woman?" She asked clearly striving to be kind to you.

"I had a dream that night and she appeared in it." You raised your face briefly in an effort to make eye contact even if for a short time you showed the lady that you were telling the truth. She looked between you and the drawing and just nodded silently.

"Did she say anything to you in this dream?" The lady asked her voice while still displaying a slight change.

"I don’t remember it." You lied not thinking that this conversation would lead anywhere, fortunately the lady did not press you about it while the silence fell once more over the room. Until she stood up and said goodbye one more time saying she needed to get back to work. You just nodded accordingly and before she left and returned your diary you felt her hands in your hair in yet another slight caress as your heart leapt with happiness wanting her to do it always.

 

==============

 

The day was being tumultuous to say the least, and the eldest maiden sighed with relief when she saw that he was already at the end. A maid had been alone with the lady after the others returned from the kitchen, Constance though curious in her years of work had learned that there was no breathing going on in this castle that the lady did not know, so spying was not a good idea.

She concentrated on keeping the other maidens busy with their chores while waiting for the maiden in the dining room to return in one piece at least. Another tired sigh as she sat at the table.

It took longer than she expected, but finally the maid came in only crying desperately all the more to Constance’s relief. She had been here for over 10 years, which was a laudable record with the other damsels and yet she couldn’t help but worry a little about the newbies.

Pulling the trembling maiden away from the others, she began to try to calm the sobbing woman.

"You never listen to my advice..." Constance grumbled as she delivered tissues to the little girl who slowly calmed down.

"She- she... the lady asked me if I mentioned anything about Nora to the new girl." The girl vented to the older woman who walked away while breathing deeply. Nora... She remembered the play, impossible to forget one of the most troublesome maids Constance ever had the pleasure of knowing if it could be said so.

"Forget that this happened. If you have done nothing, you have nothing to fear now, get yourself together and return to your tasks." The older woman passed some more tissue paper to the girl and saw her leave for the main hall to continue her tasks.

All the memories that came with the mention of Nora seemed to flashback into the mind of the older maid who had to fight with her mind all the time to ward off the intruding thoughts that were accumulating.

The maiden had been a fool to fall in love with another troubled maiden and one day she woke up knowing that her beloved was no longer among them. A blind rage took over Nora. The older woman who at the time had not yet held such a high post tried to advise her to be prudent to face reality, but she never listened to her.

Her end came quickly the day she managed to recruit a group of three other maidens including in a failed attempt to inflict any kind of physical damage on the matriarch. Her body shivered when the memory of the screams that echoed through the castle reached her ears.

"Something bothering you, Constance?" The familiar tone of the matriarch brought the older woman to reality as she caught herself standing in the middle of the hallway not knowing where she was going.

"I beg your pardon, madam, today is a different... day." Constance found the golden eyes of Lady Dimitrescu where a perfectly arched brow indicated a certain questioning, but the tall woman nodded as Constance moved out of her way and both moved to distinct sides.

 

=================

 

Cassandra sneaked into one of the high windows where she could see clearly what every day at the same time she came to see in this very window. The middle daughter of the Dimitrescu patiently waited for the girl who lived in a cabin near the castle with her family to leave. Every day at the same time a little before dark the girl who was foreign with her family left her home to do some chores in the small Little Bet they had and the brunette loved to see her work.

She would never admit it, but in fact it had been almost a whole year since Cassandra chased the girl like a predator who kept looking at her prey’s movements before attacking. Not that she wasn’t one, she was and was one of the few ways she knew how to act when such a feeling awoke in her heart.

Always taking great care that none of her sisters or even her mother knew of her intentions with the foreigner, She spent the whole time with the girl looking at distance and letting herself dream of a day when she would have the courage to go talk to the woman.

She was tall, not as tall as Cassandra, but still taller than most. She was muscular and had long, wavy black hair like her mother’s, but her skin was burned and kissed by the sun in a way that left Cassandra’s knees wobbly.

Every day the brunette who was now leaning under the table buzzing excited with her thoughts wondered where the woman came from. In a few moments on the hottest days she would sneak in closer just enough to hear the woman’s voice. And it was exactly as she expected a tone of firm voice and perfectly contrasting with her muscular physiognomy, but the accent did not leave gaps where she would be...?

"Cassandra!" The brunette dumped herself on the table frustrated that her mother was calling at a time like this. She kicked the carpet slightly to get even with her anger, but also to have her hand listen and disintegrate by going to her mother.

 

=========================

 

The night had already fallen under the skies you had just had dinner and was already ready to lie down in your dorms Daniela had been very kind to you and left a book that she thought would be of interest to you at the door with a note saying that when you finished it I’d like to talk to you about.

It made you smile from ear to ear with the gesture. Maybe being stuck here was starting not to become such a bad thing, they were being good people to you after all.

Soon a noise behind you caught your attention from your book. If turning completely you can see the same figure of the previous day, but now due to being completely facing you noticed that the blonde woman with the huge scar on her face also had a missing arm.

Your stomach was burdened with the macabre vision of what appeared to have been brutally ripped out. Looking away when she found yours you didn’t say a word wishing it would go away the same way it did.

"Have you figured out my name?" The figure asked as she got out of bed and approached trying to see the book you were reading.

"No." You replied simply as you hid the book forgetting the little note that Daniela had left on the table.

"My name is Nora. I was a maiden here and was murdered and tortured by the people who now send you notes." She said with disgust as she looked up the notes you had on Lady Dimitrescu and now Daniela.

"They are kind to me." You looked away carrying the book in a protective manner as you stood up and took her place in bed.

Nora looked at you with what you might feel like irritation or maybe even pity, but what? You were not a fool and knew that there were pieces in this great puzzle that did not fit, however it was not in your nature to interfere where it was not called and especially with people who were beginning to get used to your presence and you with theirs.

"You’re one of those hard-nosed women you only believe when you see it. Which is very contradictory since you can see me and speak to me openly, unlike the vast majority." She snorted in discontent as she pleaded with her arm that you weren’t missing a piece of it.

A nervousness began to take hold of you as your breathing became more difficult and your stomach became nauseous. You weren’t sure it was a good idea to go against the rules of the castle and wander around with a crippled ghost who led you somewhere unknown, but you wanted to prove to yourself that there was nothing wrong here and arm yourself with all the courage you could to follow Nora out of the room through the eerily quiet corridors.

There was no one in any of the corridors you passed besides being corridors that you had never come close to before, it was extremely poorly lit and much colder than the other areas of the castle. Every step of the way, you regret getting out of bed even more.

"We’re almost there." Nora said as she moved ahead of you. Your heart was racing like never before in your stay here and although your countenance did not change of reaction you very much wanted to turn around and go away.

The decorated walls and wooden furniture began to give way to cold and dark stone walls, only a few torches illuminated the path that descended further. It was like an infinite dark labyrinth. You could hear in the distance leaking noises even in the middle of winter and a chill ran all over your body when a gust of cold air cut your way.

Your footsteps were becoming slower when you arrived at a small wooden door leading to a place where you had never been before shelf and more shelf filled with bottles of wine reminded you of the dealings with which the mistress worked. When a room lit not far caught your attention Nora was already there nearby and you followed in slow and fearful steps.

When you came in and came across a round room with a table in the center plus four chairs as in the dining room even closer now because it is a much smaller room. A record player was next to a shelf full of bottles and more bottles. The place had nothing more than endless bottles you preferred to ignore the dark stains that appeared on the floor, on the walls or even on the table next to the chairs.

"Have you come to the conclusion that your lady is a monster?" Your eyes met with the mutilated face of Nora who looked at you with anticipation and you just frowned your eyebrows in displeasure at her.

"You get me out of my bed at a time like this, make me waste my time walking in places where clearly I shouldn’t be, for what?! You’re already dead! Why don’t you just settle down and go away and leave me alone?!" Your voice was next to a scream and you were already stuck in your mind long enough not to notice what you were doing. Your arm hit hard on the wooden table hurting you and you didn’t notice while it looked like the air you were breathing didn’t fill your lungs satisfactorily.

You couldn’t, you weren’t going to collapse here in the middle of the night alone with a fucking unhappy spirit who decided to end the peace you were achieving after days of struggle and struggle. Starting to feel inferior while thousands of voices that belonged to no one and nowhere but yourself took over your head your injured hand from the hit on the table and whether the spirit was there yet or not.

You don’t know if it’s been hours or minutes but at some point while your mind was repeating the sound of feet and metal dragging coming from somewhere very close to you a loud ringing took hold of your ears when Cassandra appeared in front of you.

"Lucia, why are you here? You shouldn’t be here. Mother was right that damn!" She approached you as if she were sniffing you while you couldn’t form a coherent phrase just crying and almost freezing from being in the cold for so long. The brunette managed to hold you in her arms with ease, a gesture you didn’t even have time to be surprised while crying non-stop under.

You closed your eyes tightly not wanting to see where she was taking you, the sound of feet dragging and metal against the cold stone got louder as she carried you away from there and you can hearI was going to give some order to someone in a language you didn’t know before the sounds and the cold were getting farther and farther away.

It was not long before you were placed in a bed that was not yours clearly you could hear voices talking to each other, but your mind was still far away to distinguish. Your cold stiff body while you felt a warm touch under your cheeks.

"Oh draga mea, where have you been walking..."

Chapter Text

You wake up in a different room. The cold no longer takes over your body and you can feel a comforting warmth in its place. When you open your eyes completely, you notice that the ceiling of this room was much higher, in addition to containing numerous high-relief drawings that gave the place a sophisticated air.

You get up leaning on the pillows sitting on the bed just to realize that this is actually a huge bed for your size, you who humbly flaunted your 6'(feet) now was in a bed so large that you could easily fit 10 of you maybe. Your eyes widened as you searched the rest of the room. To your left a huge closet of light tone while on your right curtains covered what you deduced was a door to a balcony beyond a giant dressing table. It might be considered comical how disproportionate this room was in its stature, but wait a minute...

"Oh good that you woke up draga mea." Lady Dimitrescu’s soft voice caught your attention a little further away from the bed. She now rested on a couch , her gloves, hat and jewelry were no longer present when you could see her light skin openly. A silk robe covered only what was needed and the perception of it all left you with a visible flush while you could feel your face warm.

"It seems you and I need to have a conversation, doesn’t it?" You didn’t look at her directly, but you could feel the smile in her voice as she waved to you to be quiet and follow her.

It was only when you tried to get out of bed completely that you realized there was an extra weight on the bed. Lowering your gaze you were greeted with the sight of a nest of very large blankets which in fact were Cassandra. She probably blacked out here in the heat after she brought you here and you made a mental note of thanking her when she woke up.

You got rid of the curled-up cat that was Cassandra and managed to get out of bed without waking her up and followed the lady down the new halls stopping as she gestured to have you sit at a tea table next to a window. Pulling the chair you sat joining your hands inside your knees clearly embarrassed by having broken a rule without a plausible explanation.

"Aren’t you mad at me, ma'am?" The question was totally sincere and you really didn’t want to mess up the cool thing you were having that up to the moment you didn’t know how to name it.

"No. Just because you didn’t know what you were doing." The lady sighed and you could feel her look on you.

"I really didn’t mean to, ma'am." You almost whispered feeling stupid for believing in a ghost without even asking.

"So tell me what made you go down there." She seemed genuinely interested, showing no trace of anger in her voice or posture, which made you comfortable enough to open up to her and count every bit of what happened to Nora. In fact, you were afraid of the judgment that she wouldn’t believe you for the absurdity of you talking to someone who’s already dead, but to your total surprise at the brief moments when your eyes met you can see that it absorbed every word of what you said with interest.

"I would not like to have this conversation with you so soon." The lady sighed as she seemed to continue her sentence looking down the aisle, embarrassed? You didn’t know how to answer yourself. "It seems that every time I try to get it under the carpet and act normally, life decides to remind me that it is not possible to ignore it." Her voice descended in a tone not of anger, but sadness she was almost melancholy and you though curious wanted to do something for her just not to see her like that.

"Nora is correct in part of what she said. Yes, I killed her and I don’t regret it." You were aware even looking at the designs of the carpet and couldn’t hold a chill that went up your spine with the revelation. "She tried to set me up in my sleep, silly girl." The lady whispered in her memory while a previously unknown sound to you reverberated from her breast was a growl? You couldn’t say either, but you stopped as suddenly as you came.

Nora’s condition was macabre to say the least, and at that moment you feared what you were capable of. She seemed to notice this as ever and you felt her gaze as you initiated a repetitive movement to open and close your wrists in an attempt to land and not plunge into your head.

"I believe that for you it is a little complicated to put together the small pieces that I can not hide about it mainly by color blindness." Lady Dimitrescu paused once more, she seemed to be in an internal battle as she spoke her words. "And I don’t think it’s a burden on you to deal with now anytime soon."

You couldn’t stand to see her like this anymore and in an attempt to help you reached out your hand by touching her fingertips that only now did you notice that they were a much darker shade than your skin, maybe that’s why she wore gloves the thought came as fast as it did while she looked frozen by touch.

"I’m not human draga mea." She found her eyes and her heart sped up as she frowned for it almost worried. "Can she hear my heart?" You wondered mentally as you saw how she responded so instantly to your departure.

"What was on Daniela’s plate and the corridors I walked through, what was it?" The lady seemed surprised that you were able to recognize the intensity of the tones of both and join that in your mind and sighing as you lay more in your chair she replied. "It was blood."

"Me and the girls need to ingest blood to survive." She looked at you again and you surprised yourself by holding on to her gaze as your heart strangely calmed down and you opened a naughty little smile. "Are you a vampire?"

She frowned again as she seemed to be trying to figure out how to explain it. "Not exactly, but you could say that."

It now had an effect on you and you laughed almost silently as you opened a genuine smile. Lady Dimitrescu, however, was very surprised at the fact that you were so smiling when she thought you would come down the stairs screaming at the top of your lungs.

"Now, this is new... please share what’s so fun." You could feel her smile slightly probably infected by her own joy.

"When I was brought here and saw the castle for the first time I deduced it was inhabited by vampires." She raised both eyebrows for you with a funny look. "And are you happy because you got parts right?" You waved anxiously as her eyes shone with your reaction opening a smile as big as yours.

"Every moment you surprise me even more with your lightness." The tall woman tilted her head slightly as she looked at you even after you looked away without knowing what to say.

The sleep began to hit you since it was the middle of the night and you let out a yawn covering your mouth with the back of your hand.

"I will accompany you to your room." She laughed softly from her sleepy state while helping you stand up with her hand on your back. It was funny how her open hand occupied almost all your back, you thought as you followed her down the quiet hallways. At some point when you passed through the hall of masks the same sound of creeping things was heard by you and probably by her also when the lady was quick to divert you from the route she would take to another.

Arriving at the bedroom door you touched the cold door handle and did not open it, choosing to turn to the lady once more. "You’ve been honest with me and I appreciate that, thank you, my lady." The blush returned to you in the same intensity and you looked away while taking a deeper breath your heart was happy again.

"Same to you, darling." Lady Dimitrescu approached you and you stood frozen in place as you felt her hand on your cheek caressing you with your thumb. "You were really a gift... good night draga mea." She turned and walked away as you walked into the bedroom jumping into bed and sinking into the pillows just to have the best dreams you’ve had since you got here.

 

=====================

 

Alcina returned smiling to her room without a doubt this girl was unlike anything she had ever dealt with before. She laughed at herself remembering Lucia’s lively reaction. "What a peculiar little thing you are" She thought as she went to her quarters. Even if she hadn’t told her everything it was a good start and she wanted more space with the woman and being as things were previously would be much more complicated. Whatever depended on it his dragon would not appear so soon, things were going so well had not the need to spoil anything.

Opening the room, she smiled once more, looking lovingly at her little hunter who had gone as well as ever at her request. Even attentive to Lucia’s movements, the lady feared losing her as yesterday, she did not want the redhead to find some Moraica through the dungeons or something worse that really shook the brightness that the girl displayed and that the lady liked so much.

Carefully she pulled the covers lying on her bed at the place where the lesser woman had been before and she caught herself sniffing the pillow to see if there was any trace of her smell.

"Where did my human blanket go?" Cassandra’s voice frightens Alcina, who quickly disguises what she was doing only to laugh at the disheveled vision that was her middle child. Her hair was a complete mess as she looked across the bed looking for Lucia with her face sulking.

"I left her in her room, my little insect." The lady responded by looking fondly at her sleepy daughter who muttered something before returning to curl and sleep.

That night Alcina knew she couldn’t sleep again if she tried and she didn’t need to, since she had taken a nap on the couch while Lucia slept. She took the opportunity to take the book she was reading before all this commotion and decided to finish it that morning.

On the morning of that same day the lady was awakened when her personal maiden, Chloe, opened a little the curtains allowing clarity to enter. The lady who was napping with the book in her lap soon felt the presence of the girl who was bowing in a small reverence.

"Good morning, my lady." A pause was made when both eyes saw the tangle of blankets muttering something incoherent to those present in the room so far. "Good morning, miss." The maiden greeted Cassandra who just turned her back into the blankets to escape the light.

"Good morning Chloe." The lady replied as she removed the book from her lap, closing it and putting it on her bedside table. In the meantime Cassandra noticed that she would not have the peace she wanted there since her mother would start the day and decided to get up drowsy taking her tangle of blankets and grumbling something about going back to sleep. Looking fondly as she laughed at her middle daughter’s situation, Alcina now turned her attention to the maiden who had already begun her chores.

"I’d like you to inform Constance that from now on Lucia will have her meals with us at the table, yes?" The lady was curious to know what would be the reaction of the redhead to receive the news while getting up. Perhaps what the lady was looking for unconsciously all this time was the peace that Lucia conveyed, the lightness to her life so difficult.

She reflected as she saw the short-haired blonde maiden working and singing a soft melody probably without realizing it. Chloe had been working at the castle for almost a year and had never given trouble, after which Constance was one of the maidens Alcina struggled to keep close.

 

=================

 

You woke up in urgent need of a cold bath. The evening had been hectic to say the least, and your fertile imagination decided to present you with the most morbid and sexy dreams you’ve ever had. Your clothes once again glued to your body with sweat as you ran to the bathroom to take a shower and get rid of that feeling.

A memory went through your mind the moment you were in the bath as always in the same position embraced with your knees. Often you had dreams like these things considered macabre and even morbid were completely normal to be in much of your thoughts, often you portrayed them in your drawings as a way to relieve a little the accumulation of them for you. Sometimes it looked like your head weighed twice as much just because of them.

You’ve often been branded as strange because of your "peculiar tastes" not that you cared much after a certain time the offenses became tiresome and repetitive so thanks to your small and lean stature you managed to find a way to get into the most unusual places possible and achieve peace.

The conversation with Alcina had undoubtedly resurrected much of these macabre thoughts back. You have always dreamed of meeting or living in a horror film, probably a high contrast to your lack of self-preservation. You were scared and scared, but your body didn’t work the way it would be right and what it would be like for anyone to run out and scream just left you standing like an empty being.

"Lucia! Are you awake?" Constance’s voice caught your attention as she knocked on the door. "You’ll be late..." Now you noticed that you were traveling a long time and started to curl up in the towel running as you opened only a crack from the door just to see the older woman’s face and light hair.

"What?" She handed you a pile of clean, new clothes and you thanking her even though you wanted to understand where they came from.

"It seems our lady wishes you to have your meals with her from today." You widened your eyes with this for Constance who raised an eyebrow at you and pointed to clothes. "You better not be late."

When you waved, you closed the door and changed quickly. Before leaving you took the same little note that Daniela had left on her door next to the book that you had been able to read only half and made a drawing of what looked like a hat and carried it next to the pile that contained the book and your diary.

This time you went out on the traditional path as you were going to the dining room. As you passed through the main hall your eyes turned as always to the huge chandelier and you wondered what it would feel like to touch one of the crystals that were hanging under them just to see it swing.

When you entered the dining room only the lady was sitting there in her chair facing the door from the hall. "I hope you slept well, draga." That word again she started calling you that ever since you "did it" and you really wanted to know what it meant, but you didn’t ask as you approached and pulled your chair that stood next to her even farther away.

"I did, thank you. And you?" You asked innocently making an effort to look in the eyes for a short time only to see that she was surprised by your question. Didn’t people ask how she slept?

Before she could answer a swarm of flies took the form of her three daughters who sat in their proper places casting at you equally intrigued looks. The swarm of flies that was part of them you deduced was not bothering you as much as in the early days, but even so you wouldn’t want to stay any longer than necessary watching and listening to the swarm.

"Lucia will eat with us from now on." The matriarch’s tone was enough for any protest to be silenced, as much as she didn’t ask if you wanted to eat with them or not, you didn’t care. Maybe it was your fault, but you had a tendency to accept things without question, avoiding conflicts was a characteristic of you since always and here was no different.

As soon as the lady gave her order and the food was served, a different one for you as usual you nudged Daniela lightly with your foot and passed her a note. She found your eyes for a moment with furrowed eyebrows and opened the note in her lap laughing when she saw it. Immediately the lady’s conversation with the two older daughters was interrupted when Cassandra leaned over to Daniela’s side trying to see the note.

"Hey! I want to see it too." She complained loudly calling attention to the frowning lady trying to understand what was distracting the girls just during a meal. You disguised the guilt of distraction as your taking another bite out of your eggs with bread.

Bela decided to join her by also leaning on her seat to see the note making the lady angrier.

"Now girls, what’s so fun?" Finally Lady Dimitrescu’s curiosity took hold of her while Cassandra took the note and placed it on the table for all to see. And what was in it was nothing big, just a drawing of something very much like a hat. "Were you making all this commotion because of a drawing of a hat?" The lady arched an eyebrow including you.

"It’s not a hat..." You muttered softly when the lady turned all her attention to you. Getting used to the fact that she couldn’t read minds, but rather finding out almost everything you were feeling at the time was strange. She noticed from the beginning when she brought the note to the dining room, but let the situation flow to see how far she was going.

"So tell me, darling, what is this drawing?" Her tone of voice lowered a tone when she spoke to you and it caused you an involuntary shiver as you listened to the giggles of the girls in your effort making you end up smiling together. "It’s a snake that swallowed an elephant."

This now seemed to have made the lady angry when she snorted and dressed up in her big seat giving her a skeptical look that you did not find directly. She probably thought you were making fun of her, but the girls who had probably read the book and knew about the reference decided to give you a hand.

"Lucia is right, mother." Said Bela laughing a little in her mother’s expression. "Yes, it is true." Daniela agreed while Cassandra waved positively.

"I don’t know why I get the feeling you’re trying to make a fool of me." The lady looked angry and you didn’t want it so she opened the book on the page that showed that it was really a snake that had swallowed an elephant and poked her arm lightly. The tall woman raised both eyebrows in surprise and gave a concordant hum by returning to her meal while everyone else did the same.

The rest of the breakfast was quiet, sometimes they talked in a language you didn’t understand and you made a mental note to understand what "Draga mea" meant. Just before the girls were discharged you thanked Cassandra for her help in the early hours and she seemed surprised for a moment, but then disguised her face as a grumpy "nothing."

As soon as they were dismissed and you began to stand up, the lady’s voice caught your attention. "What is the name of this book?" She asked probably looking for something in some pocket. "Little Prince." You replied by not finding her look.

"Will I see you in the tower later?" It wasn’t really a question and you smiled once again realizing that not giving orders should be almost impossible for her. The lady caught his naughty smile, but said nothing. "Always, my lady."

You answered your initial question by making a little bow to your head and leaving the room for the winter garden where you intended to finish reading your book or better from Daniela.

 

===============

 

Bela eagerly awaited the maiden who was in charge of delivering and receiving the letters from the castle. It was getting complicated to make night calls to Donna so the letters option seemed the wiser so far and after the romantic letter she had sent to the shy dollmaker the blonde eagerly awaited her response.

Sitting on the steps of the little entrance hall she snorted, it seemed that the maiden was being slow on purpose was not possible or perhaps it was she who was in too much haste ? No, it certainly wasn’t the maiden.

While waiting for Bela’s mind to turn to Lucia. The girl was undoubtedly something completely different from anything they had ever seen, but at times like this morning’s pranks the eldest daughter caught herself wishing it would happen more often. Her mother had talked among them that Lucia now knew part of her natures and commented on her atypical reaction as it has been with everything so far. Bela laughed more for herself than anything else, the redhead didn’t seem remotely dangerous anyway although Cassandra’s paranoia and her high guard with everything always kept the older one on alert.

But after the incident yesterday, where Cassandra decided to help her, the blonde decided to rule out the possibilities of danger that the newcomer could offer "It would be easier for her to hurt herself than anything else." She snorted with thought. When the sound of the door opening and the cold current of wind that passed through her body brought her back to reality.

"I finally thought you’d never get here!" She waited for the maiden to close that blessed door and enter completely to pull the purse quickly from the frightened maiden. It doesn’t matter, Bela just wanted her letter and then the girl could run through the castle trembling with fear.

Finding Donna’s reply she returned the purse to the trembling maiden and vanished into her anxious swarm to the room that was with the lighted fireplace ready to read and already respond. Peeping inside the room, the eldest daughter of the Dimitrescus wanted to be absolutely sure that she was completely alone before opening the letter and as soon as she was absolutely sure she entered completely into the room closing the door and sat comfortably next to the crackling fireplace.

"Dear Bela, I hope that this letter has come to you well that there have been some minor setbacks within my territories lately and so I took a little longer than I wished to answer you. Don’t worry, I’m fine and Angie was also really something very small, but that was enough for the villagers to knock on my door. I do not know if something similar happened there in the Alcina regions. Anyway what happened was that some almost unrecognizable remains of young people were found they seemed to be coming from the direction of the castle. I hope you’re all right. I miss you and I can’t wait for the cold to subside and you can come back and visit. I saved one of the clothes you left here with great affection, when we can see each other again I don’t promise I’ll return it.

Be well, sweetheart.
Give my regards to Alcina and your sisters.
Addio

Donna Beneviento."

The blonde was smiling from ear to ear and was certainly blushing as she could feel her face getting a little warmer. Taking a deep breath as he embraced the letter taking great care not to crush. Soon making a mental note to talk to her mother about such outsiders and see if she knew anything, but the important thing is that Donna was okay and that now she had an answer to do.

 

============

 

It was about time the lady usually came to visit you in the tower room and you caught yourself looking between the clock and the door waiting anxiously for your arrival. "Damn" you scolded yourself for getting carried away so quickly. To distract yourself, you opened your diary and picked up a pen that was always in the room probably of the lady or one of the girls, but you used it when you were here alone.

Opening the diary on a blank page you stopped before doing anything. What you would draw a complete blank took over your mind, no idea was going or coming from absolutely nothing like a desert in those old west movies. It seemed that aside from the expectation of the lady’s arrival her mind had nothing else.

Leaning your forehead over your hands you tried to fetch something in your memory to draw and alleviate it anything. Lost in your thoughts you did not see the lady entering the room and lost the smile she gave you to see that as promised you were waiting for her.

That soft caress in your hair was what you felt as you lifted your head to see Lady Dimitrescu looking almost lovingly.

"Are you okay, draga mea?" She passed her leather-covered fingers under her cheek and even her chin in a soft caress that left you blushing. "Yes, yes I am." You were quick to pull yourself together and go back to another place near the window completely forgetting the open diary.

"Was I in the way?" The lady pointed to the open diary and only then did you realize that you had forgotten it opened, but didn’t bother to pick it up. "No. I don’t know what to draw anyway." A hum in response was all the lady gave you before she approached you and sat next to you looking out the window as usual.

"Have you finished this book?" She asked now pointed to the book near the diary. "Oh yes, I need to return Daniela." You made a mental note to go through the library and return the book. "Give it to me, I’ll give it back to you." She smiled briefly and you just nodded accordingly.

Minutes of comfortable silence passed as you just enjoyed each other’s company. The snow was getting thinner and thinner and it started to make you slightly worried that maybe you didn’t have time to go see how the lady had invited you.

"Your work takes up a lot of your day, doesn’t it?" You asked really curious innocent, since she disappeared most of the day in your office. "Unfortunately dear." The tall woman breathed a sad sigh and you could feel that she didn’t like that fact very much.

"You know, I think I owe you a ride, don’t you?" That scared you, she could read minds ? Your breathing picked up a bit, but you nodded accordingly not wanting to miss the opportunity to be in the middle of the snow with it.

"Great! Let’s go for a walk in the gardens I believe it will be a different view for you." She reached out to you and you took it without a thought as you followed her down the halls. It was comical you compared to her even walking side by side but you very much appreciated her calm in waiting for you. When you arrived at the gate of the gardens your stomach had been upset for quite some time since you had left the castle even for the gardens and it made you strangely uncomfortable.

"I should have had a coat made for you." The voice of the frustrated lady while looking for some coat for you finally cut you off from your malaise while you noticed that she used the phrase "Order to make for you." So the clothes were her who had you delivered all this time? Why? Her head frowned and she seemed to notice it.

"Is everything all right, darling?" Her voice now looking worried while you believed that yes everything was fine and allowed her to put a coat much larger than you on your body. "Ready. What a cute thing you look like this." She laughed more for herself than for you and you blushed again.

When she opened the doors and you went out into the cold you noticed how heavy her coat was and it sure wasn’t for someone your size, but it didn’t matter you were more fascinated with winter than anything else. You didn’t even notice how the lady looked at you with equal admiration, giving little smiles to her little joys with things that were so routine to her.

Your steps were slow as the landscape of small ice crystals together with dried plant beds made your eyes shine. Several ideas of drawings coming back to your mind when a slightly dirty thought went through your mind and you laughed at yourself when you decided to put it into practice. The lady to her relief was completely distracted by lighting a cigarette that she pulled out of her pockets, God she was so elegant with that cigarette case, focus. You flicked to wake up before ducking in disguise and making a snowdrift in your hands until you formed a ball.

You didn’t care about the consequences of this, you didn’t really care, you just wanted to test and do it since you never had an opportunity before. Then the ball started from his hands landing straight on the Lady’s perfect hips smashing into several smaller flakes. Your mouth opened in an "O" when the lady stopped her movements to look at you, her illegible expression.

A noise caught your attention and you realized that you were near a window where Daniela and Cassandra spied on you very badly hidden behind one of the curtains. Daniela’s mouth was open in the same expression, but soon changed to a mean and playful look like Cassandra’s when they both started together: "Get her mother!" You widened your eyes in betrayal while the lady laughed at your state of complete shock.

"Oh darling don’t worry I won’t do anything to you... for now..." The lady’s smile spread maliciously as you began to wonder if that had been a wise decision.

The rest of the tour was passed quietly and just before the time she needed to come back to work almost at the door you felt a very strong blow to the head and something icy like sand dripping through your clothes. Stretching your hand blindly in front of your own body not to fall face down in the snow you just heard the lady’s velvety laugh behind you and a second her voice was in your ears as she held you back.

"Be careful, darling, I’m usually very competitive in games like this." Her voice in that same low tone that she used to use when she wanted you to feel so shy that you wanted to bury yourself in the snow. The caress in your hair once more when a maiden opened the doors and removed her coat and yours. Before she climbed up the stairs she turned to you for a wink until she vanished into the halls leaving you in an unimaginable shade of shame.

 

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Today was certainly a joyful day for the Dimitrescus and that included Alcina. Finishing her glass of wine she smiled at herself as she remembered the moments with Lucia. She was happy that the girls were also enjoying the presence of the girl as much as she was, but the thought that Daniela had sent messages to Lucia still tormented the possessive part of the lady who wanted her little gift to have eyes only for her. To her relief her more daring pranks with the woman were working as she had positive effects on that lovely blush that she shouldn’t even see sporting what a terrible pity it was.

Finishing her last document, the lady took the opportunity to open the book she had gotten from Lucia and start reading it, she knew she would not finish today or maybe yes if she did not nap in her bed as sometimes happened.

Hours passed as the lady read the watchful book when a common phrase caught her attention "You become eternally responsible for what you captivate." the fox in the book had said this to the little prince and she realized how that phrase touched the lady. Lighting one more cigarette she allowed herself to think while bringing, was that it? Lucia was captivating her? The slightly stronger beat of her heart confirmed.

And in a defeated sigh she put a plan in place since Lucia was enjoying this little joke so much she would get into it too. Taking a sheet decorated in white she cut a small piece just enough for what she had in mind and began to write a little note without signing.

Alcina had already sent a note to her once but she tried to write in a way that the redhead would have to think for a while to find out who had done it and that left her with a triumphant smile as she passed through the quiet corridors to slip the little piece of paper under Lucia’s door.

Chapter Text

Today a month ago you were living in the castle Dimitrescu and even though you did not go beyond the castle walls during that time you could not complain. The lady has always been attentive to you by giving you clothes, gifts and even in the meals you share with her daughters most of the time were joyful moments and you remembered them fondly.

During your 25 years of life there were few moments when you felt at ease with the people who lived only Téo and Nadia gave you this feeling of comfort and affection, something you began to feel close to the Dimitrescus.

In an afternoon where Alcina seemed busy to meet you in the tower as it became a habit, Daniela and Cassandra decided it would be interesting for you to join them. You were surprised at the moment by the sudden invitation made by the youngest Dimitrescu, but eventually gave in and you didn’t regret it. The afternoon was spent among the three of you talking about various topics among them the book. Neither of the two sisters wanted to confirm to you the suspicions you had that the note you found under your door had actually been written by Lady Dimitrescu. Even later that day when you found Bela probably spying on some maiden and repeated the question, you got nothing useful.

Anyway ties were being created and strengthened at that time and you didn’t complain, in fact you were enjoying it a lot. The lady was always busy in her office, but you admired how she preserved by managing her time in a way that she would always show up some part of the day in that tower that has become her favorite place in the castle since you were allowed access.

Her caresses in your hair, your face, your jaw never ceased, and you deduced that it had something to do with the blush that struck your face every time she did it. Often you managed to catch by your peripheral vision at times where it was just you and her a predatory look at the lady for your form, analyzing you up and down and lingering at a few points.

You admit to yourself that many nights woke up wet rather telling soaked due to your fertile imagination thousands of dreams that with the measure of time were becoming more and more spicy with the lady took over their nights.

The feeling of comfort also brought in addition to your proximity to the Dimitrescus some of your confessions at meals about your past. You weren’t a bad person, at least you thought you weren’t, but your past wasn’t something you wanted to share. Even so, on a certain day when it became impossible for you to dodge you decided to tell about Téo and Nadia. Now all the women in the house besides the maids who were there serving know that you grew up in an orphanage and that these two people were friends that you considered family for a long time. When you told about Téo’s accident and how he had departed from this plan you couldn’t stand it and tears formed in your eyes. Immediately you bowed your face at the table until you leaned your forehead over it looking at your knees as shame flooded you.

To your relief, a bewildered hand you now knew well has caressed you once more now on your back. "But look Lucia if it had not happened your friends would not have traveled with you and you would not have gotten here" You would never forget the way Daniela said it. Your head had risen as you looked into the clear eyes trying to comfort you. No doubt none of them were fully aware of how to comfort a human being, but the simple fact that they were striving for you made you immensely happy.

You had just gotten ready for breakfast this morning and were looking in the mirror at the new dress the lady had given you, every day she gave you a dress you asked for the color and one day you decided to ask her what her favorite color was. Red she answered without even thinking and you smiled as you tried to think what that color would be like and how her would fit into it. When you asked her how she would describe red she seemed a little scared and you didn’t understand why. The lady shuffled her words and couldn’t tell you what red looked like and you just nodded in agreement by giving her a sympathetic smile.

"Again you’ll be late, Lucia! Let’s go!" Constance’s voice ringing behind the door of your room reminded you that you were late for breakfast. Leaving quickly and taking care not to run since the lady had made it clear in a game of yours with the girls that she didn’t want to see you running down the halls.

When you finally got to the dining room, only Daniela and the lady were present and you were surprised, but you wouldn’t interfere. "You forgot, didn’t you?" The younger daughter asked while forcing your back with ease so you could sit on the seat. It was when she started messing with your hair that you remembered that she had asked to practice a hairstyle in your hair and you had brought up your lucky elastic to hold and show her.

"Yeah... but the hair elastic is here!" You responded by responding to her cheerful smile while taking off your right wrist a red and old hair-binding elastic by the time. The lady had said nothing as she watched the situation unfold.

"This... then is your lucky elastic?" Daniela seemed to seriously doubt your information while analyzing the object as if it were something viscous and the lady disguised a laugh in a glass of wine that had been served. You also wondered why she was drinking wine so early when she usually had tea.

"Yes. I know he looks strange because he’s old, but it was Nadia who gave it to me and he helped me get out of a lot of trouble." You smiled once more with the memory as you averted your gaze and picked an arched eyebrow from the lady.

Adjusting to your seat, you were completely quiet while Daniela worked on your hair. You had no idea what she was doing, but trusted that it would be something tasteful like everything you had seen of women until now.

When it was over you instinctively passed your hand along the hairstyle trying to discern what she had done just to feel a long braid.

"Oh you look great in that hairstyle I’m really good at." The younger daughter was too preoccupied boasting of her success as her sisters arrived trying to disguise their backwardness.

You didn’t even notice the look on the lady’s face until she gave the order to start serving and her big, raving hand came to rest above her knee like she did when she wanted to get your attention or just comfort you. This time when you turned to her your eyes glowed not with that dangerous glow, but with awe and something else a willingness to say something that you couldn’t get there to know for sure.

The breakfast was all wrapped up by Lady Dimitrescu trying to understand why Bela and Cassandra had arrived late while you were distracted looking out the window as usual the winter was starting to break and you already missed the snow. Before you could leave, a compliment of Bela’s hairstyle earned you a smile of thanks as Daniela supported her arm on her shoulder boasting again to her sister about her braided skills. When you were finally released and walked the halls, the click of heels behind you prepared you for a date with the lady.

"You’d have a minute stea mică." She had called you that a few times after you confessed to her that you tried to climb the elevator in hopes of reaching the roofs of the castle so you could see the stars. You had managed to get the meaning out of Cassandra days later to understand that you meant little star.

You stopped turning and looking up, finding her look. She could make you look at her the longer that no one had ever done it, of course many times it was beyond anything you could control, but the more the person could make you feel at ease the easier it was for you to beat it.

"I'd like you to meet me at a different place this afternoon if that's okay with you, yes?" Lady Dimitrescu gave you a slight smile and you instantly noticed that she was up to something.

"Of course, ma'am." You agreed without even thinking about it as she bent down a little just to support her hand on your cheek. "Great, ask one of the girls to take you to where I usually go when I’m upset and they’ll know where it is" You frowned at her wondering if she was upset and she laughed about it.

"I’m not upset, darling. Quite the opposite. I just can’t tell you where I’m going to take you or it wouldn’t be a surprise, can I?" She laughed softly at your features as if she could see everything that was going through your mind before saying a short goodbye and disappearing into the corner of the hall.

 

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The lady now returning to her office reflected on Lucia’s time here in her castle. More and more she was sure she had made the right choice and not killed her in those woods. In fact, nowadays, she could not imagine being away from the other woman. This in a way generated a very great fear Alcina. "Fear..." She thought about the word as she sat in her chair looking out the window, a habit she was beginning to understand because Lucia did so much. It was soothing to pay attention to the movements out there and help to think more clearly.

Fear, she had never feared anything. Sure nothing is an exaggeration since she feared inside the death of her daughters, her loved ones until then more dear. But Lucia... Was she afraid of turning herself in and not being returned? Or she feared the consequences of giving up, after all she had not been so honest with her little star about what she really was or what she was capable of. With this thought she expressed displeasure at herself, not even noticing the pale figure of Nora behind her smiling at the confusion she was managing to influence in the lady’s mind.

Alcina was strangely uncomfortable all of a sudden with these thoughts that were just piling up in her mind. She really needed a drink to her relief, she didn’t even have to call when Constance knocked on the door asking permission to enter the room.

"Come in." The lady said to pull herself together and put on her usual indifferent face while pretending to read some documents. Constance carried a tray with her precious sanguis virginis which she carried to a mobile behind the matriarch’s desk. Her heart rate was racing, which was abnormal for the old woman and Alcina wondered what had happened.

"Ma'am, I’d like to ask for a minute of your time." Constance had been there for years and Alcina had never seen the need to get rid of the old woman by always being faithful to the lady even after everything she had seen. Dropping the paper at the table with subtlety the tall woman turned to Constance gesturing for her to speak.

"I... the maidens are acting strange today, I mean, more than usual. It’s like..." The older woman struggled to formulate the words as much as Alcina’s thoughts were scrambled a few seconds ago. When a scream that until then would be nothing too much for both women was heard in a wing not far from where they were. It was Lucia’s voice and the lady moved as fast as she could, leaving Constance clueless as she followed the sounds of Lucia’s accelerated breaths.

When the lady finally found the redheaded woman she was huddled in a corner of the room cuddled at her knees while crying copiously. A maiden was looking startled at Lucia as her daughters appeared to arrive together as confused as the lady.

"What happened in here!?" Her voice almost growled as she gestured with a light movement of her head to one of her daughters to hold the maiden who was ready to run away from the situation. She approached Lucia lowering herself to her level trying to hold her and pull her into her lap, but the lesser woman backed back and the lady’s eyes widened in surprise. A blind rage took hold of the lady when she remembered the maiden who was being firmly held by Cassandra.

"What have you done to her...?" Alcina could not control the anger that was taking hold of her while the maiden struggled pathetically in Cassandra’s grip. Since she would not answer for good then she would answer for evil. The lady thought as her claws began to appear at her fingertips.

"She did nothing! She... she did nothing, I can explain." Finally Lucia seemed to have come out of her stupor and now looked at the lady. Green eyes flooded with tears found golden rages as Alcina breathed deep giving an order for Cassandra to arrest the girl in the dungeons and allow herself to calm down with the promise if whatever this maiden was would pay the price.

Her other two equally intrigued daughters helped Lucia get up while the redhead struggled to try to express herself. It seemed that she could not put the words together in her mind and the lady remembered that this was one of the consequences of autism. She wished she could touch her to somehow help, but the way she had retreated from her affection was still fresh in her mind and she didn’t want to see it again so soon.

"Why don’t you draw what you mean? Where’s your diary I’ll get it for you." Bela as always in front of others suggested while the lesser woman nodded giving a brief grateful look. While Bela was gone to collect the diary, Lucia was breathing deeply trying to calm down. The lady was so preoccupied and somewhat shocked that she did not notice that Lucia beat her foot repeatedly on the ground as an incessant repetitive motion.

Just before Bela arrived Alcina felt a warm touch on her knee was when she discreetly looked down and saw that Lucia was barefoot and that her foot touched very gently on her knee as she used to do when she wanted to comfort the woman. This made Alcina sigh and she smiled at the gesture of the redhead who did not look at her at that time her face focused on the other side of the room.

 

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After what seemed endless hours Bela had arrived with your diary and you thanked having already recovered in a good part of what had happened. The only way you could explain this was to actually draw since your mind didn’t work in conjunction with your mouth to speak and express itself.

Opening the journal you rip a page and place it in a horizontal shape while positioning the pen at one end of the page making a large line in the same direction right in the middle dividing into two spaces. On top of that line you made the drawing of stick dolls even if you wanted to be practical. You felt all the time the attentive eyes of the lady, Daniela and Bela in you Cassandra for some reason had not returned. Again you made another line just above the head of this same stick doll and drew a very large doll two slightly smaller and one much smaller. At the bottom of the page, away from all the other lines you drew another line and didn’t put any stick dolls on top of it. Turning the page over to the other side you drew a stick doll with no line on its own and made a bunch of aimless scribbles around it showing that it was in the dark. This doll didn’t have an arm like Nora and her face had a line in the middle with the spirit as well.

By turning the page you drew the attention of the 3 women to you while pointing to the group you drew first on the middle line. "The living..." you said as you pointed to the dolls "Call the dead." You completed it while turning the leaf pointing at the other armless dummy and bringing him to the other dummies on the middle line. The lady’s eyes widened slightly with this, she seemed to be understanding what you were saying. Again you pointed to the little doll in the top row and made a long arrow as you brought it down with the others.

"She brought you, didn’t she? This maiden brought you where she wanted you, where Nora was..." The lady’s eyes had that dangerous glow once again when you managed to lift your gaze and find your face again.

"Yes." You replied simply as if you were ashamed to have allowed yourself to be taken so easily. The sounds you heard were nothing compared to anything you’d heard before the lady. She seemed to growl like an angry dragon and it gave you goosebumps that you couldn’t control. She quickly got up and started talking to her other two daughters in that language that you did not understand, but now identified as Romanian.

Before you could notice they had left the room leaving only you and Alcina alone once more. "This is not how I expected to spend the day with you today..." She seemed almost melancholy and you felt even more guilty about it.

"I am so sorry." It was the most you could say at that moment as you swayed a little trying to put the words together in your mind to say "I’m sorry I ran away from you. I wanted to run to you and hug you because you make me feel good but I couldn’t." It was the hardest thing in the world to say that, the words wouldn’t come out of your mouth as much as you wanted and you wanted to punch your head in the wall until it exploded because you felt so useless.

"We’ll have other opportunities stea mică." Her comforting touch on your cheek made you sigh. It was amazing how the lady seemed to understand everything you felt or wanted to say without you actually having to do it. She stayed with you in a comfortable silence for almost an hour just before you fell asleep in psychological exhaustion with the body lying on its side in the lady’s arms.

 

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Soon after the blonde maiden had completed her duties in the lady’s room, she chose to return to the servants' area to leave her cleaning supplies and go to the kitchen where the rest of her duties belonged. While her footsteps were slow and distracted from her destiny, Chloe spotted something she wished she hadn’t seen. Miss Cassandra carried a young maiden to the dungeons, the girl had arrived at the castle not one week and the blonde maiden had not had time nor to properly introduce herself. She sighed, preferring to ignore the girl’s screaming cries being carried by the swarm of flies that made up the entire lower part of Cassandra.

Chloe had already seen this scene repeat itself several times, sometimes even for the same days, however she never ceased to regret being named with Constance one of the coldest maidens with the others. Treated as traitors of their own kind, a title that Lucia the shy redheaded girl who had arrived at the castle and who even though not part of the team was already being something of nitpicking and gossip. In a way she regretted that the other maidens preferred to act in this way, but as usual there was nothing that could be done about.

As soon as she arrived at the supply room which was near the employees' room and disposed of her equipment she could see Constance standing at the door. Furrowed eyebrows grabbing the ever-present dishcloth on her shoulder the older woman did not direct her gaze at Chloe seeming to be too absorbed in her own thoughts.

"You didn’t notice anything strange today, did you?"Finally the voice of the old woman sounded in the ears of the blonde who pondered the question for a few moments. "As far as I know not... I heard in the morning that strange maiden... Genevieve this! That’s her name. She was standing next to that other brunette maiden the lady interrogated a while ago and the new one who was taken." Constance was one of the few people other than the ladies Chloe trusted and knew it was wise to tell her observations since most of the time what she saw was key to finding some "mouse" on the staff as her lady used to name those who went to the trouble of trying to ruin her castle.

Constance however managed to deepen even further a frown that was already deep. "Did something happen?" The youngest blonde asked while leaning her head slightly to see if anyone would come. "I don’t know, but there are some very bad things told here... Keep your eyes and ears open." The old woman said before leaving with the young girl quietly to the kitchen.

During lunch the ladies seemed angry and chatted in Romanian between them while Chloe did not pay much attention looking at the different grooves on the floor to keep busy.

"Get out." The matriarch’s commanding and loud voice sounded pulling Chloe out of her reveries as she walked out with her eyes down. "Not you two." She spoke once more and the blonde stopped and returned to her previous position realizing that she had been alone with the ladies and Constance once again. Whenever the lady wanted to know about something the maidens were plotting that she or her daughters did not know she asked the older woman or the blonde who had always been faithful without questioning her orders even though Chloe had not even half the years of service Constance.

"I want to know everything suspicious you heard today." The younger maiden found the lady’s golden eyes while repeating her earlier statement earning only a nod in response. Constance in turn had more to say saying she heard the maidens talking about Nora again the brunette maiden that none of them seemed to remember the name seemed to constantly remember the deceased and several times the older woman caught her reflecting and even commenting with other maidens over the deceased.

This now seemed to have taken a nerve from the lady as her fists closed in anger and she emitted a growl from the bottom of her chest. Chloe and Constance have already retreated hoping that at any moment the lady would rise and tear whatever was in front of her in strips with those deadly claws that they had both witnessed several times.

"Take us to them now!" The lady ordered and Chloe ran immediately along with an apprehensive Constance out of the room easily finding the assigned maidens together in a corner of the room outside of her chores doing God knows what. The lady’s eyes shone dangerously as the two maidens moved away. Constance covered her ears like she always did when she had to see the ladies hurt someone and the blonde just closed her eyes. Cries and supplications were heard after the sickening sound of the sickles of the girls who attacked the maidens fiercely. None of the older maidens knew whether they would be alive or not after that and honestly they didn’t care.

When the sound of the flies of the ladies became distant and the lady breathed a sigh that could only be described as satisfied the blonde who was feeling her legs a little tightly opened the eyes that were strongly closed. Blood stained the carpet and ran down the floor, the walls had several bloodstains splashed by them, and Chloe deduced that her kitchen chores had just been altered.

The eldest maiden detached her ears picking up the lady’s order like a last line before leaving. Her dress had a small blood stain dangerously close to the hem that almost touched the floor. "Clean up this mess. Your help has been appreciated as always and your loyalty to the House Dimitrescu will be compensated at the end of the month." The lady vanished into the hallway as Constance breathed a sigh, leaning on the wall and descending to the floor trying to process what had happened.

 

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"It’s so cold in here because you decided to bring me here sometime if mother catches us late for breakfast..."
The eldest daughter of the Dimitrescu grumbled as she shrank, squeezing the large coat that Cassandra had arranged to protect them from the cold.

"Shhh just be quiet!" Cassandra grumbled as she found a small gap in the large entrance gate to show her sister what she wanted her to see.

It was not long before a brunette woman, with a beautifully defined body and long black highlights, passed by the gates. Cassandra’s eyes glowed as she admired the other woman passing by. It’s been a long time since Cassandra admired the woman even knowing her name, but for a while now the woman had chosen to venture into dangerous lands right next to the castle grounds and Cassandra wished that the cold outside was not so much so that she could not bear just to see the woman more closely yet.

"Oh! Are you in love?" Asked Bela when the woman was already far enough away. "No! I just... want to know how... you know!" The angry brunette growled at the smug smile Bela had now.

"Oh that’s sweet Cassandra. However, I regret to inform you that you will have to wait until winter comes to an end before you can go after this human. Do you know her name at least?" The eldest mocked Cassandra by getting another growl. "It’s Mariana. She is not local, but has lived here for quite some time." The brunette responded by hitting the tip of the sickle under the cold stone wall nervously.

"Wow you really are a creepy voyer!" Bela laughed as she swerved away from the middle sister’s onslaught trying to hit her with the sickle. "Hey! Do you want my help or not? Weird."

"Yes I want your help..." Cassandra lowered the sickle and answered between her teeth ignoring Bela’s triumphant smile. The way to the dining room was quiet as both of them were actually talking to Bela, teasing her every two sentences and leaving Cassandra too tempted to tell her to forget it. When they arrived at the dinner table, the brunette stopped her older sister a few meters from entering and promised to give the next man’s heart thing to Bela without questioning as payment for her silence. Once again she had to put up with Bela’s smug smile, but she shook her hand. "Deal."

 

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You knew exactly where you were when you opened your eyes and found a beach the sun did not shine in the sky here, the clouds took care of all possible sky bringing the scenery of a beach on a cloudy day. The sea was calm and the waves break in the huge rocks and the sand under their bare feet.

You were inside yourself. This place was probably some reminder that your subconscious had of the land you were born in. Olsen was a Norwegian surname and even though you were raised in an orphanage in São Paulo since you understood yourself as people you didn’t take the possibility that you were born in Norway.

Sitting next to the sea on the sand you allowed yourself to look at the horizon. A thick mist took hold of the farthest part of the sea that your eyes could reach. You used to dream about this place and most of the time when forces that weren’t among the living want something from you this is where you took them. You didn’t have superpowers or anything like that, no, and you always had a lot of fun when you had to explain to some layman about it. Having mediumship was just another bonus that came with you besides the many other unpleasant ones that accompanied you. You weren’t sure that the lady had managed to capture how you fit into that whole situation that you designed, but the truth is that you navigated all the lines.

You had managed to escape from Nora because her proximity to the Dimitrescus brought you joy and put you on a footing where Nora couldn’t get. However, someone and not just a multiple person were drawing the energy back and that was enough to drag you back to the same Nora line again. Sighing you didn’t even have to work hard since the joy you once felt easily had been replaced by an overwhelming rage.

"Then you’re smarter than I thought you were." Nora’s voice sounded in your ears. You squeezed your toes feeling the sand piling up between them as you kept looking forward without saying anything.

"I really didn’t expect you to be able to get out of my line to something as high alongside monsters like those." She continued as she approached you her steps making noises in the sand.

"Shut up. You’re sad and you let yourself get beat for it." You answered simply as you felt her behind you. "You don’t know anything about me or those monsters out there. Someday when you look like me maybe you’ll give me some reason." You had now completely lost your control, they were not monsters and you would not accept that. Turning around quickly taking advantage of Nora’s proximity, you tripped her to the ground. Thanking the heavens that Téo is a great capoeira player who taught you to defend yourself. Riding upon the woman you ignored the fact that she was no longer injured and that she now had her two arms somehow, the call of that maiden gave her strength enough to partially recover from the trauma.

"You ... messed with the wrong medium!" You screamed in the solitude of the deserted beach while repeatedly punching Nora’s face your fists hurt and you didn’t stop while you started crying.

"Lucia, wake up!" Jumping out of bed you woke up firmly holding Daniela’s arm that looked at you equally frightened by you grabbing her so bluntly. "I’m sorry." You said as you took a deep breath releasing it and finding other distant bright eyes that emanated concern.

"Is everything all right?" Bela’s voice in the background and you responded by nodding. It was only then that you noticed that Cassandra was also in the room opposite Bela’s, all with their mouths equally covered in the same dark shade that you deduced was blood. "Busy night?" You asked while giving a fun puff while the girls' eyes seemed to glow even more.

"Oh yes! Very much! Thanks to you and that stupid ghost..." Daniela said as you gained smiles from the other two sisters. "Speaking of the stupid ghost, I took care of her." You counted as you looked at the bones of your fingers that were slightly reddish, a reminder of what happened.

"How did you do that?" Cassandra entered the conversation seeming to share the curiosity of the sisters and you just laughed as you put your index finger over your own lips in an indicative of silence earning a triple snort that just made you laugh even more.

"Anyway mysterious lady mother wishes to see you before you go to sleep." Bela said joking with you while urging you to be brief in following them. "Oh" was all you could say before you were dragged abruptly out of the room towards the chandelier hall which you now knew as the main hall. "Good night, stea mică." The lady said as she approached you and you couldn’t help but notice that her dress was disheveled, which was rare for her. Her hair was also slightly messy while some stains of the same hue with that of the girls were mostly close to the sleeves of her dress which was almost always clear. She seemed to have realized that you were taking too long to look at it and decided to pick up your chin by looking up at her face. "I see you’re better, aren’t you?"

"Yes. I took care of Nora she won’t show up again. I apologize for what happened today." You dropped confetti on yourself inside your head for getting that phrase out.
As soon as you were dumped on the couch by the girls who disappeared on their exams giving their characteristic giggles you caught the figure of the lady entering the room. She had to bend over the doorjambs leaning to the side due to her enormous stature and you never stopped admiring the power she exuded when she did that.

"Oh, good dear. I confess I’m very curious to know how, but I won’t press you on." She smiled at you and you timidly reciprocated. "Always such a delicate little thing..." The lady leaned next to you almost invading your personal space and it reminded a little of Cassandra’s behavior the day you arrived. She took her time in that position, her breath making shivers running down your neck as you stood completely still. It looked like she was smelling you and taking advantage of the fact that you didn’t fight it and you weren’t even afraid. "Always such an obedient girl..." Her tone dropped even more and you started to worry slightly.

"My lady?" You tried to call her and it seemed to take her out of whatever she was entering when she raised again.

"I’m sorry, it really was a busy night and I may have asked a little bit of myself at this point." She seemed almost ashamed now as she tried as quickly as possible to get out of there you gave her a sympathetic smile while you decided to be bold.

"Good evening, ma'am." You said as you were going to your room, but not before you took her hand and made a slight caress. Leaving her standing in the main hall with a malicious smile on her painted lips.

Chapter Text

The morning had already begun in the castle Dimitrescu and for Alcina had begun much earlier than for most. The countess had been lying in bed all night without being able to rest her mind ever returning to that moment with Lucia. The girl had shown no sign of fear of the lady until that moment when she can feel the shadow of a fear coming from her.

It had been a long time since Alcina indulged in the pleasures of carnage, after all, she was a countess and this was exceedingly inappropriate even if a much larger part of her than she wished to admit was longing for it. After seeing the state in which Lucia stayed with that maiden in front of her, Alcina couldn’t help herself, she needed to do something... Anything. It was more unacceptable than her etiquette that that stupid maiden hurt her little human. So she unleashed her dragon and went down to the dungeons when her daughters were too busy with the others thanks to her explicit orders to guard that woman.

Indulging in the pleasures of carnage and feeding her dragon had been better than she imagined, yet it came with certain consequences. Thoughts that had been dormant during this one month of Lucia living in the castle returned and much more intense. At first she just wanted to break it both psychologically and physically, the girl was not a virgin so she would not go for her wine, but it would take a great time until the countess got tired. But the plans were drastically changed and now the countess longed for more, she did not want to break it, she wanted to possess it, tame it to make the girl submit to her and only to her.

Alcina passed her tongue over the teeth felt them getting more pointed than normal due to their lustful thoughts and sighed at it. The simple attempt at something else that night had generated that twinge of fear in Lucia and she did not want it at all. She needed to be kinder.... Maybe if she .... "I need a drink."

 

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Breakfast was strangely quiet and it looked like you’d missed something. You were wondering if it had anything to do with last night. Never before have you witnessed the lady acting this way and the thought of her vampire nature as she inhaled the smell of your neck has left you slightly apprehensive for the first time. All right, you had dreamed countless times about her biting you and a certain part of you even wanted it... Wow, you really did? This wasn’t like a romance coming out of your own head, no, it was real... real.

"Lucia!" Your eyes turned to the Dimitrescu sisters who looked at you as if they had been calling you for hours. And it was only then that you noticed that you were banging the silverware on the plate over and over again making an annoying noise.

"Sorry." You responded by looking down at the food again as you felt sympathetic looks in return. To your delight, the savior of constraints or creator of them, Daniela decided to intervene and break the ice.

"Hey Lucia, do you know how to make some candy?" The question took you completely by surprise, could they eat candy? Anyway. "... I know how to make one ... I’m not very good in the kitchen." The revelation sparked laughs from Bela and Cassandra as the Lady steps out of her thoughts to pay more attention to the conversation.

"Don’t worry, neither am I." Now you understand what was so funny. "But what is this candy? Can you make it for us?" The youngest girl looked at you with bright eyes and you scratched the back of your neck unconscious trying to assess if it was possible to make a brigadeiro there presentable.

"It’s called a brigadeiro. It’s typical of the country where I grew up and it’s basically made of chocolate and condensed milk." This attracted the interest of the other two sisters who looked at you with equal expectation. "I’ll try to make the spoon version that’s easier I’ll just need a few things and your mother’s permission."

The lady was attentive from the beginning and left the newspaper at once to see you looking at your plate and the girls giving your best doggy eyes in an attempt to convince your mother.

"Please mom, we’ll keep her in the kitchen to make sure she doesn’t get hurt."

"It’s been a long time since they made candy for us... and I’m too curious to taste this brigadeiro."

"I bet you’re curious too, Mother. We never had anyone from where she came..."

The lady sighed by pinching the tip of her own nose while evaluating her daughters' arguments. "What exactly are you going to need for this candy?"

You pondered for a while as you thought about her question, "Chocolate, condensed milk and butter." It was a super easy candy to make and so it was the only one you knew besides being practically impossible to miss the point another reason for you manage to prepare it perfectly.

"I will allow you to make this sweet with the supervision of one of the girls." The lady had pointed to Bela tasking her to look after you in the kitchen. You couldn’t complain since it was too easy for you to get hurt there due to your inexperience.

You just smiled at the lady and waved agreeing to her terms while the girls buzzed lively. It took about a few more minutes for the girls next to you to be let go by the lady. You had already arranged with them that soon after lunch would go to the kitchen to start making the brigadeiro since Constance had confirmed that luckily they had everything needed.

As soon as you were going to get up to leave the room the lady’s hand on top of yours on the table stopped you nor did you notice how she had come so close and as she was now had completely covered your hand with hers on the table. You frowned lightly not wanting to show her any hint of discomfort and just asked. "Do you need anything, ma'am?"

"You’ll come to my office later to see me, won’t you?" You could feel her hand caressing yours lightly as she gently pulled the cotton off your shirt up your wrists in such discreet movements that if you weren’t staring you wouldn’t feel it.

"Of course. Do you want me to take some of the candy for you? ' You asked innocently wanting to redirect.

You felt your face warm when her other arm pulled the arm of the chair you were sitting on closer to her. It was amazing the strength she had and you blushed more with the thought of her muscular arms "Shit Lucia! Stop it!" You thought to yourself.

She giggled as the hand that had pulled out your chair that was now almost glued to her side slipped lightly down her side passing by your back and reaching to your other side. You were skinny and close to someone the size Lady possessed, it was almost like you were a doll to her. You were guarded by the armrest of your chair, but she seemed to want to pull you maybe into her lap. The feeling you had was like she had created thousands of tentacles and was pulling you towards her.

"I would love to..." She replied in that same low tone as before and you haven’t dared since she started getting that way find her look. Luckily she didn’t seem to want to force you into this. You felt it bend down to be next to your ear and consequently to your neck and a chill came up for you. "You know, draga mea, I love it when you get so nervous..."

Her voice came accompanied by a noise you’d never heard her make before that sounded like a purr, but a purr too loud for an ordinary cat, wait, she was doing it ? Could she purr like a cat? You felt her breath tickling your neck and closed your eyes tightly.

"My Lady." Oh yes oblige Constance, you thought when the older woman entered the room and the lady stopped getting ready while growling at the older maid who didn’t care. "You have a letter from Lord Heisenberg."

You took the cue when she was distracted by Constance and vanished as fast as you could. Sneaking into the first low-key alley you could find and letting yourself sit on the floor. You breathed heavily a mixture of fear and horniness while you hated to admit yourself. "I wonder if she wants... No." You thought to yourself seeing how these actions were recurring, coincidence or not, since yesterday she was drinking wine in the morning which was not normal. You just now had stopped to think about who was "Lord Heisenberg" anyway was someone the lady seemed to dislike due to the growl and you saw Constance as an angel at that time. "I must remember to thank her"

 

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The disappearance of maidens was nothing new to the old maid of the castle, but she might not regret her loss. Reckless girls sometimes as young as she when she began her services to the lady. Anyway, wasting time with it was just futility and she rushed to pack up the belongings of the deceased by erasing all traces that the maidens were ever there.

The castle had not escaped much of its usual routine since a long period of time, and this included her lady’s sudden trip to the dungeons. Constance had already seen this happen other times, at certain times her mistress tended to lose herself in her most primitive nature by forgetting the people around her.

Somehow the older woman feared that Lucia would end tragically. The lady seemed to be so happy around the girl and her arrival brought light to the castle not only for her lady or her daughters, but for the old maid who also lived bound to darkness. Perhaps she too would have been captivated by the girl’s lightness.

She snorted as she made her way to the front gates of the castle waiting for the maiden in charge of bringing and carrying the letters. It had been two days since the lady had given up her tea and was filling that special wine and every time it happened it didn’t go well.

"Constance? You seem to be a little distracted today."The maiden was already inside the castle and with the door closed behind her which indicated that the old woman had been so distracted that she did not even feel the cold.

"Tsk... That’s not it. Well, what do you bring today?" She snapped her tongue while trying to direct not only the nosy maiden, but also herself.

"Same old old lady letters and a special letter from Lord Heisenberg." This now caught the attention of Constance, if the lady’s mood was not already very good now it would get worse.

"I’m gonna take it. Thank you." The older woman thanked her by taking the cake of letters and leaving for the dining room although she on the way heard the buzzing of the ladies' flies probably the lady was still there since she took her time in everything she did.

To Constance’s surprise as she opened the dining room doors, she spotted the Lady practically on Lucia’s neck, if the older woman had taken a few more minutes God knows what would have happened. Neither seemed to notice the presence of the old woman in the room and she decided to completely spoil the mood and face the wrath of her lady.

As soon as Lucia ran as fast as she could from the situation the gray-haired woman realized that she was actually not cutting anything else since the redhead was not very comfortable with the situation.

"You can’t look at me like that!" The lady growled at the older woman who judged her actions without saying a word.

"I can, because I’ve seen this movie before Alcina... This girl managed to make you smile as long as no one else did. Don’t do it, I’m begging you, my lady." Lady Dimitrescu raised both eyebrows at the words of the old woman and sighed.

"It’s beyond anything I can control so easily you know." She replied while looking for the cigarette that was not with her at the time.

"But she clearly doesn’t want it now... we could make that sacrifice again." This time the older woman sighed as she scratched her own head for fighting so fiercely with her own morals. To work in the castle was a challenge, but honestly between Lucia and any other maiden she would rather her mistress starve her in another maiden.

The lady appeared to be in a fight with herself as she passed her tongue in front of her fangs which were already at a considerable size due to previous interaction with the redhead. She snapped her tongue and sighed in defeat as she waved to Constance agreeing to the old woman’s plan.

 

================

 

You were now leaning over the sink counter in the castle kitchen facing the already separate ingredients to start making the brigadier. A whirring noise followed by two swarms wrapped around each other passed through the flying kitchen and you ducked.

"I want to see it too! I gave the idea!"

"Mom said to keep an eye on her, so get out!"

Daniela and Bela’s voices were heard by you, seeming to come from inside the swarm and after a few minutes of fighting Bela managed to land and close the kitchen door trapping her little sister out.

"You two sometimes remind me of me and Téo." You smiled at the blonde who sighed for winning the fight. She approached curious and reciprocated your smile.

"Were you older too?" She asked as she sat on the table behind you.

"Yes, just a year apart." She snitched on what you said and then laughed "I see what it’s like." You laughed too and she gave you a sympathetic look.

You took the pan they had set aside for you next to a wooden spoon and started to open the condensed milk by throwing all the contents in the pan, of course it always stayed deep in the pot and Bela was quick to ask.

"Can I keep this?" She pointed to the condensed milk can in your hand and you gave it to her.

"Can you eat candy like that?" You were really curious since no one had explained the logistics of this until now and Bela seemed very happy eating the condensed milk remains from the can. Perfect timing, you thought.

"Yes, but only for the taste." You waved, understanding as you now turned on the fire and put on the butter and stirred it a little until it was a little uniform.

You never bothered to follow any recipe to the letter, after all cooking wasn’t something you practiced all the time. Besides, every time you did it your way it worked so there was no reason to change. After a few minutes you added the chocolate and decreased the heat by placing on the lowest it gave. You didn’t look away not wanting to burn or stick anything in a pan that wasn’t yours. Bela was looking over your shoulder the whole time with attention to your steps as a student learning something new and you felt good about it.

When the candy was coming out of the bottom of the pan whenever you stirred you asked Bela to give you a large deep dish and she quickly tidied it up. Spilling the candy on the plate you added.

"Well, that’s it. Sometimes people put granulado on top."

"Granulado?" The blonde asked crossing her arms above her chest.

"Yes, it’s a very small kind of chocolate." You signaled with your index finger and thumb trying to show her how small it was and she put her eyebrows together, but she seemed to understand.

"And can we eat without the granulado?"

"You can, but I recommend letting it cool down to get a better consistency." You averted your gaze to the window as you caught a glimpse of the older daughter’s impatience at the mention of actually expecting them were Lady Dimitrescu’s daughters.

"Look, I have a proposition. We can get your sisters together and play a game together while we hope to cool down by then I believe the lady will have finished her services and can eat with you." That cheered up the blonde who gave you that cheerful smile again.

While you carried the candy and 5 more spoons Bela disappeared into her swarm calling her sisters. Cassandra scared you by materializing almost on top of the plate and you swerved to grab him harder.

"Can we eat now?" The brunette asked with bright eyes.

"No. You have to wait it out and Lucia said she has a game to play with us." Bela explained as they take you to a new wing of the castle.

"Game? What game?" Daniela appeared on the other side and you changed the side of the dish for fear she would try to steal too before the time.

"It’s called Stop." They all literally stopped to look at you with confused looks. "I’ll explain better wherever you’re taking me today, but we’re going to need papers and pens."

Cassandra disappeared on her flies probably going to pick up the materials while you stopped at a place with big double doors and as soon as they opened your eyes sparkled.

"Mano do céu!" You let it out in plain Portuguese and none of them seemed to catch what you tried to say, but you were so impressed that the only thing that came out was this.

The place was wide, huge and as luxurious as all the wings of the castle you had ever seen. Chairs upholstered with small tables and Persian carpets were properly arranged at strategic points of the hall. A grand piano was next to a stage that contained its curtains closed at the time and you really wanted to run up there and see what was back there. Some instruments rested on supports and you can not help but feel a warmth in your chest when you saw a cello without strings probably abandoned by time.

"Do you play?" You asked while Daniela dumped herself in an armchair and Bela repeated the action in one beside her sister.

"Sometimes... Mom comes here more often than we do anyway." Bela replied simply as if it were something routine. You put the candy on the table in front of them but pointed the finger at both of them making it clear that they should still wait a little longer and addressed the abandoned cello. You ran your fingers through your dusty body and remembered when you played.

"And do you know how to play?" Daniela was totally hanging from the chair leaving her back lying on the backrest looking at you upside down.

"No more." You said stepping out of your stupor and running from memory thanking Cassandra that you had returned with the papers and pens. Distributing a sheet for each of the girls and one for you since all were already accommodated you decided to make a model on your sheet as if it were a table and asked them to repeat on their own sheets.

"Stop is a speed game we will choose 5 categories of things to quote like: City, Names, Animals... anyway and a random alphabet letter will also be chosen after we’ll have to with this letter choose words to define these categories with that letter as fast as we can. Who finishes first will shout Stop and everyone needs to stop, at that moment each one will speak what he wrote in each category if someone put the same thing wins 5 points, if it is different 10 points. Whoever scores the most points in total wins."

The girls agreed understanding the dynamics and seeming to have fun with the idea. You’ve played with them a couple of times usually trying to scare you or something like a hunt where you were always the prey, but it was kind of fun for them as much as it was for you, at no time did any of them give indications of wanting to hurt you maybe a speech or other but never happened and you never really cared.

The categories had been defined being Name, City, Color, Animal and a verb. All seemed to be ready so you decided to start.

"A number please, Miss Daniela." You asked smiling and she pondered for some time before answering "5!" You counted the letters of the alphabet down to the fifth finger of your hand and spoke the letter to everyone "F."

Only the sound of the pens under the sheets writing as fast as they could were heard and you couldn’t hide the smile. It wasn’t long before Cassandra screamed "STOP!" Daniela tried to write discreetly "Hey! I said stop." The brunette growled while Daniela snorted, but stopped.

"Okay, let’s start with Nome. I put Fernanda." You started trying to keep them from fighting.

"Felipe." Said Bela that seemed to be the most concentrated.

"Francess." Completed Cassandra ready to score her 10 points.

"I also put Felipe." Said Daniela looking ugly to Bela who reciprocates snitching and erasing her 10 points for 5.

"Um, country? I put France." You said while Cassandra snitched to you probably because you also put France.

"Philippines." Said Belle with a triumphant smile.

"Finland." Completed Daniela with the same triumphant smile of her older sister.

"But what... where is it?" Cassandra frowned as she looked at Daniela suspecting her youngest was stealing.

"I read in a book that there is a country." Daniela did not find the eyes of the brunette.

"Right. Color I didn’t put anything." You couldn’t see the colors but you knew their names, which didn’t bother you in the game, but if you were going to start arguing more deeply you couldn’t argue. To their delight they all agreed they didn’t put anything in color.

"0 for all then. Verb I put fate." In the order they followed.

"Fail."

"Fancy."

"Feed."

In that round nobody won and the game followed for hours none of you wanting to stop and forgetting completely the brigadeiro who could now be enjoyed. When it was almost late in the afternoon during a discussion of the girls on what was or was not considered a color something you could not argue the noise of the doors of the hall opening caught your attention and you repeated the action of Daniela previously leaning upside down with laziness to turn completely only to see a long dark dress that seemed infinite.

The lady had heard the commotion and decided to check what was happening as she approached you. You heard her giggling due to the position you were in. She gently held it over your head and seated you correctly again in her gloved hand resting on your shoulder leaving you with warm face.

"Now now girls, what happened here?" Lady Dimitrescu interrupted her daughters' discussion by drawing attention to herself. While you could feel her leaning to see the writing on your paper and you raised the page so she could see better. "Oh thank you dear."

"Lucia was playing us while ..." Daniela did not finish her sentence while remembering the brigadier and was quick to pick up a spoon with a bit of candy. Soon his sisters also came to their senses and repeated the action delighting in the taste.

"I hope you enjoyed it." You were going to scratch your arm, but the lady’s hand came down to stop you.

"My God Lucia! That’s great." Said Daniela while her sisters caught more waving agreeing the lady seemed genuinely curious about everything and such curiosity seemed to beat her.

"Girls you had a busy day with Lucia from the looks of it because you won’t let me have time with her, hmm ?" The girls agreed to take as much candy as they could before leaving with their respective spoons full, but leaving the part you hadn’t eaten.

"Now, that’s better, isn’t it, darling." She said while you watched her sit in front of a look that you could only consider loving to you and you just reciprocated.

 

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Constance’s proposal was still in the mind of the matriarch who was without her quarters sitting in an armchair that bore her size looking out the window. The winter was almost over and the girls probably asked to leave more often, it was fair, after all the winter was cruel to their little ones.

She was in a constant struggle with herself. Marking Lucia, drinking from her was something very personal to her and it was clear that she had this feeling for the girl. In fact, she has since realized that the woman was more than just a pretty face. Alcina was used to only pretty faces, but she knew as much as she denied that her life was lonely and that she longed for someone to show her what was beyond her own darkness.

But the question she could not answer was whether Lucia would accept it completely. She had not counted half of what she really was and this caused a certain apprehension in the lady’s fear of rejection. Thirst was burning her throat and she swore she would do it now for herself and for Lucia for the future she would build with the girl. "Good things come to those who wait." The lady repeated herself as she crossed her legs.

As soon as Alcina lit another cigarette the sound of heartbeat began to resonate in the lady’s ears. She exhaled the smoke of her cigarette through her mouth as she distinguished them. One was calm, but seemed apprehensive about something like guilt? While the other was fast and Alcina could feel the fear of the maiden even from a distance.

"Come in" she said as she met Constance’s gaze. The older woman said nothing as she pushed the trembling maiden into the room and closed the door behind her. Lady Dimitrescu took another dip in her cigarette while evaluating the maiden. The girl was so small, so delicate, in other times Alcina would have had fun with her, maybe she would still do it if she imagined Lucia’s face in the girl.

"Come closer, dear." The lady called and the maiden followed hesitantly stopping in front of her. "Good girl."

This seemed to have a positive response since Alcina could lightly smell the girl’s excitement. She had been hand-picked for being one of the only maidens currently active in castle services who seemed to have some interest in the lady. It was always so much easier for them to give themselves up completely.

Alcina caressed the girl’s face and also felt a positive response to it her eyes quickly descended to the pulse point on the girl’s neck and she imagined it was Lucia supporting that delicate face in her hand. Giving yourself completely to the dragon in front of you. So perfect. So hers.

The lady could not resist pulling the maiden into her lap, winning a breath of surprise that she never tired of hearing every time she could catch whoever she wanted by surprise.

"My lady..." The girl’s voice was burdened with desire as the lady caressed her body. Mourning hands running over the girl’s uniform further heightening her excitement.

"Yes, my dear?" She replied by not stopping the teasing as she now set out for her jaw by giving open-mouth kisses and letting her breath do the work with the chills she felt of the maiden.

"You ..." The maiden could not finish her sentence when Alcina lightly pressed the girl’s thigh over her skirt giving a needy moan. The lady laughed darkly as she adored those moments before what was to come.

"Do you want me dear?" Alcina pulled away by taking a deep breath absorbing the scent of the maiden who was now mounted completely upon her thigh.

"Yes... yes." The maiden said without a thought while Alcina now continued to gently caress the maiden’s inner thigh, making her tremble further in her lap. Her face went up to the girl’s ear and she whispered quietly as she took a slight bite into the shell of her ear. "Say it."

"I want you, Mistress." It was all Alcina needed, the maiden began to try to move her hips on the lady’s thick thighs, but she held the maiden in place. A loud purr erupted from her chest as she lowered her face on the maiden’s warm neck biting it right over the pulse point. It was divine. Her long tongue came out so as not to waste even a drop of divine liquid.

Alcina groaned with taste as she imagined Lucia beneath her. She completely ignored the tears of the girl who wet the fabric of her dress. She wanted more, she needed more. Biting harder she pulled the girl closer when a new amount of blood took hold of her mouth. Within minutes the maiden’s wrist had stopped completely Alcina was quick to call Constance the elder woman looking at the ground not wanting to see the line of blood that ran down the middle of her lady’s mouth and ended between her breasts.

"Take the body to Cassandra in the dungeons, she will be dinner." Alcina said still taking her breath after her discharge. Constance did what was asked to go out the back so as not to be seen by any other maiden.

Now satisfied the lady could return to treat her little gift as she should her time with Lucia was close to coming and she had ideas in mind. She smiled a still bloody smile in the mirror of her dressing table as an idea popped into her mind.

 

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You were now sitting on Lady Dimitrescu’s lap, she looked different from the last few days as if you were someone else and the light pout she gave you when you were sitting in front of her made you so dull that you agreed to be on her lap. It wasn’t like it was bad or anything, but being in her lap fueled feelings you couldn’t imagine if you could have for someone like her.

"Um, I’d like to try some of that candy you made. Give me a spoonful, will you?" You blushed heavily taking her smile as you took some of the brigadier and gave it to her. She groaned as cheekily as she could when she tasted it, and you ended up laughing and shoving your face into your own shameful hands.

"Oh, honey, there’s no need to be ashamed, that’s really appreciable." She herself had not concealed the triumphant smile she now flaunts as you looked at her in disbelief as she seemed inspired to take you completely out of your frame.

"I really like knowing that you and the girls have gotten along so well, you know." She started caressing your hair and you relaxed completely leaning your back on it.

"I like being with them." You said not knowing how to elaborate very well for your relief the lady as the girls used to understand your short answers and she just gave a buzz in response while that same sound of lunch time returned but now it seemed a little less intense and did not bring you a feeling of imprisonment, but comfort.

"Can you... can you purr?" You asked innocently to know if it wasn’t in your head and the noise stopped while the lady seemed to be slightly tense. "Don’t stop if you are one of the few sounds that don’t bother me." It was true, since most sounds seemed much louder to you than to someone else and bothered you terribly. A month of socializing with the Dimitrescus accustomed you and them to it and nowadays it was something somewhat natural and that you appreciated very much.

The sound came back and you relaxed even more in the lady’s lap while neither seemed to want to talk. You started to feel your eyes getting slightly heavy while your sleepy look turned to the piano and you said it without even realizing what you were saying. "One day, could you play something for me?"

"If you will, draga." She seemed happy with the request as your hand in her hair descended to your hand which she extended over hers much larger. You giggled looking at the difference. "The things you make me feel..."

You didn’t quite understand what she said as you looked at her hands together, but you felt safe and fell asleep in her arms one more time.

Chapter Text

“You mean to tell me you have an uncle, is that it?” You asked the girls who had entered your room with their swarms under the door as soon as they noticed you were fully awake.

"Yes, Uncle Heisenberg." Bela explained to you as if it were something super routine.

"Okay, but that’s not Exactly Why we came to talk to Lucia... Wow that’s really good! You made?" Cassandra interrupted while examining a drawing you made of one of the castle’s armor that you decided to make some changes to.

"Yes. What was the reason for your visit then?" When you woke up and saw three faces on top of you looking with genuine curiosity you were sure there would be some explanation for the sudden invasion, however the subject seemed to have been lost a long time ago when the girls were much more entertained in the visit of their "uncle" and in the new drawings you made.

"Oh true! Mom wants you to move into a new dorm in the wing where ours are." Daniela who was stealing your blankets and curling up in them next to you spoke smiling as always.

This information left you in a mental lapse for a few moments. Why did she want you to go to the nearest wing to hers? In the last few days you’ve noticed that she looked at you differently and you liked that as boring as you might admit. You were never a person who took the reins of situations, quite the contrary it was a common habit for you to let things go to see where they went and with the Dimitrescus it was no different especially with the lady.

"You-you know why she wants me to go to that wing?" You punished yourself mentally for stuttering mostly when you heard the girls laugh at your question. It was obvious something was going on that you didn’t know about.

"Oh you know... Mother can be a little possess... OUCH!" Daniela began to say something that you believed would end her doubts, but was cut off by Cassandra who moved quickly and hit her little sister hard.

"She’s only wants to make sure if you are fine" Bela always explained the most centered while taking a breath and continued "Our uncle tends to be a little evasive with strangers."

Now it seemed to have given you real fear. One of the worst things for you was to have your personal space invaded, whether in physical contact or with words. You began to feel that you were beginning to lose yourself in your mind imagining all the possibilities of how this Heisenberg could screw things up with you, but to your relief the girls started discussing something in Romanian between them. You didn’t like to see them arguing even though you knew that between siblings it was somewhat "normal", however for you it was a complete relief because it made you get out of your mind and come back to the present.

"So could you help me move my things into this new room?" You said it a little louder than your normal voice calling to their attention that they smiled and agreed to pick up some of your belongings carefully.

The only problem is that they seemed to forget that you couldn’t just disappear into flies and fly around wherever this room was.

"Can I have this?" You scared the hell out of Cassandra’s voice behind you that showed that "Got you" smile the lady used to do. She shook the armor design indicating that this is what she wanted to keep and you just shrugged and said. "All Yours"

To your relief, the middle daughter of the Dimitrescus just rolled up the drawing like an ancient scroll and waited for you. You decorated the path as you passed through the halls in a comfortable silence with Cassandra who just left you in the room and left you at ease to pack your belongings that were very few where you wanted.

The room was somewhat similar to what you were once staying on a higher floor than before and in a much better decorated wing. You looked at the drawings of flower branches on the walls and wondered if that gray shade you saw was the gold that the lady had spoken to you about a long time ago. Everything was bigger including the bathtub and you tried to stretch a bit more during your bath, but soon became insecure and returned to your normal position holding your knees over your chest.

As soon as you get out of the bath still wrapped in the towel you can see sitting on the edge of your bed Lady Dimitrescu and the bedroom door slightly open. She seemed distant in her thoughts until she noticed you standing at the bathroom door clutching the towel like a life vest.

The lady went from distant to amusing in a few minutes as she stared her body from top to bottom shamelessly bringing you a chill that was not from the cold wind. You felt your knees weak when you caught her watering her lips like she didn’t know what to do with herself or you. The image that your mind went through the moment she did this and you saw the raw desire in her eyes was the most lascivious possible and you didn’t even have time to mentally punish yourself for it when you couldn’t stand the grandeur of the lady and lowered your gaze into submission.

It was nothing new to you the effect that women like the lady had on you, but even you were surprised at the ease with which the lady had managed to throw you into her submissive mode so quickly.

"Enjoying the new room I see" she said, her hoarse voice kept you from leaving your seat as you looked out the window and nodded your head trying to hide your shyness.

The matriarch seemed to notice her shame and laughed at it as she opened a playful smile. "I brought you a new dress, come get it and change, will you?"

You smiled at her as you picked up the dress with care and looked at the model. "Thank you, misstress." You didn’t notice that you used that word until you both looked at each other for a brief moment before you ran to the bathroom to change.

"I would like to clarify a few Things about Today if you will allow me." Her voice took on a serious tone and you urged her to continue as she began to fix your dress and hair.

"The girls have told you about the visit of Heisenberg Today." The lady took a long break and soon the smell of cigarettes reached the bathroom. " He’s like a considerate brother, but that’s not the main point. Like me he’s not Exactly Human and that includes some Additional Powers."

"So he’s not a vampire like you?" You asked while coming out of the bathroom already dressed and she laughed when with your question, until her bright look returned to the sound from where your voice came and she paused.

You found her look with hers and noticed how her pupils were dilated as she looked at you like a feline to a gazelle. Once again you couldn’t hold her gaze while you had to cross your legs in disguise by not taking the pressure she was putting on you.

As always she seemed to read you as an open book and you picked up the noise she emitted much like a low growl until her voice came in that low, hoarse tone. "You are the most precious thing in that dress... I knew I had made a good choice"

You weren’t sure if she was talking about you or the dress, but it didn’t help at all with the feelings that your body was already emitting sinking you further into the gutter. She was making you feel like a doll something she wore and wore when she wanted, a possession. The mere thought of her possessing you sent you a new heat wave and you wished that the parade could swallow you up at that moment. No one had even come close to making you feel that way and you were slightly scared of yourself, but never liking it and so not stopping her advances. Maybe your mind was a lot worse than you thought.

"I love it when you’re shy like that for me..." She laughed darkly and paused for a moment while taking a puff of her cigarette in an attempt to hide the smile from behind. " To answer your question, no, he has different abilities."

The lady spent long minutes explaining to you the logistics of her relationship with her esteemed brother that in fact a little further in the conversation found that there were two more not counting the one who was coming to the castle for dinner tonight. You were relieved to discover that it was only one of them who was coming and she preferred not to go into too much detail about others or because they had this family of consideration. Apparently Heisenberg could control the metal and had a factory somewhere in the village and was the ruler of that area, as well as having "a strong connection with Lycans." Words from the lady herself.

"And he pretends to bring these Lycans with him?" You were genuinely curious and absorbed every ounce of information she gave you like a sponge. The lady, however, seemed to have become quite accustomed to her eccentric reactions and did not seem to be surprised by her curiosity.

“Unfortunately yes, draga. It will only be two and I do not intend for you to participate in the dinner or any social interaction ....”You found her look once more as soon as she said these words. Only gratitude was in your eyes.

“You can stay in the tower or wherever, just let me know because I'll ask the girls or Constance to bring you your dinner…” The lady kept talking if she lost herself in the ramblings as if she wanted to make sure you were comfortable and you could only find her concern cute.

How to thank her with words seemed not to be enough at that moment a wave of courage took hold of you and you approached her climbing up on the bed with her and leaning on her shoulder on her knees half wobbly on the mattress with certain effort you managed to give a kiss on cheek. To your total surprise she rather than reacting from the thousands in the way you imagined she completely surprised you as she ran her arm under your legs lifting you in her strong arms until your faces lined up.

At the time you were blushing beyond imagination as she held you in her lap like a small child. Your face was so close, you could only look into her mouth. Was the lipstick she always wore red like the color she said was her favorite? What would her lips taste like? The sensation of her kiss, the warmth of her closeness could be considered red? You noticed that she was approaching and approached as well. Her breathing warm on your skin as hot as you wanted to hold her face and your hand willingly went to her cheek in a soft touch that she appreciated.

“EW! Mother!”

“Hush Daniela!”

“Oh my... you two are so stupid!”

The commotion of the girls completely broke the moment as you threw yourself from the lady’s arms to the bed scaring her and making her briefly check if you had not hurt yourself by giving you a warning look to never do it again.

“GIRLS!”

When she screamed the sound of the swarms she quickly vanished from her hiding places and the lady sighed as she pinched the bridge from her nose. You just laughed innocently at her and she stroked your face before reaching out to you to go to the dining room to actually start the day.

 

=================

 

You were now in the tower it was the middle of the afternoon and you were sitting next to the large window leaning on your parapet dangerously far from the ground drawing in your diary. Recently you started to think about how a dragon would be cool there just flying through the high towers and of course this thought generated by your strong imagination fueled an idea of drawing in your mind that you decided to put into practice.

Everyone in the castle seemed to be very busy with Lord Heisenberg’s arrival and that made you distressed. The maidens who often made a great effort not to be noticed by the ladies now ran from one side to the other bringing and taking things that needed to be tidied up. Your mind can’t help but make an analogy with a huge anthill as you observed right after your meal with the ladies comes and goes from the maidens.

At times like this where you were all alone you couldn’t ask yourself what your purpose was here in the castle. Because Lady Dimitrescu had caught you that day and because you never questioned it. You knew that you had a bad habit of not questioning anything as if everything that life gave you had one because much deeper than you understood and that it was not your right to know however there were things that you were extremely boring to try to understand and one of them was that feeling of emptiness that somehow haunted you.

A knock on the window glass took you out of your reveries as you looked and didn’t see anything "weird" anyway you decided that sitting up here wasn’t going to help at all until you got lost in your head again. Since everyone was so busy, no one would care if you walked around a little. Getting up and closing the door gently behind you your steps were aimless as you passed through the corridors going down and up stairs.

Every time you tried to explore the castle in one way or another you stopped at the main foyer "Fair" you thought as you climbed the stairs and decided to walk through the doors that were always closed there. Whenever a maiden passed by giving you looks of disgust you disguised opening the diary taking advantage of the fact that they all thought you were some kind of alien stranger no one would wonder why you’d be standing in the hallway reading something. You laughed at the thought as you tested a door that you had never noticed before and it was open to your relief.

This was not one of the restricted areas of the castle and you remembered it well when Constance made them clear to you. A huge statue was the first thing you saw were a total of five women represented, one of them lying naked with her chest up while the other four looked at her. Counting from right to left, the first woman held a lantern and stuck a spear into the body of the lying woman. The middle woman was doing nothing but had her eyes blindfolded by a larger woman in a cloak who was behind her in the same direction. The latter held one of her hands on the woman’s thrown arms lying in front of them while her other hand held a sort of dagger that also pierced the lying woman.

You don’t know how long you stood there staring at the sculpture was disturbing and at the same time fascinating. You can not help thinking as if looking from a correct angle looked very much like the ladies of the house, however this woman lying at the mercy of his whims would be who ? The maidens? You weren’t sure. Lady Dimitrescu had been clear with you about her nature and you came to see at some point a maiden being punished. Well, seeing was something too strong to say since when the maiden made her mistake the big hands of Alcina completely covered your face and when you managed to escape the girls were no longer at the table and neither the maiden.

You clapped your eyes once more with the statue in front of you and saw the larger figure covering the middle woman’s eyes and sighed audibly. "What are you hiding from me..." You thought to yourself while you noticed that there were two doors on your right side and one on your left side. You opted for the door decorated on your left side not having remembered with clarity what exactly was that place.

Forcing the door a little bit you noticed that it was closed and snitched frustrated you really wanted to know what was inside. As you retreated a little trying to look around to see if there were any keys hidden nearby, your back hit something and you panicked by lifting the diary ready to give a beating to whoever it was. Your eyes saw a soft fabric that climbed almost infinitely and you already knew who it was going up the gaze to see Lady Dimitrescu’s funny smile as you lowered your diary in defeat.

“I believe that can’t stop me” She told you to still laugh at your reaction while pointing a finger at the diary.

“I know… I just… want to enter here ? I can?” You gave your best doggy eyes while she arched an eyebrow at you.

“You know my dear I already planned to show you this room before. I guess I don't have any other better time for that besides now… So please follow me.”

You could only smile as you watched the lady’s graceful movements. She pulled out of her pockets a different key from the key she always had with her and opened the room by lowering herself by the door frame. You followed right behind her and when you entered the first thing you saw was a small room with a huge picture of a woman in a hat very similar to Lady Dimitrescu, maybe it was her... You didn’t think or analyze anything else in the room completely hypnotized by the painting as it approached.

You had to raise your head as when you looked at the lady while you completely forgot her presence in the room. It was beautiful the painting really showed Lady Dimitrescu younger standing next to a small table holding a glass of wine. Her dress was pompous and very beautiful seemed to have been a long time ago and due to the context you had about the lady’s nature it made total sense.

“Of all things in this room you go look at this…” She laughed as she approached you by putting a comforting hand on your shoulder.

“It’s… I don’t have words to describe.”You really had no idea how to describe what you were feeling seeing in that painting, it was beyond any compliment that could come to your mind and you heard her laughing one more time.

"So flattering” Her hand that was on your shoulder came down to your arm covered by the sleeve of the dress and it gave you a chill. “That is not what I want you to see.”

She said once again turning you to the middle of the room showing an easel with a blank canvas. Beside the canvas a shelf with thousands of supplies, brushes, paints and different art materials rested ready to be used, some even worn of use. You can’t help but feel an awe as you see all this and change direction as you approach supplies.

"You paint?” You can’t leave curiosity to yourself as always, and it just drifted away from you a little while answering.

“Sometimes.” The lady answered her distant voice as you passed your finger through the different brushes feeling its texture.

“Can I see some pictures you painted?” You were genuinely curious as usual and she responded by giving you that laugh that became one of her favorite sounds to listen to.

Finding her look you saw her climb up to a kind of mezzanine and followed her when you got up there several canvases filled with the most distinctive works were spread out on the walls one on top of the other.

You did not waste time going to investigate the paintings, carefully you supported some on your legs so that they did not fall to the ground and went through the works supported on each other. Different landscapes passed by you, some you remembered to see briefly on the bus before arriving in the village, others were paintings of women, people you never saw here before and you wondered if they were people for whom the lady had some relationship or relatives. Paintings of the girls were also in the middle and you gave a smile of corner of mouth while looking.

A particular painting completely captured his attention beyond the big one down there. It was the lady in a huge pool, she was lying half submerged in a water of a dark shade that you could not clearly identify. Her face showed a morbid satisfaction and you lightly passed your finger through the painting feeling its rough texture.

“What did you think when you made this one?” You asked by not finding her look. The lady had been a little distant from you leaving you completely at ease to explore as you wanted the place and the moment you walked away showing the work you were asking you felt that she thought a little and came to seem even uncomfortable.

“To be honest that is one of my favorite paintings… It was a glorious day and I felt powerful at that moment so I decided to paint it.” The matriarch found your eyes for a moment before diverting to a skylight just above a sofa that was in the corner of the mezzanine.

“I see” That’s all you said before you packed up all the paintings where they were and turned your attention around the room. You really didn’t understand what she meant by all that there must have been some larger context that the lady wanted to hide from you.

As much as she had told you about her nature, it seemed that many of your doubts were put aside by her. Not that you constantly asked or cared much, but when there were opportunities like this you expected her to be a little more specific, which she wasn’t.

“I will give you access to this room too, if you want of course.” The tall woman said as she sat on the far couch the light from the skylight illuminated her face in the perfect way and you found yourself unable to look away as she pulled out her wide-brimmed hat and searched her pockets for a pack of cigarettes.

“I want… thank you again.” You could tell as you approached her instinctively, she didn’t stop you when you sat next to her getting a pout from her that made you smile openly. “May I ask you a question?”

“You may” The lady answered as she exhaled cigarette smoke and pulled you closer to her climbing up on her legs. You didn’t mind the fact that she was making a habit of doing this whenever you sat next to each other, quite the contrary you appreciated the gesture.

“What am I for you?” You didn’t find her eyes when you asked her to dress better in her lap by leaning against her. Something in the lady brought you so much security that you simply melted completely into a few touches, no questions asked, or feel trapped.

You could feel that she didn’t quite know how to answer that or if you did not mean at that moment. One of her bereaved hands ran down your arm in a soft caress and she seemed to want to tell you without words something that you refused to pick up in the air. A knock on the door downstairs totally killed the mood.

“My lady, Lord Heisenberg, arrived early… He’s in the main hall waiting for you.”

 

=================

 

Alcina could not be more angry at that moment, that man thing besides coming to her house to spend the night had arrived earlier and disturbed a perfect moment with Lucia. Her little gift was increasingly surprising to the lady as it gave her free access to whatever the lady intended.

At times like these where Alcina pulled the girl into the vicinity of her body she could feel the excitement of the girl and it just fed her dirtiest and possessive thoughts. Even though she wouldn’t be in a hurry, she would slow down and take care that it was exactly as she planned at least it’s obvious her instincts got the better of her as it almost did in the redhead’s new dorm room earlier.

The matriarch had to say goodbye to her sweet girl, leaving her in the studio without a coherent answer to her question. In reality Alcina did not want her plans to get out of her control, she knew what Lucia was increasingly showing herself to be, but she would only have her answers at the right time. The lady admitted that when Lucia caught her painting by bathing in blood her heart froze, she did not want to scare the girl before she even started everything she intended.

Alcina would never admit it, but in fact she feared rejection more than anything else in her life and so her care was redoubled so that the situation did not get out of hand, showing the redhead only what she thought was right at the time. For sure Heisenberg was not like his daughters who did not interfere in her plans, he would talk much more than he should and so his decision out of leaving the girl away from
your idiot brother for now.

Soon she burst through the great doors of the main hall, even at a distance she was previously able to hear the lively hum of her little ones chatting with Heisenberg, but when she entered the hall and her golden eyes lightly shaded by her broad hat she returned to her usual place as soon as she took leave of her little girl.

“Oh there’s the big one!” The man sneered as Alcina clenched her teeth holding a growl.

"Good to see you too, Heisenberg.” The matriarch’s voice did not hide the poison and the man snorted while supporting the heavy hammer on the ground.“To what do I owe the visit so early?”

“Well, you don’t read my letter?”The man once again asked almost mocking Alcina as if she were someone too stupid to understand anything simple.

“Of course I read” The lady’s voice rose a tone and he chuckled at it. Her girls shrunk still close to the uncle.

“I was nearby so why not come a little early and enjoy time with my lovely neces." He opened a smile as he lowered his sunglasses and the girls got excited as they stood on top of Heisenberg.

“Of course.” Alcina responded with clear debauchery in her voice as the smell of lycan took hold of her nostrils causing her to frown in disgust. “I hope you've taken some time to remind your filthy mutts what ground they're standing on.”

“The boys are in control. Now come on girls tell me what you've been doing to take the peace of the big bat back there…” The girls laughed as they accompanied their uncle into the castle telling us about her hunts.

The lady sighed audibly as they left the room a maiden who was all the while present shrunk in a corner of the room as it was to be aroused Alcina’s attention as she cleared her throat and put her cold face back. "Bring a wine to my office I need a drink"

 

==============

 

It had been a few hours since the lady had left you in the place you now knew as her studio as usual she had been kind enough to let you have free access to the room and its painting supplies and you as always smiled and thanked her the most who managed to demonstrate.

You knew that events of great importance were happening in the castle and so you chose to be as far away from public rooms as possible or even walk around. Needing something to occupy your mind you decided to take a roll of paper almost larger than you and extend it on the floor of the studio near the huge painting of Lady Dimitrescu, but on your back.

You approached the lady’s supplies by grabbing a single medium-sized brush and staring at the thousands of paint pots. For you they were practically the same, varying slightly from darker or lighter shades of gray. Snorting in deception and in a way, conformity you grab a pot of random paint and turn to your huge sheet of paper positioning yourself from the back to the painting of the lady with the bent knees balancing on your feet. You wish you were in that position being better than just sitting on the floor that would make you feel uncomfortable.

You took the brush dipped in the ink and started making strokes that later became something cool. You were risking a lot to do it without a draft, but you trusted your own instinct not to shit on the drawing.

Long minutes of silence passed as you moved around a few times not leaving your concentration position to reach new areas and little by little a huge dragon was taking shape on the leaf.

“You are a very strange human.” Cassandra’s voice bounced off the walls of the studio easily reaching your ears and you laughed at her sentence, she seemed to really mean it.

Soon the swarm of insects that passed under the door crack took the form of a slightly bored Cassandra, but curious about what you were doing. You thought for a few minutes if you should ask and decided not to do this just by responding to your first comment.

“Thanks.” You just said it. Being considered out of the box has become a routine thing for you and honestly you wouldn’t have imagined yourself to be otherwise.

"Didn’t you have to be at dinner?" You knew that you were already at night by the skylight of the room that showed you that the day had already gone away a little while ago.

"It hasn't started yet, besides, Bela and Daniela have monopolized Uncle Heisenberg so I prefer...you." The middle daughter of the Dimitrescus grumbled at the end of her sentence and you could not discern what she meant, but it seemed right and you did not question the welcoming feeling that came with it.

More minutes of silence passed as Cassandra watched your work attentively. Neither of you seemed to be bothered by each other’s presence, and it only generated more comfort.

“Mother, have you seen this? The dark-haired girl asked and you did not raise your eyes still focused on your art, but listening attentively.

“Not yet.” You just said that. You wanted the lady to see your painting, but when you weren’t around there was something exciting about not seeing people’s reactions, but rather the consequences of their long-term reactions.

“She will appreciate” The statement was followed by a chuckle and you caught Cassandra smiling like it was something ironic. You raise one of your eyebrows in curiosity and she sees you raise your eyes and look almost embarrassed when her swerve and wipe her throat like you want to push it under the mat.

"Cassandra!" The lady’s voice was so loud that it reached inside the studio and you held on to not laugh hiding the face on your knees.

"I see that!" Cassandra pointed at you for a laugh that escaped and closed her eyes trying to look intimidating, but when she saw that you only smiled more she gave up and nodded in denial and disbanded in her swarm leaving you alone again.

You were close to finishing your work, but your stomach had already warned you a few times that you had not eaten anything yet and were getting late. Sighing in defeat you decide to put everything back where it was when you arrived and leave the room towards the kitchen.

You took slow and careful steps, the runners were a clear contrast to the comparison you had made earlier being now completely empty. Even so you could hear faint noises coming from the dining room, an indicator for you not to get close by opting for the alternative route.

As soon as you arrived at the kitchen you were greeted with a clearly stressed and busy Constance who consequently stressed other maidens who were busy in the kitchen. You as always sneak around the corners until you are caught by the line of sight of the old woman who pointed at you stopping your movements like a deer caught in the headlights.

“I just … hungry.” You couldn’t form a coherent phrase while gesticulating and pointing and getting a sigh from the other woman.

“Good that you came all this way to get it…The Lady tends to get impossible at these damn dinners.” She seemed exhausted in her voice and you approached her.

“Can I help in any way?” You really wanted to help would be good for her and for you who felt an extra weight in the castle for no reason. Constance, however, seemed to disagree as she wondered whether or not to give you something to do.

“Târfă proastă” A maiden you didn’t know spat at you her look of disgust her form was caught at a glance as you averted your gaze. You didn’t understand, but from Constance’s wide-eyed gaze it was not a good thing the maiden said.

The old woman handed you a dishcloth and asked you to dry a huge stack of dishes and you agreed to start making. You could see if you looked carefully at the old lady screaming at the other maiden in Romanian, they seemed to be discussing something about you and you felt somewhat guilty. You’d done jobs like this many times in the orphanage so you weren’t being any trouble.

As soon as you finished the old woman brought next to you a plate of food that you caught smiling as you sat next to her. You didn’t even realize that most of the maidens had left the kitchen leaving you, Constance and a corpulent woman who took care of the dishes. You didn’t know her, and you and she never bothered to say hello so you just hung out like most people do.

As you dug your plate the kitchen doors opened and a fair-haired maiden you had seen several times entered. She looked as tired as the old woman and sighed heavily with relief when she entered the room. You found her look for a moment and she smiled at you briefly before you came back to look at your dish.

“What happened?” The eldest woman asked as the fair-haired maiden rearranged her apron and recovered.

“Lord Heisenberg made her throw a fork like a dart…” The light-haired woman said she was frustrated and you opened your eyes to surprise.

“The night is going to be long, grab your dinner and I'll replace you.” The old woman had finished her plate so fast you didn't even see it and was already getting up taking an apron from a hanger near the exit. “And as for you redhead, you'd better avoid seeing your lady until tomorrow, understand?”

You nodded in agreement to see the older woman walk out the door while the other maiden asked permission to sit beside you that you allowed in another wave.

“You are Lucia aren’t you?” She asked

“Yes.” You knew she was someone important like Constance, but you didn't know exactly what and it didn't matter either, yet you were wary of the fact that she was being so nice to you.

“It's a pleasure to finally talk to you properly, I'm Chloe.” She held out her hand to you and you shook it without making eye contact.

You spent a few minutes talking in peace before duty called her again, she seemed like a nice person and you felt better about having a new friend.

On your way to your quarters you passed some windows strangely in that wing of the castle the windows were almost scarce and you wondered if the lady or her daughters had any kind of sensitivity to light that you hadn’t noticed. All along your way an uncomfortable noise on the walls seemed to follow you as if someone was hanging outside the walls waiting for a window to simply shove their face in there. A chill did not run through your spine until you stopped feeling that there was something completely out of place and all that you could not forgive in your life was something out of place.

You followed it to your room very slowly, the noise continued and you hated it. You counted your steps as soon as noise started by placing your foot always meticulously in front of each other so as not to get lost in the count in a frustrated attempt to divert your mind from distraction. It had been a total of 178 steps and one part of him was happy with it while the other kept repeating the noise even though it was already stopped.

When you opened the door of your room, came in and closed it, you were sure that the noise had not stopped and only increased. Right there in front of you hanging out the window like a giant bat was one of the Lycans the lady told you about. You were afraid, but your face and body did not demonstrate this, your heart rate was stable and your face calm as usual. The Lycan looked at you and you at him, neither of the two making any movement and remained so for long minutes until by some miracle of fate a very loud noise like a growl that had not come from that creature echoed through the walls and the intimidated Lycan descended. From that moment on you began to wonder if there was finally a dragon in the castle.

 

=================

 

Alcina was tired and dinner had not even started. She wondered what after all Heisenberg wanted here always feeding her own self-persecution paranoias wanting to be ahead of everyone at all times, she was better she had to be better, always.

This time she positioned her chair at the head of the table and placed the bastard man at the other end as far away from her as possible. Alcina did not like to impose herself in this way mainly in the presence of her beloved daughters, but Heisenberg demanded this kind of behavior from her.

Sitting and crossing one of her legs while arranging her dress she though everything that haunted her mind put on her neutral and impassive countenance and waited for the arrival of her daughters and stupid Heisenberg.

It took longer than she thought it was, and she needed a little extra help to not just send him away and turn her attention to the pandora’s box that was in her studio. As soon as everyone was settled, Alcina noticed that Cassandra was missing from the table. She paused for a moment concentrating on the sounds when she realized that her little hunter was with Lucia in her studio. The lady hid the satisfied smile while calling her daughter.

“Where were you Cassandra? Did you find anything more interesting than your uncle?” Heisenberg asked the middle daughter materializing in her seat.

Discreetly while asking the maidens to start serving the food, Alcina gave her daughter a look so that she would not comment on who she was with and the brunette understood by laughing and disguised her own way.

“Cassandra is always busy in the basement” Daniela stated that the matriarch couldn't help but see the look that the girl had for the maid in charge of serving the wine, Chloe.

The conversation continued somewhat smoothly until Heisenberg began with his irritating attitudes. It seemed that every time he came to the castle he made a goal of how long he could get the lady off her back and even with all of Alcina’s effort he always got the times faster and not so much.

“So Alci, our dear mother, asked me to discuss with you the subject of the strange foreigners who were sighted near your lands almost a month ago.” This seemed to hit Alcina hard as much as she didn't show it.

Miranda as always was aware of Lucia and her friends, but because Heisenberg accepted it he is always a bastard in fulfilling Miranda’s requests, maybe if he was earning something more of it... anyway.

“I don't remember seeing anything interesting” She lied and the man laughed out loud making her raise an eyebrow questioningly.

“I do not believe! So finally age has hit you and you're getting old” He laughed as he spoke and the matriarch could see her daughters shaking some flies that came out of their bodies, holding on not to laugh along. She growled, but held back.

"Anyway I don’t care, I just came to be sure by myself, after all I’m also a curious being..." He took yet another bite of his dish as it fitted impossibly more stretched out into His seat without a Sticker Drop.

"I have nothing for you, Heisenberg." The Lady spat as she turned her gaze away from the pure poison window in her voice.

"I’ve known this for a long time..." He stated Implying that his sentence was not over. "Even so, I like to be absolutely sure, mostly thanks to your habit of having pets for your personal entertainment, which by the way is a lot."

She had enough, before she could realize Alcina had thrown a fork straight into the center of Heisenberg’s eyes the man had become as frightened as all those present that only managed to stop the object a few inches from they face using they powers.

"Wow, that was really close!" He laughed loudly once again as Chloe who had sprung a surprise gincho trembled with her heart racing. The lady sighed as she made a signal for the maiden to leave the room for a moment and come back to her senses.

The remainder of the dinner was tumultuous as always for her relief she arranged a small gap for smoking on the farms of her castle while Heisenberg headed to her office for them to discuss a few more things that the girls did not need to attend. She lit her cigarette taking a long drag as she walked, letting her mind clear and caught herself wishing her little star was with her now to soothe her with her light. Spring was coming and even at night she could feel the coldest winter breaking that was good.

Her steps continued a little slower, as always making mental notes of things she wanted to change perhaps in the future in her castle. At one point a sound from above caught the lady’s attention by looking at a window where she deduced it was Lucia’s room. She could not believe what she was seeing those filthy dogs had the audacity to hang themselves on the walls of her castle and were huddled in glass from the window of HER human. A loud growl broke from the lady’s chest as she held out her claws as she watched them shrink in recognition of the true predator of this castle.

Chapter Text

You woke up in the middle of the night after a session of the most erotic dreams possible with Lady Dimitrescu. To say that your present condition was deplorable would be to lie... You boiled down to a breathless, sweaty mess and your panties were completely soaked. The memories were still fresh in your mind, you completely naked mounted on the lady’s thigh as she reveled in the needy mess that was you in her lap.

Bright eyes drank every curve of your body as large, bare hands of her traditional leather gloves slid under your skin in a soft, warm touch. You sighed feeling her touches on your skin, it was magical and you wanted more. You caught yourself longing for her as intensely as you’d ever wanted anyone.

“Say it… Say it for me.” It was a command and you knew you had to obey, after all you belonged to her.

“Take me.” You whispered still very absorbed in the different sensations of pleasure that your lady was providing you at that time.

You didn’t even notice you were rubbing yourself on her thigh and when you realized what you were doing, you didn’t stop. Shame was far from being an impediment at the time. The lady had started out with a deep purr as you had only heard a few times, she was quick to turn the two of you on top of you.

Every ounce of your being trembled in pleasure and excitement, she was just perfect and all you wanted was to feel so small and helpless in her huge arms. You had the view of your ample bosom yet that’s not what caught your attention was the way she looked above you as if you were prey and she was the predator.

“You have no idea how much I dreamed of this moment” Did that strike a point in your dream of you like this?

You didn’t have time to contemplate your question when her lips touched yours. You kissed her and it was perfect, it wasn’t long before her tongue asked permission to enter your mouth that you gave in as always the good girl to your lady.

The memories were still fresh in your mind as you contemplate the completely lost sleep. There was nothing you could do now but plunge into a cold bath something you quickly began to prepare in the hope that it would bring you that much acclaimed sleep back, but your hopes died completely when you left the bath completely dry and with a new pajama ready, but still no sleep. Sighing in defeat you gazed at the door of your dorm the voice of Constance warning you of the rules of not wandering the halls at night a whisper too distant for you to care at all.

"Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just take a stroll" You thought as you picked up a long coat to protect you from the end of winter. With cautious steps you would walk super slowly through the ladies' wing that were now very close to your room, the last thing you wanted was to be caught red-handed. After what seemed an eternity of tablets giving small squeaks whistlers and internal curses for their reckless actions you managed to make some progress leaving the wing of the rooms and arriving at the other areas of the castle.

There was not a soul even in those halls and for the first time you found yourself troubled by the silence endlessly wishing that the slightest sign of life would pass through your eyes. As if the universe heard its throats the sight of a light caught your attention, you were a few feet away from a room that had door open. The sound of voices arguing as you took a few more steps towards the place until the sound stopped you were one step away from the doorstop and also froze.

“One momment…” It was Lady Dimitrescu’s voice and all the hair on your body tingled in unison.

The lady’s footsteps reported that she had heard you and was now coming to check in person. Desperation took over your mind as you rushed to crawl into the first place that seemed logical to you, being in case a small closet that you managed to squeeze into. You didn’t even care what was inside and it was too late to regret it.

You were too worried trying to be invisible inside the closet to notice the steps approaching until they stopped right in front of where you were hiding.

“Draga I know you are here.” The lady’s voice sounded almost disappointed and it seemed to touch something inside you.

As soon as you left your gaze you turned to the ground in total submission and regret while waiting for her to fight with you or something.

“Ah Lucia… Of all the women in this castle I could never have imagined that you would soon disempower me.” Her voice was still in that disappointed tone and you started wishing she would scream since it was hurting so much more.

You couldn’t express yourself and the only thing that came out of your lips was an "I’m sorry." Almost whispered, but she seemed to have heard. Minutes of awkward silence passed while she seemed to think?

“Give me the key for the atelier.” The tall woman asked while you were fetching the key and delivering it into her hand, without looking at it directly.

“I will take this for now. Do you understand why I'm doing this ?” Her tone had lowered a little and you noticed that actually it was because she had bowed as if looking for your look, something that you very cost you reciprocated.

"Yes." Your head was a whirlwind of incoherent thoughts that mixed in with each other and didn’t allow you to express half of what your body really wanted to say and you held a tear that threatened to drip down your cheek.

A distant noise caught your attention as you lifted your head and looked behind the lady. A man was standing right behind her with a big smile like seeing you was the greatest thing in the world. He had light hair hidden by a comically smaller hat with which you were accustomed to seeing the lady wearing, he had a sunglasses lowered over the bridge of his nose revealing bright and light eyes very much like those of the lady for you. A lightly opened social T-shirt under his chest covered with an equally tattered coat.

You stopped your analysis when a radio announcer’s voice that you noticed coming from him sounded in your ears.

“I almost believed that the great Countess Dimitrescu had given up her addiction to kidnapping pretty, helpless girls into the dungeons of her castle.” He laughed as he continued “You just can't do it, can't you giant dragon?”

Wait, dragon? What did he mean by all this your eyebrows frown in confusion while the lady seemed to shake visibly in anger.

“Didn't she tell you child? About all the other girls she's had just like you and don't want to know where they ended up” He laughed a little more, but was sharply cut when a loud growl very much like the one you heard earlier echoed down the hall.

You were more confused than before and only came around when the loud noise of something pointed sounded in your ears the lady had huge claws coming out of her fingers and had tried to hit the wrong man his face a few meters. That was enough for you to break and you ran back the way you came in hoping to get to your bed and go back to sleep pretending nothing happened. Arriving in the room you locked the door while swallowing in dry and let slip through the wood to the ground where you sat hugging your knees on the chest and trying to digest everything that had happened.

A vague recollection of the day you arrived at the castle crossed your mind and a quick one of the other two times where you saw something strange on the lady’s fingers, but nothing you believed would end up like this.

You couldn’t tell what you were feeling right now, images of those claws cutting you in half while you could practically feel the sensation burning all your neurons. You imagined yourself being drained or even eaten alive, but until then you were not absolutely sure of anything the lady even though she had told you about her "vampire nature" stopped her explanations there. To your complete horror you were a being dependent on concrete explanations since your achromatic also worsened and very you distinguish what was something suspicious for anyone who saw colors.

The thought that she was really starting to make sense of all the lack of information and you started to find yourself terrified of the situation you were in. You could no longer hold back the tears and they started rolling freely across your face causing you to start sobbing as you hid your face on the pillows trying to muffle the sound. You don’t know what time it was, but eventually your mind took pity on you and you slept.

 

================

 

Alcina didn’t even have to bother to find Heisenberg to warn him of the sudden passing of his faithful Lycan, since the hisses and growls of the beast that fought against the deadly claws of the matriarch did the job for themselves by bringing man to the place where now only pieces of the creature were left scattered on the ground.

“What!? Why Alcina !?” He screamed in a mixture of anger and melancholy.

“I said keep 'em in line” The lady said with contempt while fixing the hat that had gone out of place in the middle of the fight.

“But I ... forget about it” Heisenberg snitched in discontent.

However, it was not enough for him to completely abandon the topic in question, again accusing Alcina of having killed his "boy" unjustly. Unfortunately Alcina did not want to go into detail about why she exactly took this position by not trusting the man to the full knowledge of Lucia.

When they both arrived at the lady’s office the real discussion about the business began, it was much more tiring and long than the lady had anticipated. She realized that she was no longer listening so carefully to what the man was saying as she stared at her already full ashtray of crumpled cigarette butts that she had smoked in this time span.

The sound of light footsteps in the hallway accompanied by the quiet heartbeat aroused the lady’s attention from her boredom. She allowed herself to concentrate on the sound by immediately recognizing who "Oh Lucia..." the matriarch smiled from ear to ear with the ideas she could do with Lucia giving such a favorable opportunity.

Asking Heisenberg for a moment of leave she left her office for the hallway, but to her surprise she did not find Lucia’s emeralds staring her right behind the entrance to the room, quite to the contrary only a terrifying silence. "Always so clever, my little mouse." She meditated as she concentrated once more that the sound of Lucia’s heartbeat had not disappeared as she thought only diminished as if it were muffled. Logically the girl had run and crawled somewhere so the lady began to search always following the indications of the girl’s presence.

Alcina would never openly admit it, but she loved a hunt and the idea of hunting Lucia had already crossed her mind countless times at this point, but she felt as if she were hunting her little mouse. Her fun however did not last long when she came close to a poorly closed closet, she laughed at the girl’s effort before sending the girl out of her hiding place. She might as well have just opened the door scaring the girl in the process, but something inside her prevented her once again.

The girl crawled out of the closet getting ready standing in front of Alcina as always obedient. The redhead had not raised her head at any time keeping her gaze toward the carpet and Alcina would not force her to have eye contact, another action that her body simply could not perform on the girl.

She sighed as a part of her wanted to try to be bold and use this situation that the girl herself had created as she would normally seemed that Lucia was not an ordinary maiden that she could wear as she wished and the realization of it made all her ideas traditional punishments ran out of your mind. As always, since she had arrived the redhead had left the great Alcina Dimitrescu in a war against herself.

An idea came to her at the time she reviewed where the girl had walked previously in recent days.

"Give me the key for the atelier." Although her tone was not of anger itself, it left no room for disobedience and as expected the girl handed over the key without resistance.

"I will take this for now. Do you understand why I’m doing this ?" She needed Lucia to understand that decompressing rules would bring unpleasant consequences and did not realize that she had bent down to talk to the girl on the same level as if she were a child.

The redhead then looked up for the first time since she had come out of the closet and for the first time Alcina found herself completely sorry to have found Lucia’s green eyes. It was clear how much the girl struggled to try to say something beyond the vague "Yes" becoming more evident when a single tear flowed down the girl’s face. Alcina had to take a deep breath when an emotion she hadn’t felt for years took hold of her heart, empathy. At that moment she wanted to calm the girl somehow, but she didn’t know how and it was making her as uncomfortable as the little one in front of her.

“I almost believed that the great Countess Dimitrescu had given up her addiction to kidnapping pretty, helpless girls into the dungeons of her castle.” Heisenberg’s nagging voice rang behind the matriarch, taking her completely from her stupor and making her turn to him.

"You just can’t do it, can’t you giant dragon?" He looked into Alcina’s eyes that he could not hold the growl that burst out of her chest, her claws ready to come out with such rage.

"Didn’t she tell you child? About all the other girls she’s had just like you and don’t want to know where they ended up" It was enough that bastard son man wouldn’t even think about doing it again after she ripped out his tongue.

In the blink of an eye, the lady unsheathed her claws and advanced upon the man holding his neck with enormous force against the wall. She growled exposing the tip of the fangs that had been stretched briefly, the tightening on the man’s neck did not give in, just squeezed harder and she did not notice when the girl ran from the situation not until the man’s voice returned to her ears.

“It seems your little pet don't like violence” His tone of voice still sounded ironic and the lady couldn’t resist squeezing even more seeing the man lose all color and begin to choke from shortness of breath.

“How dare you” She growled before she threw the man down the aisle like a rag doll.

The man flew down from across the hall as she tried her best to pull herself together, Lucia’s gaze always returning to her thoughts.

“So this is what you tried so hard to hide?” He was still coughing while leaning to get up again and she cursed the parasite inside the man for helping him in this way.

“This one must definitely be very special for you to dedicate yourself like this.”He continued his sentence now already completely standing again.

“If you dare to touch her…” The lady’s tone of voice was low and the man trembled slightly raising his hands in surrender while both of his eyebrows rose to view as the glasses had long since been lost.

“Now that you've found what you wanted and ruined it as usual, get out of my castle and take your filthy dogs with you.” Golden eyes were still burning in fury.

“But Alci, you can't send me away like this.. I-” He attempted to argue by observing Alcina’s hands as they prepared to unsheathe her claws once more. “Fine fine.”

The day was about to be born when the lady looked from one of the windows at the departure of the man breathing a breath that even she did not know she was saving. To say that even after the departure of the man she could not rest would be nothing new since the look of Lucia at that moment seemed to be the only thing that her mind could remember with total clarity.

At this point, the lady was alone in the library sitting on one of the armchairs in front of the fire while her gaze was fixed on the flames. She did not notice Bela’s proximity until the girl perched between her legs clinging to a blanket.

“Oh my little bug… I don’t see you there.” The lady stroked the blond hair of her eldest daughter who snored to the touch.

“What happened?” Bela asked a mixture of concern and clear curiosity in her golden eyes making the lady breathe deeply as she easily pulled the girl from the ground to her lap.

“For the first time in all these years I think I've done something I regret.” The confession had even surprised the lady, but she needed some advice at this point and there was no one who trusted her more than her daughters.

"Does it have anything to do with Lucia?” As always Bela being the most logical daughter although the surprise of her mother being so open, what was not something very common sought to understand completely to be able to help.

The lady took the time to share in small plots what had happened on her troubled night and why her uncle was no longer present at the castle. As always, Alcina hid the most compromising parts of the story telling only what she found extremely necessary for the understanding of the eldest daughter and perhaps advice from someone who was out of the situation.

Long minutes passed while Bela seemed to assimilate everything her mother had said. In this period of time Lucia had not only stolen Alcina’s heart but those of her girls as well, Rare were humans who dared to be even close to them for much more than was necessary and with the arrival of the redhead in the castle this paradigm was broken when the girl did not care about her "nature", but like the girls they were inside.

“Morning…” Cassandra’s voice came from a corner of the library where the girl had materialized and dropped into an armchair like soft noodles.

“You try to explain the situation?” Bela spoke opening her palms in a gesture that indicated that it was the only solution she had been able to think about her mother’s problem.

The lady sighed for a moment not wanting to answer why she had not been clear from the beginning.

“Mother, you see the paint in your atelie ? I think you will like it.” Cassandra dictated while examining to the door of the studio, leaving the lady and Bela curious enough to accompany her.

When the door was opened and the three Dimitrescus entered the room, a painting on a long scroll lying on the floor of a dragon that snaked across the length of the paper caught the attention of the three women. Cassandra was quick to position herself too curious to see her mother’s reaction.

"Who made that?" Alcina wanted to be sure and if it was really the redhead as she drew it, it was not like the dragon that she could transform, but still it was amazing how the girl knew it? Would any of her daughters have told behind her back, or did she hear legends along the way ? Why had she not commented anything until now then?

“Lucia, I see when she made it.” Cassandra responded with a triumphant smile because her mother’s reaction was better than she expected sharing now than Lucia had previously said.

The lady said nothing while the daughters talked to each other about how beautiful the drawing was. She’d need a lot of drinks for today and maybe a chat with her little girl.

 

======================

 

You couldn’t say you had a good night’s sleep since any little noise in your room made you jump out of bed ready for anything to jump on you. Voices in your head remembered the phrase the lady had said to you the first day you arrived "This is how things are now... Accept it. You are mine." You didn’t even realize how it got stuck in your mind to the point where you didn’t question anything anymore and just actually accept that this was your new reality.

The memory of what Nora had said, what she had tried to show you, would be what the lady in fact hides from you? What else includes your nature? Did you really want proof of this ? Or maybe living in the dark would be better... All this goes over in your mind like a broken record all night and continued until now the sun had already risen and probably you had missed breakfast, but you didn’t mind continuing to lie in the room looking at the details of your new decorated ceiling.

You remembered the girls, they were always kind to you, but they also had a side that the lady forbade you to see. After mostly you discovered what was always covered in their faces, it seems that was the perfect trigger for you to be placed in a glass bubble blindfolded in the hands of the lady. " You... You can’t do this!" The remembrance of your words of resistance that just vanished at the end of the day.

“Girl what are you doing !? You need to eat something” The old maid’s voice has awakened you from your reveries by making you rise and open the door.

When you opened, however, apart from the old maid there were three pairs of bright eyes behind her and you sighed in defeat lowering your head.

“Lucia you won’t stay with us today?” Daniela’s voice seemed almost sad behind Constance who realized her hesitation and tried to take the girls away to talk to you.

“I’m…” You couldn’t say half of what was in your head, but to your relief the eldest daughter who was a little distant looking waved her head lightly at you and left taking the sisters with her.

The eldest maid sat down with you in bed and took a deep breath letting you take your time to say something, however when she noticed that nothing was coming out she herself decided to say something.

“You may have noticed that this place is unlike anything you've seen before, right?” She asked by looking at you and you just waved back.

“This castle can be described in many different ways and myself, before coming to work here, I have described it in the most common terrible way.” she continued

“You know Lucia, everything in this world has a good side and a bad side, nothing will ever be just bad or just good. All we need to do is look at it from the right angle.” Right angle... you repeated the words in your mind.

“The Dimitrescu family isn't all that different from your average family if you give it a chance to look on the right side. Your arrival here was more impactful than you can imagine, don't get attached to details, everything will be resolved at some point.” She touched her hand on your shoulder encouraging you and you held the cry you were threatening again.

She left a minute later telling you to at least show up in the kitchen to get something to eat and you agreed. Constance’s words weighed on your mind seemed like something of an appeal and somehow you believed she was right, but at the moment you didn’t want to meet anyone until you remembered something you used to do when you were upset besides painting and a slight smile painted on your features when you decided to get up.

You didn’t take long to get ready and discreetly left your room towards the kitchen as promised halfway you heard a muffled argument in the distance and didn’t want to pay to see running to the other side and quickly getting to the kitchen. Constance handed you a bag probably with sandwiches and winked at you to make you smile and shake your head sideways lightly before disappearing again to the place where you wanted to be from the beginning.

When you arrived at the doors of the opera hall you forced them very slowly to check if there was anyone inside for your luck other than the door not being locked there was no one inside so you went in and pulled the door back the same way you found before.

You didn’t even notice that there were three flies following you sticking to the dark corners of the walls watching your movements as you moved to the dusty cello that shouldn’t have been used for long. To your misfortune he really was a long time without use and it would have rendered you a good time tuning him into the pins that was the most boring part for you, but it would be worth it.

Choosing a place where you had an easy view of the door you accommodated yourself with the instrument leaning on the floor as you started moving the pins trying to tune it only with your hearing. Long minutes passed and a rope almost burst in his hand, but the only thing missing was the bow that no matter how hard you looked you couldn’t find anywhere near it.

A defeated sigh you leaned against the chair looking at the ceiling with your head hanging from the backrest. A fly appeared in your line of sight calling your attention circling in circles before your eyes and you repeated the head movement you had done with Constance giving a funny smile when you noticed that you were not alone. The fly kept trying to get your attention and soon two more came along doing the same thing.

“What?” You asked finally surrendering and getting up while the flies were leading you to a low shelf that you hadn’t looked at before and there were the bows.

“Oh, thank you.” You thanked the flies and got a buzz in unison in response.

They followed you settling near you as if they were complete and you didn’t complain by adjusting the cello to a failure on the floor so it wouldn’t slip, positioning your hand as if you had done it yesterday you allowed yourself to remember one of your favorite songs and started playing it.

The bow slid without any resistance while your other hand worked on the top of the instrument playing the music with practiced precision. You were blindfolded as you played and allowed each intensity of the note to float directly from your core conveying the whirlwind of emotions that you were passing through at that moment.

You don’t know how long you were there but eventually the tiredness took hold of you and just moments before you opened your eyes you saw the same bright eyes, but there was one a little taller than the others peering through the door.

You tilted your head slightly to the side and they vanished causing you to breathe out a breath you didn’t know you were holding and lay back on the side of the chair once again.

 

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Daniela had raised a little later this time what was usually Cassandra’s function when not too worried trying to make Bela lose her role as an exemplary daughter.

To the surprise of the redhead the breakfast was not as tumultuous as it would normally be when everyone seemed to know something she did not know and it made her angry.

“Because y'all always know things I don't know and then act weird about these things and I end up getting lost without understanding why no one told me anything!!” Surely it had not been the best approach mainly by the cold look that her mother lifted for the girl making her shrink in the chair.

“Mother fought with Lucia” Cassandra said shrugging, making Daniela open her mouth in a surprise.

“Cassandra!?” Bela scolded the middle sister with betrayal.

“Leave us” The lady told the maidens in charge of serving the meals and as soon as the steps became distant she spoke once more “I believe that the decision I made to deprive Lucia of our reality is starting to have unpleasant consequences, the opposite of what I had planned.”

Now the youngest daughter had begun to understand the course of the situation, no one there was blind enough not to realize that there was a certain chemistry between the lady and Lucia and even during that time none of her sisters and not even the redheaded girl had been opposed to it, after all Lucia had taken a special place for them each in her own way.

Even with the story badly told the girl did not refuse to spend an afternoon with the girls playing including getting into some trouble because of it. Perhaps it was largely because of her disorder that allowed her not to think about the risk of playing with beings who ate her kind, yet such an action being an accident of fate or did not bring the girl and the lady a light that even they did not know they needed until it came within their reach.

Her mother was not the type of person who shared what was going on in her mind altogether and so often girls were forced to gather small fragments of things they could pick up in the air or simply witness in small moments. The affection her mother felt for Lucia was one of those situations where the lady had never been specific enough for there to be a sense of the intensity of her feelings.

“How far are you willing to go for her mother?” Daniela had an idea, but right now she needed her mother to be clear.

The lady hesitated and slightly lowered her head hiding behind the brim of her wide hat before answering “Farther than I'd like to admit.”

“Good.” The redhead responded to her mother by opening a smile leaving everyone in the room in great doubt.

 

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To say that you were tense would be to lie after all those events you received a note under your door written in the elegant cursive letter of the lady asking you to meet her on the roof.

Sure you wanted to have been there since you arrived at the castle, but found that it was one of the forbidden areas and the little you had seen from the forbidden wings was not a pleasant place to be.

You had received new pants and a T-shirt to accompany the note and sighed as you dressed and dressed them. As soon as you were ready you looked in the mirror for a few minutes, furrowed eyebrows and a slight tremor in the knees "Nice" you thought with irony.

“Come on Lucia! If they really wanted to do something with you they wouldn't have spied on you playing this afternoon.” You repeated to yourself fighting with your reflection as you adjusted your shirt one more time and headed for the roof.

You already knew the way, but were stopped halfway by a strangely happy Daniela who attacked you with a sudden hug before disappearing again into her swarm. She really was a rare piece and it wasn’t the first time she had done something like this to you, but tonight however she seemed even more radiant and it left you slightly intrigued.

Passing the index finger on the elevator button you hesitated a little before a wave of courage took hold of you and you press with will. It was an old elevator, but you’re not afraid of something happening as usual and you just climbed up to the roof.

It was a very short trip and when you arrived on the long-awaited roof your eyes sparkled. The sky was clear with no cloud even to disturb the brightness of the stars that greeted you with their lovely light and you smiled completely with the vision. It was exactly what you’ve been waiting for all this time to be closer to who you’ve now missed so much, blindly your feet will guide you out of the covered place that overlooked the elevator cabin entrance while you didn’t look away from the stars, each with its own unique shine.

“I thought you would like to be here…” The velvety voice was unmistakable and you turned around once again seeing those bright eyes in the shadows staring at you.

You were slightly startled, she looked like a giant cat looking at you from the dark and she seemed to realize it when she continued

“Please allow me to talk to you for a moment, will you?” Lady Dimitrescu extended a cheerful hand to you from the same position she was in the dark waiting for you to accept....

Chapter Text

You looked into the eyes of the older woman who smiled at you even under the handkerchief that covered her hair and part of her face. Her dark eyes sparkled as she held your little shape in her arms and gave you a tight hug.

“How are you my little one?” Nadia’s voice was slightly hoarse and you loved her.

“I’m fine and you ?” You asked already wrapping your fingers in the scarf in stuck in her hair.

“Fine, dear. Where is Téo?” She put you on the floor as she looked around the room looking for the older boy.

“I’m here…” The boy entered the room smiling at Nadia while messing up your curly hair.

The memory came suddenly making you frown at why you were thinking that day now.

“You need to be careful with that... This attraction you have to the dark can cause you more problems than you can imagine.” Téo’s voice echoed in your mind as you watched the lady’s hand still stretched out in the air at you.

You took a deep breath looking into her eyes, there was a clear struggle between two parts of you as always your intuition seemed to scream about the stupidity that was what you were about to do, even so, it was just a distant whisper that as usual you ignored by extending your own hand to the lady. Your hand touched the cold leather of her hands and you didn’t lose the way she opened a smile by your gesture and pulled you closer to her.

You supported yourself not wanting to climb on her lap and she seemed to notice your fear letting you sit next to her on the bench but not letting go of your hand. Minutes of silence fell through the night as you turned your attention to the stars.

“What do you hide from me?”You asked still looking at the stars, letting the lady understand for herself if the question was really for her.

“Many things… Things I didn't think were something you needed to carry so soon.” She responded by taking a deep breath.

“You already told me that once.” You said simply remembering that she always said such peculiarities about herself as a burden.

“It's deeper than you can imagine, dear. I …” As in other times when this subject was approached she was almost embarrassed and you found yourself uncomfortable with it.

“I like you.” You said turning your head slightly to find her look.

The lady looked at you with both eyebrows raised in surprise that you confessed so suddenly.

“But I want to know... everything.” You as always were terrible at explaining yourself, but you made sure to look her in the eyes when you spoke both sentences in the hope that she could feel what you really wanted to say.

Lucky for you, the lady seemed to catch your message in the air and taking one more deep breath she stood up releasing your hand and asked you gently to follow her. You did it without asking looking at the entire route she took to an area you vaguely remembered as she got closer.

“I believe it will be better for you to see than to tell.” The lady had a serious tone of voice and you realized that she was taking you to the dungeons.

The memory of the last time you were near that place came back to your mind, it was wet, cold and smelled very bad. You started to walk slower when a sudden fear took hold of you. You had no idea what was down there, yet something inside of you told you it wasn’t a good thing. The lady seemed to feel your fear and slowed her steps a little just to take your hand again.

“I’m here with you.” She said it like that it looked like a command for your body and instantly you calmed down a little.

The place was lower than you had gotten in your last adventure with Nora and you shuddered a little cold when only a few torches lit a corridor that seemed infinite. The darkness only increased and your eyebrows were joined not only by the cold or the dark itself, but because as your steps took more into the dungeons the smell worsened greatly.

The lady stopped at the doors somewhere and took a torch from the wall as the rest of the way was completely dark. You held her hand stronger without realizing it and followed behind her as she lit the way. The smell was terrible it seemed that you had entered a ditch full of bodies and you began to breathe through your mouth not to vomit. The matriarch however did not seem to outline any reaction and you wondered if her sense of smell was really as good as it had been in your time here.

Cold walls were replaced by empty cells when they did not contain the most varied torture equipment you had only seen in history books when you were in school. You were shaking every step in some places as you walked you could see eyes looking at you in the dark corners. Hidden between the bodies hanging from the ceilings or inside the barrels were creatures you knew very well, spirits looking at you with their deformed forms of hatred.

They would sneak around the corners of the cells and climb up the walls turning their heads at a humanly impossible angle trying to scare you.

The lady finally stopped when she realized you were standing still she lowered her gaze to you and you didn’t find her gaze as the spirits took the best of you to get your attention.

“Can't you see them?” You asked sincerely swallowing the knot in your throat still in an effort not to vomit.

“Who?” She asked looking around as if there was someone alive there and you got your answer.

“Why did you do that?” You asked ignoring the whispers of the spirits in your ears that told you different things between attacking the lady or you joining them.

“Because I need it.” The lady answered her eyes clenching slightly as if she evaluated every reaction of your body.

“LIE!” The spirits screamed and you shook your head slightly.

“I won't be able to talk to you with them screaming." You explained and the lady frowned trying to understand what you meant.

“I can see people like Nora who died here, I can hear them and they distract me.” You explained briefly trying to ignore a spirit of a mutilated man who was all along at the lady’s side.

The lady sighed and smiled with your confession, but to your happiness she agreed to leave and took you to her chambers. On the way none of you said anything and you were very grateful for being able to breathe properly again.

"You know about my needs. What I wanted to show you there is that it's not just blood, it's more, I need more." Her voice took a dark tone and you lowered your gaze to the expensive carpet under your feet.

From there your mind took fragments of the conversation that you were away in your thoughts, but still absorbed everything she told you like a sponge. The indication of your confusion was clear in you tapping your feet in a repetitive motion.

“You're dead, but you came back thanks to this parasite and this Mother Miranda?” You asked only to be sure of what you heard.

“Yes.” She responded by lighting a cigarette and taking a long puff.

“Those people I saw down there who were ?” Not that you were worried or would do anything for them, but it would be nice to have something to shut your mind a little bit or even them if at some point some of them decided to take inspiration from Nora and come after you.

“People who did me harm in some way or the girls.” That seemed good enough and you just nodded.

In fact it was a lot to assimilate and the lady seemed to understand this while giving you enough space to digest.

“Was that painting before the parasite?” You were just curious.

"Yes dear." She answered and you noticed that she laughed lightly at your question out of context.

“Do you have anything else you want to ask?" She asked exhaling the smoke from her lips and you caught yourself looking more than you should.

“No.” You just said it.

“Good.” You noticed how she looked away and seemed to think about something as if you were evaluating something.

“Could I ask you a question darling?” She finally said it and you nodded once again.

“This gift, were you born with it?” You figured she’d be curious about the fact that you could see the dead.

“Yes, It's not something I like, but yes.” You responded by remembering all the times that it caused you more problems than solutions.

You spent long minutes in silence, both looking out the window. You didn’t want to leave and apparently she didn’t want you to go, even if neither of you had anything to say to each other. Suddenly a wave of courage took hold of you that little part that was attracted to the darkness grew in an astronomical way when you were next to the lady and somehow you weren’t afraid to drown in it, you didn’t know why as most of the things that came into your mind were abstract, but it seemed right to let this time be taken to a deeper place.

“I can cover my eyes for you.” You said while imitating the way she did when some maiden "disappeared".

This made the lady smile openly once again and you reciprocated. She pulled you into her lap in a motion so fast that you didn’t even realize it was in her legs. All the memories of your sinful dreams coming back to your mind, leaving you with that hot feeling on your face.

“I knew you were the right choice…” She said it so low that you doubted she heard it right.

Theirs faces were almost glued together and both you and she kept staring at each other’s lips. You could feel her hands snaking around your back in an attempt to pull you closer yet, but something in you didn’t think you were ready for exactly that, maybe not now when your mind was nothing but a mess. Always going back to the damn spirits you’d seen and all that stuff.

Alcina as usual was somewhat understanding when she noticed that you weren’t really into something else by loosening you up a bit and leaving a space for you to get out of your lap if you wanted to. You appreciated her gesture even if you noticed how her behavior seemed somewhat forced as if she was frustrated by not getting what she wanted, feeling awkward with the whole situation you decided to say good night to her and run to your room.

You arrived and threw yourself into your bed sinking your face in between the sheets the distorted face of the spirits looping in your mind. While in the background Constance’s words came back and began to make a little more sense to you. "Look at the right angle." You repeated to yourself and appreciated how that sounded to you.

A few minutes spent reflecting during the bath caused sleep to reach you and shortly after you fell asleep in the soft bed.

Your eyes opened when the darkness was before you. There was nothing and nobody there but your own presence, at least that’s what you thought. The place was not strange to you in any way already being here a few times and it did not take long for you to be fully aware that you were dreaming.

Your feet guided you through the darkness as the place gradually began to form. Trees and earth on your feet gave you a sense of doom as if you were out of the place you were supposed to be. A noise caught your attention looked like a flap of wings and soon you spotted a crow on top of one of the trees. Unlike all the others that tree was the only one that had no foliage being far from all the others.

You tilted your head slightly to the side getting closer to the bird that didn’t seem intimidated by your presence just mirroring your movement, pure curiosity in his cold gaze.

Suddenly, for no reason he quacked loudly frightening you and all that environment melted to become a place you knew well, the castle. You walked the halls looking from one side to the other had no sign of the lady or the girls, much less the maids and you were fully aware that it was a dream so you did not need to call them.

Once again your feet will guide you through the chance of fate. As you passed through the hallways an unusual sound caught your attention, it seemed like groans of appreciation, like when you eat something you really wanted. Wet sounds accompanied by loud snaps echoed down the corridor that you followed too curious to just stop.

At that moment you were absolutely sure that this image would never leave your mind. The lady was leaning over a completely mutilated body, arms and legs no longer resided in the place they should have been while the chest of the figure until her belly was completely open and exposed to the lady who devoured with vigor, flesh, blood, organs. Bright eyes turned inwardly to you as if she felt your presence and you froze looking at her.

You had forgotten for a moment that this was a dream, when the situation seemed so real after all those revelations. Swallowing the knot that resided in your throat at that moment you began to slowly retreat not wanting to run and awaken any hunting instinct in the mistress. If it were any other situation you would find her the sexiest creature in the world covered in blood as she was, yet a blind terror gripped you as the tall woman began to rise.

"My lady..." You backed off while, she was taking huge strides to get to you.

The lady said nothing, her eyes glazed over you as she approached. Blood flowed from her mouth smearing her chin, dressed up her gloves and part of her sleeves. At one point you hit your back against a cold metal and noticed that you were near a window where the same crow from before looked between you and the lady.

You noticed that he quacked at the lady as if urging her to get to where you were and that left you puzzled to say the least, however the terror had not completely ceased when you tried to run and the lady held you by the wrist. You screamed in pain for the strength she held and as you had pulled for sure would have left the place, the crow seemed to have a lot of fun with the situation while flapping his wings and jumping from side to side quacking for lady.

She pulled you closer by inhaling your scent and you tried to kick her out, but it didn’t help. When a lamp seemed to light up in your mind and you forced your body to the ground completely ignoring the lady’s resistance in holding you, that resulted in the sides of your body completely torn by her claws. The pain was so much that you stopped listening, the blood accumulating on the floor and on your clothes, but you gathered forces to lift your gaze and see that the raven now reveals itself to be someone’s perfect silhouette, You couldn’t see clearly but you smiled at her as you closed your eyes and woke up forcibly in your usual room in the castle.

You jumped out of bed choking without air as you tried to fully regain consciousness of what had happened. Surely you would have a busy morning making new drawings.

 

===================

 

It had been about an hour since Alcina had dispensed her personal maiden after ordering about 15 bottles of wine for the night. Due to her size it was really a challenge to see Alcina drunk, but today she found herself engaged in such a task. She did not fail to notice the astonished blue eyes that found their honey as she made the request for the maiden to bring the bottles to her chambers.

At this time she was leaning on the armchair of her dorm admiring the night from the window, not that she wanted to notice the miserable lives of the villagers, but the starry sky was always a weakness of her. The glass was always full as she tested her own limits trying to drown her frustrations in the crimson of her adorned glass.

It was not a routine thing for Alcina to feel so attracted to human, she could count on the fingers of one hand the times she felt this way and mostly out before her mutation. Her needs were always quick and met by some maiden who caught looking too much at her. However, from the moment she saw the redhead that fateful day in the forest she found herself enchanted by the girl, something that over time did not cease, but rather increased significantly.

She understood that although her youngest daughter’s intentions were as noble as possible in trying to help her mother, it seems that the difficult though confession had the effect that the paranoid part of the lady’s mind had so much alerted her. Alcina would never admit it, but she had been shaken by the girl’s escape to her touch, she could feel her excitement, it was clear that Lucia was about to fall into her claws as always and suddenly did not happen.

The dragon growled as he drank all the contents of the glass at once and filled it again. " You’ll be mine "She thought as she leaned back more on the chair, claws drumming on the back beside her in a frustrated rhythm.

The memory of what Lucia had said in the dungeons returned to Alcina’s mind. Even after that whole episode with Nora, the girl claimed to continue to see ghosts of people in various places of the castle. The lady more than anyone knew that if somewhere in her castle there would be such creatures would be in the dungeons, but she never saw them or met anyone who could have such an easy contact with them. A sly smile opened her face as she thought about which of her victims were still trapped there and a sudden urge to ask the redhead to draw them took care of her, perhaps it was an interesting idea.

The lady paused her thoughts for a moment when a peculiar sound can be picked up by her sensitive hearing, she focused on it and found it looked something like someone suffocating. It would not be the first time someone committed suicide in her castle by asphyxiation in fear of her anger or her daughters, however the servants' room was further away for such a low sound to have caught her even more attention with that amount of alcohol she had already ingested.

She focused on the sound a little bit more, it really came from here, will... No! She stood up realizing she might have been drinking too much really. She quickly passed by the very small jamb of her door arriving at the hallway only to see Cassandra at the door of Lucia’s room with her ear glued to the wood and Bela apprehensive behind slightly kicking the carpet.

“What is happening here?” The lady asked jealous that her daughters were spying on HER human.

“Its Lucia, she's doing strange sounds…” Bela as always spoke first while the suffocating noise continued.

“We know you talk to her so… we are a little afraid about how she is going with that…” Bela continued to try to explain to her mother.

"Shh quiet!" Cassandra whispered warning the elder.

Alcina understood and even shared the concern of her daughters and decided to join Cassandra trying to understand if the girl was trying to do something against herself. The noise only increased and Alcina feared arriving too late so she gently pushed her daughter away and touched the door handle ready to break-inI would if I had to, but the noise suddenly ceased giving way to a sound of someone breathing deeply through his mouth as if he had just come out of a drowning.

The three women sighed together relieved while some coughs were heard and then calmed down for a normal breath.

“She’s strange until sleeping.” Cassandra exclaimed shaking her arms in the air as if she were saying something too complex to understand.

“Maybe she’s having a nightmare. She seems afraid mother ?” Said Bela curiosity with a mixed concern in her eyes.

“Lucia is a very peculiar human, my bugs. Until for me…” She could hardly believe that one day she would say that phrase.

A complex human who was not a predictable open book to her, perhaps that was what had drawn her attention so much to the little human. Anyway she had made it clear to herself what she felt was missing now was how to proceed with it.

 

=========================

 

That morning the breakfast had been quiet when you woke up in your room the first thing you saw was a note on your nightstand that said "For you" attached to a small bouquet of Alpine Roses, rare flowers typical of Romenia by what you had quickly researched and discovered, although there was a signature of who had done it you had strong suspicions in someone.

At this point, that certain someone threw glances at you on the breakfast table. You didn’t miss the smile she opened when she saw that you had held one of the flowers in your hair and smiled back lowering your head. After the lady’s daughters had arrived the silence continued in some moments small conversations between the family mainly.

“But Mother is already warm enough for us to go out for the afternoon.” Bela tried to reason with her mother, probably to leave, you could not say since half of the discussion was in Romanian and the other half in English.

“I disagree, my little insect. I don't think it's time for you to leave yet, we can wait another week maybe.” The lady argued back while you tried your hardest not to pay attention.

“What !? One week !? Is a long time!” Cassandra exclaimed knocking on the table not too hard, but making you take a little hop.

"Cassandra..." the lady warned.

“I'm sure Lucia is also bored of being here.” Cassandra argued by cowering a little in the sullen seat.

You widened your eyes in surprise at being put in the middle of the line of fire like that. Looking on one side were the three girls with high expectations that you would help them with their problem of leaving and on the other was the lady with that self-confident smile and a raised eyebrow for you as if challenging you to say that you were bored when they both knew that it wasn’t exactly true.

“I …” You ran your hand around the back of your head not knowing what to do with yourself and wishing the chair would swallow you at that moment.

“I'm sure she doesn't share your thoughts, Cassandra…” The lady said it for you. “Besides, I don't think Lucia would find a hunt with you very much fun, would I, dear?”

“I never hunted anything, but I used to shoot some melee weapons at old tree trunks with Téo when we escaped the supervisors at the orphanage.” You answered truthfully not even realizing that you had self-deduced, not that it was of great value now.

You lowered your gaze then did not see the surprised face that the girls and the lady made to this information as you played with your lucky hair elastic resting on your right wrist.

“You never said you knew how to throw knives.” Daniela exclaimed almost offended and you looked at them shrugging.

“I already know! We don't need to leave Lucia will have to show us this skill.” Cassandra exclaimed for sure the most excited of the group.

You opened and closed your mouth trying to say something, but it might be interesting to have something to distract yourself during the day that wasn’t your own thoughts. Waving in agreement you caught the excited looks of the three girls and did not lose as the lady’s hand slid through your hair delicately making you shake your body a little.

When the breakfast finished the girls were quick to drag you down the hallways to a room you’ve never been in before. It was full of weapons and armor and you deduced that it was some kind of arsenal, it was all so fast that you did not even realize what was the path that led and consequently took it away, however this was not important now when Cassandra excitedly positioned a mannequin in a corner of the room and opened a kind of closet for you full of various types of sickles, swords, knives, daggers, axes and etc... You were flabbergasted to say the least about how they had so many weapons and felt a little nervous with such an audience.

“I haven't done this in a long time.” You said testing the weight of a hatchet.

“Oh don't worry we have plenty of time.” Answered the middle daughter looking at what you chose.

“Don't you like scythes?” Bela asked who was leaning on a bookshelf in another corner of the room also looking.

“I've never used it.” You answered truthfully and gained a buzz from her in response.

After a few minutes and Bela fighting with Daniela to get her out of the shelf where she had chosen to sit making you shake your head and smile lightly, you ended up choosing the hatchet to start. It’s been a really long time since you’ve done something like this and let’s just say your aim was much better when you weren’t with such an audience, but it was just an innocent prank.

Standing in front of the mannequin you adjusted and took a deep breath inhaling through the nose and releasing the air through the mouth. Your eyes found the head of the mannequin and you threw the hatchet, it flew and stopped at the chest of the mannequin where it was firmly stuck. You snorted and pouted for making such a miserable mistake, but that’s not how the other women saw when you heard clapping coming from your side.

“I knew you would get it right.” Daniela said putting her hand on your shoulder as if you had won something.

“I actually missed. I wanted to hit the head... I think I can do the other one." You responded by looking at Cassandra who easily pulled the axe out of the mannequin’s chest.

“Even so, if he didn't kill, he would certainly have seriously injured a human. You're good.” Bela said sincerely and you gave her a little smile.

Not that you had such pretensions, but you took it as a sincere compliment.

“Right right. If you hit the next one I want you to try and shoot me." Cassandra said returning the hatchet to you with a bright smile like your mother’s.

You looked at her with wide eyes for the second time in the day making the other girls laugh.

“But I do not want…” You tried to explain

“Oh don't worry it wouldn't kill me, besides I can disappear, remember?” You didn’t answer directly just by opening your mouth and closing it while agreeing.

Once again you concentrated now holding the hatchet a little tighter in your hands. The breath was the same inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth and you threw the hatchet. This time he flew faster before sticking herself on top of the mannequin’s head, you raised both eyebrows in surprise and then opened a smile to the girls who clapped for you making you look away.

“Very good, my turn now.” Said Cassandra as excited as you’d ever seen before.

She vanished into her swarm and reappeared in place of the mannequin while Bela had taken the hatchet from the mannequin’s head and handed it back to you. To say that the fact that you had to throw the hatchet now at Cassandra even though she was standing still had not made you nervous would be lying, the tension hovered in the air much more for you than for the girls who even looking with expectations seemed not to care about anything.

If they weren’t worried then there was no reason why you were what you told yourself before you stood up again and repeated your previous moves the small difference was that this time you thought of something that made you genuinely angry before you shot. The hatchet came out of your hand faster than every time and passed almost scraping on the side of the lady’s middle daughter’s face, falling to the floor with a strong thud on the other side of the small room.

“Ooooh so closeee!” Daniela exclaimed laughing loudly.

You smiled at the laughter of the youngest daughter and saw how Cassandra smiled at you after taking the hatchet and returning it to your hands again.

“Again.” She said, and you agreed.

You don’t know how much time you spent playing this way, the target had changed several times and sometimes even you were the target. The tension dissipated completely while you were playing there and you completely forgot the dream you had that morning too entertained to remember now. None of you seemed to care about the risk of your pranks and sometimes you fell on your ass making the three girls laugh a lot when the game changed to something more body to body, they seemed to be very careful with you and even if you weren’t very attentive to it in fact, you could feel it.

At one point you were trying to fight Bela with the scythe as they insisted that you should learn to use one. When the sound of heels on the cold stone of the place and the characteristic black hat passing through the door jamb caused you to take another trip falling on the ground again.

The lady smiled as she stood across her height looking at you, sweat covered your forehead and your hair was caught in a ponytail, some scratches were on your arms from the blows, but it was no big deal.

“Do I disturb something?” The lady hid her smile as much as she could even though he was escaping from the corners of her lips.

You laughed at your state and looked at the floor as Bela reached out to you and pulled you off the floor with ease

“No mother.” Bela responded as you dusted your pants.

“Look mom Lucia is very good at throwing knives and axes, but in hand to hand combat…” Daniela told that she spent most of the time looking, but also had her share of fun is throwing you on the ground or being targeted.

“Is that right, dear?” The lady replied interested still looking at you from the corner of her eye.

“It's true she managed to hit an ax in that dummy's head on the second try.” Cassandra counted pointing to the mannequin that had now been set aside.

“That's great! Now that you've all had your fun I hope you're ready for dinner soon.” The matriarch said more to the daughters than to you.

"Yes mother.” They answered only one voice and gradually disappeared in their swarms.

It was just you and the lady in the armory now you were embarrassed by your shaggy, sweaty state next to her and she seemed to notice when she approached you.

“Ashamed, are we?” She asked and you knew it wasn’t exactly a question, but you gave an answer just by shaking your head.

The lady came closer to you taking your face with her hand covered in leather. Your face was hot from the effort and the cold leather on her hand was a relief to you. She looked into your eyes, but it didn’t take as long as you saw that she looked all over your face actually, your dark tongue came out to wet your lips and you were getting more flushed and not the effort.

“I'd like to see you after dinner in the opera hall.” Her voice was that husky whisper that left you with weak knees.

“Yes mistress.” You responded without thinking and your heart responded instantly by accelerating.

The countess seemed to respond in the same coin to the title when, you noticed that noise that looked like a growl coming out of the bottom of her chest. The big hands twitch a little slightly increasing the pressure on your face and you held a groan even if your expression delivered you. To your relief she let you go and you ran to your room needing urgently to get into the cold water.

 

==============

 

They spent a few hours after that meeting with the lady in the armory and her hectic afternoon. It was a welcome relief to everything that circulated in your head and you thanked the girls in your own way for it. The dinner had been more hectic with the girls telling about the afternoon you had for the lady making you smile most of the time, you did not miss the looks that the lady gave you throughout the dinner many times finding hers and then deviating.

At the time you were walking through the corridors of the castle towards the Opera hall you had often heard the maidens that the lady had a serious problem with waiting being considered an extremely impatient person, you yourself had already witnessed the true extent of her temperament only to find that she was tiny. Yet you wandered unhurriedly through the corridors, not too worried about whether you were late or not.

When you arrived in the opera hall the sound of a soft melody played on the piano was heard by you. Some candles were lit that did not give full account of lighting the room by its size and you sneaked through the door entering as quietly as possible not wanting the lady to stop because of your arrival.

You remembered one day when you fell asleep here in her arms and had asked her to play the piano for you someday. As you walked up to her, she stopped and took a deep breath, making you stop in place.

“Do you like it?” She asked you to make a gesture so that you would sit next to her, but still not turn around.

“Yes. You play the piano very well.” You responded by approaching her and sitting next to her on the piano bench.

She now turned her face to you even though you were much taller and you repeated the gesture raising your head to find her eyes.

“You know, I received flowers in my room today and I really liked them. If you can tell the sender…” You looked away again when you felt your face became hot.

“Oh, really? I think I know who sent the flowers and don't worry, she was very happy to hear that you appreciated the gesture.” The lady answered with a laugh and you smiled still looking at the piano keys.

“You can play?” She asked.

“No, just cello.” You answered truthfully as you pressed a key next to where her hand rested just to hear the sound.

“And I must say you play the cello beautifully.” The lady told you to get her hand closer.

“You were listening…” You remembered seeing her eyes glowing hidden in the hallway that day.

“I can easily hear the sounds around the castle.” She said and you laughed, causing her to arch an eyebrow in questioning.

“Please tell me what's so funny?” She asked and you smiled at her looking back in her face.

“ I saw your eyes shining down the hall that day, you were behind the door looking, weren't you?” You and she knew it was true and for the second time in the day you saw that she ran her tongue through her lips.

“You know my eyes only light up when I see something I like...?" She approached you using that lower tone in her voice.

You were silent, your brain shorting out, you heard her laugh as she picked you up easily by sitting on the piano. It was comical how she could carry you as if you were a doll to her, you most of the time made your job easier by keeping completely immovable. In this position her face was closer to yours and you felt hot all of a sudden.

“Nothing to say, my little star?” She teased you.

You really didn’t know what to say to her, most of the time when you were close to each other her eyes shine for you and if what she said was true maybe she liked you more than you always thought she was.

“You remind me of a cat sometimes.” It was the first thing you thought adding to the fact that she was purring too.

She actually laughed at it and you were embarrassed and afraid she was offended in a way, you followed with eyes as she laughed like you had never seen before.

“It is serious.” You said laughing along with getting infected.

“I know draga mea. My apologies, no one had told me this, but I'm not offended. Maybe I really do look like a cat.” She said, when she eventually calmed down her hand extended to caress your cheeks and you noticed that she was without the gloves.

"There's something I wanted to show you." The lady said and you looked at her with curious eyes waving in agreement.

“Do you remember the day you asked me what my favorite color was? And I said red, right?” You didn’t quite understand where she was going with this, but you remembered the day and agreed.

“You couldn't answer me what exactly red was like for you.” You remembered how she scrambled in an attempt to explain.

“I scrambled around because until then I wasn't sure how I felt…” She said her left hand that was resting on the piano came to her waist pulling you to her.

“How did you feel about what, my lady?” You asked sliding easily across the piano until almost glued to her.

“About you... Let me show you what red really looks like.” The lady said so.

She then joined her face to yours and a moment her lips were on yours. You were frightened at first, but soon relaxed closing your eyes and enjoying what she was giving you. Her lips were soft against yours and you didn’t fight for control at all. When her tongue slid down your lower lip asking for permission, you gave it to her with pleasure not holding a groan when you felt it inside your mouth. Everything in it was big and you loved the feeling that it brought you to domination, you could not do anything at that time and not that you wanted to do, but that alone made you weak.

Her hands went through your body and the kiss was broken when she lowered her face to your neck giving more kisses marking your skin. You were excited with every care and hoped she wouldn’t notice, your hands were resting on her strong arms as you bit your own lower lip trying to muffle your groans.

“If that's red, it just turned out to be my favorite color.” You said as she walked away a little from you making her smile.

“Hmmm, glad you liked it.” Her hands passed through the marks she left sucking on your skin and for a moment she lightly ran her claws down your nape.

You jumped instantly with the touch and covered your mouth to muffle the moan that came out of you, she looked at you with bright eyes and smiled.

“Sensitive here, are we?” She asked a pinch of fun without her face and you lowered your gaze not even needing to answer for her to fully understand.

She passed her hand once again and you bit your lip muffling the sound again making her laugh hoarse.

“My lady…?” You said it softly.

“Alcina, dear.” She answered and you raised your eyebrows in surprise. “You can call me by my first name.”

“Alcina, you can do that again?” You gestured between you and she smiled openly.

“Always, draga mea.” Alcina answered and pulled you for another kiss.

Chapter Text

You wake up in the middle of the morning again, breathless breath as you repeated to yourself that everything was fine. You had escaped another trap in the form of nightmares again, were more frequent since your closest proximity to Alcina.

It had been about 3 weeks since your first kiss with the lady and since then many others came as intense or even more than those. You love these small parts of your day that were mostly at night since it was the time she had free of her work for you to choose somewhere to be together.

Tonight would be one of those unhappy and endless, you could not leave the room and go back to sleep after so many nightmares began to cause you a certain fear. Even with sleep you saw yourself fighting your own body not wanting to sleep and go back to that universe where everything was so heavy and painful. Most of the time your nightmares consist of variables of pain and suffering of people you had never seen in life, but there was a "coincidence" in all the nightmares that consisted of that raven. In all your nightmares the raven was there one way or another.

You hadn’t told Alcina or the girls about it and preferred to keep it to yourself and as none of them had asked for your diary at that time also did not see the drawings you were doing together with the nightmares.

You realized you were still lying in the same position you woke up, your breath had already regulated and you looked into the darkness of your room while your eyes were heavy. For a minute you dozed off just to get up again in a sudden snap of air.

As if your inner fear was not clear enough for yourself, a noise in the door was heard by you, there were no steps, but you can glimpse a silhouette of someone very large bending down and entering through the door.

“Draga?” Alcina called and you let out a breath you didn’t even know you were holding.

“Hi…” You said with just your eyes out of the blanket.

She approached the bed giving a smile of her position, she carried with her a candle that she gently landed on the bedside table of your bed.

“Another nightmare?” She asked, her gentle voice, soothing you and making you discover the face.

“Yes.” You responded by avoiding her gaze.

Since you had approached the lady she noticed your nightmares being able to hear your breaths and many nights she came to your room staying with you until you fell asleep again. Somehow she’d bring you a security guard and take away whatever it was that would disturb your sleep. You never told her the nightmares no matter how much she asked and she always asked every time, you imagined it was out of curiosity, but honestly you believed she was already doing everything in her power to improve your "stay".

“You are afraid to sleep again, don't you?” Alcina finally asked if she would sit on the edge of the bed.

You didn’t answer verbally just by nodding your head and that seemed to be enough since the other woman made a gesture of wiping with her hands to get you to the side, something you did, already waiting for her next steps. Alcina sat on the bed supporting her back at the head of the bed and easily pulled you on top of her lying on your back. It wasn’t the first time you were in a position like this with her and you appreciated the gesture very much.

“You're not going to tell me about that nightmare either, are you?” She asked, your voice had an almost malicious tone and you didn’t understand why.

“I... what was that?” A loud noise was heard by you not that it was new when it came to the castle Dimitrescu, but this was really close.

“The girls went out hunting, they must be back by now…” The lady responded by focusing a little on the sound as if to be sure.

Did you remember the day you spent the afternoon in the armory with the girls, they had asked the morning of that day to leave and Alcina had not left, but now they could ? Would it have anything to do with spring? You couldn’t tell and it didn’t matter because your room was being invaded by a swarm of flies.

“Oh mother and Lucia have already taken another step?” Cassandra provoked the first to materialize in the room.

“So cute!” Daniela exclaimed while Bela just hid her smile with her hand.

You tried to slip on the lady’s lap back under the blankets, but her grip on your form was strong, holding you in place.

“Lucia had another one of those nightmares, so I'm here." Alcina responded.

“Oh I have nightmares too.” Daniela as always seemed strangely happy even saying so.

“You have?” You were curious as usual what kind of nightmares she might have.

“Yes, most of the time it's about my mother or my sisters being injured or even dead.” She answered and you saw how her gaze swerved, her voice almost sad.

With great effort because it was not something for you to do this you without looking into her eyes stretched out your hand and touched the hand of the youngest daughter Dimitrescu giving a slight squeeze. Although for you this is extremely complicated, you expect her to understand the gesture.

To your relief Daniela seemed to understand what you wanted to demonstrate and you can see her smile widening as the other two girls perched on the bed which suddenly seemed much smaller than before.

“So how was the hunt?” Alcina asked.

“It was great!” Daniela exclaimed.

“I missed going out like this” Cassandra grumbled from the edge of the bed.

“We found a drunk thing man.” Bela told.

“Oh yes! Her liver was awful, but the rest made up for it and it was delicious.” Now Cassandra seemed genuinely excited.

At this point in the conversation you preferred to focus on the details you hadn’t seen before in your room as the Dimitrescus discussed human flesh. You could feel the lady’s claws gently running through your arm as the discussion continued, each time the movement repeated you felt goosebumps and she seemed to want exactly that from you.

“Furthermore we went to the house of the peasants who live near the castle to see Mariana; Since Cassandra couldn't stop…” Daniela began to speak, but was interrupted when the middle daughter flew on top of her knocking both on the ground.

Curses were uttered by the pair as Bela tried to separate and Alcina just let out an exasperated sigh. You knew that it was something everyday the three sisters fighting and then did not be scared since the swarm was more outside the room than inside. At one point the confusion went out of the room and a silence took over your room.

“Those daughters... I swear” The lady said in a tired tone and you gave the shadow of a smile to it.

Alcina tilted her face down in a way that her nose would fit exactly between your neck and collarbone. You had already noticed that the lady was very fond of biting or simply smelling that area, a shadow on your head always said that maybe she was thinking of biting you for real so her obsession with that particular part, but she hadn’t told you anything or given you the understanding that she wanted to feed on you, maybe it was just paranoia as usual.

“Have you ever heard of this Mariana?” She asked pushing her face away from her favorite place to look at her face again.

“Not that I remember.” You kept looking forward as you felt her gaze upon you.

“Guess I'll need to have a talk with the girls tomorrow then.” Alcina seemed more thinking out loud than talking to you right now.

You began to feel sleep creeping back to you, but the fear of returning to the nightmare was still present and the lady seemed to notice it. She pulled you gently so that you again lean your back to her chest relaxing, you were tense for a few minutes unable to relax being leaning against her, but that feeling was soon gone when a soft purr began relaxing you. Your eyes began to get heavier and heavier as she purred until you succumbed to sleep again.

 

======

 

The breakfast was in its usual chaos, while Constance and a maiden who you did not know the name served the ladies meals you could hear the interrogation for which Cassandra was being subjected due to such a Mariana that Daniela had commented on overnight. As always the discussion was part in English and part in Romanian which made it very difficult for you to understand, not that you really cared, in fact at the present time your attention was completely turned to the ceiling of the dining room. As much as you could not see the colors you were always fascinated by the detailed drawings that some rooms of the castle had on the walls, doors or ceilings.

The voices of the lady and the middle daughter went up and down while you could see Bela at times seeming to make the middle sister tell Alcina who the girl was... So Bela knew ? Maybe. You did not take your eyes off the ceiling even if the pieces of the discussion made in a language understandable to you did not go unnoticed.

At one point you began to think about how the maidens who were responsible for cleaning the castle cleaned such small details in such a high place. Of course it was possible that there was a ladder for this, but in the details that were in the same straight line as the table? Did they drag the table so that they could get there or would they climb on the table without the lady knowing? Thousands of variables began to go through your mind at that time.

You had not even noticed that the lady’s youngest daughter was not at all interested in the discussion of her family and at the time followed your gaze to the ceiling with eyebrows together trying to understand what you thought so interesting in that place. The Dimitrescu girls with the passage of time began to realize that most of the time you turned your attention to something that seemed extremely futile to anyone, but that actually had a big reason behind.

After what seemed like hours you saw something moving on the ceiling was a darker shade than the tone that the ceiling displayed for your black and white vision and this caught your attention even more. A spider not as big as a tarantula, but still of a considerable size to frighten anyone began to slowly descend from the small slot in the try.

You were frozen in place, not afraid or anything else simply not able to do anything but watch the arachnid patiently braiding a web from its back to the center of the dining table. The youngest daughter that you just now realized was all the time following your eyes widened as you had never seen before, pure terror in her features.

“Cassandra Dimitrescu!” Alcina roared with her middle daughter as they both stared at each other throwing flames at each other.

In any other situation you would find comical how both women were alike and so only increased the tension of the discussion, but your reasoning was brutally cut when:

“A SPIDEEEERRRR!” Daniela screamed pointing at the spider that was almost touching the table cloth.

You had rarely seen the three sisters move so fast. There was a mixture of fear and anger in your features for something so small and you didn’t know whether to laugh or not. On your left side the lady seemed almost bored after the initial scare that everyone took with the tone of Daniela’s scream, Alcina massaged her temples as a gesture that you knew she did when she needed to seek calm within herself.

“Kill her mother, please!” Bela asked and the other two sisters nodded vigorously.

A long sigh came from the lady as if it were the most ridiculous thing in the world she put her index finger over her thumb and flicked the spider incredibly across the dining room. The animal flew until it fell near the double metal door that led to the winter garden, in the middle of the girls who moved away to see the silly animal. Thousands of shoes banging noises on the ground filled their ears as the girls crushed the animal with such hatred, it seemed that they really did not like spiders under any circumstances and you made a mental note of it.

When the sisters made sure that the animal was just a slimy paste and returned to their places the initial discussion seemed to have been forgotten, triumphant smiles opened on their bloodstained faces from their unfinished meals. You noticed how the girls seemed to look at each other and the maidens who stood in the corners almost like furniture and did not understand exactly what this meant.

A hand covered in leather rested on your leg delicately, its extension was such that it occupied almost all your thigh, only one hand was so great. You didn’t turn around because you felt the breath of the next lady, her lips almost touching your ear as if she was about to tell you a secret.

“I believe you'll want to cover your eyes now…” You could feel the smile in her voice.

The phrase was whispered in your ear and you nodded understanding what she meant and took a look at them all before leaning back more in the chair as if you were slipping under the table and closed your eyes.

“Now Constance, who was ultimately responsible for cleaning up this area?” Alcina’s voice took that tone of steel she had when she addressed any of her maidens.

“I… need to check the list.” You could feel the nervousness in Constance’s voice.

The lady’s hand had not left your leg at any time and you tried to focus your attention on it.

“So go!” Alcina exclaimed to the older woman.

“Fasteeeer!” Cassandra rushed and you could hear the other two girls laughing.

It seemed like hours when you dared not open your eyes at any time the atmosphere in the room seemed a mixture of anxiety, hunger and fear. You heard when the doors opened again Constance probably coming back with what you deduced to be two maidens both cried and their voices were as if they were asking something from Constance in the unknown language for you.

“Vă rog!” Both trembling voices asked.

You heard the girls' laughter, the sound of their flies passing through the room, the lady’s husky laugh as you heard her chair move a little her big hand leaving your leg. All the dialogue was done in Romanian and you did not understand a word, honestly you did not know if you wanted to understand, yet in your tones of voice you could imagine that the ladies were having a lot of fun while the maidens cried and repeated the words before.

“Nu vreau scuzele tale! Voi doi erați conștienți de pedepsele pentru neîndeplinirea îndatoririlor dumneavoastră în mod corespunzător!” Alcina thundered in response to one of the maidens she had tried to discuss.

You had never seen her speak so fast before and it made you lightly tremble in your seat a repetitive motion starting with you pulling the skin from your own knee.

What came next you did not understand for sure what had happened, hear a noise as if someone had spit on the floor ? And suddenly that creepy growl you heard the day you saw the Lycan hanging from your window. A high-pitched scream came when the sound of something metallic and a sick gurgling as someone drowning began. The smell of iron took over the room as you listened to the sounds of tears like the ones you heard in your nightmare that Alcina was devouring someone’s carcass.

You don’t know how long you’ve been listening to this, your head repeating all the sounds together. There was no expression on your face and your heart was beating calmly as usual, your eyes were still closed until you felt a hand that was not the lady pulling you from your seat and guiding you out of the room.

A gust of muffled air reached your body that seemed frozen like a balm as you could feel someone in front of you. Apprehensive and offensive voices were whispered in the background.

“You can open your eyes now.” You knew that voice.

When you opened your eyes you noticed that you were sitting in the kitchen facing Chloe, Alcina’s personal maid and that you had talked to her a few weeks ago. She was always kind to you in the few moments you talked and you were happy to see her.

“Here I brought this for you.” She gave you a glass of water that you accepted by thanking and taking some.

The lady asked me to guide you here. Looks like you'll be busy until late afternoon.” The maiden gave a slight smile to you wanting to relieve anything you were feeling, no matter how calm you seemed in her eyes.

“it's all right.” You said simply thanking her once again for her kindness and rising up to escape the judgmental eyes of the other maidens.

“Wait! Before you go the lady asks you to meet her in the late afternoon in her office.” Chloe said and you nodded in agreement before disappearing into the corridors towards the tower.

 

=============

 

“Pequeñito, is everything ok? You barely touched the food…” The firm voice of her father, but carrying with him a clear tone of concern made the girl stop kicking with her fork the meat from her plate and look into his eyes.

Brown eyes found brown eyes as the woman sighed and shook her head in agreement pushing her thoughts away.

“Yeah, I'm just not very hungry today.” The brunette disguised herself as she put a stray wick from the shock with which she had tied her hair behind her ear.

“You're not hungry? This is surely a miraculous act, perhaps Mother Miranda has intervened in you.” He mocked the girl’s younger brother while laughing giving another bite of food.

“Isaac! We don't mention that name in this house!” The father thundered to the boy who raised both hands in surrender.

“Lo siento.” Isaac responded by looking away from the table.

Mariana threw herself further into the back of the chair letting her mind wander again. Since her family had lost her mother in the country where she and her younger brother had been born things went awry considerably, although the woman was the most optimistic in the family and so to speak put everyone’s vibration ever high, on this day there was something else tormenting her mind. It has been years since the Mexican family lived in the village and since then a lot has been learned by them, including about the rulers of the village and their "peculiarities" if they could say so.

The brunette somehow felt indifferent to all these things in all the years that the lord in charge of her village was in the case was Lady Dimitrescu never appeared for absolutely nothing. There were a few times when Mariana spotted the lady’s elegant carriage passing through the village, she found it funny how most people ran to opposite sides in fear of legends.

A hand on her shoulder caused her to look up to see her father again giving her a discreet smile.

“Why don't you take a look at the goats for me?” He said knowing that it was one of the places where the woman most liked to stay, working.

“Sure! Thanks papá.” She struggled to return the smile and took it and put on the battered boots going to the back of the house where there was a creation of goats.

Mariana looked at her boots as she walked thinking when her steps were near the corral she looked into the woods on her right side, in the exact spot where last night she had seen some creature looking at her. Of course she didn’t tell anyone, imagining that it was a lycan maybe, but how a lycan would have been so calm hiding in the trees just looking at what the woman was going to do... All the reports she had heard about such creatures were about their brutality and how there was no chance of surviving an attack from their pack.

The peasant looked closely at the place trying to remember if there was something she could remember to reach some conclusion. She wanted an excuse to give her mind that it was no big deal, but something inside her said that she should care seriously about it.

She roared in frustration opening the doors of the corral with all the force of her turned arms and cursing herself mentally minutes later for almost breaking the fragile old wooden door.

“Beh!” One of the goats yelled at the woman for her attention.

“What!?” She replied as he just chewed something looking at her as if she knew everything going on in her mind.

“Tsk” She snapped her tongue as she turned the goat and began her work.

“What do you think happened to her?” Isaac asked looking out the kitchen window to the corral where his sister worked.

“I honestly don't know… Yesterday I thought I heard a noise coming from the back, but it was so soft, almost sneaky, I ended up not caring.” The boy’s father spoke as he remembered the night before.

“Me too! I saw Mariana coming down the stairs. She went outside with her rifle. I was scared, but I was close looking in case I needed to call you or help her.” The boy counted while helping his father wash the dishes.

“Did you manage to find out what it was?” The father stopped his movements to find the look of the boy who seemed almost thoughtful.

“I remember seeing glowing eyes in the weeds, golden eyes like a cat's…”

That was it! Mariana remembered clearly now, golden eyes she had seen golden eyes looking at her in the bush hidden in the trees, but who has eyes like that? She snorted in discontent. Never in her 27 years of age had she seen a human being who had eyes like those... What if maybe it wasn’t a human being?

“Lady Dimitrescu has three daughters, their bodies are said to be made of flies and are as terrible as their mother, the castle executioners being responsible for punishing maidens who disobey the lady's orders. The few who were lucky enough to see them and survive say their eyes are golden.”

Mariana shook her head sideways as if to move away the lines of the woman who had told the legend to her. Her mind was playing tricks, she just had a bad night, a nightmare maybe and all this has passed, there was nothing to worry about.

 

==========

 

You were hours hung in the tower window looking at the privileged view. The fear of falling from that height was far from an obstacle since your mind did not think much of the danger that your actions might involve others or yourself, anyway you had completely lost track of time. Your eyes sought to capture all the details possible to see at such a height, the previously dead vegetation now took over the gardens and forests in the distant village that you could see when you were on the lower floors of the castle.

You had already remembered about the lady’s work and wondered if at some point Alcina would take you to see her vineyard. The memory of the day she had taken you to walk in the gardens during the winter passed through your mind opening a smile in your features, it had been a fun day even if the girls did not have with you.

You did not even notice the creaking of the door behind you much less the sound of the typical firm bounces against the floor of the room until a known heat took over your back along a shadow so large that it consumed yours with ease. At that moment Chloe’s lines about the lady waiting to see you in her office in the afternoon hit you like a wave in a rough sea.

“I'm so screwed” You said no more than a whisper.

“In fact you are, draga mea…” Alcina responded with a dark laugh.

You wavered slightly at her tone and turned to see her face covered in the shadow of her big hat, but yet you knew she had that smile she always had when something came out as she planned. Your throat suddenly became dry as you averted your gaze down not sustaining Alcina’s piercing gaze, all possibilities of excuses going through your mind together.

“I honestly didn't expect to be completely forgotten like this. Not after our last few dates... I'm disappointed.” For some reason her words hurt much more than her claws squeezing your shoulder even over the leather of her gloves.

“I apologize Alcina... I got lost at the time, I've been thinking too much... as usual.” The last part was more of a mumble coming out of your mouth, but you knew she had heard it.

“Hmm, still it didn't convince me I believe after so many indiscretions forgiven maybe you need a reminder of what your true place is here don't you?” You felt that she was still smiling as she said those words, her grip eased a little bit before she pierced you with her claws.

Alcina had bent down so that her face was at the height of your neck as she always did when she saw you inhaling your scent and leaving you completely trembling in a mixture of distress and excitement.

“I... What kind of punishment?” You asked with genuine curiosity getting completely immovable for her.

“Are we anxious?” She laughed once more as she straightened to her full height.

You looked away to the side feeling your face warm as she knowing it had been purposeful pulled your face once again to look into her eyes.

“Answer.” Her voice firm as his eyes wandered between your eyes and your mouth.

“Yes my lady.” You responded by looking into her eyes.

“Good girl…” She snored stroking her face as she usually did when you were a good girl for her.

“Now, I have a phone call to make in my quarters and your punishment requires you to escort me to them, so please.” Alcina waved her finger at you as she proceeded gracefully to her room.

You stood right behind her looking down while as from the first moment you saw your followed her orders without question, something that always left her in a great mood. You ignored the judgmental glances by getting as far behind her as possible in a failed attempt at invisibility. After long minutes of walking and many stairs you arrived at her rooms, honestly you did not remember exactly if you have been here before, but if you were certainly not paid attention as it should.

It was beautiful, nothing exaggerated or ostentatious, no, it had the perfect balance and although everything was much greater than it usually did not lose its elegance as well as the owner of the room. You enjoyed the feeling of feeling so tiny from the moment you entered the room and didn’t ask anything just watching as the lady headed to a dressing table pulling off her hat and waving her finger so you’d get close to her.

The door had been locked by Alcina as soon as she entered and you wondered if it was really necessary, after all who would be crazy enough to enter her chambers even more with her inside. Anyway this was not the point and you stood next to her looking at the disco phone resting on the comically large dressing table. Alcina took her time in silence as she opened a drawer taking out her cigarette, placing it on her stand, lighting it and inhale smooke before turning her eyes to you through the mirror of the furniture.

“Be the good girl I know you are and get on your knees for me.” She looked deep into your eyes and you did so her words came out of her dark lips.

The folds of the wood poked your knees the moment your skin touched the floor, but it wasn’t anything you weren’t used to. You dared to raise your head to find her gaze and were surprised to see how the lady’s pupils were dilated, she seemed to appreciate you very much on your knees next to her and you as usual could not sustain the intensity of her gaze deflectingthe back to the ground.

“You will stay like this for me until I finish my errands.” The lady said to you, her firm voice leaving no room for any questioning.

“Yes mistress.” You said automatically already looking for some detail on the wall or anything in your field of vision to keep you entertained.

You noticed how the lady seemed to want to say something else, but she did not say and soon you heard her fiddling in your drawers again, the cigarette that was resting while she gave you orders now returned to her mouth. At times while you heard her flick through a schedule maybe she blew the smoke down making you cough a few times, but you remained in complete silence while she had fun.

It had been about an hour or maybe more she had already made about 4 phone calls all in languages in which you were unfamiliar and you wondered how many languages she knew. Anyway the pain in your knees was a constant nuisance although most of the time you managed to redirect your attention to anything else, you weren’t immune to pain and the wet feeling in the bruises that were probably forming on your knees started wanting to make you change position just a little bit.

You heard the lady take a deep breath in response to the slightest hint of your movement and froze in place, but lucky for you, she was in the middle of a phone call and then you believed that maybe it wasn’t about your knees. You bit your cheek from the inside, muffling any sound of protest and turned your attention to the wall again paying attention to details you hadn’t noticed before, something you usually did to keep yourself grounded in any situation.

One hour soon turned two and you felt a tear drip from your eyes from the pain. You started to think that maybe she put something on the floor before you knelt down, however a comforting touch on top of your head caused you to tilt your head anxiously to find the lady’s glowing eyes and a cruel smile on her features. You had not even noticed that the sound of her velvety voice no longer filled the room, too lost in your thoughts.

“You poor thing…” She cood for you her voice charged with a very badly disguised malice.

You didn’t have the strength to stand up and you didn’t have to because she caught both hands under your armpits and lifted you easily leaving you sitting on her dressing table. It was a relief to no longer feel the wooden splinters pressing on your knee rudely as you looked down only to see the damage done to your knees. It was nothing as bad as what you knew the lady could do and in a way you were grateful that she was merciful.

“I must admit I'm surprised you don't show any reaction even to the pain. I believe I should have learned that on our first date, no?” She laughed as she wiped the only tear that had flowed with the dark index finger.

“I usually have a high pain percentage…” You said you couldn’t find her eyes.

“Do you do?” Alcina seemed surprised and you knew she said it smiling once again.

“Yes…” You started to regret giving her this information or maybe not.

“You always surprise me. Now, let's take care of that and I hope you understand that you shouldn't keep waiting anymore, pet.” She said it and you nodded in agreement.

While she disappeared in a door of her dorm probably going to get something you were thinking about how she had called you "pet", Cassandra had called you that on your first day at the castle. This did not bother you much on the contrary caused you to tighten your thighs together by the shiver that went directly through your intimate part.

When she came back with a box in her hands that looked like a first aid kit, you looked at her face as she sat and opened the box leaning on the table, removing a gauze. You watched with prying eyes she take the comically small gauze in her big hands and wet it with a bottle you believed to be some kind of medicine. It burned in the beginning as she passed by with such delicacy and you imagined that the purple bruises would stay for a while with whatever it was that she passed in you.

“There you go.” She said happy with her work when she finished.

You looked down and asked nothing no matter how much you did not understand very well what she did.

“You must have understood your lesson, didn't you?” Alcina took your chin in her hand which had long been without the gloves as if she wanted to see the truth in your eyes.

“I'll be more attentive at the time... I want to be a good girl for you.”

At that moment you would give everything to know what was going on in her mind, she looked at you with hungry eyes as if it was everything she wanted to hear since she took you in the tower, however your restlessness did not last long when her big body leaned over you holding you with ease, she captured your lips with hers in one of the hungriest kisses you’ve ever had. Clearly she was devouring you and you loved her more and made it clear to her by giving herself completely and letting her mouth, her urgency, her hunger, she herself claims if you so wish. A deep purr came from her as your lips parted and her eyes met once more.

“Oh my... My apologies dear. I believe I got lost for a moment…” She went from starving to guilty in less than a minute and you put your eyebrows together.

“You don't have to apologize! I loved it…” The last part was a growl and she laughed at it.

“Of course you did.” Alcina walked away giving you one last chaste kiss.

“Anyway, this is not how I expected to spend my time with you before dinner.”She went to the window looking at the sunset and you followed with curious eyes.

“I apologize again for my behavior, what did you have in mind?” You were really feeling guilty now, but believed that purple knees would be a good memory for you to fix yourself more in hours.

“Have you ever missed anything since you arrived here among your belongings?” She turned to you again still standing a little further away.

Her question weighed on you as you tried to make a survey of everything that had brought with you and that could eventually be gone.

“Well, I lost my cell phone I had with me. As they were all electronic devices I thought something like this could have been stolen.” In fact it was the excuse you gave yourself when you realized you no longer had it in your bag.

“Your innocence always fascinates me.” The lady laughed and you joined the eyebrows again trying to understand why.

“Since you were a good girl and entertained me this boring afternoon, I'm going to lead you to the real purpose of my request earlier today.” She still laughed lightly at herself as if she could not believe something and you came down from the table feeling the cruel sting on your knees but held any complaint to yourself as you followed behind her in short, slow steps that she patiently followed.

You knew the place where she was taking you was her office, as you were supposed to go during the afternoon in the middle of the way you noticed that some flies were following behind you and did not care much already imagining that the girls were curious about your sudden disappearance.

Alcina first entered the office and you followed right behind, she gestured with her hand to sit on the chair in front of the huge table and you obeyed feeling a kind of dejavú while looking at the details of the room for the second time. She got lost in closet doors while you stood up a bit on the chair trying to see in detail what she had on the table. When she turned her attention to you again you disguised yourself by dropping the weight on the chair again making a denouncing thud and she just arched an eyebrow for you.

“I must say I don't approve of the thief name you gave me, but here it is.” She said in a tone of provocation as she gave you your belongings back.

You widened your eyes and your mouth opened a surprise seeing your belongings in your hands again. You hit the lock button of the phone and was even more surprised to see how it accidentally ascended your finger went through the camera and opened the front camera just for you to see beyond your image in the camera the image of a very angry Cassandra looking at your image in the camera behind of you.

“Mother, Lucia also has one of those magic boxes with her I can add to my collection?” The middle daughter asked as you frowned at the time.

“Hey!” You said trying to stop her from picking up your phone almost falling off the chair.

“No dear, I decided to give it back to her. I believe she should know that there are limits she should respect with this in hand.” You knew what she was talking about and you nodd at her.

“I would never do anything to you. I respect your way of living.” It was true that you were still getting used to it, but you would never do anything that would compromise any of the Dimistrescus.

 

===================

 

A few hours before dinner you were being dragged through the corridors of the castle by Cassandra who seemed very excited to show you her collection of human belongings that she took from her victims. To be honest with yourself, you were really curious about whatever it was, especially after her excitement about picking up your cell phone.

After a long walk you were pushed into one of the three doors one next to the other in the same wing in which you slept. Cassandra’s room was quirky to say the least, there were some scythes, knives and daggers stuck in the walls or scattered in random places, stuffed animals or skeletons of them also increased the eccentric decoration of the room, you preferred to ignore the dark spots on the carpets or walls.

Your attention was instantly drawn to the skull skeleton of what appeared to be a cat and you immediately approached looking between it and the skeleton asking for silent permission to catch.

“Go ahead." She answered as she passed you and went to a corner of the room dragging a kind of hidden basket.

You took the little skull and your hand fascinated with the details imagining what the cat would have been like in his lifetime. You ran your finger all the way through feeling the texture of the bone was curious and you already had ideas of trying to make a sketch later.

“And so here they are!” The middle daughter Dimitrescu said excitedly as she placed the basket full of the most varied belongings on top of a desk.

You approached by putting the skull back in place and looking over what was in the basket. Lots of cell phones, cables, headphones, old video games, knives, guns, badges... everything you could imagine had in that basket.

“How did you get all this?” You asked curious as you looked at belongings that varied from different times of time.

“I like to keep my victims' belongings as a souvenir.” She said smiling as you had only seen in rare moments.

“Interesting... Do you remember all of them?” Your finger ran into a faded military badge.

“Usually the ones I hunt alone yeah…” She seemed almost thoughtful now as if she was reliving something and you just nodded attentively.

"As you can see there are some of those things you have now, but I never got one that worked or knew how to use it." The sentence continued and she leaned on a chair.

“Well, in the case of my cell phone I believe they would be much more interesting if we had something called the internet, but even without it I have some things downloaded here that I believe you and your sisters would find at least curious.” You were sincere without internet you had some series and movies downloaded on the memory card plus a huge selection of songs, various embarrassing photos and videos that you expected them not to see.

Before she could answer, however the door was opened abruptly scaring you and making her snort and roll her eyes especially when her other two sisters entered the room joining the conversation without the slightest ceremony.

“So what are you guys doing?” Bela asked sitting in another chair as if nothing had happened.

“Cassandra decided to show you her boring collections.” Daniela said dropping in bed like a starfish.

“They're not boring! They are also important. Lucia received her magic device back from her mother, so I wanted to show her the ones I have.” Cassandra responded proudly and you saw prying eyes firing at your hands where you held the phone.

“Oh, that is nice! Show Lucia how this little box works.” Daniela disappeared in her swarm and appeared next to you glued to you anxious.

“I…” You were used to their way of not understanding personal space, but still made you a little uncomfortable.

Bela as always had said nothing and just took a place to see too, Cassandra following the example. You took the phone that still had a battery rest since you were saving the little you had and unlocked there were thousands of old notifications when you still had internet and you swiped your eyes quickly taking them off the screen.

“What are those things?” Asked Cassandra for the message boxes you took off the screen.

“Old messages I didn't reply to.” You said simply until a name you knew caught your eye.

(Jane: Hi honey, I miss you so much, could you not contact me? I have a favor to ask of you.) You pulled the air too fast and almost choked on it. It had been almost 4 years since your breakup with Jane and until then the woman never left you alone manipulating you whenever she could to get your wishes and favors satisfied, you knew exactly what kind of person she was and often fell into her claws. The memory of that time together with the fact that she was looking for you again made you tense and the girls seemed to notice a little bit of it.

“Lucia are you ok?” Daniela asked as the other two girls read the notification.

“Who is Jane?” Asked Cassandra.

“It’s no one. Forget it.” You passed the notification and redirected the attention of both the girls and yours to another topic.

The rest of the night until dinner time was spent with you showing the girls some photos of events you were, telling funny stories, embarrassing while they laughed at some embarrassing photos, showing your varied music playlist and telling about the forms of entertainment that this device could bring. To your total surprise they seemed genuinely interested in every word of yours and Daniela even insisted that you take a picture together because she wanted along with her other friends since now she was one of them too.

You confess that you would keep this photo with all the affection in the world since they really won an important place in your heart. After dinner the battery of the cell phone was already over and the girls were dismissed earlier by the lady leaving only you two sitting at the table.

"How are your knees?” Alcina asked taking a sip of her glass of wine.

“Fine.” You responded by looking at the window.

“Good. Looks like you entertained the girls a lot with this magic box of yours” She seemed almost curious and you smiled.

“Cell phones are interesting objects.” You looked at her smiling gaining an arched eyebrow in skepticism.

“Really now?” Her tone of voice made you shiver and she slightly moved the chair away from the table making a gesture for you to climb on your lap.

It was a bit annoying since you usually got mounted on your thigh which would result in more pressure on your knee, but luckily she turned you on your back.

“Show me what's so interesting about this thing.” You laughed once again as the lady’s behavior sometimes reminded her daughters.

“I'm sorry ma'am, but the battery ran out and I didn't see any sockets in the castle where I could charge it.” You used her title to play and she knew it and closed her eyes for you making you bite your lip.

“I see you enjoyed being punished more than I thought you would. This opens a lot of doors for us at some point in the future, though I must warn you to be careful what you wish for, pet.” She whispered in your ear.

The lady’s breath tickled your skin as she kissed your neck leaving her marks as she did every night before you lay down to parade the next day with them on your body. When she bit the back of your neck you couldn’t hold the moan and she laughed at your skin, your hand grabbing her strong arm asking for more.

A noise of someone clearing their throat made you jump in fright for the second time in the day instantly hiding your face in the lady’s skin. Alcina growled for interruption only to see Constance standing at the door clearly dissatisfied and wanting to finish her job and go to bed.

"You are lucky that due to the events of this morning it would be unwise of me to apply the punishment you should take for it" You heard Alcina address the old maid her tone causing chills in your body due to intensity.

Constance just snorted and a moment later you were being raised in strong arms and taken somewhere you didn’t know where it was, but as usual trusted that it would be the best that Alcina could offer.

Chapter Text

It was mid-dawn and the silence took over the castle Dimitrescu, Alcina however did not share this silence try her attention totally turned to Lucia who slept peacefully on top of her body. The sound of her calm breaths followed by the steady and calm heartbeat lulled the lady into a kind of trance where she could not divert her attention from that feeling so peaceful.

After Alcina could make up for lost time with her little gift and Constance’s interruption, she realized that the redhead was with heavy eyes and almost dozing on the lady, then allowed the girl to nap right there. She enjoyed Lucia’s simple physical presence even though she was completely asleep and had no problem taking her back to her quarters.

The matriarch who had taken the girl to the library is shown to her where there was a hidden socket so she could carry her small gadgets, was slightly jealous when the girl let it slip that a person from her past, a former lover, had tried to contact her. Alcina had been explicit in Lucia contacting people from her past and the girl seemed to understand the risk, yet she found herself troubled not by the fact that Lucia could disobey her, but with pure and genuine jealousy of her little human.

This feeling made Alcina’s dragon restless inside her, there was a growing need that told the lady that only having the girl in her arms, bearing her marks on her skin was not enough. Alcina was an ambitious and greedy woman, always was and with Lucia was not different she needed to take a step further with the girl assuming that in fact the human belonged to her, but how? She would ask the girl to date suddenly ? No! It would have to be planned, it would have to be perfect as everything she did.

Various ideas began to pass through the mind of the lady with possible ways to approach the subject and to get what she wanted. A soft touch under the silk of her robes caused the lady’s gaze to lower once more, Lucia was still completely asleep however her hand had moved close to the lady’s chest where the redhead held the silk of the dress between her index and middle finger and began a kind of caress as if she wanted to feel the fabric.

At first the lady thought that Lucia was not so asleep and that she actually had malicious intentions about it, but after a few minutes Alcina realized that her little gift really was in a deep sleep and that the gesture was not so unusual so often the lady saw the girl doing kind of unusual or repetitive movements without realizing it.

Alcina can not tell how long she stood there looking at the girl, pure affection in her heart, something she could count on the fingers of a hand the times she allowed this feeling to take her such a way. Eventually she managed to stretch to a nearby table thanks to her size and light a cigarette for herself while enjoying the rest of the night.

As the lady exhaled smoke to the ceiling she spotted by the corner of her eye a fly approaching and landed on the middle of Lucia’s forehead. She smiled at the little insect knowing it was her eldest daughter.

“You shouldn't be in bed, little bug?” The lady asked, watching the flie fly once again and rejoining the swarm that formed in Bela sitting in a nearby armchair.

“I can not sleep.” Bela responded by looking at the figure of Lucia asleep in her mother’s lap for a moment before looking away at the poorly lit book shelves.

Alcina knew her daughters very well perhaps more than herself and it was nothing new for her the nights when Bela joined her in any night activity that the lady was engaged, however today the lady can notice by the tone of her eldest daughter and how she seemed restless in her seat that there was something wrong, something that is bothering Bela and that probably left the girl struggling to find the right words.

Of all her three daughters the blonde has always been the most faithful to her mother, not hiding almost anything from her mother or hiding and the lady realized she knew exactly how to make her little bug admit whatever it was. This would seem to be one of those moments and Alcina hoped that it would not be anything more worrying than her usual business and problems.

“And why can't you sleep? Is there something bothering you, my love?” The lady tilted her face slightly so that she could better catch the expressions of her daughter who was constantly fleeing from her gaze.

“I…I would like to ask you something.” Alcina arched an eyebrow in the speech of the daughter who found her eyes with hers and nodded slightly encouraging her daughter to continue.

“I wanted to ask us to all go out together like we do when the weather gets warmer.” Bela said nervously, playing with the lace of her robes.

“You can take Lucia if you want, maybe she's never seen a bear and we always hunt one when it's time for them to come out of hibernation…” The girl began to ramble and Alcina needed to take a deep breath when a feeling of regret crossed her interior.

“Oh my little fly, of course we can go out... What do you think? We go down to that clearing and we can catch a bear like we always do.” The lady would never forget the huge smile her daughter opened when the words came out of her lips.

“I think it's great! Thank you mother.” Bela did not hide her smile now looking at her mother’s face with confidence typical of her personality which made the lady return the smile in the same intensity.

A heavy-breathing noise made the two Dimitrescu immediately direct their gaze down to the lady’s lap where Lucia had turned in a way that was probably beginning to suffocate herself. Instantaneously the lady turned Lucia up again, adjusting her again in a way where the girl could breathe quietly, she saw how Bela’s brow frowned as if contemplating why this always happens.

“Before you ask anything about it. There are things about our little mouse that even I haven't quite figured out yet.” Alcina was quick to respond as Bela just laughed softly and shook her head sideways slightly.

 

=======

 

As was customary after you spend a long time in your evening with Alcina you wake up in your room. Your first thought is the failed attempts to try to remember how you came to your room, even if you knew exactly how you always tried to remember the moment when the lady had put you in your bed or just walked out of it when she was in your room with you.

After several failed attempts you choose to get up and start your routine getting ready to go down and have breakfast with Dimitrescus. At that time you no longer cared what clothes Constance would deliver to you since your closet was already full of various models of pants, skirts, blouses and dresses, even if for you they were just elegant and seemingly expensive pieces in black and white you believed that the lady would have given you colorful clothes anyway.

That morning you opted for a dark pants and a light button shirt, Your hair was all shaggy so you picked up a brush and started combing when you noticed that your lucky hair elastic was on your right wrist as usual an idea popped into your mind and you arranged your hair in a way where there was a little bun only with the top of your hair leaving all the back loose by your shoulders.

Téo always told you that you looked very much like a samurai warrior when you tied your hair this way and since you had arrived at the castle did not remember having done this hairstyle once, which gave the perfect opportunity now. You smiled at your reflection feeling strangely comfortable today and headed to the dining room.

When you arrived Cassandra and Daniela were already sitting at the table while the lady and Bela were missing, it was strange since usually of the three sisters Bela was always the most strict in her behavior, but you did not have time to contemplate when Daniela enthusiastically extended her hand holding your phone.

“I believe you forgot this.” She said smiling and extended it to you.

“Thanks.” You responded by taking her hands and giving a quick check before turning it with the display down near where your plate would be.

“Be careful with this, we have a collector among us.” Did you know that Daniela had said this more to tease Cassandra than to really talk to you so she just nodded sideways with a shy smile.

Cassandra however seemed to dislike the provocation and growled at the younger sister who only laughed at her own provocation. You knew that they started like this and in less than 2 minutes they were already lost in their angry swarms swaying each other and honestly you did not judge and did not know how to stop. Luckily for you, before things got too hot, Constance entered the room carrying the cart with your proper plates and instantly stopping any fight that was about to start.

The girls received their typical meat dish soaked in blood while you got eggs, bacon and bread as usual, it was different from what you were used to eating in Brazil, but you got used to it and as always never questioned unless someone asked.

"Where is mother?" Cassandra asked as she dug into her plate with customary voracity.

“She's having some meetings with the Duke and won't be coming for breakfast.” Cassandra’s eyes widened briefly and you imagined that this was as surprising to her as it was to you, since Daniela seemed very happy that this Duke was present somewhere in the castle.

The breakfast ended quickly without the presence of the lady and while Daniela disappeared in her swarm God knows where, Cassandra sat in her chair looking at the floor almost shyly. Even if you avoided eye contact you could sometimes briefly look at people around you or out of the corner of your eyes and those little nuances never went unnoticed by you.

“Are you okay?” You asked joining your hands intertwining your fingers in your lap as you looked at the window.

“I want to show you something.” Cassandra grumbled and you doubted whether you heard right, but ultimately ended up nodding and letting her guide you.

For your second luck of the day she was walking slowly next to you, which surprised you no matter how much you did not demonstrate. As she led you wherever she went, you passed through the masquerade hall where a door that was always closed in the left corner for those coming from the main hall was now completely open. Your curiosity got the best of you as you put your head tilted slightly only to see Alcina’s ass while she was down talking to someone. Your face warmed up at the time and you knew you were flushed, Cassandra only confirmed your suspicions when she followed your gaze and laughed loudly calling the lady’s attention.

You panicked and only wanted to be swallowed by the ground, however as usual your body did not demonstrate in any way and if the lady did not know of your condition she would have thought that you were not affected at all.

“Good to see you too pet... I'd like to talk to you more appropriately over lunch. I have plans for this afternoon that involve you.” Her hoarse tone and the smile she opened later could only be considered mean and you snorted cowering as Cassandra laughed at your state.

As you drifted away you could have sworn heard Bela’s laugh with Alcina, but it soon became muffled as Cassandra took a path you began to remember. She was taking you to the dungeon and you honestly hoped that whatever she had to show you wouldn’t include someone dismembered, so you followed her anyway.

The middle daughter Dimitrescu stopped at what you remembered to call the tasting room, it was a round and small room that always had a barrel or two in addition to thousands of bottles in their due holes in the furniture.

“I will get it. You stay there! Mom doesn't want us to take you to the dungeons so stay there! And you can sit down if you want, I'll be right back.” You pulled one of the three smaller chairs and sat down not wanting to invoke either the wrath of Cassandra or the lady.

While the middle daughter had now vanished in her swarm and flown into the dungeons you would rest your arms on the table and lay your forehead on your own arm, but a few centimeters from you touching your arm on the table a noise almost like a faint groan was heard by you coming from somewhere in the room. Instantaneously you retracted your arms and looked everywhere possible trying to find the source of the sound, there was no sign of a living soul in that room beyond the barrel near the corridor where you had entered. Did you look at the barrel as if defying the noise to do it again with the faint impression that the origin was the barrel, but a barrel would not groan, or groan? You did not doubt anything else, but the noise did not happen again and you can not confirm your suspicions.

It took a lot longer than you thought, and then Cassandra’s swarm came back. She was carrying something covered in a rag and to your relief it was too small to look like someone mutilated. She materialized in a chair in front of you that by the size could only be Alcina and put in her lap the object. You held on realizing that it was slightly heavy, taking the cloth you were surprised to see that it was a sword, but it was not an ordinary sword, this was the sword you had drawn months ago and that Cassandra had asked to take the drawing for herself.

"How? How did you do it?" It was the only thing you could say while looking at the details of the sword.

You were completely blown away by her work and wondered if Cassandra did it herself. The drawing she had picked up was nothing more than a quick sketch of one of the blades of the Boreal Valley dancer, one of the many Dark Souls characters you liked.

“I had a little help, but most of it I did. I have a fascination with weapons and I have never seen a blade like that in your drawing so why not make one.” She smiled at you and you smiled broadly in return, your finger sliding over the curved blade, seemed to be the work of a collector, the difference being that this would probably have the same deadly effect as a real weapon.

“I'm impressed... Really congratulations, you're great.” Cassandra smiled once again proudly with your words.

“I wanted to ask where did you get that blade?” You figured she’d ask.

“It's from a game I really like called Dark Souls.”

From there you probably spent almost an hour telling Cassandra about Dark Souls, Bloodborne and their complex lores. She seemed genuinely interested and absorbed every word of yours, at the end of the conversation you promised her that you would do more drawings like these again and that you would show her the ones you already had.

As you returned to the upper floors of the castle again, you were intercepted by the very lady who appeared to have just left her meeting. She looked at you and arched an eyebrow as questioning where you were coming from or just challenging you to confess whatever your sins were now.

“I must believe my little mouse wasn't sneaking around forbidden places again, was it?” Her tone was loaded with something you couldn’t distinguish, but that was enough for you to need to take a deep breath before explaining yourself.

“Cassandra. She only took me to the tasting room to show a sword.” You answered with sincerity looking briefly at the face shaded by the lady’s hat.

“A sword?” She asked.

“Yes. I made a drawing right when I arrived of a sword that she asked to take with her and I left it only that I didn't know that she was going to make the sword of my real drawing.” You were still a little overwhelmed by Cassandra’s talent.

“Hmm my daughter is quite talented with weapons indeed. I'm glad you're getting along so well.” She stroked your chin with her thumb covered in leather and you saw her eyes glow for a brief moment.

“You wanted to tell me something, didn't you?” You wanted something so you wouldn’t start thinking too much about how sexy Alcina was at the time.

“Are we curious?” She laughed and you looked away.

“Yes I wanted to invite you to join me and the girls for an afternoon stroll.”

This took you by surprise since you were thinking of the best way to ask her out for a bit since you were here for months and as cool as it was out there also seemed to be very attractive. Your animation must have been clear to the lady when you heard her laughing again.

“I believe this is a yes?” She asked and you waved anxiously.

“Yes yes, I would love to.” The lady gave a hum in concordance and you noticed that she was looking at the way you tied her hair.

“Now, this is new... Curious hairstyle you did today, pet.” She ran her hands through the loose strands at the bottom.

“I used to tie my hair up like this when I was younger. Téo said that I looked like a samurai.” You were ashamed of the way she was looking at you and you couldn’t keep your mouth shut if you messed up.

“I've read once or twice about these warriors, but in my eyes it suits you much more than them. Use it more often. I like it.” If you could disappear you would have done for sure.

Your heart jumped and you just grumbled a thank you as she finally stepped out of the way and let you run and crawl into the tower to forget the shame. As you left you thought you heard the voice of Bela and Alcina talking.

"One day you will give her a heart attack.."

“Hush!”

 

=========

 

“But papá, remind me one more time please why can't Isaac go do this alone?” Mariana was tired of arguing with her father about this, but missing an argument as it is, including a possible trip to the village against her will was something in which she would fight to the end.

“Because he's much smaller than you and it's your turn to go there! Oh my god Mary! It's just a few condiments I need to finish making lunch, that's all.” The older man exclaimed.

Her father’s tone had gone up a notch and she knew it would get nowhere so she snorted and punched the coffee table making it clear she was doing it against her will and climbed upstairs to get ready.

“Hey!”

Her father had screamed the consequence of her tantrum, but she didn’t mind already opening the bedroom door only to snort once more when she saw her younger brother lazily left in bed with a smile that could only be described as terrible.

"Looks like you couldn't escape this time..." The boy mocked, following with attentive eyes his sister getting dressed.

"Shut up." Mariana responded by clenched teeth, picking up her coat and looking at the rifle in the corner of the room leaning against the wall.

“I know the village is usually dangerous, but I have the impression that something that size would only get in the way... Besides, it's just some condiments, Mari.” Isaac was somehow right and she looked away taking her leather jacket before leaving.

As usual, she made clear her discontent in each of her steps, whether it was making noise in the stairwell with her heavy work boots or slamming the door when she left. The sun touched her dark skin as soon as she went out the door. It was good to be in the spring after the harsh winter. She did not like a bit of winter, still very accustomed to her country of origin where the heat was the big star.

Mariana sneaked through the alleys and most deserted points avoiding the vast majority of the peasants, not that she had anything against them, but also had nothing in favor. To her happiness the owner of the store in which her father bought his condiments was already an old acquaintance, it was an old woman who apparently has seen more things than Mariana could imagine. It had been with her that the brunette learned about the legends of the village and things necessary to get along in a place like this.

The shop was not far away and for its dangerous shortcuts that often yielded to her scrotum views of fallen drunkards, vomiting or disturbing prostitutes was the fastest way and in a few minutes the woman was in front of the store entering slowly with eyes everywhere.

“Oh Mariana! Good to see you! How long, no? How have you been?” The old woman sitting behind a long counter full of hanging herbs and with a small curtain behind probably a door smiled at seeing the sturdy woman entering the store and leaning on the counter.

“Hi Virginia. It's good to see you too. I'm fine and you?” The brunette replied politely, trying to remember what papá had asked her to buy.

“Great I'm great! What will you want today?” The old woman asked, smiling.

“I…” Mariana looked in her pockets for the list she had made.

As the woman sought her order she realized that there was an extra noise in the store as if they were almost whispered conversations which was not uncommon for a sales establishment even more in a village like this, anyway it caught her attention enough to pay a little attention.

“Hi Virginia, can we come in? We're waiting for messages today... Who is this? Another from the hill monster?” A male voice sounded from behind her, making her drop her search, not because she had already found the list, but because of the way they had spoken to her.

"Do I look like a maiden to you?" Mariana growled now facing a man of her height a little thinner and with hair almost shaved.

There was another man on his side almost the same, but his hair was a little bigger and he had a shirt without a white sleeve, while the other had a coat with a symbol next to it a kind of bird flying more like a pigeon than with the crows she was used to seeing.

“Wow!” The man in the back said laughing.

“You sure aren't. The maidens there are well educated. Finally he responded and responded in the worst way he could if she was no longer in a good mood now had worsened.

"Listen here you..." Mariana started already going up on the man close to grabbing him by the collar.

“Stop! You're not going to start a fight in my store at this time! Never actually, in fact I think you could even get along if you actually stopped to talk.”

Virginia stopped gesturing for Mariana to approach.

 

“Here dear, give me your list and I will prepare your order in the meantime. You, Marcelus might as well tell Mariana about your pack; she can be of great help even more now in the spring.”

She continued and Mariana handed the list to the old woman as she saw the man she now knew as Marcelus nodding his head to follow him. She was really tempted not to follow, but her curiosity was even greater when they entered the such a cloth door that she was so curious to know what she was hiding.

Following behind them she entered through the cloth door and came across a kind of living room, which could be considered extremely common if not for the isolated table to the corner where a wall completely scratched with a list of huge names gave a contrast at least curious. Guided solely by curiosity, the brunette approached seeing how the other two men seemed to be at home sitting at the table and looking at the woman with proud smiles.

“Hector” Was the first name at the top alone and after it just below came another 6 names and then descended sharply increasing the numbers of both female and male names. Were they gathered in a kind of group as if they were families? She could not say.

"You are a strong girl." Said Marcelus.

"And curious." Added the other man that she had not yet learned the name.

"What are these names?" She asked as she pulled a chair to sit waiting to kill her curiosities peacefully.

"These are the names of our fellow battlers." Marcelus responded proudly and Mariana joined the eyebrows.

"What do you mean?" She asked again, crossing her arms over her chest.

"You've heard about Dimitrescu castle, right?" He leaned forward a bit making her back a bit but nodding in agreement.

“Well, we have a faction if you can say so against Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters. We've tried for years to take her out of power, maybe kill her... and those names are all those who have participated or still participate in this cause.” Marcelus spoke with a bit of melancholy in his voice and Mariana could not stand it and began to laugh loudly making the men stay in a mixture of fright and anger.

It took her a while before she could pull herself together again by wiping the corner of her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket.

“You can't be serious..."

"And why not? You have no idea how big this is, we're not amateurs." The other man had responded and this aroused once again the curiosity of the woman who let them continue their explanations.

"It all started with Hector. I didn't get to know him unfortunately. He lost his daughter to the castle monster, he was taken by his daughters right after the harvest in the middle of spring, years passed and one day he managed to find out that the girl had been killed."

Mariana had already heard about what happened to the maidens in the castle, but they were just legends, rumors to scare people, yet it was not something she expected to pay to see. The story had made her even more uncomfortable because it was early spring and she knew that the lady of the castle made wine, but what does it have to do with murder and this harvest thing?

“Since then he has gathered a group of people who had also lost their loved ones and with the help of Miss Virginia, who hides us here, he started the meetings." He counted now leaning on the chair again.

“What happened to Hector?” The brunette asked curiously, no matter how much she imagined the answer.

“He invaded the castle one day with some of his group at the time and didn't come back, none of them came back, there were 5 to 6 people... Anyway, there were more participants and that's why the group didn't die.” The other boy told and Mariana waved that she understood and looked away thinking of all this.

“We've got lookouts inside, we know who left here and applied for themselves after the harvest to serve, it's usually maidens who need the pay money and join us before they go there."

Mariana raised both eyebrows with this, she was really surprised with the amount of names on the wall and now with them counting so it was even clearer what the boy had said about not being something small.

"But, can they die in there like you do to get the news anyway?"

She noticed when both men looked at each other with a playful smile and noticed that she was not going to discover this secret so easily.

"Okay if you're not going to answer me, tell me what this harvest is." She wanted to understand the details to actually process what was happening.

“Well, you should know that the lady of the castle makes wine, but that's not all. Lady Dimitrescu makes wine and the harvest time in mid-spring is not just for the grapes, but also for the maidens she chooses to be an ingredient in her wine." Marcellus explained it as if it were something normal.

"Hector's daughter was one of those chosen for the wine. Shortly after this harvest the lady and her daughters open vacancies for new maidens to work in the castle until the next harvest where they magically disappear again." The other man commented mockingly at the end about the magical disappearance.

Mariana leaned back in the chair more strongly, stopping to think about it. She had heard about it, but not so directly and she preferred to believe that it was a lie, could still be, but they spoke with such conviction.

"Don't people do anything about it?" It was the first thing she could think of.

“You would do?" They asked both together, frightening her.

“Maybe…” The response was faster than she would like to admit and once again the two men looked at each other with smiles on their faces.

 

========

 

You were buttoning your pants when a swarm of flies entered under the locked door of your room, privacy was not something when it came to Alcina’s daughters and you turned to face a very excited Daniela.

“Oh! I believe mom won't like knowing I saw you like this so let's just leave it between us, okay?” Her speech made you think that you were only wearing pants and a bra and your face warmed up with shame at the time making the youngest laugh out loud.

Running to the bathroom you closed the door forcefully looking for the shirt you had chosen for this afternoon’s ride and putting on quickly while listening to the youngest daughter Dimitrescu laughing. When you left the bathroom already ready you saw that Daniela had stopped with her laugh attack and was looking at the pile of drawings you were doing during the last few days.

"Did you find anything interesting?" You joked that she wouldn’t find anything that caught her attention like that.

"I thought it was boring! You've been drawing the mother a lot... Has she seen it?" You noticed, the tip of a smile crossed the features of Daniela, that kind of smile that was a trademark of Dimitrescu, that smile that indicated that you were about to screw very seriously.

“Dani… let's talk.” Before you could say anything the girl had disappeared into her swarm carrying some of the portraits you made of the lady without her knowing.

You unlocked the door and ran as fast as you could trying to reach at least the drawing that was lost in the middle of Daniela’s swarm; you did not even notice where you were going. Your footsteps made as many noises as possible through the corridors as you almost bumped into the maidens and Daniela’s laugh echoed right in front of you. You only noticed that you had arrived at some actual busy place when your feet suddenly came out of the ground, a strong hand pulled you by the nape of your neck as if they were catching a newborn cat.

"Daniela! May I know what that means?" The lady spoke, her voice loud enough to make you cower slightly.

“Mother, look!” Daniela graduated giving her that drawing.

For the second time in the day you wanted to be swallowed by the ground and tried to fight a little against her grip just to hold you stronger in the air, it was humiliating.

“Did you do it, pet?” She asked, putting you down again.

“Yep.” You responded by looking the other way.

“And can I keep this?” Now you looked at her genuinely surprised couldn’t be true that she wanted to keep the drawing.

“Of course you can” She smiled at you and you blushed looking away again.

Daniela appeared in front of your line of sight doing a positive with the thumb, smiling and you just snorted.

“So I see you two are ready for our ride, aren't you?" Asked the lady shamelessly looking at your ass inside the tight pants that it was probably herself who chose to give it to you.

You waved yes as you saw Daniela buzzing from side to side of the main hall, she seemed so anxious that you thought that soon she would be jumping every step around the lady and you.

"So all that's left is for your sisters to show up..." Before the lady appeared Cassandra appeared carrying the blade she had made from your drawing with her.

“Now all that's missing is Bela!" Daniela exclaimed as she realized what her older sister was carrying.

"What is it?" He asked the younger Dimitrescu approaching Cassandra who pulled the blade away giving a warning look to her sister.

“Cassandra... Is this the blade you mentioned to me, draga?" The lady scolded the middle daughter approaching to also see the blade as she turned her face briefly to you.

"Yes, but I just drew it. Cassandra decided to put it in the real world." You smiled at the middle daughter who corresponded by letting her mother take the blade.

The lady handled with elegance the blade in her hands looked more like a small dagger even so she seemed admired with the details by the extension and you enchanted with how she was elegant even with almost a sword in her hands, not that she didn’t already have a weapon as lethal as or maybe even more at her fingertips. You don’t know how long you stood in the same place in an almost hypnotic trance for the lady’s deadly beauty, but at one point you felt her hands on your shoulders pulling you out of your thoughts.

"Finally! I can't take any more, Daniela stamping her feet walking around the room aimlessly!" Cassandra complained by raising her hands in the air and you noticed that the blade was in her hands again, wherever it was and how it was this ride she wanted to test the lethality of the weapon apparently.

“Hush!” It growled Bela to the Middle sister.

"As if you weren’t even a little anxious too!" Daniela entered the conversation as well.

"Now now girls! We're all looking forward to it and now that we're all here we can start our tour shall we?" The lady spoke urging her daughters to walk to the exit of the castle and you followed a little behind her at least to the doors.

When you arrived at the castle doors and the lady opened them the girls were the first to walk a little further, you however spent a few seconds standing looking at the sun and the completely different clarity of the castle as you ended up getting used to. Your heart ran like on rare occasions and you took a deep breath before taking a step out of the doorway. You didn’t notice that the lady looked at you all the time as if evaluating each of your reactions, only when you were already in real motion did you notice how her hand pulled your arm up and held your hand to hers.

You were very busy looking at the lady’s vineyard, after all to get to wherever they were taking you had to pass near the vineyard of the castle. Unfortunately you were not going towards the village but towards the back of the castle, so you just had a quick glance of the rows of vines and several women scattered among the plants almost made you want to stop to see more closely.

The girls buzzed excitedly as you mentally decorated the surroundings of the castle, when you finally arrived at another exit that you didn't even know the castle had, your heart had already calmed down a little even so you were panicked inside. Even though the lady held your hand all the time as if you were a child, you did not fight with her gesture, in fact you even liked it and understood that it was a form of affection and care of Alcina with you.

Your eyes ran everywhere as you passed a dirt road and headed into a closed forest. A curiosity crossed your features and you sharply turned to look at the lady’s feet seeing that she did not wear heels, but rather long leather boots. Your mouth opened in a silent O and you found her gaze seeing how she smiled at you.

"Still think I'm stylish?" The lady played her hoarse voice as she laughed lightly at your surprised face.

Could she read minds? How did she know you were thinking about her elegance a few minutes ago?

“Always.” You answered looking at the floor and not seeing that Daniela looked at you with a smile from ear to ear.

You continued walking further into the woods until you could see a few meters away a clearing that seemed well known to the girls as they disappeared in their swarms and ran forward. You had never seen places like this in your time in Brazil and always had curiosity and your slower steps brought you closer.

The lady had released her hand leaving you next to the girls who were gathered near a small lake and was sitting next to one of the largest trees you have ever seen. She took off her hat and you can not help but admire the loose black curls framing that face so perfect. You were almost getting lost again until a noise in the water caught your attention back.

"If you keep looking at Mom like that, you'll end up falling into the lake." You looked at your feet and saw that you were really a few meters from the water.

“Thanks.” You thanked Daniela for the alert and joined them downloading close to see what they were doing.

"Do you like frogs?" Cassandra asked, pointing to what some jumped near the lake.

“I have nothing against it." You answered truthfully by seeing one of them croak and jump away from you.

“You are not afraid?” Daniela asked and you just shook your head.

“Well if she wasn't afraid of us or mother…” Bela shrugged, now realizing Cassandra’s blade.

“Constance isn't afraid of us either, and neither is her mother." Daniela replied, trying to catch a frog.

“But she had, in the beginning, a long time ago." Cassandra emphasized how long made it look like the woman was much older than she really was making her sisters and you laugh.

“You did?” Bela asked looking at Cassandra who smiled arrogantly.

You hung up a bit while Cassandra showed and explained about the blade, looking at the lady realizing that she had the same idea as you. Alcina had taken a book somewhere and was reading leaning against that tree, but when you walked away a little from the conversation and looked at her, her eyes were also on you. Automatically you looked away feeling that you would burn on the intensity with which she looked at you, you could not hear her laugh at this distance, but still your head sounded the sound when you imagined that this would be her reaction.

“What do you think, Lucia?" Bela asked and you were more embarrassed by not having heard.

“I…” You could risk blindly agreeing, but it didn’t seem like a good idea.

“She was dissociating again…” Grumbled at Cassandra.

“We were discussing the blade Cassandra brought and we want you to test it out first.” Daniela said and you widened your eyes with the idea.

“Calm down, we don't want you to kill anyone, just a rabbit maybe.” Said Bela and you really calmed down noticeably.

“A rabbit would be nice, let's leave challenges like grizzly bears to the pros." Cassandra bragged by putting her hands on your shoulders and giving you the blade you held hesitantly.

The girls weren’t even sure that you agreed with the idea and have already pushed you into the forest again. Honestly you did not know if you could do such a thing, throwing hatchets and knives at a target on the wall was something completely different from actually killing a living being, even if it was an animal.

You took a deep breath as you followed behind them, letting the real predators do their job and only acting when one of them told you to. Holding the blade by the leather handle as if it were a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean you followed the looks of them a few minutes late just to see nothing. Suddenly they all stopped and bent down, you repeated the movement and tried once again to follow their eyes until half-closing a little to see in the woods, but not much changed.

"Over there! Can you see it?" Cassandra asked whispering, her hand had stretched out a little while she was pointing.

You looked again in the direction seeing now how the bush moved in that place as if something was going to jump from there.

“Wait…” Bela whispered on the other side and then a few seconds later a rabbit jumped from the bush stopping a few feet away scratching his face with both front paws.

"Do you think you can catch him?" Whispered Cassandra again and you looked at her and the rabbit again.

“Maybe…” You answered with a pain in your heart for that.

"Good. Let's not get in the way." Cassandra smiled.

You took a deep breath and started trying to move behind the animal taking care not to make noise and scare it. While you were taking care of the world, eyes fixed on the rabbit and blade hung loosely from your hand since you did not intend to strike him that fast. In the middle of your steps you stepped on a fallen branch and the animal stopped lifting one of his ears as if looking for the sound, to your relief he did not run and you took the opportunity to invest on him catching it easily at once.

“Wow! Lucia is good!” Daniela was the first to raise clapping cheerfully.

You gave a nervous smile as you held the animal thrashing around the back like the lady had done to you in the castle.

"Aren't you going to kill him?" Bela asked and you took a deep breath looking at the rabbit and then tilting your head to the side looking at Bela again.

“I can not believe it!" Cassandra started laughing loudly and Daniela joined her.

“You are a shame Lucia.” Bela teased and before you could react she moved faster than you and put you on her shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

“Hey! What are you doing?!" You protested as the eldest daughter followed by her sisters partially disappeared in their swarms and flew through the woods back to Alcina.

"I will give you the mother and you will tell your shame of not being able to kill a simple rabbit." Bela answered calmly and you snorted in response, still carrying the rabbit that had calmed down a bit with you caressing him.

"Back my daughters, what did you bring? Oh" You heard the lady’s voice, but did not see her face still stuck on Bela’s shoulders.

"Here mother, I brought your weak human back." The other two sisters still laughed softly and you imagined that the lady had an arched eyebrow.

“Weak?” The lady asked and soon you were thrown into her strong arms like a rag doll.

You held the rabbit over your chest and placed the blade on the floor only for Cassandra to take it back to her. Alcina alternated between you, the rabbit and the daughters trying to understand the situation, but the girls did not explain leaving the burden to you when they disappeared in their swarms probably to test the blade in fact.

"Since they ignore me, would you be so kind as to explain your new nickname to me, draga?" The lady looked at you as she played with your hair running down her strong arms.

You were lying in her arms and it was making you even more embarrassed, not that you weren’t already in more compromising positions, but now it looked different.

"Well, the girls wanted to test the blade and although I managed to catch this rabbit I didn't have the heart to kill it." You explained your low voice in the hope that she would miss some of your words.

“Oh my…” She laughed not as much as her daughters and you looked away only to feel her hand pulling your face gently back to her face.

“As I once said, such a delicate little thing... “ The lady pulled you over to her, staring at your lips and you let her kiss you by closing your eyes and melting into the sensation of your lips together with each other.

A noise like something being broken drove you away on the spot just to see the rabbit in the lady’s hands with a broken neck. She had taken it from your hands during the kiss and killed, why ? Couldn’t release it later, they had not said they were going to hunt a bear? You were in a mixture of shock and doubt and didn’t see the lady’s evil smile. When you stood up to look at her, the smile no longer existed and all you saw was her neutral expression as always when she released the rabbit and threw it away as if it was nothing.

“Won't you take him?” You asked your voice coming out louder than you expected.

"That little thing is too small, pet.” She spoke almost with contempt.

You looked into her eyes and didn’t have the courage to ask her why she had killed the rabbit so you didn’t approach her just looking at the floor, however she did it for you pulling you back to feel your skin as she shoved her face in her favorite place enjoying your scent.

You spent several minutes in silence. The lady alternated between smelling the space between your neck and shoulder, to kiss you, your hand that did not support you always wandered by your clothes, sometimes crawling inside the sleeves of your shirt like a snake causing goose bumps all over your body. It seemed like she wanted to make you completely forget what had happened to the rabbit and she pretty much succeeded since you couldn’t do anything else about it.

“You know, your innocence drives me crazy." She whispered in your ear and you instinctively cowered, making her laugh.

"And I know you can't resist, drawn to the darkness aren't you?" The lady went on and you felt your whole body shiver in response, the air seemed not to be enough to bring you satisfaction and you had to cry for a brief moment until she continued her attack now pinching your cheeks with the tip of her teeth.

“I... I am." There was no point in lying, as much as there was a part of you that always showed you the good ways you always made a point of following opposites, to the lady’s delight.

"You are such a good girl to me Lucia..."

Her voice went down like she did when she wanted to seduce you.

“You are doing very well, soon you will be rewarded."

You didn’t understand what she meant by that, but you were still soft in her arms letting her do whatever she wanted with you.

 

========

 

When you went back to the castle the girls were covered in blood and dirt though, they hadn’t found that bear and it looked like it was a busy enough ride. The whole way was talked about how good the blade was and to her relief the lady did not allow the girls to continue to make fun of her emotional weakness.

Your head was a complete mess that you needed to fix and there was only one way to do it by isolating yourself so you asked the lady and the girls for permission while listening to complaints about not having found that grizzly bear and went to the kitchen in search of something to eat.

“Nu poți intra aici!” A maiden screamed at you as you tried to get to the kitchen.

You didn’t understand Romanian, but often some words were similar to your mother tongue Portuguese, and if you had understood correctly she said you couldn’t go in there. You snorted and did the dumbest thing you could do, pushed the girl to the side that was a little lower than you and answered in Portuguese even though she did not speak the language.

“Eu posso sim!” You looked at her over your shoulder still leaning against the wall with wide eyes from being pushed.

"Lucia are you crazy? I know you're the lady's favorite, but you can't push maidens like that." Constance who was watching the whole time spoke as soon as you entered the kitchen.

“Tsk, I'm not good... now.” You snapped your tongue and pulled out a chair sitting near where the older woman was working.

"I thought your day would have been great after spending so much time with the lady." Said the old woman concentrated on her work, but still listening to you.

"It was! I just..." You were going to tell about the rabbit and how such a silly thing had made you so strange but a woman came in front of you hurriedly speaking in Romanian with Constance.

You did not understand why she spoke too fast, your vision went down to the maiden’s sleeves and you noticed that the buttons of her sleeves were loose, it was something you noticed since you arrived that some maidens simply did. Soon Constance snorted by wiping the maiden with her hand, leaving you with an understanding look on her face and a promise that she would return. To your surprise there was another maiden in the kitchen sitting in another isolated corner, she also had the buttons of her sleeve loose like the other, something in this detail caught your attention to the point of staring.

“Lucia isn't it?” She asked and you nodded in agreement.

“I'm Amelia, it's a pleasure to meet you properly, I mean, I've heard a lot about you besides the way the lady treats you by showing you off so lustfully.” She had risen and approached.

You didn’t like the way she was talking, Alcina treated you that way, but it was like a silent deal. You liked to be her little doll and she liked to have you as a little doll.

“You don't look very well today... Did something happen that you didn't like? Or maybe you saw something you didn't expect…”

You could not say anything, how she knew these things the relationship of you so could be called was so explicit?

“What do you want?” You asked between clenched teeth.

“I? Anything.” She smiled at you in a way that made you much more uncomfortable and it was the trigger for you to get out of the kitchen as fast as you can.

You stuck yourself in your room for hours for your luck Constance left a package of bread for you as an apology for having to leave at that time. You are sitting on the windowsill looking at the winter garden of the castle that was just below. Your heart ached not from sadness or anything else, but from longing you wanted to be near the lady anyway, fuck off the rabbit. That maiden’s words had struck you so deeply that a sense of detachment between you and the lady grew and it was not what you wanted at all. You just wanted to be near her, so without thinking twice you got ready to sleep and pulled the pillow from your bed with you carrying the fabric of the pillowcase between your index and middle fingers.

The feeling of the fabric over your fingers brought you calm as you left your room and turned the corner to get to the lady’s room. The doors decorated with light wood were a few meters away and you hit the back of your hand asking internally that she be there. There was no sound indicating if she really was there and her heart hurt more.

“Come in.” Finally came the lady’s soft voice and you opened the door slowly entering and closing with a gentle click behind you.

“Do you need something dear?” Alcina looked at you from the reflection in the mirror of her dressing table and you almost cried without knowing very well why.

“My lady, I need you.”

You would never forget the smile that Alcina had opened for you upon hearing these words, as she turned in her seat and called you close by holding you in her lap and caressing your back.

Chapter Text

You were in a place well known to you, the orphanage, your bare feet on the old wooden floor as you used to be when you were little. It was empty and by the height of your eyes you deduced that it was smaller than it used to be, the door looked so far away and the windows so high... You started walking around the place, there was no sound, nor an occasional noise of the wind hitting some of the various windows of the old building.

The stairs leading to the rooms seemed to draw your attention, asking you to climb them and as usual you answered the call by climbing the stairs that creaked in protest at your weight. It was always so and although it was completely empty, a welcome opposite of the reality of the orphanage there was an air of stagnation in the place, maybe it was the lack of wind, you could not tell.

Arriving in the hallway you felt a shiver in your neck and immediately turned your face to your back, there was nothing there but the window at the end of the corridor that made a sparkle of sunlight on the floor. Letting out a relieved breath that you didn’t even know was holding your attention if you turned to the rest of the corridor in front of you, your steps were cautious as if at any time someone would complain about your noises.

Several closed wooden doors made the memories of the owners of such dormitories come back to your mind, many of them were not your friends or were with you simply because they wanted to play with Téo who did not leave your side, so they had to take the strange girl with them. Most of the time the jokes bothered you in some way and over time you learned that it was wiser to be alone than to try something that would lead nowhere.

You came to the end of the hall and looked at the last door, it was your room and the door was strangely open. You were too distracted to notice if you were since you stepped in the hallway or not, anyway, it was too tempting not to come in and see if your belongings were still there. Opening the rest of the door you entered the room looking all around you, your bed was still in the same neat place as usual there was a nearby stump of records that was something you loved very much, There was nothing better than sitting on that record player for hours and seeing how the record spun by playing some music.

A smile adorned your features with the memory of the time you spent in that room, although there were more sad than happy memories you would rather focus on the happy ones. You turned around looking at the paintings you had done that were still hanging on the walls of the room, when something began to happen with the paintings, the more you looked at them the more they deformed as if they were closer to the fire and began to melt.

Your eyebrows joined in disgust as you retreated back. The paint from the paintings began to drain out of the frame trying to reach your feet and you retreated further. The panic started to take over you until you hit your back on the record player, immediately a song started playing, the sound was distorted and too slow for you to decipher which song it was about and all you wanted was to get out of there.

It was then that you noticed that now there was a shadow on the bedroom door it seemed to be a tall man and you could not remember anyone of this stature in your years at the orphanage. You thought about asking for help on the paintings, but when you looked at them they had simply stopped flowing even if the paintings were still distorted. You looked again at the man who was now taking a step forward and you could see that one of his eyes was completely white.

“I brought this to you.” He said simply putting a huge pot on the bed.

It looked like the pots that were used in the orphanage that could cook kilos of food for several children, but instead of food you came across a black liquid that began to stir inside the pot, your face frowns again in disgust.

“What is it?” You asked the man who just waved to you to put your hand in there.

You took a deep breath and with disgust put your hand inside the thick liquid. Your hand groped blindly until you found something hard that was quickly grabbed and pulled out of the pot. As soon as you left you noticed that it was the head of a dead goat, his eye turned upside down while some larvae circulated on meat, immediately you dropped on the ground and screamed.

"Why did you give me this!?" You yelled at the man who just smiled at you.

"Didn't you want to belong to her?" He asked.

You jumped out of bed with fright, deep breaths as you regained consciousness completely. A moment later and your eyes were adjusting to the clarity of the room, there was a candle lit and suddenly a touch on your back made you jump again, only to see the lady looking at you. She had a comically small open book in her large hand that now rested on her lap, the candle in the furniture next to her bed, probably aiding in her reading.

“Another nightmare, draga mea?” She asked, examining your face as if looking for injuries.

Yes… I'm fine.” You lied.

Your mind was trying to remember how you ended up in the lady’s bed. A quick check and you were in your pajamas, but why were you sleeping here and not in your dorms?

“I don't like it when you hide things from me…” The lady’s voice was low and you turned to face her.

“You do not trust me ?” She continued, her eyebrows slightly furrowed and her head hung a little to the left side awaiting your reply.

"I do! I…I trust you. It's just…I'm not used to people bothering to try to figure out the mess in my head." You let go of the tense shoulders and looked away from the sheet.

Soon the sound of the swaddling cloths made you look again at the lady, she had placed the book on the next table and extended her arms to you with a slight smile calling you to her. Without success you slid to her legs and leaned your head on her chest, there was no malice at that time, it was actually something you got used to since the lady seemed to like having you in that position.

"I care about you, draga." Alcina said, beginning to lightly scrape her long nails through your scalp.

You didn’t know what to say so you just leaned in to her touch as a gesture of gratitude.

“I don't want you to feel afraid of me. I want you to feel free to share anything that bothers you with me, anything." Her voice was low, almost melancholy.

You were playing with the fabric of her nightgown absorbing her words. It was a fact that you felt something for the lady, something more than admiration, you liked her as a woman and wanted her in various ways, from the most filthy to the most pure. The fact that she seems to be as interested as ever was a distant shadow in your confused mind, although your affectionate gestures and the several nights that Alcina detached from a part of her day to be with you there was never a word or gesture that really made clear her feelings with you or yours for her.

The mere realization of this fell on you like a rock not only with the maiden’s lines in the kitchen a few hours ago, but also with her words now. You were angry at yourself for not being able to express yourself as you should and it started to grow in you in such a way that you wanted to hurt yourself in some way.

“Lucia.” You didn’t hear her trying to get your attention lost too much inside your own head.

At times like this it seemed like you were thrown out of the world, as if the planet kept spinning normally while you were floating in space getting lost in infinite darkness. You didn’t realize you were punching yourself until the lady held your wrist in an iron grip. You made an incoherent sound near a moan as you forced your arm down again.

“Dragă, sunt aici, te rog…” The lady whispered to you pulling you closer to her and caressing you.

Long minutes passed from her just cradling you as she would a child, until you resumed to the bedroom the sound of her heart lulling you closer and closer to her.

“Te am iubito, stai cu mine.” The lady’s voice was a little shaky and you understood that she was comforting you, wanting to call you back.

“Sorry.” You said after a while.

“There's nothing to apologize for, draga.” Alcina pulled your face and kissed your forehead affectionately.

Eventually you felt a love for her so great, that the courage to start telling everything you were "hiding" from her came and you did.

“Since we got closer I've been having nightmares almost every night. I've always had them mainly due to my contact with people who are gone, but it's been a lot worse since I got here.”

You stroked the fabric of Alcina’s nightgown again and she seemed a little tense with your words, but listened attentively.

“I like you and as long as you want me around I'll be by your side, I will cover my eyes for you.”

The lady seemed visibly more relaxed and that was your goal.

"When you're a ghost and someone like me approaches, it's like a light that comes to them, a door they can use to communicate with the world of the living. Often, they appear in my dreams trying to move me out of my fear. , wanting me to do something for them, I won't, but they try." You now turned to face her gesturing as you spoke and the lady leaned more at the head of the bed looking almost thoughtful.

“So this is the nasty part of your abilities you just said?” She asked.

 

"Yes, unfortunately, but I manage to get out of their control most of the time... Like I ran away from Nora." You gave a proud smile that the lady has not yet returned thoughtfully.

“And your nightmares are about the people who died here?” The lady asked again.

“I believe so... What I had now I'm sure was with a man I saw in the dungeons the day you took me there.” You could clearly remember the stature of the man now, it was almost curious.

“As he was?” She asked, leaning forward a little. Frightening you with the rush of movement.

“He was tall, not as tall as you, but maybe almost as tall as the girls... he had shaved hair and his body, well... it was almost too complex to say because some parts were missing…” The man was worse than Nora’s ghost, but when you saw him in the dream he seemed more whole in a way.

You watched the lady look at the window, her eyes closed for a moment and you noticed how her hand was shaking slightly. It seemed that she knew the ghost only by your description, but soon she calmed down and her voice came again in that low and dragged tone.

“Did he say anything to you at some point?”

You remembered the dream, there was a voice in your head that said to be quiet, but the lady’s gaze demanded an answer and your devotion to her was greater.

"He gave me a goat's head in my dream… And told me, Didn't you want to belong to her?"

“Hector… “ The lady whispered with a growl.

“It's his name?” You asked and she waved lightly.

You might notice that she wasn’t too happy to know it from the way her sweet demeanor changed, the apprehension took hold of you while you didn’t quite know how to react to it all.

"If he contacts you again, you should tell me, pet." She had pulled you closer again and you waved in response.

"That... stupid thing man! How dare!" She growled and you could see the tip of her fangs appear through her lips.

A shiver went up your spine and you moved involuntarily was one of the thousands of tics you had that you could not explain, but the lady had already gotten used to it. Eventually as she fed something dangerous into her, you began to feel uncomfortable almost as if you were being trapped by a huge dragon that was about to spit fire everywhere. You liked your position, but you also didn’t want the lady so restless so your hand slid from the fabric of her nightgown to her black curls, even though it was difficult for you to access due to the lady’s height, It was not impossible and soon you began to wrap your fingers by the now loose curls of her hair.

Alcina was startled with a sudden touch, getting frozen in place for a brief moment. You noticed that when you had initiatives of showing affection to her, that was her response, the astonishment.

"You don't get much affection, do you?" You dared to ask, but you dared not lift your gaze to hers.

A humorless laugh followed as she kissed your forehead finally looking more relaxed and you had your answer, a few minutes before falling asleep again.

 

=========

 

The day had just begun in the castle and Chloe was already standing, the last adjustments to the uniform were made with precision practiced, her roommates grumbled turning from side to side due to the noise that Chloe made, But it wasn’t her fault if her shift was ahead of her roommates. She snorted as soon as she came out to see the rolls of blankets mumbling in their beds.

Chloe was a cheerful girl, even though most of the work team feared for her life daily bringing a strain to the conviviality, the blonde preferred to ignore this part of her work focusing only on what was positive, It was with this strategy that she managed so quickly to be the lady’s personal maiden.

At the time, the surprise was clear in her face and in the faces of those who had worked much longer waiting for this opportunity, for the smile of Constance, she seriously doubted that the older woman had something behind it, anyway, Chloe would always be grateful to everyone.

She walked excitedly through the corridors completely silent, the spring sun was still beginning to cast its first rays of sun under the castle and she loved it when she had time to enjoy it. Completely distracted, the maiden entered the kitchen from the back as usual finding the adorned silver tray full of supplies needed for the lady’s morning tea. Checking if everything was present she did not even notice the presence of another figure in the kitchen until a noise of pans caused the blonde to lift her gaze, seeing Amelia lowered, tinkering in the kitchen cabinets.

“Isn't your shift later?” Chloe asked carefully.

Her eyes widened briefly when the other woman freaked out and jumped, the pots she was holding slipping from her hands and falling to the dark stone floor making all kinds of whistle-blowing noises. Both eyes worried and looked at each other as they listened attentively waiting for the lady to interrupt the doors furious at any moment, but nothing happened and Amelia bent down to pick up the pot from the floor, a scowl in her features.

"I just wanted to start a little earlier..." Amelia said, shrugging.

“I see..” Chloe responded with suspicion.

The blonde observed when suddenly the skittish behavior of Amelia completely changed.

“Did you hear about what happened yesterday?” The other maiden said excitedly, a sly smile present on her face.

Chloe did not like to meddle in gossip from the maidens who most often turned on the lady and her daughters, including Lucia now that the girl was here long enough to generate judgment, Anyway she kept an eye out because she knew that often it was in the midst of these gossip that disasters could be avoided.

“No, what happened?” The blonde put a lock of her hair that came off the bun, behind her own ear.

“It seems that the trip you took with the girl worked, I learned that they even slept together, in the lady's bed.” Amelia moved her head sideways like she was disgusted.

“I didn't know... How did you know that?” Chloe leaned forward a little.

Amelia seemed tense for a moment and the other maiden noticed this, but soon she disguised giving a fake smile.

“Ah you know, news flies in here.” She laughed and Chloe forced a smile.

“Do you think it will last long?” The question came and the blonde knew exactly how to answer.

“Lucia is a good girl and the lady seems to like her like I've never seen her, so I believe so, it will last.” The maiden smiled more affectionately at herself and lost Amelia’s disgusted face.

“Do you really think so? Because I think this girl will end up like all the others, just another whore in the hands of that woman.” Amelia said with disdain and that was the drop’d 'water for Chloe who needed to take a deep breath not to start an argument.

"I believe this is not for us to judge."

The blonde simply said and left the kitchen, not waiting to see the face of Amelia.

The tray was steady in her hands as she made her way to the lady’s room, she didn’t even notice that she was mumbling to herself the things she had still heard in anger. She knocked lightly on the wooden door of the lady’s room as usual to alert her entrance, even if the lady was in a deep sleep the simple knock on the door followed by the sound of the maiden’s footsteps entering the room were enough to completely awaken the lady. She remembered how in the early days of her service she was frightened by how sensitive the lady was to sounds and smells, as if her senses were about humans, but over time it became normal for her.

Positioning the tray on the designated table she went to the bedroom curtains, opening only a small gap while listening to the rustling of the sheets on the bed followed by a yawn.

“Good morning my lady." The maiden greeted her by briefly finding the lady’s gaze as she prepared her cup of tea.

“Good morning Chloe." The husky voice of the lady greeted her.

As the maiden prepared her lady’s tea and approached to deliver the cup she noticed that the lady was actually lying down and even sleeping which was rare, most of the time she came to meet the lady in the morning, Lady Dimitrescu was already standing, sitting reading or writing something leaning against the head of her bed, but today was different.

The lady took the cup and took a long sip of the dark reddish tea sighing with satisfaction and the blonde noticed that the bed had an extra relief in the middle of the blankets as if someone had shrunk there, she began to wonder if what Amelia had said was really true, but before her mind wandered the lady’s voice came once more.

“Does something bother you today, maiden?” The lady had an arched eyebrow and looked at the maiden from top to bottom.

“Not my lady! My apologies.” She lowered her gaze to the ground hoping that the lady would give a new order.

“Good. Separate my dress.” Lady Dimitrescu sent and Chloe was quick to meet, going compress with her duties.

As she selected the clothes for the lady’s approval she noticed with the corner of her eyes how the lady’s hand had descended to the pile of blankets disappearing there in the middle. A groan was heard and the mound moved down to the center of the bed making the lady laugh softly. When the clothes were already separated and the lady had finished her tea she took the cup and began to focus on other tasks that were already automatic for her as the lady stood up briefly, giving up the pile of blankets and starting her day.

About a few moments later, while Chloe was on top of the ladder directed to assist the maidens responsible for helping the lady to dress, a shadow caught her attention and the maiden next to the lady turned their faces towards the bed where Lucia stood. The vision was impossible not to give at least a smile, the redhead had messy hair, eyes half closed due to clarity while looking at the sheets as if waiting for her soul to return to her body.

“Good morning pet." Said the lady with a big smile for the freckle girl.

Lucia took a few moments to actually recognize the lady and when she did her voice was hoarse and dragged. “Morning.”

Chloe saw the marks of hickeys and bite from the neck of Lucia’s fair skin as well, as light marks on the bones of her fingers as if she had punched someone too hard, but preferred to ignore finishing her job and coming down the ladder.

“No word about it…” The lady growled between clenched teeth probably noticing her gaze at the redhead and the maiden nodded eagerly.

“My loyalty to you is ever present, my lady.” Chloe stated in fear and the lady just waved lightly.

"You can go clean my room today." The lady ordered and the maiden made a slight bow taking her belongings and leaving the room quickly.

As soon as the maiden left the room she was soon intercepted by Constance, the older woman looked at Chloe with an interrogative expression and the blonde wondered if she had done something wrong.

“Good morning Chloe.” She greeted the eldest maiden and Chloe just nodded.

She quickly got rid of the almost authoritarian gaze of the elder maiden and headed back to the kitchen to leave the tray and pick up supplies needed for her next task. To say that her mind was not at all confused would be lying so it was when she looked at the sleeves of her uniform that the blonde realized that there were no cuffs on their sleeves, quickly she corrected and buttoned them giving one more sigh before continuing.

 

=============

 

It’s been a few hours since you were up. Breakfast had already passed and you had been summoned by Alcina’s daughters to spend time with them, claiming that “Mother is monopolizing you.” were Daniela’s words reinforced by her older sisters. Alcina didn’t seem very happy with the idea as much as you believed she couldn’t stay with her for the rest of the day where she’d be locked up in her office working, anyway the lady gave up her daughters and whispered in her ear a promise of a walk in the evening.

Of course you were the joke of the girls all the way to the room where they had chosen that it would be a good place for you to stay, in this case, the chosen one was the library and you could not be more relaxed with it.

At the present time you were sitting on the floor next to the girls talking about the "outside world" as they referred to what was outside the village. They had thousands of questions that never ended and you answered each of them happily with your genuine interest and wanting to make them happy.

"So this device of yours can play current music...?" Cassandra asked while you were playing with your phone in your hands.

"Well…yes, I believe the three of you have never heard any of the songs I have here." You opened up an arrogant smile.

“We listen to the songs mother plays for us.” Bela shrugged her shoulders.

"It's like the ones you played on the cello that day." Cassandra commented and you nodded.

“And how are the current songs? Oh! we already heard! Remember that man from the rainy day?” Daniela asked you first, but seemed to remember something and directed her gaze at the sisters.

Cassandra joined her eyebrows trying to understand what her sister was talking about while Bela put her hand on her chin trying to remember what Daniela said, soon the youngest snorted in frustration and spoke once again.

"Then you say that I take too long to understand..."

She grumbled making Cassandra frown even more if possible.

“I'm talking about that day when a strange man-thing came into the castle in the middle of a storm asking for shelter and mother let us keep him, remember?” Daniela elaborated a little more and Bela’s face lit up as she seemed to remember.

“Oh yes, I remember. In fact, when we took him to the dungeons there was music emanating from him and when Cassandra saw it it was one of those devices.” Bela explained and you can’t help but laugh imagining the situation.

“Well, maybe I have the same song here.” You said while unlocking the phone and putting in the middle of the wheel that you formed sitting on the floor letting the sisters freely pass through the huge list of songs.

You raised your right knee and hugged him with your arm on the same side, thanking you that you were wearing pants and could easily sit this way without exposing anything that he should not. The sisters looked curiously at the names of the songs not playing at all until the sound of "Miserable Girl - Soulwax" filled the room. You smiled as the beginning of the song began by tapping your foot lightly to the rhythm of the drums and the girls listened attentively.

“Oh my god the lyrics are horrible.” Bela commented and you laughed.

"But the beat isn't bad." Cassandra began to clap her palm lightly on her own leg, following the rhythm with you.

For some reason you imagined that Cassandra would be interested in songs like this or even heavier Rocks like black metal or screamo. Daniela clearly did not like it and quickly picked up the phone.

"My turn!" Said the youngest daughter Dimitrescu sliding her finger over the screen looking for something that was interesting.

A few minutes passed until music filled the library again this time was The Weeknd - Blinding Lights and automatically the youngest daughter began to move in the rhythm of the song, Bela also seemed to have liked this song more while you could see her slightly moving her head in rhythm. This was more fun than you expected and you couldn’t hide the smile, something that only happened when you were genuinely happy and complete.

"I liked this one." Daniela said and you saw that Cassandra had not shared much of this just rolling her eyes.

"Do you have any songs from your country?" Bela asked suddenly while the song was almost over and you sighed.

"Songs that are considered popular in my country I don't like…."

You looked away for a brief moment.

“ However, I have a few here that I think might satisfy your curiosity.”

You asked for permission from Daniela who returned the phone anxiously, your fingers went through several names of songs until they reached what you were looking for. The sound of a bell filled the room and soon the music began, the sisters were completely attentive, probably understanding some word or other that had some similarity with the Romanian.

“Sol e Lua?” Bela managed to repeat with a very strange pronunciation and you nodded in agreement.

"În romanian it is said: Soare și Luna." Cassandra explained and you raised your eyebrows on how smart they were at making the joint so easy.

“What are they saying?” Daniela asked.

“This song is sad even though it doesn't sound like it. It tells the story of the Sun and the Moon, in this case the Sun asked the Moon in marriage and she did not accept and he was very sad.”

You made a short translation while the song ran out.

“This kid at the end tells Sol not to be sad because someone is going to like him at some point.” You kept explaining until the music actually stopped.

A silence resounds over the room as the three sisters seemed to absorb what you had said, until the beat of Killer Queen - Queen began to play. The noise of the library door opening scared both you and the girls who seemed to be genuinely distracted as Alcina entered the room.

"Mother!" Daniela smiled excitedly greeting the lady.

“Hello my little one." The lady responded by smiling lightly as Killer Queen’s beat continued in the room.

Only then did you realize how the lyrics matched the lady herself making you laugh at how ironic it was that she got into this song. The other older sisters also seemed to have noticed the similarity and began to laugh at the situation.

“What is so funny?” The lady asked angrily.

"Music mother, listen to the lyrics." Cassandra said as Bela played the song from the beginning so her mother could listen.

To your total surprise the lady seemed to be enjoying the song when she sat lighting a cigarette for herself and crossed her legs over each other you noticed how her foot swung slightly with the rhythm. Soon a smile adorned her features, the more the music was revealing his lyrics.

“I believe I may have understood now." She let out a hoarse laugh and you picked up the phone and turned off the music as soon as she finished.

"Although it's not exactly my style... I didn't think it was bad." Alcina said, exhaling the smoke from her cigarette towards the ceiling.

“Lucia showed us several songs that are successful in the outside world." Daniela was excited and her sisters waved smiles.

“That's great, little one, just remember what I warned you." You didn’t know exactly what the lady was talking about, but the girls seemed to understand so you just redirected attention to another corner of the room.

“Well, now that you've had your time, I'd like to spend some time with my pet.” Alcina said it again and the girls waved goodbye to you.

 

==========

 

Only you and Alcina had stayed in the room, she was busy finishing her second cigarette while you were still sitting on the floor but now your position was different. You always felt nervous around the lady and today you felt much more possessive than the other days, it seemed as if some invisible threat hovered in the air, perhaps hovered in fact since you had struggled to mentally block any contacts with the world of the dead which must have left the unsatisfied at least.

The shivering and nervousness you felt when being alone with the lady also helped you to distract yourself and not leave you adrift of literally anything. It wasn’t a bad thing, it was more like a shame, after all you liked her a lot and wanted to be perfect in her eyes. You did not even notice the curious look of your position on the ground, you were lowered like feet firmly planted on the ground but your ass did not touch the floor keeping you in a way that only your own balance prevented you from falling on your ass to the ground.

Most of your actions had whys and this way of sitting was no different, you remembered how many times the middle daughter of the lady questioned you for this habit and even tried to repeat, the memory made you laugh.

“I believe you're thinking good thoughts in that little head of yours, yes?” The lady’s voice made you look up to find her clear eyes, there was a gleam in them and you thought what would be pleasing her at this time.

“Yes, good memories.” You responded by turning your gaze to your feet again.

A buzz was her response and suddenly you feel a need to keep talking to her.

“You were uncomfortable with the music, didn't you?” You wanted to slap your forehead because that was your choice of subject.

“It's manageable…” She responded by waving her hand that she was not occupied with disdain.

“Did you hear everything?” You were curious since she only appeared at the end of the last song.

“I can hear many things if I want to, dear.” She opened that arrogant smile and you looked away.

You loved it in her and she knew it, which only made your shame worse.

“However, I believe that you should not have something that I really like in this device of yours.” She had a defiant tone and instantly caught your attention.

The smile still present delivered that it was exactly what she wanted, got your attention and you as always let yourself be carried away.

“I have many songs here, maybe some you like…” You said, shrugging your shoulders.

“Do you have jazz?” Alcina asked suddenly and you frowned making a pout.

The lady laughed at your face making you smile at her, infected by her joy.

“I don't know jazz very well to be honest.” You admitted.

“But this is terrible!”

She said it in an exasperated tone as if she was overly offended and you laughed at her performance.

“We need to fix this right now, come pet.

You’d never seen her so excited, seemed genuinely happy as she stood up all her height and called you by the hand. Without a second thought you followed, there were no thoughts in your mind where she was taking you except how magnificent she was, how bright and radiant her light was when she ascended and how she set you ablaze inside wanting more of her.

Her steps were slow so you didn’t have to run after her, yet you could feel anxiety from her as if she is a child who was allowed to show a friend her favorite toy and it only made you even happier for her.

Soon you came to a room that you did not remember having entered, it seemed just another living room like any other, there were thousands of them scattered around the castle, but there was a private air in this and you stood by the door looking at what the lady was doing. Her big body mostly covered the movements of her hands and you preferred to examine the room better than staring at her big ass.

Was it small, a little bigger than your room and were there some shelves with books and records? They were old records, you did not know that the lady had so many of them, some were worn by time and dusty, making you wonder if the maidens could enter this room. There were several paintings on the walls but there was one in particular that was covered by a cloth, unfortunately it was exactly in the straight line of the lady’s head and then you could not approach to pull the cloth.

A lively melody fills the room and you raise both eyebrows as you watch the lady walk away from a gramophone having already placed a record of her own. She smiled lightly as she sat crossing one leg over the other, she gestured as before to get you closer and perched on the arm of her armchair. You picked up and started enjoying the music with her, it was lively and different from the songs you were used to listening to, made you tap your foot slightly to the rhythm of the music.

When the first song ended and a second a little slower started you felt her touch crawling through your skin looking for your hand. You gave it willingly and saw how she swallowed with her big hand your so small, it was a vision you always liked.

“Enjoying?” She asked.

“Yes it's good.” You answered truthfully by giving her a smile.

You spent a long time listening to several jazz records that Alcina was very happy to show you, it seemed that she really liked this style of music. She told you everything from technical stuff to trivia that made you wonder how she knew so much, eventually you took the courage to ask about the painting.

“Why is this painting covered?” You asked while she was putting on another record.

The lady’s posture hardened as she stood up again and a familiar voice began to play on the record player, was she singing? Your questions were answered when she pulled the cloth from the painting and you can see Alcina sitting next to other men with different instruments, her clothes looked very old and she always had a big hat, you were as enchanted as the day you saw her giant painting in her studio.

“I don't want to have secrets from you." She said almost melancholy.

“It's beautiful! Sorry.” You realized you spoke too loudly.

To your relief she laughed at your excitement even though her gaze was still distant.

“I was a jazz singer many years ago. This is one of my records.” She talked and you just looked amazed between her, the record and the painting.

"This is really cool! I mean…I can't express myself." Before you could get angry at yourself for the words not coming out as they should, the lady pulled you into her lap, lifting you easily.

"I don't need you to tell me how you feel... I feel what you mean anyway. Never blame yourself for this. I accept you as you accept me." She whispered to you

You can’t help but be surprised by her sudden action as she placed you on the table that was in the room, looked more like a tea table, however there was no crockery at that time and fortunately also sustained her weight on top of it. That way you were at the same level as the lady’s eyes and understood why she did it.

You approached her face instinctively not wanting to kiss her but feel her skin in yours, she reciprocated letting you touch her both with your face and with your hand. Her features were delicate, aged in the perfect way and you loved every detail of her porcelain skin at times you kissed the corner of her crimson lips feeling as her hands on your back trembled and squeezed slightly pulling you over to her.

"You are so perfect..."

It was a whisper from you, but you knew she heard it.

“Do you think you could stay with me? Not as a prisoner, but as my…mate?” Her words frightened you.

It was totally sudden and without realizing it you took a step back just for her to pull you back like you were a lifeboat that she clung to with her life. You felt a snoring coming from her low chest and there was that dull part of your mind that alerted you to the danger of it, but you weren’t worried you were already hers after all.

“Only if you accept me the way I am....” You whispered as you kicked all the bad memories of partners who blamed you for something you hadn’t chosen for yourself.

“Oh draga…” It was her response before capturing her lips in a hot kiss.

Her hands grabbed your ass and kneaded in a way that sent a lightning bolt straight to your core, you moaned in response as her tongue slipped through your mouth gently. She had the perfect blend of delicacy and voracity, always making it clear who was in charge and how much she desired you. You groaned shamelessly, but this time your hands also explored where you reached, at times playing dangerously close to Alcina’s cleavage. The bold action yielded a provocative bite from her on your lower lip.

It was getting hotter and Alcina walked away when she realized that you were starting to press each other for friction for your core in need. You thought she would stop, walk away as she always did, but that day she did not do it, on the contrary, she lowered her face by your neck breathing deeply at some points. You were completely immobile as her mouth passed your jugular stopping at your pulse point, she probably felt how excited you were and the beating of your heart on her lips.

You felt the leather of her gloves tightening your thighs now more firmly probably would have a mark there and even if you had gone crazy you did not demonstrate at all. The air in the room was no longer the same as all the force she was putting on you. Actually she was using herself to hold on to something, maybe she wanted to bite you but didn’t trust herself to do so.

You tried to walk away and got a growl in response so you kept standing holding the pressure on your leg. "Alcina...?"

“Do not move.” Her tone was steel and you obeyed until she took another deep breath and just kissed that point of your pulse and walked away.

“I need my wine, can you find some maiden and bring it to me, pet?” You knew it wasn’t exactly a question and nodded down from the table with a jump that made her snitch and ran after someone to help you.

 

========

 

You were a mess of fear and excitement as you walked the halls in search of someone who could answer the lady’s request. While you were walking you had a strange feeling that someone was watching you and you often turned your face back checking that there was no one following you.

The lady’s words about you being her companion echoed in your mind again and again, what had this been ? A dating request ? Was it official then? You couldn’t say for sure since the whole situation seemed to have been brutally disrupted by the lady’s loss of control. You didn’t even notice when you bumped into someone, your face giving face in fluffy fabrics making you and the other person reel back.

"Watch where you're going!" The voice was incisive.

To your complete chagrin was Amelia the last person you wanted to meet at this time. You blatantly snorted at it but still had a task to do.

“Sorry. Can you help me find a bottle of wine for the lady?” You were quick and punctual, wanting to get rid of her soon.

“Did she specify which one?” You froze with it trying to remember something.

You were so distracted you didn’t notice the maiden’s wicked smile.

“I... I don't think so, she just said she needed a drink.” You responded by not finding her eyes.

“Yes I see, well we can try to find something, come on.” Amelia answered and you followed her reluctantly.

“You look better than you did the last few days, although you still look lost.”

She said as she walked somewhere you didn’t know about.

“You know, a lot of girls tend to get like this after a few dates with the lady.”

You were beginning to get irritated as you usually got around Amelia and preferred to focus on the sleeves of your uniforms that were loose.

"You don't even really care do you? I bet she still calls you little mouse."

Didn’t you notice how long she was hanging out with you or wherever she wanted to go with these insinuations she liked the lady and was jealous? You as usual did not know how to answer your own questions and a blind anger began to take hold of you especially when you noticed that she was not taking you anywhere.

“I'll find the wine myself." You growled between clenched teeth circling the hallway and listening to her wish you good luck from afar.

You couldn’t stop thinking about that damn girl like she had the gift of messing up any nice moment you were having with the lady, again you were so engrossed in your own thoughts that you didn’t see Bela standing in the hallway watching you walk past her with an eyebrow raised interrogatively.

"Annoyed about something?"

The voice came out of nowhere and as much as you were used to the sudden apparitions of the Dimitrescus there was no whistle-blowing buzzing at that time, making the situation even worse.

You realized you were in an attack pose by Bela’s laugh and her fun look, quickly you lowered your arms giving a sigh of relief. A lamp lit in your head as the eldest daughter calmed down.

“Do you know where I can get your mother a bottle of wine?” You asked her hopefully.

“Ah so that's what you wanted with Amelia?” She asked.

Your mouth formed a thin line as you noticed that she was actually being watched all this time by Bela, but you nodded accordingly and she gave a fun smile as she partially disappeared into her swarm taking you to the wine bottles. She handed you a bottle decorated with precision practiced without even looking right and you caught the bottle shrugging.

“She always has glasses with her, don't worry." The light-haired girl replied waving at you to go.

“Thank you very much!" You answered as you left back to the record room and she smiled at you.

As you walked into the room you cannot help but wonder what was wrong with that maiden and why Bela had done nothing about it. Your thoughts were soon interrupted when you entered the room completely forgetting to knock. Clear eyes met yours with equal surprise, you hugged the bottle of cold wine seeing Alcina without the hat holding between her gloves a delicate golden chain with a pendant that looked like a bright ball.

“I thought you had manners, pet.” She said and you froze in place.

“My apologies.” It was the only thing you thought of answering.

To your relief she just waved you closer, she pointed out where you could leave the bottle and pointed again where the bowls were for you to pick up, apparently she wanted you to serve her, but you had never done it before and a fear of making mistakes took hold of you.

“Don't worry, just repeat what you saw all these days the maidens do.” She whispered to you, enjoying the sudden closeness.

You took a clearly weak, deep breath with your constant taunts and carefully repeated the movements you saw the maidens who served Alcina during all these months. She let out a satisfied buzz after you served her and you smiled pleased that she was happy.

She caught you looking at the jewel in her hand and gave a smile, resting the glass again on the table after taking a sip of the dark wine. Clearly the necklace had caught your attention much more than the wine aspect, not that you hadn’t noticed it either, it wasn’t just wine, that you already knew.

“You like?”

She asked and you waved anxiously.

“Words dear."

“Yes, it's very beautiful." You responded by looking at another corner of the room.

“And delicate just like you."

The lady has completed and you lift your gaze to her again.

“Did you think about what I asked for?”

“About being your mate?”

You could feel your heart racing.

“Yes, I would like you to officially be my mate."

You didn’t know what answer you just wanted, that voice in your head to pull you away with all its strength, but you didn’t listen. She wasn’t important, Alcina was important.

“What do you say, Iubit?”

This word was new, and looked nothing like Portuguese. You looked into her eyes looking for any hint of evil, malice, but you only found that enchanting glow she had whenever she looked at you. The scene of how she took care of you earlier went through your mind and without having a better answer you climbed on top of the table where she was sitting opposite, smiling at her interrogative face and started a passionate kiss with her.

Alcina let out a surprised sigh, but allowed you to kiss her, hands passing around you pulling you to her as a gentle purr erupted from her chest. Her hand rose this time resting on her cheek as a gesture of affection and she covered your hand with hers again. Since then you have been sure that this is where you belong.

 

=========

It was late at night when Amelia left her shared rooms sneakily, one of her companions will be tasked with the task of watching so that if any of the lady’s daughters appeared she would return quickly. It was risky, but it had to be done.

Through the shadows she crawled through the cold stone by the traditional path there was already another maiden in charge taking care of the passage they had built for easy access to the castle gardens.

"Quickly! Enjoy, the lady seems to be busy today."

The maiden waved to Amelia who passed as fast as she could by the narrow passage reaching the gardens. A cold breeze cut her way to the huge wall that divided the castle grounds and she clung even more to her cloak. Stopping in front of the wall she opened the paper note checking if everything was as it should and after being sure stuck the paper between the stones almost imperceptible and returned quickly.

“We move on to plan B! The mouse fell into the dragon's claws!"