180 No one knows- Part 2
Vivian stepped into another room, hiding behind the door whilst holding on to a stone-like statue in her hand. When he entered the room she didn't wait and instead struck it on his head as hard as she could. But the man was strong, Ezekiel, caught hold of her wrist and pushed her head against the wall making her vision blind due to the impact,
"Fucking lady," he grumbled under his breath, "You have the nerve to hit me!" he pulled and pushed again. Vivian pushed her hand against the wall, her hand swung the sharp object piercing through his face bringing out a scream of pain, "Argh!"
Trying to run past him didn't work as Ezekiel caught her and pushed her against the floor, his hands on her throat, squeezing it to choke her. She struggled by scratching and kicking him but it was to no avail as her body had begun to lose strength. The man's hands tightened around her throat, reducing the space along with the air which had her eyes turn watery.
It was as if a fish that had been pulled out of the water which was trying to survive without water, moving to it's last breath when the man's hand loosened.
Vivian choked for air, coughing and feeling the pain on her neck as a tear slipped down the corner of her eye. She wheezed, scrambling away by pushing her legs and going back from the man who hovered over her motionlessly with his mouth parted open and his eyes wide. The room was considerably dark but not dark enough for her to not see the man's chest where five sticks came to emerge through the chest.
As the sticks moved forward she came to realize they were fingers and not sticks, blood came to ink through the shirt and she heard Ezekiel gasp as a hole formed in his chest. When he fell down on the floor she saw the rusty ragged robes on the floor, moving up her eyes she saw the ghoul holding Ezekiel's heart in its hand.
She stared at the ghoul and then the man who laid dead in front of her. Not far behind stood the ghost of the woman making her heart slip again. Had she come to kill her?
The ghoul came forward, one hand holding the heart and the other offering its hand for her to take. Was the ghoul not able to sense the ghost behind? Taking its hand, she stood up, avoiding to look at its hand she felt it tug towards the direction of the door where the ghost started to float away.
Stopped the ghoul to tug, Everest stared at her before tugging again. Had the ghoul kept her alive to sacrifice it to the ghost? With her muscles aching due to the repeated fall and lack of sleep, dark circles forming around her eyes with her forehead smeared with blood she walked to follow the ghoul as it led her across the corridors. The ghost had disappeared from sight leaving only the ghoul with Vivian.
"Where are we going, Everest?" she asked it to receive no response until they came to stand somewhere in the dark. Hearing the click sound, a door opened. Stepping out she saw it was the balcony she had wanted to see since she had arrived here with the others.
She saw the snowflakes move in an upward direction until it disappeared up in the sky where one could see, "Do you know her?" she asked the ghoul who didn't answer her. The ghost had left her, making her wonder if it was scared of the other. She doubted any of the people whom she had spent time with had found this beautiful place. Walking forward she stood to feel the snowflakes that surrounded her. She turned back to look at the ghoul who stood at the door lifeless. There was no one in the mansion now, and except for Ezekiel, one man whom she had seen to be buried and the councilman, everyone else had disappeared from her sight.
She looked at the surface which felt nothing less than a snowy ground only that this one was smoothened.
"No," she whispered to herself in self-realization. When the ghost woman had appeared in her dream, she knew she had seen her somewhere but couldn't point out when and where. The skeleton wasn't her first memory, it was this floor when she had come with Leo. She had seen the woman here.
Bending down to the floor, she touched the cold surface where the snowflakes were getting created and rising to move up. She saw the woman again but this time her face wasn't decayed nor was her eyes hollow with emptiness.
The woman cried eyes filled up in tears as she looked up at a man who stood in the hallways of the same mansion, only that there were light and objects to decorate items not making it look abandoned. She cried, sobbing with a broken face, "How can say that? Don't I matter to you anymore? Am I not enough?"
The man gave a look of indifference to her, turning his face away he sighed, "What we had was an arrangement."
"You told you loved me," her voice was hurt and her face evident of how broken she felt.
"I never loved you. I am suitable to marry a human than a witch. You should know it better than anyone. You have hidden here as my mistress in this mansion. Having mistress is a shame already," the woman wiped her tears to ask,
"You mean to throw me out," she asked disbelief on her face.
"Don't worry dear, I won't throw you. I will keep you here," the man smiled, clapping both his hands a guardsman appeared, "Bury her in the balcony up there," the man ordered and even Vivian who was standing and looking at the scene unfold felt shocked by it.
"No!" the woman screamed as she was being taken by the guard.
Vivian moved her hand away not wanting to watch further knowing well what had happened. For her to be able to read those memories only meant one thing. Below this floor laid the body of the woman who was buried either alive or dead. Rumors told there was a black witch and she was a mistress but the truth was she was a white witch and not a black witch. Her soul must have been tortured to where it had apparated to a ghost form, thought Vivian to herself.
With the night that had passed, the sky started to brighten up and Vivian went to the corner to let her back lean against as she sat down. The flakes of snow disappeared when the sky completely brightened up. She stared up the sky where the clouds still continued to hover in the sky.
Her body ached, the pain dull as she laid there unmovingly. She didn't know what time it was and how long she sat there to notice the ghoul had disappeared. They had left Jamien in the forest but he must have died too as he never returned back and Ezekiel wasn't the one to kill him. Was it the ghost woman then? That was the only possible explanation she could get to.
Had the ghost been here all these years, haunting, but doing what? Ah, she thought, the body was buried but it hadn't met its peace. The body needed to buried in a better place to let the soul rest. Maybe once the councilmen would arrive here she could ask them, but what would he tell? To dig the floor here to find the body? But that would make them question her further. A few things were left unexplained while some felt like it made sense at least it is what she concluded it to be. The ghost hadn't touched her or had stopped at the arrival of the ghoul.
Vivian didn't know what Fitot had done, and who killed the councilman but she guessed it to be the ghost as the eyes were very much similar to how she had at the aftermath of her death. Why? Maybe no one would know. But one thing she knew was that the lady had been wronged. She had helped the man and in return had been defamed, called a black witch and even after knowing she doubted she could do anything to clear the name.
She closed her eyes as the temperature in the atmosphere began to rise.
When the councilmen arrived, the three of them came earlier than the given time as they had been informed about their other councilman, Oliver who hadn't gone back home. The men after reaching the mansion, their eyes first fell on the wall where dried bloodlines were present. Reading what was written below, they stepped inside the mansion.
"It is very quiet and there's blood," Heuren commented entering the mansion and seeing at the side where there was blood on the sidewall.
"Looks like everyone is dead," Creed spoke, his deep voice resonating the walls, "Where is Oliver?" he asked for the councilman who was to guard the place.
Lionel who had come with them observed the scene where there was not a single soul in sight. If they were dead it meant everyone had failed the exam. The examines were asked to find a body where there was no body in the first place. The councilmen were sure that when the examines would come t realize they would hunt each other to turn them into a body. His fellow, councilman, Creed had told them to do anything they could unless they were caught red-handed. A person could go to any extent if there was a need to fulfill something to get something in return.
But the purpose of the second exam was too test their mind and the value this time, which everyone had failed at least in his eyes as he saw no one. A person had to learn to protect oneself and also know not to take a life of another.
"Search for any alive person," said Lionel as he observed the place. It wasn't the first time to have died in the second exam and rather it was common but all the nine? It should be the first, he thought to himself.
Hearing something in one of the rooms, he stepped in, following the sound which came from the cupboard. Opening it a man screamed, who was one of the examine, to be more specific the fifth person who had gone missing before Vivian had found the councilman.
"Councilman Lionel!" the relief in the man's voice was evident as day as he got out of the cramped place.
Lionel stared at the man. So there was a man who had survived, "What are you doing hiding here?"
The examine turned his head around before speaking, "There was a man with this knife," the elder councilman stared at him, giving a look as to a grown man was scared for the knife, "No no! You don't get it, he had blood on the knife but that wasn't all. There was a ghost following him!"
Lionel stared at the man with his monocle glass as if the human had grown two heads. But what Lionel didn't know was that what the man was stating was all true.
The man who was another lowly vampire who went by the name Axel had on the second day had gone out to the forest in search of food at the hour of night when he had caught sight of the human Ezekiel carrying a knife in his hand which was dripping with blood. Axel had guessed that the human had killed a fellow examinee. He had followed him stealthily to see that the human behaved as if nothing had happened. He had followed the human out of vague curiosity when he caught sight of the female examinee who walked behind the man not too far.
Had she been wearing a white coloured dress previously? he couldn't recollect it as he could only see the back. His first thought was that both the humans were going to a room to spend the lonely night together but when the woman had turned around did he see the decayed face and the hands which looked decomposed. Being a lowly vampire he had been utterly terrified to see the empty eyes with no eyeballs realizing it wasn't the female examinee but a spirit in the mansion. To make it worse, he had stood right in front of the frame where the very same woman had been painted.
The next second, the vampire had sprinted in the opposite direction as his life depended on it. He had heard enough about this place to know that there was a ghost who resided and killed men especially.
Picking up the room which was downstairs he opened the cupboard and got inside adjusting himself in while spending the whole of the third day there until the time when Lionel had just opened the cupboard. Only he knew how suffocating it had turned out to be sitting in this place where once in a while he had to open the cupboard, cracking it open to only hear strange noises coming which made him close it back.
"Beleive me, councilman Lionel," he said, leaning forward as he looked at the elder man. For a vampire, the person had big wide eyes which only humans possessed where he made a guess that he was a turned vampire.
"What about the others? Where are they?" at Lionel's question as to the councilman headed out of the room, the man followed him closely.
"I don't know, sire. I was in the cupboard all along after the four men went missing," the vampire said with his hands folded close to his chest. As Lionel interrogated on what happened, Hueren had gone in search of the other examinees, especially looking for the lady. When he reached the balcony which was open, he ran finding her at the far corner with her eyes closed.
"Lady Vivian?" Hueren touched Vivian's shoulder where her eyes had closed due to exhaustion. The lady looked hurt with her forehead which had a cut but that wasn't what bothered him. It was something else that caught his attention, "Are you alright, Lady Vivian?" he asked her worried-looking into her sleepy eyes.
"Yes," she answered with no enthusiasm, her voice was utterly tired and all she wanted a bed. A bed would be enough even soft surface where she could lie down, "Is it over?" she asked him.
"Ah, yes. Will you be able to walk or I could-" he was going to say he could carry her or give her a helping hand but she stood up. The girl's feet weren't steady but she managed to walk making him wonder what had gone down here. Going down, they met up with the councillors who were with another candidate.
When Vivian's eyes fell on the other examinee, a look of surprise passed through her face,
"Ask the lady, I am sure she would know!" the man said making her wary of what was going to be asked from her.
Ignoring the man, Lionel asked Hueren, "Is it just here?"
"Yes, Sir," answered Hueren. Lionel nodded and then Creed spoke, the man with a single black eye patch on his face.
"I found the pureblooded vampire dead on the floor. Could you care to explain and put some light on what happened here, milady," he asked Vivian, his eyes straining on hers and weight too heavy for her. There was a smile on his face but there was something deadly and daunting about this middleaged man, "Hueren, if you could fetch a glass of water," he ordered his subordinate who bowed and ran out, "Axel claims there was a ghost and one of the humans killed another examinee. And also if you can tell where is councilman Oliver."
By the time Hueren had arrived, Vivian had given bits and pieces of what had happened while leaving out the ghost woman in here. There were a few things Vivian believed to not tell and this was something she was supposed to stay quiet about, at least until she reached to where Leo. She had also left the part where the ghoul had come to rescue and kill the human. In her words, she had hit his head but didn't know how he had been killed which remained a mystery to them as her hands were clean with no blood except for her own. Hueren had gone with Axel to look at the headstone where they had found the body of the councilman. Not able to stare at the body for too long due to its condition, they had gone back to report what they found, confirming that the man had been killed. When it was asked to Vivian, she shook her head feigning ignorance,
she had answered, "I don't know," but the other examinee continued to claim how it was the ghost lady who had killed him.
To the older councilmen, Lionel, the matter didn't come as a shock. The examinees were put under isolation with no food or water, away from civilization where one would have to walk all the way while under the test of having to find a body which didn't exist. It was a test to see who would survive and who was worthy to be part of the council as the council didn't recruit people out of the blue. They needed people who were sane enough and this particular exam was designed by Lionel himself. Out of fluke, one man had stayed alive and an unexpected expected examinee the girl had survived.
"Sir, there was a ghost, you have to make an inspection in here. That lady on the portrait-" the lowly vampire spoke to be scolded by councilman Lionel.
"That's enough. One more word and I will put you in the care of the mental sickness," he gave him a glare.