"Not completely in the council and already wanting someone dead?" grinned Nicholas at the possibility of killing someone which would kill his endless time.
"No no," she shook her head, "I don't want to kill anyone," she cleared their thoughts to receive confused expression again, "I don't want the ghoul," she didn't believe it would be right to take something which wasn't hers. As much as she didn't mind the awkward silence both the ghoul and her shared, Vivian didn't believe in receiving the ghoul as her congratulatory gift.
Leonard reframed his question, "What do you want to bury?"
Vivian wasn't the kind to murder someone and have their body hidden in a faraway place, "Did you know it wasn't a black witch but a white witch who had helped the lord in changing his appearance to one of the pureblooded vampires? And that he didn't die out of natural death," that day when she had questioned Leo about it, he had smiled and brushed it away like it was out of old age but she had come to understand that it wasn't so.
Lord Nicholas took a seat so that he could hear what the girl had discovered in those three days of staying in the snow mansion. He had always been intrigued and fascinated with the snow mansion, especially the balcony that had the snowflakes. There was something in the mansion, something that had lurked and he had sensed it but not enough to see what the place held. After knowing the abilities of Vivian he had whispered a word to the council where they could hold the examination knowing she would find something about the place. Also aware that if Leonard heard about it, he wouldn't be happy that Nicholas had schemed the exam to get information for his own benefits.
The snow mansion was a restricted area not just by the council but also the villagers strayed away from. During the initial years, it was told that the plants had died that was located in and around the mansion. A plague had fallen on the land that there were whispers were the second lord had started going insane.
In time, most of the habitants had moved away to steer clear of the mansion which gave an ominous presence until the second Lord finally passed away.
Lord Nicholas spoke, "Did you see the ghost of the woman? I heard from Lionel how the other alive examinee kept repeating about a ghost in the mansion which no one had seen in these years."
"I saw her," Vivian answered to which the lord cocked his head to the side.
"Why didn't you tell them you saw her?" at his question Vivian stayed quiet for some time. Thinking about the woman in white who had first come in her dreams just before the exam and then coming to stand in front of her.
"I didn't think she would want anyone to know what happened," replied Vivian, getting up from her seat where she had finished her meal, she went to stand near the tall window which stood proud behind the gloomy weather of Bonelake readying itself for the snow which was yet to flow, "If she wanted everyone to know she would have come out a long time ago, and with that thought I didn't tell them. Also because they would think I was crazy."
"That's understandable," responded back the lord.
"Did she do something to you?" Vivian shook her head at Leo's question.
"She didn't. Frankly, I am not sure if she would or wouldn't hurt me," knowing both the men, especially Leo would want to know what had gone down, she went to explain, "The first day everything went well. The second-day examinees began to disappear, I found out that Jamien had been drinking and killing the man there. But he didn't kill all of them. Ezekiel had killed men too but the woman, the mistress of the second lord was the one to kill Jamein and the councilman. I don't know why, and I don't know if she killed anyone more than that."
Seeing that it wasn't Jamien who would have not gone to kill her by squeezing her neck and would have instead gone to the direct kill, Leonard asked her, "Why did Ezekiel want to kill you?"
"I saw him dragging one of the bodies in the forest. The councilman, Creed had told us that we could cheat if it was needed but we were not to be caught. He said it was a dream for him to get into the council and he didn't want a witness to his crime," she turned around to look at Leonard, "The council doesn't seem like a nice place with such twisted intention to pass."
"There are twisted intentions everywhere, Bambi. All one can do is not step into traps and be smart enough to move around," Maybe, thought Vivian in her mind, "If it weren't for Everest I wouldn't be alive here. Do you remember the painting, Leo?" she asked him.
The infamously famous painting of the second Lord with the shocked and fear expression. She said, "When I touched the floor where it flakes go up into the sky, I saw her. I saw her time with the Lord and she was a beautiful woman who loved him. But he fell out of love for her and decided to marry another woman but before that..." Vivian trailed her words, "He killed her," she looked out the window, the clouds hovering over these lands.
"She's buried in the balcony," murmured Leo.
"Yes. I was too scared to go see the rest because a few things are too painful. How can someone whom you loved so much cause you so much pain that the person can go to the point of killing the person and burying her in the same mansion to hurt her more," she felt a hand on her shoulder where Leo had come to her, "I think she returned for him and killed him. He must have known, isn't it?" she asked Leo, staring into his eyes where he came to see her eyes start to have specs of red in them which seemed to come out when her emotions were all over the place.
"I got the skeleton rid of there," she heard Lord Nicholas say, "There's no record where it tells the man died out of the unnatural cause of death but I believe Leo has something else otherwise," he gave a look to the Duke. Since Leonard had come to stay at the Rune and Rufus' mansion, Nicholas had noticed the curiosity which didn't appear on the boy's face but it was hidden. The boy had the habit of reading and finding the deepest darkest things in the council that the Lord didn't know if it had annoyed or intrigued him. That was one of the ways how he had come to learn about the ghouls.
Nicholas was right. Leonard was one of the people who knew about snow mansion. After he had come to hear about the tale and the painting that stayed on the wall, he had found it suspicious and had tried to find out what must have caused for one to have such expression. He knew it was a woman who had come for the lord, to steal the man's life but he hadn't known it was a white witch.
He said, "Most of the reports spoke about the black witch, after all, they deal with the change in appearance and their magic lies on the unethical side of the living world. I knew she came back to kill him but I didn't know she was a white witch nor that she was still there. It is said that a black witch is revengeful but it is the white witch you need to be wary of because their vengeance runs deeper than the rest. It wasn't plagued or illness but every and anything that was part of that mansion died and withered in time."
"If it was the death of the lord that's already done. Why kill someone else. Pure joy maybe?" asked Lord Nicholas as Vivian had said about how the councilman, Jamien and another man, the lowly vampire who went by the name Fitot were killed.
"Actually, about that," said Vivian to gain both of their attention wondering what else they hadn't heard yet, "There was something written down under the body where the councilman was killed. Saying 'I know what you did'."
"I did hear something written on the wall but didn't know it was near the body," Lord Nicholas never got that information from the councilmen because they hadn't known about the councilman's body being hung on the wall, not above the writing at least as when Vivian was explaining she had spoken about the wall outside but nothing specific which might have been missed but the councilmen weren't stupid.
Were they still hiding something which people weren't aware of? Vivian couldn't help thinking about it. Was there something more to whatever was going around?
"Hmm, councilman Oliver must have done something, isn't it. Might you know what it was?" At Leo's question to her, she shook her head. He then asked her, "Did you do something, Vivi?" she frowned.
"Why do you ask?"
Leonard's eyebrows that had been drawn together in concentration thought for a while, "A ghost won't avenge for no reason, there's always a pattern even in a living person which we follow. We might not know what occurred with Oliver but we can find out from you. Anything you were not supposed to do?"
Vivian gave it a hard thought before she remembered, "I found a newsletter."
"What did it contain?" he asked her.
"Just the information about her being missing and the rumours of what happened to her. I burnt it," she bit her lips.
"Why would you burn it?"
"Because it was hidden from the rest of the papers. I think it was the Lord who placed it there and it was something kept as a...memory," Vivian had done it right before she had heard the hustle that took place with the hanging councilman. She had done it so to remove evidence of what had happened. The ghost, she had never appeared in front of others but in those three days, she had appeared to kill people, "For someone who didn't want to come in front of others, I doubt the ghost or the Lord would want a matter like this to be shed light on. I don't know why I did. Maybe because I thought it would be evidence for others to figure out where to find the body?"
In her defence, the councilman had told to cheat if it was necessary. And now that she compared it with others her crime looked to be the least. She didn't kill anyone.
"Vivi, you removed the evidence of her which was printed at that year and time. Of course, she would want someone to find it and put light on it. You are lucky she didn't kill you," Leo sighed with worry. Vivian looked down ashamed that she had done it. It was just that at that time it seemed the right thing to do, "But you might be right about her not wanting to be in the light else I would have found her a few years ago. Nick too."
"Well, I am glad that I didn't get to meet her. Ghosts give me the creep," Nicholas smiled and the couple couldn't help but give each other a look, "What? Why are you both looking like that?" for someone who was the owner of the two ghouls, it was hard to believe.
After relaying the message about the ghost, Vivian wondered what the councilmen were hiding.
'I know what you did.'
Did the ghost know something Oliver was doing which the people weren't aware of?