Katie stood there in the middle of the room, clutching the sides of her dress as she felt scared. She felt the skin on her cheek throb with a dull pain.
"So what shall we do with her," the man said looking down at Katie.
"Madame Loren, please. I believe it's a mistake, a child of her age wouldn't know the value of the neck piece you're talking about," Sylvia pleaded keeping the little girl next to her.
"People in my estate are sentenced to an exile or better, a life without hands," Lady Magdalene spoke ignoring Sylvia's words as she crossed her arms.
Listening this Sylvia's eyes went wide, "What proof do you have that the jewelry was stolen by her and not by someone else?" she questioned.
"Sylvia dear," Giselle said pushing her hair back and walking forward a little, "All these years that we've been visiting, there was never a time we heard or saw anyone steal, but look - when this one appeared the jewelry was gone and Lady Magdalene says she saw her with a wolf pup. Who knows, it might be a wild one and she's trying to bring it up against us."
"I think we should at least wait until Lord Alexander comes and sees fit for her punishment," Sylvia proposed but soon found Giselle's hand around her neck as it squeezed, letting less air to pass by. Unlike Sylvia who was from the line of an average vampire family, Giselle was a pure blooded vampire, who held higher power and strength in her.
"Didn't I ask you to shut up? A bad apple should be eradicated quickly. Lady Loren shall decide on the punishment," Giselle said loosening her grip slowly around the lowly vampire female.
Alexander was going to be back only after a day and Sylvia only hoped they wouldn't take a detour.
"Time changes, Sylvia. Circumstances make people do things which they don't mean to do," Lady Loren replied holding the necklace made of blue stones that sparkled even in the faintest light, "As she's a child I won't put her through death or disablement but she needs to reflect on what she's done."
"For two days she shall live in the storeroom where there is no light or company to have. She will be given work as the other servants and in that term no one will offer her food or comfort. If anyone goes against it, the person will be punished along with the girl," Lady Loren concluded looking at everyone.
"We hope everyone heard it clearly," Giselle added raising her brow at Sylvia with a mocking smile, who looked torn.
Lady Magdalene looked pleased hearing it, "Now that it's settled here, we have a wolf to take care of. As the thief was the one to bring it we shall have it executed in front of her," and walked out of the castle taking Katie along towards the stables where the little pup was found yipping.
A knife was brought out and given to the man who had accompanied Lady Magdalene. Taking the wolf by its scruff in one hand he positioned it in front of him while the other held the knife. The creature struggled to move out of his hold but he held it tightly.
Katie closed her eyes when the man went to move his hand. With one slice, he dragged the knife around the wolf's neck, silencing it for life and threw it in the fire place of the stable. The little girl was then thrown into the storeroom and was locked from outside until she would be given work.
The storeroom which was as old as the other rooms in the castle was one that hadn't been used for many years. The objects in the room were covered in dust and darkness. Cobwebs decorated the old rusty room in every nook and corner, letting thin black spiders reside on it.
Giselle had sent Sylvia to the next town to keep her away from the castle for the time being.
Once Katie was left alone, tears began flowing from her eyes and slowly sobs filled the deserted room. For a young and innocent mind such as hers, the death of the wolf had taken more impact than the actual punishment she was supposed to serve for two days.
The darkness did nothing to comfort her fragile heart but only frightened her. She feared the creatures that had fangs, they had killed the little pup without any remorse when it had done nothing but offer her company. Alexander's face flashed in front of her eyes as she thought about the vampires. Though he had fangs like the others he had saved her; he was a knight to her. In the end she only cried more until sleep took over.
"Hey wake up," someone said pushing Katie's shoulder gently to wake her up from her sleep.
She opened her eyes drowsily and saw a boy in front of her. It was none other than the boy named Corey she had met in the kitchen a few days ago. Soon the recent events began flooding her memory and she backed away from him.
The boy looked at her sadly with the reaction she had just shown. He had heard what happened in the main hall as he hadn't got to see it, none of them had as all the servants were asked to resume their work instead of gawking at the guests.
"I'm sorry for what they did," he whispered to her, glancing behind to make sure no one was there.
No one was supposed to offer comfort to her and if they did, it would only cause trouble.
"Come on, you need to complete the work that has been assigned to you," the ten-year-old boy said seeing her get up from the dusty ground, "We made sure to complete most of the tough work so that it'll be less difficult for you."
When Katie stepped out of the room, she squinted her eyes due to the sudden light. Leading her out, when Corey turned to talk to her, a small gasp escaped his lips looking at the fresh bruise that was forming near her cheek bone. Before he could say anything, a guard came to take her to the garden. She was asked to remove the dry twigs and leaves out of the bushes and trees. As simple as the task seemed it took a lot of time and effort for a single person to work on it, especially when it was time for the sun to set. It had been three hours since she had began picking up the old, dead leaves putting them in a bag as she went on to collect them. Her hands were covered with dirt and few scratches from the bushes she tried to get through, getting her dress dirty in the process. By the time she was half done, she was sent back to the storeroom to spend the night alone. Later than night when Katie slept on the cold, dirt covered floor she was woken up with a loud boom of thunder. It only added to the bad condition she was in without any blanket to cover her and no food in her empty stomach as it growled.
The next day at noon she cleaned the garden again, picking up the dead leaves. She staggered a little as she was woken up early to clean the windows on the top floor.
"Now once you are done with this you are to assist Lady Magdalene in her room," Giselle said behind her as she observed the little human, making sure she was picking the fallen leaves and not slacking off.
Katie now sat behind Lady Magdalene as the woman painted on a blank canvas while the six-year-old held the glass palette in her hand. She felt weak and tired as she held the palette above her head for so long so that the vampire female didn't have to bend down to get the paint.
She felt dizzy for a second that led to her hold to loosen on the glass palette and fall down from her hand to the floor, breaking into pieces. The paint was splattered everywhere on the clean marble floor and seeing this Katie quickly apologized.
"You're useless. Clean this mess and bring me a new palette to replace the one you broke just now," Lady Magdalene placed the paintbrush at the side of the stand and walked to the bathroom.
She sat on the floor quickly to pick the shards of glass that were easier to find as they had paint on them. She winced with pain just as she went to pick another piece as it had a sharp edge. She winced seeing that the piece had got stuck to her skin and she pulled it out to see blood drip from her index finger.
She looked up to see the Lord of Valeria standing at the entrance of the room with furious eyes. Was he angry with her too?