Hell's Bells

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Ashleigh must give up all she has worked for to become the property of a man who suffers from a terrible curse, to save her father from ruin. Ashleigh Creighton, is a reserved beauty who is ultimately thrown into the high class world of the elites of Edinburgh the moment her father becomes duke. As the only daughter of the duke, she is expected to gratify the city's citizens without complaint. But Ashleigh would rather travel to England and sign a record deal, hoping to tour the world while doing what she loves most—singing. However, when her father ends up getting into trouble with a formidable man, a man whom the tabloids tagged as the beast of hell, she becomes involved against her will. Ashleigh must give up all she has worked for to become the property of a man who suffers from a terrible curse, if she wants to save her father from terminal downfall. A parodical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. ©2019 Amethyst

Romance / Fantasy
4.5 4 reviews
Age Rating:

4| Hell's Lady

I trudged behind the stout man who had earlier introduced himself as Cosmos with a prominent frown on my face. I wrapped my arms around myself and kept my eyes glued to the expensive carpet as we strolled through the halls.

I was certain that the tour was going to take forever, the castle was bigger than any I had ever seen. Just when I thought we were going through with the tour in complete silence, Cosmos spoke up.

"Would you rather we had the tour now? Or do you want to rest awhile?" he asked with a blank stare.

Cosmos must have noticed my gloomy countenance that's why he had been thoughtful enough to suggest that I rested. I contemplated for some seconds, then decided it was best I had the tour now and then later on, I could lock myself in my room.

I had had enough of Cross Lancaster's intrusion for one day.

I sighed wearily and put on a neutral mien, "Don't bother. I am not doing anything now anyway."

"Excellent choice milady." I saw a small smile flicker on his lips. Before then, I had deemed in incapable of showing any other emotion, besides the neutral look he always had on.

And so the tour began.

Cosmos led me through spiraling stairways and winding hallways, rooms with ceilings higher than large towers and greenhouses adorned with blooming flowers with wonderful scents. Some rooms were small and held things of sentimental value, while others were extremely large with dimly lit chandeliers and well polished floors. Some were just empty. Every room was well furnished, elegant and spotless. There were no pictures or paintings whatsoever, I wondered if Cross had any family history.

Maids scurried about like mice putting everything in order, the gardens where well tended to with bush sculptures and flowing streams. They bowed in respect once I passed their midst, I could see awe and surprise in their eyes. I caught sight of Penny as she ordered a group of maidens on what to do with fresh rosebushes. Apparently, Penny was the one that made sure the castle was decorated with lovely flowers. To brighten up the gloomy atmosphere she had said.

Once again, I wondered what the Master had to say about all these colourful flowers that were in contrast to the sombre tone of the castle.

"So what do you do around here Cosmos?" I asked cordially, as he led me towards the flight of stairs above my bedroom floor. I was trying to be optimistic even in my predicament.

The carpet on this floor was more intricate, the lights on the carton brown walls soft and the atmosphere more serene. No soul was in sight. My flats padded softly on the carpeted floor and Cosmos leather shoes squeaked as he walked, the little sounds gave off a slight eerie echo.

"I am the chief caretaker of the castle. I'm in charge of every single thing that goes on around here, as per Master's orders of course." The smugness of his voice was obvious and his smile was a self-satisfied one. Cosmos really loved his job.

"That's lovely. It seems like you are doing a very good job of keeping everything in order. This place is magnificent." I admitted truthfully.

He gave a sad smile. "I would never take the glory for Master's achievements. He is the only one that made this castle what it is now."

I listened with rapt attention for what was to come. "When we arrived some years back, this place was but a scorned ruin. A shadow of it's former self. Master raised this placed up singlehandedly, it was apparent that he was pouring his grief into—"

I didn't like that he trailed off when he had just began the good part. I frowned. "Into what?"

Cosmos gave me a look. "I've said too much." I sighed and rubbed my shoulders to warm myself, the hallway was slightly chilly. "Come now Ashleigh, I must show you the recreation rooms so that you can choose a favourite."

"A favourite what?"

"A favourite room of course," he snorted at my question he'd probably thought silly. "Master said you shall be with us for quite some time, you must have a room to unwind if need be."

I eyed him sceptically. Why would I need to unwind in a place where I was taken against my will. "Really?"

Cosmos opened his mouth to respond when a heavily accented voice came from down the hall.

"Cosmos! You silly twit! Showing the fair maiden around without me, are we?"

His heavy boots made thumping sounds as he approached rapidly. I could see his features clearly underneath the soft glow from the light bulbs. The interrupter was a very lanky man with a very pointed nose, his auburn cloak reached to his ankles. He had dark brown hair and wide brown eyes, his face was friendly and the wide smile he wore made him look comical.

Cosmos frowned deeply when the lanky man approached us, it was obvious that he was troubled by his appearance. "Luzier, we were doing just fine without you."

The man walked past him without sparing him a single glance, he took my hand and said with a bow. "Luzier Frazer at your service Mon Chéri." When he looked up at me, he still had the silly smile on his face.

I gaped at him speechlessly and turned towards Cosmos as I had no idea what to do.

"Luzier here is in charge of the castle decor, lighting and services," Cosmos said with a sneer.

"Oh forgive my ill-manners sir. I'm Ashleigh Creighton. Your Master is keeping me here aganist my will."

Both men chuckled at my statement.

Luzier cleared his throat before speaking. "Master requested that we both give you a grand tour, Cosmos here left me at the louvre without informing me of his whereabouts. I've looked everywhere for you both." He gave me a silly wink and placed his warm lips on the back of my palms again. I laughed at his silliness.

"The Louvre?" I asked in astonishment.

"It's a miniature museum located next to the dungeons," Luzier answered without hesitation.

"I would love to see it!"

"Some other time my dear," Cosmos interrupted whatever Luzier's answer would have been. The latter frowned and jabbed the shorter man by the side of his stomach. Cosmos coughed and awarded him with a glare. They were both comical together.

"Right this way Miss Ashleigh."

Both men led me through a large door and into a room that was covered from top to bottom with wide shelves filled with books of different sizes. The room had a musky smell of old books and the windows were wide open—unlike other rooms I had been to. Cosmos told me that Cross despised the rays of the sun coming on through the windows of the castle. The ceiling of this room was dome shaped and covered with stained glass.

I turned from observing the room only to meet the expectant gazes of the men next to me.

"Although I love writing music and singing, but reading, not so much."

They nodded in understanding and suggested that we moved to the next room.

"Does Cross come here often?" I inquired, picking up a little storybook about fairy magic and blew off the dust on it.

Luzier coughed uncomfortably and Cosmos avoided my inquisitive eyes.

"No. He has his personal office which contains an extensive library. He wouldn't want to come down here," Cosmos replied.

"Oh, can I see his library?"

I really didn't want to, but the reaction I got when I asked about his library was worth further investigation. Both men exchanged subtle worried glances before Cosmos spoke up.

"I. . You cannot." I raised my eyebrow in question. "I mean you shouldn't. . wouldn't want to—"

"Let's go to the music room, shall we?" Luzier's timely intervention released a relieved breath from Cosmos.

His word vomit heightened my suspicion and curiousity. I still wasn't satisfied with the answer I got but the very mention of a music room was enough to raise my spirits.

"A music room?" I squealed in euphoria. I could only imagine what heavenly wonders awaited me there. I happily hooked my arms with the arms of both men and let them led me to what I hoped was Nirvana. Maybe my stay here wouldn't be so bad after all.

I frowned upon remembering how I got into this castle in the first place. Cross had destroyed my only link with my father—he was lethal. I wouldn't allow him to brainwash me with his gifts and lovely service.

Huge glass doors led us into the music room.

"This is my favourite room," I announced to the males present in the music room with me. I tried to sound overly excited so that my sadness wouldn't be obvious. There was nothing Cross would say or do that would make my stay here pleasant.

A hostage was a hostage. There was no sugarcoating it.

A small smile tugged at my lips when I remembered my last performance at Edinburgh. It was first time I'd performed a song written by myself.

I traced my hands over the keys of the golden grand piano, the soft notes lingered in the air for a while making me feel terribly homesick. The piano was the only instrument I had mastered to perfection. I just knew basic stuff about the acoustic guitar and the violin.

"Are you sure?" Cosmos asked as he assessed me. "You haven't been to the other rooms milady."

"Yes," Luzier interjected. "There's still the ballroom, the indoor garden, the Renaissance art room—"

"The louvre," Cosmos chipped in.

"Oh and my very favourite, the hall of a thousand lights."

I laughed at their antics and returned to assessing the room. The musical instruments were placed in strategic position in the room. Their well polished golden exteriors glistened underneath the chandelier present in the middle of the elegant ceiling. A ruby couch was present at the corner and the blinds were also drawn over the windows.

"I like this room." They exchanged looks and nodded simultaneously. "And I'm already tired. Can we continue the tour another—"

My sentence was interrupted when the glistening glass doors of the room rolled open.

Cross stood there with a deep frown etched on his face and his hands in their usual position behind his back. His demeanor was stygian and he wore a grey cloak over a black close fitting shirt and denim trousers. I couldn't deny that he looked very handsome and remarkably titillating.

I kept my gaze on him, even though I was intimidated by his presence. I didn't want him to know he terrified me a lot.

"Leave us,"he ordered his subjects. His hooded eyes were on me while his expression was unreadable.

"But they weren't done showing me around," I lied, causing both men to stop in their tracks.

I was just about calling it a day and retiring to my room to mourn over my predicament. Nevertheless, I loathed being alone with Cross.

Both Cosmos and Luzier's eyes darted between Cross and I. The respect they had for him was uncanny.

Cross growled at my doggedness and said, "I will conclude the tour. . myself."

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