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Act III: Scene III

Chantelle curled up in a large wing backed chair in Arthur’s office. She sipped her hot chocolate lightly, her knees pulled nearly to her chest. Everyone was gathered there. Marceline was talking with Liem, hunched over a table. Eliza came to sit by Chantelle, resting a hand on one knee. “We’ll take care of you dear. You’re one of us.”

“One of you?”

Eliza nodded. “You said you wanted to stay with Marceline forever right?” She waited for Chantelle to nod, before continuing, “That’s essentially an offer of engagement by our standards. So that makes you part of the family.”

Chantelle felt her cheeks flush, feeling warmer than the mug in her hands. “Does Marceline know?”

“Of course. She’s been prepared to marry you since you met.” Eliza looked up as Arthur entered the room. He went over to Liem, slipping an arm around the other man’s waist. “How is the plan coming?”

“Fair. Though I’m not sure Chantelle will like it.”

Marceline moved to Chantelle, taking the mug from her hands. “The plan is to wait and see what they do. Then we’ll make a move. We’ll let them know you’re already mine.”

Chantelle pursed her lips. What else could they do? “But what if they don’t stop?” Her mother wasn’t known for giving up.

“They’ll have to. We’ll figure it out, dear. So for now let’s get some sleep.” She kissed Chantelle’s neck, picking her up gently. Chantelle might have wanted to argue, but she was exhausted. She had been ever since Marceline had come to get her.

They settled down in Marceline’s room, curled together, sleep taking them immediately.

Chantelle awoke late into the night. Soon the sun would begin to show itself at the edge if the horizon. Marceline slept quietly at her side. This has caused us so much trouble. She wouldn’t change it for the world. Living the life her mother had planned was not something she could bare. She couldn’t just marry some man and, if it was possible, have his kids. She couldn’t simply become an item to him. And even if he loved her, she could never love him back. Her heart belonged to Marceline.

She pulled herself from Marceline’s arms, kissing her head. Then she headed to peer from the window. Something stirred behind her and she turned to see if Marceline had woken up. Before she could see the bed and hand clamped over her mouth, pressing a damp rag to her face. Her vision went blurry as she searched for Marceline. Another man has a rag to her face as well and is now binding her wrists.

Chantelle struggled, fighting with her captor and the fog clouding her mind. But all too quickly her body gave out, refusing to move, and slowly her mind did as well, until she saw nothing and thought nothing.

She opened her eyes to find herself bound to a stiff chair. She wasn’t gagged, but it didn’t matter. Her mind was still too foggy for speech. She glanced around, finding Marceline flopped unceremoniously against the wall, bound and gagged. What have they given her? She glanced around, hoping to find the room empty, but instead her mother was seated in a large, plush chair near the door.

“So you’re awake, dear? Good. I hope you don’t hurt too badly, but we can’t have you running.” She smiled, but there was no warmth in it at all, not even in her eyes.

“You did this?” Chantelle spat. She had never liked her mother, but this was a new low.

“I needed you back.”

“I won’t leave Marceline.”

Another smile, this one filled with cruel amusement. “I know. That’s why I plan to deal with her before we release you. You’ll have to stay then.”

Chantelle swallowed. “Deal with her? What do you mean?”

“Everyone says she’s a witch. What do we do with witches?”

Chantelle’s heart sank. Any hope of convincing her mother was gone. She planned to burn Marceline at the stake. “What about Eliza and Arthur? Liem?”

“Nothing for now. Though they will be dealt with if need be.” Her mother glanced at Marceline. “I can almost see why you fell for her, such a pretty girl. Too bad she isn’t human.” She glanced at Chantelle. Even if Marceline had been human, her mother would have never accepted it. “So just be good and wait until we need you, okay?” She stood, heading out of the room. Chantelle heard the lock click as she did so.

As the minutes passed Chantelle began to worry if Marceline would ever stir. Was it really that easy to incapacitate a Vampire? Had they given her that much of the drug? But after almost a hour Marceline finally stirred. She blinked lazily, looking around, but bolted upright at the sight of Chantelle. “What’s wrong?”

Chantelle knew she looked a mess. She’d spend the whole time from her mother’s departure to now crying. She’d just now run out of tears. “I was worried about you.”

“I’m fine. It takes a lot more than that to kill a Vampire, I promise. How are you?”

Chantelle only shrugged, ignoring the question. “They plan to burn you at the stake.”

Marceline whistled. “Wow. That’s a first. People don’t usually burn vampires.”

“They think you’re a witch too.” How was Marceline so calm and in control? Chantelle already felt sick with worry.

“Oh. I see. Don’t they know witches control fire? Not that I can sadly. Vampires don’t have that kind of magic.” She looked Chantelle over, checking for injuries. Thankfully she found none. She hated seeing Chantelle like this, battered and broken. She wanted to see the tenacity, the strength, the willingness to fight, but here Chantelle was, looking ready to simply curl up in a ball and die. “I promise I’ll fix this. Don’t worry.” She had to do something.

Within the next hour a pair of men came to collect Marceline, leaving Chantelle alone. She could hear people outside gathering around, while several chopped wood for the fire. Was she just going to stay here and let Marceline die? Her eyes itched to water, but couldn’t. Every tear was gone.

Thirty minutes later a maid came to fetch her, asking her to change into a clean gown. Chantelle did so, setting her jaw. She wouldn’t let them win.

She was led outside. Dozens of bleachers had been set up around the stake. Marceline was already tied up. She blew Chantelle a kiss and a wink. Chantelle bit her lip, searching for something to help her. She was led to a seat just beside her mother.

Her mother smiled at her, but it only looked false. “Don’t worry dear. This will be over soon, then you can go back to your normal life.”

Normal. She didn’t want a normal life back. She watched the crowd fill in, all too eager for the show at hand. Marceline seemed quite relaxed, gazing around, stopping to blow Chantelle kisses or mouth words of love. Normally her heart would have fluttered at that, but now it was only cold and empty.

The sky was now pitch black, but for a few stars. Her mother motioned for the fire to be brought out. The man carrying it walked slowly, waving the torch at the crowd for suspense.

What was Marceline planning to do?

The fire was lit and it quickly began to devour the wood. Marceline didn’t move. Instead she simply watched the flames lick around her feet. Chantelle knew the fire was making her nervous as sweat began to form on her brow. Chantelle clutched her dress tightly. Why did everything have to go so wrong?

It hit her. She picked up her hand, looking over its shining surface.

She shoved the sleeve of her dress over her elbow, leaping from her chair towards the fire. A man tried to grab her, but she shoved him aside, much to her surprise as his. The fire was climbing, now dancing around Marceline’s waist. Chantelle reached into it, grabbing the ropes and pulling. Instead of breaking the rope, she broke the stake instead. She tossed the flaming wood to one side, ignoring the pain in her flesh bound hand. She pulled Marceline from the fire, stamping out the flames from her clothes, patting them with her hand.

“Chantelle! You’re making a fool of me, what are you doing?” Her mother had crossed over to her, glaring daggers.

Chantelle didn’t flinch, instead putting herself between her mother and Marceline. “You make a fool of yourself on your own. Everyone here knows I fell for a Vampire. A female Vampire. What idiot will let their son marry a girl like that? You know they won’t. And here you’ve gone to the trouble of letting them all know. It’s hardly my mistake. You could have kept it quiet. Said I’d run away. Then they would take pity on you, but you just had to have your way. Now look where you are. You look a fool now. And it’s entirely your fault.”

At first she thought it was all out of spite, but she also saw it was true. People like her mother were wrong. There was nothing wrong with loving who she did. But that didn’t mean the effects wouldn’t still be there. Her mother would be seen as a disgrace. Not only did she have a Cyborg child, but an odd one at that.

Her mother swallowed, her glare far less frightening. “Go. Don’t come back.”

She didn’t plan on it. She pulled Marceline into her arms, ready to go. “Good luck.” And she really did mean it.

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