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The door slammed open, followed by a familiar scream, "CAPTAIN, WE ARE--" Mad John immediately snapped his lips shut upon seeing the situation in the room.

His eyes lingered on Edna for a few moments before moving over to the sleeping Vanessa, and finally, his eyes settled on me.

After a few seconds of an awkward stare, he asked. "Is everything alright, Captain?".

Without hesitation, I nodded. "Yeah, everything is fine. Leave us" I responded. "We will be out in a few minutes".

The moment my sentence ended, again, he glanced at me, then at Edna before he nodded his head in understanding and responded "Alright Captain. I will be waiting outside incase you need anything ".

He walked out of the door, allowing the figure of Annabelle, who was standing at the corner, to come into view.

Annabelle, as suspicious and as thoughtful as always, stared at me, repeating Mad John's whole movement, before she was suddenly dragged out of the entrance, and the door was slammed shut with a heavy, resounding 'bam'.

Normally, I should be pleased that Mad John's entrance had managed to soften the atmosphere a bit, but again, this kind of atmosphere was strange as fuck, considering the kind of conversation we were having at the moment.

"Ahem!" Edna suddenly cleared her throat and called out to me. "So, are you going to answer my question or not?" She asked.

I shook my head to disperse away the unwanted thoughts in my head before I sighed heavily and responded, "Why are you even asking me that kind of question? I mean..." I paused, contemplating my next choice of words before a sudden thought threw a wrench in that thought too.

Yeah, if I was worried about her emotions, then I should have reconsidered killing her husband or attacking her when we met after that!

So I continued. "I mean, don't you want to ask me why I murdered your husband?".

She frowned. A myriad of emotions passed through her eyes as she responded, "Is there any reason why I should?" She sharply added. "Besides, I already know your response, so why should I?" She shook her head in defeat.

A frown suddenly appeared on my face too. Unless this was a traumatic experience that she wanted to avoid, then I would understand the reason for her choice of words.

But it wasn't!

From her expression, the resolute gaze that held mine, and her confident posture, which I could tell was not a facade but was done unconsciously, I could tell that she truly wasn't interested in asking me that question.

Yet, I doubted it. There was a reason that I wanted to know whatever was hidden in her thoughts now that the event was still fresh in her mind. And irrespective of whether I liked to hear it or not, it wasn't something that I could delay or avoid, considering that she is now my possession.

"Oh!" Regardless, I was curious, so I asked "And what do you think my response would have been?".

She became silent, musing over her thoughts until finally, she responded. "I believe that it would be something like, 'I felt like it" She repeated and articulated each word. "I killed your husband because you are now mine, and also because I enjoyed the pleasure of doing so. Am I correct?"

I chuckled. "You are right. That would have been my response… "I added "But you made a m---".

"I am not yet done" She interrupted me.

My brow rose. Crossing my arms, I shrugged and said. "Go on... It seems that you have been studying me all this time, so I am deeply curious to hear what you have to say?".





As she listened to his words, she cursed within her mind. His every syllable, every pause, seemed like a mockery aimed straight at her. From a queen to a brothel owner, from a brothel owner to a slave. Her life had gone far downhill from what she had once hoped. Yet, despite her struggles, she still clung to a sliver of hope that whispered to her that all her miseries were for a purpose.

That purpose seemed to be fulfilled when she found her husband. But it had been snatched away from her in the instant he was murdered before her very eyes. And then, it hit her. Maybe, just maybe, her spiralling life was not something she could ever escape. Perhaps it was her predetermined fate - an inescapable, treacherous destiny that she was forced to endure.

As fate would have it, all of this was confirmed when she first laid eyes on him. This man, this prince, this pirate - arrghh! - she was at a loss for how to even address him.

While others toil and strive their entire lives to reach the top, she, who had already ascended to the pinnacle, found herself plummeting to the bottom. No longer a queen, for her kingdom had been lost. No longer ascendant, for her body was now equal to that of a mere mortal. No longer a wife, as her heart had mourned her husband's loss twice over. And no longer free, for she had become a slave to a demon.

The irony of the situation was so palpable that even a chuckle could not escape her lips. "I am waiting" The demon declared, his unwavering gaze betraying not a hint of remorse for his actions.

Nevertheless, she collected herself, took a deep breath, and exhaled before responding "I know the kind of man you are... but I only discovered this after spending a few nights with you".

"And what kind of man am I?" He asked, his eyes gleaming with curiosity.

Leaning back against the rough wooden wall, she replied, "You are the kind of man who imposes his imagination on reality. Such an attribute can be wonderful, but when the person in question behaves as though he has not touched a woman in ages and will stop at nothing to fulfil his lustful fantasies, it doesn't take a genius - especially one who has been smashed under you - to conclude that you are a man ruled by your base desires".

The demon's piercing gaze bore into her as she monitored his every facial movement, hoping to elicit some kind of reaction from him. And finally, she did.

His features contorted in confusion as he stared at her with a frightening intensity. "You know, I was actually expecting an answer..." He chuckled. "But instead, here is a former queen trying to play psychology with her words on me.... I already know that I am a lecherous man, if that is what you are trying to imply".

At times, she found it difficult to comprehend his words. Though he spoke as if he hailed from another world or plane of existence, she did her best to make sense of his meaning. And so, she responded, "You don't understand..." She shook her head. "Among all the men I have seen walk into my brothel, you are the most dangerous kind... A man with extreme fantasies and the power and capability to make them a reality... A man who forgets that there are reasons fantasies should remain just that - fantasies. And even if you can make them come true, it doesn't mean that you should".

The demon remained silent.

"So even if I were to ask you the reason for killing my husband, you would not give me an answer because it was all done for your greedy pleasures" She continued, a wry smile playing at the corners of her lips. "Do you know what my first plan was to trap you into helping me?".

He shook his head, his expression remained stoic, giving nothing away.

"Okay, I will tell you...." She responded. "My first plan was to act as an innocent brothel worker who had been trapped there by her mistress. My role was to play the part of a beaten and injured woman, while Vanessa would take on the role of the vile mistress with no moral constraints. And then, I would have you work your way into one of our sessions so that..."

Oddly enough, he completed her sentence for her. "So that I can free you from your mistress after I have heard your pitiful backstory and stand between you and your problems like a prince in shining armour".

Although she was taken aback by his response, that didn't stop her from nodding her head in confirmation. "Exactly" She said. Then she asked, "If I had stuck with that plan, do you think it would have worked?".

His response came in the form of a subtle nod, without a word spoken. "Yes" He began after a moment of contemplation. "It would have worked much better than the one you had shown me. But it still would have been useless. Because if I had to go through that much effort to get a woman, why would I let her go?".

Her throat constricted as she tried to process his words. "Yeah, I figured out that part of you a little too late" She murmured, her eyes downcast. "No wonder you focused all your attention on that woman - Nina".

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