She knew that this was the last straw. She knew that if she hadn't succeeded this time her punishment would be lethal. Her head lolled forward, her long blonde bangs falling into her face and covering it with a dense shield. She sat against the damp stone wall, her knees bent and her elbows resting on them. After a long sigh she lifted her head, eyeing the three men that sat through the bars at a round wooden table. All three were vampires, and the way that they continuously pulled flasks from their coats and took long swigs of the crimson liquid set her on edge.

Her stubbornness rose as one looked over at her, his eyes flashing red with drunkenness as she glared at him. The large vampire chuckled, standing up and walking leisurely towards her cell. His hands rested on the bars as he reached them and leaned forward to look at her.

"Jerome…" One of the males still sitting at the table warned as he watched his friend near the girl.

"Don't worry Edmond." The male at the bars stated as he glanced back at Edmond for a moment.

Her eyes narrowed as his hand slipped through the bar, reaching into her cell and towards her. "Come here you…" He cooed in a sing-songey voice while his lips curled up in an evil grin.

With her eyelids narrowed to slits she growled at him, "Go to hell." She sneered with as much hate in her voice as she could muster.

The laugh that came through his lips rumbled throughout the room. "Already have darling." He pushed his arm further into the cell and opened up his palm, then closed his fist vertically as if he were gripping an invisible bar. The instant he did this the girl on the ground squeaked, her body jolting by no choice of her own and rising into the air. Her hands pressed down on the invisible force around her middle, grunting with the exertion. As she struggled she was hurtled forward towards the bars and towards the male vampire.

As she slammed into the metal bars, she yelped, yet the sound of flesh on metal caused a dark chuckle to rise in the male's throat. Her cheek collided with the lock, causing a deep gash to spread across her face in a thin line. The vampire growled with pleasure as his grip on the air moved so that one hand gripped her arm and the other took a fistful of her messy blonde hair, holding her roughly against the bars.

Once he noticed the wound he growled, leaning forward and slowly running his tongue along the gash, lapping up the blood that trickled down to her jaw. He brought his tongue back up to the wound and slowly wriggled his tongue into the gash, prying apart the skin and worsening the wound.

She gasped, thrashing against his hold quickly. She wanted him away from her… NOW. With a loud grunt she raised a knee, striking him directly in the groin.

He called out and released the girl quickly, dropping her back to the ground instantly as he doubled over in pain. Behind him, the men snickered, the one having warned him shaking his head slightly. "I warned you..." He said with a grin as he looked away from the commotion and back to the cards in his hand.

The girl looked over at him from her seat on the ground, glaring. Her palms were open, gripping the stone ground as she watched her attacker's face contort in pain. Slowly she rose to a crouch, splaying her fingers out, ready for a second attack.

After several moments the male vampire looked up at the girl, his long black hair falling into his face, his eyes glowing crimson behind his hair. "You little bitch." He barked. In a flash he stood, wiping the dirt away from his clothing and clenching his fists. Just as her eyes began to travel up his body to his face he disappeared and materialized in front of her inside the cell.

Outside of the cell, Edmond stood abruptly, throwing down his cards. "Jerome… don't harm her. I was instructed directly from Armande…"

He was cut off as Jerome grabbed the girl, lifting her off the ground easily. "I don't give a fuck what the little prince Armande ordered!" He yelled, his eyes flaming. "Learn to Respect!" He barked at her as he threw her to the ground, causing her to catch herself on her knees. "Look at me!" He ordered, reaching down and taking her chin in his hand and forcing her to look up at him. The back of his other hand quickly raised and came down to her face, raining a hard blow across her cheek.

"RESPECT!" He bellowed as he pushed her face away from him roughly, causing her to catch herself with her hands before she hit the ground.

She yelled out as she slowly crawled away from him while wincing in pain. His hands came down to her quickly, gripping onto her waist and holding her down with amazing strength. "That's not nice… kicking a man…" He informed her with an eerily calm tone as he lifted one hand off of her and reached down into his boot, pulling out a sharp dagger.

She continued her struggle viciously, "No! Help me!" She yelled at Jerome first and next Edmond as her eyes saw the glint of steel behind her in Jerome's hands.

Edmond advanced towards the bars quickly. "Jerome…Stop." He ordered as he stood just outside of the cell.

Jerome simply laughed, taking the hem of the girl's slave dress and pulling it up to her waist. "This bitch needs to be taught a lesson…" He sneered as he took his dagger and slid the blade along her inner thigh. A long thin line of blood following the steel blade, the deep red pooling in the gash quickly...

She let out a horror filled scream. She wanted to struggle, get away from him and cease the pain. Yet she knew that if she did she would simply be inflicting more pain. "Stop!! Please!! I beg of you!" She whimpered as she sobs bubbled up in her throat.

The shadow cloaked figure which stood in the darkness shifted, his vibrant emerald eyes remaining glued on the manor before him. The upset that he could sense in the manor's keeper produced a soft chuckle from the pit of his throat. Long thin black wisps of hair blew in front of his chalky complexion as a gentle breeze picked up.

He had to pick the exact time to approach… had to catch them all complete off guard. He knew that his presence was sensed already – and he loved it. He wanted them all uneasy with him, he wanted to be feared. Yet the minute they were finally thinking they were safe… that would be his moment to strike.

Raoul opened the last of the doors and stepped into the pit of the dungeons. He froze just inside the frame and felt Ivy come to a half beside him as they both stared at the sight before them.

Inside the cell, Jerome lay on his back on the floor, glaring up at Edmond as he loomed over him, both baring inch long fangs. Across the cell laid Roxanne, sprawled out on her stomach, unconscious. Blood could be seen on her thighs and surrounding her form as the red liquid pooled around her.

Edmond quickly looked up at Raoul and instantly stepped back from his attack on Jerome. He opened his mouth to explain, but was instantly cut off by his master.

"Did you not receive me orders, Edmond?" Raoul asked in an almost too calm tone.

"I …um, did sir" Edmond murmured as he gazed at Raoul with fear in his eyes.

Raoul's face turned hard. "Then your inability to follow simplistic orders makes you no better than them!" he growled as he stepped further into the dungeons. His eyes swept over Roxanne slowly as he advanced, taking in everything; blood that trickled down her exposed thighs, the blood speckled dagger side her, her clenched fists.

One of the things that Raoul hated was when pain and suffering was inflicted upon slaves by someone other than their master – specifically if it were a slave of his own.

He turned on his heel to glare at Edmond. "Gather her up and take her to the medical wings." He ordered as he walked back towards the door, still speaking while he left through it. "And if her recovery isn't possible…" he stopped in the frame of the door to glance back at Edmond. "Then let it be known that her punishment was just given." He snapped a finger to Ivy, signaling for her to follow him as he turned once more and disappeared into the gloom of the tunnel before them.

Armande fiddled with the roses which he had just placed in the vase on Ivy's nightstand. Deep red roses bloomed from the clear glass, accompanied by some beautiful greenery that he had hand picked from the manor's gardens. He hoped that Raoul waking them that morning hadn't scared her too bad. He knew that under normally circumstances that Raoul wouldn't have been upset with finding him in bed with someone…

He let out a sigh, the image of Ivy as she slept peacefully in his arms remained glued to his mind. Why did she have to be so adorable? Why did she have to plague his thoughts like this?

Just as the sentenced entered his mind, the woman of these thoughts stepped through the threshold.

"Ivy! Hi…" Armande said quickly as he saw her. 'God she's gorgeous…' He thought to himself, but quickly shook the thought off. "I was just filling your vase..." he said instantly as he motioned to her flower adorned nightstand.

"I'm sorry I bothered you!" She said hurriedly at the same time of his explanation. Her cheeks burned as she paused, not hearing his explanation due to her apology, then stepped back into the doorway in retreat.

"No! I'm sorry... you're fine. I wasn't expecting you back so soon…" He said to her as he took a step in her direction.

"We... umm... there was a... um… incident... back early…" Her voice faded in and out of audibility as she murmured not only softly, but quickly. "He said… do what... please… didn't know… else to do... came here..."

Armande smiled as she explained, taking a few more steps towards her as she spoke. Ivy's sight remained trained on the floor nervously. Since that morning she couldn't stop thinking of him… of the look on his face when they first were awoken. The blush on her cheeks flashed with embarrassment, for he had been the exact person of her thoughts when she came in.

"Ivy, Ivy..." He said softly, now a mere two feet from her. "It's ok…" He smiled and reached out, brushing a strand of her scarlet locks away from her face.

The silence that filled the room made her stomach jump into her throat and he heart quicken. He had rested his hand on her cheek as his eyes met her own.

"You have eyes like the depths of the ocean…" He whispered as his own stared into her sapphire pools.

She looked straight into his eyes but soon stepped back away from him, embarrassed from his gentle probing. "Thank you…" She whispered back as her eyes went to the floor once more.

"Do you… do you know how to ride?" He asked her slowly as he continued to watch her.

She glanced up at him for a moment and nodded. "Yes, I do."

He smiled at her answer and stepped past her and out of her room. "Come with me then! " He called back to her.

Her hands gripped the reigns loosely as they rode the chestnut stallion beneath her, causing her body to rock with the gently sway of his walk. "He's gorgeous…" She said for what felt like the millionth time.

He smiled as he watched her. "Thank you…but it is always the rider that makes the stallion shine" He said happily. The way that she controlled the horse made her look so peaceful, as if while she rose she was riding on a cloud.

A smile pulled at her lips as she rode alongside Armande. She was enjoying this… it had been years since Madam had first taught her as a young girl. She chuckled softly as she remembered her horse back with Madam. She had been a snow white horse and was the gentlest creature she had ever encountered… yet the most stubborn thing ever! She giggled softly.

Armande watched her as she smiled and laughed. This was the first time he had seen her like his and it made his heart bloom with joy over the fact that he had brought it out in her. 'We defiantly have to do this again…' He thought as they rode across the manor's lush hills.