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Chapter 10: Riding the carriage

Neither did Mallory want to follow a stranger to his house, nor did she want to work for a dead being. Though she understood that her current position was better than the one she had almost been in a few hours ago, that didn't mean it was any better. Who in their right mind would even agree to be a person's servant who had just gotten out of his coffin? Not her!

But here stood Mallory now, outside the tavern, with the man who claimed himself to be her employer. 

It was hard to defy, especially when she had witnessed him kill people. And to think the pendant that she wore was connected to him. Perhaps she could hand it to someone else who was eagerly looking for a promotion. Or, in this case, would it be a demotion? 

"It appears we require transportation. Unless you can carry me," Hadeon mused, stealing a glance her way before surveying the empty street.

She would carry him right back to Reavermoure's graveyard! Mallory thought to herself, before asking, "You have a carriage…?" It was probably how he beat her to the tavern first. But it was nowhere in sight. "How long have you been sleeping?" He didn't know her grandmother nor her grandmother's grandmother. That was already long…

"A few years," Hadeon answered vaguely before whistling. 

Mallory, who stood one step behind him, observed his pale, smooth skin and lustrous dark hair. She asked him carefully, "How aren't you old? I mean, you don't look old." There was no way one could stay in the coffin and have that kind of skin. 

Hadeon turned to meet her eyes, and he replied, "That's what good skin and hair care does. A routine you should consider starting, I already see frown lines there," he pointed to her forehead. "You don't want your ghost wearing that in the afterlife. Don't worry, there's plenty of aloe vera in the estate."

Mallory wished to smack his head, and her hands even clenched. But then her stomach growled from the lack of food. 

"Sounds like we have a troll nearby," Hadeon remarked in a nonchalant tone. He then asked, "Why didn't you eat?" 

Mallory stared at him. Maybe she could see if she could stuff a pillow over his face while he was sleeping. The image in her head was appealing, but then she had to remind herself that one couldn't kill the already dead. 

She caught him looking at the sky, when a crow swooped in.

"Milord!" croaked the crow, flapping its wings erratically to keep itself in the air. 

Mallory's jaw almost hit the ground. She couldn't believe her ears. A talking crow!

"Where is the carriage, Cawlin?" Hadeon's tone was dry, with an unfazed expression.

"It should be here soon! I informed Barnby right away, but he must be having trouble stealing the horses," the crow answered.

"Stealing horses?" Mallory asked with a frown.

"You surely don't expect the horses to be alive in my stables after these many years, do you?" Hadeon inquired. "I had wagered that your hands aren't as clean as you make them to be," he stated, the corner of his lips tugging.

Mallory's lips set themselves in a line before shifting the subject, "So who is driving the carriage then? Another crow?" She asked, not sure what else to expect from the night. 

"Don't be absurd. Everyone knows crows lack the finesse for carriage driving. They're dreadful with direction," Hadeon rolled his eyes at her question. 

Before long, the unmistakable sound of carriage wheels reached their ears, growing louder with each passing moment, and then it finally came into view. 

Though in the dark the carriage almost looked black, when it passed by one of the burning lamp posts, Mallory caught the glossy, deep purple and blue body of it. There were intricate, twisted iron vines. It had an elongated and narrow window, while the roof held delicate little spike-like towers. The wheels were gold in colour and a lantern hung at the front. A gaunt man, appearing to be in his late thirties, sat in the coachman's seat. 

The carriage skidded to a halt, as the reins of the four horses were pulled. The coachman's face brightened at the sight of Hadeon, and he jumped down from his seat and quickly bowed. 

"My deepest apologies, milord!" the coachman apologised, before adding with excitement, "Welcome back to the living, Lord Hadeon!" Did she hear the name right? Mallory asked herself. 

Hadeon smirked. "Well, look at you, Barnby. Not yet withered and eaten by insects," his voice dripped with morbid amusement. His words made the coachman smile, which Mallory believed would do really well during Hallow. 

"Thank you, milord," Barnby felt appreciated. His eyes fell on the woman who stood behind his Lord and his smile lowered. "Is this food?" he asked. 

"Whom are you calling food?" Mallory glared at the coachman. First servant, and now food! She took a step forward to swing her hand. But she felt Hadeon pull her back, before giving her a narrowed look that had her quickly pull away from him. 

"She is a Serphant," Hadeon responded.

"I am a human, not a snake," Mallory muttered. 

"Not a serpent, but s.e.r.p.h.a.n.t. It is the lineage you come from," Hadeon explained before adding, "You are slow. You need to catch up. Chop chop."

Barnby looked stunned as he stared at the woman. He then quickly opened the carriage doors before Hadeon climbed inside and took a comfortable position. Seeing Mallory not make an effort to step inside, Hadeon questioned, 

"Are you planning to ride the carriage with Barnby or in the luggage section? Don't worry, I won't bite." A sly grin appeared on his lips. "Not yet at least."

Mallory weighed her options. Tonight, she needed a place to stay, and she could certainly benefit from the accommodation being offered. Furthermore, she was exhausted and in need of some rest. Once she gained her full strength, she would set out to find Hattie and ensure her safety. 

She caught sight of the crow named Cawlin flying away in the direction she believed was where this person's house was. She was going to ride in the carriage with a corpse, because there was no way a living person could spend years inside a coffin buried in the ground.

"What about that dead man? People are going to find his body there," Mallory pointed out. 

"So?" Hadeon's voice drawled as he crossed his legs one over the other, and Mallory tried to hold back her scowl. 

"So, you can't leave him there," she explained. 

"Ah, are you telling me that you want to dig a grave for him? You seem to be more passionate about graves, hm," Hadeon hummed, his voice rich and smooth against the slight darkness of the carriage. 

"Ha ha, so funny," Mallory commented wryly before continuing, "I didn't kill him. You did."

"And I don't care that the body is lying cold on the ground. I am bestowing the townsfolk with the gift of gossip for tomorrow morning," Hadeon stated in a nonchalant tone, and this made Mallory blink at him. He had not a single speck of remorse over his action! She saw his demeanour darken as he said in a daunting tone, "Now, get inside, unless you want to join him." 

Before he would lose his patience, Mallory climbed inside the carriage, and the coachman closed the door. She felt her heart race as the wheels of the carriage began to move. Never had she done this before, but never had she been in this situation. 

As the journey continued, there were moments when Mallory felt as if she were being constantly watched by her employer. But the second her eyes shifted to him, she found him with his eyes closed. Having already witnessed his skills, her hands squeezed in her lap, feelings of uncertainty hanging over her head. 

"Something you needed?" 

Mallory heard him question her when she looked back at him, and this time his golden eyes looked at her, the glow similar to that of a predator in the woods. She confessed, "I thought you would be someone with a higher status of nobility."

A chuckle escaped from him. He mused, "Titles are merely human constructs, little more than fancy labels for the living. My status," he paused, "exists in realms far beyond such mundane concerns."

God? His mind was definitely not in the right place, Mallory thought to herself. Recalling something, she said, "I don't know your name."

The immortal being then remarked, "My name is Hadeon Van Doren, and to some, I am known simply as Hades. And to you it would be Master Hades." 

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