"I'm not sure I understand."
Margolotta gave Serafine an exasperated look. "Vould you like me to explain all of this to you again? I can speak even slower if you're having trouble keeping up."
Serafine bared her teeth at the vampire and growled.
Guye von Uberwald cleared his throat noisily. "It's not the practicalities we're having problems with, Margolotta; its understanding your motivation."
Margolotta shrugged. "I simply vant to make sure they get out of Ubervald safely."
"Yes, but why?"
Serafine smiled nastily. "She's probably promised her pet she won't hurt any of his friends. Isn't that right, Havelock?"
Havelock raised an eyebrow. "Lady Margolotta and I have come to an agreement regarding my companions, yes."
"So you're allowing yourself to be bossed about by a human of all things, Margolotta?"
Margolotta sighed. "Havelock does not tell me vot to do; this is something ve have both decided is best for all concerned."
"I'd hardly consider it that as far as we're concerned," said Guye tetchily. "In fact, we'd much prefer it if you would just kick out your little houseguests and let us finish our hunt."
"Yes, vell that's simply not going to happen. My guests vill leave vunce I am sure that they vill be safe and not before."
Guye leaned back in his chair and stared at her. ""So let me be sure I understand the situation; we find the travellers, we crash their coach and you save them, let them stay here without harming a single one and now you want us to stay away from them once they've left here." He paused. "Are you sure you're still a vampire?"
The male werewolf gave his wife a grin. "I'm just asking, dear; wouldn't you rather know now if Margolotta has joined that weird vampire cult over in Hochsommer-Wurdig?"
Serafine giggled. "What a stupid idea that is; vampires pretending not to be vampires...we'll be getting vegetarian werewolves next!"
"The problem with your proposal, Margolotta, is that you have no leverage; you have nothing we want," he smiled. "…apart from your guests."
"Actually," Havelock said as he returned the smile. "I think you'll find Lady Margolotta has quite a bit of leverage. If you refuse her proposal and attack my companions as they leave the castle she will be forced to report the matter to the Low King."
Serafine and Guye exchanged a look. "Why would he care about a group of humans?" asked Guye.
"Of, he von't," said Margolotta. "But I dare say he vill be interested in yet another aggressive act perpetrated by yourselves against someone already stated to be under protection."
Serafine snorted. "You're basing an awful lot on two meetings, Margolotta."
"You think so? I'd have thought it vould depend on exactly vot vas discussed at the meetings."
"Such as? I hardly thought you the type to be interested in mining."
"It depends on vot is being mined. For example, silver mines interest me a great deal. They seemed to interest the King a great deal too, but of course, he did only say they vould be reopened if he had sufficient motive…" Margolotta left the sentence hanging in the air, smiling at the worried faces of the werewolves.
Serafine and Guye exchanged another look. "Well…perhaps we could come to some sort of agreement…" said Guye slowly. "…maybe we could have the next group of tourists?"
Margolotta smiled. "Maybe. So is that settled then?"
The werewolves nodded miserably.
Havelock spent the next few days teaching Margolotta almost everything else she would need to know to rule Uberwald, as he'd agreed. He even managed to persuade her to try the cow's blood again, no mean feat in itself, especially as she patently didn't want to; she didn't say much about it but he could tell she disliked it intensely from the way she would grimace at the glass when she thought he wasn't looking.
He told the others that he wouldn't be returning to Ankh-Morpork with them after all. They'd expressed muted regret but looking at their eyes as their mouths spouted insincere words, he saw nothing but relief there. It didn't bother him, although he supposed it should; after all, from their perspective they were leaving him with a deadly vampire, yet none of them cared to do anything to dissuade him. But he knew this was what he wanted.
It was strange really; all his life he'd never thought of much else but the city. Ever since his father's death Ankh-Morpork had been his only concern, he'd even planned on becoming Patrician one day, but now here with Margolotta all that seemed to just fall away.
She nudged him slightly with her elbow. "You're doing it again."
"Staring at the vall vith that goofy smile on your face," said Margolotta. "Vot are you thinking about?"
"You," Havelock replied. "Well, you and Ankh-Morpork really."
Margolotta smiled. "You think about your city a lot, don't you?"
"Someone has to." He put his arm around her and pulled her closer. "Have you ever been there?"
"You should visit it one day, I think you'd like it. Ankh-Morpork has such potential; in the right hands it really could work."
"Have you ever thought about ruling it vun day?"
"No," he lied. He shifted in his seat. "Has there been any news from the city?"
She smiled again. "I knew you'd ask that. The Patrician has appointed a new city councillor."
Havelock opened and shut his mouth a few times as questions flooded his mind. Finally, one escaped. "Why?"
Margolotta shrugged. "Because he's insane? And apparently he's been given a new nickname."
"Psychoneurotic Lord Snapcase."
Havelock sighed. "And I thought it was bad enough when they started calling him Mad Lord Snapcase."
"Evidently he's decided to step up his game."
"And while he sits in his office and gibbers like a madman, the city suffers," Havelock sighed again. "Something really ought to be done…but unfortunately Ankh-Morpork has only just begun to recover from the Revolution."
"Yes, I remember you telling me," said Margolotta. "Havelock, may I ask you something?"
"You can ask me anything, you know that."
"How long are you planning to stay here?"
Havelock smiled. "Trying to get rid of me?"
She swatted his stomach playfully. "Don't be silly, I love having you here. I'm just vondering how long I get to enjoy you, that's all."
"Well, I was planning on staying here for a while," he coughed nervously. "…if you want me to, of course."
"As if you vould even have to ask," she looked up at him. "So ve're talking about months…or years?"
"I'm not sure. Why?"
"Vell, it's such a shame that human life spans are so short; I mean, you're nineteen now, in sixty years you'll probably be dead," she sighed.
Havelock frowned. "Your point is…?"
"I vas just thinking that if you vere going to be staying here anyvay…have you ever thought about becoming a vampire?"
Havelock froze. "What?"
She sat up and looked at him, her eyes shining. "It'd make sense, don't you think? You'd be faster, stronger, immortal…you could really experience life--"
Margolotta chuckled. "You vouldn't be dying; you'd be reborn. Think of vot you could accomplish vith so much longer to live." She placed a hand on his chest and leaned forward, whispering seductively, "Vun little bite and ve could be together forever…"
Havelock leaned away. "One little bite would be one too many, my lady."
Her eyes narrowed. "You're refusing me?"
"I'm not refusing you, Margolotta, I'm respectfully declining. There is a difference."
"Not to me there isn't." She stood up in one fluid motion and turned to face him. "So you'd rather be…this?" She furiously waved her hand in his direction. "Veak and helpless?"
Havelock raised an eyebrow. "I'd hardly consider myself helpless, Margolotta. Remember on our first night here I--"
"I could have killed you at any time I vanted, you stupid child!"
Suddenly the temperature in the room dropped. "Child?" Havelock stood up and glared at her. "I allowed you to call me that the first time, my lady, simply because I wished to incur your goodwill towards me and my companions; you do not get to call me that again."
"How dare you talk to me in that vay? I offer you eternal life and you throw it back in my face!"
Havelock eyes narrowed. "I didn't do anything of the sort, Margolotta; just because I refuse to bend myself to your will--"
"No instead, you bend to theirs," she pointed in the direction of the drawing room, where he could hear his companions laughing and joking. "You refuse to see out of their small-minded, petty little vorld; you're no better than them."
"Well, if that's what you think, maybe I should leave with them tomorrow after all."
"Maybe you should."
Havelock glared at her for a few moments, before turning and storming out the door.
Margolotta sat down heavily in the chair. The stupid boy didn't know what he was giving up! She bit her lip, wondering whether she should go after him or not. No, she thought. It's vot he vants you to do; he's just trying to pull your strings like he pulls theirs. She looked up as Ludorum and Downey half-fell out of the drawing room, laughing uproariously at some unknown joke. They had obviously decided to celebrate their leaving tomorrow by emptying her liquor cabinet.
Margolotta smiled; she couldn't control Havelock's actions, she knew that. But maybe she could persuade him to join her by showing him what true power was...