Chapter 3:


Vampire Lanterns

A mad gray-eyed glow appeared in the deep darkness. Those nasty fleabags dared to hurt her... Demyan punched one right into the face, as he tried to bite her through the silver bars, grabbed another one by the throat and threw him aside. He lifted the door from Petrona, took her into his arms and stroked her hair. Rage filled his body and he began to fight his way out of there. He was even more mad, than those beasts.
As he was dodging and protecting her from more harm, he caught on purpose some more bites, also a deep long scratch from his shoulder down his arm, when he was shielding Petrona. As soon as he made his way up the stairs, he grabbed a table with his right arm and threw it down to stop them from getting any closer. They all stumbled down.
He took that free time and ran out of the door into the forest. In the heat of the stress, his adrenaline kicked his vampire genes on and his bat-like wings spread and he flew up to see where they were right now. Holding tight to Petrona, he was frantically looking around. He was losing his strength again and changing back into his human form.
He fell down with Petrona, but twisted his body in a way, so it would be taking the whole impact of the fall. He felt like there were moments, when he was back a vampire and he took that opportunity to fly again for a bit and then land on his feet and kept running.
He finally saw the fires of the fortified bridge. He heard shouting and the opening of the huge silver door. He placed Petrona in the center of the bridge and turned towards the forest to face those beasts and to protect her. Men in silver armor ran out, past him and stood their ground with their weapons drawn. Others were collecting the unconscious Petrona. He felt like he fulfilled his duty and repaid her kindness.
Burning arrows whistled all around him, lightning up the whole area infested with werewolves. Their eyes were menacingly glowing red between the bushes and steps of a hundred animals were heard closing the distance. The armored men began to retreat. They knew, they had no chance and on their way back they grabbed Demyan with them inside. He didn't expect them to do that. He thought they would kill him now, but instead, they tended to his wounds. Demyan was left speechless.
Sighs of relief and laughter filled the area they were in. "That was a close one? Is that Petrona? She is still breathing... She was lucky, someone carried her the whole way." A reflection of light in a round silver shield caught Demyan's attention. The man holding also his helmet on the hip, put aside that heavy shield and stretched out his hand. "Thanks! You brought her back. I am Mirko and you?"  Mirko was this sweet, short, blond guy with crystal blue eyes. What he lacked in height and muscles, he made up with speed and agility.
He helped him to his feet and then Demyan pointed on his neck. Mirko understood. "Come, you need a more detailed check-up." Demyan covered in his own blood stood frozen on the spot. He didn't want to move from Petrona's side. Mirko took her on his back and carried her away and Demyan only then followed him wherever he was taking her.
While walking he was looking around, because he never passed the forest to this place. At first, he thought, he found himself in a dream, but it looked more like a nightmare to him a few moments later. These people here were looking sickly, poor, thin and very short. He expected all of the people who lived behind the bulwark to be tall, neat and strong-looking.
There was dirt on the street and an unpleasant smell reeked from different directions. After a short while, they entered a building and went up the stairs into a huge hall with beds. It was a small hospital for wounded soldiers. Mirko lay down Petrona in one of the empty beds and called the doctor to check on her.
Another one was looking closer at Demyan's wounds and disinfecting them. After they were done with bandaging him up, he walked around and looked out of the window. He saw a usual sight, which he saw so many times in the past. Different fires were burning on top of some buildings. He narrowed his gaze on them.
Mirko came from behind him. "I can tell, you are a foreigner. Those magic fires signalizing us, there are our people inside. The color discloses, what is happening. Yellow means that the building is occupied, red means it's under attack and blue means, all of the people inside were killed. When the owner leaves, they will go out on their own."
Demyan whipped his head shocked at him. He never knew the meaning of the colors. That's an important information for the future. Mirko smirked. "We knew you were on the way here. We prepared for it. We saw that Petrona's outpost was under an attack, but didn't expect it to be this serious." Mirko pointed with his finger on Demyan's injuries.
Daybreak was slowly approaching, when Petrona awoke in the bed with Demyan sitting next to her and napping. She reached out and touched his right arm. He opened his eyes. "Why don't you lay down? It would be more comfortable for you." He glanced over the next empty bed, which was too far away. He shook his head and closed his eyes again.
"Look at you! Why didn't you run, when I told you to? Because of me, you are even more hurt, than before. It's all my fault!" Her guild was eating her up. Demyan laid his hand over hers, to calm her mind down. Even he was baffled by his own actions, but he felt it was the right thing to do. To pay her back, even when he knows, she wouldn't do it, if she knew his true identity. He squeezed her hand and then continued with his nap.
When the sun came up a little a huge ruckus woke up both Petrona and Demyan. A screaming match behind the door caught their attention. "Where is she? I must see her!" The door shot open and in between stood Luka Goran, the son of the werewolf chief. Mirko gave her an apologetic look. He couldn't hold back that tall and muscular man with a healthy tan. His brown curls waved with every step he made and his chocolate eyes darted towards the couple.
Luka didn't hesitate. "Petrona! Are you alright?! I must apologize to you. When I turned back, I saw your outpost. I am really, REALLY SORRY!" He proceeded to step closer, but Demyan stood up and got in his way. Both of them glared at each other.
"Who do you think you are?" He sniffed the air around Demyan. "I don't like you! You smell funny and why do you think you can stay in her presence?" Luka peaked behind him at Petrona. She slightly smiled. "Luka, he is ok! Actually, you should apologize to him as well. You attacked him at the lake and also bit him. Not sure about the claw marks... He got them after I went unconscious."
Still untrusty growling... "What?!" With both his hands on his hips, he inched closer and glared into Demyan's eyes. Angry sparkles were flying from side to side. Luka didn't like him at all. He felt that Demyan was suspicious.
He suddenly pushed the surprised Demyan to the side and stepped closer to her. Demyan grabbed Luka by his arm and squeezed it. Luka understood that he wasn't an ordinary human. Something was odd about him, but at this time he didn't want to alarm Petrona and brushed his hand off. He hugged Petrona like always and she whimped out of pain.

Demyan saw red and pushed Luka against the wall making it crack.