Chapter 7:

The punishment

Vampire Lanterns

He grabbed her by the arms, pushed himself away from her stumbling over and falling down on the ground by the foot of the bed. His breathing was erratic and he got into shock. "NO! It can't be true! Will she die, if I stay close to her? Will I be her demise? I can NOT allow that! Not after all, what she's gone through!"
His mind went wild with thoughts. Petrona was confused and tried to calm him down. She gently laid her hands over his shoulders and rubbed them. It snapped him out of his trance. He looked into her eyes and grabbed her into such a tight hug, that she couldn't breathe. What was going on with lord Yan?

After he calmed down, they ate something and after, she needed to get dressed in her uniform for the supervisor. She left lord Yan inside and made herself on the way to the main building.
After a few minutes someone knocked on the door. He quickly went out, closing the door behind him and not letting anybody peek in. As he promised Petrona, to keep her living space safe from prying eyes.
Luka tried to stare down Demyan. It was hard for him, since Demyan was a lot taller, than Luka. Luka gave up and with a snarky tone began to speak up. "I met Petrona on the way... and she said you are a royal? Should we believe..." Demyan stopped him with his hand. He spoke for the first time and Luka gasped.
"You are not in the position to talk down to me nor berate me. Don't you think? You are a mere son of a small chief. I have a much higher rank..." He leaned towards Luka's ear. "So mind your words and know your place," he whispered.
Unimpressed Luka: "Who do you think, you are?" Demyan gave him a death glare. "You should kneel down and show me your respect. I am actually a prince from a distant place. You wouldn't want to start a war, over your fluffy ego, would you?"
Luka couldn't beat that. Demyan waited a bit... "So?" Luka had to admit defeat and he went down on one knee. Through his teeth: "Please forgive me, my LORD! I was mistaken and my behavior was appalling." He dug his claws into the wooden floor under him out of rage. Demyan smirked and just disappeared inside. Angered Luka walked off...

Petrona standing straight with her arms behind her back got screamed on by the supervisor. The bright sun from the windows was blinding Petrona. "Your stupid head cost some people injuries; a destroyed outpost and it wasted money of taxpayers." He threw the papers to her feet. "You should pay 30 gold coins as a penalty or get 30 blows with the whip. So, what do you choose?" His strict voice and glare were focused on her decision.

Petrona took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "I choose the whip..." The sadistic supervisor leaned in his seat satisfied. "Very well! As you wish!" Two men appeared in the room, dragged her out into the courtyard and pushed her to the ground in front of the torturing devices.
One of the men yelled at her. "Go into your undershirt and prepare yourself for the pain!" She obligated. Slowly unbuttoning her uniform.
The supervisor personally came down with a whip and enjoyed every... single... blow... he gave her. Petrona was holding tight, trying to not attract attention. As he was done with her, she shakily turned towards him, stood up and bowed down with a silent "Thank you!"
Somehow she managed to put on her uniform. The whole walk home was very painful and she felt her wounds were beginning to sting and flaring up. She had to put on a fake face. She took a deep breath in front of the door, to be able to pretend everything was fine.
Petrona entered the room and immediately Demyan could tell something was wrong. An iron scent filled the room. His eyes changed into two serious slits. He approached her for inspection. She was looking at him with sweat on her forehead.
The smell of blood became even stronger with each step he made towards Petrona. As well, anger began to fill his body. She tried to avoid being found out. "I will go to the bathroom quickly to freshen up..." Demyan gently put his hands on her shoulders to stop her from escaping. With a husky; at the same time silky, but serious voice: "Who did that to you?"
She was overly surprised to hear his voice for the first time. Petrona began to stutter. "W-well, y-you see my l-lord Y-Yan... It's n-nothing much. Just a few deserved scratches. I was punished for that incident yesterday. I disobeyed the orders, so I am guilty after all."
Demyan let out a huge sigh. "I will take care of your wounds, they are beginning to soak through your uniform." She didn't notice, but how could he tell? She hadn't shown him her back; yet... Despite her protest, he fetched a small bucket with washed rags to clean up her wounds. Why would a royal man want to help a mere peasant?
Demyan pulled the chair out for her. "Sit down on it like on a horse!" Petrona got flustered and shy as she was undressing her uniform and pulled the undershirt from her back holding it tight to her chest. Someone knocked on the door.
Worried Mirko clutched a tray with some bandages, ointment and healing herbs. "I am here to address her wounds..." Demyan leaned against the door frame with crossed arms looking down on Mirko. He knew, Mirko was aware, what would happen and did nothing to stand up nor protect Petrona. Demyan wholeheartedly hated Mirko for that.
"She doesn't need anything from you, I will do it myself." Mirko's mouth was opening and closing like of a fish. "B-but your Highness...?!" Demyan narrowed his eyes, so the word was spread already about his status. Mirko tried to peek inside. "My lord, don't be bothered by her... Petrona! Can you come out? I will take care of your wounds!"
Demyan slammed his fist against the door. "I said... I WILL DO IT! She is already naked anyway, so give it to me and get lost!" Mirko's face got red. His imagination of course runs crazy, envisioning Petrona to be completely naked waiting for the prince...
Shocked, he didn't notice how Demyan ripped the tray out of his hands... He awoke from his shock, just as Demyan slammed the door into his face.