Chapter 13:

Unavoidable fight

Vampire Lanterns

Demyan stepped closer to her, but she made a step back. She wanted to hold on to the promise, which she gave herself to keep her distance from him. Now it became even more of a priority. She was in the presence of a PRINCE!
Demyan was upset by her standoffish behavior. "Why have you become so distant towards me?" He was waving his arms out of frustration. "I do not understand your Highness!" He knew, he couldn't force any interaction with her, so he just laid down to sleep.
In the middle of the night, he stood up and carried sleeping Petrona from the sofa to the bed, where he covered her and went to sleep in her previous spot. The morning was awkward, when she woke up in bed instead of him.
Why was he doing that? Why can't he just treat her like any other servant? She knew, he was thankful for saving his life, but this was too much. After the breakfast, they left for the Fairy realm.
On the way, Demyan noticed someone was tailing them. He was on high alert and annoyed by some human woman's lackeys. When they stepped out of the forest, it was for Demyan like they would emerge in a whole different world.

From all the diverse sides, came together long, wooden bridges overgrown with colorful flowers, which looked like ornamental fences. Those bridges led to the huge city on an ancient tree. Each section of those enormous leafy branches had its own village.
Already from the distance, it was recognizable, that these weren't traditional houses. Those were grown from that tree and blended into the aesthetics of it. On the top of the tree stood the grand rose palace of the Fairy King Oleg.

He looked at Petrona with questioning eyes. The ground under those bridges looked fine to live and walk. She smiled at him. "That is the domain of the Rusalkas. For women, they are mostly harmless, but for men... They will drown any male, as soon, as they lay their hands on them, no matter, if it's a human, fairy or an elf."
That information awoken curiosity in Yan. "What kind of fairies are they?" They started to cross the first bridge. "Well, Rusalkas are water nymphs. Their queen, will take unlucky souls of deceased young women and turn them into Rusalkas.
Their appearance is tall, slender and overly beautiful. They own long hair, which is bound to the water. If it dries out, they will die. Every area has different-looking Rusalkas. Here in the meadows and tall grass, they will be blond with blue or green eyes. Over there by the forest, those will have brown-greenish hair and brown eyes. Inside of swamps, will reside Rusalkas with black hair and eyes. Interesting right?
They are like beehives and every hive has a queen. Down there, it's Dana. She is godly beautiful and highly dangerous. We should just cross as fast, as we can and be done with this area. At this pace, we should reach the Tree Town before sundown."

This journey was progressing until... The men, who followed them, took it upon themselves to attack them in the middle of nowhere, with no escape route... with no witnesses... Demyan noticed five men ahead and behind them. They must have planned this ambush.
He immediately stood in front of Petrona to protect her. That was uncalled, since she is just a servant at this point and he is a royal. She was ready to fight as well. She took out her short sword, which she hid very well. Demyan didn't expect it, but was relieved, that she had something to keep the pest at a distance.
An unavoidable fight enfolded. Demyan was very fast and flexible, with a distinctive swordsmanship style, which was unknown in Lush Lands. He was dealing with those thugs without breaking a sweat.
Those masked men figured out, they had no chance against him, so all of them at once focused only on Petrona. Demyan was horrified and ran to help her. He grabbed Petrona into his arm and blocked their attack.
They saw, it was impossible to go past him, so they made up a plan to just split them apart from each other. Since Angelika instructed those men to only kill Petrona, but with the prince on her side, it was a challenge.
Rather, they destroyed the railing on one side of the bridge in a way it looked like, they did it "accidentally". And now were focused to somehow push Petrona down there. They knew Demyan as a man wouldn't dare to go searching for a mere servant.
They just imagined all the gold, that was promised for them by Angelika. Their attacks on both, Demyan and Petrona continued. They were dodging it together in sync. The men became impatient and they increased the frequency pushing them both; of course Petrona more, to the edge.
What they didn't know, because of the damage, the bridge became unstable and under all the weight fell apart together with everybody on it. Demyan dropped the sword and grabbed Petrona into his arms to hold her tightly the whole fall until they reached the bottom.

Petrona came to her senses as first. Some time must have past, since the sun was going to set soon. She sat up and realized, that Yan had taken in the full impact. She shook with his body. Silent giggling and singing were getting closer.

She knew, that meant certain death for Demyan...