Chapter 19:


Vampire Lanterns

Demyan began to feel odd. His vision became blurry and a strange weakness swallowed his body. At first, he shook it off easily, but as the day progressed, it became more and more apparent. He tried to play, that everything is okay in front of Petrona. Until now, she didn't notice anything and he wished it would just disappear.
What he didn't know; someone was following them from different sides. In the distance, he spotted Adrik leaning against a wall staring holes into them. He asked Petrona to fetch him something from a shop. She smiled and didn't ask any questions.
Adrik dashed out of his spot, past Demyan, who just saw him in slow motion running around him pulling out his sword. His gaze followed Adrik, who jumped in between Demyan and a blade, which was swung at him, without Demyan noticing it.
The perpetrator got scared and ran away. Demyan was shocked, why didn't he feel someone's presence? Adrik with a serious frown on his face looked Demyan's way, while putting away his sword into the scabbard on his belt.
"When was the last time you had blood?" Still shocked, Demyan didn't realize, it could be the lack of blood, which made him this sickly and weak. Petrona burst out of the shop. She saw through the window, what enfolded in her absence.
The cat was out of the bag. She saw Adrik... Both men were stunned and not sure about saying anything. What should they tell her? How to explain, who Adrik is? Demyan was too weak to come up with some simple lie. His knees gave in and he fell to the ground. Petrona jumped towards him.
Adrik turned to her and introduced himself. He could pretend to be a hybrid, since his eyes wouldn't pass as human. "Hello! My name is Adrik, I saw, how a man tried to attack your friend from the back, so I jumped in."
Wide-eyed Petrona started to look around Demyan's body, if he wasn't hurt anywhere. Luckily she found nothing and whipped her head back to Adrik. "Nice to meet you too..." Had a fast look at him to determine, what kind of rank he could have. She got scared. " Lord!" ...came out of her mouth.
She noticed round, golden earrings on his ears, with a chain and some other smaller ones. Petrona kept her head down, she didn't want to cause any other problems. Adrik assured her, he was here to help. He asked her to book an Inn, so Demyan could take a rest.
Adrik began to lift one of Demyan's arms around his shoulder to help him to get there. Petrona was suspecting and stubborn, she lifted the other arm, so she could keep an eye on Adrik. Well, it was true, Adrik wished to have a private moment about Demyan's "disease", but she refused to leave Demyan's side nor let him alone with a stranger.
At the Inn, she booked only one bedroom, as she planned to tend to Demyan's needs, since he suddenly broke down out of nowhere. She asked the Innkeeper for a doctor, who obliged and sent for one.
As Demyan; still unconscious was lying on the bed, she was sitting in a chair and staring daggers at the stranger man. Why did he stay with them? What did he want from them? It could be a trap and he could be some royal henchman of Angelika.
Also, she couldn't just throw him out, because of his status. That Adrik guy could administer some substance to Demyan before and play to be his rescuer, until he had the time to end him. Many conspiracies ran across her mind. Also, she wished Demyan hadn't wasted that healing potion on her.
Demyan opened his eyes at last. Petrona flew over to him in a second, while Adrik just managed to turn. She was fast, she had to be there first, so that the weird guy wouldn't try anything.
Demyan looked around, Petrona sat on the ground, next to his bed and then... he spotted Adrik... awkwardly staring at each other. "Did he tell you, who he was and how we know each other?" She shook her head.
A boulder fell down from Demyan's heart. "This guy helped me, when you got kidnapped. If you wonder, how I managed to come on time to save you. He gifted me a portal stone." Adrik looked at him perplexed. Well, that lie could work; he thought.
Petrona understood, but still stayed suspecting him. "But, why did he appear here, at this village?" That caught them both off guard. Adrik tried to save the situation. "It is a mere coincidence. Don't worry!"
The doctor arrived, took a look at Demyan and proclaimed... nutrient deficiency. Petrona was confused, because until now, he had eaten an optimal diet. As the doc left, she turned towards Adrik. "Please my lord, come with me to fetch some food for Prince Demyan." Puzzled, he began to question her. "Why me? I am fine keeping him company."
She bowed down in front of Adrik. "I understand, but even, when you helped to rescue me and me despite being grateful, I still must prioritize the safety of the prince. Since I don't know you, it would be better, if you could go with me. I am not that important, so if something would happen to me, it would be ok."
That statement made Demyan angry. Adrik sighed. "Ok, ok! Don't worry, I am not here to hurt you nor him." He lifted her chin up towards him with his finger. Adrik was thinking for himself, that she doesn't know yet, how important she is in reality.
Demyan growled at Adrik. "Hands off!" Adrik glanced with a smirk at Demyan. "Jealous much?" Adrik chuckled. "Come cutie, we will get some food for the grumpy prince." He grabbed her around the shoulders and they walked out of the room dragging her with him.
At the kitchen, Adrik was observing Petrona. She was the one, who changed the cold-hearted and emotionless vampire prince that much. Petrona slipped a paper with her order to the kitchen and waited for a while for it.
"So tell me, how did you wrap him around your little finger?" Adrik looked her up and down. Petrona recoiled. "I am just a mere servant and a guide. Nothing more..." He giggled. "Riiiiight!" The cook brought a tray with the food covered by a lid and handed it over to Petrona. At the room, Petrona helped Demyan to sit up, placed the food in front of him and lifted the lid.

Both men flinched in shock.