Chapter 22:


Vampire Lanterns

Luka tackled Adrik, who in the middle of it changed into his demon form. He couldn't avoid it, since it was a direct attack. Mirko couldn't believe, what he was seeing. Demyan pretended to act surprised. Petrona didn't hesitate and ran to help Adrik.
Demyan could just flinch with his arm stretched out. He didn't expect for her to act that way. While Luka was swiping wildly around him to at least hit Adrik once, he didn't pay attention to his surroundings. For Luka was impossible to see Petrona approaching, but Adrik did. It was just a moment...
Too late Petrona spotted the paw moving towards her face. Demyan took off, but he was too far to reach her on time, instead Adrik's body moved without thinking and shielded Petrona against Luka's claws taking in the whole impact of Luka's attack. Luka froze after he realized, what could happen, changing back to his human form, dropping his fur.
Demyan tried to snatch her from Adrik's embrace, but she stopped him. "Please, your Highness... He is not dangerous, despite being a demon..." She thought, Demyan was worried for her safety being in the arms of someone from the Waste Lands. Luka was stunned. "You knew, what he was?" She nodded.
Petrona had to come up with a lie. She couldn't tell them the truth, without killing Adrik. "I made a contract with him. So, if you kill him, you will kill me too..." Everybody didn't utter a word out of shock. Even Demyan believed it and became unbelievably mad, but he had to keep it under control, to not change into a vampire and reveal his true identity as well. He wouldn't want Luka on his neck.
Demyan needed to be patient and then tear Adrik a new one, also somehow dissolve the contract between him and Petrona. It must have happened, as they were attacked by those thugs and she got stabbed. Maybe she was seriously injured and he had to make a contract to save her? Demyan grabbed his head out of frustration.
Petrona looked at Luka and asked him to help carry the wounded Adrik to her room so nobody would see him in this form. Demyan flinched. It was her sacred space, how could she bring that demon inside? In front of the door, he took him from Luka's hands, so Luka wouldn't cross the doorstep inside.
Demyan was wondering, why Adrik wasn't healing as fast as normally. It was odd. Something was wrong. Petrona asked him to exit the room, so she could take care of Adrik's injuries. Demyan couldn't believe, what he heard. "What? Why?" She had to lie to him. "Your Highness, it's a contractual thing. Please, understand!" He sighed and closed the door behind him. She knew, Demyan had hurt feelings.
Mirko with Luka standing outside questioned it. Petrona always hung on Demyan, what had happened? Petrona took off Adrik's shirt. No new cracks appeared, so this wasn't supposed to happen. She was glad about it, but worried about the state he was in.
She indeed was bound to Adrik, but not the way she said she was. After tending to Adrik's wounds, he felt better and gained strength to change into the human form again. Meanwhile, Luka was interrogating Demyan on the porch. "How did you meet that wicked demon and why did you allow her to get into a contract with him?" Demyan explained, about the stabbing theory. It must have happened then.
"I understand, but somehow we need to get rid of that contract and that demon. I will never allow someone from the Waste Lands to breathe the same air as her! If I get the chance, I will kill anybody from there, if it's the only way to keep them away from her."
Mirko chimed in. "Well, you still do love her, right?!" Demyan looked shocked at him and then at Luka. Luka glared at Demyan. "What?!" Mirko continued. "Unfortunately, werewolves are mostly not allowed to get into relationships outside their own race, like others can, especially males."
Demyan looked puzzled at them both. "You see, if a male werewolf gets with a woman from a different race, mostly the fetus will kill the mother. Female werewolves have it easier. In their case, they can lose control and kill their mate, if he is of a different race, but still give birth. The issue will be, if the baby is a human... she has to abandon it."
Demyan learned something new. He never knew about the struggles of other races. Mirko still didn't stop there. "Since childhood, we were friends with her. Luka was especially fond of Petrona, despite the height stigma. But the chief saw through Luka and always reminded him, what would happen, if he did approach her in a romantic way. He kept his distance and always just watched her from afar."
Petrona exited her room with a smiling Adrik. Luka growled at him. Demyan grabbed Adrik by his neck and pushed him inside. "We need to talk! Alone!" He glanced at Petrona, while closing the door. "What have you done?!" Adrik tried to calm down the shouting vampire. "Don't worry, that contract will dissolve sometime later without consequences for her."
Adrik lied to Demyan, he had no other chance, since he knew, if he told the truth it would kill him. Demyan pushed him out of frustration and exited the room. Petrona grabbed Demyan by his arm and asked him to take a walk with her. It was time, to calm down his nerves. She wanted to show him the place, from where they will watch the festival the next day.