Chapter 8 ~ Patrica ~

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Chapter 8 ~ Patrica ~
That night I could hear cries of pain. They were constant, each one louder than the next. Meena curled into my side, covering her ears, but I knew it was hopeless. She cried for hours until the calls of agony stopped.

For three days, I laid in bed, knowing it was my fault. My fault that the guards had suffered. I kept asking myself why I cared about those men being punished, when I knew all men were bad. But every time I asked myself why they were bad, I couldn't come up with a reason.

“Hey Brandy, how you feeling?” I was surprised to see Trent come in the room smiling.

“What did you mean by 'Dagger of Death'?” He raised an eyebrow and sighed.

“That's how the last branded girl died. I don't know what Master Carthwrite told you, but he had sent her out with us on an errand for Mr. Mason. Only Henry knew about the poisons, but didn't think that he would poison Master Carthwrite's branded girl. She died from a black dagger. We called it the 'Dagger of Death' because it had some poison on it that killed her silently. She was fine when we brought her back, but she died that night.”

“Henry risked his life...for me? But why?” I choked on a breath of air. Trent let out a soft but sad chuckle.

“He seems to like you. His betrothed had his daughter, who would be about your age, but both her and the baby died from a disease.” My shoulders shook as I fought off tears. “Hey, it's alright. Henry wouldn't want you to cry. He knows they're in a better place.” He placed a hand on my shoulder and I looked up. “Smile a bit more and I'm sure you'll make him feel better.” His hand slipped off my shoulder and he turned to leave but something about his posture seemed off. The smile on his face looked strained and his chest was puffed out.

“What did he do to you?” I managed to sit up without swaying and beckoned him closer with my hand.

“What do you mean?” Trent asked coming closer and getting down on his knees in front of me, but not without wincing.

“Everybody could hear it.” I whispered, staring into his blue eyes. Their spark from the first day I had met him, was gone. His red curls were matted to his forehead in sweat. I absentmindedly pulled a stray curl off his forehead, letting it bounce back with the others.

“Don't worry about it Brandy. We're fine.” He sent me another strained smile.

“I want to know.”

“It was just a small beating. Nothing to worry about.” I stared at him in horror. If it was anything like my beatings, then it was definitely something to worry about.

“Let me see.”

“No.” He stood up, backing away from me.

“If it's nothing to worry about, you'll show me.” He let out a long sigh before he took off his jacket and started unbuttoning his shirt. I gasped as his shirt fell to the floor. It was all my fault. I didn't like men, but no one deserved this, especially them. They were protecting me.

Tears welded in my eyes and a sob wracked through my ribcage.

“It's all my fault.” I cried, standing up clumsily. He caught me before I did a face plant to the floor.

“No it's not. He was right. It was our job to make sure you came back unharmed.”

“I was already hurt when I left, I just came back with a scratch compared to what he's done to me.” He straightened my legs and let me totter till I could stand on my own. “Let me see.” He frowned but turned around. I gasped again. I reached out and grabbed his waist, holding myself upright so I didn't fall.

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