To some extent, Penny could relate to this as she had gone through and seen things like this occur. The village she used to live in before and after her mother passed away wasn't a posh one, it did not even come to be called decent.
As Damien had pointed out, if a person fell short to work and earn in the family, the next one would have to earn, to fill in the space of the family bread earner. Her village was in a dire situation where the crops were often washed away with the loose soil due to heavy rain of Bonelake. Their lands were one of the most unfortunate ones which had the worst soil conditions and made it difficult for crop cultivation. This, in turn, made it difficult for farmers and other people to earn a few shillings. This somewhere indirectly affected others as the crops had to be bought for a higher rate than the usual price.
Most of the villagers knew the dealings between the magistrate and the higher officials where money was sanctioned for the betterment of the towns and villages but never released to them. Even if more money was released to not burden them with taxation, the man never let them off the hook.
"You think it is right?" she asked him.
"Hitting the girl who was at fault. No matter if the person is a slave or not, they are people with feelings."
Penny didn't know what was funny but Damien started to laugh, a burst of laughter which didn't sound condescending but she had not cracked a joke right now. It made her wonder if she said something she wasn't supposed to.
"I should probably make you the representative of the slave association. What do you think, little mouse? I am sure you will be very loved, while also will be on the receiving end of the punishments," he asked her. She bit her tongue to speak any further than what she just said. Was there any point in her speaking when he was only going to mock her.
"Don't look at me like that," his words turned sharp which made her turn her gaze away from him.
"I didn't look at you in any way," she responded back.
"Really now? What is with the look that says 'This man has lost his mind'?" he raised his eyebrow.
For some reason, even though he asked her the question, Penny didn't feel that he was angry at her. Instead, he rather appeared to be in a very good mood as if spending time there in the Lady's mansion had done him good.
Penny wanted to smile right now after hearing what he said. It was true that she had looked at him as if he had lost it. Not that she hadn't before, but at the same time she held back her smile without bringing it out. Smiling with him would mean that she was alright with this.
"Coming back to what I was saying, it was bad that Lady Yuvaine took that route to punish the slave when the maid was not to be held responsible but who are you or I to ask?" he questioned her as the smile died down on his lips. Penny who had been staring at the empty space next to him slowly moved her gaze back at him,
"The slave girl was someone who Lady Yuvaine bought and brought her home for her own amusement. She is the one who holds the papers and the ownership to the girl. In this world of pureblood vampires, also some of the humans who belong to the elite, have the full ability to do anything with their slaves. What you saw today was a mild display of ownership and discipline. I am sure as the days pass by, you will see many things which might make you question where you are. Or have you already begun to question it?" he waited for her to reply.
"Is there no way out of it? To not be a slave anymore," she asked him straightforwardly, surprising him as well as herself.
Last night as she slept, she had contemplated what to do next. Every hour, the thought of her escaping from this part of the world often crossed her mind but there was nothing she could do about it right now. Something told her that if she were to attempt it right and be caught, the consequences would be severe. Especially after what she saw in Lady Yuvain's house.
Damien leaned his back against the seat comfortably. Staring at her for a long time while making her wonder if he was going to answer her right now, "Thinking to leave my side?" His voice was calm like the sea at night.
Was she supposed to answer it?
"You must be delusional to think that you can escape once you have a master or a mistress. Even without the slave establishment, I have a picture of yours that has been drawn out," Penny gaped at him with what she heard. What was he doing with her picture and when did he even have her drawn, as it wasn't even a week since she had come to stay in Quinn's mansion, "So don't think just because you have escaped the clutches of the slave establishment, you can do the same with me." one side of his lips twisted itself in mirth.
"I didn't speak about escaping," she stated.
"Did I fail to mention to you that I am very good at catching hold of lies?" he asked her, "Think carefully before you answer. Speak."
When her heart skipped a beat, the smile on Damien widened and he said, "Don't be scared, Penelope. This wolf won't tear you, limb-by-limb and eat," he made her feel queasy.
"I was only curious. What if the slave dies?" she questioned.
"If she dies, she dies, what's new in it? Don't your pet like cat and dog die during certain circumstances?" he asked her.
"They are pet animals."
"If you haven't received the memo yet, slaves are just as good as the pets. There is no difference in what you buy. That is why I do not consider running. If you do, I will make sure to make several copies of the drawing of yours such that no matter where you are, I shall be sure to hunt and find you. But let me say this, dear," he looked her in her jade green eyes, "People aren't nice out there once you have a value on your head. Don't think I wouldn't because I will."
At this point, Penny wondered if there was any hope at all? Was she stuck with this crazy vampire for life? Was this it? This was how she was going to die?
"Don't look so disappointed. If you look closely, life is very beautiful on this side of the land."
"I think it is only your side that looks green, Master Damien. Where I stand, there is nothing but darkness. I might only suffocate," she frowned.
"You have nothing to worry about. I will be sure to give you the light once in a while. That should be enough for a lifetime." Penny slowly let her gaze fall down and she looked at the window of the carriage to see the sunset.
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