Peter’s emotions were a storm of rage, disgust and hate as they walked back to camp. Not long after they arrived, Maria found them and ordered Peter to her small house. Peter shifted the focus of his hatred to Maria but he followed her.
Over the next two weeks, Jasper noticed that all of Peter’s disgust and loathing had shifted from him to Maria. When Peter wasn’t with his mistress, Jasper sensed his thoughtfulness and eventually a startled awareness blossomed from him. Finally, the day came when after Maria allowed him to leave her bed after one of their sessions, Peter stood and studied Jasper as he observed a small group of newborns sparring and a miniscule sense of admiration and gratitude fluttered briefly around him. Jasper was more than puzzled by those emotions directed at him from Peter. He had raped Peter and threatened to do it again. How could he be feeling any sort of admiration or gratitude? Jasper had been expecting to be ambushed.
In another baffling turn of events, Peter began following him everywhere. He carefully watched every move Jasper made and listened intently to every word he spoke when they were training.
When Peter and another newborn had fought over the last human that had been caught and brought back for them, Jasper had stunned them both with a blast of terror, and he and Miguel had thrown them into the pit.
After only a few minutes, Peter was the only one left in one piece. He had handily torn the other vampire apart. Jasper decided right then and there that of the current crop of newborns they had, he would urge Maria to allow Peter to live.
Jasper had ordered him to throw the other newborn’s body parts out of the pit and then carry them to the fire ring. Without having to say a word to them—they knew the procedure—the other newborns gathered in a circle around Jasper, Peter, and the dismembered newborn. They watched silently as Jasper struck the match and threw it into the center of the twitching limbs and torso, setting the defeated vampire ablaze.
Jasper carefully monitored Peter’s emotions as the spilled venom quickly caught fire and sweet smelling purple smoke rose up into the clear blue sky.
Peter was horrified, but like before, his emotions were dulled, muffled, and he swiftly suppressed them.
Maria sauntered up behind him and grasped his hand. “You are quite the warrior, Peter. Come with me.”
Peter stared at Jasper, a question in his eyes, but Jasper only waved him off. He watched silently as Maria led Peter into her small house again and quietly closed the door.
Knowing that Maria was going to reward Peter in her own special way, Jasper smirked at the remaining newborns and sent them back to the barn when the last of the purple smoke from the destroyed vampire dissipated. He had felt the lust emanating from Maria and the newborns and tried to block it out as none of the females in the current group were especially appealing, though three of the five had indicated they were interested. He growled at them and they ran back to the barn. He knew as soon as Maria was finished with Peter, he would be back in her bed.
As soon as all of the newborns were out of his sight, Jasper decided it would be a good time to take a bath and wash the few clothes he owned. The money he and Maria had taken off the humans that had been with Peter, along with the roll of bills Peter had in his pocket, would buy them quite a few new sets of clothes. He only needed a cloudy day to run to the nearest town with a general store to get them. Of course, along the way, he could steal any clothes that might be hung out to dry for the newborns—if he saw any. Humans were few and far between out where they were.
He darted to the small shack he claimed as his own, gathered his clothes, and raced away to the creek that was only a few miles away.
Two days after that, when Maria finally allowed Peter to leave her house, Jasper led the entire group of thirsty newborns to a small village about one hundred miles to the west, paying particular attention to the fury and revulsion Peter was trying to control. As they topped a small ridge, the newborns could smell the humans and were nearly out of their minds with hunger and thirst, but Jasper held them in thrall as he spoke to them.
“You have done well. Maria is pleased,” he said in clipped tones. He looked at each of them in turn, taking note of the hate that glowed in Peter’s eyes. “As Maria promised you, when you do well, you will be rewarded.” He pointed at the village in the valley below them. “There is your reward. Go.”
As the horde of newborns broke over the ridge, Jasper raced to the village with them, capturing three human females to take back to Maria. He struck each of them hard enough to silence their screams before throwing them in a wagon to keep them safe from the bloodthirsty vampires. After draining two humans, he waited for the rest of them to finish, struggling to block their bloodlust and keep it from dragging him under.
Three hours later the sated raiding party was on its way back to camp; the orange glow of the burning village falling farther behind them.