“Really.” Ulrika grunted. “Must you sit so still? Couldn’t you struggle a little bit?”
The Baron Lensdown looked up at her absently.
“It’s as if you’re waiting for your barber.” Ulrika continued. “You’re so placid. I find it terribly dull, really. Now, why don’t you squirm about a little? Or, ask us to let you go. Or…I know! Try and escape! Yes, do that. That would be delicious. Then, I could have Giovanni restrain you.” Her eyes flashed.
“I have no intention of fighting you.” The baron answered plainly.
“Don’t you understand what’s happening here?”
The baron nodded.
“Victor, really. That is your name, yes? Victor. You do realize that you’re about to see your sister again. Don’t you? Your sister? Orpha.”
“She wasn’t known to me as Orpha.”
“That’s not the point.” Ulrika snapped. “No matter what she was called, she’s still your sister and you still…” Ulrika cooed. “You still…mated with her and produced our messiah. I’m just sorry you’ve already had a glimpse of him as I so had hoped for a rather theatrical unveiling of their beautiful faces. Still…I can’t be too critical. This is what we wanted, after all. Besides, you’ll have enough of a shock being reunited with your sister. Did you know she’s just today had her hand severed from her body. She’s positively cadaverous from the loss of blood. Really, she’s even more beautiful than usual. You must try your best to control your lust.”
“Do you think I’d touch her now? Knowing she’s my sister?”
“I was hoping you would, actually.” Ulrika shrugged. “My request just now was in jest and, actually, meant to excite you.”
“You are painfully dull.” Ulrika shook her head. She looked up at Giovanni. “Darling, would you go an slap him a bit for me? There’s a lamb.”
“Yes, I would be quite happy to.” Giovanni nodded, walking over to the chair in which the baron had been tied and slapping his face several times with an open palm.
“He didn’t even flinch.” Ulrika pouted. “I thought you’d be more inclined to wail. After all, you were felled by a woman—and not a very large woman at that. That Molliner girl is just a little bird of a thing, really.” She clucked her tongue. “Giovanni, darling, you must do it again when he’s not expecting it.”
“Yes.” Giovanni grumbled. Then, his face brightened. “Bella, I could cut out his tongue. Yes?”
“There’s an idea.” Ulrika nodded slowly. “We could give it to Marduk!” She paused and shook her head. “Still, as delightful a thought as that is, he’s going to need his tongue for the ritual. Perhaps afterwards.”
Giovanni looked at the floor.
“Darling, don’t be sad. I said you could do it later. In fact, once Marduk’s had his fill, you can do whatever you like with the rest of the baron.”
“I should like to make you baubs for your lovely, shell-like ears.” Giovanni winked.
“Oh, do, darling, do.” She slowly turned to look at the baron. “Still? Nothing? Really…considering you’ve father about three dozen children…or something…one would think you would show a little more passion. And…aren’t you a mandrake, too? I can’t see why any woman or man would be even the slightest bit interested in you. Nonetheless, you do produce handsome children. Fern is so deliciously pale and, of course, Marduk is perfection. I wonder of your other children. I only got the tiniest glimpse at the legitimate ones. Oh…that reminds me. Would you like to write to your wife?”
“No.” The baron shook his head.
“What’s her name? Gretchen, Gemma?”
“Poor thing.” Ulrika sniffed. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to send something? After all, she’ll be a widow by the end of the day.”
The baron didn’t answer.
Ulrika harrumphed. “I think he’s doing this on purpose, darling. I really do. He knows how much I’m just yearning for the tiniest bit of agony and he won’t give me a crumb. Go and fetch that paper knife and ram it into his thigh—not so deeply as to cripple him, but just enough to get him excited. After all, we don’t want him to be maimed when Marduk gets him.”
“I like that.” Giovanni nodded.
Just then, they heard the door to the parlor scrape open.
“Oh! Never mind, darling.”
“The blessed mother is coming, dear. Later, really.”
“Here she is, Baron, your sister, mother of Marduk…”
Orpha teetered in the doorway, the stump of her left wrist wrapped in bloodied bandages. Steadying herself with her right hand, she grasped the molding of the door. Her voice was weak, yet clear and commanding. “Victor. Just in time for dinner.”
Did you miss Chapters 1-299 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 301.