"Right, get out of the window, quick, we'll meet outside", Natalya hissed. She had put on Marion's clothes, slightly reluctantly putting on her knickers as well. Then, they had stringently gagged and bound the unconscious girl in exactly the same manner as Natalya had been.
When Nadeshda had left the room, Marion began to move and moaned quietly. Then, her eyes stared at Natalya, who was just about to leave the room. Breathing deeply, Natalya went into the room where Benson and Carlyle were sitting, followed by Marion's now quite vocal protests.
"Ah, wass upp, Missus Marion", Carlyle asked, his voice indistinct from alcohol.
"Oh, I just have to go over to Vera to take care of a few things. Perhaps, you can have a look at our guest in the meantime, she seems quite upset about something. But you better leave her gagged, she's not very nice."
Benson and Carlyle exchanged a wolfish grin, then, they stood up and stumbled over to the bed, where Marion was now fidgeting wildly and screamed through her gag. Natalya slipped out of the door. The two men had been so keen on "having a look on their guest", that they hadn't even noticed Natalya had spoken French to them.
"Now, mistress, back to the palace or the other direction?", Nadeshda asked, emerging from a pile of logs.
Natalya pondered: "Good question. When they hunt for us, they will follow our tracks anyway and they're faster than us. In that direction", she pointed along the road, "there's the sleigh and maybe only Vera, but we can't be sure about that. In the palace, there are these three mean women who put me in my last plight", she shuddered from the memory, "but perhaps there's one chance to get some help. It's not very certain, but it's the only chance we have, since we won't make it to any other warm place. I've got an idea. Let's hurry up, I'll tell you on the way."
The two girls followed the silent snowy road, leading them to Krasnaja Ljubila.
Painstakingly, Orlow finished the last of the many knots that turned the now stark naked Vera into a helpless bundle. He had taken great care in binding and gagging her.
First, immediately after the girl stood before him in the nude, he had tied her arms at wrists and ellbows, forcing her breasts to thrust out and making the girl shriek with pain. Then, he had bent her legs up, tying her knees to her upper arms. Since Vera protested even louder now, he gagged her with the knickers that had covered Oksana's head and originally belonged to Tamara, making Vera the third after Giselle and Dunja to be gagged with them. Vera tried to fight and flailed about with her lower legs, but Orlow firmly stuffed her mouth, then tied three overhand knots into a strip from Vera's chemise, forced this between her jaws, too and tied it off at her neck. This was followed by yet another, broader strip of cloth, further muffling her moans.
Now, Orlow bent her head forward and tied her ankles behind her neck, testing the girl's litheness to the limit. He still wasn't finished. Looping another rope around Vera's waist, he formed a noose and pulled it tight, building some kind of rope belt. He brought the dangling end to the girl's backside, pulling it tight and making her moan with pain. Orlow then threaded the end through Vera's wrist ties, then he pulled the rope between her legs and pulled the ends through the waist ropes, right under her navel. Then, he pulled. And pulled. The rope sank between Vera's buttocks, embedding her bound hands within the cleft. It found its way between her labia, forcing the girl to whimper. With a last pull, he tied the brutal crotch rope off. Now, even the slightest movement of her hands would cause considerable pain. Orlow carefully examined the bonds, tightening some of the knots. Finally, he approached Oksana who moaned with a mixture of relief and anger because he hadn't freed her before. Instead of loosening her ties or her gag, he just watched her, until the naked and exposed Duchess reddened and watched him anxiously.
"Well, your Highness-"
"Oh, yes, I know who you are, even in your current situation. And since I'm quite sure you'd prefer a change in dress or more control about to whom you present what", he paused and his look made Oksana feel very, very naked and vulnerable. She shivered, though the room had become quite warm.
"Ah, you seem interested to me. Well, let's say I've got an offer you can't refuse to accept..."
"Devil, she's become a real fighter since last time!", Carlyle cursed. Indeed, the naked girl had constantly squirmed and flailed about, despite her stringent bonds. In addition, she kept on screaming and moaning through her gag, looking at him and Benson with rolling eyes. The two men had spent some minutes trying to fondle and grope her, but her squirming made it quite difficult to even get hold of her.
"She just doesn't like your ugly face, make room for me", Benson said, pushing Carlyle aside, bending forward and squeezing the girl's thrust out nipples.
With a quick move, she slammed her forehead against Benson's nose, fuming with rage.
Benson chuckled: "She's not that keen on you either, eh?" Carlyle wiped some blood from his nose and shouted: "Right, bitch, now fun's over! Any last words?"
Roughly, he pulled the cleave from her mouth and took out the sodden torn undergarment. A gust of words followed that would have even made a sailor blush. These swear words were spoken in the very London dialect Benson and Carlyle were used to when they talked to each other - or to Marion. Slowly, whilst the naked girl still cursed them, they understood what just had happened. "S-Sorry-", Benson uttered.
"Sorry? Sorry? Is that all you have to say, dumbass? Just get me freed!"
Abashed, the two men quickly untied her nude colleague.
She went to her trunk, only finding a pair of used knickers she had worn the month before. She put them on, followed by a chemise. Though she was far from being prudish, she definitely was relieved not longer to be naked in front of her colleagues who had only recently touched her everywhere. They had actually thought they were punishing Natalya, but Marion knew that her authority upon these two men would never be quite the same again. Hesitating, she decided to wear men's clothes.
Taking the ripped panties that had been used as to gag her, in her pocket, she snarled viciously: "Let's go! And be sure, this bitch will pay for this! When I'm done with her, she'll be glad if I hand her over to you, no matter what you decide to do with her!"
The small sleigh stopped at the hut and a woman wearing a black hooded cloak slipped out.
"Just wait here, Juri", she said calmly. The addressed only nodded and said nothing, but this derived not from disrespect towards his guest, the Grand princess Katharina, daughter-in-law of the Tsarina. During a skirmish ten years ago, the Turks had captured him and cut out his tongue. This was not the least reason why Orlow preferred him as his right hand. He was the only one who knew that the rumours were true - Katharina had not only an affair with Grigori Orlow, she sometimes enjoyed being in Alexejs` arms, too. Not even Grigori knew about his younger brother's secret. This was why they met at this little hut, some fifteen miles away from the palace the imperial family was currently residing. They had encountered the hideout during a hunting party some month earlier. Since Peter quite offensively preferred his mistress around him, it was not that much a risk for Katharina to sneak away once and awhile. She only had to be back well before dawn and Juri was a skilled and reliable driver. She went to the door and knocked.
Inside the hut, Orlow had blindfolded Vera with another strip from her slip, since she should not see with whom he met. Quickly, he opened the door.
"Sophie", he said in a tender voice, addressing her by her birth name which he knew she liked. The Grand Duchess allowed him willingly to embrace and kiss her. He closed the door behind them.
When Orlow removed her cloak, Katharina saw the naked and trussed up girl lying on a heap of straw. The girl lay on her back, her arms behind her back and her legs bent up and tied to her arms. The fact her feet were tied behind her neck forced her head to bend forward so that she looked at Katharina, right between her medium sized, thrust out breasts. Or rather she would have looked, but a white cloth covering her eyes prevented that. Another cloth was tightly tied over the lower part of her face, obviously holding a massive packing within her mouth, since her cheeks were bulging. Katharina could also see a tightly applied rope around the girl's waist, from which another strand went into the blond triangle of pubic hair, where it disappeared from view. The bound person slightly squirmed and moaned into her gag.
"Oh my god, Alexej, who's that?", Katharina gasped.
"Just someone who was here at the wrong time. She sure won't disturb us."
Katharina shuddered: "How stringently she's tied up! Really, I surely couldn't stand being trussed up and gagged like this for even five minutes. What has she done to earn this?"
Orlow began to kiss Katharina's neck and cleavage, whilst his hands caressed her shoulders.
"She's not of your interest, but, if you insist, I'll introduce her to you afterwards."
"Afterwards?", Katharina asked hoarsely, pretending not to understand.
"Afterwards", Orlow repeated, starting to work on the buttons of Katharina's dress.
Sighing with anticipation, she began to help him. She hadn't come here to talk and the thought of having an audience whilst she was enjoying Alexej's qualities as a lover even added to her arousal. Her curiosity would just have to wait.
Having walked fast pace for more than an hour, Nadeshda and Natalya could see the lit windows of Krasnaja Ljubila at the horizon, still some two miles away. Since they wore only their normal dresses, they were quite frozen, although they were at the same time sweating from constantly walking quite fast. A constant rubbing reminded Nadeshda that she was still wearing the crotch rope, but she didn't dare to stop even for the few moments to remove it, since they didn't know whether the Englishmen had been able to organize horses. They just hat to get as near as possible to the palace.
"And you really think we can just slip inside and alarm the servants living in the adjacent buildings? Are you sure they'll believe us?", Nadeshda asked her mistress.
"No, I'm not sure at all", she admitted. "But it's our only chance and in the house, there are only this mean Tamara, the two French women and the butler who are against us. Outside the main house, there are several men, including guards and foresters. Men who know how to use a gun. And besides, if we can make them ask for my grand-aunts' whereabouts, they will have no convincing answer. It's just worth a try, since the alternatives are getting caught again or freezing to death!"
"I wish Ivan were here", Nadeshda murmured, but obviously Natalya had overheard it.
"I beg your pardon? This thug who stripped us, kidnapped us, bound and gagged us, humiliated us - maybe, you had your joyful hours with him, I definitely didn't. Now just shut up and do as you're told, because that's your job!"
Nadeshda fell silent, deeply reddening from being reminded of how she was made to climax in front of Natalya's eyes. Her mistress was right, but Nadeshda knew that their relationship had changed for the worse. In Natalya's eyes, her lady's maid had proved to be a wanton whore, willingly responding to any criminal's caresses. A part of Nadeshda thought the same about herself, whilst another part was longing to see - and feel - Ivan again. Silent, the two girls kept on walking.
Having reached the walls, Natalya headed to the small back door which she knew it had always been open when she had been a child.
"All right, you go inside. If you see or hear something strange, just scream. They won't get us both at the same time."
"So that's what I'm now, just the one who is sent in advance if madame doesn't want to get her fingers dirty", Nadeshda thought bitterly. But without a word, she tested the door, which indeed was not closed. She slipped through the opening, carefully looking around. "There's no one, just follow me", she whispered to Natalya who went into the yard, too.
When they were sneaking along the wall, suddenly, a large shadow materialized in front of them. Before Nadeshda could react, Dimitri had grabbed her and clamped her mouth shut. An "Uuhhhhmmmm!" could be heard, to quiet to wake up anyone around. Natalya, who had hidden behind a barrel, decided to scream her lungs out, but someone took hold of her arms and a hand pressed on her mouth from behind.
"Mmmmh, that was not bad, you're nearly as much a man as your brother", Katharina purred, lolling on the bed naked. Orlow, just putting on his pants, smiled weakly. She always compared him to Grigori, usually his elder brother won this competitions. She only had a crush on him for diversity.
"But now, who is she?", Katharina asked, raising from the bed and approaching Vera. The girl of course hadn't moved and only let out small sounds when Katharina curiously examined her tight bonds.
"She seems really pretty helpless to me. Unable to hinder me from doing everything to her, whether good or mean." Katharina's fingers wandered over Vera's forms, playing with her nipples and even slightly pulling on the crotch rope. The bound girl tried to squirm and moaned softly, but there was indeed nothing she could do to stop the Grand Princess examining her body.
Orlow noticed that Katharina's interests were not only academic. She was slightly panting and her cheeks were blushing with upcoming arousal. He was just thinking about considering taking her to bed once more, when she turned her face towards him.
"I would like to try this, too", she said decisively.
"Eh, what?", Orlow answered with a sheepish look.
"I want you to tie me up, just like her. In the past years, my marriage has taught me quite a lot about feeling helpless - but I persisted, and it has made me stronger." Though she was still stark naked, she now fully embodied the future Tsarina he and his brothers wanted her to become. Involuntarily, he bowed slightly.
She continued: "I will need all my strength in the month to come. Her majesty won't see the next month, and then, it's just Peter - or me."
Orlow nodded. Tsarina Elisabeth's condition had deteriorated again, forcing the imperial court to call off any activities outside St. Petersburg. Actually, that was the second reason for his being here. Immediately after his meeting with Katharina, he wanted to secretly ride to Krasnaja Ljubila, telling Tamara the operation was cancelled. The information Oksana had given him before had taught him there were more things he would have to talk about with his willful agent.
Katharina interrupted his thoughts. "I think, being as helpless as this girl, feeling more helpless than I've ever felt before, will help me to face that feeling. It will help me to grow even higher - and I will not stop before the peak!"
Orlow didn't move. This was an unexpected change of the situation - unexpected, but quite opportune.
"All right. So you want me to tie you up and gag you, just like her."
"Yes. And better do it well. Don't make me think you invested more of your skills in a nameless serf than in me."
With his brain considering different possibilities, but absolutely calm on the outside, Orlow took a bag from under the bed, where he had hid coils of rope and Vera's clothes. He cut off a length of rope and stepped behind Katharina, taking her wrists. Firmly, he tied her hands palm to palm.
"Ah, that's really tight! Go on", she sighed.
Orlow pushed her elbows together, tying them tightly together.
"Ouch! That's really - entertaining!" Her now thrust out breasts were heaving and she was looking at him with a mixture of pain and anticipation.
Orlow cut off a third length of rope and doubled it up, then, he looped it around her waist and pulled till it circled her waist as firm as a corset.
Katharina sighed when he pulled the dangling ends through her wrist bindings, again pulling till there was no slack and her arms were pressed against her butt.
He reached between her legs and took hold of the rope's ends, carefully. embedding them on top of Katharina`s labia and clit. Then, he tied two overhand knots in the rope, about one inch apart from each other. When he firmly, but not brutally tied the ends to Katharina`s waist rope, one of these would always press against her most sensitive part, no matter how hard she moved her hands and hips. Orlow had slightly disobeyed orders, for this crotch rope was meant more to tease and tingle than to hurt, but obviously, Katharina was too busy coping with the rope massaging her between her legs to even notice.
"Ooooh. Uuhhhm! That's - interesting!", she gasped, telling him it was more than that to her. She moved her bound arms, this causing the rope to search a way between her legs. A wet glistering and a fragrance he had enjoyed just 20 minutes before told Orlow that Katharina did experience something else than training helplessness. He waited and watched.
Accompanied by a sigh, half from amazement, half from arousal, the rope finally disappeared between her labia. Orlow tightened it a bit, so that it still wasn't painful, but remained tightly in place.
"Now, for a gag", Orlow said.
Katharina looked at him with growing concern, but finally nodded.
"Th-that's n-necessary for sure."
"Of course, Sophie", Orlow agreed, taking a pink piece of cloth from the bag. Though neither Orlow nor Katharina knew, these pair of knickers had their own story to tell: First, Cherie had worn them for four entire weeks, then Giselle had been hooded by them, totally soaking them with her sweat. Then, after Cherie had been forced to put them on again, Tamara and later on Olesya had been gagged with them before Oksana's head had been hooded by them. Now, her imperial Highness, Grand princess Katharina Romanowa, was the sixth woman to get in close contact with the panties.
Katharina's nose cringed when Orlow brought the balled up silk to her mouth and she tried to utter a protest, but Orlow grabbed her hair with his left hand, firmly pushing the wad between her lips with his right. Katharina fidgeted and groaned with disgust and rejection, but Orlow just kept on stuffing her mouth with the knickers. He forced her on her knees and made her bend backwards, making her look up to him. Holding her by the hair with his left hand, he pushed and prodded the damp silk deeper and deeper into her cheeks and throat.
"Ooohuuummmmph. Hrrruuuuuhhmmmmm! Ghhhhhrrrrrrrggg!"
Finally, when he couldn't stuff the wad any further, he let her go, ripping a strip from Vera's discarded chemise and tying three overhand knots in it.
Desperately, Katharina tried to get the panties from her mouth, but she only could move them a few milimeters.
Orlow pushed the knickers back, then he forced the big knot between her teeth and tied the ends of the cloth off at her neck, pulling the gag even tighter. Now, Katharina didn't seem keen on learning new things any more. She looked at him with a mixture of fear and anger and tried to communicate through her stifling gag.
"That's just part of the experience. You wanted to know how it is to be as helpless as possible. Now, sit on the bed."
Reluctantly, she walked over and obeyed, slightly bowing when the sitting position made the crotch rope press harder against her sex. Orlow cut three more lengths of rope, each about four feet in length. He tied one to her right knee and bent her leg up. Then, he tied her thigh to her upper arm. It was exactly the same way he had tied Vera's legs, but whilst Vera was a slim and supple person, Katharina wasn't that flexible, so the tie put even more strain on her leg.
Orlow took the next piece of rope and repeated the procedure on her left leg. Now, she could only flail about her unbound lower legs and gazed upon him with widened eyes. Orlow ripped two more strips from the chemise, blindfolding Katharina with the first and binding the second firmly over her gagged mouth. After he had crossed and tied her ankles behind her neck, she was an exact copy of the trussed up Vera lying on the floor.
"Right, time to explain some of my plans to you."
"Yes, my dear. Your plan of getting tied up by me was very convenient since I needed you like this for my plan. But be sure, you will feel as helpless as you have never felt before."
Orlow ignored Katharina's muffled screams and opened the cupboard. A trembling and fearfully looking Oksana stepped out, free from the ropes and gag, but still stark naked. Silently, she started putting on Katharina's clothes, except for the knickers which Orlow held in his hands.
"Perhaps, you remember a plan of mine, some weeks ago, about getting you out of the line of fire till - till you've succeeded Peter. You refused, but you know that Peter wants to get rid of you and to marry his mistress. Only the remains of respect towards the Tsarina has stopped him in the past. When she passes away, he will be the one in charge. He will try to get rid of you, no matter what it costs." Orlow rose his voice to drown Katharina's moans.
"By sheer coincidence, I've found someone who can take your place for a while. If all goes as planned, once everything is over, you can come back and ascend the throne of Russia. But until then, you'll stay under my custody. Only a few people know about that: Grigori, though I hope he will never find out about some of the details", he paused, pulling on Katharina's crotch rope, making her squirm; "your lookalike", he bowed towards Oksana who was working on closing her corset. "The others are two of your lady's maids we bribed. Even Juri outside will think that he's taking the Grand Princess back to the palace, whilst the naked, bound and gagged excess baggage is not of his interest. Part of this baggage is that girl over there, of course. I haven't decided what to do with her yet." This last sentence made Vera join in Katharina's desperate moaning.
Meanwhile, Oksana had finished dressing and provisionally arranged her hair. She was still frightened, but Orlow had indeed made an offer she hadn't been able to refuse: playing the role of the Grand Princess and getting a lavish reward - or being send to a brothel in St. Petersburg.
"It's for the best of the country", she repeated to herself, calming down a bit.
Orlow cut two more lengths of rope, some three feet in length. One, he gently threaded through Katharina's crotch rope, right between the two knots tied in it.
"Mhhuuuhhmmmph!", she moaned, wriggling her hips slightly.
He tied the rope off so that about half of it was dangling on each side. Then, he turned his attention to Vera. He loosened her crotch rope and tied two adjoining knots in it, just as he had done on Katharina's. Then, he refastened it, taking care the knots were exactly over her clit. This time, he didn't tie it as tight as before, reducing the pain to a teasing. He knew, that, once the pain had decreased, it would change into a tickling, forcing Vera to pull on the rope to get some relief. He took the rope and tied it to the crotchrope, just like he had done on Katharina before.
Taking the knickers that had gagged Oksana before, he went over to Katharina and pulled them over her head, making her moan and weakly shake her head, trying to prevent getting hooded with the used underwear. Using her arm and leg as a handle, he dragged her over to where Vera lay, putting her on the left side. Then, having hooded Vera with Katharina's discarded panties, he turned her to her right side. Now, both girls lay front to front, the hooded head facing the other's womb. Orlow gently pushed Katharina's head forward, until her nose was in contact with Vera's crotch.
"Mhhuhhmmph?", she moaned with concern. Vera moaned, too, when Katharina's hooded nose tickled her pubic hair. Orlow took the rope ends dangling from Vera's crotch rope, wound them around the other woman's head at mouth level, pulled the slack out and tied them off, this bringing additional pressure to Katharina's gags and forcing her to breathe directly into Vera's crotch. She tried to cringe back, causing Vera to hold against it, since the rope was closely connected to her bound wrists.
Orlow did the same to Vera's head and Katharina's crotch, connecting these, too. Now, both girl's movements had immediate consequences on their most sensitive parts. Katharina's big breasts were wedged against Vera's belly, whilst Vera's smaller bust was massaged by the Grand Princess` skin more gently. Both squirmed and moaned frantically, but this only added to their predicament. Their mouths and pussies were forced together to a permanent involuntary kiss. They kept on pulling the other's nose and mouth to their crotches, forcing themselves to breath in the other's increasing arousal, caused by the continuing massage by the crotch ropes and the close skin contact. Already, beads of perspiration were glistering on both women's bodies.
"They sure will be entertained for the next hours", Orlow laughed. Oksana smiled weakly, too. He watched for a while, till the constant squirming had become less energetic and more rhythmic and the moans and sighs sounded less panic-stricken. Then, he went for Juri, who looked at the sight with a small smile.
"Juri, these two go to my rooms immediately after you've taken care of the Grand Princess'", he pointed at Oksana who tried to look as graceful as possible, "safe return. Under any circumstances, leave them trussed up like they're now. Do not, I repeat, do not free them from their ties and gags and take care that no one sees them. I'll be back tomorrow by dawn, then I'll see to them."
Shrugging, Juri assisted Orlow in carrying the two naked prisoners to Katharina's sleigh, stowing them to the floor. This forced Oksana to sit with her legs stretched out to the opposite bench, but, looking on the wriggling and moaning bundle beneath her feet, she decided not to complain. The two naked captives were now moving synchronously, offering quite a show to Oksana. She remembered being tied that close to another woman just hours before, but this was much, much more intense. Oksana was all fascination. Her breathing accelerated and more or less involuntary her left lifted her skirts and felt for her warm, knickerless middle. Soon, the arousal of three women filled the narrow inside of the sleigh.
Since the driver's seat was at the backside of the sleigh and the cabin was lit by a lantern from the inside, Juri had a good view of what was happening. Luckily, the horses knew their way and so his lack of concentration on the road had no consequences. From this night until his death more than 40 years later, Juri often remembered with a smile that he once had watched her Highness Tsarina Katharina II in that most intimate and erotic situation, quite a priceless memory.
When the sleigh had disappeared behind the trees, Orlow yoked up his horse to the other sleigh and rode towards Krasnaja Ljubila. He knew that, despite her hateful feelings now, by the next evening Katharina would thank him for just being allowed to pee.
Her captors had dragged Natalya to a stable and tied her wrists behind a post, forcing her to sit on the straw. The hand shutting her mouth was removed, but before she could say something, a rag was shoved inside and tied in place with another piece of cloth knotted at her neck. She moaned with fear. Was it Tamara and the French women who had caught her? Suddenly, a figure holding a lantern came closer.
Natalya could see who were her captors - Dunja, Irina and Olesya, Olesya's maids.
"Well, that's quite a change in plans, you English bitch", Irina, the blonde, hissed.
Natalya moaned frantically. Obviously, they were mistaking her for Marion! This was hardly surprising, since she wore the dress Marion had worn when the three girls had seen her last. "What will they do?", Natalya thought with concern. She desperately tried to wriggle her gag off. Dunja - or Olesya, since she couldn't tell apart one twin sister from the other - ("quite ironic", she thought) approached with a knife. Natalya squealed and thrashed about. Finally, she could push out the gag.
"No, please, I'm not Marion, I'm Lady Natalyauhhmmph", was all she could utter before Olesya - or Dunja - had firmly regagged her, this time making the cleave much tighter.
But Irina hesitated. "Wait, Dunja. What, if she's telling the truth? We can't kill an innocent!"
The girl lowered the hand holding the knife. Natalya sighed with relief.
"But how can we find out if she's not lying?", the girl asked.
Then, all the three girls answered simultaneously: "The birthmark!"
Natalya moaned with a mixture of frustration and relief and tried not to move when Irina slowly lifted her skirt to her hips. Whilst Olesya pulled her knickers to her knees, Dunja approached with the lantern, examining Natalya's pubic area. The bound girl could feel the heat of the light at her private parts. After what seemed ages, she nodded and Olesya pulled the knickers back in place. All three seemed a bit abashed now.
"S-sorry, Mylady, b-b-but we just had to be s-sure", Irina stammered. Quickly, the girls freed Natalya from her bonds.
"We're hiding in here, from Dimitri", Irina explained. "He's just all eyes and hands since he -" She fell silent and blushed, remembering being fondled by the butler whilst being helplessly bound and gagged and stark naked.
"Yes, it's horrible", Olesya continued. "I mean, all the time, since we've started working here, it was clear he admired us. All the time, since he couldn't do anything about it, we teased him. We let him see a bit of our legs walking up the stairs when he was around, we bent forward when he could see it, such things. That was the funof it, that he could only watch from the distance and couldn't get more than we would let him get." She shuddered. "But now, this has changed."
"And so we're hiding here. In the morning, we will tell the guards and they'll know what to do!", Dunja added.
Natalya frowned. "But, why didn't you just run away or alert the servants as soon as you had left the house?", she asked with disbelief.
Irina smiled wryly: "We were just about to do so, when we saw you at the yard. We-we just wanted some revenge. But now, we can scream our lungs out!"
Natalya raised a hand and interrupted the maid: "No, please. They have Nadeshda, my lady's maid. Though she has turned out to be quite unreliable, she doesn't deserve to die. And they would kill her if the guards are attacking the house. We have to proceed in a different way."
"But what can we do?", Olesya blurted, "we're just helpless girls."
Natalya rose. "Well, you three helpless girls were at least able to overpower me. The four of us should be able to do the same to Tamara and the French girls, one by one. Dimitri is just having his way with Nadeshda, that gives us time to enter the house unseen. If he warns the women, we have to hide. But I'm quite sure he will be occupied by having my maid in his clutches, so we can try to get these women restrained. Once he's alone and we have a gun, Dimitri's harmless to us. He will run for his miserable life with wet pants. Let's just take up this chance!"
"But what about your lady's maid?", Dunja asked, "she sure will have to suffer from this man."
Natalya hesitated for a moment, then, she said with a steady voice: "He won't kill her unless he feels safe. And after all, she deserves some - rough treatment, just to remember what's right and what's wrong. It will help her to think about some things that happened."
Despite the curious looks on the maid's faces, Natalya fell silent. Taking some ropes and makeshift clubs with them, they silently entered the main house.
***To The Thrilling Conclusion