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Chapter 7: Cruel Punishment

The messenger Vlad asked just left him. He was excited to learn more about Radu earlier and that was sudden, especially when he heard that the messenger had just arrived from Turkey. However, when he heard the news, he felt rage.

He learned that Radu had apparently already turned against him since years ago especially since he left Turkey, for his brother had converted himself to Islam around the same year.

He did not know this information until now. And the most disturbing news was that his brother’s Shia warlock was still by his side. He was sure now that Radu was up to something that he would never appreciate.

Vlad threw away his goblet against the wall, near the fireplace. Some of the wine spilled on the wall and on the floor, which were made of stone. His loyal male servant, Marius, just stood by in a corner and watched him do it.

Another thing was that, Mehmed II of Ottoman dynasty was a promising enemy. It would not take long for him to make a bold step on taking a hold of Wallachia again under Ottoman Empire’s power. He had to take care that the sultan could not step on the Wallachian land and take away his throne. However, he had to take care first of the Transylvanian Saxon merchants who wanted to overthrow him. He had to have the utmost power over his entire territory. He had to wipe off the dirt from his own land before taking care of his neighbor’s.

He breathed heavily, thinking of ways to overcome the hindrances to his reign in Wallachia.

“M’lord.”

A messenger disturbed his reverie when the latter arrived and bowed to him in respect.

He turned to the new arrival. “What is it?”

“An adulterous woman was found cheating her husband. The people are outside the city trying to give her a fair trial.”

Vlad’s eyes narrowed. “Prepare my horse and I shall go there to be the judge.”

“Yes, m’lord,” the messenger answered and turned to leave. He prepared the prince’s white horse and saw him coming out of the castle in a hurry. He wore his trademark cape which was black on the outer side but red on the inner side. It also had silver and gold lining, making it appear more unique.

Vlad and some soldiers went outside the city. There, a crowd gathered. The crowd was silent when they saw the prince arrive in his grand aura.

He got off from his horse and faced the crowd with great authority, assessing everyone. The woman was at the center together with her husband who was crying.

“Now, who saw this woman committing the sin?” he interrogated the crowd with a fierce face.

“I-I did, m’lord.” An old woman from the crowd barely raised her hand. She swallowed and looked at the couple. Fear was reflected in her face.

Vlad regarded the old woman and then turned to look at the young wife, who was still standing at the center of the crowd with her head bent in shame.

Vlad also watched the expression of the young husband’s face. He was clearly crying, not with shame but maybe for fear that his wife was going to be cruelly punished.

‘Ah, true love indeed! But such a stupid one.’

“Well, then. Woman, as you were seen by this old lady while you were committing adultery, you shall be skinned alive and put onto a stake. That is your punishment,” Vlad said calmly, without any pity.

The woman kneeled before him and wailed. “M’lord, please forgive me this once! I did not mean to commit this sin against my husband…”

The husband also kneeled before Vlad and pleaded. “M’lord, it was my fault that she did not love me enough…”

Vlad cut in. “No, she must pay for what she has done to you,” he firmly stated. Then he turned to the crowd in a strong, unyielding voice. “Any wife should not commit adultery. Anyone found guilty of this crime and sin shall be severely punished! What you shall witness today is a sign of execution of this law!”

The soldiers quickly seized the young woman. They stripped her naked and skinned the writhing and screaming lady as ordered by the cruel prince. Everyone watched in horror. The husband could barely watch as it was done to his pitiable wife. His tears constantly fell down to his pale cheeks. As though it was not enough, they watched her impaled on a stake with her bloody face and body. She screamed in agony until she died hours later.

The crowd was horrified at the scene they just witnessed. Most of them were afraid and some cried, mostly women.

Vlad mounted on his horse when he saw the young wife already dead on the stake. “No one should take her out of that stake. Anyone caught doing it, shall be punished as well. Let it be known all over Wallachia that this is set as an example to whoever commits a sin against her husband. The same goes to the husband who commits sins against his wife.”

He left the crowd and led his horse into the city, and his soldiers followed him.

Upon strolling in the city on horseback, he met a child running towards him. He caught the child by his coat and jumped off from his horse.

“What are you doing, child?” he questioned, filled with authority in his voice.

The child just looked at him and tried to get away from him, as though he had not recognized the ruler of Wallachia. He looked behind him and saw that the man who was after him stood by and watched them.

“Give me back the medicine you stole from my store!” The man angrily marched closer to the child and the prince who held him tightly.

The child looked up at the prince with pleading eyes. Vlad stared at the merchant and back to the child.

“Why did you steal it from him?” he demanded.

“M’lord, my mother is ill, and we have no money to buy her medicine,” the child admitted with downcast eyes.

Vlad took out some money from his pocket and gave it to the merchant. The merchant seemed happy about it and bowed to the prince, whom he did not recognize at all. What was important was the money he got from a stranger.

“Thank you, m’lord. But I have to get back the medicine.” At the look of Vlad’s eyes, the merchant realized he made a terrible mistake.

Vlad’s eyes darkened, and he ordered his soldiers to seize the merchant. He also instructed one of the soldiers to take the child home and give the medicine to the mother but the child must be taken back to be punished for stealing.

As for the merchant, he ordered that he should be broken by a wheel. He was taken into his secret torture chamber and punished the merchant. His arms and legs were tied apart from each other and a wheel connected to the ropes was turned around. The merchant screamed as his body was pulled and torn apart.

The young child was punished as well by piercing his body on a stake and was displayed in the city.

The people were horrified at this unpleasant and savage kind of punishment as ordered by the prince. Everyone seemed to check everything they do so as not to offend the prince or other people and lead to unsightly result of such punishment.

Vlad thought he did the right thing for his people and his land, and that it was just right to discipline everyone for the good of all.

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