Need Only Ask
“Ah. There you are, Little Ruby. I see you now.” The giant rubbed his chin thoughtfully. His eyes brightening at the rare beauty before him.
Her riot of red curls pouring over her shoulders.
The Witch, Almora, stared at her with widened eyes. Shocked that Nim would defend her.
As we all are. Disseus had no explanation for why Nim had done it.
“You’d rather die than go where they’d take you.” Nim whispered over her shoulder to Almora. Warning her to get further back and to escape these men.
And I’m not letting them take you. Disseus jaw tightened until the muscle ticked. His hands working in slow fists.
Disseus was strangely still. Just watching.
Lonnix watched him intently. Fingering the hilt of the sword at his hip. Waiting to follow whatever Disseus would do.
But they all stilled as Nim spoke again.
“If-if you don’t kill them, I’ll simply go with you and they’ll go back.” She gestured to all of them behind her. Lifting a palm in a motion to push them back.
She wants us to withdraw.
“No fight. Clean and easy.” She enunciated lifting her hands and letting her sword fall. All eyes turned to her.
What the devil does she mean ‘no fight’?
She’s not sacrificing herself as their prisoner to extract us when we can clearly fight our way out of this.
“Take her…” The hoarse little man in the distance urged. “Demon King’s treasure…”
The giant Battling Commander laughed outright at the idea. “The Demon King offers whole armies for this one little woman?”
Shuffling closer in the trees told Disseus there were many more Battling nearby.
This is why she thinks to turn herself over. She’s guessing there’s a whole army out there.
Edging halfway into the light one man with dark skin and hairy blotches scattered over his body, blinked at them through black eyes. Pointing a shaking twisted finger at Nim.
The owner of the hoarse voice.
Some trusted minion of the Demon King.
“The ruby. For that one, yes. Give her to us.” A greedy light entered his beady eyes. “He give you treasures.”
The Battling minion nodded vigorously. Clearly eager to take Nim back to the Demon King himself.
He must consider her return quite the prize indeed.
The massive Battling Commander snatched her by the upper arm nearly yanking her off her feet.
Terror shook her and made her breaths come in rasps. She feared no Battling. He’d be easy enough to dispatch if need arose. It was the ultimate destination, the Demon King, which terrified her.
Disseus’s words came back to her. ‘You never asked me to’. Body trembling, she lifted wide eyes, knowing she couldn’t take the King alone. She’d tried. Seeing Disseus she was surprised to find him staring at her, waiting.
She mouthed the words. ‘Come after me.’ And was horrified when he abruptly dropped his sword.
The Battling Commander began dragging her toward the troupe, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Feeling impossibly hurt and hopeless.
Turning as he pulled off his cloak, he tossed it over Onyx’s back.
Whipping back around he slid his boot under the hilt of his sword. An abrupt kick sent it into the air. Twisting to catch it he exploded into motion. Sinking his sword into the collar of the nearest Battling, he jerked the axe from his waist as he fell. Wielding both weapons expertly.
Dismounting gracelessly Lonnix pulled his sword and raised it high as he stumbled into battle.
Closing her eyes Almora drew a deep breath. Her hair lifted and she raised her hands. From beneath her blue cloak a face formed, pressing against the fabric resting over her back. Travelling downward headfirst the shape slid from beneath it, down the side of her horse and a blue blob straightened. His features became more pronounced. A blade materialized in his hand as he chased after another Battling. Two more such creatures formed at her feet before she was fully exerted. Laying down to rest against the mount’s neck her guards surrounded her and did a fair job keeping the Battlings at bay.
Not an easy feat.
Nim was impressed.
Disseus fought as he always had, as he’d been trained to. Ruthless and impossibly fast, fighting him was like a bird trying to stop a battering ram. Cutting a swath to her side, forced the ones holding her to let go in order to defend themselves.
Spinning to the side of one she slid his dagger from his waist and tore it through his throat. Moving to another she evaded his long sword as she wielded her little dagger to perfection. In extraordinarily little time their combined efforts had decimated the Battling Country troupe with Disseus suffering the brunt of them.
Striding back to her he slammed his sword into its sheath.
“You needed only to ask.” He grated through gritted teeth.