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Rio 1 and a half

By Alexis Due

Adventure / Romance

The Trade and Trust

** 3 days later**

How long had it been? I never did fall asleep. I was too afraid to.. I felt so weak. I refused their food, which only made Ricardo more angry.

I laid down in the nest, just staring into space. Literally. The sky was still dark as I peered out the entrance. I realized a few days ago, that we weren't in a tree. It was a small enclosure that had a nest and looked like you were in a tree, but on th outside it was just that small cave like enclosure that rested on top of the big statue that the humans loved so much.

"Knock Knock." a voice came.

I sat up, still tied up, and looking up. Ricardo was now in full view by the entrance.

"Piss off." I muttered.

He sauntered over to me. Sauntered? Really Nikki? Putting a wing under my chin, he raised my head up to look at his. His eyes filled with hatred. Suddenly, he pressed his beak to mine hard. Trying to kiss me. I squirmed, trying to get away. Finally he broke it. Still holding my face in his wing.

"Get the hell away from me." I shouted.

"I really don't think that is any way for a lady to talk." he cooed.

I spit in his face. He cringed back, wiping it off. Without warning, his wing connected with my face. I fell back, crying out in pain.

"I- I try to to be nice to you Nikolette. And this is how you repay me." he sneered.

I tried to cry, but tears wouldn't run anymore. I've cried so much in 3 days. He approached me again, looming over me. I looked up, my face burning with pain. He raised his wing before I saw another bird entered the nest. He landed inches from the nest. Clearing his throat, Ricardo turned to him.

"Boss. He's here." the bird said to him looking away.

"Good." he smiled.

He turned back to me. My face flushed with relief. Nico. He.. He came.

"Bring the girl out, Chef" Ricardo added.

"Yes, boss." the bird said.

Ricardo disappeared out the main entrance. The bird called Chef, came to me.

"Sorry Miss. Gotta do this." he apologized in a monotone voice.

He took a piece of cloth from the side of the nest. I saw it was a bag. Then, he put a gag in my mouth. Picking me up, he set me in the bag. I tried to squirm but I had no strength left in me. He gripped the top of the bag, and I felt the ground disappear. Light shown through whole and I knew we were outside.

Nico...

**Nico's POV**

Everyone was in place. Tad and Cad were placed 5 feet from me, hidden by rock. Pedro was up in a tree that loomed by the platform by the statue. Rafi and other birds were stationed behind the statue.

I stood alone in the middle of the large platform where people would walk around, and we would have parties here.

Ricardo appeared at the base of the statue. 4 feet away. 3 birds appeared at his sides from up the statue.

"Well, Well, Well. Who do we have here?" he smirked.

"Let her go. I came here alone like you asked." I exclaimed.

"Yes. I will let her go. Chef! Bring the girl here." Ricardo called, looking up.

I saw the large bird fly down. He was holding a bag in his talons. He set it down in the middle of me and Ricardo. Opening the bag, I saw Nikki. She looked so battered and small. She had a gag in her beak, with her wings and legs tied up. Her eyes met mine, and I could see she was scared and frightened. I wanted to get rid of Ricardo for... for doing this to her.

"Untie her." I demanded.

"Alright. As you wish." he smiled evilly.

Nodding, Chef undid the cloth around her legs, then her wings. Then, took the gag out of her mouth.

She sighed, trying to sit up, I saw she was shaking. She couldn't even balance herself. What has he done to her? As soon as Chef stepped back a good foot, I tried to take a step, but Ricardo was the one to close the distance. He circled her, she didn't move. She tried to stand, but he pushed pushed her back down.

"I don't think you should step any closer. For you see... I am agreeing to let Nikki go. But.. I simply can't let a pretty bird like her to go back into the arms of you.. So I'm not letting you go." Ricardo sneered.

"I don't remember this being a part of the deal."

"Well.. You didn't think I would just let the love of my life here go with the bird I hate most do you?" he said grabbing Nikki's chin and lifting her up slightly, and pulling her into him.

She whimpered. I stepped closer, angry, wanting to tear her from his wings.

"Ah ah ah. Stay where you are." he said squeezing her harder against him.

I stopped. Cringing.

"I bet you want to stay with me don't you?" Ricardo asked her looking at her.

She shook her head violently. To stop her, he pressed his beak to hers. I turned away. I couldn't look at this. She fought to push him away. When he pulled away. He smiled at her evilly. I couldn't handle it anymore. I was shaking, clenching the ends of my wings into fists.

"Well Nico. How do you feel about that?" he laughed.

"Well.." I tried to say calmly, "I think you are due for some company." I half smiled.

Suddenly, Nikki spit in his eyes. Pushing her away, she fell to the ground, using her wings to cushion her fall a bit. He turned around, wiping at his face. Pedro was then behind Ricardo, holding his neck in a chokehold. Everyone else emerged. Tad and Cad went after Chef. Rafi and the others grabbed the birds stationed at Ricardo's side.

I flew quickly to Nikki. She lay almost crumbled to the ground. I picked her up in my wings, cradling her. She clung to me, crying.

"I'm sorry.." she cried into me.

"Shh.. Everything's okay. You don't need to apologize. Its okay now. I'm here." I calmed her down.

"Nico, you can get her out of here. We'll handle this. Just carry her like a said." Rafi told me, nodding.

I nodded back. I carried her away. Looking over my shoulder, Ricardo's eyes trained on me. I smiled before turning back, looking down at Nikki. She was shaking, still crying, and wrapped her wings around my neck. I kissed the top of her head.

I carried her away from the platform, down the stairs, until I got the end where on a ledge, Rafi had set a made up leaf hammock. Going to it, I gently pried her off me. She wasn't willing. I set her down, kneeling, still holding her.

"Nikki. Everything's going to be okay. I have Blu and Jewel waiting at the nest. They swiped some cloth and bandages and will help you. I'm going to have to carry you in this. Rafi said you would know what it is. Everything will be okay." I said to her, pressing my forehead against hers.

I wiped a few tears away. Looking into her eyes. I saw hurt, pain, and utter terror.

"I'll protect you until I die Nikki. Please. As soon as you get back to the nest, you can lay down and everything with me." I said holding her close.

Unmoving. Then, her eyes met mine again, and she nodded. She let go, and eased into the hammock. I flew up, grabbing the top of it, and carried it off in the direction of the nest.

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