Chapter 7: Unexpected
The next morning, Alex woke up to the sound of their cage opening, and she looked up to see a man… probably one of Vaas' pirates, coming up to bring them each a cup of what looked like rice. At the sight of it, her stomach rumbled, since the last thing she ate was Kidd's roasted snake. The pirate settled the food down on the ground before coming out and locking the cage again, after which he cut off the ropes that held their wrist from outside of the cage. She grunted in pain as blood was finally able to circulate down her arm, and she rubbed her wrist.
Kidd, in the meantime, didn't seem too bothered about the ropes, and attacked his food with gusto as he sat cross-legged on the floor. "Eat up, peaches. You need your energy."
She nodded and started eating, watching the men around the camp… cleaning their weapons, walking around with provision of food (for other captives, it seems)… basically just going around minding their business. She wondered how much money it took him to give all these men the salary they would ask for, and then she thought about how much Vaas actually asks for each prisoner…
"Good morning, hermana!"
Alex nearly jumped when Vaas' voice shouted behind her, and she turned to see the pirate grinning at her. She merely scowled at him as he stood up and walked around her cage, sitting beside her again with the bamboo separating them. He plopped down, his pistol loose in one hand, before scratching the side of his head with a scar.
"You know hermana… I found a lot of things about you last night." Vaas started, before reaching behind him and, to her surprise, brought out her tablet computer. "You really very organized eh? Looking at all this…" He waved his pistol over the tablet, "All of that pendejos meetings set up, expenses and all this shit… he leaves you to take care of it, no?"
She nodded slightly, "Yes, he does."
"Okay." The pirate said simply, before glaring at her, "My boss… he wants to see you, right? But try to run… try to fucking run, hermana… and I shoot you." He clicked his tongue again and pointed her head, "Just like that huh?"
"I understand." Alex said, looking up at him, "I won't run."
The pirate scowled at her before standing up, "Okay." He called over a soldier of his that brought out a couple of chains and shackles. He looked over to Kidd, "Hey, you…" Vaas whistled, like he was calling a dog, "Old fucker. Get up, you're coming along."
Kidd rolled his eyes, "Whoop-de-fucking-doo."
Suddenly, Vaas flared up, "What did you say, fucker?!" He extended his arm and pointed the gun at Kidd, "Don't you fucking mess with me, fucker, huh? This is my fucking island and nobody… NOBODY MAKES FUN OF ME, HUH?! You BETTER be fucking grateful that I'm letting you come along, because if it weren't for me, you'd be dead! SO SHUT! THE FUCK! UP!"
Kidd merely glared at him, and Alex's heart jumped to her throat as Vaas unlocked the cage and charged at him as the older man merely looked down. Kidd was way taller than Vaas, and yet the pirate didn't seem to be fazed by his immense height as he pointed the gun at Kidd's heart.
"Or maybe I should kill you right now huh?" Vaas whispered vehemently at Kidd, "You are old, and you are FUCKING useless. Why would I need an old fucking pendejo like you, eh?"
At this, Kidd and Vaas looked over at Alex, the other looking alarmed at her, while the pirate glared at her angrily. Alex stood stock still as Vaas charged at her, his arms reaching out and his hand wrapping around her throat. His hand tightened a bit, and Alex growled a little at the pain, but she kept her hands at her side, balling into fists. Vaas brought his face closer to her, his breath hot against her cheek as he brought his pistol up against her temple. He was intimidating her, she knew it, as he sandwiched her between his body and the bamboo cage. He was warm… by the Gods, he was warm… and she felt it against her skin. She found herself welcoming the warmth he radiated, especially after spending a cold night in a cage.
"You talking to me? Are you talking to me, perra?!" Vaas whispered at her, his teeth ground in anger, "You telling me what to fucking do, huh? You're just as useless as he is. You got no fucking money. Tell me a good fucking reason not to fucking kill you."
"Because if you kill me, you don't get Nigel and Gunther's money… and believe me, it's a lot." She seethed back at him, her blue eyes looking defiantly at him, "And your boss is asking for us. Imagine his anger when he finds out you killed us. We're more useful than you think."
Vaas grinned evilly at her, "I am not afraid of my boss, perra. In fact, he can fuck himself." But he laughed suddenly and let go of her, an easy grin filling his face. "But if you think you can get the money, fine, I'll let you live… for now."
Alex let out a silent sigh of relief as Kidd closed his eyes and exhaled slowly. The older man got nervous at seeing the pirate grasp her around the neck.
Vaas mentioned at his soldier, "Okay, I'm going to chill, hermano. Chain these fuckers up and take them to the truck." He smiled at Alex, "The little princesa sits in the front, okay? So I can shoot her in the skull if she runs. You guard the old fucker, okay?"
The man nodded and went forward to Kidd, seeing him as the larger threat. He chained Kidd on his wrists and his ankles, before coming forward to Alex. Vaas was watching her, so she raised her wrists to the man while glaring defiantly at him. He watched as his soldier chained her wrists, and she raised each foot to get them chained as well. When the soldier was done, Vaas' lips lifted into a smirk before he walked away, disappearing into the camp.
The soldier grasped her arm and pushed her out of the cage, and two more soldiers flanked Kidd as they walked out. The man's grip was tight against her arm, but she resisted the urge to shrug it off, since all the men around them were armed to the teeth with weapons.
As they walked through the camp, she took a look around. The camp had several bamboo cages like theirs, but some were elevated. All of them held prisoners, which included a several teenagers. She lowered her gaze as she passed them, making sure that the pity in her eyes can't be seen by Vaas.
The men were looking at her… leering at her even, as she walked past. Some of them wolf-whistled, others licking their lips hungrily, while one made an obscene gesture of grabbing his crotch and rubbing it with his hand, before wiggling his middle and ring finger at her. She looked up at Kidd, who had remained silent, but was looking around like her. At her glance, he looked down, and nodded assuredly. She took a deep breath and steeled herself as they walked on.
The men brought them in front of a Jeep, with a gun mounted on its top, with Vaas leaning casually on the hood, his legs crossed as he drew on a cigar. He turned his head and saw them, before mentioning towards the back. The men guarding Kidd pushing him roughly towards the back, while Vaas came forward and grabbed her arm, bringing her to the passenger door.
He opened the door and mentioned her to go in, and she sat down before Vaas slammed the door closed. The men and Kidd were settled in the back, and Vaas opened the driver's side and plopped down on it, turning the ignition and driving off. The truck's sound system started blaring out Guns and Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle"… and she huffed out at how appropriate it was.
"Where are you taking us?" Alex said her body a little tense, but she breathed out and inched closer to the door.
"Weren't you listening to me, perra?" Vaas said as he continued driving, the smooth ground from the camp now turning into a rough ride through the jungle path. She clung on to the dashboard as the jeep bounced around, while the pirate didn't seem to mind. "My boss wants to talk to you. I don't know what the fuck he wants a couple of rejects for, but that's his fucking business."
Alex merely nodded as she continued to jiggle around the jeep, when suddenly, Vaas drove the jeep into a big pothole, making her bounce up her seat before jolting to the side, her left shoulder colliding into Vaas' right arm. Without missing a beat, Vaas' arm wrapped around her shoulder, holding her tightly against his side, and he laughed.
"This is kinda romantic, no?" He said, grinning, as Alex tried to push away from him, but seeing that he still held his pistol, she stopped. "A drive through the jungle… you and me in the front… too bad we got a bunch of fuckers in the back." He laughed again, "Maybe some other time eh? When everything's more… private."
Vaas grabbed her head, pulling on her hair to make her flinch, and brought her hair to his face. He inhaled deeply, before pushing her back to her side of the seat. She looked up to see that Vaas looking a little… strange, as he stared out the windshield.
"What's wrong?" She mumbled.
Vaas grunted before saying softly, "Your hair smells like fucking flowers."
Alex blinked. Did Vaas just compliment her? She didn't know, since the scowl on his face was more like a look of annoyance rather than admiration. She balled herself up, hugging her knees on the seat, as she stared out the windshield, too.
Vaas drove fast and rough through the forest, with Alex watching the greenery pass by, before reaching a much smoother dirt road into what looked like a heavily fortified camp. Unlike Vaas' camp, the place was more organized, and the men were better protected, wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests. She remained silent by Vaas' side as he entered the compound with the jeep, before stopping at one of the tents.
Vaas got out of the driver's seat just as the two men dragged Kidd off the back. The pirate turned and opened the door for her, and she scrambled out since her movements were hindered by the chains and shackles. He took her arm, his grip surprisingly gentle, as he helped her into the tents. The two other pirates pushed Kidd to follow, and Vaas opened up the flap to let them in.
Alex blinked as she entered, surprised that the inside of the tent was furnished with a carpet, and the table was neat in the center of it. The chair behind the table turned, showing a man with slightly graying hair, a stern face, a red button shirt, gray slacks and a matching gray jacket over it.
"Well, I'll be God-damned… Hoyt Volker."
Alex turned around to see Kidd staring at the man, before his face split into a huge grin. "Hoyt 'The Kingslayer' Volker. Never thought I'd ever see you alive, you fucker."
The man with gray hair blinked as he looked up at Kidd, his face also splitting into a smile, " 'The Kidd' Humphrey. My God, you got fat, you bastard."