A/N: Hey all! I know I should be working on "Trust Me", but this idea just struck so suddenly the other day and I had to start writing. Of course, I'd still be working on my other story because that's still my priority. But I like this story too, even if it's somehow uh...less to "Trust Me." Again, this story is set in medieval/olden day times.
Anyways, enjoy and R/R.
A Defense Defect
Chapter 1 – The Chase
I could hear their footsteps pounding on the undergrowth behind me. The incessant sound surrounded me, forcing me to run faster. Damn my stupid legs. Why couldn't they work just that little bit faster? If I keep running at this rate, they're bound to catch me.
I was so tired. I had escaped from their prisons over an hour ago and yet they were still chasing me. Didn't those stupid goons know when to give up? If I were just some normal prisoner, they would probably have given up chasing after a few minutes, but I wasn't. So after an hour of running, they were still hot on my trail. My legs ached and cried out for me to take pity on them, but pure fear kept me running. Fear of what they'd do to me if I got caught. No, I'd have to keep running.
"Gotcha!" A hand shot out of nowhere and grabbed my arm.
"AHHHHHH!" I was certain my scream echoed throughout the whole forest. I was doomed!
"Come on now. Let's go back to camp so I can punish you for your attempted escape." He tugged at my captured arm and I cried out in pain at the force he used.
"No! Let me go you stupid buffoon!" I tugged in the opposite direction he was pulling me towards. I could NOT let him drag me back to that prison hole! Not after all my efforts trying to escape that horrid place.
I finally came out of my shock to remember that I had a dagger hidden somewhere in my clothes. If I could just find it... My unhampered arm fumbled around for my dagger and I grinned in victory as I finally clasped the hilt. Found it!
With a triumphant yell, I swung it at my attacker. It barely nicked his face but it was enough. With a scream of pain, he released my arm. And that was all I needed. I sprinted off again – or at least, I tried to.
"You're not getting off that easy," he sneered. Somehow, he had managed to grab a hold of my arm again. Stupid STUPID man. He should've just let me run away. But no, he had to be a stubborn ass and now he was going to face my wrath.
Gathering all the sword skills I had learnt back home, I sent my elbow into his face. The crack of cartilage made me smile in satisfaction, but I wasn't finished with him yet. Regaining a firmer grip on my dagger, I lunged towards him and brought it down with all the strength I could muster. Sure, I wasn't exactly tall or very muscular, but hell, I had the determination and that's all that mattered really. The dagger plunged into his chest, causing his blood to splatter onto my tunic and face. Yuk! Now I was contaminated with his foul blood.
"She's over there!" Oh no! The rest of them were catching up! Glaring at the unconscious man that had wasted my precious time, I set off at a run again. I could handle one man at a time, but ten or so men? No way in hell I could fight my way out. I knew my limits. After all, I had only learnt the basics of combat.
Damn those stupid lords. Didn't they know talent when they see it? So I didn't exactly win the tournament, but hey, I came second. Isn't second just as good as being first? Unfortunately for me, second place didn't deserve recognition. Second place only received a measly prize compared to what the first place got.
I picked up my pace in my anger and heard the prize money tinkling from under my belt. If I had just come first, that money would've been doubled. Arg! The frustration of it all! I silently made a vow to myself. If I ever met that stupid first-place guy again, I will decapitate him for stealing MY glory.
The sounds of shouts caught my attention. Wondering what all the commotion was about, I crept closer to the source of the sounds...only to be barreled over by a clumsy person. "What the -" I found myself gazing into heavenly blue.
At the rate I was faring, I knew that it was only a matter of time before they caught me. They may be ugly and fat, but they weren't paid for nothing. But I couldn't give up. I had to get back home. Looking behind me to see how far ahead I was, I found myself tumbling over something. Instinct made me close my eyes to brace myself for the impact, but it never came.
Hmm...this didn't feel like hard dirt ground. It was softer, warmer – "What the-" It talked!
My eyes flicked open in surprise and I found myself gazing into a pair of the most magnificent green eyes. For a moment, I let myself get lost within those emerald depths but more shouts from my captors brought me out of my reverie. There are people out for your life and all you can do is stare into a pair of green eyes? I can be very very VERY stupid sometimes. It was only then that I finally noticed my position. With a squeak and a mumbled apology, I shot up off of whoever the person was.
It was a man. A very handsome man if I may say so. I mentally slapped myself for thinking such thoughts at a time like this. But it wasn't my fault if my brain was wired the way it was. As he languidly got up, I let my eyes trail over his brown hair and onto his face. Even though his face was smudged with dirt, I could see his well formed facial features. I let my gaze fall lower and appreciated his built body. Again, I felt my breath catch in my throat. Very nice. My gaze trailed lower again... AHH! No, do NOT look down there. I quickly brought my gaze back to his face and found him looking at me inquisitively.
I felt my face grow hot. Please don't tell me he was watching me while I was appreciating his bodily assets. I had to say something to distract him. "What're you doing here?" I blurted. As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it. Real smooth Kari. Real smooth.
"What're you doing here?" At first, I had been entranced by her eyes. I had never seen such calm pools of blue before. Such eyes could only belong to an angel I concluded. But as soon as she spoke, I realised with a sinking heart that she was no angel. Her rough voice was not melodious at all and the murderous look she was giving me wasn't exactly very angel-like either.
"Ah, finally the savage speaks."
If possible, her glare turned fiercer. "Excuse me?" she spluttered.
"Lady, if you could be called one in the state that you're in, I believe you barreled into me first. I should be asking you what you're doing here."
"That's none of your business," she snapped. The shouts rang out louder than ever and it was only then I heard what they were shouting. "Quick, she can't be far." I quirked an eyebrow. So, this little lady was being chased eh? I could just smell another job coming my way.
The girl paled and tried to push me out of her way. "I have to go."
But I wasn't going to let her go that easily. I grabbed her arm and she looked up at me in alarm.
"Allow me the privilege to protect you my lady." I was never one to beat about the bush.
As soon as he grabbed my arm, panic flooded through me. He couldn't be with them right? But then he spoke and all my thoughts went flying. What? He wanted to protect me? This had to be his idea of a joke.
I glared at him. "If I recall, you were calling me a savage earlier."
He immediately looked apologetic. "My mistake," was all he offered.
"Quick, she's over there!" Again, the voices brought me back to reality. There were people out to kill me and I was conversing calmly with this freak? Kari, please get a hold of yourself. "Look, just let me go okay? They're going to catch me!" I worked so hard to get this far and now everything was in ruins because of this man. I struggled against him but he kept his grip on me.
"Lady, just stick with me and I will protect you."
"No!" I screamed, struggling harder to get away. "You're not strong enough. There are at least ten men out there. There's no way you can win against all of them." I gasped in horror as I saw the first goon step into view. His smile revealed all the things he would do to me once I was taken back. With a moan of despair, I let myself go limp within my captor's arms. Game over.
"Come on young man. Hand her over. You have no use for her."
"Over my dead body you scum."
The leader growled. "I said hand her over boy or that can be arranged."
He laughed. "You fat blobs think you can win me in a fight? This girl is staying with me and if you want her, you'll have to fight for her." He turned to me and winked. "After all, that's the only way to win a lady's heart."
I merely looked away. That stupid man was going to get killed and because of him, so was I. In case he hadn't noticed, my pursuers were warriors. They were bigger, stronger and they had more experience than him. What made him think he would win? The sheer arrogance and stupidity of that man made me want to go over and choke him. But I refrained. Might as well live the last few minutes of my freedom without violence.
The men all attacked at once and the boy unsheathed his sword. It reflected the sun's rays and shone with brilliance. My mouth gaped open in surprise. Where did that come from? I didn't know he had a sword.
I watched in stunned silence as he took care of his opponents one by one. I watched him deftly swing his weapon with ease and skill. Another man fell at his feet, moaning in pain and another leapt up to attack him. He easily sidestepped the attack and brought his sword down in a neat arc. Immediately, the man crumpled beside his companion. Soon, all the men that were after me were on the ground, groaning and moaning in pain.
The boy re-sheathed his sword and looked at me with a smirk on his face. "See, I said I would protect you."
I could only stare at him with new reverence.
He frowned at me and crouched down beside my crumpled form. "Hello? You're not dead are you?"
"Of course not!" I snapped. All feelings of respect were once again replaced by annoyance and frustration. How in the world did I get stuck with this insufferable git?
"So, you'll let me protect you?"
I considered the question seriously for a moment. Obviously, this man wasn't joking when he said he had skill. I turned to look at the fallen bodies. But if I accepted his protection, it would mean that I would have to stay with him until I returned home. I didn't think I could cope with that. I didn't want to go home, only to turn out insane because of him. But, home was still a long way away and who knew what other dangers lurked around. I weighed up the pros and cons and grudgingly accepted.
"Okay then. I guess I can allow you to protect me."
The man smiled. "Good. I charge 80 silvers a day."
My eyes nearly popped out of my sockets and I swear I heard my jaw drop to the ground. "80 silvers a day? 80 silvers a day? You are actually charging me for your protection? I thought it was a service offered in kindness."
The man snorted. "I don't do all that chivalry bullshit. I only do things for money. Do you know how expensive it is to life my lifestyle? I need top quality inns, top quality food, top quality weapons...top quality everything basically." Now he was looking at me pensively. "And how do you expect me to keep up this standard of living if I don't get paid for my services?"
I looked around for a rock I could throw at this man. The nerve of him. "Fine then. I can't afford to pay for your stupid services so why don't you just leave me alone now?" I angrily got up off the floor and dusted myself. I still couldn't believe I considered his offer to protect me. What happened to good old independence?
"In case you don't know, I take credit as well. You can pay me later once you have enough money."
"Forget it!" I angrily snapped. I was not prepared to pay some lousy idiot that much money to protect me.
"How about 50 silvers a day then?"
"I said forget it!" I didn't need his stupid help. I didn't need anyone's help. It was my own fault I got into this mess and I was going to get myself out of it.
As I angrily stomped past him, a sudden wave of fatigue washed over me and I felt my legs tremble.
"Hey, are you alright?" A pair of arms wound around my waist to steady me and I angrily beat them away. Hadn't he left already? I thought I told him to get lost.
"Just leave me alone!"
I tried to continue walking but I didn't get far before my vision blurred and my legs totally gave way. The last thing I felt were a pair of arms catching me before my head impacted the dirt floor.