Leader (Part 3)Mature

Zane shook his hand, sending the last frozen pieces of the bandit's guts onto the ground. To be honest, he was a little disturbed by the sight of these men with their shattered bodies. When he had fought those men in Tav, the darkness had hid most of the gore from view. Here, on the open plains, they were uncomfortably visible. 

He sighed. It wasn't like he cared about killing these bandits, though. They had attacked him and that filthy companion of his. Sands, he wondered if they had actually managed to kill her? He had lost sight of her in the midst of fighting. Had it not been for his extensive training for the last ten years, Zane wasn't sure he would have survived this. Parts of his clothing had been singed from the enemy's Flame and his cloak had been shred to pieces from some Mineral user. 

"Hey there!" Oh sands no. Zane had hoped she had been killed. Almost. "I see you got hit. It's actually adorable, so I'll forgive you." 

Zane turned to where Thorn stood. Sadly - and he really was sad about it - she didn't look to be injured anywhere. Unscarred Creator, was it too much to ask to make her get a little scratch? Something he could use against this filth?! 

"They surrounded me," Zane said calmly, his anger sated for the time being, "I tend to ignore my clothing so long as I can survive." Despite the fighting having been a great stress relief, he still wanted to call her something. Filth was looking insufficient lately to properly describe how he felt.

"Maybe you can find a nifty new word in Silverbow, sweetie," Thorn said with a smile. Damn woman. She bent down to a bandit and pulled a small bag that gave off the sound of monetary orbs. From the size, it was probably a payment. Most bandits, according to the books and reports Zane had read, left all their money in their bases.

"They were probably payed to attack us," Zane said, trying to ignore the woman and her stupid grin. "And they were in a hurry."

"Well done! You would look cute in an Investigator Suit!" Thorn giggled a little, but continued before Zane could retort to her stupid comment. "Anyway, that's right. I'm surprised you read books on bandits, though. Looking to be a bad boy?"

Zane gritted his teeth. Be nice, Zane. She was trying to get him angry. "I read about them to discover how they fight," Zane explained calmly. He leaned down to the last bandit he killed and began sifting through his belongings. From the power of this one's Mystics, he was probably the leader. Maybe something would explain this attack. "If you learn how everyone fights and know how to counteract it, then you will never lose."

A giggle escaped Thorn. An annoying one, though that described all her sounds. "I beat you, remember? It was so cute, the way you-"

Zane threw a knife he salvaged from the bandit and hit the ground right beside where Thorn sat smiling. "I was unprepared. It will not happen again, you damn filth."

As if fanning the flames to his anger, Thorn simply smiled and pocketed the knife in the ground. Where did she keep those damn blades in that tight leather? 

"You know, sweetie," Thorn said, "It's adorable how you think you can take me on." She stood and walked a little ways off, observing the many bodies Zane had shattered into pieces. "Anyway, these men were hired to get a beautiful girl like me." She winked. Filth.

"What makes you think they would want a woman who can't even cook?" 

Thorn's smile faltered very slightly, but she regained it. A few days prior, she had tried to cook some animal called a rabbit for them. It had been half burnt when she was done. Zane was no cook, but he knew that was worse than most men cooked, let alone women. "I like my meat burnt, unlike some people," she said defensively. "And I thought it would befit a boy from the sandbox." 

Zane cursed softly. "Why were they after you?" Change the subject before she latched onto something else to use against him. Sands, he wanted Arch so he could get away from her! Show up, stupid sandreaver! Just pop up so Zane could go back to Faerein!

A few steps took Thorn to another bandit. She pulled a money pouch full of orbs and looked inside. "Well, from what I read and these orbs being gold and copper. Not even a hint of silver. They were trying to get powerful Mystics users for a shady group in masks."

Masks? "Did you read anything else with that pesky mind of yours?" Zane asked, standing up and pocketing a second knife without thinking. "Anything that could lead us to them?"

Thorn looked thoughtful. She was obviously reading his mind at the moment. She knew what he was thinking. "I think you may be right. Your cute little brother was a talented Air user, so they might have taken him." She twirled and smiled at Zane. "See? I make everything easier!"

Zane grunted. "So, where were they hired?"

"I don't know," the woman said with a stupid singing tone. "But we know they were masked."

"I see." Sands! That was about as useful as her damn singing! Why was she excited about that? 

Thorn started walking. "Well, lets be off to Silverbow. If we can't find anything there, we can head on to Arena City. Those masked men might run one of the underground fighting groups."

"So, essentially the only thing we have learned is that the men who took Arch is that they wear... masks?" Thorn nodded and kept strolling on like a damn lady after her first night of marriage. "Sands, woman! You're about as useful as a thin wall in a sandstorm!"

"Aww, don't be like that! It's not very adorable, like you usually are." She laughed and continued on like a leader or something. 

'I swear,' Zane thought, 'I will find ONE DAMN THING to use on this woman if it kills me!'

The End

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