“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Christian taunted, “How can you consider that a fair match?”
“She brought it on herself,” the sentinel said. He turned to face Christian with his sword at hand. He lurched forward, the point of his scimitar targeted Christian’s chest. Christian jumped aside and with the blunt edge of the sword hit the sentinel on the back. The sentinel fell on the ground and didn’t rise again. There was a dent in the back of the armor.
Aimee gasped, her chest heaving with relief mixed with fear.
Christian walked to her, “are you okay?” he asked, examining her blood-stained sleeves, “did he hurt you?”
“No, these were not made by him,” she said, happy to have Christian here with her. She loved how his blue eyes were regarding her with concern. “Thank you very much, it was fortunate to have you here.”
Christian smiled at her ruefully, “how did you ended up here?”
“Long story, I’ll tell you later,” she pushed past him and hurried to Adela and Pablo. They were now standing, waiting for her with watery smiles of gratitude.
“Thank you so much,” Adela exclaimed, bowing and curtsying.
Aimee took her by the hand, “please, you don’t need to do that. Are both of you okay?”
Adela sniffed and nodded, “I’m sorry we cannot express or gratitude properly, but we need to run now. I fear more sentinels are looking for us.” Her words were shattered with tears and sobs.
Christian joined Aimee, both of them exchanged glances. Aimee bit her lip, imploring the skies she was making the right decision. “My name is Aimee, and this is Christian,” she touched Christian’s arm lightly. The mere touch sent electricity coursing her body. “What are your names?”
“My name is Adela,” she said, “and he is my little brother, Pablo.”
“Would you like to come with us?” Aimee finally asked, “To my house? You’d be guests there, safe.”
Adela collapsed in Aimee’s arm, sobbing and thanking her over and over again.
Daniel was the first to spot Aimee walking in the dock; she was in a far worse condition than him. He rushed to her and took her by the shoulder, hugging her. “I’m so happy you made it through, for a moment I thought I lost you. What happened?” He looked at Aimee in the face, and then saw that she had company. Christian was standing there, carrying a sleeping boy on his back, and another girl, covering her head with a shawl. “Hey Christian. What is going on, Aimee?”
“I will tell you inside the ship,” she whispered, “is dad with you?”
Daniel smirked, “yes he is, and he is playing knife-thrower.”
All the party stepped inside the Chaser. Joseph was ranting about obedience and how they could have died during the cleansing raid. Daniel told what had happened to him and Aimee told her story. “Luckily for us, Christian appeared and fended off the sentinel.”
“That was very brave of you, Christian,” Joseph thanked him. “So, if I understand correctly, Adela and Pablo are slaves escaping their former imprisonment?”
Aimee nodded, “they don’t have anywhere to go. Can we please house them, dad? It can be temporary, until we’ve solve this.”
Joseph regarded Adela and the sleeping Paul with interest, “You’re right. They can stay for now, but we still have to figure out what will happen later. Slaves are like property, and in the Trade laws, we’re stealing.”
Adela and Aimee thanked him abundantly. Then, the Wilkers and Christian let the two siblings sleep and rest.
“I cannot believe people receive this kind of treatment,” Daniel said indignantly. He also had fought his way out of the raid; conveniently he had found a sword.
“There are worse treatments,” Christian said, “these last few days, the trafficking of slaves became very common. They’re tattooed and forced to walk around with that collar, identifying them as property of certain people.”
“What were you doing Christian, before you saved us?” Aimee asked.
“I just delivered some swords,” Christian answered, “I was on the road across the alley where you were. I saw the sentinel running and you running after him, I knew something was going on.”
Joseph nodded, “we’re leaving now. Do you need a ride home?”
Christian shook his head, “Thank you Mr. Wilker, but I’m returning with Rathor when we’re done here. Lately, we’ve been commissioned large numbers swords.”
“I can imagine the reasons,” Joseph said, “well, be safe for what’s left of the day.”
“Thank you, you too,” he said. Aimee walked with him to the rope ladder. She made sure her father and brother weren’t looking, and she leaned on him to kiss his cheek lightly.
After the small kiss, Aimee’s cheeks were burning. Christian was smiling at her pleasantly, his blue eyes and endearing smile deeply imprinted in her heart. “Thank you Christian,” Aimee whispered, his name rolled off her tongue pleasingly.
“Be safe,” he told her before climbing down. Aimee waved at him before rolling up the rope ladder, and walked back to Daniel, who was now maneuvering theChaserout of the dock.
“I saw that,” he teased.
Aimee blushed, “what?” she stammered.
“You like him.”
“No, I don’t!”
“Mhm,” he rolled his eyes, “I am not say it’s a bad thing. Christian is a good sort of guy. I was half hoping you two would end up together, but knowing your backward social skills, that would’ve taken long to happen. I admit I was wrong.”
“Can we not talk of this?” Aimee said flustered, “you have no idea what you’re saying.” Daniel shrugged. However, Aimee hoped that what he said was real.