The side door was locked. Of course it was. Frustration coursed through Beatrix, and she aimed a kick at a stray dandelion.

‘We can’t get in,’ she muttered.

Moll grinned. ‘Oh yes we can. Come on, Larkey, show Beatrix how it’s done!’

A small girl who looked barely ten slipped forwards, pulling a small metal object from her pocket as she did so. Beatrix couldn’t help but watch in fascination as Larkey fiddled with the lock on the door.

‘Found her on the streets of the capital,’ Moll whispered into Beatrix’s ear. ‘Best pickpocket I’ve ever seen.’

The door swung open. Beatrix blinked in surprise, but said nothing as she led everyone into the deserted courtyard. She could hear shouts and laughter coming from the bowels of the fortress, but where did that mean they should avoid?

‘Let’s split up,’ she suggested as the outlaws filed in behind her. ‘Rhea, Larkey: you take the cells. Ridley, Gideon: think you can handle any rogue guardsmen? Jaques and Moll, you come with me. I expect Keiran’s being kept somewhere safe, away from the other prisoners. Don’t take any unnecessary risks. We want to be in and out here. If there are bodies lying around, we’ll never escape.’

‘We’re not kids, Beatrix. We’ve done this before.’

Beatrix smiled weakly. ‘I know you have. It’s me I’m worried about.’

‘You’ll be fine! Just do as I do,’ Jaques grinned, and Rhea laughed quietly.

‘Let’s go,’ she said.

And in a moment, they were gone.

The End

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