~The Life After~

Alex let out a jaded sigh of relief when the girl finally stopped struggling and fell limp in his arms. This day had not started out nearly as well as he had planned. Borris was seriously wounded, and the stranger was dead… all to rescue a girl who claimed she didn’t want to be. If it hadn’t been for the bruising to her neck and the guilt on the stranger’s face, Alex would have left her with him. If she’d just gone willingly, no one need have been hurt at all, but she had fought so hard to stay… until Alex’s hand had been forced. He hoped it was worth it.

Chink looked like he was doubting the same thing as he rubbed the back of his chainmailed head gingerly. “Ow! I’ve ne’er seen a girl fight so ‘ard to stay with such a villain.”
Alex shook his head. “I don’t think he was a villain in her eyes, Chink. At least not today. Today, we are the bad guys.”

There was a huff from his friend that he understood without need for words but Chink growled them out anyway. “You seen what ‘e done to Borris! I swears, if that cur hadn’t fallen in the fire, I would ‘ave torn ‘im limb from limb!” Alex shifted the weight of the girl to his left arm so he could put his hand on Chink’s shaking shoulders. The big man’s face was screwed up in a scowl, moisture welling in his eyes that threatened to crumple his pride. “If Borris don’t… if he…” Unable to finish voicing that Borris might not make it, he hardened his features with fresh anger and snarled the end of his threat. ”I’m gunna track down ‘is wretched spirit an’ do it anyway!”

Alex tried to reassure his friend, “Don’t worry; Borris is strong and the knife hit nothing vital or he wouldn’t have been able to ride out of here. Nivia will see to him when they arrive. I know how stubborn my brother is. Too tough to kill. He’ll be just fine.” Chink nodded, satisfied in Alex’s confidence but in truth, the rhetoric was for more than Chink’s sake. If Alex could convince himself that his words were true he might just make it to Nivia’s without becoming hysterical.

“What do we do with her now?”

“Grab their packs. We’re taking her with us to Nivia. Perhaps the old woman can convince her it was for the best.” Because heaven knew he’d had no luck of it.

The End

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