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The subordinates jumped in fright while Maia snorted to herself.
"A bit of wind scares you, huh?" She commented, "I guess whoever gave this job order is scarier?"
She hoped they would take the bait.
"The Nocti aren't to be messed with, missy" a subordinate answered, mindlessly. Maia's eyes lit up. Oh, this felt too easy. The people next to the subordinate elbowed him in the ribs, even the gra.s.s-head turned towards him to glare. His face turned white as a sheet.
"You mean, the devils of the night?" Maia continued to ask, "What do they want with the Crown Prince? That's a crime against the crown! Do you really believe these people don't have bad intentions with nicknames like devils of the night? They'd commit treason against Teralyn and by making you their dirty work, you are their cannon fodders!"
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All the subordinates, who had turned to their leader, faced Maia once again. Their leader growled deep in his chest, realizing the girl had been testing his subordinates loyalty. Who did she think she was?
His nostrils flared up, "What do you know, peasant?"
Maia acted taken aback by his sudden demeanor. Well, he certainly sounded like a sore loser. She figured that gra.s.s-head wouldn't take the next events well.
Tilting her head, Maia said, "Didn't I tell you I'm in a relationship with Rash?"
Just then, a gla.s.s shattered and intercepted the conversation. The only window of the barn broke and fell onto the hay. All the people inside—except for Maia—glanced over it. A figure landed on the pieces of broken gla.s.s and blended with the shadows of the barely lit barn.
Maia's pearly white teeth glistened, "Perfect timing."
She stood up and flipped the chair overhead. The rope around her body slid off to the ground. The chair flew smoothly, hitting a subordinate. She crouched to the ground and swept her leg against the leader's feet. He grunted at the attack and fell backwards.
Maia immediately pulled out a dart from her hair tie around her ponytail. To the ordinary eye, they looked like pins with embedded beads but to anyone in her circle, they knew the pins actually had sleep paralysis potions in them—enough for one man each.
Ripping off its protective cover, she shot it at the bulging vein of the leader's elbow crease
She only had time to wink at him before his wide eyes closed, "Night, night."
One clean battle, exactly how she liked it.
Maia turned towards the main scene where Raz battled the rest of them. There had been 6 subordinates. Raz swapped swords with 5 while the last one laid unconscious. She pulled out another dart and aimed it at her previous chair victim—just to be on the safe side.
A subordinate decided to run while the others distracted Raz but Maia didn't let him go. Before he could even step a foot out the door, her dart already hit his neck.
Maia watched the others get eliminated. Contrary to the Rash of the Sea's reputation, Raz never went for the kill unless necessary. One subordinate after another fell to the floor and Maia's darts were there to pick them all while in mid-air.
One clean rescue, precisely how they liked it.
Raz leaped over the fallen bodies and immediately went to Maia's side. She crouched and checked for any injuries the redhead might be hiding..
"I'm fine, Raz" Maia laughed, "I'm a healer remember?"
"Yes, I know but you also don't look after yourself enough, remember?"
Maia scoffed, "Smarta.s.s."
"You know you love me" Raz winked at her. When she couldn't find a wound or injury on Maia, she sighed in relief, straightening up her spine. She a.s.sessed the kidnappers. One of them looked familiar to her. The mole near his mouth was hard to forget.
"Beasley," she breathed out. She bent her knees into a squat, her bottom almost hitting her ankles. The man did not age well.
"Who? Gra.s.s-head?" Maia asked, stepping behind Raz, "What kind of name is Beasley?"
"Scrooge and I had a run in with their group before" Raz explained, "He had more brains than average. Sadly, he didn't know how to use them."
She rose to her feet and headed for the exit. Hopefully, the Prince had already woken up. His injuries had been minimal so he'd still be able to move. Maia's potion only gave them enough time to read the farmhouse. From there, it would be a race to evade their enemies.
"What did they want?" Raz asked, her eyes on the forest ahead. She could hear Maia's footsteps following her. She preferred to put her weight on the soles of her feet rather than the heels. They sounded softer but a bit scratchy.
"It's more than that, Raz, the Nocti—"
"—are following us."
Maia stopped walking, "Yeah—wait you knew?"
Raz scanned the area, her ears listening to the crickets and her eyes adjusting to the darkness. She had eliminated anyone she considered a threat on her way. Yet, the night held a lot of mysteries. It wouldn't be a surprise if a new enemy stood by.
When she felt satisfied, she gave Maia a smug smile over her shoulder, "Of course, how else can I keep you safe if I can't keep eyes on our enemies?"
"You should have said so!" Maia huffed while Raz chuckled. The Nocti weren't to be taken likely. They had been part of the trade far earlier than the Phantom Pirates. Needless to say, they held bitter feelings for a group that overthrew them from the top.
Still, the redhead remained in place. She crossed her arms over her chest. The valuable information she worked hard to obtain turned out to be old news.
Raz turned towards her. The playful smirk still on her face. She walked to Maia's right side, wrapping an arm around the redhead's shoulder, "Ah, please, Maia. You and I know the Nocti are nothing compared to Scrooge."
"You think he'd come after us?" Maia shivered at the mention of his name. The heavens knew how many times that blasted stingy sergeant scolded her. She had no doubt that the same blasted stingy sergeant would punish them more than their captain would.
Raz pressed her lips together, pretending to think, "Scrooge who always follows the rules? Yes, I believe so."
They began to march back to their companions. At least, if they went down, they'll go down together.
"We should have some cookies ready to appease him then."
Raz merely smiled, shaking her head. Only Maia could think optimistically about their situation.