Arc The Lad Fan Fiction ❯ Aftermath ❯ Chapter 23 ( Chapter 23 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 23


It was finally time to go after Darc much to Kharg's relief. The last couple days had seemed to drag on forever. He watched from the table as Adrienne, Stalker and Alisha made the final preparations.

They would leave at dusk, so the darkness would give them some cover. Both Stalker and Alisha had superior night vision, so they would lead the way.

Kharg shifted the sword strapped to his back into a more comfortable position. The spare blade was for Darc, since his had been lost. Kharg just hoped his twin would be in the shape to use it.

Alisha came to Kharg's side and touched his arm. "We're ready to go now and it's dark enough."

"Good." Kharg stood up. "Let' go get Darc out of there." He followed them from the house. He was pleased to see the moon was covered by thick clouds. It would give them cover.

They walked along the road Kharg and Darc had traveled what seemed like ages ago without saying much. They had to leave the road three times and hide to avoid patrols of guards.

Eventually Alisha fell in step beside Kharg. "We're almost there, the road branches right up there. We take the branch and that leads us to Master Devon's place."

Kharg nodded, peering through the dark. "Is that it?" He pointed.

Alisha smiled. "So you have better night vision than a Human yourself, that's good. It might be useful."

They walked on in silence then suddenly Stalker signaled for them to stop. "Guards," he whispered.

Sure enough two men stood at the branch. It looked like they hadn't been noticed yet. They quickly took cover in the woods.

Adrienne winked at Kharg. "You and I are going to create a distraction so Alisha and Stalker can take care of the guards." She took out a flask and opened it.

Kharg wrinkled his nose. "Alcohol? What is that for?"

Adrienne's smile was filled with mischief. "This." She splashed half the flask's contents on Kharg's shirt then on her own.

"Hey!" Kharg protested, remembering to keep his voice down at the last minute. "Why did you do that?"

Adrienne shoved the flask into his hand. "For effect, we're going to walk right up the road as obviously as possible, just a couple drunken lovers out for a little tryst."

Kharg frowned. "But if that's the case shouldn't we be coming from town?"

Adrienne winked. "There are houses off this road, so we could be coming from any one of them. Just follow my lead." She led Kharg back out onto the road. Wrapping her arm around Kharg's waist, she staggered forward.

That made it easy for Kharg to stagger right along with her, still clutching the flask.

"Sing something, loud and off key, slur the words if you can. If you know something bawdy that would be even better," Adrienne whispered.

Kharg actually did know something bawdy. He'd heard it for some of the defense corps. He smiled faintly, remembering how horrified his mother had been. He began singing it as loudly as possible.

Adrienne winced. "That's disgusting, perfect. Keep singing."

The guards both turned towards them as they approached, looking torn between annoyance and amusement.

Adrienne blinked and peered at them as if she was having trouble focusing. "Oh, hello! Isn't it a nice night." She giggled.

Since she hadn't hinted for him to stop Kharg kept singing.

Adrienne looked at him. "Shush, dear, I'm talking to these handsome gentlemen." She gave him a forceful push.

Kharg got the idea. He let himself topple to the ground in a graceless sprawl, flask flying from his hand, song stopped in mid word. "Hey, whatcha 'hink ya're doin' w'man?" He tried to get up then began crawling around like he was trying to find the dropped flask. "I wanna r'fill th't."

Adrienne sighed. "Forgive my fiancé, he can't handle his alcohol." She took a step towards one of the guards then stumbled and fell into him. "Whoops! Sorry!" she giggled. She peered up at him. "You're strong, I like that."

The guards exchanged lewd smirks and the guard holding Adrienne groped her left buttock.

Adrienne's first impulse was to slap the guard so hard his teeth rattled. Instead she squealed and pulled away. Whirling, she swung at the empty air behind her. "Hands off, I'm not that kind of girl!" She allowed the force of the swing send her spinning to the ground.

Meanwhile Kharg had retrieved the flask and was sitting on the ground laughing. He was trying to look it was drunken laughter, but he was actually laughing at Adrienne's performance.

Adrienne sat up and giggled. "Where’d he go? I think I missed him!"

The guards looked at each other then stepped forward to help her up.

Just as they did Stalker came up behind them and grabbed them by the scruff of their necks. He slammed their heads together then let them fall to the ground, unconscious. He and Alisha bound their hands and gagged them then hid them in the bushes.

Once they were done Alisha turned to regard Kharg and Adrienne who were still sitting on the ground laughing. "Are you two enjoying yourselves?"

Finally Kharg got himself under control and stood up. "Sorry, but the whole thing was just to funny. You were great, Adrienne."

Adrienne smiled and allowed Stalker to help her up. "Thanks, you weren't bad yourself."

Stalker glared, teeth bared, at the bushes where they'd stashed the guards. "By Lupine law I should kill that bastard for daring to touch my mate."

Adrienne took his arm and gently drew him away. "If you kill him than they'll never stop hunting us. Kharg's brother needs us. Let's go help Darc."

Stalker growled deep in his throat, but he allowed Adrienne to lead him away. "Alright, let's go."

Alisha took the lead. "We should stay in the woods just in case a patrol comes along. It probably won't happen, but there's no reason to take chances."

The others agreed it was a wise idea, so they entered the forest and moved parallel to the road. Luck was with them and they saw no patrols or guards going to replace the two they'd disposed of.

Kharg was startled when he saw the clearing where Devon's estate was. "There's no wall?"

Alisha shook her head. "There's guards and the Deimos brought here are kept locked up most of the time and when they aren't they're shackled, anyway, where can they go? If they try to run they'll be hunted down."

Kharg frowned. "Then it doesn't matter that we didn't kill that guard. They'll still come after us when we take Darc."

Adrienne nodded. "Yes, but not as determinedly as they would if someone was killed." She pointed to one of the buildings. “That’s where newly caught slaves are kept, Darc’s probably there.”

"Right." Kharg looked around and frowned. "Is it me or is there a lot less guards around then there should be?"

"It's not you." Adrienne peered around. "That's why I made you wait. Weapons Master, Captain Erik is a veteran soldier who retired and took service here. He's very strict and a hard taskmaster."

Alisha nodded with a frown. "But his second in command, Jared, is the son of a noble, so he got this position because of his father's money and influence. He's nothing, but a loud mouthed braggart and a bully."

Kharg shifted and looked towards the building where Darc was being held prisoner. "I just hope he's alright. Darc doesn't take orders well from anyone, especially not Humans."

Alisha grinned. "Sounds like my sort of man."

Stalker adjusted his weapon. "We're wasting time, let's go get your brother. I'm eager to meet him."

Using the cover of the surrounding trees, they made their way towards the prison building.

Soon they were directly across from the building, there was a lot of open between the edge of the forest and it.

Kharg looked around, seeing a couple guards walk past. "I can't believe how sloppily guarded this place is. Where are the guards?"

Adrienne smirked and gestured to another building. "Probably in there, that's the barracks. Jared likes his wine and gambling, no doubt that's what they're doing."

Stalker snorted in agreement. "Makes it all the easier for us, no one's around, let's go."

Alisha and Stalker donned hooded black clocks that hid their Deimos nature very well. Alisha handed a third to Kharg. "This one is for Darc. Plus we have a couple more just in case there are other prisoners in there. We aren't leaving anyone behind."

Disguised, they headed for the building, not to quickly so they wouldn't draw attention to themselves.

When they reached it Kharg tried the door. "Damn it, locked!"

Alisha came up beside Kharg. "Of course, wouldn't make sense if it wasn't, but I have the key."

Kharg watched as Alisha examined the lock then pulled out a bundle of strange looking tools. She chose one and inserted it into the lock. There was a click. She put the tool away and opened the door with a flourish-

"Impressive." Kharg entered the building. It was very dark inside, but he could see reasonably well. Hr could hear the others following. "Darc? Where are you?"

Someone stirred in one of the cells. "He's not here."

Kharg turned to see a cat like Deimos staring at him. "Who are you?"

The cat woman tilted her head, studying him. "I'm Miko, now who are you?"

Kharg glanced at the others then stepped closer. "I'm Kharg, Darc's older brother. Do you know where he is?"

Miko nodded. "The guards took him further into the building." She pointed with a slim, clawed finger. "You aren't all Human, I can tell by your scents, you aren't going to leave us here, are you?"

Alisha stepped forward, digging out her tools. “No, we're here to get Darc, but we'll take all of you with us. She began working on the cell's lock.

Kharg shifted nervously, staring down the hall. "Are the guards still there?"

Miko shook her head. "No, they took him down there the day before yesterday."

Kharg nodded then started off. "I'm going after him."

Adrienne followed. "I'll come with you."

Kharg nodded and hurried off with Adrienne close behind.

It got darker the further they went back and it smelled like mold. Small cells barely the size of closets lined the walls. They had no doors.

Pausing to peer into one, Kharg saw why, shackles were fastened to the back wall.

Adrienne shivered. "This must be an area for the more violent slaves or the ones that won't give in."

Kharg barely heard her, more focused on his twin. "Darc! Answer me, are you here?"

Adrienne quickened her pace until she was beside him. "Use the link."

Kharg glanced at her. "I would, but if he's unconscious it won't work. Darc! Damn it, where are you?" This time he got an answer The voice was weak, but familiar.

Adrienne looked around then pointed. "Over there." She led the way to a cell at the far end of the hall.

Kharg cursed when he saw his twin and if the one who was responsible was there he would have gladly killed him.

Darc was on his knees, arms chained above his head without a hint of slack. He looked pale and exhausted. Bruises covered his chest and arms. His right eye was blackened and swelling shut.

Kharg entered the cell and knelt beside Darc. "You look awful."

Darc snorted. "Thanks a lot."

Kharg rolled his eyes. "I didn't mean it that way and you know it."

"Can we have this fascinating conversation later?" Darc tugged at the chains. "Just get me out of this, the key is over there."

Adrienne looked around and spotted the key hanging from the wall. She got it then brought it to Kharg. "Here."

Kharg took it. "Thanks." He stood and unlocked the chains.

Darc winced as he brought his arms down. They ached terribly and his hands were numb. Suddenly pinpricks of pain erupted in his hands. "Shit!"

Adrienne gave Darc a knowing look. "Pins and needles, huh? Do you know how long you've been like this?"

Darc slowly relaxed as the prickling feeling faded. "No."

Adrienne moved to Darc's right side. "Kharg, get on the other side and help me get him on his feet."

Kharg nodded and moved to Darc's other side.

Darc scowled. "I don't need help."

Adrienne frowned. "You will, from what Miko said you were taken here the day before yesterday which means you've been chained here for at least three days. Your legs are going to be numb." She gave Darc a strict look. "By the way when was the last time you had anything to eat and drink?"

Darc opened his mouth to answer, but his stomach beat him to it by letting out a loud growl.

Kharg laughed.

Darc scowled at his twin. "Shut up, Kharg."

Adrienne somehow managed to look amused and concerned at the same time. "Did they give you anything since you were chained here?"

Darc shook his head. "No."

Adrienne pulled Darc's right arm over her shoulder then gestured to Kharg, who did the same on Darc's left. Together they hoisted Darc to his feet.

Darc staggered and if it wasn't for Adrienne and Kharg's support he knew he would've fallen flat on his face.

"Easy," Adrienne warned. "Wait until you get feeling back."

Darc eyed her, suddenly wary. "Who are you anyway?"

"This is Adrienne. She and her mate, Stalker, found me after you were kidnapped. They took me to their home and tended my wounds," Kharg explained.

"Nice to meet you, Darc. Kharg's told me so much about you," Adrienne said.

Darc smirked. "I deny most of it." Just then the pinpricks of pain started up in his legs. He hissed, gritting his teeth.

Finally the pain stopped. Adrienne felt him relax. "Do you think you can walk now?"

Darc took his arms off Adrienne and Kharg's shoulders. "I'm fine."

Adrienne nodded. "Good, let's go before we're discovered here."

Darc managed about three steps before he staggered sideways.

Kharg grabbed him. "Darc? What's the matter?"

Darc shook his head as he regained his footing. “I’m fine, just felt a little woozy for a minute.”

Kharg studied Darc, eyes narrowed, but he seemed alright now. He took the sheathed sword off his shoulder and handed it to him. “I trust you know what to do with this.”

Darc took the weapon and buckled it on. “I do and I know exactly where I’d like to stick it.”

Kharg smiled. “I’m sure you do, but only do it as a last resort.”

Adrienne nodded. “If we kill anyone they’ll hunt us down mercilessly.”

They rejoined the others, the Deimos were now free from their cell. Miko let out a glad cry and threw herself into Darc’s arms. “Darc! Are you alright? I was so worried about you.”

Darc rolled his eyes at her exuberance and pulled away without answering.

Adrienne smiled at Miko. "He'll be fine once his bruises are tended and he‘s fed properly.." She looked at Stalker. "Evidently he was left chained for three days without food or water."

.Stalker nodded. "Further talk will have to wait." He passed out the cloaks which were immediately donned. "Let’s get out of here."

Miko and Farin were rather surprised when the white Lupine didn't argue, instead he accepted the cloak and followed.

It turned out that getting out was as ridiculously easy as getting in had been. The minute they were out the Lupine threw the cloak back to Stalker and disappeared into the night. The others headed back the way they came and soon they were safely back in the village.


See? The twins are reunited at last! R/R please







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