The Rightful Queen 21 The Crown Prince's Lover
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She smiled to herself. She found it amazing how some kidnappers talked a lot when their victim was asleep. They just made her work easier. This sounded like a good opportunity to 'wake up'.
She began coughing. Looking around, darkness surrounded the barn. She couldn't see anything.
"Help!" Maia yelled, "Help! Anybody? Please help!"
She choked from opening her mouth too wide. She squinted her eyes and hoped to activate her tear ducts. She panted, making sure it sounded labored and loud.
Thuds. .h.i.t the double doors in front of her, a soft moonlight s.h.i.+ning through. One by one, they stepped inside.
The kidnappers watched as her body shook, as her throat dried up and as her eyes filled with tears. She tried to pull her hands off the chair and tried to push her feet on the ground to stand… but her strength failed her.
She closed her eyes and slumped in her seat.
"Water," Maia moaned. She bower her head, her shoulders dropping in surrender, "Water, please!"
Soon enough, footsteps came closer. The blade of a dagger lifted up her chin. Maia's eyelids fluttered a bit.
"Who…," she said with a shaky breath, "… who are you?"
The small window her eyelids provided barely revealed the features of the man before her. The cold blade slid against her skin. A small p.r.i.c.k hit the underside of her jawline. A drop of blood dripped out.
"My, my, my… what a prize," the man smirked. His nasal voice rumbled at the back of his throat, "What a beauty we have here, boys."
Hoots of delight and laugh bounced against the walls. Maia's right brow twitched at the sound of it. She prayed her ears would survive unscathed.
"What…," she panted, "… what do you want from me?"
If these idiots had kept her feet free then, maybe they would also reveal their plans—even when she was awake. Somehow a lot of them liked to brag about their plans. It became the most effective to stall and to collect information. She only needed to use the right words.
Maia kept her breathing labored and her muscles weak. Her head tipped over the dagger, making the kidnapper catch her cheek with his gloved hand. She s.h.i.+vered involuntarily. It felt cold against her skin.
"Oh, we don't want anything from you, dear" his thumb stroked her cheek. The leather against her skin felt rough, "Rather… it's your fiancé we're after."
"FIANCE?!" Maia exclaimed, straightening her posture and leaning her head back. If that didn't sound like a surprised expression from a clueless person, she didn't know what was. The kidnapper stepped back at the wide-eyed stare she attacked him with. Now completely conscious, she could finally see what he looked like.
The man had straight dark green hair, its tips touching his jawline. His chin had a bit of stubble. By the facial lines and wrinkles, Maia presumed the man was at least in his mid-30s. He also had a mole near his corner lip, a distinct feature she remembered about him.
"Don't even try to deny it, lady," he sneered, leaning forward to match her eye level. Only a fool would fall for her trick. He had seen better acting skills.
"Mister…" Maia closed her eyes and sighed, "Can you kindly point out where my fiancé is because as far as I'm concerned, he's lost at sea."
When she opened them, she gave the kidnapper a pointed look.
He bellowed a laugh, beckoning his companions to join him, "Nice try, missy, but you're not fooling anyone."
Maia blew a raspberry, "Nice try, mister, but I don't have a significant other. Wouldn't I know that better than you?"
She relaxed against the backrest of her seat, placing her right ankle on her left knee. Her tears had also stopped. They slowly dried up at the corners of her eyes. She let out an impatient breath. If he was as stubborn as she thought he would be, this talk would be a long one.
The gra.s.s-headed oaf grunted at her demeanor, "I wouldn't be confident, missy."
"Going to hurt me? Don't you need me for ransom?" Maia smirked.
He pointed the dagger at her nose, "So you admit you have a fiancé."
"Don't shove words in my mouth," she replied, kicking his knee and making him stumbled with a groan.
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"Master!" Their audience screamed as they rushed to his side. They all wore matching dark gray outfits: wide leather belts secured their baggy trousers; sashes tied around their waists over their short-sleeved jackets and ankle boots over knee high socks.
Only their "master" wore a cape over his shoulders.
Even their clothes looked like they were made for amateurs.
"I'm fine" he a.s.sured his companions, raising a hand, "It was a weak kick anyway."
Maia snorted, staring deliberately at the knee she hit. She didn't use a lot of force alright... but she didn't need to. She only needed to dislocate something. The man straightened his stance but the foot of that knee didn't move. He hid it well but she knew he put all of his weight on the other foot.
He noticed her look. Maia couldn't help but give him a half-smile.
"Have you sent out the letter?" He ignored her and turned to his subordinates.
One of them bowed in reply, "Yes, master. We have located the target at a farmhouse. As far as we know, he's still unconscious."
Their master stroked his chin, "It'll be a while then before he'd respond."
He sneaked a glance at Maia and teased a smile, "I wonder how much your Prince will pay for your safety and freedom."
She choked on her own spit, "My who now?"
Gra.s.s-head stepped forward using his good leg. His mocking smile grew wider. Even his companions snickered around him. The bewildered look on her face must have been comical.
"Who else, missy?" He mocked, "Who else but Crown Prince Tylen?"
The Rightful Queen 21 The Crown Prince's Lover
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The Rightful Queen 21 The Crown Prince's Lover summary
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