Slumber Page 25

“Hey!” I whipped around to scowl at him. “No one asked you to protect me! To follow me!”

He rolled his eyes. “I’m the Princezna’s Captain, Lady Rogan, and you are the most important person in her life. Not to mention the last of the Azyl and the only bloody person who knows where the Somna Plant is! It’s my job to protect you. And you make it very difficult.”

“I went for a walk!”

“And got us kidnapped by creepy… Iavii… people!” He spat.

“Oh dear haven,” I groaned, and leaned back against the cold brick wall, closing my eyes. “Will you get over it, already?”

He spluttered, “Get over it? Get over it? Do you have any idea what this could do to me? What if I can’t get us out of here, Rogan?! What if something happens to you?!”

“Relax. It’s not like they’ll blame you and you’ll lose your job.” I sighed heavily. “I can’t believe I got kidnapped with Captain Wolfe Stovia. Talk about fun.”

“You are such a brat.”

I smiled, glad I was annoying him. “And you are such a pompous, untrustworthy snake.”

I felt his indrawn breath without looking at him, and determinedly squished the guilt that seized my body.

Before he could reply, the key turning in the door made us both sit up, alert and wary. A huge, burly man with long dark hair pulled back into a messy queue strolled into the cellar. His intimidating figure seemed to take up the entire space as he watched us like a predator, studying its prey.

“We’ve brought ye food.” He had a slight accent, his words rolling and unrefined. He nodded at someone and a young man came into the room carrying a tray. “One move and I run ye through,” the big man warned, his hand going to the hilt of a sword strapped to a belt around his hip.

I looked at Wolfe for guidance but he just kept his eyes trained on the larger of the men. The young man came forward, keeping his distance from us, and laid the tray down on the ground. He looked up at me as he picked one bowl off of it and slid it towards me. As he did the same for Wolfe’s bowl, his eyes never left me, and I squirmed under his strange regard. He watched me with a clinical interest that was extremely disturbing. I waited for Wolfe to do something. But he just sat there.

“I need to use the… I have need of… I need to relieve myself,” I finished, blushing at my impulsive outburst.

“Relieve yerself?” The big man grinned. “Ye mean ye need to use the piss pot?”

I flushed even harder at his crassness but nodded, hoping he would let me out of the cellar enough for me to find my bearings.

“There’s one in the corner.” He grinned even harder. “Behind the changing screen.”

I was horrified. “You are jesting?”

He shook his head. “If ye’re that desperate, ye’ll use it.”

Disgusted, I could do nothing but wait with bated breath for them to leave and then I turned on Wolfe. “Why didn’t you do something?”

He shrugged and grabbed the bowl and bread that had been left for him. “He had the upper hand. Plus… I’m hungry.”

I think my jaw may have hit the ground at how blasé he was. Infuriated with not only him but myself, wishing I had somehow had a life that prepared me more for the kind of hogwash that kept happening to me, I snatched my bowl up and bit out, “Wonderful. Just wonderful. Let me know when you decide to start working on that whole protecting me bit you keep spouting.”

He threw me a look but didn’t retort… which annoyed me more than I would have liked.

When we had finished eating he finally said, with a mischievous smile in his voice, “You know if you need to… relieve yourself… I could hum, or sing… so you’re not embarrassed, you know by the noi-”

I blushed so hard my face could have warmed the guard around a camp site. “I understand your meaning.” I stopped him.

“I’m just saying I-”

“You could sing, yes, yes, very funny.”

He nearly choked himself to death laughing when three hours later I made him do just that, as I darted behind the changing screen to use the chamber pot.

Worse still, he actually had a very nice singing voice.

Chapter Twelve

“I really am getting tired of people manhandling me,” I murmured, covering my fear with bravado and ignoring the bite of the dagger at my neck. I tried not to think how ironic it was that only a few days ago I had someone else in the position I was now in.

“Rogan,” Wolfe murmured back in warning.

I shrugged and the gypsy at my back pressed the blade harder against my skin and I winced as it cut.

“Hey!” Wolfe growled in outrage, making a move toward me. The two huge gypsies holding him in their grasp reeled him back in.

“I told ye, the girl gets it if ye make a move to attack.” The man holding me was the one from yesterday with the messy queue and hand-me-down gentleman’s clothing. The hand he wrapped around my waist tightened and he pulled me back against him so I was flush with his body. “And ye,” he whispered softly, threateningly in my ear, “Keep it quiet. Or I’ll find a far more pleasurable way to occupy yer mouth.”

Aghast and repulsed, humiliated at being treated this way in front of Wolfe, who eyed the gypsy as if the man had just signed his own death warrant, I immediately decided it would be best if I shut up. The four men in the cellar with us were huge. What on havens did these people eat?

“Now,” the gypsy continued, “We’re going for a little walk outside. And ye’re both going to behave.” I noticed how measured his words were, as if he had to concentrate on his enunciation.

I tried to catch Wolfe’s eye to see if he had a plan but the gypsy pushed me ahead and I stumbled, my throat nearly catching the blade edge again.

A menacing growl rumbled from behind me. “If you want me to behave, you better stop putting her life in danger,” Wolfe warned in a tone that would have intimidated a lesser man.

The gypsy grunted but he was more careful with me as he took us upstairs. The overwhelming light made my eyes tear. I really only caught a glimpse of a cosy parlour as we were taken out the front door of the modestly sized farmhouse we were being kept in. As he dragged me down the porch stairs, my eyes widened at the fields in front of me. Dozens of tents scattered the farm; dogs, cats running around, horses grazing leisurely, some sheep and cattle off in the distance. In the centre was a huge stone campfire, unlit, but still surrounded by the comings and goings of the gypsies.

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