No matter how improvised and short-sighted her attack was, it had proven to be rather effective. The only remaining question was, what to do now? Lotye hadn’t lost a single thought on this matter until now. Damn, maybe I should think about that before jumping someone the next time. Sure, she had brought the man to his knees. But just as surely he wouldn’t be so kind to wait while she beat him to a pulp with her bumbershoot. For a short second, she was afraid. In the end, Peino saved her, of course, but she would have preferred him to act first and laugh later.
But all of that lost its importance. The low buzzing sound she had hardly been able to hear above anything else had been the string of the Lafitte’s small crossbow. Lotye halfway scrapped herself up from the ground to see what had happened. What she saw wasn’t good. A crossbow bolt sticking in the woman’s shoulder, Peino kneeling beside her and the male thug having lost all interest in herself and instead rushing towards Lafitte. Though it had ended the fight, this turn of events certainly wasn’t welcome.
For the first time since the masked and cloaked couple had approached them, Lotye really realised that they were people, too. Not just some faceless links of some street gang, but living beings with names, who lived and loved, even though their faces were hidden under their masks. She couldn’t help but felt a little bit sorry for the man as he cried out over his bleeding partner. Lotye’s eyes shot to Captain Lafitte. He had probably just done what he felt was needed to defend himself. Still … Would I have pulled the trigger?
But for now, there were other things to worry about. The whistling, even audible through thunder and rain, was more than just well known to her. The guardians were coming. And not even the titles of nobility in their group would help them much if found around a body. Not to speak of the fact that one of them who was a criminal released on probation.
Peino helped her up while Jeneyeru worked a spell. The world around them became dark. Not just dark as in the night, but dark in the complete absence of light. Lotye pressed Peino’s hand. She felt lost with nothing else to hold on to. Then a single, new light appeared after a few whispered words by Lord Nightwise. A bone lantern to lead them their way. But even this light couldn’t pierce the darkness for more than a few steps and so Lotye strove to move faster to stay close to it.
Soon, the whistles of the guardians were just barely audible. The darkness of the spell faded, too, much to Lotye’s relieve. But they kept on running. Again.
“I’d just like to note … the last time I was … running … from the guardians,” she shouted, punctuated by hasty intakes of air, “I ended up bound like a chicken in the kitchen … spent a night in prison … had a bunch of strange meetings, … which in turn lead to a lot of running again … Let’s hope we’ve got more luck this time.”
They were close to the embassy now and the Prince was still dressing down the Captain. Lotye didn’t really care. She needed her breath to run, to keep up with the others. The whole thing had taken a lot out of her. She could only hope that they would get into the embassy without further problems. There, she would be able to rest. Come on girl, you nearly made it!