The feeling woke Ruby up immediately, her heart racing. The large hands had grabbed her arms, and she felt her body forcefully lifted.
“Help!” Ruby said, and then one of the hands removed itself from an arm to cover her mouth. Her voice was muffled as she tried to say more.
There was a rush of wind as a man jumped into the midst of the two men that were about to attack Va’il. He had left with Va’il in tow before the two men could react. They were stunned for only a moment, and then both quickly jumped out the window to follow.
“Stop them, just her!” the man holding Ruby said to the other man in the room.
“But,” the other man said.
“No, just her! Go!” the man holding her said. Obeying, the final man also jumped out the window, this time to retrieve the two that’d left.
That left Ruby and the man holding her alone together. She stopped struggling for a moment, and let her rational mind recover from the situation. Her heart was nearly unstoppable, and the amount of anxiety in her made her feel like she was on the verge of exploding, but she took both into consideration once she had stopped her fright.
It wasn’t totally unexpected in her mind. She had known that at some point, they may be caught up to. She was, of course, caught unaware, but only to a point. This was something she couldn’t let happen, no matter what.
At this point, now that they were alone, she took action. She quickly opened her mouth wide and bit down with as much force as she could muster, and opened her mouth again just as quickly. The man jerked his hand away in unexpected pain while holding back the sounds of pain he should have made. At the same time Ruby had lifted a foot and quickly reached around with her free arm. She stomped down on one of the man’s feet as hard as she could with her heel, and in a fluid motion turned, grabbed the arm still holding her with her free arm, and twisted and moved around the man. The moments were all so quick and sudden that the man never had a chance to react to them, and by the time he realized what was going on his good arm was making a cracking sound behind his back. His wrist had already lost all strength, and Ruby was also out the window before he could understand what had just happened. After all, his mind had only enough time to realize his hand had been bitten and had only shaken it once before Ruby was trying to break his arm. Unnoticed to him, just before she jumped, Ruby had grabbed the ring on her left hand and thrown it into the room behind her.
Ruby landed on the roof below and started running, a momentary escape the reward for her work. But she had been spotted by the three men running back. There were already on her before she could scream for help again. This time, three men were restraining her quietly, with one covering her mouth in such a way she couldn’t bite him. The three of them met up with the fourth man, exchanged a brief word, and then carried her off, helpless. She struggled in their arms, her panic returning, her anxiety overflowing. But she could do nothing more that night. She had been captured with no recourse, and the thought of it kept her up that night with an incredible amount of fear and anxiety about what would happen to her.
Ruby woke with a jolt. She didn’t remember falling asleep. The sounds around her, the movements and feelings she had, they were all familiar. She internally groaned, realizing where she was, yet again. The back of a moving cart or wagon being pulled by a team of horses. She wanted to say “not again” while laughing, but she quickly remembered what had happened earlier that night, and for a moment she was terrified, but it quickly subsided. After all, it wasn’t her first abduction. It was daylight now, though she couldn’t tell how long she had been out. Her hands were tied behind her back, and her feet were bound with rope as well. There was something in her mouth, wet with drool, a gag to keep her from yelling too loudly. She opened her eyes and said something unintelligible while moving around somewhat.
“Oh, she’s awake,” a man said. Ruby looked around and noticed there were two human men sitting in the wagon with her, and two more in the driving area. The man who spoke was across from her. All of them dressed in dark clothes, had swords at their sides, and looked similar enough that she wouldn’t bother telling them apart.
“Good. Now I can hit her till she passes out again,” one of the men in the driving area, the one doing nothing, said.
“Oh shut up. Don’t harm the girl,” the man across from her said.
“Bloody talons I won’t! She didn’t rip the flesh off your hand did she? No, that’s right. And she didn’t nearly break your arm off, did she? No, that’s me she did! Won’t be able to move my arm well for a week at least! How you gonna repay me, eh? Lemme beat her with my good arm!” The man turned around while looking extremely angry. His left hand was bandaged, and his right arm was in a sling.
“Good arm, bad hand. Your own fault for getting hurt,” the man sitting next to Ruby said.
“You just shut it too. Couldn’t even get rid of the boy, let him get taken off by that weird man. And you were first to pursue. You all left me with her! Talons, you’re all a grandmother’s leg!” The man continued mumbling and turned around, watching the horses. Ruby made another sound.
“Well, let’s not keep the lady waiting,” the man next to Ruby said. He put a hand on her face and lightly ran a finger down her cheek. Ruby tried pulling herself away, struggling fruitlessly, while terror and fear reappeared in her mind. “Don’t harm yourself. Besides, I’m just playing with you a bit.”
Ruby stopped for a moment and felt chilled, but the man didn’t touch her further. Instead he undid the gag.
“Ug,” Ruby said, her mouth dry. She opened and closed her mouth a few times.
“Now girl, I’m just going to sit you up,” the man next to her said. He put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her up. It was uncomfortable with her hands and feet tied, but at least she was upright and no longer gagged. “Much better, right?”
“Why?” Ruby asked, her voice still sounding off.
“Why not?” the man across from her asked in reply.
“What do you want with me?” Ruby asked.
“Well, that’s a private matter,” the same man said, “but I suppose we can tell you this much: we aren’t going to harm you. You’ll just have to put up with us for a while. And men, that’s all we’re gonna be saying.” At this point, each of the three remaining men replied affirmatively.
“Where are we going? Do you know anything about me? Do you work for someone?” Ruby asked. But the men stayed silent.
They didn’t speak to her again in complete sentences, no matter how much she talked. Or yelled. Or screamed. From then on all four men stayed silent around her, except to say very basic things. They replied when she told them she was hungry or thirsty or had to relieve herself. But as for questions and conversation, there was nothing. The men of the first day disappeared.