The one weapon she knew she could use quickly enough, and with certain success, remained in the chest of the dead man before her.
“Clasp yer hands ’hind yer head,” the man ordered.
She looked at Broden.
“Don’ turn ’round. Don’ speak,” came the next demand.
Slowly, they lifted their hands.
“What do you want?” Lucy asked.
“Now drop tuh yer knees.”
Grateful that doing so would bring her closer to the dead man, Lucy took as wide a step as she dared, further to her left, bringing her nearer the corpse, before following the man’s orders.
Broden remained standing.
“Come on, Broden,” she said, “it’s all right.” As she spoke, she moved even closer to the dead man.
“Down!” the man ordered.
Broden fell to his knees. “What do you want?”
“Where are they?”
“Where is who?” Lucy asked, turning toward the invader.
“Don’ turn ’round!”
“Who are you looking for?”
“The twins!” Broden exclaimed.
Lucy moved her left knee, then her right, a few inches closer to the corpse at her side.
“Ya know who I mean. Rowena’s twins. Where are they?”
“Why do you want to know?” Broden asked.
Yet again, Lucy inched leftward.
The intruder chuckled. The sound was out of place in the midst of the surrounding shouts and cries. “Because they’re comin’ with me.”
“Where do you intend to take them?”
He stepped nearer, then kicked Broden, who fell to his side, rolled, and then tried to get back to his feet.
“Stop, Broden. Don’t!” Lucy cried.
He dropped back to his knees.
“Where do you intend to take them?” Lucy asked.
Again, the man laughed. “Not ’at it’s any uh yer business, but it seems Zarek ’as requested the honor of their presence ’n Chiran.”
“Is that right?” Broden said. “Well, you’re too—”
“Oh!” Lucy screamed, cutting him off. “Oh!”
“What?” the man asked. “Whassa matter wit’ cha?”
“Oh! Oh!” she cried. If I could just get to my blade . . .
“What’s ’appenin’?” the enemy asked again.
She dropped her hands to the ground. “Oh!” she cried, as though in great pain.
“I’ll give ya somethin’ tuh shout about,” he threatened. “Now, where are they?” He stepped closer.
She fell forward. Then, so fast that the intruder could not follow her movements, she grabbed the handle of her blade, pulled it from the chest of the dead man, twisted at her waist, dropped to her back, and—let it go.
Her blade rammed into the intruder’s chest, full to its bolster. Then, even as the life passed from his body, Lucy jumped to her feet. She retrieved her weapon from the man’s chest. She wouldn’t make the same mistake again.
She turned to Broden. “Let’s go.”
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