The next day after the event, the four of us return back to Inich town on a carriage arranged by Janet's fiance. Janet needed to tie some loose ends with her business before she moves on to live in with the Duke in his castle.
Cecile now returns to her normal mob appearance without makeup. When we cornered Cecile last night, she confessed she and Duke Cannes (the masked dude) were just having a small chat on the topic of flowers since he was also interested in botany. Either way, she believes it was a one time event and that the Duke won't even remember her. I’ll bet half my income that's not the case.
I idly look out of the window. Since winter snow thawed and new leaves sprout, spring is now in full swing. Colourful birds of all species sing their sweet songs, butterflies flutter their wings and hibernating animals come out of their nests to greet the new season. I see the yellow bird I recognise resting on a tree branch overlooking the street.
Is it just me or has my encounter rate with that bird species been a bit high lately?
No I must be paranoid. There’s nothing wrong about seeing a similar looking bird a few times.
Comfortable in the Duke’s luxurious carriage, I slowly find myself falling to sleep. My eyelids grow heavier and my breathing slows. Just on the brink of falling asleep, the carriage jostles and slants heavily to the right, shaking me awake.
The carriage pulled to a halt, I look out the window to see the Duke’s assigned guards fighting a large group of masked people. Shouts emerge and metals clang. I glance at Janet whose eyebrows are furrowed. These people are here for the Duke Wolfram’s newly engaged fiancee rumoured to be cherished by the ice-cold duke.
I look at them with pitying eyes. These small cannon fodders are really putting their neck voluntarily on the Duke’s guillotine… Even if you succeed here, once the Duke hears of what happened he’ll personally send every single one of you afterlife with express shipping services.
“My lady, rest assured and stay inside the carriage. Their numbers may be high but the Duke assigned his best guards to protect you.” A capable-looking knight informs from the window, his hand busy with a sword indiscriminately slashing down the masked enemies.
A long fight ensued. Despite the guard knights who persevered, more masked men joined the fight halfway, pressuring the exhausted and injured knights even more.
The man who informed us to stay indoors is now bathed in blood. I can’t even tell which splatter is his or the enemies'. But even then it was apparent his swings carry less force.
At this moment, Janet’s expression turn from fright to self-directed anger. This reaction, I suppose, was not surprising.
We are commoners in a prosperous town away from battlefield. We may have witness brawls and physical fights in bars and alleys, but not one where it looks like outright war with blood splashing everywhere from swords. This was her first time facing this sort of situation, and the people injured are risking their lives to protect hers.
The weight was heavy, Janet felt powerless idly sitting while men out there spilled blood. And I pretty much felt the same.
The fighting soon concluded with a stab in the chest of the last knight standing. The carriage door opened with a harsh swing. Janet is pulled roughly out of the carriage, a large man push her against the carriage door to tie her hands behind her back.
Ruby, Cecile and I were taken to be sold as prostitutes. At this point, should I just be glad I didn't lose my life right there and then?
Any and all struggle was futile once they cover our nose with chloroform. We were knocked out almost immediately.
When I came to, I realise I’m in a small humid room. The smell of mould, the water on the ground and the faint moonlight slowly filling in from a tiny open window way higher than my height can reach suggests this cell is probably underground .
My hands are tied with thick ropes behind my back. When my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I can see Janet soullessly sitting beside me, but I have no idea where Cecile and Ruby might be.
“Janet” I whispered. “You alright?”
“Sorry. It’s all my fault. I got you and everyone involved. Roderic’s knights died for me and I couldn’t even help… They died… and I just sat in my carriage…” She mutters, her voice barely audible.
A horrible feeling grew in my mind as Janet continues to apologise. It wasn't her fault in the first place. Once she set her first footsteps to follow the route of heroine, there are bound to be kidnapping cases targeting her. I just got sadly wrapped up in the event as a buy 1 get 3 free promotion.
Heroines have heroes to come save them, but there’s no guarantee I’m getting out of here alive. As a close friend of Janet, it wont be surprising if I die so she gets some tragic past and have some character development. Revenge, motivation, a goal, etc.
Huuuuuu... But I don’t have any plans to die here though.
When I stare at her with my lips exaggeratedly pressed shut, Janet understands I want her to stay quiet. I signal her towards the sharp edge of my heels (It’s a weapon I tell ya). When she realises, she turns around and gives her back towards me. I struggle moving my feet and start shaving down the rope tying Janet’s hands.
“THIS. THIS IS ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!” I swear loudly, spitting at Janet. The saliva didn't travel to her face, and only sadly drops to the ground with a splat.
“You wanted to be my friend so bad when I told you about the Duke. HAH. I’M GLAD TO SEE YOUR COLOURS FINALLY SHOWING.” Janet retorts, her eyes glaring at me were full of hatred.
The metal door banged when someone hits it. A pair of hostile eyes peek from the window in the door and his rough voice yelled “SHUT UP OR I’LL HIT YOU BOTH”
“I’ve always hated your guts who acted like you’re better than me. YOU PROBABLY GOT YOUR FIANCE BECAUSE YOU SLEEP AROUND WITH MEN. Did he like your little bed performance?” I sneered.
“FUCKING BITCH!” Janet lunged at me, but fell flat on the ground due to the “tied” legs and hands.
The door to the cell opened with a loud clang and the man walked in, ready to tape our mouths shut. However, he was promptly ambushed by me and Janet. It was 2v1, but a man who was used to fighting and two women with zero experience and no weapon comes out quite a difference.
But I’m not going down without a fight. If my hands are restrained, I’ll just have to use my feet to kick. If both my hands and feet are tied, I’ll just have to use my head to head-bump the guy. If I had my whole body restrained, I’ll even use my mouth to bite.
If someone else saw this, they’d truly give me some chuunibyou name like “Mad dog of Inich town”.
Ahh dammit. If only I had a male lead to save me as well, I'd also just sit around prettily in my cell for eternity. Except I'm a mob.
Actually, if I'm going to go through these life and death situations even as a mob, why the hell do I bother remaining one? At least if I had a hero to come save me whenever I'm in a pinch, my life would be way easier? Should I just snatch a male lead for myself?
While I had such thoughts mid-fight, a black cat enters from the open window and gracefully lands on the floor. In a blink of an eye, the cat transforms into a man I haven’t seen in a while. Of course, regardless of how long it has been, I’d recognise his golden eyes and cloaked figure.
He quickly blocked the guard’s fists with one hand and slashed the man’s throat with the dagger he was holding in another. After successfully putting down a man we’ve been struggling with in less than 3 seconds, he turned around to face me.
I can fully imagine the smirk hidden behind his mask when he said these words, ”You called for a male lead?"