Double-deal

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Qiu An didn’t get his hands dirty, he has others to make their hands dirty for him. Hands they made dirty right now while digging into the roasted boar they had rewarded themselves with, considering themselves rich before the reward was in. An amusing sight accompanied with the barrels of wine they were emptying, washing down the grease of their food as the bandits parties, celebrating today’s loot.

“She just stood there, waiting for us to sweep her up over our shoulders and run off,” the band leader relayed the story, the bone in his hand figuring as the princess they had confined now in the back of the cave, tied up neatly and put in a far corner away from the exit and the fire. The tale was as colourful as it was tall, arms waving in the air as the leader stood up, growing more and more passionate about the heroism of his deeds.

“Must have been quite the weight,” Qiu An had jested, mischievous green eyes snuck their ‘loot’ a smiling wink, in his hands only a cup of wine present as he kept his hands off the meat. Not that any of the ‘colleagues’ noticed that the long haired foreigner only nibbled a little bread and kept to wine for the rest of the evening. Too occupied as they were in their own celebrations while the brunet continued his curious questions, edging along in their excitement while sneaking glances at the princess.

“We’re going to be rich! The king will pay handsomely for the girl to return, and if not I will take her to wife!”

The leader’s claim had Qiu An laugh, a tittering youthful one before emptying the content of his cup and asking for another fill, “what if it is a reward instead? Pretend that you saved her, and ask for a title?” the man suggested, to which the leader paused, his drunken mind progressing the idea as the rest of the gang fell quiet, their eyes narrowing.

“Become a noble?” the response was spat, a certain disdain coming over, to which Qiu An shook his head;

“Rewards run out, honour forgets, but if you can get a piece of land and a title to claim you are set”

The greed that settled in their drunken mind seemed to make the suggestion agreeable, their heads nodding and hums approving before the question was raised who the claim would be.

“Mine!” the leader said, naturally, but protests came, as the loot couldn’t be split. There was none left who cared for the princess, or the glimpsing figure of Qiu An who had nimbly gotten on his feet, deftly tripping and pushing as well as putting weapons in swinging arms to excite the heat of the fight while he kicked at the fire, leaving only smouldering coals and a heavy smoke before tugging at the princess in the back.

“Come,” he instructs, despite the lack of sight for the average man while Qiu An cut through the ropes that tied the ankles of the princess and helped her up, “with me,” he whispers, the smile in his voice as evident as the lack of a choice that remained with the princess while the brawl went on. Shouts and grunts sounding through the dark cave as none paid any attention to the pair of cat-like greens that ran off with the most precious part of the loot.

@Diana
 
  • What a TWIST
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Diana

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This was a curious turn of events, not exactly unexpected, but she'd thought she would've been the one to instigate the fighting for her escape - not this foreign stranger!

The Princess Corisande had accepted the fate of her capture with little fuss, much as the leader described, as offensive as it was. She wasn't a complete fool. When you're surrounded by a gaggle of men with weapons, barely at the height of their chests and wearing nothing but a ridiculously expensive gown, there wasn't any sense in a direct fight. The greasy bastards always loved a struggle anyway, she wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

So she waited. Listened. And what an interesting little twist of luck this turned out to be.

Making nothing more than a muffled grunt through the gag when the green-eyed stranger helped her up, the Princess was a model prisoner. Sneaking as quietly as possible through the dark, smoke filled cave, until they made their way out into the open star filled night.

...where she promptly kicked him as hard as she could in the delicate area of his shin, practically shove-tackled him with her shoulder, and then took off running towards the forest of trees!
 
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Safety came with pain, apparently. With a muffled groan Qiu An doubled over, grabbing hold of his shin as he jumped and tried to maintain his balance while the princess ran off, her hands still bound and the sprint a little unbalanced and mostly ridiculous from his point of view. None that worried the male, knowing that the bandits were far behind and the forest path far away, still. Nowhere near where the princess could reach before he caught up, that was.

The race was short indeed, like he had expected. Having the use of both his arms while running helped with keeping balance, making Qiu An nimble on the feet and light for travel before he wrapped one arm around the back of the neck of the lady and put a foot in front of hers to let gravity do the rest.

“Now,” Qiu An speaks as he deftly turns around on the ball of his feet and tips the lady over in his arms before either fall into the mud below, “a little higher and you would have to be responsible for me,” he jests, faces a mere breath apart before allowing his captive more room, but not more space to kick him again. “Don’t get me wrong, but I really prefer being in charge of you. Saviour and all.”

The smile flashed was one that barely touched the corners of his eyes, though that wasn’t to say that the foreigner’s cat-like green eyes didn’t hold a spark of its characteristic mischief. He was a man on a mission after all, and about to earn good coin.
 
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What he got in return was her muffled complaint and sharp squint of cold blue eyes that hinted she was far from amused.

However...

Savior, he said? Could that be true or was it just a sarcastic jab? He spun quite the tale to his companions to start that fight, only to run off with her. But she doubted his intent was to actually save her. Plotting to keep a reward all to himself was more likely!

It seemed regardless, she was still at his mercy - at least while she was still half bound and unable to get good distance on him! Those knuckleheads in the cave would soon realize their captive was missing along with the instigator of their feud!

The Princess nodded quickly to signal she was indeed going to cooperate now, but by the livid look on her face, she very obviously wasn't pleased about it.
 
  • According to Plan
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Could he trust her? Qiu An wasn’t too sure, he trusted very few, but he recognised the look of cooperation, or resignation, the type of look in which one recognised to be at the mercy of another, no matter how unwilling. “Good girl,” the foreigner coos at the princess, before releasing the princess, toppling her right into the soil as he pulls away the knee over which he had her balanced with the retreat of his hands.

“Consider it payback,” he tells her with an innocuous shrug before tugging at the rope around her hands, “what was your name again? Coriander?” Qiu An continued, a grin on his face as he checked if anything got stuck on the back of the lady and found that it was satisfyingly so, earning a chuckle.

“Call me Qiu An, but I will accept ‘my dearest’ as well,” he quipped with a wink.
 
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Had the princess not still had that gag in her mouth, she might have responded with a sarcastic, sugar sweet my dearest just to get him to untie her. However, it seemed he was having a grand lark of tormenting and hteasing her at his leisure! She supposed he thought he was some sort of charming, amusing rogue.

She was going to bodily tackle him into the first ravine they passed.

"Hrm, hn mrrph," she protested once helped back to her feet. Still clearly annoyed, but very obviously trying to curb her temper and impulses to be a model prisoner. After all, they needed to get away sooner rather than later.

...did this man even have a horse. Or a plan for that matter!
 
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Perhaps he was a bit of a bully. His mother had admonished him as one as well, but Qiu An preferred a light mood and the hate that was so evident in the princess’ eyes was hard to dispel before his face turned into an expression of quasi-surprise at the realisation that her mouth was still bound.

A flick of the knife was all that was needed to deal with that. Even if Qiu An had to make a little show out of it by playing around with the silver blade and a ‘pardon me’ that wasn’t at all meaningful in any way.

“Coriander, right?” Qiu An repeated his question with no concern in sight. Not within his sight, at least.
 
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