The Chosen, Chapter 2I

The stranger led her towards the exterior prison gate, where a guard sat on a chair on the other side. At the edge of the interior shadows, the stranger held up a silent hand, commanding Wolf to stop. The guard looked bored, but alert.

Suddenly, a noise from down the road — horses neighing loudly, the shouts of angry voices. The guard stood up from his chair, took two steps forward, then called out to his left, from where two men soon rushed forward. The noise grew in intensity; the guard put his hands on his hips, peeing towards the source of the noise, then with a disgusted growl began walking away.

The stranger waved Wolf forward, then opened the locked gate with the same ease he displayed when opening Wolf’s cell. As soon as she exited he closed the gate, without making a sound, and they both then slipped into the shadows of the courthouse.

Wolf was an experienced thief, and had no trouble moving silently in the dark; this stranger who had freed her, though, seemed even more adept than she. They passed a blacksmith’s forge as they approached the edge of the forest; Wolf glanced at the guards, confirmed they were still distracted, and with a swift motion reached for a hammer, then swung it hard against the back of the stranger’s head.

The stranger collapsed. Wolf dropped the hammer and began racing for the woods, as she heard a distant voice commanding her to stop. She raced forward, and a moment later was in the midst of tall trees. She was not familiar with this area, but all she needed now was to get as deep into the woods as possible, begin covering her tracks —

A weight collapsed on the back of her legs, and she fell forward onto the damp ground. She felt the weight lift off her legs, so she turned, looked up, and saw the stranger who had just freed her from the prison. He looked more amused than annoyed. “Your instinct for self-preservation is absurdly misguided.”

“Halt!” Wolf looked beyond the stranger, and saw two of the guards, both with crossbows, aimed at her and the stranger.

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