It was easy to find them. I stayed hidden and watched as they pulled Angie by a rope they’d wrapped around her delicate wrists. She looked awful, not in the sense that she wasn’t just as gorgeous as ever, but in the sense that she’d had a terrible fall, and I could see she was scratched and bruised all over. She wobbled as she walked, struggling to keep up with her captors.
They were Nakkoni. I could tell by the scales covering their bodies, and the feathers on their heads. They were young, though, so I knew it would be easy to take them out. But I had to first make sure that Angie was safe. That she wouldn’t get hurt as I attempted to rescue her.
So, I followed them in silence, careful to not make a single noise. They were taking her out of the mountains, though. Soon, they would reach the woods that separated the mountains from the beach, and it would be harder to fight them in the darkness. I had to act now, even as I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. Angie was close to them. Too close for my liking. There was another reason why I needed to hurry. We were already quite far from the cave and from my sister. I’d wasted enough time already.
With a prayer to the Three Heads, I jumped out of my hiding spot and lunged at one of the two Nakkoni. I tackled him to the ground and easily knocked him unconscious. But when I stood up, I saw that the other one had a dagger to Angie’s throat. I was afraid that would happen.
“Angie...” I snapped out of it before I got ahead of myself. “She’s my prisoner,” I said. Of course I wasn’t going to tell him she was my mate. He didn’t need to know she was that important to me. “I found her first, and she belongs to me.”
He tightened his grip on her. “Your slave, then? You wanted to sell her?”
“Yes. She will fetch a good price.”
“Then why were you headed to the pirate’s cave. Don’t think we haven’t figured that out.”
I shrugged. “To rob the place, obviously. More things to sell.”
“I don’t believe you, Zokunian.”
“You don’t have to believe me, Nakkoni, as long as you return to me what is mine.” I pointed the gun at the other Nakkoni, who was just regaining consciousness at my feet.
We were at a stalemate. One of them had Angie, and I had his partner. Or brother. They did look alike. By the color of their scales, it was entirely possible that they were related. Good. If they were brothers, or cousins, then it meant they cared about each other, and they weren’t going to do anything stupid.
“Thev,” Angie whispered.
I shot her a quick glance, hoping she understood that I was only lying to get an advantage over the two Nakkoni. My eyes couldn’t linger on her, though, or they would guess I was playing them.
“Is that your name?” the Nakkoni who held her asked.
“My name is Thev’rar Sturmblut.” I waited a moment, and when nothing sparked in his eyes, I knew he didn’t know who I was. The Nakkoni on Reazus Prime were descendants of the prisoners who’d turned the planet into their home after the Overlords retreated. These two must’ve spent all their lives here and didn’t know much about what was out there. Good.
“And Angie is her name?”
“I don’t care what her name is. That’s what she calls herself. But she’s a slave, and once I sell her, her master will give her another name.”
I saw Angie’s eyes widen at my words, and I hoped she knew I didn’t mean what I said. It was true that was what happened to slaves, human or not, but it was not what was going to happen to her. She was mine, and she was going to live like a princess in my palace. Not like a princess. She would be a real princess.
The Nakkoni spat on the ground. He exchanged a glance with the other one, who was still sprawled on his back, and I could tell his resolution was starting to waver. They were truly young and inexperienced. I wondered what they were doing on Sorahan Island. Right. The pirate’s cave. They were after the treasure.
I spread my arms wide and grinned at the Nakkoni, revealing my sharp tusks.
“How about we strike a bargain? She’s only a slave, nothing more. How about we go to the pirate’s cave together and load up on what he has stashed there? The three of us could carry more than one or two of us could. And then, we’ll sell all of it, including the human, and split the credits three ways. Everyone wins. Well, except the human.”
But they didn’t take me up on the offer immediately, which made me think there was something else there. It wasn’t about the credits or about becoming rich. I furrowed my brows and waited, ready to strike if things went south. I didn’t like that Angie still had a dagger to her throat.
“Let my brother up,” the Nakkoni said.
Brother. So, I’d guessed right.
“Not before you let her go. I need to know that we have a deal.”
He hesitated for another moment, then sheathed his dagger and pushed Angie toward me. I grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her behind me. The Nakkoni on the ground jumped to his feet and joined his brother.
“We have a deal.”