3 - Fye the Helpless Hostage

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Fye beamed when she met Sir Reuben's eyes. He didn't appear to be too badly injured, which was good because he would need to run fast once they got outside the fortress walls. He beamed back at her—not the scary grin he used to intimidate his enemies or frighten his underlings. It was the rare grin he used with Lady Ayla, his daughters, and Fye. He rarely used it with Fye, though. A knight could not become too familiar with his trainees.

The smile quickly disappeared. "What are you doing?" he asked. "You look like some kind of cheap whore. What happened to your dress?"

"I'll tell you about my ingenious plan later," she said as she unlocked his chains. He bounced to his feet in an instant. "We should go before they notice the dungeon guard is missing. Are you hurt?"

"No."

"Are you hurt?" she repeated. Sir Reuben might not be able to feel pain, but that didn't make him immune to the weakness that came with injuries.

"Do I look hurt?" he asked. "Unlock the boy."

For the first time, Fye fixed her attention on Sir Reuben's new squire—and the sight of him did something horrible. Something beyond horrible. Her stomach fluttered. Her cheeks lit on fire. No! she shouted at herself. I will not allow this...this boy to make me feel like a girl. It was hard, though. The squire had to be close to reaching knighthood; he might have been nineteen or twenty years old, but he was a true man in his stature. Mesmerizing green-gray eyes sparkled at her from a face of olive-toned skin. Messy dark hair covered his head, and dark hair adorned his muscular chest.

She must have hesitated a second too long; Reuben snatched the keys from her hand and unlocked the squire's shackles, then hauled him to his feet. Only then did Fye see beyond his amazing eyes and fantastic muscles to the obvious marks of torture. Why did boys get to have all the fun?

The squire tottered on his feet, but he stabilized after a moment. He looked at Fye as if she were some sort of two-headed dog. She ignored him, quickly deciding that his handsomeness was the only thing she liked about him. He was as dumb as the rest of the boys around her age.

"All right," Reuben said. "I'll take the dagger and we'll fight our way out. Once I get ahold of a sword, it shouldn't be too hard to—"

"That's too risky. None of us have our armor," Fye cut him off. "I have a better idea."

"What could be better than fighting?"

Fye shrugged. "Something that doesn't get us killed?"

"Fair point. Lead on."

And lead Fye did. With every part of her singing in triumph, she led the way up the dungeon stairs. Reuben paused when they got to the still-unconscious guard. "What's this?" he asked. "He's still alive."

"I, er..." Fye shrugged. "I'll drag him down and lock him in."

"Or..." Reuben said as he knelt down and put his hands on the sides of the man's head.

"No, don't!" The words slipped out of Fye before she could stop herself. Instantly, her cheeks burned.

"What? Do you need him alive for your plan?" Reuben growled.

"Er... He seemed nice."

"He seemed nice? Have I taught you nothing?"

"Just...let him live. Please." What am I doing? It would be better to kill him. If he wakes up, he is just one more person who might interfere with our escape. Yes, killing him was logical, but...

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