"Interesting," I answer, "where did you get the rope?" I motion to the thick brown thing he has used to tie me up, with my head.

"You know," he says, stopping the repeated motion of his knife against the rock and looking up at me, "it is typical to introduce yourself when someone tells you their name."

I think about this for a second. "You didn't answer my question," I manage.

"You didn't answer mine," he responds simply.

"You didn't ask one," I respond quickly and grin.

He looks at me for a second, then a grin plays at the tips of his lips, which are slightly full. "It's twine, not rope, and it was in my pack," he motions to a backpack lying a few feet away from him.

It is now that I notice my knife, lying about a foot away from me, begging for me to take it. If only I could reach it somehow.

I look over at the man, Axel, and see that he is cutting something, not paying me any attention. So I swing my foot towards the knife.

I can't quite reach it, but after several attempts, the very tips of my toes are touching the dagger. I press down on it with the tops of my sneakers, and shift my foot closer to me by a few inches. Then I take the heel of my foot and nudge the knife closer and closer. Axel doesn't notice.

Now the knife is just a few inches away from my hand, and my fingertips can feel it, if they reach out. Once more, I look at Axel, who is still cutting something, and grab the dagger in my hand. I stare at Axel as I saw at the thick twine laced around me. And then I feel the twine drop, and know that I am free. I can run, now.

But is that the smartest choice? Axel is a lot bigger than I am, and I wouldn't get much of a start. He might be able to catch me, and most likely will. I could fight him with my knife, but staring at his muscular arms, I nearly laugh out loud at how ridiculous that thought is. If I fight him, even with my knife, and assuming he fights just with his bare hands, I would lose in seconds, and I can't afford that.

Maybe I can run only a bit and then climb a tree. I am much smaller than him, and although I have never climbed a tree in my life, it could come to my advantage. But then what? I climb the tree and I am stuck up there. It isn't as if I am as agile as a squirrel, I couldn't leap from tree to tree. If I tried I would probably fall and die. Axel doesn't seem like the type of person who would just leave me alone, if I was only a few branches above him.

"Instead of contemplating how to get away from me," his low voice startles me, but he doesn't even look in my direction, "you may as well join me for breakfast, since you've already managed to cut yourself free." He motions to the log next to him with his head.

Before I can get up to run, my stomach growls in response. When was the last time I ate? Yesterday? Two days ago? And whatever he is eating smells good, as a soft breeze wafts the tasty smell of some sort of meat in my direction.

Slowly, I stand up, and reluctantly walk over to where he sits. But I don't sit down. I just stand there looking at the strange blob of charred meat in his hand.

"Here," he hands me one on a thin stick. I bite into it. It doesn't taste too awful.

I chew it down and swallow the savory meat, small and thin, but doesn't taste too different from a mix of duck meat and chicken. "What is it?" I mumble through the bites.

He looks up at me for a second, raising his dark eyebrows, then looks back down at his own meat. "Squirrel," he says simply, and takes another bite.

I nearly throw up at the thought, and instantly gag out all my food. "Squirrel?" I groan, and plop down on the ground, a few feet from him.

I meet his piercing gaze and see that his jaw is set. "What's wrong? Is your taste too sophisticated to eat squirrel meat? Would you rather I sprint through the woods into the town, find a chicken that is still alive, bring it back here and wait for it to lay an egg? Should I go hunt down a wild boar for you, Your Highness," he says it sarcastically and with malice, "and should I strip it of its parts and cook up some bacon for you to go with your eggs?"

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