” … and Traze will force him into the ring again, don’t you get it? They’re going to make him fight to the death!” Leta was saying, her voice straining as she looked from Aiden, to Cyrus, to Corra in desperation.
It was an hour after Cyrus had bought her freedom. In a worried caravan they’d returned to the ship (Leta had to grasp Cyrus’ shoulder the whole time to manage the walk, all the while feeling torn between fury and gratitude). Once there, Aiden forced a plate of food and a bottle of water on her before they made it downstairs to convene in the infirmary. They were discussing only one thing: how to get Fiearius back. Leta wasn’t sorry they’d freed her — she valued her life — but how could they have given up on Fiearius so easily?
The looks of worry she received in return did not help. “You’ve no idea what it’s like in that ring,” Leta went on shakily, “how could you just leave him there? Why aren’t we in there right now getting him back?! We h — ”
“Leta, finish bandaging your leg,” interrupted Aiden quietly, nodding at the half-finished wrapping job on her calf, which she’d all but neglected in her tirade. Feeling certain Aiden wouldn’t listen to her otherwise, Leta begrudgingly pulled her knee up to her chest to finish the job, but not without throwing everyone in the room a dark ook. Why couldn’t they understand how urgent this was?
“And let’s think this through,” Aiden went on, possibly sensing her need to explode again. He crossed his arms as he leaned against a counter, his lips thinning out in thought behind his beard. “The next fight is scheduled for tonight?”
“Yes,” snapped Leta, fighting back her roiling energy. “And right now they probably put him back in a cell without any food and water, he’s going to be weak. We have to get him out of there before tonight.”
Corra, leaning forward on an exam bench, agreed at once. “We should just go right now. Like I said before. Storm the place.”
Cyrus shook his head before she’d even finished. “Storm the place in broad daylight? There’s bored mercs with shotguns just waiting for someone to try it. We wouldn’t make it past the front door.”
Disheartened, but only for a moment, Corra bounced back, “Okay, then we won’t storm it. We’ll just…we’ll approach business-like again. Buy him back properly like we did Leta.”
Again, Cyrus shook his head sadly. “That was all the money we had…So unless someone else is holding out … “
“My accounts are frozen,” said Leta darkly. “They were shut down when I left Vescent.” Her fingers dug against the end of the bench in anger. She probably had enough money in her primary account to buy Traze’s entire warehouse off him, but with no access to it …
“They’re making a spectacle of it,” she told them, her voice lower now. “You should see Traze’s basement, probably holds a hundred people in the audience. He’s going to make a fortune off of Fiearius.” Looking up, she told them, her breath catching in her throat, “We have to stop that fight.” Like he did for me, she added silently.
Silence descended over them. No one said a word until Corra muttered weakly, “…How?”
But this time, Cyrus had an answer. Arms crossed, he fixed his eyes on the floor and said quietly, “We do what you said.” But his tone grew bold as his eyes flicked up to them. “We storm the place.”
Corra cast him a look of confusion, so he went on, “Won’t work during the day, but during the fight, they’ll be distracted. Traze’s men will be too busy keeping their eyes on the crowd. They won’t expect us.”
Stunned silence followed Cyrus’ words as everyone glanced at one another. To Leta’s immense surprise, it was Aiden who spoke first, and he did not, as she would have expected of him, completely dismiss the idea.
“All the way to the basement, though?” he said, frowning thoughtfully. “We could be overpowered before making it all the way down there.”
“I’ll go first,” said Leta quickly. “I’ll go down there first. Quietly. Like I’m just a patron there to see the fight. I know there’s a back door near the holding cells.” She remembered the door because she was considering throwing herself out of it when she was being dragged down the hall. “I can get to it and let you in that way.”
Cyrus nodded. “If we can get in through that back route, get into the basement…All we’d have to do would be–I dunno, wave some guns around. Set people in a panic. And in the chaos we can just grab Fiear and –” He waved his hand in the air quickly, “–slip out.”
“It wouldn’t be hard to cause chaos,” Leta agreed at once. “The patrons there are rowdy and drunk.”
“But just us?” Corra put in skeptically. “Even as heavily armed as physically possible, we’re still gonna be massively outnumbered. And how are just the four of us gonna cause a stir in a hundred? No one will even notice us.”
“To pull this off,” Aiden murmured in agreement, “we’ll need more people.”
“We have more people,” Cyrus replied quietly. Everyone in the room looked at him, and for the first time, confidence glimmered in his eyes as he took a deep breath. “Let’s rally the crew.”