Here’s the final post in the first volume of the series.
There had been a few instances in the past where they had butted heads, but none of them had the quiet intensity of that moment. Ayla sat crosslegged and perfectly still whilst Kira shuffled uncomfortably. Atrocious could sense that Kira had already lost before they’d even begun, but why? She was strong, incredibly powerful in her own right. Now that Atrocious’ temper had settled she was amazed she’d had the nerve to go after the warrior at all. Overnight Kira had shed some of the weight of her armor and was wearing a simple leather tunic and pants. Her arms were free and bare and covered from shoulder to elbow in curling tattoos that Atrocious knew must have hurt like hell to get. Underneath the tattoos, toned muscles rippled with even the slightest movement of her arms.
In comparison, Ayla seemed weak. She was not quite delicate in appearance, but the naturally refined set of her features did not lend themselves to violence. By all rights, Kira should have been able to dominate Ayla easily, and yet she did not. For all her bluster and insistence on order, Kira came second to Ayla.
Nibbling at her chocolate, Atrocious noted that Kira wasn’t pleased by the fact. Her handsome features were slipping ever closer to a full blown pout, making her look incongruously childish.
“Are we going to need a demonstration?” Ayla pressed the question softly.
“No,” Kira muttered. She moved away from the witch and sat at a bench that was set against the far wall. “Are we going to get going?”
“I think we’ll stay a few days,” Ayla said.
“Here? In this little shit hole where we get robbed in our sleep? Why?”
“Atrocious isn’t going to be feeling well.”
“How can you possibly know that?” Kira scowled at Atrocious, as if it were her fault that Ayla wanted them to stay.
“Call it instinct,” Ayla sighed.
Atrocious said nothing, but was silently very grateful. Ayla was right. The next few days were not going to be pleasant for her. Each and every month held a certain hell for her, a two full days of crippling cramps if she was lucky, more if she was not.
“We should move on,” Kira insisted. “We need to find out why the Imperials are after us.”
“There is no great rush,” Ayla said reasonably. “This place is fairly remote, it is unlikely they will find us here any time soon. Besides, the less we travel, the lower the chance that we will be seen by someone who reports us.”
“You’re wasting time,” Kira insisted.
“You’re beginning to try my patience.”
The warrior grumbled and scuffed her foot on the floor. Impatience was in every line of her frame as they all sat in silence. “Fine,” she said, pushing up off the bench. “Then I’m going to track down that robber. If I can’t find her, I’ll find the innkeeper who buggered off and left us to her tender mercies. They must all be in on it.”
“Sit down,” Ayla said firmly.
“You don’t give me orders, witch.”
“Kira.” Ayla said the warrior’s name very quietly. “I will deal with you if necessary.”
Pressed by temper, Kira started visibly appraising Ayla once more. “It has been a very long time since you last laid hands on me,” she pointed out. “I’m not a little apprentice anymore.”
“It makes no difference to me,” Ayla replied.
“Your spells won’t work on me,” Kira reminded her.
Again Ayla was unmoved. “I don’t need spells to deal with you.”
Kira sniggered. “Then how are you going to do anything?”
“You’ll present yourself for discipline if I tell you to.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because you know as well as I do that you need it. Because you know what happens when you don’t do as I tell you.”
Kira’s shoulders slumped in defeat and Atrocious’ curiosity was thoroughly piqued. What did Ayla have on Kira? She looked at Ayla very intently, but couldn’t see any sign of threat from the witch. With nothing to go on there, she thought about her own experiences with Ayla. The witch dominated through a mixture of raw sexuality and magic, so if magic didn’t work on Kira, Atrocious could only conclude that Ayla must have something sexual on the warrior.
“Pussy whipped,” she muttered under her breath to nobody in particular.
Across the room, Kira’s head snapped up. “What did you say?”
“Nothing,” Atrocious lied. She could barely keep the smirk off her face. So it was something sexual.
Kira stood up and walked over to the hearth where Atrocious sat finishing the last little bit of candy. “Don’t think that the witch will protect you from your actions forever,” she warned.
“I’m not intending on protecting her from any of them,” Ayla said mildly.
The warrior turned towards the witch. “So you’ve no objection to me taking her to task for biting me?”
Ayla’s gaze settled on Atrocious. “None at all.”
Atrocious squeaked as a dark smile spread over Kira’s face. The warrior had found an outlet for her frustrations, and it was her rear end. “Come here, little thief,” Kira said, beckoning Atrocious with a crooked finger.
“No way,” Atrocious refused.
“I’m giving you a chance to make it easy on yourself,” Kira said. But Atrocious was staring at her powerful arms and she remembered all too well what it had been felt like to be thrashed by Kira and there was no way she was going to have the warrior’s power and rage unleashed on her bottom if she had anything to do with it.
When it became clear that Atrocious wasn’t going to come along quietly, Kira made a grab for her. It failed and started a grand chase around the room with Atrocious jumping over chairs and diving under tables and Kira in hot pursuit.
“You can’t keep this up forever,” Kira called out. She was running too, but unlike Atrocious, she had no trouble speaking. She was not so unfit that a few turns around the room turned her into a puffing, panting mess. Atrocious knew all she was really doing was tiring herself out and making herself easier prey for the warrior, but she couldn’t just stop running, no matter how out of breath she got. She needed a miracle, and she prayed for one feverishly even as her last reserves of speed petered out.
Just when it seemed she would have to stop there was a loud noise from above, a pool of bright sunlight lit the floor around her and she found herself rising skywards at in impressive rate. As she rose up through the top of the inn she saw that the roof had been kicked in and that she had been lasooed by a familiar person. With feet still running in mid-air, she was hauled up onto the roof of the inn and dumped on the thatch. “Rogette,” she gasped, breathing heavily. “Thank you.”
“At your service,” the pretty robber smiled and took a bow, bracelets clattering as she did. “One good turn deserves another.”
“Atrocious, come down here this instant!” Kira shouted from below.
Rogette smirked and kicked some loose thatch over the hole she’d made, obscuring the warrior’s view. “Out of sight, out of mind,” she quipped mischievously. Atrocious giggled with pure glee and turned over on her back, feeling the sun warm her face as she reveled in her escape. With a friend like Rogette on her side, things were looking up.