Haunted House 26 – Unlikely Allies

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous: Finding Him

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The poor horses were sad.  Mélanie couldn’t really blame them.

She patted the horse on the nose, reassuring it, and it turned back to the road before the two buffoons noticed what it was doing.  She had just a moment to time this right. The horse seemed to stumble, tripping on thin air, slowing the wagon down to a near-stop.

Mélanie mentally promised the horse all the apples she could find for it, and sugar cubes, and the best currying of its life, all as she hopped up into the wagon.  There was Jasper – drugged, from the looks of it, his eyes open but not tracking – well, not that she could tell if he was tracking her, anyway; she was still invisible – his hands tied behind his back, a heavy canvas gag over his mouth, his feet bound.

He was in no shape to rescue himself, even if she managed to get him free.  Mélanie took a few breaths as the buffoons got the horses going again. She was going to have to do this on her own.  She was going to have to stop the two thugs, rescue Jasper, and get them home.

She took a couple deep breaths, hoping they were quiet enough to not be heard, and thought about what she had at her disposal.

She had her Workings, which were a little anemic right now and not at their best and were also hard to handle without drawing attention to herself. She had whatever was in the wagon – which looked like three baskets of foodstuffs and one very old cardboard box  with something sticking out of the top of it. She had an unconscious Jasper, the wagon, and the horses.

The horses.  She looked up between the two brutes and considered the horses.  If she could – it wouldn’t be easy – but maybe?

She looked back at Jasper.  He was going to be hurt, more than he already had been, probably because he hadn’t agreed to Belong to these brutes.  If she didn’t do something, just because she was frightened that they might hurt her a little bit she was not only an awful coward, she was an awful Kept.

And he had brought her under his Name and under his House and wanted her to be a person.

If she was going to be a person, she wasn’t going to be an awful person.

She slid out of the wagon and held on to the side, letting the spell holding her just above the ground, so that the space under her was like roller skates and she was being pulled along by the wagon.  The horses were plodding, clearly not wanting to go anywhere with these strange women.

She could use that.  She was going to have to work very carefully – the women were probably fae; they probably had some sort of ability to look for or find other fae, so she didn’t want to give them any idea that she was here at all.  But if she was very sneaky, she might be able to get the women into a trap without them even noticing that they’d been trapped.

She moved hand-over-hand towards the front of the wagon, watching every single placement of her hands, listening to the two brutes go on about what they had waiting for them at home and what they were going to do with Jasper once he “saw the light” and agreed to be theirs.

They were talking like they didn’t mind who heard them, but in this area, there wasn’t exactly a lot of traffic or a lot of passers-by, so it wasn’t an entirely unreasonable opinion.  As she held on to the wagon near its seat, Mélanie studied them. They were strong-looking, armed with at least a long blade and a short blade each. The tall one also had some sort of staff.  Getting into a fight with them would be tricky at best and probably end with her trussed up next to her Owner.

And if they figured that out, well, then she was in a world of hurt and so was he.

Mélanie shuddered.  What the hell had Jasper been up to that he ended up running afoul of these beasts?  Was this some sort of plot of his? If so, she was going to… she was going to… she was going to frown very sternly at him when she got this all sorted out.

She was almost to the horses.  She took ahold of the leftmost horse’s harness carefully, trying not to make any visible tension on the leather.

She didn’t want to give herself away by something as stupid as the reins jiggling when there should be no jiggle.

When she had made her way up to the horses’ heads, Mélanie froze.  If she was overheard, the plan would fail. If the horses didn’t listen, the plan would fail.  If- if- she was going to die here, and Jasper was going to be enslaved because of her.  She was going go fail.  She was-

The horse further from her stomped its feet and paused to eat an apple from a roadside tree.  The one closer to her jangled its harness.

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