Chapter Eight: Apathetic Inhibitions
"Get your hands off me, you— UGH!" she grunted in pain when she was thrown behind bars.
She fell hard against the floor and was faintly surprised that she hadn't broken skin. What was it made of? Limestone? Probably. Either way, it hurt like a bitch.
Then she heard the gate shut and rolled her eyes slowly. Well, it seemed it was time for Altaïr to repay her for saving him from drowning. She hoped he'd do it. If chivalry or honor existed in knights and assassins alike (they were both cultish in their rules/indoctrinations after all) then perhaps he'd show up. If he actually cared he'd show up. She had no clue if he cared for her in the slightest. Pyrrha never had experience in the whole 'love' department. For all she knew, the guy threw himself in front of the arrow for some information on the Templars and now figured she wasn't worth the trouble after that experience.
The young woman sat up, and rubbed her head and her skinned up elbows. When her eyes peered up she noticed that she wasn't alone whatsoever. No, she was behind bars with several other women. Oh.
"Hello," she said with a small wave, accidently flicking dead skin their way. Oops.
A good number of them were actually kind of pretty. She was expecting battle scars and asymmetrical faces from improper healing. They were also thin, lacking in muscles, and totally not what she expected of someone in a prison for people who assault guards. Odd. Oh well, no sweat off her back.
"Pyrrha?" she heard a female voice question.
She looked over and immediately recognized Aisha: the dancer girl from that wretched party. Pyrrha's face immediately lit up at a familiar face.
"Aisha! Is that you?" she asked.
Immediately, the other woman knelt beside her and pulled her up into a tight embrace. Welcoming it, Pyrrha hugged her back.
"It's been so long! What have you been up to?" Aisha asked her.
"Attacking mean guards. What about you?"
Quite honestly, it seemed far more interesting how a dancer ended up arrested? Did they mistake her dancing for seduction and arrest her for prostitution? Pyrrha hoped not.
"Oh, some idiot attacked the harbor we were on, so our manager, the girls, and me were blamed for it. Rotten luck, huh?"
Pyrrha laughed uncomfortably, knowing exactly who was to blame for that incident. "Well, at least they didn't take your hands in penance," she said easily.
"If she isn't your wife or sister… why do you care about rescuing her?" Basma asked, looking over at Altaïr's stony profile.
It didn't make sense to her. Why would he care if she was imprisoned or not? He wasn't a knight; there wasn't that fabled chivalry involved here. For all she knew, the man was a very fit scholar with a variety of weapons.
Did he love her? Perhaps. 'Love' between the opposite sex wasn't really a priority… ever. Status, money, alliances, and breeding were far more important. If the couple happened to love each other while meeting the other criteria than that was a match made in heaven, so to speak. And Basma knew they weren't friends. Men and women couldn't possibly be simple companions. Men and women were kept separate until puberty hit and marriage happened. They had nothing in common.
"I don't have to explain myself to you," he clipped stiffly. "I want to save her. That is all."
"But why?" she pressed further, genuinely curious.
"The better question is why do you care about saving Pyrrha? You do not know her."
That was easy. She helped feed her child. She owed Pyrrha a debt of gratitude and helping a man break her out of prison would certainly make them square. And Basma couldn't really explain it, but there was something about Pyrrha that was… interesting. She was definitely loud, weird, open, yet carefree. But the thing is Pyrrha had something about her that didn't make Basma want to hate her. Perhaps frustrated with more exposure but definitely not hatred.
"She saved my daughter," she said easily.
"Hmm, Pyrrha actually saved someone," he said under his breath. Then he faced Basma and gestured towards Sunshine and with a clear voice he said. "Get on the horse."
"I'm not allowed to ride a horse remember?" she said. "I don't know how."
"Right," he said dully.
He wouldn't admit this allowed, but he'd grown so used to Pyrrha not being normal. He almost expected Basma to just hop on willy-nilly and not care that he'd have to play catch up with her. But no. The silver eyed woman out of his reach was… something else. Of course Basma wouldn't follow suit.
"Hop on my horse," he said. "I do not have time for this."
"Um… okay," she said slowly.
She didn't know how to mount a horse, but it seemed Altaïr wasn't having any of it. He pulled her up and sat her behind him on his horse's rump. The mare didn't appreciate it, but she didn't dismount them either. That was a plus.
"Hold onto me if you think you're going to fall," he said stiffly. "Use your thighs to squeeze and stay on."
He ignored it, and they were off… to go get Pyrrha.
"So… what's up?"
Aisha placed a hand around her mouth and whispered, "We're planning a prison break."
"Ooh! Really!" she said excitedly, ready to get out of here.
Pyrrha frowned exaggeratedly, leaning back from all the women. Oh. Sorry for her excitement to get out of a cold, dark place where she could be tortured or starved again. But she supposed she should be quiet as to not arouse suspicion. She wanted out.
"Someone is going to need to distract the guards," Aisha said.
"Well, how are we going to do it? The guy is pretty much immune," another girl piped in.
"I don't know," another said.
"I can do it," Pyrrha supplied easily.
The girls looked over curiously and incredulously at the silver eyed woman. What? Is it weird that she wanted to get out of jail so much that she'd pitch in? She didn't think so.
"Are you sure?" Aisha asked. "It's dangerous."
"What can I say?" Pyrrha shrugged. "I love thrills."
Pyrrha stood without looking at the other girls. It was already settled. She'd distract the guard for whatever reason to get out of jail. She'd do it. She could handle herself. She isn't dead yet after all.
She leaned against the wall as Aisha continued to sharpen her makeshift shank behind a wall of other girls. The silver eyed woman was trying to eavesdrop through the wall to get some information on the guard. If that was to happen she had to know his weaknesses. One can't be successful without understanding.
"I heard one of them tried to sleep with you," one guy chuckled.
"Yeah, something about women being locked up for some time and then finally seeing a real man just makes them want me badly," her target said sounding as arrogant as the words he spoke.
"What? I'm not a real man?"
"Not a good looking one."
"Oh fuck you," her not target said.
She snickered briefly before clamping a hand over her mouth. Quiet or she'll be discovered.
"But it's terrible though. They just look at you like a slab of meat… not a person," her target said. "None of them care about me."
Bingo. She got up and prepared to execute her plan. She knew she'd distract him. He probably shouldn't talk about his lack of success with women in a prison for women. He left himself wide open for some serious manipulation. Dummy.
She went up to the gate and leaned. It wasn't allowed. This would certainly gain his attention.
"Inmate, off the bars," her target gruffed angrily.
"But I just wanted to ask you how your day was going," she said candidly with a dramatic pout.
"What?" he asked, taken aback.
"It must get boring walking back forth with nothing else to do," she said, trying to have a normal conversation.
This was not what he was expecting. She could see it in his face. It was a look often given to her. She was not what people expected most of the time. She was a strange bird. Although, to be quite frank she thought everyone else was a weirdo in her eyes.
"Yes," he said clearing his throat and straightening up. He looked her in the eyes. "It isn't exactly entertaining no. But it pays nicely. Thankfully, I wasn't arranged to marry some girl for my family. The name isn't that impressive, so I guess I couldn't bar…"
He just went on and on, boring her. But she was getting pretty good at sounding like she was totally with the conversation when she wasn't. It was tedious, and it wasn't about a topic she cared for. But she supposed feigning interest for the sake of that key was important. She just wished he'd be more interesting. He was attractive though. He had a pretty mouth worth watching.
"So are you married?" he asked her.
"Huh?" she perked up and then realized what was asked. Why did everyone assume she should be married by now? Whatever. "No, I'm kind of a freak in the streets and the sheets. So no one wants to put a ring on me."
He spluttered in exasperation at her. Oh shit, she screwed it up. Now, he's going to get mad and beat her up for saying such a thing and being on the bars. She closed her eyes in anticipation.
"You're strange but funny," he said.
Well, slap her silly. She wasn't expecting that. Hmm, perhaps there was more to this guard than meets her eyes. Maybe he was the unexpected one. She shouldn't underestimate him perhaps.
"D'aww shucks, Mister, you're gonna make me blush!" she said playfully with a dismissive hand wave.
She saw something in those brown eyes that she couldn't really identify, but she'd seen a few times in Altaïr's. Hmm. What did that me—
"Abu! Get your ass in here!"
Silver eyes widened for a moment and then went back to their normal size. Yelling wasn't new to her.
He looked back towards the source of the voice as if he really didn't want to get his ass in there. Hmm, attached to her already. Nah, don't be ridiculous.
"I have to go," he sighed irritably. "Bye."
When he left a shit eating grin appeared on her face. She skipped in content back to the other ladies. She crouched and let the smile take up a good portion of her face with her eyes closed in elation. Ooh, she knew she had a good way to get out of prison.
"Wow, uh, Pyrrha I've never thought a person's… smile could stretch that far," Aisha said, sounding mildly impressed.
"I stole the guard's key," she said, pulling it out from behind her back.
Silver eyes opened and saw the women's mouths drop in astonishment and their tools clank to the floor. Shocked exhales of air left Adha as Pyrrha's smile just widened at the other woman's shock. Silver eyes loved to watch reactions.
"Well, come on, let's go," she said.
Pyrrha hopped up and headed to the gate at a run. She wanted to get out, and only told Adha and the others because she was so excited about surprising people. It was time to go. Move it or lose it.
She unlocked it as she heard the others scrambling to their feet. She heard "wait up" and "where do we go" several times, but she just ignored it. That is until a hand wrapped around her arm and dragged her back behind a wall.
"Wait, we need to come with a plan of escape. I think tha— Pyrrha!"
She was already way ahead of them, atop the stairs, throwing a random guard down said stairs before she sprinted further through the halls of the prison. She didn't have any intention of stopping. She wanted her crossbow and she wanted out. Escaping, running away were her specialities, right?
She rounded a corner and saw someone holding her crossbow. He looked as if he was about to junk it. She was at a full on running tackle, wanting what was hers back.
"It's illegal. Might as well burn—"
She knocked him to the floor harder than she figured she could. Hmm, it seemed she was running faster than she intended. But it worked. The man's wind was knocked out of him and her crossbow was out of his hand. She scrambled up and towards her crossbow before he could get his bearings straight.
"What. The. Hell," he wheezed.
"Bye-bye," she said, running yet again to find an exit, but now she was armed.
"Pyrrha!" she heard Adha sucking wind from behind. "Wh-wait up!"
"If you can't keep up," she began, "then I'm going to have all the fun~! Ugh!"
Suddenly, she felt an arm grab her around the middle, lifting her bodily into the air. From the inertia, they were spinning. She supposed she'd either gained weight as of late or the guy was a weakling. Maybe both. Regardless, she was spinning around without any control. It was kind of fun… and nauseating. But then she placed her arm against the man's neck to hold herself in place. Now, she could aim and not feel quite as dizzy. So in her dip backwards, she shot an upcoming guard's leg with her crossbow.
What? Why did everyone always have to shout her name? She wasn't deaf!
Silver eyes looked over and saw that it was Altaïr and a terrified woman she vaguely recognized cowering behind him.
"Altaïr?!" she exclaimed happily with an unfitting smile considering her position.
Then she used momentum to slam the both of them forward, knocking the guard that caught her forward onto the pavement. She got up, leaving both guards groaning in pain.
"Get down," he told her.
She crouched and saw him throw knives right into another man's chest, killing him. Her face blossomed in mild surprise not at the fact that an assassin killed someone, but the fact that she was so unaware of her surroundings.
She shrugged it off, and then finished her exclamation: "Altaïr!"
Suddenly, he was completely surrounded by Pyrrha. The young woman had her arms around his neck and considering there was a height difference between them, he'd best grab hold of her before she yanked him down by his neck and choked him. It wasn't a chore after all. Having her near him again, knowing she was alright, was an unexpectedly good feeling for his stunted emotions. He didn't want to feel how he felt about her, but a part of him told him to shut up and just enjoy Pyrrha and her safety.
"Aw, you came for little ol' me?" she teased playfully.
"Don't push it," he said. "I could leave you here still."
"No, you wouldn't," she said confidently.
"Aw," the familiar woman said with a smile.
A knife whizzed past Pyrrha's ear, making her eyes widen and her body stiffen momentarily. Oh right, they were in a scuffle. In a prison break.
"Wanna get out of here?" she said.
"Yes," everyone who wasn't a guard said in unison.
Then she was off, running ahead of the masses throughout out the narrow, brick hallways. She heard feet behind her a moment later, heading for the exit… wherever it may be.
"Pyrrha!" Altaïr called from behind. "Why are these whores following us?"
"H-ah-hey now!" one of the winded dancers sounded offended.
"I think the proper term is 'entertainer'," Pyrrha cackled.
Then suddenly she heard:
"Lock it down, boys!" she heard a head guard shout as he rang the bell in an open room. "We've got a prison break!"
She looked all around as the guards scrambled for their weapons. One of them was trying his hardest to get the gate shut to the outside world.
She pointed her loaded crossbow at his hand and shot it. The man recoiled, screaming and falling backwards whilst clutching his hand. Then the bridge that was starting to be lowered no longer had a man to ease it down. It started falling rapidly. Silver eyes smiled at the challenge, sprinting over to the coiled wire and the lever. Pyrrha snagged a sword left behind in the skirmish and used the momentum of her run to embed it deep enough into wires rapidly moving, stopping in its tracks.
"I'm free, you— UGH!"
A man from behind tackled her to the floor. It knocked the breath out of her. She couldn't see who it was seeing that it was hard to wiggle or move at all. Was it back to the brig or was it her time to die?
"You're not leaving," she heard above her. "I finally found you and you're never going to— UGH!"
Suddenly, she felt the weight leave her back and she could breathe properly again. She took in big gulps of air as she looked over to see what was what. It seemed that Altaïr had swiped what's his nuts that had the key to her cage.
She got up, grabbed her crossbow, and ran out the exit with the other girls. She didn't look back. Out was her goal.
"The carriage, Pyrrha!" Aisha said. "We can't ride horses!"
She hopped up and sat right in the coach section, grabbing the reins. The dancers hopped into the big carriage meant for transporting mass amounts of prisoners. She was about to smack the reins along the horses attached, but she saw Altaïr rushing towards her with quite a number of guards. It would be kind of bad if she didn't show up with him back at the base. Although, the look on Malik's face would be pretty amusing.
He hopped up beside her and said, "Give me the reins."
"No," she said and smacked them along the horses' backs.
"Pyrrha, I swear—" then the jolt of the horses starting at a hard canter knocked him backwards into the carriage.
She giggled with mirth as they took off. The soldiers were left in the dust, obviously unable to keep up. But from the corner of her eye they soon realized that there were other horses to hop onto. And the wild chase began.
"Whoohoo!" Pyrrha shouted at the top of her lungs.
"Slow down please!" Basma said.
"No, they're catching up!" Aisha exclaimed. "Speed up!"
Pyrrha looked over and Aisha was right. The guards were catching up. They seemed to be heading towards the front of her horses as if to cut her off from going any further. Hmm.
She neck-reined her steeds to take veer over to the left a bit. She watched with a smirk as the guards on that side were smacked hard to the left into the bushes, their horses running away.
"One of them is on the carriage!" one of the girls squealed in fear.
"Get him Altaïr," Pyrrha said with a smirk.
He gave her a look of mild irritation that he had to be the one to take care of the guards on their carriage. But he did it. She smiled when he climbed up on top with his sword drawn.
More guards tried to come onto the scene but to her right this time. Jokes on them, she was taking a right up here. In her sharp turn that almost tipped the whole set up (screams of absolute panic sounded behind her), she sideswiped the guards beside her, completely cutting them off.
"Are you trying to kill us?" Altaïr hissed through the winds.
She saw over her shoulder that he had his sword embedded in the roof of the carriage with his belly flat on the top. He looked pretty perturbed like he almost fell off the carriage in her mad dash to get away. Whoops! He was still here though, so she counted it as a win.
"If you can't take my lovely driving skills you can hop off any time," she teased. "Pussy."
"Pyrrha, I swear I'm going to— Is that a fire?"
She looked forward and, oh yeah, that was indeed fire. It seemed archers from afar on tall buildings were shooting fire filled arrows in front of them. She steered away as quickly as possible. Only the wheels seemed that have gone over and it was too quick for anything to catch.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God please save me," she heard behind her.
It's totally fine; she had this…. She hoped.
They came across a bridge where the underside was completely on fire and the middle was beginning to collapse. Ooh, a challenge! Would they make it? Well, there was only one way to find out.
"We're doing this, ladies… and Altaïr!" she exclaimed.
They ran along the bridge, the wood giving away underneath the weight and force of thunderous hooves and several bodies on wheels. Screams and cheers (Pyrrha) were sounding off as the horses, who thankfully wore eyepatches to desensitize them from being scared of their surroundings, jumped the gap between the broken bridge.
"Lean forward everyone!" Pyrrha commanded.
She didn't know why they didn't do that automatically. When you jump you lean forward for momentum purposes and then sit up straight when you land. Did these people not ride horses? Oh wait, they didn't.
She smiled hugely in mid air and didn't stop smiling even through their bumpy landing. Everyone was still screaming, and there was a few cheers from the safety. Pyrrha's head whipped around and smiled victoriously when the guards on horses couldn't follow. She giggled, loving that she won.
"Pyrrha, you are insane," she heard Altaïr tell her.
Like she hadn't heard that one before. Pfft. It was time to go back to the base….
She parked them back behind the base. The young woman hopped down and stretched largely, hearing her joints pop, pop, pop. She looked back at the carriage, and everyone was still clearly shaken. What? It wasn't that scary. It was a risky thrill.
"Hmm, what a ride!" she exclaimed happily. "Right you guys?"
Well, okay then.
She opened the door and let all of them out. They scrambled to get out and were physically shaken. She loved thrills and wasn't even batting an eye. Weird.
"Sorry that I could not bring Sunshine," Altaïr spoke up.
"Altaïr," she said, looking at him with an amused smirk, "it's sunny pretty much all the time. No need to bring it. This whole place'll set on fire."
"Your horse," he clipped.
"Oh, ohhhh. Whatever," she said with a shrug.
She didn't understand the confusion written clearly on his face. Things, animals, people come and go all the time. She didn't see why he gave her a look like that. The world, the environment, and everything changes all the time. Everything's temporary… except time… and death. Time will always march on. Death will always occur so long as there's life. Why bother?
"Come on, let's go," she said nodding her head towards the base.
His face still held that confusion as she headed on. The girls followed her and eventually he did as well.