Sorry for the cliffy in the last chapter. I promise not to leave you on one this time. *lies*

Anyways! Here's the next chapter. I've got nothing to say.

Half Baked Plans

Ashe isn't sure what had transpired in such a short amount of time. She tries collecting her thoughts around the whole situation. One moment she's leading Vaan out of the dungeons to get out of the palace and free of jail. They ran into Kinta where she finds Vaan first pointing a gun at her, and then dragging her away from her guards. In a literal sense in that respect.

She isn't sure exactly what is going through the sky-pirate's mind at the moment. She just knows that whatever it is, she does not want any part of it. He has one arm wrapped around her tightly; holding her firmly against him while he presses a gun against her back. Kinta and a few of her other guards are following them slowly with swords drawn out; waiting for any moment to strike.

She doubts they will be given one, Vaan doesn't seem like the type anymore that will allow someone to sneak up on him. Evident with her one guard that has been rendered unconscious two minutes ago while they passed by a doorway.

"What could you possibly achieve fiend? You have no escape." Kinta had become quite intimidating in his six foot stature now with the Queen in danger. His helmet is different then the other guards, trimmed with a gold embroider, signifying his higher rank. His sword is posed, stiff and unmoving while his arms remain strained and ready for his opportune moment to feed his hungry sword the flesh off a pirate.

The comment doesn't seem to worry Vaan any and from what Ashe can tell, he seems to actually find humor in it. She can hear the smile he's probably wearing in his voice as he speaks, "Ah, then you guys must not have been given the memo on the secret passage."

Turned heads. Guards look around to one another which is a clear sign that they haven't gotten any such memo about anything. "You rabble! You're just bluffing."

Vaan's brows raise with interest upon the term. It 's a new one for him, he usually gets called much worse things than 'rabble.' He tightens his grip on Ashe as she tries squirming out of his hold. Obviously, she finally caught onto where they are, and where he's headed. They finally reach the end of the hall and the sky-pirate flashes yet another grin before pressing his back on the wall, "Bye."

Before the guards know what happen, the wall spins around, and the pirate and their Queen disappear on the other side. Ashe is flung away from Vaan as he turns back to the wall and produces two daggers that she hadn't even brought back for him, and shoves them in the fine gaps of the rotating wall, wedging them in before the guards on the other side can get the wall opened.

"That cursed pirate! Quickly, go get more men. Someone grab something that we can use to beat this door down!" Vaan can hear Kinta shout from the other side of the door.

"Well, it'll hold them long enough for us to get a head start."

"I do wish you are speaking about yourself, I will not be wandering around in these waterways."

"You're my ace in the hole in case they do manage to catch me." Vaan waves a finger at her as he grabs her arm and pulling her to her feet.

The moment she is brought to her feet, her face contorts in pain. She did not; however, scream out in pain. She is Queen, she is stronger then other people, and has much more dignity then to cry. Even if her ankle hurts like hell. Luckily Vaan is keen on the observation, having journeyed with her and fought battles alongside her, he at least knows the signs to look for if she's hurt. She has too much pride to seek help or ask for aid in a battle, which is why he has always made sure to keep an eye on her as much as Basch had done, if not more. He ends up bringing her arm around his shoulders and wraps his other arm around her waist before pulling her up against him, easing the weight off of her bad ankle.

Keen on injury observation is one thing, obvious signs of disapproval or anger is another thing. It always seems like Vaan has the knack for not picking up on everyone's annoyance, especially when he's the cause of it.

Ashe for the most part, has been doing good, she hasn't tried clawing his eyes out, or shouting at him, she's remains calm throughout the situation, given the circumstances. She has to keep reminding herself not to get too angry and completely miss any opportunity of at least understanding some sort of logic in what Vaan is doing. It's hard though. So very hard.

"You'll never outrun them now." She sounds almost happy with her twisted ankle, "You can not, in good terms of logic, advance far enough to get through quicker then my guards. Leave me here and go if you wish to get free."

Again with that smile. She's beginning to hate that smile of his and she's only seen it happen in the span of ten minutes. Perhaps three times she's seen it? That smile seems to hold secrets, amusement, and it is mockery all at once. "You obviously forgotten what the waterways are like. I know the way, your men don't. I don't have to go fast because they'll be lost by the first turn."

She scowls once more as she takes insult to that accusation, "You underestimate my people."

That smile didn't waver any, "But Ashe, you were lost the first time we met in this waterway."

He said it so innocently that it made her want to smack him. She takes a deep breath and reminds herself not to become quick to temper. She hasn't even realized that they've been walking this entire time, sloshing around in the waterways. Perhaps it's because she's barely walking to begin with, it's like she's floating while he's carrying her. Her brows furrow in thought, no… it's not like she's floating, she IS floating. She gives a sharp look at Vaan.

"Finally noticed didn'Cha?" He chuckls deep in his chest, "Told ya wouldn't slow me down any."

"…You had those daggers this entire time." It really wasn't a question.

"Yep! The guards missed them. They usually do since they're small enough to hide."

"You were searched…"

"I guess they weren't thorough."

"…You were going to break out."

"Well.. Not exactly. I actually forgot I had them myself. They're really small. I kind of wedged that wall without much thought into it. But yeah… I guess sooner or later I would have gotten out."

She closes her eyes and takes another breath as she feels her temples throbbing as a headache begins to build. "If you are certain of your chances of getting away from them, even with me, why are you bothering with making me go with you. Surely you can get out faster without me."

"I'm doing you a favor."

"Kidnapping me. Queen of Dalmasca, is hardly a favor. Much less for anyone."

That same smile spreads across his lips once more, however this time, he isn't looking at her, "You need a vacation Ashe."

"The Queen of Dalmasca has no time for your idling fancying ideas. Nor does she have time for a vacation, she has a country to maintain."

"Ah. Back to the royal tongue I see." He rolls his eyes. He stops suddenly and turns his head to the side to regard her. "Do you really not see what I'm doing here?" Upon her flat look and lack of response he takes it as a 'no'. "You were the one that said if they caught you helping a pirate escape you would get in trouble."


She's surprised to say the least. To think that he has actually thought that quickly upon Kinta catching them. He has been the one who just seems to be always confused and at a loss on what exactly is going on during their travels. He's changed a lot more then she realized at first. Then again, it should come as no surprise, he's been a sky-pirate for awhile now, they don't have time to not know what to do in any given situation.

"Kidnap me to get away, you've gotten away, you do not need to hold me."

"Hey. I'm a sky-pirate." He said as if that answers all before he turns back to bringing them through the waterways.

"I fail to see that as a justified answer."

"When sky-pirates can get a treasure, they take it."

"I am not some prize to be taken!" She almost smacks him. Almost by a mere inch or so, she swings, he ducks, and she drops to the ground when he lets go of her. Luck, will have it, decids to play with her. As it is, luckily for her, that the sudden lack of support comes as a surprise to her but the fall is broken by the knee deep water. Unlucky for her, it's deep enough to drench her when she catches herself on all fours.

"You know… We should really be making haste." He decids to offer, and Ashe can feel the smile that's across his lips already.

She however, will not let her pride be shaken, and with all the dignity in the world she stands up once more, adjusts herself so that her clothes aren't hanging so terribly low in the front due to the weight of the drenched wardrobe and turns around to continue forth; stepping up onto an area that's not submerged in water.

"Wrong way." She heard immediately.

"I beg to differ, if my recollection is correct, this is the direction we had used to get out of the waterways."

"And your recollections would be correct except that's the long way."

"I do not recall any other direction we can use."

"Ah, but that's because you're not looking at methods." Upon her raised eyebrows he smiles before pointing to the side of the platform they currently stand on.

To her left is a stream of running water that carried a fast current. It travels in a slight decline of slope, perhaps twenty degrees or so in Ashe's calculations. Regardless, what he's asking her to do is possibly jump into this dangerous rushing stream, in her heavy gown, and allow the stream to carry her off? That is unlikely to happen anything soon.

Her arms cross over her chest once more and she bore down on him the glaring of the Queen of Rabanastre, "One would have to question whether your sane or not at the moment to think that I would partake in a half brained plan such as the one that you are suggesting."

"Ah… The royal tongue. Feels like old times. Except I'm not so easily intimidated anymore." He just seems to grin off whatever deadly daggers that she's throwing at him with her gaze before walking over to her and throwing her over his shoulder. An action, that he did not rightly think much through since if he considers his actions before taking them, and regards her as Ashe, and not a common woman, well then he wouldn't be subject to the sudden knee that crashes into his chest.

Once on her feet again, she scrambles away from him to get a safe distance away so he wouldn't be able to touch her again. "Do not think for a moment that I'm going to willingly allow you to use my name for you to make some money Vaan."

"Honestly…" Vaan starts as he picks himself back up. He rubs at his chest a little, feeling the sore that will be there soon enough already beginning to form. "You need to watch your surroundings Ashe. You have a Malboro behind you."

"What?" She turned quickly, ready to evade any tentacles or teeth that would be snapping in her direction. Only, there is nothing, and by the time she turns back around to tell him he's being foolish, Vaan is already there, and practically tackles her into the stream. The surprise, and the strike causesher to intake some of the water, a thought most unpleasant as she tries not to think about what is actually in the water and why so many people avoid the place like the plague.

She is certainly not having an easy time adjusting to the sudden slide motion that her body is suppose to be doing, instead she is tumbling. The water is not as deep as she thought it would be, and the flooring is not at all smooth.

A pair of arms wrap around her waist before she feels herself being pulled up and on top of Vaan's body as they slide down. For a moment she is bewildered by the action until she realizes that she is no longer feeling her legs and back being chewed up by the cement waterslide. She can only imagine what it's doing to him with her weight on top of him as well, and for a moment she's thankful that she's pressed up against his body rather than to have her gown torn to pieces. It's not exactly the most sturdy of wardrobes, it is, in fact, quite delicate. The bottom skirt has already been torn enough to bare some leg on either side of it.

She clutches onto his vest and closes her eyes. Normally she would be shouting at him for dropping her in this stream, but the fact that she already got herself drenched made arguing somewhat pointless in all respects. Her eyes open however when she feels his legs spread wide, and her legs drop enough to start grinding on the slide. She curls her feet until her shoes are hitting the concrete so she can lift her legs up. The action also happens to push her form more tightly against Vaan and shove her pelvis in dangerous territory.

She barely recognizes the fact that they're slowing down until she glances over her shoulder to see why he spread his legs in the first place. His feet are dragging on the side of the makeshift waterslide to slow them down before they run over the edge at the bottom. Seeing this, she does her part and presses her shoes in as hard as she can to help slow their momentum down, and when it's slow enough, they are no longer being carried. In fact she can also sit up without being tossed forward.

"See?" Vaan started as he sat up as well, "That wasn't so bad was it?"

This time she did smack him.