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Gild: Chapter 38

A knock sounds on the captain’s door, making me nearly jump out of my shoes.

“Cap’n, they’re coming back!” one of the pirate’s voice hollers through the door.

Rissa’s eyes go wide in worry as she mouths, What do we do?

Spurred into action, I point to the bed, and Rissa and I waste no time rushing over to it. “Lie down,” I whisper to her.

She quickly complies, and I toss the captain’s discarded belt to her. “Secure your wrist to the bedpost.”

She gives me a look. “Really?”

“Just trust me. And mess up your dress.”

She gives a huff, but with her free hand, she does as I say, making her bodice sag, her skirt hiked up and disheveled.

I put myself on the floor next to the bed and as gently as I can, coax one of my ribbons to wrap around my wrist before attaching it to the post. Every curl they make aches like a strained muscle or bruised bone, but I know this needs to look somewhat believable.

With my free hand, I undo the buttons of the captain’s feathered overcoat, not exposing myself fully, but leaving a gap so they can see the torn bodice beneath. I hike up my thick skirts to rest against my upper thigh too, hoping that enough skin will distract them from questioning anything too much.

Another knock sounds at the door. “Cap’n, you coming out? They’re heading up the ramp.”

I look up toward the bed. “If you can cry on command, now would be the time,” I murmur.

Rissa scoffs. “Of course I can cry on command.”

“Cap’n? You alright in there?”

Murmured voices sound behind the door, then heavy footfalls come closer. I hear the sound of Quarter’s voice calling for Captain Fane just as Rissa snaps her fingers at me. “What?” I ask her.

Instead of answering, she shakes a pointed finger toward the captain’s desk.

With a frown, my eyes skate over to it, only to see that the captain’s hat and coat are still lying there.

Shit,” I hiss.

I debate getting up and trying to throw them out the window, but it’s too late. Quarter is already pounding on the door.

“Cap? Cap! I’m coming in!”

I hear Rissa sniffle as the pirates outside begin to kick at the door. I flinch with each hit, until the doorframe splinters and the door comes crashing open.

Three pirates stalk in, Quarter at the lead. Their eyes immediately find Rissa and me, but their heads swivel around, looking for Captain Fane.

“Cap?” Quarter calls.

When it’s obvious the captain isn’t in here, his expression darkens, and he stalks over to the bed.

“Where is he?” he demands.

Rissa starts crying. Really loud, wailing, hiccupping cries. Either she’s a terrific actress, or she was holding it all in.

I make sure to keep a scared look on my face, which isn’t difficult, considering I’m terrified.

Quarter stops in front of me and looks between the two of us. “I said where the fuck is he?”

“Captain Fane…he…he…” Rissa’s voice breaks off into wracking sobs.

Quarter growls in frustration and looks down at me, kicking me in the shin with his boot and making me hiss out in pain. “Somebody better fucking speak!”

I pretend to struggle against the ribbon tying me to the post. “After he…took us, he tied us up. Then he told us to stay quiet, and he grabbed the trunk full of coins,” I say quickly, my voice shaky and high-pitched. “He took it and snuck out. Locked us in here.”

Behind him, the other two pirates go tense and share a look between them.

“Snuck out.” Quarter repeats evenly.

I nod my head, anxiety nipping at my heels.

Just believe mePlease believe it.

Quarter pulls away and starts looking around the room. My heart rate soars as he circles around the desk where the captain’s hat and coat are lying. It pounds even faster and harder when he passes by the window.

Don’t look out there. I beg all the Divines. Please don’t let him look out.

“Where was the trunk?” he barks.

One of the other pirates points. “We set it just there, Quarter.”

Quarter curses and kicks at a nearby barrel, sending it flying across the room and cracking against the wall. “He fucking took the coin for himself and jilted us!”

“Where would he go without a ship?” the pirate asks.

“He obviously planned this,” Quarter snaps. “Took a fire claw or conspired with those Fourth soldier fucks.” Another string of curses batters out of his mouth, smacking into the room with vicious force. “That sneaky bastard. I’ll run him through if I ever see—”

“Quarter.” A different pirate appears in the doorway. “The commander is waiting. He’s getting impatient.”

“Fuck!” Quarter tugs at his hair in frustration before spinning on his heel and looking at us.

My body goes tense, worry pounding against my skull, magnifying my headache tenfold.

“What do you want to do, Quarter?”

He lets out a thin, gritted exhale. “If we tell the Reds the captain took off with our pay and the commander left with our whores, we’re going to have a fucking mutiny on our hands.” He sends a hated, dark look in our direction. “Get them to the commander.”

The pirate opens his mouth to argue. “But—”

“Now,” Quarter snaps. “You think we can survive an attack from Fourth’s soldiers if we try to renege on the deal? He paid, whether we have the coins or not. He won’t leave without them. Especially not the gilded bitch.”

The pirates glance at one another, clearly displeased, but they stalk over to us. “Come on, you cunts,” one of them mutters.

I quickly lift my hand to the ribbon that’s wrapped around the post and pretend to undo it so that he doesn’t attempt anything like tearing or cutting into it.

He grabs me by my arm just as I get the ribbon undone, his fingers pressing hard through the material of my sleeve as he hauls me out the door while the other pirate takes Rissa.

Just as we’re led out of the room, I hear, “Wait a minute, isn’t that the cap’s coat? Why would he leave without his coat?”

Rissa stumbles behind me, and alarm bells go off in my head.

“Oy! Stop!”

The pirates escorting us jolt us to a halt and step aside just outside the room. Quarter’s footsteps stalk over, and I turn to face him as he approaches, my knees shaking beneath my skirt.

He stops in front of us, holding up the captain’s coat and hat. “You two wanna tell me about this?” he says, looking back and forth between us. I don’t dare look at Rissa.

My eyes flicker down to the coat as he shakes the fur in front of me. “Wh-what about it?” I ask, trying to sound as confused and pitiful as possible.

“You’re telling me that the captain snuck out with the trunk, during a snowstorm, but didn’t even bother to wear his fucking coat?” he snarls.

I flinch from the anger in his voice, but I manage to get out a shaky answer. “I—I don’t know. Maybe he was in a hurry?”

Quarter narrows his eyes and then takes a threatening step toward me. I cower back instinctively, my back nearly hitting the wall. I turn my face away from him.

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me…

His eyes flash with viciousness. “You’re fucking lying, aren’t you? What are you lying about?”

My knees nearly buckle right then and there. My chest goes tight, and it has nothing to do with my knotted ribbons and everything to do with the grip that fear has around my ribs.

“I…” Whatever excuses and lies I was going to try to spin collapse against my tongue.

My mouth is dry, my head is pounding, and I’m so tired…so incredibly weak. I expended a lot of energy—too much—and my body is ready to collapse. I probably would have already if adrenaline weren’t coursing through me.

Quarter leans down close to my cheek, and I freeze. “If you don’t start talking, I’ll stuff something in that useless mouth of yours, and then I’ll fill you with so much cum, it’ll corrode your plated pussy, do you fucking understand? What happened to Captain Fane?” His tone is dark and murderous.

Black dots burst at the edges of vision. My mind scrambles to fix this, to solidify my original story, but after the night I’ve had, it’s like my mind is sputtering out.

Why did I think I could get away with this? The threads of my lies are snapping one by one, and all I can do is try to hold onto the weak strings with a desperate grip.

Quarter growls next to my face, making my eyes squeeze shut. “Fine. I’ll make you talk, and then—”

Before Quarter can finish his sentence or go through with his threat, a cold, smooth voice cuts through the air like a boom, a volcano erupting in the middle of a silent twilight.

“What do you think you’re doing?”


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