C.C. wasn’t sure whether to be more concerned about how he just happened to know her body measurements or how every man in the U.S. army that they passed immediately saluted him – which was quite often as they were boarding the same train that apparently some other soldiers were. He smiled and granted them permission to relax but never really stopped to properly address them. If it wasn’t for the faintest whiff of his familiar scent, she would have suspected the Prince of selling her off to some military man. But no, it really was the scoundrel who helped her up the train and looked after her, his hands on her waist as he guided her through the train to their private compartment.
Immediately he drew the curtains of the glass windows so that she may unveil herself. The moment she did, he raised a hand towards her.
“I’ll explain later. For now just sit quietly.”
Disgruntled, she obeyed. Fanning herself, she glanced at the texture of the curtains before stealing a look at him. He was holding two tickets in a gloved hand while he counted money with the other. The bills flashed by in his skilled hands, and she couldn’t help but stare hard at him; only bankers handled money that quickly and that accurately. Not to mention that handwriting of his! Just who was this man? Or rather, who had he been?
He stood by the door, one hand wrapped around the metal bars of the overhead luggage shelf as he gently swayed to the rhythm set by the train. He studied the tickets in his hand, when he suddenly opened the door. Though she didn’t know how he had known what with the drawn curtains, there was a man standing in the doorway with a look of surprise and one hand in the air as if he had been half a second away from opening the door.
“Good morning, sir.”
The conductor glanced up from the tickets before replying in a voice gruff with embarrassment. “Captain.”
“I’m glad you’ve come,” he said as if he hadn’t been lying in wait to pounce on the mustached man. “I’d been meaning to make some inquiries. You see, my companion here,” he gestured to the silent woman, “is feeling rather ill, and I was wondering if you could perhaps make arrangements so that she could be comfortable for the duration of this journey.”
“…Yes, sir. I’ll see to it that the proper arrangements are made.”
The conductor nodded slowly before giving a curt nod and moving on to the next compartment. Closing the door softly behind him, the Captain took the empty seat across from her. He sat quietly for some time with his right eye closed – whether or not his left was also closed, she didn’t know but she suspected that it was; she didn’t particularly think keeping an eye open under an eyepatch was very comfortable – when he said in a quiet voice: “Everyone’s been captured. They’re currently being tried, but everyone knows that it’s just a formality.” He paused for a moment as if he were fighting something. It was a while before he spoke again.
“They’re to be hung in 3 days.”
“Why risk a train?”
“Because they’re infinitely faster than any horse that Cornelia or any other rancher could possibly breed.”
“And so? We reach the city that they’re being held in. What can we possibly do? It must be in the very least a hundred versus two.”
He gave her a strange smile at that she hadn’t seen since that hot afternoon when she had been so sure she wouldn’t be allowed to walk away with her life, she had prayed to the God she had abandoned years ago. It was barely there, but as he sat there across from her, a memory briefly shone and dispelled the fog in her mind, and just for a second – for a split second – recognition flashed across her face as she saw behind her eyes that same smile from years and years ago before the memories dissolved and she was left in darkness.