'Run'. That was all she could think of, getting away from them. Branches whipped past her face and roots tried to trip her as she stumbled past. Her legs ached and felt weighted down with lead. Her lungs burned and screamed for more air, more air than she could get. She could hear boots crunching leaves not far behind her while their owners cursed loudly.
Her foot suddenly hit a root or maybe a rock and the ground flew up at her. She hit hard enough to knock what little air she had out of her lungs. She caught her breath, clawed her way up, and started running again.
"Where do you think you're going?" Hands grabbed her waist and pulled her back.
She kicked backwards instinctively, managing to surprise him and pulled herself out of his reach: only to run straight into another man with slicked, brown hair, who pinned her arms to her sides.
"Let go of me!" She screamed, trying to squirm out of his grip.
"My, my, you are almost too much trouble for this to be worth it." He said as someone else grabbed her from behind. "Got her hands David?"
"Yea, I got 'em."
"Good." He said grabbing the front of her tunic and pulling out a knife. "So, business or pleasure first?"
"I'd say pleasure first Sam, business can wait a bit." David said holding her, tightening his grip.
"I'd like to teach her a lesson." Gasped the man she had kicked. He walked up and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at his bearded face. "You want to know what happens to young girls who assault King's Men?"
"K-king's Men? Oh Gods, I didn't know. Please I didn't know." She said nearly in tears.
"Too late girly." He purred, sinking his fist into the girl's stomach.
The girl let out a gasp, curled up, and nearly dropped to one knee.
The man behind her, David, forced her to stay on her feet. "Hey, hey! Wait for your turn, hothead! When we're done, then you may beat her, but I don't want to bed one big bruise." He snapped.
'No, oh Gods please no!' She thought trying to draw in a breath.
"Why do you two get first dibs?" The bearded hothead demanded.
"We rank higher than you Charlie." Sam said and he slipped the knife under the shoulder of her tunic. "This looks terrible on you." The knife split the seam easily.
"Get away from me. Please! I haven't done anything." She whimpered.
"Let's see, assault on a government official, dabbling in dark magic-" Sam started, slicing more fabric away.
"I don't dabble in magic of any kind! I-"
A hand whipped across her face causing her to cut her face on the knife. "Don't back talk your superior, wench!"
"What did we tell you about beating her?" Sam snapped, pointing his dagger at him.
"Not yet you aren't." A new voice piped up, deeper than the others and not near as friendly.
"The hell-?" Their captain turned towards the voice and was tackled into Charlie by what looked like a big, red blur.
The girl quickly used the sudden confusion to slam the heel of her boot down on her captor's foot who quickly yelped and released her. She elbowed him in the gut and started running away from the pile of squirming, fighting bodies. Drew grabbed her ankle and yanked back causing her to trip, hitting her head on a rock with a dull crack.
Drew pulled out a knife of his own and went to stab the now unconscious, girl when he was yanked up off the ground by the tall newcomer. He turned and the last thing he saw was four horns and vivid gold-green eyes, pupils narrowed to mere slits.
Once the strange man was done with the last of the men, he turned to the girl on the ground. Crouching by her, he turned her over as she groaned and looked at the wound on her head.
"And they say I'm the evil one." He grumbled, tail twitching, before he noticed a small, blue bauble at the end of some twine around her neck. "What's this?" He picked it up and examined it. His eyes widened when he recognized the symbol inside the bauble, pulsing slightly. "So that's what they're after." He muttered scooping her up. "Finira's not gonna like this."