“Ryoko, I know basically all your jobs are dangerous but we’re in the middle of a war! The king can’t be asking you to do this, to cross enemy lines!”
“Donat I’m the best when it comes to this and you know that. He’s asking me because he knows I’ll come back”
“He doesn’t know shit. He doesn’t care if you die or end up captured and tortured. Nothing he’s going to pay you is worth you going over there”
“It’s not the pay I’m worried about. The information he wants could help put an end to this war! People could stop missing their loved ones! People could quit dieing Donat. I can do something to stop this. It would be selfish of me not to!” Bartosz who was visiting got between them, pushing them apart. He looked at his brother first “you’re letting your emotions cloud your judgement brother. I know it’s dangerous and I don’t want her hurt any more than you do but she’s right. This war needs to end and the king knows she’s the best at gathering information. He was right in coming to her with what he needs and about where she could get the information. Trust her abilities, you do your wife an injustice doubting her so. Ryoko won’t die, she’s too skilled for that and I’ll come with you two. I’ll help you protect her as she does what needs to be done Donat”
“You don’t have to do that.” Ryoko said.
“Yes I do, especially with where you’ll be going. I know that you want him to see that you’re all tough and strong and can handle yourself, but there are times when you have to say I need help. I’m coming and that’s final. So please, no more arguing. You two should be lifting each other up, not putting each other down.”
Donat sighed. “You’re right I get it, I just worry, I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright, I understand, it’s not the safest job in the world.” Ryoko replied. She could see Donat was till worried, he had been that way since they got back together. It’s not that he meant to be overbearing, she understood that, he feared losing her again.
She knew it had to be that. This was what her life was and she had been doing jobs by herself hundreds of years before she was with Donat and her record was still perfect, she always came back no matter how dangerous the situation. That had been the reason why she didn’t understand back when he left her to “protect her” why he would do that. He wasn’t dating some flower, he was dating someone in intel who had been in countless situations where she probably should have died but came back, information in hand and had done it all by herself, no man, no partner, nothing. She worried they might get her caught since they weren’t used to jobs like this but she would let them come. She had never to begin with said he couldn’t he just started freaking out about her going. She knew they’d listen to her and they were good fighters, she trusted in their abilities even though only Bartosz and Donat’s other brothers could trust in hers.
If this went well though she’d just let Donat start coming with her all the time to get him better at it so when it came to situations like this she wouldn’t have to worry about him. She figured it would be good for them and maybe it would mean next time he had a problem his answer wouldn’t be to break her heart and leave her behind. He knew he regretted what he did and like right now he worried about having to live without her again but that didn’t mean to her that one day he might not make that same choice, deciding she just couldn’t handle something and leaving her behind out of love.
Donat helped her prepare, still feeling on edge. He decided to keep his mouth shut, not wanting to say anything he would regret. He loved Ryoko more than anything and didn’t want to hurt her again. “Any idea of how we’re getting across?” Bartosz asked.
“Vehicles are too loud so I’m going to rent horses.” Donat replied. “It’ll take longer to get there, but we won’t be caught at the border.”
“What time are we leaving?”
“Tonight.” Ryoko said as she put her back next to the door.
“I hope the king is paying you well”
“He always has” Once they were all ready Ryoko finally reminded him “I frequently work for the royals. I don’t have to rent horses, I may use theirs as I please”
“Oh yeah, sorry, I’m always forgetting stuff like that”
“You’re fine baby” When they arrived at the kings stables everyone Ryoko passed bowed to her and Donat wondered if they always did that. When they left with their three horses he asked “do they always bow?”
“Yes, I’m highly respected there, they think a lot of me because of all I’ve done for this kingdom.”
“Like a princess.” Bartosz teased. “All she needs now is a sparkly crown and pink dress.”
Ryoko’s cheeks reddened and Donat actually cracked a smile. “You’re right, I can see her now.”
“Oh shut up, both of you.” She said.
“Hey you’re the one with all the guards and stable boys bowing to you.” Bartosz replied.
Donat moved his horse a little closer to her and took her hand. “You’d be a warrior princess baby, a beautiful, mud covered, potty mouthed princess.”
“And Donat would be your always worried guard.” Bartosz added.
“He’d be the one to lock me in some tower.” Ryoko added and Bartosz laughed again, knowing it would be true. Donat had seen more of Ryokos ability to be just fine on her own when she helped him years ago but he still didn’t see her as the fierce, smart and strong warrior she really was. He’d always feel like he needed to protect her, before Donat left her like he did Bartosz and his brother hoped Ryoko might accept that Donat would never stop worrying over her but it seemed ever since he did that Ryoko was more determined than ever for Donat to stop treating her like she couldn’t handle dangerous situations.
He counted them lucky that was the only thing they really fought about though. They were an amazing couple and all the brothers were happy she forgave Donat and took him back. They belonged together and if this continued to be the only thing they ever fought about he knew they would live a long life together.
Donat let her go when they got on the main road and they nudged their horses into a run. Ryoko went over in her head the path she wanted to take across the border. She had looked over maps and tried to pick a path that would keep them out of sight. They stopped to take a break when the horses started to show signs of tiring. They didn’t want to push the animals too hard, especially since they might need them to make a quick escape. While the horses drank from a river and ate apples, Ryoko, Donat, and Bartosz discussed a plan of attack. “Stealth is obviously our first option.” Ryoko said. “I want to try to get in and out without alerting anyone if at all possible.”
“The place is big though and with this war there are going to be double the guards.” Donat replied.
“So we’ll subdue them if we can. I think it will go a long way if we try not to kill anyone.”
“Agreed, there’s been enough bloodshed.”
“Yeah, those notes in the capital are only the first part though. I’ll still need to go west after that and try to milk some information out of a few targets he gave me”
“Ohhh one of Ryokos famous disguises huh? I can’t wait to see you” Bartosz said and Ryoko shook her head “it wont be a fashion show and I’ll need to figure out how to incorporate you two into doing that aswell so get to thinking since you two are the ones who insisted on coming. I love you both but you obviously understand what serious and dangerous work this is though I know you wont just let me do what I do even at that point , which is fine I just need you two to have some sort of act together so it doesn’t blow my cover”
“well, a good start would be what were you planning to do before my brother had a heart attack?” Bartosz asked.
“I was going to use the psychic.”
“It’s were she goes in under the guise of a psychic, makes a couple of weirdly accurate predictions and then gets invited to stay.” Donat explained.
“How do you know they’ll invite her to stay?”
“In a time of war, leaders are not only willing to use any resource, but to also use the most outlandish things to keep their guests entertained. There are probably going to be a lot of rich people there, a lot of guests to impress and reassure.”
“It’s an impressive act.”
“I can’t wait to see it. You know Donat, to make her more convincing we can get ourselves in the crowd before she gets there to make it a little easier for her to convince them she’s the real thing”
“That sounds good to me Bartosz”
“alright, so now that we have that down back to the first matter at hand.” They kept talking strategy until the horses were well rested and they could go on again. “so does it get irritatingly quiet when you do this on your own Ryoko?” Bartosz asked and she said “Not really, I’m always thinking. My job requires my mind to always be working. I need to think of everything that could happen and ways to get through that problem. If I didn’t think as much as I did on the road I would be dead like many others that were in my profession.”
“You have a brilliant mind baby.” Donat said.
“So do you. I’ve seen you come up with solutions on the fly. You just worry too much.”
“There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to you my love. You’re my heart.”
“You two make me jealous.”
“Then get married.”
“I’d be afraid of someone getting tired of me with all the jobs I go on. It wouldn’t be fair to them. At least you two are in the same line of work.”
“I guess similar enough” Donat said then Ryoko added “plus you can just let whomever join you. Find a woman who wouldn’t mind going with you on a job”
“True, maybe Emlyn” Donat deep, belly laughed then said “brother that woman would eat you for breakfast. She is probably the least approachable girl in town”
“Hey, she’s okay” Ryoko added again and Donat gave her a look that made Ryoko giggle “Okay, maybe she’s a bit standoffish but she’s talked to me before and she’s nice. You just have to get her to let you in.” Ryoko stayed out of her own head awhile and just enjoyed the company. She had to admit she liked them being there. “so Donat, do you want to just always come with me when I work?”
“Of course, I’d feel a lot better about your jobs and I can do this with you. If I get you in any trouble feel free to stab me in the shoulder”
“Careful Donat, she might” Bartosz teased.
“She should know by now that she can do whatever she wants to me, torture me, kill me, my life is hers.”
“You know I could never.” Ryoko replied.
“Still, I mean it.”
“Stop.” She said softly and swallowed down the lump that was trying to form in her throat. Sometimes Donat said the most endearing things. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They rode the rest of the way mostly in silence, only speaking to go over the plan. They would use Ryoko to get them rooms in the keep and they would snoop from there. Ryoko would take the lead and they would watch her back and make sure no suspicion was sent her way.
They arrived and as planned Ryoko got them rooms. Donat took the opportunity once inside one to kiss her. “I love you Ryoko, I know I drive you crazy with how much I worry but thank you for letting me come. I know I’m the reason we were ever apart but that has changed me forever. I now know without a doubt how miserable life is without you by my side. I need you Ryoko” She hugged him “I love you too Donat. You do know I never said you couldn’t come right?”
“I know, I guess it was me just assuming you wouldn’t let me”
“ask, don’t assume, I’m a bit worried myself with you here but you and your brother are intelligent and strong. I’m glad to have you by my side”
“I’m still so sorry Ryoko”
“You are an amazing man. I love us, you’ve made me so happy. Just trust me on this job, thats how you can make up for it” he nodded and they walked out to meet Bartosz.
“I lifted the steward’s key.” He said and handed it to Ryoko, “I’ll keep him distracted while you two search for what you’re looking for.”
“How are you going to do that?” Ryoko asked.
“Booze and insecurities. You know how these guys are during times of war. They like to complain and I’m just the ear they need.”
“Just play it safe.” Donat cautioned.
“Don’t worry about me, you two just get those papers.”
They nodded and parted ways, heading back to their room. Taking the direct way through the halls wasn’t an option. They had counted the guards they could see and knew there would be too many patrolling to slip past them that way. Instead they took their balcony, sliding off onto the ledge that looped the walls. They pressed themselves close, moving slow so as not to catch the attention of anyone above or below.
Ryoko felt that familiar thrill rush through her as they went. The danger of her job excited her, she truly loved it though most would think her crazy for that. The thrill she felt helped her, it made her sharper, more energized and focused on the task at hand. She had briefly worried about Donat distracting her but he was doing this expertly so she knew she needn’t waste time on that. He was fine and she should focus. They managed to slip in, grab what they needed and they rushed back out.
Ryoko didn’t allow pride to slip in just yet though, she didn’t have it until she was gone with it. As a young woman just starting out she had learned quickly not to get too ahead of herself when it came to feeling victorious. When they were away and running Ryoko said “god we need to have sex when we get back to the room” Donat chuckled “hey, I wont complain.”
As soon as the door was closed and locked and Ryoko had secured the documents in her bag, Donat pulled her into him, his lips finding hers as they frantically pushed at each others clothes. He lifted her once she was completely nude, his body pinning hers against the wall as he thrust into her. They rode the waves of pleasure together, her clinging tightly to him as he pushed her over the edge. He picked up the pace quickly finding his release and a blissful smile pulled at her lips as she kissed him. “God I love you.” She said as he lowered her feet to the ground.
“And I love adrenaline.” He teased.
“Oh I see how it is.”
He chuckled as he pressed another kiss to her lips. He was so addicted to her. “You know I love you, Ryoko. Everything about you is perfect and beautiful.”
“You really are sweet, Donat.”
“well I love you, incredibly” Donat laid with her awhile then went to find his brother so they could leave. Ryoko was ready as soon as they were back and they hurriedly got out of there. “One part done and pretty well” Ryoko said once they were comfortably far away. “yeah, that wasn’t so bad.”
“Be careful to stay in character when we get to the next place we need to be. You have to act like you don’t know me and Donat that includes if someone tries to flirt with me”
“I’ll be good”
“I need you to be, you’re here because you dont think I can handle it and will get hurt but you’ll cause us all to get hurt if you can’t contain yourself” he knew how much he hurt her feelings and hated it but he couldn’t help that protective need that rose in him. He wanted so badly to take back leaving her, not only for the massive pain it caused in him but also because while it previously irritated her it never hurt her until he chose to make decisions for her and leave her without even telling what was actually going on.
The ride was a long one and it gave Donat a lot of time to think of ways to further make things up to Ryoko. He wondered if things would ever be the same as before. He would never make decisions for her again, he had promised himself that. He would always talk to her first and try to work things out beforehand. They found themselves at a bar that the first target frequented. Ryoko asked them to wait in the corner while she talked to the guy. Donat sighed when she smiled at the guy, wishing he didn’t look so interested in her.
“Easy brother.” Bartosz said, sounding almost teasing.
“I know, I won’t interfere, this is her job, it’s what she’s good at and I would never ruin that. Plus this job is more important than my worries.”
“we’re doing an amazing thing for our kingdom. I’m happy to be a part of it. You’re all Ryoko wants anyways, she doesn’t care who is interested in her. We could see it right away, you two had instant chemistry. You and Aras are so lucky.”
“speaking of Aras we need to check in on him when we get back. He’s been a huge ball of stress ever since Rushima became pregnant, I can only imagine.”
“Yeah, I’ve been hanging around a lot. Thankfully Rushima is understanding of how over board he is since she knows his last wife died while pregnant” They kept talking about their brothers until Ryoko left the bar, thankfully alone. They waited a few more moments so it wouldn’t seem weird then followed her out, easily finding her a little ways away. “so?” Bartosz asked “I had trouble getting him to stop flirting and talk but he wants to show me a few things tomorrow so we need to find somewhere to rest”
“where’s he taking you?” Donat asked, trying to push down the protectiveness out of his voice. He was glad Ryoko looked more amused than upset that he wasn’t successful “You two can follow, I know you can be stealthy enough. Stay near and I’ll scream if I need help”
“More like he’ll scream when she tries to break his arm for touching her.” Bartosz joked and Donat cracked a smile at the thought of that man begging her not to hurt him. His love was fierce like that, a real lioness.
They found an inn close by and paid for their rooms then Bartosz went off to find something to eat while Ryoko and Donat bathed. Ryoko knew they were going to be back on the road and dirty again, but she could see Donat was a little tense and wanted him to relax even if it was for a few moments. She sat behind him in the tub and rubbed his back and shoulders, smiling when he gave a little sigh of contentment. “Feeling any better?” She asked as he laid back against her.
“Thanks to you.” He brought his fingers to his lips and pressed a kiss to them. “You know, I’m sorry for being such a pain in the ass, I know you think I don’t trust in your abilities, but you’re wrong. I know how strong you are, how brilliant your mind is, but my love for you is so blinding I can’t even bear the thought of anything happening to you. I’m sorry I hurt you and I will be forever, but just know I promise never to do it again. I hated the way you looked at me afterwards, it killed me inside.”
“I’ve already forgiven you Donat. You know that”
“But it still hurts you”
“well I love you too, so much. You are a wonderful man who makes me incredibly happy. It’s why it broke my heart so much when you left me and I was without you a few years, especially when I could have helped you. It’s been many years since though so I’ll try to stop worrying you’ll do it again” She hugged him from behind. It felt good to hear he did trust in her abilities. His voice was so sincere and sad that she had to believe him.
When they got out they cuddled, Donat needing her close. His heart was filled with sorrow as he thought of his years without her. They had hurt him every bit as much as they hurt her. He needed her close, his heart needed to know she was right there. He could never lose her, not again, especially of his own doing. All three slept in late the next day and had a big breakfast before it was time for Ryoko to meet the man from the bar.
Ryoko was impressed as she walked with the man she couldn’t tell where Donat and Bartosz were even knowing they were being followed. “so how do you stay in such good shape” he asked even as he eyed her “a good diet but it doesnt take much discipline. I don’t like much sweets”
“yeah, I tend to go for anything spicy. If it’s hot I’ll devour it”
“I’ve been told I’m spicy, would you devour me” it took an incredible amount of will not to cringe, had he really just said that? She knew Bartosz had to be stifling laughter while simultaneously keeping his brother from coming over here. His flirtations as they walked somehow only got worse but he wound up taking her to a little cabin that proved to have weapons inside “you seemed to be the type of girl who would be turned on by all this”
She sighed, giving the slightest hint of a moan “it does, this war has had me wet most near constantly. Do you seem to be the kind of guy who’d know a lot about what the king has planned. It would be incredibly sexy to learn what you know” He spilled his guts and she knocked him out as soon as she had everything. She took a few of his smaller weapons just so he’d think she was trying to rob him, not that the other side was gathering information.
“sorry Donat” Ryoko said immedietly when they were on the road again. “You have nothing to apologize for Ryoko. You got your information and you didn’t do anything with him”
“I know but I always feel a bit guilty when I have to flirt” he took her hand and brought it to his lips for a kiss “You never have to, you’d only ever do that on a job and only when you need to to get the information” When they were nearly where they needed to be the three stopped to practice their routine before putting it into action. They’d all be in serious trouble if their true intentions were found out.
They spent much more time than intended practicing so they ended up sleeping outside. It was a mostly safe area though so they weren’t concerned. Only a few hours into the next day they were there and it was show time, their final stop before they could return to their own king.
When they made it to their next destination, they went straight to a bridge just outside of town where a young man was waiting for them. He was dressed in all black, sitting on the edge of the bridge with his feet dangling down. “Didn’t take you for one to be late, Ryoko, you’re generally pretty punctual.”
“Well when you want things to be perfect.” She replied and he chuckled.
“I’m guessing this is the boyfriend and I’m going to say his brother.”
“How did you know and who are you?” Donat asked.
“My name’s not important, just call me contact and you both stand the same and you’re making the same face. You know the all business face, your brow scrunches the same way, you cross your arms the same way.” He chuckled when they looked at each other and uncrossed their arms. “See?”
“He prefers that his name doesn’t get around.” Ryoko explained. “He works with a lot of the heavy hitters.”
“If they knew I was giving away secrets to Ryoko, they’d slice me open.”
“Assuming they could catch you.”
“So, come on, where is the guy I’m looking for?”
“Damascinos is gathered with a bunch of other nobles at the luxury inn here. They are spending most of their time out in the public flaunting themselves as usual. Do you have your plan?”
“These two are going to help me get in using my psychic routine”
“They’ll eat it up. Just head towards that inn and you’ll stumble upon them”
“Always happy to help you.” before they left he gave her information about their lives recently so she’d have a few things to go on. “You know you can trust him?” Donat asked as they walked away “we have helped eachother many times in the way of information. I mean, I suppose he could turn on me one day but that’s highly unlikely. He’s a good person and I don’t see that changing.” They easily found the nobles and Damascinos among them their bit was soon in place and according to plan Ryoko found herself talking to Damascinos. Intrigued he said “I wish to ask you more personal questions if we could be alone girl”
“It costs a great deal more”
“does it look like I long for money? Come” Bartosz watched his brother, making sure he would stay back with him “she’ll be okay”
“I don’t like his tone with her”
“She’s Ryoko, she’ll be fine”Donat was on edge, his heart pounding as more and more time passed “should it take so long Bartosz?”
“she’s coming back and we need to stay here so she can find us” a half hour more and Donat had to use all his willpower not to run to her when she came into view again. She joined them and they quickly left town “it was hard to lead the conversation where I needed it to go” she explained. “but you got what the king wanted right?”
“yep, all of it. I’m glad this went so well guys. Donat, if you want to come every time you really can.” she turned to Bartosz “even you if you ever feel like it”
“sure” Donat rode close, taking her hand as he said “thank you Ryoko” They returned to their kingdom and Ryoko saw the king who promised to have his payment sent to her home. “You have done more than you know for your kingdom Ryoko”
“i’m always happy to help”
“If I can ever do more for you than money in return let me know. You lay your life on the line for my requests time after time, that’s worth more than money”
“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind but I have all I need.” with that she left, meeting Donat and Bartosz outside of the thrown room and going home. It wasn’t an entire month later the war has ceased and Ryoko hoped it had been because of her information. She had chosen this line of work to help people, she loved the rush but she loved being of service to her kingdom. This was a good place, filled with amazing people. They deserved to live in peace and safety.
~ The End