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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Yeah, and he will, just like his mates,” Aiden assured his friend. The bodies of the
fallen bandits lay around them, as horrid a sight as he'd ever seen. He was emotionally
numb from the fight and found that it didn‟t bother him as much as he expected. A
disquieting thought.
Colt tied Fletcher‟s arms and legs while Nellise began to whisper her healing
prayers, creating an aura of serenity around her that made Aiden‟s injuries tingle. A few
yards behind her, the wolf was crouched on the ground, its golden eyes following Aiden's
every move. It gave him chills.
“Any idea why he's acting like your pet?” he quietly asked Colt.
“I'm just a lovable guy,” the ranger replied dryly. “Also, killing his pack leader
probably has something to do with it, so you might want to appear to be intimidated by
me now and then or he might try to rip your throat out.”
“I'll keep that in mind,” Aiden replied with a shudder. The prone form o f Fletcher
seemed to be the focus of his attention, and it was difficult to judge what the ranger was
thinking. O nce the bandit was securely tied up, Colt game him a solid kick to the chest.
Fletcher didn't stir. Colt offered him further encouragement, finally drawing a groan from
the injured man.
“Go easy on him,” Nellise warned. “He's already taken a blow to the head and
doesn't need to be beaten up again.”
“I'm not going to beat him,” Colt grunted, “but there's an awful lot of trees to run
into around here and he looks kinda clumsy to me.” Nellise scowled at both him and
Pacian, who smirked at Colt‟s brutal quip.
Fletcher was properly awake now and looked like he was trying to kill the big ranger
with his menacing stare. Pacian walked in circles around the tree, toying with one of his
daggers while glaring at the bandit. It looked a little theatrical, but Aiden knew he was
being deadly serious.
“What are you doing?” Aiden asked of Colt.
“Getting some answers.”
“He's a bandit, a highwayman,” Aiden pointed out. “What else do you need to
know?” Colt didn't look at Aiden as he answered, keeping his gaze on their captive.
“For one thing, his men didn't have a clue how to fight in a forest,” the ranger said.
“They didn't have proper equipment or training, so I'm thinking they were either the
worst bandits I've ever seen, or something else is going on. What do you say there mate,
want to answer any of that?”
“What's in it for me?” Fletcher croaked slyly, spitting blood. “The way I figure it,
you're gonna kill me anyway, right? I can see it in the blond one‟s eyes - he wants to
shove that butterknife through my ribs.”
“O h you'll be going to gaol, don't get me wrong,” Colt continued, “but you‟ll be
intact, with all your blood still in your veins. Who knows, maybe a crafty bugger like you
can figure out how to escape. If you're still alive, you have all sorts of options. But if
you're not feeling co-operative, well, my friend here does like to wash his knives in blood
sometimes. It's a problem he has, but he's getting help for it. You understand. What are
you called?”
“Fletcher,” he answered. “You make a good argument. Certainly didn't think I was
fighting the Rangers, or I would have done things a bit differently.” Colt's eyes flinched a
little. Technically there weren‟t any members of the Royal Rangers present, but with two