Isabelle sighed, pulling her knees to her chest, watching Corban leave. Was was the mysterious she? The curiosity was killing her. Obviously it must've been someone close to him, because he didn't seem like the type that would care if someone died if they weren't close. But who could it be?
Corban came back a few minutes later, arms full of dry pine wood. He dumped about half into the embers, leaving the other half beside it. Using a long stick, he poked at the fire, getting it to blaze up again, the flames igniting the sap easily.
This is why he didn't have a roommate.
Finally, Isabelle couldn't take this anymore. The guilt was eating her from the inside out, and travelling with someone who didn't like you could be a real pain. "Alright, alright, so you said some stuff," she said, sighing, watching him uneasily. "It's just... I... Whoever you were talking about, I don't know. But I'm really sorry, okay?"
Corban stiffened. So that's what it was. "I don't know who you're talking about." He lied. He hated lies. "It was just a dream." But the hoarsness in his voice betrayed him.
Great, now he was lying. Isabelle sighed softly, feeling even worse. "I'm really sorry," she murmured again, resting her head on her knees and wrapping her arms around her legs. "I won't eavesdrop anymore."
Corban shrugged. "It's not your fault I talk too much." His stomach growled loudly and he remembered that he hadn't had dinner. He'd expected to be home by then and hadn't brought more than a snack.
Grabbing his backpack, he pulled two granola bars from the side pocket, tossing one to Isabelle. "It's food, in case you can't tell."
"It's my fault for listening though," Isabelle said quietly, unable to look up at him as she studied the thing he threw to her. This was food? She didn't like the crinkling noise the outside of it made, so she tore it off and dropped it on the ground. That part didn't smell very edible anyway. She took a small bite, then quickly devoured the rest, suddenly realising how ravenous she was. "Thanks."
"Generally, when people have two good, working ears on their heads they use them." Corban said as he ate his own bar in just three bites.
He looked up at the sky. It wouldn't be dawn for at least four or five hours, but he doubted he'd be able to sleep anymore.
Isabelle nodded, moving a little closer to the fire to warm herself up. Unfortunately, that also meant being a little closer to Corban as well. She wouldn't talk to him anymore, she decided; she always just ended up making him upset. Eventually he'd probably just abandon her somewhere. Why put up with a stupid girl that kept getting into your business?
Minutes passed in silence as Corban poked at the fire. He was probably confusing her, he thought. But probably not as much as she was confusing him. Had she really been kidnapped? It made no sense. Maybe she -
He jumped and froze. The snap was followed by a muffled curse, like someone had tripped. In the flickering circle of light the fire made, everything else was black. Corban couldn't see anything.
Standing silently, he touched Isabelle's shoulder lightly and motioned for her to follow him. Whoever was out there had probably already seen the light, so there was no use hiding it. But he kicked it out anyway to avoid forest fires.
Creeping silently, he snuck away from the light of the embers and hid behind a fallen tree. It could just be a camper, or...Would they follow him out here? How would they know he was here?
Isabelle's eyes were wide with fear and she quickly followed him, thankful that Corban was with her, even if he was strange. She was shivering now, without the fire to keep her warm. She mentally cursed as she realised she had also left Corban's jacket. Could this get any worse...?
Why would someone - besides them, of course - be outside at this time of night? How strange. Isabelle had a feeling it wasn't for some leisurely activity. Isabelle chewed on her lip nervously, and it took her a moment to realise she was clinging onto Corbans's arm.
Three men stepped out of the trees, and Corban recognized them instantly. They were some of David's goons, Claude, Simon, and Marcus.
Simon, the youngest and the smallest of the three, grabbed Corban's backpack. He cursed when he realised he'd forgotten it. Inside was everything he'd taken from the cave. He needed that. If it had been just Simon and Claude, he would have risked trying to get it back. But not with Marcus. The man was huge, and violent. Extremely dangerous.
Mentally cursing himself for his stupidity, Corban started to edge silently away from the camp, making sure Isabelle was following.
Claude was yelling, angry that they'd disappeared. "He was just there!"
Marcus cuffed him on the ear. "Shut up you idiot, he can't have gotten far. Spread out. Find him."
Isabelle did her best to keep quiet as she followed Corban, praying she wasn't making too much noise. But she wasn't feeling very confident in her stealth skills.
Who were these people? What did they want?
This was why she had guards back at home. To keep creepy people from scaring her. Oh, where was a Prince Charming when one needed him...
Climbing mountains in the dark was dangerous, but Corban would rather risk falling than getting shot - or worse, beaten - to death. He crawled along the ground until he found a cliff. There was a ledge below, but it was hard to tell how far down it was in this light. It could be five feet, or eight.
He lowered himself down and let go, dropping lightly. Maybe seven feet. Reaching up, he whispered, "Jump. I'll catch you."
Isabelle gulped, glancing behind her - which was pointless, because it was too dark to see anything anyway. Still, she was hesitant to simply leave her life in the hands of some guy that didn't even like her that much.
But it wasn't like he had tried to hurt her or anything before... Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes, counted to three, and jumped.
For a moment, it looked like she wouldn't jump. Corban saw the hesitation and doubt in her eyes. But she did, and he caught her, wincing at the rustle of fabric. He set her down silently, and felt along the rocks for a good path. He found a small trail, overgrown with shrubberies and moss.
Corban was afraid that the shrubs would make too much noise, but there didn't seem to be another way around, so he went, slowly stepping over the smaller bushes and gently pushing larger branches out of his way, trying to make as little noise as possible.
There was no way she could get through this trail without making noise. Isabelle didn't even want to try; if she made to much noise, those people would easily find her and Corban, and do who-knows-what to them. Probably kill them.
But, she knew Corban most likely wasn't goign to wait for her, so she started forward, trying to stay very quiet... She cringed when something snapped under her foot. Oh dear.
Corban stopped instantly, like a deer, and listened. The crack had sounded much louder than it actually was. No one heard it...right?
There were a few calls from above, but no shouts of alarm, so he assumed they were still good.
He motioned for Isabelle to keep moving, and followed his own example. The slope was going downhill, which was good. He didn't know this path, but as long as they were going down - not too fast, of course - they should be fine. Unless they got lost in the woods below, but he had a map.
Isabelle could've collapsed with relief. She kept moving, like Corban instructed, concentrating on not making too much noise. Maybe they would make it without getting kidnapped or whatever after all.
Her only hope right now besides escaping was to not slide down this little slope. It wasn't too bad, of course, but knowing her luck, she'd probably end up tripping, especially now that her feet were killing her again. If only she had new shoes...