From the moment they fled, they knew it wouldn’t be easy. At the back of their minds, they were convinced that at some point, someone would find them.
So when Bain’s men started chasing after them, they weren’t exactly surprised. But the thing was, they caught up with them so quickly. As Bain’s men closed the gap, it became more and more frightening.
They did have the advantage over Westley and Gabrielle because they had off-road motorcycles. These weren’t ordinary bikes; they were built to withstand the harshest conditions in the mountain or rough terrains. It didn’t matter how many obstacles were in their way, the bikes rolled over them like it was no big deal.
As for Westley and Gabrielle, they were sitting in a small kayak that wasn’t made for speed. Even if they drifted along the water, it wouldn’t be as fast as the motorbikes. They couldn’t move faster no matter what they did.
When she looked behind them, she saw faint lights peeking through the woods. Bain’s men were getting closer and closer, so much so that she could hear the roar of their engines.
“Westley, they’re almost here. What are we going to do now?” Gabrielle was drowning in fear, but she tried her best to calm herself down. She didn’t want to show how scared she was because it might affect Westley. If Westley found out she was terrified, he might not be able to think straight.
Gabrielle tamped down her terror and panic to avoid further worrying Westley. She slowly breathed in and out to slow her pounding heart.
“Gabrielle, it’s not possible to go back to shore now. Our kayak can’t drift down as fast as their motorbikes, so I have to go into the water. If we can reach the waterfall, they won’t be able to catch up. There are high cliffs around it, so they cannot follow us.” Westley jumped into the water, drew out a long rope, and tied it to his waist and the kayak. He was moving with a purpose.
“Westley, it’s too dangerous. What if you get hit by stones?” Gabrielle kept on glancing around them. She was so worried about him, and she didn’t want him to get hurt.
If they were both in the kayak, it could protect them in case there were stones with sharp edges. They wouldn’t sustain serious injuries. But now that Westley was in the water, he was in a vulnerable spot. He could get hit directly.
“It’s okay. These stones have been soaked in water for decades, so they’re blunt. Even if I step on them, it will only hurt for a little while. Either way, it won’t matter that much. You have to lie down and don’t sit up. Hold the rope tightly with both hands, okay? I’ll pull the boat as fast as I can.” Westley had to remind Gabrielle. With every minute that passed, their situation only became more dangerous.
Gabrielle didn’t say anything and lay down obediently. The kayak concealed her petite body perfectly. It was also in color black, so the watercraft was camouflaged by the pitch black night.
“Westley, there are many hazards in the water, especially since you can’t see clearly. You have to be careful.” Gabrielle’s voice almost broke as the reminded him. She trembled sla s he thought of Westley traversing along the water. She recalled at Rose told her—that there might be n eno, crocodiles, and other dangerous aquatic creatures. What if they untered any of those things and West isnarmed?
abrielle, don’t worry. My clothes are s I have enough protection. Now lie down and don’t move. I’m going to speed up.” Westley took a deer I pulled the kayak and swam down quickly. He struggled against the
the big rocks along the way. He bumped his shoulder into a couple of them. It hurt him, but he had to pon . He had to take on as far away from this place as possible so he had to endure every little pain. If he submitted to each hr und, they would never escape.
com on the kayak, Gabrielle peeked at they. She wasn’t allowed to sit up, but she helped him in other ways—by pa attention to their surroundings, espally those he might not notice. Gabrielle gasped as she heard the sound of motorbikes again. She knew they weren’t too far behind. “Gabrielle, hold on. We’re almost by the waterfall.” Westley could hear the sounds too, but he had to focus. He also knew Gabrielle was getting increasingly nervous, so he comforted her. “I know. Are you tired?” She lay on the kayak comfortably. If it weren’t for the men chasing them ruthlessly, she would have enjoyed the view as she watched the blanket of stars. But while she was cozy and secure, Westley was doing all the hard work. Gabrielle knew he might be bone-tired already. Westley bit the inside of his cheek. A stone hit his leg, and each step was painful. He gritted his teeth as he felt his lower extremities starting to weaken. “I’m not tired. We’ll be safe once we arrive by the waterfall,” Westley said calmly. He still spoke as though nothi
ng was amiss. There were members of the Campbell Family waiting outside the forest. Once they went ashore through the waterfall, they would be safe, and they would have reinforcements. Westley kept on telling himself to take one more step.
This was Westley’s plan when he decided to go into the forest. He didn’t bring anyone with him, for fear of alerting Bain. He brought a backpack and went alone. He told the others to stay outside the forest and wait for him to come to them.
“Stop talking so that you can keep your strength!” Judging by his voice, Gabrielle sensed that something was wrong. His tone was off. Maybe he was too tired, and he was just pushing himself too hard.
“Okay. But if you’re afraid, then talk to me.” Westley nodded even if Gabrielle couldn’t see it. He was exhausted and in pain. He was aware that he was almost dragging himself through the water.
“They’re here!” The motorbikes soon arrived by the river, the headlights shining on them. Gabrielle looked behind her and found that two of the motorcycles were just a hundred meters away from them. The men held crossbows and were starting to aim at them.
Gabrielle had seen Rose shooting pheasants with a crossbow before. She marveled at the way Rose made it look so easy to hit a target no less than a hundred meters away. It wasn’t just any other makeshift crossbow. It was a top-of-the-line weapon, with an impressive shooting range and improved accuracy.
These men weren’t strangers to using crossbows. Besides, Gabrielle and Westley were much bigger than pheasants, so it would be easier for the men to aim their arrows at the pair.
“Westley, they’ve caught up with us. We’ve been found,” Gabrielle said with a heavy sigh. She felt her stomach drop at the sight of the men.
“Yes, I see them. Gabrielle, get down in the water.” Westley underestimated their pursuers. He thought they had enough time to arrive at the waterfall, but it was too late for them.
He could already hear the sound of the waterfall, but he knew it was still far away. They wouldn’t even make it halfway at this rate.
Without any hesitation, Gabrielle quickly got into the water. She gasped as the cold soaked her clothes. Just a second after she got down, she had an arrow whiz past her. “Shoot! Caterem!”
With hand holding Gabrielle, Westley held tipe of the kayak with the other hand. He asked Gabrielle to grasp the
pe too. They would make use of the
k t heir shield. “Gabrielle, try your best to stay
kayak. If they continue shooting, they will hit the kayak instead. The fiberglass will stop the arrows from it .” Westley pulled out a crossbow from his backpack. “Westley, let’s hurry a jelle’s teeth chattered. Her entire body shivered from the cold. They were almost submerged in spring wat hy temperature in the mountains was mos than thirty degrees at daytime, it dropped at night. Her k e shaking badly, and she struggled with ac step. Her breath plumed in the air, and she wanted to rub her
warm herself even a little bit. Gabriele imought of Westley, who was in the water longer. He might be freezing
“Gabrielle, if there’s any chance to go ashore and hide…”
“No way, Westley. I want to be with you! How are you even suggesting such a thing? We’re married! And couples face problems together. We live together and die together. Besides, the reason why you’re here in the first place is because you came to save me. How dare you think I want to escape alone and save only myself?” Gabrielle interrupted him, cutting off his words. He shouldn’t even consider it. How could he let her run away while he faced their enemies? “Okay, then. We won’t be apart.” Westley didn’t push Gabrielle away anymore, although he really wanted to do so. The only thing on his mind was her safety. They were both in danger. That was why he wanted to make sure she was safe first. But, by now, Westley already understood Gabrielle’s stubbornness. There was no winning against her. His wife really loved him. Even with their lives on the line, this simple thought made Westley smile. ‘Okay, then. We’re leaving together,’ he thought. “Gabrielle, hold the rope tightly. Use all your strength to protect yourself. Don’t move away from the kayak. I’m going to fight back.” Westley pushed Gabrielle and the kayak forward. He jumped onto the nearest big stone and aimed at the people on the motorbikes with the crossbow. He crouched low and steadied his hands. Westley took advantage of their headlights because it made it easier for him to aim. He could shoot the arrow precisely. He didn’t plan on injuring anyone when he set out on a mission to save Gabrielle. He only needed to bring her to safety. But Bain’s men forced his hand as they kept on shooting arrows that might wound Gabrielle. When it came to protecting his wife, Westley became vicious and merciless.