Rachel ground her heel into Tommy's hand. He howled in pain. She then grabbed his free arm, and twisted it back hard - without taking her foot off of his now useless hand. His wrist had been snapped in the process, but she added insult to injury with one merciless stomp before jerking him to his feet.
In one fluid motion, she removed a length of parachute cord from one of many hidden pockets, and hogtied him. She then shoved Tommy back to the ground. The still screaming bandit leader was writhing in the mud.
The master spy quickly found Tommy's crossbow. Loading an arrow from the quiver which had fallen from Tommy's now dislocated shoulder, she then slung it over her own shoulder, and grabbed a few rocks before climbing a tall Maple.
Two other men cautiously approached. When they reached Tommy, she threw one rock directly at the temple of the larger man. He dropped like a ton of bricks. The smaller of the two tried to run. She expertly shot him in the foot.
He dropped to the ground, and began yelling for help. Nobody came to his aid, so she climbed down before he could recover his wits.
"I need at least one in reasonable condition if I expect any answers..." Rachel growled, still angry. Given the choice, she would have just killed the whole lot and been done with them. She wanted to see Charlie. Unfortunately information always came first in her profession.
"Oh well, I can't let any of them escape anyway... But they will prove more useful if brought in alive. There must be more of the rats around. And I'll find them, if they're close..."
But first, she checked Otto. He was dead. It had been a painful end, she noted with satisfaction. No huge loss, these guys seemed to know enough to be of some help. But first things first. Make sure none of them could escape, and report what had happened.
Tying up the other two guys, she then went hunting. Anyone who had heard the commotion would have to be subdued before they could raise the alarm.
Being careful not to stray too far from her prisoners, Rachel went through the immediate area. Nobody else was around. Knowing that there had to be others somewhere, she loaded the three in the back seat.
It wasn't the most comfortable of accommodations, but the injured men weren't in any position to protest. She decided the best idea was to cut off all possible escape routes, then head home. Danny could send out men to bring in the rest of the prisoners.
Taking the sedan further from town, she cut large trees so they fell into the road. This would stop any vehicles. Then she turned around and headed home, eager to see Charlie. Then she would get to know her new friends a little better...
Meanwhile Danny, Barry, and Charlie were gathered around a bed. Lying in it was a boy, holding his head. The bandage had just been changed for the third time. His scalp had been cut open when Otto hit him with the stone tablet.
"Uncle Otto tried to get me to betray you, Danny. I promise I would never do that!"
"We know, don't worry Frankches. Everything will be fine." soothed Danny.
Frankches relaxed a little. It was fortunate that Barry had rescued him. He had a severe concussion. If Otto had far to go, his nephew might not have survived the journey.
"Frankches, I rescued the tablet too." assured Barry. The doctor had told them to try to keep him calm and happy. It appeared their efforts were paying off.
"Thank you, Sir. I will do everything in my power to make you and Danny proud. I promise to make the best pizza you have ever tasted, as soon as I am out of this bed!"
"You have already made us proud by standing up to your uncle. And call me Barry."
Frankches smiled. The praise from the master spy caused him to swell with pride, momentarily forgetting his pain and drowsiness. Somehow a little pain didn't seem like such a big price to pay...
Rachel walked into the room. She nodded to Danny and Barry, then hugged Charlie.
"How are you? I was so upset when I saw your condition. It looked like you hadn't eaten in days."
"It was necessary, Dear. Danny had me put in solitary confinement, without so much as a word. I was hurt at first. But he had the brothers guarding me, and had them fill me in on the plan. I played along by going on a fast. If I'm honest, I needed it! I actually feel like a new man. I think I might have to start thinking more about how much I eat."
"Oh don't talk like that. You weren't fat. But why were you locked up while Otto was roaming the halls?"
"We didn't know who tried to kill Danny. It had to look like their plan to frame me worked. Did you capture Otto? We thought you were going with him to find out who he was taking orders from."
Rachel quickly filled them in, and as expected Danny sent out his best people to round up the remaining bandits. He also went along to supervise. She stayed in the room with Charlie, Barry, and Frankches a while longer.
"Charlie, unless you need me, I have some business to attend to. There are some men waiting to have little chat. They just don't know it yet..."
Charlie chuckled. "Go ahead, have fun."
She smiled grimly as she hugged him goodbye. "Oh, I will..."
This is a 100% power up post
Cover image is from Canva using their gallery