Something stirred in Ruarí’s chest when she laughed. It was an odd feeling, but still a good one.
“Not all men are trained in sword play. Not men like me anyways.” Having grown up with no father, and living on the streets, he’d had no formal education in any areas. Aside from what his mother had taught him before she’d left, Ruarí had had to learn things on his own, and swordplay wasn’t exactly something one could casually teach themselves – especially when they didn't have a sword.
“You don’t always need to be able to fight back, sometimes it’s best just to run, and that’s something anyone can do.” Running was always Ruarí’s go to decision when faced with danger. Yes, he could fight quite well hand-to-hand, and he carried a dagger with him, but still, running usually seemed like the best option.
He couldn’t explain it fully, but the fact that Lily seemed fond of the forest and that she had experience in the wilds, it made her all the more attractive to him.
With her hand in his, it was more difficult for him to focus on her words. The warmth that passed between them was wonderful feeling – one that he’d rarely experience before.
Yet, at the sound of another voice, his mind – sharp with survival instinct – instantly focused in on the approaching man and forgot all else. Eyeing Lily as she addressed the stranger, he was already formulating a plan in his mind.
Turning close to her, bringing his lips mere inches away from her ear, he whispered “Go to the woods. Keep running, and don’t look back. I’ll come find you.” Squeezing her hand tightly for a moment, he met her eyes “I promise.”
Letting go of Lily’s hand he hoped that she would heed his instructions and flee. He planned on doing the same, but first he had to give her a head start and that required him providing a distraction. He couldn’t explain why he was protecting her, but it simply felt like the right thing to do. So much so, that he didn’t even question it.
As he approached the thief he noticed that the man didn’t appear to have any weapon – at least, not any particularly large and obvious ones. Before getting too close to the man, Ruarí squatted down briefly and scraped up a handful of dirt. Having no qualms with fighting dirty, he tossed the dirt into his opponent’s face. Making the most of the brief distraction, Ruarí swung his foot out and under the feet of the other, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground. What ensued was a fierce brawl. Punches were thrown from both parties and yet neither seemed to be giving in.
Standing, face-to-face, Ruarí was about to throw another punch, when the man reached behind him and pulled out a dagger. Though Ruarí did have his own blade, he did not like the idea of engaging in that sort of fight. The risks were simply too great. Thus, deciding he’d given Lily a long enough head start, he broke off into a quick sprint.
He didn’t know if the man had chosen to follow him – though he did here some sort of profanity shouted out behind him. Focused, adrenaline pumping, he just kept running. He hadn’t seen Lily when he started to run and he hoped that meant she’d gone to the woods like he’d told her. That’s where he would go too – though not immediately. If he was being pursued it would be no use to lead the man right to their hiding place. He’d have to make a few detours first, but eventually, he would get to the wilds. He would find her. He would keep his promise.