Finding A Lioness
By Claire Riley
Ronda looked at Jason like she was looking at a bomb. Too scared to approach yet unsure if it would go off. “You would’ve killed me?” She asked.
Jason looked her in the eyes and nodded. “I wouldn’t have liked it, but I found out if you gave me any trouble or if you called for help or if we were late, then I was instructed to kill you and bring the body back. If I chose not to, then they would’ve killed both of us.” Jason smiled. “I don’t die easily, as you can see. I could’ve taken them. The real risk is them going after my fiancee. King knows he can’t kill me. I’m too good. My fiancee, Emily, wouldn’t stand a chance. I’d kill anyone who dared to hurt her or worse.”
“Emily Jones? Jasper’s sister? Wait, you’re Jason Miller?” Ronda asked, dumbfounded.
“I am,” Jason nodded. “Small world.”
“You could say that again,” Ronda said, patting her wound with a gauze pad and applying ointment.
“You seem to know your way around an examination room,” Josh said, searching a cabinet.
“I studied medicine back home. It was nowhere near as good as this one, but I made due. Speaking of which, sit over there. Whoever patched you up did a terrible job,” Ronda said, grabbing some disinfectant.
Josh scoffed at her. “You’re not my–“
“Now!” Ronda shouted.
“Fine, fine,” Josh said, sitting on the free bed. “Jasper never mentioned you were bossy.”
“I like to think of myself as assertive,” Ronda said as she unwrapped his wounds. “Jesus, how are you still walking?”
“I’m very stubborn,” Josh smiled.
“Stubbornness aside, just be glad those knives didn’t go any deeper. Could’ve severed an artery or two,” Ronda said, applying the disinfectant.
“Ah! That burns,” Josh said, wincing.
“That means it’s working,” Ronda laughed. She looked over to Franklin, who was leaning against the wall. “Hey, tough guy, you need any help?”
“Um, no, I’m good,” Franklin said, looking away.
“Um, no, your not. You sit too. That’s a lot of blood on your shirt.”
“It’s not mine,” Franklin said. “I did get shot, though. Grazed. Nothing serious.”
Ronda rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to Josh. “How’s your eye?”
“This? I had this before I got here. Long story short, my dad took it because he was crazy. Are all kings crazy? Seems like it.”
Ronda stopped. “You say that like your dad was a king.”
“He was. I’d say more of a tyrant, though. At least to me,” Josh shrugged.
“Oh,” Ronda said, finishing up. “Well, I’m done. How do you feel?”
“Better. Thanks, Doc,” Josh said, stretching.
“I’m not a doctor. Yet. Working on it,” Ronda said, walking over to Franklin. “Show me.”
“Excuse me?” Franklin asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Where you got shot. Don’t be a baby,” Ronda said, waiting.
Franklin rolled up his shirt. “Is it bad?”
“It could be worse. It’s just a graze, so not that bad. Still needs to be cleaned. I’m guessing the skin grafts are old?” She asked, cleaning the infected area.
“Yeah, I was in a fire when I was a kid,” Franklin said, wincing. “Just need to get stabbed and poisoned to get the what the **** bingo. Going diagonal. Free space and all.” Franklin laughed.
“God, you’re like Jasper. He laughs at his own “jokes,” too. It’s not funny,” Ronda said, hiding a smile.
“Then why are you laughing?” Franklin asked.
Ronda smacked a bandaid on him and wiped her hands.
“Ow! You’re a terrible doctor!” Franklin said, putting his shirt back down.
“Never said I was one,” Ronda laughed.
Jason tried to move but winced as the pain got worse. Ronda looked over at him and sighed. “You’re pathetic; you know that?”
“I get that a lot,” Jason said.
“Can you not insult the assassin?” Josh asked. “I hate the guy too, but he kills people.
“He can hear you,” Jason said, scowling at him.
Ronda walked over to Jason and sat in front of him with a medical kit. “Do you need help?”
Jason tilted his head to the side. “You sure you want to get close to me? After all, I’m a no-good assassin, right? I’m sure you’d like nothing more than to make me pay for taking you.”
“If I’m going to be a doctor, I can’t pick who I help. No matter how much of an ******* they are. So, I’ll ask again. Do you need help?”
Jason smiled. “I could use a second opinion. It’s nothing serious, but I think the painkillers dealt with the worse of it.”
Ronda examined him all while he didn’t take his eyes off her. “Hmm, mostly swelling. Bruises all over but nothing broken.” She pressed on his chest, and he winced. “Maybe a few bruised ribs. Pretty sure they’re not cracked. Those will heal over time. I’d tell you not to do anything reckless, but I’d be talking to a brick wall.”
“Thanks, Ron,” Franklin said.
“What he said,” Jason said.
“Don’t mention it. Just help me save Jasper, and we’ll call it even,” Ronda said. “So, what’s the plan?”
“The plan,” Jason said, sitting up. “Is you guys stay here, and I go get Jasper.”
“Not happening,” Ronda said. “You’d have to go through like a thousand guards just to get to him? What about King? He doesn’t seem like a pushover.”
“Something like that, yeah. He’s not. He’s very skilled in everything really,” Jason stood up and checked his guns. “Man, I wish I had mine. It just doesn’t feel the same.”
“Aren’t guns the same,” Josh asked.
“Take that back,” Jason said, narrowing his eyes.
“At any rate, I’ll have to say no as well. I owe Jasper. It’s my fault Lance has him, and I need to apologize. Otherwise, I couldn’t live with myself,” Franklin said.
“Well, it’s settled; looks like we’re all going. Please tell me we have a plan for actually escaping?” Josh asked.
“I’m pretty sure that car is still there. We can use it to get out. We have to pass it on the way so…I guess you can come. But I’m not responsible if you get hurt or die,” Jason said, putting the weapons back in his holsters. “The guards will be tougher as we get closer to King. He really ****** those guys up. If you see anyone with a blank mask, then show no mercy because they’ll do the same. Those guys are zombies at this point. When we get to the main building, I’m sure King is holding Jasper in his lab, which is on the top floor. If we get separated, then head to the loading dock on subfloor 5. That’s where the car is. My car. It’s the one with the spade on the side. Can’t miss it.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Josh said.
“Yeah, no ******* sweat,” Franklin said.
“You two need to stop by Jessie and Damon’s rooms. They have equipment you’re going to need.” Jason looked at Ronda. “As for you, Rose might have something for you in her room. She normally kept her stuff all over the place. Stay close to me.”
“Sure. Stay close to the assassin. That seems safe,” Ronda said sarcastically.
“Staying close to me is the safest option. Just don’t get in my line of fire, and you’ll be fine,” Jason said, walking over to the door. “Grab some supplies too. We’re going to need them.”
“Anything in particular?” Ronda asked, stuffing a bag with different medical items.
“Depends on the state we find Jasper in. I’d say one of everything,” Jason said. “Okay, let’s move out.”
Ronda zipped up the bag and strapped it to her side. She felt like a mule with all this equipment, but it was nothing she wasn’t used to. “Ready.”
Jason looked at her and nodded. “Good, let’s go find your boyfriend.”
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