The Robber Knight's Love (The Robber Knight Saga #2)

The Robber Knight's Love (The Robber Knight Saga #2)

Robert Thier

Revelation of Wrath

Anno Domini 1234

Reuben heard the light footsteps of a girl hurrying up the castle stairs and breathed a sigh of relief. He would recognize that patter of slender feet among a thousand others, and never had he been so glad to hear it.

Ayla! She was alive!

He threw a glance out of the window of his tower bedchamber. Outside the castle of Luntberg, the valley was swarming with mercenaries. Their torches glinted evilly in the night, their triumphant cries carried up all the way to the castle. They had won a victory, all right. But Ayla had brought her people to safety. The Margrave's men hadn't gotten to her, and she was safe.

And she was hurrying back to him. Surely a good sign, considering he had told her that he loved her less than an hour ago.

He heard her run along the corridor and almost involuntarily started towards the door himself, past the old knight, Sir Isenbard, who still hadn't woken from his unnatural sleep. Outside, she appeared to pause before the door for a moment—then thrust it open.

There she stood: a slim, white figure, golden hair tumbling down to her waist, eyes blazing like sapphires, even in the dim light of the lonely oil lamp that illuminated the room. She was just as lovely as ever. Reuben felt his heart swell with his love for her—and she apparently felt exactly the same. For the moment, she caught sight of him, her cheeks flushed the most adorable shade of red, and she rushed towards him, raising her arm as if to embrace him.

Reuben smiled. There was nothing that he wanted more than to feel her arms around him.

“Ayla,” he said. “Oh, Ayla, I'm so glad you're…”

It was only then he noticed that her arm was aimed slightly too high for an embrace. It was also moving a bit too forcefully for such a tender purpose. In fact, if he hadn't known better, he would have said she was aiming for his face.


Reuben blinked down at her in surprise, while his hands went up to his cheek where she had hit him with all the force her slender arm could muster. Curious. Was this how all women reacted to a declaration of love?

The courtly love ballads he had heard the minstrels sing at the court of the Emperor had never mentioned anything about slaps on the face. Kisses and tender caresses, yes, but slaps on the face? Definitely not.

Well, he had been alone on the road for years, during which time the established customs of romance might have changed.

Ayla glared up at Reuben in a none too romantic manner and hissed, “Where's Eleanor?!”

Reuben frowned. Besides omitting the slaps, the love ballads had also never mentioned nonsensical babbling, either. Eleanor?

“Who is Eleanor?” Reuben asked, bewildered. “I don't know any Eleanor.”

“Really? Well, I suppose you weren't properly introduced. Eleanor is the name of my mare. The horse you stole from me a couple of weeks ago, when you robbed me and abandoned me in the forest!”

Ice flooded through Reuben's chest. No. No, no, no…

The customs of romance hadn't been turned upside down since he had last checked, nor had Ayla suddenly gone insane. The truth was far worse.

She had discovered his secret.


Ayla could see comprehension and truth flicker in his eyes for one single moment. He concealed it well, but she had been looking for it, hoping against hope she wouldn't see it, hoping against hope her suspicions would prove false.

They had not.

“How could I have been so stupid?” she whispered, staring up into Reuben's ruggedly handsome, hard face, into his stormy gray eyes.

She remembered it well, that day—riding through the forest in a desperate attempt to save a family from marauding mercenaries, and on the way back, being waylaid by a devil of a robber knight in blood-red armor.

This robber knight.

The man she had fallen in lov—No! She mustn't finish that thought! She mustn't, or she would break.

“Tell me,” she said. Or was it really her talking? It sounded like the voice was coming from very, very far away. “Tell me what happened to Eleanor.”

Reuben's gray eyes were fixed on her. They were cold, devoid of any emotion. Certainly devoid of the love she had dared hope to see in them whenever they had lately turned towards her.

“After I relieved you of your horse and other possessions,” he said in a harsh voice, “I ran into a company of Falkenstein's mercenaries. They had orders to take anybody they met prisoner.”

“So why didn't they take you?”

“Because,” he said, his eyes flaring, “I killed them to a man. Well, except that bastard who ran and shot me in the back.”

“Three arrows,” Ayla heard herself whisper.

He nodded. “That is how you found me, and how I came to the pleasure of being your guest.”

“Why didn't you have your armor, though?” How she wished he had had his blood-red armor. Then, she would have recognized him for what he was: an enemy. Then, she would have known what to do.

“That fly-bitten scut[1] who shot me took it.” Reuben's jaw flexed, and he cracked his knuckles menacingly. “He'll get what's coming to him. He doesn't know it yet, but he'll get what's coming to him. You don't steal from Sir Reuben Rachwild and live.”

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