Shouts echoed out from above her. The guards were calling to their compatriots. None of them seemed to be brave enough to climb down the same way she had, so there was a little time at least. Willing her legs to work and pushing herself up with one arm, she started hobbling towards the fence. She could really use another grappling hook right about now. The sound of guards streaming out into the gardens gave her fresh motivation to increase her pace and she managed to force her body into a full run just as she hit the wall.
The muscles in her legs burned from soreness and exertion as the soles of her boots ground against the wall. The rough stone gave her enough friction to run partway up, reaching out and grabbing the fence on top of the bricks made up the rest of the distance. As she pulled herself up, she heard guards approaching, yelling for others to circle around when they saw her on the wall. She pulled her legs up out of reach just as someone tried to grab them.
With only one good arm, the climb up and over the fence seemed to go on forever. She needed to increase her lead on the Natouri guards, not keep losing ground. She threw herself over the top, keeping a grip on the fence so she could at least control her fall a little. The dark alley wrapped around her like a warm blanket, but she knew she couldn’t hide here. She needed more distance. She started running in the opposite direction from the main gate of the palazzo, the huge ruby bulging in one of her many pouches. As she was rounding the corner, she didn’t even hear any guards behind her in the alley. Looking back, she thought she might make an easy getaway after all. Then she slammed into something that not only halted her momentum, but sent her stumbling onto her backside.
A member of the town watch stood over her. He didn’t have his weapon out, but his expression told her he knew she was up to no good. The glow of the distant streetlights revealed striking blue eyes, close cropped sandy hair, and a chiseled chin. The handsome face jumbled her thoughts for a split second. She couldn’t tell if the look was lessened or enhanced by his brow furrowed with suspicion. Her mind started to race for some way to talk herself out of her predicament. Fresh cries of alarm from the nearby palazzo were the last nail in her coffin. The watchman started reaching for his manacles. Not knowing what else to do, Dido launched the hardest kick she could manage right at his crotch.