“Please don’t kill me!” the girl begged. “I don’t want to die! Please! I promise that if you let me live, I’ll save your life someday!”
I laughed at the kid. She was in her twenties, not really a kid, but she was. “Even if my life needed saving, what makes you think you could do it?” I don’t know why I even bothered to ask. Just for the fun of it, I guess.
“C’mon, you don’t have any enemies? And I’ll save your life because I promised, and I keep my promises!”
I didn’t care about her damn promise, but she amused me, so I took my knife from her neck and used it to cut the ropes I’d tied her with. “Fine, go on, get out of here,” I told her.
She jumped up, happy to be free, and I thought she was about to run away, okay, actually I kinda thought she was about to skip away. But she just stood there.
“What’re you sticking around for? Get out of here!”
“No. I have to save your life.”
“It’s okay, I’m not holding you to that. Go home!”
“No. I keep my promises.”
“Think of it as you’ll be saving my life by not telling anyone about this.”
“No, you wouldn’t hang just for scaring me a bit.”
“No, I’d hang for the gold.”
She was standing right next to a pile of the coins, and she picked one up and ran it through her fingers. “What gold?”
“Exactly. If you told anyone I was making money, I would hang. So you’re saving my life by not telling anyone. Now go!”
“It doesn’t work like that.”
If I’d really wanted her gone, I could have driven her away at knifepoint. Maybe. Or I could’ve just killed her. But by that point I didn’t figure she was any danger to me, so I didn’t care that much.
So the girl--her name was Ellie, she told me--stuck around. She didn’t quite become part off my crew, since she didn’t do any of the stealing or killing or even working the coin press-- but she was as good as. I introduced her to Fape, my second in command, as my bodyguard.
“What the hell?” he asked. “Her? Really, man, if you need a bodyguard, you can do better.”
“She wants to save my life.”
He guffawed. “Well, I guess it’s better than if she wanted to save your immortal soul.”
We all pretty much just got used to having Ellie around. Nobody ever took the idea that she’d save my life seriously. Until she saved my life, of course.
It happened just about like you’d expect, if you expected it. I was meeting an, erm, client, unarmed, because that’s how that kind of thing goes and they patted me down to make sure. Ellie tagged along. She was also unarmed, of course, I don’t think I ever saw her touch a weapon. I turned over the goods to the man I was meeting. Rather than turning over the money, he pulled a knife.
Before I could even react, Ellie jumped in front of me and punched the man in the nose. He was even more surprised at I was, so Ellie was able to grab the knife easy, and we got out of there.
“I told you I keep my promises,” Ellie told me, and was gone.
That night, our hideout was raided, and we were all arrested. They said they’d been tipped off by a young woman.
Ellie never did promise not to rat us out. I’ll be out in a few months, and I’m still alive. So I don’t hold any grudges.