"In the beginning, there was darkness..." -Genesis 1:1
Thunder cracked overhead as the rain came down in torrential buckets. A procession of men stood waiting in the rain, their long dark coats and wide brim hats keeping them a fair approximation of dry as they stood outside the saloon, looking through the pane glass windows at the interior, in particular a woman, seated at a green felt covered table playing cards. She was the odd one out, dressed in black pants, a white blouse, and a black vest over that. A coat was hanging off her chair, and a wide brim dark hat covered her head from the light overhead.
The leader of this posse stepped forward, the others following suite, two peeling off to take up position on either side of the door leading in. The rest opened the doors and stepped inside, their rain slick coats creating puddles on the thick beam floor. The barkeep took one look at them, then put on his best snake oil salesman smile, "Something I can get ya fine gentlemen?" The shelves behind him held some good stock, but that wasn't on the agenda for tonight.
"Just business," the leader said, his voice low and determined.
The barkeep put down the glass he'd been wiping and said, "If you boys are lookin for trouble, best take it elsewhere. I ain't gonna let no shit go down in here." As he said this, his hand went for the shotgun no doubt underneith the counter.
The leader of the men ignored him, and walked across the room to where the woman was seated. Standing behind her, the leader said, "Time to go."
The woman scowled and tossed in another chip, "I call." She ignored the men behind her, her attention focused more on the ones infront of her. They kept glancing at the men, then at her, and the one across from her said, "You ain't takin' her till I finish this hand."
The leader took a knife out of his pocket, and before the man could react, had the hand holding his cards pulled out, the knife going through his hand to stick in the table. "You fold," is all he said, then put his arm on the girl's shoulder, "Let's go."
Tossing in her cards, she stood up, "Damn you. I had a good hand." She picked up her coat and put it on, and one of the men made a stupid move, reaching for a gun to avenge his bleeding friend. He was dead before he even cleared the holster.
The man to the left of the leader held a pistol, having moved so fast it was impossible to tell by the human eye alone that he'd moved. He put the pistol away, then looked at the barkeep, holding a shotgun but shaking like a leaf in a strong wind. The shotgun looked impressive, to anyone who hadn't had worse shoved in his face. "Sorry about the mess," the leader of the men said, taking out a wad of bills and setting it on the counter. The barkeep stared at it, and tried to ask something, but couldn't. He just watched them, shotgun still shaking, as they walked out.
They stood on the front porch a moment before a large armored vehicle pulled up. The back ramp dropped down, and the leader escorted the woman aboard, the rest of the men filing in behind him. The ramp raised back up and the APC rolled through the city. Inside, the stark lights and rain covered men were quiet, before the leader asked, "Dare I ask what the fuck you think you were doing in there, Princess?"
She scowled, "I told you, leave that Princess shit at the palace. I ain't no princess."
The man shook his head, taking off his hat to reveal a graying hairline and worn features, "You're a princess whether you want to admit it or not. Your grandfather is worried about you out here, and you go and take off without your security detail. Do you know what would happen if you got kidnapped?"
She sighed, "Yes yes I know, stripped naked, filmed begging for my life, tortured, threatened with death in a slow painful manner, possible rape, yadda yadda. Look, I get it. Don't rub it in my face."
She took her wet coat off and it joined the others, and she leaned back, "So when are we heading back? After the storm?"
"No," he replied, looking at his watch, "We've got a shuttle taking you straight to the station, then you're going to catch a liner that leaves in two hours bound for home. And then, young lady, you're going before your grandfather to explain to him what you did."
Scowling, she said, "This would be so much easier if I was just a normal girl."
He leaned back and began napping, "Ain't nothing about you normal."
The rest of the trip was in silence, as Kristine DuPree, Princess and Heir Apparent of the Imperial Republic of Cearniva returned home to face her grandfather. Too bad getting there would be one hell of an adventure.