“Now Jurgen,” Aubrey began, shot her hand through the gate’s bars as fast as she could and grabbed the man’s coat.
Aubrey pulled him hard into the metal bars and drew one of her Manton pistols. Jurgen slammed painfully against the gate with a grunt, his rifle pinned between him and the metal gate. Aubrey kept a firm grip on his coat and pushed the barrel of her Manton under his chin. The other three men behind the gate immediately leveled their rifles at her. Her own officers responded by aiming their blunderbusses.
|"You seem like a brave man.|
Should we put it to the test?"
This was a bad situation, and could quickly go from stand-off to bloody in moments. If Aubrey had the time to send a message to Rothchilde and assure him of her good faith, that would have been one thing. The night was already deepening, and she could feel the danger in the air. The pleasantries would have to be damned.
Aubrey smiled innocently at Jurgen.
“What were you at Cimarron?” she asked him. “A corporal? You seem like a brave man. Should we put it to the test?”
Jurgen starred at her, but made no reply. She kept the smile on her face, as if she had all the time in the world, but silently cursed the man for his obstinacy.
“In the Empress’ name,” she said slowly, calmly and loudly enough that everyone could hear her, “order your men to open this gate, or I will open two new holes in your head.”
Jurgen stiffened and tried to pull away from her. Aubrey braced her feet, but let him get a few inches from of distance before she jerked him back against the metal bars a second time, rattling the ornamental ironwork tops. She pushed the barrel of her pistol up harder against his chin, so that he had to lean his head back.
“Can a dead man pay your wages?” Aubrey hissed at him. “Is it worth your life?”
Jurgen looked down at her, and the anger and fear washed away.
“Open. The. Gate,” Aubrey repeated.