"I have an idea, but none of you will like it," Elizabeth said. After she explained it, she was proven correct.

"Elizabeth, I can't let you put yourself at risk again," John said. "We will figure something out, I promise."

"Trust me, I'm not crazy about it either," Elizabeth said. "But as I said, he's going to figure out other opportunities to inflict pain on me." Without another word, Elizabeth went over to her cot and gingerly laid down, and closed her eyes. Her thoughts turned to Jack and, ultimately, Nathan. As she fell into a deep sleep, she dreamt Nathan met her at the station in Hope Valley.

"She got off the train to see Nathan standing there beside Bill. Rosemary and Lee were there next to her children. Allie had a beautiful smile, and her eyes sparkled with excitement.

"Hello, Nathan,"

"Hello, Elizabeth," Nathan replied.

"What's going on?" Elizabeth asked.

Nathan held her letter up and reached into his pocket, pulling out two wedding bands. "I'm taking you at your word Lizbeth."

She was brought instantly awake by loud noises and voices raised. She recognized Yvette's right away as well as Spurlock's. There was another voice, a female, but it was muffled. Elizabeth cringed when she heard Yvette say someone was in charge, and Spurlock acknowledged that he was. Would tonight be the night they could leave? If he were the only one, it would be possible, but at a high cost to her. Charlotte noticed that Elizabeth suddenly went pale and trembled a bit.

"Elizabeth, what is it?" Charlotte asked, hoping she was wrong in what she thought she heard.

"Yvette is leaving Spurlock in charge tonight and leaving," Elizabeth said, tears welling up.

"I was afraid of that. I was hoping that I was wrong about what I heard." Charlotte said. They waited anxiously as the minutes ticked by for Spurlock to make an appearance. After what seemed like hours, they settled down and tried to go back to sleep. Meanwhile, Spurlock continued finishing off the contents of his whisky bottle, thinking about a specific occupant in the cells just behind the door

A half an hour later, Spurlock, now staggering drunk, seethed as he thought of that hoity-toity Elizabeth Thatcher, who was currently at his mercy. Sitting in the office that served as a living space, he recalled the day she stuck her nose in his affairs. Getting in the middle of him and Cat Montgomery and then snooping around. Her and the insufferable Mountie Jack Thornton.

Looking at the clock, he saw the time was 11 PM! They would be sleeping, and no one else would tell him no. He grinned lasciviously as he grabbed up the keys heading for the door. It was time to teach the teacher an important lesson. If he were lucky, someone would step out of line simultaneously.

They were all lying on their cots when they heard someone approaching the door. Everyone shot up immediately, alert and feeling uneasy. Elizabeth cringed when she saw that leering look in Spurlock's eyes as he approached her cell. Seeing him fumbling with the keys and staggering a bit, Elizabeth began going over what Jack had told her. As he unlocked the door to her cell, she looked quickly at Charlotte, then shifted to Spurlock and back at her. Charlotte immediately understood, gave a slight nod, and approached the bars once he entered Elizabeth's cell. Elizabeth moved quickly towards Charlotte as if seeking comfort from her.

"What do you want," Elizabeth asked him uneasily.

"Now, is that any way to talk to a friend," Spurlock asked, stepping towards Elizabeth.

Knowing she had to bait and knowing the likely outcome, she said with a snort, "I wouldn't associate with the likes of you, Spurlock," before turning her back and keeping her eyes on Charlotte.

It had the desired effect they needed. She heard the growl a few seconds before being grabbed and turned around viciously. He got up in her face. "Who do you think you are talking to?" Then he backhanded her reopening the split in her lip that hadn't healed yet. "I think the teacher needs a lesson in manners, and I'm just the one to teach it."

"You leave her alone," Charlotte demanded as he grabbed Elizabeth. "Or you will be sorry." When he glanced away, she reached down carefully into her boot and retrieved the knife. She quickly glanced over and nodded to the men to get ready.

"Even better because now I have a legit reason," Spurlock sneered. "When I'm done with her, I'll be coming for you next," he added as he delivered another punch to Elizabeth's jaw, making her head hit the bars. Elizabeth crumpled down to get in position, waiting for him to take his focus off her and turn to Charlotte. He delivered a vicious kick to her other side.

"Not so high and mighty now, are you, Miss Thatcher?" Lashing out with another kick before grabbing her hair and forcing her to look up at him. "You people think your something, but not even the great Jack Thornton was invincible. He was taken out by his own men and had been too stupid to realize it."

"What are you talking about?" John said, "He was taken out by a landslide and was revered by his men. Don't you even try to play games with his family like that."

"What are you going to do about it, Mountie? You couldn't even protect your own kin. You Mounties are useless, the whole lot of you," Spurlock said snidely. Then turning back to Elizabeth, he said, "You can thank your pal over there for this," Without warning, he hit her, catching her in the jaw again, making her see stars. Elizabeth just sat still, pretending to be dazed but inside, she was seething and waiting for her moment. It came a few seconds later when he stumbled and dropped the keys as he tried to steady himself. Elizabeth sprang up and shoved him up against the bars so Charlotte could seize him forcibly from behind. Charlotte had him subdued with an arm around his neck and her knife at his throat. Elizabeth kicked the keys with enough force to send them flying over into John's cell.

With a smirk, she moved to quickly remove the gun at Spurlock's waist and aimed it at him. "If you make one move, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger." By the look in Elizabeth's eyes, Spurlock knew that she was serious. Elizabeth could hear the doors being unlocked; one by one, the others were freed and took over for Charlotte.

"We need to secure him with something and then get out of here," Charlotte said. Looking around, they didn't see anything they could use. Struggling to breathe, she had just the thing to secure him with.

"Charlotte, I have an idea, but I'll need your help," Elizabeth said as she whispered it to the other woman. Charlotte laughed and said that's perfect. Before long, they had him secured in Elizabeth's corset strings against the bars tied up tight.

"You won't get away with this," he said.

Elizabeth laughed mirthlessly and said we already did," before grabbing him by the hair and asking, "What did you mean about Jack?"

Spurlock refused to answer, and Elizabeth's anger increased beyond the boiling point, and she viciously punched him. When she went to do it again, Charlotte stopped her seeing Elizabeth's hand swelling. "Let the boys handle it," Charlotte said with a smirk as she pulled Elizabeth away. By the time the boys were done, Spurlock was out cold, Elizabeth had been avenged, and they had their answers.

Charlotte delivered a few vicious kicks to Spurlock's ribs as they left when she saw how injured Elizabeth was.

With a quick glance at Elizabeth to assess her condition, John quickly took over, knowing that Charlotte would monitor her. But by the pained look in Elizabeth's eyes, he knew that she had to be hurting.

After redistributing the pistols among the men, they began to head toward the door. They had been held in what looked like an abandoned warehouse that John suspected was used by gun runners. He saw a few crates that had NEXUS Corporation stamped on them. As he passed by, he noticed what looked like a tiny door seemingly hidden behind the crates. Moving them just a bit, he opened the door and saw that it led to a tunnel resembling a mineshaft.

"Perfect!" John said. "This is a gun runners' tunnel that will lead us away from town without being seen."

"Are you sure that it's safe?" Ken asked.

"It looks in good shape, so yes, I think it is," John answered. "The fact that there are two lanterns and matches stored here indicates it's still in use. Then before moving further, he turned to the women as he heard labored breathing. "Elizabeth, we will have to walk a bit. Are you able to make it?"

She nodded, "I can as long as we walk and do not have to run," He nodded and looked at Charlotte silently, asking her opinion. She nodded grimly.

They walked silently, listening for any noise that would indicate they had been discovered. The only sounds they heard were the scurries of the small animals that called it home. In the background, they heard water dripping occasionally from somewhere further along the tunnel. Eventually, they came to a fork where the tunnel split in two directions. John could feel cool air coming from one of the forks, and they chose to follow it. Thankfully before long, they began to see the moonlight illuminating the exit.

John motioned for them to wait, drew his pistol out, and carefully made his way to scope out the area. Not far away, he was relieved to come across a car. After making sure it ran, he went and gathered the others. He could hear Elizabeth's sigh of relief after he said they wouldn't have to walk anymore. They piled in, with Charlotte and Tom carefully helping Elizabeth get situated between them. Ken was selected as the driver while Charlotte, Tom, and John kept watch with pistols ready. Elizabeth leaned heavily on Charlotte to help cushion any jostling from the road.

"Do we know where we are or where to go?" Tom asked.

"I noticed that the address from the crates said Shady Grove on them," John said.

"If I remember right, there is a town nearby called Martinsville," Ken said. "Let's go there and get Elizabeth some help and figure out what to do."

"Sounds good to me," Tom said, looking over at Elizabeth and then at his mother. They rode in silence, only the sound of Elizabeth's raspy breathing and occasional moans breaking it. Suddenly Ken stopped the car and began to back up.

"What are you doing?" John asked his brother-in-law. "Why are you backing up?"

"There is a secluded hunting cabin down that road back there. I recognize that road with that stand of trees from before. I've been there before with some friends." Ken answered. Before long, they could see a bit of a glare from the lights hitting a window. The cabin was modest but looked secure and in good shape. John and Tom went in and checked to be sure that it was safe before letting anyone else out of the car.

Coming back out, John said, "Let's stop here for now so we can regroup."

"I think that is good because I need to get a look at Elizabeth's ribs," Charlotte said, carefully helping Elizabeth out of the car. "I need you, boys, to go see about food and first aid supplies at first light. We also need to send a wire to Hope Valley and let them know we are safe for now."