Week 322: On the Long Way Down

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Aug 28, 2008
Dahlitium (⏆50 per)
Bigatium (⏆100 per)
Auritium (⏆300 per)
Vitatium (⏆1200 per)
Caelitium (⏆6000 per)
Word Count: 1200

“Well?” the voice asked, though it seemed less of a question and more of a demand.

Kaizaell felt himself stiffen, then forced his body to relax as he held himself completely still and stalled for every moment he could get. If the Black Cats were operating here there was no doubt this job would be trouble, but he had someone to help right now. Unfortunately this seemed to be one of those “Offers one cannot refuse” type of situations.

“What’s the job?” the young sniper asked resignedly. He felt the man behind him tense for a moment, then the knife was released and he was shoved forwards towards the entrance of the street.

The young man turned to face his attacker, only to see what looked like a young enlil girl, maybe in her early teens, holding what looked like a black knife made of lacquered metal or glass. He couldn’t quite catch what it was made of in this light. She was wearing light leathers for long distance travel, as well as a small pendant at her neck with a black stone that seemed to spin perpetually in the center of it. Her black and red feathers seemed to be chaotically battling each other, reminding him of a wildfire. She grinned at him, or at least what he assumed was a grin and bowed slightly to him.

“Like I said,” the girl continued as she finished her small bow. “I was sent here to clean up your mess, but since you’re here as well I figured you’d want to skip the punishment game meant for you.”

His eyes widened, this was the first he’d heard of it. Of course he’d understood that Hastor had meant for him to kill his target on the battlefield, meaning for it to look like an accidental death, but he’d botched that and had given up entirely on finding a way to stop what was going to happen. But if he could somehow escape that fate...?

“Well, it’s not to say there won’t be any punishment, of course,” the young girl said, in her most chipper voice as she stared closely at him. She seemed to fluff up slightly in satisfaction as he felt the dread and despair crash down on him again. “But finishing this will get you at least Lady Tanners’ favor.”

Kaizaell felt his spine stiffen at the ominous velen poison-mistress’ name. He looked over at the girl as she brought out a vial of some kind of purple colored liquid and watched it writhe in the container as if it sensed live prey nearby.

No, no way, the young man thought in horror as he looked at what was offered to him. There’s no way they’d use that, right?

“This is something we’ve recently begun to acquire,” the girl said, smugness dripping from her voice as she watched his horrified reactions play out before her. “As per your information on it, of course. We’ve managed to harvest some garrow venom.”

“Wha-?” the dark haired soldier said, his mouth opening and closing like a fish gasping for breath as his mind seemed to reel. “Why the hell would you people want something like that?”

“Well,” the young enlil said with a smirk. “You said it was quite addictive, but said the results of an overdose were incredibly dangerous. But, since you failed to elaborate we’ve been doing independent study on the subject, of course.”

“No!” he growled, anger beginning to bubble in his chest again. “I’ll tell you, I swear, but we just need to do-”

“Do what?” the girl said, a dangerous look coming into her eyes. “Nuh-uh. Tanner told me that if, on the off chance, you failed, I’d get a crack at him. Though now I think it’d be more fun to drag you in, since you made the mess in the first place.”

The young man felt himself deflate slightly, as this new reality of what he had to do washed over him. He really didn’t have a choice, not when this girl wanted him to help her out. Especially if it let him skip the job from Tanner.

“How am I supposed to get this to the target?” the young man asked mechanically, he hid his emotions below a layer of thin icy apathy. He wouldn’t let this woman rile him up again, at least not like that.

The girl smiled, flashing a bright grin in the back alley as she rustled for something else in one of her many packs. She brought out what looked like a thin headed needle and an injector for the vial and held them out to him.

“This is what you’ll be using on him when he’s sleeping,” the young woman said with a thin smile. “I can provide you a distraction, but other than that it’ll be up to you. All we need to do is make sure it’s done tonight since the boats are moving out in a couple days. I want to be sure to document the side-effects properly for Tanner.”

The young man growled, glaring at her and considering his options. He could probably kill her, though he was mostly unarmed save for the dagger he carried around. She simply smiled at him, then rolled her eyes and offered the injector to him.

“Don’t even think about it,” the girl said with a smug smile. “You know how we operate. There are three other agents here, since you’re still considered one of us, and they’re watching this meeting closely.”

He sucked in a quick breath, then shook his head, feeling himself deflate slightly at the admonition. He couldn’t kill four other Black Cat members, especially since he knew few of the regular operators that were sent on these kinds of missions.

Not enough info for a counter attack. Not yet.

“It has to be done tonight?” the young man said sullenly, taking the needle from her hands and hiding it in one of the small pockets in his leathers.

“Absolutely,” the girl said with an impish grin. “Don’t worry, we’ve already taken care of the target, he’s passed out in his room with a girl we’ve paid to keep quiet. Not only that but his bodyguard has been eliminated, at least for now. This is the best time you’ll have for this, and probably the only chance you’ll have since the bodyguard will be more aware after this.”

The young soldier looked at her, a small amount of sadness coloring his vision. He would be killing the man who’d saved him, the one who had made sure he’d survived the war even when he’d pushed himself to the frontlines. This felt dirty, like he was betraying some hidden expectation of himself. But, in a way, it was also a war all on its own.

And the prize at the end of it was his own home, one he’d foolishly and unknowingly bet on the fact that he could earn some exa.

“Fine, where is he?” the young man asked quietly.

The girl grinned and led him further into the back alley as they made their way towards another inn that the target was waiting for them.


Writing Week is 323

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