I walked around the corner, into one of the many alleyways in the City of Abersin, named after the great king who won the War of the Dragons. The alleyway houses flowed in one long building–townhouses, I think they were called back when the city thrived, but now Squatters and Ratlings infest the buildings. The blues, reds, and greens that once added life to the homes were cracking and chipping, losing all their luster. I strode down the alley steps in silence, not to disturb the infestation. My blade already drew blood tonight; it needed to rest.
The stone steps curved right and a straight away that lead up to a crumbling stone home. Almost there. I stopped as I saw a small candle light flicker in front of the only window in the home.
“Dang,” I whispered under my breath. I wanted to catch him sleeping, but he knew. Nobody on my list stays in the dark for long.
I broke open the door with one quick shove, creating more noise than I intended. The aging man looked up at me in fear as a glanced outside to see if any movement came from the infestation hiding. Nothing.
His light gray eyes danced between my blade peeking out from my cloak and my relaxed hand at my side, “Are you here to kill me, Scarlet Shadow?”
I watched him as felt a presence nearing the home, something not good. I walked over to the candle in his one hand, glancing at the small utensil knife he gripped in his other hand. I licked two of my fingers, then snuffed out the candle and swiped the knife from his hand throwing it at the creature that slithered in through his broken down door. The creature squealed louder than I thought imaginable. I turned to find not a Ratling or Squatter, but a Shadow Serpent, one of the more deadly assassins the King’s Advisor could summon. They knew.
“No you old fool, I am here to save you,” I answered him finally as I moved around his home, securing everything I saw he might need, “Now where is it?”
“Where is what?” he asked, struggling to pick himself up out of his chair.
“What do you mean what? I know who you are old man and the King knows where,” I answered, quickly gesturing to the black spot where the shadow serpent died.
“Don’t you work for the King?”
I smirked, “Work isn’t the right word, it would be categorized more as parental guidance in his book.”
The old man’s eyes widened in new horror as he recognized me for the first time. Part of my red hair fell out of my hood and the glamour on my black eyes faded away as I let him see the ice blue mark of the Princess of Abersin, daughter of King Alder.
“Then you are here to kill me.”
I let out a irritated groan as I slung the bag I packed for him over his shoulder, “Trust me, if I was here to kill you, Drake wouldn’t have sent his little pet. Now, either tell me where it is now or we leave and you tell me after our journey.”
He stayed silent.
“Fine! Now get a move on before the infestation realizes the serpent isn’t coming back from the shadow world for a while.”
“I am an old man, who can barely move.”
“Then forgive me,” I stated as I picked him up and swung him over my shoulders.
He grunted in surprise as I trotted out of the stone house into the alleyway, but before me was my worst nightmare–the infestation came out of their holes.
“You might want to close your eyes, things are about to get ugly…” I whispered as I balanced the old man on my left shoulder, holding him with my left arm, and unsheathing my sword with my right as I jumped into the fray…
To be continued…