The Royal Killing

 

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Chapter 1

   Ptolema leaps with mute gracefulness on top of the silvery-tile, gripping the knife. It still dripped the maroon blood from the former casualty. Ptolema had executed Arden hours before coming here. Her veins raw adrenaline exploded with every stride she took. Warmer and tighter, Ptolema reached to her blade's next victim: Rasja. The short black hair above his collarbone gives Ptolema plenty of accessibility for an easy kill. Rasja has cut his mane since the last time Ptolema saw Rasja. Since last occasion she saw him, Rasja's hairstyle was in a high bun to play off his outstanding jawline.



Rasja stood in the presence of his sink while scrubbing dishes. The soap that smells of lilac and roses, causing Ptolema to want to sleep. Cursing herself with a silent voice, Rasja's ears did not hear her at all. She kept creeping nearer him with a hushed death wish at her palm.


Rasja bony figure moved one bone at a time as he scrubbed then arrayed each fine dish set. The muscle on his bones can presume that food is not common in the household. Rasja's house is full of paintings and a velvet carpet, that must be where he spends his money.


Water from the sink created pearl-silver clouds of steam launching them self in the air, creating arrows shooting from a bow. The arrows vanish in a blink of an eye. Ptolema swallowed her pride and took another stride towards him. She could smell him, the lavender did not cover up the stench that reeked on his skeletal frame.


He did not budge as Ptolema leapt between shadows before touching him with her own sighing. Her skills have improved since the last year she encountered Rasja. Though she won in skill to skill combat years ago. Today, she can slaughter him in two moves: a lunge and a swing.


She is only inches away from him, forcing her to skip a few breaths of nerves. She held her breathing to keep from creating any unnecessary noise as she flicked the knife between her fists and then... she swung at the brown collar on his frame. His skeleton build fell to the arrayed white brick she had stepped onto while coming into his house.


Blood covered the tiles in an instant, producing a dirty maroon color. He didn't even groan when she murdered him. Not a noise broke from his mouth, but a low thump echoed through the apartment as his bones hit, now crimson, tile.


The way the thud had twisted into a squish, resulted in Ptolema's heart pounding with success. She had forgotten the amusement of killing someone. That amusement changed to selfishness as the reward for his death flashed before Ptolema's eyes. She had before set her feelings aside, for she is in the Gold Guild and cannot let a foolish man ruin her reputation. Ptolema does not reveal any sign of emotion. It shows too much of the vulnerability in a person (a lesson from Kolo).


Rasja is dead. His eyelids closed over the irises of, once a young man. Now, that youthful man lies lifeless in his warm blood, while his jaw hung limp, nearly touching the floor. His skull a few inches from his frame formed a red line making a connect the dots with his carcass.


Ptolema stuffs the head into her bag with a gentle roughness. She lifts her chin, set her mask back on, and left the apartment with no other disturbances.


She made sure not to make any commotion while she crept along the circularly winding staircase. The carpet that connected the entry to the floor was a purple-velvet color. How could anyone stand such bright paint near the front of their house?


Do guests like this? Ptolema thought as she looked at the velvet carpeting once again.


Ptolema's hand reached for the exit when a wooden beam from the staircase - she had stepped off of - groaned. She spun around to try and spot who was there; what was there. In this town, magic became banned - forbidden! - which means more people use their witchery for killing. Her eyes gleamed as if something is watching her at the dawn of night. She saw nothing. Her dagger still dripping with the wet blood from Rasja, and the dry blood of Arden. Ptolema placed the blade at her side and slipped out of the apartment. She ran around the street and into the nearest alleyway. The moon pitied her as she runs towards Rohodly's residence. The beam's noise must have been a fat rat. Ptolema hopes it was a rodent that had gotten into the household. She prayed to Fril that it was only a rodent, for her face is plastered with a prize on every tree in every kingdom.


Maybe a witch was there.


Maybe a royal guard was waiting for the right moment.


Maybe, just maybe...


Sweat beads up on her forehead (underneath her mask) as she runs towards Rohodly's household. Her breaths shortened to the same steady rhythm as her heartbeat. She turns toward another alleyway that is only lit by a single fire lamp. It lies outside a town's person's open window. They must have fallen asleep and forgot to blow the flame out. They might be up and looking at her through the fog's heavy wall of his or her room. Though her mask covers most of her face, she still feels the stares of the townspeople. Her conscious took over her soul. She hears the people's thoughts inside her mind, judging her, criticizing her, rating her. They have beaten most of Ptolema's life upon her, yet it gets to her mind every time. Ptolema has not finally arranged her feelings for them, but she will (Kolo won't let her forget that promise ever again).


She approaches the client's mansion and knocks on the wooden door. The bronze door knob turns. The doorway gave way to a crevasse of darkness and a tiny green eye that squints at Ptolema. A soft chuckle arose as the eye looked her up and down. It stopped when it saw the bag in her hand, then raised its gaze to meet Ptolema's half-hidden eye. The mask she wore covers most of her face, but still did not disguise her eyes or hair. She pulls the hood farther over her hair. On occasions, she displayed a mask that only covered half her face and not her full, ugly face.


Ptolema knocked herself out of her daze. "Mister Rohodly, I have the deaths you requested. May I come in?" Ptolema first gestured to the bag, before the door opened only wide enough to let her in. She has been in this mansion. The owner buys new gadgets and furniture every day because of how rich he is. Yui council representatives are always expensive.


"Please, let me see the true proof of my dead council members," the mansion owner, Rohodly, insists while pointing at the bag. His finger shook from old age. He wore his too-tight night clothes that did not help hide he is over seventy years old. White hair has been growing on poor old Rohodly's head since Ptolema worked for him, three years ago. Even the best potions nor witches in the universe can help with the wrinkles he has on his face. Ptolema stared at Rohodly while setting the bag, with the two heads in it, on top of the nearest glass table. She opened it when Rohodly set a stack of cash beside the bag and shoved it toward her. Her eyes widen after her mouth falls to the floor. It is double the money he told her he would pay her for the task. Fifty silver chiops. That could pay her rent for four months and extra for cheap food from an actual restaurant - not the guild.


"Thank you," Ptolema says, then keeps opening the bag. She pulls out the head of the last victim she had killed first: Rasja. His eyes were closed, but his mouth hung wide open. Rasja's brown skin still shines in the gleaned harsh house light, but it now covers his teeth in his own blood that leaked from his throat. Rohodly gave a cheerful clap with his hands that showed much joy. He motions her to pull out the next head: Arden. Still frozen his eyes in a face of fear, made Ptolema smirk. Since she killed him this morning, the blood dried up and stuck to the head. Ptolema held both heads in her bloody hands. She wanted to puke but held it in for the sake that might take back the doubled pay for her if she puked.


"Well done, sweetheart. Now, I will move up in the council, again, because of you, my dear!" the house owner cheered. Ptolema smiled and nodded- her usual gesture. Her mask became burning hot, which brought a feeling over another heat stroke. It is impossible for her to get another one after the last stroke. She knew too. The temperature seems to get hotter for Ptolema. While closing her eyes, she drew in a breath for some relaxation and calmed herself.


"Is that all for tonight?" she tried to ask as calm as she could sound while setting the heads back into the bag and handing them to the house owner. Rohodly took the bag and walked to the back wall of the room. He then opened a secret wooden plank that beheld storage area, and with careful hands, he set the bag into it. The rest of the other heads that Ptolema had killed for him are down in that deathly storage area. She almost choked on her own breath as Rohodly closed the storage area loudly.


"I doubled it this time because I feel you needed a raise, considering how long you've worked for me," Rohodly answered Ptolema's question without her having to ask. She had to hide her joy behind the mask. Ptolema drew in another breath. The air, she realized, is damp from the rain. Ptolema breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth, relaxing.


Rohodly grabs the chiops from the glass table and sticks out the hand to Ptolema. She held back a smile in her mask.


"Thank you, sir," she bowed and took the money from the house owner's hands. His hands were rough. Its scars from fights and wrinkles from old age made them occur clammy against Ptolema's soft hand.


"Your next targets are Carmoc and Gunn from the Uri council. Got it?" the house owner informs Ptolema. She smiles and nods. Again. Her usual gesture has worked her entire life. Her trainer taught her this trick when she was five. He told her: "Never say too much, always listen too much." He told her to smile and nod.


Ptolema turns around to leave the house. The old house owner quickly said before she left, "Be careful out there.


"She gave him a "Thank you" and leaves without a sound. The door did not even creak as she slipped out. The puddles make an obstacle course for her to dodge along the alleyways. She runs down the neighborhood to her guild with quiet and quick feet. The wind blows silent songs into her ears the entire way there.


Ptolema smiled as she walks past a clear window filled with decorations of all kinds. She remembered a time when the guild decorated the entire place for fun, like this rich family. Ptolema was not rich, and she is not ashamed of it. Not one bit. Her smile grew wider in the moon's light as she ran faster into the night's gaze. The guild appears in her vision-yes!- there it is. Home-sweet-home!


Ptolema's feet move faster on the gravel as she runs as fast as she can to the guild for safety and a comfortable bed. Her mask lets the wind seep in through the edges. The lopiy lining has made the mask heavy ever since she sewed it in yesterday's sundown. It is doing its job; making the mask breathable.


She reaches for the door, but it opens to a familiar face: Riker. He grins while pulling Ptolema by the wrist into the guild hall. A dozen people are in here (including Ptolema and Riker). The beer spilled all over the wooden floor by the drunks.


"I am tired and going to bed. I'll party tomorrow," Ptolema informs the eleven people who watched her sag her feet all the way to her room. Riker followed Ptolema all the way there.


"How many?" he asked while stopping Ptolema by the shoulder to turn her to face him. Their eyes met, but she looks away from his honey-colored eyes.


"Two. You?" Ptolema answers.


"Three. Ha, I destroyed you and there's nothing you can do to change it now," Riker laughed.


"Oh, yeah? How many targets do you have next?"


"One. You?" Ptolema chuckles before answering, "Two."


Riker glares at her before giving a light punch to her shoulder. She punches him back in the stomach, hard. Riker let go of her to hold his stomach. Ptolema ran into her room and locked the door twice. Riker banged on the door for Ptolema to let him in, so he could kill her. She laughs while lying on her soft bed she bought last week with chiops from Tyli.


"You're going to hell the next fighting match, Lema!" Riker roared through the door.


"I'm planning on it," Ptolema goads. She smiled as the knocking on the door softened, it stopped. She starred out her window at the stars above her. They twinkled in the night sky. One fell from the sky. Every time a star falls, it means, a person died with a happy soul. That is what Ptolema's mom explained to her when she was younger. Every night she looked up at the stars with her mom until her mom got murdered. Ptolema was only two and a half when her mom died. She tries to think of every memory she had with her mom, but she was so young to remember them all. Ptolema pushes away her tears.


She took off her mask, her clothes, her weapons, and changed into her nightgown. No one in the guild has seen her without a mask, or a half-mask, covering her face. Ptolema likes to keep her identity a secret because the entire royal guard is after her head.


Riker has only been an assassin for four years, the guards only know he exists. The royal guards know Ptolema exists and want her,-not captured- but dead. She knows her life is on the line with every murder she accomplishes. An upbeat knock on the door brings Ptolema out of her daze as she asks, "Who is it, and what do you want? Nevermind, just go away!"


"Room service!" A low voice answers.


"Go away, Riker!" Ptolema fumed.


"Oh, come on. Did I fool you at all?" Riker asks with a sounding voice.


"No, now go away!"


Ptolema could have a roommate but no one can trust anyone in an assassins' guilds. Even a person walking along the street is not trustworthy. Someone can order an assassin to kill your friend, your roommate, your spouse, even your own family. Ptolema does not try to make new friends in case she must kill them. All her family is dead, she cannot help that. One day, Ptolema believes, she will capture the one responsible for their deaths and bring him to justice. She will rip off every limb, one at a time. Her murderous training has been only to avenge her family and others the killer has killed. Ptolema falls into a deep sleep with a dream about how she would kill the one responsible for her family's deaths. She dreams about it all night while drooling on her pillow. Her snores were only loud enough for a person to hear if he or she walks close enough to her door. Ptolema has made sure to double lock her door every night since she has been in the Gold Guild. Riker is the only one that can hear her snores.


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Chapter 2

 Ptolema's neck ached as she sat up on her bed. Her hand massaged The back of her neck to dull the aching. The pillow she bought, less than a week ago, is now as flat as the floor. Her eyes opened to the sunlight struggling to enter her room through the old brown shutters that hover over the window. Ptolema stripped from her night clothes and changed into a new assassin outfit. It cost her three gold chiops from the nearest wardrobe store. She bought it out of the pay from Mister Fiduh's payment last week. Ptolema had to kill three guards that guarded Uri's council garden for Fiduh's task. Easy task= Easy money.


"Ptolema, are you ready to lose today?!" Riker yelled from the other side of the door. His fists beat upon the wooden frame like thunder and lightning. Ptolema hoped the wood would not break under Riker's strength. He might not be smart, but he was strong for a man his age.


"I'm not even done changing!" She yelled back. Ptolema slipped her mask onto her face. Sweat automatically beaded up on her forehead. The mask is mostly made of cotton and hirauvi silk. Hirauvi is a strong and almost untearable material, but it is also very thick, making it hot for Ptolema's face.


She slipped her boots on over a pair of socks with all the Northern constellations on them. Inside her socks were deadly hair accessories and the tiniest knife in the world. The socks are so thick, that the keenest of sight would not be able to find a single weapon in her sock if he or she tried. Underneath her socks Ptolema wore stockings, so the accessories and the weapon won't slice into her skin. She braided her hair into two dutch braids, then tied some more deadly hair accessories into the top of the braid. After Ptolema restocked all of her weapon compartments, she walked out of room to find Riker standing with his back to the wall beside her door. His brown neatly-cut hair covered his honey eyes. He grabbed Ptolema's hand once she locked her door.


"Please," Riker pleaded, "let me see you without a mask. It's been almost four years now, and I've never seen your entire face at once." She stared into his eyes. They were filled with curiosity as he searched him ask for any sign of humanness. Nothing. Just a mask. He let go of her hand gently.


"My identity is what has kept me alive all these years. I suggest you try one," her voice echoed through the phantom hallway. The doors seemed to awaken at her very own breath, while she strolled down to the guild hall for a drink. Riker followed her like a lost puppy.


Ptolema paid the bartender two bronze chiops for the Berry-Wine. Riker did the same.


"Can you just leave me alone!" Ptolema yelled while giving Riker a pounding to the jaw. A loud snap zoomed around everyone's ears as Riker's jaw fractured itself on the ground. He groaned (which was painful) as he tried to stand up without passing out. His hand wobbled as he wiped the thick dark-red blood that dripped from his mouth. Ptolema took the drink she paid for, and left the guild hall to go outside. She has sixty-eight hours to eliminate two new targets. She smiled at the thought of more blood but wanted to puke at the thought of having to hold the heads up again.


Ptolema already knew enough knowledge about the Uri council, that the task should only take thirty hours at the most. She counted the weapons on her body: Eighty-seven. Her braids even consisted of two kukri daggers hidden in them. They're dull but will kill if needed. Gunn would be the easy target, so he will be killed second if plans go the way Ptolema plans them to be. Carmoc on the hand lives in the "Uri Council Residential Village." The richest village in all of Tredefoque. She was not born in this country, but she gets the best pay compared to her birth country. The village where Carmoc lives is lined with a wall that is guarded, not too heavy, but heavy enough for pro killers to have to actually work to get by them.


Ptolema sketched her plans out on a dry piece of parchment that she stole from a pon-shop three days ago. She was not the best artist in the world, but it would do well for the purpose she needs it for. Her hands spread out the paper on her knee. Everything was just a bunch of scribbles to other people, but to her, they were coded words (another lesson from her assassin teacher). Ptolema decided to go kill Carmoc tomorrow. Today, she is going to see Kolo. She threw her drink from the guild into the nearest bucket-like object she could find.


The town is roaming with people. Ptolema hates interacting with people, so she jumped on the house roofs all the way to her training facility. It was not far, but jumping on all of the roofs made her lose her breath. Kolo would be waiting. He would punish her with his whip for not coming last week. She deserved it though, for saying she would try to come once a week. It was the price to pay for leaving. Ptolema gathered all of the confidence she could get and jumped off the last roof onto the ground. Her heart pounded in her chest for it to be released so it would not have to bear whatever consequence Kolo might throw at it. She walked through the door of the old apartment building, down the hall, and into the kitchen. Ptolema opened the greenest tile on the floor, and slid down into the tunnel underneath the floor, after closing the tile back.


Yelling echoed through the dark tunnel. Ptolema jumped at every sound that sounded suspicious. The darkness did not help the fact that she hates fighting Kolo's stupid guards without any firelight. Crunch. A rock broke underneath a foot. The only person who's foot would be strong enough to do that was Kolo's. A cold hand grabbed Ptolema by the neck and dragged her down the rest of the hall. He came to get her himself!


Kolo threw her, by the neck, into the center of the sparring room. All of his students looked at her with amusement.


"I'll give ya a choice today," Kolo snarled, "You come work for me again, or the sparring punishment again." He laughed as Ptolema held her neck and coughed out tons of blood onto the floor.


"Sp-ar-ring!" Ptolema croaked. Her voice echoed in everyone's ears with joy. She would make them regret laughing, smiling, and living.


"If ya defeat all of 'em," Kolo laughed, "then you get a week off. But ya leave one out, ya come two times next week. Deal?"


Ptolema has defeated many people at once before so she answered, "Deal!" The coughing and the blood stopped as she stood up in a ready position. Eight students smiled with glee, while one ran out of the room crying. Kolo went after the boy. Everyone knew what would come of him now. 


Ptolema took this chance to kick the closest boy near her in the head. Foolish move to look the other way for so long. His neck cracked under the pressure that Ptolema kicked him at. After everyone heard the crack of the boy's neck, and him not breathing on the floor, the students' eyes widened and their arms shook with fear. Blood started to make a pool around the boy's head. Ptolema did not have any time to feel bad for these students, not when Kolo would kill her with a whip if she lost the deal.


"Y'all still want to fight?" Ptolema laughed out as evil as she could possibly sound.


Two students' breathing shortened until they both passed out. Weak.


Only five more left. Ptolema could take them on easily if they're fairly new to their training. She waited for them to charge first, which they did. The first shortest, but bulky, boy tried for a kick while the second average height boy went for a punch to Ptolema's jaw. She knew she was stronger then both of them combined - considering the speed at which they threw their attacks at. She grabbed the short boy's fist, stepped on top of the other boy's foot, and smashed his fist into the his face while he stood stunned at Ptolema.


After the average height boy fell to the ground, she punched the other boy's nose into his head. Blood poured onto his face as he fell to the floor without breathing. Ptolema lifted her foot from the boy on the floor and kicked the his leg into the ground. He screamed as another crack came from the sparring room. The rest of the students stood stunned at Ptolema's performance on their two peers.


"Tell me how old you all are?" Ptolema asked over the boy's scream.


"Around twenty," a dark-skinned boy mumbled over the screaming boy on the floor. His blue eyes never met Ptolema's.


"I'm eighteen. Now tell me who your best fighters were, or are?" Ptolema chuckled.


"You killed them. All three of our best fighters," another student with burnt skin answered. The student had grey eyes and white/silver hair, it made him look older than the rest of the students. He smiled at Ptolema (more like at Ptolema's mask). He had straight-white teeth that clashed with his burnt skin.


"What is your name?" Ptolema asked pointing at the boy. He had an unusual auror that filled the room with something that was not air.


"Irik, mam. You must be the famous Ptolema!" Irik had to calm his voice. Once he knew who he was talking to, his hands shook rapidly.


"Well, anyways, one isn't dead yet. But, I'll take him out of his misery, I guess," Ptolema answered while bending down to the average height boy who lied on the floor. He stopped screaming a few seconds ago. Ptolema pulled a knife out of her sleeve and aimed it at the heart of the boy. He did not even open his eyes.


"Ptolema!" Kolo yelled, "We'll kill 'im lat'r, now he's the model of the death that my students might endure! So let 'im live, for righ' now, and come wi' me so ya can train!"


The rest of the students' terrified looks made Ptolema laugh as she ran past them to meet Kolo upstairs, where he was standing. His brown skin shined in the firelight that burned beside him. Ptolema stopped five feet away from him so she had room to bow.


"I see, that ya've been trainin' with Hicop too, I presume?" Kolo guessed, considering how Ptolema fought. Ptolema hid her clenched hand from him. If Kolo saw, he would definitely know that she trained with Hicop more than a few times. She nodded her head slightly. "I'm glad, he's a great person to train with. I like that he teaches his students do not have mercy."


Ptolema would give mercy to anyone who needed it, but she could not risk it anymore. Not in this dire time. Kolo walked to the bow and arrow training room. Ptolema loves to shoot bow and arrows, so she had to hold back her cheerfulness as she followed him into the room. Loads of different kinds of bows lined the left side wall, while multiple kinds of arrows lined the right side wall. Kolo pointed to the bows and told Ptolema to pick one. She chooses the black compound bow. Kolo told her the same for the arrows. She chooses the new mechanical broadhead arrow tip. Kolo smiled, knowing it was the deadliest arrowhead. Ptolema always tried for the deadly ones. 


"Shoot the center of all the targets twice. One time with your right hand, the second time with your left hand," Kolo instructed Ptolema. 


She glared at him. He knew she was right hand dominant. Ptolema stepped seventy feet away from the back wall (where the targets were). 


She loaded her bow with an arrow and aimed.


She hit the center of all the targets with her right hand. Now, to her left. Ptolema dreaded using her left hand around Kolo. Hicop only taught her the fighting with close up weapons and hands, not this. She loaded the bow with an arrow, switched hands and aimed. Ptolema checked her feet, her hands, her back, her breathing. She could do this if she tried. Her left hand let the arrow fly. It missed by two inches. Kolo held up one finger. It meant one bone. Ptolema only made seven out of the ten targets with her left hand.


Kolo took Ptolema's right hand and lifted her pinky finger. Crack. He lifted her middle finger. Crack. Finally, he took her pointer finger. Crack. Three fingers for three missed targets. Ptolema could feel blood in her mouth from biting her tongue so hard. She has only screamed, because of the pain that was inflicted, once in front of Kolo, and vowed to never do it again. She has not even cried in front of him yet.


"Now, take this as a lesson: ya're right eye dominant, so y'all have to move yar bow a little to the right because yar misses have all been too much to the right. Only use your left hand for the month, that is why I broke yar right hand, ain't it? Now, scram to ya little guild. I'll see ya in two weeks," Kolo let go of Ptolema and she groaned at the pain she felt when her hand hit her leg. Before Ptolema could start to scream, she ran out of the room with the bow still on her back, and the arrows strapped to her sack on her leg. They clinked together as she ran. While she ran outside, she saw Irik squatting with his hands violently grabbing his beautiful white/silver hair. Ptolema gulped her pain down and walked up to him cautiously. Irik quickly pulled his hands out of his hair once he saw Ptolema. She shoved her arm into his neck, hard enough that he ran into the back brick wall behind him. They stared into each other's eyes for minutes until Ptolema finally spoke, "What do you want with these mortals."


"I don't know what the hell you think you are doing!" Irik retorted back.


"I know your not human, so don't play dumb with me."


"How did you figure it out? And besides, I'm not a bad Poi anyways. I don't have any intentions of killing any mortal. The king is taking them all up and killing us, please... don't turn me in."


"Meet me tomorrow at the Gripp Bakery, then we'll talk."


"Let me see your han..."


"Don't touch it." Ptolema brought her arm down from Irik's neck to grab her hand. Pain shot through her entire arm as her left hand touched it. "I'm perfectly fine. I'll see you tomorrow, bye." Irik watched her as she left him.


She climbed with her left hand on top of the old house and started her way through the town and towards the guild. Ptolema ran as fast as she could on the roofs. She jumped off the last roof, that was closest to her guild and ran in. Riker set his beer on the table and went to see Ptolema. He looked at her hand that she was holding. She finally screamed as Riker gently took her hand to examine it. He yelled for a doctor to come. While the doctor hurried down the long halls, Riker laid Ptolema on the nearest table.


The doctor ran toward them with an ice bucket at the ready. Ptolema stuck her broken hand into the ice water, then screamed again. Riker wanted to take her mask off so she could breathe better, but every time he tried she would kick him in the stomach. The doctor took her hand out of the ice water to wrap in with clothe and put two metal rods on either side of her hand to steady the fingers during their recovery. 


Ptolema screamed the entire time. Riker hated watching her scream. He hated it so much, that he wanted to kill Kolo for it. Riker trained himself, because of this exact reason. Looking at Ptolema like this made Riker happy that he chooses to train himself.


"I'm... I'm going to- to bed," Ptolema moaned.


"Let me help you," Riker said.


"Thank you, but no thanks," Ptolema said back.


"It wasn't a question."


"I don't need your..." before Ptolema could finish, Riker picked her up by the stomach and brought her down to her room through her kicks and punches. Riker set her down on her feet in front of her door. She was breathless from his shoulder jabbing into her stomach and screaming and punching so much within thirty seconds.


"I'm not thanking you, so scram," Ptolema informed Riker.


"I know, but I have something to tell you first."


"Look, I'm not taking my mask off, okay?"


"No, that's not it. I wanted to tell you that since your right hand is broken, that means you can't fight well. Well, what I'm saying is I can kill your two targets for you while you recover?"


"I can fight well with my left hand! If you do that you're just gonna brag about it for the rest of the week!"


"The last time this happened, I gave you the same offer and you refused. That time I let you go do it left-handed, don't you remember how that ended up?"


"You promised, never to speak of that again!"


"You're staying in your room until you recover, or I'll do the..."


"Okay, okay. You can kill them for me, as long as you don't..."


"I promise."


"This doesn't make us friends though," Ptolema told Riker before opening the door with her left hand and walking into her room. She locked the door twice before closing her window shutters and taking off her sweaty mask. Her boots had blood staining the bottom of them. She took off all of her clothes, so she could struggle to put on a nightgown with one hand. She thought taking off a body suit was hard with one hand-oh god no! Ptolema screamed through gritted teeth as she had to move her middle finger to get the strap over her hand. Once she had her nightgown on, she flopped onto the bed and fell fast asleep.

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Chapter 3

 Riker stayed up all night working out and practicing a few sword play moves. He told the doctor to stay outside of Ptolema's door, and if she tries to escape the doctor will stop her. Riker also told the doctor to check her hand at least once every hour for Ptolema's health. After falling asleep and dreaming of a too intense dream of an explensent thought about him and Ptolema, Riker changed into his black leather combat outfit. Ptolema would definitely kill him if she knew about what he dreamed of at night. Riker decided to never tell Ptolema about his dreams, for his life's sake. He stocked every little sack with all the weapons he could find in his room.


Riker has killed many people in the Uri council, so Carmoc should be an easy target for him. Gunn should also be easy (easier than Carmoc). He headed for the "Uri Council Residential Village" with his passcode written out onto a piece of parchment that was torn from a book in the town's library. The ground is still wet from the rain storm two days ago, but could be used as an advantage to Riker, if needed. 


He breathlessly came up to a guard's post and called out the tiny words on the parchment. The guard raised an eyebrow; nonetheless, he raised the iron gate to let Riker walk though. As he walked through, huge houses appeared everywhere. No, not houses - mansions! They were taller than the wall surrounding them. Bigger than the entire guild tripled. Carmoc is on his porch with two young women. They seemed too young for him. Riker needed Carmoc his house to kill him. He waited inside of the closest mansion's bush for Carmoc to leave. The way he looked at the women made Riker want to puke all of his guts out at this very moment, but he had to stay strong, and wait. 


After hours of waiting, Carmoc went inside his house after the two women walked halfdrunk to their own houses. Riker wanted to help the women, but decided it would waste too much time. He stealthily moved over to Carmoc's house without being seen. Riker lifted the nearest window noislessly, and slipped inside of the house. In case he needed to quickly get out, Riker opened every window near him. Carmoc burped. Riker froze. Footsteps followed the burp toward Riker, but stopped and laughed.


"My dear boy, why today?" A snake-like voice slithered into Riker's ears. Riker did not say a word. He did not even move. 


"I saw you watching me from that bush of the Drakez's house. They would not be happy to find out that a stranger was in their beloved bushes. Tell me why you are here?" It had to be Carmoc. Riker squinted underneath the door, but saw no sign of life. How did Carmoc know he was in here, when the door to the room he was in is closed?


"Oh, I see. A deed for Mr. Rohodly. Is it?" Mister Carmoc sneered at the door in front of him.


Riker said the only possible explanation for this situation, "You have the ancient snake magic. Don't you?" Mister Carmoc slithered through the crack in the door and into the room, until he was inches away from Riker's nose. 


"Surpri..." before Carmoc could finish his sentence Riker lunged his knife into Carmoc's face. His nose split in two, and it dripped dark, red, thick blood. It poured down Carmoc's face even after he fell to the floor.


"Never start a fight with talking, Jackass," Riker laughed to himself. He sliced Carmoc's head from his body and flung it into a sack. One more to go. Gunn. He lived in a regular townhouse in the city near the guild. Riker slipped out of the wall that surrounded Carmoc's old village and into the town. People were walking everywhere now. Noon crept up on Riker before he knew it. He decided to get a bite to eat before killing Gunn. A full belly never did anyone any harm. 


Riker went into the closest place that smelled of food without even looking at where he was going. When he was inside, he ordered a frig with cheese on top of it. After paying, he sat down at a small two person table and ate. Some people gave him weird looks at the sight of a head size sack strapped to his waist. Riker does not mind the stares he gets. He heard a familiar voice from behind him, so he turned around. Ptolema. She was talking to a too tan for his own good boy. He wore a warrior outfit close to the the one Ptolema wore. Her hair was down, but her mask was still on. Riker walked over to her.


"Hey," Riker awkwardly interrupted.


"Don't you have someone to kill?" Ptolema snapped at him.


"One down, one to go!" He bragged back. The man beside Ptolema stiffened as Riker spoke, "Who is this?"


"This is... um... Irik," Ptolema had to make eye contact with Irik before saying his name. Riker got suspicious.


"We're training togther," Irik informed Riker. 


"Oh, cool. Well, I gotta kill Gunn before night, so... bye," Riker gave Ptolema an unexpected hug before leaving the restraunt. He left his food sitting on the table that he was just sitting at for the waitresses to clean up.


{|~|}


Ptolema sat back down into the booth after hugging Riker. She hated human interaction, especially if it's affectionate. Irik seemed stiff now so Ptolema ordered another water for him.


"So, do we have a deal?" Ptolema asked.


"I guess so. If I'm going to be your partner though, I would like to see your face at least once. I've heard that you have never shown a single person, besides Kolo and Hicop, your face. It that true?" Irik seemed too happy about this.


"Yes you'll be able to see my face, but there is no questions to be asked about it, okay? Anyways, I'll have to move in another bed for you, and you'll have to buy your own clothes and weapons."


"No problem, my parents ste... I mean borrow money all the time from the town bank."


"Why does your kind think you can treat mortals like trash! I mean stealing from us for your own benefit, for the Seik's sake, just get a damn job like a normal person!" Ptolema could not hold in her anger. Irik had to literally hold her in her seat with his overly powerful muscles in his arms. Ptolema could feel the steam that burned Irik's hands. She smiled at him.


"We're going to make a great team," she said with all hopes.


"Sure," is all Irik could say considering how hot Ptolema's skin is on his hands after her temper-tantrum. He let go of Ptolema so she could tell him about all of her former clients and the deadliness in which each job has been. Ptolema had always wanted a magical partner, the last one did not turn out as planned though. Ptolema never speaks of that day again. She was hoping for a magical girl partner, but a boy will do for now. He told her about his past life about living in the woods, hunting animals, tearing down trees, and how he found Kolo. Ptolema ate the entire time whole Irik talked. She kept using that excuse, "FOOD IS A PRIORTY FOR LIFE! AND A HAPPY PERSON, OKAY!?" Irik does not like to fight, so he went with it and kept talking.


After about six hours of talking to one another, they packed their stuff, and Ptolema showed him the way to the guild. Irik loved the place already. The outside disguise amazed him. The inside, he almost passed out because of how much he loved it. Ptolema had to smack him a few times before he got life back into him. 


"Come on, you big baby," Ptolema ordered him. She walked to her bedroom. "This morning there was an accident in the room next to me, so I tore down my side wall to make a two room mash-up."


"Wait, you killed your neighbor?" Irik felt sick.


"You want to work with me, don't you. Man up, okay? She should have recognized the poison anyways. Besides, this is a hotel full of murderers, do you expect anything better?"


Irik looked at the bolted up door about thirty feet away. These rooms must be big! Irik thought. He was right, because as Ptolema opened the door a huge, full sized, room appeared before his very own eyes.


"Hey, your side is over there!" Ptolema pointed at room half covered by a brown silk curtain. His half of the two-room mashup was the same size as Ptolema's. Irik wanted to faint again, but did not, and instead walked to his half of the huge room to start unpacking his one bag of clothes.


Ptolema came into his side of the room after shutting, and bolting the door twice. She sat at the end of his bed with such grace.


"You wanted to see me without my mask?" Ptolema whispered. Irik nodded cautiously. He stopped unpacking as she unclipped the clips in the back and started to lift the mask off of her face. She got to her mouth, but stopped.


She spoke, "Promise not to laugh!" 


Irik saw a tear - not swear - roll down her cheek, "I promise." He tried to say it as gently as possible. She was basically a stranger, but in the future, Irik can see them being great friends, literally. 


Ptolema lifted it all the way off of her face. The straps of her mask dangled between her legs while she set it on her right knee. Irik's eyes widened as he saw her face.


She had a single scar going down her left eyelid, yet it was almost healed the faint line was clearly visible to people up close to her - like Irik was. Her eyes were ice blue with a tiny rim of gold bordering the pupil. Her rosy lips made her tan face beautiful. Ptolema had blonde baby hairs that were glued to her forehead with sweat. She was beautiful.


"I feel like your judging me. Is that why you won't talk?" Another tear rolled down her cheek. Her face looked as smooth as a blanket. 


"No... it's just... I'm stunned!" He answered without blinking.


"By my ugliness, I get it." She started to put the mask back on, when he stopped her and ripped it out of her hand.


"I'm stunned by your beauty, Ptolema. The scar doesn't make you ugly, it means you stood up for something in your life."


Ptolema snatched her mask out of Irik's hand, "Finish unpacking, I'll be back."


Ptolema slipped her mask back onto her face before running into the guild hall to look for Riker. He was waiting foe her, as usual. He held up the head sack in one hand with joy as Ptolema stroded over to him.


"Your hand looks better, actually it looks... healed." Riker is too smart for his own good. 


"The doctor is just really good, what cam I say," it was half a lie, "Now can I see the heads?"


Riker gave her a half smile before handing the heads over to her. She opened the bag to make sure. Gunn and Carmoc were both in there. Ptolema bowed a thank you to Riker and walked back to her room, alone. 


Irik already had his night clothes on when Ptolema walked in. He gave her a thumbs up and went to sit on his bed. She pulled the curtain so it would each wall to wall. Now, she could change into her nightgown. 


"Oh, come on!" Irik moaned.


"You ain't seeing anything, you pervert!" Ptolema laughed. Irik scrunched his pillow loudly before screaming into it.


"Must you?" Ptolema asked pulling the curtain back to the half side it was on. She had on her brown silk medium length nightgown on.


"Tomorrow, I have to return two of my targets, but after that, we'll do what we discussed," Ptolema informed Irik, while snuggling into her warm bed.


"I can't wait!" He roared back. His voice sounded more lion than human. He was magical to Ptolema.


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