Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Red Room Revisited - Part 4

Her skin was a beautiful smooth mocha colour that contrasted with her flaming waves of hair. Flashy, for a pyromage but it suited her perfectly. She eyed me warily as she nursed a thigh wound. Several other gashes bled freely, the trickles of blood running down runners legs that were slim and shapely from years of assassin training. 

Felice knelt before her and murmured a word I could not hear before pressing her palms flat on both the assassin’s thighs. The mocha-skinned girl hissed through her teeth, her amethyst eyes slitting in pain. When she was done, Felice stood and walked to the pitcher that stood nearby and poured a glass of amber liquid. Herbs, from the smell of it as it wafted past me. Chamomile, honey, rose and a few others to help her heal and sleep. There would be poppy seeds as well, I knew. 

Finally she turned to face me, her eyes hardened to a blue that reminded me of shards of ice. Not just pretty; deadly. Normally I would have retreated under that sort of glare but past altercations with my mother had taught me better. You don't run from a barking dog. At least not till the fangs come out.

“See what happens to my best assassin when I meddle in your Timekeeper affairs?” she demanded. 

I did not flinch. “I will pay.” I replied smoothly.

Let her think me heartless, but I had to get to the bottom of this mess before my mother did and dug up half the city looking for a killer she did not know. There were many things I wish I had not waited for her to make a decision for. Many actions she had taken that I had despised but had no choice. I have had people hate me for the orders I carried out. No longer would I bear the brunt of the consequences of her selfish actions. I had my hunch and told her. She ignored me. Now others have paid the price. I was no longer a child, nor was I her pet. She had long decided that the tall, stately Ixora from the neighbouring city would make a better heir of her citadel. I had given up hope of pleasing her with obedience. A flash of Imelda’s tears made my heart squeeze for a moment before I settled my emotions. I still had obligations. 

Felice continued glaring at me as if I would go up in flames from the heat of her stare alone. I had no doubt I would if she lost control, but that was the problem of dealing with pyromages. You never know when you might be playing with fire. 

“What familiar does your ‘father’ possess that he can damage my top assassins?” she asked indignantly. 

I realized her pride had been hurt more than her assassin had been. The girl continued trying to staunch the now-drying trickle of blood and ignored my gaze. 

“A gryphon.” I replied without looking at Felice. 

“My father is a warlock and he owns a gryphon.” 

The curse that rebounded off the walls of the private chamber made me glad it was away from the general populace of Undergrounders who would probably have taken a huge offense and started a riot.

~Rei Shiori

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