Chapter 1: The deserted mansion
Eli knew this was a bad idea.
There was something off about this place. Eli couldn’t put the finger on it, but the moment she saw this hellhole, she realized it reeked of bad news.
The mansion looked scarier in the dark. But it was the same as Eli had seen in the past few days. Capable of tearing you apart, but choose to take a nap instead.
Eli sighed deeply and climbed the tall old pine tree beside the west wall of the mansion. At least She could have taken one last look at the house before starting this suicide mission.
She hoped she might catch a trace of the life of the only inhabitant of the house in the last moments. The dark clouds in the night sky refused to give her a chance to see any better.
She chose a branch strong enough to hold her weight and sat on it. The tree was barely moved, and she made no sound in climbing. It was comforting to know she had her set of skills to rely on not waking the beast up.
Even though she spent almost a week checking out the mansion, she still wasn’t sure about the best strategy to get in as fast as possible, steal some precious ruby she didn’t even know where was hidden, and get out before it got too late.
“Fucking perfect.” She growled. Her angry whisper broke the silence for a second in the woods, and a squirrel ran away to a tree somewhere.
But she couldn’t go back to Malkan empty-handed. He would beat the shit out of her and then fucked her many times so she wouldn’t be able to walk for a few days. Not that she didn’t appreciate the hate-fuck, but Malkan knew explicitly what to do to make fucking a humiliating act for her.
No, there was no going back. Especially with Malkan’s weird vibe Eli got before he assigned her to this theft. It was
“Get your ass here, Eli.” Malkan had barked, making Eli rush down the stairs and hesitate.
When Eli entered, he was alone in his office. He looked pissed. There was no client in the room. But she heard the horses start pulling the carriage with a sound of whiplash from outside.
Malkan turned. He didn’t say anything at first. Instead, he went and sat on his giant chair of his.
Sunlight shines through the window into the room and casts light on Malkan’s face and muscular arms. His enormous body looked tense. Eli knew him enough to tell he has stuck in one of those “fucked-up shit” situations.
“Fucked-up shit situation?” Eli smiled softly.
“Well…” Eli took a few steps toward him and sat on his left leg. His leg was big enough to make her a comfortable stool.
Malkan was still lost in thought but wrapped his hand around her ass. She leaned forward and touched the fibers of Malekan’s leather pants on the crotch.
“I don’t think there’s a fucked-up shit situation that won’t go away with a good blowjob.”
“Listen…” Malkan faced Eli. He was serious. Things must have been deadly critical if he was turning down her lips around his cock.
Up close, she could see the sharp lines on his face under the sunlight. His thick black beard covered half his face, and his eyes were almost hidden under his wide eyebrows. A nasty deep scar started from the top of his right forehead, and even though it was hidden under his beard, Eli knew it continued to the top of his lip.
Malkan took a loud, deep breath. “I want you to do a heist.”
“That’s it? That was all the drama for?” Eli was disappointed.
“No. Listen…it’s solo.” Malkan paused. “And I want you not to mention it to the rest of the gang. It’s big but delicate. That’s why I want you to do it clean.”
“Hey, I always do it clean. Just gimme the details, and I’ll be back by dawn.” Eli didn’t understand why he was tense.
“No, it’s not one of those. You have one week to do the job. It’s outta town.”
“It’s a deserted mansion at the foot of the Dawl mountain.”
“What the fuck! That’s half a day away by foot.”
“That’s not the tricky part.”
“Then what is?” Eli was starting to worry.
Malkan took another loud breath. “I want you to grab a ruby from there. I don’t know where it could be hidden.”
“Let me finish,” Malkan growled. He was on edge. “I haven’t told you who owns the house.”
“Who?” Her voice had become uneasy.
Malkan runs his large fingers through his man bun. “There is a mage living in that house. He’s been locked up in his place. Some kind of house arrest. I need you to get into his mansion, find the ruby, grab it before he finds out, and get yourself out of there as quick as it gets.”
All Eli could say was, “Oh…”.
She took a deep breath. Now here she was, in front of the mansion, six days after their conversation, lurking in the dark on a damn pine tree. The sky was cloudy enough to cover the moon. It was pitch black. She could use that to her benefit, but unnaturally there was no wind in the air. It was agitating, especially since everything was different when it came to mages.
She closed her eyes to stop a shiver that ran through her spine. Mages were no joke. No one would dare to fool around them. They were unpredictable, terrifying, and ruthless.
People would end up dead if they were poking their noses in any mage business. And now Eli was trying to steal a precious and probably magical rock from one of them, who was scary enough to get locked up in his house.
She could see the house beyond the muddy hedges from the branch she was sitting on. Around the mansion, short walls were built and covered with wild ivy. One look at the ivy would tell Eli no one had pruned them in ages. The branches and thorns were tangled together, and no one could see the other side of the wall on foot.
The double iron gates of the house were no better. The bars were rusted with cobwebs between the metal fences.
Eli narrowed her eyes to see the moldy and half-ruined remains of a fountain, some benches, and a gazebo in front of the house. They were well hidden in the moonless night.
There was no light inside any of the dirty windows of the house. In fact, Eli wasn’t even sure if the mage was alive or not. Malkan didn’t know either. In all the six days Eli had been monitoring the house, she had found no sign of life or movement. No one had passed through the window, no light was on, and not even the birds dared to fly over the house.
Eli gritted his teeth and came down from the tree without a noise. Without a second thought, she jumped, grabbed one of the thorny branches of the ivy, and pulled herself up.
The leaves and branches were dry and crumbled under the pressure of her hand. Eli snarled. She braced her feet against the wall through the tendrils. She managed to put most of her weight on her legs as much as she could, grabbed the branches with her hands, and climbed up. The wall was short. Eli reached the top with one or two more pushes. It was covered in dust and leaves, and she had to sit on the hedge to pull out the thorns embedded in her gloves.
No sound could be heard from inside. The mage did not seem to understand that someone was sitting on the wall of his house.
Eli wiped the cold sweat on her forehead with her hand and jumped swiftly and silently.
As soon as her feet hit the ground on the other side of the wall, colors, shapes, and smells altered, and a new air surrounded her. Eli stood up straight, frozen and terrified.
“Fuck” She whispered.