“Katya,” comes the voice, breaking my dream to shreds and forcing me to open my eyes. “Wake up already. I have a plan. You told me to wake you when I had a plan.”
I roll over and look at the girl crouched at the edge of my bed. She isn’t more than 12 years old, but then again, I’m only fourteen, so… point is don’t underestimate us. She has her pink hair in pig tales, her brown eyes round. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and try to focus on her face in the dark of the room. “Yeah, what is it Aruzabel? This time I hope it will be more logical and practical than the last one.”
“It is.” She calls, excitement shimmering in her eyes. “I’ve gotten the support of the League of Ladies this time, the whole bunch.”
This catches my attention and I sit straight up, almost hitting my head on the empty bunk above me. “You mean you actually do have a plan? What is it?”
“he’s here.” She calls, making me feel faint. She gives a bounce, her eyes alight with joy. “I know, I couldn’t believe it either. That he would come to the same outpost from where the last group of assassins who tried to kill him came from, but yeah, he did.”
“Well, that just proves what we’ve been saying all along- that a pile of dog poop has more brains than Cardinal.”
“He’s staying in the room just above us. Sure he has a huge detail, but he’s not guarding the air ducts.” She calls, her eyes flashing. “And this could be our opportunity to end his reign, to restore the old system. Don’t tell me you’re not excited.”
“Okay,” I call slowly, trying to process what she’s saying. “I’m excited. But what good is that gonna do me if this doesn’t work out and my head ends up on the chopping block for trying to murder the ruler of the largest country on earth- my country- Belestasia (bell-est-asia) ? None. So tell me a detailed plan before I commit to this suicide mission.”
“Okay, we’re climbing up with Charity.” She calls, pointing to the girl eavesdropping from the other side of the room, playing like she’s asleep. She’s smart- she knows how to hide her involvement in conspiracies- hints why she’s the only one from the last attempt on his life… besides me, that is… who made it out. I’ve got a scar, she doesn’t. she just blended in with the group. But I listen as Aruzabel goes into even more detail. “We get up there, Charity ‘entertains’ the guards, you and me sneak in. We do the deed. Kill him. Then we announce it live using his satilite feed, and we’ll fight with the townspeople to overthrow his second in command, Ludwig, and his financial advisor/wife/speech writer (the brains behind his brawn really) Eggra.”
I think it over nad realize quickly that its not like we have any better options at our disposal. I look up into her eyes and nod. “Fine. Lets do it.”
“Why did I ever agree to this plan?” I hiss as I pull myself through the last leg of the ventilation system and out into the hallway that runs right by the dictator’s bedroom.
“Because you want to kill something.” Charity winks. She has long red hair with amber red eyes. She barely touches the door, and an alarm goes off. “Oh come on.”s he hisses, “Can’t he be man enough to have only the alarm when the doors opened. No, he has to have one for just touching the dang thing.”
“On the bright side, at least we’re actually trying to kill him.” I joke.
“Gotta feel sorry for the maid.” Aruzabel clucks.
“Halt! Halt in the name of the King of Belestasia! You’re under arrest for conspiracy to commit murder!” shouts a green guard. He obviously doesn’t know how ot use the gun he’s waving around.
Charity smirks and clucks, “Honey, it ain’t a conspiracy when you are gonna do it. Conspiracy is when you just thinking about it.” His eyes widen and she turns to us and winks, “Don’t worry. I got this boy. HE obviously isn’t the brightest orange in the orchard.” She pulls out her very long sword and winks, “You two get going.”
“Halt!” comes a stronger cry.
“Are you sure you’ve got this?” I ask, feeling my heart race with fear for my friend.
“You’re kidding, right Katya?” she asks, pulling out her ruby red pistol and pointing it in the direction the voice came from, pulling the trigger, and hitting the older man squarely between the eyes with a bullet, without looking in his direction.
Aruzabel smirks and grabs my arm. “She’ll be fine. Lets get going.”
I listen to her and I follow her into the room. We opent he door so fast that the alarm isn’t triggered. We stride into the room, tiptoeing as quietly as possible, before we approach the bed. He looks so much more frail laying here, his black wig gone and his thinning gray hair rumpled. He stirs and calls in a drowsy voice, “Who’s there?”
“Your never ending damnation.” Aruzabel calls. “Who else?”
And then she lunges out with a small knife, and slips it neatly between his ribs, straight to his heart. I smirk, and then I hear the soft, “Leave him be.” I turn and see Ludwig, his second in command, who wasn’t supposed to be here. I drawn my sword and lash out with a single flick of my wrist, and slice a neat line in his neck. He chokes for a moment, his white skin now blackened with blood, before falling to the ground. I flick my sword to clean the blood off it and turn back to Aruzabel.
Cardinal chokes, “You are just like me.”
Aruzabel calls, her voice scathing, “I am nothing like you.”
He reaches up with a sharp tack and cuts a weird symbol by her cheek, and calls, “You will be.” And with that, the light dies from his green eyes, and he is nothing more than a dead man.
Aruzabel looks distrubed at his words. “He marked me.’ She whispers. “It’s the mark of the cursed. He’s made me one of them.”
I shake my head and put my hand on her shoulder. “You’ll never be like one of them. Now hurry, get the equipment up and running. We don’t have much time before they catch us.”
She nods, and we go about the work of putting the camera equipment together. Finally its up and running. I give her the thumbs up. She smiles and pulls Cardinal’s dead body, along with that of Ludwig, closer. “Hello, people of Belestasia. I am Aruzabel. Filming this is my second in command, and dear friend, Katya. We have killed the evil tyrant, and his flunky second in command. Now we want you to rise up and throw off the chains that bind you. And to Eggra, we will be coming after you. Now, all we ask, is you help in gaining your freedom.”
I hear the yells of support already from outside the windom, and Charity comes in, a delighted smile on her face. “They’re doing it. We’re winning.”
That was two years ago. Gradually we drove out the enemy, and adventually captured and killed Eggra. But aruzabel insisted in eleminating all those who refused to join us when we offered by giving out that message. And they all come before me, hardly armed- no guns allowed, while I am armed. They have little training, and I am the best assassin the the country, and vice leader, next to Aruzabel. Now she’s having me kill off some guy named Darkon. I walk down into the dungeons, seeing the electric blue doors flickering. I see the strong guard and he jumps to attention, salluting me. “Hail, madame Katya.”
“At ease.” I sigh, grabbing the file. I read through it and feel my heart skip a beat. “Under arrest for betraying Aruzabel and attempting to escape.” I call, looking into the cell. “Trained, one of our best. Hmm. Thank you, soldier. Please excuse us. I wish to talk with him privately before I cut him to pieces.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He calls, salluting before leaving in a haste.
Chapter 1 pt. 2
I step up to the bars and call, “Darkon Siege. My name is…”
“I know who you are.” He calls, his voice vicious and his blue eyes full of anger and spite. He rises to his feet, eyes full of anger. “You’re Aruzabel’s chief flunky. The ’honorable Katya.”
I feel my anger boiling over. I really don’t like this guy. Sure he’s had a tuff life, but it can’t even come close to what I’ve seen. I lean in and rest myself on the electric bars. His eyes widen when he sees I can actually put up with the surge of electricity through my body. “Look, you can choose to keep on mocking me, or we could actually talk about something productive, like your immenent death.”
A smirk comes onto his face as he leans towards me and calls with a hiss, “You can’t make me fear death. You people took away the only person I loved, and now I just want to be left ALONE. I would actually welcome death.” He walks off a ways and sits back down and calls to me with a sneer, “besides, that’s what you’ve come here to tell me anyways, isn’t it? You came to gloat over you being the one to put an end to the life of another revolutionary? Well, I hope it’s a hollow victory for you.” He calls.
He wont shut up. So I descide to resort to making him focus by other means. I grab a large stick I carry by my side and throw it at him, hitting him in the head.
It hits and he hollers, “Ow.” While rubbing his miserable head. I can’t help but feel the surge of pride that it was me who made a hot-head like him suffer pain from a big stick. But I brush that thought away and refocus on him, no longer leaning on the bars. I can take it for a while, but only a little while. I’m not super human, I’ve just been tortured enough with electrical wiring to be able to tolerate it for a descent amount of time.
“Shut up and listen to me.” I growl, and instantly, to my surpise he does shut up. A miracle. I roll my eyes and call to him softly, “You want Aruzabel dethroned, and you want revenge. And I am in a position to help you get out of here and to spare you life and give you the training and the ability to do so. So do you want to deal or would you preferr to go out into the stadium and do the little dance for her majesty?”
His eyes narrow and he calls with distain, “And why would you do that? You’ve got money, power, standing. What on earth would possess you to risk it all to help an outlaw like me?”
“Look, even the worst of us has enough of killing innocent kids in an arena to please Aruzabel.” I call, really hating him all the more. “Last week I had to put down a seven-year old just because he used to pass out pamphlets supporting the old regime. Not that you needed to know that.”
“So you’re tired of killing? I find that hard to believe.” He calls, his eyes glittering with even more distain and distaste for me.
“Don’t mistake what I’m saying.” I call, my voice growing thick with anger and amuzement. Gosh, this guy’s dumb. “I’m perfectly fine with putting a bullet through you brain. I’m even more enthralled about slicing a knife slowly over that neck of yours.” I see him stiffen and I snap myself out of killing mode. “I just don’t like killing kids for no good reason because someone orders for me to amuze them. And I’m tired of playing that game.” I straighten up and look him even closer in the eye. “So are you in, or are you out? Either way, I’m fine with your decission. But if she really did take from you the only thing you loved in this world, which with your big ego I find hard to believe, then I find it even harder to believe that you wouldn’t jump at the chance to get revenge. So, am I right Drakon, or am I gonna have to slit that throat of yours.”
He eyes with with distrust and descides to voice the obvoius. “I can’t trust you.”
“No you most certainly cannot.” I agree, a smirk on my face. “But the question is, who do you trust more? Aruzabel or me? And I can garentee she isn’t gonna grant you a free pass outta this place. So what’s it gonna be?”
“Will you betray me?” he asks, his blue eyes flashing.
I nod. “I have no attachment to you, and if it suits me, I will in a second without a moment’s hesistation. But you can count on the fact that if you join me, you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet and wont care if I betray you. You;ll be able to stand on your own. And right now, I’ll bet that seems exceptionally appealing to you, doesn’t it? Given that you’re dependant on my every whim for you survival?”
His eyes narrow. “Fine. I’ll do it.”
I nod. “Good boy. Now gather your wits and don’t make me regret saving your pitiful life.”- I wink. I put my hand on the verification pad next to his cell and check him out. If anyone checks the log, it wont seem out of place. I always check out the people I’m gonna fight myself. That way I can apologize in advance- or gloat, which ever the way may fall. I hand him a stun gun and hiss over my shoulder, “Keep it low. I don’t want to draw any unnessessary attention. Move to the wall. Quiet.” I call. We back against the wall just as two squadrons pass around the corner.
“I’m looking forward to this fight, aren’t you Jolly?” asks one big guy.
“Of coarse. I can’t wait for her classic finish move- the heart ripper. Or even the throat cruncher. This will be killer- pun intended of coarse.” The girl replies. They laugh all the way down the hallways, and when the coast is clear I give him a nod. We round the bend and I stop dead when I see who is standing at the top of the stair with two guards. She must have thought I’d be so eager for a real challenge I’d check him out early. Darn. I reach behind me and slip the stun gun out of his hand.
“Ah, there you are Katya.” Aruzabel calls with her kind grin. She’s fourteen now, as old as I was when we hatched the plan to dethrone the old regime. She’s still innocent looking, but there’s also an evil behind her eyes. She looks to Darkon and calls coldly, “I hope you enjoy the reward you’re about to receive. You deserve no less. I offered you a chance to join us, and you chose to become a traitor. Now you’ll die a traitor’s death.” She looks to me and smiles, giving me a hug and withdrawing, “And you.”s he laughs, pulling away. “I knew you couldn’t resist the temptation to draw him out early in hopes of a real fight. You’re so predictable.” She grins.
I nod and fake a smile. “Sometimes. But what are we waiting for? I’m eager to see if this boy can live up to his reputation. I want to break some bones.” I calls, letting my eagerness seep into my voice. I would love to beat him up. I love to make the hot-headed tough guys beg for mercy, but I have to concentrate on the big picture. This wont just end when he’s dead.
She nods. “Guards, escort him to the arena ahead of Katya. Excuse me, I have to be in the box to announce the fight. Can’t break tradition.” She winks,a dn with that she’s gone. I feel a little saddened to know I’ll be breaking her trust and basically stabbing her in the back, but I have to remind myself that she isn’t the same girl who I protected from the tortures they did to us, the same girl who wanted so badly to do only what would help people. She’s become the cursed, and I have to break this chain. I have to, even if I have to kill Aruzabel myself.
I walk up the stairs behind him and blink into the blinding light. I hear the cheers of the people in the arena, and I watch as the guards escort Darkon over to the opposite side of the arena. They equip him only with a dull knife, while I have a whole rack of weapons. And with my skill, I could kill him with a simply straw, but hey, people love blood and guts. So I strap on a gun, make sure its loaded, and I grab my favorite sword, my favorite pistol, my favorite everything, and strap on my goggles. They help me aim.
I stride over to the center, where Darkon is clearly bracing himself for my attack. “Three, Two,” Aruzabel counts. I mouth to Darkon,
“Run. Head towards the open side of the arena. I’ll take care of the rest.”
He gives me a puzzled look and the gun goes off.
“Go.” I shout. The guards realize too quick what’s going on, but I’m faster. I grab the big guy who was excited for this fight by his shoulder and raise my knee to make contact with his face. “Not so excited now, are ya?” I ask as I kick him a final time in the face and he died. I see Darkon hasn’t moved. “What are you, brainless? I said RUN! Now move it or I will kill you!”
Finally, he takes off. The girl charges me with an enraged cry, but I sense it and block her attack with my arms at the ready, part of the sword sheathed. One had is firmly attached to the hilt, the other to the sheath. I catch her sword and push back on it so hard it skitters away and to the other side of the arena. “Ooh, you’re not as good as you think” I wink. “Too bad. Your loss.” I call. With that I slit her across the belly with my sword and see a guy with a big axe charge me. “Really?” I call with a smirk. I grab my pistol and cock the hammer. “See, all the work gone to waste when I can just do this.” I call, pulling the trigger and planting a bullet firmly between his eyes. Another tries to get at her, but I simply puts another three bullets in him. “What a brainless lot.” I look up to Aruzabel and call “Where to you find these guys? They’re absolutely laughable. I can see why no one respects the authorities. Who would? They’re a bunch of clowns riding unicycles.”
“Katya!” she shouts, her eyes wild. “What do you think you’re doing? You had everying! I though you were loyal to me.”
“Yeah, well that was you mistake- presuming that I had both everything and was loyal. I’m loyal to me, and that is what makes me have everything. I’m tired of taking orders from the likes of you, so see ya.” I wink. I cut the rope on the cataput, and it shoots me in the air. I pull the string on my parachute, and intantly I’m drifting safely away from Aruzabel. I see Darkon below me, having hidden himself in the woods. And I slowly descend down to him. Phase one complete, phase two – get him to the revolution before Aruzabel can find him. And then, hopefully, end this once and for all.