[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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16. 14 – Quick Silver

Quick Silver was a place where people decided both to take loans and desperately try to get rid of debt.

It was a gambling house – which, from the outside, looked very much like a plain old abandoned warehouse (so that it didn’t come under the radar of the law); but on the inside things were very, very different – and it was a tool that was not suppose to be wholly beaten.

It was how gambling houses worked in general – the chances of winning any game were small, but the odd win coupled with the buzz of anticipation made players quite hooked onto the system.

William Sedrick made the whole process quite redundant, hence the need for his removal.

 

Only, Quick Silver was run by Dante and the English Brotherhood faction, and so it happened to be more comfortable than the other hidden-away gambling dens. It had three dozen bedrooms (each with a bathroom) for over-night guests (much like a hostel), it had a kitchen for serving meals three times a day, a deep cellar from where all the wine emerged, and the workers (including waiters/waitresses, door-men, accountants, and cleaners) were given a decent pay (a wage that, on the plus side, bore no tax). It was no surprise that the entrance fee was quite heavy.

The decorum was another factor one would have considered.

Chandeliers. Plush red coaches. Fine mahogany tables and chairs, gilded over. Rugs so soft, they were like thick velvet beneath bare feet. The walls and ceiling, a fiasco broken only by pillars, mirrors and other paintings. The whole set-up must have taken years to plan and create.

 

And, yet, to Mariqah’s great displeasure – the only thing Edward was looking at was her.

“Edward?”

His head snapped up, “Ha? Hmm? I wasn’t staring,” he said quickly.

She shook her head, the soft permed curls of her hair twirling with her, the slight silver accenting her eyeliner catching the light as she rolled her false-blue eyes. Mariqah felt a lot worse than she looked.

For starters, her skin felt tender – like getting a sunburn, only aloe vera didn’t really help – from all the waxing and ‘cleaning’ that had to be done. She felt iced like a cake with all the airbrushed, fake-tanning that had to be done due to all the marks that riddled her body out of her fighting habit. She felt vulnerable in the red dress that Dante – or one of his incompetent workers – had picked out: One) because it was incredibly short (and still miraculously managed to have slits down the sides) and was made of a fabric that would cut easily, and two) because it was breaking her ribs with all its padding and tightness. And, Good Grief, the shoes! It made Mariqah wonder why anyone in their right mind would wear such a diabolical instrument voluntarily. She felt like she was walking on needles! The only thing that she took comfort in was the white, furry scarf that she kept wrapped around her bare arms, fending off the slight chill in the den (but only by so much).

 

Mariqah nervously itched her arm.

“Stop doing that,” Edward muttered, “Not very ladylike.”

“Please,” said Mariqah curtly, “Like anyone’s looking at my arm.”

Edward looked smart (and much more comfortable) in his shirt and waistcoat – and a bright red bow-tie – his hair tied back neatly, his face looking cleaner, though no major makeover had been done on him. Some of the scars on his face and arms remained intact, just to be fashionably ‘manly’ enough.

 

“Aye, you got that right,” chuckled Edward, gesturing for her to sit, “Want anything?”

Mariqah sat (gratefully) and put one leg over the other, a hand under her chin, “Don’t you think I’ve wasted enough money torturing myself today?” she sighed and smiled, “Do you?”

Edward smiled cheekily, “Well, there’re a few–”

“One word, Edward,” said Mariqah warningly, “One word, and you’ll be testing whether I can still kill a man in my current fashion.”
His face blanched, “You were right. Jokes are not your game,” he hailed a waiter and took a cocktail from his tray, “So, this Sedrick fella – which one’s he?”

Mariqah scanned the room from the corner of her vision, “He’s not come yet. Dante told me he comes in at midnight, sharp.”

 

“Sounds like your kinda man.”

“What are you on about, Kenway?”

“He comes at midnight. He wins some. You take him off to a room. And then finish him.”

Mariqah stared at him for a long time, an annoyed expression on her face, “Edward, is further reducing my self-respect really worth a quick and easy kill?”
“Seems a fair barter to me.”

“Then you wear this dress and these shoes, mate,” she laughed, rubbing the back of her neck, “That’s not the way I play, Kenway. I’ve degraded myself enough. My scars are not something to be ashamed of. My body is not an object for commercial display. And, dammit, God didn’t give me feet so I could become lame in these…” she furrowed her brows and indicated her shoes, “these things! I’m a soldier. A trained killer. Not a cheap thug.”
 

“Well, that’s a nice and pretty thing to say, Mari,” said Edward, “but how else do you plan to do this?”

“In the same way I kill a man with a stick – improvise,” she circled her forefinger around the top of Edward’s cocktail glass, “Everything can be a weapon, if you know how to make it one. I think I might just challenge him to a game.”

Edward looked amused, “A game? D’you know the first thing about rolling dice?”

Mariqah shook her head, admitting, “I’m not much of a gambler. I lose more money than I make.”

“That’s everybody, Mari, unless you’re cheating.”

She looked stumped, “Then why the hell continue playing?”

Edward shrugged, “A way to pass the time?”

 

“A way to waste it,” said Mariqah dismissively, “Anyway, I was talking about a game in which I rarely lose.”

Edward paused, “You can’t really have a beauty contest with a man, Mari. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair.”

Mariqah slapped her forehead, “Do I really have to spell it out for you?”

“What? You’re going to openly fight with him, eh?”

“Why not?”

“Erm…” said Edward sarcastically, “be-cause that would attract all of that unnecessary attention you’ve been trying so bloomin’ hard to avoid.”

“Are you forgetting I’m on my home-turf?” she sat back, “You see these gamblers? – guess who’s giving them their loans.”

 

“You are mean.”

“What? All they have to do is keep their traps shut!”
“All arses ain’t that air-tight, lass.”
“Well, my presence’ll have to show some day. I’m not really afraid of that. What I’m afraid of is what everyone will do when they find out you’re alive and kicking in the twenty-first century.”

“Aw, so you’re all concerned for me, is it?” he held her hand, “Sorry, lass, I’ve little interest in concern without benefits.”
Mariqah shrugged, “Aye, alright. You should be all fine and dandy about my head-on killing approach then.”

Edward stared at her, “You are mean,” he repeated.

She shrugged, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Even if irrational.”

 

“Mean, mean, mean,” Edward muttered, “Why though? Why not just make things easy?”

“Because doing easy things,” said Mariqah, “don’t make you stick out from everyone else.”

“You sure?” Edward snorted, “Because I can see few easy things that are sticking well out about you– Argh!” Edward held his smarting shin.

“Hmm, maybe these shoes aren’t completely useless after all.”

Edward glared at her, “I’m about to curse your bleeding ears out, woman!”
Mariqah sighed, “I’m from the future, mate, my vocabulary is probably far more extensive.”

“Why you–!”

 

A hush fell over the den as the giant double-doors opened. A man, followed by an entourage of sixteen guards, walked in lavishly. Everyone stared at him – some in shock, others in awe – and waited. He smiled broadly, arms raised, pausing dramatically – before walking towards a table to play his first card-game of the night.

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