Aurelia was frustrated; Castel wouldn't tell her anything about where she was headed and what she would be doing. The endless corridors stretched on forever, so far so that she had stopped even bothering to remember. If she got stuck here, she could get out again without knowing the route. After all, she was a trained assassin.
A door loomed ahead, the arch lit by spiked braziers. Castel walked straight into the door, shoving it open. He strolled in, but made sure he blocked her from entering. She pursed her lips, narrowing her eyes so that the top and bottom eyelashes almost met. Castel didn't move for at least a minute, until he finally gave in and let her come in too.
"What was the point of that?" Aurelia asked, frustrated.
Castel turned to her: "Does there have to be a point?" She groaned.
"You'll have the point of my sword in you if you don't stop playing around with me!" He said nothing, just stared at her blankly, until, finally, he spoke:
"Training time." Aurelia looked confused.
"I've already had my training."
"Doesn't mean you don't need more."
"Actually, it does." Castel spun around on his heel and sighed.
"Just do as I say; do you want this job or not?!" His sudden change in tone made Aurelia feel highly immature. She stood up taller and nodded.
"Yes, I'll do as you say." He smiled, though it was more like a facial twitch.
"Sit" He ordered. She sat.
"Stand" She stood.
"Walk to me." She rolled her eyes:
"Ugh, what is this?!" Castel huffed impatiently.
"Aurelia, just walk to me." Sighing, she purposely took forever to get to him and when she arrived, she drew her dagger and waved it in front of his face, before saying:
It was a statement rather than a question. Castel smiled, his teeth curved at the ends like fangs:"Kill me."
Aurelia didn't blink, but inside she cursed herself. Of course! She would have to prove that she could kill at any moment. If only she'd been prepared...she could have staged a brilliant murder for him...but no, a stabbing would have to do. He wouldn't really want her to kill him and she knew she wouldn't, but she would get pretty close...at least close enough so that it hurt. She felt her dagger in the inside pocket of her cloak; her cloaks always had pockets. Fishing it out, Aurelia kept her hand under the material so as not to show the weapon.
"Castel, really?" She said, faking reluctance. At least she could attempt a surprise attack. He looked bemused.
"Yes, really. Scared are we, Xanth?" Aurelia pretended to be embarrassed, stepping further away from him.
"I just...I just didn't really think I'd have to kill you...now..." Castel's face twisted into something between bemused and amused.
"What are you on about? You're a trained assassin, for Pete's sake!" Aurelia felt angry; she was letting herself down with this, but she couldn't think of anything to do.
"I guess I just...I've never had to kill someone who knows I'm going to kill them...it feels wrong..." He snorted.
"Please, just get on with it!" And finally, Aurelia figured out a plan.
"No, I can't...I just can't do it...I'm sorry!" And she dashed out of the room, pretending to flee, whilst instead, she was hiding just behind the door. Then, retrieving some small rocks from her pockets, she threw them down the corridor, further each time: 'footsteps'. She heard Castel muttering to himself about strange occurrences and unfortunate apprentices. It was done; he believed her. Although he was suspicious. She needed to be extremely cautious in carrying out the next stages of her plan.
Aurelia listened in against the door and smiled at the sounds of Castel approaching. The door shook as he opened it forcefully and her moment came. As soon as he was through the door frame, she pounced. Her hands bound him and her dagger was held tight in her teeth, just tickling his throat. His eyes were first wide with surprise, but soon were filled with annoyance. Smirking, Aurelia let him go.
"Well, you certainly proved yourself." He wiped off the plaster dust from his black trousers and jacket.
"Just a little trick I picked up." Castel pulled a disgusted face.
"Oh, do please refrain from modesty. It doesn't do you any good. Nor does showing off. If I were you-"
"Which you're not" Aurelia reminded him. He grimaced and continued:
"If I were you, I would keep your mouth shut wherever possible."
"Thanks. I'll keep it in mind wherever possible. Anyway, do I get a job or not?" She said, switching to her usual bluntly demanding tone.
"That depends." She raised an eyebrow.
"On who you're prepared to kill." She snorted.
"I wouldn't care if I was in love with my victim; I would still kill them without a trace of guilt! Killing is my life. Unfortunately for those I kill, it's their death." Castel smiled.
"I'm glad to hear that. Now go. Room 87. Apprentice Caro will give you the details."
"And the pay?" He thought for a moment.
"One million." It was Aurelia's turn to smile.
Aurelia, after a few minutes of traipsing through narrow corridors, finally arrived at Room 87. The door opened before she could push it and in front of her stood a tall, slender woman with sapphire eyes and rose pink lips.
"Apprentice Caro, I presume?" Aurelia asked.
"Indeed. Enter." Caro spun on her heel and went into the room in such a fashion that she appeared to be a miniature Castel. Aurelia followed her, glancing quickly around at the bare furnishings. But she wasn't here to inspect the place; she wanted a job:
"You have a mission for me...?" Caro nodded.
"Boy. Seventeen. Strandsford Town. Son of the Mayor. The Mayor wronged our client in the past. He's paying a million. Here's the file. The client wants the boy dead; no messing about, trainee." Aurelia took the file, impressed by Caro's composure, but slightly offended by the use of the word 'trainee'.
That was when she saw the name on the file properly: Jason Wills.
She was worried; never before had she been reluctant about any mission, any task. But, then again, she'd never had to kill someone like Jason before...
Someone she loved.