Assassin's Accomplice

Lady Rachel Whitely finds her entire world flipped upside down when her father is assassinated. Forced to flee, she seeks vengeance against the man she believed killed her father; the King. Rachel finds herself slipping into the castle walls, obscured as a maid, with a hidden agenda. To find the King and make him pay. Her plan seems to be working perfectly, until she is fed another shocking piece of information. Rachel, under the guidance of a former King's assassin, must travel across the land in order to save everyone from a violent ruler and a terrible fate. Will she make it in time, or will she be condemned to a life of servitude while watching her country fall apart right before her emerald eyes?

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6. Chapter Five

The glittering lake swirled continuously, the sunlight danced across it like a spotlight, whilst the burly man dumped his dirty tunic in it's once flawless surface. The mud faded into the cerulean water, leaving trails of faded blemishes along the hem. Carter shook the droplets from his brunet hair, water trailing down his face. He could hear laughing over the other side of the river, and rolled his eyes when he recognised the voices.

“Andrew!” Rachel giggled brightly.

Carter shook out his tunic, leaving it to dry on the shore, before forcing his way through the flow of the water. The surface of the river grew more distorted the further he moved forward. The picturesque view was tainted with the auburn teen struggling against the darker man's hold.

Andrew!” Rachel whined. She was constrained against Andrew's chest, her wearing just her underclothes.

Carter's mouth dropped open as Andrew grappled with her shoulders, trying to push her under the water. Rachel's dress floated past, with no evidence that there was even an attempt to clean it. Carter was speechless. His mouth was dry in disbelief, the words seemingly lodged in his throat. He croaked out an incredulous noise as Rachel's red curls finally disappeared beneath the waves.

“Carter!” Andrew exclaimed, removing his hands from Rachel's hair. She stayed under.

“What on earth is going on here?” He questioned slowly, an eyebrow steadily climbing his forehead.

The redhead burst forth from the surface of the water, laugh lines etched into her pale skin. “I win!” She smirked, satisfied. “I knew I would.”

Andrew's face had began to drain of colour.

Carter's eyebrow raised further.

Rachel frowned. “Andrew?” She questioned. Her emerald eyes followed his vision and she spun, uncomfortably close, to Carter. Her entire vision were his widened eyes, as blue as the river she stood in, staring dubiously back at her.

“Did he just try to drown you?” Carter seemed unable to raise his voice, dull shock resonated in his bones. Andrew spluttered excuses.

“No, no, no, no.” He streamed his words, without pausing for breath.

Rachel laughed. “No! No, Carter, Lord! You have so little faith in Andrew! We were simply fooling, he said I couldn't get out of his hold, he was wrong. He was not attempting  to murder me!”

“Oh.” There was so much emotion in the small word, relief, annoyance, laughter.

Then, another thought struck him like a lightning bolt. “Underclothes?” He questioned. A seemingly permanent stain of rose lit Rachel's cheeks like a candle.

Andrew rediscovered his voice suddenly, objections and denials a constant flow. “We were just washing our clothes.”

“Yes.” Carter said flatly, holding up Rachel's soaked dress; the jade sleeves stuck slick to his arm. “That much is obvious.”

Andrew crossed his arms over his bare chest. His eyes spelled murder, violent and bloody, flashing with the sins of a million madmen.

Carter backed up. “Make an attempt to clean, won't you?” He asked, exasperated. “We are leaving at noon, precisely.”

“Home?” Andrew asked, with trepidation, as though he had not the power to alter the decision.

“Home.” Carter affirmed, turned, and waded through the thick stream again.

Rachel and Andrew shared a breathless laugh, and the collapsed on the bank of the river.

The auburn haired girl sat by the water, eyes sharp and trained upon something further down the lake. Her green eyes gave way to her pale eyelids and she leaned back, against the soft grass. “Have you ever wanted something you couldn't have?” She whispered. She didn't expect him to hear, much less answer and the heavy sigh was unexpected.

He settled in, a wry smile across his face, “I have the future of an entire region on my shoulders, Rachel. There is many things I have wanted that have not been granted to me.”

Rachel turned to him curiously, “Like what?”

He propped himself up on one elbow, rolling to face her. “For example, were I to fall for a commoner,” his dark eyes flickered with emotion as he stared at her. “I could not... Marry them.

Rachel smiled, “Why not?”

Andrew frowned, his forehead crumpling. “It is a tradition. No matter how much affection I feel for someone, I cannot marry them unless they are a female with somewhat royal blood.”

Rachel wanted to scream in frustration, “Maybe you will find that person.” She responded.

Andrew shrugged, “Perhaps. I have not yet.

Rachel stood, “Class does not matter when it comes to love, does it?” She asked.

Andrew smiled tiredly, “I do not fall for someone because of their blood, Rachel. My life would be far easier if I did.”

Rachel nodded, “Of course. It's just, no matter how much you loved them?” She asked gently, nudging their shoulders together.

Andrew threw a wistful look over to the camp, “No matter.” He said firmly. “Let's get you dry, hm? You'll be going home soon, I'll be going back to the castle.”

Rachel's throat dried, and she curled her fists weakly, nervously. “Andrew, there is something I am yet to tell you.”

Andrew furrowed his brow, reaching forward to take her shaking fist, “What is it?” He questioned, gently.

“I-” she paused, stuttering around the words. Andrew's face grew more concerned with each attempt. Finally, her eyelashes fluttered against her cheeks, a sigh shaking her shoulders. She took his hand, leading him to the camp. “There's something I wish to tell you.” She spoke loudly, clearly.

Movement in the clearing stopped. 

“I,” she took a heavy breath, and restarted, “I am not who you think I am. I am Rachel, but, I,” She scowled, frowning at her own words. “My father, I mean, he was killed. I know who did it, but, I can't.” She choked off what could have been a sob. “The prince, he sent assassins, I think.” She took a shaky breath, “The prince killed him.” She finally spat out.

The air was thick with tension, only broken when Andrew scoffed. “Do not be ridiculous! Are you trying to get us murdered for treason? What is the word of a commoner against that of a prince?” His words were bitter, harsh and cold.

Rachel stepped back as though she had been slapped. “How dare you?” She quietly stormed. “My father, I daresay you would have known him. Yes, you, Andrew, you pompous twit!” Her face contorted in rage.

“Me?” Andrew asked, skeptically. “What, did he clean my shoes?”

“He saved your life.” Rachel murmured. Then, clearer, “I never told you my name. I am Rachel Whitely, daughter of Duke Whitely of the Blackcoast Region.”

Andrew's face paled.

“Mean something now?” She hissed.

Suddenly, inexplicably, Carter dropped to his knee, his head bowed in respect. “Lady Rachel.” He muttered.

“Stand up, you fool.” Rachel snapped, bright red, pulling him to his feet. “I am still Rachel, I am still the same person.”

Andrew tripped over his own feet in an attempt to reach out to her. “Rachel, I am so sorry!” He cried.

She stared at him cooly, “Would you be saying the same thing if I was a ‘Just a commoner’?”

Andrew startled, “Rachel, you don't understand, you-”

I do not want to hear it.” She snarled coldly, turning away from him.

 

Grace flipped her dark curls over her shoulder, her eyes trained sharply on the count. “I assure you, sir, I do not jest.”

The count's mouth curled distastefully. “You expect me to believe you?”

Grace shifted, pulling her shoulders backwards. “Have you heard from the other regions of late? Were you not supposed to have a gathering soon, to discuss the king's passing?”

The count shifted, “Yes, but the events you speak of must have happened at least a month ago, how could you be the only person to leave?” He asked dubiously.

Grace looked up at him through her dark lashes, the angle made shadows sharpen her jawline and darken her eyes. “I was the only one who tried.”

 

Andrew stared at the flickering fire, barely reacting when Carter sunk down next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“She's right, you know.” He told him, “You are an idiot.”

Andrew sighed heavily, “I believe her exact words were actually ‘pompous twit’.”

Carter stifled a laugh, “Well, she is certainly not intimated by you. You should apologise, properly. Your pride is not more important than this, Andrew. You must know that.”

Andrew nodded, ”We are on our way back home, I'll tell her when we get there.”

“No.” Carter said forcefully, “You will apologise now. She deserves that from you, at least.”

Andrew nodded, his throat dry. He struggled upwards, moving towards the stubborn redhead, who turned her face away from him. “Rachel,” he whispered, carefully.

The knights suddenly burst into loud, conscious chatter, their way of giving them privacy.

Rachel shook her head fiercely, turning to face him with hot, angry tears clinging to her rounded cheeks. “No.” she snapped, “No, you don't just get to come in here and apologise and expect it to be all fine!” Tears streaked transparent trails connecting her freckles.

Andrew reached out towards her, curling her into his arms. “I hate you.” she stormed, hitting his chest, “I hate you, I hate you so much.” Her fists uncurled, and she pressed her open palms to his chest. “I hate you,” she whispered, feebly, with no anger. She burrowed her head in the crook of his neck and repeated the sentiment.

Andrew held her tightly and stroked her hair, whispering promises into the mess of curls. “I'm going to tell my father, we're going to stop him, I promise.” 

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