"Who-who hasn't?" she replied cursing herself under her breath for her initial stutter.
"So you do know?" he inquired asked in a calm voice. His left brow raised curiously.
"Everybody knows about the White Blade who kills bad guys," she said in a calm voice, turning her head away from his hand. She shifted her small frame away from him stylishly in order to avoid his gaze.
"The Bad people? What makes you think they are? All we know is that she kills people," He asked mockingly. His torso drew closer as he spoke in spite of Rayna efforts to move away.
"Well, that's what everyone says," she shrugged instinctively.
"And you believe them?" he asked. Rayna merely kept quiet, it was obvious he was fishing for something and she was not about to let him bait her.
"Well, I believe she does too..." he said slamming his palm on the table drawing Rayna's attention. He lifted his finger pointing at the wall full of posters on the left side of the room, particularly at the blank poster with the highest price, "Look at that wanted poster, it has no picture not even a sketch of how she looks like, why do you think people call her the name White Blade," he said with an inquisitive smile on his face. When she didn't reply he simply waited.
"I have no idea," she finally said, annoyed.
"Well while no one has seen this person in action. There was a story from a maid from a few towns back that claimed while she didn't see the person she definitely saw something white standing in front of the corpse of the mansion owner when she peeped in," he explained facetiously. Rayna gripped the edge of her cloak tightly as she listened.
"Are trying to find this person?" the old man asked, suddenly alerting Rayna of his presence. She had forgotten he had been there the entire time.
A clear contrast to a rough appearance he was portraying. Though he looked young and had a smugness about him, there was a certain demeanor of maturity about him. "Yes, you could say that," he replied with a certain smugness to his tone. Rayna glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, weighing what she saw. His long red hair was silky and smooth, reaching all the way down his back, and his firm, slender figure complemented his tall height. He looked young and cocky, but there was also an underlying hint of maturity to him.
There was also this air of dominance around him mixed with a dangerous smell of blood and death. If a person weren't akin to sensing these things they would think he was just some lazy vagabond with no aim in life.
"What are you, a bounty hunter?" Rayna questioned being careful to look oblivious. The two men behind the blonde laughed but immediately corrected themselves to their original pose when the Redhead shot them a deadly glare.
"Nope," he replied sharply. He leaned in closer to Rayna, so much so that his face was barely inches from hers. "But I am someone who knows quite a lot about the White Blade," he said as he got off the chair and began walking towards the door.
"...Like how I know it's a female, how she is definitely an assassin, just looking at her kills and it's obvious. And how she has a white maybe silver feature on her body. She probably belongs to the famous assassin group everyone calls The Family. Though I wonder what she's doing in out in the open," he said finally stopping in the middle of the room, still holding that smug look on his face.
At that point, Rayna was already prepared for an attack whenever it might be. Whoever these people were either they knew who she was or they were trying desperately to bait her. Either way, they were dangerous.
"Old man, leave now," she ordered the master silently with a brief stare and he quietly disappeared from sight, the red continued to speak.
"But I had no luck in finding this person. I had followed her from town to town, from kill to kill yet there wasn't even a clue until... today that is..." He said, pulling out a pistol from his left thigh and taking a shot at Rayna all in one fast movement. She swiftly dodged it while she threw two small daggers she had taken from her bag in the direction the two men standing beside her. Hitting one on the shoulder and the other in the eye.
She threw the third one in the direction of the redhead just as she reached the floor. The second shot was fired almost at the same time but missed her by inches- no doubt it was caused by her last throw- the cut on his arm was evidence. She ran quickly sliding behind the only table she saw flipped to the side on the farther side of the bar.
By now, almost all the customers had deserted the place and the city guards will be on their way here because of the gunshots. The man stabbed in the shoulder had joined the redhead while she was hiding, now there were two blocking the entrance. Rayna did not want to turn the old man's bar into a shooting range as a parting gift so she had to think of a way to end this fight now.
"You know I would never have guessed that the legendary White Blade was a little kid like you?" He teased. "I felt something odd from you the minute I stepped in but when I saw that cold-blooded look in your eyes and that silver hair, I was almost convinced,"
"How did you figure it out then?" she asked, breathing heavily.
"Well, to be honest, you helped in that regard. No one else would have thought that the White blade was a woman even those that I had asked. It was a gamble but when I said 'she' to you, you weren't even bothered so it was either you knew her or you were her..." he said taking another shot at the table Rayna was hiding, blowing off a huge chunk off the edge. At the same time, she was saying silent curses to herself for making such a blunder.
"Seems like it's the latter, though," Rayna could hear his footsteps getting closer to every word, time was running out. She dipped her hand into her bag searching for something useful and found a tiny purple glass bottle with the word FOG written on it. She quickly removed her cloak, holding it in one hand and the bottle in the other.
When the redhead was at a close distance, she flipped forward kicking the table and sending it towards him. It crippled his attention for a moment which she used to smash the bottle on the floor and instantly a thick purple fog filled the room. With the room in the darkness, she tossed her cloak towards the doorway and ran the opposite. Shots were fired at the cloak creating a diversion for her to escape through the broken window on the left side.
"After Her!" a voice yelled from inside the bar. Heavy footsteps were coming from afar off. It was the city guards, a dozen of them, all sprinting towards the bar.
The moment the redhead exited the bar, Rayna started running as fast as she could leaving the street behind before any of them could act. A loud blue flare was shot into the air from the bar shortly after she left. Rayna was sure it was the signal for the start of the chase. The central district town was one of the biggest districts with the highest number of people. It was built on an uphill in the middle of the other districts surrounded by a giant iron wall.
Since it was the home to some of the high officials and governors, as well as, it being central station for the only provisional train that connects its iron wall to select districts and the province's great border wall. There are always guards at every corner. It was going to be a long run from there to the train gate and she was on foot. If nothing was done they would find her and soon.
"Mouse! Come in damn it!" she yelled to herself. Pressing her hand on the gem in her neck.
"What? What's all the fuss about," Mouse asked lazily,
"I was made," she replayed quickly.
"How? When? How is that-" he began,
"Never mind how, plot me a pathway now!" she interrupted, entering another street. The original path they had plotted to the train station would take too long, she needed a shortcut. Rayna knew she was in a tight situation. The main street leading to the train gate was full of armed guards, she had to find another way out and the only person she could depend on was Mouse. His excellent ability to memorize any terrain and calculate the perfect plans for her missions had made her both willingly and unwillingly dependent on him.
"Okay, where are you now?"
"Stuck on Burg Street near the main entrance road," she hissed in a quick breath. She halted her sprint, resting her back against the wall to catch her breath. She hid behind a large signpost off the side of the road, her eyes glued to the guards doing their daily march.
"Okay good. You're at good a place," he said, pausing for a minute before continuing. Possibly working his brain for another way out. "Head east on Burg, away from the entrance road then take a left, there should be a gate leading to a street with old rusted buildings. There should be an old tunnel at the end, it will lead you to the sewage dump at the edge of town, it should be a straight way from there," he explained.
Rayna ran as he instructed, entering the street he described. It was completely different the previous streets before it. The buildings were old and rugged, the paint faded and small cracks were visible on the walls. The gate at the entrance itself was not well kept, the iron pillars had rusted from the ground up, leaving behind an unpleasant sight.
It was clear that the pillar gates were to identify all who lived here and also to warn all the other upper-class men away. The streets were filled with people on less presentable clothing, they were most likely the middle working class. The dark stains on their clothes looked like stains from iron dust. They must have been exposed to it often for it to be on their skin as well.
Rayna felt their eyes on her as she moved through the street. They all stared but never spoke or called out to her, only stealing nervous glances at her. She felt curious about them, she wanted to know why they were so different from everyone else in the central district but she knew she did not have time to spare for curiosity. It didn't take long for her to find the tunnel entrance at the far end of the street.
It was almost unnoticeable buried under large bricks and rocks. There was a gap small in between two boulders in front of the cave, it looked like a blasted hole. Beyond it was pitch black but Rayna had no problem navigating in the dark from the training her received when she was little. Just she was approaching it, the tunnel suddenly exploded crumbling the walls of the entrance. Rayna turned behind her to see the redhead from the bar and six others on horses approaching. Three of them wore the uniform of the city guards including the one who fired the shot. Now he had the power of the military here?
"You have got to be kidding me..." she hissed running into the nearest house. She hastily made her way through the house, running through room by room and out the back door into a small alleyway between two houses. "Mouse we have a problem," she breathed out, placing her finger on the gem in her neck as she continued down the dark alley passing a couple of houses.
"The Tunnel got blown..." She said exiting the alley and crouching at the back of a straw carriage, just before the entrance.
"Wow, they move quick, who are they?"
"I have no idea but they are definitely not from the Golemn province that's for sure, their tactics are way more thorough," she said finally taking a breather. Her muscles were all tense from the constant adrenaline and it needed rest. But something told her it would not be for long.
"Where are you now?"
She looked around trying to figure where she was. She was never good with memorizing directions and map that was why Mouse was always with her. They couldn't use simple escape routes and the more time they wasted there the harder it was going to be, for the both of them. But Mouse had a plan.
"Okay since you can't use the train leading directly to the province border gate and the guards will be all over the place, we have to abandon that plan and go with the route they least think of-,"
"You want me to go through the other districts, right?" She finished cutting him off mid-sentence.
"Exactly," he snickered, "It would be easier to slip through the districts using the secret routes the old man told us about than to go directly to the border," Rayna went silent for a minute thinking about the best answer. Mouse's bizarre plans usually tend to be the better option in a tight situation and, this time, was one of them. Rayna suggested that the eastern district would be the right choice. It was the closet and would be the fastest way out of the province since time was of the essence.
"No, you are going to have to go through the northern distinct, it's a little longer but it is the best way out," he countered.
Rayna wasn't too keen on that idea. The plan mouse was suggesting would mean that they had to go back and work their way through the towns while avoiding the authorities. It would take at least three days to get to the province gate. It would be a very tedious trip and Rayna wasn't looking forward to that.
"We have no choice Rayna, we can't afford to be caught or trapped. We can't draw more attention to ourselves than it already is, because of the current elections after a few days the whole White blade business would die out," he paused with a sigh then continued,
"I know you're not looking forward to it neither am I but this is the best way," Rayna was upset, of course, the idea of it meant she had to be on constant alert but she also saw the truth in it and there was no argument there. Since she had broken the first principle of an assassin: NEVER BE SEEN. Mouse said it was the best way, she had to agree.
"Fine then... just hurry up an-," mid-sentence there was an explosion in the building to her left. She was hiding at the left side of the cart parked by the corner of the building after the one that just exploded. The only thing she could think of is how they found her so easily again.
Thanks for reading.
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