Decades have gone by and the people of Redusia have lived their lives in solidarity. Most ignorant of the world outside their borders while some use it for their gain. The Redusia of old was no more. Here in the province of Iron, a lone assassin passes through.
"EXTRA EXTRA! Read all about it. The White Blade strikes again, the dirty commissioner Albert Swine found dead in his home two nights ago! The mayor calls this murder crime while the people of the south district call this divine judgment. What do you say! EXTRA EXTRA..." announced the little sales boy of the daily paper, shouting on top of his voice while balancing himself on a stack of small boxes in the middle of the central square. It was a cloudy day and the sun was seldom seen all day but that did not stop the people here. The boy's voice however loud was just one of many echoed voices of merchants in the midst of the dense horde of people all going about their business here.
"Who is this White Blade anyway?" asked a man in a sharp tailored black coat at the left end of the small crowd that surrounded the newspaper stand.
"Dunno and don't care as long he keeps doing what he's doing," replied a middle-aged woman beside him. "I wonder if he'll kill my landlord, he's a bloody thief!" she added pushing her way through the crowd.
"But it's people's lives are what we are talking about here, it's still murder, are you people mad supporting this savagery?!" the man in coat said angered.
"I'm sure you one of those from rich districts, those pompous pricks, that's why you are blabbing this nonsense," snorted an older man in an old patched up coat behind him. "Try living in places where kids and the elderly die like flies because the government can't provide decent air purifiers or water pumps and places where the best food you find may be rotten..." he paused, showing a pained expression then turned to the other man. who had been working with the underground mobs
"Try surviving there, but I doubt you can even survive ten minutes before you're killed and maybe...eaten," he said with a wicked smirk as he left. The other man in the sharp tailored black coat surely took offense but couldn't respond, instead walked away from the crowd with his head faced to the ground. Just a short distance after he bumped hard into a young lady in a long black hooded cloak and almost stumbling to the floor.
"Watch where you're bloody going you blasted brat!" he yelled, regaining his composure. He recognized her clothing from the crowd that had surrounded the newsstand. She was the only one hooded amongst them.
"I'm sorry but you were the one who bumped into me," she said in small innocent voice.
"What did you say?!" he yelled, raising his hand at the young girl. The whispers from the surrounding crowd snapped him back from his enraged trance, and he realized that all their eyes were on him. Their eyes filled with disgust and disappointment all zoomed in on him.
In that moment, the young lady raised her head, causing their eyes meeting for a split second. The elder man suddenly began to tremble furiously. His face colored with so much horror and fright.
He stumbled to the floor, cowering in what looked like a begging pose. The young lady simply walked past him in silence. For a brief moment, a small smirk spread on the side of her lips. The crowd just stared in silence as she entered into the busy street.
"You shouldn't bully the weak, Rayna..." said a cheeky voice from the round green and black gem embedded in her neck.
"Shut it Mouse," she ordered, in a sharp menacing voice. "Where is he?"
"Target is about 40 meters ahead in ash green suit, he was surrounded by four bodyguards, two in front and two at the back. They look big and fully armed," as Rayna stepped into the street her eyes fell on a slender middle-aged man, dressed in an expensive ash green suit covered by what looked like a small canopy. Surrounded by four men all physically built, gladly displaying their array of weapons, he arrogantly strolled through the street with a hand raised to the citizens. With a desperate and empty smile plastered on his face, it was obvious even from far that he was out of place.
"Not a problem...run down?" she said, in an icy analytical tone. The voice in the gem just simply chuckled at her response.
"Atta' girl, our only window of opportunity is when he steps between the barber shop and the circus stand that will be passing through and for a brief moment the guards will be distracted by the crackers that will go off and the passing children rushing to see the show, it's a small window that lasts only a few seconds. You'll have to strike then."
"Piece of cake," Rayna responded, with a short-lived chuckle.
"Look at him, gloating like the fat bastard he is, he's not even aware that his time's up-,"
"Shut it, mouse," Rayna responded yet again in that dark calm monotone, it was clear that whatever or whoever was talking to her meant little to no importance. There was only one thing on her mind at that moment. Her breathing slowly lessened as her heartbeat became slow and fluid. Her hands straightened, muscles tightening, poised for attack. Her mind cleared of all distractions from the outside, only fierce concentration -like that a predator slowly approaching its prey- remained.
With every step she took, her very existence was being erased like she was never there. The children passing would feel nothing, the adults laughing would see nothing. Like a silent spirit, she drew closer to her prey just waiting for the right moment to strike. Even in the swarm of people moving to and fro, no one remotely noticed the young lady moving with quickened steps as she made no sound. All that remained was the sound of the wind as it ran its usual fierce course and the smell of iron.
By the time she was about five meters away from her target, this was the crucial time. At any moment, the guards would be drawn to her as she approached her target and this plan would fail. Surely enough one guard had begun to react to her approach, he was just seconds away from facing her direction when there was a loud blast and the several popping sounds that followed coming from the passing circus stand just as mouse said there would be. The guards quickly turned their attention to the source of blast thus momentarily being distracted from the predator right in front of them.
With a swift sidestep, Rayna slipped past the front guard on the left and with another quick step she was in their middle directly front of her target. The shock from the sudden appearance of the young lady caused him to trip on his pointed shoe, falling towards her. This was aided by her calculated foot placed in his pathway. With only a few seconds remaining, she swiftly caught him guiding his body to the hidden blade under her sleeve, meeting his heart in one sharp movement. She immediately repeated her first motion, slipping through the two guards at the back.
Under exactly the eleven seconds window, she had executed her prey and escaped without getting noticed. The commotion of the aftermath started with her target sudden collapse just when she was at a safe distance. With the work done she blended into the crowd once more and simply made her way to the neighboring street.
"A job well done, as expected from the White Blade," said Mouse.
"You know how much I hate that name," said Rayna, in a small angry pout.
"Wow, the legendary White Blade pouts, amazing!" mouse yelled in unbelief.
"You want me to shut you up permanently?" she hissed, her dangerously low.
"Forgive me oh great one, I still have a lot to live for," he teased though he sounded playful he knew better than to anger the one person so could kill him in a blink of an eye.
"With the job done when can you collect payment?" she asked, quickly changing the topic.
"Given that it probably took the guy like three seconds to die from your poison and plus all that crowd, news will spread fast. By nightfall the payment should be dropped at the appointed place," Mouse explained. As Rayna approached a dark alley, a small boy with noticeably big goggles on his head emerged out the darkness walked alongside her, matching her walking rhythm.
"Good, I'll drop by the old man's place to collect my stuff before we leave, we have overstayed our welcome in this town time to move on," she said, not even sparing a glance at the boy beside her.
"I don't know why you even bother-" Mouse was cut off by the cold glare Rayna shot at him. He immediately fell silent the moment their eyes met.
"Ay sir!" the boy responded, slipping back into the darkness of another alley.
Rayna slowly made her way to an old bar quite a distance from where the square. The bar was one of the oldest running in the city. The years had taken its toll on the structure, it's half broken roof, cracked steps and worn out wooden walls was evidence of this. The smell of old dry wood and strong ale was all that surround the bar.
Hooked on the canopy below the broken roof was, the only thing intact, the sign of the bar, "Old faithful". It may have looked abandoned but it was still one of the most visited bars in the central district. With a small inn above it. It was a home for many middle and working class people. Even with a sign 'Enter at Your Own Risk' clearly posted on the front wall people still flocked there daily.
Rayna silently entered the busy bar quietly without alerting others to her presence, making her way the far end of the counter. She got seated before the master took notice of her.
"Ah, welcome young one didn't see you enter as usual," the old man said flashing a warm smile at the girl while he cleaned a bar glass.
"What can I get you?"
"The usual," she said with her low cold monotonous voice.
"As always," he said as he began mixing liquids together in a slow but precise movement, evidence of years of experience. He started with a transparent liquid at the bottom of the tall glass cup then finished it up with a white creamy liquid topping it with one small slice of berry fruit.
"One aqua gelled milkshake for your enjoyment," he said placing the drink in front of the young lady.
"Thanks," she mouthed eyeing only the shake. She took one big gulp of the shake emptying half of the glass, "Delicious as always, master," she said with almost cheerful expression in her eyes.
"Well since you're the only one who orders this at a bar, has to be its best right?" She just let out a faint chuckle at the sight of the old man's wink. He was one of the very few people who could force a smile out of her cold lips.
"You're one strange kid," he said staring in wonder at the girl who smiled so innocently but at the same time felt so menacing. Considering the first time they met, she had almost put a knife into him.
"Your things are in the usual place," he said after a brief nod from her end. Rayna got up and walked to the back door leading to the rooms upstairs. Though the rooms were for rent, only a few were given permission by the master and Rayna was one of them. She took her bag from the chair, making sure to glance around first before returning back down.
"I'm guessing you're leaving," he said softly as he watched her take her seat. She could only nod to reply. "With this much noise you made I thought so...well you can drop in anytime you come back," he said. Rayna shook her head and gave him an apologetic glance. He knew there wasn't going to be a next time. Rayna would never visit the same place twice, it was too dangerous.
"So I guess this is goodbye then, huh," the old man said, his face weaved into a sad frown. His face really showed his fondness the little girl. She had worked with the old man before, a long time ago when she was still training. He was one of the few loyal informants for her mother. After the initial rough introduction, they had he still offered her a place to stay when he didn't have to. Rayna felt greatly indebted for that.
"It will be sad to see you go". Rayna's reply was cut short when the doors of the bar flew open and three men walked in. the clothes they wore were unfamiliar, certainly not from this part of the province. While the two men at the back were dressed in old worn-out clothes, Rayna could tell they were soldiers. The one in front was definitely someone higher despite his tattered clothes. Somehow he felt like the most dangerous out of all of them.
Rayna re-positioned herself to the left and covered her head with her hood. She gently placed her bag on her lap. As they approached the counter she focused solely on erasing her presence, with any luck she may go unnoticed. The red-headed young man at the front took a seat, one seat after her while the other two stood behind him. He ordered a drink and sat quietly for a while. When she was sure the coast was clear, she slowly began to get off the chair.
"Where are you going, young lady? You haven't finished your drink, and it would be rude to the master here," said the man said, in a casual unhinged voice almost like he knew she was there along. Rayna froze immediately, she was so sure no one noticed her, how did he?
"Toilet," she said using all the innocence she could muster in her voice. All of sudden, a hand grabbed her hood and pulled it down in one swift movement. She instinctively turned her head backward making their eyes meet. She stared straight into his deep emerald eyes for a brief moment but it felt like an eternity. She finally managed to pull her face away and walk quickly to the ladies toilet.
Her heart was racing rapidly. The minute he pulled down her hood, she was caught off guard, her blood lust leaked it out though only for a second but if what she saw in his eyes was correct he may have caught it in that second. She spent a better part of ten minutes calming herself down and getting back into composure. She walked out soon after, taking her seat beside the Red-head, her expression blank. For two minutes the both of them did not speak a word until he broke the silence.
"Aren't you a little too young for this kind of place, young lady," he said finally.
"What makes you think I'm too young? And I don't remember there ever being an age limit," she said in a sharp small voice.
"Haha, what feisty young Lady, sorry for startling you earlier," he said in loud voice drawing closer.
"I'm fine don't worry," she said while desperately trying to hide her face without being noticed. The more he came closer the harder it was.
"Since you look like a smart kid let me ask you something," he said in a loud whisper. He gently used his hand to guide her face back to his, "Have you heard of the White Blade?"
Thanks for reading.
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