The wings of the Sephur blew brilliantly as it cut through the sky. The tall gates of the central district were just distant images in a matter of minutes. The force at which it flew was tremendous but at the same time careful and delicate almost as if it were taking into account Rayna who rode on top of it. She ran her fingers through its fur cautiously, her skin meeting the soft and gentle fur with each stroke. Little shots of electricity ran through her fingers, just enough to cause a slight sensation on her skin. It felt inviting almost thrilling, the feeling that shot through her. Like an invisible link was being formed between her and the Sephur.
After putting enough distance between them and the wall the Sephur began to descend. Almost like it could read her mind, it began to approach a small forest grove where a small hint of green smoke that faded as soon as it got a little high above the trees could be found. That was the signal mouse gave to find his location. Rayna stared at the beast astounded as approached it gently and precisely like it knew who it was to meet and exactly which point to without Rayna saying a word. Its huge wings changed its direction flapping subtly backwards as it touched the ground.
Rayna rose her head as soon she heard a scream ahead of her. Her eyes fell on a small figure who stood a few steps away from the Sephur, no doubt it was Mouse. His face dyed in horror, he stood frozen for the better part of a minute before Rayna finally spoke up.
"Never thought I'd see the day the ever crafty Mouse be scared shit less," She teased, getting off the horse's back. She patted its side gently in gratitude, it released a high pitched whistle in response.
"Wha-what is that thing?!" He stammered, very alarmed. His right gripped his slingshot tight while his other held a poisonous dart capable of killing an elephant in a matter of minutes. Even in his terror, his body was ready to retaliate against any sudden movement, he had been trained to do so ever since he was young. His body tense from the outpour of adrenaline coursing through his veins, his eyes focused only on the figure of the majestic beast.
"No need to be all tense, it won't hurt you," Rayna spoke like she knew it would never harm him, given the size of the beast it could have easily killed Mouse if it wanted to even if he was fully prepared. She had no reason to but she trusted this animal, trust wasn't something she gave out very easily. The feeling that came from the touch of its fur to the undeniable pressure that came from its eyes, all felt comforting even in this danger.
"It's a Sephur," She said finally said in front of it, her hands caressing fur on the sides of its face.
"A what?" Mouse asked in disbelief,
"You heard right, a Sephur,"
"You mean Sephur, as in those beasts from the storybooks and fairytales?" He questioned loudly. His body had slowly started to relax, his breathing regained its normal pace. His fingers still gripped the slingshot tightly only just not for dear life this time.
"Does this look like fairy tales to you?" Rayna asked, stepping aside while her hand was still placed on it, allowing a clear view for Mouse to take in the Beast's beauty. His eyes stared in awe but his body moved in doubt, he couldn't deny what was before him but he also couldn't understand it either.
"Where did you get it?" Mouse said as he began walking cautiously towards the beast pausing every now and again in order to check for hostility.
"It turns out that the whistle that the old man gave us actually works and it calls Sephurs," She replied patting her hand gently against the eagle's feathered fur. She could feel it rest gently into her hands, rather enjoying the gesture. Mouse couldn't believe what he heard, everyone knew Sephur were a thing of myths and stories and even if they did exist once, they were extinct. No one would believe him even if he told them, they'd probably thought he was mad or something.
As he gazed on the beast, he eyes memorized everything there was about it. It's piercing and mesmerizing golden eyes, its smooth white fur that covered half of its head while the rest were covered with long strands of brown hair that moved elegantly with the wind. It's strong and sturdy legs that looked like it could end a man's life with one hit which supported the huge body that was well above the size of a normal horse. The huge wings folded on its side almost like twice its size, the rays of colour the sun illuminated was breathtaking. In his admiration Mouse wanted to touch it, its allure was too tempting but just as he was about to approach it he was stopped by Rayna.
"Stop don't touch it," Rayna ordered, her voice stern and deadly. Her eyes narrowed as she watched the flicker in the beast's eye, "Get any closer and it will kill you," She couldn't explain how but she knew that this animal would attack anyone other than her that got close to it and that its beauty was the weapon it used. Mouse jumped back immediately escaping death by a hair. There was a brief silence while Mouse took the time to regain himself.
"What do we with it? We can't exactly hide with this thing around," he murmured out.
"Don't worry about that it's about time for it to leave," Again she didn't know how she knew but she guessed it was something the bearer of the whistle knew. And sure enough the Sephur began to spread it wings high, preparing itself for flight. It looked Rayna in the eye one last time and took a bow, Rayna did the same. No words were needed but just that solemn act of gratitude and respect. It turned its back to her, bending its head and front leg forward slightly as it gathered energy to lift itself in one wave. With a mighty gush of wind its wings began their dance again as it flew into the sky vanishing a blink of an eye. The both of them silently watched it disappear into the sky.
"Well...that was interestin-woah!" Mouse yelled the minute his eyes fell on Rayna bleeding arm, "Rayna you're bleeding!" Rayna looked over unfazed at the bleeding arm, she had even forgotten she was injured before.
"Sit we need to get that fixed," Mouse said ushering her to a nearby rock where he could treat her arm. Her mind slowly began to register the pain as it spread through her body. Maybe it was an effect of the whistle that she didn't feel any pain at all from the broken arm up until now. The pain heightened rapidly in a matter of seconds and groans were found escaping her lips.
"What happened back there?" Mouse asked as he began to assess the wound.
"After you blew the Patriarch building I was making my way to the gate and I would have gotten there if it wasn't for some stupid child that ran into the street causing the horse to spook and, in turn, falling on my arm-," she was cut short by a wave of pain when Mouse started to apply ointment to the open wound, "I had to pull my arm out and didn't have time to be gentle,"
"What of the child?"
"Dunno, disappeared as soon as I fell," she replied wincing in pain. Mouse's hands paused, his eyes wondered for a moment then he continued working the arm. "What?" She questioned.
"Who was the guy chasing you anyway?"
"Some military guy from Fayra,"
"Fayra?" Mouse paused again this looking Rayna in the face in shock.
"Would you stop pausing like that," she spat in response, visible anger in her words. Mouse apologized and resumed his work on her arm. "It seems like the Fayran army wants to recruit me for the victor day trials,"
"Victor day? Isn't that supposed to be for the celebration for the three founders and what would they want from an assassin?"
"To enlist the strength of a killer of men," she said sarcastically, a bitter laugh slipped out of her lips on the midst of the groans. Those words still stung as little as it was. Mouse had finished applying the ointment, stopping the blood but there was still the break that needed to be corrected.
"Ok Rayna this might hurt a little," he said as he prepped the arm to be relocated back. He shifted his position to cleanly connect it in one go. Rayna closed her eyes to brace herself when she suddenly remembered something.
"Wait what about the payment, did they come through? Was it there?" She asked, her eyes staring anxiously at Mouse. She had almost forgotten the reason she had come to the central district in the first place. The reason she had gone through all this trouble to get. It was a trade, she agreed to kill one of the main candidates running for chairman of the central district in exchange for information concerning the man she was looking for. Mouse took a deep breath before answering.
"No...There was nothing at the drop off point when I got here... I'm guessing they couldn't get it here before they closed the gate," Mouse said, he eyes solemn and away from Rayna's.
"Son of a-argh!" She cried out in pain, cutting her statement short just as Mouse connected the broken bones together. A powerful surge of pain swept through her in seconds after the first shock. Her heart raced and her breathing intensified, she began to sweat even more than before. The pain sapped away almost all the strength she had. Mouse quickly placed a small wooden stick on the arm and bandaged it securing it tight.
Before Mouse could finish bandaging, Rayna threw a deadly punch in his direction, catching his unguarded left cheek. The punch had sent him halfway across the ground and Rayna's body slumped over the rock almost meeting the ground. Blood came coughing out Mouse's mouth along with some loose teeth, his whole left side had begun to swell and discolor.
"What the hell was that for?!" He yelled in a loud voice, wincing in pain as soon as he opened his mouth. His face was filled with anger and confusion
"Why didn't you arrive there sooner huh?! Why didn't you go back before they closed the gate?! Do you have any idea how much we needed that information!" Rayna replied yelling at the top of her voice. Her body in a downwards position.
"What the hell are you talking about? You're the one got herself discovered and you blame me? Of course, I knew how much we needed that pay, I've been with you this entire year haven't I?!" Mouse's voice rose again against all the pain he felt in his face he didn't back down. He was standing now starring at Rayna's body with deadly intent. She couldn't move her body anymore that punch had taken everything out of her. She didn't even know why she punched Mouse, it wasn't the pain, she had felt worse before, it was something she couldn't control.
She laid there lifeless, struggling to breathe and regain her strength. She knew she reacted based on her emotions, something she should never have done. Ever since she left the Family those emotions had begun to surface in little the things that she did, causing her to act irrationally. This was one of them. She had bet so much on the job she did, hoping she would get closer to her answers. Her eyes fell on Mouse, he was clearly not pleased with what she did and she couldn't blame him. She attempted to raise herself up when a hand came out of no way and helped her up.
"Rayna, let's stop this already," Mouse began her voice calmer now but hoarse from the pain. "This was a fool's chase and you know it, the year that Father had given you is almost up and you haven't been able to find anything of significance,"
"We did..." she managed to murmur out.
"Anything of significance Rayna, the only thing we know is that the man who saved you was a former military commander that was once affiliated with the royals of Golemn, that is all, we don't even have a name only initials of J.W for a whole year's worth of search,"
"I- I can't..."
"The repercussions of your actions might be great but Father will welcome you back, I am sure of it and once he does none of the families will be able to challenge," Mouse persuaded, his voice clearly showed that he was genuinely concerned for her but Rayna wasn't willing.
"I can't! I am this close M, this close to finding him, where I came from, I know he's out there somewhere..." she couldn't believe how weak sounded, she almost didn't recognize her own voice. But even though she couldn't deny it.
"Listen to yourself right now, how are you supposed to find anything when they now know what you look like. This is not you, driven by some stupid emotional attachment, you've become unable to think correctly, you sound weak. Rayna you are not allowed to sound weak," Mouse spat, his voice menacing, "Time to wake up and go ho-," Mouse stopped the minute he heard movement from the bushes to their right. He was so engrossed that he didn't take notice his surroundings.
The noises from the bush drew closer and closer, mouse picked up his slingshot and loaded it with poisoned balls that exploded on impact. He braced himself for whatever was coming towards them. Rayna used to her remaining strength to focus on the bushes, whether or not it was a Golemn guard or something else approaching. As the noise drew closer so did the voices of people; a woman's voice could be heard and another possibly a boy's.
The noise was finally at the end of the bush and out stepped a woman dressed in ragged clothing and a young boy wearing the same thing. The both of them looked surprised to see Rayna and Mouse, the woman immediately blocked the boy with her body while she faced Mouse. It was obvious she was scared but she was also determined not to let anything harm the boy. They both stared at each other waiting for other to make a move and the woman fell for it. She was carefully trying to the reach for a weapon at her back but Mouse had already seen her and was about to shoot when the boy popped his head out from the back of the woman.
"Stop!" Rayna yelled, drawing all attention to her momentarily stopping any sudden action, "Don't shoot Mouse that boy is of highborn," she whispered to Mouse. All it took was one look at the nose ring he had on for her to know. It had small dark green gems on it that could very easily be mistaken for rust.
"Are you hurt?" The boy asked stepping out from the woman against her protests. He had short dark blonde hair and green eyes, they might have been covered in mud and dirt but there was no doubt he was of high-born, possibly of a high noble blood. Rayna waved Mouse down and replied his question with a nod.
"Yes...I am," The boy raced towards her kneeling beside her to check her wounds. Disregarding all sense of personal safety. The woman followed closely behind watching mouse for any sign of attack. He examined her unfazed by the blood that covered her, rare for a person of high-born status. They usually don't leave their palaces, let alone be in contact with blood. "What happened?"
"W-we had an accident and were robbed," she said calmly.
"I have a cottage nearby you can recover from your wounds there," he said, no hint of deception in his voice. His eyes held true what he said.
"Ma- Tobi are you sure? We don't know if these people are telling the truth," the woman said, uneasy about the idea.
"There are wounded people here Laiza we can worry about that later," he said turning to the woman behind him, "So will you come?" Rayna glanced briefly at Mouse, he was also against the idea but this was the chance she was waiting for. If she had a highborn child she might be able to get the information she has been looking for.
"Yes we will,"