13 Chapter 13
I am laying on my back, staring at the ceiling. I had just gotten out of the mirror room two days ago. No one told me how long I had been in there for, and I didn't ask. I couldn't sleep. I hadn't been able to sleep for a few days now. I could feel myself getting stronger. With each day that I stayed here, I learned more. I learned about their citizens, their guards, I learned everything I could about them.
The most important thing I learned, was their security. They had a weapons room in the same hall as the mirror room. That is where they kept my suite. They also had trained dogs. I had never seen or heard them, but I saw a guard walking down to the medical area with a gash in his arm from a dog bite, muttering about how that dog would be killed.
Everything had been settling down now. The guards watched me but weren't at my sides at all times. I worked on a regular schedule like the other girls. Every day I got up, ate, and went to wherever we were posted for the day. My back had gotten use to the constant bent over position, so it no longer hurt after a day in the reception room. I had been getting closer to the girls, but only on the outside. I didn't let any of them have any real important information about me. They called my Jay instead of Jaycie, and they had pretty much become my new name around here.
Several guards learned the hard way, to not lay a hand on me. I had only gotten in an hour in the mirror room for beating the carp out of them. Sairyia had been getting worse. I constantly found myself dodging attacks from her or having to do useless tasks for her. Xalem refused to stop calling me his beautiful girl, and I never heard him refer to his wife as anything other than honey, wife, Sairyia, or dear. I could see jealousy in her eyes.
I could feel that I had changed. My snarky remarks came further apart. I almost never back talked now. Even when my old self would have slapped a guard silly, I just walked by, ignoring them. I put all my energy, all my focus on rebuilding myself internally first.
When I saw the sun peeking over the horizon, I got dressed. Then I walked out, and while a guard followed, I went to the dining room. After eating a simple meal, I waited for the other girls. I could feel my eyes wanting to close, but they wouldn't. I couldn't make myself fall asleep, and I no longer made myself pass out. I just waited for myself to get so tired that I fell asleep. When the girls walked in, all their eyes went to me. "Hey Jay." Lilith said cheerfully. I gave her a small smile. "Hey Lil. Janel. How are you?" The smiled and sat on either side of me. I got to hear what they dreamed about why they ate.
When we all finished, we were told that we had a free day. Lilith and I walked into the garden. The guards followed but kept about thirty feet between us. The old me would have ran, but this me just stayed by Lilith's side. When we got to the middle, we sat on a bench and I decided it was time. "Lil, would you help me with something?" She looks concerned. "What is wrong? Are you okay? You do seem to be quieter than usual." I laugh slightly. "I have never been called quiet in my life." She smiled. "What is it?" I take a deep breath.
"I need you to make a distraction in the dining hall today. I am leaving. I am finally going to run. If you say no, I am will understand, but I need you to not tell them. Or I will have to run now, I there are a few more things I have to take care of before I leave." She looks at me carefully. "You want me to help you escape. Finally. I have been waiting for you to ask. I know you don't belong here, and I am glad you are finally running." I smile at her relived. I thought it would take a lot more convincing than that to get her to agree.
"I can help you escape to if you want." I offer. She smiles sweetly at me. "Jay, I am here on my own decision. I am not forced to stay here. I decided to take this job." I look at her like she is crazy. "Why?" She smiled. "I used to live in the big cities. After my parents died, I was on my own. One-night Xalem happened to be passing by as this guy tried to drag me out of a bar. He saved me. He realized I had no home and took me in. He let me pick my job. I picked everything. I have gone from green to red. I decided to stay a pink. I decided to stay. But you, you need to go. You need to be free. So, I will help."
I smile at her. "You will always have a friend here." She says. She hugs me and whispers in my ear. "Plus, the Queen of Hell doesn't belong here." I laugh. "Not another nickname. I am going to forget about them all." I smile at her. "I think you could use another." I smile at her. We are quiet for a while, and I see feel my eyes getting heavier, but they refused to shut.
"Jay, I think you should try and get some sleep." I shake my head. "I can't. I will sleep when I am gone." She smiles. "I am going to the dragon." I follow her. When we get there, she kneels down, and I follow suite. She makes a small prayer, and I laugh all the sudden. She looks at me. "What?" "Remember when I made my dance up here." She laughs with me. "I am going to miss the action. You made the past while fun." I nod at her. "You will see me again. Trust me." She raises an eyebrow, but I shake my head. That is all I am saying.
We walk around the grounds, the guards following behind at a distance. When it starts to get darker, she splits away from me and heads inside. I head to my favorite spot on the whole property. It is behind the garden. There is a huge tree that has branches that spread out wide. I climb up and stare over the land. I stay here until the guards tell me I have to get down and go to dinner.
I climb down instantly. I can't help but let a shiver down me. The old me would have told them they had to come and get me. I had built myself up, but I still hadn't started acting like my normal self. I walked quietly. I was about to make my run for it. I just needed to wait for Lilith to make her distraction. I sit close to the door. Dinner starts off pretty boring. There is a lot of small talk. Halfway through, I meet eyes with Lilith. She nods and gets up. She is walking to the food table, and right into the path of a guard. When He hits into her, she falls back. I see her eyes well up with tears as he stares at her.
"Get up and go sit down." He said. She burst into tears. All the guards head over to check it out. "Y...y... you hurt me. Th...th...that hurt. You mo...mo...monster." She says loudly. All the sudden all the other girls stand up, I hear Janel say to me, "Be free Queen of Hell." Then all the girls walk towards the girls, squishing closer to Lilith, and making it impossible for any of them to get me.
I run out the door. I get several halls away before I hear a guard say. "Jaycie is gone. Where did she go?" I quickly take off my heels and keep running to the armory. I hear a guard yell, "Get out of our way, we need to get her." Their voices are traveling down the halls. I hear Janel shriek. "You hurt my friend and you dare talk to me like that? Walk around me." I grab me suite and run back out. I get to the door, and to the edge of the city before I hear a guard yell, "Watch the perimeter." I run out into the sand, in the direction of my home. I saw a map, and this led to my city. It was miles and miles, but I make it eventually.
I get about five hundred yards away when I hear the guard yell. "Over there. Get the carriages, and dogs. I keep running. The sand is scorching hot from the day, but I force myself to run over it. I have my suite over my shoulder and my heels in my hands. Eventually rock crops surround me. I keep running until I can't anymore. I look back and there is a line of yellow. They are bringing out about twenty carriages. The yellow lanterns light is making the yellow line. I hear dogs baying in the distance.
I am breathing hard, but I force myself to keep going. I can feel myself stumbling. Eventually I fall to the ground. I stand up and lean against a huge rock. My body is begging for sleep. I force my eyes shut, but not even rest will come to me. When I open the eyes, I see the carriages are even with me, but they are about fifty yards to my left. They let the dogs out and yell a command in a foreign language. I immediately understand the language. It is one I know. They yell the word find. The dogs start sniffing. It takes two minutes for one to catch my scent.
It bolts to me, and the others follow. They circle me, and bark. The guards start walking towards me. I instantly know what I have to do. I look at each dog in the eye. Then I yell an order in the language that they are trained in. "Heel." They all growl at me. But I know all I have to do is be more intimidating then the guards. All I have to do is show I am more of a leader. I yell the order again. "Heel!" One cocks it head, then goes back to growling. I take a deep breath and yell one last time. My voice in pure command. "I said HEEL!" They stop growling. One walks up to me, then another. Then they are all at my side. The guards look shocked.
I smirk at them. Then I yell another command. "Attack." I point at the guards. One whines. It doesn't want to attack the ones that raised it. I get down on their level and yell again. "Attack!" They run towards the guards and start attacking. I smile. Then I grab my stuff and run again. I run as far as I can. Then I jump on a huge rock. I can feel myself sway. It takes me a minute to realize that behind me is a carriage. "How did they get one behind me?" It is several hundred feet off. I look back at the guards and they are stalking towards me.
I see the dead dogs behind them. I shake my head and say, "Just go away. Leave me alone." They surround me but don't come up. One of their carriages comes around and Xalem sticks his head out. "Bring her here. Don't hurt her." One of them goes to jump up, but I whack him with my heel, almost falling off the rock, but catching my balance. "She is tired. We just have to wait for her to make a mistake." One of the guards say. One pretends to lunge at me, and I sway away from him. I can feel my eye shuttering shut. I force them open.
I turn and see the carriage behind me is dodging around the others. I can faintly see someone sticking their head out of the sunroof and point at me. I feel a hand wrap around my ankle, but I kick it off, then I kick back, and my foot connects with a nose. I look back and a guard goes stumbling back. The guards keep on trying to get me down, but I dodge them. After a minute I say, "I will die before I go back." One of the guards laugh. "Oh no. We will keep you alive. Then you will be put in the mirror room for who knows how long. A month. Maybe two if you are lucky." I shudder.
"No." I yell. I block his words out. "No. Never ever again." Then I hear a voice ring out crystal clear. "Jaycie. Come on. Let's head home." I smile as I turn. Garret is staring at me. The mystery carriage was close to me. I rally my strength one last time and jump off my rock, kicking the guard that I have to jump over. Then I run to the carriage. They are slowed but not stopped. I throw my heels and suite in then reach to grab the handle. I feel a hand yank my hair back. I fall back only to see a guard falling back with a dagger to the head. I jump up and see Zachery aiming another dagger already. He is ready to take another guard. I run back to the carriage and grab the handle. I am about to pull myself in when my foot hits a rock and I lose my grip on one of the handles and almost fall all the way off.
I hear Xalem behind me. "If we can't have her, you can't either. Kill her." I see Zachery's eyes go wide, and Garret reaches down to try and grab me. Zachery doesn't just reach down and try to grab me. He actually wraps his hand around mine on the handle and swings out of the carriage. He uses one of him legs to push of the side and wrap around me. He pulls me up with his free hand, he grabs the other handle. I feel a thud. Seconds later I feel the sharp pain of a blade pierce through my lower back. Right were my heart was only seconds ago. Then I remember that Zachery is behind me. The sword had gone all the way through him. I wrap my free hand around his waist holding him up. Garret pulls me in by my shoulders and Zachery comes in with me. I don't let go of Zachery, not for even a second.
The carriage door shuts, and I hear the thuds of daggers hitting it. Then I feel the pain of the sword being removed. I cry out, then hear Zachery give a strangled cry as they pull it all the way out of him. I get out from under him, from where I landed on the ground. I press my hand over the wound and use my healing power, but nothing happens. I close my eyes and focus on using the last dregs of my energy to heal him. I feel a small stream of power. "Help." I say. I don't even bother with my cut. "Help, please." I say. I am staring at Zachery. The pool of blood under him is getting big. I feel two other hands land on Zachery. Then a third one. I look back and Garret is standing back. "Help." I plead with him. He shakes his head.
"No. He has done so much to you; he deserves to die." I shake my head. "Please, help. I need the help. I can't do this. Please." I feel tears. These aren't the ones of pain from the mirror room. They are ones of feeling. I hate Zachery so much, but he saved my life at the risk of his own. I feel coughs rack through me. I crawl away from Zachery. Garret falls to his knees next to me, it is highly crowded down her, but I shove Garret away. "Him first." He looks stubbornly at me, but I don't let Garret heal me. I start seeing black. But I still don't let him help me.
He turns and puts a hand on Zachery and start to heal him. I smile and start to black out. My eyes finally start to let me go to sleep. I feel a hand on my bare stomach. I see Garret healing me. I smile at him. "Thank you." I say weakly. After a few seconds he lifts me and sets my on the seat. He sits next to me and I see Wilker and two other assassins sit on the seats as well. Zachery lays still on the floor. "Is he...dead?" I ask. Wilker shakes his head. "No. Just asleep. Like you should be. Go to sleep." I shake my head, but my traitorous eyes start to close. I force them open but Wilker says, "You are safe know. Don't worry. Go to sleep."
I try and keep my eyes open, but they fall. I fall into a deep sleep. When you use the absolute last bit of your energy and have no more to spare. I have hit that point. I fall into a dreamless sleep. Purely to gain energy. I just can't keep my eyes open any longer. They are finally giving up. And I let myself be relaxed for the first time in a long time.
When I come to, it is only partly. I can't say anything or move, I just know my surroundings. I am no longer sitting. I feel my feet curled on the seat. My head is in someone's lap and I am shivering. I feel hovers lap I am in move. Then I feel a jacket cover my lower half. We go over a bump and my body jump up. An arm wraps around me before I roll of the lap. I hear Zachery weakly. "Looks like someone seems to be enjoying Jaycie's head in their lap. Getting to play the protective game." I hear Garret growl right above me. I am in his lap. Then I hear Wilker say, "Zachery shut it. You have fallen asleep on Jaycie's boobs before. Don't even." I remember that time.
I had just saved him. The people that had caught him had forced him to stay awake. I had happened to walk in on them. I barely got out with him. When I got him into a carriage to take him to the guild, he fell asleep on my shoulder. A bump had gone by and his head had fallen lower. He had wakened seconds later and joked around about it and said he had the best pillow. Of course, I had moved to the far side and let him have one bench to himself. But It was a funny story to tell everyone.
Zachery thought for a second, then said, "And I still believe that is the best pillow I have ever had." Garret growls slightly. That is the last thing I remember before I fall back into my deep sleep. When I wake up, I am being carried. One hand is under my knees, and one is one my back. I can feel myself shivering again. I open my eyes, and the lights cause me to hiss out. I turn into the chest of the person carrying me. There is a laugh, then I am set down.
After opening my eyes, I see I am in the Guild. I look around cautiously. The hall I am in is empty except for Garret, Zachery, and Wilker. I frown. I feel my hands wrap around my stomach. Not out of being self-conscious about having such little clothing on, but because now that I am not on the sand plains, I am cold. I see Zachery is pale and I take a step towards him, bit go crashing to the ground. I just stare up at him. "Are you okay? Did they hit anything vital?"
He stares at me then laughs. "You have been with those idiots for over two months, gone through god knows what having to wear that for god knows how long, not that I mind seeing you I it, and you got stabbed yourself, but you ask if I am okay." I nod. "That sword had to go through you first." I go over his words again and realize his point about not minding me in this outfit. I don't even feel a response come up against it. I see Wilker staring at me. He knows something is wrong.
"I am heading to the nurse." Zachery says. Wilker looks at Garret. "Make sure he gets there safe, then come to my office." With that, Wilker helps me up and leads me to his office. The longer we go in silence, the more I feel like crying. I have missed him so much. When we get in his office, and he closes his door, I launch into his arms. I hug him tight and let tears fall into his shoulder. "I have missed you so much. I was so worried I would never see you again." I say. I feel him rub my back. "I am right here, don't worry." After a few minutes, we both sit down in our chairs.
We sit in comfortable silence until Garret walks in. I ended up dozing off. When I wake up, Garret and Wilker are talking quietly. "Are you going to get a report off this?" Garret asks. Wilker is quiet for a few seconds. "I don't know. If she doesn't want to talk about it, I am not going to force her." I open my eyes, and Wilker's eyes dart to me. "You are awake. Good." I nod. Wilker raises a single eyebrow. I go rethink what just happened and realize, I would usually answer with something like, 'obviously' or 'glad you know open eyes mean awake.' I shake my head slightly and say.
I remind my self to act life before. Even if I don't feel the same, I have to act the same. I am not going to let them realize there is a difference between in me. I feel another shiver run through me and say, "Does anyone know were I left my suite. I am freezing and this," I stand up and gesture to my 'uniform', "doesn't really keep the cold out. Wilker smiles. "It is being cleaned now." I nod. "So, what can I wear. I am not going to sit around being cold." Garret catches my eye. "Go to my room, you can burrow some of my clothes." I nod and walk out of the room without being dismissed. When I get to the door Wilker says, "I didn't dismiss you." I turned to him plastering one of my old smirks on my face. "Do I ever wait for you to dismiss me?"
He laughs and I walk out. Both of them have slight bags under there eyes, and I can see that they have been stressing for a while. Now both of them look visibly clam. As I walk through the halls, I nod to the assassins that have filled them. Most keep their eyes on my face. Some do a once over me, but then look around. The only one who's eyes stray from my face for longer then a moment are Zachery's. I am just about to walk into Garret's room when he calls out to me. "Jaycie, what are you going, going into his room." I step back into the hall and his eyes go down then up, then down again, the up.
"I am changing into clothes that keep me warm. My uniform doesn't keep me warm." He smirks at me. "If they make you wear that for work, I might take you back myself, and get a new job there." My mind doesn't register the joke and I immediately take a step back and say, "No. Please don't." He looks bewildered. "Did you just say please to me?" I realize I am not acting 'normal.' Then he puts together the rest of my words. "Jaycie. I was kidding about that. I wouldn't do that to you. Not even I would stoop that low."
I shake my head. "I know. I was just trying to get a reaction out of you." I say. I put an amused smile on, but I can tell it doesn't reach me eyes. He nods to me and says, "Sure." Then walks into his room. I quickly get changed into some of Garret's clothes, then I drop of my clothes in my old room. Finally, I make my way back into the office. I can feel myself trying to rebuild my old self. But after a while, I could tell all I was building was a mask. One that wouldn't hold up forever. Right before entering the office, I take a deep breath. It was time to see how strong my mask really was.