18 Chapter 18
"What's wrong?" he asks sarcastically. I can feel myself shaking, but I do my best to keep my cover. "I am sorry, do I know you? Was I supposed to bring you something?" He smirks at me. "How about another drink. I didn't actually expect you to take a sip from mine." I feel a tremor run through me. "Did I see you at a bar somewhere? I don't remember you." He starts to looked irritated.
"I am done with your games. You know exactly who I am." I try one last time. "Are you a guest of the Princes?" He grabs me by the neck and shoves me up against the wall. "Stop playing stupid. You know exactly know who I am." "Fine, but how do you know who I am? And why are you here? Also, why did you drug me?" I claw at his arms, and he set me down, but kept his arm across me neck and me pinned to the wall.
"I saw you fighting earlier today, that gave it away. I am here because I am working with Xalem. As for drugging you, I needed to figure something out. You did put on a mighty fine show though." "What were you trying to figure out?" I ask deliberately ignoring the remark about the show. He was staring at me. I tried to pull a series of moves to get away, but it ended up with me further down the hall, with a blade at my throat. My face was turned up so I couldn't see him. His breath was sending goosebumps down my neck. "I was trying to figure out how well your memory is when under the influence of Calveis. How well you know your surroundings."
I try and look down at him, but the blade at my throat keeps me from doing so. "Why would you want that information?" I asked bitterly. "Oh, trust me. You will know that all in good time. I just thought I should tell you. You better watch over your shoulders at all times. We have many things to discuss. You have many things that you need to know. I can't take you from here, but I can take you from plenty of other places. I can and I will. I figured I shouldn't drug you and not tell you why."
I growled at him. "You are going to kidnap me? One, the odds of you succeeding are almost zero. Now that you have told me, the odds just went to below zero." The blade went a fraction of an inch higher pressing tighter into my neck. "Trust me. I will get you. I expected you to either die here, or to stay away once you escaped. Of course, the infamous Huntress didn't do the smart thing and came back."
I raised my arm to shove him away even though that would have slit my throat. Luckily, he caught the arm. "Now, if you don't want to die any sooner, you will stop what ever you are doing. I don't know what you are planning, but I do not want it to interfere with my plan. Understood?" "Whatever you say." I answer with a bit too much bite in my words. He uses the hilt of the blade to hit me in the jaw. I let out a wince as the back of my head the wall.
"Let's try that again, understood?" Before I can answer, I hear a guard turn down the hall, and yell, "What is going on down there?" The assassin in front of me quickly put his dagger away and he leaned a little closer to me. His lips were inches from my mouth. "Don't you dare tell this guard anything." I tried to shove him away, but he grabbed my arms and pinned them above my head. I could tell from the end of the hall, it looked like we were kissing, so when the guard grabbed the assassin in front of me and yanked him back, I wasn't surprised.
"You know our rules about guards and servants kissing in the halls." He was staring at me, towering over me. I immediately moved back into cover mode, using my face voice, and cowering down slightly. "I am sorry. It wasn't my fault. And I don't think he is a guard." He took a step towards me, and I looked at the ground. "You know the rules for when a pink gets caught." I shook my head at the statement. "No. I am new, so I really don't know." The guard gave a cold laugh. "Oh, trust me then. You will know very soon. He grabbed me by the arm and yanked my towards the end off the hall.
That is when he got a good look at my attackers face. "Oh, sir. You are not a guard." The assassin shook his head. "No. I am not." I pulled away from the guard and the assassin. "Kiya, come back here. Now." The assassin said to me. I shook my head. "I can't. I have...work to do." I was actually stumbling for excuses. I turned and all but ran down the hall. When I get to Garret's room, I slammed the door and leaded heavily against the wall. I could feel tears wanting to fall out. Not only had my cover been blown by someone, they also had all the power over me.
I cursed under my breath before noticing it was too quiet in the room. I looked around, the bed was made, everything was neat and organized, there was no sign of someone sneaking in. Then I heard the bathroom door open. Garret walked out, and our eyes instantly meet, and two seconds later he was at my side. "Jaycie, what's wrong?" I shook my head standing up straight. "Nothing, I just went on a run, so I am tired now. I am perfectly fine." I went to take a step, but he stood in front of me. "No. Don't give me that your fine crap. I know you better. You aren't fine."
I tried to take another step, but he said, "I am giving you two seconds to stop moving before or I will tie you to a chair until you answer me. I glared at him. "You really think you have the skill, time, and pain tolerance to tie me to a chair?" He raised an eyebrow. "Pain tolerance?" he questioned. I nodded. "Trust me, there is a reason I am hardly ever tied to a chair when I get caught. It is next to impossible to tie me to a chair when I am still awake. I have put full grown men in casts for even bringing a chair and rope into the room."
His face paled the slightest bit. "All I want to do is sleep and forget today." He nods and says, "I have a few more things to do. I will be up later." I nodded and changed into pajamas, then I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Two Days Later:
The whole place was still on high alert. I had been thanked several hundred times by all the girls for me saving them. Xalem had thanked me in person as well. Prince Azeel had decided to baby me with my wounds. When Garret came up to me after dinner on night with a bunch of other guards and servants, asking if I wanted to come with them, I almost cheered. "Where are you going?" I ask as I look over the group. The only other pink I saw was Janel. "We are headed to a local bar. I nodded. "Yes, I could use a drink." Garret smiled and swung an arm around my hips.
I saw all the other guards following suite, so I didn't shrug it off. When we got to the bar, one of the guards said, "Ladies, go get us that table in the back. We will get drinks. We all nodded, and I heard Garret say, "Kiya, what do you want?" One of the other guards put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry Avi. We know what to get her."
I didn't like the smile on his face as he quickly looked over me and then walked away with Garret, whispering to him. I followed the other girls, and they lead me to a booth. When we get there, a group of men are sitting there. "Excuse me boys, can we have this spot?" One of then looked Janel over. Then I noticed how they all looked us all over. Since I was in the very back, I was the last one to be seen, but I did notice how the man that seemed to be in charge locked eyes with me until I ducked my head.
I heard one of them stand up, and by looking up slightly, I saw it was the one that had locked eyes with me. "What is a group of pretty girls like you doing here all alone?" He asked us. One of the other girls with us, a green, spoke. "We are not alone. The boys are buying us our drinks now. They wanted this table, so that is why we are asking you to move." The leader pointed right at me. "You, come here." I shook my head. "No thank you. I think I will stay here." He let out a loud laugh. "Did you hear that boys. She thought she had an option." He looked back at me. "I said, come here." I felt anger inside me. Not boiling like it used to, but simmering, building up slowly.
"I am glad you know what you said, but I also know what I said. I said no." The red right next to me leaned towards my slightly. "Girl, it is better to just do what they say." I looked down at her and she shrugged. "Here, I will make you a deal, she comes here, and you can have the table." Janel's smile faltered a small bit. She looked back at me and I shook my head slightly. She put on a pouting face and I crossed my arms. "Kiya, he probably just wants to give you a compliment. Please, the boys like this table."
I stare for a moment longer before I walk to the front of the group. "What do you want?" I say looking up at the leader. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and said, "Lets go, take a walk. I would love to get to know you." I nearly gagged at the fact of him being anywhere near me. He looked at his crew and said, "Leave these girls their table. I am going to make head off for the night." He started walking me to the door. I planted my feet into the ground and said, "I am not leaving my friends." He smiled.
"It is only a walk. You will be back soon." He tried to walk again, but I didn't budge. "I really should head back." I say quietly. He shook his head. "No, you are coming with me." He tried to pull me closer to the door, until he heard someone behind us. "Let her go. Now. Unless you would like to leave with one or two less organs in your body." I turned and saw Garret standing there, hand on sword. "Avi." I said turning. I shoved the arm off my shoulders and wrapped my arm around Garret, standing slightly behind him.
The man who had been walking with me took a step towards Garret. "Look, I don't know who you are, but I am taking a walk with this beautiful woman so take your leave." He tried to reach for me, but Garret quickly stepped in front of me, easily putting the two drinks he was balancing in one hand, in my hands. "Look sir, I don't know who you are, but if you don't leave right now, you will be dead." The man glares at me and says, "It doesn't matter. I don't want to go home with some whore anyway." The words hit me like a slap on the face, but I didn't so much as take a step towards him.
He walked past me, but as he did, he said, "You better never show your face in here again after tonight." I slightly leaned away from him as he walked past. Garret took the drinks with me and we walked to the table. Garret and I got there right as the other boys got there. "Were you the first to head back?" I asked him. He nodded. "I had our drinks first. I was going to wait, but I saw that man walking away with you. Tell me the story later." I nod not planning to tell him anything. Garret doesn't need someone else on his mind that he wants to kill. "What's the drink?" He looked slightly concerned. "How about I just say, try and take it slow. These are meant to make their drinkers a little...dependent...on the person they are with."
My eyes go wide as we enter the group they have made around the table. No one had sat down yet which surprised me. "Avi." I said quietly. He looked down at me, "I am sorry. I had to keep cover, and this is what they do." I looked up at him. "Something tells me you don't mind me having to depend on you." He smiles down at me. "You are right about that." I look over the group and my eyes catch on Janel. She is standing as tall as she can with her arms up trying to get a drink from one of the guards.
"Come on. Give it to me." She tries to jump, but he raises the drink again. "Oh, where are your manners?" I hear several of the others in the group laugh. "Can I have my drink, please." She said putting puppy dog eyes on her face. He leans down kissing her on the lips before giving her the drink. It is the same as mine, but a blue color. Mine is more of a pink orange. I look over at Garret and he still has my drink. I go to grab it from him, but he pulls it back. I notice several eyes move to me, but I don't feel like putting on a show for them, so I lean towards Garret and whisper something into his ear.
"If you don't give me my drink, I am promise that when you go to sleep tonight, it won't be in the bed, and you definitely won't be comfortable." I lean back and he pushes the drink into my hand. His words are loud enough for anyone really listening to hear. "You want to talk about the bed?" I feel my face go red, and immediately turn to sit down. Everyone is already seated, and Garret took the last one. "Now where am I supposed to sit." One of the guards taps his lap, "You can sit here." The red he has his arm around hits him lightly on the shoulder. "Hey. You asked me here. Not her." He smiles at her. "I am just being nice."
I look at Garret with narrowed eyes and plop down onto his lap. He rests his arm round my waist and leans back taking a sip of his beer. It doesn't take long for conversation to flow. All the girls are finished with there first drinks when I have only drunk about four sips of mine. Janel notices this and says. "Kiya, come on. Drink. Drink. Drink." The others start to chant as well. Garret pats my leg in rhythm to the chanting. "What? I am drinking." I say. Janel gets out of the booth and comes to my side. "Come on. You have had like one sip."
I roll my eyes and take a sip, but Janel puts her hand under the bottom of my glass and keeps rising it slowly, forcing me to drink the whole thing. The chanting gets faster, and I notice that when my free hand grabs Garret's arm, he immediately flips his arm and pulls it back to where my hand is holding his. He gives it a reassuring squeeze, meaning he had my back.
When Janel lets me lower the glass, I squeeze my eyes shut for a second. "You okay?" I nod my head, but when I stand, I squeeze Garret's hand tighter. That is how I know exactly how much alcohol is in this. "I need to go to the bathroom." Garret nods. "Okay." Janel's guard stands up and says, "Lets go get the ladies another round of drinks."
I stumble to the bathroom and walk up to the sink. After washing my face, I stare into the mirror. It takes me several minutes to regain my coherence, at least as much as I can considering how much alcohol is in me. When I start walking back toward the table, I start to regret coming here. It is better to be with Azeel and him bossy, snarky, rude attitude. When I find my spot again Garret must notice I am leaning slightly towards the outside of the booth because he holds his arm around me in a way that makes sure I can't fall over.
After about half an hour, the girls, and guys separate. Us girls are in the back half of the guys are in the front half, one of them had pulled a chair to the front of the table. Garret was still sitting next to me and when he heard Janel's question. "So, Kiya, how is it going with the Crown Prince?" I raise an eyebrow. "What do you mean?" "What's he like?" "Annoying, controlling, rude." I immediately think, but I answer, "He is a prince. He is nice and he deserves a better pink, one that has been here longer."
Janel laughs. "I am jealous that he picked you, but here you are trying to get rid of him." I block out the rest of the conversation. We stay well into the early morning, I had about three drinks. The other girls have had between four and six. When I stand, Garret has to catch me. "Jay-Kiya, are you okay?" He looks around but no one realized his mistake. "I am..." I can't even say the lie that is forming. I am leaning heavily on his shoulder. "Not good. Not safe. I need to get to the room." The rest of the girls are all laughing and stumbling around the room, but all I can think about is what that mystery assassin said.
The mystery assassin that just so happens to be in the back corner of the bar staring right at me. "Garret. I need to go. Now." He nods. "Okay. I just need to pay." We both say bye to everyone else and then we head to the front of the bar. He leaves me by the bathroom door while he pays. It is while I am washing my hands that I feel the blade on my back. "Stay how you are." I feel my hands turn into fists. Since I was looking down at the sink and my back was slightly bent, I couldn't see him out of my peripheral vision. "If you are going to keep meeting my like this, I might as well know your name.
He laughs as he traces his blade up and down my spine causing goosebumps to appear on my back. The last thing an assassin wants is to have another assassin have a dagger on them. "I guess you are right. You can call me Colton." I start to look up, and I feel the dagger's tip press harder into the skin right next to my spine. "You know, if you got a stab wound to the spine, say" he dragged the dagger up to the base of my neck. "here, it could kill you. Or at the very least it would give permanent damage to you brain stem, no matter how quickly you could heal."
I didn't try an look any higher up. "Why are you here Colton?" He chuckled softly. "I told you to watch your back. Just because you are drunk, doesn't mean I am going to stop trying to find your weakness. You are lucky that your friend is out there. What is his name?" I keep my mouth shut. He grabs my shoulder, spins me around, and shoves me into the sink. I can feel my lower back scream in pain. His dagger is at my throat seconds later. "His name?" I swallow. "His name is Avi." Colton shakes his head. "Oh Jaycie. Do you want to end up dead?" I open my mouth to say something, but he presses his dagger against my neck hard enough to draw blood. "You know what, the next to words better be his real name. First name then last name."
I kept my mouth shut and shook my head slightly. His head whipped to the door, then he looked back at me. "You tell anyone I was here; I will kill you. And trust me, if I don't kill you, I will get your friend. Or maybe Wilker." His hand flew to my throat and he healed the cut, then he backed up and into one of the stalls. Garret walked in seconds later. "Jaycie, are you okay?" I nod and he helps me out of the bar, then back to the huge to the bedroom we share.
When he sets me down, I immediately feel lightheaded. "Garret, watch your back." I say quietly. "Be careful and don't let your guard down." He looked quizzically at me. "What?" "I can't tell you anymore, just be careful." He stares at me. "Okay. Did you have too much to drink?" I shake my head. Then I nod it. "No, I know what I am talking about, yes I feel like I have been awake for a week straight." He laughs at me. "You know, not many people can say that and know what is feels like."
I shake my head. "I am not in the mood to laugh." I roll over, wanting to fall asleep, but I feel Garret moving across the bed to my feet. "If you fall asleep in this, you will be wishing you didn't in a few hours." I feel him take my shoes off. Then he pulls me off the bed and to my drawer. "I am going to the bathroom and if you aren't changed by the time I come out, you are not getting privacy. Don't think if you don't change, I won't make you. I am not letting you fall asleep in that."
If I weren't so I tired, I would have put up a fight, instead I just got changed and flopped back onto the bed, but as soon as I laid down, I was wide awake. I couldn't stop all my thought from tonight come through my head. "So, I have Colton on my back, I have some random bar man threatening to kill me if I ever go back, I have a mission that I have to do without getting in Colton's way, and I have to make sure I don't get Garret or Wilker killed." I put my hands over my eyes, and sigh.
"Jaycie, what's wrong?" I sat up and stared at him for a second. "Would you believe if I said I was..." I propped my elbows on my knees and then put my head in my hands. "If you said you were what?" He asked sitting next to me. I looked up at him, tears marring my eyes. I had so much on my plate and having to tell Garret any of it felt like I was trying to put it on someone else's shoulders. He opened his mouth as if he were going to say something, then shut it again. He was waiting for me to speak, to sort through my words. I wiped my eyes, but a couple tears still spilled onto my cheeks.
"I am...am..." I take a deep breath and quickly say, "I am scared. I am way over my head and if I tell you, I am basically putting the dagger to your neck." I feel a few more tears and I immediately jump up and walk to the window wiping tears away as quickly as I can. I heard his steps walk up behind me. He didn't put a hand on my shoulder or anything like that, he just speaks. "Jaycie, if something is going on, I need to know. If you telling me is putting the dagger to my neck, not telling me is pulling the dagger through my neck."
I see him staring at me out of the corner of my eyes and I turn to him. "Garret, I messed up, coming back here, it is going to get me killed, and if not me then you. And if not you then Wilker. And I really don't want you or Wilker dead." "Jaycie, why are you saying all this? What brought all this on. Why do I need to watch my back? Who is after me? Why are they after me? After you?" I shook my head, my eyes stung with tears again. Tears that I wish I could get rid of but couldn't. "I can't tell you, just be careful. Okay? Promise me you will be careful." He took a step towards me. "Jaycie. I need more information." I took a step away from him, already mentally pushing myself away from him and from Wilker.
"I am not tired anymore. I am going back out to work. Get some sleep." I quickly grabbed my new clothes, washed up, and changed. When I came out of the bathroom I got to the door before I felt a light hand grab my arm. "Jaycie, when ever you are ready-" "No." I cut him off. "If I am not close to you, I can't be hurt by you, and you can't be hurt because of me." "Jaycie, if you truly like me, truly meant any of those kisses, you would tell me what is going on." I shook my head slowly. "Well maybe I don't like you. Maybe after everything that has happened, it has showed me that you and I weren't meant to be. Maybe I care for you so much that I am willing to take the brunt force of everything coming. Just maybe my care for you goes so deep that I am willing to almost die to save you. I am sorry Garret. I just don't like you how you like me."
I saw him look hurt. "Jaycie, that doesn't even make since. What do you mean?" I walk up to him and my words are a small whisper. "Garret, I care for your well being so much that I can't like you. I am sorry but my heart won't ever belong to you. I don't want to lose you but if it is either me liking you or me losing you then I guess I am losing you. Just know I will always care so deeply for you that I would save you life at the expense of my own. Few people have gotten to that part of me." I saw him give a shaking breath. "How can you care for me so deeply but not like me?" I shake my head, "I don't know. I just can."
I stepped out of the room and closed the door behind me. I only let one more tear fall before I slipped into stone cold killer. I watched as the tear fell to the ground. Then I stormed down the hall. I don't know how I am going to wait out the next few days, or how I am going to kill Xalem, or how I am going to keep Garret and Wilker alive, but I do know that I wont strike before the planned day, I will kill Xalem, and that I won't let Garret and Wilker die.