44 - Better Days II

834 36 59

March 25, 1480

Florence, Italy

"Well, things are definitely much better here now," Catherine mused as she gazed around at the street, taking in the thick crowd, the few soldier on the edges doing their patrols, and the buildings where archers could be found up top or opened windows revealed glimpses of the private side of Firenze.

Things had changed a great deal since the Pazzi's attack and their subsequent destruction, and Lorenzo Medici had not wasted time in ensuring it would not happen again. Any soldiers in red were removed from the city and either thrown into jail or executed. Occasionally she and Ezio would help when the situation was beyond the leader, but for the most part he could handle everything on his own. It was a good thing to behold, and meant the enemy was weak—very weak—in their homeland.

As such, the two assassins were at liberty to walk the streets of Firenze with essentially no care at all. It was as if they were back in the days before everything had gone wrong and simply enjoying things. In fact, they had made a point to tour the streets; to find the old places they had frequented and to visit the Palazzo once more. This time was not so sorrowful, but more a sense of fond nostalgia that brought a small smile to the young man's face, although the loss of it was always there. The burden was lifted some compared to before, and so he was able to leave without despair weighing him down. Catherine, at the very least, was relieved to see that in him and she, too, did not fret so much.

"Indeed, and with this cape we're able to move with even less trouble," Ezio grinned, pulling the cloth over his shoulder again, the ornament having moved back. On it was the symbol of the Medici—an unmistakable sign that they were allied with Firenze's great leader.

Catherine hummed, glancing down at the pendant she wore, also bearing the family insignia, "It does make things nice knowing the guards won't harass us. Still hate having to wear a cloak, but having the people stare is even more annoying."

Alas, despite the city no longer a danger, the people would still find it an odd sight for a woman to walk in a man's clothes and carry their weapons. San Gimignano, she had come to find, was better about such things, but it was also smaller and more rural. Here was the epitome of high society and civilization, and women followed very different rules. That, of course, she had learned a long, long time ago under Maria's tutelage, but it was still a frustration. She could handle it, though—she'd survived Mario's training and Ezio's obnoxiousness, after all.

"You should let them stare—let them gawk. I know I would find such a woman fascinating," the young man smirked next to her, eliciting an eye roll.

"You already do more than stare. You're a pill."

"So you've said, but I only speak the truth. Besides, your red hair is alluring. You should let it be seen."

"I'm fine as I am, thank-you. Now, hush, and let's hurry and get to Leo's. I told him in our letter we'd be there for supper, and we're going to be late at this rate."

"Well," Ezio mused, pausing to point up at the roofs, "why don't we go the quick way then?"

"Because while the guards won't shank us on the street, it is still technically illegal to go on the roofs?" she mused right back, brow raised.

"Perhaps... but murder, stealing, and trespassing are also illegal, but you and I both do so regularly," he smirked, and she opened her mouth to make some rejoinder, but pressed her lips back together instead. Damn. He was right. Clever little bastard.

"Fine, fine," she chuckled, shaking her head and headed for the nearby alleyway. "But we'll at least not do it in the public eye."

"Of course," he snickered, following right on her heel.

Assassin's Creed: ChronosRead this story for FREE!