"What do you want with me and my history?"
"Your help." He fidgeted with the bottles of soaps, oils and tonics that sat on a shelf. "Prince is all very well and all, but... I'd quite like to be King."
Laughter burst out of her lips before she could stop it. His expression did not change.
She knew bits and pieces about all the Princes; it helped to stay up to date with the tumultuous sea of the city. He was one of the less violent, ruling more by having eyes and ears and friends in the right places than by fear or brute force. His appearance made him easy to assume as a soft idiot, but none of the Princes could be underestimated, especially not one that would confront her face-to-face with no apparent weapon other than his ego and endless confidence.
"Good luck with that," she responded, "the city is mad enough that you might just pull it off, if you're good enough."
"I'm not." The remark caught her off-guard. "I may be good at what I do, but what I do is not killing men and women twice my size and quadruple my ability in weaponry. That is one of your many specialities, or so a friend told me."
"Which friend, out of interest?"
"That wouldn't be fair to them." His gaze was piercing, unyielding. "What is more than fair is that I can and will give you anything for your service: money, power, contacts..."
The idiotic smile was back.
"So, what do you want, minot?"
She looked at him down the barrel of her gun, but did smile. He certainly had charisma.
What did she want? Money was impermanent and of no consequence. She certainly didn't want the power, there were enough assassins after her as it was, and she cared very little for her reputation. Visits like this were why.
"What do you want?" she countered.
He paced around her bath. When he drew too close, she jabbed her gun in his direction. He made a striking figure in profile. His clothes were overly colourful and extravagant, but then again, so was her home. When you came from nothing, it was hard not to enjoy wealth while you had it.
She liked him well enough, certainly more than the other Princes she'd had the misfortune to meet, but did she really want to die for him, or any of the Princes, for that matter? No. But did that mean she was safe from whatever this "election" would bring? Definitely not. And could she really sit on the sidelines and watch it pass her by? Absolutely not.
She opened her eyes, and for a moment, saw him without his built up façade. The confidence had slipped from his face while he waited. When he noticed her eyes were open, it went back up immediately. She grinned.
"Alright then," she said, climbing out of her bath. "Where do we start?"
"Where would you like?"
Part of Alarane could still not believe what she had agreed to, but it was hard to deny that being back out in the city causing trouble, felt better than any expensive bath or spa treatment she'd ever bought. In fact, she was worried she might take a little too much pleasure in it. Tonight they were starting with the impossible: murdering Teodor Parish.
Parish was a bastard, plain and simple. Every one of the Princes (in fact, almost everyone in Yhoit) had their vices, their crimes, their dirty little secrets, but Parish extorted everyone and anyone. Anywhere there was money, he sucked it out, even if it wasn't enough to be worth the effort. He drained life from whatever he touched, leaving crumbling, empty-pocketed stretches of the city in his wake.
YOU ARE READING
Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...