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Lying down in the dark crevices of the building, crossbow loaded, Athena waited for a signal. It had been one mission after another over the month, the previous hunt being the best of the four. The precision was astounding, or so her brother, Michael, thought. The piercings he chose to wear on his right ear caught the light and drew Athena's attention to him. He was down there, talking to the target, moving him into position. It always scared her how well he could lie. He did well in hiding his true feelings, everything put away behind a mask of nothingness. But then again, that was why he was chosen to be the one leading the victim to his death.

Everything seems to be going well.

She drew in a deep breath as she lay counting down the seconds. Voices echoed through the darkness, letting her know that she didn't have much time left.

I wish he would do the deed faster. I can't lie down here any longer if I want to escape.

They had passed by the house before they began their hunt, a few weeks ago, to survey the target. But since then, they had become famous and so, more guards were posted around the house as well as on the roof on which she was hiding.

Keep your cool, Athena; don't botch the mission in the last minute. This is very important, the King is going to have your head if you mess up.

She felt her heartbeat rise and the blood rush in her ears, as she waited to see if the next patrol would come from around the corner when she saw Michael lifting his hand, his dull grey eyes looking towards where she hid.

The signal!

A whiz of the arrow through the silence of the night, followed by a squelch when the arrow hit the victim, marked the end of her mission. Satisfied, she folded her crossbow, hung it on her back and quickly climbed down the wall. Once she reached the ground, she took out the maid's clothing that she had kept hidden in a bundle under a bush and wore it to cover up her bow. She walked into the compound of the massive house when the screams began. She risked stealing a glance only to see her brother running out of it like a terror-struck man who had witnessed his best friend's death right before his eyes.

Perfect. Now to the rendezvous point.

No one suspected her. The guards didn't even give her a second glance. After all, who would ever suspect a little girl of seventeen summers to be an assassin?

Deep in her thoughts, she kept walking towards the tree they had agreed to meet at. Until a dark figure jumped out at her from behind the trees. Reflex kicked in and she pulled out her knives from their little pockets on her person, falling into position and ready to slit throat.

"Woah, put that down, or else you might hurt someone!" Michael exclaimed, raising his hands.

"Then don't sneak up on me like that!" Athena retorted, completely flustered.

"I was just excited that we completed our mission successfully, little sister." he said grinning "Thank heavens no one found you though," he said, climbing onto his horse, Shadow.

Athena smiled wearily, wanting to punch that grin off his face as she replied, "You really don't have to worry about anyone finding me, you know who always used to win Bloodhound Chase when we were younger." Climbing onto her horse, Nightwind, and taking hold of his reins, she slowly eased him into a trot.

Michael's chuckle floated through the sounds of hooves hitting the gravel below them, the commotion fading in the distance. "True. We need to send a message to the King as soon as possible to let him know that we did what he asked of us." Michael suggested as both of them led their horses into a gallop into the darkness of the night.

Home. We are going home at last. I won't have to get rid of another soul for another few days at the least. It will be nice to see Mum, Dad and the others.

Shaking off the feeling of blood that lay on her hands, she looked into the distance, letting Michael lead them back home. The long journey of about twenty five leagues of trees and a river flowing downstream into the Sea of Zathore lay before them and most of it was spent in silence, except for the occasional something that Michael had to say, but the silence was what the siblings preferred. They weren't ones to talk much, compared to some of the others in their family.

Athena remembered the day when they got their first letter from the king. To say it was scary would've been an understatement. She remembered her father giving them a quick lesson in history that day, telling them about the King, Ragnor Lore who has been ruling over most parts of Illerea for over two decades. That is, of course, those parts that didn't belong to the members of the Forefront Alliance, the five races. But after their terrible defeat, no one has heard of them since.

A few leagues before they reached home, they stopped at the river to quickly let the horses drink their fill and rest for a bit. While waiting for them, Athena slipped into the nearby woods in search of a specific plant that allowed to put a person into a death-like trance. Her father had asked to get some if they had the time on their way back. Michael seemed to have forgotten about it so she went right ahead to search for it. She knew she wouldn't take long for she knew the woods in that area as well as the back of her hand.

As she walked, the faces of all the people that she had killed started flitting through her mind. Desperately trying to focus on looking for the herb, she tried to push back those thoughts, not paying attention to her surroundings.

A deep growl resonated through the trees behind her.

Turning around, she quickly scanned the place around her, her eyes landing on a wolf that looked ready to attack. Taking out her blades once more, she readied herself while slowly backing away at the same time, knowing that it would be a losing battle.

A terrible pain exploded at the base of her skull like someone was hammering nails into her head. She fell on her knees, trying to keep an eye on the wolf. Oddly enough, it didn't look like it would attack anymore and it seemed as though the wolf was grinning at her.

'Do not try to fight the pain, little one. It is but a reminder for bigger things to come. But until then, all will be well.' A voice whispered in her head.

Panic filled her when she heard the voice in her head but another wave of pain coursed through her and she felt her consciousness slip as the wolf walked towards her.

Not like this, I don't want to die as prey. No!


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