Chapter 18:

Now — To Kill A King

The Story Of Who


EIGHTEEN HOURS TO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTBookmark here

The sound of constant hearty conversation filled the streets of Central. Compared to the dullness of the Block it truly looked like paradise. It was jarring for me, as used as I was sneaking out, to stand in the midst of it all wearing something other than red or black. Beside me, X stood, an arm wrapped around my waist as I took in the flashy cars, silver trains and the numerous service receivers that towered between the golden shields of the high rise buildings looming over us.Bookmark here

Massive fireworks exploded in the cloudless sky, decorating the night in flashes of rainbow light. It was still before sunrise but the capital city was alive with sound.Bookmark here

It was only here that Râini lasted a week and then some because it overlapped with his birthday. Foreigners flocked to the city to watch it all unfold and most importantly, to see the Emperor parade himself in front of crowds of people—to be part of the lucky throng who got to touch his hand and be "blessed".Bookmark here

The natives, of course, knew better. And by extension, so did I. The conversation and speedy transportation? Various influential organizations sending orders through their back-room, messenger boys; hitmen carrying those missions out.Bookmark here

The buildings and receivers formed a massive energy gathering formation that powered the planet sized shield protecting Centaur from the stray missiles that became "fireworks" when they collided with the force field.Bookmark here

The planet itself was surrounded by constant warfare—the Resistance's rebel force which refused to die. It was only at the capital, where the attacks were most concentrated, that you were able to see the slightest hint of the chaos. It had been so easy for me to forget that we were still and war when my only focus had been getting out.Bookmark here

It was hard to imagine Centaur no longer existing. It was the beast that devoured the others, not the other way around.Bookmark here

"It's overwhelming, isn't it?" X asked.Bookmark here

"I think... we are the only ones standing still."Bookmark here

"No need to rush, Nikolai and Lazlo are still scoping the area."Bookmark here

I was too, scanning over a sea of cool blue hues for something different and finding nothing worrying.Bookmark here

The citizens here were carefree and self-indulgent. They couldn't care any less about the increasing frequency of "stray" missiles, nor the fact that the warring planets had cutting edge missile guiding technology and top class experts in ballistics. If they didn't care about being torched to pieces, I didn't either.Bookmark here

X definitely wasn't worried about that. He pulled me close as though he was afraid of being swept away by the bustling crowd but other than that, he paid me no mind.
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He was too busy making his calculations and speculating, because this very spot on which we stood was where the emperor was going to lose his life and opposite us was Central's most expensive restaurant—rumored to be the emperor's favorite dining spot.Bookmark here

In contrast to all the chaos up in space, the atmosphere of Centaur was annoyingly calm. Though bandits shot civilian ships down from airspace at least a dozen times every other day, no complaint was ever filed against the perpetrators—not even by those who had been shot down, because deep down everyone was a criminal.Bookmark here

Central was "the city that never sleeps" or as the locals like to call it, "the crime capital". I could understand why Owen chose to live here and why the emperor had to die here. This was the only place we would be able to get away with it.Bookmark here

Everyone who lived here was eager to waste currency and very cheerful about flaunting their stolen wealth despite the fact this "paradise" was home to several more dangerous criminals. Bookmark here

In this city, you never knew what might happen to you—if the guy you bumped into on the street was a murderer or not. Bookmark here

It was the perfect place to kill a king.Bookmark here

SIXTEEN HOURS TO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTBookmark here

If I looked into the mirror, I knew what I would see: a young lady in a black pencil skirt and an extremely bright blue floral print blouse—that would have been gaudy on anyone but her. An amber ribbon snaked her waist while her face framed with curls of ginger-red hair—very recently dyed. Most importantly were the pair of thick and dark glasses that hid her eyes from view.Bookmark here

The shadow cast by a snow white parasol shielded her milky skin from the harsh glare of the sun.Bookmark here

I had never looked so different and I enjoyed the care X had put into the outfit. In just two hours he had managed to transform me into the emperor's type. And if he truly was a fan of me like the rumors claimed, I still shared enough similarities with myself to pique his interest.Bookmark here

Unfortunately, this particular disguise wasn't meant for his eyes.Bookmark here

"I'm in position," I mumbled under my breath, waiting for the sensor on the glasses to pick it up.Bookmark here

"Get ready to look distressed," X replied softly.Bookmark here

I wasn't used to the way his voice tickled my ears but I knew better than to comment on it. I cautiously slipped tendrils of my awareness in the psyches of the people around me to get a feel for how good my acting was.Bookmark here

Through their ears, I picked up heightened footfalls behind me. My would-be assailants were too scattered for me to pinpoint but I took that as my cue to start running.Bookmark here

The deeper I got into the crowd the easier it was to pick them out. There were five of them, all men, casually dressed in loose dark shirts and slacks. They were inconspicuous, barely noticeable in the sea of people, but they were the only ones who matched my pace.Bookmark here

I turned into an alley X had marked as my destination and turned my back to the dead end in preparation for a fight. Of course, the dead end was just a projection.Bookmark here

The emperor's most favored servant used this route to get to the Quilicon, the restaurant I and X had been scoping. It was rumored that he had recently gone out of favor and was looking for a way to get into the emperor's good graces—and apparently, the good emperor was looking for women to sate him appetites.Bookmark here

So far, the servant hadn't succeeded in wining his favor back. I was hear to help him.Bookmark here

I closed the umbrella and pointed it at the men once the closed in on me. They grinned when they saw me standing still; the sleaziness of their thoughts made my stomach churn in disgust. I wished I could just break into their minds and bring them to their knees.Bookmark here

They spread themselves out around me so that I was caught in the middle of their ring. I made sure to keep all of them within my line of sight, and the wall behind me.Bookmark here

If I could, I would find a way to get back at X for hiring such ugly men to beat me up. Bookmark here

"That doesn't look like your distressed," he complained softly.Bookmark here

I rolled my eyes and made my hands tremble so much that the umbrella dropped to the ground.Bookmark here

"Heyo. Pretty lady~"Bookmark here

"Your skin looks so soft. Hehe. I'm going to enjoy this."Bookmark here

"That's no way to talk to a lady, Lorenzo."Bookmark here

"Hey, pretty girl. If you pay us double what we were paid to do you in, we'll make it fun for you too."Bookmark here

I stumbled back and fixed an horrified expression on my face. "N-No. Get a-away from me, you pigs."Bookmark here

"Overdramatic, but better." He hummed in approval. "The target will be on you in thirty seconds."Bookmark here

That was my cue to scream at the top of my lungs.Bookmark here

One of the men rushed me in an attempt to cover my mouth. I raised my knee between his legs and a mix of momentum and pain brought his down.Bookmark here

"You whore!" he growled, as though the word was supposed to be an insult.Bookmark here

"Nikolai and Lazlo are in position," X said.Bookmark here

That was my cue to get a little bruised.Bookmark here

The men spread out even further as the man I kicked stood up. It seemed that he was the leader and they had decided to let him handle me on his own as a way to win back his honor.Bookmark here

He slammed me into the wall and pain exploded along my spine. I let out piercing scream that matched my annoyance at not being able to kill him right now. The emperor loved sensitive women.Bookmark here

The thug slapped me. The force was enough to send the sunglasses off my face. He pressed the tip of his knife into my cheek, hard enough to draw blood. "Make one more sound and I'll cut up this pretty face of yours so much that no one would recognize your corpse."Bookmark here

I quietened my cries to appropriate whimpers.Bookmark here

"Get away from her, you scoundrel!" It was a new voice, one belonging to someone that had arrived with reinforcements.Bookmark here

"[Be still]."Bookmark here

I pushed my attacker away from me and like a statue, he toppled over and began to bleed. I crouched to floor and went in search of my glasses, I managed to put it on just as a hand touched my shoulder.Bookmark here

I flinched and curled in on my self until a soothing voice said, "It's alright."Bookmark here

I looked up, into the eyes of my "savior". "Thank you, Sir. If it wasn't for you..."Bookmark here

He used a handkerchief to wipe away the blood on my face. "Just look what they did to you. Let me take a proper look."Bookmark here

He took off my glasses and I heard him gasp. I could already see the cogwheels turning in his head. "You must be new here."Bookmark here

"Yes. My home planet was overcome by rebel forces and destroyed. I came here in search of opportunities."Bookmark here

In his mind, he was that opportunity.Bookmark here

"I won't both you anymore now, Sir." I turned to leave.Bookmark here

"No," he grabbed me by the arm, with enough force to leave a bruise, "you will not."Bookmark here

"You cannot walk around in your state. Who is to say that this won't happen again?" he asked, as the imperial guards beat up the thugs in the background. "I can't save you twice, and you need medical attention."Bookmark here

"What will you have me do?"Bookmark here

"You will come with me."Bookmark here

"But—"Bookmark here

"This is the opportunity you've been waiting for."Bookmark here

"Yes sir."Bookmark here

"Don't call me Sir. My name is William, personal servant of His Majesty."Bookmark here

I tried to look appropriately awed.Bookmark here

Infiltration: complete.Bookmark here

The Story Of Who

The Story Of Who


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