I was woken up by the sudden sound of people running outside my room. All the stomping was preventing me from sleeping so I got up to see what was happening.
"Hurry Zeng" they yelled as they ran past me.
I quickly threw my robes over myself and ran after everyone else. I have not seen anything like this happen before yet, so I am not too sure about what is happening. We all gathered around in the main hall of the guild. Everyone around me was mumbling to each other.
Suddenly everyone went silent. The sound of footsteps was getting closer. It seems like this was some serious matter. This is the first time that I have seen the boss have to come down to us, despite being here for nearly a year.
The boss's aura was so powerful everyone was shivering before he even got into the room. Everyone became tensed up and were sweating as if it was midday in the savaya desert.
"I assume that everyone is here now?"
"YES SIR!" Everyone replied strongly.
For me this was the first time, not too sure what I am supposed to do or what to say, would have been nice if someone was able to tell me beforehand how to act when this happens.
"We have received a request. Unlike the other ones, this one is far more important and I will be personally choosing who will take on this mission. The payout will be quite large, meaning this is a big job, I won't choose anyone who I believe is incapable of completing this to the correct standards. Before we progress any further, do any of you have questions?"
"What does the mission involve?"
"It's an assassination mission, greater details will be explained to those who are actually taking part. Any other questions? No? Fantastic, let's move on!"
This must be some serious political leader that the boss had to come and personally choose people, usually for assassinations they take a few people to complete the job without thinking who's going.
"Those whose names I call out step to the front. Xi, Luz, Zeng, Gotong and Nyunyuma. The five of you will carry out this mission. The rest of you are dismissed, await further orders from your group's leaders."
Interesting, I did not expect myself to be considered for this job. At least I will get to find out what this job is, it will give me the chance to prove my worth and potentially get noticed by the boss.
"You five, follow me, I will give you the full details when we get to my office."
"Yes sir" we all shouted simultaneously
We followed the boss into his office and locked the door behind us. The room was fully blacked out with the only source of light being a few candles placed around the room. Papers were scattered all over the room and the smell of booze mixed with cigars was extremely strong.
"So then, you five are the ones who will do this job for me. There's no getting out of this now. Understood?"
"Yes sir," we said simultaneously
"Good. This mission needs to get done as quickly as possible, so I will not be repeating myself twice."
He grabbed some papers and handed them over to us. The paper had the locations noted down as well as an estimated number of targets there.
"As you can see on the papers I have handed out to you, there are 3 locations which we have been asked to clear out. They are supposedly some refugees of the war but there are too many of them for the local authorities to deal with. So the regional major decided to hand the job to us. Two locations are pretty empty so you can split up for those two and the final one meets up altogether and eliminate the final location together. You aren't allowed to come back before every single target is gone."
That's quite brutal, even for an assassins guild, killing over 500 targets is extremely huge. That does explain why this is such an important mission for us. I can now understand why the boss didn't want to choose any random group to carry out the mission since it's extremely important.
"As soon as you complete the task, return here so we can call in the cleanup group to get rid of any evidence. Don't do anything other than that. Understood?"
"Yes sir!" we shouted.
We quickly went and gathered our gear then met up in the courtyard. Since there were an odd number of us, we decided to split into two groups and the one with the most people will go to the second largest location. Xi and Nyunyuma decided to pair up, which left me, Luz and Gotong to go together.
Xi and Nyunyuma went off to the mountains to the North West, whereas the three of us headed to the mountains to the South West. The largest hideout was somewhere between us which we will meet up to get to.
When we arrived we discovered an issue, a very big issue. There was no one there. There are traces that people camped out in this area, however, there was no sign of any living creatures here. We split up and tried to attempt to find them in the nearby area but they were fully gone. I'm not sure how we are going to explain this to the boss, but there's nothing we can do.
"Do you think someone tipped them off about us coming" Luz suggested
"Could be a possibility, we are pretty close to the southern border, they probably fled to find refuge there," Gotong added.
That's pretty logical, they cannot escape North otherwise they would have ended up coming by near us, unless they travelled via the woods, however, that seems highly unlikely due to the woods consisting of wild demons. Since most of the refugees would be weak it would be rather hard for them to cross the woods. Heading East would take them too long to flee the country and even if they did, they would just end up in worse hands since the Tasmethu Empire's main regions are there. The West would put them deeper into the mountains and then the sea, there aren't any major sea towns in that area so finding a ship large enough to help them escape would be seemingly difficult, furthermore, there aren't many countries who would allow their ship to dock making it even more improbable. The South, on the other hand, is pretty nearby, since it took us at least two or three hours to get here, they could have had enough time if they got a carriage to escape, the border is only a two-hour ride away at best. Not to forget if it's the refugees from this country, then they will most likely allow them to enter due to their friendly relations.
"That is most likely the case, I see no other options they could have taken. Considering this happened here, do you think the other two locations are aware of us coming for them?"
"This seems highly probable. I wouldn't be surprised, if the leak got here then it would have gotten to the other two groups as well." Gotong replied.
Looking at it now, the group in the Northern parts of the mountains easily could have escaped to the island to the north, Fhaertala, which is the current leftovers of the Sanalean kingdom. Any other direction would have been just as foolish as the group from here would have been if they went any other way. Them heading South would bring them to us. Heading West would bring them into the ocean, and heading East would just throw them into the occupied towns and then into the Tasmethu region.
Thinking about this gets us nowhere, since there are 3 of us we should quickly check the surrounding area, if they aren't nearby we just go to the other location. However, before I even got the chance to say anything, the other two already planned.
"We should rush to the central location and see what the situation is there, if the same thing happened in the north then we won't be in shit for it." Gotong mentioned.
"Thinking about it, they probably ran to the other groups of refugees to potentially warn them as well, unless they knew about the others getting told. BUT they could be trying all to meet up and escape together, which would be logical." Luz added.
Listening to them was hurting my head. Such a stupid and unlogical conversation. Why would they go up north into a bigger group which would make it easier for them to get caught? They aren't stupid enough to do that. Nonetheless, I don't have much of a say here, two against one never wins.
"Zeng, what do you think? You haven't said much." Luz asked politely
"Ah, yeah we should go check North. But don't you think they wouldn't have gone that way? It seems rather illogical for them to do that since they would only head deeper into the occupied zones."
"Well, that may be true, however, where else would they head?" Goteng argued
"South. That's the closest border to this location."
"It is, yes, but it's also the savaya desert there. Even if they manage to get there, the weather becomes unbearable, they may be friendly with each other too, however, their financial situation isn't good. Most of their people struggle as is yet alone managing to support a group of refugees. Think about it Zeng, where would you go? We are mid-summer. The South is a dreadful desert within a nation that suffers economically. You know you have other people further North who you can meet and plan something with or try to fight back in a larger group." Goteng replied.
He countered all my points with no chance for me to say anything back. I had not thought of it like that, making me seem like an idiot now.
We quickly got on our horses and started heading up North towards the central hideout. Our horses were galloping at full speed just in case we were able to catch up to the other refugees who could be potentially heading this way.
After about 20 minutes we managed to arrive near the location. We didn't want to go too close since we would cause too much noise and would get detected instantly. Not long after we arrived we could see Xi and Nyunyuma speeding towards us.
"Did you manage to complete the job?" Xi shouted as he got off the horse
"No, there was no one there when we arrived, we concluded that they got tipped off and decided to regroup together here with the rest." Goteng shouted back.
"Same occurred here, however, there's a chance that the refugees from our location went North to the coast, we heard that most of the soldiers already left that area and began heading back to the capital." Xi explained
"Took us a little bit to figure out which way they could have gone, but in the end, we concluded that this is the only logical option." Goteng added
"I wanted to head North before we came here to see if there has been any sign of them but I realised that we would just be letting this group of refugees run free if we went further away from them." Nyunyuma mentioned.
I always feel out of place when I go on group missions like this, they all have good chemistry together, and can easily talk to each other. Yet, I always feel pain and anxiety when trying to talk to them, as if something was preventing me from speaking. I always try to fight against it and communicate yet I only suffer from it. There must be something to it.
"I will go scout out the location of the refugee camp, Zeng want to come to help me out?" Luz asked.
"Yeah, sure, I'm coming."
We began trekking up the hill to get a better view of the area in which the refugees are supposed to be. The closer we got to the top we began crouching to ensure that they won't spot us, to the point where we began crawling as we got to the tip. Sure enough, there were around 7 carriages with a huge group of refugees all crowded around them. Seems like we hit the jackpot, from what it looks like all 3 groups of them all came together as we had anticipated.
"We got them, all of them, this is fantastic, isn't it Zeng!" Luz whispered in excitement
I nodded my head in return with a slight smile
Scouting over the refugees I began feeling a pain in my chest as if something was stabbing me. The more I overlooked the refugees the more my chest began to burn.
Am I starting to feel regrets?
Am I afraid?
I couldn't understand why I was feeling like this.
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