Chapter 2:

Long Winding Pathways


It seems in my endeavor to hurry things along that I neglected to mention a few details. For a man well versed in the arts of espionage and information gathering, I must do all I can to rectify such null behavior.

The woman before me is Walediales keliori-Ezelodates (or just Wala Wala). She speaks five languages, she’s been my employer for fifteen years, and most importantly, her favorite food is cullberry sundae topped with cream and blood.

Oh, and she’s also a part of an oligarchic vampire society running the continent.

Despite all that though, she really isn’t as evil as I make her out to be. Blood sucking creature of the night or not, we’re still on quite good terms. On more than one occasion, we’ve gone out to watch movies, go to the park, and visit the arcades even! Would a truly evil and vile person go to such an extent for little old me?

Would someone, oh so heartless, and devoid of empathy really use their spare time in such a manner?

Actually, probably. Though, it’s more enjoyable if you don’t consider these factors, so hey, who cares!

“Azama, Azama, Azama, we trust that you have the means to execute this job, do you not?”

She’s speaking with her legs crossed right now, looking at me with a smile that's an equal mix of pride, half-real sadness, and resignation.

“When’s the last time you’ve ever given me a job I can’t handle?”

She expands her eyes, dissecting me visually.

“Hard to do that, when you’re dealing with a human as exceptional as yourself.”

Her head tilts forward, an empty void of red gazing into my soul. There it is. The subtle gesture and framing of her body, I am more than accustomed to. Oh, so we are gonna play that game, huh? If she wants to do it this way, then so be it!

Throwing my left hand into the air, I yell “Oh do flatter me more darling!”

“What a brilliant, splendid, absolutely astounding specimen of blood bag you are.”

She crosses her arms.


She shifts her left heel perpendicular to her right.

“Thank you once again dearly for committing murder and theft for us.”

She shifts her back parallel to her seat, and recenters her weight.

“It is my utmost pleasure oh dearest most intelligent Madame Ezelodates!”

“I do so love your enthusiasm.” Walediales muses, with the exact sort of mature longing and envy you would find in a 132 year old vampire.

As if looking for a vent for her woes, my employer reaches into her inner waistcoat. . Taking her hand out, she reveals a plastic wrapped object, a food the length of a hand.

While unwrapping it, she rests her chin on her other hand, and smiles at me.

“Worried, boy?”

Her words are spoken in a tone that should seem condescending. Only, I find it too charming and unique of an expression to care.

I’m also quite young myself, so ‘boy’ isn’t exactly wrong either.

“Not at all, now where’s the fun in that?”

I reply with disconcertion, and inspect her now twice-bitten foodstuff. ‘Porixum’, it’s called, a classic vampire treat of deep fried blood on a stick, seasoned with a variety of herbs on a stick.

I’m quite happy to see it actually, because I made that one myself.

When all’s said and done, it’s not my place to judge vampires for their tastes.

After all, I myself am quite the culinary enthusiast. Having experimented with fermented embryos, sea cucumbers and more, all exotic to the Aoelian food scene, I gotta say that people really are too picky!

Despite being a plain old human myself, I gesture with a wink of my eye, and soon grab a porixum for myself.

Unwrapping it, I then take a bite, tearing into its soft texture with a smile on my face.

Yum, this one tastes like Elf blood. 

After this banter and a minute or so extra of driving, did the journey finally come to a close.

“Fleet footwork Azama.” She says, sending a glance my way.

Smiling back, I exit through the newly opened door, come to a halt just a few steps away-

“Fleeting footwork, to be precise.”

and shoot Walediales an untroubled look.

Walking away, I head towards the general direction of my home. General, inferring in this case, just slightly off angle north east. Following my walk, just slightly off angle, after 10.3 minutes, I stumble upon a realisation.


Could it be?

Could the statement I had made earlier, with all the sincerity and good intent I could offer, be lost on poor Waliediales?

Wait a second.

Let's think it over shall we?

If I recall, the 'statement' I had made, was a joke made in reference to the pairing of the words ‘fleeting’ and ‘fleet’.

Given that fleet inferred speed, and fleeting inferred a concept or thing lasting for a short time, I had thought it a well executed pun based on the merit of speed inferring the impermanence of a object, and thereby also inferring on behalf of me that…

Oh dear.

Maybe the type of logic required for such a pun is too nonsensical for her personality type. On further retrospection, the prospect of her even hearing my voice was quite slim. I had spoken it in a softer tone than usual, to convey a more cool or mysterious vibe. Though, given the ambient wind and distance coming into play, it may as well have been that she had never heard them.

How cruel. For my parting words to be forever a mystery. Maybe, I can’t even be sure of that. My calculations are uncertain.

Thus being left alone and devoid of any company, I turn my attention inward. Only to realize that there’s nothing there, and look out instead. Without the presence of another, or a person, it seemed the next best choice was to observe my surroundings.

Tall worn out concrete building to my left, guy dying in a pool of his own vomit to the right, possibly a mutated demon rat scurrying between my legs…

The familiarity of it all, to be honest, has dulled my perception of the city. As a result, I remain only able to offer subjective judgment, based upon the precipice of having spent my entire life here.

Therefore, in place of my ultimately subjective opinion, I will recount the quaint objective history of the city of Walpa.

Walpa, originally a fishing town born 1204 years ago by the name of Walipadimes. Bordering the Kondatus Sea, on the east of the Aoelian continent or Aeolian (if you believe it belongs to the Elves, but that’s a touchy subject). Since then, it has transformed from its humble naval roots, into a poor, ramshackle, excuse of a drug den, and jungle; filled with murder and sometimes, literal monsters alike!

Onomatology check, geography check, accidental insert of opinion check, and description of day to day life, also check!

That should be enough exposition to get a good grasp of the place.

Truthfully, as long as you’re rich or not afraid of seeing some really really vile things, it’s honestly quite pleasant. That and well, the crime isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. Statistically, the chance of getting robbed is only 1.44%, and let’s be honest, statistics are pretty questionable.

They’re finicky little playthings, prone to manipulation, and exploitation by people.

Much like how Walediales manipulated me, coercing me into what should be certain doom.

That logic does apply, doesn't it? The idea that statistics and people alike are subject to exploitation. So much so, that it's kinda pessimistic. Like the concept that a living human being, and a series of numbers are one and the same.

Sharing equal value in weight and existence.

Then again, if you ask a mathematician or a dictator, they very well may say statistics surpass the value of a person in importance. So, in the end, it's all a matter of perspective really.

Looking on the bright, I am getting a chance to meet the one and only Rainee Althaiez.

If tomorrow's gonna be my last day, I'd rather look to it positively if anything else!

Though that does have me wondering.

Just what sort of man is Rainee Althaiez, really?

Steward McOy
Kya Hon
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