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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 8th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 118 > Continuing Series > The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Two

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Two

by meratocat

Surprises in the Dark

I stared into the hazel eyes of Kontour, unmoving, waiting for him to speak.

     "I suppose that my contacts were right when they said that you were smart. You showed that by not storming up here in whatever ragtag clothes you must wear normally, and instead dressed in a way more fit to a civilized creature." I held back a growl, and put my hands behind my back were I could clench them in anger without him seeing. It was only the fact that he was an employer that kept me from yelling an insult back at him, so instead I just sufficed with giving him a dark smile.

     "You have summoned me here, Kontour. What is it that you wish of me to do for you," I said, ready to just be off on my assignment.

     "You mean the who that I will ask of you to do in for me," Kontour said yawning. "He is a snake of a creature, a green colored Kacheek named Terlan. He owes a very large gambling debt to me, and he runs any time he sees any creatures that work for me to avoid paying his debt. I would like you to track him down, and make him pay the price. Yes, the price for avoiding his payments. Will you do this assignment?" Kontour snickered to himself.

     He was just a typical rich owner of a large amount of land. Always worrying about getting money, and having debts paid to add to his trust fund. No doubt that he could easily do without the money of Terlan, but even so, he felt that it was in his right to deal out justice to those who did not pay him. I was disgusted at the waste of my talent on a rich creatures dispute with money, but a job was a job, and so I did what I had to. "I accept this assignment," I replied.

     "Good, very good," Kontour said clasping his paws together. "How does 5,000 Neopoints sound. It is a fifth of what he owes me."

     For as simple a job as he was offering, 5,000 was a perfect amount, but even so, I tried to raise the price a bit. "7,000," I said sternly.

     "6,500," he said raising the price to a good amount.

     "Deal," I said, and then I shook paws with him, the assignment taken. "I would like to go out and finish my job as soon as it is possible."

     He looked at me as if expecting something else, but then he let out a small sigh. "Go ahead, you can leave now." And with that, I walked out the door.

***

Zana Taru walked through the underbrush as silently as she possibly could as she tracked the path of her mother. "Leave me behind… I'll prove that I am good enough to help," she mumbled to herself. Zana knew that if she were to run into her mother after she had received her assignment, that Zarrel Charmain would be stuck with her. "She can yell at me all she wants for me to go home, but she can't take me home herself without going back on her employer." Zana Taru smirked to herself as she walked on again.

     She had been following any scant trace that she could find of Zarrel Charmain's passage for hours when Zana begin to wonder if she should just give the whole thing up and return back, hoping to not get into too much trouble. You've gone this far already! Why turn back now, she thought to herself as she pushed aside a cluster of hanging leaves from a tree. Zana Taru held back a gasp as she saw her mother, who had just then changed into the clothes of a maiden. With a gulp, she quickly pulled back into the shadows just as Zarrel Charmain turned. Zana's green tunic, and purple fur helped to hide he from her mothers sight. Zana Taru stood crouched down in that spot until she saw her mother out of sight, and then she was ready to start following again.

     As Zarrel Charmain made her way into the village of Riverfront, Zana Taru kept her pace back. She knew that as she was she would stick out like a sore thumb, surely be noticed by her mother, and she didn't want to be spotted just yet. Since she had nothing to change into to appear less conspicuous, Zana Taru just sat down on a rock with a sigh. She would just wait.

***

I walked away from the manor of Kontour without even looking backwards. I just wanted to hurry up and get this job finished, and collect my pay, because I was started to get a gut feeling that something bad was about to happen. I had ignored that feeling several times before, and it seemed that whenever I did, I would almost got myself killed. I was not about to let that mistake happen again while I stand by idly.

     I spent most of the afternoon wandering around the village collecting information on the whereabouts of Terlan. I took my time prying the information from the various creatures of the village as to not pull any suspicion, and so it took me until about an hour before the sun was to set to find all that I needed. I learned of Terlan's gambling problem, and that he liked to hang about places where he could blow all of his money. Probably the reason he owed such a large amount to Kontour. I also found out that there was to be a large tournament of sorts that night-one that would attract gamblers from all over to attempt to win it big, while in truth most every single one of them was going to loose a lot of their hard earned money in the games.

     I turned to make my way to the darker outskirts of the village since I now knew where I could find my quarry. A dark smile lit slightly on my lips as I planned out what I would do in my head.

     Once I was alone in the dark shadows, I changed from my disguise as a maiden into another. I put on some baggy clothes over top my tunic, and then wrapped a cloth over most of my head to hide it from view. An off-white cloak wrapped around me, concealing my dagger while still giving me easy access to it. Once I was done, I pulled out my dagger, and looked at my reflection in it from the swiftly setting sun. I grinned underneath my facemask, for I had achieved the effect that I desired. Even on a close glance, any creature would believe me to be male, for I doubted that they would let a maiden, or any female wander among their ranks. And even if they did, I would have eyes on my back the whole time, making it next to impossible to carry out my assignment.

     As I looked at the reflection cast by my dagger, I saw a dark shape move behind me. With a scowl, I casually turned around, all the while glancing at the reflection through my dagger. Sure enough, the figure disappeared into the shadows before I had turned far enough to see him without the use of my dagger.

     My thoughts soared at who it could have been, but I kept a straight face as not to divert any attention. Whoever it was that had seen me, he had seen me in my assassin form, and unless he was a complete dim wit, he would know that I was after someone. One thing that bothered me was how silently he had moved. I could hear no intake of breath, and no rustle of leaves or clothing as he darted out of my sight. That was something that you needed training to do. Either that or years of practice at lurking in shadows without making any sounds.

     Still in a more casual mood, I slung my pack over my shoulder, and walked slowly past the bushes where he was hidden giving them a wide enough breach to not appear like I knew anything, though still staying close enough to see the spot through the reflection in my dagger which I still held in my hand.

     I gritted my teeth as I saw him silently come out of the bushes and start to follow me, all the while still keeping to shadows in which he could hide if I happened to turn. As I walked, I knew that I would have to end this soon, but even so, I wanted to know who it was that would follow me. I faked a stumble, and went down to my knees as I gripped my dagger tightly, ready to throw it in a way that would stun the victim, but give no lasting harm. I wanted to know why he was following me.

     The figure stopped as I did, his footsteps making no sound as he did so. As soon as I saw him stop, I quickly bounded to my feet with the agility of a cat as I turned around and threw my dagger at his form.

     He barely had time to gasp as the hilt of the dagger smacked into his chest with a strong force that sent him falling backwards, stunned as I had hoped. As I ran over to get to him before he could get up, I grinned to myself knowing that the throw would leave a large bruise on all but the sturdiest of creatures. He'd be lucky if that was all I let him get away with though.

     "You should know better then to follow an assassin," I said as I neared him. "Now I have a few questions for you, and you are going to answer every single one of them."

     He was laying on his stomach I saw as I approached. I also noted that he was a Zafara, and a lot shorter then I had guessed. "What is your name?" I asked with a cold undertone as I picked my dagger from the ground, and then at his silence. "Answer me!" I grabbed some excess cloth on his shoulder, and flipped him around, right before letting out a startled gasp.

     "Hi mom," Zana Taru gasped with a candid smile on her lips. Through her smile, though, I saw that she was cringing, most likely from the blow I had given her.

     "No," I said. "You are NOT supposed to be here!"

     She just smiled.

     "I could have killed you! And then what? I'd feel guilty for the rest of my life knowing that I had mistaken you for someone else. You know I told you to stay home so why did you come!?"

     "Because I never have any fun," she said with indifference. "You always make me stay home like I am a little youngling…"

     "Which you are."

     "NO I AM NOT!!!" she blurted out. "I fought in a massive battle when I was only seven mom, seven! That was three years ago, and now I know even more." And to emphasize her point, she took out her sword, and swung it in an ark into the dirt.

     "As I recall, Dorono gave me all the details on that fight, you were almost killed, and because of you, Dorono gave himself up to the forces of that vile Dsupa." I looked at her again as I saw her ready to explode at me with another argument. "You are older, you feel that you are ready, but you are not as strong as you think you are. You will put yourself in danger's way, and my way too."

     "So you're going to send me home then," she said crossing her arms.

     "No."

     I shed a smile at her from under my facemask. "Since you are here, it is here that you will stay. I will go in and complete my assignment, and then I will come back to get you. Just promise me that this time you will stay in place. I have a very bad whim about this whole thing…" I looked into the sky as if doom would just fly down at me before turning back to look her directly in the face. "Promise me."

     "I promise," she said harshly, and then more gently, "I promise that I will stay here until you come back."

     With a nod, I turned from the errant Zana Taru. I had already wasted too much time, and had to go quickly. The more reasonable voice inside of me told me that I should just escape into the night with her, and forget the whole thing, but I had had practice ignoring that little bit of reason, and continued off towards the spot they were to have the tournament in, and where I was going to find Terlan, all the while hoping that Zana would listen, and just stay in place.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part One

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Three

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Four

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Five

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Six

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Seven

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Eight

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Nine

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Ten

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Eleven

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Twelve

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Thirteen

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Fourteen

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Fifteen

The Zafara Assassin 4: Darkness and Light -- Part Sixteen

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