Author: Luna Moonsilver PM
Pyrite they called her, for a fool; and a fool she had once been. One-shotRated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 1,746 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-20-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2840180
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Pyrite, they called her, for a fool; and a fool she had once been. Only once, however. She was running along one of the long corridors of the palace now, muscles tensing when she heard the echo of a footstep, or a whisper of breath. If she was caught here, she would be done for. As an assassin - the lowest of the low - she would have no trial, no hearing. There would be the slam of a cell door, suffocating darkness, and then an execution. Possibly public. It depended if she completed this job. Public executions were more often than not done to please a crowd. If they didn't know who she was, then no one would come along to watch. Where would the point be in it then?
There was a scrape of metal ahead and Pyrite paused, stepping back into an alcove. Two guards marched past without speaking. She waited until the coast was clear before she moved again, dodging around a corner at a fairly alarming speed. The room she needed was just up ahead, but she knew there would be guards inside; at least two of them. The people who had hired her had made their intentions quite clear to the royal family. They had been properly warned. Pyrite had been hired because she was supposed to be somewhat of an escape artist, somewhat of a prodigy. She wasn't all that sure where she had acquired the skills, herself. All she knew was that when she had first been taken on as an assassin's apprentice, at the tender age of seven, she had been the best at evading attacks, at escaping rooms. She put it down to a heightened sense of self-preservation. One of her instructors had said it was luck.
Pyrite paused before the door, pressing her ear up against it. She could hear muffled whispers; the sound of footsteps, softened by carpet. A breath of cold air that wound its way around her ankles told her that the window was open - and that it would probably be her best access point. No one would see an attack like that coming.
She slipped into the room next door, glad to see that it was empty. The window opened with a minor creak; though it was unlikely that the occupants next door would even notice. What seemed more difficult was the climb across. She adjusted her mask over her face before she moved, stepping out onto the window ledge.
The bricks were old, and with age came gaps in the mortar. Pyrite loosened her dagger before she swung out, fingers holding onto the stone tightly. Her gloves allowed a little extra grip; she shuffled across slowly, ensuring she never looked at the ground, so far below. Mortar crumbled from beneath her hands and feet, but she made it to the second ledge without a hitch, silently taking her place at the window. She drew her dagger with a quiet snick.
There was a guard by the main door, the one which led out to the corridor. One lounged on the chaise in the middle of the room, his weapons on the table nearby. The final one was standing guard in front of the other door; the one which led to her target.
It would be an easy succession, she considered. The one by the main door first, to prevent any alarm. The one by her target's door second, to free up her path. The one on the chaise third; he probably wouldn't have reached his weapons by the time she walked into the room.
She replaced her dagger, instead pulling two throwing knives from the sheaths strapped to her thighs. The guards were, naturally, wearing armour, so she was going to have to wait for a moment when they were vulnerable.
It didn't take too long. The one by the main door lifted his face plate, to scratch at his nose. Pyrite almost giggled at the opportunity - how incompetent! Her knife flew, embedding itself in his throat with a dull thud. He fell to the ground gurgling, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
The one by her target's door raised his weapon in alarm, but that knife had flown too, just making it in the gap between helmet and chest armour. The third tried to stand, but Pyrite had already drawn her dagger; that went in his throat, too - there had been no shouts, from any of them.
Once the third had died, Pyrite stood, wiping the blood from her dagger on the chaise. She opened the door that led to her target without any hesitation, noticing the man instantly; he was sitting on the bed with his head in his hands.
He lifted his head. Panic and fear crossed his face, but he hid them well after that first instant, even though his hands were shaking. Pyrite almost felt impressed.
"You're here to kill me, aren't you?" he said.
"Yes," she answered.
It was enough. He carried on staring at her, though his whole body was trembling now. Pyrite stared back without an ounce of pity. It wasn't her job to decide who lived and died - she merely carried out the sentences.
The dagger plunged into his heart and his eyes closed a few moments later with a sickening finality.
Pyrite had just one pressing thought left - the issue of her own escape. She left the room via the window, since she couldn't risk anyone seeing her come out of the door. Once there, it was a (relatively) simple matter of making her way to the Princess' chambers. She supposed the room of any lady of the court would have served the same purpose, but there was something purely theatrical about this that she just couldn't resist.
Quickly, Pyrite took one of the Princess' dresses from her wardrobe and stripped off her clothes, pulling it on over her head. It wasn't a simple matter - and she was panting by the end of it; these things were heavy - but she got it on and fastened only five minutes after she had found it. All of her weapons were strapped on underneath the dress, and she kept her boots and gloves - though the gloves were pushed into a bag, since she couldn't exactly explain them away.
Her clothes, she picked up and hung up in the wardrobe. Give the Princess a little shock when she came to dress tomorrow. Or her handmaiden, more likely.
Pyrite turned to a mirror and frowned at her hair; she pushed it back into a neat bun and let the veil lay over the top of it, hiding her face from view. That was another reason why stealing the Princess' clothes was the best option - no one was allowed to see her face.
She left the room twenty minutes after having killed her target, disguise firmly in place.
The first thing she noticed was the abundance of guards running in the direction she was walking away from. She stopped one with a gentle hand on his arm, and he bowed as he looked at her.
"What is going on?" she asked softly; judging that this guard would probably not know the difference between the Princess' voice and another woman's.
"Nothing you need worry about, your highness," he replied, his smile fake and sweat beading at his brow. He knew something dangerous had happened. Good. "You should return to your chaperone, ma'am."
"Yes, of course," Pyrite replied, offering a small duck of her head when the man bowed again.
She walked along the corridors, careful not to rush lest the guards suspect something was wrong. Most bowed to her when they passed, if they noticed her at all. They all had somewhere else to be, didn't they?
When she heard the shout of, "Princess," her blood ran cold. She turned, noticing a handsome man rushing toward her, who took her arm in his. "Are you quite alright, Princess?"
"I am fine," Pyrite replied. This made the situation somewhat more troublesome. The man still smiled, regardless, unknowing. Her voice wasn't obviously different to the Princess', then.
"May I escort you out to the gardens, then? Your maids are waiting there."
Oh, this was bad. "No!" Pyrite said quickly, before biting her lip. "I mean, no," she amended, softening her voice at his concerned look. "I would prefer to stay inside today. I am somewhat worried about all of this... movement."
"Of course," he nodded eagerly. Clearly some kind of lagging suitor, then, she thought. This could work to her advantage.
"Would you be so kind as to fetch my maids for me?" she asked sweetly, leaning in a little closer. "I would like to do some embroidery, if you would be inclined to stay and converse."
He nodded again, beaming. "I shall be but a moment, Princess," he said, before rushing off. Pyrite took a quick look around before she followed, checking out the main doors for the man or the Princess' handmaidens.
No one was in sight - though she could see her cab was waiting at the gates. She knew who would be inside. Pyrite began walking toward it, conscious that she had been in the castle far too long, now. She could be caught at any moment.
The guards at the gate were not inclined to let her pass, either, which only made it more difficult.
"You cannot leave without an escort, Princess," one said sombrely. "You know that."
"I do," Pyrite agreed. She pulled two small needle-like weapons from up her sleeves, careful not to catch her skin on the drugged points. One went in one guard's hand, one in the other's neck. They slumped to the ground almost instantly, and the assassin slipped out of the gate, walking quickly to the cab and closing the door behind her.
When asked later, the guards could only stammer that the Princess had, for some strange reason, stabbed them with something that had rendered them unconscious for a good eight hours.
When the cab was tracked down, no one ever remembered a Princess entering or leaving. The only people inside had been a young woman, demurely dressed in the season's latest fashions, and her father, a presumably wealthy businessman, considering the jewels he had been sporting. Their names and identities were never discovered.