"Damn... Our break time's over already. "

"My God! Can't they give us a break time again before supper break today? Today is damn hot! "

"Yeah... What a night man! This is not summer, this is hell! "

"No complaining men! Back to work! ... Or I'll cut your wages! "

Faint chatters of men loading down trade cargos resound in my ear. Patience, I guess. I managed to sneak into a cargo box, and now I can't manage to lose my cover. This mission must be done. For House Swindon, Iliska Empire, and... for my promotion of course.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

From the numerous heartbeats and the profuse sweating I felt, I must've felt really nervous. This is my first assassination attempt, after all... before I'll be initiated as a true Harbinger. Master Leonid, the current Harbinger Grandmaster, ordered me to eliminate Duke Libna, a secret drug dealer. On the outside he seems like a normal born-rich royalty, but recently the Harbinger discovered that he smuggles illegal drugs from Lune Kingdom... and needs to be eliminated.

The Harbinger decided that Duke Libna's mansion has a class B- difficulty; still viable for a newbie to infiltrate. And so, his mansion is my first mission ground, and he is my first target.

I feel my body shaken slightly upwards.

"Hey boss, what's inside this? It's damn heavy! "

"Just your feeling boy... no complaints! "

Finally, my box is carried. I guess my patience finally paid off. I can hear the complaints from the sorry guy who reluctantly carries me anyway. He is going to have a back sore after this... Poor guy. After shaken up and down for about 5 minutes, I can feel the impact from the box dropped to the ground. All right, I've inside the storeroom now... It shouldn't take long before I can get out.

5 minutes...

10 minutes...

15 minutes...

All right, I guess it's time. Slowly I open the box lid, and climb the box to the outside...

"Who's there... Umff!"

Quickly I disable a guard, a chubby middle aged man, who witness my coming out from the box with my specially prepared sleeping drug. That was dangerous... He nearly screamed out loud. Hastily I change into my prepared worker's uniform, a simple white sleeveless tunic with Duke Libna's symbol; white rose, imprinted on it. Not forget I readjust my blonde wig. Don't want a silly mistake to spoil the mission...

Right... now what to do with the body...

I know!

I drag his body and put in behind the boxes. He'll probably be caught as sleeping on the job... Oh well, poor him, but it doesn't matter.

"Hey there! Who are you? I never see your face... "

A rough voice interrupts my thinking. Oh, it's the supervisor. It's time to deceive and trick.

"I'm a new worker sir. My name's James Black, nice to meet you, " I give him a slight bow and present my fake working pass.

"A new worker eh? You must be from that batch from one week ago... Feh! Now I can't remember people anymore... My memory is getting worse and worse..."

"... Should I continue my work sir?" I said, breaking his continuous monologue.

"Of course! Newcomers nowadays are such assholes when it comes to work..."

I ignore his clearly directed ranting and make my way outside to the courtyard. I don't know where the rest of the cargo is, so I follow his steps outside. I come out from the dark storeroom to a long hallway lit by candlelight. A number of paintings; maids (at least I think so) are cleaning some of them, and animal heads lined up on its white wall. Hmm... what a tycoon. Drug tycoon... no wonder the queen wants him dead.

"Don't space out! Keep moving!" the supervisor turns around and shouts at me.

30 minutes have passed, and I'm still carrying the boxes, from the courtyard to the storeroom. While I'm carrying those boxes, I can see maids carrying breads and water jugs to the courtyard. From the looks of it, supper break will arrive soon. Good. This means I can start the second phase soon.

I put one more drug-containing box to the storeroom and decide to take a break by myself. I sit on this storeroom's floor, take a vial of water I put in my shorts' pocket and drink it. Phew... I'm getting all sweaty after carrying those boxes. Although I do try to conserve my stamina for later, I still feel rather tired. The next phase... duh... I wish there's an easier way to do this...

"BREAK TIME!!!" a harsh voice, the supervisor's, announced.

Hearing that voice, I quickly rise and rush to the courtyard. It's time to initiate the second phase of the plan. When I arrive to the courtyard, 'fellow' workers can be seen foraging the breads on the tables. Some of them; the better looking one, are busy flirting with the maids. Hmm...

"So the second phase of the plan is... to deliver the poison to the sickly Duke Libna."

"Deliver the poison? Sir...you mean like putting it in his food or something?"

"No... you are to pour this Cirzen directly into his mouth."

"Cirzen... isn't it pretty slow reacting sir?"

"I'm delighted that you still remember your lessons. Yes, it is quite a slow reacting one, but it won't leave marks on the target. Unless a detailed examination is done, no one will suspect poisoning. And of course the queen mother... "

"Of course... She has the power to close the case as a normal death. But how exactly can I enter his room with some worker's cloth?"

"No... you're not supposed to enter in worker's cloth. It won't be... appropriate."

"Then, what plan do you have in mind? "

"Take off your wig, and enter as a maid."

"Oh yeah! I see... they won't be suspicious this way..."

"WAIT!!! By that you mean that I have to disguise as a maid??!! "

"Yes."

"How can I disguise as a maid sir? I mean, I'm a boy and all..."

"You have a feminine look and figure Rivan. I'm very sure that they won't recognize that you're a boy. "

"Umm... am I supposed to take that as a compliment?"

"It's up to you."

"... No thanks. Is there another way?"

"Good that you asked. I'm afraid that you'll go on with the maid plan."

"I'm sorry sir, but did you make fun of me?"

"Kind of. The real plan is... use an underground passage. Very typical huh?"

Master Leonid said so... underground passage. Yes it is very typical. Duke Libna is a paranoid man. Having been trapped in a fire as a child, he is extremely concerned of his safety. He ordered a safety route to be built from his room to somewhere outside the mansion, most likely in the city's guard house. He also instructed that a shift of sentinels always guards the entrance and the exit. That can be trouble... but Master Leonid also said that there's an additional entrance in the mansion. According to him, this additional entrance is neither as hidden nor as heavily guarded as the other one,

"Umm... are you all right sir?"

A girl's voice interrupts my thinking. I abruptly turn my head and find a girl in a maid uniform looking at me with a worried expression. She looks quite young... probably in her teenage years. She has a pretty long brown hair; reaching a little below her shoulders, and similarly coloured eye. Her body seems quite proportional... Come to think of it, all the maids in this palace also look good. Duke Libna must be very caring for them. Oh well... it's none of my business. Anyway, she should be able to show me the way to the underground passage. All maids know of the underground passage.

"... Hello?"

She continues to look at my eyes, casting a puppy face. Uhm... what does she want with me?

"Umm... what's that in your hair?" the maid asks while pointing at my hair.

What's in my hair...? I touch my forehead and feel something hairy. Yikes, it's my wig!! It must've been moving somewhere... Now this girl knows my real hair color... Should I kill her? But I can't cause any casualties...

"Sir, so your hair is... brown?" she asks. I nod back.

"Why must you wear some... (wig, I answered) whatever? Moreover, how can you get it? I only saw Lord Libna use it once before... "

Oh no... what a nosy girl.

"Eh... I guess it's none of my business," she continues, now looking down.

Phew.

"... I'm feeling rather unwell... Can you give me some healing herbs?" I ask her, feigning cough.

"O...of course! Right this way please," she replies rather nervously, and quickly makes her way to the mansion. I follow her inside, re-checking my equipment along the way. Wow... I never expected it to be this easy... I don't even have to persuade her... Great.

Silence ensues. I don't feel the need to start a conversation anyway...

"Umm... I don't know your name."

...However, the maid seems uncomfortable with the silence. Okay...

"My name's Ri... Black. James Black." I answer, stuttering a little. Yikes, I almost said my real name.

"Nice to meet you. I'm Claire." the maid replies, displaying a curtsy. She actually looks pretty sweet. I feel slightly bad now that I have to maybe kill her later...

"Nice to meet you too." I reply back shortly.

There's the silence again. The maid, Claire, seems like she wants to say something, but can't. I keep silent and vigilant, occasionally feigning cough. After about 5 minutes, we arrive in the medicine storage room. It's time to enact the plan...

"... So what kind of medicine do you... ugh?"

"Show me the way to this mansion's underground passage."

I turn her body around to face me and shove my knife to her throat. I can see surprise in her face.

"Scream, and I wonder what will happen to your precious life."

One sentence with a horrid expression proves effective to shut her up. I myself can't believe that I can make a sound that scary... Whatever.

"W... who and what are you? What do you want?" she asks, trying to sound brave but coming out shaking and groggy.

"Like I said before, escort me to the underground passage. You try to scream, and your fellow maids will chant their eulogies for you tomorrow. Trust me, I know when you'll scream," I threaten her with as horrifying an expression as possible. Now I can see her face sweating a lot. She must've felt really scared. I move closer and whispers in her ear,

"Don't worry Miss Claire, if you follow my orders, you will be unharmed. That much I can assure you." I stroke her hair a bit with my left hand, without releasing my knife from her throat. It doesn't do anything to alleviate her fear it seems. No matter.

"Please lead the way, Miss Claire," I said, releasing the knife from her throat. The moment I release my knife, she seems like gathering her courage. She opens her mouth big... Oh no!

"AAAfffftt!!"

Quickly I close her mouth with my left hand and shove back my knife to her throat. A hard one is she?

"You don't seem to value your life, Miss Claire," I slit her throat a little, making it bleed. That should does it. "One more time... and it won't be just a scratch."

"..."

She can't say anything because I block her mouth, but from her expression, it seems like she wants to say something along the line of "You bastard". Moreover, she seems to be shaking... Is she shaken with fear or anger? I think both. Now I guess I need to do something to not let her scream aloud on the way... That's right. There's the silence spell. This is my first time casting it in such a risky situation though... I guess it's worth a try. Without removing my hand from her mouth, I put away my knife, and take a Gaodion gem from my pocket. Damn it, it's expensive at 500 Lustra a piece... Oh well. I close my eye, concentrate and hold the gem up high...

From speech born blasphemy; from spells born destruction.

I mutter the first sentence of the spell. A moment later, I open my eyes and I can see white lights begin to emit from the gem. Great... the spell's successful. I close my eyes, and continue chanting the rest of the spell,

Gaodion, Minstrel of Clarity, I beseech your help,

Take watch of the woman in front of me,

And let nothing but your silence envelops.

When I finish my spell, my Gaodion gem has dissolved. What's left is the now silenced girl in front of me. I let go of her mouth, and in an instant she tries to scream. However, nothing's happening. Ha... 500 Lustra is a pretty good deal. For about 3 hours she won't be able to talk let alone scream. I bet she never sees magic being cast before... It's very rare.

"Now, Miss Claire, please lead me to the underground passage. Only then will I give you back your voice," I force her. Of course I actually can't give her back her voice before 3 hours time, but she won't know that. Very few know how magic works.

"..."

She nods, but that mixed look of contempt and fear is still in her face. Seeing her expression, I remember the exact expression of the Nalcaryan when Iliska first occupied them. Anyway, she has agreed to escort me to the underground passage. ...What if she tricks me and sends me to the guards instead? Nah... it will be impossible with that voice, and if what she hold dear is in my absolute control, I should be able to have power over her. That's what Master Leonid thought me.

"...Thanks. Can you avoid the courtyard? "

She nods again, turns her back and begins walking. I quickly sheath my knife and follow her. She walks slowly, out from the medicine storage room. Seeing her frowning expression, I too put a light frown upon my face, and put my hands behind my neck. Along the way, I run upon several maids, who all giggle when they see us walking. Whatever...

Within 10 minutes, I arrive in front of the kitchen. There's no one inside. I look at my pocket watch and find out that it's 2 A.M already. No wonder. Then I set my sight on Claire, who have removed the pantry and seems to be opening something on the ground. Oh! It seems that she wants to open the underground passage. I help her open it and find a one-way underground route, with torches on its side.

"..."

I look up and see Claire, who is looking at me eagerly. Oh right, she wants her voice back. What do I do now? Kill her? She has seen my face after all... What should I do? I can't cause any casualties... or else. I take a handkerchief and vial from my pocket, and I spread the liquid from the vial; my specially mixed sleeping drug. She looks a bit confused, perhaps wondering what I do, but that look doesn't last so long. I quickly approach her and cover her nose with my drugged handkerchief. Within a few seconds, she loses her consciousness and falls down. Sorry... stay here for awhile.

I quickly jump down the now open trap door and make my way forward through the torch-lit route. Before long, I find a rope ladder and another trap door. Judging from the distance, this must be the way to Duke Libna's room. Good. There should be a guard inside, however. To anticipate him, I apply some of my sleep drugs to my handkerchief again before climbing the ladder. Not forget I double-check my Cirzen... all right. After checking everything, I climb up the rope ladder and open up the trap door a little, only to take a peek.

As I thought, there's a guard in the far side of the room, sitting in a chair. He seems to have lost his concentration, dozing off occasionally. This really makes my job easier. I walk up to him silently, and cover his nose with my handkerchief. All right, that should do the job. Now...

On the bed nearby, lies Duke Libna, sleeping soundly. What I see is an elderly sick man with pale skin and white hair. It's hard to believe that he's a powerful and rich drug lord. ... I don't really care. I take my Cirzen-filled vial, and poured in into his mouth. Done. It's all over.

Knock Knock

"Lord Libna! It's time for your medicine..."

Damn it! What a bad timing!

"Ungghh..."

Now the sick man is waking up as well... What must I do...? I don't think I can proceed fast enough to the trap door... There's really no choice! I take my handkerchief, open the window nearby, gather all my courage... and hah!

A.N: I know there are some things that are left unexplained in this chapter, I plan to explain the magics and other stuffs gradually... so there. Please rate and review my story... because I feel that something is lacking but I don't know where. Thanks! FYI I'm not a native English speaker... so your corrections will be very appreciated.