Gabriel was still running: he had no choice. He had killed a man in broad daylight. Stabbing someone was a lot more personal than throwing a bomb. And it was a lot more certain that someone in the crowd might remember his face. Gabriel had killed a man with his own hand. The blood was still on his fingers.

As he reached the main exit for the Royal City, Gabriel began to slow down to a walk. He had to look as inconspicuous as possible now. He didn't want to get detained and questioned right when he was about to obtain his freedom.

Freedom. It was almost unthinkable. Gabriel had begun his mission with the belief that he would be ultimately caught and sentenced to death. He had thought that getting caught trying to assassinate the only living member of the royal house was a certainty for him. Gabriel wouldn't have minded being killed over that. He had no one left to live for and nothing left to him. His family was dead.

One guard took a passing glance at Gabriel, making his fingers twitch in anticipation of a fight. Despite his paranoia, nobody stopped Gabriel. He passed the gates and was now outside the Royal City. Gabriel took one last look behind him before beginning a slow jog. He was exhausted from the running earlier, but Gabriel knew the farther away he was from this city, the most likely he would get to keep his life. Because now that he knew he had a chance at life and freedom, Gabriel wanted to take it.

Suddenly a hand on his shoulder jerked the boy to a standstill. His fingers began moving, ready for action. The fear was coursing through his veins as he turned around to see who had prevented his escape.

A grungy looking man stared Gabriel down. He had a wide toothed smile plastered to his face. "Hello there boy. Don't you look familiar?" he hissed out between his teeth.

"I don't know you." Gabriel sneered. Taking the man's hand, the boy had to use all his strength to remove it from his shoulder. But the dirty man only grabbed onto his arm.

"Well maybe you don't know me, but I certainly know you. You're the one who attempted the assassination today." Gabriel's eyes widened in fear at the man's words. "No worries though." The man added sarcastically. "Queen Jocelyn has lived to tell the tale. Your attack failed."

Gabriel looked up into the man's face in horror. Not only was he caught, but if what he was hearing was true, everything he had planned, everything he had done, was all for nothing. Stunned, the boy didn't fight as the man's hand moved around his shoulder as he whispered to Gabriel: "No worries. I know how you can help to end this regime for good. God forsaken royal family won't be around much longer if we can help it. What do you say boy?" The disheveled man was smiling again. A certain gleam had come to rest in his eyes that Gabriel recognized. It was the same emotion that was held within his own soul. The man did not look trustworthy. He had teeth missing, torn and ripped clothing, and dirt covering what skin was visible, but his eyes told the boy that the same fierce determination that had led Gabriel to his actions earlier today was within this miserable man. Looking back into those eyes Gabriel nodded, certain in the fact that this man would lead him to what he wanted: the death of the royal family.

...

Michael was on the ground bleeding. He hadn't gotten bested in a fight since he was a new recruit in the Arinrold National Guard. The boy was just lightening fast, almost inhuman in his speed. The shock of loosing was overriding the pain the knife had caused, although he was quickly getting over his wounded pride. The cut wasn't deep, but it was right under his ribs where a lot of vital organs might have been damaged. Michael picked himself off the ground slowly, being careful to keep his hand pressed over his wound to stop the bleeding. There was a crowd of onlookers forming around him now and he leaned on a man that was offering him help. They walked over to an inn and Michael collapsed into the first chair he could find.

"Are you alright sir? Do you need my wife to tend to your wound?" the man who had helped Michael asked. He was wringing his hands together and kept glancing around like he was looking for someone.

"Just inform the Imperial Guard about my condition and they will take care of all the blood and gore." Michael said sarcastically (the boy had just used a small dagger). "Till then, how about you buy this wounded soldier a round of drinks?" Michael asked, wagging his eyebrows at the man. He didn't expect his helper to stick around long enough to do that, but apparently the guard was mistaken.

The nervous man eagerly shook his head and exclaimed "Of course, of course! Anything for a hero of this country! I saw that lad and what he did to you. He was up to no good from the very beginning. I come from the borderlands and know the work you soldiers have done for this country. Of course now I'm safe as a new born babe in the Royal City here with my own establishment to boot, but I used to see a lot of blood shed at the border." The man was rambling on and talking a mile a minute. Michael nodded absent-mindedly at the man as he grabbed the hilt of the small dagger sticking out of his torso. Wincing slightly, he pulled it out of his side and set it on a small round table. This seemed to make the innkeeper shut up as he hurried to find some compresses for the wound and some drinks for Michael's nerves. The movement of pulling the blade out had made some blood drip on the floor and Michael scuffed it with his boot to hide the mess. He just wanted some drinks and then to find a nice comfy bed in the infirmary at the palace, and maybe a nice comfy nurse.

An hour later a group of Imperial Soldiers and a commanding officer found the entire inn erupting in a loud bar song that had something to do with lusty mermaids and Michael swinging a jug of beer like he had forgotten it was in his hand. Apparently the injury wasn't as insignificant as Michael seemed to think it was, and he had been slowly bleeding out the entire hour, getting increasingly drunk as he was showered with free alcohol from the helpful innkeeper. Two men grabbed Michael's shoulders and one picked up his feet and the soldiers left the inn with the drunken guard singing the entire way while still swinging his now empty mug. The soldiers heaved the big guard onto an infirmary carriage where a doctor was waiting to see to his wounds.

"This doesn't look good. He's been moving around too much for the past hour. He's lost too much blood." The doctor said to the waiting officer as he struggled to pry the mug out of Michael's waving hand.

"We need this man alive. What do you need in order to achieve that?" The officer knew there was no way this Imperial Guard could die, he was the only one who got more than a passing glance at the assassin who threw the bomb.

"I need to take him back to the infirmary as soon as possible. Every second counts now." The doctor said as he made another grab for the empty mug Michael was still swinging around with gusto.

"Well then, stop playing games!" The officer hissed out as he took the mug from the wounded man and threw it towards the inn where it shattered against the wall. With a few sharp orders everyone was on the carriage and the team was off to the palace at a fast pace. The carriage jostled the injured Michael and his drunken protests were loud. The doctor managed to get him bandaged up and the blood flow to a minimum, but he didn't have the proper equipment to ensure that there were no more internal injuries, and Michael had already lost a lot of blood.

The pain from being bounced around in the carriage finally forced Michael to stop his lewd song. "Doc! What are you doing? It's just a flesh wound!" he called out. The guard had had much worse injuries during his years in the National Guard and so a dagger wound didn't rank up high in his list of worries.

The doctor was finishing taping his injury up when he answered, "You've been drinking. A lot. Which has thinned your blood. You've also apparently been dancing, which has kept the wound agitated. You've lost a lot of blood." He held up Michael's tunic, which had been cut off of him in order for the doctor to bandage the wound. It was drenched top to bottom in blood, but had been hidden under a large armored chest plate.

"That's only just a little blood. I'll be fine." Michael slurred out. His eyelids were getting heavy, as his body was tiring from losing its life source. When the injured man finally passed out the doctor couldn't help but feel slightly guilty for being glad his patient had finally shut up.