A/N: Okay, so I've just planned to write this story in first person with different characters as the narrators instead, seeing as most of the story is already in first person. I hope this works!
After being knocked out by Selena's anesthesia, the first thing that she said to me was to meet Aiden outside my room, by the table with the checkers and chessboards. My head was swimming with the drugs and I just nodded at Selena. She smiled, then turned to her own wounds that she needed to mend.
"Do you need any help with that?" I asked as I watched her douse her scratched arm in antiseptic. "No, thanks. I'm fine," she said determinedly, and I left her to her own self. I tried walking out of the room, but bumped my head on the glass door. Embarrassed, I searched for the doorknob and rushed out.
Groggily, I walked through the white hallways, trying not to bump anything in the way. Just then, I remembered my leg, and I looked down. It was covered in crisp white bandages, and I couldn't feel any pain. Good thing. I sighed for no apparent reason, and walked to where I saw Aiden sitting, looking like he just woke from a nap. Crap! Is this the chess thing he was talking about? Damn it damn it da-
"Well, how's your leg?" Aiden asked, staring at me calmly. I snapped out of my thoughts and just nodded and smiled sheepishly. My eyes trailed to the bandage on his head. Unconsciously, he lifted his hand and touched his head.
"Anyways, here's the deal. Beat me at a game of chess and you're in." I watched his fingers set up his pieces, the black ones. I nodded again then asked, "In the assassins?"
"What else rookie? Cooking class?" I bit my tongue to avoid retorting back at him. I would have punched him if I could. I took my seat across him, and began setting my pieces up. Think of a strategy…Damn it, it's empty up here! A headache started to form in my head, and I frantically tried searching for any kind of strategy other than suicide. Does winging it count as a strategy? I honestly hope it does.
I've got everything to lose here. I don't know where I am, I don't have anyone else down here except for these demons, and well, I just don't like losing games. Especially in front of this guy who lead a whole demon town against the Imperial Army.
Aiden hands a cigarette to me, and I take it confused. I light it up with the little energy left in my internal system. (I still have to ask Selena how this works: I don't know anything about how my powers run themselves, just vague ideas of energy channels.) He already has a cigarette lit, so I'm guessing it's for me. I looked at it hesitantly, and I felt him looking at me expectantly.
"You don't have to if you don't want to," He said quietly. I ignored him and stuffed that goddamn cigarette in my mouth.
"Why did you even offer this to me?" I asked curiously after lifting the cigarette from my lips.
"Just checking if you were anything like your fellow angels," he replied and I winced. "Don't worry, these cigarettes are perfectly fine. Water ones in fact, so you're breathing steam. These things are pretty old though…" he trailed off, leaving me to arrange my pieces on the chess board. Safety first I guess. Breathe in, release from mouth, breath out and try and make a puffy smoke ring… I smiled after the steam I released made an "O" in the air. What the hell am I doing? I snapped back into reality and stared at the chessboard intently. It's not like I had any strategy or anything. I sigh, and Aiden looks at me. I can't read the expression on his face.
I don't know anything much about chess, so I'm just basically winging the whole thing, just improvising and having a basic plan.
Hah! What's sanity? I thought frantically, while moving my first piece two spaces forward. Aiden moved his pawn on the second to the left-most square forward two squares. I watched as the game unfolded, and opened up with moving my knight forward. Several moves later, Aiden's bishop destroyed my horse with a beam of holy light. My brain was on red-alert, watching my "army" slowly disappear, each coming to life and destroying each other in various and gruesome ways, each turning into dust. Aiden just calmly smoked, touching his injured head several times out of instinct. My leg started throbbing. My bishop was penned by a knight and two pawns, my king was waiting for defeat with only my right rook for defense (My king did look defeated: sagging around the crown). I only had five pawns left, each lying in wait for death. My lone knight stood, cornered by the sides of the board. The horse whinnied.
"Aiden, can I pleas forfeit?"
"No, try a little harder." I sighed and looked at the clock. It's only been twenty-five minutes and I'm losing extremely badly.
"Is that even possible?" I asked, and he rolled his eyes. "Of course it is. Look harder," and he leaned back. I wanted to punch him, but I knew that it would get me nowhere. Or maybe somewhere worse. My gut twisted, knowing that admitting defeat wasn't such an easy task.
I scanned the board, skirting the sides and found that I couldn't move anything at all. Aiden looked at me and started clearing the board.
"What are you doing?" I asked frantically. He looked up at me. "You said forfeit right?" I nodded, but caught myself and retorted, "you said to try harder!" I don't want to fail this! I have nowhere to go if they kick me out from here! Goddamn it Aiden! He shrugged and I knew I lost the argument since we both knew that I would've lost either way. A headache started to form in my temple, and I rubbed it frustrated.
"I won't be able to stay here Aiden, and you know it. I failed my entrance exam!" My heart started to race and I could feel the heat rising to my ears. Aiden smirked. "Lai, you made it in. It doesn't matter since no one can beat me at chess, especially with this set. You admitted defeat when you knew you couldn't go on," he said. "That's cowardly!" I shouted. "It's courageous to admit defeat. It takes a lot of guts. At least that's what Lennie said. If I were in charge, you'd be out there in the street by now," Aiden said coldly. What had come over him? Just a while ago we were talking fine, making an acquaintance with each other. He caught himself and muttered, "Sorry," and walked away. I just stood there puzzled.
We've had a long streak of terrible rookies who got them killed on the job and nearly gave us away. Stuck up idiots, they only cared about themselves! I walked away from Laika, and could sense her confusion. Well, so much for giving us away, since I basically blew our cover, publicly challenging the Emperor this time.
I took a deep breath and walked back to Laika.
"Sorry. I just remembered something… unpleasant," I finished. She cocked her coy grin at me and I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks. "Well, we've always got those memories," she said, as she stared into my eyes. I wondered what those memories of hers were.
"I don't understand you," she said. I blinked at her. "Just awhile ago, you were fuming mad about me losing at the game of checkers. Then, you went up and left, and then you came back here to talk like nothing happened. You're not even smoking!" I blinked again. "You don't need to understand me. I don't even understand myself." Laika crossed her arms and stared at me. I looked away. "Neither do I. I probably know myself even less than you know of yourself," she said, grinning for some unknown reason. We stared at each other for several moments then I turned away.
"You did a good job today Lai. Get ready to be on the move soon though. I'll bet that the empire knows where we are now," I said and she nodded at me with a determined look. I looked back, and she immediately ran to her room. I could hear her shuffle through her things and several minutes later she materialized from the room with a backpack with all her stuff. Go figures. I nodded at her, and she set herself on the couch, staring at the empty chessboard.
Turning around, I rolled my eyes. Women, always prepared.
"Good game!" Laika finally yelled at me. I winced at the loudness at it, but turned around and smiled at her. Stop making a fool of yourself Aidan! I thought to myself, frustrated at the way I acted around her. Note to self, try and calm your mood swings.
I walked away quickly, thinking of the different supplies that I would need to bring before we were forced to leave, by Selena. I walked past the infirmary, and glanced in the window, to see her bathing her arm in antiseptic. Knowing her, she's probably been at it since Laika left the infirmary. Selena: insanely paranoid, childish, yet the best and sternest leader we can have.
As I walked through my door for the second time after the battle, I think of the deed that I had done. I had killed my father, but how could he have not recognized me? Why had he joined Lumen's forces? I shiver, but strangely, I don't feel any regret. It sickens me. So far, all that's surrounded us is mystery. This is one I intend to figure out. Myself.
Honestly, I never really was close to my father. It was my mother I loved. Kiplan loved my father. He was the best swordsman in town. He was also an egomaniac and bragger. The only thing justifiable about that is that he did have the records to prove his boasts. My mother was a sniper and a ranger. She was kind and warm, and I loved her to bits. Kiplan was my best and only friend then. Despite him being the younger brother, he would always look out for me, probably more than I did him.
I need to make sure that my only remaining family is safe. Who knows? Damien may possibly be the mole for Lumen, or Laika even. I don't even know her. Who knows if she can be trusted?