A/N Hello everyone! This is a story written collaboratively by Firegirl210 and Aspen, a fringe member of TheNakama and my best friend. This is a female/male story, unlike the majority of what we write, so I hope you enjoy it! Drop a review if you have the time!
CHAPTER ONE: City of Canals and Secrets
In the streets of Venice, they're not streets. They are rivers that you travel and the one I was on was among the highest estates in the city. My home is giant and had plenty of rooms, but is very empty since it is just me. With my father gone, he passed all fortune, responsibility, and property to me. Since my Mother has been known to be with men for the money, he decided I would be the only one getting the money. Because of this, My mother disowned me and moved back to her home in Capua. This morning in particular was very humid for an early May day.
I head outside, planning to go down to the City Hall to meet up with Secrucio, my fiance, for breakfast and then go to my duties as City Consul. Consul is similar to Mayor, but it's a duel partnership, and my Fiance happens to be the other Consul. I walk down to the boardwalk were a plethora of gondola's line the narrow aquaduct.
"Would you care for a ride somewhere, Miss?" A young man was asking me this, holding out a hand to help me onto the gondola. A man with dark hair in a ponytail and mysterious green eyes, about my age or so.
"To City Hall, please."
"Of course, Miss...?" he was asking for my name as he untied the Gondola from the post and started to paddle down the canal.
"Velencia Claudius Glaber," I exclaim as I extended my hand as he kissed the top of it.
"The City Consul. Well, it sure is an honor to have a Political figure aboard, and a beautiful one at that. My name is Dante. Dante Vargas."
We sailed on and we spoke about how the aquaduct bill will go, which stated how the canals will be wider and the bridges will be lifted, for easier passings for gondolas. We came to the City Hall Dock, and Dante tied the boat to a post. "Well, I believe this is your stop, Miss Velencia," Dante exclaimed as he gave me a hand onto the dock.
"Yes it is. Thank you for your time, and I do hope to have you be my Gondolier again," I hand him his money.
"It would be a pleasure to see your beautiful face again." And with that, he went back down the canal.
I go up the stairs to City Hall and get in, where my assistant, Alythia, took my hat and told me my schedule for today, which consisted of 4 signings for bills, 2 meetings, 1 with the Court, and the other with Secrucio for discussion over the bill. Then I had an interview with the Daily Canal, and a press conference on the bill. A busy day for us. I get into my office and sit down to look over the bills and Secrucio comes in. Secrucio had short brown hair, olive skin, and a wonderful smile. We had been together for 3 years before he engaged to me in January. It was a planned marriage, but we had grown fond of each other without that in mind. He had two omelets, one for me and one fore him. We ate and then signed. We went to our meeting and I went to the court as he went to a meeting in Rome. This was our regular schedule. It's not really a romantic relationship, more of a companionship.
At the end of the day, I decide to walk home since it's sunset. As I walk, it's always surreal among the boardwalk. I go into my house and hang up my hat and head into the kitchen and quickly fix up some pasta salad for dinner, eat that, and then head upstairs.
One good thing about living in a big house alone (other than my butlers and maids), was that no one could find your secrets. Mine was a purple and gold mask with a purple and gold gypsy outfit to go with. I was a bounty hunter.
I hummed to myself as I pushed my Gondola along a canal, eyeing pretty girls and expensive young men as the warm Venetian sun beat down on the water. A particular woman caught my eye-she was dressed in flowing purple skirts and a gold-embroidered green corset, her auburn hair piled elegantly but still somewhat down-to earthly on her head. I quickly pushed my boat alongside the dock beside her, and she smiled gratefully as I pulled up.
"Would you care for a ride somewhere, Miss?" I asked, smirking at her, and she stepped on board elegantly.
"To City Hall, please."
I pushed off the wall, noting her bright aqua eyes and fair skin that pointed to a life spent indoors in elegant company. A lady of high standing, no doubt.
"Of course, Miss...?" I urged, pushing us down the canal, and she extended her delicate hand.
"Velencia Claudius Glaber." I took her dainty hand and pressed a gentle kiss to the white skin. I admit I was surprised-everyone knew that name. What an honor to be her gondolier.
"Ah, the City Consul. Well, it sure is an honor to have a Political figure aboard, and a beautiful one at that. My name is Dante. Dante Vargas." I said flirtatiously, and she smiled back with sensual eyes, making my skin warm.
We made small talk for a few moments as I steered us down the murky canals under bridges and through narrow alleys, greeting walkers and other Gondoliers, speaking of politics and city works. We approached the bustling dock of City Hall, and I leaped clear, pulling the boat in and tying it to the post.
"Well, I believe this is your stop, Miss Velencia," I said, and she let me assist her onto the dock, letting my hand linger on hers longer than necessary.
"Yes it is. Thank you for your time, and I do hope to have you be my Gondolier again," She pressed my fare into my hand, with potentially a bit extra, and I smiled graciously, whipping off my hat and bowing low.
"It would be a pleasure to see your beautiful face again."
She smiled and turned, heading into the crowd, and I hopped back aboard my noble vessel. The hour was drawing towards evening, and I pushed off with my last passenger towards the theater district. After letting the twittering couple off, I headed inland. The houses grew more luxurious as I went, and glittering chandeliers shone from the windows as the population became richer.
I pulled up to one such glimmering home where the voices of partying nobles drifted with laughter and music into the night. I docked my Gondola and picked up my bag of earnings, hopping onto the dock and approaching the house. The name CANTIANO was inscribed above the door, and I walked into the open door without a word necessary to the doorman. To the right, a coatroom was bursting with elegant dinner coats and ladies shawls. A lanky youth scribbled away on some parchment by candlelight beside the coats, and I smiled and dropped the slightly jingling sack on his lap. He started and looked up, his golden green eyes startled and underlined with dark circles.
I brushed his dark hair off his face, smiling. "Good evening, Alessio. The day's hard-earned wages. Have Venici pick up some dinner for you and I'll come back to get you before midnight."
His eyes darkened slightly, a look I knew well. "But, Dante..." He leaned closer, looking worried. "You know I don't like it when you put yourself in danger like this."
I ruffled his hair with a smirk. "Worry not, brother dearest, the danger is minimal tonight. I'll be back at midnight!"
I hurried back out into the night, turning and leaping up the nearest wall, scurrying to the rooftop. As I leaped across an alleyway, I pulled a slim golden mask from my pocket, fitting it to my face and smiling.
Jester was on the prowl.
I put on my get up and find one of my maids to tell her I would be heading out now. My help knew about me being Ace, the bounty hunter, and they are sworn to secrecy as well as our past help for the family, going back generations. That's another thing I inherited from my father. Bounty hunting has been apart of my family for generations and usually the first born son would get the honor of being the new bounty hunter. Since my parents only had me, I took the job, and that's the actually reason my mother disowned me; she wanted me to be a proper lady, I wanted to be a bounty hunter. My fiance, Secrucio, doesn't even know. That's to be said when we actually marry,. Just part of the rules of being me.
Tonight I was on the hunt for one named Jester. He had been hitting jewelry stores and bank vaults all around Venice, and tonight, I pinned him down to be robbing the Southern Venice Diamond Import Store. As I hop the rooftops of Venice, my sword is in it's sheath and my whip is on my other side. They're my only weapons, but they are all I need. I get to the rooftop of the Diamond store, and it's a glass top, which looked like it had already been opened. As I pier down, I see a light from the back turned on, showing me my bounty. I jump in and land with a barrel role.
"Well, I wasn't expecting to be caught tonight, let alone by a stunning lady," he exclaimed. He had a long braid down his back and luminescent green eyes, and a cocky smile to go with.
"Let me guess, Jester. Well, your thieving days are up, now we can do this the easy way or the rough way," I exclaim, pulling my sword out.
"Well, rough is a lot more fun, but I don't think it's the rough your referring to. But yes, I am Jester. And your name malady?"
"Hmm, seems to me we're playing a game of cards. Now, I think I'll make with a royal flush." He said this as he flung a bag over his shoulder filled with jewels and hopped from the floor, to the counter, and out the opening in the ceiling.
I quickly follow, switching from sword to whip. I tried to snap his feet, but missed by a few inches.
"So you like S & M, my dear. I can play that way." He flings a handful of knives but the miss, then he jumps down into an ally way. I jump too and when I go down, he pins me to the wall and bit kisses my neck. "S & M, right?"
I pull away and find skin hanging off and blood. "I may be naughty, but you're more naughty then me, Jester."
I pin him to the wall and punch him in the gut. He drops the bag and I pick it up as he falls to the ground. I start to walk off, but he tackles me to the ground. "They say diamonds are a girl's best friend, but these, are mine."
With that, he ran off and I was defeated. And this would be my first defeat, and I will make sure this would be my last.
Welcome to the Nakama Velencia and Dante!
Thanks for reading!