Chapter 3 : If Looks Could Kill 8th of July, 1892, Friday. The Quiapo District.
That night, the KKK was formed with the 'public' intent of liberating the Philippines through revolutionary means. Its primary intent, however, was to give the Brotherhood a strategic hold in the Asian Regions. With reinforcements, from other Brotherhood sects, within weeks to help begin the liberation process.
The plan was to begin with the furthest provinces from Manila, though the locals there may not have the firepower of the Spanish, they have the ancestral knowledge of their lands, and soon, a certain few will have the basic knowhow of the Brotherhood when it comes to infiltration, combat, deception, and most importantly, assassination.
Ambrosio had returned to his house in Quiapo, accompanied by Spica, to prepare for their departure to Dapitan in a matter of weeks, maybe two months at most. Where they would find, observe, and if necessary, kill Dr. Rizal. Though, Ambrosio couldn't see himself doing it. He became close to Dr. Rizal when they met in Britain, Ambrosio was on a mission to assassinate an aspiring politician whose views threatened to bring down the Assassin's underground activities. They met when Dr. Rizal had walked in on him right after he'd murdered the politician. To Ambrosios surprise, Rizal understood why the deed was done, and offered to help him dispose of the body. After they had disposed of it they went out for a drink, and Rizal had insisted he meet the people Ambrosio worked for as, according to Rizal, his home was in great need of men and women like him. They'd been friends ever since.
The morning after, Spica and Ambrosio were seated at the table enjoying a meal of Chorizo, a type of Spanish sausage, and slices of bread. Getting ready for their orders from Bonifacio to depart for Dapitan.
"Difficult isn't it?" Spica asked him as they were having breakfast. "To kill someone you know and respect, that is. To have your friends life in one hand, and a blade in the other."
"I'm sure you know what that feels like," Ambrosio said plainly. "You even nearly did me in that day in Madrid."
"Don't be surprised, but I never accepted a contract on a friend," She responded, ignoring the remark about Madrid. "Though, that doesn't mean I won't help whoever was assigned to the job either. It's what we do as Assassins, after all, kill or help kill."
Ambrosio shook his head. "We don't just kill, Spica," Ambrosio argued. "Sometimes, we save people who've been targeted by the Templars."
Spica laughed at his remark, and smiled widely at him. "I forgot how naive you can be at times, Ambrosio," she teased. "You were never this reluctant to take a life before. In fact, you seemed to relish it."
"Just eat." Ambrosio concluded.
The rest of their meal passed in an awkward silence. Memories came back to Ambrosio, one after the other, of all the people he had killed. Some had begged for mercy, other met it with defiance. They all died in the end. After all, that's what Ambrosio was trained to do.
Ambrosio went to his bedroom and retrieved a small dusty chest from under his bed. He took a small key, which had been hidden under a desk, and opened the chest. It was the first time he'd seen his robes and the last few years, since arriving in the Philippines. He pulled them out of the chest and took a long look at it. The robes were of a light fabric dyed in a Venetian Wine colour. Its hood had frayed at the edges and the colour had become dull in its years of being kept in a box. He'd have to get new ones if he wanted to perform in missions properly.
He stepped out into his room, wearing a black trench coat over a grey vest, to find Spica standing in front of his bedroom door. In full Assassin's Robes.
"I need you to go with me to pick up some new robes," Ambrosio instructed. "You're gonna have to change out of those robes if you're going to come with though."
Spica raised an eyebrow at him, and frowned when she realized what he meant.
Spica continued to frown at Ambrosio after she had put on the spanish style dress, as well as a shawl, Ambrosio had given her, how he attained the dress he would not say. He handed her a necklace and a parasol, to further the effect.
"Is this really necessary?" She asked irritably. "You know I hate dresses and jewelry. They stop me from fighting effectively."
Ambrosio gave a light hearted chuckle at how uncomfortable she was. "I'm a well respected man here, Spica," Ambrosio explained, "It's all for keeping appearances, you can take off the dress when we get back."
In truth, Ambrosio just wanted to irritate her. The dress was completely unnecessary, but he wanted to make her as uncomfortable as possible in this situation.
As they walked out the door, at about one in the afternoon, Ambrosio offered his arm to Spica with a smirk, irritating her further. She took his arm nonetheless as they went on their way to a tailor that Ambrosio knew.
"Señor Madrigal!" a kind voice called out in Spanish. "Debemos hablar Señor!"
Ambrosio turned to see a plump friar in brown robes approaching them. It was Padre Alfonso, a Filipino Priest and overall kind man. Unlike most priests, though, he was absolutely loyal to the Filipinos and would only conduct masses in their language, despite being fluent in Spanish, so they would understand God's word better.
"El Padre Alfonso, así que es muy bueno ver a usted," Ambrosio greeted. "I would be so glad to have a talk with you, but alas, I must take my sister to the Tailors. You see, she has no dresses fit for this country's weather."
"Su hermana?" He said, surprised. "¡Es cierto! Usted ha mencionado tener una hermana que fue enviado a Inglaterra, junto con su madre, desde una edad muy joven. ¿.. No se entienden español, Señor?"
"Tristemente, no," Ambrosio lied, turning to look at Spica. Sin embargo, nunca es demasiado tarde para aprender ¿eh?"
Padre Alfonso gave a light chuckle. "Derecho eres, Señor" He approved. "Por desgracia, me parece que se le mantiene desde sus acuerdos personales. Quizás podamos reunirnos el lunes?"
Ambrosio thought for a second and nodded. "Si, Lunes suena bien," he replied. "Vamos a ver a continuación, Padre, que tenga un buen día."
"Y usted también, Señor."
As they went their separate ways, Spica gave a sigh of relief. She was never that comfortable with Priests, and Holy Men. All she says is that something happened in the past that she would never let happen to her, or anyone else, again.
"Thanks, Ambrosio," Spica said in a low voice. "You know how much I hate Priests."
Ambrosio merely grunted in acknowledgement. He had the strangest feeling that they were being watched. Looking around the busy streets, his eyes fell on a hooded figure on a rooftop to their left, tracking their movements.
"Do you see him?" he asked Spica. "Figure, rooftop on the left."
"Assassin, maybe?" Spica replied. "Maybe he's on our side. If he's got the Sense then he'll see the handsigns I'll do."
The Sense, commonly referred to as Eagle Vision, was an ability a certain few, Assassin, Templar, and Layman alike, had a potential to have it manifest. In its most basic form, it was a sort of Sixth Sense, Those who possess the gift are able to instinctively sense how people and objects relate to them, which manifests as a colored glow, much like an aura. Red indicates enemies or spilled blood, blue indicates allies, white indicates sources of information or hiding spots, and gold indicates targets or objects of interest.
Ambrosio attempted to use his Eagle Vision to discover the alignment of the figure. But, despite focusing on the target, no aura covered the figure. That complicated things slightly, they now had a potentially hostile target watching them. Fighting back would mean causing them to betray the Brotherhood's presence to any watching Templars, not fighting back would mean death. Put simply, Ambrosio did not like his choices.
"Let's hurry," Ambrosio URGED. "We're almost there as well, there's a good chance he'll follow us, so be ready."
They approached a small building, with a short, dark-skinned, middle-aged man seated on a chair by the door, wearing a worn Shirt and black slacks. The man's eyes lit up as they approached and, wordlessly, opened the door to let them in, he followed them inside. It was a small room with a table and four chairs, towards the end of the room was a doorway.
"Ginoong Madrigal. ito ay isang kasiyahan upang makita ka muli, ginoo," The man said in Filipino. "Mayroon bang anumang maaari kong gawin para sa iyo, at ang iyong babae na kaibigan?"
"Kailangan ko lang kunin ang aking mga bagong damit, Pablo," Ambrosio commented. "Pupunta ako sa mga misyon sa lalong madaling panahon, kaya maging handa para sa pagdating ng aking mga kaalyado. Sila ay magiging isang mahusay na mapagkukunan ng negosyo."
Pablo nodded and walked into a backroom, he came out a few minutes later carrying a rectangular box. Ambrosio smiled as it was handed to him, so he could inspect it. He pulled it out to show, black assassins robes, with a wine-colored trim. Despite the man's appearance, he was a skilled tailor, the fabric was soft, but not too thin, as well as having the assassin's beaked hood.
"Ito ay, marahil, ang iyong pinakamagandang ginawa mo, Pablo," Ambrosio complimented. "Saan mo natutunan kung paano gagawin nang mabuti ang mga robe na ito?"
Pablo gave a low bow. "Nakipag-ugnay ako sa iba pang mga miyembro ng grupo na sinusunod mo." Pablo claimed, to both their surprise. "Ibinigay nila sa akin ang ilang mga template, at tela, na angkop para sa iyong mga pangangailangan. Pati na rin ang proteksyon para sa aking tindahan."
Spica pushed ambrosio aside and grabbed the man by his shirt. "Which Brotherhood did you get into contact with!" she demanded.
Pablo stared at Ambrosio, confused.
"Tinatanong niya kung aling kapatiran ang iyong nakilala," Ambrosio translated.
"Sila ay Ingles, Sila ay bahagi ng Kapatiran ng mga Ingles," Pablo admitted to Ambrosio. "Dumating sila dalawang buwan na ang nakararaan, bago mo iniutos ang iyong mga damit. Iyan lang ang alam ko, talaga!"
Spica turned to Ambrosio, waiting for his reply, looking thoroughly angry.
"I didn't know you understood Filipino, Spica," Ambrosio smirked. "But, anyway, he says that it was the English Brotherhood that contacted him a few months ago, the grandmaster really work in strange ways."
Spica let go of the man, and stormed outside, grumbling under her breath. Ambrosio could hear some very creative curses she was making up.
"Paumanhin, pablo, hindi niya alam kung paano tumugon nang maayos sa mga sorpresa. Dito, ito ay dapat na higit sa takip para sa abala na dulot ko sa iyo." Ambrosio apologized, handing Pablo a sum of five hundred pesos, a large amount at the time, before taking his leave.
He opened the door to find Spica seated on the grounded, looking altogether miserable. It seems she really didn't know that the English Brotherhood had some form of influence on the Philippines, and it was a hard thing to accept.
"You wanna go hunt some Templars tonight?" Ambrosio smiled. "It'll make you feel better, and I get to test out the effectiveness of my new robes. So, you in?"
Spica looked up at him and nodded. Murder always made her feel better.