“Thank you, Alwine,” I said, taking the key, looking at her. “What are you up to?” I asked.
“I haven’t been at my home for a while, so I’ll stay there for a few days,” she said, giving me a smile. “After all, our official time is over. I was dismissed, and given a chance to have a few days off. But don’t worry, I’ll be there when you have your last lesson!” she said.
“Well, Alwine, it has been a pleasure! I can’t thank you enough for all the advice you have given me,” I said, looking at her. I was considering telling her about Qildor, but not yet. One more night. Then I’ll consider. Until then, I can’t act hastily.
“Of course. It was my pleasure to work with the hero. I consider myself very lucky that I get to experience with my age.” She leaned slightly forward. “But I didn’t expect to advise you about girls…”
I grinned, leaning slightly even more forward. “Me neither.”
We both chuckled.
“Goodnight,” she turned around, losing her balance once again.
After I have worked with her for a week, I’ve learned how clumsy she can be. So, almost expecting it already, I reached my hands out and caught her. She landed on my arms, hands on my chest, looking up at me, very close.
“If I didn’t know you that well, I’d say you did that on purpose,” I mumbled, looking at her very close.
“Maybe sometimes I don’t? But I am rather clumsy...” she pushed herself up, her lips touching mine, giving me a kiss.
Yeah. It was unexpected. The last thing I needed was another woman to fall for me. And while I did not really kiss her in return, I didn’t push her away either. I did let it happen. As her teeth were over my lips, almost biting, she removed herself, slightly forcefully.
“I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist picking up one last memory,” she whispered. “Especially after all of the talks about… things.”
I shook my head. “It wasn’t very wise. But I guess what’s done is done,” I responded.
She smiled, finally pushing herself away from me, hand on my shoulder until the last moment. “Goodnight, Hero!” And like that, she left the room, pushing the door closed behind her.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. But it was our secret. Something that Aldrynte and Alice wouldn’t know. It just happened, an accident. And I didn’t do it. Or at least those were the excuses I told myself.
I walked to the door and locked it. As I yawned, I removed some of my clothes but leaving most of them on. I had to be ready… ready for anything. My hand approached my pocket, taking out a small potion.
“If everything goes well, it will end soon either way,” I mumbled to myself. After all, if we left the capital and I was safe again, there was no reason for those two to sleep in my bed. I removed the cork and drank it all.
First, I felt nothing. But as five minutes had passed, I felt energy taking over my sleepiness. Every sense was sharpening. It was a good potion, but with a heavy cost. It would hit me later hard. And it was a very expensive potion.
But I couldn’t take any risks. Not tonight. I only hoped that this potion would be wasted. But meanwhile, I took out some papers and began to examine them. It was finally time to learn cosmic magic!
A weird sound echoed from outside, not far from my window. But it was a momentary sound. In normal cases, I would dismiss it, but not today. I immediately, but quietly, stood up, and grasped my new sword’s handle, while pushing the notes into my pocket. Slowly but surely, I walked towards the window, looking through it. It was just dark outside. But there was no moon. So it was a lot darker than normally.
But something felt off. So, I opened the window slowly and then looked directly town.
Just right below the window, I saw something small, trying to not be seen. But whoever they were, they were also looking at me, possibly as surprised as I was. There was a quiet moment when we both just stared.
As I began to pull out my sword, he climbed up - a lot faster than I’d expected - standing on the windowsill. I abandoned the idea of pulling out the sword. Instead, all I could do was pushing the window shut. But whoever that person... or being... was, was small and nimble enough to quickly jump into my room, landing on my bed.
I almost drew out my sword but managed to keep myself in check and not do it. It wasn’t time. If I had any chance, then only one shot.
“Who dares to enter my room?” I said, looking at the smaller figure, standing on my bed, body and face hidden by a cloak.
They moved, removing their hood and revealing themselves. “Hiro?” a voice echoed as a white mousefolk looked at me.
“Squeek?” I mumbled.
“What are you doing here? What are you doing in Alwine’s room?” Squeek asked, crossing his hands.
“I should ask you the same! Are you the assassin?” I asked. To be fair, I felt stupid asking it like this.
“Me? Assassin? Ridiculous! I was asked to come here around this time!” Squeek said.
“What do you think?” he said, squinting at me.
Squeek clapped his hands together. “Congratulations. You’re correct!” He began to look around the room. “My only question is why and where is she?”
I looked at squeek, hand still on the handle. “Squeek. Who are you to her? What’s going on?”
Squeek looked back at me, sighing. “First of all, I’m no danger to you, alright? I’m a… like a knight… working under Alwine. For now. She saved my life, a long time ago. So, for now, I’ve been serving under her. At least until my debt is paid.”
For the first time, I let go of my handle. “Did she sent you to spy on me at school?”
He froze. Then slowly looked at away. “Noooo,” he said. It was an obvious lie.
“Stop!” Squeek suddenly said, raising his hand. He took two long sniffs. “Get on a bed! Now!”
I was confused. But something told me to trust him. I did so, almost immediately. “What’s going on?”
“This smell. It’s weird. It’s offsetting. But familiar. Something is coming.”
And as he said so, we both looked at the door. It was slightly vibrating, but there was no sound. None. But we could see how water began to pour into the room from every hole there possibly was.
“What the fuck?” I whispered. As I wanted to step off the bed, Squeek took hold of my leg, stopping me.
"It's too late!" We both looked at the floor. There was already a thin layer of water.
“That’s water magic. Alwine? Dammit!” My hand turned into a fist.
Squeek squeek for a moment. “I don’t understand. Why would she…”
There was a moment of silence “...to silence you?” I offered my help. “Perhaps you know too much?”
“Or maybe she sent me to warn you?” Squeek mumbled.
I began to scratch my chin. We both just stared at the door, water slowly filling the room. It wasn’t that we weren’t trying to escape, but there wasn’t much we could do about it, yet. “Then why didn’t she warn me before? She had a perfect chance!”
"Maybe she couldn't?" Squeek sighed. “We need to get out of here. This magic is strong. We don’t even know if it’s hers. But for now, we need to escape. But we can’t touch the water.” Squeek took hold of a pillow and threw it in the water. Almost immediately sharp thorns came out of the water - almost like knives - cutting and piercing the pillow into pieces.
“Okay,” I whispered. “That’s definitely the assassin. This explains every scene.” I swore under my teeth. How could I be so foolish? In the end, Qildor was doing his work, and he was going after her for a reason. And I thought I was wiser. Why didn’t I trust him? He was in the council for a reason. He was the first elf for a reason.
“Okay. We need to escape,” I said, sighing. I immediately looked towards the window. “Fuck. I don’t know how good climber I am.”
“The water won’t stop until it gets its victim. Probably…” squeek mumbled. At this point, we were walking around the edges of the large bed, looking around. For some stupid reason, Alwine’s room was a lot larger than mine as well. So there weren't many things to jump to. Besides...
“Okay. Okay. If we get to the window, I can help!” Squeek said.
I immediately looked at the window, that wasn’t that far off, but still not exactly next to the bed either.
“Alright,” I mumbled, walking near the edge. “Maybe I can do it?” I whispered.
“I wish I could help you, Hero. But this room is too small for it,” Squeek whispered. He went close to the wall and began to use his claws to climb towards the window.
“You lucky f-”
But I didn’t have time to think too long. The floor was raising and fast, and the level of water started to reach the bed’s edge. So I took some steps back, looking at the window.
“Okay, Hero. I know we have known each other for only a moment. But you need to trust me on this!” Squeek said the moment he stepped on the windowsill. I raised an eyebrow but kept listening to him.
“Tumble out of the window! Take as long leap you can, and just jump through. Fall down! Let yourself fall down!” As squeek said those words, he pushed the windows wide open, so I could do that.
“Death by water's painful piercing, or death by fall?” I said, looking at Squeek. “Well, at least it won't be painful.”
It was a moment of desperation. I was thinking hard, but I couldn't think of any other plan. There wasn't one.
So I took one last step back and began to run forward. I could see how the water began to climb the bedsheets. Very tiny thorns soared out from every spot I pulled my steps away. But there was too little water to do any harm.
Do you believe in the tales that when things are climactic, and you might die, the time might slow down? I never did. But for the first time, it felt like it was true. Just for a moment. Just when I felt how the spikes were about to reach me, I jumped. I could feel this weird iron taste in my mouth. I could feel this weird smell below me.
I could see the image of myself flying, almost as the water was a mirror. And then I saw Squeek below me, flying over his head, straight out of the window.
Squeek was smiling. What was that smile? Did I fuck up? Did I just jump to my death? But as I began to fall, I saw him jump off too. And as we fell, he followed my fall. But squeek began to change the shape. Fur turned into feathers. And his hands turned into claws.
A large eagle had replaced small Squeek's position. And the eagle took hold of my clothes, stopping my fall. Instead, I was lifted higher into the sky. Higher, and higher.
I saw all the town below me, going smaller. It was filled with small torch lights. It was an incredible view.
And then I was let go, once more. I began to fall, immediately. I still couldn’t say anything. I was taken aback, and trying to grasp what was happening. I was probably also in shock. But I didn’t fall for long before the eagle flew below me, and I landed on his back.
“Squeek?” I shouted as the wind blew against me, and I tried to keep my head low. “Is that you?” A loud higher-pitched sound was returned, as the eagle looked back over his shoulder. “Thank you. You saved my life!” I screamed. And as we had done a few circles, we finally began to lower ourselves to land in the king castle’s garden.
“Squeek. Don’t change back. It might be better if they don’t know,” I said. Another loud higher-pitched sound came from Squeek.
The moment we landed, we were surrounded by guards who were holding swords, pikes, and bows. As I dramatically jumped off the eagle, landing down on my own two feet - like a hero - I looked at all of them.
“I’m the hero. I need to speak with the King and Qildor. Send emergency summons! And get me someone important!” I raised my hero’s emblem as well.
The guards began to dissipate, and someone familiar was sent to meet me.
“Captain!” I said, smiling. “It’s good to see a familiar face!”
The captain reached out to me and gave me a warm handshake. “We’ve sent an emergency summons, as you asked. But it’ll take some time. Until then, we’ll provide you a room where you can rest!”
“Yes, please. Thank you!” I said, groaning. I could suddenly feel many parts of my body screaming at me.
“Do you need some medicine, Hero?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Your lip. It’s bleeding pretty hard!”
I immediately touched my lips with my two fingers. As I removed them, I saw blood on it. That would explain the taste of iron. But more importantly… I knew where the blood was coming from. The place Alwine had kissed me, and also apparently had bitten.
As we got into our separate room, I began to curse. “Dammit!” I said. The eagle began to transform back into the original Squeek, the mouse.
“This is troubling,” he said, sighing, and walking to the nearby table, filled with food. He began to eat everything there was. Especially grapes.
“It's Alwine,” I mumbled, getting myself seated. I felt the potion to wear off as well. Probably the adrenaline had sped up the process, as well. “Before she left, she caused me this wound,” I said, pointing at my lip. It was now treated, but it still hurt. “The water magic can affect the blood itself if there’s a wound.”
Squeek sighed. “I don’t want to believe that. She’s a kind soul. She can’t be-”
“Me neither, Squeek. But no matter how I look at it, she’s the one. She made sure that I had vulnerability before leaving, just to make sure that I would fall.”
“Then how do you explain me being sent into your room. And just in time?” Squeek mumbled.
I frowned. “Did Alwine know about your power?” I asked. Squeek shook his head, slowly. “Then there you have it. You were sent there to be silenced. You were sent there to be just in time to be eliminated. She didn’t expect you to be our saving grace.”
Squeek looked at me, frowning as well. “You might be right.”
“I need to tell this to king and Qildor. She’s a danger to citizens. If she finds out that we’re still alive… she might do something rash. She might escape. She might do something that we’re not prepared for. People might die!”
“I know!” Squeek finally shouted. “I know. I… just… don’t want it to be true,” he said, sighing.
There was a moment of silence. "Me neither." I closed my eyes for a moment, thinking. “Was it you?” I finally asked. “The one that was seen and described in different crime scenes?"
“Yes. I knew there was something weird going on. I could feel or smell it. Every time. Just like today. So I always ended up getting there. And to many others that didn't leave a body behind. But always when it was too late.”
I nodded. “I don’t know who to trust, anymore. But you saved my life, even though you could’ve not. For that, I’m thankful.”
“What can I say… I’m a fan!” Squeek said.
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
You can read my stuff and shorts at reddit.com/r/Elven
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