“If she finds the heart, we’ll have to kill her.”
Vainard’s words resonated in my mind for most of the night. I couldn’t sleep. The thought of betrayal was something that struck me as horrible, especially coming from Vainard and that, even if I couldn’t stand Boxxa. She was an annoying, spiteful little being whom I couldn’t figure out, but she didn’t deserve even the slightest thought of being murdered. So I laid there, in my bed, for most of the night. My eyes rested on Vainard and for a moment I wondered if I really knew him. Assassination? For something that could (and emphasis on the word –could-) destroy the world as we know it. It wasn’t certain, but Vainard made it clear that we, or well –he- could not afford even taking a chance.
Still, he had scared me enough to fail to fall asleep that night.
I watched the sun rise and listened as the streets below got busier with merchants from all around Tyria. The inn we were staying at woke as well; customers and workers ran around downstairs and were having breakfast, which was probably the reason why Vainard even woke up. Food was one of his biggest weakness. Put a troll on the road, have it pursue Vainard and if there’s food on the road, you’re sure to find Vainard dead at some point, holding a piece of protein in one hand and a sword in the other. I’m exaggerating, but I wouldn’t be surprised, either.
Boxxa got up, grabbed her belongings and headed straight for the bathrooms. No hellos nor good mornings, simply a nod and she was gone. Clearly we weren’t in her top five of favourite persons but you would think that an asura would know how to be polite. It is common sense after all. Perhaps it doesn’t take wits to know that. All I know is that when she left, she made sure that everything she had, she took with her. There was no way of spying. She would remain a secret for a while, unless Vainard was good enough to take a peek into her belongings at night, while she slept. Sadly, we knew too well that asuras are geniuses when it comes to booby traps, even in their own little pouches or bags. We couldn’t take that risk.
Vainard woke up next. As he stretched and yawned, he let his arms fall heavy on each side of him and his legs folded up, feet resting underneath the blankets. He kind of stayed there, flopped, staring at the ceiling. I looked up to see if something was wrong, but I couldn’t find anything. After a while, his non blinking state intrigued me so I stood up and walked over him. Leaning over him, my gaze crossed his.
“Still alive?” I asked and he blinked before his eyes focused and looked at my own.
“Yup. I was just waiting for the wood to go down,” he replied and I looked up, searching for a broken beam.
The ceiling, however, was fine.
Vainard smirked and chuckled slightly. “Not that wood.”
I looked back down, noticed his suggestive eyes and he wiggled his eyebrows.
“OH GODS. SERIOUSLY?!” My face turned beet red and I spun around, walked to my bed after stumbling on the chairs in the middle of the room and pretended to look for something in my bag. I didn’t know what I would get out of there but all I could hear was him laughing and shifting in his bed as if he was rolling around. I didn’t want to look at him. It was absolutely embarrassing! He was becoming too familiar with me.
“Some things you should keep to yourself!” I shouted, my fingers still feeling everything and nothing in my bags.
“What should he keep to himself?” Boxxa asked, back from her quick bathroom trip.
“Nothing,” Both Vainard and I replied in unison and it made the asura suspicious but she quickly dismissed any wary thoughts away.
She probably had something similar to “I will never understand humans.” in the back of her mind.
“Anyways, I thought you should know that breakfast is being served downstairs and we should discuss certain aspect of my Krewe over it . Come on. Get ready,” she dictated and wobbled downstairs.
I hate how she walks. I dislike her tone. I don’t think I like her very much yet we still followed her downstairs after Vainard dressed himself. We joined her at a table, we ate, drank, and we did not speak a single word. After I was done eating, the silence was killing me so I decided to break the ice. “Honestly, you wanted to talk. Talk!”
She rose her hairless brows and looked at me with her big, dark eyes.
“Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed,” She almost whispered but was clearly intended for me to hear.
“I know exactly who I want in my Krewe aside from you two bookahs and my sources tell me one of them is here in Lion’s Arch.”
“Sources?” Vainard asked before I could.
“I call them sources for a reason. There won’t be any names mentioned,” she replied, her hand gently allowing her fingers to run across the fork that was laying on the table next to her empty plate.
I found that mannerism odd but I kept on listening.
“There’s a skilled thief who resides here in Lion’s Arch. She’s of Canthan descent. Just before Zhaitan awoke, her family had moved to Lion’s Arch in hopes of making a little copper. Turns out they saved themselves from exile. Also turns out that her skills are legendary. Our mission is to find her before the end of the week. If we fail to do that, finding the Heart will be the hardest thing we are ever going to do in our lives.”
“What’s in it for us?” I asked, arms crossed on my chest as Vainard looked to me, probably in hopes that I would not upset the crazy asura.
“Excuse me?” she replied.
“What’s in it for us?” I asked again, pressing each words. “We keep following you around and don’t ask any questions. Because you potentially saved our lives doesn’t mean anything, you know. You’re not the boss of me.” I knew Vainard wanted me to stay nice, to act friendly, just to, again, potentially save Tyria but it was too hard to stay quiet.
Besides, I never was a good actress.
“Stupid human,” she began, but it didn’t even bother me. “I thought fame and fortune would suffice? The Heart of the Destroyer is said to be hidden in a cave deep underground that is filled with rubies and sapphires. Enough to buy Tyria and rule it as you wish. Isn’t greed enough a reason?”
I shrugged, leaned back in my chair and sighed loudly. Greed was certainly a good reason but still, it seemed too easy for her. There was another motive for her finding the place I couldn’t pinpoint.
“But, as I was saying, we cannot find this item before the Krewe is completed. We have to find the other two people. Starting with the thief; Meili Shihong.”
“The Meili Shihong?!” Vainard exclaimed.
Why I am always behind in the news is still a mystery to me. “Um… The?”
Boxxa chuckled. “Meili Shihong, otherwise known as The Red Beauty, stole several items from The Black Lion’s trading post several years ago, including legendary items. Now, it isn’t too hard to steal from it but with those weapons it is said that she successfully entered the Ascalonian Crypts and defeated the Ghost King who resided in there. That king disappeared forever, unlike most ghosts in Tyria. The Ghost King also had a scroll of major importance and she looted this item as well. She’s very skilled. Although that story isn’t known to all of Tyria, it is pretty popular within the thieves and Krewe leaders as myself.”
“Alright… So all this is based on it-is-saids and stories that could be made up.” It didn’t make sense to me that an asura would base her decisions on perhaps and maybes.
“They are not made up. She told me, herself. She showed me the scroll and the weapons,” she continued but was interrupted by a female voice at the bar behind us.
“And I could show them to you, once again, Boxxa.”
This voice had a canthan accent.
It was The Red Beauty.