The Assassin's Tale: Part 2 by Anwita Vasanth Koodalithazhathuveedu

Asteriva turned the coin over in her hands. She knew that her clients would come calling soon – but they would never find her here. Her hideout, deep in the Dragonridge Mountains, would be well nigh impossible to find. Nonetheless, she should find someone who would buy the coin, so as not to leave any trace – or should she keep it, since whoever bought it would surely remember her face? Staying would be a risk, but so would going. She would go to Below, and see how much people were willing to pay for it. After all, she had at least a dozen more hideouts scattered across Ahoy – in the Great Desert, the Dragonridge Mountains, the Forbidden Woods, the Misty Isles, even in Ahoy itself. If they somehow managed to find her, she could just move to another one. So, her mind made up, Asteriva set off for Below. 

Asteriva walked over to Teshi, the Gatekeeper. She was known well in Below, but even she had to be quizzed by the nasty creature who considered himself pure evil. However, Asteriva was in no mood to be quizzed. “Well, well, if it isn’t our assassin friend…” Teshi drawled. “Might I remind you, though, that I am the gatekeeper to Belo-”
        “Let me across, or I will slit your throat- I’ve already killed two of your kind today, and I am not in a good mood. I don’t have time to play your infernal games, Tesh,” Asteriva snarled. Teshi paled, and let her pass. Even he knew better than to trifle with an assassin in a foul mood.

Thankfully, Asteriva was in a better mood by the time she entered the main part of Below, otherwise things could have gone badly. She stalked over to the nearest trader. “You buy and sell a fair amount of things, correct?” Asteriva asked, none too politely – her mood had improved, but not by much.
        “Yes, and we have a wide selection of items if you are interested in buying.” The trader looked hopeful; he hadn’t seen many customers that day. Perhaps he could get a good price from the girl, after all, girls couldn’t think worth tuppence in his opinion.
        “No, I’m not interested in buying, I’m here to sell.” The trader, considerably less hopeful, sulked for a moment, then replied with an equally sulky
        “What are you selling, then?” Asteriva brought out the coin. The trader’s eyes grew wide. “That’s an antique – I’ll give you fifty bronze pieces for that.”
        “Either you think I’m stupid, or you are. I’ll not give it to you for a piece under 200 gold!” Asteriva exclaimed. The trader muttered under his breath – not stupid then.
        “Alright then. 200 it is.” After she gave him the coin, he handed her a heavy purse, which Asteriva opened – and looked up sharply, one eyebrow raised in disbelief.
        “How thick are you that you don’t think I can see the difference between gold and rocks? If that’s how you want to play it, so be it!” She threw a stone with deadly accuracy and hit the knuckle of the trader’s thumb, which broke. The next went to his other knuckle, again breaking it. She continued until all the stones were spent but for one, and the trader lay on the ground, gasping and trying to crawl away from her. She fingered the stone idly, lifting it up to catch what passed for light in Below – then whipped it around, where it struck the base of the man’s neck, killing him instantly. She walked over and retrieved the coin, then walked over to a sword that caught her eye. She unsheathed it, then looked down at the trader’s corpse. “I’m going to take this for free, if you don’t wish to object.” The trader did not object, seeing as he was dead. 

Asteriva, in an attempt to calm her nerves, was visiting Below’s version of a coffee shop. Toying with the coin, she half noticed a watching eye. A man slid into the chair opposite her. “Asteriva, I presume?” he enquired in a calm, serious manner. Asteriva fingered the hilt of her new sword – her buyer had caught up to her.
        “That is correct. Why, exactly, are you contacting me now? If this is about the coin, I’d be willing to give it back for a better price.”
        “No, no – nothing of the sort!” the man exclaimed. “The coin was a test, you see; a test to see if you were the right person for the next job.”
        “And what’s in it for me? The first job was inconvenient enough – if it was a test, then you’d better be offering something good,” she replied.
        “Success would give you information about your parents, who, I believe, were murdered.” The man smiled. “Judging by your stunned expression, that would be worth it?”
        Asteriva nodded expressionless.
        “Excellent, excellent. This is what you must do…”

Read Part 2 here:

Read Part 1 here: