She closed the door to the library softly behind her as she stepped into the grey hallway. It was a few hours after since she had helped the boy, Niall, find his way out, and she hadn’t seen him since, something she found rather odd. Walking down the stairs, hands in pockets, the book strapped to her back, something was nagging at her in the pit of her stomach. Not a feeling that she’d forgotten something, no. It was that feeling of foreshadowment, that something was about to happen. A ‘sixth sense’ as her father called it. Her aunt preferred to believe that it was the sensitive bloodline leaking through. All she knew that something big was on its way.
She was walking across the car park to her bike, when the hairs on the back of her neck prickled. Someone, or something, was watching her. She tensed, hand reaching for her blade, and mentally calculating both a list of the people after her, and of the best way to protect the book. She turned slowly on the spot. She could easily make the run to her bike and be out of here before this someone even had a chance to attack. But that feeling, deep down in her gut, was making her stay. She saw something move, over by one of the outer walls, then a thud and a groan. Hesitantly, she moved towards it. The sane, self-centred, assassin trained part of her was telling her to go, flee, ignore it and run. It was fighting a losing battle. She was curious, and she’d yet to find something that could stop her when she was curious. When she was seven years old, her older cousin had told her that a kraken lived in the lagoon outside of Venetzia. Instead of being terrified, she had roped in her other cousin, and they ‘commandeered’ a rowing boat to meet it. They’d been stopped by two sanctuary workers having a smoke outside one of the side entrances, who had laughed and sent them back home when they’d found out what she and her cousin were attempting.
Ah, the innocence of youth. She missed it, the ability to go running headfirst and not think about the consequences. Now, she knew what would happen if she did something stupid, she knew the pain. She’d seen for herself…
Shaking the thought out of her head, she reached the wall and flattened herself to it, knife in hand, and, hearing a hushed conversation, peeped round the corner.
The lad from the library was leaning with one hand against the wall, keeping the weight off one leg, and hiding a grimace. In between him and her stood something St Dreg. Or was it Van Dreg? Les Dreg? Anyway, he was standing there, his cape swirling, which must have looked mildly impressive from the front, but from where she was she could see that the back of one of his trouser legs was tucked into a thermal sock. Not a good look, for anyone, let alone someone with aspirations of being a big bad. And then he did something horrific.
An Evil speech of Evil. What was the pillock thinking?
Ignoring him utterly, the lad looked up and, spotting her leaning against the wall, cocked an eyebrow. She grinned, and walked calmly towards Dreg, sheathing her knife, and then slipping her bag off of her back. Once she was one step behind him, she nodded at the lad. The boy grinned back.
“You think this is a smiling matter child?” roared Dreg. Well, Dreg thought it was a roar. It was actually closer to a mew.
“No. but I think seeing you knocked out with a massive book should be.”
“What?” Venice tapped him on his shoulder, and he span on his heel.
“Oh” she just nodded, smirked, and thwacked him round the head with the aforementioned massive book. Leaving Dreg to collapse to the damp ground, already unconscious, she walked over to the lad.
“You remember my name?” he nodded, and tapped the side of his head
“Retention mage” they said simultaneously. She grinned, then he grimaced. She looked at his leg, and pulled his arm over his shoulder.
“Come on, I’ll take you to a mate. It’s not far, thank heavens. You should be okay on the bike.”