I take in the diverse groups of characters around me. Most of them I just met just a few moments before and now I'm expected to go on this strange mission to find a stranger by going to the house of a stranger with a bunch of strangers. This should be interesting!
I'm used to going on missions to strange places and I'm been in and out of time a number of times but this land of Rumplekammer is unlike anything I have ever experienced. In the past I have been able to take go over the files of all those working on the mission with me. By the time we departed I not only knew the ins and outs of the mission but I knew the entire history of my colleagues. I knew their strengths and weaknesses and where I could trust them or challenge them. This mission was completely different.
We had passed through the Blue Door just a few moments before and entered into the world of Rumplekammer which turned out to be a dense forest that reminded me of the time I had traveled back to America 1492. We had lived with the Sioux tribe through the harsh winter and May had even saved the Sioux chief from being killed by a bear. By the time we had finally managed to close the time hole we were both pros at hunting and forest survival.
I pull myself from my memories, realizing that it does me know good to dwell on the past. Beside that, it has come to my attention that Aliora has disappeared. I look down at the tiny little hunched over man beside me, "Did you see where Aliora went?"
He shrugs, "Sorry wasn't paying attention. I was...well I was kind of lost in thought."
I nod at his confession and decide it best not to scold him for something that I had been doing as well. "We need to find her. None of us should be going off alone at our level. We don't know where we are or what kind of creatures could be hiding out in this land."
"I believe I saw her go this way" Flint speaks up pointing off to the left of where I'm standing.
I sigh and motion for them both to follow me in the direction Flint is pointing. We walk for a short time, always keeping an eye out for any sign of Aliora, when I hear the noise of a snapping branch off to my left and I stop to listen. Another sound comes from behind me and I spin to see but there is no one there. Vollomeer and Flint have noticed my movements now and they two search the woods for the intruder.
A knife hits the bark near my face and Aliora walks nonchalantly out from behind a tree, a smile on her face that doesn't quite reach her eyes. "It's a good thing I have no intention on killing any of you today. Aliora the Assassin never misses." She says the words like they are meant to send a chill down my spine, but they only annoy me.
"You aren't supposed to leave the group. It could be dangerous out here."
"Please," She responds crossing over to pull the knife out of the tree near me, "Like I'm going to take instructions from some egotistical school boy. I've been killing monsters since I was big enough to hold a knife. I spent 14 years fighting monsters for survival and another 14 training in all the military tactics of the Gehennia people. I have spent more years fighting monsters than you've even been alive."
I stare at her coolly until I am sure that she is quite finished and when she finally stops to take a breath. "If you don't want to be here then fine. I never picked for you to be on this rescue mission. Go figure out your own way if you want, or better yet go back to the Blue Door, that's where complete nobodies like you belong."
She smirks, "I knew you were a hothead the moment I met you." She takes a step toward me. "I don't need you and I don't need the safety of the Blue Door. I can make it in Rumplekammer with nothing more than my daggers to protect me."
I refuse to acknowledge her childness and turn to face the others. Flint turns to walk beside me immediately but it takes Vollomeer a second longer to decide before he too turns to follow me deeper into the woods and hopefully toward the village.