Chapter 6: Preparation (part four)

“You took one of two routes out of the training area,” Lieran explained, after lowering his weapon and stepping into the light, revealing himself to the halfling. “I happened to take the other.”

“The window?” Racieus asked, defeat lacing his voice, the guild master nodded. “And then you climbed down the outside of the guild, and came back in downstairs?” Another nod. “I see. You fight unfairly” the small assassin remarked sourly, though he knew the excuse to be a feeble one.

“I fight unfairly, and you, it seems, are dead” replied his tutor matter-of-factly. “Not much incentive to fight fair now is there? And this talk of being unfair is nonsense. If you have an advantage, there is nothing unfair about using it to it’s fullest.”

“I will remember that” the halfling said, half-jokingly, “Should the roles ever be reversed.”

“I should hope so,” the assassin laughed, “But come, the exercise is over, and I am relocating our sessions to a larger, more open site.” The assassin, not even checking to see if the halfling was following, pushed through the doors of the training hall, and, before they had a chance to close, had hopped out the window.

Racieus followed briskly, hesitating for only a moment before straddling the sill and descending, which turned out to be easier for him than for Lieran, Racieus’ small size allowing him to use more handholds. He almost beat the assassin to the ground.

“Very good halfling” the guild master said in approval, before taking off once more. The sun had started to rise by this point, and Racieus was able to follow his teacher with little trouble. Lieran led the halfling up an empty street, and took a sharp turn into a narrow alleyway. He paused long enough to look back at his student and say “Time to put today’s lesson into practice, Racieus,” and then, pushing himself off the opposite wall, the guildmaster leapt up and pulled himself through an open window.

Racieus blinked once before exploding into action. He wasn’t sure he could make the same jump as his teacher, and didn’t waste time trying. Instead he ran around back out of the alley and circled the building, looking up, expecting to see his tutor appear above him. It took Racieus half a minute to realize his mistake, and he cursed. Of course the guild master had known he was being chased, and correctly assumed that Racieus would continue forward, anticipating the expected.

The halfling spun around and went back the way he had come, looking for something that would allow him to ascend one of the buildings. He turned a corner and spotted a shop keeper setting up a stand outside his store, and after a quick calculation, the small trainee sprinted towards the table. Timing his jump, the halfling hopped atop the table, and immediately kicked off, his momentum carrying him forward towards the building. Bringing his left foot forward, Racieus turned and manged to push off more or less horizontally. His hands caught hold of the store’s awning, and before the owner could utter a word, the halfling was up and running across the roof. Building up speed Racieus vaulted from the roof onto the adjoining building before a thought struck him and he skidded to a halt.

He was still doing the expected thing. Lieran believed Racieus to be the chaser, and was acting accordingly, but what if the halfling stopped pursuing the human assassin? It probably wouldn’t take the guild master long to figure out that Racieus wasn’t chasing. But would he investigate? Or simply keep running? The disappearance of his student might not be enough to draw Lieran back, but the halfling, a smile crossing his face, had an idea of what would…

The End

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