Chapter 10: Compatibility

Entering the training room the next morning revealed it to once again be empty. Or so it appeared. Racieus was no longer shocked at this occurrence, it had happened on several more occasions, and Racieus, as he learned, had begun to give Lieran a run for his money, he had actually caught the guild master the last time. He ran for the window, and vaulted over the side, but grabbed one of the tiny handholds below the sill as he fell. Twisting, the halfling put out his feet to stop himself from crashing noisily into the side of the building.

He counted to twenty, listening intently for any sound, before slowly peaking his head up to look in the window. A figure dropped from the ceiling, which piqued Racieus’ curiosity. Lieran hadn’t done anything like that in quite some time. More to his surprise, instead of following him out the window, the guild master moved for the exit of the practice area, quietly slipping outside. The halfling frowned. He was making the obvious move, the expected move. The only way he could rationalize it, was that perhaps Lieran was attempting to use some form of reverse psychology on Racieus. The expected had now become the unexpected in the small assassin’s mind. Maybe Lieran was playing on that? As his mind whirred through complicated responses and ways to take advantage of this convoluted plot, the halfling missed the obvious, and simple explanation.

Racieus pulled himself back inside the window and made for the rafters. Pushing off of a wall, the halfling landed on top of one of the supply cabinets. He jumped off of that, timing his flip for maximum distance, and managed to grab the ledge of a taller cabinet several feet down the wall. From there it was a simple wall jump upward to grab a rafter, and Racieus pulled himself up smoothly, and just in the nick of time. There was a soft sound at the window, and the halfling looked down to see Lieran climbing through. He expected the guild master to check the ceiling, and prepared himself to move around, but no inspection came. The taller assassin moved about the room before squeezing behind some rolled up mats.

Utterly confused, Racieus stepped lightly along the ceiling beams until he was directly above one of the mats. To save space, the mats were rolled up and then stood vertically against the wall. Looking down, Racieus saw that one of them hadn’t been rolled very tightly, and in the very center was a hole just large enough for him to fit through. The halfling maneuvered himself until he was staring straight down at the crevice, and before he could think about it, he stepped off in a pencil dive, drawing in his arms as he fell. He landed without a sound and carefully pushed out with his arms to give himself a little space. Then throwing all his weight against one side, he overbalanced the mat and fell with it to the floor. He could almost imagine Lieran freezing up at the noise, afraid he had given himself away. There was a quick shuffle of feet and through the tube, Racieus saw feet approach. As soon as he saw arms come down to grip the tube, the halfling shimmied backwards out the other end of the tube, twisting around it as the guild master stood it back up. His daggers were in his hands, and pressed against his teacher’s back before the tube had settled.

A very un-masculine yelp emitted from Lieran, and as the halfling sensed another form drop down behind him, Racieus put it all together. The person in front of him was not Lieran. “Am I really that feminine that would mistake Eira for me halfling?” Lieran asked with a grin. He lowered his weapons, and Racieus followed suite, allowing the girl he had captured to spin and face him, a smile on her face as well.

“Wait, so you set me up? She was bad on purpose?” There were nods from both, and Racieus, slightly annoyed, decided not to share in their mirth.

“Oh get over yourself halfling” Lieran teased, “Shouldn’t be too hard considering your height. But now, to business!” he said, clapping his together as he often did. “I have been looking forward to this moment for quite some time actually, and was surprised that last night to find that last night marked your first meeting. I hope it was a pleasant one, because now that I think the two of you are ready, you will continue training together, as well as partnering with each other for your first few guild assignments.”

Racieus’ face lit up, “When is our first one?”

“Not today” Lieran said with a consoling raise of his eyebrows. “And probably not for at least a week or two. It all depends on when we-” the door to the training room burst open and a man that the halfling recognized, but didn’t know, stepped in and beckoned for Lieran. The guild master sighed and excused himself briefly to go talk to the man. Racieus and Eira shared an awkwardly quiet few moments together, watching their teacher from afar as he frowned and glanced at the two new members appraisingly. After a brief consideration, he nodded his head and spoke rather decisively to the intruder, who also turned an eye on Racieus and Eira. He bowed and backed out of the room pulling the doors shut behind him.

“It appears I stand corrected. Your first job begins now. Go pack your things, I will explain as much as I can along the way.”

“You’re coming with us?” Racieus asked, unsure of whether to feel happy for the backup or a bit put off that his first solo mission wouldn’t truly be a solo mission.

“Indeed I am halfling. A party of three was requested. I am your third member.”

The End

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