A Dance

"These assassins seem incompetent..."

Tanz laughed as he wrapped his mask in a soft cloth. Since they had the Baturan 'assassins' to kill the emperor, Tanz did not need to wear the mask. THough it WAS disappointing, it was not too bad. His main mission was that item... 

"That knight is the real deal," Tanz told Reiher, "Though as far as his dance of stealth, he truly does not seem a reliable one. And his partner has yet to prove herself as anything other than a dancer of looks." Tanz giggled. "Maybe we will take out the emperor ourselves after all."

Reiher raised an eyebrow from under his hood. Even in this rented room, the man did not let his guard down. What a stiff one, though reliable. "Was the Emperor not our real target?"

Had he not been told? "No, our real target is this." Tanz drew out a piece of paper with his orders on it and handed it to Reiher when he walked over. The sniper's eyes grew wide as he read. "You see? That is why we are working with the Baturans. They will take out the Emperor like we want and cause enough of a distraction for us to retrieve that."

Reiher handed back the piece of paper rigidly. He was on guard when around a dancer of shadows he thought to be an ally? Well, that was probably smart, though Tanz never betrayed his comrades unless commanded to by his King. 

Or they got in the way. 

"Do you not fear the others overhearing our conversation?" Reiher asked.

Tanz just shook his head. "Tor already knows something is up, so he is most likely listening in on us." Reiher tensed, but Tanz ignored the motion. "That is why I did not speak of which we seek. Likely this will actually help the Baturan's trust us. We dance in order to achieve a partner they don't even know of. They already have a partner in their dance, so they have no reason to pry into our business anyway." Tanz clapped his hands after placing his mask in a small satchel with his other supplies. "Everybody wins, sniper."

Reiher said nothing, but nodded before he walked out the door. What a mysterious man he was. Of his history, there was nothing, and of his skills, there were few to compare. Where did he come from? And why did he refuse to harm children of even the most corrupt people? Tanz recalled hearing of a prince that was tainted beond compare that Reiher had spared. He had been 10, enough to have ideals of revenge, yet Reiher left and never returned. 

Oh well! Tanz smiled. Now was the time to... court.

Walking out the door, Tanz left for the bar. Despite the late hour, men were still drinking and partying. Well, it was lively, for sure, but there were few women. It only took moments to spot the perfect partner.

She was a little barmaid, innocent in her looks. Red hair adorned her head and milky brown eyes beckoned her customers, making Tanz excited by the prospect of dancing with this one. Her body WAS a little too small - almost like a younger girl - but thankfully she looked of age. Tanz wasn't too picky, but children were not dancers. Ever.

"Miss," Tanz said, letting his blonde hair cover one eye like most women liked, "May I have a moment?"

The red-haired woman smiled as she turned to face Tanz, but as soon as their eyes met, her false smile fell to a surprised position. Tanz had caught his prey. It took the barmaid a few seconds to recuperate, but she did. Wonderful! "Um... May I help you, sir..?"

Her voice was still full of surprise, but she maintained it well. Had she not been a barmaid in this place, Tanz might have expected her to be one of the palace maids who liked to tease him. "Yes, my lady," Tanz bowed and took the small woman's hand, "I was wondering if you might grace me with your presence as I danced this night?" Tanz kissed her hand and looked directly into her blushing brown eyes. Perfect.

"Why.... Um.. Y-yes..." she said nervously. That told Tanz a bit about her. She had already looked young, but some women look younger than they are. The expression! The way they speak! That's what gives it away! This one was young, no older than her twentieth year, and probably new to this job as well. She was a perfect partner for a little fun.

Tanz took the woman's hand and pulled her past a few others and onto the middle of the floor. There weren't many people on the dance floor, so it was slightly lonesome, sadly. "My name is Simon," Tanz lied as he spun the red-head around, "What is yours, my beautiful dancing partner?"

She blushed, but replied with a straight voice. "Bellemere." She was learning! Her dancing technique wasn't too bad either and she picked up what she didn't know quickly. A natural! 

Tanz smiled. "Bellemere reminds me of something that I didn't think existed..." Tanz said, adding a hint of sorrow to his tone. It was all to satisfy his dancer, though.

"What do you mean?" Bellemere asked between a few steps. She was getting better still. Most new dancers could barely talk while they were dancing. Perfect!

Tanz pulled her close and placed her ear near his mouth. "I meant your flawless beauty, Bellemere," Tanz whispered. 

Her body shuttered in delight, finishing the courting and starting the true dancing. It was a miracle, truly. Tanz had not had a good dance in so long. Together with Bellemere, Tanz shaved away the night's hours and danced the entirety of the dance floor. His partner kept up and even surpassed expectations throughout the entire dance. It was bliss.

But all bliss had to end. 

Bellemere finally tired out and nearly collapsed in Tanz's arms. Usually, he would disappear and leave Bellemere wanting for future fun, but this little woman had deserved more respect for her sheer talent and endurance. And so....

Tanz took her chin...

Pulled her eyes into his own... 

And kissed her.

For Tanz, this was sacred. This was a sign that he truly respected his partner. He would tease the maids at the palace with a fake kiss, but never did he really kiss them. It was something reserved for the special ones. The...

Time to go!

Tanz pulled back and, ignoring the people clapping and cheering for him - though it was not nearly as loud as one might think with only a handful of people still in the bar - , used his shadow magic to vanish into the darkness. It only took seconds to get back to his room.

"I am surprised."

Tanz didn't turn to face Tor. "Despite you thinking my dancing being a metaphor for something else, I truly do enjoy the simple act of a good dance."

"And ending it with a kiss?"

Nobody understood. "A sign of respect, Baturan. May you have dreams of dancing." 

Tanz walked into his room and decided to sleep.

The End

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