A girl is plunged into a world of assissins, spies and danger. All her life she has been trained for this moment, without her knowing it, and know, as she is rushed off to The Academy, her life changes forever.
As I stood on the ledge of the balcony, looking over at the masses of people who were pushing and shoving past the market stalls, I felt the wind whip around me, bowing down at my feet and whispering words of wisdom into my ear. I closed my eyes and allowed its comforting hands to sooth my tense neck and calm the adrenalin that was rushing through my veins.
As my hands slowly unclenched I felt the blood dribble down my fingers and drip down into the street below. This one had been tough, he had never given in. I slid down onto the firm ground of the balcony and turned to peer back through the curtains that covered the large glass doors. I could see him laying there, his cold body twisted on the floor, as if it were still resisting the poison which had spread quickly through his blood.
I was always careful not to spill the red ooze that sent me into the frenzy. But this man knew. He knew that I couldn’t resist its allure. He had cut his wrist as soon as I had let him free, to taunt and tease him as he tried to make his escape. This one was clever. Dead, but very clever. And now I was yet to know the next clue.
I couldn’t risk walking back through the room. If anyone saw me leave they could trace me, and worse still, there was still blood in that man’s body. I had drawn away as quickly as I could. If I completely drained his blood people would get suspicious. They would know it was one of us and they would hunt us down. The police normally didn’t care, as long as we didn’t leave signs that it was us. They knew we existed, but they knew the world wouldn’t be able to cope without us, so they left us be.
I could see the balcony below me and so I lightly hopped over the side and landed with no sound and great precision beside a wooden table. I darted through the dark, sweet smelling room and out into the corridor. Drifting gently down the stairs, aware that any odd behaviour would draw attention, I focused on the blood which was quickly drying on my hands. I reached into my pocket and drew out a pair of black leather gloves. They could easily be disposed of later and they were definitely in fashion, so they wouldn’t draw attention. I slipped them on.
I didn’t meet anyone on my way down the stairs, another bonus, and I easily blended into the crowded, bustling street. I felt the cobbled stones beneath my feet as I slipped in and out of gaps that appeared between market stalls. As I passed a fruit stall I gently knocked the leg of one of the makeshift tables, causing an apple to slide of the neatly piled basket and fall down towards the ground. But before it had reached the hard floor I gently caught it with my foot and flicked it back up into my hands.
No-one had noticed. I was definitely a professional when it came to stealing, many of us were, but what it came back to were the key skills that we needed for survival. I took a bite out of the smooth skin and felt the juice ooze out into my mouth. I could understand my attraction to this feeling, but the taste wasn’t as satisfying. As I approached the end of the market place I glanced quickly behind me to see whether anyone was following. Of course, I could normally tell by the heart beat, but in such a large, busy place it was hard to pick out individuals.
Silently I slid around the corner of a street, into a dark, cold alleyway. The street was lined with broken furniture and piles of rubbish. It stank. I leaned into a doorway, which loomed out of the darkness, unlit by any lamps. I lent against the frame and knock on the door. Knock... pause... Knock, knock. No one would answer to anything else. I took another bite out of the apple, which I still clasped in one hand. A voice from the other side of the wood called out, “Password!” I smiled gently at the red fruit as I replied, “apple core.” I heard the large bolt draw back and I pushed away from the wall, through the frame and into the dark and dusty room.
As I walked across the large room I gazed up, not in awe as I had the day I arrived, but with respect. Our base was a large abandoned warehouse. It had originally been used as a storehouse for flour and wheat, stored in piles upon piles before being sent out to market. Warehouses have always been great bases for brotherhoods. Of course, many would think that they were too obvious a hiding place but there are just so many of them, tucked away behind harbours and down dark alleyways. This place kept us safe. It was a place of secrets and of mystery.
The sound of the bolt being drawn back across the door, sealing us safely inside, drew me out of my thoughts. The young girl who had answered the door, barely out of the academy, skipped backwards beside me. “So? How did it go? Did he give in? What’s the next clue? Where do we go next?” Her endless stream of questions made me smile inside. She was a good source of companionship, almost like a young puppy, but I could hardly believe that she had made it out of training. She was just so… loud.
I continued over to the hallway, turning just as I reached the door to reply, “No. He didn’t give in. The treasure trail just became harder to follow.” I didn’t wait to see her reaction. What I had just said just hit home. I passed through the doors and hurried on down the dimly lit corridor until I reached the chamber. I hadn’t succeeded, and now my prey had alluded me once more.
My hand reached up to knock on the circular shaped door. The eagle, which sparkled gold as the lamp light flickered across it, seemed to spread its wings. My hand didn’t quite reach the door before a short sharp bark called out;