Episode 15: Assassin’s Greed

A few blocks away from the smoldering heap that used to be The Yard, Rib sat at a table at the Whistling Pig Tavern, waiting anxiously for company. From the back of the empty room, he could hear the wonderful sounds of mayhem as the undead ravaged the village. It appeared his beloved was testing his powers. He hoped the king planned to pace himself.

The screams crescendoed as the front door opened. A woman dressed in shiny black leather from head to toe entered. Her corset was adorned with velvet black rose embroidery and was cinched up just so that allowed her modest bosom to be displayed respectfully. On her right hip rested a thick black leather whip that looked like it had seen its fair share of use. Her hair mimicked the color of ravens, but Rib could tell even from his distance it came from a bottle; her blonde roots betrayed her image. Her snow white skin contrasted starkly against her dark attire, drawing attention to her slender arms, and well curated face, complete with pouty red lips, and stunning purple eyes. We won’t mention her fuck me pumps.

Behind her entered a mountain of a man who appeared to have lost his shirt somewhere along the way, revealing his barrel chest covered in white curly hair, which matched his long, stringy hair. His eyes were the color of glacial ice. His pants, what were left of them, hugged his tree trunk legs for dear life. While this outfit was more aesthetically pleasing to Rib, it was somehow more conspicuous than the woman’s. 

Rib stood up and waved them over. Upon realizing they were the only ones there, he blushed and quickly sat down. He took out his amulet and cast a ward around the tavern to prevent anyone living or dead from barging in on them with their nonsense. 

When his guests joined him, he addressed them with the most serious expression he could muster. “Killít,” he said to the woman. “Brunt,” he said to the man. “You’re probably wondering why I called you here this evening.”

Killít rolled her eyes and sighed. “You want someone dead, right?” The surprised look on Rib’s face confirmed it. “We’re assassins. Mystery solved.”

Deflated, Rib sank in his seat and low key sulked. “You must be real fun at parties.”

Brunt giggled, betraying the tough guy exterior his build portrayed. “Yeah, she’s the real death of the party.” Rib and Killít merely stared blankly at him, but he didn’t care. He enjoyed his joke.

“Who do you want dead and how much are you willing to pay us?” Killít asked impatiently. 

“What, you have somewhere to be?” Rib didn’t like how brusque the lady’s attitude was. He was trying to enjoy the moment, but she was ruining it. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

“If you haven’t noticed, the undead are causing a scene and I don’t want to get caught up in it.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder and sat back. “The sooner we get to business, the sooner we can get out of here.”

Rib leaned forward and held up his amulet. “As long as you’re with me, you’re safe. It would be in your best interest to take your time and enjoy yourself.” Having gotten his message across, he sat back and took a deep breath. “Now, where was I?”

Brunt clapped his hands excitedly like a child about to get a treat. “You were about to tell us why you called us here tonight!” His excitement simmered a bit when his enthusiasm was met with a stern look from his partner. He slumped his shoulders and sat back in the booth with his serious face on. “Proceed,” he said with a deep voice.

In a flash of purple light, images of Fox and Creston’s heads appeared in the center of the table. The heads floated and rotated as if on a spinning plate. Rib’s illusions captivated his guests as they studied their new targets.

“These are the Graveyard Fighters, the very ones who defeated the Skeleton King eight years ago.” The disdain in his voice was all too clear, which intrigued the assassins more. “The gods didn’t see fit to kill them during his absence, so now the job is yours.” He studied Killít’s face and saw her wheels were turning. 

“These are mere boys, Ribbyn. Surely you could wipe them off the face of the planet with a wave of a hand. Why have us kill them?” Killít’s light voice was heavy with suspicion, which irritated Rib, much to her delight.

“Because it is the master’s will,” Rib replied haughtily. “I have very important things to attend to if the king is to regain his hold on the Seven Lands.” He enlarged Fox’s and pointed at it. “He really wants this one dead. If you could, brutalize him harshly. Obliterate his pretty little face until it’s nothing but pulp! Leave no trace, not even a tooth! Salt the ground his mangled body lies on and burn it! And then…”

Brunt cleared his throat, interrupting the stream of violence. “You must really hate that guy. What did he do, fuck your mom or something?”

Rib gasped too dramatically and choked on the air for his efforts. “No! How dare you!” He glared at the beast of a man and mumbled something about his mother being a saint. “This boy was instrumental in defeating the king and for that he must be punished.”

“Fine, don’t tell us. I don’t really care.” Killít waved her gloved hands dismissively. She was ready to conclude this business. “How much are we getting paid? Let’s see the coins.”

Rib fished out a medium sized purple velvet pouch and set it on the table, going through Fox’s face. The clinking of coins was music to the assassins’ ears. 

“A thousand gold coins now, two thousand when the job is done.”

Killít and Brunt smirked at this. “Bitch, please. We don’t get out of bed for less than seven thousand,” she said, pushing the pouch toward Rib.

“Generally, we don’t like getting out of bed at all,” Brunt added with a chuckle.

It was Rib’s turn to balk. “Seven thousand? That’s outrageous!”

“Your outfit is outrageous, but here we are.” Killít watched as Rib took the jab at his fashion personally.

Brunt nodded his head. “It’s true. It’s truly, truly, truly outrageous.” Another withering look from Killít silenced him again.

“Look, do you want these bitches dead or not?” 

Rib’s face scrunched up as he reached into his robe and pulled out another pouch. He slammed it onto the table with attitude. He’d hoped he wouldn’t have to spend more than three thousand coins for this, but when one employed The Annihilators, one paid out the nose.

“Fine, three thousand now, five thousand when the job is done. Does this justify getting out of bed?”

Killít and Brunt exchanged glances before silently consenting to accept the offer. “It’s a start.” Killít grabbed the pouches and handed them to Brunt to hold. Stunning as her outfit was, it lacked sufficient pockets.

“I want them dead by sunset tomorrow,” Rib said, standing up from the table. “Oh, by the way; try to make this one look like an accident.” He waved his hand through Fox’s face, pretending to slap it. With a swish of his cape, he exited the tavern into the chaos still raging outside.

Killít waited to hear the screams to muffle a bit before she turned to Brunt and asked, “What do you make of him?”

Brunt looked back to see if Rib was really gone before he replied, “He really seemed to hate that one guy. Like a lot.” He glanced back at the table to find the visions of their targets had disappeared. “I think there’s more to this than he let on.”

Killít couldn’t agree more. The question of why Rib couldn’t kill these boys himself stayed on her mind. Why would he pay someone to do what he could do easily? And why did it have to look like an accident? If she didn’t know better she’d say they were being set up.

“I bet you a thousand gold pieces that the Skeleton King wants that one boy alive and well.” 

Brunt thought about this for a moment before he said, “If that’s true, then he plans on blaming us for his demise.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

Brunt watched as his partner’s expression suddenly became pensive. He knew this look well- she was hatching a scheme. He couldn’t wait to know what it was. “So what’s the plan, Killy?” he asked excitedly.

She gave him a sly look and said, “If Rib is willing to pay this much for the boy to die, I wonder how much the king will pay us for him to live.” She let the plan float between them before the laughing began. They both agreed the plan was brilliant. The potential to make enough money to buy that houseboat they’d had their eyes on made them giddy.

“How funny is it that we could get paid for not killing someone? That’s got to be a first,” said Brunt, bouncing the coin pouches lightly in his hands.

“Very funny indeed,” Killít replied. “We’ll be laughing our way to the bank.”

Author: Cameron D. Blackwell

Writer Ordinare!

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