Zane and Cantaly were sitting outside while Gabriel and Mishep spoke of Misheps next target. Four month old Belle had been really fussy for the past hour so Cantaly went outside so her cries wouldn’t travel the castle during their meeting. Zane asked to hold her when he and his father arrived and Cantaly made him sit as she always did. He didn’t really want to sit since he would be riding a horse for a long time soon but it was the only way he was ever allowed to hold Belle. He began to very gently bounce her and sang softly a song his mother would sing when she was around.
Cantly smiled, mainly because she was happy that Belle almost instantly stopped screaming but she also thought the sight of Zane holding Belle was adorable. “You are so good at soothing her. I thought she would never stop crying. I’m glad you and your father were coming today. Where are you going to stay while he’s away? Is your mother back with your brother?”
“Oh no, I’m going with him this time. He says it’s time to go on my first job and make my first kill. He’s going to hold the man down and I’m supposed to do it how we practiced.” Cantaly couldn’t speak and wore a very horrified expression. A child too young for her to trust standing while holding Belle would be soon traveling off to kill someone. Zane was such a nice kid she could barely see him killing anyone. She wanted to cry for Zane, he was only a four year old little boy. She didn’t see how anybody could think this was right.
Even Gabriel in his office was a bit apprehensive about Mishep taking Zane “he’s only four Mishep. Your father waited until you were seven”
“Yes but my father had about five different girlfriends who were more than happy to watch me. Leena is gone and this will be his life anyway. It will be sooner or later and with him its sooner because I will not have my king and queen take watch of my boy. I know you would but this is his life as my first born. I wouldn’t take his brother on a job even if he wanted to until he was about ten but Kerlvin has other options in life. First borns in my family have always been assassins, its what they are raised to be. I mean no disrespect sir but I don’t wish my family traditions to be messed with.”
Gabriel sighed “I suppose it isn’t my place, he does atleast want to go right?”
“He’s very excited sir”
“Then please begone before my wifes alone with him long enough to figure out he’s going. She’ll be very upset” Mishep bowed “Yes sire, I do hope I didn’t anger you”
“No, it is your way. I shouldn’t have interfered.”
“I’m glad to hear it sire. The job will be done swiftly” Mishep exited the castle “Zane, give Belle back to her mother. We are going” Zane gave Belle a small hug “Bye Princess Belle, be good for Queen Cantaly” Belle took her daughter, unable to look at Mishep as him and Zane got on their horse and rode off.
When Mishep let the horse slow to a steady trot he asked his son “why do you hold that baby everytime we come?”
“I like holding her. It makes me feel good. I also am good at helping Cantaly when Belle cries. I think I make Belle feel good too when I hold her. I sing her the song mom sings to me when she’s around. Do you know when moms coming back?”
“I don’t know, I made her really angry this time. It will take her awhile to forgive me and take me back again.”
“How do you know mom will forgive you?”
“She always has and always will. I can honestly do whatever I want. She punishes me for awhile by leaving and then comes right back. I just have to wait which isn’t hard. Since we’re not together when she leaves I can just have sex with whom I please. I actually like the arrangement. When she’s gone I get somthing new while knowing I’ll have her again at sompoint”
“I wish you and mom wouldn’t fight. I don’t like the other women.”
“well you wotn have to live with me forever. The second your old enough to take over I’m moving on. Not sure where I’m going but I’m going there”
“will you take mom with you?”
“If she’s with me at the time yes, I’ll take your brother too if he feels like it.”
“I’ll miss you guys”
“I’ll think of you very often Zane. This job comes so natural to you. It’s been very easy teaching you so far. I know you are going to be extremely talented.”
“Thanks dad, I hope to impress you when it’s time for me to kill. Who are we hunting?”
“Frank Logan, He’s been raping girls between the ages of 12 and 15 then beating them until they are dead or very near it. We are to find and kill him”
“You know what i do with your mother when she’s with us or other women when your mom is gone?”
“Well, Frank is doing that with women without their permission. Sex is personal and should only be done if both people want to do it.” Zane just looked onward, not sure of what else he should say. He was glad he was getting the job of getting rid of horrible men like Frank. Zane felt proud he was going to be an assassin. It would be his job in life to get rid of people who hurt others. He couldn’t imagine a better profession. Zane got bored as they rode throughout the day. This was starting to feel like the longest day of his life and no matter how he begged Mishep wouldn’t play I spy like his mother did. He began to entertain himself thinking of baby Belle. He felt a strong attachment to her and he wasn’t sure why. All Zane knew is that he enjoyed when Queen Cantaly would allow him to sit in down and sing to her.”
Zane fell asleep against his father, wondering if his dad would ever let the horse rest. Zane woke as his dad was getting off the horse with an arm wrapped around Zanes waist. “well dont wake up now that its time to sleep. The mare is refusing to carry us any further”
“i’ll fall right back asleep.”
“You better, if you don’t you better not go wandering off. if you add time to this out of disobedience you will be severely punished. I’m not kidding Zane”
“Yes sir” Zane went to lay down and Mishep spoke crossly “Zane! How have I been teaching you to sleep on the road?”
“sorry sir” Zane leaned against a tree and held the dagger his father had given him. Â When Mishep was sure Zane wouldn’t try to lay down again he shut his eyes and drifted to sleep. Zane opened his eyes a little later when he knew his father was asleep. He then went over to their mare and pulled an apple from their bag. Zane knew his father hadn’t bothered to feed her. He thought animals were put on earth to serve humans and often neglected them. The horse gratefully ate and Zane smiled “night”. Zane returened to his spot and closed his eyes. He recieted one of the bedtime stories his mother told him when she was around. He kept going until he was unconsious.
Zane woke feeling somone about to stab him. His dagger hit that of his fathers. “very good son. I’ve trained you well” Zanes heart was beating a million miles per minuet. He just stood and got on their mare with his father. He guessed they weren’t going to eat this morning. Just as he thought that he found he was mistaken. Mishep handed him a small handful of almonds. Zane ate gratefully and hoped his father fed their horse breakfast. “so dad, do you ahve any idea where Frank is?”
“his last victim was oin Phosterpin and he seems to hit every town he passes so the next logical choice would be Mulper. If theres a victim there we will head to the next town. Speaking of which I want you to hold tight, I’m going to make her run.”
“Yes sir” Zane said and finished his almonds.
Around lunch their mare was about hobbling into Mulper. The poor thing seemed so exhausted from being run so hard today and the day before. Zane felt incredibly bad for it and wished his father had any sympathy atall for animals. They got off when they reached stables and Mishep spoke “stay close to me son. You are not searching for him, I am. Do not let anything here distract you, or we may get seperated and you’ll only cause me problems.”
“goodboy, I don’t want a reason to punish you.” Zane stayed as close as he could to his father without stepping on him. Without his mother to soften him his fathers punishments were severe and somtimes nearly unbareable. It was another reason he wanted his mother back. Mishep was always much kinder when she was around. He felt his little brother was lucky that he was able to leave with mom when she did. Zane had to stay with their father since their father was teaching him to take his place.
His father walked seemingly nonchalantly but Zane could tell it was with purpose. He gave a few people a description but non claimed to have seen the man. Hours passed when suddenly Mishep halted, seeing blood trickle from an allyway. They walked to it and saw a girl who looked about thirteen in a pool of her own blood. Her clothes were in taters with her underwear on her left ankle. Mishep growled in frustration and grabbed Zanes hand. Frank had been dumb enough to step in the blood so Mishep followed it. It started leading them out of town and towords the outlands on the way to the next town.
That girl couldn’t have been dead long. Mishep got down “get on my back. Your small legs are slowing us down too much boy” Zane was more than happy to climb up. His knees were bloody form a couple times he had fallen and skidded them. Mishep took off in a full sprint and soon they saw Frank laying in some grass. He looked as if he was in paradise. His face was sickly happy. Frank jumped but he had noticed Mishep too late to escape from him.
Mishep Tussled with the man only briefly before pinning him “alright Zane, you are going to finish it. I’ve shown you three different ways to kill criminals quickly. I want you to choose which way you want and do it. If you want to think you can. He wont get out of this hold” Mishep saying that seemed to piss off Frank. He started to try and get away but ti only made his position hurt more. Zane nervously took out his dagger, his heart thumping hard. Now that the moment was here he was a little scared to make his first kill. Mishep noticed the fear “go cold boy, in our line of work you can’t hesitate. Hesitation can mean your life or the criminal getting away. Do you want him or others like him to continue causing towns to be terrified to leave their homes? Do you want to see more young girls end up like the one you saw in the ally? Men like him don’t stop. Kill him Zane”
Zane decided to go for the throat. He stabbed a little clumsily but managed to hit one of the marks his father showed him anyway. Blood started spuritng and got all over both men since Zane had slightly botched it. Mishep seemed frustrated and unhappy with him and Zane almost expected to be spanked but Mishep grabbed his son so they would be out of the spray and said “You did well for only being four and this is your first time. You hesitated and it made your movement unsteady. He’s bad, we only kill evil people son. You’re doing a good thing by taking their lives. He would have kept taking Innocent girl after innocent girl if we would have left him be.”
“I know dad, I’m sorry.”
“Like I said, I didn’t expect much better from a four year old. I was seven when my father had me make my first kill. I was hesitant too. Now lets go find a pond to get the blood off our faces and arms. I want to get home so we wont bother with our clothes”
“yes sir” They walked until they found water and began to scrub. Once there was no blood on their skin they started back for the town. “what’s going to happen to his body dad?” Zane asked and Mishep responded “I’ll let the animals eat it. He may aswell do some good” They frightened the owner of the horse stall when they came up with blood on them. He gave their horse back free of charge which Mishep had no arguments about. They mounted and set off again. Their mare didn’t seem like she had enough rest but his father didn’t have a care in the world about it.
He wished he could tell her how sorry he was. That he would let her rest if he could. Mishep pushed the poor animal until she stumbled, nearly falling down. Mishep made a very angry noise and got off “i guess we’ll waste our time and rest for the remainder of the day. Pathetic animal” Zane couldn’t help but think “lets see you carry two people and be pushed almost non stop all the way here” but he was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. Zane just ran his hands along the horse, hoping she wouldn’t hurt herself too badly getting them home.
This night Zane had nightmares about that girls body. He had seen lots of dead animals covered in blood but seeing that girl was mortifying. He woke up reapeatedly, wishing he could get the picture of her out of his mind. He hoped with time it would be easier to see dead people. He guessed it had to for people to do this for a living. Their trip back was mostly silent. For Zayne nearly all of it was spent pushing that girls badly beaten body out of his head. When he coudl tell they were close to the castle Zane felt excited, hoping Princess Belle was awake and Cantaly would let him hold her. It was enough excitement that the dead girl vanished from his mind.
The castle slowly came into view and he wanted to just be there. When they finally did make it to the front Zane jumped down with new found energy. He had to force himself to walk, knowing running would anger his father. When they were inside Zane asked a servant “where’s Queen Cantaly?”
“Taking a nap, I know your real question is where’s baby Belle. Her brother Malachai and his friend Sampson are playing with her in her bedroom. Run right up” Zane took off up the castle stairs inspiring a smile in the servant. He pushed open her door to see Sampson giving her kisses and making Belle smile and laugh. Zane didn’t know what he felt right now but he knew he didn’t like Sampson holding her. He marched over “My turn, I’ll have to go soon” Sampson gave Zane a look like he was crazy and Malachai spoke “You probably shouldn’t hold her how you are now. You’ll get blood on her Zane. It’s soaked into your clothes”
“But its dry blood”
“still” Sampson spoke again, much to Zanes disliking. Zane glared and didn’t even care to stop himself “fine, I guess I’ll just go then” Zane stormed out before he did somthing that would get him in trouble. Sampson scoffed “who does trhat little shit think he is. Your mother actually lets him hold her even when he isnt covered in blood?”
“yes, he holds her every time he comes with his father”
“Belle is a princess and shoudl only be held by nobles”
“My family and I don’t feel that way.” Sampson sighed “I know, it’s strange, really strange.”
“I don’t think so. Quit being such an ass”
“You should have said that to the little brat that was just in here”
“I like Zane, leave him alone. If you don’t like how our castle is run then you and your dad don’t have to come over”
“alright I’m sorry Malachai” Zane sat near the kings office with his head hanging in sadness. At the end of the trip all he wanted to do was hold baby Belle and now he couldn’t. Worse, Sampson was in there kissing her and making her laugh. He didn’t understand his feelings but he felt extremely frustrated and sad. He wished Sampson would just go away and that he would’ve been allowed to see her. He never knew when they would return to the castle.
When Mishep and Gabriel came out Mishep said “we’re staying here tonight. King Gabriel isn’t taking no for an answer. We will be having dinner with his family and sleeping in guest quarters.”
“Ok” Gabriel smiled and called a maids who came quickly “can each of you take them to a guest room and help them start a shower if they need it.” They both said yes sir, one took Mishep and the other took Zane. In the bathroom the maid asked Zane “what is wrong with you Zane? You are always so happy”
“I dont know”
“well I hope you feel better.”
“Thank you” was all he could say. She started a shower for him and took away his clothes to fetch new ones. The new clothes were waiting on the bed when Zane got out. He put them on then walked out the door. The maid that helped him said “Dinner will be ready very soon. Want to wait in Princess Belles room? Queen Cantaly is up and she has Belle as always” Zanes eyes lit up. He knew Cantaly would let him hold her. “yes” He ran even though it was improper in the castle and his father would be mad if he witnessed it. He went in Belles room and was happy to see Malachai and Sampson gone. “Hey Zane, I’m guessing you want to hold Belle?”
“Yes please” Zane sat down on the floor and Cantaly gentle handed Belle over. “so Gabriel says you and your father are staying the night.”
“Yes mam, Sampson isn’t too is he?” Cantaly laughed “yes they are staying for a few days. Why?”
“No reason mam, just asking” Zane said not wanting to complain about a royal to her. “it’s ok not to like him Zane. Want to be in on a little secret?” Zane nodded slightly and Cantaly brought her tone to a whisper “I think he and his father are spoiled brats” Zane smiled “me too” They both exchanged smiles that openly said they wanted to laugh. Zane was relieved Queen Cantaly didn’t like them much. Cantaly spoke again “Zane, you are so good with her. Do you mind if I go spend time with my husband until dinner since it’s soon? I’ve just fed her and if she needs a change you can call on one of the maids. Just yell and they’ll come.”
“I wouldn’t mind atall Mrs Henri”
“Thank you” Cantaly left and instructed a maid to stay by the door incase Zane needed help. She was excited to be with Gabriel. She would feel bad if she gave Belle to a maid but Zane and Belle seemed to really enjoy eachother so she felt no guilt leaving her with him. Zane gently kissed her cheek and Belle gave a big, open mouthed smile as she made a happy sound. Zane smiled, almost feeling tingly from his happiness “You like my kisses best, don’t you Belle.” Zane started telling Belle some stories about things his younger brother would do with their mother. The stories of his childhood he didn’t really want to share. He kept telling his stories until the maid came in “it’s time for dinner Zane. I will need to take Belle now.”
Zane handed her over and walked down to the dining hall by the maids side. The maid only held Belle until Cantaly finished her food. Cantaly had to leave when Belle started crying. Gabriel also excused himself, not wanting to be without Cantaly more than he already had been that day. After dinner Mishep gave a book to a maid then sent her to Zanes room with him. Zane spent another night hearing of another assassin and his best techniques. Right after breakfast they had to leave. Zane kept looking back at the castle. He hoped he could come back and see Princess Belle again soon.
~ The End ~