Thanks for reading and shout-out to Lunalovegoodmolly!!! Thanks for your kind words and hope you enjoyed the cliffhanger from last time. If you guys enjoy it, recommend it to others and give it an upvote or comment! Also, if you are reading this before reading Part 1 of Chapter 3, you're about to get a spoiler so PLEASE read the rest of the start of the story first!!!
Rating: PG for mild blood and some violence.
"She's the White Raven?" said Shii, after she had received some clothes from the orphanage's stock. She sat with Anwil in the back room with the hearth, where Ic'enix and Wryx had requested them to meet.
"Yes," said Anwil, still stunned.
"Hello," said Wryx, smiling as he greeted Shii. Shii blushed red as he commented on her old clothes. "You may want to put the new ones on. People may wonder if you're a little adventurer with those you currently have."
Anwil sneered. Wryx was everything he wasn't, his foil. He was nice, kind, honest, pure, and a hit with kids, probably cause he looked a bit like one. Anwil, on the other hand, was conniving and mean: he didn't like describing himself this way, but he realized how unlikable he was.
"Ic'enix," said Wryx. "This is Shii Eyu."
Ic'enix bowed and offered the girl her hand. "Nice to meet you."
Ic'enix wore a pair of stretchy pants and a form-fitting sleeved top that encased her full hands like a glove, her outfit all white. She was very athletic, bending every which way like a contortionist, and moving like a graceful gymnast. Her movements captured Anwil's imagination.
Shii looked innocently at Wryx. "Are you two together?"
Wryx shook his head. "No," he said. "She's a thief, and I'm a law-aiding citizen. But she's a fascinating individual." he smiled.
"Are you coming?" asked Anwil disgruntledly. The flames played off his features, his face a valley of dark grey and orange flittering across it.
Wryx nodded. "I know exactly where the Ash Country is, and where in it we have to go. Ic'enix is coming, and Jinokusa." Anwil spluttered as the boy continued. "I believe that's everyone, unless Ic'enix brings someone from her gang along."
Anwil paused. "Where am I in this plan?"
"You... aren't coming." said Wryx.
"What?!" Anwil said, outraged. He felt cheated. He had brought Shii here, been through all of this violence caused by Aomidori during the last few days, and he would just be left in the dust?! Aomidori was sure to target him first off, since he was the last person with Shii, and they were going to just leave him like a lamb for the slaughter?!
The lamb for the wolf's slaughter. That's all he was.
"You aren't fit for the journey." said Ic'enix. "Elves aren't cut out for traveling long distances, you know. They have to train, and you look like you need to hit a self defense class."
"He can hunt," offered Shii helpfully. "He's the best hunter in the kingdoms."
"Then why haven't I heard of him?" asked Ic'enix. "I've heard of the world's greatest killer, the Liyau; I've heard of the world's strongest man, Jinokusa; I'm the supposed world's greatest thief." she paused. "What does 'best hunter' do to hold a light to any of those titles?"
Anwil knew she wasn't being mean, just trying to teach him a lesson.
He sighed, and made to get up. But Shii grabbed his arm.
"I won't go without him," she said. "He has to come!"
Wryx and Ic'enix sighed. "I knew it," said Wryx. He smiled. "That settles it. Tomorrow, we'll get the team together and set off."
"But Aomidori's already on our tails," said Anwil. "She'll kill us all if she catches us."
"Let her try," said Ic'enix bitterly. "No one can catch a thief that's made off a billionaire by pick-pocketing even the most weary of assassins. What do you think I can do with this hands and a sword? How do you think I robbed the King in the far east?"
"But you saved the Emperor." said Anwil.
"Oh, he offered me a reward even more than I was going to get away," said Ic'enix. "But I would never kill. Death is wrong, and if you had the money in the first place, of course you can get it back if you work honestly. I only thieve from those who take it illegally."
"So you're more a hero than a villain." said Anwil, stretching back on the couch.
Ic'enix's eyes flashed, offended. "Of course I'm not a villain." she said. "That's what Snowyl is. If I have to, I'll take her down. She's a danger to us all, and she needs to be taught the error of her ways."
Aomidori stood outside the Ein gate, Usa at her side.
"We gonna sneak in?" he asked placidly.
"We could," said Aomidori, the night sky stretching over her and the moon shining dimly on her face, making her eyes milky white. "But wouldn't it be much more fun to get all the guards in the back, and then walk through their blood into their city?"
A siren went up from outside the city.
Anwil, Ic'enix, Shii, and Wryx all leapt to their feet. "She's here," said Anwil.
"Let's go, then." said Ic'enix. "I really wanna meet this chick." she smiled, and Anwil saw a flash of anger in her eyes, as if these two women shared a complicated and painful history.
A powerful boom echoed outside the front door of the orphanage.
"She's at the door!" shouted Jinokusa from the lobby. They all heard the clatter of metal against a iron sheath as he drew his greatsword.
"Get back here, Jino!" yelled Wryx. "She'll cut your head off-"
Jinokusa stumbled backwards, narrowly avoiding a swing of sword aimed at his neck, into the room. "You were almost right," he panted, and Shii pulled him up. Wryx turned to them.
"Jinokusa, Shii. You two go to the cellar. Jino, protect her, you got me?" Wryx said.
Jinokusa nodded, and retreated backwards as the door fell inward. The slam of the cellar door seemed to ease Wryx, because the boy got a determined look on his face and stepped behind Ic'enix and Anwil.
"You'll get yourself killed," yelled Anwil. "You can't fight!"
"What's it to you?!" said Wryx, "You've never seen me fight!"
A dark figure was the first inside the lobby, screaming echoing behind him. He was a young man, slightly older than Anwil but definitely younger than Jinokusa, with dark hair covering one eye. He had the mark of the Blood Moon on his arm, and seemed rather bored, despite being covered with blood that wasn't his.
"Yep," he said lazily. "There're in here, Snowyl."
"Thanks, Usa." said Aomidori, stepping into the room. Anwil noticed her blood red eyes, and something clicked within his brain. She smiled at Ic'enix and said, "But who is this?"
Ic'enix grinned back. "Like I would tell you," she said. "That's what gives me an edge." Aomidori's face contorted with anger. Anwil watched the two women in their brief standoff, waiting for one to leap into action.
The White Raven and the Liyau stood motionless.
The thief and the killer should have been no match for each other. But it was, in reality, a battle orchestrated in hell: both women were the best enemy for each other.
Anwil knew this. They looked at each other like they had know each other forever, a lifelong relationship of hatred, even if Aomidori had no idea who she was looking at. Anwil held his breath in, as the first blade swung up and caught the light.