Shii clutched Aomidori's waist as the woman pulled her bow from her back. She pulled back an arrow, and hit the fire-lit chandelier. It fell, and the whole back of the room went ablaze.
One of the magic-wielders, a black-haired male elf, shot a well aimed spell at Aomidori, but she dodged. Another aimed at Shii, and Aomidori shot another arrow, this time at the blue-clad woman who had attempted the spell. The arrow lodged in her throat, and she lay, spluttering, as blood welled around her on the ground.
A few of the assaulters yelled a battle cry, and leaped forward, swinging their swords at Aomidori, Shii, and Anwil. Anwil barely dodged a swing from one of the greatswords, and took to swinging his own. By a lucky shot, he managed to disarm a few of them. He silently swore when one of their blades taught a baggy portion of his shirt and ripped a good-sized hole in it.
Aomidori leaped easily onto a table, taking Shii with her and swinging her behind her once again. She smiled angrily and carefully aimed her bow, her arrows hitting their marks every time. Only a couple unwounded were on their feet now, their white-knuckled hands gripping their knives.
"You will pay for your crimes!" shouted one, and he jumped onto the wide bench-like table beside Aomidori's round, wobbly one. She obliged him and knocked into him with a running jump, and then slid her sword wetly out of the large stomach wound she made. He screamed shrilly and Shii's eyes widened: Anwil saw her despair.
Aomidori, still with one hand on Shii, drove her sword into another woman. A man blocked her first attack but succumbed to the next. Before long, only a few men remained, and they surrounded Anwil and Aomidori. One seized Shii, rather roughly, and held a dagger to her throat. Shii whimpered, the blade slightly discolored against the child's pale skin and frightened expression.
"We three are the most accomplished assassins in Jayorid," said one man. "You can't kill us, Liyau. You can't kill a Blood Moon assassin."
Interest sparked in Aomidori's eyes.
She flipped backwards toward the man holding Shii, her boots hitting him square in the face. He staggered back. "If you try and kill Shii," she said, "You get the full fury of Snowyl Aomidori Liyau, the woman with the highest bounty on her head and the most kills in the 3 kingdoms." she smiled sadistically. "Why do you keep coming back?" she asked. "Why do you keep trying to kill off the last Eyu if you know you'll just end up with your throat torn out?"
She leaped forward, bringing her sword down on both men in front of her. Blood went up like a fountain, dotting the floor. She twisted around, sword up, only to have Grey rush forward and slam her own sword against her's.
"You've killed so many people," grunted Grey as she struggled to push her blade to Aomidori's throat, "You need to pay. You're a murderer. A filthy murderer!"
"All for the greater good of the Eyu family," said Aomidori.
"You have no morals!" hissed Grey.
"And you have no foundation on which you can tell me that," she said. "Because, you're a dead woman."
"What?" said Grey, and as Aomidori cocked her arm to slash her dagger through Grey, Anwil shoved her aside.
"STOP!" he roared. "I'm just here to take you two to Hekyla! Not to see a bloodbath!" he glanced around at all the people littering the inn floor. Many were limp, obviously dead, but a lucky few were moaning and attempting to crawl forward for their weapons. Blood smeared across walls or floors, and on Aomidori's face and blades; Anwil couldn't get over the look of despair in Shii's eyes.
"It's not worth it," said Anwil. "Let's just go."
The village was dead quiet as the three took their leave of the inn. It could have just been the fact that it was the wee hours of the morning, or it could have been the fact that word of the world famous assassin Snowyl Aomidori had set foot in their honest town, leaving a trail of blood and guts behind her.
Once they had left the village behind at the small town gate, Anwil turned on Aomidori. "Who are you?" he yelled in her face, his pretty-boy face contorted in an emotion he hadn't felt before. It was fear. Fear had never struck him before, with his big ego and his natural Elfborn swagger: he hadn't known what it felt like until now. He had been given proof: this woman was a threat.
Aomidori's silence was menacing, but she answered. "My family has been trained since birth in the subtle art of killing," she said simply. "There is no right or wrong, Elf. There is only those weak and those strong. My main purpose is to protect, and if I die doing that, I have fulfilled my purpose." She slid her blood-soaked sword into its sheath. "And if anyone gets in the way, they die."
"But what if they're innocent?" spluttered Anwil, in a rage.
"No one is ever innocent. Everyone is evil in some way." said Aomidori.
"So you don't care about anyone?"
Aomidori clutched Shii's hand. "Only those I am born to protect." she said curtly.
Shii was still trembling. Anwil was surprised: she had obviously lived with this nutcase since she was born, why wasn't she as cold-hearted as her "guardian"? The blood on Aomidori's sleeves had dripped thickly onto Shii's arms, only adding to the child's horror and despair.
"You know what?" hissed Anwil quickly. "You're not fit to protect a child. Just let me take her to Ein." he attempted to grab Shii's shoulders, but Aomidori was on him in a second, her hand at his throat, pinning him to a nearby tree.
"You touch her, I kill you!"
Anwil struggled for his sword, but it had fallen on the ground. Autumn leaves rustled as he attempted to reach for it, but Aomidori stepped on his toes and forced his head up towards the dark, starry sky. Her knife's sharp side was pressed hard against his arteries, and he could feel blood welling in little wounds where the sharp, jagged areas of the blade had dug in.
At these close quarters, Anwil noticed something.
"Blood Moon." he hissed. "Why would they send one of them after one of their own?"
Aomidori smiled, the tattoo on her face of a red crescent moon overlaid with a black dagger shining against her pale skin. "I left," she said. "And they don't like free roamers."
Anwil struggled as she added, "I wonder how much money I could get for killing you. Anwil Quar. Best hunter in Jayorid?" she tapped the blade on his neck. "Probably not much, but who cares. You die, every village you hunt for loses lots of food, and several die for the price of one." her eyes flashed red, "Goodbye, Anwil."
"Aomi!" Shii grabbed her protector's arm, forcing her blade down. The red in her eyes flowed away, like a bloody wound had been placed in a river. She blinked hard, snapped her dagger back in her sheath and hissed,
"Get up then!"
Anwil, who had sunk down to the ground due to the pure fear he had just experienced, quickly and clumsily regained his footing. "Let's go set up camp," he said breathlessly. "But I'm sleeping far away from you."
The moon shone down on the little clearing where they had decided to bunk. It caught the light of the rushing river that separated Aomidori's fire on one side and Anwil's on the other, and it cast a deep shadow over the elf as he crept towards the other side. He eased his way into the little camp Aomidori had set up, his fingers trailing lightly over his sword hilt, ready to grab it first sign of trouble.
He quickly reached Shii. After locating her, he decided to slowly ease his free hand under her shoulders, and pull her up with the other one. She was surprisingly heavy for such a small child, but he managed to creep away from the firelight into the surrounding forest. It was a miracle Aomidori didn't hear him, a dagger laid conveniently at her side, but Anwil was incredible at sneaking, something that came with the title of good hunter.
Anwil took his time through the woods, making sure he was heading the right way. To the west, there was a small town, where he could purchase himself a horse and get Shii to Ein.