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A Rose's Thorn [Assassin C to B redo]

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
Redoing my C to B training because I despised the previous one

Cold would not have begun to describe the aura of the figure that parted the curtains of Amaya's stall, the bandaged face and white cloak pushing another kind of presence into simple shop. He gave her a simple nod, reaching into the rucksack he had slung across his shoulder before removing a rather thin package, depositing it on the counter. His hands were bandaged too, although that fact didn't surprise her in the slightest. She'd worked with these people before, and the fact that they had managed to locate her was the more shocking endeavor. She'd spend months crafting this facade, and even taken up botany and herbalism again.

"The tan clan sends it's regards, Hemlock" the figure murmured, stepping back through the curtains. His shoulder brushed against a woman as they slid through the entrance simultaneously, a small "excuse me" leaving his mouth before he seemed to disappear completely. She snapped out of her confusion as the woman addressed her alias. "h-huh... Oh, sorry."

"Did that man have something for you?" The woman looked on in curiosity. "You've been a little on edge lately, Anna. Did it have to do with him?"

She shakes her head. "No..." She peers out of the stall, lying with no effort, or tell. "I think he had me confused with someone else..." Amaya shook her head. "He's gone anyway. Best not to dwell on things like that. It's not my business in the slightest."

Amaya was livid, and for good reason. She had almost been washed by some messenger that didn't have the common sense or tact to leave her a job at the locale she was known for. If he knew her nickname then why didn't... Because they didn't want a warning to be sent... Amaya shook her head, the candle on the table flickering gently as she cast her gaze out of the inn. The permanent room was nice, but if he'd been off in the delivery timing by a second she would have been sleeping elsewhere tonight. As it was, she was already going to have to craft some form of story to pass it off. Maybe some broken engagement in Kou would serve as a nice line of shit to feed the pigs.

But the Tans. Of all families to deliver a contract, the Tans. It had been years since they had even had contact, much less been contractor and employee. Yet they had managed to keep an eye on her. Why? It made no sense to her. She gave up attempting to dig for an answer, and opened the dossier. Several sheets of parchment, along with an incredibly realistic drawing where sealed inside.

A man, Reiman by his appearance, had begun kidnapping local girls in the wake of Kou's withdrawal from the western reaches of the landmass. Many of these girls were fleeing back home from to escape the hatred that was directed at them. The assassin shook her head. They were prime targets. Easy and desperate. Promise them safe passage and then trap them against their wills. It went against many of the laws in Reim, but if an operation like this was small, brief, and discrete, it would make someone very rich. Make your money, move on in secrecy, and kill all the witnesses. It was simple.

But the Tan's wanted a message sent, perhaps. Amaya had yet to turn to the enclosed letter within, and instead focused her attention on a way to get in. She had connections, and even a tie in to a local noble. The envelope contained enough huang to bribe a city guard into giving her 20 minutes of his time, so it should be easy enough to infiltrate the underground brothel. All she needed now was a face.

The armor clanked along as Leonus walked the woman to her destination. "You've really got it out for Reimans, haven't you?" He elbowed her gently, the fabric of the dark yukata making the impact almost imperceptible.

"Oh fuck off." She rolled her eyes. "I'm paying you to put up with me for 20 minutes. The least you could do is not have me laugh my voice away." She nudged his ribs back. "Besides. You and I both know I'm doing this city a service, regardless of how grisly my methods may be."

"You could simply just turn the information to the guard, you know."

"And what? Turn all the girls into cattle for the slaughter? It's a foolish decision and you're damn well aware of it."

The man could only shrug in response, the pair arriving at their destination. "Best of luck, Hanako." He almost stutters over the name, rapping on the door. "You looking for somethin?" a voice replied, sliding the peep hole open. "We closed. Read the sign you damned f-"

"Senator Calum sends his regards, and a gift." Leonus points to the assassin, her form nearly concealed by the yukata. "He offers you his discretion and secrecy in exchange for a some... funding, shall we say."

The door opens, a rather beefy man, ushering the woman inside. "We'll send him something in the morning kid, now get lost." Amaya slips along as she is pushed, weaving between tables, chairs, and other girls, all while the stares of men bored into her. She grimaced internally, the feeling of the patrons undressing her crawling along her spine until she slipped past the curtain into a private room. "Here boss. Calum sent us another little shit to make money off." The neckless bruiser chuckled deeply before making his way from the room.

Amaya felt a gentle tug on her chin as the man called "boss" pulled her up gently, directing her to sit on the couch next to him. He was attractive, certainly, although that didn't make his operation any less disgusting in her eyes. The man sighed. "You know, it'd be such a shame to send a beauty like you out to the men in front. They have no appreciation of real beauty. The qualities that make woman so plainly beautiful." He stared at her face. "I'm not one to waste such a precious commodity." He pauses. "Argos, if you don't mind. You could call me a collector of sorts. I collect treasures. Beautiful treasures that others are simply too foolish to appreciate, and then I share them with others." His eyes wander down, across her chest and hips before settling back on Amaya's lips. "But sometimes I want to be selfish with the things I collect. Do you understand."

Amaya nods. "They call me Hanako," she whispers, covering her face with her sleeve. "I think it would be quite an honor to be stolen away by a man who could appreciate such beauty." Behind the veil of fabric, she slips a pill into her mouth through a giggle. "Could we continue this somewhere more...private?"

"For such a beautiful bloom, I think I could make that happen." He motions for her to follow, once more through the web of lascivious gazes and gestures until they ascend to the second floor. The man opens the door and ushers her in. The room is neat and bare, containing only a simple canopy bed, and a table with two chairs. "This is perfec-MPHH!" The man suddenly pins her down, his lips against hers. With a sudden change, she forces the pellet into his mouth, the tablet immediately dissolving as it changed hosts. She chuckled as his grip slowly lost purchase against hers. A well placed knee sent him crumpling down with a groan. Her hand gripped his hair, yanking the lanky buffoon into the chair as the effects of Paralytic Lover settled in.

"You look so beautiful like that~" The venom dripped from her tones like rotten honey. She undoes the obi, her yukata falling to the floor. Her attire beneath is a plain shirt and shorts, modified only by the several weapons she had concealed within. "I bet there are hundreds of ladies dying to have you as their plaything, but I beat them all to it~" She draws the chained blades from around her hips, the man's panicked grunts only increasing. "I think we both know what's going to happen next, don't we, my precious bloom~" She touches the tip of the blade over his heart as his eyes widen. "Hrm? Ohh, you look scared. I think I've got juuuust the thing." She reaches to the floor to retrieve her obi, which she stuffs into his mouth, muffling the sounds of his breathing. "Much better. See, it's such an exciting night already!"

Her wrist held absolutely still as she slowly poured magoi into the blade, letting the molten earth of Aequalis Ferrum burn through the man until his heart was nothing but a pile of ash, the muffled screams only making her grin with a fervor. "Shhhh. You'll be just as beautiful as me when it's over, darling Argos~" She slowly pumped his veins with the molten substance, until it seemed to char the outside of his flesh. The man was long dead, but she had a message to send. She drove the other blade into his throat, the cooling effect causing the magma to suddenly erupt from his skin and wounded heart like needles, each spire blooming into a rose. She spat on his face as she pulled the yukata back on. "Good riddance, you degenerate piece of shit. You tasted like bile." Her voice was no longer demure, but full of contempt and disgust. The shutters were left ajar as Amaya disappeared, the only evidence she had been there was the corpse, and the note stabbed into his throat that read "~Hemlock~"


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