The Rebellious Slave Ch. 17byHisPet21©
Author's Note: Thanks again for all of the wonderful comments, ratings, and favorites! I super appreciate them! And, honestly, I am blown away by all the enthusiasm for the previous chapter! Sorry for the delay with this chapter. My goal is to get into a 1-2 Chapters/Week habit, but alas, life happened and I fell behind last week. Anyways, I hope you enjoy. Not too much sexual stuff in this chapter, but I super promise that the next 2-4 chapters will have plenty of sexual fun times and not so fun times. Furthermore, keep in mind that the Tale of Arlington describes events of the past, and its many parts will not necessarily be posted sequentially or back-to-back. Cheers!
Arlington cursed hoarsely under his breath and looked out over the tiled roof. Just beyond its dark surface, he could see a winding country road and a thick, expansive forest that went on for miles into the distance. Only a tall, concrete wall separated the Blake Family Mansion from the wildlife preservation they had established, more for their own protection than for that of the local flora and fauna. It wasn't a bad tactic, either. Traversing the vegetation had been extremely bothersome, and Arlington was disappointed to find that he still wouldn't have the target taken care of by the end of the night. Worse still, coming in from the roof appeared to have been a terrible idea.
It was frightfully dark, but the Blake Family Mansion was still illuminated by a full moon and hundreds of twinkling stars, uninhibited by the light pollution one would find in a city. In that that shimmering white, Arlington could make out three small explosives, arranged in a small semi-circle around him. They had been triggered when Arlington climbed onto the roof--probably equipped with motion sensors--and he could see the tiny timers on each counting down rapidly from ten. There wasn't enough time to climb down the mansion wall and make it to the yard. Arlington would have to jump, and worry about the ground on his way down.
Sprinting to the outermost edge of the roof, Arlington quickly leapt over the side, the incessant whining of three timers hissing obnoxiously in his ears. As he tumbled into the sky, there was an earth shattering explosion and Arlington could feel ferocious heat on his back, but the fire was the least of his worries. The ground was fast approaching, and Arlington didn't want to spend another six months in a body cast. But luck was on the young assassin's side, given that Arnold Blake's property was decorated in botanical gardens. With a grunt of effort, Arlington grabbed onto a tree branch five feet before he hit the ground, the skin of his palm tearing as bark slid over flesh.
For a moment, Arlington remained there, dangling precariously over the ground. Blazing heaps of roofing fell all about him, and some scorching debris almost hit him directly. To avoid the troublesome wreckage, Arlington took a deep breath and heaved himself upward, seating himself atop a tree branch. There, he was able to watch as black smoke rose upward and into the sky, partially eclipsing a silvery moon. The scene would have been quite breathtaking, had Arlington bothered to enjoy the night sky and the twisting of flame and smoke, as it mutilated the once peaceful view.
But Arlington could feel nothing but anger clouding his mind, and the fiery display before him only served to fuel that wrath. There was nothing left for him to do, except to sit by helplessly and watch as the entire mansion was quickly engulfed in flame, indicating that the Blake Family wasn't at home and probably hadn't been for several weeks. And if that were the case, Arlington had been dragged out into the night for nothing. Sleep was a precious commodity for a young assassin with a heavy case load, and the man was not happy to have lost a good night's rest without good reason.
"Marko," Arlington hissed into the microphone of his communication device, which wrapped around his ear like a tiny headset. "It appears as if Mister Arnold Blake was expecting us. The entire place is booby trapped, and the whole family is gone. Surveillance was your job, Marko. I thought you told me that they would be in town tonight."
Although Arlington was justifiably upset, he tried not to make his tone sound too accusatory. After all, Marko was normally a reliable partner and Arlington couldn't help but wonder if the blunder was, to some extent, his own fault. The young assassin usually checked over Marko's intel before using it, and had slacked off because of his busy schedule. Arlington had just returned from a hit job in Scorce, and the Blake case was a last minute favor. Still, he should have checked over Marko's work. Mr. Blake, in spite of his disgusting business habits and poor intellect, was still a Class "C" Target, and Arlington should have taken his case more seriously.
"David, I swear to god, all of my sources said that the Blake Family would be home tonight," Marko replied, his voice betraying genuine shock and concern, even over the white noise and broken static plaguing Arlington's ears. It was difficult to get decent reception this far out into the country, even with top notch equipment. "I have no idea where they went if they aren't at home," Marko continued, but then there was a guilty pause on the other end of the line and a deep breath. "Unless--"
"Unless...?" Arlington prompted, his brow furrowing. "Unless what, Marko?"
"Unless my last correspondence got intercepted," Marko finished quickly, well aware that he was about to be berated. "The line wasn't entirely secure, but we were fairly certain no one was listening in, so I didn't think that--"
"You didn't think you had to follow protocol?" Arlington growled, growing more exasperated by the second. Suddenly, he felt an intense urge to hit Marko, and was glad that his partner was safely hidden away a half mile down the road. "Did your gut instincts tell you that? Your brilliant, fail safe instincts?" This time, Arlington made sure that his voice dripped with condescension, and then mockery.
Arlington was angry with Marko then, but even more angry with himself. He should have never agreed to help with the Blake Assassination, but now it was too late. According to guild policy, a Crimson Dragon couldn't back out of a job once he'd agreed to participate, and it appeared as if the Blake Case was about to become messy. Arlington hated haphazard, messy hit jobs and the prospect of another made him groan involuntarily.
Even worse, Arlington hated having to chase his victims down, like some sort of hound dog. Tracking down targets was not only a tiresome chore, but an unnecessary and juvenile tactic for a proper assassin. A good kill--as defined by Arlington--was quiet and clean, achieved using careful planning and clever manipulation rather than brute force. And for that to be feasible, a target couldn't know of his fate until it was too late. But if the Blake's knew that they were being targeted--as Arlington strongly suspected--then he would have no other choice than to chase them down and bring out the artillery. It would be unrefined and crude, Arlington realized. His style of kill was bloodless and involved sneak attacks, like poisoned wine or booby trapped doorways. Not the inevitable, massacred mess the Blake Assassination would have to become in light of Marko's blunder.
"You dragged me all the way out into the goddamned countryside with bad intel?" Arlington cursed once more into the microphone, and he could almost hear Marko wince with shame on the other end. "What were you thinking, conducting correspondence without a fully secured line? I almost got blown into a million tiny pieces, Marko!" But then, Arlington remembered Master Greyson's last training session and his invaluable words of wisdom: "The difference between a mere killer and a highly trained assassin, my boy, is collected calm and a clear head." And, begrudgingly, Arlington took a deep, relaxing breath. "Serves me right," he mumbled. "Trusting your intel, without looking through it myself..."
"I really didn't think it would be a problem, David," Marko insisted, apologetic now. "I swear I didn't know--"
But as Marko continued to excuse himself, Arlington quickly hissed at him to be quiet. There was an odd sound coming from the Blake Family Garage, and suddenly Arlington could see its retractable door lift upward, allowing a sleek, black vehicle to shoot out onto the winding driveway. Someone had been watching Arlington, perhaps to confirm various rumors that Mr. Blake was, indeed, on the Crimson Dragons' hit list. Of course, there was no guarantee that Mr. Blake himself would be the culprit behind the wheel or even in the vehicle, but it was certainly possible. Mr. Arnold Blake was, after all, known for his extreme paranoia and foolish demeanor. Arlington wouldn't be at all surprised if he had stayed behind to see his attempted assassination first hand. If that were indeed the case, it was a mistake that Arlington intended to make deadly. As the car sped away, Arlington dropped down from his perch above the ground and ran for the mess of bushes where he'd hidden his motorcycle. God, he loved that motorcycle. It had been a gift from Master Greyson himself, and the beautiful machine was one of the latest models commissioned by Isleydor's Central Weapons Lab.
"Some idiot stayed behind to watch me work," Arlington whispered into his microphone, upturning the kickstand of his motorcycle and allowing the beast to start up. "Whoever it is, they're eastbound and moving fast. Cut them off about a half mile from the reservation border, and I'll come in from behind. If it's Mr. Blake, leave him for me. If it isn't, we'll see."
With that, Arlington sped away from the Blake Family Mansion, which burned ever more brilliantly against the dark, deadly sky. Wind cut sharply across Arlington's face as he rode, pushing black locks out of his eyes and enabling him to gain on the escaping vehicle in the distance. The car Arlington pursued was a bulky thing, not nearly as aerodynamic as his own mode of transport, and within moments the assassin was only a few car lengths behind it.
It was then that a bald gentleman in an expensive suit poked his head out of the driver's side window and began to fire at Arlington. In response, the younger man only smiled triumphantly, more than pleased with the change of events. After all, the bald man was Mr. Archer, Blake's personal bodyguard, and his presence meant that the target was well within reach. Perhaps the night would not be a total waste after all, Arlington thought, as he swerved craftily across the road, making it impossible to properly hit him and steer a vehicle at the same time.
Assassins of Arlington's skill--especially those belonging to the Crimson Dragon, the most well-renowned of Isleydor's three Assassin's Guilds--didn't usually work in pairs, so Mr. Archer was completely unprepared when a second man on a motorcycle moved in front of him and shot out the front tires of Mr. Blake's vehicle. As a result, the black car fishtailed until it connected with a large oak, screeching to a halt and leaving an ugly skid mark in its wake. Not a moment later, Mr. Archer had somersaulted onto the street and started firing at Marko, but his first few shots were haphazard and missed their mark. It was a deadly mistake, and would cost the body guard his life. For before Mr. Archer was able to get a clean shot, Arlington executed him, leaving a gaping wound in the man's skull. With a subdued thud, the body guard fell to the concrete, blood pouring from his mutilated head. And his employer was left all alone, defenseless and afraid.
Carefully, Mr. Blake opened the back door of his car and tried to sneak out onto the asphalt. With the grace of a wounded elephant, he crawled along the street in an attempt to reach the trees and make a run for it, but his attempts were more comical than they were evasive. After all, Mr. Blake was a very large man and well dressed in an obnoxiously red suit, so that he stuck out like a blood splatter on the dark road. Furthermore, he was sweating profusely and panting loudly, so that even a blind man could have followed along behind him. When Mr. Blake finally did make it to the tree line, Marko decided to halt his progress, shooting once into the air and then twice in front of the obese creature. But Marko didn't kill the man. After all, Mr. Blake belonged to Arlington. It was only fair that, in exchange for helping Marko with his case load, Arlington should get credit for the Blake Assassination, especially since he needed only one more scale to reach senior status.
"Not so fast, Mister," Marko cooed, his imposing footsteps drawing ever nearer toward the trembling target. The assassin was a tall man, matching Arlington in height, but he had brown eyes and almond hair, which gave him a lighter appearance. The muscles in Marko's arms were a testament to the many hours he spent in the weight room, and his fair skin glistened sinisterly in the moonlight. "Now, no slinking off into the trees," Marko continued, nonchalant. "We've got you now, and your time would best be spent saying your last prayers, or whispering your last goodbyes. Hope you have an up-to-date will. If I knew a Crimson Dragon was after me, I'd have one drawn up within the day."
"Please," Mr. Blake begged, getting on his hands and knees, like they all did. It was a disgusting display, Arlington thought, as he watched the trembling target start to blubber, tears making his face obscene and ugly. Arlington promised himself then, that if he were ever to be assassinated or executed, he would neither beg nor cry. He would die beautifully and dignified, not some trembling wreck. "Please, I have a wife," the target continued, as Arlington approached, a loaded gun in one hand. "I have children. They need me, my good sir. Please, have mercy. I am begging you."
"I can see that," Arlington sneered, still feeling disgusted. "And I must say, you aren't doing a very good job of it." The little man's face fell then, and he redoubled his efforts, crawling toward Arlington on his hands and knees. But the assassin wanted no part of Mr. Blake to touch him, and he roughly kicked the target away, so that Mr. Blake lay on the ground, clutching his side. "As to your wife and children," Arlington continued, checking over his weapon. "I am sure that they will all do fine without you. You've amassed quite a fortune, Mr. Blake. Neither Mrs. Blake nor the twins are going to starve, and you know it. Now stop blubbering, and why don't you face me like a proper man. I'd like to give you a dignified death, if you'll have one." But Mr. Blake only sat up on the concrete, still sniveling and begging. Apparently, the man had no intention of going down like a man, and would prefer to be executed like a dog.
"Please, I have money!" Mr. Blake continued, insistent. "I am a millionaire, after all. Wouldn't you boys like your futures guaranteed? No finances to worry about? All the money you need to attract women? All your desires fulfilled?" Quickly, Mr. Blake turned from Arlington's face to Marko's, trying to discern the impact of his words. When the latter began to smile, hope lit up behind Mr. Blake's eyes. Was the brown haired one about to take him up on his offer? Was there a chance of escape, even now? As Marko's smile widened still further, the target nodded his head excitedly. "That's right," Mr. Blake continued, the prospect of survival warming his heart. "All the money you could want, I guarantee it. Women too, of course. Real estate, even." But Mr. Blake had misread Marko's grin--which was borne from mockery, not desire--and when the assassin laughed, his face fell.
"Looks like we've caught ourselves a genie," Marko smiled haughtily, savoring the fresh terror on Mr. Blake's face. "And it looks like he wants to grant us our wishes. Oh, what are you going to wish for, David?" Then, Marko turned sinisterly toward the target, whose face betrayed intense shock and hurt. "Tell me, Mr. Genie," the assassin teased. "What are the rules? Can I wish for more wishes, perhaps? Or isn't that allowed? Can I impose upon a person's free will? I have so many wonderful ideas--"
"Don't tease the target," Arlington sighed, rolling his eyes at the scene before him. In reply, Marko gave his partner a pouty look, but Arlington ignored him. Turning toward Mr. Blake, Arlington grabbed the man's collar and pulled him toward the side of the road. It was difficult, given the man's weight and his piteous struggling, but Arlington managed. "I don't have time to harass the poor man, and get his hopes up for no reason. Let's just finish the job and get back to the lair." With that, Arlington pressed the nozzle of his gun to the back of the target's head, and poised his finger over the trigger. "Any last words, Mr. Blake? And no more begging. Whatever you have to offer, we neither need nor want it. This little pause is for your benefit, not ours. I'll give you two minutes. Use them wisely."
"God, David, are you still doing that?" And Marko laughed knowingly--a laughter that could only be shared among close friends, cruel but kind all at once. Then, he eased his lean figure against the target's downed vehicle, so that the moonlight was caught in his gorgeous eyes. "You're quite the sentimental bastard, aren't you?" he continued. "If you aren't gonna tease, then just shoot the man and let's be done with it. The whole "last words" routine is getting kind of old." Arlington opened his mouth to protest then, but Marko gestured at him dismissively. "And I don't want to hear that story about the old man who spent his last two minutes pointing out constellations, or the rich woman who told you about her wedding day. They're just the exceptions that prove the rule. The rest of them all waste their time begging. It's tiresome, and idiotic."
"What do you think?" Arlington asked, digging the nozzle of his gun more firmly into Mr. Blake's head. "Are you going to waste the time that I give you?"
"Please, Sir," Mr. Blake begged, proving Marko's point beyond the shadow of a doubt. The target's voice was becoming blurred by hideous sobs now, both wet and loud. "Please, please! Have mercy! For the love of god!" Then, Mr. Blake moved as if to turn toward Arlington and clutch at his riding cloak, by the assassin berated him with a blow to the head and the target was silent.
"See?" Marko admonished gleefully, gesturing toward the target with a wide grin. "You're just torturing the poor guy, anyway. Put him down already. Besides, do you really think Master Greyson would approve of you getting all intimate with your targets?" The last question contained just a hint of threat, or maybe warning. Either way, it was more than a gentle tease.
"Are you going to tattle on me?" Arlington hissed. Honestly, he wasn't afraid of Master Greyson's wrath, but Marko's taunt had embarrassed him. A sentimental killing style was not endorsed by the Crimson Dragons, and would certainly not receive the approval of Mater Greyson, one of the guild's most famous players. If Arlington's "Two Minutes" spiel were ever revealed to his superiors, he would lose credibility as a result.
"No, of course not!" Marko insisted, lifting up both of his hands in show of good faith. "We're brothers by trade, you and I. I am just looking out for you, that's all. Cross my heart, and hope to die." Then, to further emphasize his point and demonstrate his loyalty, Marko drew an imaginary "X" over his chest.
Meanwhile, Mr. Blake still hadn't shut up and was screaming over his assassins' conversation. "Please!" he cried, his face a mess of snot and salty tears. "Please, let me go! I'll do anything! I swear it!" Arlington looked down at the man dejectedly and realized then that Marko was right. By allowing Mr. Blake to live still longer, with a gun pressed against his skull, he was only torturing the poor man. With a disgruntled sigh, Arlington pulled the trigger of his pistol and watched as blood splattered upward from the target's skull. Now quiet, Mr. Blake could only slump forward and onto the ground, with a strange grace only befitting the dead.