Assassin in the Void
Disclaimer: I do not own Assassin's creed or Familiar of Zero
Chapter 10: Loss of trust
Two Days later, at La Rochelle
The flagship of Albion's fleet, after a long night of travel, slowly made land (or tree branch, in this case) and landed at the harbor.
As a Man o' War class battleship, the Royal Sovereign obviously attracted quite a lot of attention. The moment it landed, a small squadron of guards, led by a member of the mage guard rushed over to the docks, prepared to take on any potential threat that dared come from the great battleship.
Saito and Julio, the former wearing his naval uniform, stared at the scene unfolding before him, somewhat amused "I wonder if they realize a small group of guards are in no way a match for a warship of this size."
Julio shrugged "I just assumed that whenever they rally under the flag of a noble, whatever common sense they have just turns into absurdly blind loyalty."
Saito smirked "That sounds pretty accurate if you ask me." He stretched his limbs "Well, I better calm them down before they think of this as some prelude to war." he signaled one of his crew to put down the gangplank as he went down to greet the 'welcoming party'.
"Is something the matter, officer?"
The mage guard officer, a large, imposing man, stared down at the young captain, somewhat surprised that a youth is a naval captain. Shaking off his initial surprise, he cleared his throat and said "I demand for you to identify yourself this instant!"
"This is the Royal Sovereign, flagship of Albion's Royalist faction." Saito said simply.
The officer looked at him with surprise "The Royalist faction? Impossible. The local criers have said that Albion's Royalist faction was losing in the civil war."
"Tell them their information is outdated. The Royalists won that war a while ago. We're just using this ship in the place of a passenger ship due to our lack of resources."
"…" The officer, initially suspicious of the youthful captain, now found himself at a loss for words.
"Carry on?" Saito deadpanned.
"C-carry on…" the embarrassed officer tipped his hat before dismissing the equally embarrassed guards.
As they left, a member of Saito's crew hollered out to him "Excuse me, sir, but the nobility aboard the passenger's quarters are still asleep. Do you want us to tell them the voyage is over?"
"Just kick them out, they weren't paying for fare anyway." Saito said indifferently. "They also have enough money to hail a carriage, so don't pay them any mind."
The crew member nodded as Julio, along with Domani and Wales, started walking down the gangplank.
"You seem to be as cold ever." Julio stated blatantly as he got onto the port.
"You expect any different of me?"
"Actually, I expected you to be harsher, to say the least." Julio admitted with a shrug.
Saito rolled his eyes, not even wanting to comment "So, is there an Assassin Bureau in this town? We need to give them a head's up about our arrival."
Julio looked over at his partner Domani, who said "There should be one near the east entrance to town."
"Alright then, let's go."
At the Bureau entrance
"Are the entrances to the bureaus… uh… normally on the roof?" Wales asked quizzically, the entire Assassin party standing atop a small building, with the bureau entrance below their feet "And did we really need to get on top of the building? I mean, didn't we see a door to it anyway?"
"The original bureaus usually had doors and windows, but then they later sealed them off with stone, presumably to prevent civilians or guards to find it." Domani said matter-of-factly, as he and Saito pried the hatch open and watched porn.
"So you're saying the doors are fakes then."
"This is a tradition Wales, don't question it," Saito said as he grabbed Wales by the collar and jumped in. dragging both of them within, their fall cushioned by a sizable bale of hay.
"See?" Saito emerged from the bale of hay, pulling a disoriented Wales up "Couldn't be that simple-"
As they emerged, the two found themselves completely surrounded by at least twenty armed Assassins, each brandishing a blade or a firearm, all aimed at them.
"Though it usually doesn't involve friendly fire," Saito deadpanned. He couldn't really blame them however, as they were technically still dressed as nobility.
"Stand down, brothers." Julio and Domani ducked their heads into the entrance "The blond one is a noble-turned-trainee from Albion, the other one is an Assassin from the 'other side' who's currently in disguise."
The Tristainian Assassins, identifying the two as Assassins, reluctantly lowered their weapons, some of them letting out the occasional "Sorry" before helping them up.
As the two regained their bearings, and as the two Romalian Assassins fell in after them, one of the elder Assassins, an old fox wearing faded white robes, approached.
"Please excuse them, the Mentor instructed for the Assassins in this city to be ready for anything should our brothers in Albion fall." The elder Assassin bowed "I am Master Assassin Hercule Rodenbach, head of this Assassin Bureau." He looked at Saito with weary eyes "I know of you. You have become very famous in Tristain."
Saito blinked in surprise "Exactly how famous am I?"
"Well, to say that a majority of your actions have been overt would be a complete understatement." The old Assassin said with a tired expression "Though I doubt you came here for an evaluation of your skills."
"No, I'm just here to give a report on Albion's status." Saito replied.
"If that's the case," Master Rodenbach opened a door and welcomed him in "Let's talk about it in my office. Your teammates can resupply on munitions or simply chat if they want to."
"Alright then," Saito walked in and took a seat, watching as Master Rodenbach closed the door behind him "The Civil War in Albion has been resolved, with the Royalist faction emerging victorious. However, the Albionese Assassins have suffered tremendous losses; only 500 members of the branch have survived and, according to Master Ellicott, a majority of their safe-houses have either been destroyed or ransacked. The Assassins do have complete influence over Albion, as they forever have the Nobility's gratitude. From how I saw it, they really want to learn from the Assassins should another rebellion break out again. Though, considering that we're talking about nobles, I'm not sure how long this will last."
"So, you were sent by them to request support for our brothers in Albion, no?"
A drop of sweat rolled down Saito's forehead "Actually… no. I don't think she even knows I'm here. Hell, if she realizes who I brought with me, I would probably be in a lot of trouble-"
Saito and Master Rodenbach stood up in alarm "What the hell's going on back there?" they quickly ran up to the door, finding the entire bureau covered in a deep smoke.
"What's going on, are we being attacked?"
"*cough* *cough*No sir, *cough*" One of the Tristainian Assassins said between coughs "Some idiot accidentally ignited a smoke bomb. Don't worry, it'll clear up after a while…"
However, as the smoke cleared, almost all Assassins were accounted for, except for a certain, noble one.
"Julio," Saito grasped his shoulders with great urgency "Where's Wales?"
"Look around," Julio frantically looked around; the only donned in regal attire would stand out compared to the Assassins, yet here they were, and no noble in sight.
"Oh crap, where did he go?" he said as he stared up at the bureau entrance.
The Japanese Assassin parted from his long lost friend and started to panic "This is bad. This is really, really bad."
"Should the Order be concerned?" Master Rodenbach asked, trying to brush away some of the leftover smoke.
Saito sighed, knowing fully of the consequences that were about to unfold because of his mistake "Yes, the noble recruit I brought wasn't just some noble recruit, that was the crown prince of Albion, Wales Tudor. I had full custody over him, so I thought I could use him to help me practice commanding a battleship. Also, the Assassins obtained a Man o' War Class Battleship, but that's beside the point. Anyway, he suggested that I should go back to Tristain, as for a cover, I needed to send some students back there anyway. It was a betrayal of my own instincts as an Assassin to even bring him here in the first place."
"…" Master Rodenbach stared at him with a grave expression "That is an urgent case indeed. I will send for our best trackers to retrieve him. As for you-"
"Allow me to track him down myself. I know where he is going, and I will take any punishment after he is secured."
"Master Assassin, believe me, I can track him down. Allow me to amend my mistake. I know where he's going, and I can extract him just as easily as I brought him in." he looked into Master Rodenbach's eyes "Trust me."
"…" The old Master Rodenbach glanced back at Saito with tired eyes. Unlike The Mentor, who recruited him all those decades ago, he himself was getting far too old for this job "Alright, I shall issue the mission. However, once you extract him, you will report to the Tristainian HQ to receive further contact from there. Should you fail, you and your team shall face capital punishment from The Mentor himself."
Saito nodded with a grim expression "I shall not let you down." Taking a set of smoke bombs from a nearby table, he signaled for Julio and Domani to follow him before climbing out of the window.
Leaving the bureau, Saito quickly leapt onto another building "Julio, was somebody talking about Henrietta's upcoming wedding?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I did overhear a conversation about the upcoming wedding. Apparently, the emperor of Germania has no true love for her, and only lusts for her body." Julio muttered, jumping and clinging onto the ledge.
"That's not even mentioning how the alliance practically says 'we sell you our princess, you protect our assets.'" Domani commented as he leapt onto the roof and helped Julio up.
"There's Wales' reasoning to be here; their words were only the spark that set him off." Saito said as the three Assassins kept running through the rooftops until they reached the town exit "Jeez, if benevolent nobility act like this, I'm scared of what malevolent nobility are capable of."
Three days later, Tristain Castle
Henrietta sat upon her throne, staring intently at the doors to the throne room. Every day since she sent Louise and her familiar to Albion, she had been worried sick, hoping for good news… any news from her beloved Wales. With the wedding between her and Emperor Albrecht III of Germania in two months' time, and all contact with Albion going dark, every second of not knowing the fate of her old flame was tearing away at her on the inside.
"Presenting, all the way from Vindobana, Germania; the Great Albrecht III of Germania!" The herald announced as the Germanian Emperor, followed by an extravagant entourage, made his way through the throne, the grandiose doors closing behind him.
But for now, she had to bear with/endure a visit from her fiancée from Germania. In her mind, she begged the Founder to have mercy on her soul.
"Ah, Emperor Albrecht, it is a pleasure to see you." She somehow managed to say without heaving out her luncheon.
"Please, the honor is all mine, your highness." Albrecht III said, licking his lips lecherously. The Germanian Emperor, without a doubt, wasn't by any means an attractive man, with only his lechery exceeding his unattractiveness. Yet, in spite of this, his country's military might is something Tristain dearly wants, especially with a war with Albion possible.
"I expected to see you the eve of the wedding." The princess said with a tang of disgust, wishing that she was anywhere else, even the elf-infested Holy Land, and not here.
"Is it wrong for one to see his own fiancée before the wedding?" the Germanian Emperor said, his eyes focused more on Henrietta's ample chest rather than her eyes.
Before Henrietta could finish, the doors to the throne room flung wide open.
"Emperor Albrecht III," the Assassin Prince known as Wales walked in with a royal swagger, before drawing his wand and pointing his wand at the fat Emperor "I challenge you to a duel for Henrietta's hand!"
Gasps echoed throughout the throne room, be it whether due to Wales' presence or his bold declaration. Regardless, his very presence was enough to grab everyone's attention.
Henrietta's eyes widened in shock "Wales?!" this was the last thing that she could have ever expected; her very own cousin, no, her very lover Wales, was standing here, in her very home, challenging the emperor for her hand. She was crossed between mentally screaming for joy and wondering how he managed to get here in the first place.
Emperor Albrecht III, on the other hand, grew offended, and pointed his own wand at Wales "Well, well, well, the prince of a divided country, here of all places? You sure have the gall to abandon your own country in its time of need."
"A true noble would never abandon his country!" Wales declared with a hint of disdain in his voice "I already put down that unholy rebellion many days ago! My only reason for being here is for the princess' hand in marriage.
"!" Henrietta gasped in horror. Surely Wales wouldn't announce their very own scandal to the emperor and risk Tristain losing its alliance with Germania… would he? The alliance isn't actually needed anymore, but still!
"If you must know, before the Civil War, I once saw Henrietta at a dinner party." Wales turned to Henrietta, and then back to Albrecht, a smirk on his face.
'Oh no,' Henrietta's worries started to grow; they both met at a dinner party 'please don't tell me you're going to reveal it!'
"However, I was unable to confess to her even since I laid eyes on her, and have only been able to watch her blossom from a distance."
'…Huh?' Now Henrietta's worries turned into confusion. He was basically admitting that he was not her lover, but her stalker (or a stalker's noble equivalent?) Whatever Wales was planning was now lost on her.
Albrecht III, however, found it all the more entertaining "Ha! All your words in my ears tell me that you are nothing more than a depraved pervert who had nothing better to do than whack one to someone you never truly met! How ridiculous!" he started to laugh, encouraging his entourage to do the same.
Yet Wales was unfettered, standing confidently with his wand still trained at the Germanian emperor "You still haven't answered me, Emperor. Will you accept the duel?"
Emperor Albrecht sneered "Of course! I accept your challenge! However," he snapped his fingers, and one of his entourage, a heavily armored knight armed with a lance-staff, approached him, his metal greaves clanking with every step "Since we are nobles, we must use a proxy to fight our battles for us."
Wales looked at the Germanian knight with confusion "You do realize that your knight is surely a noble himself, right?"
The large Emperor grinned deviously "Of course! And since you it is illegal for nobles to duel, you must have a commoner fight in your place! So tell me prince, name one who is willing to fight in your stead. I mean, it would be an honor for any commoner to die for a prince such as yourself, am I not wrong?"
Wales paled; clearly, he had not thought this through. "Umm… umm…"
"I'll fight for him…"
Everyone turned; a young hooded figure was leaning dangerously on the windowsill, staring back at them.
Saito stepped down and walked towards Wales "I don't mind fighting for you." He said before whispering into the ear of his kōhai "We're going to talk later." He whispered, his voice hiding his rage.
Albrecht III just raised a brow "And who might you be?"
"Milord," the Germanian knight interrupted "I believe that the commoner before us is the revolutionary who has been terrorizing this country's nobility as of late."
Henrietta blinked "What?!" If Saito was the one who was behind the deaths of Count Mott and Lord Turenne (Not that she really minded, they were amongst the country's corrupt nobility after all), then it meant she had sent some sort of assassin to retrieve Wales!
Albrecht III's jaw dropped "What?! How do you know who he is?!" he demanded.
"Sir, I believe we passed a handful of wanted posters of him when we landed here." The knight said flatly, twirling his staff before aiming it at the young Assassin "Though I wonder if he is genuinely here to help us, or if he's here to kill us all."
"Your words offend me, knight." Saito spat venomously "If you honestly assume I kill all sorts of people without relent, then you are mistaken. The only ones I kill are people who do more harm than good for the people. If you actually bothered to look over the nobles, the only ones I assassinated were perhaps the worst people the country had to offer, ones who had to die in order to make the people truly free." Saito drew both Derflinger and his machete before letting both blades at his side, taking a neutral position. "The same case applies here; if anyone here succumbs to their emotions, they will drag their country into a pointless and tragic war. My only purpose here to prevent just that."
The knight's expression, though hidden under his helmet, was one of surprise. The commoner had a sense of honor; a strange one that permitted the murder of the nobility, but a sense of honor nonetheless.
Albrecht III, also seeing Saito's "twisted" sense of honor, huffed in arrogance "Well, no matter. A commoner, even a mage killer such as yourself, shall have no chance against my knight, Erich von Falkenhayn!"
Saito looked at the Germanian knight "Oh, so that's your name." he twirled the machete in his left hand before adjusting his stance; his short blade facing his opponent, and his sword facing the sky "Well then Falkenhayn, are you ready to face your last dance?"
"I have no intention to die here." The knight known as Falkenhayn readied his staff, holding its tip toward the ground. Much like most knights, Falkenhayn was trained in melee combat. Coupled with his armor and his magic, he himself a square earth mage, even a trained mage killer shouldn't be able to stand up to him.
"Yeah, well neither do I." Saito held his ground, his exotic stance holding firm "Draw."
Almost immediately, Falkenhayn cast a powerful line earth spell "Stone spike!"
A small, malformed clump of earth slowly rose from the ground, a complete far cry from any sort of stone spike, before anticlimactically falling to the ground.
"You say that you have a large spike, but all I see is a tiny brown clump."
Saito snarked, the effects of the Halkenginian Assassin Seal protecting him from Falkenhayn's magic.
"Ima... Jūbun'na! (Now… enough of this)!"
Seconds after the duel started
"Hey, did we miss it?"
Wales turned around, finding Julio and Domani walking inconspicuously into the throne room.
"Oh… you two are here." The young prince started backing away as the Italian and the Romalian Assassins approached him.
"You caused us a lot of trouble, Principe (Prince)." Domani circled behind Wales, preventing further escape.
"You do realize your actions could have gotten you killed, right?" Julio put one hand on Wales' shoulder, gripping it tightly. "We just played off a hunch of ours just to find you. If anything, we could have assumed you died seconds after you left."
A drop of sweat fell from Wales' head "Um, I'm sorry-"
"Keep your hollow apologies to yourself." Julio's grip tightened, pinching into a pressure point "If you died, you would have jeopardized the Order- company's relationship with the Royalist faction, and here we find you screwing with Tristain and Germania's relationship."
"You know, if we didn't come back with you alive, we would be facing capital punishment from il nostro capo (our boss). But now, if something messes up, we will have a completely avoidable war on our hands." Julio and Domani shuddered "I don't even want to know what the punishment is for doing something so stupid."
Wales paled "What?! My country can't survive a consecutive war with all the chaos of the civil war."
"Calm down," Julio let go of Wales' shoulder "The Seal he's wearing not only disrupts any magic in a specific radius, it also should be able to protect him from quite a few lethal hits if he wanted to. As long as Saito wins this, you can prevent them from making a move. If they're the type to be honor bound, that is."
Wales gulped, the weight of his mistakes finally dawning upon him. He silently prayed to the Founder Brimir for Saito's victory.
"Ima... Jūbun'na! (Now… Enough of this!)"
Saito sped towards Falkenhayn, who was still overcome with shock on his magic's ineffectiveness, with both blades dragging on behind him, before bringing down both blades, one after another, upon the stunned knight.
Falkenhayn, snapping out of his shock, barely managed to protect himself as the force of impact nearly knocked the staff out of his hands.
Now Falkenhayn found himself on the defensive, with Saito relentlessly coming at him from all directions. He had to admit, despite his current position, the revolutionary's swordsmanship was something else. His unique dual blade style allowed for him to perfectly balance offense and defense. If his falchion was used to defend, the machete was already ready for a counterattack, and vice versa. With this unyielding offensive, he was unable to even put a simple spell to protect himself. If he wasn't on the receiving end of this, he would've considered it a style worthy to defend Royalty.
Several minutes passed, with Saito slowly but surely whittling away at Falkenhayn's defenses, until-
Falkenhayn's staff split in half, finally giving way to the excessive damage to its frame.
Saito flipped backwards, kicking Falkenhayn's helmet off before, in one fluid motion, sheathing his two blades and drawing his USP, placing the barrel right between the Germanian knight's eyes.
Moments passed, the immense tension still in the air. A mere commoner has just bested one of the best knights of all of Germania, right then and there.
Saito finally spoke, no emotion to be found in his voice.
"I ain't a cold-blooded killer; taking an unnecessary life goes against what I believe in." He walked away from Falkenhayn and approached Emperor Albrecht III, who was shaking in panic, instead "As for you," he swatted the emperor's wand away, grabbed him by the neck and aimed his USP at his groin, letting out this final warning:
"Look here, you fat piece of shit, I don't care if you are the Emperor of Germania or some deranged monster bent on world domination, I want to get something straight. You will break off this crazy political marriage and let Henrietta and the stalker Wales here marry if they so wish. You will not declare war on neither Tristain nor Albion with "they cheated me out of my marriage" or any crappy excuse you may come up with. If even one soldier of yours so much as breathes the same air they do, so help you God, I will personally walk over to Germania and turn everything and everyone within against you. Your country will burn. Your nobility will perish. You shall lose everything that makes you a man. And, worst of all, everything your ancestors spent generations to achieve shall cease to exist. JUST. LIKE. THAT. Do I make myself clear?"
Albrecht III, along with everyone else in the room, froze in terror.
That wasn't a threat.
That wasn't even a promise.
That was a guarantee.
"Y… yes… I understand."
"Good," he holstered his USP and threw the rotund emperor onto the ground "Now get out of my sight."
He watched as the Emperor scurried back to his feet, a noticeably large stain in his pants, and hastily ran out, his entourage following suit.
Watching the "great emperor" scurry away, Saito's attention then came onto Wales and Henrietta, who watched the whole duel, beginning to end.
"You can apologize to me along with everyone else you nearly screwed over any time after you're done. You had something else you had to say, didn't you?"
Wales blinked in confusion "I beg your pardon?"
"You had something to say to Henrietta, involving your rings, didn't you?"
He pointed to the wind and water rings worn on the Assassin prince's hand.
Wales was still puzzled "What do you mean by-" and then it suddenly clicked "Oh, now I remember." He laughed with faux embarrassment "with all this excitement, I almost forgot what I came here for."
He removed the Ruby Ring of Wind from his hand, got on one knee, and said perhaps the most important words he had ever said in his life.
"Henrietta, I have been in love with you since we were kids. Ever since then, I knew I had to make you mine. I cannot imagine any future without you. You changed my life in so many ways, more than you could ever possibly imagine. I now want you to be mine forever. Henrietta, will you marry me?"
Smoke bombs: a staple of any Assassin's arsenal. This type of bomb is nonlethal, but it can release a dark cloud of smoke that can stun and distract all enveloped in its wake. Saito obtained these from the La Rochelle Assassin Bureau.
Composition: impact casing, phosphorus, Germanian (L) gunpowder
On hand: 5/5
A/N: Okay, it's been six months since I updated this fic… wow… yeah, sorry about that. I was working on this for a while now, but I had to constantly change it over and over again because I didn't like it. Not to mention a shitload of schoolwork (I'm a junior in high school) so I have a lot of work just about always, but that's something else. I bet you didn't see any of this coming, didn't you? Yeah, sorry about the late update. Well, I'll try to update sooner next time. Anyways, thank you for the 200+ reviews, and keep them coming.