Tony: I'm back with a new story! Ahem, anyways… This story was born of a random bit of inspiration that bloomed… far beyond what I expected it to. Anyways, this is something new that I'm trying out… Some of the chapters will be longer than this, some slightly shorter. What can I say, I'm not a consistent writer. However, I am a consistent updater.

Leon: Do yourself a favor and shut up before you start pulling a Kairi.

Tony: Ahem… -sticks Leon back into the CCoD- Now that that distraction is gone… I do not own Tales of the Abyss, sadly. However, OC's are mine. I hope you enjoy my new story.

Bloody Nightshade

Chapter I


No one noticed her. Ever. No one saw the little girl with the red hair. No one saw the small child who carried the knife with the dark blue blade. But she liked it that way. It made hiding her secrets so much easier.

Her eyes scanned the streets, looking for any enemy she might have overlooked. No one saw her from her position under the stairs. No one saw the blood-red hair, or the strange eyes that shone out from under her bangs. One eye was the color of liquid gold, but the other was silver. However, even stranger than the colors of her eyes were her pupils, which were elongated like a reptile's.

The knife at her waist was sheathed. Her dress and the capris she wore underneath it were tattered and torn, but her boots were still in pretty good shape. She pulled the hood of the dress up to cover her face as she left the shadows of the staircase. She headed to the elevator carefully and headed up to the next level, cautious as always.

Anyone who did see her wouldn't have cared. She was a vagabond in their eyes, and they were to be ignored. But the girl was cautious anyways. Some people did notice her, and it was these people who had gotten in her way the last time she had tried to carry out her master's orders. Of course, she had gotten better since then, but her master didn't want better. He wanted perfect.

No one stopped her as she disappeared into the shadows again. Looking around, she noted every person she saw, then, once she was certain that she hadn't missed anyone, nodded and stepped out of the shadows once more, heading for the next elevator. It carried her to the top level of the city, and her instincts kicked in. She disappeared straight into the nearest shadows, and just in the nick of time.

The young man who walked past didn't notice her, but she noted him carefully. 'Blonde hair, green eyes, swordsman, noble…' The information ran through her head faster than most would have thought possible. Then she started moving again, heading up the stairs. She examined the knight standing in front of the manor she had to infiltrate.

For almost an hour, she wandered around the perimeter of that manor. Then, the young man she had noticed earlier returned, carrying, of all things, groceries. 'He's hiding too,' she thought. 'This might be my chance…' Gathering her wits about her, she walked over to the man.

"Excuse me, sir? Do you know where I might find a small job of some sort?" the girl asked, letting her voice fall into the deeper tones that she used often. Her dress was short, and easily mistaken for a coat, so she hoped that this man, like so many others, would believe her to be a boy.

"Huh? Oh, um, well… I'm sure someone at the Fabre manor could find something small for you to do. What's your name?" he asked. The girl shifted her weight onto her left foot as she thought of a name.

"Soren," she answered.

"Alright, Soren. Let's see if we can find you something," he said. "By the way, I'm Guy." The girl nodded and followed him into the manor quietly. The knight on guard glanced at her, but that was it.

A woman with red hair wearing a green, brown, and white dress was standing in the entrance hall when Guy and the girl walked in. "Oh, who's this?" she asked, seeing the girl.

"This is Soren. He's looking for a small job… I was going to ask Pere if he'd let him help with the gardening," Guy explained. The woman smiled.

"What do you think, Soren? Would you like to help with the gardening?" she asked the girl. She nodded.

"I'll do anything. I don't mean to sound rude, but I need money. I have to help pay off my parents' debt," she lied.

"We'll see what we can do about that. We could always use more help around the manor. Guy, why don't you find Soren a room? And some new clothes would probably be a good idea as well," the lady suggested. Guy bowed slightly.

"Yes, ma'am," he said. He headed towards a door, and the girl followed him. "Actually, how would you feel about sharing a room with me and Pere?" the blonde man suggested. The girl considered the suggestion seriously.

"No thank you. I have insomnia… I don't want to keep you two up all night," she replied. Guy nodded.

"That's fine," he said. Then, an elderly man walked into the hallway. "Oh, Pere!" Guy called. The man turned to look at the blonde, and smiled and the child by his side.

"Where did this little girl come from?" Pere asked. The girl's heart nearly stopped in her chest.

"I'm not a girl! I'm a boy, and my name is Soren!" she said loudly, managing to keep her voice in a deep register. Pere looked confused for a moment, then he looked truly apologetic.

"I'm sorry. My eyesight must be failing. You're a small thing, then," he apologized. The girl crossed her arms.

"I realize I'm small. But I'm almost twelve, so you don't have to treat me like a little kid," she grumbled. Guy laughed nervously.

"Okay… Um, Pere, would you mind taking these groceries to Ariel? I have to find Soren a room," the blonde jumped in, attempting to prevent any injuries. He had noticed the knife on the girl's belt, and guessed that she knew how to use it.

"Alright. Well, I'll see you later, Soren," Pere said, taking the groceries from Guy. The blonde then continued walking, and the girl continued following. Soon, they came to another door, which Guy opened. Running along this new hallway were doors, and Guy turned right, heading for what the girl hoped was an empty room.

Much to her pleasure, the room he took her to was empty, and there was only one bed in it. "Here. You look like you prefer living by yourself. Anyways, there's a small bathroom through that door. Um… Do you want to go find clothes now or later?" he asked. The girl thought about it.

"Now," she replied. Guy led her further down the hall and they walked into a room with a bunch of clothes in it. The girl smiled slightly. This room contained only boy's clothes. She and Guy found a set of clothes that they thought would fit her, and then they grabbed a second set. She found her way back to her room and changed quickly.

The black pants weren't form-fitting, so they weren't a problem. Her nearly-knee-high boots were boy's boots to begin with, so she didn't get rid of them. Her tattered dress, however, was replaced by a simple white long-sleeved shirt. Over that white shirt, she wore a black coat with a hood. It hung down near her ankles, and she buttoned up the part that covered her torso.

Over her slightly dainty fingers were fingerless brown gloves. She looked at herself in the mirror and sighed, then looked around the room. In the top drawer of the dresser, she found what she had been hoping to find. Pulling the scissors out, she walked over to the mirror.

"Time for a haircut, Sirris," she whispered. "Soren's hair isn't this long." She then proceeded to cut her hair, removing almost six inches from the back. Her bangs, she left as they were, then focused in on her eyes. She thought of the sky, of the blue, blue sky, and of the ocean, everything that was blue.

The silver one changed first. Then, slowly, so painfully slowly, the gold eye turned blue. Then she concentrated on the pupils. Round. Round like the sun, like that little ball of string you used to play with. And slowly, like her irises, the pupils shifted and became round. She sighed with the effort, but knew that she now had a time limit.

Unless urged to, her eyes wouldn't change back for another three hours. That gave her three hours to complete her mission and escape. Three hours wasn't that much time, and Sirris knew that. So she either had to work quickly… Or come up with a reason to be standing in front of a reflective surface every three hours until her mission was completed.

Sirris sighed and walked away from the mirror, preparing herself for the inevitable; meeting her target. She didn't make it far before Guy caught up to her.

"Hey, Soren!" he called out, running up alongside her. "Heh, I actually expected you to be wearing the hood up. By the way, your hair's uneven in the back," he said. Sirris rolled her eyes.

"I know. It always ends up that way," she grumbled. Guy smiled.

"I can even it out for you, if you want," he said. Sirris allowed a small smile.

"Really?" she asked. Guy nodded.

"Yup," he replied. "Come on, I've got some scissors in my room," he added, walking back a few doors and opening one. Sirris followed him. Guy did exactly as he had said he would, cutting her hair so it was even, even layering it a little at her uncomfortable request. He laughed a little when she shook her head, letting the short locks fly.

"Hey, can you climb trees?" the blonde asked suddenly. Sirris nodded.

"Quite well, actually. Why?" the redhead replied. Guy smiled.

"I want you to meet my friend. He's the young master, so we aren't allowed to just walk into his room. But there's a tree right next to his window, so I climb up it all the time to visit him," he explained. This information sent Sirris's mind abuzz. A route to the son of Duke Fabre was good, very good.

"Okay," she said, trying not to sound super enthusiastic. Guy's smile never faded.

"Come on," he said. The man and his new friend left the room and headed out into the courtyard. They skirted it, moving around the edge and behind a small building that appeared to be placed in the middle of nowhere. On the far side of the small building was a tree, and Sirris assumed that the building was actually the room of the young master.

"Up here," Guy said, climbing the tree skillfully. Sirris examined the tree before following him up, taking a slightly different path up, but reaching the window in the exact same amount of time.

"Luke," Guy greeted the boy inside. His long red hair hung down near his waist, and his bangs fell into his face slightly. The white coat he wore showed his belly. His green eyes were cold as the fell on the supposed boy that had followed Guy up the tree.

"Who's he?" Luke asked. Guy jumped down from the windowsill, and Sirris sat on it after pulling the rest of her body in.

"This is Soren. He's just started working in the manor today," Guy explained. Luke crossed his arms.

"So why'd you bring him here?" the boy inquired.

"I thought he might be good with a sword. Besides, Van won't be coming for another day or so, and I've pretty much got today off, so I figured that today was as good a day as any for some practice," the blonde replied. Sirris resisted a smile. She hadn't held a sword in a long time, only her knife.

"Sounds pretty good to me," Luke said, smiling. The two boys walked out the door after grabbing three practice swords. Sirris wondered for a moment how many practice swords one kid needed, then reflected on the fact that they were made of wood and could break.

Luke handed one of the swords to Guy, then tossed one to Sirris. She grabbed it carefully by the hilt and swung it a few times experimentally. It was the same length as a full-sized sword, so it was a little long for her, but she sighed and decided that she would just have to adjust.

Luke, Guy, and Sirris took turns attacking each other. When one of them got tired or was hit, they would switch out, and the one that had been standing out would come in and take their place. At first, Luke and Sirris took turns facing Guy, before he ran out of breath and they faced each other. Then after a minute or so of the two of them sparring, Sirris hit Luke and Guy came in. Then, the three of them rotated out pretty evenly.

Sirris excused herself to the bathroom once, but neither Luke nor Guy questioned her reasons. In reality, she was going to find a mirror, so she could let her eyes return to their normal states and then force them back to blue, with the normal, round pupils.

It was nearly dark when Lady Suzanne and Princess Natalia walked into the courtyard. Luke and Guy were laughing, and even Sirris was smiling. Natalia stormed over to the small red-haired child and crossed her arms.

"What do you think you're doing, little girl, running around in boy's clothes?" she asked haughtily. Sirris glared at her.

"Uh, Natalia. Soren's a boy," Luke told her. Natalia looked at Luke over her shoulder.

"Ridiculous!" she replied. Guy sighed.

"Natalia, I don't think Soren's very happy with you right now," the blonde man informed her. Sirris was, indeed, annoyed at the princess.

"You're the second person who's mistaken me for a girl. I know I'm small, I know my voice is soft, and I know I look like I'm supposed to be female, but for bloody Lorelei's sake, I'm a freaking boy!" Sirris yelled. Natalia looked at the child in shock.

"Why I never…" she started. Suzanne, however, was laughing.

"Natalia, dear, why don't we let Guy and Soren eat? We need to eat as well," the duchess said. Natalia glared at Sirris before taking one of Luke's hands and taking the sword out of the other.

"Here, put this back in his room," she said. Guy took it carefully, and he and Sirris put the swords up in Luke's room. Sirris ate with Pere and Guy, then retreated to her room to plan.

"I can do it tonight. I know the way into Luke's room now, and if I wait until it's really late… Wait, I don't know when the guard changes," she whispered to herself. "Looks like I'm stuck here a few more days, then."

The next morning, Sirris tucked her knife into a secret sheath on the inside of her boot. The knife wouldn't get in the way, but at the same time, she wouldn't appear to be armed. The regular sheath was put with her tattered dress, which she had kept hidden under her bed.

She stepped out into the hallway, just in time to bump into Guy. "Wha- Oh, hey, Soren. Looking for breakfast?" he asked. Sirris nodded. "Not very talkative, are you?"

"No," Sirris replied curtly.

Guy sighed. "Alright. Come on, I was headed to the kitchen myself," he told her. She followed him quietly, and then her first day as a servant in the Fabre manor began.

The butler handed her whatever odd jobs showed up around the manor, and she did them as quickly as possible. By the end of the day, Ramdas was having troubles finding things for the girl in disguise to do.

"Young Master Luke is supposed to be in a lesson right now. Why don't you go listen and see if you learn something?" he finally suggested with a sigh. Sirris nodded.

"Alright. But if you need me to do anything else, I'll be more than happy to do it," she told him. Sirris now knew exactly where Luke's room was, and, since she had been given permission, she headed to the door and knocked.

The tutor opened the door and stared down at the child with confusion in his eyes. "I finished all of my work, so Ramdas told me to come and listen," Sirris told the man politely. "May I?"

"Of course you may, young man. Everyone has the right to pursue knowledge, and I am more than happy to bestow it," the somewhat elderly man said with a small smile. Sirris stepped into the room quietly. "I'm afraid that we only have two chairs though," the man added.

"That's fine, I'll just sit over here," she said, sitting in the window. The man then returned to explaining mathematical equations to Luke. Sirris tilted her head and listened avidly. This was material that she had never learned. She had learned her numbers, and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and so on, but this was harder.

After a while, the man handed Luke a piece of paper, and then handed Sirris one as well, as well as a pen. "You're welcome to try the exercises as well, young man," he told her. Sirris smiled and put the paper down on the windowsill next to her and started to work through the equations.

For the young child, it was a challenge. And all challenges were meant to be beaten. However, halfway through the first problem she growled. Then she ran back through the steps she had already done. The tutor walked over to her to look at what she was doing.

"You need to use square roots to simplify from this part," he told her. Sirris sighed.

"A square root is the number that multiplies by itself to get this number, right?" she asked. The tutor nodded.

"Yes. How much schooling have you had?" he replied. Sirris sighed again.

"Enough to get by on a farm, but not enough for a big city," she muttered. "Let's see… square root of one hundred sixty-nine… one sixty-nine, one sixty… Thirteen."

"It sounds like you've had a better education than that. Not many farm children I know can figure out the square root of one hundred sixty-nine without wasting an hour guessing and checking," he told the girl. Sirris shrugged.

"I've got a head for math," she told him. While it wasn't a complete lie, it wasn't exactly the truth either. Once she figured out the first question, the rest of the worksheet was relatively easy. Luke, however, was not enjoying himself.

"Gah! I hate these square roots!" he grumbled. Sirris bit her lip to keep from smiling. So, in an attempt at making him feel better, she walked over to Luke and looked at his paper. His handwriting was much harder to read than her neat numbers, but it was easy enough.

"They're easy enough if you think of it from the other direction," she told him. Luke looked at her like she was crazy.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked.

"What's thirteen squared?" she countered. Luke looked up at the ceiling as if he was expecting the answer to be there.

"Um… Hang on!" he said, looking down at his paper. "One sixty-nine… Did you pick that one on purpose?"

"No… Thirteen's my favorite number. Anyways, do you know the squares of all the numbers up to thirteen? Because I think the only number with a square root larger than thirteen is four hundred," she told him. "If nothing else, run the numbers through your head until you find the one that matches. Guess-and-check is a rather haphazard method, but it does work."

"Huh… Thanks," Luke said, turning back to his paper. Sirris checked over her own answers before looking around.

"Hey, where's that tutor?" she asked.

"Huh? Oh, he'll be back in a minute. It's been a while, so he probably went to the bathroom," Luke told her. Sirris shrugged and sat in the window again. A few minutes later, the tutor returned.

"Well, now. Are you both finished? Or do you need more time?" he asked. Sirris held out her paper, but Luke shook his head.

"Not quite. Almost there, though," the redhead told the man. The tutor smiled.

"Not a problem, young man. Now let's see what you've got. What's your name, again?" he said, turning to Sirris.

"Soren," she answered simply. The tutor nodded.

"Let's see what you've got, Soren. Hmm… Your handwriting is rather neat for a farmboy," he observed. Sirris shrugged.

"Mother insisted that my handwriting be perfect. I don't know why; it's not like it'll matter too much in the future. I have every intention of returning to the farm," she told him. There was silence for many minutes until a knock at the door caught their attention. Sirris jumped out of the window to get the door.

"Can we help you?" she asked the maid standing there. The brunette woman smiled at Sirris.

"I was told to come get you, Soren. Ramdas has something else for you to do," she informed the girl. Sirris nodded.

"Right," she said. Then she turned back to Luke and the tutor, who were both looking at her. "My apologies, but I'm afraid I have to go."

"Here, you might as well take this with you," the tutor told her, holding her paper out so that Luke couldn't see it, since his paper was still on the desk. Sirris stepped forward to grab the paper and left, closing the door behind her. As she pushed the door to the entrance hall open, she finally looked at the paper and smiled.

Of the ten equations on the paper, she had only missed one. And, looking back over it, she understood why and made a mental note of it. She was so focused on the page that she nearly walked into Ramdas' back.

"Oh, my apologies," she said quickly as bumped into his arm. Ramdas had seen her coming just in time and stepped to the side slightly.

"Did you enjoy yourself?" he asked with a touch of amusement in his voice. Sirris nodded and showed him the paper. "Hmm… Well done, for a child your age."

"I was told you had another job for me?" she asked. Ramdas nodded and proceeded to explain the job to her. It was simple, really, so she got to work right away.

That night, she climbed into her bed with a smile still on her face.

The next two days passed similarly. She would work as hard as possible until the late afternoon, then join Luke while his tutors rambled on. It was a different tutor every day, but apparently they came back every week on the same day. The second day that Sirris spent as a servant saw a teacher of geography, a subject that she tuned out of almost entirely before flying through the paper she was given.

The third day, she was forced to sit through a lesson on the fonic language. This tutor, unlike the one from the day before, was aware of her boredom, and tutored her in Ancient Ispanian instead, a language which she had only a rudimentary grasp of.

All three teachers left large packets for Luke to complete over the week, and each one of them left a second packet for her. Sirris smirked as she sat in Luke's room on the fourth day. Luke was at his desk with Guy, who was attempting to help the young noble with his homework.

Her work for the day was done, and there was no tutor today, as it had been a sword training day for Luke. In her lap were three completely blank packets. She had put them in a specific order, and was staring at Ancient Ispanian.

"Guy, would you please throw me a pen?" she asked the blonde. Guy looked over at her, confused. He grabbed a pen and walked over.

"What's this?" he asked. Sirris showed him the packets and he looked at her curiously. "You've got the same homework Luke's got, except for the Ancient Ispanian part. How come?"

"Ramdas ran out of things for me to do on day one, so he let me come in here and listen when Luke's mathematics tutor was here. I've been allowed to come back every day since at this time, since I'm still getting everything he comes up with done," she explained. She propped the packets up on her knees and started writing in the Ancient Ispanian one.

Guy walked back over to help Luke, but kept his eye on the child as often as he could. Luke, who had twice as much homework as Sirris and who had worked on it some already, was in a bad mood.

"Let's just focus on the stuff your history tutor left you right now, since you've got her tomorrow," Guy told him. Sirris's ears perked.

"History?" she asked. Guy nodded.

"Yeah. History on Undineday, science on Sylphday, Loreleiday is a free day, Gnomeday is math, Remday is geography, and Lunaday is language. Today, Ifritday, is for sword training," Guy explained. Sirris looked up at the ceiling.

'I've got the information I need,' she thought. 'I should do my job and leave… But I really want to meet the other two… No, three tutors. I want to meet Luke's sword instructor.'

Sirris turned her attention back to the Ancient Ispanian packet. It was all beginner stuff, so she went through it pretty quickly. Then came the mathematics packet, which was harder, but still easy enough to do. Guy and Luke seemed to forget about the child on the floor, and as the sun set, Sirris put the finished geography packet on top of the other two packets.

"I'd better go make sure that Ramdas didn't dig up something else for me to do. I'll see you tomorrow, Luke, Guy!" she said as she walked out the door. Guy shouted 'see you' after her as she went, but she didn't hear.

'I can't stay. I'm pushing it as it is,' she argued with herself. 'Master will kill me if I stay here any longer. He'll tie to the wall and pull out that nasty whip of his and—'

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Sirris cried as she was falling to the ground. Her papers flew out of her hands and she crumpled a few as she landed on them. She looked up at the man she had collided with, and found him laughing lightly.

"No, I'm sorry. I was lost in my own thoughts," he told her as he knelt to help her pick up her papers, which, since they had no real binding, had flown everywhere.

"As was I. Aw, man. It'll take a while to put all of these back in order," she grumbled as she stalked around picking up the white pages. The man stopped and actually examined one of them.

"Ah, you must be Soren," he said. Sirris looked back at him confused.

"Um…" she stated. "Yes… That's my name… And you are?"

"Van Grants. I'm Luke's sword instructor. I must say, I half expected you to show up today, and I was a little disappointed when you didn't," he told her. Sirris laughed nervously.

"Yeah, I was working. I'd have been there if I'd had a choice though," she replied.

"Ramdas and the other tutors tell me that you're an extremely talented young man. And looking over this geometry, I'd say that they weren't over-exaggerating," he said, handing her his pile of papers. Sirris smiled slightly.

"Thank you, sir," she said, bowing her head.

"Take care, Soren. I hope I get the chance to see your talent with a sword as well," he said as he walked away. Sirris sighed.

"I wish I had the time to show you," she whispered, looking down at the papers in her arms. "I wish I had the time to show all of you."

In her room, Sirris sat the papers on her bed and let her eyes shift again. Then she left and headed towards the entrance hall to find Ramdas. He was there, speaking to Duke Fabre and Lady Susanne.

"His tutors tell me that he seems to be devoting more of his attention to his studies with Soren around. They believe that having someone else learning the material as well is boosting his confidence. Whatever the case may be, I'd like that boy to continue going to Luke's classes," Duke Fabre was saying.

"Excuse me?" Sirris said quietly. The three adults turned their attention to her, and Susanne smiled.

"Hello, Soren. Have you been enjoying the lessons?" she asked. Sirris nodded.

"Yes, ma'am, I have," she replied. "Ramdas, do you have anything else you need me to do before I go to bed?"

"No, not today. Thank you for asking, however," he told her. Sirris nodded.

"Very well. Duke, Milady; by your leave," she said, leaving quietly.

"What a polite young man," she heard Susanne say fondly as she closed the door behind her.

'If only they knew,' Sirris thought to herself. 'If only they knew.'

That night, as the drowsy guard was waiting impatiently for their shift to be over, a silent shadow slipped across the grass to the tree behind Luke's room. After pausing at the base of the tree to survey the area, the small form slipped up the tree and into the room through the window.

Sirris smirked at the form of the sleeping noble. "Time to finish this mission and get out of here," she whispered to herself. A soft, metallic hiss echoed through the room as she drew the blade that was, once again, at her waist. The blue blade glinted with red fire despite the utter lack of light. The moon was shrouded behind clouds.

Gold and silver eyes shone evilly in the dark room as Sirris carefully adjusted Luke's hair. Gently, oh so gently, she placed the blade against the boy's neck and drew a tiny line, then made three more to form a triangle with the point pointing down. There was a line through it. Carefully, she drew a circle outside the triangle, encasing it.

Smirking, the crimson-haired assassin slipped back out of the window and crept across the courtyard to climb the wall. The flag in the opposite corner was waved, and the guard left his post. Sirris quickly and quietly got up onto the roof, ran across, and jumped down to land silently outside the manor.

Then she started running. The small pack on her back had only a few things in it. A water flask, what Gald she had earned at the manor, the clothes she had come in, and the second set of clothes that Guy had gotten her. However, she had left the homework on her perfectly-made bed after organizing it. She smirked again as she left Baticul and headed for the Inista Marsh. It was past midnight, and if she wasn't on the ferry to Daath in the morning, she'd never get away in time.

But the marsh proved to be no match against her and her knife. Sirris knew what she was doing, and she had no intention of slowing down. The behemoth posed a slight problem, but Sirris found that she could easily out-maneuver it, and did so.

The sky was just turning pink as the red-haired girl left the marsh. "I've only got an hour, but it's a straight shot from here to the port. Go, Sirris, go!" she shouted to herself, pushing her body harder despite the fact that she hadn't slept in twenty-four hours. "You can handle eighty-hour pulls, girl. Come on, you're getting soft," she taunted herself when she realized that her body wasn't responding as quickly as it normally would have.

"They pampered you too much at that manor," she grumbled under her breath as she arrived at the port. She ran straight to the docks, pleased to see that the ferry she needed to get on hadn't left yet. She paid her fare and got on, quickly secluding herself to her cabin. The trip from Belkend to Daath was just over a two-day one.

Sirris pulled the bag from her back and set it on the bed before moving to the center of the room. For the next few hours, she kept herself awake by practicing her martial arts. While she was much better at fighting with a weapon like a knife or sword, she could fight without them if she had to.

However, her practice was also meant to build her stamina back up from where it had slipped to in the short amount of time that she had been in the manor. But as noon slowly came around, Sirris found her body fighting her more than ever before, and finally resigned herself to searching for food. She found it in the ferry's mess hall, and bought bread and cheese before returning to her cabin to eat and train some more.

However, back in Baticul…

"How could this have happened?" Susanne asked her husband. Duke Fabre was just as shocked as his wife as he gazed down at the picture before him, which had been drawn by the healer who was currently tending to his son.

The evil sign sneered at the couple, both from the page in front of them, and from the neck of their ill son.

"I can't believe we fell for her tricks. An assassin, right here in the manor…" Duke Fabre muttered. "Nightshade…"

Tony: If anyone is curious about the mark that Sirris left on Luke's skin, my good friend and beta, Kairi (Twilight PhoenixFyre) is going to put it up on her deviantART account. She's also in the process of drawing Sirris. And yes, the mark Sirris left is similar to the mark of the three brothers (Harry Potter) but it's not the same. The circle is on the outside, not the inside. (I swear the person who wrote that book stole that mark. I've been developing Sirris the Assassin for years now.)

Leon: You're doing a Kairi…

Tony: Didn't I stick you back into the CCoD once already? Eh, whatever. Read and Review, please! I'd like to hear everyone's opinions of Sirris so far! And I'll see everyone next week… I hope…