I dropped onto the couch, letting out a loud sigh. The old couch stabbed me in the back with one of it's springs, but I couldn't care at that point. Everything hurt, and it felt wonderful just to rest for once.
I wasn't used to doing big missions like Zephyr and Vashyron were. Those two seemed to have unlimited energy when it came to killing things.
"I'm going to take a hot bath…" I mumbled, getting up from my seat.
Vashyron stepped in front of the door, blocking my way. His semi-permanent smirk was on his face, telling me it would probably be a while before I could just sink into a bubble bath and rid myself of the dirt.
"Not so fast, Leanne. That was just a warm up mission,"
"A warm up?" I questioned his sanity.
What kind of person took on the Sledgehammers in the mine as a warm up? It was one of the worst battles I could remember, and we've been in a lot. If I wasn't dodging being hit, I was running out of it's reach.
"Stop complaining. That wasn't even much of a fight," Zephyr started loading his gun with ammo.
Nothing was ever much of a fight for Zephyr. Gravity seemed to hate him because he could jump higher than humanly possible. It helped him in battles, for sure. The enemy didn't know what to think.
"What is it this time?" I followed Zephyr's actions and loaded my gun, making sure I packed enough ammo not only for whatever mission we were doing, but the gangsters and monsters we would run into on the way. I was tired of people trying to rob us, assuming we were a weak bunch.
Of course, if I was on my own, it would be a different story. Only two years with Zephyr and Vashyron's constant jobs and fighting meant I was better than average, but not on their level yet.
Vashyron scanned the paper in his hands.
"A rescue job, basically. Some girl was kidnapped from Level One,"
Zephyr plucked the paper from his hands.
"'Requesting assistance; A young girl, physically fifteen, was kidnapped and is being held for ransom on Level Ten. Please retrieve her and return her home on Level One, preferably soon.' What the hell," Zephyr raised his eyebrow.
"They don't seem too concerned, it seems…" Not at all, actually. Most parents would be worried sick if something happened to their child.
"Either way, the reward is a nice, fat, juicy one."
I rolled my eyes and started for the door.
I was never a fan of Level Ten. The place was just down right creepy and crawling with monsters and things. We could hardly walk ten feet without being challenged.
"Did it say where she was being held?" I questioned, readying myself for yet another encounter.
"Somewhere in Estia. It isn't a big place, so we shouldn't have too much trouble finding her," Vashyron didn't look concerned at all.
Finding her wasn't what I was worried about. I was almost out of ammo already, and we had just passed Albona, the fallen city. I groaned, mentally taking note not to go trigger happy.
Once we reached the abandoned town, Zephyr started taking a defensive pose in front of me. After the whole incident with Rowan he seemed to be more protective of me than usual. In an odd way I thought it was sweet.
We took on a triangle form, Zephyr in the front, Vashyron and I in the back. Usually Vashyron would go first, but Zephyr insisted. Vashyron couldn't complain; Zephyr was tough.
I placed one of my two guns back in the straps around my arms, deciding using one would be better for this battle. I knew it was a hostage situation, and the kidnappers could be tough, so saving ammo by using one gun would be best.
Zephyr stiffed suddenly, jerking his head to the right. He frowned and took off. Vashyron and I followed, knowing Zephyr's sense's were much better than our own.
I stopped suddenly, glaring at the surprised group of men. The twenty of them didn't seem too tough, but it was hard to say for sure. Surviving on Level Ten meant you had to be strong.
I lifted my gun, chasing after Zephyr. He flipped over the group shooting several down before stopping. I thought he ran out of bullets, but then I saw the tiny figure on the ground.
"Careful where you shoot, she's right there," I called to Vashyron, pointing,
He nodded before running at the group.
My breath caught for a second as a weapon was pointed at me, but he was taken out by Zephyr soon after. I reloaded my gun as quick as possible, and shot one of the ten remaining men. With the three of us attacking this group was slowly minimizing in size. When two remained, Zephyr put a bullet in the head of one, while Vashyron took out the final one with the last of his rounds.
I sucked in the dirty air, relieved.
The poor girl was still curled up on the ground, her hands covering her face.
"It's all over now," I touched her shoulder gently.
Her hair was pitch black and a tangled mess, but I guessed it would be straight once she brushed it.
She peeked between her fingers, her soft pink eyes startling me. I thought she might be wearing contacts, but it didn't seem like it.
I helped her up, surprised she was a few inches shorter that I was. Standing before me, she almost looked like a dirt-covered doll.
Her brown dress was ripped and patched, and by the looks of it, several sizes too big.
"What's your name, sweet cakes?" Vashyron squatted to her height.
Her face just went red, her eyes filling with tears.
"You're scaring her!" I snapped at him.
Zephyr rolled his eyes, finished looting for things, it seemed.
"Can we just get going?"
The girl didn't say anything or answer any questions, just blushed and looked terrified. I couldn't really blame her after having to deal with the thugs that kidnapped her.
It was night by the time we reached Level One, the girl fast asleep on Vashyron's back.
"Is…this the place?" I asked, confused to why we were standing outside of one of the biggest mansions in Chandelier.
I knew the girl came from Level One, but this was just ridiculous.
"Seems like it. Shall we see if anyone is home?"
Zephyr knocked sluggishly. It seemed like even his inhuman energy had a limit. His glare didn't leave the door until it was opened.
An older man answered our knocks, obviously the butler of the house. For being so late at night, he didn't seem bothered at all.
"How may I help you?" He eyes stopped on the sleeping girl. "Ah, you found the girl. Excellent. Please, do come in."
Instead of lights, candles lit the way down the hall. I held onto Zephyr's arm, knowing he could see perfectly fine in the near pitch black.
I could make out a few portraits; each one looked menacing as they followed our movements.
We were led to a sitting room, the red silk chairs looking luxurious. I wanted to sit in them terribly, but my clothes were covered in blood and dirt. Zephyr didn't seem to care. He dropped into the nearest one, stretching out.
"Zephyr," I hissed.
He looked at me, his eyes half closed.
"I'm tired, Leanne."
I sighed knowing it was pointless to argue with the master of stubbornness.
"Please, make yourselves at home while I fetch my master,"
I sat in my own chair, my poor feet screaming in pain. Vashyron still stood, looking around.
My eyes started to close against my will, my fatigue starting to catch up, when footsteps made them open. The butler returned, a very handsome man behind him.
For someone who had just woken up, he still looked rather striking. His long, silky black hair was swept into a loose ponytail, a few strands failing around his rather chiselled face. His bright blue eyes put Zephyr's to shame; almost glowing.
I couldn't help but admire how he managed to make a simple white dress shirt look so lovely.
Zephyr noticed my staring and coughed, looking away.
Could this be the girl's father? No, he was much too young, not much older than I was, by the looks of it. Perhaps I have a chance with this beautiful man…My thoughts almost made me laugh. Of course I didn't.
"You must be Vashyron. I'm Stephen Bromwell." He looked at the girl. "I didn't think you would find her so quickly, to be honest." He looked at me for a few seconds, then at an angry looking Zephyr which made him smirk.
"My, an angry looking fellow, aren't you, child?" Stephen smiled at Zephyr.
I swallowed, feeling uneasy. Teasing Zephyr wasn't the best thing to do. He was like a caged animal; taking any excuse to lash out and slaughter.
Zephyr's lip twitched, his eyes flickering towards me.
Stephen turned towards me, taking my hand in his. I smiled sheepishly as me kissed it lightly, my cheeks going a rosy red.
"Quite a lovely rose for such dirty work. It's a shame your beautiful face has been soiled with filth,"
My face went a brighter red.
Zephyr stood faster than I could see, staring at the floor.
"Can we just leave already? I'm tired," He hissed.
Stephen nodded slowly, ignoring Zephyr, glancing at the girl once again.
"Say, would you consider taking up another job? This hasn't been the first kidnapping, and probably won't be the last. Would you watch over her for a while in Ebel city? I'm sure no one would think of looking for her there," Stephen took a package from the butler and pulled out several bundles of rubies.
"Of course, whatever money you require to keep her safe I'll gladly donate."
Vashyron carefully placed the petite girl in a chair.
"Sounds like hell of a job. We aren't exactly babysitters, you know. She'd be alone sometimes,"
Zephyr crossed his arms.
"Not like we have room, anyway. You're sleeping on the couch already, Vashyron. Where would we put her?"
Zephyr had a point, but having another girl around the house could be nice. I could think of her as my little sister. As nice as Vashyron and Zephyr were, they didn't like shopping or eating the mini cakes in town with me.
"She could share a room with me," I suggested.
Vashyron looked at me.
"Are you sure? Your room is pretty small,"
Vashyron rubbed his face and looked at Stephen.
"I can't guarantee anything, you know."
"I understand completely,"
Zephyr scoffed silently, obviously annoyed at being ignored.
"I've been meaning to ask, but what's her name?" I was curious at the fact it was never mentioned.
Stephen's smile fell, his eyes darkening. For a moment I was scared by the sudden change.
"She doesn't have one. She was never given one. I recall a boy once calling her Eri, but other than that, nothing."
That caught me off guard, and Zephyr too, it seemed. I remembered when my own name had been Subject Twenty. I shivered, hoping this girl didn't go through the things I had. That just made me all the more eager to take her home with us.
"Eri it is, then."