Art by Cristal Jx. Coding by Lilikka
Zero cursed at his luck. He had just watched his mark enter the inn with a woman in tow. He hated taking the lives of innocents, but knew that if she got in his way, he’d have to kill her, too. Which was a shame, because she was fairly attractive from what he could see. Even though it was dark outside, he had trained his eyes to be able to see almost perfectly in the darkness. After all, he needed it in his profession.
Zero jumped off the roof he had been standing on and walked toward the inn. It would be crowded at this time of night, especially since most of the ships had already docked, so he wouldn’t have to work too hard to not be noticed. He removed his face mask and concealed it in a hidden pouch so he’d be less conspicuous.
He entered and was hit by the scent of stale beer and sweat. It looked like his mark’s entire crew had taken up all the room in the common room of the inn. He quickly surveyed the room, spotting the pirate captain and the woman he had seen earlier. In the better lighting of the inn, he could see her much better. She had a sultry pout to her lips and a scowl on her face. Her hair was the color of maple leaves turning in the autumn and came down past her shoulders. She looked like she was ready to kill the man she was with, which would have saved Zero some trouble.
Zero kept an eye on the captain until he saw him stand and head upstairs, grabbing his companion by her hand and dragging her upstairs. Zero took that as his cue and he stood from the bench he had been sitting on and followed them upstairs. He stayed in the shadows, pulling his face mask back out and putting it on again. His mark and the woman entered the door, and Zero made a mental note of which room it was. Thankfully, it was one of the rooms facing the outside, so he’d be able to enter through the window. He made his way back downstairs and out of the inn and waited to make his move.
An hour or so later, Zero stood from his watch spot and walked back over to the inn, but didn’t enter this time. Instead, he paced the perimeter, counting windows until he was sure he had found the room his mark was in. He only hoped that no harm would come to the girl.
He scaled the wall and, quietly as he could, opened the window. Raucous snores came from within, as well as quiet sobs. Zero climbed into the room and he heard a gasp.
“Who’s there?” came a quiet voice. Obviously, it came from the woman from downstairs, but he couldn’t believe that the sweet voice could come from such a dangerous looking woman.
“Just stay out of the way and I’ll be out of here soon,” he replied gruffly. He pulled out his knife, but felt a hand on his arm.
“If you kill him and just leave me here,” she started, “then I’ll be the one blamed for it.”
“It’s not my concern. This is just my job,” Zero replied, pulling his arm out of her grip.
“It will be if I scream,” she said, a devilish tone in her voice.
“You try that and I’ll slit your throat before you have a chance,” he told her. He found himself liking her attitude, despite the situation.
“I mean it,” she told him, her voice rising a bit.
“Keep it down,” he said, but too late. The snoring stopped and a slurred voice filled the hushed room.
“Who’s there?” the captain slurred.
“Damn,” Zero cursed under his breath and quickly stabbed his knife into the captain’s throat, pushing the woman to the side. A gurgling sound came from the back of the man’s throat and he slumped forward. Zero backed up, letting go of the knife. He grabbed the woman’s hand and moved toward the window.
“Grab on,” he ordered and he felt her wrap her arms around his neck. He jumped out of the window and landed gracefully on his feet. He set her down, but kept hold of her hand and ran.
When they were out of sight of the inn, he stopped and let go of her hand. She struggled to catch her breath.
“Thank you,” she managed to say.
“I didn’t have much of a choice at that point,” he told her, then turned to walk off.
“Wait, at least tell me your name,” she said. “I’m Miko.”
Zero stopped and looked at her. She had such a pitiful look in her eyes that he couldn’t help himself.
“Zero,” he told her.
She walked towards him and planted a firm kiss on his lips.
“That’s for being my hero,” she told him. Zero looked at her, a thought forming in his head.
“Why don’t you come with me?” he asked. “After all, you won’t have anywhere to go after this, right?”
“You mean it?” she asked, her eyes lighting up for the first time since he’d seen her. He nodded, wondering why he was involving himself with her, but knowing that he couldn’t just leave her like this.
She smiled at him and he knew that he didn’t want to be apart from her again.