September 8, 2012
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"Murder?" cold laughter follows the remark, "I do believe you misheard me, I don't murder. I assassinate." The employers quake. More rapidly than a diving hawk, I unsheathe my dagger and drive it into map, and through that, the soft wood of the table. The blade lands on the marked location of my next victim. "That is what I intend to do, so if you're having second thoughts, voice them now."

"N-no. You're hired, just kill him and don't leave any traces."

I size up his Royal Majesty, the king of Deserable, "Since when have I ever had to worry about that?" I inquire cooly, he doubts my experience and knowledge of the field. "Now leave. The Prince of Antrest shall be deceased within a week."

The king nods as he and his companions scramble out of the room, undoubtably afraid that the next time I use the dagger it will be land in their backs. Once their gone from the candle lit tent, I throw back my hood, and sigh. The darkness of the night creeps in and the shadows seem longer than what they had first appeared to be, but I continue to stay in the chair and ponder. My hair is hanging loosely from my bun and I thank the Stars that it didn't fall during the consultation. Whenever employers discover that I am a girl, their expectations fall, the money is lessened, and it causes slight havoc particularly when the employer is a young male. Just like the Prince of Carren had been when he had come searching for someone to do his dirty work and instead thought he had found a meek girl.
I'm almost tempted to laugh. Had the king of Deserable known that the Prince of Carren had come to me only a fortnight earlier with a mission to spy on Deserable, he would've walked out on the spot. But that's the fun of it I guess. All of the countries believe the Lan-Manta to be their own personal supply of highly trained people ready to do whatever mission they had in mind.
Every one of us Lan-Manta did not come because of interest, we were brought here because of a catastrophe. As long as we were young enough, and no permanently damaged by the catastrophe, the Lan-Manta would bring us here. For me a fire had raged onto my village when I was only six and somehow I survived. Days later a Lan-Manta had found me wandering in the ashes of the village, starving and alone, he brought me here, where I train to aid the different countries in whatever they need me to do. I am now fifteen.
Taking a deep breathe, I snatch the map, my dagger, and the velvet purse of gold coins. A forth of the money will go to the Lan-Manta and the rest will help me on my mission.
I exit the tent and examine the island, in the distance I hear the clashing of swords and twang of bows of night training. At a higher point of the minute mountain I can make out people sitting around campfires for the survival training. They're learning how to light fires, what plants are eatable, how to cook, how to cover their tracks in different weather conditions, camouflage and many other things that I have already memorized.
The island is not big, hardly as large as a warship, but it is tall. A narrow mountain spikes from it. On the surface of the mountain is where we train, gather for our meetings, have our consultations, and spy on people coming and departing from the island. Yet in the mountain is where we live. All of our rooms, the kitchen, the library and even the medical center is down there.

I rush into the secret entrance to the underground girl's rooms and wind my way through the rock corridors. Torches light the way.

Along the way I run into my friend, Sophie, "Hi Dakota!" she says to me as I halt and glance up to her. She's perched on a cliff in the wall of the corridor. "I saw the King of Deserable approach you with a mission, can I know what it is?"
She gracefully leaps down from the rock and lands in front of me. Sophie walks with me as I continue on. I feel a lump begin to form in my throat, "He wants me to kill the Prince of Antrest!" Before I know it, I'm sobbing.
"It's all right Dakota, you'll be able to do it!"
I glance up from the floor and manage a weak smile, "I know I can-how conceited is that?"
She laughs and gestures for me to continue,"Anyway, the thing is, all of these missions are beginning to add up. Master is now recommending me to the more powerful employers but the missions are becoming more and more unmanageable. I can't keep up! The mis-missions I'm being ordered to now are so dangerous, I'm going to get caught! I-I know I am!"
Sophie helps me get to my room. All of the stress and tension that's been building up from the past couple missions is coming out and I can't help but tremble. She leads me across the green rug in my room and I collapse onto my hammock. The room is illuminated by a demon lantern which bathes the room in a light green glow.
I bury my head in my hands. If anyone but Sophie and my other close friends saw me like this I would be punished for my fear. For a half-hour Sophie stays with me and patches me back together with words of comfort.

"Thank you Sophie," I finally say, once my sobs allow me to speak and not choke on the words.

"You're welcome, after all, I laid all my problems on you yesterday. Do you want me to get you a drink?" she asks softly.

I shake my head, "No, it's good." I pause, then say, "You'd better get to sleep, your exam is tomorrow."

Sophie's face flickers with anxiousness, her final exam is tomorrow and if she passes she'll be able to quiet the training and go on missions.
"Don't remind me." She begins to move towards the door.
"You'll be brilliant and you will pass, you know that right?" I say.
She nods, "Good night Dakota. I'll see you when you get back from your mission, and who knows? Maybe you will get a break once I'm in the field!"
I smirk, "In your dreams 2nd rank!" then I give her a confident smile, "I guess I won't be able to call you a 2nd rank for much longer."
"Nope! Soon you'll be calling me your number one competition!"
She opens the door to exit, "Night Dakota."
"Night Sophie."
And yet, deep within me, I knew this would be one of last nights here at Lan-Manta.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

AnnaRead This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm
Is there any more? I loved it, and can't wait to read more of your peices.  You might want to look at your format though, just a comment.  Overall, your plot was awsome and creative. Nice job!
FyndFyre said...
Sept. 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm
This is a really good piece of writing.  
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