Love Sometimes Hates: Chapter Six
Haili and Aleck were led to a large open room made entirely of stone. It looked old. Very old. Some black scorch marks from what was probably a fire lingered on the floor and walls.
“What is this place?” Haili asked.
“Why don’t you asked ‘Aleck’?” Chrysós said into her ear, which made her want to spit in his eye, but instead she looked over to Aleck who was peering around with a look of disgust.
“...It’s the ceremonial room.” He said plainly.
“Ah good, you remember.” Chrysós said with a sickening smile, “We have many good childhood memories here, don’t we?”
Aleck said nothing and just averted his gaze from his older brother.
“What was this room used for exactly?” Haili asked.
“I’m glad you asked.” Chrysós said. He let go of her arm only to let her weak body fall to the ground. Two guards took a few steps forward, keeping an eye on her. Chrysós walked over to a flat stone slab at the center of the room and carefully ran his hand across its smooth surface, “For us it was a ‘coming of age’ place. Where our three main tests were held.”
“Three?” Haili asked, lifting her head.
“Three different tests at three different ages.” Aleck said, “The first one is when you turn five. The second is when you turn eight, and the third is when you turn eleven.”
Haili stared at him then up at Chrysós, “That’s sick!” She yelled.
The older brother just smirked, “An assassin needs to learn young. That way the task of killing becomes second nature. Well, it works for some.” His eyes drifted over to meet Aleck who looked away.
“What did you have to do for these tests?” Haili asked.
He looked back over at her, “The first one isn’t too hard. You just have to run certain errands. The point was not to question orders no matter how strange they may seem.” He reached into his cloak and pulled out a silver knife, “The second test is less of a test and more of just basic training. You if you can make it through a simple obstacle, you receive your first blade.” He looked over at Aleck, “You conveniently lost yours didn’t you?”
“I threw it away.” He corrected.
Chrysós sighed and clicked his tongue, “Pitty, mother made sure yours was especially beautiful.”
“And the third?” Haili cut in.
Chrysós smiled, looking back at Haili, then nodded his head to Aleck, “You tell her.”
Haili turned her head to look at Aleck, who was purposefully looking away.
He swallowed, “...Your first kill.” He finally answered.
Chrysós started to snicker. Haili stared wide-eyed, “At eleven?”
Aleck slowly nodded.
“You...You didn’t though right? Aleck?”
Chrysós started laughing more, “Oh it was so impressive, I wish you could have been there!”
She turned to him while Aleck just closed his eyes tight, as if trying not to remember.
“Shut up! Aleck would never kill anyone!” Haili yelled, refusing to believe it.
“Oh you would be right,” Chrysós started, “He had to kill his own pet once reaching the age of eleven, and he knew this. First, he tried to make the thing run away, but father hunted it down and brought it back; dead. So they got him a new one, even younger than the last.”
Aleck seemed to shiver a little at the memory.
“Next he tried to run away himself, but ironically it was the dog that gave him away.” Chrysós laughed, “We were all starting to think he wasn’t even related to the family, until that day.”
“...Please don’t…” Aleck said. His voice was thin and pleading.
Chrysós walked over to his little brother, smiling down at him, “I don’t think I had ever seen him snap like that…”
* * *
Aleck ran to the edge of the Velen which ended at the edge of a rocky cliff side overlooking a violent ocean. On the verge of tears, he screamed and chucked the thing into the crashing waters below. He then fell to his knees, breathing heavily. Hot tears streaming down his face. The sound of barking drew his attention back around to see his dog happily rushing up next to him. He watched it joyfully jump around him, licking at his fingers, trying to get him to play. Aleck just stared at it with the blankest of expressions, then carefully pulled it into a hug.
“It’s time.” Came a voice from behind him, “Everyone is waiting.”
Aleck didn’t move. He just stared at the water, hugging his dog even tighter. Soon a firm hand rested on his shoulder. “Your grandfather is an impatient man, son.” It was Alecks father. He was a tall man with dark eyes and short black hair. He looked a lot like Aleck, except a lot colder. His face was very angular and had multiple scars, along with a pretty bad burn mark on the right side of his jaw. Though, despite his cold and harsh exterior, he always seemed to be fond of Aleck, even with his short comings.
After a few more moments of silence, Aleck slowly let go of his dog, letting it scurry around freely, then stood up to walk back with his father. They gathered with the rest of the family in the ceremonial room. His old grandfather sat on his throne behind the smooth stone slab. A glaring face was what greeted Aleck when he approached. The young boy stopped, then slowly lowered himself down to one knee. “Hello grandfather…”
The old man hummed thoughtfully before speaking, “Have your tears dried?”
“...Sir?” Aleck asked.
“Last time I saw you, you were eight and a blabbering mess of tears. That kind of behavior is unacceptable. Have your tears dried?”
Aleck hesitated, but soon his father answered for him, “They have, my lord.”
“Good. Now, where is your mutt and your blade?”
Aleck clenched his jaw, took a deep breath, then spoke. “I cannot proceed with the execution. I have lost my blade.”
There was a long silence. Aleck kept his head down waiting for the yelling to start, but instead the next thing he heard was “You mean that blade?”
He looked up confused to see his grandfather pointing behind him. He turned his head and froze. A soaked, cheerful dog came jogging into the room. The knife clenched tightly between its teeth. It then set the knife down at Aleck’s feet, barked once, and jumped around as if waiting to be thanked. Aleck stared at the knife then at his dog, his eyes beginning to swell up.
“Commence with the ceremony.” The grandfather ordered.
Aleck slowly reached down, picking up the knife to stare at. His father stepped forward and scooped up the dog up with both hands. Aleck felt a rush of panic pulse through him as the dog was placed on the stone slab. It whimpered when it tried to get off and Aleck’s father just pushed it back on. He then turned to his son and beckoned him over. Aleck stared at him, then very slowly stood up.
Chrysós was leaning against one of the stone pillars off to the side, along with many other guild and family members. Delilah was there too, hating every second of it. She technically wasn’t even a part of the family anymore. She had disowned herself once turning fourteen, but she always came back to visit Aleck, and was determined to be there for him no matter what.
Aleck stepped up to the stone slab, knife in hand. His dog barked happily once seeing him. Aleck started trembling. His father saw him and started to visibly grow concerned.
“Now.” His grandfather ordered.
Aleck didn’t do anything.
“...I said, now!”
He stared at the small dog who was grinning, tongue hanging sloppily out the left side of its mouth.
“...Son,” His father hissed over Aleck’s shoulder.
Chrysós just smirked from the crowd, it was loud enough for Aleck to hear. His whole body started to tremble more intensely. His grandfather glared and suddenly jumped to his feet.
That was when it happened. Aleck’s body immediately stopped trembling and his eyes shot up at the old man with an immense jolt of rage. He then let out a scream as he violently, yet with great precision, flung the knife forward. It sliced through the air and hit the old man in the chest. He croaked and tumbled back down onto his throne. Everyone jumped and went silent. Chrysós’s face immediately dropped from smugness to shock. Aleck was breathing heavy, still glaring with golden fire in his eyes. His grandfather's eyes slowly drifted down to the blade poking out from his chest, then, out of all the things he could have done or said, he smiled, looked back at Aleck, and spoke; “...Well done...You are worthy.”
Those were his final words, and it wasn’t until the man released his final breath that Aleck blinked, and really realized what he had just done. His eyes widened and he looked down at his hand which had thrown the knife. He stared at it for a long moment before he clenched it into a fist. His dog started to gently lick it, not understanding the situation. Aleck immediately fell to his knees and hunched over, hugging himself then started to scream through his tears.
* * *
“Even at your strongest moment...You still cried.” Chrysós said.
Aleck still had his eyes glued to the ground while Haili tried to take in his story, “...You killed your grandfather?”
Aleck slowly nodded.
“It was breathtaking. For the first time, I saw the assassins blood boil in my weak little brother...And it was probably one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen.”
Aleck shot his head up and glared at him, “Are you finished yet! So far all you’ve done is reminis on the past! Why are we even here?!”
Chrysós smiled at him, “That’s actually a fun little story.” He turned his gaze to look at Haili, “Do you know how assassins take job requests?” She blinked, then just slowly shook her head, “Well I’ll tell you. You see, for assassin's many jobs need a certain personal touch to them. So in order to get the right person for the right job they need a little help.” He reached into his cloak and pulled out a small vile, “Do you know what this is?” He asked.
Aleck obviously did but Haili was still in the dark, “What is it?” She asked.
“It’s a special potion. When mixed with a certain candidates blood and turned into a vapor, it can be sprayed across anything like, oh I don’t know, a piece of paper perhaps? And than whom evers blood is in the potion, that person will be naturally drawn to the paper. It’s so subtle the person picking the request doesn’t even feel the magic pull.”
Haili shook her head, “I still don’t-”
“Tell me, which one of you choose the job request for this mission.”
Haili thought back to a day ago, then went pale and looked over to Aleck who seemed to be mentally kicking himself.
“But...how could you be sure he would pick it and not someone else?”
“While the potion attracts one person, it also repels others. I knew he would have to pick it eventually. And with our little actress playing her part beautifully, there was no way we could fail. I just wasn’t expecting him to bring a pretty girl along.”
Haili glared at him. Aleck seemed to glare too, “What do you even want with me?” He asked, trying to bring the subject back around.
Chrysós walked over and kneeled down infront of him, “I want to revive the guild.”
Aleck’s eyes widened, then narrowed, “What?”
“Wait, I thought it was already revived. Especially since you seem to have enough followers.” Haili pointed out.
“The guild was burned down and disbanded around the same time I ran away.” Aleck said.
“Well, that explains the scorch marks,” She looked over at Chrysós, “But, why do you need him to revive it? Can’t you just do it yourself?”
He smirked, eyes still on Aleck, “For the longest time I thought he was dead. That was until I heard there was an air wizard name ‘Aleck Airford’ who was apart of this very popular guild with no ties to any family accept his older cousin. Then I saw a picture of him and -- bingo.”
Aleck hardened his glare.
“After seeing him I remembered that look in his eyes when he murdered our grandfather, and I knew if I was to revive this guild, I would want him by my side.”
Haili suddenly got a flashback to when they were in the heat of their petty fight, and that intimidating look Aleck had given her. Was that the look Chrysós was referring to?
“...Well thats too bad because there is no way in hell I’m helping you.” Aleck said.
“Why are you so against our family tradition, you always were.”
“Why? Because it involves killing innocent people for money!!”
Chrysós smirked, “Not all are innocent.”
“They are probably more innocent than we are!” Aleck yelled, “I got away from that life and I plan to stay away from it!”
Chrysós just shook his head, “Oh, you’d like to think that, but you still have assassin blood in you. Grandfather accepted you, which means you passed all three tests.”
“I’m not an assassin!!” Aleck screamed.
“Oh stop trying to pretend you’re not just because it makes you feel better. You have killed! You are apart of a long line of killers! Deal with it!”
Aleck started at him then just shook his head, “I’m not going to be apart of this! I’m not one of you!”
Chrysós sighed then stood up, “...Why must you always be such a wimp?” He asked before suddenly kicking Aleck in the side of his face, knocking him over.
“Aleck!” Haili yelled, trying to jump for him, but a few men tazed her with their staffs. She yelled and fell back to the ground.
Aleck let out a groan before his brother grabbed him by the shirt and threw his body across the floor. His head hit the corner of the stone slab before his body rolled to the floor. He winced in pain and struggled to get up since his hands were still bound together.
“Get angry!” Chrysós yelled, kicking him in the gut. Aleck croaked, and rolled over in pain as his brother landed a few more kicks into his side, “Do you want to kill me?! Do you want to kill me like you killed our grandfather?!”
Aleck tried to push himself up, but Chrysós just grabbed the back of his checkered overshirt, flinging his body around him. The over shirt tore with a loud ‘rip’, and was pulled off his shoulders down to where his hands were tied. Aleck fell on his side, scraping his right arm on the cold stone floor. Haili’s blood started to boil and she forced her twitching body to sit up, “Leave him alone!” She screamed. Two of the guards held her down by the shoulders and she struggled violently to try and get them off her.
Chrysós pulled Aleck up by the back of his gray shirt, then dragged him over to pin him down on the stone slab, making sure to keep his head down. Aleck yelled, then winced in pain.
“Come on! Where’s that evil spark in your eye?! What do I have to say to bring it out of you?!”
“Let him go!!” Haili screamed louder. Chrysós looked back at her, then stared. Slowly a smile spread across his face.
“You care about her, right?” He asked Aleck.
Aleck managed to open his eyes halfway and focused his view on Haili. He stared at her, then winced when Chrysós bend his arms higher up his back, “Do you wanna know a secret, little brother?”
“I think I’ve had my fill of secrets!” Aleck hissed through his teeth.
“Do you remember our parents?”
Aleck opened his eyes and tried to look back at his brother.
“Did you know who their last targets were before they decided to start passing the torch onto us?”
“Do I care?” Aleck said, trying to struggle his way out of Chrysós grasp, but he held him steady.
“You should...Because their names were Richard and Violet Rose.”
Aleck stopped. His eyes went wide. Haili immediately stopped struggling as well and just stared at the ground.
“...Well? What do you think of that?” Chrysós sneered.
Aleck’s wide eyes slowly shifted over to Haili who was frozen. Her eyes just stared off into space, completely overcome with shock.
“...No…” he said under his breath. As he stared he felt the hot tears build up on his bottom eyelids. He didn’t whimper or cry out...He just let the tears fall one by one as he stared at her.
“...Of course you cry.” Chrysós hissed, before pushing Aleck’s body off the slab onto the ground. Once hitting the floor he just laid there. He felt as though all his limbs had turned to lead. “I thought maybe that fact might bring it out of you, but I guess you really are just a cry baby.” Chrysós looked over at Haili, who wasn’t moving, It didn’t even look like she was breathing. He walked over to her, then nodded for the guards to let her go. They hesitated, but when they did release her arms, she didn’t move, she just stood there for a second before her knees buckled under her.
Aleck turned his head a little to look at her. Her hair was hanging in front of her eyes and her mouth was hanging slightly ajar. His head was buzzing and the feeling building up in his gut was indescribable. His parents were the ones who murdered hers. His parents were the reason she had to go through that hell living with her uncle. His parents were the reason she had none.
“Are you angry Miss Rose?” Chrysós asked, looking down at Haili.
She said nothing. He slowly kneeled down infront of her, grabbed her chin and tilted her face up. She looked as though she wanted to get angry, but the shock was still in effect, so the overall emotion she gave off was just emptiness. Chrysós stared for a long moment before smiling, “I must say, even in this state you really are a looker.”
Aleck’s eyes quickly hardened and he cranked his head up to glare at his brother in time to see him run his finger over her cheek.
“Don’t fucking touch her!” He growled.
Chrysós slowly turned his head over his shoulder to peer at Aleck. A smile grew back across his lips, “Oh? Don’t like the fact that I find her attractive too?”
Aleck rolled over on his shoulder and started to push himself up as best he could with his arms still bound together, “Leave her alone!”
Chrysós’s face grew smug, “Interesting.” He turned back to Haili, leaned in and planted a kiss right on her mouth. At first Haili didn’t seem to realize what was happening, still in shock, but as she blinked her eyes grew wide. Aleck stared, then suddenly something snapped. His glare grew frightening before he let out a raging scream and broke the restraints with the help of some sudden magic. The guards had no time to react before Aleck sprinted forward, grabbed his brothers collar and tore him away from Haili, flinging him over his head.
Chrysós landed on his back, getting the air knocked out of him with a stunned cough. Aleck then ran at him, slicing through the air, picked him up and slammed him onto the stone slab, “I said leave her alone!!!” Aleck screamed, beginning to punch his brother’s face in.
“Lord Chrysós!” One of the guards behind Haili yelled. They looked ready to run and grab Aleck but Haili quickly pulled herself together and elbowed the left guard in the gut while grabbing the right guard's spear. “Hey!” They yelled. She stabbed the taser end of the spear into the stomach of the guard already on the ground, then tripped the one she was wrestling with for the spear. Some other guards started running at her which she quickly shot at with a dragon roar, knocking most of them down except for one with an electric spear. Haili glared, and prepared to fight.
As Aleck beat his brother, Chrysós managed to catch Aleck’s fist and hold it, shaking under his strength. He looked up to see Aleck’s enraged golden eyes. Chrysós could help but grin.
“There it is! There’s the killer you are!”
Aleck didn’t listen to him, he just grabbed his brothers collar again and flung him across the room into one of the stone pillars with the help of some wind magic. Chrysós collapsed to the ground breathing heavily. Soon he felt hard fingers wrap around his throat and lift him up off the floor, slamming him against the pillar. Chrysós coughed, and peered at Aleck’s glaring face, yet still smiled through his bloody teeth.
“If you want to beat the shit out of me...I won’t stop you...But surely you can see that killing is in your blood! Why waste it by pretending it’s not there when you can embrace it!?” Aleck tightened his grip and Chrysós croaked, “...rebuild the guild with me...For once in my goddamn life I need you! You aren’t my useless little brother anymore!!”
Aleck stared at him, hatred still boiling through his now golden eyes. While that was happening, Haili had gotten herself into a spear fight with the main guard. In the spur of the moment, she left a hole open in her stance, allowing him to stab her foot with the tazer. She yelled out, but then gritted her teeth together and shot her end of the spear up into the jaw of the guard. It took him by surprise and he staggered backward. She then spun around, hitting the other end of her staff into his side, knocking him off balance even further. Finally, she kicked him in the gut with the enhancement of her dragon slayer magic, and he flew backward, dropping his staff, and falling to the ground, unconscious. Haili took a second to catch her breath from the fight, then directed her attention over to Aleck, who honestly seemed completely in control of the situation. Throwing his brothers body around like it was nothing. She couldn’t help herself but smile. Snapping herself out of it, she decided to make herself useful. She looked around, seeing the main door behind her bolted shut. ‘That’s going to be our way out of here’, she thought. She ran over to the massive door and started working to unlock the thing, which was much harder than anticipated, but nevertheless, she kept pulling.
Chrysós rolled across the ground after Aleck had thrown him for the fourth time. He coughed, grabbing at his own throat while also spitting out the pool of blood from his mouth. He looked up at Aleck who was already marching over to him, and glared. “Fine! If you really wanna go all out on the hard way,” He stood up, pulling out his assassins blade, slicing at Aleck just as he moved in for an attack. The biting metal made a long cut up his arm and Aleck screamed, retracting back immediately. The dark blood streamed down his pale skin onto the cold stone floor. Chrysós swung his arm a few more times, pushing Aleck back until his was up against a pillar. Chrysós lifted his arm and went to stab down from above, which Aleck caught and held there a few inches above his head. “I never should have thought I could bring you back, You were and always will be a pathetic link to the family name!”
Aleck pushed his arm away, and then pushed him back even further with a short, yet strong gust of wind. Chrysós flew back, and landed on the stone slab, dropping his knife, which Aleck quickly picked up, and rushed over, pinning his brother down and holding the blade to his throat. Chrysós froze, and so did Aleck. Chrysós yellow eyes lowered down for a second, then back up to Aleck. “...Go ahead.” He dared. Aleck swallowed hard but his hold on the knife was firm, and steady. “Even if you kill me, this place will always be the mark of a once powerful guild. Someone will pick up the slack, whether it be me or not.” Aleck took in and let out a long breath, his eyes trailed down at the small amount of blood being drawn from his brother neck. “I’m sure she will just adore you, huh.” Aleck’s eyes darted back up to meet his brothers, then they flared in frustration before pulling the knife away and flinging his body to the floor, making sure to keep the knife in his hand. Chrysós had only started to pull himself back up before Aleck threw out his arm, and sent a stream of magic at him, pushing the assasin up against the far wall and keeping him there.
Aleck watched his brother struggle against his magic, and as he did so, Aleck began to form an idea. He saw some stone pieces chip off from the pillars and the walls and slowly his brother’s words echoed in his memory. ‘Even if you kill me, this place will always be the mark of a once powerful guild. Someone will pick up the slack’.
“...Then I’ll tear it down.” Aleck said allowed, mostly to himself though.
By this time, Haili had finally gotten the door open, letting the evening light pour in, she turned back to Aleck, “Aleck! Come on, let’s get out of here!”
He looked at her and stared before looking back over at his brother.
“Aleck? What’s wrong?”
“Get out of here.” He finally said, “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I don’t want you here when it does.”
She looked at him confused, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Just go, Haili!”
“Ok, you’re starting to freak me out Aleck, lets just go!”
“For once can you just do as I ask!”
“No! Not when you sound like I’m not going to see you again!”
He stared at her, swallowed hard, then took in a breath. “Goodbye Haili.”
“Alec-” Before she could finish, his lifted his other arm and threw the same gust of wind he had thrown at Chrysós. It hit her dead on and pushed her back. She flew through the now open door and watched as it closed in front of her, her body still moving through the air. “Aleck!” She screamed again, before crashing to the ground, and cracking her head on the corner of a rock, making everything go black.