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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 41 > New Series > The Zafara Assassin: Part One

The Zafara Assassin: Part One

by meratocat

In every world there are the heroes. Heroes who save their land from whatever evil has befallen it. They are the ones who help keep the balance between everyone so that their world is at peace. Also in every world there are the villains. They are the ones who try and break the balance, but are always stopped by the heroes. But what about the ones that every one forgets; the ones who take no side? They are the ones who are both good and evil. These creatures take many names for themselves, and one of them is the assassin. This is the story of a Zafara who lives by her wits, and not just any Zafara. She is the Zafara Assassin.

I ran down the stairs with cries of, "Stop that Zafara!" and "Get the scoundrel!" following me. I ignored the cries, for my first priority was escape. I was halfway down the stairs when I noticed that a Gelert and a Kyrii were coming up the stairs after me. At the top of the stairs, a few more pets were coming down towards me. I looked to the right where a stained glass window was; it was my only chance of escape. I watched and waited as the pets crept in closer to me, thinking that they had me cornered, then I drew out my green handled dagger. "Watch out, she has a dagger." The Gelert yelled backing up.

I sneered at him, "All the better to escape with." And I threw the dagger at the window, shattering it. I jumped through the window pane and ran to the edge of the roof, wiping the sweat off my brow. Behind me I saw the pets start to climb out through the window, so I looked down at the ground. It wasn't that high of a drop, so I jumped, my blue cape waving with the wind as I fell to the ground. Then, after picking my blade off the ground, I ran into the forest, my brown tunic and pants providing me camouflage against the Neopets sitting baffled, looking for me on the roof. I had completed my mission.

I am Zarrel Charmain. I am the Zafara Assassin, known as the red ghost to my victims, the best in the job to my employers. Master of disguise, my job is to target and destroy whomever I am assigned to.

I took off my gloves and carefully hung them besides my dagger, for my gloves are one of the most important items in my job. They let me work without leaving fingerprints, and they provide a grip for holding on to my dagger, so I could not risk them being ripped or torn as I made my way through the night.

There was no moon this night, however from years of living out in the forests I had no trouble finding my way home. I walked through the forest, the trees' branches scratched over my back, and I couldn't help but give a small shiver. The rocks in front of me were practically invisible, but I still made it over and around them without any problems. I walked closer and closer towards home, until I saw the large oak that marked where I lived. Once I was home, I walked over and sat down on a rock beside my sleeping mat, and from my bag of provisions I took out a needle and some thread, and I started patching up a hole in my tunic. "With what you get paid you should probably just buy a new tunic," My Airax Tarnox said, landing on my shoulder.

"Well, this tunic is lucky. I am not just going to throw it away, and besides the patches should help me blend in better, instead of being a solid color." I said, stroking the feathers on his head, his favorite part to be scratched on. They were as soft as anything I could possibly imagine. "Now go and find another perch. It is hard to sew when an Airax is on your shoulder." Tarnox smiled and he flew over to a branch, ruffled his feathers, and closed his eyes.

"Goodnight, Zarrel Charmain," he said to me, then when I heard the soft noises of his breath quiet. I knew that he was asleep.

Tarnox and I had been together for many years. I had found Tarnox in the burning rubble of a house, where his past owner had abandoned him. I made my way through the flames, and saved him. Since then, he and I have been together at all times.

Finished with sewing up my tunic, I put the needle and thread away, then I laid down on my sleeping mat, pulled a warm blanket over me, and fell asleep listening to crickets chirp, and all the soft murmurs of the night.

I awoke to the sound of chirping birds, and to the morning sun's glare. I got up and took a couple of eggs from my pack, built a fire, then started to cook breakfast for Tarnox and I. Tarnox woke just as the eggs were finished, so I put his egg on a plate and put it down next to me. "Quickly finish up your breakfast Tarnox, for we are leaving for Teralk's headquarters to get my pay in about one fourth an hour." Teralk was one of my many employers, and he owed me my pay for completing a job.

Later on I was walking towards Teralk's HQ with my provisions pack over one shoulder and Tarnox on the other. The morning sun was at my back, making our shadows twice as long a usual. Tarnox lifted his wings up and down to watch his shadow grow and shrink. "Look Zarrel," he said, "I am bigger than you," he said lifting his wings. "Now I am smaller again," he said, putting his wings back down.

I laughed at Tarnox, "You are a great friend, and partner." I said rubbing his head feathers.

Soon Teralk's HQ was in sight, so I quickened my pace. I walked up to the front gate where two Tonu stood guard. "State your name and business!" the red one roared at me.

"Must I say this every time? I am Zarrel Charmain, and I come here to receive my pay from Teralk for completing my assignment."

The other Tonu, a blue one, said, "Wait here," and he walked inside the gate. He appeared a little bit later and said, "Follow me." He led Tarnox and I around several buildings, then up and down a few flights of stairs to try and confuse me to where the location of Teralk was. However, because I have already been through this so many times, I could find the location of Teralk no problem. Finally, the blue Tonu stopped us at a large door that was laden with designs, and said, "Enter here."

"That guard doesn't talk much. All he can handle is two words a sentence." Tarnox said in my ear while eyeing the blue Tonu.

"When we are inside, and in Teralk's presence, keep your head held high Tarnox." I said to my Airax.

"I won't forget Zarrel Charmain!" Tarnox said.

"Also keep quiet!" I hissed to Tarnox as we walked towards the door, with Tarnox nodding to show that he understood.

I walked in hard eyed and stiff shouldered, as an assassin should be when approaching an employer. The room was dimly lit with just one window, so it seemed as if the room was filled with a blue glow. I walked up to Teralk, who was standing looking out the window surveying his fortress. Teralk turned and faced me. He was a fire Lupe, strong eyed, and muscular. "So Zarrel Charmain," he said with a sneer, "you have eliminated the Kyrii lord's son?"

"Yes, Teralk. Now, that will be 2000 as agreed." I said sternly, slitting my eyes, for I did not want to have been cheated.

"Yes, take your neopkins." He held out the bag of Neopoints to me, which I snatched up. Holding the bag, I started to make my way out of the room. "Hold up Zarrel Charmain, I have a job offering for you. One that is dangerous, and involves your skill, for you are the greatest, and the most experienced assassin alive." Teralk looked at me to make sure that he had my attention.

"Yes, go on." I said, ready for another job.

Teralk then continued, "Of course, one can expect to be paid a hefty sum of neopkins for this job." Teralk grinned at me, showing all of his white teeth, knowing that I wouldn't turn him down.

"What kind of job?" I said to Teralk staring into his eyes.

"Well Zarrel Charmain, do you know Pailoth?" Teralk said, his knife-tip teeth showing through his smile again.

"Of course I know him. He is the prince of this country. He is destined to become the king." I practically yelled to Teralk, for I hated it when creatures started to play guessing games with me.

"He is your target, Zarrel Charmain. I want you to destroy the prince of this country. I am offering 8,000 neopkins. What do you say?" Teralk snickered evilly towards me. He knew that I would raise the price.

"There will be many guards, so 30,000... and I want to be paid in advance." I bargained, expecting Teralk to lower the price like any employer would do.

"Deal! A perfect price for the best assassin in the land." And Teralk handed me the Neopoints. At first I was dumbfounded, but almost immediately I recovered my wit. That was too easy, I thought to myself. He didn't even ask for a lower price; I knew he had something up his sleeves. Perhaps something that had to do with my new job, but what?

Teralk sent Tarnox and me out, and we walked through his HQ, led by the blue Tonu, until we exited the main gate. Then the two Tonus had us take our leave.

As we walked out of sight of his HQ, Tarnox asked me, "Did that seem a little bit too easy, or was it just me?"

"Okay, I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks that things are a little weird." And I rubbed his feathers. "Lets go put these Neopoints back at our camp; I want to travel light, so that we can have speed on our side."

I jogged back to my camp, for the sooner I left to do my job the better. Once there I unloaded my pay, and I rolled up my sleeping mat. I then grabbed a few items that could help me, and after that I left with Tarnox flying just above my head.

As we walked on, and more of the day passed, I motioned for Tarnox to come closer, "Tarnox, fly up into the sky and tell me if anyone is coming." I continued walking through the forest, my Airax high in the sky above me, checking to make sure that no one ran into me.

As the day dragged on and the sun went lower on the horizon, nothing much happened at all. Even Tarnox did not have to warn me of any creature that might be a problem. When it got darker I called Tarnox in, for I did not want us to be separated by the coming night, so I walked on with Tarnox on my shoulder. "Where are we going exactly, anyways?" Tarnox asked me.

"We are headed for the kings castle over in south Laxcorna. There we can find a way to destroy prince Pailoth." I said to Tarnox. As we walked, I looked at the pendant that I used to hold my cape on. It was shining gold with the sun's last rays of light. It was made for me especially; shaped like a skull to show that I was an assassin. It was like my symbol, standing proud on my front.

I looked up into the sky, the clouds a golden pink color. Rays of yellow shot through the clouds, and rays of blue and green covered the sky. The sun was a giant golden yellow sphere on the horizon. It had clouds going through it to give to it an even more dazzling appearance then it already had. "I love sunsets." I said to Tarnox. "Them and sunrises."

"So do I, Zarrel. The colors make it look as if all the great painters of the world flew up and painted a lovely picture right in the sky."

We sat there watching as the sun went down a sliver at a time, until all that was left was a tiny sliver on the horizon. Then that went away also. I stood up with Tarnox on my shoulder, and started walking just as the first star appeared in the sky.

Tarnox and I went on under the stars for most of the night, and we made camp only when we breached the rim of the forest, for the forest provides safety and cover. I unrolled my sleeping mat and laid it out, while Tarnox found a suitable branch to sleep on. "Good night, Tarnox. Sleep well, for in the morning we shall complete our job."

"Good night, Zarrel Charmain" Tarnox said. I looked into the sky, at the millions of stars, wondering how many there were, then I fell asleep.

I woke up in the morning and got right to work on disguising myself, for I could not go out looking for prince Pailoth dressed like what I was, an assassin. I reached into my pack, pulling out all of the necessary items I would need, then I was ready to disguise myself. First I put on a shawl, and then I placed a bonnet over my head, shadowing my face to cover my identity. I took off my cape, folded it, and packed it up. Then I put on an overly large jacket, which concealed the belt that held my dagger. After that I put on a knee long skirt, and an apron. For finishing touches, I rubbed dirt over my face and arms, so I appeared as a common working maiden.

I put our breakfast on the fire, and cooked some bacon strips for Tarnox and me. I had just finished making and eating breakfast when Tarnox awoke "Wow, you look awful Zarrel Charmain. You can hardly see your bright red features with that hat and that dirt all over you. A good thing no one will recognize you, because what would they say?" he declared.

"That's the point of a disguise Tarnox, to have no one recognize you. Now hurry up and eat, so we can get going."

I was off by the hour, with Tarnox on my shoulder, and as we walked into the city of Laxcorna, I whispered to Tarnox, "Keep your head bent. We have to keep up our disguise as a working maiden and her Airax, so we can't be walking proudly with our heads held high. Working maidens just don't walk around that way." And then we continued into Laxcorna.

I walked, shoulders slumped and head lowered through the city towards the kings castle, which stood on top of a hill in the center of the city. No one even paid us a glance as we walked up towards the castle's front gate. "Okay Tarnox, we will just blend in with the other workers, so that we can get in."

Luckily for us, at the front gate there was a group of maids walking into the castle, so I walked over and got into the middle of their group. I walked along with all of them jabbering about how much work there was to be done. Just when their jabbering was starting to get on my nerves, we approached the castle gates of Prince Pailoth, and we were able to pass the guards without a second glance.

As soon as I was in, I ran out of the annoying group of workers, and ran down a hall into an unoccupied room. "Well, what's the plan?" Tarnox asked me.

I grinned. "While we walked through the city, I heard several creatures talking about a banquet tonight in honor of the king."

"And?" said Tarnox.

"And as the tradition goes, the first person to eat or drink to the king's health will be the creature next in line to the throne, and that creature is prince Pailoth." I reached into my pack and took out a half-full glass vial. "We could just put a little poison into his food, and finish the job without any problems. Now, we have to go and find the kitchens, so that I can pour some of this into Pailoth's plate."

"Good plan Zarrel Charmain. Lets go."

I put the vial back into my bag, and started to walk around looking for the kitchens. I was searching around the hallways, looking for the kitchens, when a door opened up in front or me. I ran into a vacant room, out of the sight of whomever was coming out of that door. I put my ear up to the door, and I listened as their footsteps grew fainter and fainter, then I came out of the room. I was just about to start up my search for the kitchens again, when a voice sounded behind me. "Hey you! Who are you, and what are you doing here?!?"

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Zafara Assassin: Part Two

The Zafara Assassin: Part Three

The Zafara Assassin: Part Four

The Zafara Assassin: Part Five

The Zafara Assassin: Part Six

Week 41 Related Links

As Told by child_dragon: Part Seventeen - Earthen Boundaries
There was the sound of a soft wind, and I looked to see another gate open, green, the color of earth.

by child_dragon



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