Night’s chill reddening his fingertips, Prince Mateo gently slipped the loose brick out of the fortress wall.
Beneath a blood-red cloak, two golden eyes — characteristic of the proud Andarans — peered back. “Prince Mateo.”
“Asham Adiri. Thank you for coming. ”
“Mafira sends her regards.” Adiri adjusted his cloak. “She said that you had a request for me. A high-paying one.”
“Yes.” Mateo sighed. He placed the brick by his scuff-less boots. “I need you to kill me.”
Adiri glanced around. “This is a trap.”
“No. It’s not. I assure you it’s not.”
Adiri glanced around again. Head tilted, he leaned closer to the hole. “You’re serious.”
The statement is not a question. The Andarans never have questions — especially the asham assassins.
“With all due respect, Asham Adiri, I don’t think you would understand. Your people — they don’t have kings and queens and princes and princesses. They don’t require arranged marriages.”
“Oh, I understand.” Adiri straightened, folding his arms over his chest and blocking the gap in the wall. “We might not have kings and queens, as you say, but I certainly know the trials and tribulations an arranged marriage can bring — the same trials and tribulations you appear to not want to undergo.”
Mateo’s chest prickled. “Yes.”
“Well…” Adiri clicked his tongue. “My answer is no.”
“I’m not going to kill you. At least… not in the way you think.” Adiri’s golden gaze returned to the hole, accompanied with a smirk that Mateo could not see, but most certainly could hear in the next words Adiri spoke. “I’m afraid I made a promise to Mafira not too long ago to stop killing for money, and you just missed that deadline. But I can certainly help you start a new life.”
“Yes! Yes, please! How much do you want? A thousand pieces? Two thousand?”
“None.” The tip of Adiri’s sword flashed through the hole and touched Mateo’s neck. “I want your loyalty. I trade slaves now.”
Mateo blinked in the darkness, breaths tight and shallow. Of course you’d be, he thought, sweat lining his brow. That’s why my father hates your people so much.
Thankfully, I hate my father more.
“Mafira wasn’t lying about your good physique, but I still had to see you for myself,” Adiri said. “True to her word, she also said you’d try to fling money at me. But if you’re willing to die in luxury rather than to live in it, being a slave for — what, four to five years — would be nothing to you, provided you’re not mentally broken. ”
“But you would send me on a ship, then?” Mateo asked. “Beyond Catara? Beyond here?”
Adiri lifted the tip of his sword away. “If that is what you want.”
Mateo touched the skin under his neck. No blood. Only sweat. But the thought having to spend one more ball, one more dinner, one more night of loveless lovemaking with the princess of Catara — That hurt like hell.
“Fine. I’ll…” The words lodged in Mateo’s throat. “I’ll be your slave. I’ll leave with you.”
“Good.” Adiri sheathed his blade. “Now, step away from the wall. Your guards are coming. I need to kill them.”
Mateo blanched. “I thought you said you stopped killing.”
Adiri’s golden gaze disappeared into the night. “For money. But not for fun.”
Hey, everybody! Thanks so much for reading all the way to the end. I had a really, really, really old story idea about lovers trying to talk to each other behind a wall, but this turned out so much better! Adiri’s the best ❤ I might work with him later down the line if there’s room.
If you liked this piece or Adiri, why not spare me some change so I can write even more cool pieces like this?
And as always, I’ll see you on the next post!