Impossible Things

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Anya walks into a dangerous part of town, and meets five dangerous individuals. Part of the Enatai Compilation.

Submitted: July 10, 2017

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Submitted: July 10, 2017

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Satin slippers did not last on filthy streets. Anya should have realized this before she left the palace, but it didn’t really sink in until she stepped in something dark, greasy, and faintly odorous. As the mystery oil seeped between her toes, Anya tensed, then forced her shoulders back and the grin to return to her face as she pulled the billowing silk cloth of her dress away from the odd puddle.

“Maybe I should have dressed down,” Anya mused as another door shut. She considered running up to the door and pounding on it, but instead she kicked up her feet in a gentle skip and continued down the road. She swung her head, the gold chains that were wrapped through her hair chimed with the rhythmic motion.

She turned a corner and saw a woman tending a small patch of flowers near a large building, her head covered with a filthy shawl.

“Hello?” Anya called out as she approached the woman.

The woman turned and her eyes widened when she saw them. “I want no trouble,” the woman stammered.

“Neither do I, I just have a question,” Anya said.

The woman dropped her shears and ran to the door. Anya stopped and watched as the woman hurried into the building and locked the door behind her.

Anya shrugged and continued walking. If this trip was a bust, and she wasn’t ready to give up yet, then she would arrange for clothing to blend in with the residents. Unfortunately, it would be a lot harder to sneak out of the palace if she tried to take strange clothes with her. Anya considered her options as she walked down another street, and into the path of four men.

Anya paused, and gave them her most carefree grin. “Hello! I’m Anya, I’m looking for someone and was wondering if you could answer some questions. I would be happy to compensate you for your time.”

The man nearest to Anya moved closer, and the other three walked around her.

“Looks like you’ve got enough gold in your hair to fund an entire night at the Taraans,” he drawled. He picked up a rock and tossed it gently into the air. As it fell back into his hand, it elongated into a thin, sharp, blade.

Anya tensed. Potena were fairly common, Anya was a potena, but there was no way to know exactly what abilities a potena had, and no way to know if his companions were potena. Some potena could manipulate matter, as this one did when he turned the rock into a weapon. Unfortunately, Anya’s abilities wouldn’t protect her here.

“We could take her hair,” one of the men suggested.

Anya gave a gentle smile. “I could just give you my headdress, my bracelets, my rings. All yours, and I could just leave. I won’t trouble you again.”

“Hey Boss, if she wears that much jewelry to mingle with the common folk, imagine what her family would pay to get her back.”

Anya stepped back. Ready to run, but they were too close, there was no where she could run that they couldn’t grab her in four steps or less. Her smile trembled as the man raised the stone knife.

“Hey.”

The rough voice was nonchalant, but every person, including Anya, turned to the speaker. He was dressed in the same faded, rough clothing Anya’s would-be kidnappers wore, though his were clean, and he was clean shaven, he dark red hair was unfashionably short and neat.

He looked at each man with murky green eyes, but didn’t even glance at Anya.

“She’s not worth the trouble. Let her go,” he said.

“Setne’s boy is defending a ditzy rich girl?” the leader asked.

Anya’s rescuer shrugged. He held up his hand and a flame spread across his fingers. “You just have to leave her alone. Walk away and every one of you gets to keep your looks. Stand your ground and I’ll burn every one of your faces off.”

The leader took a step toward and Anya’s rescuer shifted his gaze to the leader.

“You’re going soft, boy,” the leader said as he walked away. His three companions hastily followed him.

Anya relaxed, her heart still pounding from the adrenaline.

“Thank you,” she said.

Her rescuer scoffed and stepped toward her. “How do you know I’m not just going to go through with their plan myself?” he demanded.

He met her gaze and Anya was overwhelmed. She felt guilt that pierced her heart and caused her eyes to burn, loneliness that choked her and made it nearly impossible to draw breath. She was tempted to look away, but she held his gaze until he looked away. When he did, the physical effects of the unexpected emotions faded, leaving her only with the depressing loneliness.

“You saved me,” she repeated. “Thank you. I’m Anya, by the way.”

“Blaze,” he said. “Look, Anya, you need to leave. A noble wearing the equivalent of a base income in her hair is either a threat or a target.”

Anya nodded. She grinned and brushed at her skirt. “I just decided to come here today, I didn’t think about my clothes.”

“You decided to come to a refugee community, so you walked out of your mansion and came here, dressed like that, with no plan to protect yourself?” Blaze asked with a scowl.

“Next time I’ll leave the jewelry behind,” Anya said.

“Why does there need to be a next time?” Blaze challenged.

“I’m looking for someone, it’s important,” Anya said with a shrug.

“Who?”

Anya took a slow breath. Now that she found someone to ask, she found she was nervous, and almost unwilling to ask. If he didn’t know, this would start over again the next time she snuck out of the palace. If he knew, she would be forced to reconcile he response into her reality.

“I’m looking for a soldier in Setne’s Army,” she confessed. “He’s known as Killer Nephrite. It’s important that I find him.”

Blaze slumped, his eyes lost in remorse, and pity. “He’s dead, I’m sorry.”

Anya shook her head. “No, I’m certain he’s alive. No question he was alive this morning, but I don’t have any idea where he is. I was hoping someone here knew where he was, or what he was doing, or something.”

Blaze scratched his ear. “You’re sure, absolutely sure he’s alive, that he didn’t die three years ago?” he asked.

“He was alive this morning, I’m certain,” Anya said with a nod and a smile.

Blaze smiled sadly. “The person who told me he died has faked the deaths of others looking to escape my father’s army. She had never lied to me before, but she could have started with the story of Nephrite’s death.” He looked at her. “Why are you looking for him?”

Anya shrugged and smiled. He knew Killer Nephrite, but not what became of him. She considered telling him, confessing her quest to someone, but she wasn’t ready to tell anyone, not yet. “It’s important.”

Blaze shook his head. “You’re better off dropping it, whatever your reason. No one finds the people Setia hides.”

Anya nodded and held out her hand. “Thank you for your help, and your advice. I’ll be more careful in the future.”

Blaze took her hand. His palm was rough and the skin on the back of his hand was dry and cracked. His skin was hot, but not sweaty.

“You’ll come back?”

Anya nodded.

Blaze smirked and shook his head. He took his hand out of hers. “Meet me at the city square fountain tomorrow.”

“You’ll help me?” Anya said with a grin.

Blaze shook his head. “We won’t find him. Setia would ensure that.”

“Then we find Setia,” Anya said.

“Equally impossible, but I’ll help you.”

“Why? Why take the time to help me with an impossible search?” Anya asked.

“Because I’ve seen impossible things.”

 

 


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