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Cecilia slowly moved forward, crouching in the darkness, her breathing low and quick. She was completely hidden by the bushes, she knew, but the creatures on the other side had a keen sense of smell, which quickened her heart beat and heightened her fear. She could even hear their harsh, garbled voices, like a waterfall crashing roughly down on sharpened rocks.
Goblins were not bright creatures, which meant that one could use stealth and intelligence to their advantage. Unfortunately, what they lacked with their minds, they brought back with their brute strength. With their ghastly claws and sharpened teeth, they could rip anyone stupid enough to cross them to mere shreds. Of course, goblins also had a certain...taste...for shiny, glimmering objects.
Cecilia moved her gloved hand to her waist, where a tight leather belt held everything dear to her close. On it were various weapons, including knives, small swords, sharpened daggers, and a few bundled up leaves that exploded when shaken. But she ignored all of Death's highly amusing and intruging weapons, instead focusing on a small brown pouch that jangled whenever she moved. Removing the pouch, Cecilia turned her sights on the tree in front of her, hoping that her plan would work.
At first, she worked slowly, climbing up the tree then stopping, checking for goblins, or any other creatures, and resting for a bit, then continuing again. When her internal clock started screaming that it was just before sunrise, she started going faster, ever little bit wondering how in the world such a large, thick tree could be so hard to climb.
Cecilia was a thief, and stole from whatever and whomever she wanted to. It didn't make her bad or evil; no, all it made her was greedy. She knew that, someday, she would receive karma's greetings, but, until then, she worked with all of her might to get to where she wanted to be.
It wasn't that she enjoyed the money, or the fact that she could buy whatever she wanted, being that she had a pouch of gold that replenishes itself every twenty-four hours, so she wasn't quite interested in that part. But the killing and the victory... The sweet, savory feeling of life being drained out slowly, and you being the one that could start or end their misery made the job much more...satisfying.
She hadn't always been that way, wishing for the end, yet anticipating the future. She had been normal, with a normal family, and a normal life. There had been no evil, no bad, and even no good. It was just life, as mundane and measly it may have been. Then it was destroyed; that innocence and ignorance that eventually ripped open the veil of good and evil. She saw what she was, and there was no one to stop her.
"Seems like tasty one," a voice rumbled in the darkness, and Cecilia peered out from above the small goblin camp, trying to find out how many there were. There was a blazing fire, and some shabby, poor-done animal-skin tents were put up, nailed to the ground with sharp wooden spikes. Most of the goblins sat in front of the fire, that she could see anyway, while some wandered around the camp, as if in a daze.
Another goblin cackled, lumbering toward a mountain of rags. It poked the form with a jagged claw, and jumped back a bit when the mountain moved. The mountain was indeed alive, squirming and mumbling as it tried to get up. Looking closer, Cecilia could see that its hands and feet were tied together, tightly, leaving it vulnerable and weak. Unease crawled into Cecilia's stomach, realizing what the goblins intended to do.
Of course, she had killed people before, and reveled in it, but this was not completely fair, and Cecilia would never have eaten the poor fellow. All enemies—big or small—deserved the honor to fight and die with respect.
"Should eat now, before bleed out!" a goblin cried, breaking Cecilia's train of thought. The rest of the grusome creatures shouted out, agreeing with the one goblin, who stood up tall—even though he was only about three feet tall—and puffed out his scrawny green chest.
Looking back at the figure, who had finally found a way to sit up, the thief realized that deep cuts stretched across its torso, and some bites, where sharp teeth had dug into the flesh, were caked with blood.
Also, the figure was absolutely human, completely male, and indescribably handsome.
Cecilia was not the one to fall for men easily; she had swayed men of all positions, and had even gotten some women admirers. But her heart was cold and unloving, refusing to fit in anywhere and simply be happy.
Cecilia suddenly fell from her tree, her hair whipping into the air like black ink, and landed on her booted feet, arms at her sides, tensed and ready. It took the goblins a moment to realize that an intruder was in their midst, since it would have seemed, from their point of view, that she suddenly fell from the sky like a goddess. When they came to their senses, they gathered around her, grinning stupidly, obviously skipping over the numerous weapons she was about to draw.
She smiled, more to the man, who was staring at her blankly, than to the creatures in front of her. Cecilia lifted up her hand, shaking the small bag of coins, hoping to get their attention to the goodies rather than herself. Uninterested, the goblins shuffled forward a bit, dimwitted but still cautious.
Cecilia sighed and opened the bag, lifting a small, shiny golden coin up to the light of the fire. All of the goblins stopped in their tracks. Satisfied, the thief leaned on her left leg, moving the coin to her mouth and biting down on it. Flashing the devious creatures a final smile, she threw the coin into the air and unsheathed her weapons.
All of the goblins scrambled to get to the gold, reaching over others and snarling, while she ran up, one sword in each hand and started slashing, dancing a magical dance. Goblin after goblin fell by her hand, red blood licking at her skin and spiraling up the blades like fire. Faintly, Cecilia saw the man look away and vomit somewhere in the bushes, his hands freed and rope hanging loosely around him.
Finally, the last goblin fell onto the cold ground as the pink and orange of the sunrise rose into the sky. Satisfied, Cecilia wiped her swords off on her black suit, which had no scratches or holes whatsoever in the tough fabric. She started walking toward the man, sheathing her weapons as she went along.
Surprisingly, the man didn't move away like she had expected, fear in his wide eyes. Instead, he simply muttered a quick, "Nice moves" and let her cut away the last of the rope. When she was done, he still sat there, rubbing his raw wrists and trying not to meet her black eyes.
Finally, he said rather humorously, "I thought that all elves were supposed to be good," His voice had a slight British lilt, she realized, and he was grinning crookedly at her when she looked at him. Cecilia rolled her eyes and started walking away, pocketing any left over gold she found littered on the forest floor with the numerous carcasses staring dully up at her.
As Cecilia was about to leave, a hand grabbed her arm, then was suddenly yanked back, as if she was poison. She turned around, looking at the sheepish face of the previously tied up man. "Good lady," he said solemnly, a twinkle in his eye. "would I be fortunate enough to hear your name upon your lips?"
Cecilia smiled, finding herself blushing fiercely, even though the man had said nothing inappropriate. "You may call me Cecilia," she whispered, staring into his eyes, which reminded her of a peaceful meadow in spring.
The man sighed out loudly in bliss. "Ah, Cecilia... Such a beautiful name; none less for a beauty such as thee." Her smile widened, her eyes falling to their feet. "Oh! I have frightened you! But no fear," The man caught her chin, pulling her gaze up to meet his. "Do not be shy. I will not hurt you; not that I could! You could kill me before I even reach for my weapons to kill you!" He let out a hearty laugh, looking down at her once again. "Not that I would, of course," he amended, his eyes suddenly fierce. "How could I, for you have such a face; such a beauty; such a spirit...," He whispered the last few words, leaning closer to Cecilia, his eyelashes fluttering widly.
Smiling, Cecilia moved away, trailing her hand down the length of his arm and away, putting a good distance between the two. The man frowned, his eyes disappointed but looking seemingly allured by her mysteriousness. Although the thief knew that she was only playing with him like a cat plays with a mouse, she did feel a slight fondness for the man, a connection, that otherwise, had she not felt any compassion, she would not have saved him from his fool-hearty fate.
The man cleared his throat and smiled at her again, a polite, stiff smile. "I am prince Rowan of the great, majestic human kingdom Acington, named after Ace the Great!" Prince Rowan raised his fist high, and Cecilia expected a bout of "For Ace!" to come from his mouth, but just as quickly he lowered his hand and gave her a sheepish grin.
"You are a...prince?" Cecilia mused, wondering what she could get out of this while the prince nodded enthusiastically. Suddenly, he rushed forward and grabbed her hands, covering hers with his, bronze upon steel.
"We usually do not guarantee the safety nor the acceptance of Magick creatures inside of our society, but...," The prince bit his bottom lip, looking hesitant yet hopeful. "I fully accept you and encourage you to be one with my world, and you are entirely welcome at the palace and—," he rushed on, then stopped unexpectedly. "And—and with me." he finally whispered, staring at her with those beautiful, entrancing eyes of his. They were the deepest chocolate brown, she realized, as she tried to avoid meeting his gaze.
Cecilia silently cursed and instantly caved the moment his eyes met hers. They were not the most brilliant "puppy-eyes," but the thief found herself swayed anyway. Cecilia sighed and smiled back up at him, her dark prince, waiting for her orders, and suddenly realized how close their faces were. Now that she was aware of her emotions, a slight trickling stream of life among a dead wood, she felt the need to push it away, him away, and any thoughts of an intimate relationship.
Cecilia grimaced and backed away, almost instantly regretting what was going to happened when she said, "Then let us find a horse, shall we?"