The assassin crept through the shadows as though they were a part of him. Darkness draped around his shoulders like a comfortable coat. Footfalls echoed down the pavement toward him. His breath hitched in his throat as he pressed himself against the brick building, willing himself invisible in night’s embrace.
The figure clopped past him, her heels snapping against the ground as she went. He waited another few breaths, ensuring his brother was nowhere near. His target was perfectly alone.
He slid out of hiding and trailed the figure, his own footsteps quite silent.
He’d been following his brother for several days now. His siblings had no subtly in their pursuit of the prince, but he? He was the assassin. The crowned prince may have escaped Andriel, and Kyna, and Torril before him, but Casper would not escape his brother of darkness.
Pitiful, he scoffed to himself, to see the crowned prince doting on the mere human. It was a disgrace. It was akin to loving an ant. No, a pebble. At least an ant serves a purpose.
The figure ahead of him passed a few more blocks. He casually slipped his hands in his pockets and feigned a relaxed stroll. The streets were emptier at this hour, but it wouldn’t do well to draw attention to himself. He wasn’t one to make a scene unlike Andriel, who took to demolishing ski lodges in British Columbia.
He saw his chance a moment later. His target pivoted down a side street toward their apartment. This is it, he thought, gritting his teeth and releasing the blade from within his sleeve, curling his fingers around the familiar weight. He followed her around the corner, ready to burst forward, grab her and rip the soul free.
As he turned, he slammed into an invisible wall. He snarled.
The human stood on the other side of it, arms crossed, a frown on her face. “I figured you lot would be smarter by now,” she commented, eyeing him up and down. “Which one are you?”
He slammed a fist against the unseen barrier and gritted his teeth as he answered. “Jesim.”
The human took a few slow steps back, shaking her head. “Why can’t you just leave us alone?” she asked, voice weak. “He’s happy.”
Jesim examined the space between them, searching for a break in the magic. He slid his hands across the smooth surface. “It’s not his happiness that concerns us,” he replied.
“You’re his family,” she said, a note of desperation in her voice.
“We’re not human,” he spat, his anger rising as he again slammed his fist against the barrier, “and he’s young and foolish.”
“Says the human,” he barked humourlessly, fingers again tracing the magic. “How long have you been on this earth? Twenty years? Thirty?”
She didn’t reply but her eyes flared.
He shook his head.
She said, “appoint someone else. He doesn’t want to rule.”
Jesim said dryly, “that’s not up to him.”
“You think you’re so evolved.” She stared disbelievingly at him.
His fingertips shimmered as they hit a snag in the enchantment. There, he thought, pressing into the notch. He had to keep her talking for a few more seconds. Then he could snap her neck and rip her soul from her body. “What makes you think you deserve him?” Jesim asked.
She closed her eyes for a breath. “We all deserve love.”
“Idiotic,” he snorted cruelly.
“Why can’t you just leave us alone?” she swore, then turned to leave.
“You’ll have to run forever!” he called after her as she hurried away. “You’ll never rest so long as you’re with him!”
“It’s worth it,” he heard her say over her shoulder, and then she pushed through the apartment door and was gone.
Grumbling, Jesim pressed against the barrier with all the power he could muster. His muscles and mind tensed against Casper ‘s charm. It took a few more seconds before the thing shattered. He didn’t hesitate as he burst through and bolted into the air on tawny wings. He barely slowed as he crashed through the window, glass raining down harmlessly around him. The apartment was dark inside. He tore through it, knocking a lamp aside. He heard a scuffle in the next room.
“NO!” He screamed, but it was too late.
Casper glanced over his shoulder before he and his human disappeared. The human body collapsed lifeless on the ground. But the soul had escaped. Jasim screamed again in rage and shattered a mirror under his fist.
He turned furiously and his eyes caught on something: a paper calendar marked with dozens of appointments. Saturday: meet with the Garrett’s. Sunday: reservation at Jano Bistro 7pm. Tuesday: public lecture at Victoria University. Jesim ripped the calendar from its hook and stared. The university. He scanned through the rest of the apartment carefully, reading every note. Every indication of the life they had. They were clues. He would find them again.
The human had showed her hand.
Jesim smiled. This wasn’t over.