Hero's Story: Part Two


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Part two of Hero Doran's spare story

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Hero's Story: Part Two

  1. 1. Kendrick stood outside the door, quietly steeling himself for the coming confrontation. Whichever way he decided to play this, he was going to end up lying to someone. If that someone was his employer… well, she was the volatile sort and if he was caught he’d end up missing a few vital limbs.
  2. 2. Making his decision, he took a breath and knocked. “Enter,” said a voice in Kendrick’s ear. Too used to such phenomena to be startled by a disembodied voice, Kendrick opened the door.
  3. 3. The walk down the corridor seemed to take years, despite the fact that it was only ten paces long.
  4. 4. He waited patiently on the threshold of his employer’s sumptuous office, knowing it would do no good to rush her. He fixed his easy smile on his face. No need to announce publicly that I’m about to lie through my teeth.
  5. 5. “No need to stand around, my boy, take a seat.” The elf’s tone was warm enough; her eyes were anything but.
  6. 6. Kendrick did so, never taking his eyes off the brunette in front of him. The elf smiled a dangerous smile. “I trust you have good news for me this time?”
  7. 7. This is it. Do or die. Kendrick shrugged casually. “Not this time, Aemorniel. It’s not her.”
  8. 8. Aemorniel actually pouted. “You are joking, surely. How many blonde part-aliens with these,” she gestured towards her own pointed ears, “can there possibly be?” “Isn’t that what you said last time?” said Kendrick. “The last two did not take nearly this long, Kendrick.”
  9. 9. “Well, Helen had green skin, and Marilyn wasn’t a natural blonde. But that’s not the point, Aemorniel, the point is that our new target isn’t a target at all. It just isn’t the Doran girl.” “How can you be so sure, mortal?” Aemorniel peered at Kendrick, her faint air of indulgence completely gone. “She just doesn’t fit the profile.”
  10. 10. Aemorniel flipped through the book on her desk. “This profile, you mean? Telekinesis, half-alien mother, four siblings?”
  11. 11. Kendrick was becoming genuinely irritated. “I got her to open up, Aemorniel. She told me everything – she’s a native to this dimension, and she’s half, not quarter, alien. And I’d have noticed the telekinesis.”
  12. 12. “So there’s no possible way that this could be our target?” asked Aemorniel. “Are you just making excuses to drag the poor girl before the council? She’s an innocent.” Aemorniel sighed. “No, I am just making sure. I cannot be too careful, you know. Oh, this would be so much easier if I could do such missions myself.”
  13. 13. “Can’t you just do some elvish mojo to hide your ears, then do the job yourself? It’d save on paying minions like me, who you clearly cannot trust despite their unswerving past loyalty.”
  14. 14. “Insolent mortal! Not all elves have the ability to cast glamours. In any case, the reasons why I have chosen not to undertake this myself are none of your concern.” “Whatever. It’s not her. And I want out.”
  15. 15. Aemorniel’s eyes widened before she forced her face into a neutral expression. “You jest, mortal. You jest because there is no way you could possibly be serious.”
  16. 16. “I’m dead serious, Aemorniel. I want my employment terminated. My previous employer assured me that I could leave them, and you, whenever I so wished. That time is now.”
  17. 17. “This is true, but you are so valuable and consistent that I thought…” Aemorniel’s eyes sharpened. “Wait. Are you simply terminating this employment in a futile attempt to shield the girl?”
  18. 18. Kendrick laughed, and avoided thinking about his sweating palms. “That’s absurd, Aemorniel. Have I ever let my emotions get in the way of a mission before?”
  19. 19. “No,” conceded Aemorniel. “You have not. Yet the emotion of love has been known to cloud the judgement of even the best agents.” “I’m not in love. I’m just tired of seducing innocent women because your people have a grudge against another innocent woman. Find someone else to be your agent.”
  20. 20. “I can smell lies, mortal. I can tell if you are bluffing me.” “All you’re going to get from me is the manly scent of my aftershave.” “Fine then.” Defeated, Aemorniel gestured at the door. “Go. You are useless to me if you are unwilling. I believe that Raashell has a little explaining to do.”
  21. 21. Almost unable to believe that his ruse had worked, Kendrick stood slowly and walked as nonchalantly as he could from the room, not daring to look back.
  22. 22. “I knew I’d find you here.” Startled from her reverie, Chantal looked up at Kendrick. “Well, what can I say? I’m just Little Miss Predictable.”
  23. 23. She jerked her head at the other chair, which Kendrick took. “I guess we have some talking to do.” “What gave you that impression?” asked Kendrick, slightly surprised.
  24. 24. “Well, you didn’t buy a coffee, and you’re not interested in the scenery I come here for. So it’s not a social visit. And, since you could have waited until I got back to the dorms, it’s moderately serious and/or something you can’t discuss in front of Hero.” “Your astuteness terrifies me sometimes, Chantal.” “You signed the contract, Ken. You’re stuck with the mildly terrifying girl with pigtails. Now, spill.”
  25. 25. “I messed up, Chantal. I seriously messed up.”
  26. 26. Chantal looked at him sharply. “Are you back into that mafia shit?” “No. Worse.”
  27. 27. Chantal smacked her palms to her forehead. “I’m guessing it has something to do with Hero.” “Yeah. There’s this group of elves that wants her dead. The mafia recommended me to them. I was meant to scope out a couple of girls for them, because they weren’t exactly sure where Hero was.”
  28. 28. “So when you dated Marilyn… Oh my god. You handed Marilyn-the-rock over to these nutcases.” “No! No, I told them she wasn’t the right one.” “So when you did find the right one, you handed her over…” “NO!” snapped Kendrick. “Hell, Chantal! I’m in love with her! I’m not going to betray her like that.”
  29. 29. “No. You’ve betrayed her enough.” “I got out, okay? I’m out of the game. They don’t know she’s her. She’s safe.”
  30. 30. “Well, that’s something.” Chantal sighed. “So, that’s it? Just needed to get that off your chest?” “Well, no. You were my test audience. I have to tell her.”
  31. 31. “Oh no. No way. You can’t tell her.” “I have to. I have to, Chantal.” “You think she’ll understand, Ken? That shit only works in the movies. What you’ll do is break her heart into a billion tiny pieces and she’s not going to want you to put her back together. Ever.”
  32. 32. “I have to tell her, Chantal! I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
  33. 33. “Stop being noble for once in your life, Kendrick! That’s what got you into the whole mafia mess, and it’s sure not going to help you with this.” “I know. I know this is stupid, and that it’s going to hurt Hero.”
  34. 34. “I just want to make up for the fact that I came so close to betraying her. I guess it’s redemption, of a sort.” “Redemption.” Chantal laughed humorlessly.
  35. 35. “It’s like I’m Leander, I guess. I have this ocean to swim across before I can be worthy of Hero.” “Kendrick, Leander drowned. And I don’t think that Hero’s going to jump in after you when you tell her this.”
  36. 36. Kendrick looked down. “No. I don’t think she will either.”
  37. 37. Kendrick had to search the whole campus before he found Hero. When he did find her, he felt foolish for not looking on the roof in the first place.
  38. 38. “Feel like letting me join you?” he called.
  39. 39. “Sure.” Hero stood up and slowly lifted Kendrick up to the roof. Kendrick, still slightly wary of Hero’s favourite method of transport, closed his eyes until his feet were on solid ground. “Silly,” chided Hero. “I wouldn’t drop you. On purpose, anyway.” Kendrick grimaced. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”
  40. 40. Before he could say another word, Hero was kissing him fiercely. Oh, what the heck, said his less-noble side. She’s happy, I’m happy, this can wait until tomorrow.
  41. 41. No. Kendrick drew back, startling Hero. “Hero, we have to talk.”
  42. 42. Hero also drew away, the happy light fading fast from her dark eyes. “Oh no. What’d I do?”
  43. 43. Kendrick mentally kicked himself for his choice of words. “Nothing. You’ve done nothing except be beautiful and unique. This is my fault.” He sighed. “Man, is it ever my fault.”
  44. 44. “It can’t be that bad, surely.” “Trust me, it is.” Kendrick had always been able to read Hero’s moods through her big black eyes. She usually kept her emotions pretty close to the surface. Now she was inscrutable. Perfect.
  45. 45. “Okay, Kendrick. Go ahead.” “About a year or two ago, this girl I was dating got me involved in a local crime gang. She was the daughter of their leader or something… but that’s by the by. Anyway, I was one of their undercover boys for a while before Chantal dragged me out and told the boss to leave me the hell alone.”
  46. 46. “He was kind of shocked by her, and I guess a little bit enchanted, because he let us go with all our vital limbs still attached.” Hero nodded. “Chantal mentioned something like this, without the gory details.”
  47. 47. “Right. Well, about six months ago my boss contacted me, telling me that there was a woman interested in hiring me for an impressive sum. I agreed, since it wasn’t anything like what I used to do. “Her name isn’t important. All that’s important is that she was looking for a young blonde woman with pointed ears and telekinesis.” Hero’s face fell.
  48. 48. “I know,” said Kendrick sadly. “I didn’t know why she wanted you, at first, so I did the job. I just had to find girls who fit the general description, and get close enough to them to find out if they were the right one. I went through two other girls before you.” Hero scooted further away from Kendrick. “Go on,” she said coolly. “I knew it was you the second I saw you, but I couldn’t turn you in. I’d figured out the elf’s motives by then anyway… and, I fell in love with you.”
  49. 49. “Of course you did.” Hero was clearly livid by now. “Wait, Hero. I’m not finished.” “I am. Did you think that spilling your guts would make everything okay?”
  50. 50. “Hero…” “No. Don’t. God, I trusted you. I trusted you, and I loved you. I’m such an idiot.”
  51. 51. “The whole time I was with you, you were playing me. Just to hand me over to the people who have been trying to wipe out my family for generations.”
  52. 52. “Hero, I didn’t tell her anything! She thinks you’re someone else…” “Oh, and that completely negates the whole betrayal thing? Save it, Kendrick. It’s just not good enough.”
  53. 53. Hero turned abruptly and stalked towards the edge of the roof.
  54. 54. “Hero, wait!” Kendrick raced to catch up to her, but she was already leaping lightly off the roof to the balcony below.
  55. 55. Kendrick watched her land. “Hero, please, just wait!” “No, Kendrick. You used me. I was just a job to you.” “You weren’t! I love you! You were never ‘just’ anything to me!”
  56. 56. “I never want to see you again, Kendrick Rosenberg,” Hero said icily, before stomping inside the dorm.
  57. 57. “Could you at least let me off the roof?” yelled Kendrick hopelessly as the door below slammed shut.
  58. 58. What have I done?
  59. 59.
  60. 60.