Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Right Here Waiting

“Assassin’s make the best dance partners you know.” Monol’s eyes crinkled playfully and she felt his hands slide gently around her waist. “May I have this honor, your majesty?” 

The exhaustion painted on the queen’s face was quickly alleviated as she allowed herself to relax. She stepped with renewed strength to the dance floor and fell into step as he led them. “I had never made the connection between assassins and dancing…” She laughed quietly and  gently brushed the hairs hanging shortly over the back of his neck. “Tell me, why do you believe this to be true?”

“Simple deduction, really.” She laughed again, then gasped slightly as he dipped her back. The rest of the court paused in their revelry to applaud politely before resuming their previous distractions. “We are quick on our feet, highly adaptive, and excel at reading people. We can mimic and blend.” Monol spun her away from him and bowed, kissing her hand before pulling her back. “And on the off chance we fail, we are quite charming and can avoid incident.” 

Her pale face was flecked with amusement and life. “Charming is not one of the traits I would generally associate with an assassin.” She scanned the great hall, looking for her children. 

“The good ones are. The great ones don’t have to be, this is true.” 

Seeing two out of three of her children, she was satisfied enough to pull her full attention back to the dance. “So you’re saying you’re just a good assassin then?” 

His face lit up. “Ma’am! I believe you’re calling me charming.” He chuckled and moved them through intricate footwork as the music hit its crescendo. They bowed before each other and came together again as the music continued. “And who’s to say I’m an assassin, hmm? Maybe I’m just charming.”

The queen sighed and broke protocol by resting her head momentarily on his shoulder. “You’re in good spirits…” She felt his grip tighten as he pulled back to separate them. The smile in his eyes was gone and replaced with concern. “Let’s finish the song then,” She hissed. “We were doing so well.”

Monol paused. “You’re right.” He stepped closer to allow her head to return to his shoulder. “I just was trying to put myself in your position. I wouldn’t want my last night to be full of sorrow. If my behavior has been obscene I’m very sorry. I’m not sure…” Her head rested once more on his shoulder and he smiled softly. “Are you ready?”

“I’m worried.” 

“Don’t be honey, it’ll be a painless death. That much I can grant you.”

The queen sniffed in amusement. “Not that, I trust you.” She stepped away and they spun together one final time. “I worry about the state of the kingdom after I pass on. Pearl is so young. I know Wilhelm will be at her side but Narod…my poor boy. Monol you must look after him.”

At that the song drew to a close and as they bowed once more. A crowd formed around her and they spewed their various needs. Monol felt her eyes locked on him, desperate for an answer as they pulled her away. He subtly nodded and felt her relief. Monol scanned the room and found Narod at a back table with some serving girls drinking to his heart’s content. Best to keep him intoxicated tonight.

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