There was one more
building to go. Unfortunately, the next one was much further away. If she had
to guess, it was a good eight to ten feet. Keeping her breathing steady, she
steeled her resolve and ran a bit quicker. She pumped her legs faster and
faster, the edge of the rooftop rapidly approaching. Twenty feet to go. Why did
she agree to this? Focus, she scolded herself. Now was not the time to think
about it. Ten feet to go. Here goes nothing.
Her right boot hit
the edge of the roof. Using all her strength, she pushed off, flying through
the moonlit night. Her arms waved and her legs ran on air as she hurtled toward
the adjacent rooftop landing with a jolt. Starting to fall forward, she tucked
her head, rolled onto her back, and somersaulted. Crouching low, her heart beat
frantically. Blimey. A smile burst on her face. That was fun. Not that she was
about to do it again, though.
Jumping to her feet,
she glanced over the edge of the two-story building, searching for the thief.
Sure enough, he was right below, hiding in the alley. Allyssa pulled out her
dagger and slid onto her stomach. Peering over the side, she carefully aimed
her weapon at him. As long as the thief stood still, striking him would be
relatively simple. She counted to three and threw her knife, watching it zoom
down thirty feet and whack the man dead center in his right shoulder. He
screamed, dropping the bag of coins as he looked frantically about for his
attacker. The hilt was facing straight up and hopefully wouldn’t give away her
If only Grevik would
hurry and catch up. Shortly after they had started pursuing the thief, a rowdy
crowd of about twenty men spilled out from a tavern, blocking the street as a
fight broke out. Since Allyssa and Grevik didn’t want to lose the thief, he
told her to climb the building so she could follow him. She hoped Grevik had
made it through the crowd without incident.
scanned the adjacent streets, not finding her friend anywhere in sight. The
thief still stood in the alleyway, not making an attempt to run. It was up to
her then. She climbed down the ladder attached to the side of the building.
Taking a deep breath, she stalked around the corner.
The man stood in the
middle of the dark alley, clutching his shoulder. “Stay back or I’ll gut you!”
“Funny coming from
an injured lowlife who steals,” she answered, trying to use a deep voice.
The man laughed. “Go
back home where you belong, little girl,” he said, shaking his head.
“That’s no way to
speak to someone who’s about to wallop you.” She plucked her knives free and
held them low. “Now give me the bag of coins you stole from the baker and maybe,
just maybe, I won’t kill you.”
The man yanked the
dagger out of his shoulder, stifling a scream. When his head tilted up, his
eyes gleamed with malice. Based upon the way he held his body, prepared to fight,
he had to have some skill. Nothing she couldn’t handle, though. Not wanting to
risk the weapon cutting her, she threw her knife at the dagger he held, hitting
it hard enough that he dropped it, the metal clanging on the stone street.
“What are you waiting
for? Scared?” the man taunted.
toward him as she tossed her cape behind her shoulders, freeing her arms and
legs. “Yes,” she whispered when she was only three feet away. “I am scared.
Scared I’ll kill you when you really deserve to be rotting in a jail cell.” And
with that, she spun and kicked his head, sending him to the ground. Much faster
than she expected, he sprang to his feet and swung his fist at her. She stepped
out of the way and was about to hit him when he punched her cheek. Stars
exploded across her vision. Blasted. That would leave a mark.
“You did not just
hit me,” Allyssa said, seething with rage.
The man had the audacity to laugh at her. She flung her last
knife into his thigh. He screamed. Wimp. Using a front kick, she struck his
chest and he went flying to the ground. Just for good measure, and because he’d
hit her face of all places, she went over and kicked his groin. He had the
decency to curl into a ball and surrender.
A man ran into the
alley behind her. She spun around and came face to face with her friend,
Grevik. “It’s about time you showed up.” She smiled sweetly at him. “You missed
all the fun.”
He went over to the
man lying on the ground, making sure he was knocked out cold. “While you were
jumping over rooftops like a gazelle, I was stuck in that brawl outside the
Snakeskin Tavern.” He stood and turned to face her. “I can’t believe you took this
man on without me, Lilly.”
The first time she
met Grevik all those years ago, she’d told him her name was Lilly so he wouldn’t
suspect her true identity.
“I couldn’t wait for
you,” she said with a shrug. Now that she could see Grevik in the moonlight,
she noticed his knuckles were cut and bleeding. “Are you all right?” she asked,
pointing to his hands, hoping he hadn’t broken a bone.
He nodded. “It was
easier to punch a few of the drunks to make my way through the brawl.” Grevik
scanned the rooftop. “I guess we can add jumping buildings to your ever-growing
list of skills.”
“It was bloody fun,”
she said, unable to suppress her smile.
Grevik shook his
head. “You’re unbelievable. Only you would think leaping through the air thirty
feet off the ground over alleys is fun.”
“You told me to do
it so we wouldn’t lose the thief.” She picked up her daggers and sheathed them.
“Blame it on me,” he
teased, wrapping his arm around her shoulder, tugging her closer to him.
Allyssa stiffened before forcing herself to relax. This was the sort of thing
friends did. “Come on,” he said. “We need to drop this bloke off to my contact
in the City Guard so I can go home. It’s later than usual, and I don’t want Mum
to wake up and find me gone.”
to go home, too,” Allyssa said. If she didn’t arrive before daylight, she would
be in severe trouble.