❯ To Save an Assassin – Phoenix of Ice ( Chapter 3 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Butler walked up to Artemis’s room, face as pale as Death. “Excuse me, sir, but these are Master Artemis’s private rooms,” Holly interjected. He merely ignored her and entered the room. She followed, curious as to the reason that would cause the face of the normally calm ex-bodyguard to pale so drastically underneath his tan.
“Artemis…” Butler said. That was all. Then he just stared, his eyes nearly dead. As Artemis was rarely an emotional kind of person, he had absolutely no clue as to what to do with himself. “Butler… please have a seat,” he said, gesturing rather nervously toward the couch. Butler made no move. Artemis finally just stood up, and, grabbing his bodyguard, went to sit down. He finally looked at Holly, “You can have a seat too.” She nodded stoically, and chose a rather nice spinning chair sit in.
After she had settled herself, Artemis returned his attention to Butler. He tried to be gentle, saying, “Butler is something up?” Unfortunately, Artemis is rather horrid at being gentle, and ended up asking Holly for help. Holly slapped him. Not too hard, but hard enough to wake him out of his temporary stupor.
“They have Juliet!” Butler suddenly shouted. Artemis jumped. Holly blinked. “Who?” “The police, that’s who, she was arrested for the attempted murder of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the murder of several others, including the President of Northwest Airlines! She is an assassin!” Artemis freaked, in his own way. “What do you mean; she killed the President of the Northwest Airlines? Didn’t he die in a freak accident?” Butler sighed, suddenly losing all his anger. “Yeah… the freak accident was caused by Juliet.”
They all sat there, looking dejected. Artemis suddenly had an unnaturally bright change of mood. “Well then, we will just have to rescue her. We as in Holly and I, of course.” Holly and Butler both gasped. One was blabbering about being left behind (“She is after all my little sister”) and the other was like, I don’t want to become involved in your family politics!
Artemis stated his reasons first to Butler: “Butler, I know that you do not like being left behind” – Butler growled in agreement – “But, for the good of your sister, I think it would be better if you stayed behind on this one. What would Juliet do to me if you weren’t around when she got back? She would kill me!” Butler nodded miserably.
“Holly, you are my bodyguard, you are supposed to protect me no matter what.” Here Holly interrupted him, “Yeah, but I was not trained to, to, to… break people out of high security prisons! I expected to follow behind an executive the rest of my life, pushing people out of his way. Maybe one assassination attempt. Not breaking a girl out of jail!” “ Holly, these are my orders. No one would ever know that it would be us! I thought the thrill of the chase would be enough incentive, but how about a pay raise, oh, let’s say, an extra million for this.” Holly glanced at him, eyes glowing at the prospect of more money. “Two mil.” “Deal.” They shook hands on it.
“So how are we going to do this?” asked Holly, all business with the prospect of money on her mind. Butler nodded, “I have a friend that I want you to meet. Her name is the Phoenix of Ice, and she is an assassin. The Jade Princess was second, the Phoenix is first. Personally, I think Juliet can never come close to beating her. Don’t tell her I said that though, she likes to think that, as a Butler, she can beat all odds. I agreed… until I met the Phoenix.”
Juliet woke up in her cell, number 4-0-3. That was all the information she had been able to glean. She didn’t know where she was, or who the names of the people she were with were. She could describe the interior of the building in perfect detail. In a world where information was power, she had to start at the bottom of the ladder. Literally. A definite bad thing.
Absolute monsters surrounded her. Really, she thought all brawn and absolutely no brains, figures. That I should be surrounded by blockheads. No one that she couldn’t take out if she tried, but if they got her surrounded, and everyone was there… well, let’s just say she would go down fighting, but go down she would.
I am definitely screwed. Butler is going to kill me… that is, if I ever get out of this hellhole. Which is highly unlikely. Even the men are shying away from me, as if I carry a disease. I am probably going to be killed. BUT NO ONE IS GOING TO SAY THAT JULIET BUTLER WENT DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. No way. I will find a way out of this mess, I will if I die doing it, I will not die rotting here in a cell! I swear upon my mother’s grave, and mine.
Little did she know that, halfway across Ireland, three others had already made that vow.
Artemis and Holly were going to visit the Phoenix of Ice. She was rumored to possess powers beyond those of any other species, and had used these powers to avoid detection. Butler handed Artemis a paper. It said 765 Icewood Lane, Fireton. “That’s her address, memorize it, and then destroy the paper.” Artemis took out a lighter, and set it on fire. Butler winced. “No! Not that way!” Five seconds later, just as the flames reached the ink, a loud boom was heard. “Drat it!”
Butler sighed, “Well as least she knows that we are here…” Immediately a door opened to the side, and an elegant Japanese lady stepped out. She wore flowing silks, and both her hair and her skirts seemed to flow, despite the fact that there was no breeze. Her ears were slightly pointed, and the tiniest of wings sprouted from her back. She looked exactly as her title said she should, exotic, and somehow, feral.
Her arm guards held sharpened knives, and she held a naginata in one pale, delicate, hand and a bared sword in the other. She the picture of an exotically beautiful female, and somehow inhuman, yet not truly of any other race. Even Artemis, who normally had absolutely no reaction whatsoever to beautiful females, gaped. Butler merely nodded at her, and Holly’s eyes widened slightly before she breathed out, making a whooshing sound.
The Phoenix’s eyes were riveted onto Holly. You… Her voice was soft, yet powerful. I know you… Holly’s eyes widened even more before she responded in the same language that the Phoenix spoke. Shinko? At the same time, the Phoenix responded, Yuki? The two woman flew at each other, seeming at that moment the same, yet very different.
One was dressed in flowing silks, and the other in a skintight armor. They hugged each other, whispering in that strange language. Laughing, the Phoenix beckoned them into her home. We have much to do, and little time to do it. Juliet has already been transferred into the high security prison. Butler and Artemis stopped, absolutely shocked at this revolution as the same though passed through both their minds How does she know this? Holly, or, apparently, Yuki, just laughed, and Artemis had never heard her do, and responded affectionately You are still as omniscient as ever, are you not, Princess?
Butler stopped Artemis before entering, saying, “I have never seen the Phoenix like this before. I believe bringing Holly along was a very good thing. Normally, the Phoenix might have refused to help. But she seems to know already, and therefore, she may accept our proposal. Also, just one thing, do not ever hope to tempt her with money, she will just get mad at you. Remember.”
When they entered the house, Holly and the Phoenix were already sitting there, chattering away in that language. They were both now calm and serene, and cold. Shinko, I am known as Holly now. I am no longer Yukimi no Diargma. Shinko nodded, I know, as I am no longer Shinkokami. These days, I am nothing more than an assassin, the Phoenix of Ice. She shrugged, at least I am still famous!
Artemis watched this exchange with little less than complete fascination. Finally the two women finished conversing, and the Phoenix turned and addressed the group. “You may call me Shinko, despite that no longer being my name.” Her English was slightly accented, giving it a lilting kind of sound.
“I suppose you wish to know what I may do for you, and how I may help you. I refuse to travel with you on this mission, but I will do all I can to help you, in between the odd job.” Butler grunted at the sound of the words the odd job. He, as well as the others, knew very well what that meant. He was not pleased. Shinko glanced at him, before continuing to assess each of them in order. “But I must warn you, the path which you have chosen is long and hard. You may grow weary on your way upon it, but it is worth more than your lives that you continue it. For even a moment’s pause can cause you death and capture.”
“I have what you need.”