Over on the Endeavor, Calandra snored, her arms wrapped around Elmar as they lay in bed. A buzzer then sounded, waking them up. It was quiet, but it was enough to cause them to stir. The buzzer sounded again. “Mhm, who is i…” Calandra’s sentence was interrupted by the door opening.
“GOOD MORNING, CALANDRA SWEEEEEEYIKES!” It was Andwayla! She immediately turned her back as Elmar and Calandra yelped, pulling the sheets over their chests.
“Your Majesty! Bedroom!” protested Elmar.
“There is a RULE about the bedroom!” snarled Calandra.
“What are you even doing here?!” continued Elmar.
“A conference of my own,” explained Andwayla as she kept her back turned. “Headmistress Tanfa is stepping down and wants help in finding a successor.”
“You didn’t add MY name to the list of candidates, did you?” asked Calandra.
“Oh, Heights, no! I’m not letting my sweet daughter stress herself out like that. You’ve got enough coming up as the heir to the Galdredan Throne.”
“Same issue here, I’ve got too much on my plate as Queen.”
“So why are you onboard?”
“Because I told Headmistress Tanfa that you and I would be witnesses, along with Rellmeer, since Orbak is busy.”
“…You can’t be serious!”
Andwayla had her way and she, Rellmeer, and Calandra were in a meeting room with elderly people sitting around a table. What was Tanfa Headmistress of, you ask? Why, none other than the Crimson Diamonds, the Assassin’s School. She was getting on in years and decided that it was time for her to step down. This, of course, caused a stir with the School’s Staff as Tanfa was the best Headmistress in the school’s history. By tradition, a student had to take her place. Out with the old, in with the new, was the School’s policy. A large cauldron sat in the center as pieces of paper with students’ names on them were being pulled out and sorted into piles of varying heights. The papers were then sorted, and the Gym Teacher began her explanation of the piles. “This stack,” she began with a large stack, “has a lot of smart people when it comes to general studies, but no records of contracts. This one here,” the pile was smaller than the first, “the candidates are impressively stupid, but can manage a kill or two. These guys are okay,” the stack was smaller, “and these guys,” the pile only consisted of a small pieces of paper, “are the best of the best, so they won’t waste too much of your valuable time.”
“What about that pile right there?” asked Calandra as she pointed to a massive pile on the floor.
“They’re the lame-brains,” explained the History Teacher, “who couldn’t tie their shoes even if the instructions were spelled out. Which reminds me, we need to pare down the student population a bit. I think ousting them before you go, Headmistress, would be prudent. Give the Successor a better chance to raise better Assassins.”
“Headmistress,” remarked the Dean, “it’s nice of you to give everyone a chance, but…well, why not just take our suggestions?”
“Even among them,” remarked Rellmeer, “there won’t be anyone to replace a Headmistress like yourself.”
“No one is irreplaceable,” dismissed Tanfa.
“On that, I couldn’t agree more,” remarked a strange voice. Everyone turned to the door to see an armored figure with a helmet obscuring their features. “Well, well, well, how are things?” purred the figure.
“Yamta?!” yelped the Secretary.
“Oh, you know who I am?” sighed the figure as they removed their helmet to reveal it was, indeed, Yamta. “A pity, I rather hoped you were ignorant of my usual appearance. Oh well, them’s the breaks. How IS the staff of my Alma Mater? Long time, no see. Have you discovered how Oltor killed with his voice or are you still doing your research? I must say, it’s rather hard to complete it now that he’s dead. Thanks for sparing us the trouble, by the way, Rellmeer. You and your fellow Over-realm Royals did us a service. Pity we had to do most of the leg-work with the other Splitter Branches.”
“We didn’t kill him for your organization’s sake!” snarled Rellmeer. “And the Splitters were OURS to execute, not yours!”
“With methods that took too much time and money?” Yamta’s gaze went to Andwayla as she posed the question.
“At least they were effective and made it so no one feared us, unlike YOUR methods!” snarled Andwayla. Yamta rolled her eyes.
“Yamta Velonar,” snarled the Dean, “how dare you come back to us after all this time!”
“‘After all this time’?” chuckled Yamta. “Oh please, you could be a bit more…how did my fourth level teacher put it…flexible.”
“Well, not physically. Don’t bust your backs, Old timers!” Yamta giggled at her crass joke. “…Not a single person to offer me a goblet of wine?” She then heard someone pouring liquid into a container and shifted her gaze to the Math teacher pouring himself some wine. He then gave a smarmy look to her and raised the glass to his lips. Yamta then dashed towards the Math teacher, made a magic orb, had it circle the air in front of his eyes, and stared intensely through the circling orb. The Math teacher’s expression then slowly turned from confusion to vacant. He was motionless as Yamta took the goblet from his hand and sipped the wine.
“You’ve got some nerve,” snarled Rellmeer, “using Fae-based Hypnosis here! How did you get that secret?! Dr. Borg isn’t so generous!”
“She is when she’s got a scientific marvel to study. She wanted to know how I made my old helmet and wanted to improve it.” Yamta then looked at everyone. “Oh, don’t panic. This kind of hypnosis only works on the most pliable minds or willing subjects.”
“What do you want from us?!” Rellmeer snapped her fingers under the Math teacher’s nose, snapping him out of his trance. He then looked for his goblet and then followed Rellmeer’s finger to see Yamta sipping from it, then tossing it over her shoulder.
“From you, Empress? Nothing. I’ve got a contract, but I thought I’d get a distraction out of the way. I’ve come to apply as a successor.”
“Successor?!” snarled the Math teacher. “Successor to what?!”
“To WHOM is the accurate question. And I’m talking about the Great Headmistress Tanfa. Isn’t that the order of the day?”
“You?!” protested Calandra. “Is this a joke?!”
“Your degree was revoked,” reminded the Poisons teacher, “after the unmitigated disaster that was the previous Headmaster!”
“You think Headmistress Tanfa will hand the Crimson Diamonds over to you?!” called the History teacher.
“You can’t be serious!” snapped the Dean. As the objections were hurled at her, Yamta strode towards Tanfa.
“What’s the matter, my dear Headmistress? Feeling your age now? Thought you were a ripe peach? I’d say you’re actually an overripe banana! It’s finally taken you all this time to realize you’re not so special after all! That’s it’s time to stand down!”
“Tanfa is, by far, the best of us!” snapped the Dean.
“Better than you lot, yes. But I was voted the Greatest Assassin of the Age, or have you forgotten? I won’t be shackled by your ridiculous form of morality, for I would teach future assassins that a contract is a contract, regardless of status, instead of watering down everyone’s skills to mere vigilantism! That kind of power, given to only the best of the best, is our one chance to actually achieve peace! Warmongers would be afraid of us! …But our celebrated Tanfa is after a good little student who does what they’re told, a model apprentice she can mold in her image, into a selfish rogue like herself!” At that remark, Tanfa simply splashed the contents of her own goblet onto Yamta’s face. “…Application rejected, I take it? Oh well, just thought I’d throw the idea out there.” She then drew her spikes and leveled them at Andwayla. “Better get the contract out of the way.”
“NO!” roared Rellmeer as she flew towards Yamta. Yamta ducked, forcing Rellmeer to fly over her and crash into Tanfa. Calandra, Andwayla, and the Staff drew knives and rushed at her. Yamta dodged the blows and used her spikes to dispatch them. She targeted non-vital areas on the Staff. As they lay groaning, Rellmeer got up and leapt at Yamta again. Yamta then swung a spike at Rellmeer’s eyes.
“MY EYES!” cried Rellmeer as she collapsed to the floor and shrank to her usual height, her hand over her now bleeding eyes. Yamta then stabbed Calandra in the shoulder. She cried out in pain and collapsed to the floor.
“That’s too far!” roared Andwayla. She swung her knife, still using her skills. For a while, both combatants were evenly matched.
“I admire how you are ready to avenge your daughter’s wounding,” remarked Yamta. “Sadly, I have a contract to complete.” She then took out a spike and…ran it up through Andwayla’s rib cage, on the right side of the chest, where a Fire Demon’s heart is located. Andwayla gasped as the air was forced out of her lungs. She looked down at the spike in her body, then collapsed to the floor, trying to pull it out. Sadly, it was no use. Her movements became feebler until…she stopped entirely. Queen Andwayla Narven, ruler of the Galdredan Lava Kingdom was dead. Yamta then activated a personal Realmgate and disappeared into it as Calandra regained consciousness. She saw her mother’s body and crawled to her. When she got there, she finally saw the wound.
“…No!” she pleaded. “No, please! No! No!” She then cradled her mother’s body and sobbed before throwing her head back. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Her body was then wracked with loud sobbing and wailing as she held her mother tight to her.