I Became the Tyrant's Helper - Chapter 9
The first time had been Canute, the Head of Pelanders Assassination Guild. As a child, Ahel hadn’t even known there was a tattoo on the back of her neck. She had only found out when she’d tied up her annoyingly long hair and people had noticed it. Even then, she had only heard about it through gossip.
‘Hey, that’s an unusual tattoo on your neck.’
‘Really?’ she had answered.
‘Yeah. At first, I thought it was a mole, since it’s so small, but when I got closer I saw it was a tattoo. How are you so young and already have a tattoo? Did Mr. Canute do it for you? Damn, I told you he’s biased toward you.’
When she’d heard that Ahel had immediately gone to look for Canute. When she asked him about the tattoo, he told her to forget about it, that it was something she didn’t need to worry or know about. It was like when she had gone to him, crying, begging to know about her parents, only to be told to forget about them. He had told her they had abandoned her, and that it was best to push her memories of them into the furthest recesses of her mind.
Ahel quickly realized that Canunte knew something about the tattoo, but had never planned on telling her anything.
‘It’s something you were born with. Once you find out the truth, you will know who your biological parents are.’
She had thought that at least someone would recognize the tattoo when she started looking for her parents. Ray knows something about it, she thought, I have to prove my innocence… I don’t know why he won’t just believe me.
Ahel had only one bit of information to fight back with. She squared her shoulders in determination and said, “As I told you yesterday; I am an orphan. I am a commoner. I have nothing to my name. So, to prove that what I said is the truth, I’m going to put my life on the line.”
Ray’s eyes widened at her words. He never could have predicted that she would react like this. He looked into her eyes, trying to decide if she was lying or not. But in the depths of her strange purple eyes, he could find no lie. She’s telling the truth.
He folded his arms, maintaining eye contact with her the entire time. He began restlessly tapping his finger on her arm as he looked at her. If this is how things are going to be, then I think my stay here is going to be a lot more fun than I originally thought, he thought to himself in satisfaction.
He uncrossed his arms and stepped closer to Ahel, closing the distance between them. She still had a cold, harsh look on her face and she held his gaze as steadily as ever. Never once faltering under the assault of his stare.
Ahel tilted her head back to look at him, keeping their eye contact.
There was something about the way she just refused to back down that piqued Ray’s interest. With a wide grin on his face he asked, “Are you seriously willing to risk your life?” He hooded his eyes, studying her more intently than before.
As much as Ahel tried to hide how tense she was, the tense muscles in her jaw gave her away. She studied his face carefully now that they were locked in this intense battle of wills. She visually traced the lines of his lips and jaw.
Slowly, Ray reached out and gripped at her pale neck. One hand was enough, there was no reason he would have to use two. If he squeezed a little too hard, he was sure those vibrant purple eyes would flicker and dim in no time as life left her body.
She had put her life into his hands. He could kill her if he so wished. The smile on Ray’s face deepened in satisfaction. It was said that it was a tattoo. Not a pattern or a stamp. I think if you knew the truth, you would have told me by now. I see no reason to hurt you.
Ray’s hand paused just above her throat, as if he was still threatening to snap her neck at any moment. “I trust what you told me is true.”
As he stepped back, taking the pressure off her, Ahel heaved a deep sigh of relief. She had been holding her breath ever since she so boldly declared that she would give her life to prove she was telling the truth. She had prepared herself for him to kill her. She had even unfocused her eyes and readied her body for what was to come. But she was still alive. Clearly, Ray believed her.
Her chest heaved up and down as she drew air into her lungs. What a relief.
As she began to calm down, all the muscles in her body felt weak. It felt like her knees were about to give in and she had to physically resist the urge to sit down on the floor. “Can you tell me about this tattoo then?” she asked.
Ray stared into her exhausted face and said, “You want to know more about that tattoo on your neck?”
Ahel just nodded. She didn’ have the energy to say anything.
Ray smiled at her silence, almost like he appreciated her answer. He saw Ahel frown at his expression. “Alright then, I’ll tell you.”
Ahel still felt like she couldn’t trust him, even though he had agreed to tell her the truth. I wonder if he really is going to tell me. The thought that Ray was the only person who could give her the information she wanted left a sour taste in her mouth. She tried her best to erase her uncertainty, choosing instead to simply study his face in silence.
Ray watched her for a moment longer before he said, “I’ll tell you, on one condition. Call it a suggestion.”
Ahel nearly groaned in irritation. She should have known he was going to do this. There was no way he was ever just going to tell her. The tiny bubble of hope she had cultivated in her chest popped like an escaped balloon. He should have told me about these terms before he agreed to tell me.
She felt absolutely miserable. She should have seen this coming. “What do you want?” she asked.