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Drama Friendship

Penelope stalked into the master of the Assassin's Circle’s office and surveyed the room. The only exit was the one she had entered through, now manned by two guards and two windows decorated the far side of the room. Zephyr Rathmore sat at his desk, tapping his fingers and peering over the rim of his glasses at her.

“You said you had a proposition for me?” she demanded. Looking up slowly, Zephyr nodded, before placing his hands together in front of him.

“It has come to my attention that you are a member of Legacy Hall,” she gasped. How did he find out? She’d kept it a secret for years, having double the amount of training, and raising her chances of achieving a higher status in both organisations. Baskara had even mentioned considering her as his heir as Master of Legacy Hall after Celeste had left. But if the Masters knew… She could very well be discharged from both organisations, amicable departure or not. The shameful expulsion from either was what she feared most. They were both incredibly powerful organisations in the country and if she made herself an enemy of either, she would be hunted down for the rest of her life. A shudder went through her at the thought. Raising her head to face Zephyr, Penelope asked,

“What of it?”

“Surely you’re aware of not only the rivalry between the organisations but the danger you are putting yourself in by being a member of both? Until your membership at Legacy Hall is renounced you won’t be permitted to accept or partake in any Assassins’ Circle activities or missions.” Tears welled in Penelope’s eyes. How could she let go of Legacy Hall? Or the Assassins’ Circle? “However, if you wish to continue here at the Assassin’s Circle you must prove your loyalty by completing this task.” She opened her mouth to speak, but Zephyr gestured for her to be quiet as he continued. “If you succeed, you will be granted access back into the Circle, promoted to Junior Head Assassin, and will be allowed to undertake higher-paying jobs. Assuming you’d prefer the Assassins’ Circle over Legacy Hall, your task is this-” Outlining her task, Zephyr talked as if her loyalty to both organisations meant nothing, and that she was a mere pawn in his game, every word hinting the threat that awaited her if she didn’t oblige. 


~~~


As dawn broke, Penelope snuck through the back door into her dorm. The only thing that Penelope could think of was the inevitable task ahead and the suggestion that Zephyr had made as she left; slip a knife in her pocket. The words echoed around her head in a monotonous looping track. Something about Zephyr’s instructions bothered her; why would he want her to sabotage the Prime Legacy Duel? Why get her to interfere in Legacy Hall’s business when he was asking her to leave it? Did Zephyr have some ulterior motive? That was stupid, of course, he had another motive. But what was it?


Penelope slipped into bed, hoping to get some rest before her mid-morning training, but her brain was turning over at a million miles an hour. Why would Zephyr be so desperate for Celeste to lose that he wanted her to disqualify her? Why did he want Damien to win? Was it his intention to make her betray one of her former Legacy friends? Would she be able to betray Celeste?


~~~


Walking arm-in-arm with the master of Legacy Hall, Penelope strutted into the facility that held the Prime Legacy Duel. Today there was to be the final duel of the tournament. Damien and Celeste were to duel to the win for the title of Prime Legacy, a prestigious role among both the society and Legacy Hall. A role that for the most part helped the master manage the agency, was the principal line of defence and influence to the country and aside from the government and the masters was the highest-ranking official in the country.


Zephyr had initially commanded her to find a way to disqualify Celeste, to guarantee Damien’s win prior to the competition and she hadn’t, so Zephyr, leaning against a column in the shadows on the other of the room had a vengeful glint in his eye. She had not been able to find a way to disqualify Celeste, she didn’t even know if she could. But one thing she knew for certain was that if Celeste wasn’t competing in the final duel, then Baskara would find someone else to take her place because he sought entertainment as so; and that person was probably Penelope herself.


As a second resort, Zephyr had suggested that she should slip a knife into Celeste’s pocket before the competition and convince Baskara to change the rules so that Celeste could be disqualified, but she knew Celeste would notice the blade, however, willing Baskara may be to rule alterations. Zephyr suggested that she use a common, nondescript knife but Penelope knew Celeste better than that; Celeste wouldn’t use anything less than the best. So she had brought one of the most elegant blades she could find, one of superior craftsmanship. One of her own.


Thumbing the whorls of the fine hunting knife beneath her cloak, Penelope thought of the competition ahead. She hadn’t made any move to betray Celeste yet, but as Zephyr gave her a pointed look, she knew she had to do something. She knew what she had to do. It would ultimately be Celeste’s choice, but she had to make sure to get her in a position where she couldn’t reject the blade, where it was barely a choice, rather a matter of survival before Damien beat her to bits. But first; the change of rules.

“Baskara?”

“Yes, Penelope.”

“I know it’s a bit late and all but I had a thought. I know Celeste is rather skilled with weapons, and that has definitely been shown throughout the trials for prime. So what if we slightly changed that?”

“I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“I’m saying that to make this more interesting, maybe we should consider changing the rules so that the challenge must be fought unarmed. We’ll get to see another side of their skills and the match will no doubt last longer.” Baskara nodded.

“I’ll think about it.” Baskara would think about it, but she knew for a fact that he would change the guidelines to those that she’d suggested.


Walking over to where Damien was waiting, Penelope casually began a conversation. 

“Feeling nervous?”

“Just a little.” She let him talk. “Celeste… is known for her armed combat, and I’m known for my archery which is useless in close proximity. So I hardly think this challenge is fair. But at the same time, I have trained so much over the many years and either way I know I’m going to win. A small weak thing like her can’t stand against my strength.”

“That’s the spirit.” She turned to start to walk away. “If you’re struggling just bring up her parents’ surnames. You remember them from our childhood?” Damien scoffed. "That should hit a soft spot, she’ll be mad. Oh, and you may be strong, but don’t underestimate her. However, I know that something will go in your favour.” She turned around, swishing her elegant skirts and left Damien puzzling over her comment behind her.


~~~


Waiting impatiently for the competition to start, Penelope slid the knife out of her cloak once again, examining the decorated hilt with seemingly unwavering fascination. In reality, she was looking for something to do in between nervous glances towards Baskara talking to the adjudicator at the other side of the room. Celeste had arrived by now, and so had many of the other spectators; the duel would begin soon. She didn’t have to wait long, as within a few minutes the adjudicator had come to the centre of the ring, silenced the audience and announced the change in rules. She saw Celeste glowering with fury and Damien with pure delight as they entered the ring.


The fight had been very even, Celeste was leading, but her concentration was starting to waver. Damien saw it and sneered. From Celeste’s seething face, Penelope could tell that Damien had used her suggestion. Within a few minutes, Damien had pinned Celeste to the ground under her boot. Penelope made her way over to the edge of the ring, preparing to take advantage of Celeste’s diminishing strength. Celeste was on the floor again a minute later, scrambling towards the corner where Penelope stood. It was her chance. Making her way closer to the edge of the circle, Penelope slid free the knife once more. Amongst the clamour of the cloud, the gentle clatter of the knife falling free below her cloak was barely noticed. Toeing the line with her fine embroidered ballet flats she begged for Celeste to notice her. Celeste looked up into her eyes, and the pain and trust in Celeste’s eyes crushed her insides. How could she even have considered betraying her? Inwardly wincing, Penelope inclined her head toward the blade, a mere glimmer under the dim, yellowed lights of the arena. She saw Celeste eyeing the blade and hoped with all her being that Celeste wouldn’t take it, that Celeste wouldn’t destroy her chances because if she was ever found out… the consequences would be absolutely horrific. Not to mention their old friendship being torn apart by the betrayal. That word was awful. Celeste took the blade, and Penelope prayed to any divine beings that she could think of that Celeste would come to her senses and not use the blade, or just not to get caught. Thinking of all the awful things that Celeste could do to Damien with that blade made Penelope smile to herself and she stalked off to stand by Baskara again. She had done what she could do, now it was up to Celeste.


All eyes were on Damien as he grabbed Celeste by the collar and the knife clattered to the floor. Without remaining to see what had happened, Penelope ran for the exit. How could she have betrayed Celeste? Celeste had helped train her when Celeste was still at Legacy Hall and they had spent hours talking into the night in their shared dorm, the other bed now occupied by Melody; another friend, but no one had known her as well as Celeste. Tears streaming from her eyes, Penelope stumbled over a few steps before the final shouts reaching her unwilling ears and plaguing her thoughts.

“WHAT IS THIS???” Followed by murmurs and silence. “MISUNDERSTANDING??”


~~~


Tapping lightly on Sinclair’s dorm door, Penelope fidgeted in nervously. After hearing that Celeste was to go on a confounded trial for having a blade in the competition, and her future at Legacy Hall depended on it, Penelope wanted to set things right. She’d decided to fess up to Sinclair, that is; if he hadn’t seen her slip the blade to Celeste at the competition.

“Hey,” Sinclair said in his soothing voice. He didn’t seem angry at her so she supposed he didn't already know. At least she knew she could trust him, even if it wasn't mutual.

“C-Can I come in?” Sinclair had his own room, so she didn’t have to worry about a dorm partner listening in to their conversation.

“Sure. Are you okay?” She shook her head slightly, not knowing if Sinclair noticed or not. They walked in and Sinclair sat on his bed, Penelope on the two-person couch nearby.

“So what's up, Penelope?”

“I..” glancing up at his concerned eyes she forced herself to speak the words. “I have a confession to make. I-” She turned her head away, how could she fess up to something like this? “I gave Celeste the knife… I betrayed her.” Anger flashed through Sinclair’s eyes, settling on cold fury before he reigned his expression into a neutral grimace.

“It’s not your fault. As far as I could see, the knife was on the ground. It was her decision to take it. Not yours. Yes, I’m kind of annoyed at you for putting that knife there in the first place but it really was Celeste’s choice. I’m just disappointed in her for taking it.” he sighed. “But I do want to know... Why did you do it?” Not being able to hide the truth from him, Penelope spilled the whole story.


“I forgive you Penelope, but you have to help Celeste win the trial… otherwise Baskara will punish her formidably. You must help me get her back.”

“Of course. What shall we do?” They talked into the night and formed a plan. And inside she knew; it would work, but she would need to confront Baskara about her misdeeds.


~~~


Standing outside Celeste’s door, Penelope signalled to Melody to start the conversation. She had retired to her rooms late last night to find Melody reading and confessed to her and outlined their plan.

“So she took it?” Melody asked.

“What did I tell you, Melody? I am a genius. I told you she would take the knife. It was only so long she could resist the exquisite blade I slid to her in the ring.” Even knowing Celeste wouldn’t hear it, Penelope flicked her hair for emphasis.

“I know Penelope, she is so useless compared to you. I can’t believe Baskara even considered her for his replacement when you are clearly the better option. At least your plan worked.” Melody’s gushing was incredibly believable and had Penelope not been the one who had scripted it, would have thought it to be sincere. Hoping Celeste was listening, Penelope spoke a little louder.

“It did indeed; Damien lost to that unworthy rat, and once she is convicted I will be the next in line for Prime Legacy. It’s a shame such a good knife went to waste, I was hoping she’d put it to use but I heard it’s just sitting around in her chambers for no good at all.” Hearing shuffling on the other side followed by hurried footsteps, Penelope knew Celeste had heard her. She hoped Celeste would be clever enough to remember her family’s purple insignia which decorated the hilt of the blade and dig up the audio for evidence, even if it meant getting herself in trouble. She hoped Baskara would understand. Knowing their job was done, Penelope nodded to Melody and they moved off without a word.


~~~


Walking into Baskara’s office, Penelope held her head high and waited for Baskara to raise his eyes from his book.

“Yes, Miss Penelope?”

“I need to tell you something. Please don’t interrupt until I finish.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it. Speak,” Baskara motioned for her to talk.

“I am a part of the Assassins’ Circle, and the Master commanded me to disqualify Celeste so that Damien would win. I didn’t have the heart to directly betray my friend so I slipped the knife within her reach during the competition. I will admit that I did it at a time when she was in a tough position, but I want you to know that I truly regret it and that you should not punish Celeste for one of my misdeeds. Zephyr-”

“We do not say that name in our halls,” Baskara growled.

He commanded me to do this under the impression that he would hunt me down and kill me if I didn’t. I was-” Baskara held up a hand.

“If I may?” She nodded. “You say you were misled, but how can I know where your loyalty lies?”

“I gave Celeste the information she needed to prove herself not guilty at the trial. Not directly, but I staged a conversation with Melody outside her door and hinted on clues that could lead her to the evidence. She got the hint, I heard her rush to the other side of the room and pick up something off the table, which I assume is the knife. She undoubtedly also pulled up the audio feeds for the conversation as well.”

“Well done. It seems you have planned it well. What do you want me to do?”

“To make sure Celeste is not punished for breaking the rules of the competition. I have confidence in her to take the evidence I handed her, but just as a second measure. And if it’s not too much to ask…?”

“Go on, I’m sure your requests will be reasonable.”

“Thank you, Master. I ask that you do not discharge me for my deceitful behaviour, but if you see it fit to punish me I will respect that.”

“You seem truly sorry, and the wrath from Celeste will be punishment enough. All I ask is that you leave the Assassins’ Circle. I will give you protection from Rathmore if it is your desire.”

“Legacy Hall is where I belong.” As she spoke the words, she knew nothing had ever felt more sincere. “I see that now, but I didn’t before. I renounce my membership of the Assassins’ Circle as of right now, and I will see to it that Zephyr is made aware. Thank you for your leniency Master Baskara, I do not deserve your grace.”

“Goodnight Penelope.”


~~~


“You gave me the knife, then gave me the evidence to win the trial… why?” Celeste asked, sitting on the other end of the couch.

“Because I realised that what I did was wrong and that I valued your friendship more than anything Zephyr could offer me.” She reached out and clasped Celeste’s delicate hand. “I missed you, Celeste. And I am so sorry for slipping you the blade.” Celeste scoffed.

“It was my fault for taking it. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

“Thank you.” They savoured the silence between them before Penelope smirked, “Oh, and can I have my knife back?” Both girls burst out laughing, and they remained talking and laughing deep into the night.


November 10, 2020 10:55

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11 comments

10:25 Dec 13, 2020

Hi Zoe! Loved this one even more than the first part :) I can't even begin to describe the "oooooooooooooooh" feeling in me now I know why Penelope did it and that everything was resolved in the end. Your strong suit is characters, keep working on it! Lots of love, Sythe

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00:15 Dec 14, 2020

Thank you! I’m glad the “oooh” about Penelope’s motives really came through, I was hoping that would be the result :) ~Zoé

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02:27 Dec 14, 2020

Np! All of us authors have that worry every now and then...

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08:02 Dec 14, 2020

Ahahah we do indeed :)

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10:58 Nov 10, 2020

Woo, I posted another story. I like this one better than the 1st one hehe :D Open to any suggestions, constructive feedback and critique. This story is the second in the same kind of 'series' per se, so be sure to check out the first one if you haven't already. But if you haven't read the other one, that's completely fine too and I hope it is still clear enough as a single story :D

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19:45 Nov 10, 2020

I honestly think I enjoyed this 'half' (?) or part 2 u could say, more than the first one. You demonstrated confused intentions through Penlelope's actions and the story connected nicely to the first. There's a grammatical mistake here and there, (it's just small things like quotation marks r the wrong way) but overall, excellent work! :)

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20:28 Nov 10, 2020

Thank you! I agree ahaha, this one is definitely much better than part 1 :) Would you mind pointing out where those errors are so I can fix them?

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20:51 Nov 10, 2020

Go to the part where it says [Damien scoffed. "That should hit a soft spot,"] and the dialogue with Sinclair and Penelope. ["So whats up, Penelope?"] I think that's all, but you might want to double check anyway! :)

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23:05 Nov 10, 2020

I fixed the first one, but I can't see the second :D Well... I tried to. The quotation mark changed from the wrong way to neutral, I'm not sure why it won't change to the right one.

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23:12 Nov 10, 2020

It's not that big of a deal, but thanks for taking my suggestion! :)

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02:08 Nov 11, 2020

Of course! Thank you so much :)

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