allright so hear it is. worst chapter lol. I just couldn't get the hang of noxus for some reason. finished it at 6 AM so spelling mistakes are possible. This is now a lot shorter to be easier to read. Hope you'll still enjoy.
Flowers of vengance
Shen leant over the ship's railing, staring into the sea. It's been three days since they rescued Akali and Gangplank killed Miss Fortune back at the Blue Flame Isles. Akali was still in a terrible shape, as it turned out Singed has been conducting chemical experiments on her while she was held captive. Did they really serve a purpose, or was it just for amusement, Shen did not know. His thoughts were mostly about another noxian. Swain.
The decision was already made. Now that they have recovered themselves as a team, they had to make a move and kill Swain, the brain of the noxian army. It seemed like the fastest and most efficient way of slowing down the invasion.
It is foolish to underestimate your enemy, and Shen knew very well just how capable Swain was. That is why he had to die. There was no question about the weight of his death. Yes, a courageous demacian might have just said that Swain is an incapable pathetic idiot and any demacian could kill him easily but that would mean he wouldn't worth the effort. But if you think clearly and do not underestimate the importance of the general, you'll se the potential in his death too, which would otherwise be overlooked.
The only qestion is how. Once they arrive in Noxus, how will they proceed? Shen thought it over and over again a thousand times. He even spoke with Gangplank about it, and the old pirate mentioned a friend living close to the docks who could give them shelter and at the same time, a hiding spot. That seemed like a good place to start.
Shen straightened himself and stepped back from the railing. It was time to check on Akali. He turned and headed to her cabin. Once there he slowly opened the door and looked inside if she's asleep. However Akali wasn't alone, Kennen was playing a card game with her as he sat on her bed near her.
"Kennen, I told you to let her rest." - Shen said quietly.
Akali looked up at the door.
"No, please, it's allright." - she said, smiling weakly.
"Still beating him, are you?" - Shen walked closer, speaking calmly - "You're damn good at this game. I wonder why Kennen doesn't quit."
"Because I want her to get better." - Kennen answered.
There was also a silver plate with oranges on the bed, a small piece of paper near it that read 'For quick recovery' with Gangplank's name on the bottom. Shen wouldn't suspect Gankgplank could write. Isn't the world full of surprises?
"Akali, how are the meditations going? We already revised the cleansing and healing rituals, but if there's any problem with it, I'll show you again."
Akali coughed and then quietly answered:
"They're going better, but it's still hard to focus. I can't go deeper or my head explodes."
"The neural posion must have been stronger than I expected. Maybe we'll need concentration exercises outside of mediation. You need the focus to cleanse your body." - Shen answered.
He came closer so he could examine Akali. She was slightly better now, but one of her eyes still had a little different color and her skin was scaly and blistered at many parts from internal poisoning.
"She will recover, will she?" - Kennen asked.
"Yes, ... I think" - Shen answered - "I don't know if there will be any lasting effects."
"Shen..." - Akali whispered after a short cough - "Let me train. I need a little exercise, that would help."
"Akali, you're still too weak..." - but Shen couldn't finish.
Akali's head twitched, the cards fell out of her hands, arms shaking and fingers twisitng. She groaned in pain.
"Akali!" - Shen said louder, but not out of control - "Take over your nerves! It's your body, you control it! You can make it stop!"
Akali shut her eyes and a few seconds later her body calmed down, only a steady panting remaining.
"That's right. You did excellent, it was a lot shorter now. Keep it up and you'll be okay in a week." - Shen said, quiet again.
"Yeah ... I'm okay..." - Akali breathed.
"Singed should pay for this!" - Kennen said angrily - "We should find him and punish him for what he has done."
"We can't" - Shen answered - "Right now we must get to Swain as fast as we can. Believe me, if we crush Noxus that will hurt Singed."
"But I want to see him suffer!" - whined Kennen - "There was ... no reason to do this." - he said, looking at Akali.
"Control your emotions Kennen. Vengance clouds your judgement."
"I agree." - Akali interrupted - "Killing Swain is what we must do now. For everyone, not just Ionia. I would rather see a defeated Noxus than just a dead Singed."
"Then rest." - Shen answered - "To accomplish that, you will need all your strength. Come Kennen. Let her sleep."
Kennen got off the bed and silently followed his companion out of the room.
The sund dawned four more times until they have reached the docks of Noxus, and the Saltwater Scourge managed to secure a place for itslef among all the noxian navy battleships.
"Allright!" - Gangplank said just after they dropped the anchor - "We will resupply here and then get out as fast as we can. Sorry Shen, but you and your friends will have to find another way out once you're ... well ... 'done' here."
"I understand." - Shen answered - "Thank you for all the help you've given."
"Been a pleasure" - grunted Gangplank - "Fortune's dead, so your bill is paid. One last tip though, I have a friend living here close to the harbor. You'll know him because he has a garden." - an evil smile crossed Gangplank's face - "Anyway, he'll give you shelter for a few days if you tell 'im I sent you. Show him this ring ... or no, better give him an orange, and he'll know you're my friend."
"Hopefully we won't need his help for long. We should leave this city as soon as possible."
As soon as a sailor arrived with the signal orange, Shen and the pirate shook hands and the team left the ship. The harbor of Noxus was huge and clearly resembled times of war. Great battleships docked by the dozen, supplies and ammunition lying in crates and barrels on the shore, armed guards and soldiers patrolling in front of the metallic, sharp edged buildings of the dark city.
Shen, Kennen and Akali brought hooded cloaks with them from the ship. With covered faces they walked the dirty, sewer smelling tight streets that lay across the relatively tall buildings. It seemed the city of Noxus used two building materials: stone and metal. You might have expected a cuthroat that tries to rob you as soon as you turn a corner, but these weren't times like that. It was a time of war, and the streets were filled with soldiers, kicking aside the regular citizens while going to the harbor or heading back from it. This inspired most people to also cover their faces like Shen did, not sure if the incrased amount of soldiers meant the resurrection of the justice system. The silence, supressed tension almost vibrated in the air.
Following Gangplank's instructions they found a house that had the most gray and smallest garden they ever saw. If it could be called a garden at all. A few dim, spiky roses grew out of a tiny earth mound, surrounded by sharp, arrow ended metal railing. The house itslef was made of stone with rusty metal roof pathced with wooden planks at places. Shen walked closer and after a moment of hesitation he knocked on the dry rotten wooded door. Seconds later an insane looking old man opened the door, who seemed to have missed one eye while the other was yellow, and he grinned with all his missing teeth at the visitors.
"Wha...?" - he asked, twitching his head.
"We're friends of Gangplank" - Shen started, as neutral as he could, being hit by the smell of rotting teeth and tobacco - "He said you can give us shelter for a few days."
Akali coughed and took a few steps back, Kennen also slighty turning away in disgust. Shen held out the orange in his hand, so that the man can see it.
"Gangplank aye ... hragh ... yearh. I remember him." - answered the man - "You like my flowers?"
"I'm sorry, but we did not come for flowers."
"They're beautiful aren't they..." - the old man continued, staring at his flowers in bliss - "Wonderful plants..."
"No doubt." - Shen asnwered, still trying to sound neutral - "But can you provide us with shelter? We don't want to waste anyone's time, neither yours nor ours."
"You like my flowers...?" - asked the old man again with a cracking voice - "Do you know their story?"
"Good sir, can you or can you not..." - Shen began but he got interrupted.
"If Gangplank is your friend you must know the story. Do you know what's under my flowers?"
Akali looked at the little mound and noticed a small, half round stone plate with writing on it, sticked into the earth. She skipped a breath.
"My brother" - the man finished, grinning wider and more insane looking than ever before - "You know friends, he wouldn't let me live, constantly in his shadow. But one day, oh one day, on that day, there he got into a tavern fight with the crew of the freshly arrived ship. The captain shot him right between the eyes himself. A precise, accurate, decesive, exact, straight, professional headshot."
"Holy **** ... this is insane." - whispered Kennen.
"Aren't the flowers beautiful? Feasting on my very vengance, on my victory, my triumph. I have never seen anything ... more beautiful ... than these flowers. Seductive, charming, lovely, pretty, gorgeous little flowers..."
He took the orange out of Shen's hand.
"Come in then ... friends of Gangplank..." - he said laughing.
Shen took a short breath and entered the house, motioning his comrades to follow him. The singe room was filled with an even worse smell then the streets, the possible reason a pot on fire. It was likely that the water in it was from the sewers, and rats were being cooked in it. Kennen dragged Akali through the door.
"Shen ... I'm not sure we're safe here."
"Don't worry my love." - laughed the man wickedly - "As long as you have nothing worth robbing other than a strong stomach."
"It's still safer then the streets, and we're out of alternatives." - Shen answered - "You need rest and meditation, I know it's hard, but I also know you're strong."
Akali nodded silently.
"You need rest now. Kennen, can you stay with him?"
The yorlde also nodded.
"I'll try to collect some information that would help us create our plan."
"You're looking for something interesting?" - asked the man who was now poking the pot with a rusty metal spoon - "I wouldn't miss the execution then. If you'll hurry you can reach it."
"Where is it?" - Shen aksed back.
"Not far from here, on the Square of Crows. Straight east of here. I love exectuions, all the vengance ... they remind me ... of my brother. And the roses."
"Kennen, take care of Akali while I'm gone. There are usually heralds at exectuions, and ... "
"Shen, I want to go. I can take it." - Akali interrupted.
"Maybe you can, but still, that would cost you a lot of energy. Use that strenght to cleanse your body instead, to meditate."
"You have to be ready when we have to strike. Our strike must be the last."
Akali closed her eyes and turned away, slight disappointment on her face.
"Right. I'll do as you say." - she said quietly.
Nearing the Square of Crows Shen could already hear the cheering, and of course, the crows and ravens that gathered. He approached from the shadow of the wet, dirty stone walls of the alley that connected to the square. Pulling his hood more into his face, he entered the crowd of torn, dirty old linen cloaks with white-yellowish muddy bare hands and legs at the ends.
There was also a military patrol attending, noxian soldiers of black armor and a regulated formation, with no orher than Darius ahead of them. His tropps were weather beaten, cracked and dirty armor, torn capes and many scars, but they looked proud and confident, especially as they looked at their beloved leader.
Shen pushed himslef a little further in the crowd and now noticed the wooden stage. The rastrained prisoner was a fair haired woman, looking terribly scared.
"This is indeed a wonderful gift, brother!" - Shen noticed the exectuioner. As Darius answered, it was easy to guess who it was.
"I immediately thought of you when we marched at the Institude. I know you'll love them captured alive."
"This ***** always annoyed the hell out of me!" - shouted Draven at the prisoner - "Finally she'll provide some entertainment too."
The woman screamed as Draven started burning her with a torch he just took from one of the wooden pillars of the stage that served to illuminate the scene.
"Lady of Luminosity, hah?" - Draven shouted sarcastically - "You like the light? The fire? Burn and glow, *****..."
The crowd went crazy from the spectacle, shouting furiously. As a response to the appreciation, Draven grabbed a knife and began peeling the skin off of the burning Lux. Darius smiled as the first drops of blood fell on the floor. The cheering became insane as Draven kept on, actually pulling skin off the living body.
"YOU'LL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT AGAIN!" - he shouted as he extracted Lux's eyes with his knife, revarded by crazy shouting from the crowd.
Shen casted down his eyes. He saw enough blood in his life already, there was no need for more. With an entire military patrol around, the tought of helping Lux didn't even cross his mind. That would only prevent Swain's death. At one point Draven started throwing the peeled off pieces of skin into the crowd, letting it to be torn apart by the people. A minute later Lux finally passed away, and the crowd started losing interest. Blooded and dirty, Draven stood satisfied on the wooden stage. A final bow and he descended the small wooden stairs, walking over to his brother. Shen slipped close enough to be still in the crowd but be able to hear them.
"That's my brother..." - Darius patter Draven on the back - "What a show! As always!"
"Just like yours, brother." - Draven answered, taking off his gloves - "Swain will be happy to know Demacia's under control now."
"Oh yes he will be, after all it was his plan to ... "
Shen couldn't hear what Darius said and the crowd was already leaving. He began following a smaller group that went closer to the brothers, staying just a few meters behind them.
" ... would have never thought an idiot like that ... thing could be of so much use." - Draven said - "You really need to be a wise ass to know freeing a thing like that is the key to victory. You speaking with him today?"
The group was already leaving but Shen had to stop to hear what they're saying. He bent down and started fiddling with his boots.
"Nah, tomorrow." - Darius answered - "I'll meet him after lunch."
"Hah, climbing all the stairs with a full stomach..." - Draven laughed.
If Shen would have kept fiddling with his boots any longer it would have started looking ridiculous. He had to go before they noticed him.
"I've only been in his office once." - said Draven - "The bloody place, almost missed it."
"It's not that hard ... " - but Shen couldn't hear anything else as he moved away.
"So it's tomorrow. Most likely in the tower of the castle at the city's edge." - Shen finished reporting the events once he reached their little house.
"Poor Lux" - Akali said quietly.
"Funny thing we weren't even sure Swain's in town." - Kennen noticed.
"Yeah, we took our chances there." - Shen agreed - "So what we're going to do, is buy three hooks and ropes, and we're going to climb the castle. We must then kill Darius just before he would meet Swain, and assume his identity to get inside the office. We move in for the kill and leave through the window, climbing down the wall."
"Been a while since we've done anything like that."
"Times have changed. Now we should all rest. Early in the morning I'll go and buy some climbing hooks and the ropes, then we begin at noon. You should hang around the castle, find some place where we could start climbing." - said Shen.
Akali and Kennen nodded silently.
"Now then ... " - Shen sighed - "All we need to do today is rest. Let's ease the tension a little, Kennen do you still have that card set?"
"Yea, 'course." - Kennen answered as a smile appeared on his face.
He fished out a card set from his backpack. The rest of the evening went by with a rather silent but still overall happy time of playing. Even the rotting old man joined for a round but he gave up on understanding the rules and rather went out to water his flowers. He could spend hours talking to the plants.
It was half an hour before noon when Shen approached the public square before the Noxian Castle, the metal hooks he bought earlier hidden under his cloak. Akali was already waiting for him, sitting on a bench with a backpack near her. It may sound funny, but Kennen actually had to be carried in one of the bags, for they were in Noxus itself, heart of the hatred for nonhumans.
"Everything's set. Found anything?" - asked Shen quietly.
"Over there. A poorly guarded entrance to the backyard." - Akali pointed to a door in a metal fence protecting a small garden belonging to the castle - "What do you think?"
"Worth a try." - Shen nodded - "Come, bring the bag too."
They walked a little closer to the garden. There was only a single soldier guarding the entrance. Shen bent down and picked up a heavier stone from the ground.
"I'll try to get his attention" - he whispered.
When the soldier looked away, he threw the stone into the garden that landed with a loud noise. The guard snapped up his head, turned around and looked inside through the bars of the fence. Seeing nothing, he unlocked the gate and walked inside to look around.
"Ancient, but effective ... allright, slowly and causally walk insie the garden. Look natural and you won't arouse any suspicion." - Shen whispered to Akali.
Just as if it was their own house yard they walked inside, but the soldier who noticed them entering knew the area was out of bounds.
"Hey there! Wha' the bloody hell are ya ... ?!" - he approached them, raising his spear.
"I'm sorry, it's just that ... " - Shen began but needed to speak no longer. He got in touch's distance, and just as quick as always he drew his katana and silently killed the man before he could react.
They quickly dragged the body after the point where the wall took a corner and the garden was no longer visible from the square. Here Kennen could finally get out of the bag.
"Damn it's been unconfortable." - he sighed - "So we're starting the climb here?"
"Yes" - Shen answered - "I've got the hooks. Allright, so our goal is the tower. Come on then, we've got a lot of work to do."
The castle wall was made of stone and there were a lot of sticking out bricks and someitmes there were usable ornaments or windows too. Using the hook and their hands, the three slowly started climbing the castle wall. The stone was cold and wet, mossy at many parts and that slowed them down a little. Kennen was often helped by the others when he couldn't reach the next ledge. As they got higher the air was also getting better, but colder too. Still, the lack of the sewer smell so typical of the streets was a good factor.
Fifteen hard and painful minutes of climbing and occasional resting at windowsills they finally got close to the tower. Climbing over to the office's windows however seemed impsooible from this angle, only if they would have started climbing at the castle's opposite side.
"So, what now?" - panted Akali - "You don't want to get around, do you?"
"No." - Shen answered - "If we would break in through the window Swain would just run out anyway. As I said, we'll need Darius's equipment as a disguise. We'll have to cath him just before he reaches the office. Which means we're going in."
Kennen looked in through the windowglass. The corridor seemed clear. He looked up at Shen and he nodded back so while holding himself with one hand he reached for a knife with the other, and cut a huge rectangle out of the glass. Then, holding his breath he pushed it in, and it crashed with a loud noise.
"Nevermind it, get inside." - Shen ordered.
The three climbed in through the broken window to the empty corridor. Judging by the view on the tower from the outside they moved forward to the corner.
"Allright, the office should be close. Now all we need is Darius."
Footseps could be heard approaching the corner. Probably the noise of the broken glass alarmed some people. Shen motioned for the rest to wait until the person gets around the corner. Judging from the sound it was only one. After a few breathless seconds a middle aged female servant came around the corner - and got stabbed right in the throat.
"There was no other way." - Shen sighed as he removed his blade - "We can't allow failiure now. Her life is a sacrafice, we should have been more careful..."
Akali took a sorrowful look at the dead woman, then her expression hardened.
"We can't leave her lying here" - she said - "Quickly, throw her out of the window."
A few quick grabs and the corpse was already falling down to the little back yard below the castle windows. It was time to look beyond the corridor. As they peeked through the corner it seemed their hallway connected to a staircase which led to a guarded double winged door just a level above. That must have been Swain's office.
The next minutes went away in slow, painful anticipation, but Darius just did now want to come. It must have already been past noon but the commander did not show up. The chance of them being discovered grew with every second
"What did he say? He's having lunch before meeting?" - whispered Akali. Shen nodded silently - "While we climbed I looked through one of the windows and it seemed to be a kitchen. I'll check it out."
"Allright, do it, we'll stay here in case he comes. Be quick. Very quick."
Akali went back to the window and climbed out, grabbing the ledge. She slowly lowered to the level below. Looking inside once more she made sure it was the kitchen, then after a short, deep breath she kicked through the glass, launching herself into the room and arriving on the floor with a tumble. The kitchen staff screamed in surprise but Akali as she stoop up quickly grabbed one of the waitresses who happened to be close to her.
"If anyone says a word she'll die." - came Akali's silent threat.
Then without warning she grabbed the waitresses hat and tore off the most important parts of her uniform, quickyl throwing it on herself to look as much of a waitress as possible. As the shock kept the other stuff members freezed she blast open into the restuarant part, searching for Darius among the guests. Within seconds she found him sitting by one of the tables, comfortably chatting with one that seemed like another officer. She quickly walked over to them.
"Sir, General Swain requests your presence at his office." - she said officially sounding.
"I know." - Darius asnwered slowly as he looked up and scanned over Akali with suspicion - "At noon. Is he being impatient?"
"It is already past noon sir. General Swain has many other duties to attend to." - Akali said in one breath.
"Strange. He said he's free this afternoon."
"It was a ... an urgent call from Bilgewater sir. He would like to meet you right away."
"And how does a waitress know about where such an urgent call comes from." - Darius asked back - "I don't remember any waitresses with such deep insight into martial matters."
"The general wished you to know too." - Akali answered quickly - "All I was to say is that he requests your presence as soon as possible."
"Well, allright. If the old man's so impatient ..." - Darius stoop up - "Let's see him then."
"Yes sir!" - Akali turned around and headed back for the kitchen but Darius yelled after him.
"Aren't you going to take the plates?"
Akali froze for a moment, but then quickly recovered.
"Yes sir, sorry sir!"
She picked up the dishes and almost ran back to the kitchen, balancing the plates on her arm. Once inside she dropped them immediately and pushing aside the still shocked kitchen staff she ran for the window and climbed up the wall again.
"He's coming soon" - Akali whispered as she caught up with her comrades - "Anything happened?"
"They're going to notice the disappearing maidens..." - sighed Kennen.
"Another one?" - Akali asked.
"Yes" - Shen said shortly.
Footspets could be heard from the staircase and soon Darius appeared walking towards the office. As soon as he got close enough Shen gave the signal and the three intruders surrounded the commander. They were quick, and Darius barely managed to make any noise before he lifelessly fell to the ground. Shen closed the commander's eyes.
"Rest in peace..." - he whispered.
He took the noxian's red cape and a few characteristic armor pieces so he looked a little similar to Darius. Luckily they both had dark black hair and that helped. Still, the guards must not be given a lot of time to look.
"Allright, Kennen, hide under Akali's cloak. We're going in."
Kennen did as he was told, and Akali followed Shen up the stairs to Swain's office doors. They approached the guards.
"Stand aside!" - Shen yelled at them as he pushed one of them aside and violently broke through the door before they could get a good look at him.
"But sir! Who's this with you?!"
Shen was already inside the office and saw Swain sitting at his desk. As the tactician looked up his eyes reflected that he recognized the man before him was not Darius, but his guards were still decieved for the moment.
"Swain my good old friend, I have to tell you ..." - Shen said as he approached the tactician. Swain tried to stand up as fast as possible, reaching out for a sword decorating the wall - "I have to tell you ..." - He was close enough now. Shen drew his katana faster then ever before and deeply sheated it in the throat of the noxian general. His last words were only a whisper - " ... that Noxus will fall."
Kennen immediately came out of his cover and threw throwing knives at any guards near him. Akali also launched herself at the bodyguards, but the alarm was raised. The helpless soldiers were paralized from what they just saw, and fell quickly before the ninjas. The screams were soon followed by the ringing of a bell as the alarm spread further, probably from the kitchen too.
"Quickly, out through the windows!" - yelled Shen as he started breaking the glass in the offices windows.
All three picked a window for themselves and steadied the hook on the widnowsill. Then they grappled down for as long as the ropes allowed.
"Allright, we're climbing from here!" - yelled Shen.
Hands let go of the ropes and looked for sticking out bricks and ledges as they descended further. In spite of almost falling several times in the end they made it safely to the ground. They arrived at a little farther point of the same little backyard. They were in luck. The nearest town gate to the North was in sight's distance and the guards were alarmed to the castle. Pretending as they were part of the disoriented and scared crowd, they managed to reach the town gate in the chaos.
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