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Witch Hunter [Story] [Ongoing] Updated 11/10


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I'll be trying to update this as frequently as possible! And because I'm an attention whore, the more feedback I get, the faster I'll write! I mean hardcore feedback, too! Brutally honest feedback! You're not doing it right unless I'm crying! 



Here we are, under the same old sun…


The morning light flooded the room at the Hourglass as the sound of guests awakening echoed through the corridor. The streets below were coming to life with street merchants preparing their wares for sale, while Ryoko sat at the breakfast nook, examining the colors available in her cigar box full of crayons. Today she was sketching the fountain at the center of the Ruby Road, of which she had an excellent view from her window. The rays of the sun had not yet crested the towering walls of Ul’dah, leaving the plaza draped in shadow. Ryoko was left to guess which color the water would be once the sun hit it. After much deliberation, Raptor Blue was the chosen crayon.


Ryoko had made a daily ritual of spending the morning hours coloring pictures while she waited for the day’s activities to begin. Ul’dah had been deemed too dangerous for her to be wandering around unattended, and Mishka had a habit of sleeping until the heat of the midday sun made the room uninhabitable. Today, however, Mishka was conspicuously absent from their inn room, and had been since Ryoko had woken up almost two hours ago. This was unusual, but not unheard of. Despite Ryoko’s protestations, Mishka would disappear from time to time, sometimes for days. What she was doing, Ryoko had no idea, but she was sure it was nothing good.


As if summoned by the mere thought of her, Mishka suddenly kicked the door open and unceremoniously strode into the inn room. She tossed an unmarked brown sack onto the bed and moved to Ryoko’s side, hiking a leg up on one of the chairs.


“What’re you doin’, brat? Why are you still sittin’ around in your underwear?” she



“I’m coloring, like I do every morning! Shouldn’t you be sleeping off a hangover or something?”



Mishka titled her head back to look at the ceiling, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath through her nose. She looked back down at Ryoko. “I told you to be dressed and ready to go by the time I got back!”



“You said no such thing! I haven’t even seen you today!” Ryoko shot back,pointing a crayon at Mishka accusingly. “Not that I’m not used to being abandoned here.”



“Whatever,you were probably asleep,” replied Mishka, waving her sibling off. “Just get some clothes on and get your shit together fast. We’ve got a meeting at the coliseum at the top of the hour.”



Ryoko shook her head and began putting her crayons away. Having secured them all, she stood from the table and walked over to the wardrobe. A meeting in an area like the coliseum meant that they’d likely be discussing more secretive matters, so she’d want a casual outfit that wouldn’t draw attention. While it seemed counter intuitive to hold covert meetings in such a crowded area, the noise meant that nobody more than a few fulms away could hear them, and the events kept wandering eyes away from the exchange.


Now clothed in a knee-length skirt and a black silk tunic, as was the fashion for young women in Ul’dah, Ryoko slipped into her sandals and tucked the steel knife from atop her nightstand into her sash. As the final touch, she took a silver ribbon from the drawer and tied it into a bow, securing her hair into a loose ponytail. Across the room, Mishka was loading a ball into her pistol, which she proceeded to hide within her right boot. She then opened the door, and beckoned Ryoko to follow her out.



Arriving at the coliseum, Mishka scanned the audience for their contact. The morning practice matches didn’t draw quite the crowd that the nightly contests did, but it would suffice. As the only man in Ul’dah who’s skin wasn’t browned by the oppressive desert sun, their contact would be quite easy to spot among the locals. Without too much effort, Mishka picked him out of the crowd. She took Mishka by the hand and dragged her off toward him.


Edgar Blake spotted his agents almost as soon as they set foot in the stands. As the two half-breeds forced their way through the crowd, he couldn’t help but enjoy the exposed cleavage and athletic figure of the elder sister. Were she not so unrefined, he mused, she might have made an excellent wife. Although, the younger one shows promise… He let out a short and restrained laugh as he dismissed the thought from his mind. Even if Mishka weren’t the uncultured scoundrel she was, he would never risk his flawless reputation in pursuing a half-breed, regardless of her family’s stature. And one born out of wedlock, at that. The rumors about the Stormsong clan had not escaped Sir Edgar’s ears.


“Edgar!” Mishka nearly shouted as she came face to face with the man. “I understand you have something for us today!” Mishka stood confidently before the midlander, hands on her hips, while Ryoko waited quietly behind her. “More gil, I hope? Seems I just ran out of our last allowance this morning,” she said with a smirk.


“But of course, far be it from me to slow your rampant expenses,” Edgar responded with a sarcastic smile. He hefted a bag of golden coins into Mishka’s outstretched hand. Mishka’s eyes grew wide with disbelief upon feeling the weight of the sack.


“Bit heavy this month, eh?” she inquired.


“Yes,well it’s not all for you,” he said judgmentally. “You’re going to need to pay somebody off tonight. One of our men inside the Brass Blades has offered up some very valuable information. Goes by the call sign Red Viper. He’ll know you ask Frostwolf.”



“What’s he wanting?”



“10,000 gil and an emergency extraction out of Thanalan if the operation goes south. But that’s not going to happen, now is it?”



“10,000?" exclaimed Mishka, “That’s gotta be more of the bag!”



Edgar stared blankly at Mishka in disbelief. “Your allowances would last a lot longer if you’d stay out of the local drug trade!” Mishka suddenly looked shocked. “You really didn’t think we’d find out? We see everything. Now listen to me. Be in the alley behind the Quicksand just after nightfall tonight. Don’t look for Red Viper, he’ll come to you.”



Ryoko nodded in confirmation at Edgar, while Mishka was largely ignoring him and trying to get a count of the coin in her hand. Done with Mishka, Edgar leaned down close to Ryoko and continued his instructions to her.


“The Church has also seen fit to pay for new equipment for all agents currently in the field. As we speak, new furniture is being delivered to your room. Inside this furniture you will find your new armory, which should be a dramatic improvement over what you currently possess. I’m told the armor is made of synthetic materials of Garlean origin. They just recently became available in Eorzea, and the Holy See has paid more gil than you can imagine for access to them. I shouldn’t have to tell you to exercise the utmost care in their use.” Edgar turned his head to look over his shoulder at Mishka, still counting out gil one coin at a time. “Her, on the other hand… Anyway,you be a good girl and remember what I’ve told you. Halone knows she won’t.” 



To be continued. 

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Edgar patted Ryoko on the head and walked past her, disappearing into the crowd. Mishka dumped the coins from her hand back into the pouch and approached Ryoko, shoving it into her chest.


“Count out 10,000 of these when we get back to the inn, and put them in a separate bag.”


“Seriously? That’ll take forever!” protested Ryoko.


“Being an apprentice means you get to do all of the shitty jobs. You think I didn’t go through the same thing?”


“It must have been so hard, screwing the Knight Commander for promotions,” Ryoko countered, sarcastically.


Mishka simply shook her head in frustration. Grabbing Ryoko by her ponytail, she marched toward the entryway of the coliseum, ignoring the pleas of the girl being dragged behind her.



Back at the inn, Ryoko set about counting out 10,000 gil while Mishka perused their new selection of arms and armor. Their new wardrobe included full-body suits, black as night and weaved from a synthetic Garlean fiber. They were padded with a flexible but resilient material which Mishka had never seen before. Under the pile of clothing was a dossier which, upon inspection, contained sketches and diagrams detailing the use of the various Magitek devices included in the delivery, all meticulously translated into the Ishgardian holy script. Mishka attempted to read them aloud.


“Obdow…uh… ah-oo reh… reh… Gods dammit!” Mishka became irritated and chucked the manual at Ryoko. “Read this when you’re done counting.” Mishka returned to rummaging through the drawers. “I don’t see how you can make sense of that shit.”


“Maybe if you’d practice more? It’s kind of important to be able to read these things…”


“Hey, I’ve been hunting witches for years and never once needed to read anything! Everything in those dossiers are basically suggestions anyway,” Mishka explained, shrugging.


“That’s probably how you ended up in prison, don’t you think?” inquired Ryoko, snidely.


Gridanian prison. It was practically a vacation, and I left as soon as I felt like it. Those tree-huggers couldn’t stop a blind and crippled man from escaping…”


Ryoko skimmed the pages of the report, making note of the sections on optics and weaponry. On the last page were a set of vague instructions phrased in the form of some unusual questions. With some effort, Ryoko read them off and pondered their purpose. She looked up from the dossier in time to see Mishka pull long and elegant dress from the drawer.


“Ah crap, they want me to wear this for something, don’t they?” asked Mishka. Ryoko looked down again and flipped through the dossier, landing on a note bearing the seal of House Fortemps.


“It says we’re supposed to have dinner with a trade prince in three days time. Apparently we’re escorting Emissary Rondelet.”


Ryoko watched Mishka tossing various garments from the dresser, each one as lavish and expensive as the last.


“More diplomatic work… how do I always get pulled into this nonsense?” complained Mishka. Ryoko stared blankly at the clothes.


“Why do they do this, Mishka?”


“Do what?”


“The fancy clothes, the dinners, the bribes… Ishgard can’t afford these things! People are starving!”


Mishka seemed unconcerned. “Just keeping up appearances, I guess.”


“But…maybe if the other nations knew how poor our people are, they’d want to help!”


“Ryoko,the Church is full of stuffy old men who will do anything to protect their pride. They’d shit a brick at the mere thought of Ishgard accepting charity. Besides, Ul’dah is the last place you’d ever look for it. Poverty is the fuel that keeps this place running. If they found out how desperate we are, they wouldn’t think twice about taking advantage of it. If we want anything out of them, we have to appear strong and in control.”


Ryoko stared at the floor for a moment, reflecting on the conversation. She sullenly returned to counting coins.

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