Chapter Three: Bits and Pieces
Being forced to run into the area of trees, they found that it proved itself to be much larger than they expected. That was good and bad. It was good because they had more space to hide. It was bad because they had a worse chance of getting out alive.
Hearing footsteps behind them, Ivy and Anomaly climbed up a tree to hide.
“I hate you,” Ivy muttered, glaring as she climbed on to a branch she could balance herself on.
“Quiet,” Anomaly snapped. She hated being so rude to someone quite as scary as Ivy, but she didn't have much of a choice. By the look on Ivy's face, she was clearly displeased about being told what to do, but shut up anyway.
The man who had tried to blow them up ran by, and stopped under the tree they were hiding in. Casting a quick yet nervous glance at each other, Anomaly and Ivy tried their best to be absolutely silent. With him almost directly beneath them, they could get a better look at the man. He was tall, with shaggy black hair that hung long and messy at his shoulders. His chin was covered in stubble, and he looked dirty, like he hadn't bathed for days. It was a bit gross. On his back, his bow was strapped on next to a pouch of arrows. From his pocket he withdrew a crumpled piece of paper.
Reading from it, he said, “Ivy Animosity and Anomaly Despair, you are under arrest for the murder of Cimmerian Cantrip by the authority of the Ascendancy. You have five minutes to turn yourselves in. After that, you're on the death sentence. Oh, and don't bother trying to lie by saying you didn't commit the crime. Your time starts now.”
Anomaly turned to stare at Ivy and mouthed the words, “You killed Cimmerian Cantrip?”
Ivy shook her head, and silently mouthed back, “I didn't kill him. Why would you suspect me for doing that?” She paused for a moment. “Never mind.”
“You're absolutely positive you didn't kill him?”
“I didn't kill him!” Ivy whispered, exasperated. Anomaly shook her head at Ivy for blowing their cover. The man below them looked up, put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a picture, examined it, put the picture away, and got his bow ready to fire.
Ivy frowned. “Wait, did you just pull out a picture of us to make sure you had the right people?”
“Yes,” the man answered.
“Oh my God, that's creepy. How did you even get that picture? Is there some secret stalker following us around? We just met each other yesterday, and already you have a stalker photo of us. I am thoroughly concerned.”
“You,” he said, “are an interesting little girl.”
Before Ivy could go into the angry rant that Anomaly knew would come, she interrupted, “You said the Ascendancy sent you?”
“And who exactly sent you after us?”
Anomaly stopped talking. “Oh, hell.”
“I'm afraid I have to cut this conversation short,” he said, and prepared his bow to fire.
“Move!” Anomaly shouted to Ivy, and they both leaped out of the tree as one of the explosive arrows – which clearly reacted much faster than the one earlier – detonated where they had been sitting only moments before. Losing time due to the fact that they both had to scramble to their feet after the fall, Anomaly and Ivy took off running again.
Ivy stopped suddenly. Anomaly whirled around. “Come on!”
“I may not have murdered Centurion Catnip or whatever,” Ivy said, “but that doesn't mean I can't kill him.”
“Don't!” Anomaly shouted. “You don't have to!”
But it was too late. Running back towards the man, Ivy lunged at him, yanked one of his arrows free and stabbed it through his heart. Sprinting back towards Anomaly, she caught up with her and leaped into a bush to avoid the bloody pieces of flesh that exploded from where the man had been standing. Once it had finished raining down bits and pieces of him, Ivy stepped out from where she was to see Anomaly glaring at her with such anger it was almost scary.
“You didn't have to kill him!” Anomaly shouted, seething with anger.
“He was going to kill us,” Ivy snapped. “And I for one don't appreciate that prospect.”
“He wasn't going to be able to kill us and you know it! You knew that even if he had really been trying, he wouldn't have done it! You knew that killing him in such a brutal way was unnecessary! And then you did it anyway!”
Ivy didn't say anything for a moment. “I don't care what you think about that,” she practically growled. “In my mind, it was necessary. I see things differently than you. And you don't have the right to say that you see everything the right way. Being right, in our current manner of speaking, is a matter of opinion. And in my opinion, I made the correct choice.”
Neither of them said anything. They fell into an eerie silence. After what seemed like forever, Anomaly said, “Let's go. We shouldn't stay near murder scenes. Particularly ones where there's bits and pieces scattered everywhere.”
Ivy and Anomaly walked back out the way they had come in silence. Anomaly wandered around where they were. She had teleported them to the first place she thought of, and was trying to figure out where the were, just for the hell of it. Bored, Ivy sat in the grass, not really caring much that it was soaking wet.
“I think we're somewhere in Seattle,” Anomaly said, coming back towards Ivy. “Although, I could be completely wrong, so don't trust that assumption.”
“Wasn't planning on it,” Ivy muttered, inspecting a blade of grass. She tossed the grass aside and looked up. “So, who's this Centurion Catnip or whatever we're being accused of murdering?”
“Cimmerian Cantrip,” Anomaly corrected. “He's one of the oldest sorcerers around, and legend says he actually discovered magic. Whether or not that's true, he was definitely very old and extremely powerful. He could stop either of us pretty easily, and that's saying something.”
“So Catnip was legendary?” Ivy asked. “Damn it. That would've been cool if we had killed him. Then I could be like, 'Oh, I killed a legendary guy' to everyone, and then I'd be even scarier, and...” She trailed off. “Stop giving me the disapproving look.”
“Stop giving me the psychotic teenager look.”
Ivy laughed. “Anyway, you seemed pretty shocked when he told you who was behind all this. Who was that? Saturn Rose or something like that?”
“You're good with remembering details, but my God, you are terrible names. Saturnine Morose. She's... She hates me. A lot. And she must hate you, too, if she's blaming you for this.”
“I can't imagine why anyone would hate me, though. I'm too awesome to hate. I can't remember meeting her, but as you pointed out, I'm rubbish with names. What's she look like?”
“Kind of brownish-red hair, green eyes, gives off the radiance that screams crazy... Pretends to be friendly, but is very unsettling. Ringing any bells?”
Ivy thought for a moment. “Oh! Her. Yeah, I think she hired me to kill a few people. I didn't pay attention to her name because I was thinking about how much I wanted some cookies. Because, really, you just can't beat cookies. Come to think of it, that's why I was out yesterday. Not for cookies, though. To kill those people. That's when I met you.” She frowned. “You know, it's almost as if she-”
“Almost as if she planned it,” Anomaly finished. “Which means that she wanted us to meet.”
“But why? I don't like you.”
“You're so kind.”
“What's the Ascendancy?” Ivy asked. “They were mentioned. In the way that it was used, it seemed to be some fancy government authority thing I have a tendency not to like. Saturnine Morose works for them, right? At least, that's what I could gather with what happened in that conversation. So what is it?”
“I am amazed you remembered all that. Congratulations. The Ascendancy,” Anomaly continued, “is kind of like the cops of the magical world. They elect leaders, enforce officers, hire rubbish detectives... All the usual boring operations of an organization. And yes, Saturnine does appear to work for them now. Which I personally didn't expect to ever happen in a million years, but apparently, I was wrong.”
“How very interesting,” Ivy said nonchalantly as she stood up. She frowned. “Wait a second... If that guy was meant to kill us, and Saturnine Morose wanted us dead so badly she sent some guy to blow us up in broad daylight, don't you think she'll send someone else? I haven't really met her, but from what I know of her, she seems like the crazy type of person. Am I right?”
“You are,” Anomaly agreed. “But I doubt she'll be able to know immediately.”
“She might have spies watching us,” Ivy suggested.
Anomaly shrugged. “That's true, but don't you think they already would have-” She glanced behind her and looked at Ivy. “Do you hear that?”
She listened. “That.”
Ivy growled. “I hate when people do that, they ask if you hear something and then you ask, and they don't even give a bloody answer...”
“Hey, now, shut up.” Ivy was about to shout something back, but Anomaly shushed her. They heard a few faint noises from behind them that sounded vaguely like clicking. They glanced at each other, and Anomaly started to move off towards the noise, leaving Ivy standing there.
“You coming?” Anomaly asked, stopping, and turned to look at Ivy.
“Why should I?” Ivy responded. “I don't go into someone else's mess. And being hunted down is certainly your mess. You knew Saturnine, after all. That means she's trying to get you.”
“And you, now,” Anomaly reminded her. “Listen, Ivy, this isn't my fault here. Now, I don't know what Saturnine has against you, but it must be something if she wanted to get us together to kills us.”
“But doesn't that mean I should stay away from you, then?”
“Of course not. Saturnine thinks she's going to kill us easily, but we both know that's not going to happen. So why not make it harder by fighting back? It'll be fun, like one of those adventure movies or something. Completely ridiculous, yet oddly entertaining.”
“What if I don't want to go on an adventure?”
“I could always just arrest you on the spot.”
“Hand cuffs are pathetic.”
“Not the ones that make you unable to do magic.”
Ivy shrugged. “I guess adventures might be fun.”
Anomaly grinned. “Cool. Now then, let's see what's making that obnoxious noise.”