“Ugh, I hate it when you give me those puppy dog eyes, you know that?”
“Yes, I know. That’s why I do it. But I know you love me for it.”
“That I do.”
“Now please simile this time!”
I hold the phone above our heads as I rest my head next to Connor’s. I put on a cute smile as I flip the camera to FaceTime while Connor puts on one of his cute small grins which he used in almost all of the thirty pictures I took of him that day.
It was a beautiful fall afternoon. We lay in the soft green grass; the clouds above our heads were white, large, and puffy. The air smelled of timber wood that Terry and Godfrey were cutting nearby and the fresh bread Prudence was making in her oven outside. Birds call out to one another in the threes above. For this one moment, everything is perfect.
But then my thoughts travel back to the situation at hand…
It has been a few weeks since Connor and I were at Bunker Hill. I told Connor everything about the woman and my choice and the things I saw. But he still has the scar on his stomach as a cold reminder of that night. Now the Templars think Connor dead. But not for long…
Our enemy is tenacious. When money failed them, they took force. But Connor and I have slain Johnson and Pitcairn both, ending their plots. George Washington now rallies the colonists and their march towards freedom begins in earnest. Little wonder then, the Templars want him dead. They seek to shape this land into something cold and ordered. Something soulless. And he is an obstacle. We must save him, that his cause may flourish and Connor’s people remain safe. But the more we prod, the greater chance we are discovered. The Templars believe their men lost to the revolution. In their eyes, the Assassins are gone and scattered- no longer a threat. But I fear they will soon discover the truth and us along with it. We must tread carefully…
“What are you kidding me?” I exclaim. “That’s not even a smile!”
“Yes it is!” Conns says in protest.
“Not in my book!”
Connor rolls over a bit so he is propped up on one shoulder looking down at me. “Then what is in your book?”
“Well,” I begin. “A lot of things, actually. Like, for one thing how to properly smile, my favorite foods, what I like to do, what I miss, oh, and-“
Connor leans down and presses a soft lingering kiss to my lips. I smile against his mouth as I bring my hand to the back of his neck. It was in moments like these, that I was thrilled to be dumped here.
“That was a really nice way of telling me to shut up,” I said a bit breathless after Connor pulls away.
Connor softly chuckled before getting to his feet as he pulls me up effortless with him. “No, I think it is that and I just like to kiss you,” he says grinning at me.
I feel my cheeks flush a red and smile creep into my lips.
We walk back into the manor to be greeted by Desmond, our large gray Great Dane. He wags his tail as he pants happily.
“Hey, boy,” I say leaning down patting his head. “Where’s Achilles?” I know he doesn’t understand me, but I still ask.
“He is downstairs,” Connor says.
I straighten as I turn on my Eagle Vision. Sure enough, he did show traces of walking towards the secret entrance from what we can see.
After patting Desmond’s head one more time, I take Connor’s hand and lead him down the hallway towards the candelabra. I pull it and Connor pushes the door open for me.
We walk down the old creaky wooden stairs and into the training room. Achilles is standing in the center before one of those weird things that tailors use to put their clothes on display. On it, is a very old- looking Assassin’s Robes.
“Remembering old times, Achilles?” I ask.
Achilles turns to face us. “Riley, Connor. Oh, yes I suppose I was,” he chuckles softly.
“Who was the Assassin this belonged to?” Connor asks.
“Originally,” Achilles begins. “It was John De La Tour’s. The first Assassin in the colonies. Then it was mine for a time. The things I’ve done wearing this armor… some are uplifting to recall, others- very painful indeed. One day I will hand it over to you two, Riley and Connor. It is your duty to keep it. it serves as a reminder for how long our Brotherhood has really been here. How long we’ve been protecting the people of this land. But here I am, going on again. I know you tow appreciate what it is.”
We both nod before Connor strolls over to the wall of portraits studying them as he crosses his arms over his wide broad chest. John Pitcairn and William Johnson’s portraits are crossed out in white chalk and their plans smudged away. We know not who our next target is. Well, I do, I just don’t want to spoil the surprise. Or the events following his death.
I join Connor in front of the wall as I study the Templars. My mind runs through their stories, their personalities, their lives, how Connor and I will kill them.
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Riley Anderson and I am an Assassin. I was from your time era until the Apple sent me back to the 18th century in search of someone. And I think I found him. Connor, the only person who can tolerate me for more than a week. Before all of this, I lived in Texas in a hidden bunker in the forest with my parents. Since I was five, I have been having these dreams about the past; about this time era in particular. I know everything so well, and had theses dreams over and over so many times, that I began to draw these scenes and the people. Even to this day, I have them. But only one that will happen, not anything that I have already witnessed and took part in. On the day the world ended, just before I was transported, the Templars found us. They murdered my mother and father before my very eyes. It hurts to even think about it. But that was my story. I’d like to put it behind me.
“How fares the hunt, you two?” Achilles asks out of the silence joining us by the portraits and breaking me out of my silent thought.
“There is progress,” Connor begins. “But I worry it is not enough.”
“You must strike where you’re needed most,” Achilles says. “What if you two pursued Charles Lee and your father, Connor? What then of Paul Revere? And the solider at Lexington?”
“Soldiers?” I repeat. “There were no soldiers in those towns - only men and women who were forced to defend themselves.”
“Is this not why you two fight?” Achilles questions. “To protect your people? Your struggle is the colonist's struggle. In helping one, you help the other.” Achilles then turns to leave the basement. This will probably be one of my most favorite memories and always will be.
Connor’s face suddenly grows annoyed as he calls out to Achilles. “Encouraging words from one who thought mine a fool's errand.”
Achilles laughs out loud as he stops in his few steps up the stairs. “Make no mistake - I still do. But I can't help but feel some pride in your success.”
I see Connor’s face scrunch into a pissed off frown before he speaks. “And why should I give you any credit?”
Achilles face falls slightly as he says, “Then don't. But first, return the robe. And the blades. And the darts. And all of the years of training and knowledge I have bestowed upon you. Return these and then your words may have some merit.” Achilles continues up the stairs leaving a pissed off Connor and a hysterically laughing Riley behind.
Connor rolls his eyes as he mumbles something to himself.
“He does have a point,” I add as I follow Achilles upstairs and into the kitchen.
“Do not start with me!” Connor calls after me while charging up the stairs. He looks to the left. , then to the right into the kitchen and sees us. “Or you could just admit that you were wrong,” Connor snarls at Achilles.
Achilles picks up the tray of tea he was making and carries it into the dining room. “Oh child, please. You've killed two men - one more salesmen than soldier…” I follow Achilles into the dining room trying to keep my giggling quiet.
“Is it always like this?” Ben leans over and asks me.
“Most of the time,” I say as I take a sip of my tea as I sand beside him.
“…you're gonna have to try a lot harder than that to impress me.” Achilles finishes.
“Is that so, old man?” Connor leaves the kitchen raising his voice slightly. I silently mouth his words while he speaks causing Ben to grin. “Or perhaps we should step outside? I will gladly demonstrate how easily I could trounce y-” Connor’s words slow down as he sees me, Achilles, and Ben standing in the dining room drinking tea. He glances at me and I bite back a laugh while I smile winking at Connor over my tea.
I catch Achilles trying not to laugh keeping his head down, eyes under his hat as he speaks. “Connor, this is Benjamin Tallmadge. His father was one of us, no need for secrecy. I think he has something he wants to say.”
Connor’s face has flushed red by now.
Benjamin is a bit on the short side, had a young kind face. He wears a long purple coat and one of those funny things that are white and either puff out or are hanging out in the front of the coat.
Ben looks to me, and then to Connor before he says, “Achilles tells me you two have discovered a plot to murder the Commander in Chief.”
“Yes,” Connor says, his head bent down out of embarrassment. “But we have only false starts and dead ends to show for it.”
Ben sets down his tea before saying, “Not anymore, my friends.” He walks up to me and as he speaks, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Thomas Hickey’s your man- and I aim to help you two catch him.”
“How?” I ask already knowing his answer.
“I’ll explain on the way,” he replies. “The three of us are going to New York.”
I wave a bye to Achilles as Ben leads me and Connor out the door.
We leave the frontier quickly and make it to New York in a few hours.
For once, I get my own horse as Connor, Ben, and I ride into the busy streets of New York.
“So what is your stake in all this?” Connor asks Ben as we ride.
“Same as yours,” Ben replies. “Peace. Stability. A land in which all might live side by side - free and equal.”
“Why not join the Brotherhood, then?” Connor persists.
“My father was an Assassin,” Ben begins. “Quite good at his job, too, as I understand it. But... I hope to have children someday. It's hard to live in two worlds at the same time. So I choose to live in one.”
“I understand,” Connor says.
“I still contribute as I can. It's why we're here now.”
“What can you tell me of Thomas Hickey?” I ask after a few minutes of silence.
“He has been running a counterfeiting ring in the city,” Ben replies. “Locate the source of his operation, and we can have him arrested. He cannot harm the Commander if he is in prison.”
“Do you know where he is?” Connor asks. People seem to give us weird and annoyed looks as we pass by. Odd…
“Not exactly,” Ben admits. “But I have an idea where we can begin the search.”
We ride for a little while longer, until we come into the New York market.
Dismounting our horses, Connor and I follow Ben as he speaks. “There are rumors of bad bills circulated here. No doubt they come from Thomas.”
We suddenly come across a man yelling at a counterfeiter.
“What are you up to?” The merchant asks him. “This isn't money! It's colored paper. You've cheated me for the last time! GUARDS!”
The counterfeiter quickly runs off before anyone else notices.
“We need to tail him,” I tug on Connor’s arm.
“I was thinking the same,” Connor says. He then walks off expecting me to follow.
“Thanks for your help, Ben. It was much appreciated.” I say to Ben giving him a small smile before going after Connor.
Connor and I stay a good twenty feet away from him. We easily blend into the small groups of people around. Then, a Patriot soldier is coming at him in an empty alleyway. We watch while hidden behind a building.
The counterfeiter beats up the rebel before he can call reinforcements. Then, he continues on his way.
We follow him into a small series of buildings and he is constantly looking over his shoulder or stopping and turning around as if he knows we’re here.
Finally, we make it to a quiet part of the buildings where the counterfeiter speaks with one of his buddies. “Oi, Daniel - best put them bills away. The guards is on to us.”
“How?” Daniel asks. “What happened?”
“Damn shopkeep called me out!” the counterfeiter snarls. “Brought the guards, but I gave them the slip.”
“Boss is gonna be mad,” Daniel warns.
“Not so mad as if I'd gotten caught. ’Sides, we've got most everything we need for the job, anyway.”
“Best go tell him. I'll warn the others.” Daniel then runs off in the opposite direction of his friend who we continued to follow.
Connor and I continue to follow the first counterfeiter who hides in a well to avoid some Patriot soldiers who pass by. He leads us right to the base. On the way, we hear another conversation.
“I heard what happened at the market.” A second man says to the first. “Boss wants everyone back at the shop. Says we strike tonight.”
“He worried about that business with the guards?” the first counterfeiter asks. “I'm telling you it's nothing. Haven't had a spot of trouble since I slipped away. Course, I'm takin' care to keep my distance.”
“Can’t believe we’re really gonna do this,” the second man mutters.
“We'll be heroes. The ones who ended all this talk of revolution. They'll set us up like kings, they will.”
“Hmph!” the second man huff and then scoffs, “Revolution. Bunch a' trouble makers lookin' to upset the apple-cart cos some fool filled their heads with rubbish. Ruinin' it for the rest of us good folk.”
“Good folk? Really” the first counterfeiter chuckles.
“Of course! You and me and Hickey? Just some hard-luck lads tryin' to survive in this cold, cruel world.”
The two men part ways as Connor gets up to follow. I stop him.
“What are you doing?” Connor asks me. “We need to follow them.”
I get to my feet. “No need. I know the way from here. Come along.”
I lead Connor to the base in minutes. It looks like just another white door form the outside against all of the other ones that surround the area. I motion for Connor to stand back as I take a running start. Then, using my shoulder, I break down the door. I hear a grunt from the other side, from the man Connor and I had been following. There are also several other counterfeiters in the room that I see when I break down the door.
Unfortunately, I used my left shoulder because I am left-handed. And the stupid arrow wound fromm the battle at Lexington and Conord still hasn’t completely healed so it hurt like a b*tch so badly, I want to cry.
“Wot's this?” Hickey asks me looking up from the table. He is wearing a blue coat with yellow ends like the red ones on my robes and a silly-looking hat.
“Ooh, Thomas, you did not age well,” I say giggling as I put my hands on my hips. “And still got that silly accent I see.”
“Who are you?” Thomas asks looking nervous.
“Hmm…” I pause for a moment looking up at the ceiling. “Let’s try… your worst nightmare.” I look him straight in the eye with my evil smirk as I unsheathe my hidden blades.
Thomas chuckles nervously. “Ain't s'pposed to be none of your kind left.” He steps closer to me along with his fellow Templars.
I simply shrug. “Well, I’m still here, and so is my friend back there.” I nod my head back to Connor who has now followed my lead and unsheathed his hidden blades as well. “If I were you, I would start running.”
“Suppose you’re right. Get them!” Hickey turns over his table after he snags a large bag of money and runs out a back door and off into the busy streets.
Connor and I jump into action slicing away the Templars to break our way through the small room and out into the busy streets of New York.
We suddenly find Hickey being grabbed by a group of Continental soldiers. Then they see us.
“There’s some more! Grab ‘em!” a soldier yells pointing at us.
Thomas suddenly head butts the soldier holding him and takes off down the road.
Connor and I quickly shove aside the soldiers to follow him.
“Connor, keep running and try not to shove anyone this time,” I call out to Connor as we run. “I’m taking to the rooftops to get a better view.’
He nods to me before I jump on top of a food cart, then to a box a man was carrying over his shoulder, then to the white frame of a window. I climb up quickly and begin to jump from building to building keeping an eye out for both Hickey and Connor.
“Down, or you’ll bleed!”
I look to my left as I stop in my tracks and see a redcoat soldier aiming his musket at me from the other roof. Below me, Hickey is about to round the corner of the building where the soldier is standing.
Suddenly, I get a crazy stupid idea in my head. I begin to run full speed towards the soldier. He fires the musket and I easily side step the bullet and keep running. The soldier begins to panic as I come closer and he backs up into the short wooden gate behind him.
It happened in slow motion practically. I use all of my strength to shove the solder and I backwards as I bury my hidden blade into his neck when the wooden gate breaks and we begin to fall off the side of the building. Wood shards surround us as we fall and just as I planned, we land right on top of Hickey.
The impact of the landing sends a painful jolt through my body. I become shaky and weak as I slowly get to my feet and back into a wall.
Connor looks at me and looks very breathless and tired. “Good work.” He says to me.
I give him a small nod still in my confused blurry daze as I slide to the ground.
Connor tosses aside the dead redcoat and picks up the struggling Hickey and pins him to the wall near where I sit. “Be still.” Connor snarls. “You will do no harm.”
“You’re a right fool,” Thomas spat. “Meddlin' in affairs you know nuttin' about.”
“Connor,” I quietly say trying to gather my strength to tell him about the guards coming to arrest them any minute now.
“Not now, Riley,” Connor says to me sounding annoyed. He then turns his attention to Hickey again. “Washington's the only thing keeping the Continental Army together. You kill him - and you end all hope for freedom.”
“Wrong, boy-o,” Thomas scoffs. “Wit 'im gone, they'd have no choice but to promote Lee. And then-”
Then the soldiers are upon them. One grabs Connor and Thomas.
“You are both under arrest.”
Thomas laughs nervously as he says, “well, we were just havin' a scrap, officer! Ain't nuttin' wrong with two men settlin' their differences the ol' fashi'n way. Can't we come to-”
“Quiet!” Connor yells at Hickey causing the soldiers and Thomas to jump a bit. “What are the charges?” Connor asks the soldier holding him.
“Counterfeiting,” another soldier replies holding the bag of money Hickey was carrying.
“I had nothing to do with that,” Connor says angrily in protest.
“Course not,” the soldier says sarcastically.
“Listen,” Connor says quickly. “Listen - there are more important things at stake here. This man is planning to-”
I wince as I see a soldier hit Connor unconscious.
Suddenly, I snap out of my painful daze. They mess with my Connor, things will not be pretty for them. Thankfully, I’m still unnoticed by the guards as they begin to drag Connor away. I must look like a homeless drunkard laying there nodding my head keeping my hood over my eyes.
I wait for a moment so they’re all ahead of me and I have the advantage. Pulling out my gun, I aim at the nearest guard.
Then, there’s a painful throbbing in the back of my head, then everything goes black.
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Livebook Title:Revolution (Book 2 in the Rise Trilogy)