When the truth became tangible, Hymir knew that he was destined to be wrong. He could have tried harder, he could have done more, he could have lost himself in what should have been his life. But that would simply take too much time, and he was borrowing too much already.
The sun was blazing on his back, turning his thick coat into a furnace. Boiling. Like curling up next to Felix, except it was everywhere, and Felix would turn his skin off whenever his brothers asked. This heat was not kind. It was what Hymir imagined the fake sun felt like for the twins. The two of them were strong. Each step felt like death.
It was the type of heat that embedded itself into clothes and skin, sticking to hair, creeping through the mouth and burning any moisture left to keep things alive. The sizzling sounds of getting baked alive attacked his ears and followed him with each step he took to the hopeful shade of the palace. It might be a mirage. The map was practically scorched into his hands. His hair swayed with each sauntering step, fine golden clumps sneaking out of their prison and sticking themselves to his forehead. It was a crisp twenty-three degrees, and Hymir was going to pass out during his first mission in Greece.
Despite almost dying, there was nothing on his person he was going to take off. His shoes protected his feet from the harsh rocky ground. His pants prevent bug bites. His shirt was a type fabric designed to compress, and he needed that bit of familiarity right now. Keeping the tome coat in this heat was dreadful but a necessity. The knife tucked in his pants kept poking him, and the coat was just tight enough that his tail ached. His spear was getting heavier with each step, his hands slowly getting too sweaty to keep holding onto the weapon and map. But the worst part of his ensemble was that cursed bonnet-babushka-bandana thing Peter had designed to keep his ears out of sight from humans. Beyond itchy. And it wasn’t like Hymir could scratch it, because the itch was under the fabric, under his hair; and to scratch would be to waste precious energy.
All he wanted was to go back to his room with the twins’ lives dependent on whatever Levin deemed success while raiding. Because raiding was simple. And cold. And it didn’t matter that Levin was awful and over three times Hymir’s age. Hymir was good at raiding. Protecting people was easier when the results were the result of something you’re good at. Screw assassinations.
The palace was like a blimp on the horizon. It loomed over Hymir with a blink, the shade on the wrong side. The sun kept beating on his back. He wasn’t hired to complain. He was hired by Levin to assassinate the King of Greece. So that’s what he was going to do.
No guards. Luck intertwined with heat. He could taste his spit. He could always taste his spit. This was done unconsciously, an accident that kept happening because he was a fool to acknowledge it once. Luck was on his side. Yeah, right. It was luck that he was here, jabbing a spear and a knife into a tan wall that blended in with the tan dirt, countries away from a pathetic home, a sentence hanging over his head where being here was the only way out.
He didn’t want to be here, and he didn’t want to not be here.
Third floor. A fall from here would suck. Did he have a spell for broken bones? Where was the next shift of guards? How had he not been spotted? Unless they were watching him flounder up the wall, barely able to perch himself on his spear shaft, struggling to open a window, struggling not to laugh in their short uniforms safely from the ground?
A window. A beautiful window, slightly less beautiful with his sweaty reflection, but a window all the same. His brain registered it long after his fingers tried to break through the locks. Which of course didn’t work since locks were not meant to get broken. Except for fake locks, which were. These were not fake locks, obviously, because they weren’t opening, and Hymir just wanted to sit down and maybe eat something. Oh, food. Beyond divine.
Everything felt all over the place, like his brain was designed to keep nothing in order. Hymir took the hilt of his knife and smashed the window open. He could take anyone in the room in a fight if it came down to it. It wasn’t like he could see people through the window. Too bright. Everything was too bright.
No matter what skills Levin tried to drill into him, the fall from the windowsill was not graceful. It was like a fledgling overstaying its welcome at the nest, limbs flaying as it tried to gain control over its body in order to not die. The bird at least had some time before possibly meeting the floor. Hymir fell onto a rug. He was lucky his face didn’t end up on his knife. That would have made him laugh. A dull pain done twice, isn’t that it?