AN: Da da da DA! Last chapter... Yipee. First completed story of anywhere near this length, and I'm quite happy with it. (Note my glee) Now that I'm at the end of it, I'd like to thank all the people who took the time to tell me their opinions, in particular BlackFeatherLintu and alexa-xox.

Shadowed Echo


A black haired girl and her blonde companion, walked out of the cinemas. " – Can't believe they did that. Honestly, it was obvious the knife they had wasn't even sharp!" the black haired girl indignantly complained.

Her friend sighed. She had the air of someone who had been through this many times.

They turned when they got to the footpath, and began walking down the alley to where they had parked the car.

"Dice… you promised if we went and saw an action movie, you wouldn't complain about everything they did wrong," Galle wearily reminded her ex-assassin friend.

Dice turned a wide eyed gaze on her friend. "I thought the movie makers would at least get the basic things right!" Dice protested. "When you decapitate someone, there is way more blood than that!" she explained on Galle's prompting look.

The blonde raised an eyebrow at that. "If I were anyone else, I would be disturbed that you knew that," she commented dryly.

Dice rolled her eyes. "But you are not," she proclaimed. Dice gave a mock bow. "You are the mighty Galle, who never does wrong!" she praised.

Galle glared at her friend's mocking.

"Stop! Turn around with your hands up!" a harsh voice yelled at them.

Dice turned around lightening fast, but then put her hands up slowly, and looked amused.

A young man was pointing a gun at them. He had a desperate look about him. His clothes were shabby and the stubble on his jaw was past 5 o'clock shadow.

Galle put her hands up calmly. If Dice thought there was something funny about a situation where someone had a gun pointed at them, she obviously knew something Galle didn't.

"Don't move so fast, or I might shoot you by accident," the man warned, gesturing with the gun at Dice. He stared at them both menacingly. "Hand over y' money," he ordered roughly.

"Or what?" Dice challenged, her amusement tinging her voice.

The mugger looked at her like he thought she was dumb. "Or I'll shoot you."

Galle glanced sideways at Dice, wondering what she was going to do next.

Dice yawned insultingly.

The mugger gritted his teeth. "I mean it," he threatened. His trigger finger was beginning to curl.

"Well, I'm not going to give you any money… Do so," she suggested.

He lost his temper and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

He stared at his gun in confusion.

Dice reached out and took it from his unresisting hands. She turned to Galle. "Please…" Dice begged exaggeratedly.

Galle almost laughed as she realised what Dice meant. "No. You're going cold turkey," Galle told Dice unsympathetically. "No killing for you." Galle patted Dice on the shoulder as she pouted sadly.

The mugger took a step backwards. "What did you do to my gun?" he demanded, slightly terrified.

Dice turned her attention back on him. "The safety's on, you twit," she replied contemptuously.

He looked dismayed.

Dice rolled her eyes again.

"Let's go," she told Galle, as if what had happened was of little consequence.

"Wait," she grabbed Dice's arm. "Being upstanding citizens, shouldn't we turn this guy in?" Galle asked with a significant look.

Dice grimaced. That was a bad idea. "I have this with thing with the police. Remember?" she prodded Galle's memory. "You know… the thing where they don't like me?"

Galle seemed disappointed. "If we don't turn him in, he'll just attack someone else. Only this time, he'll know which bit the safety switch has to be on," she said seriously.

Dice grinned suddenly. Her face reorganised as she dropped a cold mask over it. She turned to the mugger.

He had been backing slowly away.

She gave him an emotionless appraisal. "Do you know the name 'Dyshika Skando?'" she asked him slowly, letting the words sink in.

He nodded dumbly.

"That's me."

His eyes widened.

"You're going to turn yourself in." she told him. "You're going to confess to this crime and any others you've committed. If you don't, I will track you down and kill you." Dice said this all matter-of-factly.

He squeaked in understanding.


Dice and Galle pulled up the driveway of their house. A black car was parked on it. A blonde man in form fitting clothes was leaning against it, waiting for them. Attrian. He waited, until they approached, to address them. "I just saw Cecilia," he informed them. He made a face. "Understandably, she's in a pretty bad mood," he added.

Galle looked slightly concerned.

"She wants to kill you," Dice commented.

There was a long pause, as no one said anything.

"Ask," Dice ordered impatiently.

Attrian looked confused. "Ask what?" he queried.

Dice sighed. "No doubt Cecilia's weaselled her way into being the mob boss for Asper. Not taking kindly to betrayal, she's probably sent some thugs to kill you," Dice raised an eyebrow, asking for confirmation.

Attrian grinned ruefully. "Close, she turned up and gave me 'a special little warning, just because you're family.' Something along the lines of 'I'm not going to stop, until you're dead.'"

Galle looked confused, not entirely understanding the way the underworld worked, or the minds of Cecilia and Attrian Vigaird.

"Of, course," Dice commented in a 'duh' voice. "Why would she miss a chance to gloat?" she looked at Attrian like he was insane to suggest otherwise. "Which brings me back to your question. Ask it," she said slowly.

Attrian swallowed his pride. "You're the only one Cecilia won't dare attack," he stated. "If you announce I'm under your protection she won't attack me, for fear of your wrath," he made it clear what he was asking, without actually asking it.

"Is this announcement going to be written in blood?" Galle interjected. She frowned worriedly, remembering Dice's last message to a mob boss.

"The best way to tell the world that someone's under your protection, is to have that person under your roof," Dice explained. She stared expectantly at Attrian.

"May I have your protection?" he asked gravely.

"Yes," Dice replied shortly.

Galle smiled. "I'll show you around," she offered.

"Thanks," he said smiling at her. Galle's attitude really was infectious.

"Welcome to the household," Dice told him. She began to walk away, then paused. She turned around. "Word of advice. No matter what Galle says, if you use all the hot water, I will kill you."

Attrian didn't know if she was joking.