Robert launches the next batch of Dances of Myriad Dragons, this time quicker than the last. Desmond tries to block them, but Robert seems to aim for unprotected spots. Instead of keep blocking, Desmond lifts his hammer up high to finish Robert off with one desperate, final blow...
And Desmond abruptly stops midway. Is Robert finally knocked out from his earlier attacks so he doesn’t have to attack anymore? From Desmond’s widened eyes and mouth, and blank expression on his face, we know that it’s not so. The handle of Grimlock on his throat confirms that.
Blood sprouts from Desmond’s mouth and nostrils, and then the bouldering bloke falls to the front like a chopped-off lumber. Timber! And on the ground he crashes. Robert spits blood from his internal wound, and surely, Desmond got the worse of it. Being in a blackout, he is now under Robert’s mercy.
Not far from there, Rael’charon and Kyflynn are still shooting and thrusting at each other. The night elf has tried backstabs, Cross Backstab, Cartwheel Slash, and even his trademark move, Soul-Splitting Drill, but the light elf is still too quick for him to hurt, and he is also too quick for Rael’charon’s flying daggers.
One thing for sure, sooner or later Rael’charon will run out of daggers, and that fight will be reduced to an endless chase.
Before that happens, suddenly a shout comes.
The night elf stops his stride and perches on a nearby branch, observing around. It’s Robert’s voice, and that Ranger must be either crazy by shouting thus revealing his position.
As a careful person by experience, Kyflynn doesn’t jump into action right away. He chooses to look closer to the direction of the shout and approaches with caution. It’s Robert, all right. But he’s not alone. Robert stands behind Agustina with his saber on her throat. Then he shouts again,
‘You can try to stab me again, Flynn, but this time I’m ready. And sudden move and Tina’s life will go bye-bye.’
‘Let her go, Robert, if you know what’s good for you,’ says Kyflynn threateningly.
‘Loyalty and friendship. That’s the thing I like about you, Flynn. To catch a bird but lose an arm, that’ll be sad, right? So please, tell me what’s going on here. We’ve fought together on the same side in Enia’s Sanctum. Why did you attack us?’
‘Because we’re not on the same side now. You are my mark, and it’s our duty to finish the mark off, if we ever want to get paid.’
‘Oh, I get it now,’ Robert says, ‘You are bounty hunters by trade, so you go wherever money wants you to. If money wants Tina as your mark, will you go for that? I thought you’re an elf of principle, but I guess I was wrong.’
There’s a pause, and Rael’charon rejoins Robert on the spot, watching Rob’s back.
And then, the Windwalker shows up in front of them with a serious face, saying, ‘Say whatever you like about me, Orcbane, but listen to me Release Agustina, and Desmond too, if you have him – and we shall let you three go.’
‘Sounds like a fair deal,’ says Rael. ‘But what’s your collateral? To guarantee that you won’t attack us again? Your word alone won’t do much good.’
Kyflynn doesn’t take long to think. He takes off the bandages on his ankle, revealing the Mythril Greaves of Eil’thanath. He takes the greaves off and tosses them under Robert’s feet, saying,
‘Here. That should be enough. I have no much use of it anyway. It made me move slower than this elf!’
The Mythril Greaves in Robert’s hands, at last. Now he can return it to Andreas, and the dwarf priest can return to Grad, reuniting with his family.
Then Ney comes, up and about again although still weak. Desmond follows behind her, still dizzy from the knockout he just had. There’s no air of hostility between them. In fact, Desmond’s face looks thankful.
Rael’charon moves closer and supports her sister. Robert picks the Mythril Greaves up and walks away. His face remains as serious as ever, anticipating sudden attacks from behind.
As no attack actually comes, Robert looks back. He finds Kyflynn still tending to Agustina and Desmond from afar. The night elf, dabbing some healing salve on Desmond’s throat, stares back at Robert with thoughts in his mind.
This is not over, Robert. You’re still my mark, and we shall strike again in the moment you least expect it. I’ll get my Mythril Greaves back plus your head and the elf’s as bonus.
Seeing Kyflynn, Robert’s cold stare turns to fiery glare.
Strike again whenever you like, bounty hunters. But this time, I’ll be ready.
Interview with Craig Schaefer (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo) - *Official Author Website * *Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down * *Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score * *Read Fan...
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