I removed my duster and laid it across a fluffy white couch. I felt naked without it, even in my black shirt.
Izok took off his robe to reveal a six pack. Damn show off. Made me wish I’d worked out more.
The kubazi spear. The most deadly of all the ancient, pre-gunpowder weapons. Two jagged ends, each so sharp they leave you feeling like they’ll slice you to ribbons just by looking at them. The middle disconnects to form a chain, leaving the weapon to be wielded like a pair of nunchaku or more accurately, a giant flail. The chain can even be retracted and the weapon broken apart entirely to allow the the user to wield each end as a pair of dual blades.
Long before they discovered space travel, the shai warlords of old reigned supreme over their world with the help of vast armies carrying nothing but this invention.
Izok pulled two off the wall and threw me one. I caught it instantly.
“I knew they’d send someone after me,” Izok said. “I’m not sure if I’m glad that it’s you.”
“Why’s that?” I asked as I walked to the center of the floor.
“If I have to die, I’d rather it be by the hand of my brother than a stranger,” Izok said.
“And if you live?” I asked.
“After I take your life, I’ll be depressed for an hour or so,” Izok answered. “I’m used to taking lives without flinching so this will be new for me.”
Sourcemind took a seat on the couch and started flipping through the channels on his own, with no need for a remote.
“Times a-wasting, clowns,” he said as he stopped on an action flick.
Izok and I bowed to one another. He reached under his bottom lip and momentarily paused his translator chip.
“Tai zati zaik chono…”
I finished the saying and since shai was Izok’s preferred tongue, I didn’t even need to pause my translator chip.
“…dazantus pektai varnuk tukwall.”
For those of you without a translator chip:
“I fear no death, for darkness is the only true source of light.”
Like a couple of wild dogs, we paced about the room, sizing each other up. I remained on the defensive.
“Still Ashakti’s pet after all these years,” Izok said.
“Let a fool come for you and expose his weakness,” I replied.
“We might be at this all night then,” Izok said.
Sourcemind butted in. “I’m going to charge a movie to your account. I don’t even care.”
Izok lunged his spear at me. I dodged. He came at me again, our weapons clashed over and over. My opponent landed a kick to my gut, prompting me to duck just in time to avoid decapitation.
Out of curiousity, the banji beast’s eyes remained transfixed on us the entire time. Sourcemind could have cared less.
Izok twirled his spear and executed a perfect spin dash, winding himself up to bring plenty of power at me. I held him off and there we stood in a deadlock, pushing our spears against each other.
“A counterproposal, brother,” Izok said.
“I’m…all ears,” I grunted, straining to hold my opponent back.
“Whatever price your broker has offered you, I’ll double it.”
“Tempting,” I replied. I felt a vein in my forehead get bigger and bigger.
“Leave the past in the past,” Izok said. “Come work for me and it’ll be just like the old days, except we’ll never want for anything again.”
I twisted my spear apart, produced the chain, and wrapped it around Izok’s spear. I turned around, contorted myself into a running nosedive and sent Izok sailing over my shoulders. I then seized the opportunity to swing the top blade around and around over my head before letting it go towards Izok’s. He rolled away just in time and flipped right up to his feet.
“What about my parents?” I asked, sending another chain swing Izok’s way. “What about my sister? I’d want for them.”
“Forget them,” Izok said as he separated his blades apart. I did the same.
“Ashakti’s wisdom was wasted on you,” Izok sneered.
Clang clang clang. Together we lunged and stabbed, stabbed and lunged, too quick for each other.
Izok rattled off Ashakti’s teachings as we continued our attacks. “Life is fleeting. All that is now will never be again. Sadness comes from the absurd expectation of permanency in an impermanent existence.”
“Honor is the most noble choice of all,” I countered.
“Honor is subjective,” Izok retorted. “I never knew what the master saw in you. You weren’t even shai. You were an orphaned human from a family of pigs that got what they deserved.”
He baited me. I knew it but I let him anyway. The distraction was just enough to allow him to land a head butt to my cranium that sent me to the floor. I covered myself by crossing my elbows over my chest, my two blades held firmly in my hands, ready to push my assailant off of me as soon as he came down.
“So pathetically predictable, Roman,” Izok said as he raised his blade over his head. “Weep no more for your loved ones. You’ll see them soon.”
I closed my eyes. My face was hit with a sticky liquid, followed by a dense object that rolled off of me and onto the floor.
I turned my head to see Izok’s detached head staring at me with a gruesome expression on his deceased face. I looked up to see Ninety-five standing over me. Sourcemind had retracted his lackey’s hand and replaced it with a spinning circular saw.
“WHAT THE SHIT?!” I shouted.