All but one of Rage Dog’s underlings had perished, their skulls cracked and brains demolished under the weight of General Tsang’s sword. The last undead creature was on the floor, feasting on Nianzu’s entrails. The general’s cousin, as well as Weiyuan and Tengfei, were no more.
Woosh! The general cut a wide swath through the air as Rage Dog. The undead fighter then countered with a barrage of punches to the general’s midsection.
“Who do you think you are, that you would undermine he who carries the Mandate of Heaven?” General Tsang asked as he brought the hilt of his sword down, clonking Rage Dog on the top of the head.
Rage Dog backed up, then through himself through the air with a somersault before connecting his foot with the general’s face.
“I carry the mandate of Dragonhand,” Rage Dog said upon landing on his feet. “His will is all that matters and he will have the Emperor’s brain.”
General Tsang plunged his sword into Rage Dog’s gut. The undead warrior made an annoyed face at the general, shook his head in a disapproving manner, then stepped back, relieving his stomach of the blade as he did so.
Rage Dog turned his right hand into a tiger claw, a move that caught the general’s attention.
“You are a student of the Infallible Master?” General Tsang asked.
“Ha,” Rage Dog scoffed. “He is far from infallible.”
General Tsang charged at Rage Dog but was sidestepped and was instantly punished with a kick to his back.
“That is true,” General Tsang said. “He apparently failed you.”
The general searched Rage Dog’s blank eyes for a reaction. Seeing none, he continued. “Even so, he is the best man I know.”
“Then your social circle is very limited,” Rage Dog retorted.
The opponents paced back and forth, staring one another down.
“The Infallible Master is gracious and forgiving,” General Tsang. “He is a master of magics I could not begin to comprehend. Perhaps he could be convinced to take pity on you and help you with your condition.”
Rage Dog cocked his head to one side in the manner of an actual dog who is having difficulty understanding a statement. “No thank you. I no longer serve those who do not recognize my talent.”
“Ah,” General Tsang said. “And Dragonhand does I suppose?”
“He is very wise,” Rage Dog said.
“He is a fool,” General Tsang said. “And he has played you for a fool.”
The pair paced some more.
“It doesn’t seem as though we will settle this score with words,” General Tsang said.
“Apparently not,” Rage Dog said.
A few moments passed before Rage Dog made the next move. He launched himself toward the general with his tiger clawed hand pointed straight out. The general lopped it off with a quick slice, then rammed his sword through Rage Dog’s gut once more. This time, General Tsang rushed towards the wall and pinned his opponent against it.
Rage Dog looked down at the sword that was buried inside of him, holding him against the wall. He grabbed the hilt and attempted to extricate himself, but the general had plunged the blade in too hard and deep.
General Tsang took a moment to catch his breath. He pulled back a few strands of hair that had fallen into his eyes, then removed the dagger from his belt. He stuck it into the brain of the beast that had been feeding on his cousin. The creature fell to the side, making way for the general to close his cousin’s eyelids with his hand.
“It pains me to do this to one of the Infallible Master’s disciples,” General Tsang said as he stepped over to Rage Dog with dagger in hand. “But I’m afraid you leave me no choice.”
The general reached back and was about to pierce Rage Dog’s brain when he noticed his adversary’s eyes were locked on something. It appeared as though Rage Dog was almost in a trance. Confused, the general followed the undead warrior’s gaze until he too saw what his opponent had been staring at – the Emperor. The little boy had emerged from his hiding place. He stood amidst the carnage, trembling.
General Tsang sighed. He returned his dagger to his belt, then put his hand on the hilt of his sword, making sure it was buried as far into the wall as it would go.
“Come now, Your Majesty,” the general said as he scooped the boy up in his arms. “Close your eyes, for you are much to little too witness such sights.”
The general exited the room with his charge in hand. Rage Dog looked down at the sword in his gut. He put both hands on it and gritted his teeth as he pulled with all of his might. The blade would not budge.